A NARROW ESCAPE

1878

Transcribed by : Tina Easley

 

SPEAKING ....... of bears reminds me of an experience

I had on Cat Island, a small chunk of land in

Arkansas , and on the St Francis River,

in 1878," said an old resident of Arkansas , " and it was one of the most

thrilling experiences he ever had in the woods. I was farming on Cat Island

that year. It is a dense,wild section, the underbrush made up of bamboo

and other matted and tangling Tines was almost impenetrable,and altogether

it was simply impossible for a man to get through the woods without

cutting his way through, arid he had to crawl nearly all the time at that.

In 1878 bears were almost as thick as wild cane in that section. They made

a savage attack on my corn crop, and I had resorted to all sorts of expedients

to get rid of them, but without any sort of success. Every night they

would invade my cornfield, get an armful of corn, as much as a bear could

carry in his arms, which is no small amount, and would take it on to the

den. When they first began the attack I spent many nights in the persimmon

trees at the back fence line of the place Watching for them. I had a small

scaffold built in every persimmon tree along the fence line, but I believe a

bear can smell a human being ten miles if the wind happens to be favorable.

During the nights I watched from the persimmon tree the wind was blowing

back toward the woods, and not a bear entered the cornfield. But this is not

the point I had in mind. One drizzling afternoon I went out into the woods

several miles back of the place hunting for one of my mules, and just took

my gun along to be on the safe side of an emergency, for in addition to the

great number of bears  that season catamounts and panthers were plentiful.

"I was alone, with a couple of green pups, who wouldn't leave my heels

under any circumstances until the little  the exception or , untrained hound

experience I am about to relate..

After winding around for some time I came upon a rather large, hollow tree, the

base of which aroused the suspicion in my mind that it was the abode of

some kind of an animal. The hound traps strengthened this belief by whin-

ing and scampering around  through the undergrowth in a half frightened

sort of way. The opening at the base of the tree was about as large around

as a whiskey barrel. I concluded that I would catch a glimpse of daylight

in the top, for the tree had the evidence  of being hollow all the way up. I

leaned my shotgun against the tree and shoved my head through, the opening

In the side of the tree. My head and face were literally covered by a shower

of wood dust. There was a heavy, deeproar in the body of the tree, and

as quick as a flash a big,black,ponderous something dropped to the ground,

and in an instant . I found myself face to face with a bear. He shot his head

out through the hole,showed me his teeth its teeth which seemed to me to be

as sharp as daggers, and they were not short, either. I found my hound

pups at home. They didn't return with me, and if they had I couldn't

have told just how they got back. I left a fine breech-loading shotgun lean-

ing against the tree, and it's there yet, as far as I am aware. The bear actually

blew his breath in my face , and I became panic stricken, and to save

my life I can't tell whether I went over or under the cane in getting out of the

woods. New Orleans Times-

Tina Easley
Come Take A Trip In History !
Greene County , Arkansas Website
http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ar/county/greene/