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1909  The White House

Theodore Roosevelt ordered the carvings on the main stone mantel be changed from lions to North American bison heads.

The Scranton Republican

Scranton, Pennsylvania Jan 9, 1909


Not so many years ago the youth of this country was inspired by thrilling stories of buffalo hunts. It was one of the most fruitful themes that was ready for the hand of the cheap sensationalist. But the bison, as it is called, no longer roams the western wilds at will. Demand for buffalo robes practically resulted in its extermination.

The government finally took the subject in charge and is seeking to perpetuate the bison by establishing ranges, which were provided for by act of congress. At its last session congress appropriated $40,000 for a bison range in the Flathead Indian reservation in Montana and the stretch of country desired has been selected. The location of the range is the one recommended by Prof. Morton J. Elrod, of the University of Montana, after he had carefully examined several parts of the country. It lies directly north of the Jocko river near the towns of Ravalli and Jocko. Approximately 12,800 acres are embraced in the tract, which will be fenced in a substantial manner under the direction of the engineering department of the United States forest service.

Of the $40,000 appropriated only $10,000 will be available for fencing the range and constructing the shelter sheds and other buildings necessary for the proper maintenance and care of the bison. The remaining $30,000 will be paid to the owners of the land, many of whom are Indians. Funds for the purchase of bison are being raised under the auspices of the American Bison society, which was largely instrumental in securing the appropriation.

The first person to stand actual money in, the effort to preserve the American bison from total extinction was the late Austin Corbin, who many years ago fenced some 6,000 acres at Blue Mountain park, New Hampshire, and secured a herd of bison. The Corbin herd became in course of time the inspiration of the national movement which is now furthered by the American Bison society. This society, of which President Roosevelt is honorary president, and William T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoological park, is president, was founded in 1904, and the Montana bison range Is directly the result of its efforts.

Details of the management of the herd in the new national bison range will be worked out as soon as the herd Is purchased, when the construction work on fences and buildings will also be begun.



The Washington Post

Washington D.C. Jan. 31, 1909


A nationwide appeal is behalf made by the American Bison Society for the completion of a fund of $10,000 with which to establish the Montana National Bison Herd on the range of the Flathead Indian reservation which has been provided by Congress It Is the object as stated by the society to perpetuate the bison species for centuries come and to leave for the future generations of the Americans something better than bleaching bones and shameful records of wasteful slaughter. William T Hornaday superintendent of the New York Zoological park and president of the American Bison Society in his appeals for funds says the society looks forward to seeing on this new range in the not far distant future a herd of 1000 pure-bred bison owned by the national government and self sustaining on a fenced range.

At the first session of the Sixtieth Congress, an appropriation of $40,000 was made for the purchase of twenty square miles of land from the Flathead Indians. The purchase has been made and the range selected has been found ideal in all its conditions for a bison range. At this session of Congress, Senator Dixon will ask for an additional appropriation for fencing the range. The American Bison Society with headquarters in New York has pledged itself to provide the nucleus herd of about 40 bison and present it to the government as soon as the range is ready. Fourteen bison have already been contributed for this purpose but the society needs a fund of at least $10,000 to discharge its obligation. About $5,000 of this fund already has been raised. In his appeal, President Hornaday says: “All intelligent and prosperous American citizens have a duty to perform in this matter it is agreed that the wasteful destruction of the bison millions 30 years ago was a national disgrace. You are now asked to help wipe out that record. Any sum from $1 upward will be gratefully acknowledged and it is earnestly hoped that the people of each State will be suitably represented when the final list is published in the American newspapers.

Railroads Ruined Herds

With the advent of the Union Pacific Railroad In 1869, the fate of the bison was sealed in 1872-73-74 millions were slaughtered, and at the close of 1874 the great Southern herd was wiped out. Buffalo Bill occupied a prominent place in this shameful slaughter. He led large parties of American army officers and English tourist in the hunts, and his example was soon followed by countless others. The hides were bringing from $1.50 to $4.00 in the markets, and every man too last to work now turned his attention to the great Southern herd. Thousands of hunters followed millions of bison. And the hunter considered it a poor day when he did not kill off at least a hundred beasts. They pursued them during the day and at night camped at the water places and built great fires to drive the buffalo back and keep him from drinking. It took less than six years to kill off all the bison in Kansas, Nebraska, Indian Territory, and northern Texas in an article on the bison by Theodore Davis, published in Harpers Magazine in ___, he tells of the passengers of a Union Pacific train shooting bison from the windows. The engineer, to help the sport, kindly slowed down the train to keep pace with the moving herds, and for miles, the passengers dropped great numbers of the beast. Mr. Davis also notes the fact that even at that early date the bison were decreasing in numbers and states that “they no longer roam the Platte in the great numbers that once visited that section, and the Indians are often bringing forward in their pow-wows that soon the bison will go and then the red brother must keep pace with the white and eat their spotted buffalo” (Indian name for domestic cattle) Mr. Davis, continuing, naively declares that the fears of the Indians were groundless. He expresses doubts as to what the Indian would do if the buffalo should ever pass away,  for the buffalo at that time fed and clothed and warmed the red men. In conclusion, he states that the bison were fast disappearing from certain sections and tells that the ranchers bemoaned the fact and the trader raised the price of the skins. He mentions Charley Bates in St. Louis and Durfree of Leavenworth as the great hunters of the day and states that through their efforts over 200,000 bison were slaughtered in a single year. The price paid for hides by the New York merchants at this time were $16.50, $12.50 and $8.50 according to grade.

In the Northwest, the slaughter of the herds did not begin until the Northern Pacific Railroad was completed but the hunters were soon on the trail of the northern herd In 1875 Fort Benton sent 80000 skins to the market In 1883 two carloads of skins were shipped to St Paul from Dickinson N. Dak. In 1884 Fort Benton sent no hides at all to the market In 1879 a little band of animals were known to be grazing near Fort Totten on Devil Lake, in North Dakota, and it is believed that these bison furnished the two carloads of hides that were shipped to St Paul from Dickinson in 1833.

Loss of the Last Herd

A herd numbering 80000 crossed the Yellowstone in 1883 and went north toward the British line. “They never came back” is the pitiful refrain one hears from the Indians along the border line from Winnipeg in Manitoba to St Marys Lake in Alberta. No, they never came back and you can still hear the tale of this last year of the buffalo. It is never told twice alike by any two men for mystery seems to hang over this closing scene of the great crime which annihilated the bison. Some think that In the far North in some sheltered valley where the climate is tempered by soft winds, the remnant of the old guard still remains and refuses to make the attempt of another Southern migration. Frank Dowd, formerly of the Northern Pacific Railroad and afterward customs officer at Sweet Grass Hills on the northern line of Montana, has the theory that they couldn’t have perished so quickly.

“I saw them cross the Yellowstone,” he stated, and the plains were darkened with their numbers. I don’t believe they were killed but that they are still in the far North. There are so many others who have Mr. Dowds opinion and there are others who think that the herd was killed by the severe winter and disease. The topic is ever an interesting one in all that wide territory from north of the Northern Pacific Railroad to the lonely barracks of the Canadian mounted police far north of the Canadian Pacific line. The Indians looked upon the sudden and mysterious disappearance of this mighty herd with superstitious awe, and around the campfires of the lodges it was discussed with fear and trembling by the warriors.

It is an absolute fact that the slaughtering of the bison had much to do with the taming of the red mans savage nature. As long as the bison roamed the plains, the settlement of land and the extinction of the Indian title were an impossibility. As soon as his food supply was cut off, however, the Indian became tame and the West could not have been settled as rapidly as it has been since 1883 if the great herds of bison had continued their annual march across the plains.

The Blackfoot Indians had several unique methods of hunting the bison. The most popular of these was the piskum or trap. This piskum was an inclosure, one side being formed by the vertical wall of a cut bank. The other sides were built of rocks, logs, poles, and brush, about 6 feet high. While not absolutely necessary that these walls should be built with much strength, they had to be constructed tight in order that the bison could not see over them. From a point on the cut-bank above the inclosure, in two diverging lines stretching far out into the plains, piles of rock were heaped up at short intervals or bushes were stuck in the ground forming the wings of a V-shaped chute which would guide any animal running down the chute to its angle above the piskum .When a herd was grazing near at hand the Indians would prepare for the slaughter, in which the entire camp took part.

How Indians Trapped

It was commonly stated that the herd was driven down the chute by mounted Indians, but this is a mistake. They were led into the piskum by an appeal to their curiosity. The man who thus brought them in was usually the possessor of a buffalo rock a talisman that was supposed to give him greater power in calling the animals than was had by the other Indians. The previous night to the hunt was spent in hours of prayer for the success of the hunt. The help of the sun and all the other gods was asked for Sweetgrass and other things were burned as a sacrifice to the gods and no food or drink was touched by the honored Indian from the previous day until after the hunt was over.

Early in the morning the Indian intrusted with the duty of luring the bison leaves camp and goes far out on the plains. Before leaving he warns his wives that they must speak to no one nor even look from the tent before the hunt is over. They must also continue to burn sweetgrass until his return. All the others of the tribe follow him and distribute themselves along the wings of the chute hiding behind the rocks and brush. The caller continues on until he gets very close to the feeding animals. Usually, he wears a peculiar headdress often made from the head and shoulders of a buffalo.

Arriving within a short distance of the bison the caller begins to suddenly wheel from left to right and back again with a swinging motion. He appears and disappears by sinking to the ground and again raising in a standing position Soon one or two of the animals begin to rise and stare at his particular antics and presently the nearest one of them will walk forward to discover what this strange creature is up to. The others of the herd follower their leader and as they approach the Indian begins to retreat toward the entrance to the chute. As the bison begin to trot after him he increases his speed and soon has them all following him down the wings of the chute. As soon as they pass the first pile of rocks the Indians hiding behind it, rise and begin to yell and wave their robes. The buffaloes frightened by this new turn of affairs, run wildly down the chute. As they pass the other piles of rock, more Indians rise and to their fright with wild yells. In a very short time the entire herd is in one wild stampede, guided by the wings of the chute to the angle of the piskum. About the walls of the piskum, which are now full of bison, are distributed the women and children, who leaning over the inclosure, yell and dance and wave their robes in attempts to confuse the animals in order to keep from pushing against the walls or trying to climb or jump over them. As a rule, the bison race round and round the inclosure, and the men above shoot them down as they pass until all are killed. This method of slaughtering the animals has been practiced in Montana during the last 30 years.

Fear of White Buffalo

White buffaloes have been frequently seen and killed on the Western plains. The Indian tribes regard them as big medicine and Catlin the painter while with the Mandans in 1832 saw a white buffalo robe on a pole in their village as a sacrifice to the great spirit. It had been purchased from the Blackfeet who had killed it. The Mandans gave the Blackfeet eight horses and a quantity of goods for it.  The Comanches always regarded the white animal as very dangerous to themselves. In a history of the bison published in The American Naturalist, the author tells of meeting a young Comanche Indian returning to his camp nearly dead with fear because he had seen a white buffalo. He was taken into camp, and for more than a week the medicine men of the tribe gathered and smoked medicine over him to drive away the bad effects of meeting the white buffalo. At last, the evil was smoked away and it was considered by the tribe that the young brave had had a very narrow escape from dire misfortune. In 1863 a white man killed a white buffalo on the North Fork of the Red River and presented the skin to Gen Grierson. In order to preserve the skin the general desired it dressed but for a long time, it was impossible to persuade any Indian- to undertake the task. At last Horseback a noted Comanche chief attracted by the tempting offers contracted to dress the skin under several conditions. When his conditions were accepted Horseback selected one of his many wives and placed her under the care of the medicine man of his tribe. These medicine men went through various ceremonies to preserve her life against the evil of the white animal. She was next taken to a tent a great distance off from the other tents and placed in it alone. Here the skin was brought to her by a white soldier. No other Indian in the tribe dared to approach the squaws’ tent while she was engaged in dressing the skin. Her food was placed a great way off from her tent and she was not spoken to or looked upon while thus isolated. When the skin had been dressed the white soldier again came for it and once more the medicine men called in the Great Spirit before she was allowed to rejoin the others of her tribe.

Cabeza de Vaca the Spanish adventurer was the first European to see the bison on his native heath in 1527.  Ten years previous to this Cortez found specimens of the bison in a museum attached to Montezuma’s palace. Coronada saw them in the Indian Territory which he describes as a region filled with crooked back oxen. De Soto following, found bison hides in northern Arkansas and heard tales of the mighty herds that roamed the plains far to the north. Sir Samuel Argol, the noted Englishman, saw great herds of buffaloes roaming up and down the banks of the Potomac River in 1663. Where Washington stands today the buffaloes shared their domain with the savage Indian and the wild beasts of the forest. Mr. Argoll tells of the mighty herds that he viewed on the site of the Capital City. They haunted the hill of Maryland and Virginia and the early settlers of this section depended upon the animal to furnish them food and clothing. Father Hennepin found them when he made his famous journey up the St Lawrence River in 1679. From the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains from Texas to the Great Slave Lake, they roamed at will.  Boone found them in Kentucky. Illinois is described by early settlers as being covered with bison. Lewis and Clark found them in the Rocky Mountains. As late as 1870 they were as the leaves of the forest in numbers. There are thousands of men still living who have seen herds numbering as high as three-quarters of a million. Reliable authorities tell of estimates that they have made of migratory herds whose numbers reached the astounding total of from eight to fifteen million. Slowly grazing as they marched, their front stretched over a territory of 25 miles in width and 50 miles in length. George Baker, president of the Continental Bank in St Louis and formerly a resident of Fort Benton, once stated that he rode from Sun River to Milk River and from there to Fort Benton, a distance of 210 miles arid during the entire journey he was surrounded by bison.

Migrations of the Herd

The great Slskatche herd always moved from north to south. Their senses were very keen and in the summer and fall their dread of man made it possible to check their migration for a time, but in the spring nothing could stop the southward progress of the herd. By night as well as day it swept onward in Iiving torrents which no obstacle could turn from their paths. In crossing the two Saskatchewan banks were often the scenes of frightful destruction. The rear hordes pushing the vanguards over the banks with irresistible force countless numbers perished by falling through the rotten ice and as many as 10,000 have been killed at a single ford. This spring migration began as soon as the thaw set in, the bulls and cows forming into two files the cows taking the lead add all went South, always following the same path. No one in the present generation takes the pains to trace out these paths but if one was to do so they would find them to be the most direct route between the two points. Early adventurers and the Indians always used these paths and many a tale has been told around the camp fires by these early invaders of the Northwest how these paths have led them to water and safety when without them they would have undoubtedly died a horrible death in the wide deserts of the wild country.

On the great plains is still found the skulls of the bison buried in the soil and crumbling to decay The trails once covered with the countless numbers are grass grown now and fast filling up. When these rapidly disappearing relics shall have passed away there will be found in all the limitless great Northwest once darkened by the feeding herds not one trace of this monarch of another generation.

The bison was savage of aspect and strong in limb but still very timid by nature and was much less formidable to the hunter than the so-called tame cattle of the Texas plains. Being expert and fearless climbers, it took a swift horse to overtake them. To the Spanish colonists, the bison were known as cubola, while the French usually called them le boeuf buffe, vache sauvage or bison de Amerique. Peter Kalm, who traveled through America in 1749, spoke of them as “wllde ochsen” but the word buffalo first spelled buffels soon replaced these earlier names.

President Is Interested

President Roosevelt honorary president of the American Bison Society and is deeply interested in the efforts of the society to establish the herd in Montana. With all good Americans, he deplores the great slaughter of the past decade and the interest he has displayed has resulted in enlisting the services of many prominent people throughout the country, among them Earl Grey.

In 1874 Congress passed a bill for the protection of the bison, but the President never signed it and nothing came of it. The last wild bison were killed in 1883 in the Northwest near the British line.

The census of the living American bison on January 1, 1908, compiled by Mr. Hornaday, of the American Bison Society shows a total of 2,047 of which 1,116 are captive in the United States 476 are captive in Canada, 120 captive In Europe, 300 wild In Canada, and 25 wild in the United States. They are figures which tell the shameful story.





Daily Industrial News, N.C. March 8, 1909

President Discusses Plans for Bison’s Preservation

Deeply Interested in the Work of the American Bison Association,
Which Has for Its Purpose the Care and Propagation of an
Animal Threatened With Extinction.

…… Washington, D. C., March 7,

– At the White House recently there was a conference, and in the course of it, there was nothing to be heard about, currency, tariff, anti-injunction measures, employers liability bill, or about any of the other half hundred things which recently have had a large place in the attention of people and the President.
……Theodore Roosevelt was talking to William T. Hornaday about ways and means to make certain the future existence of the American bison, ordinarily and improperly called the American buffalo.
……No one will make a mistake if he holds that the President was pleased at the opportunity to get away temporarily from matters very likely more important, but certainly less interesting in the chief executive that is the question of saving the remnant of a tribe of be used that once numbered its members by the millions.
William T. Hornaday is the director of the Bronx Zoological Park in New York city. He is also the president of the American Bison Association, which has for its object the preservation of the animal whose name is carried in its title. There are buffalo – the error form is the easier – in nearly all of the zoos of the country, but the lives of the confined animals are at best precarious, and no one knows when accident or disease may wipe the captives out of existence. Mr. Hornaday desires that a government range be provided for a herd of buffalo in the northwestern country, where they may live in large measure as they lived when their only enemies were the red man and the wolf, the condition of life that made for longevity and for increase.
……A Flathead Indian named Pablo, living in Montana, had in his possession a few years ago a herd of 350 buffalo. The Canadian government learned of the existence of the herd, and brought it from the Flathead chief – it is though he is a chief – who was tempted by the offer because of its seeming generosity, and because probably he did not know the full value of the buffalo in this day of their scarcity.
Would Purchase Remnant.
……The Canadians took about half the herd, divided the half into two parts and turned the animals loose on ranges on the other side of the border, where it is said they are thriving. The remaining buffalo included in the purchase are, it is assumed, to be carted into Canada, there are to be given their freedom with fence limitations. It is understood, however, that Pablo will have remaining in his possession about fifty of the animals, the increase cents he agreed to sell his herd, added to some animals that he has picked up recently. It is the hope of Mr. Hornaday and his associates of the American Bison Society to buy the animals that Pablo now owns, and turn them loose on the Flathead reservation.
……The help of the President and Congress is needed to accomplish the end in view. Sen. Dixon, of Montana, will introduce a bill to set aside on the reservation a tract of land containing twenty square miles. The Flathead land holdings are soon to be open to settlement, and the land that the government is asking to reserve as a bison range is almost totally unfit for agricultural purpose. In other words, it is practically waste land. It is Mr. Hornaday’s belief, and he is one of the best informed men in the world on the habits of the greater animals, that the buffalo on the wide range given over to them will double their numbers and three or four years, and that the question of the preservation of an animal which supposedly had been doomed to extinction will be answered.

To Be Left to Themselves.
……It is the intention, if Congress grants the legislation necessary, to fence and the range and to leave the buffalo to themselves. There is an abundance of bunch grass upon which the animals thrive, there is timber enough for shelter under certain weather conditions, and there are ravines which will afford perfect protection in hard times of winter. Running water from an unfailing source of supply is to be found at several places on the land which it is proposed to set aside. The naturalist of the country, among them men who have made the bison a special study, are a unit in declaring that the problem of preservation is to be solved only by giving the animals the freedom of range, the food, and surroundings which were natural to their ancestors in the days before the white man began his war of extermination.
A year of ago Congress voted an appropriation of money for the fencing in of a bison preserved in Oklahoma. Fifteen of the animals were turned loose in the preserved, and they are increasing in number and are thriving physically. The range is known as the Wichita Preserve, and it is situated in the heart of a country where once vast herds of buffalo roamed at their own free will.
……When the American Bison Society was formed, the herd of 350 animals which has been sold to the Canadian government was still in the possession of Pablo, the Flathead Indian. The sale of the herd to the Canadian government, however, was completed before the American Bison Society had adopted its constitution, or was prepared to begin its work. The Western newspapers criticized the organization severely for allowing the Canadian government to forestall it in the purchase of the Pablo holdings. The criticism was severe, but absolutely undeserved, for the society was not in condition to do any active work, nor had it at that time either influence nor the money necessary to do what the members wanted to do. If the government will give its aid at the present time, however, it is a safe assumption that the American bison will not be allowed to perish from the earth.
……Most people do not know that there is still in existence a herd of wild bison. Little is known concerning it save the fact of its existence. How many animals there are and what their chance of continued existence are, may be put down at best as mere matters of guessing. Up somewhere in the northern part of the province of Saskatchewan there are left a few, possibly more than a few animals known to the people as wood buffalo.
……The laymen’s belief is that the wood buffalo and the buffalo of the plains are different species, but they are not. They are identical except for the fact that the wood buffalo are a little larger than are their southern family members. How long a lease of life the wood buffalo may have no one knows, but it may be that the Canadian government will undertake ultimately their protection and preservation.




Manitoba Morning Free Press April 21, 1909

Old Sir Donald, the Patriarch of the American Bison, Trampled and Gored to Death in Corral at Banff _ Was captured in 1872 When a Two-Year-Old bu the Late Hon. James McKay, of Deer Lodge – Head of the Band For Many Years –

Sir Donald


Old Sir Donald, the Last Wild Buffalo in Captivity, Killed by Balance of the Herd at Banff Recently

Many thousands of visitors to Banff, the delightful resort in the middle of the Canadian National park, had seen and admired the grand old buffalo bull, Sir Donald, ____ had been the leader and chief of his herd for upwards of 38 years. But he never again will be the grand head and massive proportions of this animal, the only really wild bison in captivity, be viewed in their natural environment, for during the early hours of Tuesday morning, April 6, old Sir Donald came to his final end. He was found lying dead out in one of the paddocks, having apparently stumbled over some blogs, probably owing to his being blind in one eye, and while unable to rise he was surrounded by the rest of the herd, and, alas, for _____ respect among the bison some of the younger bulls took the opportunity to help him onto the happy hunting grounds by goring that huge beast with their short and sharp horns. Not content with this, the herd pawded and butted at the prostrate monarch till, except on the head and the legs, there was no hair left. The cowboy in charge of the paddocks saw Sir Donald walking about at five o’clock on Monday afternoon, and on looking for him next morning saw that he was down and apparently dead. He covered the carcass with tarpaulins to keep it safe from the prowling wolves and coyotes, but the buffalo herd returned to the scene and indulged in a further display of indignities to their fallen ____.

For some time past the advisability of shooting Sir Donald had been discussed, as he was obviously weakening with advancing years, and about a month ago Howard Douglas, the Commissioner of the parks, with a local taxidermist, went to the paddocks to inspect him, but so lively was the old bull than that he charged vigorously at his visitors, who prominently took refuge outside the fence. This was thought to indicate plenty of reserve strength in Sir Donald, and he was allowed to wander away. So that when the news of his death was telephoned to the superintendent’s office it caused quite a considerable sensation, and steps were at once taken with that view of having the whole animal mounted to be placed in the National Park Museum. A number of the park workmen with a few other interested persons in the government taxidermist, Ashley Hine, went to the animal paddocks with a large sleigh to transport the body to the Sign at the Goat taxidermy store for purposes of preparing and mounting it. On their arrival, however, they had to wait till the keeper had driven the buffalo herd far enough away to make it safe to go inside their enclosure. All inspection of the body showed that with the exception on the head and four legs there was nothing left with hair on that would be set up for exhibition. The remains were mass of jellied flesh, hair, and blood. This historic animal and the loss of him as a museum specimen is no small one. However measures were at once begun to secure pictures of him as he lay in his last sleep, and while this was being done and during the subsequent proceedings of saving the head and the four legs, several of the workmen had some exciting chases after the rest of the herd, as the animals kept closing in, in a compact half circle round the group engaged on the dead bull. The horses attached to the sleigh got very alarmed, and their drivers prompt action alone prevented a runaway. Highland Mary, a small bright colored cow buffalo, a very early daughter of the dead bull, was the most aggressive, coming within 12 or 15 feet of the workers, but as she was nearly as old as Sir Donald, she was treated with the respect she deserved.

It was the work of several hours to get the hide off, which was in some places 2 inches thick. This was finally accomplished and the remains were then loaded onto the sleigh for transference to the town; most of the men taking a short cut over the fence for home. But here the herd took a hand again. As soon as the sleigh load drew nearer them they charged up to it on mass jostling and crowding each other to get near the head of their dead companion which adorned the back end of the sleigh. Three times the driver of the team fell over obstacles before he reached the gates, having to keep his eyes on his frantic horses and on the bellowing herd hind him. His companion proceeded to open the gate, and for a few moments, it looked as if the whole herd would escape into the adjoining paddock. Very, fortunately, the two men were able to close the gate, after driving in the buffalo which got through and so prevented what otherwise would have been a very awkward state of affairs. The head of Sir Donald is now in the hands of the government taxidermist, and will eventually adorne the walls of the museum in Banff.

Captured about 1872 by James McKay, of Winnipeg, at which time the bull was about two years old, he was kept with that gentleman’s herd which roamed between Silver Heights and Little Stony Mountain and often mixed with the herd of the late Col. Benson. Mr. (afterwards Sir) Donald Smith was associated in business with Mr. McKay at that time, and on the death of the latter came into possession of his herd of bison. In 1898 Sir Donald Smith (now Lord Strathcona) presented his herd of 12 to the National Park, including the captured wild bull since named after his donor. These 12 have increased till at present there are over 95 in the herd, besides 13 head which have been presented to different ________ and coast cities. The __disputed headship of the herd remained with Sir Donald for over 30 years, but about five years ago a terrific battle for supremacy occurred between him and a young bull of almost equal size imported from Texas. The fight began early in the morning, the great lowered and little red eyes glaring, tearing up the turf with their hooves, and with tails straight up in the air. With the crash like colliding engines they met over and over again. Several mounted men endeavored to separate the infuriated animals, but were themselves charged and put to flight. Sir Donald at last lost his left horn in one of the shocks, at the same time getting a blow in the left eye which destroyed its sight. After being thrown on his back and pummeled while down by his victorious antagonist, he gave up the struggle and retired from the gaze of the watching herd to begin his lonely wanderings. Since that time he has seldom been seen with the rest, preferring to wander and wallow alone in some favorite sand whole. He was a grand specimen of the breed, measuring about __ inches from tip to toe of the horns, and about 15 ½ inches between the eye sockets across the four head. The remaining horn is 18 ½ inches long and its girth is 14 ½ inches. He answered best to the Indians description of the buffalo, being short and very thick and deep in the body, with great phone an extremely massive head in front. And he was undoubtedly a really pure-bred bison. W.H.K.




(By F. L. Baghy.)


WITH the shipment Wednesday of nearly 200 buffalo from Ravalli, Mont., to Canada,1909 Patriarch of the Herd (center) Which Died
all but the outlaw remnant of the largest herd of wild bison in the United States were removed from their native heath to the limited confines of a foreign park–to make: way for the advancing march of progress and development. Trapped into manmade corrals, roped and loaded into cages, bound down with chains and wire, hauled over long and rough roads, then dragged by main force Into freight cars and shipped like so many common cattle over the rail roads, nearly 600 of these lords of the plains have been dragged from the free and untrammeled range of their nativity into a national playground, where they will be kept as noble specimens of a rapidly vanishing species of American big game. And this is all done to maim room for the white man with the plow and the hoe, whose conquest of the soil has swept the red man, the buffalo and other wild game before him like mist before the wind. The settler, in the great battle of development,’ needed more lands to conquer. The Flathead reservation offered an enticing field for his activities. But there was not room for the red man’s buffalo and the white man’s cattle. perforce the bison had to make way for the munching cow, the tolling horse and the ravenous sheep and swine of him who was coming to transform the untamed wilds into an Arcadia of homes, farms ‘ and ranches. The grazing range of the buffalo was to become the feeding ground of domestic animals, so the bison were sold for a paltry sum and men were hired to capture and ship them into the country of the purchaser-the Canadian government.

And when the 150 head that remain upon, the reservation are rounded up and shipped this fall, there will be none of the noble animals left to dispute the right of the White man’s stock to- every blade of grass on the range where once the buffalo was lord of all he surveyed.
Countless Numbers. Birds Eye ViewBut a few years ago bison roamed the western plains in countless numbers. Herds so large that days were required for them to pass a given point frequently forced pioneer immigrants to encamp and wait patiently for them to pass before they could resume their journey over the new trail into the unknown wilderness of the vast west. In their migrations, the beat of their hoofs resounded like the mighty rumble of thunder, and the dust from their heels clouded the sun itself. Running before a prairie fire or stampeded by a flash of lightning these great masses of shaggy, wild-eyed, snorting beasts made the very earth tremble beneath their majestic forms. But these days have swiftly glided into the past, and with them are vanishing the buffalo like a mirage at the setting of the sun. The thunderous pound of their hoofs is heard no more, and the plains where they once were went to graze in peace or rush in maddened fright before some impending danger, are crossed with fences, dotted with farm houses and producing farm products to sustain life and pour dollars into the pockets of their conquerors – the white man.

Whitened Skulls. A few years ago whitened skulls’ and scattered bones marked the great immigrant trails into the west, grew some monuments to mighty herds that fell under the ruthless slaughter of countless hunters. But even these relics of pioneer days have disintegrated and have become indistinguishable mingled with the dust of the earth. Man’s appetite for fresh meat and the discovery that buffalo tongue was a delicacy to tickle the palate of an epicure first led to the’ ruthless slaughter of the animals, the lives of countless thousands being sacrificed for the sake of their tongues. When the bison began to get scarce and wealth developed a hobby for buffalo hides and heads, man’s greed for gold furnished a motive for the slaughter of more and more until he suddenly awakened to the realization that the bison was almost extinct. A desire to save and protect these noble animals found birth in the hearts of a few men, and the surviving buffalo were gathered together in small herds by animal fanciers, zoological gardens and bison societies in various parts of
UNLOADING THE HAULING CRATES. Unloading The Hauling Crates
the. country. The Canadian government took an interest in the matter and established herds in some of its parks. The United States government has, at last, been interested and has
established a bison range in Montana, but it failed to act in time to prevent the loss to this country of the largest herd within its borders.

The Allard Herd.
Among the individuals who took an Interest in preserving the buffalo was

BUFFALO IN LOADING CORRALS.Buffalo in Loading Corrals
Charles Allard, who secured a few. animals and started a herd on the Flathead reservation near Ronan in the early eighties. He increased this herd by breeding and purchase to more
than a hundred head in a few years. In 1893 he purchased the herd owned by “Buffalo Jones” of Kansas, and drove them across country to his herd on the Flathead. Accompanied by his family and riding in an old-fashioned barouche, he followed the herd across plain and mountain until the members of the band were safely delivered on the reservation In Montana. This herd consisted of full-blooded and half-breed animals. The latter were products of cross-breeding with cattle, but they did not prove to be desirable animal, having all the undesirable and none or the good qualities of either ancestor. The mongrels were separated from the blooded animals, and the latter were permitted to range in a wild state on the reservation. They thrived and the herd grew until it numbered almost 800.
When Allard died the herd trussed into the possession of his partner, Michel Pablo, a half-breed Indian and an expert buffalo raiser. Pablo was induced to dispose of a few of the animals to zoological parks, but kept the larger portion of the herd intact until he learned that the reservation was to tie thrown open to settlement and that his buffalo must make way for the settler and his cattle. Then it was that Howard Eaton, expert hunter of Wolf, Wyo., attempted to interest the United States government in the purchase of the herd. Falling in this he turned to the American Bison Association, but again was unsuccessful.
Makes an Offer. It was at this juncture that the Canadian government sent Howard
Douglas, superintendent of the western Canada national parks, out to the Flathead to see the herd and make an offer for It. Mr. Douglas recommended the purchase of the animals and an offer of about $130,000 was made. This was accepted, Pablo agreeing to deliver the animals in Canada for that price. Then came the task of rounding up these animals, transporting them from their range to Ravalli, Mont.,56 miles away, loading them upon freight cars and shipping them to Canada, where they had to be unloaded and delivered
in the parks. To say that such a task was Herculean is to express it mildly, but Michel Pablo was not daunted. He employed a force of expert riders, mounted them upon his own best horses and set forth to accomplish the task, riding at the head of his men on his own favorite mount. A corral into which the animals might be driven from the range was the first necessity. Taking advantage of a horseshoe bend in the Pend d’Orielle river, the outside bank of which Is of clay and stands almost straight up and clown, he had a fence constructed across the neck of the horseshoe and wing fences built for a distance of a mile or more from the end of this fence and a cut in the bank of the river out into the range.

Into this the buffalo were driven in three separate hands at different times. It required much hard and dangerous riding on the part of the buffalo punchers, and many of the animals escaped numerous times, but perseverance prevailed and two years ago 400 of the herd were successfully rounded up and then driven down the Mission valley into the corrals at Ravalli. From these corrals the animals were pulled and dragged by means of block and tackle into the railroad cars. Last year another round up was made, but just when the riders were about to drive the herd to Ravalli the band stampeded and made its escape from the corral at Ronan.
A New Plan.This spring it was decided to make no further attempt to drive the animals from Ronan to Ravaili. but to corral them, load them in crates mounted upon wheels and haul them over the mountains to the loading corrals. For this purpose heavy crates, large enough to hold two buffalo each, were constructed of heavy timber fastened together with steel and wire. Through a loading chute the animals were driven into these crates, securely roped in and hauled by means of six and eight-horse teams over the long and dusty journey to Ravalli. Here they were turned out into a series of corrals from which they were driven, one at a time, into the loading chute. A noose around each buffalo’s neck and the tugging of a score of men landed the animal in his car, where the struggling beast was held until a partition to separate him from his companions could be firmly put into place.The dangers attending the work of handling the buffalo were many and there were numerous narrow escapes from death and injury on the part of, riders and loaders, Fred Decker had

FEEDING FROM THE HAY RACKS.Feeding in the Hay Racks
his horse gored under him, and his brother. Johnnie Decker, twice had his mount gored and was slightly injured, his life being saved only by the prompt action of Pablo and his brother in firing pistol bullets into the neck of an infuriated beast that was trying to kill man and horse. In their maddened struggles against being dragged into captivity 20 or the animals were killed, some iof them rushing blindly against the sides of the corrals with such force as to break their necks. One, the patriarch of the herd, fought with a younger

PULLING A BISON ABOARD A CAR.Pulling a Bison Aboard a Car
bull, then lay down in the loading chute and died.

Pathetic Picture.
It was a pathetic picture to one who stopped to think, as he gazed at the

lacerated, bleeding, ragged animals that stood in the corral at Ravalli, gazing longingly through the cracks of the high, strong fences out upon the hills, beyond which lay the wild free range from which they had been dragged in ignominious captivity to be loaded Into cramped stalls of rail road cars, there to be left to vent their fury in vain kicks against the walls of their prisons until steam and steel landed them at their new home. Slowness in hauling the bison from the round-up corral necessitated some of the animals standing in the cars for eight days before the last train started for Canada. At last all of the shipments save those that were killed and two that escaped were loaded, aboard and the long trip of 1,200 miles to the point of unloading was commenced. Canada has secured a bargain in buffalo and the United States has lost an asset which it may never be able to replace. Shaggy Monarchs of the Plains
Much interest Is already being manifested in the coming roundup of the remaining portion of the herd which is scheduled to commence about the first of September. The riders who have been leading the strenuous life on the buffalo range for the past two lmonths will now turn their attention to, gathering together the cattle that have been wintering on the reservation, and this work will continue until haying time. When the season’s crop is gathered the sunburned riders will again dog their “schaps,” high -heeled boots and spurs, mount their favorite steeds and ride forth to the buffalo range. Then the work of maneuvering the outlaw buffalo from their stamping grounds into the corral at Ronan will he gotten under way. Since the work of shipping the present hand was begun the wilder members of the herd have strayed some 40 miles from their usual feeding grounds, and it was feared that they would migrate so far from their usual haunts that it would become an, almost impossible task to drive them back. But Indian riders report that within the past two weeks the straying bands have turned their noses back toward their accustomed range and are gradually moving back in that direction. It is hoped by the riders and Pablo that by the first of September the animals will have forgotten the excitement that has been in progress in the vicinity of Ronan and be back in that district, for enough trouble is anticipated in handling the beasts is it is without t having to search for roving bands of them over the entire reservation and rounding them in a bunch of three or four at a time.

The same methods and tactics used in handling the recent shipment will be employed in handling the outlaw herd, provided the herd does not upset all plans. Some changes are planned in the corral at Ronan, as experience has taught the riders that the buffalo is a wily animal and cannot be trapped twice in “the same place or manner.

A buffalo that has been driven into a trap once and succeeds in making hIs escape cannot be driven into the trap in the same place again, and will always attempt to escape from the place that afforded him freedom before. The entrance to the corral will be changed to another location, the loading chute will be moved and the entire corral will be strengthened to withstand the onslaughts of the obstreperous beasts. New crates of a little better construction than the ones used last time will be constructed for time hauling of the animals from Ronan to Ravaili to the loading pens. An effort will also be made in the fall to load and haul more bison at a time from the roundup corral, so that those loaded into the cars at Ravalli will not be forced to stand in their cramped stalls so long as many of the recent shipment were forced to do.

Though the riding on the recent roundup and the incidents attendant upon the work were more thrilling and sensational than any “wild west” performance ever dreamed of being, still greater excitement is anticipated when the next round up is gotten under way. But notwithstanding the dangers, they have passed through and the narrow escapes from death that some of them have had, the riders face the coming roundup with eager impatience. Those bronzed men who sit the saddle with as much comfort as a millionaire rests in his upholstered chair, and find more enjoyment and actual life in doing so, would rather ride than be the president of a railroad. To them the excitement, the danger and the thrill attendant until a chase either before or after a rushing herd of bison, constitute life.



The Wainwright Star 

Wainwright, Alberta    JULY 9th, 1909.

Canada’s Great Buffalo Herd at Wainwright

Second Shipment Received at Buffalo Park Direct From Montana

Made Journey in Seventy-Two Hours -Visit to the Park – History of the Pablo Herd

On Saturday last, fifteen cars of buffalo arrived here from the Pablo herd in Montana, and were immediately unloaded in the Buffalo Park. Howard Douglas, Commissioner of Dominion Parks, A. Ayotte immigration agent in Montana, and H. C. McMullan, C. P. R. livestock agent, Calgary, accompanied the shipment.

The bunch consisted of one hundred and ninety head and at times what seemed almost insurmountable obstacles have been overcome in rounding up this bunch. There are still at least 150 head on the Flathead Reserve, which will be shipped in September. Before these arrive, however, 75 buffalo will be sent to the Park here from the Banff herd.

The animals comprising this shipment were immediately unloaded and despite expectations did not take unkindly to the fence around the corral at the unloading place. They had been in the cars for periods varying from four to fifteen days and were consequently quite weary. The railway journey from Ravalli was made in the fine time of seventy-two hours and the bison stood the journey fairly well. No time was lost in releasing the buffalo and before dark the entire trainload were quietly grazing in the park.

On Sunday, the writer, accompanied by R. C. W. Lett, travelling passenger and colonization agent of the G. T. P., and H. W. Foster, manager of the Canada Railway News Co., and C. W. Holmes, a fellow newspaper man, from Milestone, Sask., made a trip through the immense corral of 2,000 acres in the north end of the park, in which these animals will be confined for the present.

Superintendent Ellis and his assistant, Louie Bioletti, gave every assistance to the party and we were enabled to see the buffalo at ease in their new home. They were scattered here and there in small herds, while an occasional one would be found enjoying a dust bath in one of the innumerable buffalo wallows, which were made by the wild herds many years ago. They seemed to take well to their new home and the majority paid scant attention to the visitors. Occasionally, we ran across a small herd which viewed us with suspicion and started pawing the ground. When their tails began to raise with an ugly looking crook, we considered discretion to be the better part of valor and immediately left for other sections of the park. The 508 buffalo now in the park have an ideal home.

Following is a short history of the buffalo, several parts of which we have extracted from a recent article in the London Times:

Passing of the Buffalo

The destruction of the immense northern herd of bison, which is stated to have numbered 4,000,000 head at the beginning has never been told with any degree of accuracy. It is certain that very few were left in the Canadian west when the Canadian Pacific Railway had been completed. The construction gangs of this road disposed of the stragglers of this once mighty herd, as was the case in the building of the Union Pacific railroad in the U. S.To this day, however, the whole of the vast west is scarred and pitted with their groove-like trails and basin-like wallows, which are permanent records of the migratory marches and daily dust-baths of these heavy beasts.

Old-Time Hunts

Old-time Hudson’s Bay factors who still survive, tell of the great hunting expeditions of the fifties and sixties, when the employees of the pioneer fur company with their creaking Red River carts took part in these hunts in order to secure the yearly supply of pemmican for their northern hunting and trading posts. At one time the prairie around the present capital of Saskatchewan was covered by piles of whitened bones, but which have nearly all been gathered up and shipped to be used as fertilizers. “Pile of Bones,“ or Regina, was the head of this peculiar industry which flourished shortly after the Riel rebellion.

The Last Buffalo

The last buffalo to be killed in Western Canada met his death in 1886. He had been wounded twice during that year but escaped, to meet his fate on the range of a couple of ranchers near the south branch of the Saskatchewan, who had a herd of several hundred Highland cattle and it happened that about the time when the sandhill crane flies south, two of the ranch men were sent out in search of them. They caught sight of the band at noon on the second day out and were amazed to see it massed together for all the world like a bunch of horses about a smudge or smoke-fire when the flies and mosquitoes are at their worst on a still, cloudy summer evening. With much difficulty they broke up the throng and there where the center of the swirling crest of blood-maniacs had been, they found the torn and trampled carcass of the mighty wanderer. What an end!

 For a considerable time it was believed that with the exception of the herd at Banff and the few animals at Winnipeg, the most magnificent of the North American fauna was extinct. The Banff herd had increased considerably, but it was thought that the evils of in-breeding would eventually cause the cessation of its growth.

Yet all the time there existed on the Flathead reservation in the State of Montana a herd of several hundred thoroughbred bison, the natural increase of which was being maintained year after year. It was a fortunate accident which led to the formation of this fine collection.

In 1873 one of the Pend d’Oreille Indians captured four little bison calves—two bulls and two heifers—by cutting them out of a stampeded herd numbering many thousands. In accordance with the peculiar characteristics, often noticed by old plainsmen, these young creatures obediently followed the horses of the hunters who had slain or driven off their mothers.

The Indians in question gave them to the Mission of St. Ignatius, where they were kept as pets and became as domesticated as ordinary cattle. When the heifers were four years old, each had a calf. From that time on they gradually increased in number, until, in 1884, there were thirteen head, and the Indian owner, finding the care of them too great a tax on his scant resources, decided to sell them.

Start of Pablo Herd

Ten head were purchased for $250 apiece, by C. A. Allard and Michel Pablo, who were ranching on the reservation, and were shrewd enough to see that specimens of what was even then supposed to be practically and extinct animal would eventually become very valuable. The herd rapidly increased under their careful supervision, and in a few years it became possible to sell specimens at very high prices.

Many head were sold to private individual collectors in the United States, and it from this source that those in the Yellowstone Park were secured.

In 1893 Messrs. Allard and Pablo bought a collection belonging to one “Buffalo” Jones, of Omaba, and in that year they had 36 thoroughbred animals in excellent condition, the nucleus of the great herd which has been bought by the Dominion Government. The hybrid, or “cattloes” were never allowed to mingle with the thoroughbreds on the ranges, but were collected and kept on island in the Flathead Lake. These hybrids are large, fine-looking animals, and it has often been suggested that they would be worth breeding for commercial purposes. But the sterility point is reached in the second generation.

Great Increase

The record of the herd of living antiques originating in the four calves captured by an Indian hunter shows what can done by private enterprise to perpetuate an almost extinct type of animal life. In twenty-three years a herd of thirty-six increased to thirty times its original number. Some idea of the average rate of increase may be deduced from the observed fact that half the cows give birth to calves every year, while twin calves are not uncommon, inasmuch as in a party of a 100 head corralled one autumn, there were two cows having two calves at foot. The percentage of loss among the calves is slightly lower than is the case with ordinary range cattle. As a rule, the bison calf is a very hardy creature. There are instances of the Pablo-Allard calves finding their feet in less than a minute after birth and showing sight within half-an-hour.

New Canadian Herd

In 1906 Hon. Frank Oliver, Minister of the Interior, obtained for the Dominion Government an option on the 600 unsold head belonging to Messrs. Pablo and Allard, and eventually, they were all bought for $200,000. Today five or six times as much could be realized by selling the herd piecemeal to American private collectors and the Governments of Western States which are now lamenting a lost opportunity. But Canada has no intention whatever of selling a single head.

The round-up of the first shipment lasted two months, and was successfully carried out by 75 cowboys, horsemen picked for their ability from every part of the great Montana ranges, who were paid at the rate of $5 a day. For some weeks the round-up was a failure; only three times in more than a month of daily drives did the cowboys succeed in getting a few head into the rail-side corrals. The bison, finding themselves being driven from their familiar pasturage, and not knowing that the hay of the Saskatchewan Valley is better than that of the Montana ridges, would charge the encircling line of horsemen with the wildest fury and break and scatter it to the four winds. Eventually, in order to save time and horse-flesh, Mr. Pablo—himself a cowboy famous throughout the West—decided that it was necessary to build a bison-proof fence, 26 miles in length, from the pastures to the corrals, so as to cut off retreat in one direction. Down this fence, in spite of their many successful efforts to break away, the bison were eventually driven into the corrals and, not without much difficulty, loaded aboard the enclosed cattle-trucks of the Northern Pacific freight train at the little station of Ravalli. The long railway journey 1,200 miles over five railway systems to Lamont in Alberta was accomplished with a loss of less than one per cent.

The herd wintered fairly well and were the ones received here on June 13 and which were turned loose in the park on that day.

Buffalo Park

The park, which has an area of 160 square miles and contains many clean-bottomed lakes, endless chains of hay-sloughs and sheltered river valleys, has been securely enclosed with a high fence of wire and tamarack posts. A number of deer were enclosed in the building of the fence, so that the bison will have companions in the spacious reservation. In twenty years there should be 10,000 head at Wainwright.

The artificial revival of this magnificent animal is an object lesson to those who deplore the threatened extinction of the most imposing of the South African fauna. Game preservation laws will generally enable the smaller animals to survive, even if they have the ill-fortune to wear the furs coveted by the ladies.

The return of the beaver to many of its deserted haunts in Eastern and Western Canada is a case in point. Ten years ago the living symbol of Canadian enterprise and industry seemed in danger of extinction. Now it is once more busy building the water-breaks which helped to store up the rainfall of the country instead of allowing it to be dissipated in disastrous floods. But, if the heavy beasts which can be eaten by the most shameless of the carnivora—man, to wit—are to be preserved, something more is needed than the translation of the sportsman’s First Commandment—“Thou shalt not kill needlessly”—into laws and by-laws.



Fitchburg Sentinel, Massachusetts, July 15 1909


Largest Herd in the World Was Started by an Indian Outlaw

……On a stormy night, in 1871, of mud spattered rider galloped into St. Ignatius, Mont., with the news that Walking Coyote, a Pend d’Oreille Indian, had shot his wife and had fled over the mountains to the Blackfeet country. The crime created a brief sensation in the sleepy little Indian village, but Walking Coyote was not apprehended and for a time live quietly among the Blackfeet. By and by, however, he wanted to return to his own people, but feared he would be punished for his crime. He talked the matter over with the trader.
……“If you want to go back,” said the trader, “you ought to do something that will make people forget all about the shooting. Now, there are no buffaloes over in the Flathead Valley; why don’t you catch some calves and take them back with you? They’ll cause so much excitement that the people will forget to punish you for shooting your wife.”
……The Coyote acted on this suggestion and as a buffalo hunt was then in progress, he soon captured four calves and returned with them to St. Ignatius, writes Ernest Harold Baynes, in July Recreation, in a beautifully illustrated article on his recent inspection of the buffalo herds that still remain in the United States. The result was about what the trader had predicted, and the Indian was never punished. The little buffaloes grew up, and when the two heifers were four years old, each of them had a calf, thus was started what afterword became the largest herd of buffaloes in the world.
……In 1884, the Flathead buffaloes numbered thirteen head. At this juncture C. A. Allard, who was ranching on the reservation and who had long had his eye on these buffaloes, finally persuaded his old friend and neighbor, Michael Pablo, to join him in a deal which involve the purchase of Walking Coyote’s herd. The Indian refusing to accept a check, it was necessary to get the money, something over three thousand dollars, in currency, and Mr. Pablo told me how he and his partner set by the side of the road counting this money, laying a stone on top of each stack of bills. “We got it in small bills,” said he, “and it looked like a pile of money to pay for buffalo.” Apparently fate had not forgotten Walking Coyote, for with the money received for the buffaloes he indulged in a short round of dissipation, which ended in Missoula, where he was found under a bridge, dead.


The Anaconda Standard

Anaconda, Montana Jul 25, 1909

Montana’s Buffalo Herds

Washington, JULY 21. –  The foundation of the Montana bison herd, on the Flathead reservation, is an accomplished fact. With the nucleus herd obtained by the American Bison society and with the aid of Senator Dixon in pushing through congress the necessary appropriations, the time is not far distant when Montana will have the largest buffalo herd, in the world. The second annual report of the society, just published, tells an interesting story of the establishment of the bison park and the remarkable progress that has already been made. After reviewing the preliminary work of the organization, President William T. Hornaday pays the following compliment to Senator Dixon:

“The above unvarnished history of the Montana national bison range in the Sixtieth congress is alone sufficient to show the American people, both of the present and a hundred future generations, the extent to which they were indebted to Senator Joseph M. Dixon, his colleagues in the senate and to Representative Scott. Haugen and Lamb for the celerity with which the bison measure was put through .congress and enacted into a law. “It was done with the same briskness and precision with which the best-managed business corporation takes up and acts upon an important matter when the urgency for action is very great.”

The work of raising the necessary funds for the purchase of bison was immediately begun and quickly brought to a happy issue by the generous responses not only from the United States, but also from abroad, England, France and British Columbia being represented by contributions to the fund. New York led with a contribution of $5,213 and Massachusetts came next with 2,230, while Minnesota was third with $1,054. Montana’s contribution was $336.

This campaign for subscriptions contained two surprising features. The most prominent of these was the failure of the West; to contribute becomingly. The other was the splendid support the undertaking received from the women of America. Notwithstanding the great interest taken by the women in the protection of birds, it was not expected that the plan for the creation of a bison herd in Montana would appeal to them. The generous-way in which the women responded was a great surprise to the officers of the society and the result has proven that he who thinks that there is any laudable enterprise that does not interest the women of America has made a grave mistake. The first subscription toward the creation of the Montana national bison herd was received on May 26 from Miss Emma L. Lee of Concord, Mass., and the amount was $5. The second largest sum raised by subscription from any one person outside of the president’s office was obtained by another woman of the old Bay state. When the campaign first started Mrs. Ezra R.Thayer of Boston wrote, in response to the circular call, that she would contribute and raise by subscription at least $400 for the bison fund. Mrs.Thayer’s efforts began right away and even during the heat of mid-summer were kept up with unflagging industry. On Nov. 30, 1908. she remitted to the society her own contribution of $200, which brought her total amount up to $510, or one-twentieth of the whole amount necessary to purchase the nucleus herd.

The president of the society was extremely gratified by Mrs. Thayer’s example and he states as much in the second annual report of the American Bison society with the following paragraph:

“Mrs. Thayer’s example was to the president of the society not only encouragement, but actual inspiration, and it is respectfully commended to about 1,000,000 of the men of America who shoot, fish and who think that they take an interest in wild life. In these days of destruction, any man’s interest in wild life can be measured by the cash and in the hours of labor that he annually expends in the promotion of measures for the protection of wild life. It is no longer sufficient to say ‘Be ye warmed and fed’ and do nothing. Altogether 112 women contributed to the bison fund, and their subscriptions reached a total of $1,227.”

In response to a suggestion from the president of the society, J. J. Hill presented to the society for the Montana herd three pure-blooded bison which he promises to deliver at Ravalli whenever they are wanted. Mr. Hill also offered to present his herd of eight cattaloes. three of which contain only one-eighth domestic blood, but owing to the obligation of the society to the government to provide only pure-blooded animals for the nucleus herd, the mixed bloods were refused. Secretary Baynes has secured promises of five pairs of bison as gifts. They, are to come from the. C. E. Conrad estate, the Blue Mountain Forest association (Corbin herd), John E. Dooley, James Philip and Mr. and. Mrs.Charles Goodnight. “


With the fund of $10,500.50 now in the treasury, about 40 bison can be purchased, and with the 14 head of gift bison, a nucleus herd of over 50 head is now assured. Just how much of the fund will be needed for transporting the gift bison it is at present impossible to say, but at all events, the society must deliver its gift upon the range free of all freight charges and other claims. The president, vice president, and treasurer have been formally authorized to purchase the nucleus herd and provide for its delivery upon the range, and at the proper time this duty will be performed.

It is extremely desirable that in the near future a herd of at least 25 prong-horned antelope should be colonized on the bison range as a measure toward the preservation of that unique and interesting species from complete disappearance. The continued settlement and agricultural development of the states that now contain remnant herds of antelope are certain to crowd that species out of existence within the next fifty years or less, just as the range steer would have crowded the bison off the great pasture region, even had the hide hunters spared them. It is believed that a majority of the founders of the. Montana bison herd will live to see the antelope disappear from every portion of the United States except the thoroughly protected game preserves, such as Yellowstone park and the Wichita and Montana bison ranges.

The report of E H. Baynes. the secretary of the American Bison society, gives an interesting account of his visit to the buffalo herd of Charles Goodnight in Texas, where experiments in the breeding of cattalo are now being carried on. Similar experiments are under consideration for the Montana bison range. The buffalo herd owned by Mr. Goodnight is of more than usual interest inasmuch as it is doubtless the only one descended exclusively from animals roped on the plains either by the owner or under his direction. But it is chiefly to Mrs. Goodnight that America is ‘indebted’ for this famous herd. In 1878, when the buffaloes were being slaughtered all around her, she conceived the idea of saving some of them. She begged her husband and brothers to get her some of the tawny calves and let her try to raise them at the Palo Duro ranch, then the Goodnight home. Personally, Mr. Goodnight was not very cheerful over the suggestion, but, thinking that the calves would amuse his wife in their isolated home, one day when he was off with his cattle outfit he roped two, tied their legs and sent them back to her in a cart. Shortly after this, her brothers, the two Dyer boys, roped two more. She reared them all though one of the heifers died before it reached breeding age, leaving one bull and two heifers as the nucleus of: the now famous herd.


Though the Goodnights have plenty of healthy sentiment, this herd has not been perpetuated for sentimental reasons only. Charles Goodnight is a practical ranchman and he has treated his buffalo as he has treated his cattle, his sheep, and hogs as a business proposition. He has sold many buffaloes at splendid prices and after an experience of a lifetime, he maintains that the buffalo is the most profitable farm animal in America today. So far, he has made no use of buffalo wool, but .upon learning of the secretary’s experiments with this material he said that this spring he would shear a number of animals and send their wool to be woven into cloth.

Mr. Goodnight was also the pioneer in the breeding of cattalo, an animal which, as its coined name suggests, is a cross between domestic cattle and the buffalo. It has been his experience that these animals will be interbreed only when they have been reared together practically from infancy. In all his experience he has used black polled Angus cattle, partly because this breed greatly resembles the buffalo and partly because of its coal black color. There are doubtless 100 of the crossbred animals on the Goodnight ranch, ranging all the way from what are practically full-blood polled Angus cattle to the creatures with so little domestic blood in them that one but the keepers could tell that they were not full-blooded buffaloes.

Between these two extremes, the animals vary greatly in appearance. Some, favoring the buffalo, have horns; others, leaning toward the polled Angus in this respect, have none. Some are almost black, others a rich seal brown and among the rest, many shades of brindle are represented.

Many of the animals among those of the first and second crosses are of great size, much larger than. either the buffalo or the Angus cattle. Where the buffalo predominates it is shown in the general formation of the body, by the great height of the hump, and by the length of the hair. The tail, too, is usually very much shorter than that of the pure domestic animal. As the amount of buffalo blood is increased, these characteristics become more pronounced; as it is eliminated, they tend to disappear. By crossing backwards to either race four or five, times in succession, the characteristics of the other race are usually so nearly wiped out that no trace of them is visible. Some of the animals observed at the Goodnight ranch, notably those in which the buffalo blood predominates, have wonderful. Coats. These were fairly long, lustrous and silky and in the cases of the dark-skinned animals, very beautiful.

According to Mr. Goodnight the value of the cattle as a farm animal will be based, first, on its hide, which is more beautiful and more useful than a buffalo robe; second, upon its beef, of which it produces a large quantity, said to be of excellent quality, and third, upon its hardiness, since it is said to be able to thrive under conditions which are fatal to range cattle. A. W. U.


The Anaconda Standard

Anaconda Mont. Oct. 10, 1909

A Game Census.


“There were 2,407 buffalo in existence at the beginning of 1909, according to the report of the American Bison society. During the summer attempts were made to round up the remaining buffalo of the Pablo-Allard herd on the Flathead Indian reservation in Montana – for the purpose of transferring them to Canada, but without complete success.

“The buffalo stock was distributed as follows: Wild, 25 in the United States and 300 in Canada; captive, 1,116 in the United States, 476 in Canada and 130 in Europe. The number of buffaloes in captivity in this country was 1,592, as compared with 1,010 in 1903, an increase of 50 percent in five years. The number of cattalo was 260 in the United States,  57 in Canada and 28 in Europe, a total of 245 as compared with  281 five years ago.”


The Bismark Tribune

Bismark, North Dakota Oct 23, 1909


New York, Oct, 21 – Dr. W. T. Horniday, president of the American Bison Society, has received a telegram from A. R. Hodges, warden of the new bison range at Ravalli, Mont. stating that the thirty-four head of bison selected and purchased last month at Kalispell, from the Conrad herd, to form the principle part of the Montana bison herd, were delivered at the range in perfect condition

With the thirty-four head purchased came the finest bull and cow of the! Conrad herd, a gift from the .C C. Conrad estate and also one bison from Charles Goodnight, which had been kept since last spring at Kalispell. Although all of the gift bison are not yet on the range, the Montana national bison herd is now an accomplished fact. In addition to the thirty-seven head now on the range, twelve other gift bison will be delivered as soon as conditions will permit.

It is probable that the gift of Jas. J. Hill will be delivered at Kalispell immediately but the calves to come from the Corbin herd, and the Dooley herd, as gifts, will be held over until next spring, because it is not considered wise to turn them out on the new range at the beginning of winter.

The government’s construction party finished the erection of the fence on, October 8, and the purchasing committee for the bison society consisting of Dr. Hornaday, and F. H. Kennard, of Boston, which inspected the work near the end of September, was highly pleased with it

The committee reported that the bison range was the most nearly perfect for its purpose that could be conceived, and they estimated that it would support 1,500 head of bison. Over a large portion of the range, the grass is a foot high, and the cattle and horses that have heretofore been grazing upon it have made no impression upon the grass covering the higher grounds.

The thirty-four bison purchased by the society from the Conrad estate, consist of twenty-two males and twelve females, and the animals were selected by the Bison Society’s purchasing committee out of ninety-two animals contained in the Conrad herd.

Owners of the Conrad herd never have permitted any cross-breeding, and the herd contains not a drop of mixed blood. The animals were found in the best condition, and the representatives of the society feel greatly elated over their purchase.

The price paid was $275 per head, delivered on the range. The thirty-seven buffalo were all crated separately at Kalispell, shipped down Flathead Lake by boat to Polson, and from that point hauled on wagons to the bison range, a distance of about twenty miles.


The Evening Chronicle N.C. Nov 4 1909


……Among the individuals who took an interest in preserving the buffalo was Charles Allard, who secured a few animals and started a park on the Flathead reservation, near Ronan, in the early eighties. He increase this herd by breeding and purchase to more than hundred head in a few years. In 1833 he purchased the herd owned by “Buffalo Jones,“ of Kansas, and drove them across country to his herd on the Flathead. Accompanied by his family and writing in old-fashioned barouche, he followed the herd across plain and mountain until the members of the band were safely delivered on the reservation in Montana. This herd consist of full-blooded and half-breed animals. The latter were products of cross-breeding with cattle, but they did not prove to be a desirable animal, having all that undesirable and none of the good qualities of either ancestor. The mongrels were separated, from the blooded animals, and the latter were permitted to range in a wild state on the reservation. They thrived and the herd grew and tell it numbered almost 800.

1909 Bison History Moving a herd of Buffalo Nov 4 1909

……One Allard died the herd passed into the possession of his partner, Michael Pablo, a half-breed Indian and an expert buffalo raiser. Pablo was induced to dispose of a few of the animals to zoological parks, but kept the larger portion of the herd in tact until he learned that the reservation was to be thrown open to settlement and that the buffalo must make way for the settler and his cattle. Then it was that Howard Eaton, expert hunter, of Wolf, Wyo. attempted to interest the United States government in the purchase of the herd. Failing in this he turned to the American Bison Association, but again was unsuccessful.
……It was at this juncture that the Canadian government sent Howard Douglas, superintendent of the Western Canada national parks, out to the Flathead to see the herd and make an offer for it. Mr. Douglas recommended the purchase of the animals and an offer of about $130,000 was made. This was accepted, Pablo agreed to deliver the animals in Canada for that price.

Moving a herd of Buffalo Crates Nov 4 1909 pic2

……Then came the task of rounding up these animals, transporting them from their range to Ravalli, Mont. 36 miles away, loading them upon freight cars and shipping them to Canada, where they had to be unloaded and delivered in the parks. To say that such a task was herculean is to express it mildly, but Michael Pablo was not daunted. He employed a force of expert riders, mounted them upon his own best horses and set forth to accomplish the task, riding at the head of his men on his own favorite mount. A corral into which the animals might be driven from the range was the first necessity. Taking advantage of a horseshoe bend in that Pend d’Oreille River, the outside bank of which is of clay and stands almost straight up and down, he had a fence constructed across the peck of the horseshoe and wing fences built for a distance of a mile or more from the end of this fence and a cut in the bank of the river out into the range. Into this, the buffaloes were driven in three separate bands at different times. It required much hard and dangerous riding on the part of the buffalo punchers, and many of the animals escaped numerous times, but perseverance prevailed and two years ago 400 of the herd were successfully rounded up, then driven down the Mission Valley into the corrals at Ravalli. From these corrals, the animals were pulled in dragged by means of block and tackle into the railroad cars. Last year another roundup was made, but just when the riders were about to drive the herd to Ravalli the herd stampeded and made its escape from the corral at Ronan.
Box Car 1

This spring it was decided to make no further attempt to drive the animals from Ronan to Ravalli but to corral them, load them in crates mounted upon wheels, and hauled them over the mountains to the loading corrals.
For this purpose heavy crates, large enough to hold two buffalo each, were constructed of heavy timber, fastened together with steel and wire. Through a loading chute, the animals were driven into these crates, securely roped in and hauled by means of six and eight horse teams over the long and dusty journey to Ravalli. Here they were turned out into a series of corrals, from which they were driven, one at a time, into the loading chute. A noose around each buffaloes neck and the tugging of a score of men landed the animal in his car, where the struggling beast was held in till of partition to separate him from his companions could be firmly put into place.
The dangers attending the work of handling the buffalo were many, and there were numerous escapes from death and injury on the part of the riders and loaders. Fred Dekker had his horse gored under him, and his brother, Johnny Dekker, twice had his mount gored and was slightly injured, his life been saved only by the prompt action of Pablo and his brother in firing pistol bullets into the neck of an infuriated beast that was trying to kill man and horse.

……In their maddened struggles against being dragged into captivity 20 of the animals were killed, some of them rushing blindly against the sides of the corrals with such force as to break their necks. One, the patriarch of the herd, font with a younger bull, then laid down in the loading chute and died. It was a pathetic picture to one who

Boxcar 3stopped to think, as he gazed at that lacerated, bleeding, ragged animals that stood in a corral at Ravalli, gazing longingly through the cracks of the high, strong fences, cut upon the hills, beyond which lay the wild free range from which they had been dragged in ignominious captivity, to be loaded into cramped stalls of railroad cars, there to be left to vent their fury in vain kicks against the walls of their prisons and tell steam and steel landed them at their new home. Slowness in hauling the bison from the roundup corral necessitated some of the animals standing in the cars for eight days before the last train started for Canada. At last, all of the shipments save those that were killed and two that escaped were loaded aboard and the long trip of 1,200 miles to the point of unloading was commenced. Canada has secured a bargain in buffalo, and the United States loses an asset which it may never be able to replace.
boxcar 4


Montana Historical Society By N. A. Forsyth

A fine pair in the world's finest buffalo herd 1909 Center Horse Chased by Mad Bull Clear The Way, The Buffaloes are ComingPablo and a few of his buffalo wagons MHS