Sunday, June 17, 2012

Full house in Jamison City

The following story was given to me by William Goodhue, a neighbor and son of the author James P. Goodhue who wrote the story in 1967. I found that story very entertaining and obtained William’s permission to put into this blog.

by James P. Goodhue
Three of a kind (bear cubs) and pair (twin boys)
In February 1892 , Mrs. Jennie Lockard Goodhue gave birth to twin boys in Jamison City. The attending physician was Dr. Gardner who may be remembered by some of the old-timers in Bloomsburg.

About a year later, the father of the twins bought three bear cubs from a boy in town who had shot their mother. The cubs were put in the backyard of the house to be playmates for the twins. The house is still standing and within recent years was occupied by a forest ranger. The cubs and the twins soon became fast friends, in fact practically inseparable.
Jim3Bears                                             Affection? Play? Or both?

Richard A. Lockard, recently deceased, uncle of the twins, used to visit his nephews quite frequently. When it came time to bring the boys inside the house in the afternoon, he would be sent to get them.
The bear cubs resented to be separated from their pals and Richard had to beat them off with a broom.
After about a year, the family moved to Salem Mass. taking one of the cubs with them the other two having been sold as pets.

The cub was chained to a tree in the backyard in Salem and frequently neighbors would call frantically to say the bear was hanging himself over a limb. He used to climb and get fouled up with the chain over a limb. Everyone would help boost the bear back up over the limb to free him.

Strange to say the bear never suffered any ill effects from the harrowing experiences, but the neighbors would have the jitters for a few days, never quite getting used to the ordeal.

Finally it was decided to sell the bear to a circus, as he was becoming large and a bit ugly. So it was arranged for a hansom cab to take him from the house to the Salem depot, about a mile away. The cab was richly upholstered and had glass windows in front and in the doors. The driver sat up in the back with the reins running over the top.

A bear of a journey
The cab driver drew up in front of the house. Neither the horse nor the bear was in favor of the idea. After considerable pulling, pushing and shouting, the bear was finally squeezed into the cab. To say that the horse started off at a quick pace would be false. He lit out with no help from the cab driver.
Needless to say, this strange method of transportation, augmented by the speed of the cab, did not add to the tranquility of the bear. Nor was the driver in the mood for idle chatter, this being the first time he ever had a bear as a passenger.

How they managed to arrive at the depot is not known.
    One of these boys was William’s father who wrote the story

When they finally extruded the bear (it being just as difficult to get him out as in) from the cab it was found he had clawed out every bit of upholstery from the cab.

William Goodhue showed me a framed picture where the twins are shown with one of the cubs. The pictures shown were mailed to me by William.

What seems funny today is the way the boys were dressed like small angels. What also is clear is the fact that neighbors would have called the police if anybody kept small bears together with toddlers.

So now, next time you are looking for a new pet you might want to adopt a bear cub instead of a puppy.

Or maybe not. Never mind!

See you tomorrow!



  1. hahaha cute one....feel sorry for the cubs being in captivity tho...but great read :)...we'll stick with puppies


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