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Historical Notes- Week of Oct. 12th

The Museum plans to release a cookbook Summer 2015 that will combine historic newspaper clippings, family histories, photographs and of course recipes to tell the story of the area. Join us as we share newly discovered historic notes each week here in the newsletter and online.

The Philipsburg Mail (October 13, 1899):“Mutually Surprised- A writer in Harper’s Weekly tells of the strange experience of a prospector named Whately, in the mountains not far from Cooke City, Mont. Absorbed in the finding of some rich specimens, he waited too long, and although totally unprepared, was compelled to sleep out. The weather, luckily, was warm and pleasant.

Finding a depression, filled with soft grass, he stood his rifle against a neighboring tree, and lay down to sleep. In the course of the night he was awakened by the heavy breathing of a large animal and the oppressive sense of a disagreeable odor. At first he was dazed, and half conscious of something standing over him, lay perfectly still. Soon there was a grunting and snuffing close by his head, which made him realize that he was in the strange and horrible position of being underneath a grizzly bear. A cold sweat came over him and he was paralyzed with fright. The grizzly had been prowling about, led by the scent of the remnants of the prospector’s supper, and so happened to walk over the prospector’s body, partly covered by the grass and hidden in the depression. His rifle was standing against the tree, and was, of course, out of reach. He had no knife, and he realized that the grizzly might at any instant discover him. Acting on a sudden impulse, he doubled up his knees, and with all his strength plunged his fists and feet simultaneously against the stomach of the brute. It was a complete surprise for the grizzly, which, in turn, was even more frightened than Whately. It ran squealing and bellowing into the timber, while Whately, whose knees were knocking together with fright, gathered up his goods and struck out for Cooke City in the dark, not daring to pause until he was safe in the settlement.”

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