Early Account of the Berrien Tiger, 1849.

An early account of the Berrien Tiger, the panther that attacked a boy named Stewart in 1849, was published in the September 18, 1849 edition of the Columbus Enquirer, just one month after the attack. Earlier posts (1849 Adventures With A Panther in Berrien County, GA ) have given subsequent tellings of the incident.

Even in this early account by the Columbus Enquirer, the victim of the panther attack is still only identified as a son of a “Mr. Stewart”.   The only other individual mentioned by name is  “Mr. Guttery,”   an early spelling for Guthrie.   As the records have shown, Thomas B. Stewart and family where neighbors of John H.  “Hamp” Guthrie in Lowndes County in the census of 1840 (prior to the creation of Berrien County).

 Columbus Enquirer, Sep. 18, 1849 — page 2  


We have received from a correspondent, the following account:
    On the 16th of August, in Ware  county, on the Alapahaw, two lads, sons of Mr. Stewart, went out to feed some hogs, and had a small dog with them and were attacked by a large Panther or American Tiger.  He first made his attack on the dog, but soon left the dog and laid hold of one of the lads, and tore him to the ground and bit and tore the lad till he supposed him to be dead, then scratched and covered him up with dirt and sticks and then left him and pursued after his brother, who had by this time made the best of his way home.  The wounded lad finding the tiger gone rose up out of his grave of sticks, and made his nearest way home, and being severely wounded and nearly famished for water, he recollected a hole of water in the creek, and directed his course for it; and when he came near the water, he saw the tiger at it, and as the tiger put his head down to drink, the boy went off the other way towards home; he had gone but a short distance, before he saw his father and three other men in pursuit hunting him, and he told them where he saw the tiger last; they went on to the place and found the tiger still there, and they put the dogs after him – but he did not give an inch of ground, but fought most ferociously and gave one of the dogs a deadly wound, and then the men advanced in shooting position, and the tiger seeing the men, quit the dogs and sprang upon one Mr. Guttery, and one of the men broke his gun over the tiger and still continued to fight with the barrel, but to no effect.  The men then drew their knives, cut the tiger’s throat and his entrails out, but the tiger never quit biting and lacerating with his claws, till the last breath left him.  If mortification does not take place, it is possible that Mr. Guttery will get over it.  But as for the boy, there is no chance for his recovery.  This tiger was one of the largest of the male kind.” – Fed. Union

But as we have seen, “the boy” did survive and went on to live a remarkable life (see The Misadventures of Mr. Stewart).

1850 United States Federal Census enumeration of John H Guthrie

Name: John H Guthrie
Age: 29
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1821
Birth Place: South Carolina
Gender: Male
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Formerly Lowndes County, Clinch, Georgia
Family Number: 924
Household Members: Name Age
John H Guthrie 29
Mary Guthrie 19
Catharine Guthrie 5
Reason M Guthrie 3
Francis E Guthrie 1

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