An old newspaper article tells of a bear hunt in northwest Ohio circa 1800.  Henry Williams, one of the original settlers of what became Miami County Ohio, was hunting along the Stillwater River.  He was accompanied by his trusty dogs.

Henry came across a large bear in an oak tree … and there were four smaller bears on the ground nearby.  He made a quiet approach and after some deliberation, concluded that if he could kill the old bear, he would be able take the balance at his leisure.

He loaded his flintlock and fired.  He succeeded in crippling the large bar and making her furious.  She came rushing down the tree and directly at him with open mouth –ready for a fight.  When she was directly in front of him, she reared up on her hind legs and was ready to attack before he had a chance to reload.


Henry stepped backward to keep out of reach -but tripped when his legs came in contact with a log.  He landed on his back.  The bear lurched forward nearly on top of him, but his dogs came to his relief, one of them seizing her by the jaw and pulling her head sideways far enough to give Henry an opportunity to use his legs.


Dirk Valkenburg,1703


He kicked with all the power he could use, then grabbed his firearm to finish his reload.  The dogs continued to engage the bear.  As he moved in to fire another shot, he was close enough that he pressed the barrel against the creature.

Henry stated that the blast put a hole in the creature large enough for a man to insert his arm.

I find the temperament of early settlers interesting.  Some might have called it a day after this event, but not Henry.  He continued the hunt that day…. pursuing the smaller bears.


Source:  Pioneer Recollections, J Moyer.  Closson Press, 2013



Welcome to “Sharing the Stories of History with Tim Mann”!


Meet Timothy A. Mann, a passionate historian born and raised in the heart of Shelby County, Ohio where Tim’s roots run deep in the rich soil of American history. As the author of articles and books, including “Frontier Miscellany Concerning the Miami County Ohio Militia,” “Colonel John Mann, His Kith and Kin,” and “Frontier Militia – The War of 1812,” Tim’s literary contributions have enlightened and inspired countless history enthusiasts.

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