The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 43
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The Significance of the Destruction of the Buffalo
blended with the discordant voices of the wild fowls and beasts
of the prairies to make one of the strangest symphonies ever re-
corded by the pen of a historian.
Undoubtedly the chief contributing cause of the destruction of
the Southern herd was the building of railways. The projection
of the Kansas and Pacific; Union Pacific; Missouri, Kansas and
Texas, and numerous other lines, with the establishment of many
small stations and towns, provided for bases from which the hunters
could operate into the buffalo country. Then, too, hundreds of
travellers, passing over these lines, carried rifles with them and
shot the buffaloes from the windows of the train coaches for the
sport of seeing them fall.86 Where formerly it was necessary for
the hunters to haul their supplies hundreds of miles from the
settlements into the buffalo country, now it was but a matter of
a few hours' drive from the new railway shipping points to the
buffalo region. Concerning this period, Colonel Dodge wrote:
"The Union Pacific, Kansas Pacific, and Atchison, Topeka and
Santa Fe railroads soon swarmed with 'hard cases' from the East,
each excited with the prospect of having a buffalo hunt that would
pay. By wagon, on horseback, and on foot, the pothunters poured
in, and soon the unfortunate buffalo was without a moment's peace
In 1871, John W. Mooar sold a consignment of fifty-seven flint
hides to some tanners of Pennsylvania for the sum of three dollars
and fifty cents each.3" This is thought to be the first time such
a transaction had ever been consummated in America. The hides
were bought for experimental purposes, and so successful was the
tanning test that buffalo hides were in great demand after this
time. It was then that many hunting parties were organized on
a business basis, and the period of the great slaughter had come.39
"Colonel R. I. Dodge, Hunting Grounds of the Great West, 130.
8"Colonel Dodge evidently refers to this transaction when he says: "In
1872 some enemy of the buffalo race discovered that their hides were mer-
chantable," etc. See Colonel Richard Irving Dodge's Hunting Grounds of
the Great West, 131.
"John W. Mooar and his brother, J. Wright Mooar, formed a partnership
in this new type of enterprise and were successful in their operations in
western Texas. See "J. Wright Mooar," in Frontier Times, September,
1928, p. 1, and "Frontier Experiences of J. Wright Mooar," in West Texas
Historical Association Year Book, June, 1928, p. 89.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930, periodical, 1930; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/m1/51/: accessed April 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.