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Blackburn People Disturbed by Unusual ‘Varmint’


The people of Blackburn (just North of St. Florian) in the northern section of Lauderdale county, were disturbed by an unusual wild animal that was seldom seen, but often heard, roaming in that area during the early Spring of 1912.

 So unusual, in fact, that it produced several reports in local newspapers of the time. This ‘varmint’ was scaring the people in the Blackburn area to such an extent that they had voluntarily inaugurated, by common consent, a kind of ‘curfew law’ among all the people, keeping close to home as night came on. Esq. Silas L. Bradley described the situation, and was firmly convinced that they were favored with an unusual visitation. The animal was described as being the size of a large shepherd dog, reddish-brown in color, with a streak of white along its throat. It had seldom been seen, but many people heard it, and its voice was said to be a wild yell, “like a woman scared, and then low.” Its scream could be heard for over a mile or more, and it was said to be fearful in the extreme. Esq. Bradley described the effect of this nocturnal visitor to have kept the people of Blackburn in their homes at night.

Several weeks after the initial report of this strange, nocturnal ‘varmint’, it was seen and killed. The person to do the deed was Mr. Plummer Daniels of Blackburn. Mr. Daniels and his pet dog encountered the wild animal in the road one afternoon. Mr. Daniel made his dog attack the wild disturber of the peace of that community, and while the fight was on he stabbed him to death with a knife. It was a brave deed on the part of Mr. Daniels. Once killed, the initial reports and descriptions of the ‘varmint’ held true. The animal was as large as a New Foundland dog, with reddish-brown hair about three inches long. It looked like a dog, but was not exactly like one. It was an aged creature, and because of its age, could not put up a better fight for its life. Mr. Daniels reported that its growl was something startling, and shook the very ground with its roar.

Following the report in the news that the ‘varmint’ had been killed, a citizen from Center Star with the pen-name of ‘Scribe’ began an effort to secure a hero medal for Mr. Daniels. ‘Scribe’ brought forward some new information about this unusual ‘varmint’. He reported that the same animal has been in Colbert county for the past eight or ten years, and due to the infirmities of old age, has been fed by mountain people living south of Tuscumbia. The ‘varmint’ left its old haunts in October of 1911 and was next heard of when it was spotted in the Blackburn area of Lauderdale county.

Google Map of the Blackburn area of Lauderdale County, Alabama
Google Map of the Blackburn area of Lauderdale County, Alabama