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Monarch the Grizzly

 
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Uncle Rico



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Location: Pleasantville

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:26 pm    Post subject: Monarch the Grizzly  Reply with quote

So the commonly accepted narrative regarding the capture of Monarch the Grizzly is that he was trapped near Mt. Gleason by a "syndicate" that later sold him to Allen Kelly who was working for William Randolph Hearst at the time. That narrative primarily comes from Kelly's own book "Bears I Have Met--And Others" which he published after his termination from employment with Hearst. In fact, in his history of the San Gabriel Mountains, Robinson recounts the story of Monarch's capture near Mt. Gleason and cites to Allen's book as his primary support.

But Charles Outland, in his book "Mines, Murders, and Grizzlies: Tales of California's Ventura Back Country," contends that Allen's tale, at least as told in his book, is a complete fabrication. He claims that Allen, with the assistance of others, captured Monarch near Mt. Pinos in Ventura County. He points to the story Allen published in the San Francisco Examiner on November 3, 1889 that contradicts the story he later told in his book. In a footnote, Robinson acknowledges Outland's claim, but dismisses it as having "some support and a lot of conjecture."

Outland was associated with the Ventura County Historical Society so perhaps there is some provincialism at work, but he claims that Allen's party at the time of Monarch's capture included the son of the editor of one of the Ventura newspapers who was sending regular dispatches back to his father about the efforts to catch Monarch. Whether that is true or not is hard to say without additional research because Outland doesn't include those supposed dispatches in his book.

Regardless, the 1889 piece published in the Examiner sounds intriguing. Has anyone read that article? Does anyone have a copy of it? If no, does anyone have any suggestions about where that article can be easily accessed? I've done some rudimentary searching on the interwebs without much success.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hearst obviously was the owner of the SF Examiner, for which Kelly worked for.

http://www.sfzoo.org/about/zoo-history-late-1800.htm

Still looking for other sources for actualy article.

edit: sf library has it on microform...

http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000019701

sounds like a road trip is necessary!

edit: monarch bear institute!

http://www.monarchbear.org/monarch/article.html

Ojai is nowhere near gleason.
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walker



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rico, great topic!

HikeUp, thanks for digging up those links. I love reading accounts of the area from around that time.

Kelly's account seems to claim that the geographical confusion was introduced by the original newspaper articles:

"The newspaper account of the capture of Monarch was elaborated to suit the exigencies of enterprising journalism, picturesque features were introduced where the editorial judgment dictated, and mere facts, such as the name of the county in which the bear was caught, fell under the ban of a careless blue pencil and were distorted beyond recognition."

He also seems to be rather frank in this account, revealing the less glamorous version of the story that he actually bought the bear from a gang of rival trappers who were after some prize money one way or another.

Great reading - thanks!
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Uncle Rico



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I saw those pages in my online search too HU. It's interesting because they tend to reinforce not resolve the ambiguity surrounding Monarch's capture.

The San Francisco Zoo article talks about Kelly and his party spending "nine months in the San Gabriel Mountains of Ventura County..." Upon Monarch's capture, the article state Kelly "transported the last and largest captive California grizzly through eastern Ventura County to San Francisco by sled, wagon, and railroad, arriving on November 3, 1889 to joyous parades and front-page fanfare." The San Gabriels are obviously not in Ventura County. And why would Monarch be transported through eastern Ventura County if he was captured on Mt. Gleason? That makes no sense.

The Monarch Bear Institute piece states that after his capture, Monarch was hoisted on a wagon and taken to Ventura to be put on a train to San Francisco. Again, if Monarch was captured on Gleason, he most certainly would not have been hauled to Ventura for transport by train to San Francisco. I believe Kelly's book indicates he was put on the train at Acton.

Anyway, maybe you're right. Road trip could be in order. FWIW, I tried to see if the Huntington might have access to the Examiner's archival articles, but don't think I can even get my foot in the door. To gain access to research materials, you've apparently got to be a scholar working on a research project of some importance, and that ain't me.  

Thanks for the help guys.
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Uncle Rico



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"The newspaper account of the capture of Monarch was elaborated to suit the exigencies of enterprising journalism, picturesque features were introduced where the editorial judgment dictated, and mere facts, such as the name of the county in which the bear was caught, fell under the ban of a careless blue pencil and were distorted beyond recognition."


Btw, not to beat a dead bear, but I'm not sure I buy this explanation by Kelly. I'm certain sensational license was taken when editing the story, but what possible journalistic objective could be served by changing the location of capture from Gleason to Pinos? Seems far-fetched to me.
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Last edited by Uncle Rico on Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I assumed you had found most if not all the same stuff. Call the SF Library and see what can be done remotely - if you know which day the article was run then maybe they can make a copy of the paper and email it. Probably cost something but ya never know. Keep us updated - interesting stuff.
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Uncle Rico



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, sorry, but one more. Here is Kelly's account as excerpted from "Bears I Have Met."

http://scvhistory.com/scvhistory/bears_monarch_pinto.htm

Quote:
The editor became tired of waiting for his big sensation and ordered me home. I respectfully but firmly refused to go home bearless, and the editor fired me by wire.


Query why Kelly would pen the Examiner article of November 3, 1889 if he had already been fired by Hearst.
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Uncle Rico



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HikeUp wrote:
Call the SF Library and see what can be done remotely - if you know which day the article was run then maybe they can make a copy of the paper and email it.


Good suggestion HU. Spoke to the SFPL today and they pulled a copy of the article from microfiche and e-mailed it to me in PDF at no charge. They were super helpful and accommodating. If anyone would like a copy, PM me with your e-mail and I'll zap you a copy for your reading enjoyment.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool beans dude.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sent an e-mail to the fellow who runs the Monarch Institute after I read this thread. Here was his e-mail response back to me. I assume Ventura refers to the backcountry near Ojai.

Unfortunately because this occurred a long time ago there is no "official" documentation or records about the Monarch Bear and where he was captured. Everything known about the Monarch Bear and where he was captured are anecdotal and hearsay.

I have heard rumors of him being caught and captured in Ventura by Mexican hunters, but again, this is hearsay.

Unfortunately, that is the best I can do for you as far as facts that I know. Sorry to be so vague!



Best Regards,


Rodney G. Karr
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Uncle Rico



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assuming the Examiner article is the more truthful of the 2 competing stories that Allen Kelly told, my take-aways are the following:

1. Monarch was not captured on Mt. Pinos.
2. Monarch was not captured on Mt. Gleason.
3. It is not at all clear where Monarch was actually captured.

The Examiner article indicates that Kelly's expedition left Mt. Pinos to establish another camp at an undisclosed location. He then goes on to talk about a well-known grizzly that inhabited the area between Castac Lake and the Liebre Mountains. Kelly then talks about how one of the members of this party encountered "the bear" and how the expedition then hurried to finish the trap that eventually snared Monarch. Supplies for this trap were obtained from "Gorman Station" and "one of General Beale's old corrals."

From the Examiner account, it sounds suspiciously like Monarch may have actually been captured somewhere near Lebec, in neither Ventura nor Los Angeles County. That would make Kelly's later claim that the name of the county where Monarch was capture was changed "to meet the exigencies of enterprising journalism" technically true. And there is a Bear Trap Canyon in that area. Of course, where isn't there a Bear Trap or Bear Canyon?  Confused
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hereby confer upon Rico and other thread contributors an honorary phD in Bear History with a minor in Grizzly Studies with all the honors, rights, and privileges appertaining thereto.

Hey, Rico, can you send me a copy of that email from SPFL?

Nice work, everyone.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Near Oso Canyon on the Tejon Ranch is one of those bear traps that were made to look like a small log cabin. This is between Castac Lake and Liebre Mtn.
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If nothing else, this could be the inspiration for the details in the story.
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