C.J. Jones “Buffalo Jones”
He was born in 1844, Illinois, the first born of twelve kids. He attended college for two years , until he became sick with typhoid fever. 1866 (22 years old) he moved to Kansas to work in the fruit tree nursery business. 1869 he got married had 4 kids (2 boys died) and moved west, to north central Kansas. This is where he began hunting bison. That puts the time frame around 1873/4 at least. (The Great Slaughter)
The Daily Commonwealth
Topeka, Kansas Sep 26, 1875
How They Hunted the Buffalo at the Fair Ground.
Yesterday came off, according to previous announcement, the great entertainment for man and beast, under the management of Mr. C.J. Jones.
The day was as fair as if Mr. Jones had ordered it expressly for the occasion. The dust, however, was unusually deep and wide, and was kicked up with the greatest ease.
The crowd which came to the show from abroad was not as large as was expected. Instead of sixteen cars from the great south-west only six came, and the same number from that portion of the great north-east line between here and Atchison. We suppose that when the curtain “riz” at the fair grounds there were 2,500 persons present.
The band contest did not come off. Vollrath’s band, from Kansas City, failed to appear, and it looked at one time as if the ‘savage beasts” of the antelope and jack rabbit would not be “soothed” by any music at all, but finally the Capital Band put in an appearance in blew faithfully all the rest of the afternoon.
The lady equestrian match was the first thing. The contestants were Mrs. J. C. Allison, of Burlingame, Mrs. C. M. Luther, of Lawrence, and Miss. Nanny Twiss, Mrs. S. K. Spaulding, Mrs. Mary Parsons, and Miss Carrie Kirkpatrick, of Topeka.
The judges were Capt.W.S.Spivey, of Topeka, Sanford Clute, of Atchison, E.T. Nichols, of Emporium.
The contest was a long one, and must have been fatiguing to the ladies. The contest finally narrowed down to Mrs. Allison and Miss Twiss, and the judges awarded the watch to Mrs. Allison. The writer, however, who attracted the most attention was Mrs. Luther, of Lawrence. She had a fine lead trained horse whom she put through a variety of tricks and paces, and she was, to make a short story of it, the best nonprofessional horsewoman we have seen for many a day.
Meantime the cow-boys who proposed to pursue the bounding bison were mustering in force and attracted great attention. They wore generally the slouched, flop-eared hat that distinguishes the profession, and also stern wheel boots. The two who attracted the most attention were a gentleman who sported a half-bushel or so of oakum-colored hair, and a round shouldered youth whose caller turned over and exposed the upper end of his back to that extent that it seemed as if he had put on his shirt wrong and up.
But several things were to happen before the snorting buffalo were to career madly over the plain. The first was a deeply thrilling hunt of a jack rabbit by fox hounds. Mr. Jones warned everybody to seek safety from the mad rush of the animals, tipped the rabbit out of the box and gave him a kick as a can’t but if he wanted his ears to be long in the land he had better “lean out” of that. The rabbit, unfortunately for himself, failed to “tumble” to Mr. Jones’ suggestion and before he had gone two feet was stopped by two dogs, who carefully bit him in two in the middle, and then each dog went his way with the portion of rabbit that belong to him. Oh it was enough to stir the blood of age to see that hunt.
But the hearts of the excited people had hardly descended from their throats to their appropriate location, before the wolf hunt was announced. The wolf was a mild-eyed beast who had been tied near the meek looking antelope. The wolf evidently had no taste for public life, and preferred to live “far from the maddening crowd.” Accordingly when turned loose he started for the nearest timber, a few rods off. He was persuaded by the cowboys: several hundred hoodlums with the basements of their pants in a state of extreme dilapidation, and all the available dogs. But the wolf had determined on his course, and was not to be deterred from it. He soon disappeared in the brush, and the youth climbed on the fence and set in a long row like crows, looking into the timber where the wolf had vanished. Cle__ns averred that the wolf afterwards came around and looked in at the gate to see how the show was progressing without him, but this statement is incorrect. It is understood that the Wolf absolutely “withdrew from the convention.”
Quite an interval elapsed before the two bison were led out of their pen. A great deal of galloping and screaming was done to induce small boys and others to take back seats, but the crowd had got the idea that the buffaloes were domesticated brutes who had been engaged in agricultural pursuits at Silver Lake, and declined to fall back. They were not afraid of any buffaloes that ever plowed. The chase which followed was very funny to everybody except the beast, who were very much disgusted. One finally went through the fence in pursuit of the wolf, but was brought back. The other, thinking it was a long time between drinks, broke out into the grounds, trotted out the front gate and headed for town and, it is supposed, for Poppendick’s. While in the lane the buffalo had some conversation with the Joneses which ended in an argument whereby C. J. Jones lassoed the animal and was awarded the gold-beaded cane. The understanding was that no one was to touch the animals with his hands or teeth. This did not prevent Tom Drew from catching one of the noble beast by the tail, and a frightful struggle ensued in front of the grandstand, where, in the midst of a great cloud of dust, men, boys, horses and buffalo howled, pranced and ‘cussed.” Where the crowd emerged from the ”sulphuron canopy” a free fight seemed imminent. A lively jaw ensued in which Mr. Tom Drew and Mr. Bill Shaft cussed and discussed with great volubility. They were finally quieted by Officer Dustin and five dollars each from Mr. Jones. It was then announced that this show was adjourned sine die, and thus ended the big show, the like of which has not been seen since the “yaller dog from Tecumsy” and his colleagues “fit the” bear at Kilnes park.
The Osage County Chronicle Burlingame KS Oct 1 1875 Buffalo Jones Show
Topeka, Dec 7 1888
COL. STANTON’S FINE HERD AT BISMARCK GROVE
“Cleveland” the Handsomeness Specimen of a Race Almost Extinct – Valuable Information Given by the Proprietor of the Garden City Herd.
While the only simon-pure buffalo ranch on the American continent is unquestionably the one located near Garden City, it is nevertheless a fact that there is a remarkable find herd at Bismarck Grove, owned Colonel H. H. Stanton, proprietor of the Union Pacific hotel and this city.
Colonel Stanton has been a resident of this state for many years and had business interest all along the line of the Kansas Pacific long before the last herd of bison was swept from the prairies of Kansas, or ruthlessly slaughtered for mere fun of this thing or for the paltry price their hides would bring. His first venture as a purchaser of this now valuable stock was in 1879, when he brought a bull buffalo calf at Wallace, in the extreme western part of the state, for which he paid $8. The man from whom he bought represented the calf to be eight days old, though in reality it was not three, and the Col. taught it to drink milk and nursed it through its babyhood. He brought it down to Topeka and put it in the park in front of the railroad hotel, where he kept it for a year, by which time it became unruly and was at the request of a Union Pacific official taken to Bismarck Grove for keeping and as an attraction for visitors. Meantime the owner had bought from someone who had made the overland trip in a prairie schooner, two buffalo heifers, for which he paid $25 each. These three animals were the origin of the present herd, and all are now dead. The bull, christened “Barney,” may still be seen, as large as life, if not quite so natural, in a glass case in the museum at the Statehouse, his remains having been skillfully preserved by a taxidermist.
THE STANTON HERD
The descendents of these three buffalo now found at Bismarck Grove, where all were born, number in all ten. There were 17, but the rest have died with the exception of one which was given away. They are kept in an inclosure containing about thirty acres immediately adjoining the park and they may be seen at any time. The site is one well worth a trip and the slight expense that may attach to it, especially to one who has never seen the American bison in his native state.
The present herd includes two fine bull calves, dropped last spring, two heifers, five cows and a bull, six years old and as handsome as a picture. The latter has been named “Cleveland,” after that colonel’s favorite presidential candidate. The entire herd is in as fine condition as any beef cattle, though they were never fed anything but hay and are never given any shelter. In fact they don’t take kindly to shelter and whether a blizzard is blowing, with the mercury 20 degrees below zero, or the sun pouring down his scorching rays with the thermometer 110 degrees above, they set their heads resolutely towards storm or sun and take their medicine as if they liked it. Hon. W. F. Cody, “Buffalo Bill.” Tried to buy the whole herd two years ago to take to Europe with his Wild West show, but they were not for sale at his own figures, and indeed there is no anxiety to dispose of them at any figures. The railroad company has been glad to furnish them pasturage for the sake of adding to the attractions of the park, in which there are also forty-three head of deer, including two as fine bucks has ever trotted over the national deer trail towards the salt licks and northern Utah.
PRIDE OF THE HERD
while the bison at Bismarck Grove are splendid specimens of their class, ‘Cleveland’ is decidedly the pride of the herd and as grand a creature as ever trod the soil of Kansas on four legs. He is just six years old and is a perfect specimen of the kings of the plains. There is a royal blood in his veins and his code is finer than the imperial purple. It is not possible to get at him to measure his stature and weigh him, but as he stands in the past year he appears to be as tall as a thoroughbred Norman-Percheron stallion and as massive as an elephant direct from the jungles. He must weigh fully 3,000 pounds, and it is doubtful is there is today living on the face of the earth a handsomer buffalo bull then he. His fur is just now in its best state, even thick and compact, while the long hair on his neck and legs is of a glossy seal brown. As he turns and faces the visitor, one can imagine what it must have been to see countless thousands roaming on the plains and to hear the thunder of their hooves in a stampede. “Cleveland’s” disposition is not so ugly as old Barney’s was, but at certain seasons he is very wild and there is no one venturesome enough to go into the inclosure. It is then not altogether safe to even look over the high in heavy board fence at him, for he is likely to make a run for the visitor, as the numerous holes in the fence where he has knocked off the boards will testify.
Colonel Stanton is very proud of his herd, particularly of Cleveland, and he has a right to be. He would rather lose his best hotel that his buffalo, nor would any cash price induce him to part with them. He will probably, in the near future, place them in a more convenient location and tend to breeding them and crossbreeding with cattle. He certainly has a splendid foundation to begin on and it is a lucrative business, a single buffalo been worth more than of whole drove of common cattle.
Hon. C. J. Jones of Garden City, familiarly known to Kansans as “Buffalo Jones,” and the owner of the only herd of domesticated buffalo in the world, was in the city last night and registered at the Copeland, where reporter called on him and piled him with numerous questions in regard to buffalo breeding. In return he imparted some valuable information concerning his business, which will prove of more than passing interest to the general reader.
“How many full-blooded buffaloes have you?” was asked.
“I have 127 full bloods, about half bulls and half cows.”
“How many cross-breeds have you?”
“Twenty-three; ranging one-half, three-fourths, seven-eighths and fifteen-sixteenths.”
“Are there any buffaloes remaining in a wild state?”
“There may be a few isolated ones, but they are in the mountains and are exceedingly hard to find.”
“Do you breed them for beef or robes?”
“I have only slaughtered one steer three-fourths buffalo, three years old. He dressed 1,280 pounds. I sold the meat four $.18 per pound, and the robe for $75, undressed. I raise them for breeding purposes.”
“What is the weight of a full-grown buffalo?”
“Bulls will way from 2000 and 3000 pounds; cows, 1200 to 1800, crossbreeds are much heavier than full-bloods.”
“Can they be kept under fence?”
“Yes; although the Bulls are sometimes unruly during the summer season, and need stronger fences than cattle; otherwise they are about the same as cattle.”
“What kind of pasture or feed must they have?”
Anything that cattle will live on low-fat buffalo or cross-breeds, and they will keep on provendor then cattle would starve to death on.”
“Is the meat of the buffalo as tough as the wild ones used to be?”
“The wild buffalo knew nothing but to exert his muscles and running and roaming over the plains, which made his flesh exceedingly tough. The domestic is as tender as any domestic beef.”
“How are the cross-breeds for milk?”
“As far as tried (two cases) they give a fair quantity, and it is very rich. The calfs show up extraordinary, which proves their good qualities.”
“Do you cross the domestic cow with the buffalo bull or vice versa?”
“The buffalo cow was never known to get with From domestic bowls though often served: cross breeds calve readily from domestic bulls as well as from buffalo bulls. The half breeds arm procured by crossing domestic cows with buffalo bulls.”
The Daily Republican, Pa. March 13 1890
We have not only a Buffalo Bill but also a Buffalo Jones. The latter gentleman is Mr. C. J. Jones, and he gets his name from being an enthusiastic reader of the American bison, commonly called the buffalo.
Senator Plumb has introduced into Congress a bill granting to Mr. Jones for a term of years a strip of the neutral ground known as No Man’s Land, south of the Kansas border. The land would be used by Mr. Jones for rearing bison. He has now on his Western land a herd of eighty, which he would remove to No Man’s Land if the lease were granted to him. Jones is the only bison breeder in the world. He has made many attempts to cross the wild animal with the domestic cow. After repeated failures he succeeded in obtaining a cross between the bison and breeds of short horn and Galloway cattle. He showed the senate committee some robes made of hides of the crossed animal. They are like the ordinary buffalo robe, but possessing a luster and varied color.
Buffalo Jones says there are now only 1,100 bisons left in America, and of these nearly 400 are in Manitoba and 500 are in captivity. The only native wild herd in the United States is that in Yellowstone park, 200 in number.
THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE MAY 17, 1890
TO PRESERVE THE BISON
R.C. Auld in Baily’s Magazine: With the disappearance of the buffalo as a wild demon of the prairies, much of the romance and charm of the West has gone. For centuries this noble beast had been regarded as the representative of the chief characteristics of the great country within which he had been developed. By the principles of the survival of the fittest, he had become what he was, and against all his natural foes he was able to maintain his ground. The two richly endowed paleface came in, however, to sweep him rudely from the scene. No part of the haunts which had been known him so long remained sacred to an intruder before whose blind, insatiable attacks succumbed the noblest beast of chase which the whole American Continent possessed. Even his name (which is all that remains of him in a territory wherein he was so long supreme) cannot now be said to be really his. If the classification of the men of science is to be respected. “bison” he should be called. But “buffalo” was the term applied to him by the hunters and traders who first became aware of his existence; and with this appellation his memory will be associated through all time.
The horrible record of his destruction is still to be read upon the prairies of the West in the bleaching skeletons which they were once thickly strewed. But even these sad monuments are being removed, for they are being collected (huddled together promiscuously with other bones) and sent by the car-load to be carried East, and made the basis of artificial fertilizers. It is estimated that in one winter 100,000 head of buffaloes were slaughtered along the line of the Union and Kansas Pacific railroad. This wholesale destruction is, now that it is too late, universally deplored. And the story remains as terrible evidence of human cruelty and shortsighted folly, when under the influence of insatiable greed.
But the object of this paper is not to sound the dirge of a vanished race; it is rather to proclaim a new destiny which seems to be in store for this peerless species. Out of its ashes it seems probable that the buffalo may arise into a position hardly less unique than that which its ancestors held so long. By the help of its destroyer it may run career such as, only a year or two ago, none of its friends and admirers (and it has always had both) could ever have dreamed of as possible.
There are now, as has been said, practically no buffalo to be found in a wild state. Occasionally one reads accounts of a small herd having been seen in some out-of-the-way localities; but those reports are invariably found to be erroneous, much to the regret of the investigator. There are few buffalo preserved in a semi-feral condition in Yellowstone National Park; and most of the zoological Gardens all over the world still contain a specimen or two. It is curious that the Red Indians never seem to have been able to domesticate this animal; and for many years it was supposed that it would resist every effort in that direction. But in fact it is now known that the buffalo is really most amendable to the domesticating will of the white man; and the subjugation of this species is man’s latest encroachment into the domain of nature. And, however incredible it may seem, the buffalo becomes as gentle and as appreciative of man’s protective care as do any of the races bovine. In fact, from the accounts we have of them in this connection, they appear to be more domesticable than what are called the white cattle of Britain, or their European representatives preserved by the Czar of Russia, the aurochs of the Lithuanian forest, the bos priscus of science. It is with this aspect of the subject, i.e., the results which may follow from the removal of the buffalo from a state of freedom to the condition of ordinary cattle, that this article will practically deal.
There are two men whose names have become identified with the endeavor to resuscitate an interest in the buffalo; its name having, indeed been added to theirs as a familiaring sobriquet. Everyone has heard of ”Buffalo Bill,” but comparatively few of the general public have heard of “Buffalo Jones.” Yet whereas the former may be looked upon more as the representative of the destroyers of the bison, the latter must, and will, be regarded as its vertibable preserver. Buffalo Bill may be regarded as carrying on the traditions of the grand period of romance and chivalry connected with the American chase. Buffalo Jones should be held in mind as having been the man to initiate the enterprise of introducing the wild Prairie monarch to the practical uses of civilization. Buffalo Bill regarded the shaggy animals as only their prey for his rifle, and (in the days of their countless hordes) as the objects of sport of the highest possible kind: one calling for skill, precision, and endurance in those who engaged in it, and affording the necessary excitement: in fact, he looked upon the buffalo as affording material in these degenerate times for of latter-day Roman holiday: and sought to amuse the descendants of our ancient barbarian forefathers by introducing them to the bullfight of the prairie. This was, in those days, and those not very remote either, the state of the buffalo, but a different career has been open for him by Buffalo Jones. His aim on the animals behalf is to make it that producer in the highest possible perfection of a coveted article of winter dress for the fairest companions of the sterner sex- and for them also-in those regions where most Arctic or Siberian severity prevails for a large proportion of the year. Buffalo Bill (with the halo of Western romance about him) has brought the country aristocracy to his feet. But with all that had a reputation, he must, we think, be filled with remorse at the utter impossibility of entertaining again, in his own Western’ dominion, his distinguished guest from that world across the sea with even one grand buffalo hunt. He formally had the distinction of providing this with almost regal profuseness for the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia; and should it again be necessary to provide battalions bearing the inspiring Stars and Stripes with supplies of strong meat, the heads of the government commissariat will bitterly lament the wholesale destruction of those once innumerable prairie herds. “The full-blooded Texan” they might then inquire after; but it would be only, alas! to find that purest of all American domesticated cattle to have been also exterminated- bred out and refined down- by the infusion of the dreaded and too gentling blood of the Durham, the Aberdeen, or the Herford.
Mr. N. T. Hornaday, of the U.S. National Museum, mentions the Stony Mountain herd of buffalo, lately belonging to Major Bedson of Winnipeg. He does not mention the Garden City Kansas herd of Col. Jones, not so well known, that which is now the only heard of the kind in the world, for Col. Jones, “Buffalo Jones,” has just become possessed of the entire herd of Major Bedson. It will also be seen that individual interest, in this case, is ahead of Government, and that there is every prospect assured of the preservation, in the future, of the interesting subject of our inquiry.
The combined Garden City herd, as stated, is now the only herd of buffalo in the world. Col. Jones says: “here there may be besides n’ few isolated buffalo in a wild state; but if there be they are in the mountains, and are exceedingly hard to find.” He was for several years engaged in hunting all the buffalo he knew or could hear of, and what are now left, it may be presumed, were not worth his while to attempt to capture. We must pass by this collecting period, and deal with the results of the enterprise.
At present there are in the herd hundred 27 full-blooded buffalo, about one half bulls and one half cows. Besides these there are 23 crossbred, ranging one half, three forths, seven-eights, and fifteen-sixteenths. They are now being raised for breeding purposes. One remarkable fact is that Col. Jones has succeeded in domesticating these wild animals, so that they can be handled as easily as ordinary cattle. They are also as easy to pasture as cattle; anything that cattle will live on will fatten buffalo or their crosses; and they will keep fat on provendor on which cattle would starve to death. They can be kept under fence, although during the summer season the bulls are sometimes a little unruly, and need the fences to be rather stronger than usual; at other times they are about the same as cattle.
The crosses appeared to succeed equally in all respects to the full blood. No care is required even in the severe climate of the prairies of Manitoba, where they had been thoroughly tested by Major Bedson. Doing so well there, there ought to be no obstacle to their succeeding and more southern or western regions. The Galloway and Polled Aberdeen make the best cross. The halfbreeds from these have prime meat, and produce excellent robes- as choice as the sealskin, and are the exact color. It is believed that these half-bred hides will sell as well for ladies’ coats as the genuine sealskin. Col. Jones has named these crosses the “Seal Buffalo.” He hastweive head, and would not be tempted to part with them under $5000 each for the best ones.
The hump almost disappears in half breeds; but it shows more prominently as the crosses get near to the pureblood. The shaggy neck and shoulders are not recognized in half and three-quarter breds. The fur is evenly spread all over: it is very thick and extraordinary improvement on the full-blooded buffalo robe.
It is exceedingly interesting to note that the crosses take the instinct of the buffalo. They always stand and face the storms-even the severest blizzards, when the thermometer ranges at 60° below zero. They are very clannish, and never separate, except that the old bulls leave the herd when whipped out by the younger ones.
A market for buffalo and cross-bred robes undoubtedly is to be expected in all parts of the world, whenever the thermometer reaches zero. The fur-bearing animals are almost if not entirely gone. The Hudson Bay Fur company, are disbanding their forces, because there are no more furs to buy; and furs are of as much value as pure gold. Certainly the robe of the “Seal Buffalo” is destined to take a very high place in the fur emporiums of the world. It has all the iridescent qualities of the real sealskin, and is as fine and soft, though longer in the fur, and some are striped like a tiger. All hail! thrice hale! to this new and truly American industry.
The Inter Ocean Mar. 28, 1892
A BUFFALO CHASE IN 1892
……McCook, Neb.,March 4. – Editor Forest and Stream, -I witnessed last week, one of the most remarkable feats by a horse I ever saw. “Buffalo “ Jones was on his horse Jubar, and desiring to yoke up one of his wildest buffalo bulls (a 3-year-old) he singled him from the herd of about fifty others and endeavored to drive him a quarter of a mile to the corral. To say the buffalo was wiry and nimble does not express it; he was lightening on legs. Mr. Jones succeeded in driving him down an embankment into the valley; the buffalo, concluded he could outrun the horse, climb the bank and escape. He made a dash up the valley with all the speed that could be imagined, with Jubar flying to cut him off from the bank. Such a race is only seen in a lifetime. A point of the hill came down into the valley and stood directly in the path of Jubar, and must be scaled or he would lose the game. The roll was about 3 feet high and 5 feet wide where it must be crossed. Mr. Jones urged the steed with is spur just as the horse was nearing the critical point and away the flying horse went with a leap and a bound like that of a rubber ball. It really looked as if the horse had abandoned his feet and was flying in the air, as he held up in space so long. It is needless to say the buffalo did not climb that bank that day, but was corralled and yoked up after the stubborn running and dodging I ever witnessed in my twenty-five years of punching cattle on the plains. We took a tape line and measured the wonderful leap, which was easily done, as the prints of every foot was very conspicuous. Here it is- from front foot of starting to front foot of lighting, 23 ft. 2 in. ; from hind most foot of starting to hind most foot of lighting, 28 ft. Then by dividing the difference we have 25 ft. 7 in. Who can beat it on an up-grade at that? Mr. Jones has five yoke of buffalo bulls pretty well broken to the chariot for the World’s Fair, and Jubar will figure as the champion leaping and cutting horse of the world. – Frank W. Smith.
Vancouver Daily, B.C. June 8 1893
JUMBO IS THE MONARCH
The King of a Herd of American Bison
WERE SLAUGHTERED BY MILLIONS
The Way in Which the Buffalo Has Been Wiped Off the Face of the Earth – Wanton Slaying for Which No Possible Excuse Can Be Made.
5 miles West from Omaha a herd of buffalo grazes on a big ranch, which is surrounded by a barbed wire fence. There are sixty in the herd, and Jumbo is the monarch. Plainsman who have slaughtered his kinsman by the hundred say they never saw a finer animal. He weighs 3000 pounds; his brown beard nearly sweeps the ground; his strong black horns are almost lost in a magnificent crest of silky brown hair, and his shoulders are level with the head of the a tall man. Devilish Dick, as he is called, is almost as fine a specimen, but there is a vicious gleam in his eye which prevents a very close inspection of his points. Four years ago one of the cowboy came a little too near this tremendous brute, and one sudden toss of the massive head sent the cowboy to the country where there are not supposed to be buffaloes.
This is the C. J. Jones herd, one of the remnants of the millions that once swarmed over the plains.
Forty years ago, says the St. Louis Globe Democrat, it would have been as easy to number the leaves of the forest as to calculate the strength of the vast host which swarmed all over the Western plains and Hills from the Mississippi to the Pacific and from Canada to the Gulf. Of all the quadrupeds which ever inhabited the earth, naturalist tell us, no one species ever marshaled such in innumerable armies as did the American bison. As late as 1871 it is estimated that there were in the great Southern herd, which covered the country’s south of the line of the Union Pacific railway, between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 head. And that year the railroads penetrated the country, and the systematic slaughter began.
The report of the Smithsonian institution gives these figures for the hunting for the three following years:
in 1872 white hunters killed 1,491,489 buffaloes and utilize the hides of 497,463. In 1873 the numbers slaughtered was 1,508,678 and the number used was 754,329. In 1874 only 158,583 were killed and 126,867 were used. Of the gigantic army of 3,157,736 butchered by a white men during these three years over half were left lying untouched where they fell.
Today even the bones which white the plains for miles have disappeared, and there is not known to survive a single specimen in a wild state. In 1887 there was a herd of 200 under government protection at Yellowstone Park. There may be a few there now, but none has been seen for a year or more, and they are supposed to have been killed off.
Charles Jesse Jones (Buffalo Jones)
Date: Between 1885 and 1895
A photograph showing Charles Jesse “Buffalo” Jones seated in a cart driving a team of buffalo.
From the Collection of Kansas Memory
This is the same picture the paper used at the time of printing in 1893 also re printed for the article in March 8 1900.
JUMBO AND DEVILISH DICK
Jones’ last and greatest speed was in May, 1888. There was known to be at that time a small herd in the uninhabited “Panhandle” of Texas which could not long escape the rifle. With an elaborate ”outfit” of men, horses and camp equipage Mr. Jones started from Garden City, Kan., to capture it. For forty-two days and nights the party followed the animals across the Staked Plains until they had finally lassoed or rounded up the entire herd.
From this herd “Buffalo” Jones now secures three or four full-blooded buffalo calves each year and a number of half-breed’s – “catalo,” he calls them. The hybrid product of the buffalo and Galloway cattle is a magnificent animal. Its robe is nearly black, fine and silky in texture and with a brilliant luster characteristic of the Galloway cattle. For enough of one of these robes to make a coat Lady Foster, wife of Treasurer Foster, of Canada, once offered Mr. Jones $300, saying she preferred it to seal.
In his several expeditions Mr. Jones captured 130 buffaloes, 82 of which survived. Full-grown animals taken wild invariably died in captivity. He had no success saving any over 6 months old. Many animals, even among the younger ones, died apparently in fits of anger. When they found themselves prisoners they went into a fearful rage, stiffen their lands as though in cramps, lay down and died. Others broke their necks in trying to escape.
On his first expedition Mr. Jones captured eleven buffaloes, but saved only four. He was 200 miles from a ranch having a cow, and he had to feed the little fellows on condensed milk, which did not agree with them. On his third trip he took cows with him to the Staked Plains of Texas, and out of thirty-seven buffaloes saved thirty-two.
Most of the animals that survived were from 3 weeks to 4 months old. The buffalo calf is of a tawny color, resembling the hues of the sand in the grass and the shrubbery of the great plains. For the first three weeks of its life it is hidden by its mother, and its color blend so closely with its surroundings that wolves and other enemies they pass within a rod of it without discovering its presence.
The profits of buffalo raising are very considerable. The animal feeds cheaply and looks after himself and all sorts of weather. His robe alone is worth the price of two good bullocks. In domestication his meat is equal to any range beef. One good animal will yield each year fur sufficient to make a blanket. A taxidermist will give you from $100-$500 for his head, and if Mr. Jones’ big bull, Jumbo, were put on the market he would bring $1000.
What the possibilities of domestication may be is yet to be determined. The two big bulls of the Omaha herd are driven to a car by the owner, and when it is considered that their agility is remarkable for the size of the animals, that their strength is tremendous, and that they have the speed of the average horse, this means something. This novel chariot team, with perhaps the whole herd, will form one of the attractions at the World’s fair at Chicago.
The oldest buffalo living is supposed to be one in a Paris zoological garden, which is known to be 29 years old. Jumbo, 9 years of age, is the patriarch of the Nebraska herd. These animals breed readily in captivity, and this herd is capable of and in enormous increase if properly handled.
Logansport Reporter, Indiana, Jan. 14 1898
ON A BISON RANCH
Attempts at Cross-Breeding Between Domestic Cattle and Buffalo
Cattle dealers throughout the country, especially owners of the great cattle ranges in the west and southwest, are greatly interested in a widely circulated report that certain western breeders have made a success of experimental cross-breeding of the American bison with domestic cattle.
It is claimed that they crossed breed combines the docility of the domestic animal with the endurance and the large size of the bison, and that the half-breeds grow to maturity in last time than domestic cattle. The flesh, also, is said to be very palatable, and the fur, while retaining all the good qualities of that of the bison, is much softer and finer.
One of the alleged successful experiments is located on a cattle farm a few miles south of Durrant Wis., where, it is said, three bison captured a few years ago have, by cross-breeding, increased to a herd of 43 animals; and the owners of the herd believe that an extension of their method of cross-breeding will bring them a fortune in the near future.
The statement, however, has not been received with much favor by cattle dealers, who are aware of the ill success of several similar experiments during recent years.
Some years ago, when the fact was suddenly realized that the bison was in imminent danger of extinction, the federal government took steps to avoid that calamity by the formation of buffalo farms, where, by careful breeding, at least specimens of the disposed monarch of the prairie could be preserved. Several private individuals also established buffalo farms for the same purpose. One of the most successful of these was that of the late Austin Corbin, the banker and railroad magnate. His herd originally consisted of 17 buffaloes, but now it comprises nearly 100 head of pure-bred bison, and it is said to be the largest single herd of these animals in the country.
Mr. Austin Corbin, son of their original owner of the herd, when asked for his opinion as to the probability of successful cross-breeding of the buffalo with the domestic cattle, said: “it may be possible, but guided by a knowledge of experiments in that direction made by my father. I would require very strong proof of the fact before believing that it has been, or can be done with success. At the suggestion of the Duke of Marlborough, my father, several years ago, imported a herd of Polled-Angus cattle, some 30 in number, from Scotland, for the purpose of cross-breeding with the bison on our cattle farm at Newport, N.H. The conditions were most favorable, as the bison were thoroughly acclimated and had largely increased in numbers, but the attempt at cross-breeding was almost a total failure. The result was so unsatisfactory that the experiment was abandoned, and we returned to the raising of the bison, deer and unadulterated. The only successful attempts at cross-breeding that I have heard of was that of “Buffalo” Jones, owner of an extensive cattle range in New Mexico. When he was here, some five years ago, Jones claimed that his experiment had been a success: but when I saw him last, six months ago. I judged from his unwillingness to discuss the cross-breeding of bison that his experiment had not continued to be successful. What makes me most doubtful that it would pay Breeders to go into cross-breeding of bison with domestic cattle on an extensive scale is the fact that, while the half- breeds would bring little more than ordinary cattle, the raising of pure-bred bison would pay handsomely. There is no trouble in getting $1000 for first class buffalo cow and prices range all the way from that figure down to $500. It seems to me that it would pay these Wisconsin breeders to raise the simon-pure article of American bison, rather than the half-breed buffalo.”
Mr. Corbin explained his recent action, in demanding the return of the 25 bison loan by him to the park commissioners, by stating that the animals are in a bad condition, owing to bad water, and the fact that they had not sufficient grazing ground. The section set apart for them contained 70 acres, but only 20 acres are available for grazing. The commissioners refused to increase the area, and therefore Mr. Corbin wanted his buffalo back on his own place, where he could take proper care of them.
The Burlingame Enterprise, Mar 8, 1900
WANTS BISON SAVED
Col. Buffalo Jones’ Plan Indorsed by Many Congressmen
Asks for the Setting Apart of a Large Preserve for the American Buffalo in the Territory of New Mexico
(Special Washington Letter)
“Buffalo Jones” is here, and will remain until he can accomplish the object of his coming.
……Congressman Lacey, of Iowa, chairman of the committee on public lands, has introduced a bill “to set apart a preserve for the American bison,” and it is proposed to place this preserved in charge of “Buffalo Jones.”
Inasmuch as Congressman Lacey has great influence in the house of representatives, because he is chairman of the committee on public lands, and inasmuch as that committee will have charge of the pending bill, it seems likely let the measure will, in due season, become a law. It is regarded as a very important proposition by all congressman who have had time to give it consideration, and a majority of them seem to spontaneously favor it.
……The proposed preserve is to be located near the southeast corner of the territory of New Mexico, and is to be 40 miles square. Col. Jones says that any smaller area would be useless for many reasons. In the first place, he says that the buffalo is a living barometer. He can tell when it is going to rain, or snow, or blow and he knows how to conduct himself accordingly. In a range of 40 miles a buffalo can care for himself, and hide in canyons, or race across the plateaus to dry places, when snow or rain are coming. There may be clear weather on one portion of a tract 40 miles square, while exceedingly inclement weather exist in some other part of the tract. Moreover, Col. Jones says that the buffalo is the greatest of all liberty loving animals, and close confinement has caused many a one to die of a broken heart.
……I am not a philanthropist,” says Col. Jones. “I am simply trying to do what seems to me a duty. No man has killed so many buffaloes as I have killed, for my victim’s number many thousands. For years I made it my business to kill them, and make money out of their hides. Moreover, in my early days, I used to kill them for sport. Now I deem it my duty to the buffalo, and also to mankind on this continent, to preserve the American bison from extinction. Only a few years ago countless millions of these animals roamed over the plains of North America. They had an absolute title to, and possession of, many millions of miles, as the Indians had to their hunting grounds. They were the invincible tribes of the plains and prairies. They would never have been subdued but for the extension of railroads across the continent. Their territory had been well nigh inaccessible, but railroads made transportation cheap, and immediately there followed a demand, from all over the world, for the beautiful, warm, soft robes of the buffalo.
……“The supply had to equal the demand. Millions of buffalo hides annually were sent abroad, and other millions were taken up in our own country. The slaughter became so widespread and of such proportions that annihilation became simply a question of a brief period of time.
……“In 1875, when I first began thinking of the necessity of preserving the buffalo, there were fully 1,000,000 still living. Now there are less than 400 left. I estimate that before the trans-continental railways were built there were between 15,000,000 and 20,000,000 of them. When I first seriously talked of domesticating the buffalo I was ridiculed by people who declared that the wildest of all animals could never be brought within the control of man. They said that nothing but a stone wall like the Chinese wall whatever hold them. The vicious old bulls had smashed away a board fence, and scattered the rails from rail fences. I tried many kinds of fence, and finally stretched barb wires around a section of 640 acres of land, and kept 150 buffaloes for a year, without any difficulty. The wire itself might have been broken by them, but they accepted it as the limit of their range, and they had no desire to break it. The wired offered no obstruction to their vision, and hence, as long as they could have freedom of site around them, they had no fear of danger, and desire to break loose from a confinement which was made agreeable to them.
……“I have demonstrated that the buffalo can be domesticated. I have buffalo milk which is sweeter, richer and more nourishing than the milk of any other breed of cows. The meat of the buffalo is better than any produced by the cattlemen of this country. The tallow is better than any butter that has ever been made, except butter churn from the cream of buffalo milk. With the aid of the government I hope to be able to preserve for prosperity the finest domestic animal given to man for this continent. Inside of 20 years there will be 10 full generations of buffalo growing into domestic habits. Their wildness will disappear, and their domesticity will increase by hereditary with each generation.
……“I have had considerable experience in taming these animals and teaching them to work in yolks like steers. It takes time and perfect patients. But when they are properly and completely ‘broken’ they become accustomed to restrain, and they exceed and courage and strength any animal subjected by man to assist in his burden of labor. I have a team of seven-year-old bulls one of whom killed a keeper who did not know how to handle him. They are gentle and work well together. They draw feed to the other animals on my ranch in winter, and are used in plowing with excellent results in summer time.
……“It was very difficult to teach the vicious fellows to carry bits and their mouths. But they do it now all right. I have hemp rope lines of the best material attached to heavy forged iron bits. Formally I had a small windlass attached to each line, and by turning the crank I could control the bulls, no matter how hard they might pull. Nowadays, however, I drive them without the use of a windlass, with as much ease and pleasure as though they were a pair of carriage horses.
……“In addition to the superiority of the buffalo cow over any of the standard breeds now generally regarded as the best in the world, her longevity must be considered. I have seen some of them sold that their horns had decayed and dropped off. I saw buffalo cow in a zoological garden which was known to be 31 years old, and I am sure I have seen wild cows 10 or 15 years older. They are good milk cows as long as they live. They are very intelligent, too, and there is no domestic animal that is more affectionate.”
……The legacy bill, after carefully describing the metes and bounds of the proposed “preserve for the American bison,” fixes the status of the contract in the following words: “The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and directed to lease to Charles J. Jones, of Topeka, Kan., his heirs and assigns, the tract of land described in section one of this act for a period of 20 years, free of rental charge. Said lease shall provide that the said Charles J. Jones, his heirs and assigns, shall place upon said tract of land, within one year from the passage of this act, suitable inclosures for bison, and no less than 100 full-blooded American bison, of sufficient number of males and females for breeding purposes: that it shall be unlawful to sell, kill, maim or destroy, or otherwise dispose of or removed from said tract of land by the said Charles J. Jones, his heirs or assigns, or any other person or persons whomsoever, any female bison except for sanitary, scientific or humane purposes, during the continuance of this lease, unless the increase should be in excess of one bison to each 500 acres of land in said tract and except the excess of one mailed to every 20 females.”
……The bill is a long one, but this extract shows how carefully it has been drawn, in order that the government may be protected, and the bison protected, from any possibility of Jones or any other persons been tempted to take undue advantage of the privilege granted. A penalty is also provided that “any person violating any of the provisions of the act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment of not exceeding 90 days, or both fine and imprisonment.”
……“The proposed safeguards in the bill meet with my entire approval,” says Col. Jones.” While I may be honest myself, and the committee may have perfect confidence in my integrity, my life is like all other lives, and may not last and other day. I am 56 years of age, and hope to live another 20 years at least. But if my life should be snuffed out I want the work to go on, and I want it so guarded that nobody can willfully use this grant or lease for any personal gain.”
Smith D Fry.
Buffalo Jones wearing a buffalo coat. Too heavy and too warm to work in, the buffalo coat warmed mostly those who had to sit in the cold —Stage Coach drivers and the like. Courtesy Amom Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
Oshkosh Daily May 5 1900
The Scranton Republican May 11 1900
PRESERVE THE BISON
From the North American.
Congress seems to be giving but scant attention to the efforts of C.J. Jones and others to save the American bison from utter extermination, but the subject is worthy of serious attention, and it requires prompt and effective action. The promoters of the movement are not actuated by mere sentimental motives, but give strong practical reasons why the bison should be preserved. Mr Jones has preserved a herd of more that a hundred of the animals in Texas, and has demonstrated that by crossing the bison with hardy breed
of cattle a variety very valuable for beef and for hides can be produced. The cross-breed retains the characteristics that make the bison capable of taking care of himself under conditions that are disastrous to cattle. For example, the bison does not destroy the grass of the ranges, but leaves untouched enough of the seed grass to insure the next year’s crop.
When traveling to water or migrating, the bison herds move in Indian file, making a narrow trail and doing the least possible damage to the grazing land. Cattle, on the contrary, destroy more than they eat, and, infact, they have nearly ruined the bunch grass and gamma ranges of the west, and have reduced by 50% the pasturage capacity of the land.
Mr Jones suggests that of the 30,000 acres of waste land in Mew Mexico and 2,500,000 near the Guadeloupe mountains be reserved for the bison, and that 200,000 acres be granted ti him for breeding grounds, offering to give all the cows to the government and to use the proceeds of sales of surplus bulls for the care of the herd. At the end of 20 years the entire herd is to be turned over to the government. The position seems reasonable and practical, but a committee of the House has rejected it, and recommended a lease of 20,000 acres to Jones at about six cents an acre per year.
Opposition the proposed plan for preservation of the bison was led by Pedro
Perea, delegate in Congress from New Mexico , who stated before the committee that the buffalo and Indian are things of the past, and should have been exterminated long ago. Perea’s animosity to the Indian is a survival of the conflict that was waged from the days of De Vargas to the American occupation between the Spanish settlers and the wild tribes, but the Apache and Navajo have been subdued, and the restoration of the bison would not revive the hostile activity of the Indians, as Perea seems to fear. The mongrel native population of New Mexico is unprogressive and devoid of enterprise and will not reclaim or make any use of the waste lands of the territory, and therefore any opposition to Jones’ plan by New Mexico lacks reason.
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 Wood bison left. There is a popular impression that Yellowstone Park is stocked 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 foreseeing 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 herds he 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 eight 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.
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.
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 at 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.”
The Topeka Daily Capital Nov 10 1905
“BUFFALO” JONES AND HIS “CATTALO” ROBE
Topeka Man Has at last Succeeded in Getting His New Fur Producing
Animals Scheme on a Business Basis
Special to the Capital.
Washington, Nov. 9.- “Buffalo” Jones of Topeka has at last got his scheme for the preservation of the bison and the production of a new fur-bearing animal on a business basis, and in the course of a short while, perhaps a few months, the “cattalo robe” will commence to be regularly quoted on the market.
Mr. Jones passed through Washington this week and had a talk with President Roosevelt, who is much interested in everything relating to big game life in the West.
Mr. Jones has already started a ranch down on the western edge of the Grand Canyon, where they are rearing buffalo and cattalo and carrying on experiments with Persian sheep. Possibly through the intervention of the President, Mr. Jones may get the loan of the buffalo bulls that will soon have to be thinned out of the Yellowstone Park herd, and this will mean a substantial addition to the breeding stock on the forest reserve grazing land.
The pride of “Buffalo” Jones’s life just now is a cattalo robe that he is carrying on to New York to show some friends there and which he will afterwards take back west with him. Cut square, the skin is about eight feet each way, of a glossy blackish-brown, very soft and with hair not quite as long as a bear’s.
“Buffalo” Jones was game warden for Yellowstone park for some years, resigning his position last spring.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Sept 16 1906
Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Information for Sportsmen
How the Government Advises the Hunters When and Where They May Seek for Game
But the fact that the herd in the Yellowstone preserve has more than doubled — has increased, in fact, from twenty-one to fifty-six – within a few years, is in augury of why it can be done for the bison elsewhere in the country. The American Bison Society, of which President Roosevelt is the head, is diligently studying the problem, and the saving of the most picturesque of our native animals ______ to be_______.
Uncle Sam is also co-operating with private enterprises in the work of bison preservation. A large tract of government land has been leased of a nonminal rental to James Phillips, better known as “Scotty” Phillips of Pierre S.D., with the understanding that the area is to be used as a range for his private herd of bison. Another tract, in Arizona, on the western edge of the Grand Canyon, has been admittedly least to C.J.Jones _ “Buffalo” Jones – who is not only rearing bison, but making experiments and crossbreeding them with Galloway cattle. The hybrid resulting from this cross is named by Mr. Jones the “cattalo”. He recently brought to Washington a “cattalo robe,” as skin about 8 feet square, covered with a glossy, soft, blackish-brown hair, not quite as long as the fur of a bear. The Bulls of the cattalo hybrid like the jacks of the mule species are sterile as are also the quarter-blood cattalo bulls; but the ‘eighths’ are fertile, according to Mr. Jones.