A wildcat fight on the Little Washita

Thomas Mote was a cowpuncher who worked for George Conover on the Little Washita River less than eight miles northwest of Alex in 1877 and 1878. Mote was also employed by several other ranchers further east along the old Fort Cobb Trail during the same time. Conover moved to Anadarko around 1880 and many years later wrote a book entitled “Sixty Years in Southwest Oklahoma.” He included this story about an encounter he and Mote had with a wildcat on the Little Washita in the very early days…

Mote went out a little distance from the house to see what the dogs were after and we discovered they had run a panther up a tree. When we approached too close, the panther sprang from the tree and came down upon Mote, tearing from his body all the front and right side of his clothes, but making no scratch upon his body. The dogs took hold of the rear of the panther, and the panther let Mote alone to attend to the dogs. For some time it was a doubtful contest between the panther and the dogs, but finally Mote took up a heavy piece of timber and brought it down in a deadly stroke across the panther’s neck. This so weakened the panther that Mote and the dogs soon made an end of the conflict. After the fight was over, Mote found he did not carry even a knife but luckily had suffered not even a single injury during the encounter.

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