Liberty County History

An occasional gathering place for articles, documents, photographs, records and other ephemera dealing with the history of Liberty County, Texas.

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Kevin Ladd is director of the Wallisville Heritage Park at Wallisville, Chambers County, TX and lives in Hardin, TX. He is chairman of the Liberty County Historical Commission and writes for "Texas Illustrated," a monthly publication of the Liberty Gazette newspaper, which is devoted to local history and folklore.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

An Exciting Wolf Chase at Lakeland (1913)

In the early decades of the Twentieth Century, and most likely for some time before that, lots of men in the rural environs of Liberty County kept a collection of hound dogs around their house. These hounds were used in the woods for the purpose of hunting either fox or wolf, and those that developed some sort of hankering for running only the fox would be judiciously referred to as fox hounds. Sometimes they would run wolves, but the hunters back then would pursue them on horseback. This was great sport for some of the men and no doubt hearkened back to ancient times.

After stock laws were adopted and folks began fencing in their livestock, it became almost impossible to ride through the woods. Most of these hunters simply gathered around a roaring camp fire and listened to the hounds as they tore through the woods. After a time, the hounds would roust something out of some corner of the woods and the chase would be on. A good hunter would supposedly recognize the barking or baying of their own hounds, and while gathered around the fire he would identify his own dogs. "There goes ol' Belle," one might say. "There goes Bob." I actually sat in on some of these campfire hunts in the early 1970s and could never figure out where the chase was going or what was happening. Identifying a given hound and his or her place in the chase was more than I could accomplish.

Cotton Strahan, the longtime barber at Hardin, used to tell about one night when all the fox hunters were gathered around the camp fire, listening ever so intently to some great chase. There goes Belle. There's Old Bob. Man, they are running that old fox tonight, they said. They had been listening intently for an hour or two. Just as they realized the dogs were going to run the fox right up close to their campfire, everyone looked up to see a milk cow race through their huddled camp site, followed closely be Belle and Bob and the rest of the dogs.

Among the most legendary fox and wolf hunters was one, Amos Irvin Moore, who used to live in the old Lakeland community down in the river bottom area northwest of what is now Hardin. Mr. A. I. Moore, sometimes known as "Wildcat Moore," was married to Viola Tullos, the daughter of Mounty Franklin and Ella Catherine (Pearce) Tullos. Mr. A. I. Moore ran for and was elected as Precinct 2 Commissioner and also as Liberty County Treasurer. He later located in the Kenefick area, but where ever he happened to live, he loved to hunt. During the years prior to World War I, he would sometimes come home from a good wolf, fox or wildcat chase, take pen in hand, and write a gripping account for the Liberty Vindicator. I don't have the actual issue and date but I do have the following story in his own words.


AN EXCITING WOLF CHASE

By A. I. Moore, Lakeland, Texas
September 1913

“Well, as I have just arrived off my first hunt for the season, I will give you an account of the race.
“I awoke this morning at 3 o’clock, the air was cool and everything still and clear so the first thing in my mind was the morning was ideal for a cat chase. About this time I heard Old Red get up, shake himself and whine. I spoke and all four dogs seemed to know what was in my mind. I was not long in saddling my pony and we were off for the favorite haunts of Messrs. Fox and Cat. I had hardly gone two miles when Old Red cried a fox trail. All the dogs jumped at once, and the race was on. I never saw such hard running in all my life. We were in open prairie and I never saw better conditions for a race and my dogs simply flew. They ran 40 minutes and the Foxship had to take a tree to save himself. I left him in the trees and called the dogs away.

“From there I went to the home of my friend, Lauren Palmer, and found him anxious to try for a wolf race. My dogs know nothing about running a wolf, but I thought I could make them do so. We did not got far until Old Red cried a trail. He had his bristles raised and I was sure it was a wolf and he did not want to do much with it. I got down and hissed my favorite dog, Beulah, who had never failed to run and she soon began to trail; Old Rock fell in. They had not run far before two old bucks got ahead of the pack, so Old Red led them a merry chase. The other dogs paid no attention to the deer, but I am here to tell you they gave the Wolf all he could stand. I never saw dogs crowd an animal so; they for five hours like demons. The first time I saw him he was not over thirty steps ahead of the pack. The dogs were well bunched with Beulah in the lead. The palmetto was almost as high as a man, but I knew the wolf was named Dennis. He did all he could to confuse the dogs but to no avail. I would shout and whoop every time I got a glimpse of the wolf and after so long a long time I saw Beulah going down a trail. She was about 50 yards ahead of the pack, not barking but simply flying, and I knew Mr. Wolf was soon to feel the tusks of that little demon. Sure enough, in less time than it takes to tell it, the fight took place and by the time I reached the scene the dogs had the wolf stetched, although he had badly lacerated the dogs and had them bleeding freely. I tell you he was a big wolf.

“I wish some of my brother hunters could have been with me. I have been on a lot of hunts but this beats them all. I do not claim to have the best dogs in the country but they are as good as the best. Sometime, Mr. Editor, when you are seized with a longing for an outing and let me know we will try our hand, and I am sure you will go home glad that you have had the chance once in life to see the famous Moore pack of dogs do some running.

“I am yours for another race.”

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