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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ellis County, where the Buffalo Roam?

No, it is not the wild buffalo of old. They are domesticated fenced in animals. But maybe it gives you an idea what it might have looked like in the early days of Ellis county when herds of Buffalo would cover the valleys. Of course you have to imagine 5 to 3 thousand in a herd. As an old timer said "Buffalo covered the prarie as far as the eye could see"

From the book History of Ellis County pg 90 Here is a couple recollections from Rev. R. M. White

"In addition to the grand scene presented to the view, were the vast herds of animals that roamed at will over the prairies, ruminating upon the luxuriant and succulent grasses, both wild and domesticated. Buffalo, cattle, deer and antelope were all fat and sleek as though kept in the stalls of some breeder of fine stock, and when they roam, either in play or from fright, it looked as if the whole surface of the earth was moving, the very ground seeming to tremble with their tread, the sound of their feet being as the sound of " many horses running to battle, " while the snort of horses and the grunt of cattle and buffalo formed a combination of sounds that were not altogether in harmony, nor calculated to inspire courage either in man or beast, for but few horses would stand in their pathway, especially of the buffaloes; and it was well for the bison of the plains never turned their course for anything, animate or inanimate, over or through which they could pass, neither branch nor creek."

"In illustration of their habits I will give an instance. A herd of buffalo was discovered in a valley near a creek and a number of men determined to have a chase and kill some of them; so they went out, some taking positions at the upper end of the valley, while others ranged themselves on each side; still others went below to bring on the engagement, which they did. The buffalo fled up the valley and the men in the rear following. When they came to the men stationed at the upper end of the valley in the path the buffalo they supposed would take, but which they did not, they found one of the watchers sitting on the ground at the root of a tree, with arms and legs around the tree, who asked as they came up whether the buffalo had gone, and if they had, that he would come down. Pretty badly scared, when he could not tell whether he was up the tree or not! The laugh was on the man for many year? afterward, and he was frequently asked to go buffalo hunting!"

"On another occasion a party of men went out on a buffalo hunt, and coming upon a large herd were making preparations for the slaughter, but the animals, scenting their enemy, stampeded. One man happened to be in their pathway and as his horse would not stand before them he ran off. There was a medium-sized branch in front of the fleeing horseman, and for this he made, hoping to cross and run up stream before the buffalo reached it; but in going down the bank the horse fell and the rider tumbled off. Before he could recover, the frightened herd came dashing toward where he lay and he expected every moment to be trampled to death by a thousand hoofs; but the buffalo, as is their custom, jump all small streams. This they did, and the man lay secure as the entire herd passed over him in the air. One failure of the beasts to make the leap would have been instant death. He tried to pray but could not think of anything to say, he was so badly scared."

When settlers first got here around 1844 there were Buffalo everywhere and their favorite "haunt" was on the lower Mustang Creek country. They watered on the land owned by W.H. Getzedaner and the Boren branch. By 1847 Ellis County had seen it's last Wild Buffalo. Their near extinction helped drive out the Indian's from the settler areas. Lots of money was made off their hides. Hides could fetch $3 and a heavy winter hide up to $50.

To find the location of the Maypearl Buffalo click this link Maypearl Buffalo

All these pictures were taken in Maypearl, Texas July 29th 2007
Here are links to more pictures Buffalo Head
Buffalo side
Buffalo ready to charge


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