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BACK-TRAILING ON THE OLD FRONTIERS
Interwoven closely with the his tory of the "far west" is the story of the buffalo of the American plains, which roamed the prairies in countless millions a century ago and became practically extinct within a few decades after the kill ing of the animals for their hides became a commercial industry. It is believed that no other great ani mal family was ever wiped out so rapidly. The American bison was found by the first colonists of the Caro linas, and other of the southern and middle states, from which parts of the continent they were soon frightened away or exterminated. In the latter part of the 18th cen tury they were seen in a wild state in Kentucky. Early in the 19th century most of these animals in the region east of the Mississippi were exterminated or had found their way to the prairies west of the great river. The earliest ac count of buffalo given by white men is that of Coronado, who saw great herds of them on his march northward from Mexico in 1585, between the Missouri river and the Rocky Mountains. One of the ear liest buffalo hunts on a big scale was that described by M. Nicollet in the late 30's, which took place near Fort Pierre, in South Dakota. in his across the continent by stage in 1859, encountered herds estimated to number millions in western Kan sas. The number of buffalo in the west in the early 50's was estimated roughly at from fifteen to twenty millions. They ranged from Mexi co north to the Arctic circle as far as the Great Slave Lake, but their natural home was on the plains be tween the Missouri river and the Rocky Mountains, and not farther south than the Rio Grande. Out side the limits of their real habitat the few small herds that existed were stragglers. once found a herd in Kentucky that numbered 1,000, but that was a large one for that territory. Daniel Boone For years a goodly portion of the meat consumed by early settlers in the middle west and west was cut from the carcass of the shaggy animal which so long existed as monarch of the plains. Thousands of people who crossed the plains in wagon trains drew their supply of meat from the same source. Buf falo trails were followed westward because it was known that they would lead to water, chips" even furnished fuel to the plainsmen. The hides furnished many white men with garments and moccasins, as well as bedding. Buffalo Buffalo Made Possible the Building of Pacific Railroad The building of the first railroad to the Pacific was made possible at so early a date because the buffalo existed. the army of railroad builders drew their daily supplies of fresh meat, and thousands of the animals were slaughtered for food annually while the work of laying rails was push ed forward. For a few years in the 70's the railroads did an enor From the mighty herds No heat with this summer meal A DISH of crisp, delicious Grape-Nuts, with cream or milk (some berries or fresh fruit, too, if you like) is cooling to serve, cooling to eat and cooling to digest—with a charm of flavor and goodness that rouses appetite enthusiasm. No preparation, no cooking—no heating of the body afterward, as heavy, starchy meals do—but well-rounded nourishment for every bodily need. There's a noticeable feeling of lightness and com fort after such a meal. Try this way out of the heat, bother and uncertainty that usually goes with the midsummer food problem. Order GfäpC'NlltS from your grocer today, T here's a Reason A ^ I 3 J* cook i( >> îtVi ?•*■*«* k J. Made by Postum Cereal Company, Inc. Battle Creek, Michigan Çtftxl Comply Mb» E ? • * fcasc* A FOOD TW m* ^ ECONOMY Drawing by ) ' '■"v C" i A A , f'J y /! J s r / s. y jrwj *s " A AC »pi.: L.-î .? ~$L. m, 'Mr r rt-.ÎÂ U 3W 1 km ml ■y* i". -■ «fa g* » m C- • -it m % JS • Un: i: «0^ ; m ! JIS, mm ipp % A. i-f ' WÊÊF% -%. V/ \ y . 'A Wü < m a. y W. mW y. m w-ÿfit ÜH s fi m -U < - V <d v lû? ✓ 7/JJJ. -i. '// 0 M (V J V " y-# ^, v r u Early Day White Buffalo Hunters Civilizations Westward Advance Left the Trails White With the Bones of the Buffalo, Which Were Slaughtered by the Million for their Hides mous business carrying train loads of buffalo hides and bones, which for a period formed the principal commercial product of the plains. Many settlers, beset by crop fail ures, gathered bones and sold them to make a living. The buffalo in color is brown, but the shade varies as the seasons : . peculiar animal, unlike any other, ^ characteristic of the buffalo is that »t never trots, but either walks or gallops, and it usually travels against the wind. Its sense of scent ' s 50 keen that it can smell a foe advance. It is in every respect a two miles away to the windward. The best meat obtainable in the early-day frontier towns was buf falo. The markets of such places as Atchison, Topeka, Leavenworth and other Kansas towns, as early as 1857 and for some following were often supplied with buffalo meat. The hump upon the should ers was an especially choice morsel, as was also the tongue. Rich, juicy steaks and roasts of the buffalo were unexcelled by any other meat. Thousands of tongues were dried and shipped east to the Boston and New York markets, where they were in great demand and brought fancy prices. The American bison differs ma terially from the buffalo of the old world. At first view his red, fiery eyes, shaggy mane and long beard, the long, lustrous hair on his shoul ders and fore quarters and the com parative nakedness of his hind quarters suggest a strong likeness to the lion. The buffalo carries his head low and is enormously power ful in neck and shoulders. The most prominent distinguish ing trait of the American bison from the European buffalo is the fact that the cow refuses to breed with the European buffalo, and such is the aversion between these creatures that they always keep separate, even if bred in the same pasture and raised together. The American bison, however, breeds freely with the domestic cattle and in this manner propagates a new species that continues its kind. The sale of buffalo hides reached vast proportions in the 70's. In St. Louis one firm bought 250,000 skins in 1871. trading posts dealing in these and smaller peltries. In Cheyenne in 1872 there was a shed at the Union Pacific tracks that measured 175 by 60 feet and 30 feet high that was literally so packed with buffalo hides that the walls bulged. Fort Benton, Montana, sent 80,000 buf falo hides to market in 1876. There were many Toward the end of the 60's the buffalo had divided into two great herds—the southern and northern. The great southern herd was the first to go, being practically extinct at the close of 1872. After that date only a few straggling herds remained. The northern herd be came extinct in the early 80's. The greatest slaughter of the animals took place in 1872-73-74, when the number slain ran into the millions. Hundreds of the most famous hunters of this country and Europe visited the plains in the early 70's to take a farewell hunt before the The Grand bison disappeared. Duke Alexis, youngest son of Em peror Alexander of Russia, with a numerous retinue, came with a party from St. Petersburg and went on a tour through "Buffalo Land" in the winter of 1871-72. After a grand chase on the western plains in Wyoming under the guidance of Buffalo Bill and Generals Sheridan and Custer, they realized that the buffalo as a wild species was doom has been a house ed. Last Buffalo East of the Mississippi Killed in 1832 The most conspicuous person en gaged in killing bison was Colonel William F. Cody, whose soubriquet, "Buffalo Bill, hold word for more than half a century. In 1867 when the Kansas Pacific was being built across the plains to Denver, Cody, then a young man, was employed at $500 a month to keep the army of work men supplied with meat. He was engaged in this work for 18 months during which time he killed on an average of eight buffalo a day. After 1860 few buffalo were seen from the stage lines near enough to The buffalo soon became passengers them, although thousands could often be seen in plain sight out of range. shy and kept away from the trav eled road. The last buffalo killed east of the Mississippi river was shot in 1832. The trading posts, and especially those along the Platte river, made enormous profits bartering for buf falo hides. There were more than a dozen of these within a distance of 200 miles between Fort Kearney and Julesburg, and about half as many between Julesburg and Den ver. Many of the shrewdest traders in the west engaged in that busi ness and acquired fortunes in a short time. For a pound or two of a cheap grade of brown sugar or an equivalent of cheap coffee they could buy a buffalo robe worth from five to ten dollars at the Mis souri river towns. The finest tan ned cow robes could be obtained for twice that amount of sugar or coffee. Some of these were paint ed in aboriginal style, with many hieroglyphics of the red men. East ern tourists would pay from $50 to S100 for a fine, painted robe. These cost the traders perhaps fifty cents. As early as 1863 the trade in buf falo robes with the Indians was en ormous, hundreds of thousands of the animals being killed annually along the Platte, and the hides be came a staple article of commerce. Every plainsman had one or more robes and thousands were made in fo overcoats. Every freighter and mule or ox skinner also had buf falo overshoes, made with the hair inside. During the immense overland travel in the early 60's portions of the plains were fairly white with the bones of buffalo. No one then seeing the apparently endless mass of bones in Kansas and Colorado, as well as farther north, ever thought that any use could be made of them, but after the completion of the Union Pacific railroad and its branches across the plains, a new industry was inaugurated in the collection and shipping of bones. The trade carried on in that line is astonishing to contemplate. In ten years' time sales of bones aggre gated $3,000,000, at an average price of $8 per ton. In 1874 alone there were shipped east over the Kansas-Pacific and Santa Fe roads 10.000,000 pounds of bones, more han 1.250,000 buffalo hides, and 00,000 pounds of meat. The bones were ground up into fertilizer and 'he horns were polished and sold largely for dwelling and office or naments. Importance of the Buffalo To Indians of the Plains The passing of the buffalo spell ed disaster to the plains Indians, for this animal furnished every thing. practically, that the Indian needed to live. The hide was dress ed in a variety of w'ays, each spe cial treatment having its particular use. The lodge of the Indian, his bed and covering when sleeping, his clothes, his weapons of war, his shield in battle, kettles for his food, boats on the rivers, leather for his saddle and halter, strings for his whip and bow r , hair for dress ornament — all these and many other articles were made from the buffalo robe. His bones, also, from the short, curved, strong horns to the hoofs were manufactured into endless variety of articles that entered into every part of the dom estic life of the Indian. The methods of capture of the buffalo by the Indians and whites were various. With the Indians, wholesale destruction was common ly resorted to by driving a big herd at full gallop to the brink of a precipice or into the mouth of an artificial enclosure. The force of the mass behind crowded those in advance ahead until they fell on each other at the foot of the cliff or in the enclosure, and thus they were slaughtered by hundreds. A great deal of skill, as well as favor ing condition of the wind, made the success of this maneuver complete. These hunts were matters of great ceremony with the Indians. Days and weeks were devoted to the pre paration, with the most rigid laws against individual hunting or frightening of the herds, and there was due observance of the estab lished religious rites of the tribes. The true sportsman-like attack was by direct onslaught on horse back, known as "the surround." It was managed with the same cere monious preliminaries that were observed in all great buffalo hunts by the Indians. The attack was made in careful order, under strict discipline, directly upon the herd until the latter had fully scented the danger, when the hunters broke in to a wild gallop, each free to go where he chose, chasing and slay ing amid the thunder of hoofs, the bellowing of the beasts and the clouds of dust raised in the mad rush of so many animals. So com panic-stricken would these mighty herds become, and so little sensible of where to flee, that most of them fell victims to their pur suers and the ground would soon be strewn with dead bodies. Then for days the women would be busy gathering the meat, hides and other fruits of the few hours' hunt. One of the picturesque types of the early days on the plains was the white buffalo-hunter. At first these men used to hunt buffalo on horseback, much after the manner of the Indians, using, however, long-barreled, muzzle-loading guns and carrying in their hands the ramrods used to press home the powder and ball after each shot had been fired. Later, when the extermination of the species was proceeding in full swing, "still hunting" was practiced. This was a simple, effective method of slaughter. The hunter would crawl from the leeward to within sure rifle shot without being dis covered. Then, choosing the best concealment the ground afforded, he would begin the work of des truction by firing at the nearest animal. The buffalo, seeing noth ing and hearing only the report, would usually remain quiet in won derment. Presently the wounded animal would fall and the others, smelling its blood, would gather round and try to make it rise or else go on grazing, evidently think ing that their companion had lain down to rest. Meanwhile the hun ter's rifle would be busy. Shot after shot would bring down victim after victim until the whole band had been killed. The buffalo was a hard animal to kill. A ball upon its shaggy head or neck was deflected as though from a panoply of steel. Wounds in the rear of the body were seldom fatal. It was only in the region of the heart that a bullet was sure, and the Indians and white hunters always aimed to strike there. In the spring of the year, when the ice was going out, great num bers of the animals were drowned in the Missouri river while trying to cross. In some years their bodies floated down the stream in such numbers as to render the air almost unendurable to boat crews and passengers on their way up the river. Indians liked this kind of buffalo meat better than other and would tow carcasses ashore to be cut up. There are today less than 2,000 buffalo in captivity in the United States, the largest herd being in the National Bison reserve in the southwestern part of the Flathead Indian reserve in Montana, where a small herd has grown to several hundred, and another herd is grow ing at a normal rate in Yellowstone Park. The herd in the National Bison reserve have found a home in a country of romance and much his torical interest. Here the Flathead Indians have dwelt since encroach ing civilization beat them back from their once free hunting grounds. Every gulch and ridge bears a name preserving a frag ment of tradition in a tongue that ever reaches the world in lessening whispers. The Indian, especially the old man, feels a warm and lov ing interest in the buffalo, for the fate of his race and of the bison are akin. Both now exist at the mercy of their old-time foe, the white man. Had it not been for the comparatively recent activity in establishing the two herds amid suitable surroundings for propaga tion, the buffalo would in a very few years have departed from the face of the earth with the fast-van ishing Indian and would live only in the history and tradition of the western frontiers that have also gone forever. (Copyrighted by Cheely-Raban Syndicate.) SEARCHES FOR WIFE AND FINDS SHE HAS MARRIED ANOTHER After trailing his young wife to Miles City, F. W. Oapus, clerk of the district court of Manning county. North Dakota, was astonished to find that she had only 48 hours before his arrival become the bride of another man. Upon inquiry Mr. Oapus ascertain ed that upon arrival here Mrs. Oapus had assumed her maiden name, Irene Wilson, and had married Joseph Cog gins, 24 years of age, an employe of a Miles City restaurant where she had secured work. The marriage license as Issued here gave the woman's age as 18 and he rhome as Mandan, North Dakota. Oapus declared his love for his wife had not been killed by her action, and after a conference Mrs. Oapus decid ed to return with her husband to their North Dakota home and begin life over again, leaving Coggins with out a wife. The latter, it is said, will seek to have the "marriage" annul led. ■0 FIND PETRIFIED MONSTER FISH AND SNAKE IN EXCAVATION From time to time large fish are caught in the lakes and streams of Montana. Big snakes are also found occasionally—but not so often now as in pre-prohibition days. In the days when the Icythosaurus roamed the land, however, they had "fish as was fish" and snakes that were whoppers. A few days ago workmen excava ting at the plant of the American Refining company at Great Falls un covered a fish—probably the fore runner of the Rainbow—measuring six feet In length and with other dim ensions In proportion. It was petri fied and with the exception of the fins and thinner portions of the tail was as perfectly preserved as though it had been carved from stone. At. the same point a snake, 30 feet long and 18 or 20 inches in girth at the thickest part, was also unearth ed by workmen. Geologists who have inspected the finds say that the specimens had undoubtedly been cov ered by the glacial drift and petri fied.