The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 37
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
The Significance of the Destruction of the Buffalo
immense herds as to defy computation. ... Miles beyond miles
were covered with them, while upon close observation, the long
level line of the distant horizon proved to be a moving mass of life.
The noise of their tread and the low moaning sound of their breath-
ing, and perhaps bellowing-though I could not satisfy myself as
to the latter-sounded like distant thunder."'0
In the next year, an army surgeon stationed at Fort Griffin
speaks of "vast herds found in the northern part of Texas,"'" and
other visitors to this region who have handed down to us their
impressions convey the general idea that there were millions of
these great shaggy animals which roamed our Southwestern plains.
The bison was an indispensable animal to the wild Indians living
on the plains area. It furnished him his food; he drank its blood;
the horns furnished him with glue, cups, spoons, etc.; its hide was
used as coverings for the tipis, robes, leggins, beds, bow-strings,
lariats, sacks, etc.; and even the juices of the stomach were often
drunk for medicinal purposes. Indeed, all parts of the animal
served some useful purpose in the camp of the nomadic red man.12
A few of the various uses of the bison are thus set forth by one
"A cow is estimated to yield about forty-five pounds of dried
meat and fifty pounds of pemmican, besides the marrow, which
was preserved in bladder skins, and the tallow, which was poured
into skin bags. The sinew of the animals furnished bow-strings,
threads for sewing, and fiber for ropes. The horns were made into
spoons and drinking vessels, and the tips were used for cupping
purposes; the buffalo horn was also worn as an insignia of office.
The hair of the buffalo was woven into reatas, belts, and personal
ornaments. The dried droppings of the animals, known among
plainsmen as 'buffalo chips,' were valuable as fuel."3
As is to be supposed, this general utility of the animal in its
relation to the Indian brought about a considerable slaughter, even
"Thomas C. Battey, A Quaker Among the Indians, 186. The reference
which Battey makes here to the thunderous noise made by the great herds
in flight might seem to be an exaggeration, but his statement is well sub-
stantiated by other contemporary sources. Indeed, some go so far as to
say that, when stampeding, the great herds caused the earth to tremble as
though rocked with a quake.
"Medical History of Fort Griffin, LI, 266
"2Martin S. Garretson, A Short History of the American Bison, 33-34.
"Frederick W. Hodge, Handbookl of American Indians, Part I, p. 170.
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930, periodical, 1930; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/m1/45/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.