Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sidney's Little White Cur Dog Saves a Life

Homer Duncan was in the same wagon train as Sidney Tanner and his family. He told this story. It is found on the Mormon Overland Travel Database and is carefully transcribed there, so rather challenging to read, but is still a great story, so I have removed strikethroughs, done some editing, and added paragraphs for readability. Please see the original for any serious use of the source material. (Link.) The two men with the guns were probably Crosby family slaves, most likely Toby and Grief.

We stopped at Florence about ten days, when, we left for the Elkhorn, and remained there until the 7th of July, 1848, when we started for the Valley, with Barney Adams captain of fifty, and Chapman Duncan Captain of ten.... nothing of intrest occured until we reached Deer Creek. ... Camping one night on the Platte River we drove our cattle over the bluffs Eastward into [to] Deer Creek to feed. 

The next morning, we went for our cattle, and Sidney Tanner’s little white cur dog went with me which he never done before nor afterwards. when we got to the timber, some one cried out ‘Bear.’ I was alone, except for the dog. I soon saw the bear, and the grizzly saw me He started for me. and I ran as fast as I could, but  the dog stayed where he was. …When I had run a few rods, I had to bend down to  get under a leaning tree, and as I bent down I looked back to see where the bear was. and When I looked back  I saw the little dog catching the grizzly by the ham, and run  in the opposite direction,  from me with the bear following after it

This was the last I knew for that I knew for  a long time  as  when I attempted to pass under the leaning tree, I struck my head  against it with great force and fell When I came too, I got up and went out of the timber, and met two negroes, who belonged to the Company. and they had their guns well loaded I borrowed a gun from them, took one and went back and when I reached  the place where I first saw the bear, the little dog, was there and as I looked I saw  the bear standing about ten rods from me.

I raised the gun, an old …flint Lock, waist high, leveled it at the grizzly and pressed the trigger, intending to run if I did not hit the animal The instant I shot the bear she jumped into the air, I think all of six feet, then ran around in a circle about ten or fifteen rods, fell dead. I have always considered this an act of Providence, the bear certainly would have killed me if the dog which never went with me before or since had not turned her in another direction.

...we reached the mouth of Emigration Canyon...October <16> 1848.

The picture of the grizzly bears, native to Wyoming, is from: "Grizzlybears ChrisServheenUSFWS" by Chris Servheen/USFWS - This image originates from the National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grizzlybears_ChrisServheenUSFWS.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Grizzlybears_ChrisServheenUSFWS.jpg

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