Thursday, May 27, 1898
It has been so long since there was a well authenticated case of a panther being seen in the mountains of this county that the general belief has blown up that there was not a panther left. There seems to be no doubt that there is a panther in the Cranberry mountains. The first heard of it was from Ed Patterson, who saw the tracks of some large animal which had been following a deer trail in a muddy path.
Last week, Andrew and John Moore went to Cranberry to fish. They are absolutely reliable, and are not given to exaggeration. They were shy of believing that they saw a panther, and the reader can judge whether it was one or not. They had fished down North Fork and had prepared to lay out at the forks. They got everything ready and started up the South Prong for a short fish. When they got up about half a mile to the foot of the island, where the path comes in, they were standing close together, talking of turning back. It was nearly sundown. John had his eyes turned up the river and saw the animal jump across the stream, about a hundred yards above him. He remarked that he had seen a deer. They immediately started up the back channel to get a sight of the animal, if possible, as it crossed the back channel.
They were fortunate to the last degree. As they reached a point nearly opposite where it was seen, the panther came out of the brush ahead of them and walked slowly away in a diagonal direction. They saw at once that it was not a deer. They thought once that it was a cinnamon bear, but catching sight of its long, prehensile-like tail, drooping to the ground and turning up at the end, they spotted it as a panther… The size they put as three times as large as a big dog. The panther approached a log and put its forefeet upon it, and they had a good look at its foot. Its front legs were as large as a man’s arm, sleeve and all. It was when the panther was in this attitude that it slightly turned its head and caught sight of the men. Like a flash of light, it sprang clear across the back channel and took to the mountainside…
The boys say that it made no noise whatsoever as it ran through the woods. They went to see where it had sprung across the stream. It had sailed across, without raising perceptibly, a distance of about 25 feet, and had lighted on a rock. The print of its wet feet was to be seen on the rock. From thence, it had jumped ashore in a muddy place and it made a track in the mud like a horse. At nowhere else could they discover the imprint of its foot.
The presence of this panther will discourage fishing parties to Cranberry where the trout are about exhausted. It will not be pleasant camping out when the fire burns down, with a mountain lion as big as a yearling steer prowling about the camp…
– – –
A.M. McLaughlin, Esq. near Lewisburg has in his flock a sheep 19 years old, that has an interesting past. She was the “bell sheep” of his flock for years in the Buckley Mountain range, and led the flock to the best feeding grounds, never wandered from the proper bounds, would answer the call a mile away and would come to her owner. In the fall, she would come home of her own accord and bring the rest with her. She is the mother of two fine lambs; one she keeps with her, and the other is loaned to a bereaved ewe. If there be another such sheep in the two Virginias, it would be interesting to hear of it.
– – –
One day this week, a man from Beaver Creek entered a lawyer’s office in this place and said: “What’s this I hear since I come to town about a war going on? Who are we a-fighting and how long have we been at it?” He was given the information and went away informed.
– – –
It is pertinent to call attention to the fact that the law is more severe upon those who give an intoxicant to minors than it is to those who sell it. The least fine is $20. There is no excuse for him who will give a child whiskey. The greatest safeguard a boy can have against a desire for liquor is perfect ignorance of its taste and effects.
– – –
One day last week, while Otis Warwick and Dennis Carter were out in the mountains hunting sheep, they came upon a large, black rattlesnake which ran under a rock. Upon further investigation, they killed four others, three of which measured three feet in length and were about as thick as a man’s wrist.