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As It Was: Hungry Lion Seeks Shelter During Winter Storm

The winter of 1889-90 was hard on man and beast in Trinity County, Calif.  The snow was 17 feet deep at Denny.  Deer perished by the hundreds and a local butcher, Jim Mullane, lost his entire beef herd.

One farmer, known as “Old Bailey,’’ had only managed to build a small cabin on his few acres before winter hit.  He hung a piece of canvass across the doorway, leaving until spring the installation of a decent door.

One night after drifting asleep while snow was falling, he awoke to find a starving mountain lion inside his cabin.  Mullane knew the animal was very likely to attack, so he slipped his hands under his blankets and threw them over the lion’s head and dragged it to the open doorway.  Immediately, the lion disappeared into the night.

Mullane quickly forgot about waiting until spring to install the door.  He split a large red cedar log and fashioned a plank door.  Next, he borrowed a neighbor’s two hound dogs and hunted down the lion.

Source: "Denny, Old and New." Trinity, 1955, pp. 23-24.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.