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Title: Black Beaver - The Trapper
Author: Lewis, James Campbell, 1879-, Lewis, George Edward
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  Transcriber's Note

  The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully
  preserved. Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.


  The Only Book Ever
  Written by a Trapper





YEAR 1911.




I am both sorry and glad to inform my readers--that I can neither read
nor write.

It would seem absurd for a blind man to study the stars, Or for a deaf
man to study music; so it might seem to you absurd for a man who cannot
write to write a book. But I have an excuse for writing these events.
The President of Mexico; and the Governor of Alaska together with
several hundreds between, equally as popular have urged me to write my
history. I am sorry I cannot write this with my own fingers but I have a
substitute in my old back-woods chum--The Kidd. Who by the way--neither
writes very flourishing, because he like myself has done the most of his
writing with his six-shooter; because you know this a more expressive
way of talking and a more impressive way of writing. I have a brother
who is a real educated gentleman, he tried to dissuade me from
publishing my history because I think he is afraid he will be outshone
by literary merit. I have no ambition to outshine him, nor William
Shakespere nor any other erudite. I have a very limited vocabulary, and
since swearing and smoking are not allowed in print, I shall have to
loose the biggest half of that. I shall omit foreign language, I could
assault you with Mex--or Siwash but I fear you could not survive the
battery. So I shall confine myself to simple speech, such as I have used
in all lands. From Gotch my bronco to Arctic my dog. It has served me
since I was six summers old It served me amid the bells of Peru and then
afar amid the Agate Eyed squaws of The Kuskokwim; and this ought to be a
good excuse.--Yours truly



I have undertaken the arduous task of rewriting that which was never
written. My charge was "fix it up but do not change it." These words
were hurled at me one morning at four o'clock in the month of April, as
my big brother boarded the Overland Limited bound for the Iditarod
Alaska. He had in that far-away region five-hundred skins in cache which
he had taken from the backs of the costiliest animals that ran in
northland world. In various parts of Alaska Black Beaver had treasures
which he was now intent upon gathering to fit up an outfit to be known
as "The Arctic Alaskan Educational Exhibition" Perhaps no other man in
this country can tell such amusing and beneficial stories about travels,
fatigue and furs As the Author of this book. This was the creative force
which suggested the organization of this party. Black Beaver has
traveled as no other man ever traveled in Alaska, four times in as many
years he crossed the entire country by dog-team in a diagonal way from
Dawson to Point Barrow and from Gnome to The mouth of the Mackinzie
river. Being able to speak several indian dialects, he was able converse
with Siwash, Mucklock, Malimouth and other types getting the most
valuable kind of information. You have never read a book written by a
trapper. Usually some smooth gent makes up a romance and puts them in
other mouths--but this is not true of this book. It is a true experience
of the life and labors of the Author. Respectfully submitted Sept 1911.



At the age of four years I began to pick up arms against small birds and
animals. At the age of five I began to trap around my father's
corn-shocks. When I reached my sixth year my father bought me a dog and
he was my constant companion for many years. At the age of five years I
began to make Bows and arrows, and cross guns, likewise sling shots. My
first experience was with by bros, George and Lee in killing a
woodchuck. And from this time my adventures began to multiply. All kinds
of small animals fell before my accurate aim.

My adventursome father had crossed the great plains as early as 1846. He
was thrilled to the core with the bold and desperate experiences of the
wild western world. On his way he met and formed the acquaintance Of
several of the noted trappers and explorers, as well as the acquaintance
of the most daring and dangerous savages that ever rode the arena of the
Great American Desert.

My chief joy from in fancy was to have my father tell me his dangerous
travels and exploits in the early west. I was continually begging my
older brother to read about Kit Carson Daniel Boone and other pioneers.
At the age of seven years I took a notion that I wanted a gun. Bows and
arrows, cross-bows sling-shots knives and hatchets were too tame for me.
I sought an occasion when my father was away, to get from my mother the
needed information, how to load and discharge a gun. One day when all
were away I stole my fathers gun. It was a double barreled muzzle
loader, one barrel shot and the other rifle. I had quite an
experience--I saw a partridge just as I entered the woods budding in the
top of an old birch tree. I leveled the gun up against an old ash tree
and fired I had never before fired a gun, I held it rather loosely
aginst my shoulder and the recoil lamed my arm and bloodeyed my pug
noose. But this was soon forgotten when I saw I had plugged my meat. In
haste I began to load to prepare for another bird--I seized The patch
put mr ball on the patch took mr ramrod and rammed home the ball alas!
just as I was pounding her home I remembered I had forgotten something
quite necessary in loading a gun--it was the powder. I was in a
terrorable fix then--I first thought I would hasten home put up the gun
and let father get out of the fix the best he could. But after taking a
second thought I concluded that I would not be a whit behind the Father
of his country--but while I had stolen I could not tell a lie--so I
repeated the reckless boy's adage--Scolding don't hurt you whipping
don't last long killing they dare not"--After considering the whole
predicament--I concluded that I rather have a flogging than deny my
pluck and luck by killing my game. So I related to father my deed; he
simply laughed and took the gun in the back yard pricked some fine
powder in the tube--put on a cap and shot the ball out slick and easy.
The winter of my sixth year I had planed on trapping small fur bearing
game--but my parents had planned on me going to school. So they bought
me some books and the first of October I was drilled off to school. I
soon got into trouble at school and the third day traded off my books
for an old gun. the next day I started for school as usual, but after I
was over the hill I turned from the path of duty and education for the
adventurous path of hunting and trapping. I would go to the place I had
hidden my gun the night before and go into the woods and spend the day
returning as school let out. I worked this for about three weeks without
being discovered. I had an older brother who suspected me and finally he
found me in the woods, took my gun from me and broke it around a
tree--he did this because the gun was unsafe it was all tied up with
wire and strings to bind the barrel to the stock--my first gun was a

The following fall I killed my first coon. My brother Lee who is two
years older than myself and I were shooting at a mark in the wood-shed
one rainy fall day, and lo and behold to our surprise a coon came
walking in on us--instantly we flew at the fellow, I, with an ax he with
a club--the coon lasted about two seconds--the yells and disturbance
brought my father and brother to the scene, I was declaring that I had
killed it and my Brother Lee was making the same statements both of us
were talking at the limit of lung power--when my brother who was older
discovered that there was a ribbon around the coons neck and a gold ring
attached showing us this he said "this is a pet coon." At once we
reversed our arguments each declaring that we did not kill the coon.

The beginning of my eight year I coaxed father to allow me to spend the
winter trapping with a man named Walker on the head waters of the
Manistee river. finally he consented and I was the happiest boy on
earth. Hastily I made my toilet for the winter and set out on snow shoes
the middle of November. After several days of brisk and difficult
walking we reached Wild goose creek. Here we made a camp and began to
set traps. I had no gun for it was intended that I was to cook and skin
game. This proved to be my first experience with larger game. Five days
after we struck camp we caught a black bear in a deadfall. It was here
at wild goose creek that I first began running trap lines under an old
rocky mountain trapper. And here where I also learned to skin, bait
traps, make dead falls and cut and sew up my own clothes, make snow
shoes and paddle canoes, build camps and learn the various tricks of
indians and trappers, also how to doctor myself when sick and to avoid
the dangers of the wilderness. All too soon the mid-winter came and
there being no high line game to trap The trapper made up his mind to
move homeward. On the sixteenth day of January we began our march for a
town called South Boardman. We had to pack about thirty pounds apiece it
was thirty five miles to our destination. The first night we camped in
the snow the next evening a half hour after dark we reached town; here
we took a train for home and reached it about mid-night. My father
divided the fur taking my share for his pay. The balance of the winter I
hunted and trapped near home--and when spring came I hunted ginseng and
later picked huckle berries meanwhile I learned to speak the Chippewa

I sold my gingseng and berries for more money than my father knew of and
bought a good gun and two revolvers together with considerable
amunition. This year I was in the Company of my Brother Lee and
to-gether we practiced with guns and revolvers till we thought we were
the best shots in the Co. Our rapid firing often aroused the settlers,
and they began to talk about us saying "we were growing up to be
outlaws." This greatly pleased us. Just befor I was nine years old my
folks got it into their heads to send me to school agin, thinking I
might be Henry Clay or Govener Mud or some other larkie--as usual I
raked up a row and the teacher had us expelled for carrying six shooters
in our dinner pails.

When we came home that day my father and mother held a long council over
us and finally called us in and father said--"I have tried to make
something out of you but you will never be anything but a
blockheads--and I might as well make good indians out of you as poor
ones." so he allowed us to use our guns smoke and chew rag-weed to our
hearts content. My next experience was with two of the best trappers
that ever bent steel in Michigan. Solitary Parson and Frank Johnson. We
were out three months and made good hauls, they gave me one fourth of
the fur, which was a neat sum. I then spent several weeks at target
practice, my daily stunt was splitting bullets on the bit of an ax forty
feet away. I soon became the crack rifle shot in the country. One
evening I tied two hills of corn together while father was milking and
when father started for the house his toe taught in the loup up in the
air went the milk down on the ground came Father with about twelve
quarts of milk running down his back.

This was enough for father he had ben out of patience with me many
times: but now this act provoked him so he ordered me away from home. I
had few clothes and no satched. I was the baby of the family, yet not A
very delicate sample of a baby. I had the fire burning for adventure in
my young bosom, I bade my mother good bye as I went to bed, she never
knew how long it would be till she kissed to sleep those black marbles,
as she used to call my eyes; I arose at about one oclock in the morning
and roused up my brother picked up our kit and set out for the Twin
bridges of the Boardman fifteen miles away.

I was still in my ninth year and my brother was eleven, we camped up in
the swamp nearly all summer then in the fall hunted and trapped on the
Cedar river. When spring time came in we sold our furs for $200,00 and
took the Train for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

We stopped at the mining districts where there were scores of Cornish
Miners. There was a widow there with whom my brother lived and worked
all the time for about two years. He was quite a musician this widow
bought him a high grade Stewart Banjo and then she fell in love first
with his playing and then with his banjo and lastly of all with him.
Love stole my partner. I have had many but none like Lone Lee The
Mountain Musician. After loosing my Pal I began to learn to face the
wilderness alone. Nero my Dog, my associate from infancy was killed by a
wolf and I was left alone.

When whiteman seemed to fail fate overcame me in the form of an indian.
This indian was the famous Shopnegon. We trapped together on the Indian
river following down into lower michigan we also trapped the dead
stream, Ausable, Tobacco and into the Houghton lake country here
Shopnegon christened me as Black Beaver for I had actually trapped one.
this was the only Black Beaver Shopnegon had ever seen and the only one
I ever saw and I have seen some.

This was the winter of my tenth year I was big healthy and strong. I had
never been sick except having the Pneumonia and occasionally a bad cold.
Early in the spring we broke camp bid each other goodbye I loaded my
pack and furs weighing about forty pounds and started for Fife Lake. I
had no intention of seeing my folks but in Fife Lake was another
attraction which I will come to later. I had to get home about fifty
miles to cover. the way was beset with tangled forests, swollen streams,
melting snows not a blaze to mark the way. I had lived on mushrat for
forty days and the first day out I shot a doe, and added about ten
pounds to my load, this meat was quite an improvement on rat. the
evening of the third day I camped on Hopkins creek under an old hemlock
tree. My dogs kept me awake nearly all night with their barks and
growls, once I was awakened by a twig falling in my face, in the morning
I was at once attracted by a sliding noise which I soon discovered to be
a Lynx bracing to leap, I slung my gun to my shoulder and the lynx was
past danger instantly, I afterward learned this Lynx had killed a boy in
the neighborhood by the name of Harrison.

Adding another pelt to my pack I reached Fife Lake just before Sundown
and waited for dark before entering town. After dark I went straight to
the home of My old friend who was not so aged as I.W.O. Clark. his
mother had died meanwhile the only thing which had restrained him from
joining me the year before. I did not wish to show up in Northtown so
Willie sold my fur for me and we equiped ourselves for the Lewis and
Clark Expedition. In august of that same year after our money was all
gone but eleven cents: and I had not been seen by anybody who knew me
Clark and I walked over to Kingsley ten miles away carrying our only
possessions in the world, we had decided to go westward where we might
hunt trap and enjoy ourselves unmolested, the evening found us waiting
for a freight train which we were to take; hoping to hobo our way to
Denver Colorado.

Westward Bound

It is a long way from Kingsley Michigan to Denver Colorado. But we
covered the ground in three weeks. We took slideing door palace cars all
the way, and slept nights covered with an evening news, begged handouts
at back doors; and ate our meals with the widow green. I was coming
eleven Clark was just past seven, two old and experienced duffers to go
west for freedom.

Before leaving Michigan I formed the acquaintance of Waterloo chief of
the Potowatimies. He had taught me many things which were to be of great
service in the west. When we arrived in Denver we were not hailed as
some great individuals are but we overlooked that--(since then We have
been well used in Denver) We secured a lunch took our truck and struck
northward. The following day we pulled up to a farmers house by the name
of Straub. He had two bears he had caught, and hired us to tame them. I
guess he thought our appearance would tame a Rhinoceros. I assumed the
responsibility--and gave him the threadbare recipe "No cure no pay"
Together we did the job in two weeks and for our service Mr. Straub gave
us some new clothes, our board and $25,00 From here we steered our way
to North Platte Nebraska. I hired out to John McCoullough. to herd
cattle, and sent my son Willie as I called him and have ever since--to
school in North Platte.

The Cow-boys of that region usually had great sport with tenderfeet; but
they were great mind readers and passed me off as experienced, owing to
my age and accurate shooting. That year I learned to ride a horse, in
fact paid more attention to that then I did to herding cattle; but I
took my pay without any remorse of conscience.

The following year The Kid and I planned to go on a trapping expedition
to the Rocky mountains. So as luck would have it we accidentally fell in
with two hale fellows, inured to hardships, careless as the law allowed,
and prime always for sport and adventure. Both of them could shoot well
and ride like Mazzeppas. They also understood the plains and mountains
but were tyros at trapping.

We purchased four wild horses and on the first day of October started
for Cola with covered wagons. This was my first experience over the
plains in a real prairie schooner. We followed the south Platte to
Sterling And from there we struck west and went through the Pawnee pass.
Then we Took the old gun-barrel road back to Colorado. We camped one
evening in Rattlesnake gulch; about midnight I heard a buzz I arose
rather suddenly layed back the cover and saw within six inches of my
son's face a large old diamond back rattler. It was close and short work
to dispatch him but I succeeded, the report of my gun brought all hands
to their feet they examined the headless reptile, and were soon again
lost in slumber. after while we arrived safely at Fort Collins bought a
supply of food and other necessaries and took the trail for the head
waters of La-Cash-a-po-da. We reached Pan-handle creek about twenty-five
miles from Log-Cabin Post Office.

In due time we pitched camp and set our traps. One line of traps
extended to Larmie river; And the other to the forks of the Cache
LaPuche. We set for gray wolves, mountain lion, grizzley bear, mink,
otter and foxes. We had good luck and made a large catch of fur and drew
some large bounties. The following summer we sold off our whole kit to
some trappers who went to Jackson hole, and we took our little stake of
$2,122,00 and spent our summer in Chicago, Denver and St. Louis.

The next winter Clark and I: for we were alone again, went to New
Windsor and trapped Rat on Storms Lake. We also caught a lot of skunk
and coyotes, with fair success we continued til spring and took all our
fur nearly $3,000,00 worth and sold to different houses in the East.
Then we bought good clothes, I managed to visit parks and ride shoot the
shoots Conversed with Indians and enquired of strangers concerning good
trapping grounds through the summer--while Clark studied so he could do
our writing. That winter we trapped in Pine Bluffs Wyoming. For Coyotes,
Rat and skunk, But we grew tired toward spring and moved To Scotts Bluff
Nebraska, where we finished the winter and sold out in the spring I
lounged around and got pointers and the Kid attended school as we did
the year previous.

Back to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

The old routine of trapping even among the great rocky mountains grew
stale, so I decided that I would go back to upper Michigan locate Long
Knife, and Shopnegon and trap on the Stergeon River. So Clark and I set
out from North Platte in September and arrived in Gladstone after four
days traveling. It so occurred that Chief Long Knife was in town and
that same day we counciled on the winter work and decided to go together
as Shopnegon was too old. We made a great catch of mink, marten, otter
and lynx. The kid spent his winter with us enjoying every day and night,
he skined cooked and made snow shoes, loaded shells and did many other
odd jobs. We sold our fur in the spring and was about to leave town for
Oshkosh Wisconsin. When Long Knife came to me and told me a Dr. Harris
had a son who was lost in the woods. And wanted me to assist in locating
the boy. I went to the Drs, home and applied for the job--the Dr. was
worried very badly but said that "i was only a kid and would get lost to
if I ventured out sight of town" I reassured him that I was away up in
my teens and had tramped the woods for eleven years and still could keep
track of myself. So with his consent I took a lunch and got what
information I could and struck out alone. I followed the river bluffs up
to where he had been picking wintergreen berries and then I could not
tell anything about it because so many folks were looking for him. after
several hours I circled around and got out of reach of all spectators
then I made a bee line for upstream,--(as that is the way all lost
hunters and tenderfeet go) after I had traveled about two miles I found
a raveling on a briar and then I was sure I had a trail. This discovery
gave me courage and I took up the labor with all the instinct of my
nature. I followed his trail till pitch dark and camped under a maple
tree till the gray dawn announced day--then I resumed my search; after
going about four or five miles I found his hat--which had been discribed
to me. this proved two things that I had the right trail and that he had
lost his mind, or was what we call "Woods Mad" That after noon at about
five oclock I found where he had picked berries and an hour later I came
upon him sitting on a log, He started to run but I was too quick on foot
for him I soon caught him and after while I reasoned with him and he
consented to return home with me. I had to fight all the way back he
declared I was taking him the wrong direction to reach home. When I came
to town every body was surprised and delighted. His father gave me fifty
dollars and the citizens bought me a handsome Colts revolver, they made
a real party for me that night and Long Knife was invited and Clark sat
and looked on.

After we spent the summer we went back to Trout Lake after scouting
around a few days I heard that a very excellent Mink Trapper was in
town. I soon located him and we chummed up and planned to go to Red Lake
Minnesota. This trapper was no other than the far famed Joe Whitecup. On
the last day of October we reached our destination; bought a load of
chuck hired two Indians to take us to the Lake London. There we built
one headquarter camp, and three off-sets. The third off-set reaching to
Indian creek. We found plenty of wolves, bear, lynx, sable mink, otter
and beaver. Here Whitecup taught me more than I had ever dreamed about
catching mink. I found out that he used a compound and that he got it by
mail; but I could not hire him to tell me what it was nor where he got
it I found out later; but if I had have known it sooner I would have
saved me from much embarrassment and great losses of money--Be patient
It cost me much to get it but I am going to tell you before I finish
this book just how to get it. And how to get it very reasonable. One
night while I was staying in the Indian creek off-set I was surrounded
with grey wolves. they came up and even sniffed at the camp door. I shot
five that night by chance shots, and had a lively shooting match most of
the time. About mid-winter we broke camp it grew cold and heavy snows
covered the whole country; so we went down to Duluth and sold our furs.

Here I parted company with Whitecup after getting him roaring full
hoping he would squeal what bait he used--but he was tight as a tick and
mum as a toad.

With my adopted son--so I figured; we bought tickets for Deadwood South
Dakota. Here we met as we had arranged beforehand our two old Partners
Terrel and Ed Scott. After a few days of rest and plan laying we
determined to go back to Fort Collins again and trap where we did
several winters before. We found even more game than when we first had
trapped this country.

We got nicely settled and things looked favorable for a charming catch
we were happy and had always been lucky. But I had often been told by
old Woodsman and Plainsmen and Pioneers that no man ever run long
without getting into a mixup. One morning I swung into the saddle I
never felt better I was full grown nearly seventeen and weighed 203.
pounds. Without an ounce of superflous flesh on my whole frame with the
possible exception of a pound or two of hair.

I steered my bronco up the hill and started over the trap line. I had
not gone far when I heard the jingleing of a trap chain; and the growl
of a bear. I hastily dismounted, drew my rifle and advanced in the
direction of the noise. Emerging from a clump of brush I stood face to
face within forty five feet of a good old grizzley which weighed 1,400,
pounds. He dropped upon his haunches and looked straight at me. I pulled
my gun drew a careful aim at the only place to shoot a Grizzley between
the eye and ear; fired, he fell and quivered, I thought him dead as a
mummy and I set down my gun and went up took the clamps and removed the
trap and just then old bruin rooled over and quick as a wink hit me a
spat in the face that knocked me two or three summersaults broke in my
left cheek and knocked out four teeth and cut my tongue half off. I
struck the ground like a flying squirrel feet first: and after a moment
of time to get my bearings I faced the music; the old dog arose and made
for me like a mad bull. I quickly pulled my old sixshooter and began to
pump lead into him at the rate of about an ounce a second. Bruin seemed
to take his pills with comparative ease, when my shells was exhausted he
was still coming--What remained for me to do--I drew my hunting knife
and climbed him like a monkey on a cheese. This was foolish and
dangerous for I got a bite while bruin nearly got a belly full, I cut
him deeply in the lungs but he nearly with one sweep of his old paw tore
out my whole inwards. he cut me deep from three inches below the chin
clean down to the abdomen. He wore his nails uncomfortably long and had
a great spread to his claws. I then knew something must be doing or I
would be done for. I made a desperate effort to secure my gun which was
loaded. bruin seemed to tumble what I was up to and pressed hard,
however with but one blow in the left side and another on my hip to his
credit. I caught the big gun it was a 49-90--and struck thirty two
hundred pounds, I swung it around within three feet of the star in his
breast pulled the trigger--and the steel capped ball bored a hole
through the old hog big as an alarm clock. The fight was over, I feel
with bruin I wakened five days later in a lath and plastered room with
my son and both partners working over me. I was much surprised when they
told me I had enjoyed the tussle five days before. I could not talk my
tongue was fastened up so it might heal, I was all bandages and plaster
paris I layed here seven weeks, then the boys carried me back to camp
where I gave orders and gradually recuperated. I never recovered from
the blow on my hip it will bother me till the end. However there is no
great loss without some small gain--this lame spot always serves me as a

I also received another benefit I had some silver deposited in my face
to straight up my sunken cheek. hence am never busted. I have been in
several bad rows with both four-footed beasts and two footed beasts, but
this was at least as lively a scrap as I ever got into. and all because
I was careless. We lifted camp early in March sold our fur and the whole
of us went down to 'Frisco to see the sights. Here we studied the
history of China in the faces of the moon-eyed heathens, enjoyed the
curious haunts of humanity the entire summer.

That fall I hired Old Ed Scott, Bert Terrell, Jack Troy and ferd Gotch.
Myself and the Kid made up and we calculated quite a decent gang. I
think we were by far the largest and best gang in the west.

I had four hired men, Eleven head of horses, two wagons, four tents, Six
riding saddles, four pack saddles, twenty four guns and revolvers, six
hundred steel traps and cooking utensels enough for a dozen men. My
expenses were a thousand dollars a month--Our chief game was rat, mink,
otter, coyotes, and grey wolves, we marched up North Platte to Raw-hide
creek--and set traps for fur--We moved once a week and averaged to take
about one hundred and sixty pelts a day.

When we reached the Raw-hide about fifteen miles from North Platte river
in Lormey Co. I caught a monstrous grey wolf in a trap. I knew the
virtue of the trap it was a New-House noumber four. I was armed with a
49-90 winchester but refrained from shooting him because the ball tore
too big a hole in the hide. I attempted to knock him in the head with my
hatchet, I saw I had a good high holt on him so I stepped up closer to
him--when the darn skunk made a leap at my windsucker; the trap chain
broke and he lit on my left arm and got busy eating meat. My gun was
johnie on the spot, for several days I carried my arm in a buckskin sack
meanwhile I concluded I would shoot game not trying other experiences.

After a few days we reached Hat creek, where we were told that a Sheep
herder had been driven into camp by a silver tipped Grizzley. The
ranchmen wanted us to camp till we killed the old boss. So I detailed Ed
Scott and a new man I had recently hired by the name of Charley Whippel
to go with me--and I left the rest to run trap lines and watch things.
We rode out toward the Cheyenne river. Just as we reached Cow creek and
crossed over and was about twenty rods up the slope we heard a bear; we
stopped and suddenly old silver as free as Bryans Silver issue;
descending the hill in our direction. We all opened fire at once and
spoiled his fun to quick to mention. We secured his skin head and all
including his tailbone and paws the ranchmen sent it to Denver to a
Texiderment and he sold it to the Chicago Public Musium. We broke camp
the following day and started for Beaver creek here we made three
settings, then we broke again and moved to the head of the Belle Fourche
river. trapping coyote and wolf. from there to powder river, and then on
to tongue river. We broke camp that spring at Dayton, Wyoming; and for
novelty hired out to herd cattle for the U.X. Cattle Co. We rode here on
the general roundup, quit our job and set out for the Big horn basin.
Crossing the main range of the Big horn mountains we went up Canon Creek
looking for trapping for another season. We followed down the creek till
we reached Big horn river; then we swung around and followed up the
Bighorn to the end.

We had quite a serious time getting our pack horses over the Owl-creek
mountains. We now turned our course a trifle and struck for the head of
the big sandy, then followed this stream till we reached Green river
Then rode across to the Yampah river.

While riding down the Yampah we were accosted by two men who wanted us
to hire out to help them round up several hundred wild horses. We had
never before rode on a horse ranch and we wished to be full fledged so
we consented. We had a lively time. The Kid was lighter and more supple
than I; and got out of it some easier than I. I had picked out a rangey
lank bronco; he would quit the earth and climb the sky like a flying
machine; and drop down and strike the rocks with his legs stiff as a
post. He would then spin like a top several hundred times play razor
back and sun-fish, His head and tail would touch one instant between his
legs; and the next instant over his back. I held my breath while he
exercised all his tricks then he plunged off while I pounded him with my
broad brimmed sombrero. The foreman said Erve Bullard could not play
glue much better than I. We had many daring and pleasing episodes this
season roping horses busting and branding.

We quit riding early that summer and spent some time traveling. I
visited the grave of Calamity Jane. Wild Bills Wife; and His grave too.
Went to the Little bighorn to Custers Tomb. Over to Nothfield Minn.
where the Youngers were correlled. Down to Scouts Rest Ranch--Or Codys
Ranch. over to Cheyenne to Old Tom Horns Rope Party. And saw Bob of
Austrailia put it all over Jim Corbett. I went to Denver to hear Frank
James talk, and several other things we enjoyed before Christmas.

The following winter We raked up our old gang got together and went up
to Snake River. here we began tramp trapping. Part of us advanced and
the other party followed and took up our traps. this tramp trapping
lasted nearly all winter we trapped the Snake river, Green river San
Juan river the little Colorado and the Big Colorado up to Grand Canon.
Then we followed up the river to Cataract creek and in trying to cross
lost two rattling good pack-horses pack and all. We then were short of
rations and struck out for the Red mountain country: hoping to get more
chuck. In this dash we nearly all lost our lives by starvation: after
many days we reached the town of Aubay Arizonia.

We then loaded our kit and took the Train for Los Angeles California and
from there we went back to Denver Colorado. then up the Big Platte near
the Lormic Mountains. We built a headquarters camp at The medicine bow
and two offsets at Camp creek, near the Medicine Bow Reservation. Here
we had the best systematized settings we had heretofore set. We had set
a line of traps in a semicircle from camp to camp; And a stub line up
each creek about four miles; then we set a high-line running in oposite
directions. So you see we bagged everything that came through the
country for several miles wide. Our traps served as does a wing-net
catching on the sides and swinging everything into the center. An animal
that smelled a trap would sheer off and nine times out of ten would go
the way we wanted it, for we set our traps giving that peculiar specie
the favorable road toward other traps which were set, and the scent so
completely killed with compounds would usually get the game. We generaly
cleaned out almost everything as we went allong. Now the highlines were
for land animals, such as Coyotes, Wolves, Lion, marten and skunk.

The next autumn came and we were in fine spirits. We all came back to
our old camps on the North Platte. The weather was lovely The cottonwood
leaves were turning brown and in the height of my glory I roped out my
favorite horse saddled up and started for the Lormie Mountains. I was
hungry for deer, and plenty of them roamed in that vacinity. As I was
riding allong the foot hills my horse suddenly shyed off as if scared;
i gathered up in the saddle and peeked over some sage brush and behold
there was Old Ephraim in the form of a monster silver tip. The old
elephant arose on his feet as big as Goliah and roared out his challenge
to me. I drew aim hastily and fired a five hundred grain ball through
his chest. this was just an eye-opener for his class. My horse at the
crack of the gun leaped and fled down the hill in spite of all my
protest; you should have seen the horse put distance between us and the
bear. I finally got the horse stopped I dismounted and hurried back to
the scene. The bear had followed us quite a ways and was under a
cottonwood licking his wound He did not see me till I fired so I had a
good chance to pick my spot and I sent another ball one journey crashing
through his shoulders; this brought him to the ground helpless; and I
approached and finished up his hash.

There are four distinct species of Grizzlies. And are more or less
sprinkled throughout The rocky mountains in Mexico, U.S. and British
Columbia. The Silver tipp. Bald face, The great Grizzly and the Kodiak
Grizzly. The silver tipp scarcely ever has more than one cub and lives
on roots and grass, when he cannot get meat. The great Grizzley loves
colts and sheep, they cannot get a deer for the reason that they smell
so fowl that a deer can smell them too far. The bald face is much like a
great Grizzley only smaller and more alert. The Kodiak Grizzly, lives
further north than any of the rest and is at least as big and twice as
agressive as the other kind. They inhabit the wilderness from B.C. To
Gnome Alaska. All of these bear are bold and genuine bluffers. they
never snoop. they depend upon their size and name to carry them through.
seldom do hunters kill them untill they have emptied tha last load.

I then went back to my horse--or; to where I left him; but he had given
me the French leave--I had tied him;--as Cow-punchers say--"To the
ground." And he had taken advantage of his liberty, and ran into camp
ten miles away. I had on high heel boots; and they walk
bad--considerable worse than they look,--so the road was a long one.

After while we broke camp and went up the medicine bow river; to the
North Platte; and here set our traps. Now we have what we call the
low-lines--and the high-lines. The lowlines we set on low wet soil for
water animals. To give you an idea how much work is implied in setting
such a mass of traps as we carried I will describe a bout how far apart
we had learned to set traps. Where rat are thick one hundred might be
set in a single mile. Where mink are thick not over sixteen should be
set per mile. Where coon are thick about twenty per mile. Where beaver
are thick about forty per mile and where otter are thick about ten traps
per mile. The Muskrat--is the most interesting of all animals that live
in water. The beaver Black, Blue, Brown, White, Gray not excepted.

The Rat lives on flags and water mussels. He never kills small ducks as
has been stated by some folks who never saw one. The Rat builds his
house out of rushes from five to six feet broad sometimes much broader,
and about three feet high. About a dozen rats live in a house. Their bed
is from two six inches from the surface. They have feeding rooms in the
house, and feed on the walls of the rooms, eventually eating the house
up which is often the case in cold climates. They also have a bank hole
in addition to the house hole. When frightened they go to the bank hole.
They also have air holes covered very cunningly two or three inches deep
on the way to the bank and water. These air-holes are overlaid loosely
with flags and other light materials.

In this we began to be very successful trappers. Lewis and Clarke were
successful because first we spared no labor nor hardships; to set traps
or find a favorable location; secondly because we bought the best guns
and traps in the U.S. Thirdly because we put our money and time all back
in the business; and fourthly because we had had the best kind of
training in all kinds of common furs. I had been well educated for my
profession. My teachers were such men as Frank Johnson who was the best
bear trapper in the country. Charley Mackintosh the noted beaver trapper
of the States. William S. Walker who no doubt was the best trapper in
any country. he specialized on Bear, Lynx, Marten and Mountain Lion.
Henry Grey was a specialist on Marten he taught me the art of taking
that shy game. And this Same Henry Grey was great a mixer of Compounds;
Joe Whitecup schooled me in Mink except his bait. Shopnegon taught me
the crafts of Camping and sleeping without catching cold, how to travel
without a compass by the stars; and when it was dark and cloudy how to
keep from circling around. he taught me how to skin all kinds of game,
and how to make sinew for thred, and awls to sew with and explained
roots for indigestion; and leaves for constipation. Long Knife taught me
how to trap skunks, and weasels, and above all he put me next to rat so
I never need ask any other man the nature of that animal. Chief Broken
Bow taught me to walk, shoot, and run, how to exercise and how to get
allong with Indians. How to know when I was in danger, and above all how
to keep cool which is the greatest lesson any man or indian ever
learned, either in the woods, on the plains, over the sea; or in the
busy cities. This lesson has saved my life scores of times. I have often
wished that Chief Broken-Bow could have had some successor to continue
this teaching, for all the world suffers and even those who have been to
school and college come forth polished as a lizzard--but the first wave
of unexpected excitement, or adverse passion completely distroys them.

I have used the word compound; And I know of no better place to explain
myself than in this chapter. Compounds are scents of various kinds. Or
more commonly known as Baits. It is used to kill the scent of your
traps, and to offset human scent. Baits are more profitably used to
draw animals to traps than they are to kill the scent of the traps. Good
Baits always serve the double purpose. While the trap without bait,
arouses the animal's suspicion and makes it cautious, The trap with the
bait arouses the animal's passion and draws it to the trap. Certain
odors causes the male to think that a female has frequented the place,
and he gets careless and is caught. This is also true with females, and
is true with all species.

Animals like human beings like to appear well. They will instinctively
follow certain trails, go certain places at certain times; and the
trapper who learns what is appealing to an animal is sure of success.
The old trappers had to manufacture their own compounds.

They got their meager supply from the wombs, testicles and musk-bags of
animals. but they experienced great difficulty in mixing it to bait the
several kinds of animals. For a trapper today to try to extract his bait
from the animal would be sheer folly. only the unsuccessful ever resort
to such a process. Let every man who catches fur bearing animals for a
living learn among the earliest lessons, that he must resort to some
kind of bait; else he will fare slim. I have never known one identical
specialist in any phase of trapping who did not use baits, and the
fellow who comes to this imperative, soonest is safe.

I have many friends who deal in baits. And I know that they would like
to have me favor them by speaking about, and recommending their
commodity; but I am exhibiting for the education of the public, and not
for the benefit of dealers; hence I shall refrain from recommending
anything that has the least degree of sham about it. I am writing this
book to sell, and that on merits and information, so I feel it my duty
to fill it with facts, and useful information, So regardless of personal
friendships, without fear or favor I shall give the public the benefit.

I have used many kinds of baits, and on many occasions, but after years
of testing, and a dozen of different mixtures, I can recommend but one
Animal Bait--and that is Manufactured by Funsten Bros, and Co, In their
large Fur House at St. Louis Mo. It is also sold exclusively by them.
Not as a money maker but to aid their many trappers to succeed; because
their success depends upon the trapper.

This compound is the best mixed because Funsten Bros & Co, secured every
recipe from old and experienced trappers, paying a large price for each
kind. so it was not manufactured by them as they are not trappers but
dealers, To go well prepared is to be supplied with excellent baits, and
if you have Funsten Animal Baits you have the best.

I have charged you to go well supplied, I should also add that in order
to do this Traps should also be considered.--I have suffered severe
losses because I secured poor traps, Buy the New House Victor or Jump
Traps, advertised in Funsten Bros. & Co Catalogue No. 10 or 11. As these
men have the exclusive sale of them, it is enough to warrant their
quality. Funsten Bros. & Co at St. Louis Mo. Have the largest Fur House
in the world, and in order to be the largest they had to prove to be the
best. In all my dealing with them I have been courteously treated,
honestly classified, and promptly paid.

It is with pleasure I recommend this house which is an honor to Furriers
in America.

Well to return to my narrative,--this was the most excitable and
profitable winter we had ever known, we sold our furs after we broke
camp and took a very extensive vacation.

The Roving Trapper

I came to a turning point in my career--I was to Travel and specialize:
as a roving trapper. Only experts can catch a special kind of fur and
make it profitable.

I discharged all my old time laborers; and With The Coyote Kidd set out
after Mink--There are three or four distinct species of mink but the
Dark are by far the most valuable, these inhabit the colder regions,
they are worth between six dolars and fifteen per skin, according to the
shade and size. The mink is a keen observer, he lives on meat and eggs,
being somewhat like a weasel, also loving blood. The mink is used for
collarettes, boas, and ladies coats. A boa made from black water mink is
worth about 50 dollars, a collarette about $100,00 and a coat reaching
down to the hips would cost about $250,00. We took our way to the old
rendavous near the sweet water mountains. While hunting one day I shot a
Black tail deer. I was skining him for meat and was very hungry, I heard
a limb crack, turned around; and behold a large grizzly was coming after
my meat; or myself. I thought best to push the deer forward to him, so I
made a rather hasty retreat: and old bruin stopped when he struck the
deer. My gun was uncomfortablly near the dead dear, and the live bear,
so I had to go home disarmed.

This was a great grizzly, and he was great. I supposed he would tip the
scales at about 1,200 lbs. although some have been caught that weighed
2,250, lbs. these great bears live in the rocky mountains from Wyoming
to Mexico. Their favorite meat is colts, deer and sheep. Their nails
are often found seven inches long, their fur is best in Feb. and March.
valued at about 35, dollars apice. their pelts are used for rugs, robes
and overcoats.

We trapped from the Sweetwater to the Atlantic peaks, then westward
across Horse creek, to the Colorado desert. then up to Salmon river. We
followed salmon river through the seven devil mountains and left our
horses at the XL, ranch and started for the Indian war.

Now we were told by a trapper that there was a bad war on in Montana So
we intended to go--for we loved an excuse to hunt the cunning
game--Indians. But when we reached Mont. the war was in British
Columbia. So we sailed up into the cold region and settled at Silver
Creek Canada. We began about October the first setting our traps on
spruce river. The Tahoo and Blackfeet indians inhabit these parts, they
are a very jealous class of indians. owing to the great number of
half-breeds. the half breed indian is the smartest, most troublesome of
all indians. they ordered us off their grounds but I had been ordered
off hunting and trapping grounds so many times by indians that I payed
no more attention to their threats than I did to mosquito bites. So they
got mad, bristled up, surrounded our camps one night,--well we got
away--that is more than some of them did. Moving down the river and
overland about one hundred and seventy miles we camped on the Blackwater
river about fifty miles from the telegraph range. here I had my first
experiences with Work Dogs. we ran out of grub about the tenth of March,
and lived the rest of the winter on Big-horn and Moose. We next moved to
Mt. Norris Idaho and after trapping there a few weeks we sold out and
began to prepare for our long contemplated trip to the Amazon river
South America. We sailed from Frisco in July For Brazil Via Cape horn.
We landed seventeen days later in the good port Para, and from there
reshipped for Obidos and from there fitted out for a new experience. It
would be foolish to try to explain the real customs and traits of
animals after only having forty days experience for that covers our
trapping and hunting in South America. I did learn considerable about
that much discussed animal Monkey. I was taught by a native how to trap
him, the simple remedy I'll give my reader without any extra cost,
although I gave a mexican hat for that recipe. To catch a monky take a
ripe cocoa-nut dig out the three eyes and the meat Fill up the unbroken
shell with almost any kind of edibles; then tie a cord through the two
holes and tie the nut fast to a tree or a stake. The monk sees the nut
puts his hand in the tight hole gets a handful of food shuts up his hand
this forms a lump so big that it cannot be drawn back, the monk could at
any time get away by simply letting go the food, but he never will, and
hence is easily taken prisoner--how like man is the monky.

I cut my stay short one day when I came nearly having to shoot the pass
of a mammoth Boa constrictor--I concluded I was a fair trapper a common
hunter, but no snake charmer--I enjoyed the fruits and foliage of that
summer land, but was glad to get back to Galveston, Texas.

Back Among the Rockies

After we arrived from South America we planned on trapping one winter
for Bob-cat Civit Cat and Mountain Lion. Providing no catastrophes
happened bigger than a cat. We trapped the Arkansa, Big Sandy, Bayou
creek and on to poverty flats. Then we crossed over to the Black Hills
landing at Buffalo Gap.

Here a Ranchman hired us to kill Black bear which were killing his
colts. The Black bear of North America is the most harmless of all
bears. His average weight is about four hundred pounds. He lives on
honey, grass, berries, weeds, roots, ants, and insects of all kinds. He
is the hardest specie to hunt. When a hunter is on his trail he
invariably is next to it, and will climb upon all the high roots, and
logs and peep back on his track to discern the hunter. It is hard to get
a shot at him unless the wind is blowing so you may circle him and shoot
from the windward side. He will stuff a bullet hole with moss to prevent
the flow of blood and many other cute sagacious tricks. He dens up about
the 15teenth of Dec. and comes out about the middle of March, as is
usually supposed he comes out poor. But this is a bit of
missinformation. On the other hand he usually crawls out after his long
snooze fat as mud.

Well as usual we had a lot of work, accompanied with our usual success.
we were well paid for our hunt, and moved up to the Musselshell river In

In Montana we caught fine beaver, The beaver is a very instinctive
animal. There are several varieties, The Dam Builder, The Bank Beaver,
The Bachelor Beaver and the Drone Beaver. The beaver ranges in color
from white to black. I never saw a white one, and but one black one
except when I looked in the glass. The Beaver weighs from twenty to
thirty pounds in the United States, and from forty to fifty in Alaska.
His food is bark, young grass and such foods, They cut timber down and
know where it will fall. I ascertained this because I have known them to
leave trees alone which leaned the wrong direction for them to use. I
saw on the North Platte trees cut down by beaver which were four feet in
diameter. They make chips resembling a chopper with a dull ax. He cuts
his timber for winter and anchors it down four feet under water with mud
useing his tail as a scow and also for a spade.

Beaver dams are great hindrances to the man with a conoe, Beaver meadows
are splendid feeding grounds for deer and other animals. I have seen
beaver meadows--that is a place where the trees were all cut down and
used--covering hundreds of acres.

After breaking Camp we went to Cordelane Idaho, and from here to Frisco
then over to Austrailia, We sailed out from the Golden gate on the 5th
day of June and on the 20th day we reached Bellmont Aus. From here we
went by rail up the Darling river. We spent about fourteen or fifteen
days prospecting for a catch but found nothing inticing but hot winds
and hot sunshine, so we cut our visit short and returned to 'Frisco the
latter part of July--

We next went to Idaho and raked up our old gang with new accessories and
began trapping on the Clearwater and camped just below the Continental
Divide. We trapped to the St. Joe Divide and as far south as Bald
Mountains. The snow fall in this part is very heavy, we were making a
Deadfall one day when Billy Thorn made a miss cue with his heavy sharp
ax and severed his shin bone and nearly looped off his leg. The ax
struck about four inches below the knee, and nearly cut his leg
completely off. We were thirteen miles from headquarters camp. We made a
litter and carried him all the way. He nearly bled to death on the way.
There was no Dr. with in sixty miles. I thought it was up to me their
old Chief to perform an operation. I washed the wound out as clean as
posible, cutting away all shreads of flesh with my beaver knife, I hewed
out some sweet birch splinters and tied the limb tight with moose wood
bark from his ankle to his thigh. In three months he was able to walk
and after six months he was trapping as usual. While Thorn was layed up
I had a double dose of work to do and grew a little careless, so mush so
that something happened which never happened before--I was cleaning my
gun and rooled it over on my knee. I had forgotten to remove the loads
and off she went tearing a big hole in our camp. I had had a great deal
of trouble in my life teaching my men to always be careful about
accidents. This same thing had happened severl times to the other
fellows but never to me before. Most all old trappers and hunters get
into trouble of their own, sooner or later because of carelessness. I
never cover up a trap with my hand. I found a trapper starved to death,
caught in his own bear trap by both hands; because he was in the habit
of covering up his traps by hand. I always school the lads to cover
every trap with a stick. It is better because the animal can smell hand
marks readily.

After the accident of my gun explosion in camp I went out to look at A
trap I had set for a wolverine. I came to the spot and found the chain
broken and the trap gone, I began brushing away the snow supposing he
had dodged into a hole near by, the trap was set at the root of a tree
Suddenly I heard a growl and down from the limb leaped the darn skunk
upon my left shoulder while the trap struck me fair in the face, I did
some tall scrambling shook him off and empied my revolver in his skin.
My shoulder was very sore for three months so we had two cripples at
once. The next streak of ill luck, another of the gang got lazy and
would not wash well in cold water and contracted cold and then
Pneumonia--this layed him off for nearly three weeks. Our catch this
winter was Wolverine, Lynx, Marten, Ermine, a few Beaver and Otter. but
my Marten were of all more valuable.

I was engaged the next summer in Colorado by a ranchman to trap Mountain
Lion. The Mountain Lion is a specie of the Eastern Panther they weigh
from 80 to 150 lbs. Their color in winter is a steel grey and in summer
is a greyish brown. Their food is rabbit and grouse. Their haunts are
the Rocky mountains. Their hides are used for rugs and robes and worth
from 5-to 15 dollars. They also feed on calves and colts. are very hard
on a Horse Ranch-Man. They often attack men, I have known three men to
have been killed by Mountain Lions. The Mountain Lion is very shy he can
be poisoned the best of any way of taking his life. to trap a Lion you
must set all bait traps and deadfalls horse back and be sure your horse
has no shoes nor horse nails in their hoofs, if they have the Lion will
steer clear of the trap they are very clever in every way. One time I
was delayed from Camp it grew dark and I had an awful time to pick my
way home I soon discovered that I had more than the dark and difficult
roads to battle, For I was being followed by a Lioness five whelps and
an old Dog Lion. I was on my Favorite Horse Old Gotch. He feared Lions
equally as great as I hated Squaws, They followed me for about three
miles and when I reached an open space in the woods I halted near an old
fir stub, I dismounted cautiously I could hear the old Dog growl and the
whelps squeal like a flock of young pups. I found some dry leaves and
struck a fire breaking off the limbs of the old stub for fuel, After an
hour these limbs were all burned up and I had to go about thirty feet to
another stub for wood. I had to be pretty foxy for both lioness and Dog
kept uncomfortably close to me all the time I carried my six shooter in
one hand, and wood on the other arm; just as I was returning with a load
of wood the moon broke through a cloud and the old Dog was standing
about forty five feet away in a bunch of weeds. I pulled my gun and took
a chance shot and as luck would have it I broke his for shoulders and he
could leap around but not direct his course. I never heard such a
tearing racket; he would leap ten feet high and fall on his head when he
struck ground, by this I knew I had fixed his front limbs. At this the
Lioness and whelps retreated and after an hour I mounted Gotch and rode
up near the tired and crippled Dog and sent a ball through his heart. I
returned to the fire and had a little sleep before day-break. I skined
the old fellow next morning he was a monster old, rugged, brawny &
covered with (23) wounds. he had also been shot three times before.

After we broke camp we went to Mexico and rode a Horse Ranch. following
this for several months we worked our way northward taking carefull
notation of the changes in Saddles, Horses and riders. I have ridden
many wild horses and used many kinds of saddles but the king of all
saddles is the Meany. We could tie on to a steer that wieghed a ton and
not be afriad of tearing this saddle to pieces.

We loved wild horse riding but we got so beastly full of lice that we
quit. We have caught lice several times from the tourists, and
tenderfeet but could always get rid of them other places by the cowboy
method--At night take off your shirt turn it inside out spread it over
an ant-hill, and in the morning the ants have all you company preserved
for the coming winter.

The cowboys are a clean lot of brave loyal lads. They carry guns--but
not as is supposed to use on one-another--but to shoot wild horses which
they are riding--suppose your foot gets fastened in a stirrup and your
are thrown, you will not go far till you are dragged to death. this is
where the Gun does its intended work.

I have had to take my hat and strike the top of the water to drive the
bugs down so I could drink without swallowing bugs, I used to cook and
thought nothing of taking my water from a slough where several carcasses
of cows wrere putrying. Sometimes I ran short of Soda then I would use
the ashes of Buffalo chips for Soda. All this is as harmless to health;
as eating asparagrass grown in a manure pile.

Well life grew monotnous, each succeeding year brought but old time
haunts and the accostomed experiences. So as we sat at midnight in
Portland Oregon in a grand ball room indulging in our only bad
habit--smoking, simultaneously The Coyote Kidd and Myself proposed--to
the gang let us go up to Alaska" To this we all shook hands.

Off for New Fields of Adventure--Going to Faraway Alaska

We went direct to the Little horn river Montanna and sold our Horses to
the Crow Agency. Went to Deadwood S. Dak. picked up our Old Dog "Chum."
and some other property went back to Billings Montana settled up our
Business and went to Seattle Wash.

In Seattle we fitted out for a three year expedition.

And on the 20th day of April at 2 P.M. we shipped out of the Harbor on
the Old James Dollar--She was agood old ship built in South America made
of meteec--.; but had her back broken while being launched Was patched
up and yet hardly fit for rough seas.

Our first four days were very pleasant till we struck Millbank sound
There we were hit with a heavy sea on our starboard-beam. The old ship
would leap almost out of the ocean and then fall back like a wounded
duck. she would flounder, pitch, rool and dive come to the surface and
wipe off the brine slick as a mole. I felt a little disturbed in the
locality of my abdomen, also my appetite failed me for a few days; I was
standing one morning on deck by the hand rail just leaning over for
convenience--near by stood an Irishman spewing in the sea, a sailor came
allong and said to the Irishman" You seem to have a weak stomache." "I
don't know" Said the Irishman" I think I can throw it as far as the next
one" Over that same rail engaged at the same pass-time was a young lady,
leaning on the arm of her old Dad Between times she repeated"

  I'me a fathers only daughter,
  Casting bread upon the water,
  In a way I hadent oter,
    I guess yes.
  Casting it like rain,
  Into the troubled main,
  Hoping this sour bread
  will not return again"

We landed in Skagway on the fifth day of May. Now there were no docks in
Skagway at that time; so we were unloaded by lighters and run up where
the water was about three feet deep, there we had to get on a man's back
and be carried ashore. We were charged two dollars for the lighters and
two dollars for the man craft, so it cost each of us four dollars to
land after we had landed.

We arose early the following morning in another world. We knew the wild
parts of the States and the beasts and the men, the lay of the cities,
the course of thousands of the important rivers The climate, snow fall,
cyclones and all other important things to know when your life is an
outdoor life; but here we were in a new untried world. One of my
failures is when I see a mountain to wish to know how the land lays on
the other side, naturally given to adventure I had indulged, and it grew
very rapidly upon me, till it got beyond my controll, so I was delighted
to discover new fields.

After proper preparations we set out for White horse. After a few days
we arrived at the Chilkoot Pass. The Chilkoot Pass, is a high pass about
a mile high and steep as a house roof. And is also subject to very heavy
snowslides. It was here where a short time before 148 soldiers in the
British Army were all burried forever without any Sky-Pilot or
Undertaker's assistance. We crossed through Jacobs Ladder where were
six-hundred steps cut into the solid ice. There were several Men known
as packers who lived at the foot of the ladder, they packed over loads
for 45cts per lb. they wore spurs on the bottom of their moccasins; we
were not tenderfeet, but used to the heaviest kinds of packing and you
should have seen those sharks look with disdain on us when we made the
pass carrying twice as many pounds up as they could. On this Trip I had
The Coyote Kidd, The Galloping Swede, Taxas Tom. and Old Ed Scott. Four
just as good men as I had had the pleasure of meeting during twelve
years of rough life. And I was pretty sound then--my eyes were keen, my
hearing alert my aim acurate, not like I am at this writing.

On the top of this Pass I had my last opportunity of buying a piece of
mince pie which I never neglect--but this piece cost me a Pan or one
dollar. The other fellows took lemonade paying the same price per glass.
I had hunted all kinds of game, common or uncommon in the Western
Hemisphere. had led the most daring and dangerous kind of a life, but
little did I realize the tiresome dedious and indiscribable journey that
now lay before me.

As we crossed Chilkoot pass and descended through the long indentations
leading northward and eastward amid snow ice and severe weather Old
Texas Tom. The terror of the West, the old steel man as he was often
called grew tired for the first time since our acquaintance. Together we
rode the great roundup, together we had braved danger hard-ships scores
of times, at every other event he was cool faithful and ever on the
spot; but now he sickened from fatigue to a terrorable back ache and
head ache. That night he seemed to recover a little and the next morning
shouldered his load and with less of his old time vigor and lightness
began the day's journey. But about an hour later he had a relpase and we
divided his load among us and he was able to travel till noon. then we
camped as he grew worse and wrapped him in our blankest made him a good
thick bed out of boughs, and fixed him up just as comfortable as
possible. Four days later in the afternoon he called me up to his bed
and began to talk about sunny Texas about his dear old mother his sweet
young sister and his boyhood days. I tried to encourage him I told him
he would soon get well and that he had only a bad cold--but he smiled
and said he was not long for this world. He said this feeling was
strange and unearthly and he felt the approach of death. Then he rested
an hour and then called me up to him and said" Old Chief give me a pull
at your pipe--I did he lay back on my knee where he seemed to rest the
easiest gasped twice and died.

This was a hard blow on me and the other boys. The snow was deep and the
ground frozen down a great depth, so we were forced to bury Our dear old
Tom in the beautiful white purified crystal snow A purer and lovlier
grave man never filled. we marked the place and summoned our courage and
left the Old Texan who was reared amid the flecy cotton, sleeping his
last long sleep amid the white flakes in far away Alaska.

We were unfamiliar with this kind of sickness but after we were
experienced we knew our pard was afflicted with Spinal Fever. This is
caused by the rubbing of a heavy load on the back, it causes
perspiration then followed with fatigue the patient in weariness is
constrained by this fatighue to lie down upon the ground, and a severe
cold is contracted resulting in death. No traveler in that cold barren
region should ever under any circumstances lie down upon the naked
earth. Tom and we were all used to lying on the earth and thought
nothing of. ignorance and eagerness caused his death, as it has the
untimely death of many a mother's boy.

We took up our march sorrowfully and silently till we rached the
Horalinqua River. Here he halted and searched for Gold. May I add that
the craze for gold lead us into this region of ice and snow. We were
unsuccessful but in our rambles we came to Pelley River and found Marten
very thick, so we concluded to trap there the next winter. We left our
outfit here and began the journey down to Dawson, we had to shoot the
far famed Whitehorse rapids. there are seven of them and they are about
3 miles long, and run like lightling, we boarded a raft were cut loose
by a half breed Mucklock and away we went almost a mile a minute riding
on the crest of the rapid rooling river. Here after the passing of the
rapids we first met Swift water bill. so named by the Sourdoughs because
he would never shoot the rapids. His was a queer experience. he dug out
his fortune amid the bars of the river and then went back to Seattle and
married a daughter having three homely sisters, and his wife was twice
as holely as them all. each year following for four years he returned to
Seattle and married a sister every time. and at last having wed the last
girl, he broke all rules of life and married his Motherinlaw.

In this locality we made quite a stay mining and prospecting for hunting
and trapping till the following spring. which hardly shows his face when
autumn drives him off.

It was necessary for us to larn a few lessons so here we began to study.
first we were taught how to bridle a boat. this is done by tieing a rope
around the nose of the boat about one third the way aft. then we learned
how to make what they call portages--that is--when you come to falls or
rapids, relieve the boat of all contents and carry contents and boat
around the rapids. Then we were taught how to know quicksand and how
dangerous the Overflow is to dogs, and men in extrems winter. an
overflow is where the water bursts through the ice in the rivers and for
a few feet runs on the top. it cannot run far for it soon freezes. If
you put your foot in water or if your dogs step in water your feet and
their feet would freeze in two minutes.

The next winter we built a line of camps up the Pelley river about sixty
miles, and another line up the McMillian. October 10th we began to set
traps for Marten, ermine and wolf. Here we learned that Marten were
called Sable they are much larger and more valuable than the Marten of
United States Of America. In color they are dark brown and some are
almost black, they feed upon grouse and mice and never go near the
water, they inhabit the cold regions and breed but once a year. They
resemble the house cat in features but have long body like a mink. We
took that winter seven hundred, the largest catch ever known to have
been taken by any one gang in the world. The weather was exceedingly
cold for we were only three hundred miles from the Arctic Circle. Spring
came we broke camp and moved down to Dawson, sold our fur and drifted
down the Yukon river to the mouth of forty mile creek. Here we turned up
in search of placer mining, the short summer soon past and we returned
to Dawson and fitted out for the winter.

After we chucked up we turned up toward Steward river, on this trip we
met and formed the acquaintance of Geo. MacDonald, a wide world
character. At one time he came to Dawson with twenty mules packed with
gold. Three years later he died in Circle city a pauper.

Here also we first met the noted Montana Kidd--he swung his team of a
dozen dogs around the corner of the road house and shouted to the
landlord" Thirteen steaks dam the cost the Kidd always has the price" It
cost him thirteen times ten dollars--or one hundred and thirty dollars;
ten for himself and one hundred and twenty for his dogs.

After another successful winter we returned to Dawson sold our furs and
went first to Eagle and chucked up and journeyed to Fort Yukon. Now Fort
Yukon stands in the Arctic Circle and the Steel registers during cold
weather 65° below zero. From here we went up the Porcupine river to
Rampart Ho on the Eastern boundery of Alaska We did not like the country
in this part so we returned to Fort Yukon; and turned down the Yukon
river to the Tanana river then we up this last named stream to

We reached Fairbanks in the early fall and trapped that winter on Beaver
creek. having many experiencs but none which I shall record
here.--After we broke Camp we sold our fur in Fairbanks and started for
the head of Copper river. We followed this stream down till we struck
Ambercunbo canyon. Not being acquainted with the river we were into the
rapids before we knew it: I shouted to the boys to pull while I leaped
for the steering oar, we got through all right but the boat was half
full of water--and all the boys pretty badly scared, it was a close
shave one adventure I do not care to repeat. We floated down to Katello;
and here took a boat for Cook's inlet. We reached Shushitna station And
started up Shushitna river till we came to the mouth of the Talketaa:
here in search of trapping we failed to find the object of our
search--but found something far better a splendid Quartz mine, which
averages $93.00 gold per ton of quartz. From here we went to Seldovia
and then to Dutch Harbor and on to St. Michels.

It might be well to say briefly that I had considerable exprience during
my time with mining, and was no green horn, The Kidd was a natural
miner, he would stick his pick, spade or knife into every bit of mother
earth to ascertain if there was any color, we not only knew fur, beasts
and birds, reptiles, fish, insects, but we knew the earth over which we
walked, on which we slept and so contineud for sixteen years. We were
full fledged Sour Doughs. We were citizens and Claim holders.

I should also mention that I have but briefly outlined our travel, we
had traveled much more than one would naturly suppose from reading these
few pages, I ought to say too that We had become expert Dog-teamsters.
And I need not say that not a man in Alaska nor an Indian could beat us
on snow shoes.

We incidently fell in with a half breed who was looking for a husband
for a half sister I made him believe I was looking for a Wife So he feel
in toe. I according to his pleasure met his sister she was a cross
between an Eskomo and a Mucklock, she was a charming biddy her eyes
were sore, she was terrorably deformed having a large bone resembling a
horn growing out of her right shoulder, she was about twenty four years
old. and indians at that age are as old as white women are at fifty. if
there is any beauty in Creoles, or Indians believe me it fades before
they are thirty, and leaves you a homely hag.

Well Her brother told me he had heard about me and If I would consent to
wed his sister he would tell me the road to a fortune. I saw he was
smart and disclosed considerable truth and displayed considerable
inteligence of the interior. He said he would go to that place but owing
to physical inability he could not. What could a trapper from the
flowery fields of the rockies, and broad basins of the Platte now of the
Snow hidden mountains ice bound rivers of Alaska do but inmediately
without consulting any parents--become engaged.

We sat down I dismissed the boys and he related to me the following "For
a thousand years my people have been kings in these parts. A Few indians
have been through the interior of Alsaka from Mt Mckinley to Point
Barrow. But no white man ever was. It is well nigh impossible but a
giant like you and like your men could go if you prepare properly And
have the money to chuck up for two years. Now the fortune lies in what
you could tell and what you would know and see rather than in what you
could bring back. But should you gain Point Barrow remember there is
plenty of gold.--but it can only be mined during the summer while the
frost is wore out of the ground by the sea. Now half way through this
wilderness of ice, snow, and bursting glasciers is a cave not in a
valley but on a mountain above timberline. This mountain lies about ten
miles westward of you main course as you go down Dead mans gulch. you
will know this gulch by its first horrorable appearance. it makes even
an indian shudder to look at it. After you emerge from the gulch take
the first indentation leading westward and by all means go to black
mountain and find the cave. Now why I wish you to find the cave is I
wish you to live. the Wether is extremely cold, you and your men will
need a relief from this extreme incessant atmosphere. this cave is of
black rock and is as warm underfoot as any soap stone you ever touched.
and when once in the cave you feel warm as in an oven. Here you may
recuperate patch up your clothes and make your journey safely." I
thought this was hash so parting said I would return and tell him how I
prospered. While time and weather would permit we went to Gnome and
picked up Black Dave. And purchased severel good Huskeys. sailed back to
St. Michals stocked up and set out on our trapping and hunting trip. But
finding we had miss judged the lay of the land on the western slope of
Alaska we again sailed back to Gnome and then crossed overland to Candle
creek. We experienced some very hard travels in crossing the Seward
Peninsula when we struck the south west side of the Kalzetpue Sound,
from there we went west to Salawak river, then to the lake of that same
name here we pitched camp and set our traps. Our game was Polar bear,
Arctic Fox, Reindeer and Sable.

Now I was used to all kind of bear except--the Polar which I am free and
frank to confess is the worst man eater on earth, not one beast of any
country excepted. The Polar averages to weigh about seven hundred pounds
his build is different from any other bear, he is long and lanky having
giant legs, his color is pure white. Except at times he is yellow around
the neck, and shoulders. His food is Walrus and whale which have been
killed and cast upon the ice by tremendous storms. They breed but once a
year and seldom have more than one cub. he lives exclusively in the
Arctic regions. His fur is used for rugs and robes and is worth about
$150.00 per pelt. But it is so hard get these skins to civilization that
they are rare, often other bear is colored and sold for real Polar.
Between the Polar Bear and Siberian Wolves we had to watch our dogs all
night to keep them from being killed, as well as ourselves.

This country was poepled with Eskomos a sort of a cross between them
and Mucklock indians. they were very friendly to us. I could address
them in their own language which pleased them and we prospered fine. On
the first day of Feb. we started back to Gnome.

And for the first time suffered total darkness by day and by night. We
had enjoyed the midnight sun, and now must suffer the mid-day dark. The
thermoneter lay about seventy below zero and the wind blew a gauger, On
this trip back to Gnome I first learned what it was to neglect for hours
to wait upon Nature, owing to the suffering of even exposing you bare
hand for ten seconds. On this trip our old Chum, the playmate of Texas
darling of Wyoming and the tramp of Deadwood So. Dak. got so cold he
whined and refused to go. We took him and put him in our sleeping bag. I
had taken him because he was fat and I kept him as a reserve food,
rather than for actual work. We had a great jag on our sleighs we had to
draw fish to feed our dogs, fish for fuel and lights, and with our
traps, guns sleeping bags and truck we had great loads.

We reached Gnome without any serious accidents or over severe suffering
sold our furs and felt fine over our grand success.

Into the Unknown

The following summer I fell in with a Miner by the Name of Jack Freeman.
he was well known as a penetrator, He told us that up at point Barrow
was all kind of shot gold. this aroused our curiosity again and I
thought of my Squaw down at St Michals. Which I felt if I went to Point
Barrow I would be obliged to wed. So we evaded the northern fever and
planned to trap again somewhere near Candle Creek.

We left Gnome in early autumn and went straight to our old camps. after
our usual luck we started in a circuitous route for Gnome. We came to
the Buckland River and started up intending to strike the mouth of the
Koyukuk but missed our mark striking forty miles above the mouth we had
hard times crossing the snow-capped mountains and climbing over Glaciers
breaking trails for our dogs, fixing broken sleighs and mending worn out
harnesses. tieing up stranded Snow-shoes and facing death in many forms.
Here for the first time in my life I realized I was indeed a very
reckless man. Often the boys would get cold and sleepy and I would have
to make them march at the point of old glory--my Gun--they would swear
and blame every bit of hard luck to me. I held my nerve and had good
controll over my men and after a waery march reached the Mouth of the
Koyukuk and sold our furs at Rampart, Here Black Dave quit us saying he
was going back to Arizonia. Three months later we took a boat and
floated down to the mouth of the Yukon followed on to the Lake and after
about fifteen days we reached Pay Creek. here we placer mined the whole
summer. and agin fell in With Jack Freeman and all planned a trip
beyond the haunts of men. We beat down the river that early autumn
traded our gold-dust for food, went back to the mouth of the Mullen
River, then began our march up mullen river. Always before in my life I
had been stepping in the footsteps of some predecessor; but now I was to
make tracks where man had never been.

Before begining the Arctic Expedition I called all the men up and
explained what it might mean--death hardships were all discussed but
they willingly agreed to go, in fact urged the expedition. then I said
if you loose your life your blood will be upon your own judgement and
not upon my head. If we go we shall brave all-together the severe
hardships, if we loose like many others, our funerels will be tearless,
and inexpensive, If we win then each shall share a like in the spoils.
We had an elegent supply of foods.

Of Flour, Salt, sugar, rice, corn-starch, block-matches, candles, We had
forty pounds of chewing tobacco, and eighty pounds of smoking, we had
six bottles of Paroxide--six bottles of Lemon-extract, Blue ointment,
Castor oil, ten Irish potatoes, and other medicines in our chest, But I
wish the reader to notice that on no trip did I ever allow one drop of
liquor in any form to be packed in my load. The worst thing for any man
who is fighting cold to do; is to bowl up on red-eye. he is only the
worse for it. I was bragging one day on this when a fellow said "I have
heard this but how do you get allong when your whole crew are dam
drunkards except the Kidd. Well I said I cannot keep them from it in
town; but Black Beaver can keep it off the sleigh and when men are where
it cannot be secured they do not drink.

And further I argued that I never tasted intoxicants. That The Kidd Tom
Bardine and Old Ed Scott were also tetotalers--so the only chance he had
for argument was that Black Dave, And a few other lads from Alaska were
the only drinkers I ever had.

In addition to our rations we had a great deal of dried fish for our
dogs, we had severel candle fish for lights, and a large quantity of
dried fish for fuel.

Early in September We started out for Point Barrow through the interior
overland where to my present knowledge man has never traveled. After we
reached the head of Mullen river we started up the Arctic divide; and on
fifteenth day of October we gained the top of the divide. This was many
miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Now I had looked upon many charming scenes in my wild and wandering
life; but while standing on the ridge of this great divide which seems
to separate the green world and the land of sunshine and birds and
flowers from the land of almost intolerable cold crisp snow, giant
Iceburgs glaciers and snow-slides--I saw the fairest sight I had ever
looked upon. Far westward the dying sun was painting the lofty
snow-capped mountains, Northward the borrowed beams were shimering on
the polar ice-bergs, in the Arctic Sea, Eastward were the last broken
prongs of the defiant mountains known to the world as the rockies; and
southward in all its modest beauty lay the mammoth valley of earths
greatest river the Yukon. I bid farwell to the known world and sang the
old old song--"In far away Alaska, where the Yukon river flows"

And then started down the great Arctic slope into the black bosom of the
north. As we waved our hands in parting at southern civilization we
hailed with a new delight the mystic and unruly regions of the north.
The first day of our descent the weather lost controll of its furious
temper, and how things did hum, Cyclones in Iowa and Colorado, Blizzards
in Newbraska and the Dakotas, all which have raged for a thousand years
melted into one could not furnish the momentum nor terror of this storm
for a second.

We camped under the shelter of a great glacier on top of the south side
and there let the weather howl, When the weather abated we took up the
march in earnest with all our vigor and after several days we came to a
branch of a river--which we have since found out was called by the
indians coa-ville river. you could tell that at certain seasons water
ran down here, it was by no means a river in the sense of rivers such as
they appear in other countries even in the dead of winter. We followed
in this water trail about forty miles till we came to a pair of great
glaciers which met in the center of the river then we were forced to go
back and circle around them which took us two days. When we were again
back on the bed of the river and had got along safely for about ten
miles suddenly our back sled broke through the ice, and was caught by a
mighty current and hurled under the ice--quicker than you could say Jack
Rabbit. On this sled was most of our flour--this was ill luck we then
named the Stream Lost flour river. Still we continued to go toward the
north, the days grew short about three hours of daylight every
twentyfour hours. So we had to use what is known as The "Arctic Bug" A
tin can with a candle stuck in one side and lighted. Night after night
we were surrounded by Siberian Wolves they hungred for our flesh. It was
so cold that We had to sleep in our Reindeer sleeping bags through the
night--so occasionally we would have to unlace our bags and smoke up the
wolves and then depend upon a little rest till they got too fresh again.

Our dogs stood the trip well we fed them once a day gave them a single
fish each evening after the days work was done, it is always best to
feed in the evening the Husky or Malimouth is a very ferocious dog and
if you do not keep them hungry they get lazy and will not mind but will
defy you. many a dog-teamseer has accidently fallen down near his team
while breaking trail and been eaten up. if you fall down they will jump
on you like a lion. It is spectacular to see us feed them we remove the
muzzle and harness take our gun in one hand unlock the fish box and call
the dogs by name one by one at the same time throwing a fish at the one
we mention, they will catch their fish like old Cy Young would a league
ball even if it goes much higher than you intended they will climb the
sky for fish. The Work dog is a great asset to the travelers in that
region. a good team will travel over a broken trail seventy five miles a
day. it is a very pretty sight to see a well trained team travel. These
dogs can pull a load weighing from one hundred to two hundred pounds
according to the road and hills. Examine our big team two of which we
had with us on this famous journey. Each day brought its new dangers and
difficulties, each night had its terrors the inevitable howl of the
wolves, the sneaking glacier bears, the extreme cold, the brilliant glow
of the Aurora Borealis Which hissed high over our heads and shot like
lightling in varigated rays, in sound resembling a turkey gobbler
unfolding his wings. I cannot go into all the details of this trip into
the unknown it was up and down glaciers, following often in the path
where just recently a great snowslide traveled, carrying hundreds of
tons of snow and ice and breaking and crashing like a ruined world. The
snow slide is the greatest of all dangers in this region, I have seen as
many as five all at one time, some are known as annuals or old
faithfulls, others are known as untimely, and treacherous. many an
Alaskan lies burried in valleys hundreds of feet below the surface in
mountains of snow. I have always escaped the snow slide, I always test
the snow as I go. If I get on a slope where Snowslides are frequent I
prod deep into the snow to ascertain its actual depth, where the snow is
thick it is most apt to slide. The cry is keep close to the rocks and
you are safe. After many days of severe suffering and fighting cold we
came to a perpendicular ridge of ice which we discovered was a long
ridge, there seemed to be no way around so we prepared to let over each
other. It was about one hundred feet down to the ice. I was the first to
test the ropes, then one by one the dogs, sleighs, guns and all was over
except the last man. we had provided for him, the rope was fastened
under a huge piece of ice; and after he slid down we all pulled on the
rope it brought cake and all over.

We were traveling the next day down the river when one of the boys saw
a sleigh setting up a gainst a hill of ice, I went over to examine it
and found it to be an Eskimo's Igloo. I got down on my knees and crawled
into the hole on the south side. Inside were nine Eskimos, they quickly
grabbed their lances, but I spoke to them in their language and they
seemed pleased and soon layed down their spears and made me welcome. I
backed out of the door and told the boys what I had found, we all went
into the house and in less than ten minutes at least one hundred Eskimos
were around the hut. Manny of them had never seen a white man and we
were to them a wonder they would walk around us and look at us like a
batch of monkeys. I gave the Chief's wife a small hand glass and they
all looked into it and behind it like so many animals. I presented the
chief with a watch and he gave me a Silver Fox in return. The Eskimos
are great Pot-latchers That means givers to each other. they are very
free hearted They seldom own anything very long at one time it is given
from one to another constantly. We were planning to go on toward the
Mouth of Gold river but the Chief told me his daughter was to be married
in two moons: we stayed to attend the wedding. So I had a privelege to
ascertain how the Eskimos make love and are married. If a girl is in
love with an Eskimo she sends for him and combs his hair with her
fingers. If he loves her he returns again if not he does not. they are
engaged exclusively by the parents, then afterward are informed they are
to be married. They are usually married in the moonlight the parents of
the bride and groom pronounce the cerimony. The bride and groom stand in
the center, over a lamp, around them are their parents. around the
parents are the next nearest relatives, them around them again are the
friends. All form a circle and the inner circle march to the right the
next circle march to the left--thus alternating As many times as there
are circles. at this wedding there were about ten big circles and they
looked funny enough under those bright stars and the great moon
painting the ice and snow as far as the eye could reach, all dressed in
fur going in opposite directions. They were given an ice house and the
bottom was covered a foot thick with fine furs. I explained to the chief
whose name was Snatch-bow, about the warm weather in the south, he
watched me in wonder and then stood up and said "Injun have no house he
all melt. I no go there" Of course he said this in Eskimo. In his house
was a few pieces of furniture. In the center was the knuckle bone of a
macedon with a nice dish shaped top this was filled with oil, a string
was laid in this; and one end lighted this was their only light. This
lamp served also as a nurseing bottle for the babies. They had two round
pieces of driftwood they used for chairs. In another hut I found they
used hollow bones filled with oil for lamps with a cover over them and a
wick made of a sea-weed. The squaws would lift the cover and take a sip
out of the lamp and then go on with their work. Oil is their favorite
drink. The Eskimos are very hardy so far as enduring cold is
concerned--I saw an Eskimo bobbing--that is how they fish--hold a fish
on a string just under water and as the big fish comes after it they
spear it with a spear they hold in their other hand--This man was
bobbing and his squaw was sitting on the shore watching him. on her
bosom lay a babe about three months old, it was rapped around with a
piece of fur its face was partly bare, it was snowing fine snow
resembling frost, it was about 65° below zero, as I passed I saw they
snow in the babies face and wondered it was not dead just think of a
babe under such an temperature sleeping with the snow falling in its
tender face. It seems utterly impossible but it is true. But when you
look for strength long life endurance or inteligence in the Eskimo you
seek in vain. They all have sore matterated eyes, one fifth of them are
deformed. one in ten has the consumption. and the average life of the
Eskimo is about 30 years. They average to weigh about 90 pounds and
stand about four feet and six inches high.

They are perfectly friendly even if they never saw a white man. They
wrap up the dead in skins and hang them up, they freeze still and so
remin till eaten by some wild beast. The Eskimos are beyond doubt the
happiest people on earth, they never lie, steal, cheat, murder nor mix
in family intercourse so common among all other indians. They have
absolutely no religion, no expectation of ever coming to life when once
dead. They are very ignorant and dirty their huts are black with smoke,
their faces are oiled and covered with black from the oil smoke. Their
huts never get warmer than the freezing point. they undress when they
sleep. and use fish to cook their food, when they cannot get driftwood.

A great deal of driftwood floats in around the river mouth which is
carried to the Arctic Ocean by the Great Mackinzie river and is
distribuated all allong the shore and picked up in the summer and used
in the winter. This wood providentialy sent is certainly a blessing to
the Eskimos of this region.

As I passed from hut to hut trading, I chanced to run across some
indians from Candle Creek where I first learned to talk Eskimo. They
were very glad to see me and used me fine making it very pleasant for
us. One night while traveling from one town to another--for it was
nearly all night at that time--two of my men were robbed--that was a
piece of wonderment in these parts and in the life of the oldest indian
it had never happened. As soon as the boys reported I took the Kidd and
we set out to stop the thief--we went less than five miles when we
overtook a rather unusual large Indian which I at once reconized as The
worst Desperado in Alaska--he had killed several white men and about
fifty of his own tribe, I first met him at Candle Creek, I pulled my gun
and ordered him to put up his dukes--he did and I said John Spoon I know
you and I guess you know me, unload that gold and those furs you took
from my men or, I'll let daylight through you--He did a great stunt of
obeying he was scared half to death, I had a notion to kill the other
half. I was a fool to let him off so easy--But I always hate to shoot
even an indian. Well we worked down to the Sea, and a few hours each day
dug at placer mining. after forty eight days we took our gold about
$4,455,00 and set out for the mouth of the Mackinzie river. This was a
terrorable trip The sea had piled up ice-burgs so we had to travel
allong the mountain side--Our hardships had been extreme and as we
neared the Delta of the great River one day I noticed The Galloping
Swede was loosing his mind, or getting crazy with hardships, which is
the most incurable of all diseases, He had been snow blind, had had sore
eyes, was homesick and lonesome, and the added over exposeures had
ruined that bright and cultured mind. Lee Wilda--for this is his name
had been with me a long time. his home was in Minnesota, his father was
dead but he had a mother and a sister. Twice on our way we had to let
our dogs and plunder over ice precipreses, with our lash ropes. Finaly
we reached Coleville river and crossed over. it was about a half mile
wide at the mouth. Just after crossing over this stream we saw 148 Polar
bears on one cake of ice feeding on a dead whale. Allong this trip so
near the sea we saw hundreds of seals, and walrus and killed a Muskox
the most rare animal in the world. After over forty days we reached the
mouth of the Mackinzie river, it is about eight miles across the mouth,
and drains The great baer lake, the great slave lake, the lesser slave
lake, The peace river the Athabaska river and hundreds of tributaries in
to the Sea. It was nearing spring, we had no calendar, and did not even
know the month of the year. We were glad: our sleighs were getting worn
out, so were our snow shoes, and our provission was nearly gone and Lee
was a raving maniac. We still had the main range of the Rocky mountains
to cross. We came to a small station about one hundred miles up the Teal
river: but the frenchman refused us anything to eat. He was buying fur
for a fur Co. and wanted to kill off all indipendent traders. Without
his consent I took what grub I wanted, he did not like it much permit me
to say--but he choose this in preference to cold lead, I left him his
full pay and begn our weary march to head of the Porcupine river. just
before we reached the porcupine We met an indian prospector and gave him
ten dollars for a pan of flour, and so got on to Fort Yukon.

Our feet were sore, so were our eyes, we were tired and worn out. We
rested a few days and agin hit the road, we follwed down the Yukon to
the Tannana and up this river a long ways and then struck across The
mountains to the Kuskakwim river. And as we were going down marten creek
One of my dogs bit me: he tore off the hole end of my finger. It was a
bad bite the weather was very cold, and I could not give it proper care.
Four days later blood poison set in, my hand began to swell and pain me,
worst of all we were loaded with Polar bear seal and white fox. My hand
grew worse and worse I could not travel any longer so we had to throw
away all our Polar bear and the dogs had to draw me. It was so cold that
I had to walk at times, this lasted for eleven days. And for eleven
nights, I walked around while the other boys slept. After this time we
struck Shushitna Station then we made Knik. from here we started for
Seldovia but were foundered for two days near Fire Islands. when Maud
the Moose picked us up and took us to Seldovia. Here a Government nurse
operated on my finger and by her skill and my nerve she saved my life.
After four weeks I shipped on the Portland for Seattle leaving my men to
go back to the claims and stay till I could return. With the exception
of Lee Wilda he we sent to Seward to a doctor. During the most
excruciating pain I sold my Mine known as the Roving Trapper and
completed my Journey to the States, carrying with me a Dr. and A Trained

After a long and dedious journey we reached Seattle and there I was
confined to a room in the Hospital for four weeks--after which I took
the overland limited for Michigan. One the fourth day of June I landed
in the old town of my Childhood--Fife Lake.

I learned that my Father and mother still lived but had long since sold
the farm and kept a small store in town. Once I could have named every
individual I met--but now as I walked up the hill from the depot I was
an entire stranger--Twenty years makes a great change, Many were my
meditations as I walked over the little marsh where I had so often
passed when a mere child. I entered the old store, the one in which I
spent my babyhood--where Father ran store before he bought the farm An
old lady stooped, and seamed came in to ascertain that which I wanted,
had I have been any other place I could not have gussed who she was, I
told her I wanted a quarters worth of Cigars, I sat down upon the old
chest which I still remembered, and began to smoke, memory was
busy--Could this be my mother, I saw her last twenty years before, her
locks were black as a raven's wing, her eyes like stars in mid-winter,
her form straight agile and graceful--A horrorable thought seized me--I
threw away the cigar and walked over to mother and told her I was her
baby--I took her in my arms--It was a severe shock to mother, she had
long mourned me dead, together we wept, she for joy, but I for the
greatest mistake of my lifetime those twenty long years of prodigality.
No man ever repented more bitterly over his rash and careless actions
than I did that fourth day of june.

Presently my Father came in--he too was old and gray--that step which
had ever been so nimble and elastic was now abated, he did not recognize
me--till he saw mother had been crying then his suspiction was aroused
and I broke down--father took me one his lap; kissed me and welcomed me
home.--Boys I have made a great mistake,--I can never recover the loss
connected with this carelessness by all means never patron my example.

When the town folks found out who I was and that I was back from
far-away Alaska they began to come in to see me--they had a right too
They had watched over my dear old mother and father when they were sick
as only the best friends on earth know how, how much I owe those dear
old neighbours at Fife Lake. They filled the house and store and we had
a great time for several days. I had to leave the old folks again
without their consent, but not without their knowledge. successively I
visited my relation not one of them ever guessing who I was till I
informed them.

While visiting among the haunts of civilization I conceived the idea
that a splendid outfit of furs, dogs, and other educative curios would
be of interest to the folks of the States. so to morrow I set sail for
Alaska to secure such an outfit which I hope you may satisfactorly
inspect before reading my book.

Yours truly--Black Beaver.

Webster So. Dak. April 17, teenth 1911.

Bits of Information--Characteristics of Black Beaver

Black beaver was never lost but once in his life And that was in
Cordalane Idaho. It had a peculiar effect upon him, it made him, sick to
his stomach, sleepy and gave him the head ache. He never carried a
compass in his life. can awaken at any hour of the night and point north
south east or west.

Black beaver gives a recipe for cureing gray hair. this alone is worth
the price of this book--"When I went up to Alaska I was quite gray
headed I was crossing Jumbo Glacier, going North-west, they wind was
cold and exceedingly stout my steel registered over seventy below
zero--I was making good time--I became warm and perspired a little--for
about ten seconds I removed my cap when I discovered my scalp was
frozen. for nearly a year my hair was all out around my ears--at last it
came in just as black as it was when I was a child--(Se my head seeing
is believing) Ladies, gentemen freeze your scalp if you are gray"

Black Beaver is a natural tarveler in cold regions because; he is always
feeling of himself to see if he is freezing. which is the only way one
can tell in extreme cold.

An excciting place to sleep--on a Glacier which moves about ten feet a
day--it is cracking, bursting exploding, trembling, groaning and
together with the Glacier Bears and howling dogs, and Siberian wolves,
and rolling around to keep from freezing is very soothing. Now I have
fought buffalo flies in Michigan, Bed Bugs in Wisconsin, Lice in
Wyoming, Rattlesnakes in Colorado, Coyotes in North Dakota, Rats in
Australia, Spiders in South America,--But Glaciers are of all places I
ever attempted the most exciting and difficult to get a little sleep.

The Glacier is moved forward by the compressed air which gets into the
crevices behind the glaciers when it is split open by frost--then it
freezes again and explodes which moves the great mountain into the
river. The Glaciers not only furnish the water supply for the world--but
also keep it fresh.

The term Mushing has been used in the book that means to walk.

The term Pan, means one dollar, Bum Pan means a half dollar. Hit means
five dollars.

A great manny hunters have severe accidents with their guns--often they
burst when they are fired off--this is caused by dirt accidently getting
into the end of the barrel which so many inexperienced hunters
unconscouusly do. I have known an explosion caused by snow in the end of
the muzzle.

There was a very bad bear in Wyoming known as "Old Three points" There
was an Irishman crossing over his territory and while sitting on a rock
he looked up and saw "Old Three Points" coming toward him evidently on
his track--for he was putting his noose to the ground seemingly in every
track--"The Irishman said" Oh! its tracks ye want--then be gorry I'll
make ye some" and he did. as many have done.

I was employed by a Ranchman to kill Three Points--so named because he
had a nail torn off and left but three points to his track with his
right paw. I took two of the best marksman I had and we rode over into
his territory--after we had cooked our meat partly because we were
hungry, and partly to draw the old fellow on by the scent--and before we
had time to eat our meal the old plough hove in sight--

He was certainly in fighting trim, he came down over the hill--like a
Newbraska cyclone--every log he came to he would knock clean out of his
road the stones were flying right and left, he would knock rotton logs
all to pieces, he would not turn aside for anything, he had been in a
fight his hair was ruffled up, he was all covered with blood, and had
been wounded several times, all at once we opened up on his with three
bullets in his pelt driven there by guns which struck thirty eight
hundred pound apiece--he just groaned and staggered a little, and made
for us, We split up and gave him dope from three quarters which was more
than old Three points had expected; and before he could claw any of our
meat he lost his appetite because we had fed him too much lead.

Black Beaver--knows how to live outdoors better than we know how to live
indoors. He never catches cold, he positively knows every time just
where to sleep, he never sleeps on his back if the ground is cold or
damp--always upon his stomache.

He could teach the U.S. Army something worth knowing--about living out

Black Beaver knows what animals think. Can tell just what maneuver a
dog, wolf deer, or even a fish will go through on almost every occasion.

The Eskimos at Point Barrow--think the Aurora Borealis is caused by the
Great Icebergs toppling over into the water, and the water is so much
warmer than the great lump of ice covered with frost that an explosion
takes place--caused by the coming together of these two substances so
different in temperature. Then the ice splits and the explosion causes
light ans makes a noise which is always heard in the Arctics.

The Eskimo scoffs at the idea of man reaching the North Pole. They say
the place where the pole is supposed to be, is an unfinished part of
creation, and how can man find that which has not been created. They say
the north Pole is one continous upheavel of indisscribable explosions.
That not a bear, owl, tomigan, fox, indian or even a whale or fish could
live, nor do they live beyond the hut of the Eskimo.

Could you if you could not write, write a better book? I have no vain
idle catchy words, but news in a nude form do you appreciate news, gold
dug out of mud? then give me credit for what I have done rather than for
what I have said. Read my later publications. So excuse the errors of a
sourdough, keep track of me I want to talk to you later. Good bye for
this time. I shall enjoy being a true friend to every reader of Black
Beaver the Trapper.

Ask me questions, if you have my address, write to me while I am in the
wilderness. I once stopped and listened for an hour to the disputed
music of a Baby's cry.--then if this consoled--perhaps you can, I start
tomorrow for the Golden shore Of Alaska, over rough seas, swollen
rivers, rocky coasts and shaggy hillsides. But I shall return
again--From that wilderness, to enjoy and make glad the gentle loving
people in the States where the stars and stripes defend, And where
maidens and lovers, husbands and wives, enjoy sweet life and charities
beyond the possibility of any race in any other land under God's
girdling skies.


Black Beaver's Address Permanently, is Fife Lake, Grand Traverse Co.,





  If you will write to us today we will send you FREE



  showing the correct way to stretch and prepare furs for market.


  ST. LOUIS, U.S.A., 2nd and ELM STREETS

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