1901


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The Times, Pa.,
Jan. 21 1901

AMERICAN BISON

……Naturalist Declare the Animals Are Increasing in Number.
While it is naturally in possible to obtain figures as to the exact number of American bisons that are now alive, it is not difficult to obtain approximate figures, and from these and other data which had been recently collected, European naturalist maintain that there are more bison alive now then there have been for many years and that the number of these animals will steadily increase if only do care be taken of them, says the New York Journal.
……About 11 years ago Mr. Hornaday estimated the number of bisons then living at 1091 of which 256 were in captivity and 835 were enjoying of free life in British North America. Yellowstone Park and a few other places.
The number of bisons now living has been estimated at 1024 of which 684 are in captivity and 340 are still enjoying a life which is either wholly or partially free. In the opinion of naturalist these latter figures can only be regarded as approximate and are not as reliable as those compiled by Mr. Hornaday.
The largest herd of domestic bisons belongs to the heirs of the Allard. It contains 259 head and its home is on the Flathead Indian Reservation, in Montana. The next largest herd contains 110 head and belongs to Jonas Goodnight, of Armstrong County Texas.
……There are about 100 bison in other countries besides America. Of these 26 are in England and 12 of the 26 belong to the Duke of Bedford and have their home in the spacious park surrounding Woburn Abbey.
That the number of wild bisons is slowly but surely decreasing seems certain, and those who are competent to speak with authority are very much in doubt whether any steps which may be taken to prevent these splendid American animals from eventually becoming extinct will prove of the slightest avail.
……On the other hand, it seems equally certain that bisons thrive in captivity and that they will readily multiply under such conditions if only ordinary care be taken of them.
……This will doubtless not prove true in the case of those bisons that are allowed a hearty and liberty, but naturalist insist that it will prove true in the case of those that are really captives but have such a spacious territory over which to roam that they are virtually free.
The American bison, they say, will not become extinct as long as the domesticated and half tamed bisons are properly cared for.

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The Topeka Daily, Sept 15 1901
ANNALS OF A MONARCH
Buffalo Jones’ Biograph of the Bison
SAYS ONLY 750 ARE LEFT
Flathead Indians Own Largest Herd –Others Scattered From San
Franciso to St Petersburg- Jones Keeps Track of Them All.

……In a recent issue of the Capital there appeared the story of a terrific battle in which two of the Buffalo Bulls now In Central Park, New York, engaged. Something of local interest attaches to the story because the Bulls in question were raised on the Goodnight ranch in the Panhandle of Texas by Buffalo Jones, now of Topeka, and were sold to the park commissioners by Jones two years ago. The battle which furnished excitement and amusement for the habitues of Central Park, was the process by which one Monarch of the plains was deposed from the leadership of the herd, and another elevated his stead. As regularly as late summer and early autumn comes around the Bulls of every Buffalo herd fight it out for the mastery, and the best Buffalo wins. The defeated Monarch immediately becomes a parish, and outcast from home, and if he is not harassed to death by the victor, he is never again restored to the comforts of home and fireside.
……In the printed annuals of Kansas Buffalo Jones has had his place, and has received his ‘honorable mention.’ The reading public is in some degree familiar with his heroic and almost unaided effort to perpetuate the Buffalo. But of the many things to be set down to the credit of Jones some have escaped publicity entirely and the others will bear retelling. For Jones’ fight to save the Buffalo from extinction, his years of unswerving devotion to the work, and his superior knowledge of the characteristics of the animal make him at once and unique character in a state where the average yield per acre of unique characters is greatest than in any other land or clime, and an agreeable and entertaining character as well. Someday the service he has rendered will be of common knowledge. But meanwhile Jones is living out his days in comparative poverty in a modest home on Lincoln Street in Topeka, almost forgotten and ignored of men.
……Buffalo Jones has forgotten more about the American bison that all the encyclopedias tell. He knows the habits and disposition of the animal better than the average man knows that of his own house dog. He knows the whereabouts of every representative of the species and can tell within 50 of the exact number of buffaloes that have been survived since the war of extinction waged upon them. He estimates the total at about 730. Of this number about 400 are on the Flathead Indian agency in Montana. This is the bulk of the herd which Jones gathered about him on the Goodnight Ranch in the Panhandle of Texas. He sold them to the Indians some years ago he sold 30 to Austin Corbin with which to stock the latter’s game preserve in New Hampshire. This herd has increased and now numbers upward of 100. The city of San Francisco owns three; there are seven in Central Park, New York, and about the same number in the zoological garden in Washington. There are 16 in the different parks and museums of Europe. The Czar has two in the Imperial Gardens in St. Petersburg. There are eight in Germany, and the remaining six are in England and Paris. Jones took these 16 abroad and sold them himself. The agent of the royal household at St. Petersburg paid $775 each for the two left there. Up in British Columbia, in the basin of the Red River of the North, there is a herd of 25 or 30 Wiod bison left. There is a popular impression that Yellowstone Park is stopped prolifically with Buffalo, but Jones says that is a mistake. He was all over the park last winter and also made diligent inquiry of soldiers and citizens. He could find or hear of but three. The others of a once considerable herd have fallen before the rifles of poachers and pothunters.
……Jones dates back a long time in Kansas. He came to Dollphan County from somewhere east of the Mississippi when the applejack in the sellers was all new and “neighbored” for a number of years with Cy Leland and Sol Miller. In 1878 he moved to Finnery County and in the course of the next 10 years was sentenced to three terms in the Kansas legislature. In 1878 there was still a good size herd of buffalo in the Southwest and Jones, interested in the animal, and foreseening its ultimate extinction, made a trip to Washington to induce the government to set aside No Man’s Land as a Buffalo preserve, and to provide means for the perpetuation of the species. The government was busy and decline to act.
……In 1886 the Buffalo fever broke out on Jones again and he started the buffalo ranch at Garden City. He lassooed and brought home nine calves the first year and this was the nucleus of his herd area and the following year he captured between 20 and 30, and in 1888 added 35 to the herd. He had progressed so far in the science of buffalo raising by that time he saved 32 of the 35. Previous to that time about half of calves captured had died in infancy. Several attempts were made to subjugate Buffalo that had arrived at mature years, but all were failures. The full-grown animals, born free, would not live in captivity.
……In the late 80s Jones removed his Buffalo business to the Goodnight ranch, where in partnership with the Goodnight’s he continued to raise Buffalo for the museums and for the market. He entered into breeding experiments and succeeded in crossing the Buffalo, after many failures on native cattle. He disposed of his interest in the herd four years ago and came to Topeka. Mr. Goodnight still breeds Buffalo and has a herd of 175. From the sales from the herd she has built and equipped a college in the little frontier town of Goodnight. Money for its support and maintenance comes from the same source. The school has creditable when its location is considered-magnificent buildings. There is an average attendance of about 100 pupils, those of the pupils who are unable to pay their way are boarded and given tuition free of charge. Every dollar that has been expended in building and keeping up the school came from the Buffalo herd. A couple years ago Mrs. Goodnight who is a childless widow, asked the government to make some provisions to care for the herd after her death, but nothing has been done in the matter.
……The Buffalo reaches maturity and his full powers at eight years, and often lives to be 40. There have been occasional specimens that weighed as much as 2500 pounds. Jones attributes the fact that the annual grasses in the Southwest country are dying out and pasturage getting short to the fact that cattle instead of buffalo now arrange the land. Cattle, he says, are the pampered creatures of civilization and pick here and there were ever there is a bunch of seed. The Buffalo herd eats straight ahead, each Buffalo six or 8 feet from the other, always a strip of grass the same width to go to seed. The Buffalo does not waste or destroy and does not befoul the water in which he drinks. In captivity Buffalo become as tame as native cattle, eating readily out of the hand. They never become so tame, however, that they will allow a man to lay hands on them. Two years ago Jones made a trip to the Arctic Circle after the muskox. He shot several but did not succeed in getting one out of the country alive. He has at home the skin off the head and shoulders of a muskox which he shot. The hair on the skin is big as that on a dog’s back and 22 inches in length. Underneath the hair, which is black, is a layer of Brown for at least 2 inches thick.

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The Topeka Daily Capital Nov 29 1901
“BUFFALO” JONES BACK
Brings Picture of the New “Cross”
Between the Cow and Buffalo

……“Buffalo” Jones, who is interested in a scheme to produce an animal in the beef line which shall be to the cow what the mule is to the horse, has returned from the Goodnight buffalo ranch in Texas, bringing with him a number of photos of animals which are of a cross between the cow and the buffalo. The new creature is called the “cattalo.” J. F.Strickrott, the view photographer, accompanied Mr. Jones and made the pictures which are to be used in presenting the matter to Congress.
……Mr. Jones and Mr. Goodnight are endeavoring to obtain financial assistance from Congress in perfecting the new hybrid. It is claimed that the “robes” obtained from it are superior to both the old buffalo robe and the hide of a cow. The experimenters are producing animals of one-fourth, one-half and three-quarters blood in an endeavor to ascertain which will be the best for commercial purposes. Mr. Jones expects to go on to Washington soon to look after the scheme he is promoting.

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The Topeka Daily Capital, Kansas
Dec 24 1901
WILL SAVE THE BUFFALO
Jones is Crossing Them with Native Cattle.
LIFEWORK OF A KANSAN
Buffalo Jones made a fortune shooting Buffalo and is now trying to save the species from extinction.

……Buffalo Jones the noted Kansan, is by no means dead. Says the New York Tribune. He is now at the Goodnight buffalo ranch in Texas, laying the foundation for a plan which he hopes Congress will adopt and in its forthcoming session for the preservation of the Buffalo.
……Charles J., Better known as “Buffalo” Jones, has devoted a lifetime to the buffalo, and now in his old age he is trying to have them preserved for future generations. He has persuaded Congressman Charles Curtis of Kansas to introduce the measure which he is now writing at the coming session, and great energy will be used to get the bill passed. It provides for those setting aside of several thousand acres of land in New Mexico for a buffalo preserve, where Jones can conduct his experiments in buffalo breeding on an elaborate plan. For be it known that Mr. Jones is producing a herd of buffalo cattle, one half buffalo and one half native steer, which to all outward appearances resembles a buffalo but which has all the habits of a cow. The buffalo as is known can not exist in a confined or thickly settled community, while this new buffalo cow of Mr. Jones’s will exist in any climate where steer can live.
……Charles Goodnight, the Texas billionaire, has taken an interest in Mr. Jones’s scheme of saving the buffalo and has permitted him to experiment with some of his buffalo. Mr. Goodnight has a herd of 75 buffalo and Jones has succeeded in raising half a dozen yearling buffalo cows. These buffalo cattle have been placed in a separate pasture and are promising well of thriving and multiplying. Jones says he has no doubt these will be the only species of buffalo in existence in a few years hence. He hopes to spread their kind over every section of the United States, until their number will equal the vast herds of the wild buffalo that a few years ago roamed the Western plains.
……Jones spent 27 years of his early life on the plains catching and shooting buffalo. He made a fortune in shooting them; now he is spending it in preserving the few remaining ones. He is today one of the few survivors of the early 60s, when the plains were indeed a wild habitation. He is a commanding figure wherever he may be; whether in the lobby of a great hotel or on the streets of a typical frontier village. Tall, of splendid physique, with long hair and grizzled beard, he attracts men to him like a magnet. It has long been the habit of his to wear buffalo clothes in winter, a wide sombrero on his head and boots whose uppers were of the shaggy and untanned hide of the buffalo.
……Jones is of New England birth, but by education and training a man of the West. He came to Kansas toward the end of the Civil War and began the wild, roving life of a plainsman. He hunted the buffalo for the Union Pacific road and sold their hides at bargain counter prices. In 1885 he saw that their final extinction was only a matter of a few years, so he decided to embark in the business alone, selling to Eastern parks and preserves. He accumulated a fortune at this work, likewise a reputation as a buffalo slayer. Jones established a ranch at Garden City Kansas, then a wild frontier community. ……There he kept a number of calves and began training them.
It was in 1886 while serving a part of an 8 year term in the Kansas legislature, that he conceived the idea of breeding Buffalo and the steer. At first it was slow and halting, this cross of animals so nearly alike and yet so vastly opposite. Years were required to accomplish a single result.
……Year after year he would capture young buffalo and proceed with the work of domesticating them. Each buffalo was turned over to the care and nourishment of a milk cow of Texas breed. The cows did not enjoy the Association of their adopted offspring, and many a young Buffalo calf was tossed high by a pair of Longhorns, only to fall peers through some vital part, dead.
……By 1889 he had succeeded in gathering up 70 young buffalo and began to domesticate them. He soon gained a name as a breeder of domesticated buffalo and cattle. He had achieved some good results and others followed year-by-year. Then he was delegated by the government to go to Alaska in search of certain species of wild animals, and for three years the herd suffered the loss of his attention. All but one or two of the buffalo cows died and Jones found upon his return his ambition almost crushed. He took the remainder of the herd to Bearson, Neb., and began a new the crossing. Lately ……Charles Goodnight, the Texas millionaire, became interested in invited Jones to make his buffalo ranch his future breeding quarters. Jones is now at work attempting to follow out the dictates of his conscience in preserving the animal he assisted so liberally in destroying. He says;” If Congress will pass the measure I ask I shall give to future generations a domesticated buffalo, a type of the old kind, but thoroughly tamed. It would be a great loss to America to have all her buffalo gone in 10 years, which will surely be the case unless plans are adopted or their preservation.”

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Vancouver Daily, B.C. Can. Sept 21 1901

THE GUN

……Ever since the piles of bleaching bones have disappeared from the prairies and the enterprising squaws who lie in wait for tourist at the railway stations have taken to palming off well painted and polished cows horns for trophies of the bison of the plains, it has been a generally accepted belief that the buffalo has gone the way of the dinosaur.
To be sure there remained a few isolated specimens- in the New York and Buffalo “zoos,” in the Yellowstone Park, at Stony Mountain and at Banff- but these have been regarded as chiefly interesting because preserved as relies of a virtually extinct race of splendid creatures.
……The buffalo is not extinct, however, and happily not likely to be since the authorities are taking intelligent measures to protect the remaining herds in the only district where they still amount to anything. This is in the most northerly portion of the Canadian Northwest, chiefly in the district forming the watersheds of the Great Bear and Great Slave lake’s.
It was here that Warburton M. Pike found them in great number during his memorial journey of discovery and adventure told of in Through The Barren Lands. They were termed “wood buffaloes” by Mr. Pike, and the impression was gathered by the public that they were a much smaller and less magnificent animal then the bison so inseparably interwoven with the romance of the northwestern prairies.
……The fact appears to be that Mr. Pike did not wish to say anything that would tempt the greedy “sportsman” to invade the last remaining refuge place of the monarch of the vast northern steppes. The buffalo of the North is in reality quite as lordy as his ancestors when they roamed the billowy Meadows of Manitoba and Alberta, a fact that can be attested by all who have visited the museum at Ottawa or seeing at the Canadian Pavilion at the Pan-American the buffalo which Mr. Pike presented to the Canadian Government, and which is probably the finest specimen of the animal that has ever been preserved.
……These buffaloes or wood bison for they are one and the same-are found in bands of many hundreds through the as yet inaccessible northland, and even find their way into the hills at whose base lies the Klondike gold filled. It has been no uncommon thing for caribou hunters to bring their hides in to Dawson, and it is to prevent any further depredations among the few remaining herds that the territorial government has in the framing of its just promulgated game law seen fit to make special provisions of protection.
……“No buffalo or bison.” this says, “shall be hunted, taken, killed, shot at, wounded, injured or molested in any way or at any time of the year.”
There is even a special provision under which in the exceptional case of the buffalo not even the Indians may use their skill against the majestic brutes – all other game is fair spoil for the untive all the year round, since it is his chief means of support. The penalties provided enable finds to be imposed up to $300.
……There is one other peculiarity about this Yukon game law just brought into effect: since nature has provided for the residents of the world’s greatest placer district what is practically old storage all the year round, it is permissible to sell game during a period of 60 days from the close of the open season, there being no difficulty in keeping it this long.

ISLAND SPORTSMEN REJOICE
……protective laws seem to have worked well in increasing the supply on the island of the best game birds, since it has been found expedient by the Lieutenant Governor in council to remove the disabilities of the art and make it permissible to shoot cock pheasants and quail in North and South Saanich, Metchosin and Cowichan districts during the months of October, November and December.