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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d78e0000We've been gathering your "big fish" stories here at KMUW. You know... the stories passed down through the generations that are true, but maybe not 100% true. Tune in on various weekdays through June to hear some local lore and legend. Or visit us here throughout the month to play the stories at your own convenience. Either way, don't let 'em get away.

A Big Fish Story: The Buffalo's Horn

Nadya Faulx

My great-grandparents lived out on a farm southeast of Augusta, on property that my great-grandmother’s father had homesteaded.

When I was a young child, a buffalo horn in their glassed cupboard caught my eye. I asked my great-grandfather about it and he simply told me that he and some friends had heard that there was a buffalo in the county and that they had gone out and found it and shot it. He said that the horn had hung on a nail over the door of their first house on the property for several years.

After they died, I wound up out at their house when my grandparents were cleaning it out. You can be sure, I came home with that buffalo horn.

Years later, I came across a story that said the last wild buffalo in Kansas was killed in 1903. That got me to wondering when my great-grandfather and his hunting party had shot their buffalo. So I went to the Augusta Library and read through micro-fiche of their local newspaper collection starting with 1892, when my great-grandfather would have been 13. I learned a lot about Augusta. I didn’t come across anything about a buffalo, but I did find a story about an elk having been killed, so I know that a buffalo would have made the news.

During the summer of 2003, I attended a teacher workshop from a man named David Jackson. During a break, I found out that he had lived out near Augusta, just around the corner north of my great-grandfather’s place, and used to wave at him as he rode his horse to and from school back in the 1930s. I told him of my buffalo horn quest. Imagine my surprise to discover that he had actually heard about it.

He told me that his father and my great-grandfather’s brother used to talk about the buffalo that my great-grandfather had gone after. They had heard that there were two buffalo. One was eventually found and shot near Haverhill, about seven miles north of my great-grandfather’s property.

So, was my grandfather responsible for shooting the last wild buffalo in the state of Kansas? Until I find out otherwise, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.