Friday, December 12, 2008

Bones

"I could see for miles and miles, and the prairie was black with them, and only here and there I could see spots of snow...there were simply millions upon millions of them." - Charles Cavileer (1851)

"We found immense herds of buffalo which appeared to touch the river and extend westward on the plans as far as the eye could reach. The meadows were alive with them." - Alexander Henry (1804)

"...buffalo bones were very thick on the prairie...early settlers connected the bones to be sold for cash. This money frequently proved to be a very important part of their first year's income. These bones were later made into carbon black used in sugar processing. Many merchants in the area accepted bones in payment for merchandise sold. Both the Northern Pacific and the Great Northern Railroads had facilities to handle the huge piles of bones which, in the early days of settlement, appeared in the railroad yards. At least one yard received over 100 wagon-loads of buffalo bones a day for several months." From Challenge of the Prairie, by Hiram M. Drache