From The Hur Herald:
Nat Depue of Creston, who carries the mail between that place and Grantsville had a thrilling experience with a huge wild cat or some other animal of a like nature one day last week.
He had been delayed until late in the afternoon, waiting for the mail sacks which were on the Harry W. (a riverboat. It was dark when he crossed the Annamoriah flats, and he noticed something following him which he took to be a dog, but paid little attention to it until it darted past the horse and ran up a tree that leaned over the road.
From there the cat sprang, landing on the horse’s neck clawing and biting fiercely.
It hung on for a considerable distance until Nattie was enabled to kick it off. The horse became frightened and ran away, but was soon checked up and the game little mail carrier got a light and went back to look for his hat and the mail sacks which he had lost.
Nattie is still carrying the mail but it is a safe bet that he will always try to get across Annamoriah flats before dark.
Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 1/24/1911.
It’s not really clear when the native cougar subspecies went extinct in West Virginia, but the state DNR mentions that cougar tracks were spotted in Pocahontas County– in the far reaches of the High Alleghenies– in 1936.
Now, this story may or may not be true, but if it is true, the culprit cannot be a bobcat.
I would be shocked if a bobcat would have the courage to attack a mounted rider in this fashion. Bobcats can kill deer. They don’t kill horses.
Cougars can kill horses, and it would make sense for a cougar to attack one, even if it happened to have a person riding it.
This animal would have been among the last of its kind in this part of the United States.
The true Eastern cougar has officially been declared extinct, but cougars from Western subspecies are definitely working their way into the East.
If any of the cougar sightings are true, then these animals have to be of one of the Western subspecies. The cougar is beginning to expand its range once again. In North America, its numbers are pretty secure, and in many areas, it’s on the rebound.
Maybe we will confirm the presence of the cougar in West Virginia once again.
Many people claim to have seen them.
But what they are seeing–if it’s a cougar at all– can’t be the old Eastern catamount.
It’s the Western variant working its way in the East.