WHEN WOLVES AND BEARS ROAMED - Story of Early Days in Victoria County

(Written for The Weekly Sun by James E. Orr) December 26, 1913

“More than fifty years ago a couple of sisters and myself went to visit an uncle who owned a big sawmill at Mud Lake, in Victoria county,” says James Burrows. “The land all around here was inclined to be rocky, and not very well adapted for cultivation. Timber, pasture, wild fruit and animals were principal products. During our recent visit the huckleberries were ripe, and many big parties went out picnicking and gathering the delicious berries. From my uncle’s house there went a big double wagonload of us, all bound for the huckleberry bushes. We drove a fine span of horses, which were used in lumbering, so they were quite able to manage our company over the rough and hilly track.

“We carried a numerous assortment of different articles, but a good rifle was not forgotten. After our arrival at our destination we all started to gather the abundant crop of luscious berries, excepting one of my sisters, who was left to watch the outfit. This sister was, also woman-like, left to prepare the picked fruit so that it could be carried home without crushing or bruising it badly, In our eagerness to make a good showing, we soon got scattered over a wide area, when suddenly from somewhere came screams of the most agonizing kind, and when we were satisfied that it was our camp watcher who was in trouble we all ran towards the point where the cry came from. We soon found that she was in sore distress, as we beheld her away up in the air on the top of an old burnt oak stub. This had been partly burned and there she clung to its blackened sides. She had seen a wild bear, and up there, holding her skirts tightly about her, had sought safety, little dreaming that, if necessary, a bear could also climb.

“My sister’s curiosity had been aroused by the unusual commotion of a herd of young cattle which came running and piteously bellowing near where the horses were tethered. The bear did not stop to molest her, although the horses snorted and stamped. About twenty rods away the cattle of which the bear was in pursuit stopped and, bidding defiance to bruin, like a well-drilled company of soldiers, formed a solid square. Before we could snatch the rifle and shoot the bear he had killed one heifer and had her partly torn to pieces, and when we examined the brand on the heifer we found it belonged to the very man who used the rifle so effectively. Our sister was soon rescued from her perilous position, and after a lapse of all these years we were talking about her thrilling adventure as I paid her a visit a short time ago. This incident, very naturally, took all the romance from remaining any longer in the huckleberry marsh. Therefore, after skinning and burying both heifer and bear, we gathered up our belongings and took our departure back to Dalrymple, where scenes more quiet and congenial awaited the ladies of our party than the wild expanse of a huckleberry wilderness.”

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