Buffalo Bones

From the May 16, 1884 issue of the Courier it was evident that the pioneers received considerable revenue from gathering and selling buffalo bones. This, accounting for considerable cash, and purchases were eagerly made by stores at that time, as quoted in the Courier: "A leading industry between seeding and the breaking season is the gathering of buffalo bones. They are worth $9.00 in Cooperstown and dozens of teams are coming in every day loaded down. An ordinary wagon load is worth $6.00." In a later issue it was reported that two hundred fifty tons of buffalo bones had been purchased and were awaiting shipment. This represents bones from at least ten thousand animals.  The price had increased to $8.00 per ton. Shipment was made at that time to Detroit, Michigan where the bones were ground into fertilizer. By 1885, buffalo bones had increased in price to $13.00 per ton. It makes note of the fact that, "Mr. Severson captured fifteen tons Monday and paid $13.00 per ton." Later that year, the price increased to $18.00 per ton, and considerable competition existed between the merchants who had been out watching for incoming seams night and day to bid for their loads of bones. According to tabulations in that paper, $6000.00 had been paid out in Cooperstown for buffalo bones with an estimated $2000.00 more that would be purchased before the end of the year.

Source:  Cooperstown Diamond Jubilee 1882-1957 Page 64

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