A FIGHT TO THE DEATH BETWEEN A WILD BOAR AND BEAR
By S. C. Turnbo
Among those people who were born and reared in Boone County, Ark., is James R. Dean and W. M. (Marion) Dean, sons of Burrel Dean who come to Carroll County when he was a small lad of a boy. Their mother, Miss Melvina Simmons, was born and raised in what is now Boone County and so was their father. Their father and mother were married when northwest Arkansas was thinly settled and lived on Crooked Creek 8 or 9 miles above Harrison not far from the white church house. Burrel Dean, father of Jim and Marion Dean, come with Abner Crump and John Crump from the state of Alabama. John Crump was the father of Wm. W. and George Crump. The former was an officer in Col. Shalers 27th Arkansas regiment and died at Center, Indian Territory, October 7, 1906. Their mother was raised by Dick Wright who was among the first settlers on upper Crooked Creek. Wright was her grandfather. He died on Bear Creek ten miles north of Harrison. Burrel Dean lies buried in the union soldiers graveyard at Fayetteville and the mortal remains of their mother rest In the cemetery at the white church. At the present writing Jim Dean lives near Protem, Taney County, Mo., and Yarion when I interviewed him on the 15 of July, 1906, lived at Collinsville, Cherokee Nation. They both give a few names of the old time citizens who lived in the neighborhood of where they were raised. Among them were Jim Mays, Jim Dowell and Hugh Coffman. The latter was blind. One day while Jim Dean lived on the bluff on the North side of White River from Bradleys ferry he told me the following story which may interest those people who like to read about fierce encounters between wild animals that have took place from time to time in the hills of the Ozarks. Mr. Dean said that soon after the town of Harrison began Its existence, he was employed by some of the merchants to haul goods from Springfield, Mo. "I made many trips, " said he. "Sometimes I was alone, at other times accompanied by other freighters. In the fall of the year when the weather was dry and pleasant and the roads in good condition I enjoyed being out. It was healthy to travel and breathe the balmy atmosphere and drink of the pure springs of water as found along the road. The road also traversed a broken country where fine views of towering hills spread out before the traveler. During cold wintry days though, when snow, Ice, rain and swollen streams intervene, the freighters humor is changed from a smile to a frown. All this fine landscape then does not appear so beautiful and hauling goods was not so much enjoyed. Since the construction of the St. Louis and North Ark. railroad to Harrison freighting goods from Springfield to Harrison by wagons has come to an end. On a certain occasion during the autumn days when the foliage of the trees began to assume varigated colors I was hauling a load of goods for George W. Coker who was then in the mercantile business at Harrison, but now one of the leading merchants of Lead Hill. One night while on the return trip I camped in the Layton Pineries midway between the Layton sawmill place and Omaha which are about 8 miles apart. But just before stopping I met a noted hunter of the name of Jimmie Youngblood. This man was also a gunsmith and repaired a number of rifles for the settlers. Youngblood had been hunting that day and informed me that a bear and wild boar had met and fought desperately in the afternoon. My curiosity being aroused I drove to where Youngblood said it occurred and camped. The old hunter went with me and we stayed together that night. The combat had taken place among tall pine trees which stood near the road on the slope of a hill. It was a battle to the death, and as I viewed the scene of the terrific encounter I imagined how savagely they measured their strength and ferocity against each other. Mr. Youngblood stated that while he was hunting in the forenoon he struck the trail of a bear that had been made a few hours previous. He put his dog on the trail of the bear and he and the dog followed the animal slowly to where it had met the boar. Though Youngblood did not witness the encounter, yet evidence was not wanting to testify that the conflict was something awful. It made me shudder while viewing the scene of the combat. Over the space of half an acre grass and weeds were trampled down and spotted with blood that flowed from the bleeding and mangled animals. Bushes were torn out of the ground, out in twain and stripped of bark. It Is unknown how long they fought before they got too weak to continue the struggle, but it must of been some length of time. The bear lay dead on the field of battle; seven deep gashes had been out into its body by the boars tusks. The boar was just able to leave the scene where its antagonist lay and was found dead 50 yards away. The bear had also done most deadly work, for besides other desperate wounds inflicted on the boar it had torn a large piece of flesh from its back. It was supposed that the bear had died first, and seemingly the wild hog had come out a little ahead; but its life was too short to boast of its victory. The bear was of medium size and rather thin in order. The boar was large and in fine condition, would have weighed 400 pounds gross more or less. The bear was so terribly mangled by its ferocious adversary that only a small part of its flesh was fit for use, but Youngblood dressed the best parts of it, and I and the old bear hunter and gunfixer eat of it for supper and breakfast."
Springfield-Greene County Library