MASSEY: Bear Affairs | Area News

Soon after I wrote about Smokey the Bear, Leslie Morgan, the District Ranger right here…

Soon after I wrote about Smokey the Bear, Leslie Morgan, the District Ranger right here in Greeneville for the Unaka District, Cherokee National Forest, wrote me about a further bear tale. She said, “here’s an additional 1 I wager you have by no means heard. I did a stint in Rolling Fork, MS as the District Ranger for the Delta Countrywide Forest.”

Although I did know the background tale, I did not know about the Wonderful Delta Bear Affair. This is an annual function in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. It is a great deal of enjoyable activities from good new music, exciting operates, a burger taking in contest, wooden carving contest, seminars, and so forth. What transpired there to carry this all about, you might ask? Properly, it’s the tale of the “Teddy Bear.”

Their webpage tells the story as perfectly as I can: “In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt arrived to the Mississippi Delta to hunt black bear. He was the visitor of Mr. Mangrum, owner of Smedes Plantation in southern Sharkey County. The fantastic bear hunter and tutorial, Holt Collier, was employed to be the president’s guidebook on this hunt.

“On the to start with early morning of the hunt, the puppies hit upon the scent of the bear and the hunt was on. Holt Collier informed President Roosevelt where to wait around for the bear to occur out of the cane brake. The president and his companion, Mr. Huger Foote, waited for the bear to arise and listened to the barking of the puppies as they pursued the bear. They could explain to that the puppies had been going in a distinctive route and decided to return to camp for lunch. Not long soon after they experienced left, the bear turned once again and eventually came out of the woods almost accurately in which Holt Collier experienced reported it would, but the president was not in situation to get his shot.

“The bear became cornered by the canines in a slough and turned on them. In its fury, the bear grabbed Holt’s preferred puppy, Jocko. Holt Collier jumped from his horse and clubbed the bear with the inventory of his gun, spectacular the 250 pound bruin. He then threw a rope about the semiconscious creature and sent for the president to shoot the bear.

“When the president arrived, he was unhappy to see the addled bear at Holt’s toes. In spite of encouragement from the group of hunters, President Roosevelt refused to shoot the hurt bear stating that it would be unsportsmanlike.

“The push went wild with this story of the President, Holt Collier, and the bear, and it soon traveled throughout the country in information tales and cartoons. Morris Mitchom a toy shop proprietor in New York, wrote the president inquiring if he could identify the stuffed toy bears in his store ‘Teddy’s Bears.’ The president agreed and before lengthy all stuffed bears were recognized as Teddy Bears.

“Since that time, stuffed toy bears have been named Teddy Bears. This children’s icon was named since of a hunt President Theodore Roosevelt attended in the Mississippi Delta in 1902 the place he refused to kill a black bear. The Teddy Bear is the state toy of Mississippi, and every year a different commemorative teddy bear is offered at the Wonderful Delta Bear Affair.”

As I told Leslie, I wasn’t absolutely sure what the most appealing part of the tale is. Is it Teddy Roosevelt, the Teddy Bear, or Holt Collier? Collier was born a slave, was a Confederate soldier in the Ninth Texas Cavalry, outdoorsman, cowboy, and famed hunter. He is most famously connected to the “Teddy Bear.”

Collier’s Locate-a-grave web page records, “Holt Collier was born into slavery in 1846 and was the slave of Howell Hinds. Hinds County is named after Howell’s father, Gen. Thomas Hinds. At a very early age, Holt shown his marksmanship with the rifle. At the age of 10, he killed his initial Black Bear which would be a person of above 3,000 killed by Holt. At the outbreak of the War for Southern Independence, Holt’s learn and son left for the War after supplying him his freedom papers and becoming explained to he was much too young to fight and to continue to be on the plantation. Holt disobeyed his master by operating absent from the plantation, stowing absent on a riverboat and joining Howell and his son in Memphis, TN. Holt, by alternative, joined the 9th Texas Brigade serving in Firm I in the course of the War. In the course of Reconstruction, Holt was accused and acquitted for the alleged murder of Captain James King by a military tribunal in Vicksburg. Holt still left the condition on assistance specified by William A. Percy of Greenville going to Texas operating as a cowboy on the ranch of his previous commander, Sullivan Ross, future Governor of Texas. On the murder of his former master, Holt returned to Greenville for his funeral and remained in Greenville for the relaxation of his daily life. Holt grew to become nationally acknowledged in 1903 as the tutorial for the Teddy Roosevelt Bear Hunt of that 12 months. This hunt gave increase to the ‘Teddy Bear’ when Teddy refused to shoot a bear captured by Holt and tied to a tree. Holt lived to the age of about 90, passing from this lifetime on August 1, 1936.”

Holt Collier reportedly killed above 3,000 bears throughout his life time. That’s a lot more than famed bear hunter Davy Crockett.

This was not the only time Roosevelt hunted with Collier, A a lot more impressive celebration happened five years later, on Roosevelt’s 1907 bear-hunting expedition to Louisiana. The press was retained away this time, so the tale did not get a lot of coverage, and appears to be to have been ignored by most researchers in the 100-plus a long time because. It is a story told, of all places, in an obscure tutorial journal that no one’s read through in the last 70 years or so:

“A wild hog is no unique from our domestic sluggard that fattens in a sty. The very best breeds are turned unfastened by their entrepreneurs — Duroc-Jerseys, Poland Chinas, Berkshires, Essex — and no animal reverts to sort, or goes native, much more promptly than a pig. He may have been pampered as the home pet, but just one transient style of flexibility will make him the most unsafe brute that ranges our forests, the only creature that intentionally and wantonly attacks a gentleman. As a substitute of a slothful animal that dozes in his wallow, we find the razorback, powerful, vicious and swift as lightning. When he grows previous, and youthful boars merge to travel him from the herd, the ousted monarch retires to solitude, gnashing his tooth and brooding over his wrongs then it’s smart to allow that fellow by itself. A wolf won’t undertaking close to, nor a bear or panther. Two enormous tusks curl upward and backward from his lower jaw, like curving scimitars of ivory, that by 1 sidewise swipe will disembowel a pet dog.

“Some woodsmen contend that the tusks of a domestic boar increase substantially longer just after he goes indigenous, since he employs them extra, and nature develops a weapon to meet his requirements. Other eager observers say that this is not accurate that the tusks of a boar in captivity will be about the identical size as those of 1 that has long gone wild. The wild boar, having said that, reveals fewer excess fat about the jowls, so that far more of his gleaming ivory is exposed. When he arrives charging by way of the brushwood, it is a fearsome sight, and the fleeing tenderfoot is apt to overestimate his tusks.

“One pair observed by Governor Parker calculated 7 and five-eighths inches, taken from the boar that attacked Doctor [Presley Marion] Rixey, private doctor to President Theodore Roosevelt, although Teddy was on a hunting expedition. This infuriated satan could have slain Physician Rixey, if Holt Collier, the celebrated Negro hunter, had not thrown himself in between them, grappled the beast and stabbed him to loss of life. Physician Rixey, I am advised, now has his tusks as a souvenir of luck.”

No toys referred to as the Teddy-Hog or “Holt’s Hogzillia” were born of this caper. Why was the push held absent from this hunt? That is simple, with all the “Teddy Bear” hoopla from the final hunt with Collier, Teddy’s handers preferred to retain this one particular quiet.

When Collier killed the hog, which was nicknamed “Hogzilla” due to the fact of its dimensions, he was in his early 60s. That would be very a feat for a guy of any age, but additional impressive for one particular in his 60s. Holt lived to the age of about 90. Holt was buried in Dwell Oak Cemetery which is situated on the old Plumridge Plantation in Greenville, Mississippi, the place he grew-up searching those black bear.

As I explained to Leslie, I am even now not positive what the most impressive section of the tale is, Teddy himself, the Teddy Bear or Holt Collier. It does just take all 3 to make a tale, and with “hogzilla” thrown in there is a bit much more to notify.

I have under no circumstances been to the Excellent Delta Bear Affair, and possible by no means will. But who is aware, I have taken off on a whim ahead of. A handful of several years back the Blanks sisters and I did just that, traveling about Mississippi and Louisiana.

They have a Facebook web page as perfectly as their web site, wherever they ask, “Are you prepared for reside music, chainsaw carving, awesome foods, a entertaining operate, pet dog demonstrate, arts and crafts, youngsters crafts and online games, fireworks, and so considerably much more?” The webpage mentions that “Through the Terrific Delta Bear Affair, countless numbers of folks from across Mississippi and the South have a new fascination with the now developing population of bears in the point out. The Bear Affair is now in its 18th year of bringing recognition to Mississippi’s residents about black bears and the record and lifestyle of the South Delta location.”

It is the fourth Saturday in Oct and would be a awesome time of 12 months to head south. Take the Natchez Trace from Franklin, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, and love the fall foliage. It normally takes a little bit of receiving utilised to the 50 mile for every hour pace limit, but you will get made use of to it. The stops together the way are interesting and educational. The quickest route is by Memphis, and convert south.

The “Bear Affair” features a different “Teddy Bear” each yr to commemorate the party. The 2021 bear is named “Covid Bear.” He looks a little bit fuzzy to me. I bought a stuffed bear just a pair weeks back to support bear awareness.

You know our bear inhabitants in this article in Greene County is expanding way too. Possibly we need to have our very own competition. Some of you might have followed the “Johnson Town Bear” on social media. Then of program we experienced the “Greeneville Bear.” He experienced a factor for BBQ so we would have to integrate BBQ into our celebration. We could have our own “Greeneville Bear” teddy bear. Possibly with all the BBQ cooking, a real bear could possibly clearly show up and operate-down Main Street like they do in Gatlinburg. We could have a “bear” parade, a bear run, and Leslie Morgan could be our very first grand parade marshal. I said bear parade, not bare parade.

Seriously, the bear inhabitants listed here is escalating. I have been reading through a book by a park ranger in the Fantastic Smokey Mountains National Park. He states the worst issue men and women do is feed bears. He suggests bears are generally lazy, and they study to associate individuals with food items. They study if they chase another person, the individual thinks they are heading to get eaten by the bear, when the bear is contemplating they are heading to drop what they are having. He says this results in bears to drop their concern of individuals, and that is when difficulties begins. As well many instances, it success in a bear getting killed.

Bears are lovely creatures, and they are wild and risky. Making an attempt to make a pet out of a single is not a pretty intelligent issue. Oh yeah, the wild hog populace is booming, much too. The last time I was in excess of in the mountains there was evidence in all places. If you see hogzilla, you very best climb a tree quickly.

I think I will just adhere to the festivals and maybe drive down and check out out the Good Delta Bear Affair, I have it on my calendar, Leslie. I like the concept of the “Greeneville Bear” affair, far too, particularly the BBQ element. Get pleasure from the outside this fall, be good, be thorough and we hope to see you on the path.