Discoveries, Adventures, and Mishaps of a Scientific
and Sporting Party
IN THE WILD WEST;
GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS OF THE COUNTRY; THE RED MAN, SAVAGE
AND CIVILIZED; HUNTING THE BUFFALO, ANTELOPE,
ELK, AND WILD TURKEY; ETC., ETC.
REPLETE WITH INFORMATION, WIT, AND HUMOR.
The Appendix Comprising a Complete Guide for Sportsmen and Emigrants.
W. E. WEBB,
OF TOPEKA, KANSAS.
FROM ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPHS, AND ORIGINAL DRAWINGS BY HENRY WORRALL.
CINCINNATI and CHICAGO:
E HANNAFORD & COMPANY.
SAN FRANCISCO: F. DEWING & CO.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by
E. HANNAFORD & CO.,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
STEREOTYPED AT THE FRANKLIN TYPE FOUNDRY, CINCINNATI.
The Primeval Man,
The Original Westerner, and First Buffalo Hunter,
This Work is Dedicated,
With Profound Regard,
BY THE AUTHOR.
BY OUR TAMMANY SACHEM.
There's a wonderful land far out in the West,
Well worthy a visit, my friend;
There, Puritans thought, as the sun went to rest,
Creation itself had an end.
'T is a wild, weird spot on the continent's face,
A wound which is ghastly and red,
Where the savages write the deeds of their race
In blood that they constantly shed.
The graves of the dead the fair prairies deface,
And stamp it the kingdom of dread.
The emigrant trail is a skeleton path;
You measure its miles by the bones;
There savages struck, in their merciless wrath,
And now, after sunset, the moans,
When tempests are out, fill the shuddering air,
And ghosts flit the wagons beside,
And point to the skulls lying grinning and bare
And beg of the teamsters a ride;
Sometimes 't is a father with snow on his hair,
Again, 't is a youth and his bride.
What visions of horror each valley could tell,
If Providence gave it a tongue!
How often its Eden was changed to a hell,
In which a whole train had been flung;
How death cry and battle-shout frightened the birds,
And prayers were as thick as the leaves,
And no one to catch the poor dying one's words
But Death, as he gathered his sheaves:
You see the bones bleaching among the wild herds,
In shrouds that the field spider weaves.
That era is passing—another one comes,
The era of steam and the plow,
With clangor of commerce and factory hums,
Where only the wigwam is now.
Like mist of the morning before the bright sun,
The cloud from the land disappears;
The Spirit of Murder his circle has run
And fled from the march of the years;
The click of machine drowns the click of the gun,
And day hides the night time of tears.
The purpose of this work is to make the reader better acquainted with that wild land which he has known from childhood, as the home of the Indian and the buffalo. The Rocky Mountain chain, distorted and rugged, has been aptly called the colossal vertebræ of our continent's broad back, and from thence, as a line, the plains, weird and wonderful, stretch eastward through Colorado, and embrace the entire western half of Kansas.
Fortune, not long since, threw in my way an invitation, which I gladly accepted, to join a semi-scientific party, since somewhat known to fame through various articles in the newspaper press, in a sojourn of several months on the great plains. At a meeting held with due solemnity on the eve of starting, the Professor (to whom the reader will be introduced in the proper connection) was chosen leader of the expedition, while to my lot fell the office of editor of the future record, or rather Grand Scribe of what we were pleased to call our "Log Book." The latter now lies before me, in all its glory of shabby covers and dirty pages. Its soiled face is as honorable as that of the laborer who comes from his task in a well harvested field. Out of the sheaves gathered during our journey, I shall try and take such portions as may best supply the mental cravings of the countless thousands who hunger for the life and the lore of the far West.
I have given the mistakes as well as triumphs of our expedition, and the members of the party will readily recognize their familiar camp names. The disguise will probably be pleasant, as few like to see their failures on public parade, preferring rather to leave these in barracks, and let their successes only appear at review.
The plains have a face, a people, and a brute creation, peculiarly their own, and to these our party devoted earnest study. The expedition presented a rare opportunity of becoming acquainted with the game of the country; and, in writing the present volume, my aim has been to make it so far a text-book for amateur hunters that they may become at once conversant with the habits of the game, and the best manner of killing it. The time is not far distant, when the plains and the Rocky Mountains will be sought by thousands annually, as a favorite field for sport and recreation.
Another and still larger class, it is hoped, will find much of interest and value in the following pages. From every state in the Union, people are constantly passing westward. We found emigrant wagons on spots from which the Indians had just removed their wigwams. Multitudes more are now on the way, with the earnest purpose of founding homes and, if possible, of finding fortunes. In order to aid this class, as well as the sportsman, I have gathered in an appendix such additional information as may be useful to both.
The scientific details of our trip will probably be published in proper form and time, by the savans interested. In regard to these, my object has been simply to chronicle such matters as made an impression upon my own mind, being content with what cream might be gathered by an amateur's skimming, while the more bulky milk should be saved in capacious scientific buckets.
Professor Cope, the well known naturalist, of the Academy of Sciences, Philadelphia, received for examination and classification the most valuable fossils we obtained, and to him I am indebted for a large amount of most interesting and valuable scientific matter, which will be found embodied in chapters twenty-third and twenty-fourth.
The illustrations of men and brutes in this work are studies from life. Whenever it was possible, we