“The season of the annual buffalo hunt on the Plains was always one of gladness and joy among the Osage people… The days were bright with the glorious sunshine of a western autumn, with just a tinge of haze on the distant horizon…The cool, clear nights seemed to invite feast and frolic, with dancing and singing.
“At such times also, the old men of the band were wont to gather about the campfires in a reminiscent mood and there recount the tales of prowess on the war-path and in the chase.
“In addition to curing the meat and caring for their camp
duties, the Osage women spent much time and effort in the work of tanning and dressing the skins of buffalo and making them into robes for domestic use and for barter with the traders.
“Traders never bought buffalo hides from the Indians unless [the hides] had been thoroughly dressed and tanned. In buying buffalo robes, the trader placed valuations according to size, condition of the hair, thickness and texture of the skin, care used in tanning, etc.
“The best buy for one season by Dunlap & Florer was 3,000 soft robes. These were baled [packed down and tied], with the help of the Indians, ten in a bale. They were freighted from the buffalo range in Western Oklahoma to Coffeyville, Kansas. [Then] they were shipped by rail to St. Louis, where they sold for an average price of $6.25 each.
“In addition to buffalo robes, the traders also took in large numbers of gray wolf, coyote and skunk pelts and some otter and beaver skins as well. Few deer were killed on the buffalo range. [Traders bought] buckskins in considerable quantity …at the Agency trading post. The traders did not buy cured buffalo meat except for their own use. However, they did buy and ship large quantities of dried buffalo tongue.”
Text from: REMINISCENCES OF A TRADER IN THE OSAGE COUNTRY, By James Edwin Finney, As Told TO JOSEPBH B. THOBURN