pleasure I note that two more "old settlers" have taken "a seat"
in the Hawkeye Journal's Chimney corner, relating- some of their
highly interesting recollections of early days and I sincerely
hope that they, as well as many others of the "old guard" will
be heard from as often as possible. How I wish I could shake
hands once more with our mutual friend W. R. Hollingsworth.
from Cap. J. T. Parker ought to convince even Mr. R. I. Garden of
Tracy, Iowa, that "it is human to err". The question: "To be or
not to be" applied to the buffalos early habitation in Iowa,
seems to be indisputably settled by the evidence produced by Mr.
Parker. Mr. Garden bases his theory of the buffalo's
non-residence partly upon the fact, that we never heard of any
buffalo bones being found in Iowa. In 1844 I found upon a space
of perhaps one half acre, what to all appearance seemed to be
part of the bones of six or eight carcasses.· The thigh and knee
bones well recognizable and partly imbedded in 'the sod. When
picked up they crumbled like lime. This was in a wide slough,
where, as a rule, the grass made its appearance first in spring
and at the same time offering a good outlook over a scope of
prairie. This led me to enquire of my friend D. N. Henderson,
who had settled in the east part of Clear Creek Township in
1838, one of the most wide-a-wake pioneers or that day and at
this date a resident of this county for 67 years. He informed
me that an old Indian had told him, that, long, long ago there
came a big snow storm, a very cold week in June causing the
death of many buffalos, the old grass having been burned and the
young shoots of grass were tender and washy. From all my
observation and knowledge gained, I have come to the conclusion
that for perhaps a hundred years or more there have not been
many buffalos in eastern Iowa, wherefore Mr. Garden's idea is
some what excusable. I was personally acquainted with Mr. Jacob
Kensler, who used to live south of Delta, also Hon. A. C. Price
and Mr. M. P. Donahey now of Washington County, all men whose
credibility and integrity was never disputed. Thirty years ago
in Barton County, Kansas, I examined some buffalo bones, some of
them in about the same condition and identical with these I
found 60 years ago here in Iowa.
Some time ago I was requested by some through the Courier to
write about the Paul Peiffer family of Clear Creek Township,
mention of which I had made in my former memoirs of that
township. I will here relate an appalling misfortune which
befell that family in an early day. Two of their boys, John and
Mike, lads of about 5 and 7 years of age were playing one day
after dusk near their cabin. One of them, I think it was the
youngest, Mike, picked up what he took to be the heavy end of a
discarded ox-whip and playfully hit his brother with it; but the
"ox-whip" proved to be a good sized rattlesnake, which stuck its
fangs first into John's arm about three or four inches below the
shoulder, and then into Mike's hand. Mr. M. Berg, a near
neighbor, mounted a horse and in a gallop started for Rev.
Daniel Heidene's, a missionary, who as such possessed
considerable pioneer experience and also some knowledge of
medicine, practicing physicians were not as numerous in those
days as now. In the meantime Mr. Wendel Horras and Mr. Peiffer
tied a bandage above the bitten part of the arm to prevent the
poison from circulating toward the heart, until other help would
arrive. Unfortunately, this tight bandage was left on the arm
too long. I was present when Mrs. Peiffer took off the poultice
and bandage and the little arm dropped off at the elbow joint.
The entire flesh, till within two inches of the shoulder had
decayed and easily washed off, exposing the bone to the elbow.
The flesh close around the bone remained healthy, granulation
soon appeared like pin heads all over, which gave hope that
nature would eventually help to preserve the arm to the elbow
joint. Elder bark and witch-hazel boiled in lard, together with
the child's inherited healthy constitution completed the cure.
Mr. Paul Peiffer, the father, had served 3 years in the
artillery at Fort Luximburg, Germany, and was by no means a
nervous "chicken-hearted" fellow, but this time he was almost
distracted with grief. Mrs. Peiffer is still living and is now
in her 94th year. Her maiden name was Magdalena Redlinger. She
is an aunt of Valentine and Peter Redlinger. May she live to
see her direct descendants reach the number of 200 which is not
very far off any more.
It makes me shudder to think of the many snake bites and the
more numerous narrow escapes from such in early days; to relate
them all would more than fill the entire paper, but fortunately
the dreaded rattlers - like the buffaloes - are getting scarce.