A LIVELY ENCOUNTER WITH WOLVES
By S. C. Turnbo
An interesting story of wolves was given me by Simon and Mart Herrean who were brothers. The former named was born in Morgan County, Illinois, In 1828. The latter was born in the same county in 1834. We have stated in other sketches that their father, Lewis Herrean, settled on Big Creek in Taney County, Mo., in 1843, and after residing on this stream two years he moved to Shoal Creek where he lived one mile and a half below the present site of Protem. The Herrean boys, Simon and Mart, hunted a great deal together in the hills of Shoal Creek over the line in Taney County and on the Arkansas side. They both gave the writer an account of meeting a pack of wolves one day in the month of February, 1849, which resulted in a big fight with the dogs and the two young hunters. They said that they had went up Shoal Creek afoot to shoot deer and was accompanied by two favorite hunting dogs. Each one of the hunters carried a muzzle loading rifle and plenty of ammunition with him. "on arriving at the mouth of Big Spring hollow we decided to walk up the point of the hill where part of the town of Protem now stands and as we went on up the slope we met a pack of 30 wolves. The entire gang showed less surprise than we did. The two dogs seemed anxious to attack them for a fight and rushed toward them. The wolves stood still and watched the dogs until they were in a few yards of them, when the gang all darted forward to meet the dogs which caused the dogs to halt and wheel about and dash back toward us. The race between the two dogs and the wolves was swift. The dogs were pressed hard. Dogs and wolves came darting up to us and the wolves looked so horrifying that we could hardly keep from dropping our guns to the ground and scramble up a tree. We suppose that the reason we did not was that we were scared too bad. When the dogs reached us where we stood they stopped and cowered down at our feet as If asking us for protection. In a moment the entire pack surrounded us and tried to get at the two dogs. We now come to our senses and it seemed that each of us set a resolution in his own mind not to desert the dogs and the fight was on. Each of us jabbed the muzzle of our rifles against a wolf and fired and they both toppled over dead, but we had no time to count the dead ones then. We did this afterward. Near the moment we both shot, some of the wolves caught one of the dogs at our feet and throwing down our empty guns we jerked our hunting knives from the scabbards and stabbed and kicked wolves with all the vim in our power. At lot of the impudent beasts were trying to catch the other dog but he darted around our feet and legs so rapid that they could not get a hold of him. This dog was barking furiously while the other dog the wolves had hold of was yelling with pain and distress, and we were hallooing as loud as we could. The wolves were snapping and snarling and you can judge by this that the scene on that hillside was a lively one and no lack for noise. We continued to strike the vicious brutes with our knives and kicked them so severely that they finally released the dog, but not before he was badly crippled. The time consumed seemed minutes to us, but it might have lasted only a few seconds when we saw the wolves give back and the way they went retreating up the hill beyond our view and we stopped to catch a breathing spell and was glad that it was no worse than it was. It seemed that they were trying to go for the dogs and not us or probably it would have turned out different. We wounded several of them with our knives and they left blood stains on the ground as they ran from us. We deemed it prudent not to follow the pack to ascertain whether any of the wounded ones had got any distance or not and turned our attention to the wounded dog and took him home where he recovered from his wounds in a few weeks. We scalped the two wolves we had shot."
Springfield-Greene County Library