Thursday, November 20, 1947
J. W. Small was in town last Saturday to claim bounty on a big wildcat. He had caught it on the east end of Droop Mountain near Bear-town. Foxes had been using there, so Mr. Small baited a trap with sardines. The wild cat made the first call. There is sign of still bigger cats in those parts.
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About an inch of snow at Marlinton on Saturday morning. On higher ground, there was sleet. The old sign is for 37 snowstorms during the winter after December 22. This is because it is just 37 days from the middle day of November until the shortest day of the year, when winter begins. You know, this is as good a forecasting sign as any, and it hits just as often.
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Dempsey and Walter McNeill, of Buckeye, sons of Rush McNeill, each got a fine wild turkey in the Swago Knob area last week. Both were fine young gobblers – 10 and 15 pounds after dressing.
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A hunting party from Huntington – mostly railroad men – killed a chunk of a bear at the big falls of Hills Creek last Monday. Austin and Oscar Sharp were there with their pack of six bear fighting dogs. The bear was jumped on Kennison Mountain, and he headed for Bear Run by way of Briery Knob, but he did not make it. The dogs snagged him in Hills Creek, and held him fighting until the hunters came up. The pelt was in its prime and the meat carried just enough fat to be right for eating. Among the visiting hunters were R. F. Hodges, Willard Adkins, F. M. Spurlock, of Huntington, and Oscar Watts, of Wayne.
The foregoing is just for ordinary country paper reporting of an everyday occurrence in this wooded area. Such writing is plain indeed when set alongside the innard details as outlined by word of mouth, somewhat after this manner:
Yes, sir, we come on bear sign on Kennison Mountain, where he had raked for beech the night before. Wherever he stepped there were holes where he had sunk into the forest mold. Where he raked for mast it looked like he had reap hooks on his paws instead of claws. So fresh was the sign the dogs went crazy arearing to go. It was a man to a dog, and then a couple of the dogs pulled loose about the time Austin allowed maybe it would be just as well to cut loose the dogs and follow through as to guess around a place standers.
The bear was soon up and going. Oscar saw him coming round the mountain, heading for Briery Knob and Bear Run. It was a long try and a slim chance, but the rifle ball went home, to make the bear fighting mad.
In the thick laurel at the high falls of Hills Creek, the dogs overhauled the bear. They made it so hot for him he had no time to straighten out and climb a tree.
The hunters were soon on the scene, but took no chance of killing a dog by shooting into the revolving, animated, growling mess. One railroad man stood at an open spot at the very edge of the falls, gun held at the ready to fire the split second the fighting black devil would poke his head out of jungle growth for a clear shot.
Then the bear was right there in the face of the railroad man. He said his gun jammed. The point will not be argued. The bear led with his good long clawed left; coming up with a side winder smash that would break the neck of a bull. In split nick of time, a couple of dogs nailed that bear in the short hair on the seat of his pants; to pull him back and spoil his aim. As the able paw whizzed by his face only the great claws were near enough to do damage – scoring deeply cheek, chin and kisser.
The mighty swing carried the bear off balance and with help of the dogs, he went over the brink of the overhanging rock cliff the creek pours over. Spreading out like a magic animated carpet of old, he was soaring along like a mammoth flying squirrel of the age of fossils, for a safe landing some 87 feet straight down.
But the bear never had a rabbit’s chance. All spread out like a clay pigeon, he was the easy mark of those skeet shooters.
He died a landing.
Mrs. Mattie Gum, widow of Clarence Gum, died Friday, November 7, 1948, in Baltimore, Maryland. Burial in Arbovale Cemetery.
Mrs. Lucy Minnie Grimes Nottingham Hite, of Mill Point, a daughter of the late Allan and Sylva Grimes. Her body was laid to rest in Oak Grove Cemetery.