Strange Stories of Nature
Strange stories of animals and their behavior were often used by newspaper editors to fill spaces between regular news stories. Not all of these stories can readily be believed, but some of them are true, or at least true with a little bit of hype and embellishment. So here are a few pieces of our past for all of you animal lovers out there.
A DOG OF GOD- Seems that there was a time, way back in 1880, when there was a dog in Dublin that ran all over the town. The canine never seemed to show up for a church service, except for Sunday evening services when the dog was a regular visitor. When the church bell tolled, the dog poignantly howled in reverence to the proceedings inside. Macon Telegraph, August 20, 1880.
WHERE OH WHERE HAS MY LITTLE DOG GONE?- Sam Harris was looking for a faithful friend, so he bought a dog. The Thomasville carpenter paid for his hound and had it shipped from Dublin in a wooden crate. Harris went to check on his dog the next morning and found that it was gone. Then, a few days later, Harris received a letter saying that the dog had returned to Dublin. The question was, how did a dog, crated inside a train, find its way all the way from Thomasville back to Dublin? Atlanta Constitution, May 30, 1926.
I THOUGHT I SAW A BUNNY CAT - W.B. Jones caught a pair of young rabbits in his garden. Also hanging around was an old Maltese cat which recently lost all of her kittens. The caring cat adopted the bunnies and looked after them as if they were her own children. Macon Telegraph, April 23, 1888.
HOW NOW OLD COW - Henry C. Stanley was right proud of his cow. He claimed it was nearly a century old. Stanley said he got the cow from his great-aunt, a Mrs. Kuntz, of Dublin. He had the cow for 16 years and his aunt had owned it for a long, long time. How then could anyone explain how an animal which lives generally to a maximum of twenty-two years, be almost a hundred years old. The Atlanta Constitution believed Stanley to be an honest man, but this story about a century-old milk cow seems to be a little bit of bull. Atlanta Constitution, May 1, 1889.
A PARTRIDGE AND A CHICKEN NEST - S.J. Fountain was out walking a couple of hundred yards from this plantation home in the Bethel District of Wilkinson County one day when he discovered a hen's nest, which contained four chicken eggs. Guarding the nest was a male partridge. Fascinated by his discovery, Fountain returned home and told his friends of the amazing sight. Upon his return, Fountain and his crew found three chicks under the guarding wings of the partridge. The fourth egg was already pipped. Fountain removed the pheasant-like bird, which promptly headed toward a nearby branch with three chicks following it. A few days later, Fountain returned to the scene to secure the birds to further show off his astonishing find. Alas, a huge slithering snake had killed two of the baby chickens and was setting its sights on the other. Fountain was able to rescue the surviving chick, but not the partridge, which wanted no part of being put on display and quickly disappeared into the woods. Atlanta Constitution, July 12, 1889.
Paul Yopp knew that chickens and partridges were compatible too. He took a young partridge and placed it in the care of one his hens. The hen raised the bird as if were her own. By the time it was grown, the instinctively wild bird had grown so accustomed to the chicken yard that it had no desire to fly the coop. Stevens Point Gazette, June 19, 1886.
FOWL FIGHT - But, not all birds get along with each other. P.M. Solomon was visiting his friend T.J. Renfroe in Laurens County. While sitting in the house, Solomon heard a commotion coming from the chicken yard. The Cochran resident looked out the window and saw a hen and a hawk engaged in a fight to the death. Solomon took the side of his friend's chicken in the fight and quickly ended the battle with a load of buck shot directed at the hawk. Oblivious to the true reason for her opponent's withdrawal from the battle, the hen strutted and cackled like a victorious gamecock, although all but one of the other chickens survived the wrath of the Accipiter. Marion Daily Star, February 19, 1885.
MORE THAN ONE WAY TO KILL A CAT - No, this isn't what you might think it is. It seems that William Lee and Lou Clark were out for a winter hunt for food for their families. Neither man knew of the other's presence. Then, at the same instant, both men fired their rifles in the direction of a wild cat, the same wild cat. One or both of the shots hit their marks. Then the men discussed who killed the cat and how to split their bounty. Atlanta Constitution, January 17, 1887.
MAD COW! - Down in the lower edge of Laurens County, a rabid dog had been terrorizing the community, biting dogs, cows and various other animals. One of the victims of the mad dog was a rather large bull which belonged to a Mr. Wilkes. While under the influence of the infectious disease, the bull began to attack other cows as well as hogs. The hydrophobic bovine gored and ripped open animals along the roads and farms throughout the community. Much faster horses fled for their lives. Then one day, Mary Livingston was taking breakfast for her husband and his farm hands who were in the Oconee River swamp constructing a cypress timber raft. Mrs. Livingston spotted the bull, but it was too late. The bull attacked the woman with his horns and foaming teeth. Mrs. Livingston sought refuge by moving into shoulder deep water. The beast followed her into the river. Livingston screamed for help. Just as the bull poised for a fatal strike, Mrs. Livingston feinted. Her son arrived in the nick of time to drag his seemingly lifeless mother into his rowboat. The mad cow stayed in the water for several hours before returning to feast on Mrs. Livingston's breakfast. It was the bull's last breakfast, as Mr. Livingston put the poor bull out of its and everyone else's misery. Atlanta Constitution, May 28, 1895.
DOE, A DEER, WHAT A FEMALE DEER! - W.B.F. Daniel was out deer hunting when he happened upon a fawn. When Daniel's dog signaled the presence of the wild animal, Billy Daniel rushed forward to capture the fawn for his own pet. The fawn's mother, described as a fine sleek doe, raced to the scene to save her baby. Daniel ordered his dog, Old Roper, to fight off the mother. Daniel joined in the fracas and tried to grab the mother deer. Well, the doe wanted no part of being captured for a pet as well and began to strike back. Then it was reported that Daniel "saw stars and smelled brimstone." When Daniel gathered his senses, both deer were gone and Daniel learned a valuable lesson about messing with a mama's baby. Atlanta Constitution, August 13, 1882.