Jones County, Georgia, August 1889
Published in the Lafayette Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisiana
A bear or bigfoot farming hogs & piglets on stolen corn?
An "Oberon"-ish Outlaw
Out in the "Oaky Woods" of Georgia (Jones County) the wild animals frequently exhibit intelligence to a remarkable degree. One of the largest planters, Mr. J.K. Beal, in going the rounds of his immense plantation, noticed that in a field bordering the Pocasin Swamp, the best rails from his fence had been abstracted. Any rails decayed or defective were left, while only the best rails had been taken.
This continued for quite a while. The planter supposed that the Negroes had been taking them, but could find no clue to the thieves. After while, his hogs began to disappear, until at last when he went to call them up, none responded to the cry. Next, in the same field from whence the rails had been abstracted, the growing corn crop began to suffer.
Bushels of roasting ears disappeared, and at last the tracks of some large animal were discovered leading from the cornfield to the mysterious depths of the Pocasin Swamp. They were the huge tracks of a bear. So much damage was being done to the crop that it was determined to try to find the brute.
Accordingly, a party was organized and away they went, following the trail that became more and more indistinct.
The Pocasin Swamp is interspersed with dry hammocks like oasises in a desert. On, on, through mire and ooze, on through the little shadded islands and back again to the swampy ground.
At last they reached a large, high hammock rising almost like a hill from the mysterious depths of the swamp. Here high and dry they were astonished to discover a great pen, "as large," says the narrator of this singular adventure, "as large as a great house."
Upon examination it was found that the pen had been built of the stolen fence rails.
Within it were the stolen shoats sleek and fat. (...shoats are domestic piglets)
Around it in every direction were the tracks of the giant bear innumerable in number and the ground well trodden down.
Within the pen were the remains of some of the roasting ears of corn abstracted (taken out of or separated from) from Mr. Beal's field.
The hunting party were struck with amazement, and sat down around the well fill pen to try to unravel the mystery.
There was but one solution; every evidence pointed to this one fact; the bear had stolen the planter's fence rails, had built the pen upon the seculded hammock, had stolen his hogs and then selecting his best shoats had penned them up and was fattening them up for winter use upon Mr. Beal's roasting ears.
The hogs were recovered, taken to Albany and sold readily for from seven to eight dollars each to a local butcher.
It was said that the butcher's customers were so delighted with the sweetness of the port and its juicy richness that they clamored for more of the same kind, but hogs fattened by bears on roasting ears were an uncommon commodity and the meat could not be duplicated.
On the fouth of July, white Mr. H.H. Savage was spending the day hunting, he killed in the Pocasin Swamp a bear which turned the scales at exactly 481 pounds. It is thought that this is the bear that tried its paw so skilfully in the business of raising hogs for meat. Published in the Atlanta Constitution 1889
Article courtesy Scott McClean...
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