Johnson County Iowa 1850- A creature resembling a large white wolf, said to stand over four feet tall, with tracks as large as a lion, had been raiding local farms. It was carrying off 200 pound sheep with perfect ease, and something had to be done.
At one point, Jonathan Talbott caught the beast in a trap. The creature was so powerful, it ran with the trap several miles before loosing a toe.
Imagine you are a farmer, you wake up in the morning to discover something has killed another one of your ewes This happens off and on for several months.
If you’ve ever raised animals, or been attached to a pet, then maybe, you can relate to the anger that rises up in your heart. You get to the place where you would kill this marauder with your bare hands if you could. which is kind of how the rest of this story shakes out ;-)
As I retraced Old Military Road this past Fall, this is one of the stories dancing around in my head.
I am starting to work on the manuscript of my next book. I have the title : “On The Trail Of Lyman Dillon” , and think I have the intro to the book about finished. The next step is to organize the rest of the book.
As I researched early Iowa history in preparation for my walk, I came across stories like the one about the white wolf, the thing is, these stories are not just in once source. You find them in old diaries, county history books, old magazine articles, etc.
My intention in writing this book, is for the next person who wants to retrace my steps (either on foot or in a car) to know what life would have been like 150 yrs ago along Old Military Road
The drama, excitement and suspense I came across rivaled any movie you would see today. The difference is, these things really happened, right here where I live.
It’s like I feel the spirits of these people crying out to be remembered…their stories are buried in musty out of print books. Their grave stones are no longer remembered. Their children, grand children and great grand children are gone.
If you have any suggestions/ questions/ or thoughts about this book project, don’t be shy. I’d love to hear your thoughts.