The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. — Edmund Burke

America First - Lawton Evans

Israel Putnam Captures the Wolf

Long before the Revolutionary War, Israel Putnam was a farmer in Connecticut. He was very busy building houses and barns, felling trees, making fences, sowing grain, planting orchards, and taking care of his stock. We may be sure he had all the worries of the farmer of to-day, but, in addition, the wolves came and killed his sheep. In one night he lost seventy-five sheep and goats, killed by an old she-wolf which, for several years, had wrought havoc among the cattle of the neighborhood.

Putnam and five of his neighbors resolved to hunt down the wolf, and put an end to her depredations. This particular beast was known to have lost the toes from one foot in a steel trap; therefore, her tracks in the snow were easily recognized. The men and the clogs started in pursuit one day, tracking the wolf to a den about three miles from Putnam's house. She was a vicious old beast, cunning and fierce, and even the dogs were afraid to follow her into her hiding-place.

The people from nearby came with fire, straw, sulphur, and everything else they could think of, to smoke the wolf out; and their guns were held ready to fire when she appeared at the mouth of the den. The dogs were at last sent into the cave, but they clambered out, wounded and howling, and could not be persuaded to go back. Blazing straw and wood had no effect. The wolf refused to be driven out, either by the dogs or by the smoke of the fire.

Putnam proposed to his negro servant that he should go down after the wolf; but the negro flatly refused. Whereupon Putnam declared that he would go in after the beast himself. His neighbors tried to dissuade him from the perilous task, but Putnam was man of his word. He took off his coat, tied a rope around one foot, so he could be dragged out, seized a firebrand, and crawled into the cave. He went in, head foremost, on his hands and knees, waving the torch before him.

The opening was small. Then the cave descended a depth of fifteen feet, and ran horizontally for ten feet more. In no place was it large enough for Putnam to stand up; so he slid down the incline until he reached the bottom. It was very dark and very still. Cautiously crawling along, he saw the glaring eyeballs of the wolf at the end of the cave.

He then kicked the rope as a signal to his friends that he had met his prey. Thinking he was being attacked and in great danger, they pulled on the rope so fast that they dragged him out of the cave, tearing his shirt, and skinning his back badly. Putnam had found the wolf, however, and, after rubbing his bruises a little, he loaded his gun, lighted a fresh torch, and was again lowered into the den.

When he drew near the old wolf, she gnashed her teeth, growled, and, uttering a long and terrible howl, sprang at the brave man in front of her. Putnam, however, was quick with his gun. By the light of the torch he saw the wolf's eyes, and fired as she sprang. Again his friends dragged him up the incline, for they had heard the howl of the wolf and the report of the gun. After the smoke cleared away, Putnam went down the third time, and, when he came near, the wolf lay very still. He put the lighted torch to her nose, but she did not move. He knew then that she was dead. He kicked the rope, and the people outside for the last time drew Putnam out, holding on to the great body of his prize.


Front Matter

Leif, the Lucky
Spaniards Conquer Mexico
Conquest of Peru
The Fountain of Youth
De Soto and the Mississippi
Sir Walter Raleigh
The Lost Colony
Adventures of John Smith
More about John Smith
Pilgrims and Puritans
Miles Standish
Building a Canoe
Roger Williams
Old Silver Leg
William Penn
The Charter Oak
Bloody Marsh
Saving of Hadley
Sir William Phips
Hannah Dustin
Israel Putnam
A Young Surveyor
Young Washington
Indians and Major Putnam
How Detroit was Saved
Blackbeard the Pirate
Daniel Boone
Sunday in the Colonies
The Salem Witches
Traveling by Stage-coach
King George and the Colonies
Patrick Henry
Paul Revere
Green Mountain Boys
Father of his Country
Nathan Hale
Elizabeth Zane
Capturing the Hessians
Lafayette Comes to America
Lydia Darrah
Captain Molly Pitcher
The Swamp Fox
Outwitting a Tory
Supporting the Colors
Nancy Hart
Mad Anthony
Execution of Major Andre
How Schuyler was Saved
An Indian Trick
Winning the Northwest
Benjamin Franklin
Nolichucky Jack
Eli Whitney
Thomas Jefferson
Burning of the Philadelphia
Lewis and Clark
Colter's Race for Life
Pike Explores Arkansas Valley
How Pumpkins Saved a Family
Old Ironsides
Star Spangled Banner
Traveling by Canal
Lafayette Returns
Osceola, Seminole Chief
Journey by Railroad
Old Hickory
Daniel Webster
Henry Clay
Plantation Christmas
John C. Calhoun
Heroes of the Alamo
Freedom for Texas
Electric Telegraph
Gold in California
Crossing Continent
The Pony Express
Boy Who Saved Village
Rescue of Jerry
Abraham Lincoln
Robert E. Lee
Stonewall Jackson
Stealing a Locomotive
Sam Davis
Escape from Prison
Running the Blockade
Heart of the South
Surrender of Lee
Laying the Atlantic Cable
The Telephone
Thomas A. Edison
Clara Barton
Hobson and the Merrimac
Dewey at Manila Bay
Conquering Yellow Fever
Sinking of Lusitania
Private Treptow
Frank Luke, Aviator
Sergeant York