Philadelphia Inquirer – Philadelphia Penn.

August 8, 1896

CHASED BY A GRIZZLY – Exciting Adventure Which Befell a Hopeful Young Prospector,

HIS YELL CRACKED ROCKS – Partley Through Accident He Manages to Shoot the Monster and Then he Finishes Him With a Hammer

Harry L. Romaine, who has just returned to his home in Elk City, Idaho, after spending several weeks prospecting in the Bitter Root Mountains, related to a N.Y. Press man a most exciting adventure which befell him near Murray, the county seat of Shoshone County.

“My partner, Ben Williams and I had been working our way along the range from a point near Big Bald Mountain to the loop where the Bitter Root Range and the Couer d’Alenes form a big, natural amphitheater, where big game, especially elk , are plentiful.  We decide to stay t here until we had time to follow up the lead, as old miners say.  We pitched our camp under the shadow of a rock-ribbed sentinel, passing our first night in the little tent which had served us splendidly during several hard rains.  That makes me think – if you want a tent to shed water, immerse it in linseed oil in which “rosin” is melted.  On the following morning Ben found the track of a bear down by the spring where we got our water.  The print of that foot was as big as a dinner plate, and the fact that some empty salmon cans and other refuse which had been thrown just outside the tent were missing set us to thinking, and it wasn’t difficult to trace the connection between the missing articles and the owner of the big foot.

Exploring Trip

There was no more tenting for yours truly after that, so we built us a sort of stone fortress in a suitable nook, where nature had already done the mason work on three sides.   After laying up the wall on the vacant side we placed heavy poles across the top, on which we placed flat stones.

We did all our prospecting together for a week or ten days, Ben carrying his big Sharp’s special and acting as body-guard, while I handled the pick.  All that time we saw no bears, but plenty of elk and antelope and not a few mountain sheep.  Our grizzly bear scare finally cooled.  One morning I decided to explore a side canyon.  Ben was to climb over the big spur that loomed up over our camp, swing around and meet me at noon near a sharp cone of rock which we called Currecanti Needle.  I found mighty likely pay rock up that ravine and the further I went the better the showing.  The place is undoubtedly the site of an old volcano.  Great masses of rock from overhanging crags have fallen and rent the floors, with some of the fissures very wide and apparently bottomless.  Knocking off a piece of friable sand rock I found it to be auriferous, or gold-bearing rock.  I don’t know whether the yell I gave split any more cracks in the rock round there or not, but one thing I do know, I nearly split my throat in the effort, and then I mounted the big chunk and swung my hammer like a madman, knocking off chips right and left until I had a big pile.

Bruin Appears

Soon I head a noise close by, and supposing it to be Ben, I yelled out: “Hurrah, Ben, I’ve struck it rich!”  Just then I looked up, and the sight I saw froze my blood.  Not forty feet distant was an immense silver-tip grizzly.

Acting upon impulse, I hurled my quartz hammer at the monster, and as he dropped on all-fours, I leaped from the rock, hoping to evade him by dodging around the boulder.  It may have been a foolish move, but I had not time to think.  After jumping from the rock I was obliged to halt a moment, in order to satisfy myself which way he was coming.  I improved the moment by drawing my 44 Colt from its sheath.

When the bear reached the point where he expected to nab me and found that I was not there, he gave vent to a tremendous sniff, followed by a kind of guttural roar, and again I heard him coming at a double quick.  I ran as I never ran before.

I glanced hurriedly around and saw the gigantic fellow coming like a demon, and then I stepped into one of the fissures I told you about, and down I went like a flash.  The grizzly was so close on me when I fell that he went entirely over me, carried by the force of his momentum.  He was back again in a moment, though.  His immense head hanging over the rim of my narrow prison, which I quickly and most gratefully saw was too narrow to admit his bulky body.

I was on my knees, not six feet below the grizzly and I felt that I could do deadly work with my revolver at that range.  I pointed the gun straight at the yawing red mouth.  My pistol roared in my ears.  Five shots more were fired, as fast as I could send them, and then my gun was empty, but, thanks to my lucky stars, one of my bullets pierced an eye and the job was done.

I was as weak as a baby when I climbed out of the fissure.  I’d got all over it, though, when Ben came and I told him I just knocked that grizzly on the head with my quartz hammer.






If you have any questions, suggestions or to report  a broken link contact the Idaho County Coordinator