Tag Archives: Wildlife

A True Dog Story

In Dresden in 1885 farmer Barrett owned a cocker spaniel. For over five years the dog had shown a great love for geese, especially the goslings. She swam in the water
among them. They in turn accepted her presence. People enjoyed watching them. One day the dog disappeared. She was mourned for a week when she appeared
starved and haggard. She was promptly fed but after gorging herself she seized a bone and disappeared again in the thick underbrush.

A few days later the dog reappeared in worse condition than before. But this time a string was tied around her neck and when she whined to be let loose her master followed her at the end of the string. She seemed delighted that he came along. Mr. Barrett worked his way through the bushes and stopped only when the dog stopped before the nest of a large white goose. He loosened the string. The goose rose up from the nest, showing nine large blue tinted eggs. The dog wagged her tail and then carefully arranged her body so that it covered all the eggs. She mutely begged understanding from her master.

Mr. Barrett visited the nest frequently. A week later nine lively goslings appeared with the delighted dog. The goose led her family down to the lake and all plunged in,
where they were greeted with “three cheers and a tiger” as the editor of the Whitehall Times explained it.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – August 1, 1985

1886 Wildlife – (title unknown)

In August Mose Blanchard and his son Edward bagged 23 woodcocks, their catch for one day. They shipped the birds south and received $1.25 for each pair. This was a record.

A creepy snake story from Hulett’s Landing. A summer visitor sat on a rock at waterslide reading a newspaper. On hearing the newspaper rustle she looked down to see a rattler across her lap with its head on the paper enjoying the sun. With a terrific scream and lunge she jumped into the lake from which her brother rescued her. The reptile had seven rattles and a button. Remember this was one hundred years ago and not likely to happen in these vacation times.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – July 24, 1986

Some bits and pieces of Whitehall In 1922

Stories of the supposedly extinct panther are cropping up in the magazines today by people who are familiar with the woods. In 1922 many wild animals were being seen in Whitehall, driven out of the forest because of the fires, foxes, bob cats and panthers (puma, cougar, and mountain lion). Murray Brown saw a panther near Clear Pond. Then there was Edward Jones’ panther story. “Deacon Jones, a hunter and trapper, was hunting with his dog near Ed Moore’s. A panther came out of the woods with a loud scream. If you know the scream of a panther you never get over hearing in your mind its sound. It has the horrifying and terrifying sound of a woman in extreme agony. This one took after Ed’s dog. All three men, dog and panther went down the side of the mountain. It was [lie panther that gave up and went back into the woods.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – November 21, 1985

Bear Hunting

Did a bear killing make news this fall? Writing in 1922 brought forth the story of a bear hunter of that time. It was triggered by this event.

A claim was made against the D & H Company by John Harris, a farmer who lived near the Kinner Bridge. Six of his cows had been killed on the track and another was badly injured. He claimed the cattle had been driven from his field by a bear that had been near the bridge for some time. Through their fear of the animal they had taken refuge on the track and were killed by the locomotives. Other farmers had had cattle scared by bruin at various times.

Engineer Doug Merrill had seen the bear in the fields and said he would be happy to have a try at it. It seems Doug was called the “Leather Stocking” of Clinton County. His father had been a pioneer farmer of that county near Sciota. The first calf increase on his farm had been killed by a bear. Doug swore vengeance on any of its relatives. He roamed the hills and woods and it was related that it was nothing for him to kill ten or twelve during a vacation in the North Country. He kept a diary of his killings with notches on his gun stock.

Over the years he had watched the number in the wild decreased. About eleven years ago he had been out looking for a cougar when he discovered the fresh track of a bear. Searching the area he came upon a bear that had just come out of hibernation and of course killed it. The pelt was a beautiful one and well haired. It made the 99th kill, if he took the one down by Kinner’s bridge he would mark up his 100

The score on the gun tallied eleven grizzlies, fifty-three blacks, twenty brown, and fifteen cubs. Besides being a hunter, Doug was also a good fisherman. He was a most popular and well liked engine driver.

A toy fad right now is the brown bear which comes in all sizes, and even some dressed to represent actual people. I wonder if the unpleasant grunt of the bear or the scratchy squeal of the cubs has been duplicated.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Independent – Wednesday, December 4, 1985