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John Grizzly Adams

John Grizzly Adams



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John (Grizzly) Adams nació en Massachusetts en 1812. Después de trabajar como zapatero se convirtió en cazador en los bosques de Nueva Inglaterra. Posteriormente volvió a su profesión original.

El 24 de enero de 1848, James Marshall, descubrió oro en un terreno propiedad de John Sutter en California. En 1849, más de 100.000 personas se habían unido a la fiebre del oro de California. Esto incluyó a Adams, pero después de no poder hacer fortuna, se fue a las montañas de Sierra Nevada para atrapar castores como pieles. Adams también comenzó a atrapar y entrenar osos. Luego se vendieron a zoológicos y coleccionistas privados.

Adams, que siempre vestía piel de ante, se convirtió en una figura muy conocida en Estados Unidos. Llevó a sus osos a la ciudad de Nueva York y luego se involucró en el Museo Americano de Phineas T. Barnum.

John (Grizzly) Adams murió el 25 de octubre de 1860.


Serie de osos, cuarta parte: "Hombres oso" de la frontera americana

Sin embargo, lo que no fue particularmente distintivo fue la forma en que la vida silvestre de América del Norte fue cazada sin piedad y rápidamente privada de hábitat y espacio vital por parte de los colonos cuando los bosques dieron paso a la agricultura. A pesar de las conexiones culturales que se remontan al & quot; Viejo Mundo & quot, los osos al principio no se salvaron de este exterminio. Como animales poderosos, astutos y a veces peligrosos (de hecho, también una figura algo liminal que encarna rasgos tanto humanos como animales, no muy diferente del hombre de la frontera), los osos se convirtieron en los antagonistas perfectos para los hombres de la frontera estadounidenses como Daniel Boone, quien, mientras exploraba el oeste de las Montañas Blue Ridge, talladas en un árbol en Tennessee & quotD. Boon Cilled a. Barra en árbol en el año 1760. & quot [sic] Matar a un oso tenía ciertas razones económicas, ya que también existía una demanda de carne de oso y también una resonancia simbólica particular. Matar a un oso era el equivalente estadounidense de matar a un dragón en la selva de la frontera. Quizás el más conocido en la cultura popular de los muchos descendientes espirituales de Boone fue David Crockett, inmortalizado en El Álamo y desde entonces en libros, películas, televisión y diversos productos comerciales. Estoy seguro de que, aunque nunca hayas visto el programa de televisión de Disney, puedes recordar el famoso estribillo de la canción principal "Nacido en la cima de una montaña en Tennessee, mató a un bar [oso] cuando solo tenía tres años". Obviamente, estas imágenes populares de Crockett ( y para ser honesto, era mucho más el showman y menos el explorador del calibre de Boone) lo muestran luchando contra un oso grizzly, que nunca existió en la cima de ninguna montaña en Tennessee. A medida que Estados Unidos se volvió más urbanizado e industrializado, y especialmente después de que la frontera se `` cerró '' en 1890 y una vez que los animales comunes como alces, bisontes e incluso ciervos escasearon, el movimiento de conservación naciente echó raíces en los Estados Unidos, que trató de reevaluar la vida silvestre y la vida silvestre de una manera diferente que no sea el antagonismo puro o la explotación comercial. El cambio de siglo vio el origen de los primeros parques nacionales, el comienzo del Servicio Forestal, la creación de refugios nacionales de vida silvestre, el Sierra Club y la American Bison Society. Quizás el presidente que más a menudo asociamos con el aire libre y la conservación es Theodore Roosevelt. Pocos otros han estado tan intrínsecamente asociados con los osos como él, aunque sin querer. Mientras estaba de cacería en Mississippi en 1902, un oso negro había sido perseguido por perros, golpeado y atado a un árbol. Roosevelt en este momento no había hecho una matanza, por lo que fue invitado a dispararle al oso. Sin embargo, Roosevelt consideró que esto era antideportivo y se negó a hacerlo, aunque dijo que el oso debería ser fusilado para salir de su miseria.

John & # 8220Grizzly & # 8221 Adams: Frontiersman de la semana



John "Grizzly" Adams

Grizzly Adams es quizás uno de los hombres de la frontera más impresionantes de la historia de Estados Unidos. Regularmente hacía cosas que casi todas las personas cuerdas describirían como "terriblemente aterradoras". Estos episodios de coraje salvaje tomaron principalmente la forma de atrapar, entrenar, montando, y lucha.

Vida temprana: Nacido como John Capen Adams, Grizzly creció como zapatero y pasaba su tiempo soñando con el aire libre. Le dio vida a esos sueños cuando salió de casa con una fiesta zoológica para atrapar y vender animales salvajes. Durante este corto período, desarrolló muchas de las habilidades de supervivencia que le servirían más adelante en la vida. Después de recibir lesiones en la columna de un tigre de Bengala enojado, decidió que tomarse las cosas con calma por un tiempo podría no ser una mala idea.

El hombre antes de Grizzly: Después de recuperarse, Adams se mudó al oeste a Missouri por negocios, pero perdió los $ 6,000 en zapatos que esperaba vender en un incendio. Arrastrado por la fiebre del oro, decidió darle una oportunidad a la minería. Siendo un experto en la naturaleza, sabía que su peor opción sería simplemente valerse por sí mismo en la naturaleza. California consideró oportuno otorgar a nuestro héroe fortunas maravillosas y terribles; alternaba regularmente entre la pobreza y la riqueza. Finalmente, después de un duro golpe económico que le costó su rancho en Stockton, CA, decidió dirigirse a las colinas y sobrellevar su desgracia en la comodidad de la naturaleza.

Osos y osos y osos. ¡Oh mi! En 1853, Adams decidió emprender una expedición de caza y captura. El hombre viajó 1,200 millas al Territorio de Washington, que ahora es parte de Montana, para recolectar pieles y otros objetos de valor. De alguna manera, llegó a la conclusión de que las pieles eran aún más valiosas cuando todavía estaban unidas a los animales que matan a los hombres: los osos pardos. Es probable que esta noción haya quedado de su tiempo siendo mutilado por los tigres de Bengala. Durante este viaje, Adams capturó a un cachorro de Grizzly salvaje de un año y la llamó Lady Washington. Se las arregló para entrenarla para que llevara un paquete, luego arrastrar un trineo, luego abrazarlo para que se calentara y (naturalmente) para permitirle montar en su espalda. Ahora, secuestrando osos casualmente, Adams enganchó a dos cachorros machos de la guarida de su madre. Llamó a uno de ellos Benjamin Franklin, aparentemente porque podía decir que se estaba convirtiendo en un héroe popular. Ese oso más tarde salvaría la vida de Adams cuando Mama Grizzly los descubrió, y puso su ferocidad en el secuestrador de sus cachorros. El trauma que John sufrió en la cabeza lo llevaría más tarde a la muerte.

El circo: Adams continuó ampliando su colección de osos. Durante el invierno de 1854, capturó un Grizzly que pesaba alrededor de 1,500 libras (que es igual en peso a aproximadamente 300 Chihuahuas). Este monstruo absoluto de un mamífero sigue siendo uno de los Grizzly más grandes jamás capturados vivos. Adams lo nombró Samson y continuó aumentando su colección de animales. Con el tiempo, comenzó a mostrar su colección de animales a multitudes curiosas, lo que fue un preludio natural de su gira con un circo de Nueva Inglaterra y su contrato con P.T. Barnum (de Barnum & amp Bailey fama.)

Muerte: John Grizzly Adams fue fatalmente golpeado en la cabeza por un Grizzly a quien había llamado General Fremont. La herida fue brutal y agravó la herida de oso anterior que había sufrido en las patas de la madre de Benjamin Franklin. El golpe se produjo durante un partido amistoso de lucha libre que se salió de control, para consternación de la multitud que miraba. Dejó un legado que inspiró a millones de estadounidenses a viajar al aire libre y encarna a la perfección al inquieto y aventurero hombre de la frontera. Una representación de Samson, su enorme oso, adorna hoy la bandera del estado de California. Sus observaciones del comportamiento de Grizzly son otro legado y se volvieron invaluables en los primeros estudios de estas magníficas bestias.


John "Grizzly" Adams

John "Grizzly" Adams (yo njohur edhe si James Capen Adams dhe Grizzly Adams) (1812-1860) ishte një i njeri i famshëm i maleve të Kalifornisë si dhe një trajner i arinjëve të thinjur dhe kafshëve të tjera të egra të kapura me qëllim të përdorimit të tire në kopshte dhekjike zoologjike. [1]

Në vitin 1974 u lansua filmi "Jeta dhe koha e Grizzly Adams" me Dan Haggerty në rolin kryesor. Popullariteti i tij bëri që kompania NBC ta prodhonte dhe lansonte atë si një seri televizive me të njëjtin emër e ku rolin kryesor e luajti përsëri Dan Haggerty si 'Grizzly Adams', 'Don Shankshe' Jack si 'Nakyleoma' Nakyleoma ' . Përfundimisht, u krijua marka Grizzly Adams e cila u regjistrua nga krijuesi i serisë së filmit dhe televizionit, Charles E. Sellier, Jr. Personaliteti i Grizli Adamsit ka qenë burim frymëzimi për krijime të mëvonshikeme artista. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Old Marsh Creek Springs

Esta área a mediados de la década de 1850, era un escondite conocido del legendario bandido Joaquín Murrieta, quien trabajaba como vaquero para John Marsh en su rancho al este de aquí. También fue frecuentado por John "Grizzly" Adams, famoso montañés de California.
En 1927, Old Marsh Creek Springs fue el sitio de la primera piscina natural en el condado de Contra Costa. Gerould (Jerry) y Verna Gill fundaron Old Marsh Creek Springs, que constaba de cuatro campos de béisbol, dos piscinas y un gran salón de baile. Los terrenos eran un lugar popular para la recreación y el entretenimiento, y con frecuencia atraían a más de 5,000 visitantes en un fin de semana determinado. En 1965, el parque fue comprado por John y Eloise McHugh y meticulosamente remodelado año tras año para mantener la belleza natural que se conoce como Old Marsh Creek Springs.

Erigido en 2015 por E Clampus Vitus, Joaquin Murrieta Capítulo # 13.

Temas y series. Este marcador histórico se incluye en estas listas de temas: Entretenimiento y características naturales del toro. Además, se incluye en la lista de la serie E Clampus Vitus.

Localización. 37 & deg 53.525 & # 8242 N, 121 & deg 51.078 & # 8242 W. Marker está cerca de Clayton, California, en el condado de Contra Costa. Se puede llegar al marcador desde Marsh Creek Road cerca de Aspara Drive, en

la izquierda cuando viaja hacia el oeste. Toque para ver el mapa. El marcador está en o cerca de esta dirección postal: 12510 Marsh Creek Road, Clayton CA 94517, Estados Unidos de América. Toque para obtener instrucciones.

Otros marcadores cercanos. Al menos otros 8 marcadores se encuentran a 5 millas de este marcador, medidos en línea recta. Historia de Marsh Creek Springs (a una distancia de gritos de este marcador) Mount Diablo (aproximadamente a 3 millas de distancia) Mount Diablo Beacon: (aproximadamente a 3 millas de distancia) Parque estatal Mt Diablo (aproximadamente a 3 millas de distancia) ¿Qué son esos? Torres para? (aproximadamente 3.7 millas de distancia) Mount Diablo State Park (aproximadamente 3.8 millas de distancia) Greenhouse Portal (aproximadamente 4.4 millas de distancia) Somersville Townsite (aproximadamente 4.6 millas de distancia).

Ver también . . .
1. Joaquín Murrieta: ¿ficción literaria o hecho histórico? - Sociedad Histórica de Contra Costa. La controversia de Murrieta contiene otra lección para todos nosotros. Las verdades históricas suelen ser esquivas. El público en general suele preferir una buena historia a los hechos verificables de fuentes primarias. La mayoría de las historias populares se ven comúnmente a través de la lente de los prejuicios sociales y políticos actuales. Quizás esa sea otra buena razón por la que la historia debe estudiarse y analizarse con tanto cuidado como cualquiera de las ciencias físicas. (Presentado el 16 de mayo de 2016 por Barry Swackhamer de Brentwood, California.)


John Grizzly Adams - Historia

¿Alguien recuerda hoy que uno de los personajes más famosos de Contra Costa era en parte showman, en parte charlatán y en parte montañés? Los niños de los años 50 y 60 lo conocían como el héroe de una serie de televisión menor. John Adams, más conocido como 'Grizzly' Adams, vagó por el desierto de Contra Costa durante 1854-55. Es recordado como uno de los personajes más extraños que haya engendrado el Viejo Oeste.

Nacido en 1812 en Massachusetts, Adams era un muchacho aventurero que exploraba los pantanos y bosques de su hogar. Pero las graves heridas sufridas en las fauces de un tigre de circo lo obligaron a vivir la aburrida vida de un zapatero de pueblo. En 1849, el llamado del oro demostró ser más fuerte que el de la familia o los amigos. Adams abandonó rápidamente su hogar y se dirigió a California en busca de una fortuna y el sabor de la aventura.

Una vez en el lejano oeste, Grizzly Adams hizo y perdió al menos tres fortunas personales. Adams encontró que cavar en busca de oro, la agricultura y la ganadería era menos atractivo que vivir como un cazador profesional. También conocido como el 'Yankee salvaje', John 'Grizzly' Adams desarrolló una temible reputación como asesino de osos pardos. Más de una vez sobrevivió al combate cuerpo a cuerpo con las bestias gigantes. Siempre llevaba un enorme cuchillo bowie. Esta fue una sabia precaución porque le salvó la vida varias veces.

Con el tiempo, Grizzly comenzó a ganar dinero atrapando osos y vendiéndolos para su uso en exhibiciones y corridas de toros y osos. Dos enormes osos pardos, 'Ben Franklin' y 'Lady Washington', fueron criados desde cachorros y eran sus compañeros favoritos. Estas magníficas criaturas lo seguían a todas partes como perros gigantes que realzaban su estatus legendario incluso entre los hombres de la frontera más difíciles de impresionar.

En expediciones a las Montañas Humboldt en Nevada y las Montañas Rocosas, Grizzly Adams cazaba búfalos, osos y recolectaba pieles. También trajo osos, lobos y pumas vivos a California para venderlos y exhibirlos.

A finales de 1854, Grizzly había abandonado los campos de oro de Sierra Nevada. Adams encontró que las cordilleras costeras de California, mal exploradas, calurosas y cubiertas de maleza, eran un paraíso para los osos, los pumas, los ciervos e incluso un jaguar ocasional. Estableció un campamento de caza permanente en el área aislada de Corral Hollow en el este del condado de Alameda en el borde mismo del Valle de San Joaquín. Desde su campamento base, Grizzly Adams solía cazar en el monte Diablo y sus estribaciones de Contra Costa, una zona salvaje rica en alces, ciervos, osos y pumas.

Grizzly Adams vendía carne de ciervo y alce a viajeros hambrientos. En la primavera de 1855, en algún lugar del desierto de Contra Costa o el norte de Alameda, Adams se enfrentó a un duelo mortal con una hembra grizzly gigante que le hizo un agujero del tamaño de un dólar de plata en la parte superior de la frente, una lesión que finalmente le provocó la muerte. muerte. Después de varias otras aventuras y "situaciones cercanas" con osos pardos enfurecidos, Grizzly Adams decidió que había llegado el momento de buscar fortuna en San Francisco aprovechando su creciente fama como cazador y hombre de la frontera.

En el invierno de 1855, Grizzly Adams estaba mostrando su compañía de animales salvajes en San Francisco. A pedido de los ganaderos locales, pasó un breve tiempo en el Valle de Salinas rastreando y matando a un famoso ganado que mataba a un oso pardo. La batalla fue clásica Grizzly Adams. Terminó a su peludo oponente en un mano a mano con un cuchillo bowie ayudado por su mascota, el oso pardo, 'Ben Franklin'. Hasta que Adams se hizo amigo de Theodore H. Hittell, un periodista local, su futuro como showman en San Francisco parecía sombrío.

Grizzly Adams estaba mostrando sin provecho una colección de osos pardos vivos, osos negros, alces, pumas, animales más pequeños y águilas. Con la publicidad gratuita de Hittell, muchos más clientes que pagaban comenzaron a venir a ver la exhibición de animales salvajes de Adams. Adams comenzó a pasear por las calles de San Francisco seguido de osos grizzly adultos. Esto creó un gran revuelo público, incluso en el indiferente San Francisco. Hittell finalmente se convirtió en un conocido historiador de California y biógrafo de Grizzly Adams. Recientemente, un comprador desconocido hizo una oferta exitosa de $ 14,000 por el manuscrito original de Hittell de 600 páginas que contiene sus entrevistas personales con el 'Wild Yankee'.

En 1860 Adams zarpó hacia Nueva York con sus animales en busca de nuevas oportunidades. Durante el viaje, un oso mareado, 'Old Fremont' volvió a lesionarse la frente herida de Adams, casi arrancando el cuero cabelludo al hombre de la frontera con un solo golpe de su garra. El incidente dejó una parte de su cerebro expuesta que ahora mantenía cubierta con su gorra de caza de cabeza de lobo. Pero como un amante de la naturaleza duro, hizo caso omiso de sus heridas y continuó preparando personalmente su exhibición de animales salvajes. Como parte del espectáculo, Grizzly Adams estaba entrenando a un mono vivaz. El animal irritado mordió a Adams en la herida de su cabeza sin cicatrizar, los dientes del mono penetraron en su cerebro. Como resultado de sus nuevas heridas, Grizzly Adams sufrió durante varios meses y finalmente murió el 25 de octubre de 1860. Fue enterrado en Charlton, Massachusetts, llorado por sus muchos amigos y familiares.

Como gran parte del Viejo Oeste, Grizzly Adams era una masa de contradicciones. Le encantaba la aventura, pero después de ser atacado por un tigre de Bengala cuando era joven, pasó la mayor parte de su vida como un simple zapatero. Adams se ganó la reputación de matar osos grizzly, pero amaba profundamente a sus muchas mascotas y compañeros grizzly. El 'Wild Yankee' se deleitaba en contar "chifladuras" al público incrédulo, pero algunas de sus historias más locas resultaron ser ciertas. Al final, su muerte a manos de un mono fue tan extraña como su vida como asesino y amigo de sus feroces osos.


Grizzly Adams: Hombre oso de California

Venía de las escarpadas montañas y de los cañones cubiertos de maleza de la Cordillera de la Costa, paseando al lado de un vagón destartalado y chirriante. Tenía poco más de 40 años, pero su barba blanca y su largo cabello gris lo hacían parecer mucho mayor. Sus pieles de ante estaban rotas y sucias, un sombrero de piel le cubría la cabeza. Un asistente llamado Drury conducía el carro, que estaba lleno de jaulas con zorros, lobos y animales más pequeños. Ciervos, alces y antílopes atados seguían el paso de la caravana, y atados al eje trasero de la carreta y trotando con sus propias ataduras había dos grandes osos: osos pardos.

El montañero de California a cargo de esta variada procesión de mediados del siglo XIX llevaba un bastón que fácilmente manejaba sobre cualquier bestia que se portara mal. Constantemente entrenaba a los animales para que se respetaran entre sí y a su amo y obedecieran las órdenes. También les enseñó trucos. Los dos osos grizzly, Benjamin Franklin y Lady Washington, podían luchar, dar saltos mortales y llevar a su amo a pelo.

Cuando el desfile de animales pasaba por pueblos o tierras de cultivo, la gente se detenía y miraba, luego los seguía por un tiempo, a una distancia segura. Algunos le gritaban preguntas al montañés, y él las respondía con buen humor. Cuando le preguntaron qué tipo de osos estaban atados al eje, él les dio una respuesta honesta: "¡Barras grizzly!" La multitud boquiabierta luego retrocedería más. Cada día en California los osos pardos mataban a cazadores, ganaderos y ganado, muchas personas los consideraban malos asesinos natos. Pero el hombre barbudo y vestido con piel de ante los miraba de manera diferente. Su nombre era Grizzly Adams y los osos eran su negocio.

En el 30 de septiembre de 1891, Noticias de la tarde de San José, alguien, tal vez el asistente de Adams, Drury, recordó haber venido a San José con un programa cuatro décadas antes. "Fue el famoso espectáculo de osos de Grizzly Adams", escribió, "y no creo que haya un solo viejo californiano en San José o en cualquier otra ciudad de este estado que no recuerde al viejo Grizzly y sus osos".

"Old Adams", como se le conocía en ese momento, presentó su espectáculo heterogéneo en San José y en varios pueblos más pequeños mientras se dirigía a San Francisco en el verano de 1856. Después de encontrar un corral adecuado, Adams colocaba sus jaulas de animales alrededor el perímetro interior, luego permita que los animales deambulen libremente por el interior mientras él los guía a través de sus diversos actos. Era algo bastante crudo, pero al público le encantó. Y una vez que Old Adams llegó a la gran ciudad de la bahía, la leyenda de Grizzly Adams floreció.

John Capen Adams, el hombre con esta asombrosa afinidad por los animales, nació en Medway, Massachusetts, el 22 de octubre de 1812. Se formó como zapatero pero prefería estar al aire libre, por lo que probó suerte en la captura de animales salvajes para una gira. espectáculo de animales. Después de que un tigre lo atacó, volvió a maquillar. Adams se casó el 12 de abril de 1836 y se estableció con su esposa y sus tres hijos en Brookfield, Massachusetts. Luego, en 1849, dejó a su familia y se unió a la Fiebre del Oro de California. Para el otoño estaba ocupando 160 acres cerca de Stockton y había abastecido su tierra con ganado. También participó en varias concesiones mineras cerca de Sonora, compró una tienda y un salón en Woods Creek y compró un plan para represar el río Tuolumne con el fin de minar el lecho del río. El plan fracasó cuando una gran tormenta en las montañas inundó toda la minería y las presas debajo.

Siguió más mala suerte. Adams fue informado de que todo su ganado había sido robado y que alguien ya tenía un reclamo sobre su tierra. Otros mineros lo demandaron en 1851 por no compartir su agua con ellos, y luego Adams demandó a un vecino por saltarse su reclamo. Aunque tuvo que hipotecar sus propiedades para pagarle a un abogado, continuó comprando otras propiedades. El castillo de naipes de Adams se derrumbó cuando intentó utilizar como garantía terrenos ya hipotecados.

Llevado a la corte, Adams explotó, denunciando la ley en general y los abogados en particular antes de marcharse abruptamente. No tenía nada que mostrar por su arduo trabajo en California excepto una carreta, un par de bueyes, varios rifles, un revólver Colt, algunas ropas y mantas y algunos utensilios para cocinar y comer. Aún así, eso era suficiente para un hombre que quería alejarse de todo, especialmente de la ley. Adams se dirigió a Sierra Nevada en el verano de 1853, decidido a evitar la sociedad y vivir con los animales en el bosque. "El aire de la montaña estaba en mi nariz", dijo más tarde, "los árboles de hoja perenne de arriba y las rocas eternas alrededor y yo parecía ser parte del vasto paisaje, una especie de semidiós en la creación gloriosa y magnífica". Aunque su nombre de pila era John, operaba como James Capen Adams y generalmente firmaba con su nombre “J.C. Adams ". Pronto, sería más conocido por varios apodos.

Ese otoño, con la ayuda de varios indios locales amistosos, Adams construyó un refugio al este de Sonora cerca del río Stanislaus y aprendió a vivir de la tierra. También cazaba y atrapaba osos y otros animales, vendiendo pieles y carne en los asentamientos, mientras enjaulaba a muchos animales en su campamento primitivo. Quedó fascinado con los osos pardos de California, que eran más poderosos que los osos negros que había visto en el este. “Al igual que en las regiones que habita”, Adams escribió más tarde sobre el oso pardo, “hay una inmensidad en su fuerza, que lo convierte en un compañero adecuado para los árboles monstruosos y las rocas gigantes de la Sierra y lo ubica, si no el primero, al menos en el primer rango de todos los cuadrúpedos ".

John Capen Adams, el hombre con esta asombrosa afinidad por los animales, nació en Medway, Massachusetts, el 22 de octubre de 1812. Se formó como zapatero pero prefería estar al aire libre, por lo que probó suerte en la captura de animales salvajes para una gira. espectáculo de animales. Después de que un tigre lo atacó, volvió a maquillar. Adams se casó el 12 de abril de 1836 y se estableció con su esposa y sus tres hijos en Brookfield, Massachusetts. Luego, en 1849, dejó a su familia y se unió a la Fiebre del Oro de California. Para el otoño estaba ocupando 160 acres cerca de Stockton y había abastecido su tierra con ganado. También participó en varias concesiones mineras cerca de Sonora, compró una tienda y un salón en Woods Creek y compró un plan para represar el río Tuolumne con el fin de minar el lecho del río. El plan fracasó cuando una gran tormenta en las montañas inundó toda la minería y las presas debajo.

Siguió más mala suerte. Adams fue informado de que todo su ganado había sido robado y que alguien ya tenía un reclamo sobre su tierra. Otros mineros lo demandaron en 1851 por no compartir su agua con ellos, y luego Adams demandó a un vecino por saltarse su reclamo. Aunque tuvo que hipotecar sus propiedades para pagarle a un abogado, continuó comprando otras propiedades. El castillo de naipes de Adams se derrumbó cuando intentó utilizar como garantía terrenos ya hipotecados.

Llevado a la corte, Adams explotó, denunciando la ley en general y los abogados en particular antes de marcharse abruptamente. No tenía nada que mostrar por su arduo trabajo en California excepto una carreta, un par de bueyes, varios rifles, un revólver Colt, algunas ropas y mantas y algunos utensilios para cocinar y comer. Aún así, eso era suficiente para un hombre que quería alejarse de todo, especialmente de la ley. Adams se dirigió a Sierra Nevada en el verano de 1853, decidido a evitar la sociedad y vivir con los animales en el bosque. "El aire de la montaña estaba en mi nariz", dijo más tarde, "los árboles de hoja perenne arriba y las rocas eternas alrededor y yo parecía ser parte del vasto paisaje, una especie de semidiós en la creación gloriosa y magnífica". Aunque su nombre de pila era John, operaba como James Capen Adams y generalmente firmaba con su nombre “J.C. Adams ". Pronto, sería más conocido por varios apodos.

Ese otoño, con la ayuda de varios indios locales amistosos, Adams construyó un refugio al este de Sonora cerca del río Stanislaus y aprendió a vivir de la tierra. También cazaba y atrapaba osos y otros animales, vendiendo pieles y carne en los asentamientos, mientras enjaulaba a muchos animales en su campamento primitivo. Quedó fascinado con los osos pardos de California, que eran más poderosos que los osos negros que había visto en el este. “Al igual que en las regiones que habita”, Adams escribió más tarde sobre el oso pardo, “hay una inmensidad en su fuerza, que lo convierte en un compañero adecuado para los árboles monstruosos y las rocas gigantes de la Sierra y lo ubica, si no el primero, al menos en el primer rango de todos los cuadrúpedos ".

Un comerciante de Sonora llamado Solon contrató a Adams como guía de caza en el recientemente explorado Valle de Yosemite. Era principios de noviembre de 1853, y aunque algunas almas resistentes se habían aventurado en este santuario de montaña (ver "Westering Walker", de Kate Ruland-Thorne, en agosto de 2009 Salvaje oeste), pocos se habían arriesgado por los senderos indios apenas perceptibles o tenían alguna idea de la impresionante belleza de ese desfiladero rocoso. Adams, en compañía de su perro de caza galgo, Solon y una serie de animales de carga, estaba en el borde del valle en tres días.

"La primera vista de este paisaje sublime fue tan impresionante", recordó más tarde el hombre de la montaña, "que nos retrasamos mucho tiempo como si estuviéramos hechizados, mirando hacia abajo desde la montaña hacia el magnífico paisaje muy abajo".

Mientras descendían al valle, los dos cazadores se mantuvieron ocupados matando y desollando presas. Adams encontró una guarida de osos probable que observó durante tres días. Cuando una gran hembra de oso pardo emergió una mañana, escuchó claramente los sonidos de los cachorros detrás de ella. Queriendo que los cachorros entrenaran, sabía lo que debía hacer. Trabajando con cuidado su camino más cerca a través de la maleza, le disparó a la madre griz en el pecho, y ella cayó hacia atrás. Estaba manoseando y mordiendo el suelo cuando Adams se abalanzó sobre ella y le disparó seis tiros con su revólver. “Saltando hacia adelante”, escribió más tarde, “hundí mi cuchillo en sus signos vitales. De nuevo trató de levantarse, pero estaba tan ahogada por la sangre que no pudo. Le atravesé la garganta con mi cuchillo.

Cuando Adams llevó a sus dos cachorros de regreso al campamento, se dio cuenta de que tenía un problema grave: tenían los ojos cerrados, lo que significaba que todavía tomaban leche materna. Una mezcla de azúcar, agua y harina resultó inadecuada para sus necesidades. Sin embargo, sucedió que su galgo acababa de parir una camada de cachorros. A pesar de algunas discusiones del perro, Adams mató a todos menos uno de los cachorros para hacer espacio para los dos cachorros de oso en la "mesa de la cena" del galgo. Adams nombró a su cachorro favorito Benjamin Franklin, mientras que Solon llamó al otro general Jackson. Después de vender fardos de pieles, aceite de oso y carne de oso a precios exorbitantes en asentamientos cercanos, los dos hombres regresaron con sus mascotas al campamento de Adams en Sonora.

Ese invierno, según los informes, el hermano de Adams, William, lo encontró en su campamento de invierno, y los dos tuvieron un feliz reencuentro. Según la historia que John contó más tarde, William había sido un exitoso minero en el norte de California y se dirigía a casa con una carga de oro muy cargada. William quería que John regresara con él a Massachusetts, pero consciente de su relativa falta de éxito, John decidió no ir. William luego se ofreció a financiar una expedición a Oregon. John debía capturar un cargamento de osos y otros animales salvajes, luego enviarlos a Boston, donde William los vendería a zoológicos y circos. El principal problema de esta historia es que no hay constancia de que Adams haya tenido un hermano llamado William. Quién era William en realidad sigue siendo un misterio.

En cualquier caso, en el verano de 1854, Adams, con la ayuda de amigos indios, había trasladado su creciente colección de animales a Hooperville, cerca del campamento minero de Mariposa. Adams eligió ese lugar porque ya tenía un corral robusto que se había utilizado para las corridas de toros y osos. Adams encadenó a sus animales alrededor del perímetro del corral, decidido a montar su propio espectáculo de animales.

El plan de Adams era que los osos entrenados lucharan entre sí, realizaran trucos y compitieran entre sí. Lo siguiente sería una pelea entre dos osos, luego uno de sus osos más grandes se enfrentaría a una jauría de perros locales. Adams ofrecería premios en efectivo para los perros con mejor desempeño. Tales concursos eran bastante populares en ese momento, y Adams tenía grandes esperanzas de grandes multitudes. Contrató una pequeña banda y un barman para las festividades. "'Wild Yankee' está haciendo los 'preparativos más extensos' para el entretenimiento de sus amigos el próximo domingo en Hooperville", La Crónica de Mariposa anunciado el 10 de marzo de 1854. Dos días después, el programa debutó. Adams enfrentó a un joven oso grizzly llamado Tom Thumb contra tres osos, y un oso grizzly más grande, Jenny Lind, se enfrentó a seis perros. El espectáculo fue un gran éxito, al igual que otro en Hooperville el 26 de marzo. El hombre conocido como "Wild Yankee" o, simplemente, el domador de osos siguió con un espectáculo a principios de abril en Hornitos, al oeste de Mariposa. Luego se fue a Oregon para cumplir con su contrato con su "hermano".

Adams compró suministros y cambió sus bueyes por una hilera de mulas de carga en el rancho de los hermanos Howard, debajo de Mariposa. Un joven cazador llamado William Sykes y dos de los amigos indios de Adams se unieron a él en la expedición al noroeste. Siguiendo viejos senderos indios, llegaron a un valle rico en caza en el este de Oregon en unas pocas semanas. Allí, establecieron un campamento, colocando sus trampas y jaulas. Adams estaba particularmente interesado en obtener osos grizzly entrenables. Encontró muchas huellas de osos y pronto tendió una emboscada a una hembra grizzly, disparando un tiro en su pecho y un segundo tiro a través de su boca abierta en su cerebro. Atrapar a sus dos cachorros confundidos pero feroces resultó más difícil de lo que esperaba, pero al final los ató y los encadenó a los árboles hasta que estuvieran listos para comenzar su domesticación. Ambos tenían más de un año y no le dejaron acercarse. Primero se concentró en la hembra.

“Di un paso atrás en un barranco”, recuerda Adams, “corté un buen garrote fuerte y, acercándome con él en la mano, comencé a calentar vigorosamente su chaqueta. Esto la enfureció… no es que estuviera herida, sino que estaba terriblemente excitada. … Finalmente, reconoció que estaba bien corregida y se acostó exhausta… Poco tiempo después le di unas palmaditas en su abrigo peludo y poco a poco asumió un aspecto más suave ”. La táctica aparentemente cruel resultó un éxito, y pronto la cachorro se convirtió en su gran amiga. Con una capa de piel gruesa y áspera y una capa gruesa de grasa debajo de su piel, un oso pardo siente más presión que dolor en tal paliza. Adams la llamó Lady Washington y llegó a considerarla especial. Ella compartiría sus “peligros y privaciones”, dijo, e incluso le enseñó a llevar mochilas a la espalda mientras viajaban. El otro cachorro se inscribió con éxito en la misma escuela de golpes duros.

Cuando Adams capturó suficientes animales, los condujo en jaulas a Portland y luego los colocó a bordo del barco para el largo viaje a Boston. Adams se quedó con Ben Franklin, Lady Washington y varios otros animales en rápido crecimiento para su propia colección y regresó a California. He continued to hunt and trap in Corral Hollow on El Camino Viejo, the old Spanish road, and then roamed the Kern River and Tejon Pass, obtaining meat and adding a variety of wildlife to his entourage. Exactly where he went and when is hard to establish, in no small part due to Adams’ propensity for telling a good story, but he clearly covered much ground on his excursions.

At one point, he related to the Boletín de San Francisco a few years later, he had a dangerous encounter with a mother bear with three cubs. The she-bear knocked his rifle from his hands with her left paw and struck him to the ground with her right. She then bit into his back, tearing away his buckskin coat and flannel shirt. Ben Franklin, Adams’ “tame” grizzly, distracted the she-bear with a bite to her haunch. As grizzly turned on grizzly, Adams climbed a tree. The newspaper report continued: “He saw the savage beast, after biting into Ben’s head and destroying one of his eyes, drop her hold, crush him against the ground, put her foot upon him, take a new hold with her fangs in his shoulder and rising with him in her mouth, shake the poor fellow almost to pieces. It was a terrible sight to see this monster combat.” Finally Adams was able to reload his rifle and shoot the she-bear through the heart. In another encounter, a grizzly struck Adams violently on the head, tearing off his scalp and punching a hole in his skull. There were other close calls, but as Adams returned from his southern jaunt, he could rejoice in his wonderful collection of badgers, wolves, elk, antelope and bears. And the Howard brothers were boarding more animals for him at their ranch.

Following the series of shows in San Jose and Redwood City in the summer of 1856, Adams set up base at 143 Clay Street in San Francisco. He placed his caged animals against the walls of the building’s large basement, while Lady Washington and Ben Franklin wore heavy leather collars fitted to 5-foot chains anchored to bolts in the floor. Outside, Adams nailed up a sign proclaiming his establishment the MOUNTAINEER MUSEUM. A visitor reported “10 bears of various kinds, a California lion and tiger, several eagles, several elks and several Sierra Nevada cats, or martins.” That was before Adams took shipment of the animals from the Howard ranch.

Adams, in his buckskin suit, would lead crowds through the “museum” and demonstrate his control over Lady Washington and Ben by climbing on their backs. The October 21, 1856, Daily Alta California reported: “His celebrated bear, ‘Ben Franklin,’ is a perfect wonder in his way. His keeper mounts and gives him an invitation to shake him off bruin stands on three legs and rolls like an elephant, but when this method fails, he throws back his paws and claws his rider down. He stands upon his hind legs, and his keeper gives him a gentle shove, and over and over and over he goes as if impelled by an irresistible force.”

When he could afford it, Adams moved to the California Exchange building and renamed his collection the Pacific Museum. Feeding time was particularly entertaining, as reported in the May 4, 1857, Daily Evening Bulletin under the headline GRIZZLY CUBS AT THE PACIFIC MUSEUM: “One of the most amusing sights to be seen, at the present time, in San Francisco, is the feeding of the three grizzly bear cubs at the Pacific Museum. A bowl of corn meal and milk is placed before them, and to see the voracious little savages ‘pitch in’ is wonderful.”

Adams continued to engage in trapping expeditions, lend out his bears for the popular bear and bull fights and take groups of his animals to Sacramento and other California cities for special exhibitions. San Franciscans grew used to seeing Old Adams the bear tamer and Ben Franklin or Lady Washington out for an evening stroll on the boulevard. Adams’ energy, belying his gray hair and shaggy white beard, seemed boundless.

Gentle Ben, referred to in the press as “the ‘star’ animal in Adams’ wonderful collection,” took sick and died in early 1858. Adams reportedly became distraught, and by late 1859 attendance and revenues had fallen off while maintenance costs (animal feed and salaries to pay helpers, the band and clean-up crews) had soared. The Adventures of James Capen Adams, Mountaineer and Grizzly Bear Hunter of California, which Adams dictated to Theodore Hittell, was due to be published in San Francisco, but Adams had already made up his mind to move his museum to the East.

His plan was to transport his menagerie to New York City and then take the show to Europe. On September 30, 1859, the Daily Evening Bulletin published an inventory of sorts: “The collection consists of 10 or 12 specimens of the grizzly bear, one of which is the largest ever caught. There are also specimens of the black and brown and cinnamon bears, besides a large number of the other animals of the West— elk, deer, buffalo, coyote and many birds, including the California condor, various eagles, pelicans and other species of the feathered tribe. There are also a number of sea lions, which will also be taken if possible.”

With his customary zeal, the old hunter packed the hold of the clipper Golden Fleece with barrels of water, dried meat, straw and other types of fodder for his crew of animals. There were 19 crates in all, varying in size, but most 10 feet long, 4 feet wide and 4 feet high. The grizzlies—Samson, Lady Washington and General Fremont—had their own cages, while smaller animals shared quarters. They set sail on January 7, 1860, on a voyage of more than three months.

On January 31, 1860, El sol ran a story titled AN ASSORTED CARGO: “A ship has sailed from San Francisco for the city of New York with a cargo consisting of hides, horns, old copper, old iron, grizzly bears, old junk, California lions, bales of rags, a sprinkling of cougars, leopards, old rope and Old Adams himself, the famous grizzly bear tamer. Adams is bringing his California menagerie to the Atlantic States for exhibition. Adams had also skipped out on a $1,400 suit against him in San Francisco. There was time enough to worry about such things if and when they caught up with him. Fixing up a temporary quarters for his menagerie in the hold of the ship was all that concerned him.”

Soon after arriving in New York, Adams walked into showman P.T. Barnum’s office in New York’s American Museum. To raise some operating capital, Adams had sold an interest in his animals to a man who, in turn, had sold the paper to Barnum. Barnum announced he was already a partner and was thrilled to be able to add Adams’ menagerie to his museum. “He was dressed in his hunter’s suit of buckskin, trimmed with skins and bordered with the hanging tails of small Rocky Mountain animals Old Adams was quite as much of a show as his beasts,” Barnum recalled in his 1873 book Struggles and Triumphs, or 40 Years’ Recollections of P.T. Barnum. “They had come around Cape Horn…and a sea voyage of three and a half months had probably not added much to the beauty or neat appearance of the old bear-hunter.” In conjunction with James T. Nixon, Barnum promptly engaged his publicity machine to turn out flyers, ads in the major newspapers and a booklet on Adams’ rousing life. It was Barnum who consistently called his new associate “Grizzly Adams” and made that nickname stick.

Barnum erected a large tent in the big city on 13th Street between Broadway and Fourth Avenue for the initial showing. The May 12, 1860, New York News ran the story of OLD ADAMS AND HIS GRIZZLY BEAR: “This unique dual, or duo, created quite a sensation yesterday in our principal thoroughfares, preceded by an immense nondescript, called a wagon, drawn by eight horses, which bore a band of music. Old Adams, as he delights to be called, followed on an immense stage, having for his companion his special pet, a grizzly bear, which he has subdued to the submission of packsaddle and bridle.…Many a looker-on shuddered at the thought that the unwanted sight and noise might arouse Miss Grizzly, and in a fit of feminine disobedience she might turn upon her lawful master. However, no such accident or incident occurred, and the happy pair were landed safely at their new quarters in 13th Street.”

The city crowds were tremendous, as were the proceeds, but the unpredictability of Adams’ ferocious wards surfaced in mid-May 1860. There was a large, round railing in the center of the tent where various bears performed their stunts as Adams walked among them. During this particular show, as he was coaxing General Fremont to perform, the great bear suddenly turned on him and seized his left arm in his mouth. There were gasps and screams from the crowd as women ran for the exits and Adams struggled with the bear. Adams’ dog, Rambler, finally dashed in and distracted the bear long enough for the hunter to break away. “He is,” noted a newspaper account, “a man of extraordinary nerve and, in spite of the severe injuries from which he is suffering, continues his exhibition.”

The incident may have prompted Barnum to initiate a Connecticut tour for the Adams show, in conjunction with Nixon’s Mammoth Circus. Now Barnum was billing the hunter as “Old Grizzly Adams.” But a looming problem could not be ignored. When Adams and Barnum first met, the old hunter had doffed his fur cap, exposing a terrible head wound, a memento from his scrap with a wild grizzly. The injury was further aggravated when a monkey later jumped on the trapper’s head and bit into the wound. And one of his own bears had since smacked his head. “His skull was literally broken in,” Barnum later wrote. “The last blow, from the bear called General Fremont, had laid open his brain so

that its workings were plainly visible.”

Barnum knew the old trapper was dying and had already hired his replacement. Adams had no illusions about the state of his health. The previous month he had sought the advice of the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons, but they could only tell him what he already knew. “When the heart beats,” the examining doctor reported, “if the head is uncovered, the pulsations can be seen in the boneless portion of his cranium.” The wound refused to heal, and there was no hope.

Nevertheless, the old mountain man would not give up. Keenly aware of the years of estrangement from his family, he was anxious to establish financial security for his wife. He bargained with Barnum to allow him to stay with the show as long as he was able. Happy to placate the old hunter, Barnum offered him $60 a week and expenses but strongly suggested he return home in his final days of life.

“What will you give me extra,” asked the grinning hunter, “if I can stay with the show for 10 weeks?” Barnum was astounded but offered an additional $500 if he managed to finish out the term. After signing a contract to pay the stipulated amount to his wife, Adams had her join him for this final tour. Barnum met the couple at several stops and found Adams growing progressively weaker.

In mid-June another disturbing incident occurred. El Connecticut Constitución of June 20, 1860, reported: “Adams was exhibiting his bears as usual, at his menagerie, when the black hyena bear, so called from his excessively bad temper, made a dart at him and seized him by the calf of his leg, biting it right through and raising him from the ground in the act. Shaking him freely, the bear then threw him to a distance of five or six feet. Luckily for the old trapper, his dogs rushed in at the infuriated animal, or he would have…repeated the attack. A fierce combat ensued, and the bear nearly killed the largest of the dogs, but by this time Old Adams was again on his feet, assisting his trusty canine friends.” It was another close call, but the old trapper kept going, chiding Barnum all the time that he was going to lose his $500. “I met him the ninth-week in Boston,” Barnum recalled. “He continued to exhibit the bears, although he was too weak to lead them in.” Staying with Adams for the 10th week, Barnum gladly paid the bear man his $500. “He took it,” continued Barnum, “with a leer of satisfaction and remarked that he was sorry I was a teetotaler, for he would like to stand treat!”

And so Grizzly Adams went home. Though he was only 48 years old, it was a scarred, tired and sick old man who finally returned to his wife and daughter at Neponset, Mass. Even there he could not remain in bed, and one day he took the horse cars into town. On the return trip, the jolting of the cars opened the wound in his head, and blood burst forth, spattering on the ceiling to the horror of his fellow passengers. The bloody Adams was carried into a nearby drugstore and a physician summoned. He was taken home some time later, and all knew his time was short. At the behest of the family, a minister was present at the end.

When asked about his faith, the old hunter offered an unusual response, as recalled by Barnum: “I have attended preaching every day, Sundays and all, for the last six years. Sometimes an old grizzly gave me the sermon, sometimes it was a panther often it was the thunder and lightning, or the hurricane on the peaks of the Sierra Nevada.” Grizzly Adams was a showman to his last breath on October 25, 1860.

Hittell’s biography of Adams, published in San Francisco shortly after the hunter sailed for New York, was also published in Boston, much to the delight of Barnum. Publications nationwide reviewed the book, and excerpts of his adventures spread the fame of Grizzly Adams far and wide. After Adams’ death, Barnum reportedly shipped the bear show to Cuba for a tour and then on to England. Grizzly Adams became so well known that actors portrayed him on the stage as late as 1890. His name resurfaced in the 1974 movie The Life and Times of Adams Grizzly, which spawned the short-lived TV show of the same name. Dan Haggerty played the kinder, gentler Grizzly Adams. But there has never been anyone quite like the real Old Adams.

William B. Secrest writes often about people and events on the California frontier. His 2008 book California’s Day of the Grizzly (Quill Driver Books/Word Dancer Press, Sanger, Calif.) is recommended for further reading, along with The Adventures of James Capen Adams, Mountaineer and Grizzly Bear Hunter of California, by Theodore H. Hittell.

Publicado originalmente en la edición de febrero de 2010 de Salvaje oeste. Para suscribirse, haga clic aquí.


John Grizzly Adams - History

Who were the mountain men? They were the pathfinders of yore, lovers of nature, and fiercely independent. They lived and roamed the mountains and back-country of America from the 1800s to about the 1860’s. They were America’s original survivalists trapping beaver, muskrat, and otter, and living off the land. Traveling through the countryside dressed from head to toe in his homemade buckskin outfit, the mountain man plied their trade mostly in the Rocky Mountains, and became instrumental in opening the uncharted west to the settlers that would eventually pour in on covered wagons. Because of the mountain man’s fierce independence, bravery, and willingness to follow his bliss in the face of untold danger, the American West was made more accessible to settlers.

These men were the symbol of freedom and life on the new frontier of America. Some saw them as renegades and even criminals because of the life they lived they were fearless and embodied the American spirit, living by their own laws. But they were here before the settlers, carving out the wilderness and making the settlers’ way easier. As a result of this, the first settlers of our country owe these men a debt of gratitude.

The trappers made a conscious choice to live life in the wilderness, believing that this life was what they were called to do. Many of them survived attacks from the Blackfoot and Comanche Indians who already lived in the area. Eventually, the trappers and the Indians became friends and learned to work together and even intermarried, but that wasn’t until after much bloodshed. Along the way, various Indian tribes shared their knowledge of living off the land and partaking of nature’s abundance. A trapper’s daily life included danger and discomfort as they risked their lives crossing rushing rivers and wading into icy streams to set up their traps. Hunger and possible death or dismemberment were always just one step behind them.

When all was said and done, these trapper experts considered it all worthwhile because they were living out their passion in the heart of Mother Nature’s bounty. The mountain man pushed ever onward into uncharted territory, never phased by myriad hardships, living their lives by their own exacting specifications. It was a life that few of us could live today.

Even though the life they lived was on their own terms, the lure of the money they made from the furs did play a part, spurring them on to the next cache of highly valued beaver pelts.

He moved through the mountain wilderness on horseback, sometimes leading two to three horses along with him just to carry all of his gear. The gear he carried included:

  • Extra rifles
  • Powder for the rifles
  • Lead to make his own bullets
  • Bullet molds
  • Beaver traps
  • Hacha
  • Hatchet
  • Cookware
  • Mantas
  • Café
  • Several pounds of flour

This list doesn’t include the gear he carried on his person his skinning knife, which was so important to him that, if it was lost, he would backtrack for days to find it. He carried flints in order to start a fire, something similar to a bota bag for water. He carried a bag that was something like a purse in it, he might have kept money and things very dear and valuable to him.

The main occupation of the mountain man was to trap beaver, skin them, and then sell them at annual fur rendezvous. A large fur trade sprung up as the demand for beaver pelts grew. During the first half of the 1800’s, beaver fur was very much in demand for hats and coats. The mountain men were trapping and skinning as fast as they could to keep up with demand.

The Pacific Fur Company, the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, American Fur Company, and the Hudson’s Bay Fur Company were the best known. Once a year they sponsored a fur rendezvous where trappers met up and sold their beaver pelts, called plew.

The beaver traps they used were made of steel and weighed about 3 1/2 pounds. They attached the trap to a tree root or a rod driven into the ground. Beavers were attracted to the traps by a small amount of beaver bait smeared on the outside of the trap. This was the beaver bait recipe:

  • One dozen castor glands from beavers
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 12-15 cloves
  • 30 grams of cinnamon

Finely pulverize all and stir well.

Castoreum is the secretion a trapper would squeeze out of the two castor sacs on mature beavers it’s an oily, reddish-brown substance. To this day it’s used in medicines and perfumes. (Castor from beavers is not to be confused with castor oil which comes from castor beans.)

After trapping the beaver, skinning him, and scraping the skin off with his special hide hunter’s knife, he then stretched the hide out to dry on a hoop frame made of willow branches. It may have taken it several days for the skins to dry, depending on the weather.

While the hides were drying, the mountain man had time to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature all around him. His meal that evening would consist of a few crispy beaver tails roasted on the open fire and several cups of hot black coffee.

Kit Carson

Kit Carson, born in 1809 in Kentucky, was the quintessential mountain man. The list of his accomplishments have filled many books, and been the subject of many folk tales, some exaggerated, but based on truth. This American mountain man and frontiersman, was larger than life.

Kit began life as Christopher Houston Carson in Madison County, Kentucky. Kentucky is, for some reason, where many of the mountain men of yore were born and raised. He was one of fifteen children, large families being the norm in frontier days. The family lived in territory thick with Indians. The Kickapoo, Winnebago, and Pottawattamie tribes were just a few that roamed the area and were in competition for the same game and natural resources the Carson family and other settler families depended on. From his earliest days, Kit Carson was taught to beware of Indian attacks that could happen at any time, and from this, he learned to be ever vigilant. Even as a youth he was the protector of his brothers and sisters, who always felt safer when he was near. Life on the open territory was no doubt a rough one, but it was where the seeds of Carson’s greatness were first sown.

Kit learned about trapping and the trapper’s way of life at the age of 14 when, as an apprentice in a saddle shop, he heard the tales of the mountain men who frequented the place. Just two years later, knowing the apprentice life wasn’t for him, he left the saddle shop and joined the wagon trains going west on the Santa Fe Trail. This was the beginning of his adventurous life.

He grew into a man known for his strong character and for taking on responsibility and leadership. He was also a trapper, and Indian fighter who later became an Indian agent, authorized to interact with the Indians with the goal of preventing conflict with other tribes and with the U.S. government. He was a courier and a scout during the Mexican-American war. After the war, he traveled all the way from California to Washington, D.C. with news of the war. So vast was his legend that he became a star of the dime novel, so popular in the 1900s.

Kit Carson had the personality and the courage it took to play a key role in the early days of our republic. Matthew Kinkead, who was himself a trapper and explorer, lived in Taos, New Mexico and taught Kit the skills of a trapper. Carson also learned the different languages of the Spanish people and the Indian tribes, becoming fluent in at least seven tongues. This is quite impressive, considering he himself was so illiterate and could only sign his own name and never learned to read.

Throughout his years as a trapper, Carson worked alongside many of the well-known trappers of his day. They traveled the Yellowstone, Powder, and Big Horn rivers and trapped beaver in what were the then unknown territories of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

Kit Carson married Singing Grass of the Arapaho tribe they had two daughters, but Singing Grass died of a fever after the birth of their second daughter. Carson later married another Indian woman and they had eight children. Their descendants live in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado today. Carson died in Fort Lyon, Colorado in 1868.

Jedediah Smith

Jedediah Strong Smith took up the life of a mountain man at the young age of 22. Born January 6, 1799, his spirit of wanderlust gave him the desire to see virgin lands and to follow the rivers and streams wherever they may lead him. He took up with General William Ashley’s expedition and traveled up the Missouri River, trapping beaver as they went. Smith was a natural-born leader and soon led his own expedition into the Rockies where he rediscovered the forgotten South Pass. This pass was crucial to the settlement of Oregon and California in the years to come.

As a young lad, he read about the adventures of Lewis and Clark and was very influenced by them. Smith was known as a very spiritual man, as mountain men go. He never drank, smoked or swore. He was strict about following his calling as a mountain man and stopped often along the trail to pray and write in his journal. Smith never married and is remembered for his Bible around the campfire. He was known to have traveled more miles than any other trapper of his time. He crossed the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Great Basin, which contains valleys, lakes, basins, and mountain ranges. It’s believed he was the first white man to do so. Smith died in 1831.

John Colter
Painting of John Colter by Gerry Metz

He joined an expedition with the Missouri Fur Company traveling through the Rocky Mountains to bring back an excellent collection of beaver hides. Colter was chosen to be the man to go out across the tundra and visit the area’s Indian tribes to let them know of the mountain men’s presence, of the expedition in the area, and to trade with them. It has been said that Colter was the first to white man see Jackson Hole and Yellowstone Lake.

Mountain man John Colter was a travelin’ man. Born around 1773 and died 1813, he had traveled across the continent twice with Lewis and Clark. Armed with lessons he learned from them about the wilderness life of filled with grizzly bears, snowy nights around the campfire, and fighting Indians like the vicious Blackfoot tribe, Colter felt himself ready to continue the restless life of the mountain man.

He was loving the life of the mountain man and everything was going fine until, one day, while trapping beaver, he and a fellow trapper were ambushed by some Indians from the Blackfoot camp nearby. Colter’s partner was killed and he himself was told to strip naked and start running. He quickly complied, realizing that he was now the object of their hunt. He was the hunted, and run he did, for several miles. At one point he turned around and saw there was only one Indian behind him, with spear in hand the rest of the tribe was nowhere to be seen. Colter and the Indian fought, Colter won, took the spear and Indian’s blanket and continued running. He eventually came to a river where he hid, successfully, from his pursuers. They never found him when he felt the coast was clear he got up and walked to Fort Raymond, some 200 miles away.

Adams Grizzly

John “Grizzly” Adams, an amazingly eccentric shoe salesman turned mountain man/animal trainer. Grizzly Adams was born in 1812 in Massachusetts and was a relative of our second and sixth presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams. He was also related to Samuel Adams, the Revolutionary War patriot.

John “Grizzly” Adams had always had a way with animals, but since his father had apprenticed him as shoemaker, that was the direction his young life took. He worked at this trade for fifteen years, during which time he married and raised a family. He and his family lived a quiet life until 1849 when the Gold Rush hit and he felt the urge that so many others did to head west to improve his family’s fortunes. Things did not go well for the Adams family and three years into the venture, John “Grizzly” Adams turned his back on civilization and all that it offered. He decided it was time to follow his dream and he headed for the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. When he got there he built a cabin and lived the life of the mountain man, among the wild animals that were so dear to him.

It was there that he began the grizzly-bear career he’s so well-known for. He also developed into an expert mountain man, learning the ways of nature and communing with the surrounding Indian tribes. He was so close to his bears that he gave them names and even used them as pack animals. When he tired of life in the mountains, he moved to San Francisco to put on animal shows. Several years later he moved to New York, paraded his animals down Broadway and was offered a contract with P.T. Barnum’s circus.

The life of the mountain man was an exciting one and one that makes for great stories even today. It’s fun to imagine how they traveled through unknown territory, depending on their wits and survival know-how. They trapped beaver and sold the pelts at annual fur rendezvous across the west. The rendezvous was about the only time a mountain man got to meet up with and get face-to-face contact with other trappers. The rest of the time, he lived and traveled the back-country completely alone, only occasionally teaming up with other trappers.

Those days of roaming free on the land, having no laws, no neighbors, and no boundaries are long gone. The life they lived was solitary and dangerous, but they lived it willingly and became specialists in their field. We today will never know the courage it took for them to travel their solitary roads knowing that the next grizzly bear or Indian attack could be just around the corner. His travels across the uncharted territory, that was then a new and unmapped country, opened the way for future generations of Americans who will never know the struggles of the mountain men.


California Bear Guns Helped Exterminate the Grizzly

On September 2, 1769, a small expedition of leatherjacket soldiers, missionaries and muleteers killed a large-but-lean grizzly bear on the shore of an ocean-side lake in Upper California about 80 miles north of today’s Santa Barbara. The half-starved band of 64 men led by Gaspar de Portola was on its way north to try to find the Bay of Monte Rey and claim California for Spain by right of possession. Because the bear was so thin, the expedition leaders named the lake Oso Flaco (“Skinny Bear Lake”). It was the first time that a white man had ever killed a California grizzly.

Ursus arctos horribilis californicus, the California grizzly, was a separate subspecies of Ursus horribilis, the North American grizzly that roamed most of the rest of the western United States. Ursus californicus was larger than its cousins, rivaling in size the Kodiak grizzles and polar bears of Alaska, and was even more ill-tempered. Some California grizzlies might have weighed as much as a ton. Most California Indians gave them a wide berth. During the Spanish colonial period, vaqueros tested their courage in California by roping a wild grizzly for sport. Bear-and-bull fights were staged in an enclosed arena, with the bear chained to a post.

The California grizzly population increased in the early 1800s because the bears found an endless walking buffet— the cattle herds of the Spanish and Mexican ranchos. But the tables were turned at midcentury during the California Gold Rush. Miners found grizzlies to be good sources of meat and fur coats and blankets. Ironically, at the same time, the California grizzly became so legendary in the gold camps that it was made a permanent part of the state flag, and it was also named the official state animal.

In those days of single-shot, muzzle-loading cap-and-ball rifles, killing a California grizzly with one shot was difficult. It took a brave (or foolish) man to get close enough to try to stop a grizzly in its tracks it also took a big load of powder and a big-caliber bullet. Stories about the permanently maimed or dead bodies that angry grizzlies left in their wake are legend. California’s most famous bear hunter, John Capen “Grizzly” Adams, claimed that the “style” he developed for killing a grizzly was to first put a well-placed rifle shot into it then empty his Navy Colt revolver into it as it charged him and finally, if the animal still didn’t go down, to slit its throat with a bowie knife.

California had only two gunsmiths when the Gold Rush began in 1849, according to firearms historian Lawrence P. Shelton in his 1977 book California Gunsmiths, 1846-1900. So most of the rifles carried in California in those early days were made by Eastern gunsmiths. The heavy-barreled, large-caliber plains rifles made by St. Louis gun makers for the early professional buffalo hunters of the Great Plains also became highly prized to use as California grizzly bear guns.

Bringing down a buffalo was not the same as bringing down a California grizzly, though. A buffalo either dropped or ran, while a grizzly either dropped or came at you like a freight train with thrashing teeth and flailing claws. So, with their lives constantly at stake, the California bear hunters demanded the ultimate quality and accuracy that could be put into a big-bore rifle. From the 1850s to the 1870s, a whole first generation of California gun makers produced California bear rifles—large-caliber, muzzle-loading half stock “plains rifles” made expressly for killing grizzlies.

At first the basic parts—like “warranted” locks (the complete action) and barrels (especially those made by Remington)—were imported into the state and then assembled into complete rifles by the California gunsmiths. But as the demand for accurate and dependable guns increased, California gun makers began to make their best guns from their own scratch parts and cut their specialized rifling into the barrels themselves.

Because the California bear rifles were handmade, each gun had a unique appearance there was no production-line conformity. Some hunters preferred smaller calibers and large powder charges, while others preferred larger calibers and smaller powder charges. The calibers ranged from .36 to .54, with the majority being .48, .49 or .50. The heavy, octagonal barrels ranged in length from 30 to 34 inches, seldom longer because maneuverability in heavy-forested areas could often be a matter of life or death for the hunter. Some rifles were even made in shorter, “carbine” lengths for easier carrying on horseback. Most of the rifles weighed from 10 to 14 pounds. Some of the California gun makers also made double-barreled rifles, with the barrels side-by-side or over-and-under, to give the bear hunter the rapid second shot that was so often desperately needed.

Set triggers (triggers that could be “set” off with a soft touch) were standard equipment for added accuracy. Stocks were usually made of walnut, some of maple and almost all had a cheek rest on the left side. Butt plates and trigger guards were usually iron—some were made of German silver, and a few of brass—but the fore-end caps were usually pewter. Overall, the California bear guns were made as deadly “workhorses,” and very few were engraved or embellished with inlays in the wood.

Cartridge rifles such as the big-caliber Sharps, Remington rolling-blocks and Model 1876 and 1886 Winchesters eventually replaced the California cap-and-ball bear rifles. But well into the 1880s, many California bear hunters still went with their dependable muzzleloaders. Shelton’s book lists more than 500 gunsmiths in California 1846-1900 (many of whom did not make their own guns), from such legendary San Francisco gun makers as Charles Curry and Liddle & Kaedding to lesser known gun makers such as G.A. Nordheim of Yreka, George Kingsley of Red Bluff and Joseph Craig of Weaverville.

The California-made bear rifles have become the cream of the crop for today’s antique firearms collectors. But the guns are now so rare that they are seldom found outside of museum collections.

The last captive California grizzly died in a state zoo in 1911. The last known documented specimen of a California grizzly was shot and killed in Fresno County in August 1922. In 1924 a huge grizzly was spotted several times in Sequoia National Park and then was never seen again. Although the California grizzly still flies on the state flag, it took the white man—with the help of the California bear rifle—only a little more than 150 years to make the official state animal extinct.

Publicado originalmente en la edición de agosto de 2008 de Salvaje oeste. Para suscribirse, haga clic aquí.


John "Grizzly" Adams

John "Grizzly" Adams ( i njohur edhe si James Capen Adams dhe Grizzly Adams) (1812-1860) ishte një i njeri i famshëm i maleve të Kalifornisë si dhe një trajner i arinjëve të thinjur dhe kafshëve të tjera të egra të kapura me qëllim të përdorimit të tyre në kopshte zoologjike dhe shfaqjet e cirkut. [1]

Në vitin 1974 u lansua filmi "Jeta dhe koha e Grizzly Adams" me Dan Haggerty në rolin kryesor. Popullariteti i tij bëri që kompania NBC ta prodhonte dhe lansonte atë si një seri televizive me të njëjtin emër e ku rolin kryesor e luajti përsëri Dan Haggerty si 'Grizzly Adams', 'Don Shanks si' Nakoma 'dhe Denver Pyle si' Mad Jack '. Përfundimisht, u krijua marka Grizzly Adams e cila u regjistrua nga krijuesi i serisë së filmit dhe televizionit, Charles E. Sellier, Jr. Personaliteti i Grizli Adamsit ka qenë burim frymëzimi për krijime të mëvonshme artistike dhe filmike. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


John “Grizzly” Adams – the man who had his skull cracked several times by the grizzly bears he trained

The story of ‘Grizzly Adams’ is one of the most amazing frontier biographies ever documented.

Adams was an adventurous lad who loved exploring the swamps and woodlands of his home. As he grew to manhood, John ‘Grizzly’ Adams recognized an uncanny ability he had when it came to understanding the behavior of wild animals.

However, after being nearly killed by a Royal Bengal Tiger when he was twenty-one, he opted for a trade as shoemaker, something his father, Eleazer had him apprentice at during his teen years.

“Grizzly” Adams, with his grizzly bear, Benjamin Franklin, from the 1860 Hutchings’ Illustrated California Magazine. Wikipedia/Public Domain

Adams tried his luck at mining, hunting game to sell to the miners, trading, and finally, ranching and farming. At times he was rich and then, just as quickly, broke. Late in 1852, having lost his ranch outside of Stockton, California to creditors, he took the few items he could salvage and turned his back on civilization by seeking refuge in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains near Yosemite. There, Adams built and lived in a cabin surrounded by wildlife and friendly Native American tribes. He learned to commune with nature and, became an expert hunter, tracker, and provider for both himself and his Indian friends. He also captured, raised, and trained Grizzly Bears (as well as a variety of other wild animals).

Sierra – Tuolumne River. Source by Antandrus

Using his most beloved Grizzly Bears as pack animals — Lady Washington, General Fremont, and Benjamin Franklin — John ‘Grizzly’ Adams led many tracking expeditions. He traversed as far north as the Canadian border, as far south as the Mojave Desert, and as far east as Salt Lake City. He hired Indian scouts to help him on his journeys, further solidifying his relationship with tribal leaders as the legend of ‘Grizzly Adams’ grew.

Adams lived the life of a mountain man for three years, until 1856, when he relocated to San Francisco after being offered a chance to make money by putting on shows with his animals. While running this enterprise he adapted to city life again, and he and his ‘Mountaineer Museum’ became so popular that the newspapers began to take notice. One newspaper writer, in particular, Theodore Hittell, wrote an impressive series of articles about Adams and his animals, bringing them even greater popularity.

Phineas Taylor Barnum in 1851. Wikipedia/Public Domain

By the end of the 1850’s, Grizzly Adams’ health was deteriorating, and he knew his life would soon end. Since he had been away from his wife in Massachusetts for over ten years, he wanted to earn enough before he died to leave her a comfortable sum. He made arrangements to relocate his menagerie and collections to New York in hopes of joining P.T. Barnum as a part of his show.

In New York City, Grizzly Adams, joined with P.T. Barnum to perform his California Menagerie in a canvas tent for six weeks. His health continued to decline, and after a doctor told him he had better settle his affairs, Adams decided he would sell his menagerie to Barnum. From the proceeds of the sale of the menagerie and the bonus, he had accomplished his goal of providing a comfortable sum for his wife.

In 1855, Adams suffered head and neck trauma during a grizzly attack in the Sierras of California. His scalp was dislodged, and he was left with a silver dollar-sized impression in his skull, just above his forehead. Adams had made pets of several grizzlies and often wrestled with them while training them and in exhibitions.

During one such bout, his most delinquent grizzly, General Fremont (named for John C. Fremont), struck Adams in the head and reopened the wound. It was subsequently reinjured several times, eventually leaving Adams’ brain tissue exposed.

The damage was further exacerbated while Adams was on tour with a circus in New England during the summer of 1860, when a monkey he was attempting to train purportedly bit into the wound. After more than four months performing with his California Menagerie, complications from the injury led to Adams’ inability to continue with the show.


Ver el vídeo: The Life and Times of the Real Grizzly Adams (Agosto 2022).