N. A. Forsyth is responsible for taking the majority of the pictures we enjoy today, most of which are at the Montana Historical Society and a large number at the Library of Congress.
Michel Pablo, son of a Blackfoot woman, acted as interpreter to stockmen Charles Allard, of the Flathead country. Both men were in their early 30s, both had Indian mothers, and both had been orphaned at an early age. Now they were both deeply interested in buying a small herd of buffalo from Walking Coyote, a Pend Oreille, but living on the Flathead reservation.
Michel Pablo and Charles Allard, in 1884 purchased 13 head and paid 2,000 to 2,500 to Walking Coyote. He turned them loose upon the Indian reservation in Montana, leaving them to wander and roam of their own free will over an area of some fifty square miles. By freeing them in this manner, and protecting them against destruction, he concluded that they would propagate freely since the conditions were highly conducive to such a result.
In 1893 purchased, 46 head more from Charles Jones.
Pablo and Andrew Stringer, totaled 250 in 1899. By 1906 it numbered nearly 800 and was the main plains bison heirs in North America, the only other being the herd in Banff National Park..
(Reference: The Herds Shot Round the World Native Breeds and the …Nov 8, 2011 – And brother joseph, pablo, and andrew stringer, totalled 250 in 1899. … numbered almost 800 and was the main
plains bison herd in north america, the only other of note being the herd in banff national park. … Her first project, the herds shot round the world: native breeds and the british empire, 1800-1900, …)
Pablo Allard Herd Feb 25 1891
Missoula Weekly Gazette Missoula Montana (extract)
Tributary to this country will be a great portion o: the Flathead reservation which lies to the south of the lakes and on both sides of the Pend d’Oreillo river. Many of the Indians are wealthy in cattle and horses which roam over the vast fertile plains. On this reservation is the largest herd of buffalo in the United States belonging to Chas. Allard and consists of about fifty head. It is as fertile as that about the lake, where Uncle Sam makes the red man earn his living as the white man or starve; it will be one of the finest lands in the United States. The coming of the railroad has given a great impetus to this country as the following will show. Last fall the population was 1500, now 4000 is considered a low estimate. A sawmill is already to work at the mouth of the canyon and a ferry boat has been put in between the east and west side. A school district with a good-sized roll has been formed, where last fall only a few bachelor’s cabins were found.
Missoula Montana Sep 26, 1893
A Fortune in Buffalo
An Historic Herd of Animals Passes Through Missoula
At an early hour, this morning Charles Allard’s herd of shaggy uncouth buffalo passed through Missoula en route to Butte where they will be exhibited. While there they will be joined by the animals known as “Buffalo Jones” herd which are being shipped from Nebraska and which were lately purchased by Mr. Allard for the enormous sum of $28,000. This herd numbers 46 animals are thoroughbred in every particular and when added to Allard bunch will be the only large herd of buffalo in existence in the world. The animals being driven by Allard number 34 and he has remaining at his lands in the Flathead valley 39 others which he has not driven fearing it might prove a difficult matter to handle so large a bunch. These added to the purchase lately made from Buffalo Jones will give him a band of 119 of the historic beeves which could not today be purchased from the owner for $100,000. In fact, he has already disposed of 15 two-year-old calves to parties in England at $1,000 per head and which will be shipped to the old country early next spring. The band was inspected this morning by many Missoulians shortly after it passed through town, many persons driving out and following them up in their anxiety to witness the remainder of a race which is practically extinct. The herd is carefully guarded by a half dozen practical men who ride incessantly a relay of about 20 horses which are as fleet as the wind. Taken altogether, the sight is an interesting one and not, witnessed every day even in the far west, the land where the mighty beast originated.
Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) · 17 Jun 1895
“Crossing the reservation on horseback I was treated to a delightful surprise by coming on a fine herd of 100 buffalo, including bulls and cows and about twenty calves. Most of them scampered away as we approached, but some of the old bulls were too deeply engaged in glaring, sulking, and pawing the ground at each other preparatory to their amatory combats to mind us very much. I learned that two half-breeds, named Allard and Pablo, have accumulated here on the reservation the largest and, in fact, the only herd of buffalo in the world. To their own herd which they have had for some time, they have recently added the Kansas herd of ‘Buffalo’ Jones.
“On Wild Horse Island, in the Flathead Lake, they have put about twenty buffalo bulls and several hundred ordinary, everyday cows and are making a large experiment in cross-breeding.
The Anaconda Standard Anaconda, Montana 09 Apr 1899
After a Ruling. Missoula. April 8. Michael Pablo, Charles Allard and Alex Matt will leave here Sunday morning for Washington, where they will interview the officers of the Indian department relative to the taxation of property on the reservation. The question that is to be determined is what makes a man a ward of the government? There is no dispute as to the right of exemption from taxation of a ward of the government, but there is not a clear understanding as to who are properly wards. An effort will be made to have the Indian department rule upon this point in such a way that there will be no further dispute in regard to It.
Weekly Missoulian, Missoula, Montana, 04 May 1900
Wild Horse island is at last deserted, with the exception of one domestic cow. Last week the three buffalo, which were the last of the herd, swam across to the mainland, landing near Hiram Tripp’s ranch, and for several days roamed at will among the adjoining hills. Word was sent to Mr. Pablo, their owner, who sent his herder after them; he took them back to the main, herd on the ranch of Charles Al-lard. It will be remembered that about four years ago Messrs. Pablo and Allard placed a herd of about 40 head of buffalo on the island. None of them tried to return until about a year since when part of the herd was taken off. Since that time the remaining buffalo, have been swimming across to the mainland from time to time.
Between June 1, 1907 in June 6, 1912 Michel Pablo delivered to Canadian authorities 716 bison, of which 631 went to Buffalo National Park and the remaining 85 went to Elk Island National Park. In October 1909 77 bison were added to the herd in Buffalo National Park from Banff, 10 more were delivered on March 31, 1914. In 1910 in 1911, 30 more bison were delivered to the buffalo national Park from the Conrad herd near Kalispell, Montana; these bison originated from the Allard Estate. Therefore, the bison assembled in Buffalo National Park by 1914 were mixture of Southern and Northern Plains bison.
Elk Island National Park has a prominent history in large ungulate conservation. As early as 1907 the Canadian government bought one of the last and largest remaining pure-bred plains bison, the Pablo-Allard herd, from Montana. Close to 400 bison were shipped to Elk Island as a temporary waystation until the fencing at Buffalo Park in Wainwright was completed. In 1909 the fence was finished and 325 bison were relocated to Buffalo National Park. However, 40-70 bison evaded capture and became the ancestors of today’s herd in Elk Island National Park.
The Buffalo Boys; for more pictures of the drive please see 1909
In 1905 Alex Ayotte, Assistant Immigration Agent for Canada at Great Falls, Montana offered to find out in the Canadian Government might provide a grazing lease. He set in motion a series of letters and reports that went all the way to the top on Ottawa. It was determine that Pablo was an honest and shrewd vendor, but would accept a reasonable figure for sale. The herd, the 350 animals, was considered in satisfactory condition and fully worthy of purchase. In Jan 1906, a deal was struck by Frank Oliver, federal minister of the Interior, and approved by Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier.
National Park Superintendent for the Canadian Government, Howard Douglas. Douglas participated in the great buffalo round up which took several years.
In the year 1873, Walk-Coyote, a Pend de’ Oreille on the Flathead Reservation, building wiser than he knew, founded a herd of purebred buffalo.
In “1907-9 the Canadian Government gathered up the 600 splendid specimens which were the resultant of the Flathead’s enterprise, entrained them, and took them bodily into Canada, the world’s biggest bargain in buffalo.
When the pussy-willows were budding in the spring, thirty-six years ago, Walking Coyote with his squaw and stepson found himself on the Milk River close to the invisible parallel of forty-nine, and near to where the town of Buffalo now stands. They had been wintering with the Peigan Indians, but now the old spring-fret come o’er them, and they joined the first buffalo-hunt of the new year.
During the hunt four baby buffalo were made orphans. Leaving their dead mothers, the little calves, hungry and lonely, ran mooing after the horses of the hunters. The heart of Mrs. Walking Coyote was touched, and she persuaded her lord to annex the orphans to their family group of dogs, bronchos and babies. So back to St. Ignatius Mission in the heart of the Flathead Reservation the two young buffalo bulls and the two little heifers trotted, following the ponies right across the Rockies, the unwitting ancestors of the world’s last and largest herd of prairie bison.
The baby buffalo at once became pets among those who went and came to the Mission of St. Ignatius, and when they were four years old each of the heifers gave birth to a calf. Slowly the herd increased in number, and when ten years had passed Walking Coyote found himself the possessor of thirteen head of full-blood buffalo. With his nomadic propensities, the bunch grew to be somewhat of a white elephant on his hands: the thirteen grown-ups were a different story to the first little calves; they refused to resolve themselves into Wemmick’s “portable property” when the Red Gods made their medicine in the spring; so Walking Coyote did not repel the advances of a would-be purchaser.
Origin of the Big Herd.
The men who saw the possibilities of pure bred survivors of a dying race were two ranchers on the Flathead Reservation, C.A. Allard and Michel Pablo, who offered Coyote $250 apiece for his best specimens.
The buffalo were driven down to the side of a stream and the transfer took place. Walking Coyote had no use for cashier’s checks or clearing-house certificates; he must see and handle the cash. So the money was counted out into twenty-five piles of a hundred dollars each, each pile being held down by a stone. Just as the buffalo-bullion transaction was about finished, a mink ran across the trail, and both vendor and purchaser left the counting of greenbacks to follow the instinct of the chase, strong in both. Half the afternoon was gone before they returned to their grazing buffalo and counted greenbacks, and coming into the open they found an old Indian on guard. He, literally, had left every stone unturned, and was contenting himself with gazing. It would have been as well for Walking Coyote if the wind had blown his bank-bills away that sweet spring day; for taking his twenty-five hundred dollars with him into the saloons of Missoula, he somewhat reversed the other prodigal story by turning his fatted buffalo into bad whiskey, found dead under a bridge a few weeks after.
Coyote drank himself to death, but his little herd of buffalo, now 600 strong, is a lasting memorial to his enterprise and love of animals; for it was not hope of gain which away back in 1873 prompted the Indian and his wife to give fostering care to those lonely little buffalo babies. It is from this herd that the buffalo in the Yellowstone Park, as well as most of those in traveling shows today, were procured.
About the time that Walking Coyote saved his four calves from slaughter, up in Canada the late Honorable James McKay, Provincial Secretary of Manitoba, was laying the foundation of another herd. Mr. McKay sold his buffalo brands-from-the-burning to Colonel Benson, warden of the penitentiary at Stonewall, who, in his turn, disposed of most of them to one Buffalo Jones. Part of this herd, however, was purchased by Lord Strathcona when he was Sir Donald Smith, and by him presented to the Government of Canada. Of the generous gift of Lord Strathcona, four animals are retained by the city of Winnipeg, while the rest form one of the most appreciated attractions of Canada’s National Park at Banff.
In 1893, Michel Pablo and Allard added to their Walking Coyote stock all the animals that Buffalo Jones possessed, twenty-six pure-bred buffalo and eighteen half-breeds. So, as far as these animals and their issue are concerned, in their recent purchase the Canadian Government was only securing in perpetuity for that country the possession of what had originally been theirs.
In turning over the remnant of his Omaha herd to Allard and Pablo fifteen vears ago, Jones contracted to deliver the animals in person at Butte, Montana- He arrived with his buffalo goods late on a Sunday afternoon, and, like Walking Coyote before him, demanded strict C. O. D. Allard had to borrow some cash in order to complete the purchase, and in his difficulty applied to his one-time ranch cook, Joseph A. Clark, the copper king. Clark, like his brother, Senator Clark (who in his time had been a mail-carrier) was no aristocrat, and bore no resentment to a reminder from Allard of his days of blue-jeans and cooking kettles. He obligingly advanced the money, and Buffalo Jones turned over the herd. Allard and Pablo treated the people of Butte to an impromptu Wild West show with their new purchase, and then drove the animals across to their ranch beyond Ravelli, where they gave themselves up seriously to the business of breeding buffalo.
The crossing of the old herd with the new infused new blood into the strain, but Buffalo Jones’ experiment of producing hybrid stock by mating buffalo with domestic cattle was at once pronounced a failure. The “cattalo” or mongrels exhibited the weaknesses of both parent stocks, and the good qualities of neither, and were rigorously separated from the pure-bred buffalo.
After the division of the sheep from the goats, the full-blood bison were put on range near the Big Butte, where the Mud empties into the Pend d’Oreille River, and in almost ideal conditions they roamed and ranged and increased after their kind. The animals were the pride and personal care of Mr. Allard. and, while he lived, were comparatively tame and easily handled by horsemen.
1896 Mr. Allard died, and his partner, Michel Pablo, lost much of his interest in the propagation and perpetuation of the shaggy lords of the prairie.
The Herd Disintegrates.
By the Allard will the total herd of 300 buffalo was evenly divided, 150 head reverting to Michel Pablo, while the other 150 were inherited by the widow and children of Mr. Allard, who subdivided and sold their shares. It meant the disintegration of the herd.
Almost at once Pablo began to sell; by ones and twos and in little groups the animals were cut out and found their way into menageries, parks, and traveling shows. There was scarcely an Eastern zoo or private game preserve that could not show at least one descendant of the motherless calves of poor old Walking Coyote. The buffalo were disposed of chiefly through the agency of Howard Eaton, a hunter expert of Wolf, ‘Wyoming.
Mrs. Allard sold her buffalo bequest to Conrad of Kalispell; Judge Woodrow of Missoula bought the share of one son, turning them over to the “101 Ranch”; Howard Eaton himself became the possessor of the remaining animals of the Allard estate. Then were heard rumors of the throwing open to settlement of the Flathead Reservation, and with the impending loss of the free range, Michel Pablo sought a purchaser who would take the rest of his herd intact.
Pablo through his representative first offered the buffalo to the United States Government. He next tried to interest the American Bison Association. As a last resort, the Canadian Government was approached, with the result that the noble herd of over 500 buffalo passed into the hands of Canada at a purchase price of $130,000.
The ghosts of the old buffalo hunters and the shaggy shades of bygone bison, if still to be touched by earthly issues, looked on in impotent pathos while the last vedette of the prairies was rounded up like range cattle and dumped and prodded into freight cars. It was the passing of the buffalo, the curtain-drop tc all the old romance of the free mesas.
“The pity of it! O, Iago, the pity of it!”
At first glance it may seem a simple thing to round up and entrain 500 buffalo; but those who undertook the task found it anything but an end-summer’s pleasure jaunt. We must remember that these mammoth brutes were enjoying the free life of the range; they were not the tamed pets that once fed out of the hands of St. Ignatius priests or rubbed wet muzzles on the brown shoulders of the babies of the Walking Coyote.
The first round-up of the Canadian bought buffalo was made in April-May, 1907, and resulted in the capture and successful entraining of over 200.
The riders anticipated no particular difficulty in securing the rest of the herd in September. But they reckoned without their hosts; evidently there had been buffalo councils among the ravines of the Pend d’Oreille after the May hunt, with many resolves not to be tamely taken from the ancestral hunting-ground.
The autumn hunt was lush with experience for both hunters and hunted. The theater of the strife was the Flathead Reservation in the Mission Valley among the rugged peaks of Western Montana; this reserve is a natural enclosure sixty-five miles long with giant mountains for barbed boundary and buttes for fence posts.
Unsniffing danger, the herd was scattered over the range of a hundred square miles, grazing in little bunches of fifteen and twenty, with here a family group of three, and there a solitary bull. Thirty-five bull-punchers each with his two spare horses matched wits and endurance with the ponderous but agile lords of the mesa; it was a contest to the finish and every inch was fought for.
Bounce of the Baby Bison.
When the buffalo at last realize that it is a determined effort to capture, and not idle curiosity that they are up against, there is one long snort of indignation and a mad, impetuous rush. Through the narrow gulches, across the stream, up the open valley go the frenzied herd, up one side of the Pend d’Oreille Mountains and down the other. A buffalo seems to negotiate hills as readily as if they were the rolling reaches of the prairie, and the astonishing part of it is that the calves keep up their end with no apparent effort.
As we watch the stampede of the herd, we see a whole kindergarten of baby bison on the dead run, well abreast of their elders and each intent on individual salvation. When the bunch reaches a river there is no hesitancy at the brink; each yearling and two-months’ calf takes the water and is again, before we realize it, a yellow streak on the green stretch beyond, making for the hillside. He who hesitates is lost. One little buffalo. calf, not four weeks old, ran forty miles in the first drive and swam the Pend d’Oreille. He was following his mother, who made her escape from the round-up. But the plucky baby was lassoed and tied to a tree, as if he were some ignominious felon. Next day trussed like any tame Hereford the wobbly scion of the magerfu’ lords of the mesa was trundled into civilization in a buckboard, and is being brought up on the bottle.
The hunt abounded in spectacular features. What would we think in these effete days of pink teas and bridge-whist of a grandmother hunting buffalo, and hunting them to a finish, too? The heroine of the big round-up was a lady of seventy-five, Mrs. Irvine, who joined the chase simply because she couldn’t keep away.
A sister-in-law of the late C. A. Allard, this erect horsewoman is a link between this last of buffalo-hunts and the days of the long-ago. Riding in to the exciting meet during the first days of the skirmishing, Mrs. Irvine proved herself one of the most expert of the whole bunch of buffalo hunters, and each who crossed saddle in this battle-royal was a picked cow-puncher.
The lady who had exceeded the Bible span of life by five years, and who chased buffalo for amusement, was accompanied on the hunt by her grand-daughters (the Misses Marion of Lethbridge), her son, and her daughter-in-law. The family had been hunting wolves in the valley of the Bitter Root, hunting with hounds. They arrived on the scene at a critical moment, and the courage of the wolfhounds and the verve of the superb horsewoman turned the despair of a stampede to a brilliant victory.
A giant bull had broken from the herd and was in mid flight down the mountain when Mrs. Irvine gave chase and did what the tired cow-punchers had been unable to accomplish. She headed off the stampeding bull, and, dodging his headlong charge, called the wolfhounds to the attack. They fought the bull to a standstill, and the rest of the bellowing herd were turned back.
Fathers in Israel, First.
In the first round-up, the animals after weeks of fighting fate, gradually found themselves circled into family groups. Day by day the cordons of riders closed in; many bulls followed by the members of their harem took mad dashes for liberty and safely made their break-away. The crack of revolver and the unearthly yells of the cow-boys restrained others, and in these cases the invariable formation was cows and calves in the center and belligerent bulls on the circle’s circumference.
A council of war decided that to prevent a possible heavy loss of calves, it would not be advisable to ship the mothers at this time, so the cow-boys found themselves confronted by the task of cutting out from these tightly packed community groups the bulls and young stock. For seven days they sweated at the work, each minute of the time in imminent danger of death from a charge of those baulked and infuriated bulls. It was no child’s play.
The result of the resolute culling was such a collection of bull buffalo as has never before been sequestrated from a herd. Two hundred head, the veteran leaders of many a prairie contest to the finish, great shaggy tons of concentrated fight, there they stood at bay, cornered but not conquered. The task was to run them into chutes and then by block and tackle, fighting and finesse, cursing and coercion, get them into stock-cars.
To get some idea of what it means to load bison into box-cars, listen to the summing-up of a man who knows:”Buffalo? Wal, I guess. An’ ole bull ain’t no tea-party. He’s crammed as full o’ concentrated cussedness as a gun cattridge is with trouble. Take the most ornery steer whose mother come from the Panhandle o’ Texas, substract any shreds o’ lingering Christianity that may cling to his hoof, multiply his meanness by twelve, his sin- stubbornness by nine teen, his liftin ‘ power in foot-pounds by twenty-three , add the products, throw a circulatin ‘ decimal of stingin’ Satan in for fair measure, and you’ll come to gently realize that handlin’ bull buffalo aint the simple life fer little Willie. “
Of the first ‘bunch it took just four days to entrain sixty head, and what might have proved a fatal tragedy was narrowly averted. The biggest bull of the bunch was the stubbornest. With iron gads he was being prodded along the car-chute, when he made a sudden turn and roaring like a bull of Bashan caught the gate by the car-door on his horns, and swung out with it impaled there, into space.
Right in front of him stood unguarded the Canadian Pacific Railroad stock inspector, with Messrs. Douglas and Ayotte, and the bull charged. Somehow, Mr. McMullen wasn’t keen on inspecting that particular head of stock just then; he didn’t seem to care if the bull had tuberculosis, appendicitis, or housemaid’s knee. The official stepped back with such force that his arm was fractured by the fall, while the two gentlemen who stood by him were stunned. The angry buffalo lost his balance by slipping a forefoot off the platform, and this gave time for the on-lookers to retire at discretion.
Charles Allard, Boss Puncher of Bison Bulls.
The hero of the next round-up was Charles Allard, the son of that Allard who was joint partner with Michel Pablo in the founding of the herd. Charles Allard is a cattle prince on the Flathead, near Polson; he was weaned with baby buffalo, and it was he who by his knowledge, adroitness, and consummate grit changed the buffalo drive from a lost cause to a brilliant triumph.
‘When Pablo found by bitter experience that the buffalo of the autumn were warier, wilder and in every way more impossible to outwit or out weary than those taken in the spring, he was on the edge of despair. He has sold buffalo but was unable to deliver the goods; giddy bison playing hide-and-seek in the Valley of the Bitter Root might pose as white elephants; they surely were not coin-producing cattle.
Then along the baked alkali clay rode young Allard with an offer: “Want someone to lead in yer gentle lambs fer you? I°’d like a little easy exercise.
Can I round ’em up? Well, I guess! Used ter play pussy-in-the-corner with sad buffalo steers when I was a kid. Tell you what I’ll do; I’ll deliver you 125 of yer levantin’ pets into the loadin’ yards at Ravalli here, or I take no money. Fer 2,000 of Uncle Sam’s cartwheels, I’ll sweep the range.”
The offer came like a message from the blue. Allard is not only a daredevil rider, a matador if you will, but he proved himself a general with splendid executive ability. He is a born leader. Engaging such a coterie of cow-punching experts as will never gather again on the great mesas, Allard sent sixty picked remounts to the northern limits of the big range, and then with concerted effort the whole country was swept westward and southward.
In four days, 350 baffled bison were bunched in a great gulch in the mountains, while stray breakaways ran in scattered groups up the ravines of the foothills. Then by a circuitous route the great army of ponderous and agile wild things were worked toward the town. It was no gentle and measured ride; the first day this unique mass of snorting, sweating buffalo, galloping cayuses, and wild-yelling cow-boys covered no less than sixty miles.
It was impossible to hold them all; at one point, like the crack of a whip, a bunch of seventy-five stampeded, and before the tired horses could turn in their tracks, the whole section jumped the river-bank and the water had swallowed them like the smother of a yellow cloud. This lot escaped and are still at large. Canada had consideration for their prejudice, and, allowing them their liberty, formally donated these Ishmaels to the Government of the United States. The marked individuality of these special brands from the burning augurs well for their continuance and persistence. They should found a fine herd developing along contemporary lines with their expatriated cousins in Alberta.
The remaining ones were cleverly closed in upon and in a swinging, rushing drive were forced into the Pend d’Oreille, where seventy horsemen gave a wondrous exhibition of a swimming round-up in mid-stream. It is a swift running river, perhaps 400 yards in width at this point, and deep. The cowponies were as adroit as the Maltese cat of polo fame that Kipling made us love.
The buffalo showed no more fight after this; with wet coats and low-hung heads over the hills to Ravalli the drive went forward. Early on Sunday morning, long before the Mission bells of St. Ignatius had called the faithful to prayer, the great army of cowed bison and the tired horses halted in the little village, the ancestral stamping-grounds of those yellow calves of Walking Coyote.
It was the passing of the buffalo. In the field is more than one striking figure. Here in front are three cattalo; they are taken back to the range, for the order has gone forth that no half-breeds are to be expatriated in this band of home-leaving Bison-Acadians. Over in the corner is a militant cow, whose brass-knobbed horns bespeak a history and a past in some city menagerie or tented circus. King, a magnificent beast whom every rider on the range these last six weeks has cursed for his cunning devilishness, has toured half the globe with Bill Cody.
Bison as Freight.
It took fifteen men to handle each of the difficult ones. The buffalo were lashed to uprights in the cars and kept in separate boxes, with the exception of the mothers, who were allowed to have their calves with them; and ten buffalo filled a car. In the case of the half-grown stock, twenty or thirty were allowed to travel together in a sort of loose box and settle the question of precedence en route.
Fifteen cars of live buffalo shipped ignominiously as freight! No wonder the plainspeople turned out big-eyed to gaze and to wonder. The unloading was as difficult as the entraining; if you hunger for kudos as a buffalo rustler, keep a weather eye on the heels as you dodge the horns. A modern buffalo with a purely contemplative lookout rangeward can kick in rapid-fire succession at ten unknown angles with the rapidity of a Texas steer, and the force of several professional government mules.
Few fatalities attended the transshipping of the great herd. A splendid cow had a fatal fall in the runway of the corral, and one of the best bulls of the herd broke his neck in his struggles in the loading car. One or two calves died from the effects of over-driving, but with these exceptions, the hundreds of buffalo passed from the jurisdiction of one Government to that of another without turning a hair or losing a night’s sleep.
Much credit in this connection is due Mr. Howard Douglas, Commissioner of Dominion of Canada Parks, and every railway official who helped to handle the herd on both sides of the international line. At the Canadian end of the haul, Governor Bulyea, Mrs. Bulyea, Premier Rutherford and other delighted officials watched the unloading.
Only two buffalo died on the road. This is eloquent testimony to the manner in which the great undertaking was carried through, and in striking contrast to the record of Buffalo Jones, who lost twenty-five per cent of the animals that he shipped from Stonewall to Omaha. But in the days of Buffalo Jones, prairie bison didn’t travel by palace cars.
Their New Canadian Home.
As we see the released buffalo shake the dust of the cars from their shaggy hides, and, tossing their huge heads, lope off into the new range, we notice that the gait of a buffalo is like that of no other animal. Their way of covering the ground is a total compounded of many simples, the stride of a coyote, the bound of an antelope, the lurch of a heavy-weight ox, with a bit of the bounce of a barnyard yearling calf. And there is complete silence among the ranks of the deported, the silence of enduring dignity and not of indifference.
The eye of a buffalo is full of slumbering fire; there is something in its glance that harks back to the old days of the free range. We catch an answering look sometimes when we come unheralded into the camp of wandering Cree or Blackfoot, or observe a brown-skinned patriarch watching the evening shadows close round the trail of that moving line of braves silhouetted on the skyline.
The newly-acquired buffalo (who for a time were lodged in Elk Island Park, near Edmonton) now have a range so ample that its limitations will not be felt; to all intents it is to the big animal’s unrestricted freedom. Mr. Howard Douglas, acting for the Canadian Government, selected in the unoccupied portion of Alberta a section of 144 square miles, an ideal natural park, and this is reserved for the new herd.
Buffalo Park, on the Battle River, near Wainwright, Alberta, was established by the Canadian Government for the express purpose of providing range for this Montana herd purchased from Pablo. The park is seventy-four miles in circumference, a high rolling prairie, well watered, with scattered clumps of timber. As a breeding-ground for buffalo the reserve could scarcely be improved.
The Last of An Innumerable Host.
Looking at these precious specimens, we can scarcely credit the tales of the innumerable bygone host that they represent. Before the coming of the whites, the central prairies of North America were over-run with such hordes of buffalo that their possible extinction was an untenable idea. Hennepin, writing of the region between Chicago and the Illinois River, says: “There must be an innumerable number of wild bulls in this country, since the earth is covered with their horns. You may see a drove of them for a league along the sky-line. Their ways are as beaten as our great roads, and no herb grows thereon.”
The author of Plains of the Great West declares: “From the top of Pawnee Rock I could see six or ten miles in every direction. This vast space was covered with buffalo, one compact mass, the visual angle not permitting the ground to be seen.” The reports of hunters on this great herd would give an average of twenty animals to the acre; the band in a compact mass was perhaps twenty miles in width and fifty, miles long, and sweeping along in forward march it took five days to pass a given point. This was the last of the great herds as seen in 1870, and its numbers have been estimated at from three to four million buffalo.
The half-breed hunters of the Red River by actual count killed in one historic hunt 4,500 head; and this they did without compunction, having been told ‘round the ancestral tepees that the buffalo were not bred by any law of nature, but came upheaved from the bowels of the earth especially for the delectation of the Red Man. The supply was inexhaustible to the faithful; this was the creed of the Indian.
Under the old regime the wild buffalo herds moved south on the approach of winter. The onward movement was that of an army, and so closely did the animals tread on each other’s heels that if the fore-runners met any untoward check, hundreds perished before the rush could be stopped. It was a theater panic on the open stage of the prairie, thousands and thousands losing their lives thus on muddy fordings, quicksands and alkali swamps, or through the breaking of spring-rotted ice.
In the old days it was a common sight for trappers and voyageurs to come across bogged buffalo wallowing hopelessly in swamps, the deserted remnants of a big herd that had safely passed over. The momentum of the moving mass had forced them into the soggy places, and their own great weight kept them there, a prey to wolves or hunters.
Not so many years ago a herd of a hundred bison essayed to cross Lac-quiparle, in Minnesota, on the early ice, and every one of them was drowned. In the summer of 1867, 2,000 buffalo lost their lives in the quicksands of the Platte River.
The Indian’s God-From-the-Machine.
Before the days of the vanishing tepee, the buffalo was munificent Nature’s great gift to the Indian. It supplied his every want. The body yielded food, fresh meat for summer and dried meat for winter, and the forced marches, with tallow and marrow, pemmican, dried tongues and fifty dainty by-products. The skin, dressed with the fur on, meant clothing and bedding. In the hide dressed without the hair the Indian had a tough enduring fabric from which he made his tepee. Stretched green over a framework, the skin made an incomparable boat both light and strong. The hide furnished, too, shields and ropes, bags for the traveler and winding-sheets for the dead.
Survivors of a Passing Race.
How many buffalo remain of all the mighty hosts that within the memory of living- man roamed the great plains? It is difficult to give exact statistics. Three years ago, a statement from Washington gave the total number of North American buffalo as 1404, a conservative estimate at that time. Perhaps the one place where the buffalo are not increasing at a naturally healthy rate is in the Yellowstone National ~Park, where wolves attack the young and poachers menace the old.
The largest band in the United States is the Corbin herd, belonging to the Austin Corbin estate of Newport, N. H. This 170 head has a range of forty square miles in Blue Mountain Forest, where they fend for themselves for seven months of the year. The experience of finding their own summer living in a comparatively cold climate has made sturdy individuals of this herd, which some eighteen years ago had its origin in a nucleus of thirty head.
James Pierre, of Fort Pierre, South Dakota, owns another herd which three years ago numbered a hundred head; Charles Goodnight in Texas has perhaps half a hundred pure-breds; Salt Lake City, the New York Zoological Society, and a Wild West show in Missoula each possess about thirty head; while herds of twenty or more each are held by Mrs. Conrad of Montana, G. W. Lilley of Oklahoma, Frank Rockefeller of Belvidere, Kan.; James J. Hill of Minnesota, and Miller Bros. of Oklahoma. In addition to the thoroughbreds, there are in the United States about 250 hybrids, the outcome of the experiments of amatuer Burbank bison breeders throughout the country. These halfbreed buffalo, or cattalo, as they are called, are a cross between a buffalo bull and a Polled Angus or Black Galloway cow, or better still a vigorous Jersey. Oddly enough the hybrids thus produced are almost without a single exception females.
But cattalo are not buffalo. The object of all public-spirited people on both sides of the parallel of forty-nine should be to actively co-operate with those who have so closely at heart the preservation of those pure-bred buffalo that remain to us. The magnificent bull, Sir Donald, the lord of the harem in the Canadian National Park at Banff in the Rockies, who is authoritatively known to be thirty-seven years old, would seem to promise a long span of life to every specimen of living buffalo who is accorded natural conditions combined with thoughtful and intelligent care.
The Wood Bison.
The writer, last summer, visited the country of the Canadian wood bison, farup the map in latitude sixty degrees north. Here, between the Slave River and the mighty Peace, the world forgetting, by the world forgot, roam some 300 to 400 head of true wood bison.
Far from the region of polemics and politics, they live and love, fight when that is necessary, dodge pot-hunters and gray wolves, and (what is of greater importance to all who are interested in the perpetuation of these splendid animals) obey the Scriptural injunction and increase after their kind.
BY AGNUS DEANS CAMERON
The Great Round-Up
THE DAILY MISSOULIAN JULY 4 1909
ALL BUT OUTLAWS OF GREAT BUFFALO HERD MOVED
FROM FLATHEAD TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE SETTLER
PATRIARCH OF HERD (CENTER) WHICH DIED.
(By F. L. Baghy.)
WITH the shipment Wednesday of nearly 200 buffalo from. Ravalli, Mont., to Canada,
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 he 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. But 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 went to graze in peace or rush in maddened fright before some impending danger, are crossed with fences, dotted with farmhouses 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 at 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.
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.
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. Failing 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., if 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 Ravalli 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.
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 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, fought with a younger
PULLING A BISON ABOARD A CAR.
bull, then lay down in the loading chute and died.
It was a pathetic picture to one who stopped to think, as he gazed at the
SHAGGY MONARCHS OF THE RANGE.
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 railroad 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.
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 months 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 be gotten underway.
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 underway. 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 dinger, and the thrill attendant until a chase either before or after a rushing herd of bison, constitute life.
Here is Charlie’s account of one incident. NOTE: no attempt has been made to duplicate Charlie’s original spelling in this passage.
“I wish you could have seen them take river – they hit the water on a dead run. That river was tapioca for them and they left her (the river) at the same gait. They took her catching a photographer from Butte on the bank. We all thought he was a goner but when the dust cleared he showed up shy a camera, hat and most of his pants. Lucky for him there were some cedars on the bank as he wasn’t slow about using one.”
In the book Head Hides and Horns, a photo is captioned.
“Michel’s Salish wife, who, rumor has it, so hated the United States she kept Michel from selling their herd to it. More likely, the U.S. bid too low. Courtesy University of Montana Archives, Missoula.”
(The two photos are not the same photo.)
In 1907 an Edmonton newspaper shared a similar photo of Mrs. Irvine. Wife of Billy/William Irvine. One of the “Buffalo Boys”.
From the book,
“I Will Be Meat for My Salish”: The Buffalo and the Montana Writers Project and the Buffalo of the Flathead Indian Reservation;
In the interval of thirty years, the names of most of these daredevil riders have been forgotten, but the names of a few of them are still recalled by the older residents of the Flathead Valley. At that time they were called “Buffalo Boys” to distinguish them from the ordinary cowboy. Among the riders were Tony Barnaby (Pablo’s son in law), Zephyr Courville ( Allard’s brother in law), Frank McCleod [McLeod], Malcom McCleod [Mcleod] , Joseph Houle, James Peone, Jim Grinder, Antoine Morigeau, Billy Lewis, Billy Ervine [Irvine], Billy Archibald, Tom “Butch’ O’Connell, and Mrs. Emily Ervine [Irvine], Alvin Peone, then too young to ride, with Mose Delaware, Henry Moss were attending the loading chutes leading to the railroad cars. The riders were paid $5.00 a day and they probably earned it, as they were usually in the saddle from dawn to dark. It has since been said of them that they road not for the money but for the excitement and glory of the chase.
In an interview, Mrs. Mary Blood, told of Michael Pablo’s pleasure when her sister-in-law, Mrs. Emily Ervine [Irvine], offered her services as a rider in the roundup. Billy Ervine [Irvine], her husband, was one of Pablo’s friends. She was an expert horse rider, had ridden broncos, and bad ones, over much of the Flathead Valley. As she was part Indian, she understood buffalo, their habits, and how to handle them. Her fellow riders said she was an equal of any two ordinary riders. She was a graceful and beautiful woman, and was always mounted on a splendid appearing horse; a site which Charlie Russell said, “was enough to stir any he-man’s blood.” She demonstrated her efficiency one hot day, when after continuous riding of about 100 miles, she, unaided, was successful in steering the herd and thus preventing what would have been a most disastrous stampede. Her husband also participated in the roundup, and Mr. Pablo was so well pleased with their work, that he presented them with the best buffalo cow in the herd. This was in Indians appreciation, aside from the wages they had earned. They treasured the hide of that cow and were proud and telling their visitors its history.
The Billings Gazette., October 09, 1908
ROUNDING UP HERD OF WILD BUFFALO
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT WILL. ASSIST IN WORK.
(Special to The Gazette.)
GREAT FALLS, Oct.- Charles M. Russell, Canadian Land Agent; Benjamin F Davis, and or two other Great Falls residents will leave shortly for Ravalli for the purpose of watching; the roundup of the remainder of the herd of buffalo purchased by the Canadian government a couple of years ago, which will be shipped to the Canadian national park at Banff.
Word has been received from the reservation, where the buffalo are ranged that the recent bad weather had interfered with the work of rounding up the animals and that little progress was made before the storm commenced. There is trouble enough in running these outlaw bison when all conditions are favorable, and when the ground is slippery it Is next to impossible. They run clumsily, but dart quickly when they dodge, and they keep running until a horse is worn out. With the effort to keep up with them and head them off. There is no use trying to handle them in wet weather, as they are liable, to get hurt, and it is necessary to deliver them in good shape.
Manitoba Museum – Pablos Outlaw Bison states:
In early 1911, in what was billed by The New York Times in January that year as “the last big buffalo hunt in the history of the world,” Pablo hunted down and shot these ‘outlaw’ bison. The metal plaque on the Museum hallway head clearly identifies it as a member of Pablo’s ‘outlaw’ herd.
American Bison Society meeting:
Dr. Hornaday then spoke of the status of the outlaw bison of the Pablo herd.
On motion of Dr. Hornaday, it was Voted: That the President of the Society be requested to communicate with the governor of Montana, representing to him the undesirability of allowing the slaughter of the Pablo outlaw bison, and requesting him to take action to put an end to it permanently.
The Pablo Herd.—This herd was started in 1884, with 36 animals brought together. In 1907 it numbered almost 600. Few people will believe there was such a number, but they were on the reservation, without doubt. The annual increment for several years has been between 60 and 100. There have been many sales, perhaps some losses by wild animals, and still, the herd has increased rapidly.
This herd was sold recently to representatives of the Canadian Government. The understanding was that the entire herd was to be taken except 15 or 20, which Pablo reserved. The price was $250.00 each, large and small, old and young, male and female, delivered at Strathcona, but the Canadians paid the freight. Pablo suffered the loss in loading and in transportation, paid the expenses of bringing them in from the range, of loading, and of stalls, rope, and other material.
Two train loads, containing approximated 200 animals each, or about 400, were shipped, one in late spring, the other in late fall. Nearly $100,000 have thus been paid by the Canadians for American animals. The expense to Pablo has been great. They were hard to bring in from the range, and weeks were required to bring together a few bands.
Approximately 200 Buffalo are set on the range, which it was impossible to bring to the shipping point. No doubt many of these are old ones and least desirable in starting a herd, but with this number, there is still a chance for saving a portion of this herd for America.
Pablo cannot be blamed for the sale. The reservation is soon to be thrown open, his range will be gone, and so large a herd cannot be maintained without a large and free range. The herd cost him money in the beginning, money for maintenance, and he must dispose of it to any buyer. It is said on excellent authority he would prefer to have them kept in America, but saw no opportunity to sell to the Government, and they could not be sold to private parties.
The Pablo herd should not have been permitted to leave the country. The range outlined in this report will hold a herd twice the size of the original Pablo herd of 600, and still have food for as many more animals of other species. The cost of the range will not be as great as the loss to the nation of the herd that has been sold. If the money that should have been put into the herd is now in part put into this range, and in part into animals, in a few years, the increment will be such as to make a herd of which the nation may be proud.
NOTES ON THE CENSUS.
The Canadian Bison Herd.—The most important event of 1907 in the life history of the American Bison was the action of the Canadian Government in purchasing the entire Pablo-Allard herd of six hundred and twenty-eight animals, and transporting 398 of them to Elk Island Park, Canada. Of the 240 Bison still remaining on the Flathead range, all save 10 head belong to Canada and will be removed during 1908. No enumeration of the sexes and the calves remaining in Montana has ever been made, and the division of the herd of 240 head into males, females, and calves, as shown in this census, has been made by the rules of proportion, using the known quantities in the 398 head already taken to Canada, and reported upon by Howard Douglas.
Inasmuch as it was impossible to induce the United States Government to purchase the Pablo-Allard herd, and forever maintain it on the Flathead Reservation, the next best thing was that it should pass into the hands of the Canadian Government, and be located on the upper half of the former range of the species. In view of the breaking up of the Flathead Indian Reservation, and its opening to settlement, it was no longer possible for Mr. Pablo to maintain his herd, either there or elsewhere. The
Canadian Government deserves to be sincerely congratulated upon its wisdom, its foresight, and its genuine enterprise in providing $157,000 for the purchase of the Pablo herd, in addition to the cost of transporting the animals, and fencing Elk Island Park. It is for the Canadians to write the full history of this important transaction, and record the names of the men who are entitled to the credit for the grand coup by which Canada secured for her people the finest herd of American Bison in the world. The friends of the Bison may indeed be thankful that the great northwestern herd is not to be scattered to the ends of the earth, and finally disappear in the unstable hands of private individuals.
THE “OUTLAW” REMNANT OF THE PABLO BISON HERD
QUITE in line with the expectations of many persons who had watched the difficult and dangerous task of rounding up the Pablo buffaloes for shipment to Canada, a considerable number of vigorous young cows and bulls finally evaded all efforts to capture them. The adventures of the Indian cowboys who did the rounding up would if written out in full, make a thrilling story; but it seems that it is lost to history through the fact that a historian who could do justice to the raw materials was not among those present. Certain it is, however, that after wearing out the Indians of Pablo’s own tribe, the Flatheads, and their allies, a strong Blackfoot contingent also was worn out, and the Outlaw Remnant remained masters of the situation.
The Remnant surely represented the survival of the fittest, and firmly believed in the soundness of that Darwinian principle. It was the buffaloes that were most courageous and swift of foot, and strongest in wind and limb, that outfooted the Indian cowboys, and finally wore them out. In final acknowledgment of his defeat, and of his utter inability to corral and ship the outlaws, about seventy-five in number, Pablo finally decided that the only way in which he could get his money out of them was by selling rights to “hunt” and shoot them, at so much per head!
Accordingly, the word went forth—in Canada—that anyone who wished to become a genuine “buffalo hunter,” A. D. 1910, might do so by paying Michel Pablo, once owner of the outlaws, $250 for the privilege of making a kill. It was stipulated that Pablo would furnish free transportation for the trophy head to the railroad.
On the above basis, a party of eight or ten distinguished Canadians was made up, each of whom elected to become a near-buffalo-hunter. The astounding feature of this whole enterprise was the presence in that company of “hunters” of Commissioner Howard Douglas, the man whose great interest in the saving of the bison led him to negotiate with Pablo the purchase by Canada of the Pablo herd. Until the proposed buffalo hunt was arranged, we would have supposed that nothing could have induced Mr. Douglas to go out and deliberately shoot down a perfectly healthy and vigorous buffalo. There were those who at first refused to believe that Mr. Douglas had entered into the buffalo-killing plot. There were those who thought that those outlaw buffaloes had not only fairly earned their freedom, but were entitled to protection also.
At what was practically the last moment, the news of the intended “buffalo-hunt” on American soil leaked out from the Flathead reservation, and finally reached a man who spread it where he thought it would do the most good. It was rightly pointed out that the event proposed would, if consummated according to program, be a disgrace to the United States. The idea of shooting down bison because they could not be captured and sold and shipped was nothing less than revolting.
Mr. Henry Avare, Game Warden of the State of Montana, proved himself the man for the emergency. He applied to the Attorney-General of Montana for an opinion regarding the legality of hunting and killing the bison that had effectually escaped from Pablo, and were at the moment ferae natura. The Attorney-General, Mr._________ considered all the legal aspects of the matter, and was forced to the conclusion that under the law forbidding the hunting, wounding, or killing of buffaloes in the State of Montana, the proposed buffalo hunt would be contrary to law. In fact, since the out law animals had entirely escaped from Pablo and become wild, with no controlling ownership over them, they had distinctly come under the protection of the laws of the State.
Game Warden Avare acted with commendable promptness and decision. He quickly notified Pablo that the hunt proposed could not take place. It seems, however, that the word either arrived too late or was not transmitted to Canada in time; for the hunting party promptly arrived at Missoula, ready to take the field. We refrain from setting forth the names of the gentlemen who were present because I imagine that they failed to realize the shocking impropriety of the step that they proposed to take.
A deputy game warden appeared and informed the leader of the party that the hunt could not take place.
The leader insisted upon the right of Pablo to sell hunting rights to those outlaw buffaloes, and declared that they “would go out anyhow.” The reply was “If you go, I will be obliged to send an officer with each man who goes, to see that he does not shoot a buffalo, and to arrest him if he attempts to do so.”
This was sufficient. The hunt did not come off; but naturally there was much disappointment among those present from Canada. At this time, the seventy-five “outlaw” bison still are outlawing, in the rugged mountains surrounding the old Flathead reservation. Pablo claims them, and I believe he still offers to sell hunting rights at $250. Pablo is said to assert that the animals are “dangerous” to the Indians who live on the reservation, and it is reported that one bull has been shot at and wounded on that basis. The fear and consternation on the reservation is said to be serious; but we think that it will be long before either life or property is endangered by the outlaws that are so wild that they cannot be rounded up.
Just what the future has in store for those wild bison, no one knows. Inasmuch as they are fully under the protection of the sovereign State of Montana, it is safe to predict that some of them will survive, and multiply. In the wild country surrounding the old reservation, there is food, water, and shelter for 10,000 buffaloes. That some of the outlaws will be killed on the sly, and contrary to law, is reasonably certain. No doubt some of them will be slaughtered by Indians, practically in revenge. But State Game Warden Avare is very much “on the job” regarding those bison, and if there is any killing it is reasonably certain that someone will be punished to an extent that will exercise a salutary effect on the public mind. It is our prediction that those buffaloes will not be safe from molestation until at least one white man and one Indian has been hauled to court and shown that an infraction of the game laws of Montana is a serious matter.
Since the above was written, the Secretary of the American Bison Society, Mr. W. P. Wharton, has received from Mr. Henry Avare, State Game Warden of Montana, a letter which contains the following rather startling paragraph :
” There will probably be an effort made by Pablo to have special legislation granting him the right to treat the animals now at large as personal property. This will most likely come before our next Legislature, and the measure will have many commendable features as these animals were originally imported from the eastern part of the State as personal property, a large consideration having been paid for them. Major Morgan, the United States Indian agent for the Flathead Reservation, is one of the most ardent supporters of this proposed measure, and personally, I believe that this consideration is due Pablo.”
We will watch with keen interest to see whether the Legislature of Montana will change its Game Laws to please the pocket of Michel Pablo. Already Pablo has been made immensely wealthy by his bison herd. In Ravalli, I was told that he is supposed to be worth a million dollars!
If the Legislature of Montana feels inclined to change its Game Laws in order to swell the unearned increment of Mr. Pablo, why should it not make the testimonial benefit complete by making an appropriation to pay for the capture of the bison that have so gallantly gained the liberty of wild animals?
W.T. H. (William T Hornaday)
The following shipments have been received to date from Michael Pablo since the two first shipments from this source were received during:
1907 and which amounted to four hundred and ten head (410).
Third shipment July 1909 . . . . . . . . . . . .. 190
Fourth “ Oct. 1909 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Fifth “ June 1910 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Sixth “ Oct. 1910.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Seventh “ May 1911 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 7
Eighth “ June 1912 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Total received from Michael Pablo . . . . . . . 708
1912 Michel Pablo was recorded to have about 25 wild bison
Special thanks to OregonPioneers.com for their work on Pablo (below)
Michel Pablo a composite history In the Pacific Northwest in 1844 By Chalk Courchane
Michel Pablo was born sometime in 1844 or 1845 probably at Fort Benton, Montana Territory, the son of Michel Pablo and Otter Woman, a Piegan Blackfeet. I don’t know anything about his parents. Although his mother was Blackfeet he was still enrolled on the Flathead Reservation. His father is said to be Mexican, but the when, why, and what of his time in Montana isn’t known. He had two brothers Frank and Laurette “Larak” Pablo and one sister, Margaret “Maggie” Pablo who married James Todd.
He was orphaned as a youngster and it “is related on seemingly reliable authority that Michel and his brother, Laurette, were the only survivors of an Indian raid on the white settlement at Fort Benton. Michel’s first memory, after the skirmish, was of being wrapped in a buffalo robe in the company of the Blackfeet Indians.” Angus McLeod, brought him to Valley Creek in 1864 where Pablo was employed on McLeod’s cattle ranch near Arlee, Montana, and remained there for two years.
On October 1, 1864, he married Agate (Agathe) Finley, the Pend d’Oreille daughter of Augustin “Yoostah” and Clemence “Cah-le-moss” Finley, at St. Ignatius Catholic Mission. They had at least 8 children: Charles, Margaret “Maggie”, Eliza, Louie, Annie, Mary, Joseph Emanuel, and Alexander N.
Michel was considered the “Cattle King of the Lower Flathead Valley” and Pablo, Montana was named after him. In the St. Ignatius Mission, Montana Marriage Book 1856-1873 we find: That Michel Pablo son of Pablo, and Agate daughter of Augustin & Clemos were married after 3 banns on 1 October 1864. Witnesses were Jaques Enfre Favre, Alexander son of Parel, and Therese his wife. It said Michel Pablo was Pend d’Oreille from his mother and Spanish from his father.
In 1866 being fluent in English and Indian languages, he was employed by the Jocko agency as an interpreter and continued in this capacity until 1870. At this time, he moved to the lower Flathead Valley and established what was later to become the Pablo Cattle and Buffalo Ranch. This ranch was two miles south of the present town of Pablo, which was later named in his honor.
In 1906-07, there was approximately 10,000 head of cattle grazing on the pastures and ranges controlled by Michel Pablo. As a stock grower, he was associated with Charles Allard Sr. and the pair prospered in their joint venture. Both played key roles in preservation of the buffalo on the North American continent. Together, they purchased a few head of bison. The animals multiplied into a sizeable herd. The Pablo-Allard enterprise became nationally famous and attracted wide attention when the herd was sold to the Canadian government Michel Pablo and Charles Allard Sr. owned about 300 head of buffalo that roamed the unfenced Mission Valley feeding on the lush native grass.
When Charles Allard Sr. died in 1896 the herd was rounded up and divided. Michel Pablo retained 150 head and the widow, Louise Allard, and her four children received the other 150 which they sold. At this time the United States government was making plans to open the Flathead Reservation for settlement in 1910. Already by 1910, many white men had claimed land in the valley. Free range was disappearing. Pablo asked the United States Government to set aside pasture for the buffalo or even buy the herd. The government ignored both requests. However, the Canadian government, concerned with the near extinction of the buffalo herds offered Pablo $250 apiece for the 800 buffalo, delivered to Wainwright, Alberta, Canada, a distance of some 1,200 miles.
The Canadian offer was accepted, and in 1906 began the only successful buffalo roundup in history; a roundup that was not completed until 1912. Michel Pablo hired 25 of Montana’s best cowboys. When the task proved very difficult, more men were hired. Most stayed with the roundup until it was completed, others worked for only a season. Headquarters were at the Pablo Ranch two miles south of Pablo, as it now stands. (There was no town of Pablo at the time.) It was planned to hold the buffalo bulls in corrals, load them into wagons reinforced to hold them, and haul them to the train in Ravalli. Some of the bulls weighed as much as 2,200 pounds so the wagon sides were raised to ten feet and well braced. Each wagon rack was built so that only one bull could stand in it. At Ravalli, special corrals were built with chutes leading to reinforced stock cars owned by the Northern Pacific. Corrals, wagons, trains, and even men on horseback were completely foreign to the buffalo and their reactions were violent and dangerous, with many narrow escapes for both horses and riders.
The first summer found no buffalo shipped to Canada. Pablo decided to put Charles Allard Jr. in charge of the roundup. Young Allard was versed in the habits of buffalo and given complete charge, had corrals built about 25 miles from Ronan on the flats in the Big Bend of the Pend d’Oreille (Flathead) river, southwest of where Round Butte is now – northwest of the Sloan bridge. The largest corral included about five acres with wings on both sides of the entrance, extending out and down to the river. Small corrals and a strong loading chute were connected with the large corral. Here the land sloped gently to the river, but across the water cliffs rose abruptly, broken by small coulees which led to the river. The fences, corrals, etc., had been built from cedar posts found in the groves along the river. Now at the edge of the cliffs, for some 26 miles, a fence was built, gradually fanning out to lead the buffalo to the center where a coulee led directly to the river, as most of the buffalo were on the west side of the river.
The roundup started in earnest, buffalo from as far away as 30 miles were herded into this natural trap, where they had to ford the river. When they came out on the other side the wings of the big corral herded them into it. The first herd of about 300 was brought into the wings but the cowboys could not hold them. They finally ended up with 120 buffalo in the trap but woke the next morning with one old cow. The rest had climbed the cliff and got away. The next day a very bad blizzard came and the roundup was called off until the next summer. The next spring in May 1908, the roundup was resumed. It was not easy, for these wild, unruly beasts attacked horse and rider when cornered. Only fast work saved them from injury. The cows, calves, and younger bulls were easier to move into corrals but it was difficult to move the heavier bulls. Often, when a herd was almost in the corral, they broke and ran leaving only 10 or 12 animals in the corral.
A Butte photographer, N. A Forsyth, taking pictures from the river bank, was lucky, when the animals broke away, that he could hide in a nearby cedar grove and lose only his hat and part of his pants. The roundup brought photographers, writers, and noted men as well as the best cowpunchers from all over. One cowpuncher artist was Charles M. Russell, who came in 1907 and 1908 to talk with cowboy friends and sketch buffalo. He wrote back telling what a wide-open town Ronan was for gambling.
When buffalo had been captured in the corral they were loaded in wagons and hauled over the hills to where Charlo now stands and then on to the waiting cars in Ravalli. Some tried to climb the corral fence and one big bull succeeded in getting over and running through the town. About 25 had to be killed as they were so wild they could not be loaded. One powerful bull crashed through the side of the stock car and had to be killed.
As the shipments continued, many of the small bands were brought to Ravalli on hoof. The final shipment to Canada was June 1, 1912. Cowboys taking part in the Buffalo Roundup included: Charles Allard Jr., Charles M. Russell, Marcel Mitchell, Joe McDonald, Jim Michel, Louison “ Luizo” Ashley, Alec Pablo, Don Michel, Walter Sloan, Alec Ashley, Louie Pablo, Joe Pablo, Arthur Ray, Michel Pablo, Charles Metcalf, Johnny McDonald, Marion Deschamps, Jim Grinder, Fred Houle, Joe Marion, Billy Irvine, and many others.”
“With astute management and hard work, Michel’s ranch grew and prospered, and he became known throughout western Montana as the cattle-king of the lower Flathead. At the peak of ranch production, in 1906-07, there was approximately 10,000 head of cattle grazing on the pastures and ranges controlled by Michel Pablo. (A member of the family estimated that there was 30,000 head of cattle on the ranch at one time, and added the information that the grass was so high when a cow laid down to chew her cud, she was completely hidden from view. It is thought that the estimate of the cattle is a lot like that grass — too high.”
From THE FEDERAL REPORTER, vol. 138, (July-Sept. 1905) pp 964-968: “United States v. Heyfron, County Treasurer (Circuit Court, d. Montana. April 24, 1905. No. 690. Indians-Adoption of Half-Breed Into tribe – Tribal Rights. The various acts of Congress relating to Indians, including those relating to the Flathead Indian Nation, as well as the practice of the executive departments of the government, recognize the right of a tribe to adopt as a member thereof an Indian of the half-blood who has continued to reside on the reservation as an Indian, and one so adopted has all the rights of a tribal Indian and a ward of the United States, including the exemption from state taxation of his property held on the reservation, so long as his tribal relation continues. In Equity. Suit for injunction. Carl Rasch, U.S. Atty. (Marshall & Stiff, of counsel), for plaintiff. Woody & Woody, for defendant. Hunt, District Judge. The United States brought this bill against the county treasurer of the county of Missoula, within the state of Montana, praying for a writ of injunction to restrain the said treasurer from enforcing the collection of certain taxes which he was seeking to collect from Michel Pablo. It is alleged that Pablo is an Indian person and a member of the Flathead Indian Nation, and was such during the year of 1903 when the defendant attempted to collect taxes; that, under the laws of the United States and the treaties heretofore entered into by the United States with the Flathead Nation, the said Pablo became, and, as a member of the Flathead Indian Nation, is, a ward of the United States, and entitled to own and hold property on the said Indian reservation in his own right, free from taxation by the state and the county of Missoula. The answer denies that Pablo is an Indian or a member of the Flathead Nation, and denies that he is entitled to own and hold property on the Flathead Reservation exempt from taxation. There is but one question presented by the pleadings, which is, was Michel Pablo a ward of the government of the United States, by reason of his being an Indian and maintaining tribal relations with certain Indian tribes? The facts are these: Michel Pablo was born about 58 or 60 years ago, east of the Rocky Mountains, in what is now known as part of the state of Montana, and which was at the time of his birth a section recognized as Indian country, occupied by Blackfeet Piegan Indian. His father died when he was young, and after the death of the father, the boy accompanied his Indian mother to the Colville Reservation, in the territory of Washington. His mother died there, and he remained on the Colville Reservation until he was about 13, associating in his boyhood with Indian boys. Then he went to De Smet, Mont., which is now within Missoula county; and after staying there a short time he went to the Flathead Reservation and has lived there ever since, or for about 42 or 43 years. About 4 years after he removed to the Flathead Reservation a council of Indian chiefs of the Indian tribes and Indians was called for the purpose of considering the question of the adoption of Pablo. This council was held in 1864. Pablo himself was present at the council. The chiefs announced his adoption after the council, and ever since that time he has been treated as a member of the tribe by the Indians themselves and has complied with all the laws, rules, and regulations of the tribe. He married a member of the tribe, and has reared a family, and never has severed his tribal relations, but without interruption has maintained the habits and customs of the Indians. The government of the United States has made no difference in its treatment of Pablo from that accorded to the Indians of that tribe, and Pablo has participated and acted with the tribes and nations in tribal affairs and councils and otherwise. His name appears upon the official roll and the annuity roll of the government of the United States, and about 20 years ago, when the Northern Pacific Railroad Company obtained a right of way through the reservation and paid the Indians about $21,000 therefore, Michael Pablo received a share in the distribution of the fund, participated in the council of the Indians held in respect to the matter, and was in all respects recognized as entitled to the privileges and rights of membership in the tribe. From these facts, and the law to be applied to them, I conclude that Michael Pablo was adopted by the Indians rightfully upon the reservation and that he became tied to the tribes by a relationship lawfully made, and was and is, in law, an Indian sustaining tribal relations. That the Indians had right of adoption, without doing violence to the Stevens treaty of 1856, is inferable from the several acts of Congress bearing upon rights of Indians….. As a result of these several considerations, I conclude that under the facts Pablo is a ward of the government; that his ties with the Indians were long since established, and, being unbroken, still exist; and that he is therefore entitled to immunity from state and county taxes.
The injunction will be made permanent.” From “I Will Be Meat For My Salish” – The Buffalo and the Federal writers Project Interviews Relating to the Flathead Indian Reservation, edited by Bob Bigart – The Federal Writers Project Manuscripts – The Pablo-Allard Herd by W.A. Bartlett,
“The Pablo-Allard Herd: Care & Growth, pages 65-66: “J.B. Monroe described Michael Pablo as half Blackfoot half Spaniard who was born on the great plains, and when quite young moved to Colville, Washington.
His early life was one of hardship and rustle, and he seems to be a man who knows every phase of western life. About six feet two inches tall and weighing 240 pounds without any spare flesh, active and pushing, he seems to be a man thoroughly awake and alive to all business ventures.
Monroe gives us a good picture of Pablo’s home and ranch as he saw it in 1902: …His ranch is run like clockwork; a skilled Chinese chef runs the kitchen; two business-like men, a French-Canadian and a German, attend to the ranch and farm work; meals are had on time, horses curried night and morning, stables swept out, wagons, buggies and farm machinery under cover, fences and all buildings in good repair.
Everything denotes push and progress. He has an elk park, and two cows, two bulls, and one last year’s calf occupies a well-fenced, twenty-acre tract. I saw some wild geese and some queer-looking geese around the house.
During our talk, he told me he had some cross geese, between wild and tame. I forgot to examine them in my haste to catch the boat. He told me of having had a white mountain goat which would get upon an ordinary rail fence and walk the top rail for a quarter of a mile. Some hounds one day caught it away from home and killed it. He is now negotiating with parties in the Northwest Territories for some antelope.
Large fine work horses are used on his ranch, and lighter horses for cow and driving purposes. In winter he runs a private school close to his ranch and pays the teacher. He has tried the mission schools, but they were to slow and worshipped the past. He wants his children to progress and look to the future. His wife is a full-blood Flathead.
The ranch contains some 450 acres of good farming and grassland. It is situated on the east side of the valley close to the belt of timber. He has large irrigating ditches. He has a barn that will shelter 100 head of stock. All kinds of improved harvesting and haying machinery are carefully housed. The broad level prairie rolls away to the west. Here is all a western man wants, plenty of fine timber, water, and grass.
His house is large and commodious, suitable for his business, and he is building an addition.
The cowboys or herders of the ranch are living about ten miles west, on the Pend d’Oreille [Flathead] River. They have a good ferry and a good house and stable.” “Raising Cattle on the Flathead Reservation Cattle raising began on the reservation in the late 1850s when traders bought exhausted cattle from emigrants going to Oregon, usually in the vicinity of today’s Pocatello, Idaho, drove them to the Jocko Valley to fatten, then resold them to other emigrants the following spring. Some of these cattle were traded to Indians for horses and were the source of the Indian herds. During the 1850s Neil McArthur, first agent at Fort Connah, and Louis Mallet drove herds from Oregon into Bitterroot and Jocko Valleys for the winter, then drove them back westward to trade in the spring. John Owens recorded that in 1856 traders or stockmen who came to western Montana included Louis Brown and a Mormon trader, Van Etten, who was accompanied by George Goodwin, Bill Madison, James Brown and F. W. Woody.
The cattle ranching industry became concentrated among a handful of white men who were married to Indian women. Angus McDonald (who had a verbal lease to lands around Fort Conah) raised cattle near the fort. Other men (some former employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company, some free traders) included Peter Irvine and his son William, Dave Cachure, Charles Allard, and Michel Pablo. By 1889, raising stock had become nearly as important as farming.
There were 5,782 horses and 12,250 cattle. (Annual Report of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of Interior, 1889, pp. 522-23). Most of the cattle were owned by Pablo and Allard. In 1894, more than $40,000 worth of beef cattle were shipped to Chicago. The cattle were of good breed, having been improved over the years with Holstein and Poled Angus bulls.
The horses were cayuses, small and of little value. Because of the mild winters, little supplemental feed was supplied, until the numbers of horses grew so large the grass was depleted.
By 1895, William Irvine drove six hundred cattle to Canada to winter because there was not enough grass on the reservation. About 13,000 horses were sold between 1903 and 1906 which took some pressure off the reservation grass. By 1904, tribal members began to fence their allotments in preparation for the opening of the reservation. In 1906, about half the reservation cattle were disposed of, thousands being driven to Canada. Beginning about 1916, dairying became more important.
By 1948, 1,100 farmers milked cows, about one-fifth of whom got most of their money from their dairies.” http://www.flatheadreservation.org/timeline/documents/cattle.htm
“Michel Pablo Dies Suddenly At Ronan Ronan, July 12. (Sunday.) Michael Pablo one of the oldest residents of the reservation country, died shortly after midnight this morning. He was stricken suddenly about 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon while working at his farm here. All that was possible was done for his relief, but the stroke was fatal. Whether it was induced by the heat or not is not known. Mr. Pablo was one of the best known men on the reservation. For years he had been a successful farmer and stockman. He was associated with the late Charles Allard in the ownership of the famous buffalo herd that was afterward sold to the Canadian government for the Banff National Park. In this connection, Mr. Pablo acquired international fame.
Scientists and hunters came from many regions to witness the loading and transportation of the large herd of buffalo. Old as he was, Pablo directed the handling of this herd personally; he was in the saddle with the young men of the reserve. Riding hard and managing the business, he won the admiration of visitors. He was a picturesque figure always. As a citizen and father, Michel Pablo was a high-class man. The Indian in him was good Indian and his white ancestry had left him the heritage of a gentleman by breeding. He was highly esteemed and will be greatly missed.”
From The Daily Missoulian, July 12, 1914, page 1 From The Ronan Pioneer, July 17, 1914, page 1: “Michel Pablo Dies Suddenly The community was startled Sunday morning to learn of the death the evening before of Michel Pablo, one of the oldest residents in the valley. He was taken suddenly ill Saturday and a physician summoned but no one thought him seriously sick, and when about 10 o’clock that evening he attempted to walk across the room and fell and expired at once, his extreme condition became apparent. He had not been in the best of health for many months but kept going all the time. He talked with some of his intimate friends about his condition and said many times that he did not expect to long survive, but little was thought of his condition being as serious as it was. He was considering a trip to Rochester, Minn., in hopes that he might be benefitted by their treatment but delayed the journey too long. Michel Pablo was a man of great natural ability; unable to read or write more than his name, he alone carved out a fortune estimated at over half a million. It was he who sold to the Canadian government a large herd of buffalo, personally superintending the delivery of this sale which gave him thousands of dollars. He was a man of very few words, kept his own counsel, and made few intimate friends but retained all he made.
The funeral services were held in the Catholic Church in Ronan Tuesday morning at 10 o’clock, Father O’Malley, assisted by Fathers Sullivan and Cordon of the St. Ignatius mission, chanting the solemn mass. The services were impressive and after the mass Father O’Malley delivered a fine funeral sermon, in which he spoke feelingly of the deceased and told of his life on the Flathead and the means he had employed to gain and hold the esteem of all who knew him. He spoke of his high character, his steadfast adherence to the truth and right as his knowledge and education enabled him to see such things, and of his final preparations to meet his maker. The father told of his efforts to prepare the man’s soul and to ease his mind and said that when the time came for him to go he was at peace with the world and with his God.
The sermon left a deep impression on all who heard it and was a fine tribute to the departed. The pallbearers were Joseph Bouchard of Ronan, Wm. Irvine of Polson, Pat Normandeau of Ronan, Duncan McDonald of Ravalli, Angus McDonald of Camas, and Theodore Lachambre of Missoula.
Burial was in the Catholic cemetery at St. Ignatius, a large number of carriages and autos from Ronan and vicinity following the remains to the cemetery. Old-time friends of the deceased from all over the reservation and Missoula were in attendance at the funeral, each paying their last respects to a departed friend.
He leaves a wife, three daughters, and three sons. Mrs. Orson Dupuis, Mrs. Frank Ashley, Mrs. Tony Barnaby, and Joseph, Louie and Alex Pablo.
“Pablo died July 12, 1914, on his ranch just southwest of the present Pablo town site, three years before the opening of the town site to settlement. He had been stricken ill while working the field the previous day.
The July 16, 1914, edition of the Flathead Courier reported, “The funeral was held at Ronan Tuesday after which the body was taken to St. Ignatius for interment. A large crowd of people, estimated at 300, were in attendance at the funeral coming from all parts of the country. The pallbearers were all old-timers being William Irvine of Polson, Angus McDonald of Camas, F. Lachambre of Missoula, Duncan McDonald of Ravalli, and Joe Bouchard of Ronan. Michel Pablo never lived to see the town site, later named for him, become a thriving community.
He died at the family home on July 12, 1914.” SOURCES: “Early Flathead and Tobacco Plains”; p.44; “Flathead and Kootenay-the Rivers the Tribes and the Regions Traders”; Olga W. Johnson; p. 349; “The Last Great Round-up” by Newton McTavish (CSKT 741); “Historic and Scenic Missoula and Ravalli Counties: Souvenir Of The National Irrigation Congress, 1975 (CSKT 623); Courier-Pioneer-Mission Valley News Vacation Guide 1988-p64 (This article was also in the Flathead-Mission Diamond Jubilee Edition-1985-By the Ronan Pioneer and Flathead Courier, page 7); The Mission Valley News, 17 Sept.1980, p6: “Early Days By Miss Beaver-History’s longest roundup begins; and The Fabulous Flathead, J.F.McAlear, pp 47-48: