Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Paul Sweet’s Escape

Circa 1850s: There are several versions of this story that have been recounted over the years. This is as told by Richard C. Kirby, local tanner and husband of libertarian Georgiana Bruce Kirby, to Caroline H. Dall and published by her in My First Holiday, 1881:

"We drove by the old tannery once kept by Paul Sweet. When Mr. K. first came to it, great grizzly bears, each weighing from eight hundred to a thousand pounds, used to steal into the cattle-yard every night. On one occasion one of these creatures caught a calf by the nape of the neck, and leaped a tall fence. A revolver was fired, but the animal dropped the dead calf and escaped. The next day they followed the bear with hounds, and took him.

Paul Sweet and his wife Margarita
Paul Sweet and his wife Margarita,
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
One day Paul met a grizzly bear with cubs, in the wood. She caught him by the waistband, plunged into a hollow, dug a large hole in the sand, and buried Paul out of sight. After a while the tanner worked his way up to the surface, but Mistress Grizzly was watching. She darted forward, and snugly tucked him in with two or three strokes of her big paw. This time Paul was more wary. The sand was loose, and after the creature had gone off to her cubs, he crawled home entirely unhurt."

You can read more about Paul Sweet by clicking here.

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