Did you know?

Did you know?


How the word ‘buffalo’ came into use. To the Spanish explorers the animal was called cibola. Some Spanish writers called them bisonte. Others called them armenta. Early French called them Bison d’ Amerique. Canadian voyagers called them boeuf (ox or bullock) The later French called them bufflo and later still buffelo. English colonist were using the term “buffalo” around 1710 and it 1st appeared in print around 1754.

*The difference between ‘buffalo’ and ‘bison’. There is none, the difference comes from the people who use the words. Buffalo is the common name and Bison is technically, the correct usage.

  • *In the 1600s, the Monks of St. Frances in Zacatecas, (central Mexico), had two buffalo that pulled a two-wheeled cart.


*1701 East coast of North America is when the first efforts to raise buffalo began.

* About 1815, Wickliffe trained some for oxen work. (only, still very wild)

*1860’s during the Civil War, a pair in Kansas, extremely gentle and trained for yoke.

*1869 One of the earliest known photographs, of wild buffalo on the plains “Buffalo Hunt”.

*1874 For lack of a proper tree, a green hide was used to confine a horse thief. He was sewn inside and left on the prairie. (in the sun, a raw hide, turns rock hard)


A ‘pot hunter” is a hunter who kills for meat.

‘Hide hunter’ wants just the hide and maybe takes the tongue as well.

Some people would distance themselves from men who would kill a cow with a calf. (although, some of our more famous killers often did this.)

A ‘cripple” is a buffalo that has been wounded and is afterward discovered and killed.

A ‘spike” is a young bull.

After the hide is removed it is thrown into the wagon, and the Skinners move on from carcass to carcass, until the “whole stand,” as it is called, is skinned.

When taken to camp the pelts are laid in rows in a place known as “the hide yard.”


Where the term “Wild and Woolly” came from. (cattle drives)

In 1867 Butler, Baylor & Rose drove a herd to Abilene, Kansas, as did also Pucket & Rogers.

In 1868 the drives were pretty heavy, but further west, crossing Red River at Gainesville. In 1869 and 1870 they were heavier still, most of the herds crossing at Red River Station, passing east of old Fort Sill and west of the Indian and negro settlements, over which route water and grass were plentiful. This was known as the old Chisholm Trail. When we reached Kansas we usually found plenty of buffalo. When these animals were disturbed they would begin to travel northward. That is where the expression “wild and woolly” originated. When the boys reached “Abilene or some other Kansas town, they were usually long-haired and needing a barber’s attention, as there were no barbers on the trail. Upon being asked how they got there, they would sing out : “Come the Chisholm trail with the buffalo wild and woolly.”

“Buffalo Hunt”

This photograph depicts a buffalo hunt along the Big Timber River, located in Ellis County south of Hays, Kansas. Some more well-known members of the hunting party include General George Armstrong Custer, Hill P. Wilson, Captain Tom Custer, and General Samuel D. Sturgis.

This image in on loan from the Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply  kansasmemory.org 

On Loan From Kansas Historical Soceity


  • Refrigerating BoxcarTiffany Ad Advertisement taken from the 1st edition (1879) of the Car-Builders Dictionary for the Tiffany Refrigerator Car Company, a pioneer in the design of refrigerated railroad cars. Attempts have been made as early as 1842.
  • The first refrigerated boxcar entered service in June 1851, on the Northern Railroad.  This “icebox on wheels” was a limited success since it was only functional in cold weather. Around cir. 1857 Swift experimented by moving cut meat using a string of ten boxcars with their doors removed, and made a few test shipments to New York during the winter months over the Grand Trunk Railway.  The method proved too limited to be practical. In 1868 William Davis patented a refrigerator car that employed metal racks to suspend the carcasses above a frozen mixture of ice and salt. Which kind of worked, unless to hit a corner to fast and the meat would swing and derail the cars.Swift Line 1899 In 1878 Swift hired engineer Andrew Chase to design a ventilated car that was well insulated, and positioned the ice in a compartment at the top of the car, allowing the chilled air to flow naturally downward, this worked.

Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrigerator_car






  • * Lyndon B Johnson had buffalo on his Texas ranch 1966. Texas History (scroll to the bottom)

Lyndon B Johnson Texas Ranch 1966

*Bison grave marker in the Evergreen Cemetery, Paris, TexasBison Grave Marker

*I have seen several buffalo bulls that have been ‘cut’ or ‘steered’ and I noticed, their horns curl like a cows. (Do all do this?, I don’t know, I suppose it may depend on when they are ‘cut’.

Example:Don Hight with Bill

Also, could be the first housebroken buffalo. In the mid 60’s , he was also on an episode of “Rawhide” I am guessing this picture to be around the early 70’s.


*”Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” is a grammatically correct sentence in American English.


*Bison milk is closest related to mare’s milk

Table is adapted from course notes by Robert D. Bremel, University of Wisconsin and from Handbook of Milk Composition, by R. G. Jensen, Academic Press, 1995. http://ansci.illinois.edu/static/ansc438/Milkcompsynth/milkcomp_table.html



This One Word, Repeated 8 Times, Forms a Sentence—and It’s Grammatically Correct
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.


Aug 2017  I contacted James Derr of Texas A&M , to find out his most recent percentages of bison DNA tested. This is what he sent back to me.

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University has conducted DNA testing on more than 60,000 bison in both private and public herds across North America. About six percent of those bison tested, have evidence of cattle mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is maternally inherited from the dam, and the sire makes no contribution to the offspring. Analysis of the nuclear genome reveals the level of cattle genetics in North American bison average less than 1.5 percent from the genes inherited from both parents. While most public and private bison herds have evidence of historical hybridization with domestic cattle, (I assume he means of the herds tested) some important herds including Yellowstone National Park, Elk Island National Park and Henry Mountains State Park in Utah appear to be free of cattle introgression.

However, be aware that these few sentences are a superficial explanation of a more complex issue.  Ph.D. dissertations have been written on this subject so I caution you to make sure this statement is in the correct context.

Regards, Jim  Dr. James Derr, Professor  Texas A&M University

I would add, that I have always believed we were left with bison from history and, that in and of itself is something to protect no matter their make-up. Until we have DNA from ancient bison, we do not know if any cattle DNA findings are only in recent history. I do know they are trying to get samples to be tested. As soon as I know those results , I will share them.