The Whole Truth?

Which story of the catamount hunt can we believe?

A primary source can be a firsthand account of an event written by someone who was there. But can we always trust primary sources?

There are two accounts of the famous catamount(the same as the word panther) hunt on Thanksgiving Day in 1881. Can these two pieces of evidence tell us what really happened that day?

Story # 1: A letter by C. Dana and Alexander Crowell (PDF)

Story #2: A newspaper account by James Cadwell (PDF)

Read both stories and think about these questions.

In the Vermont History Museum, the stuffed catamount is on display with a shotgun. The label in the case says:

"Alexander Crowell killed this catamount on Thanksgiving Day, 1881 in Barnard, Vermont. Crowell first shot the animal in the leg with this shotgun and then used a borrowed rifle to shoot the catamount in the head."

What parts of the story does this leave out?
Should Alexander Crowell get all the credit for shooting the catamount?
How would you retell the story of James Cadwell, Alexander Crowell and the catamount?

Copy and paste this citation to show where you did your research.

Vermont Historical Society. "The Whole Truth?." Vermont History Explorer. Accessed July 19, 2024.

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