The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 46
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
majority of those engaged in this business, by 1874 merchants with
considerable capital were sending out their well-organized parties
and were establishing supply posts within the buffalo country.45
Well-organized and heavily capitalized firms went about their work
of destruction on such a colossal scale as to tax the credulity of the
research student. During the period of the great slaughter there
were from five hundred to fifteen hundred hunters on that portion
of the Southwestern plains which reached from the Canadian to
the Concho,46 and it is quite probable that an equal number was
to be found north of this region. So thriving did the business in
the Southwest become that on January 14, 1877, a visitor to Fort
Griffin said that F. E. Conrad's general merchandise store reported
its sales for the day at $4000 and that $2500 of this amount had
been in guns and ammunition.47
Long trains of wagons, drawn generally by ox and mule teams,
were to be seen at all hours of the day on the prairies, wending their
way eastward to market over the dim trails or roads. On each wagon
were great bales of buffalo hides, piled one on the other, at times
making it difficult for teams to pull them. Then, about the hunters'
camps, were to be seen huge piles of cured hides, while others
littered the ground, staked out, going through a drying process.48
The wanton slaughter of the buffalo carried with it a touch of
pathos. Where once he roamed at will over vast prairies un-
molested, now near every water-hole and running stream, behind
every clump of trees or tall grass, on his right or left, in front or
behind, he could expect his hidden foe with the deadly "big fifty."
Colonel Dodge gave the following picture of this scene:
"Richard Irving Dodge, Hunting Grounds of the Great West, 134-135;
and J. Wright Mooar, "Frontier Experiences of J. Wright Mooar," in West
Texas Historical Association Year Book, June, 1928, 89.
4"Messrs. Coke, Culberson, Maxey, Throckmorton, Reagan, and Giddings
to George W. McOreary, Secretary of War, MS., file No. 1797, Old Records
Section, A. G. O., War Department, Washington, D. C.
"IB. B. Paddock, North and West Texas, I, 114. The same writer said
that 200,000 hides were received at Fort Griffin during the season of 1876.
Still another hunter, stationed at Reynolds, Texas, about fourteen miles
northwest of present town of Hamlin, Texas, said that 2,000,000 hides were
sold at this one trading post alone in two years. Letter, J. W. Stell to
C. C. Rister, March 3, 1929.
"Probably the best personal account of the routine work incident to the
hide industry, giving the details of both range and camp life, is John R.
Cook's The Border and the Buffalo.
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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/m1/54/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.