December 12, 1742
Vicinity of Pomfret, Colony of Connecticut
My dearest Elizabeth
I hope this winter finds you well and happy. My visit with Uncle has given me the opportunity to witness a most remarkable event. There has been a persistent she wolf in this vicinity for the last two to three years. She has repeatedly eluded the local hunters and trappers, although they have been successful in killing most of her young. She has been frequently seen in the wood west of here, and reportedly once escaped from a trap by chewing off part of her paw. A fortnight back, she killed 70 of Uncle’s sheep and goats, and lacerated many of the lambs and kids. In this exigency, Uncle and five Pomfret men arranged a continuous pursuit by arranging to hunt alternately in pairs.
Fortunately a light snow had fallen and the course of the wolf could be easily traced. The tracks showed one foot to be smaller than the other paws. This was proof that the animal was the same, which had previously escaped from the trap. The tracking continued west, upon reaching the Connecticut River it was determined that the wolf had turned back east. The six men and I traveled all night, following her trail back toward Pomfret, arriving at Uncle’s farm at about ten o’clock in the morning.
It was here, at the farm, where they met up with John Sharp, a lad of seventeen, who told Uncle that he had tracked the wolf to a den into which the wolf had been driven by a pack of hounds. The news of the location of the lair spread rapidly, and many persons, armed with guns and supplied with material for smoking her out, hastened to the place. Uncle, and several of his neighbors quickly joined them at the site, which was located among many granite boulders on the side of a steep, craggy hill.
A whole day was spent in attempting to dislodge the animal, but the dogs, including one of Uncle’s own, which were sent into the den returned frightened and badly wounded and would not go in again. Straw and sulfur were burned at the entrance, but without compelling the wolf to quit her hiding place. Twelve unsuccessful hours passed away. It was already ten o’clock at night, yet Uncle felt the importance of continuing the efforts in the emergency. Joshua, his servant, being unwilling to enter the den in an attempt to shoot the wolf, Uncle himself, not withstanding the remonstrances of his neighbors, decided to undertake the deed.
He removed his coat and waistcoat, tied a long rope around his legs in order that he could be pulled back by it when he kicked it as a signal, lighted a torch improvised from strips of birch bark, and holding the torch in hand, crawled into the cave. After several minutes, upon receiving the signal, the excited neighbors, having heard such savage and wicked sounds, dragged Uncle out so forcefully that his shirt was stripped over his head and his back was severely scratched. Uncle stated that he had crawled into the cave for about forty feet after which he came face to face with the wolf.
Armed this time with gun, loaded with nine buckshot, and the torch, Uncle once again entered the cave. Soon fierce growls were heard followed by a scream and a shot. Once again the men pulled Uncle out of the cave, followed shortly be a great volume of smoke. Once the smoke cleared, Uncle crawled in a third time. Upon getting the signal, the men slowly pulled him out of the cave, this time dragging the dead wolf by the ears.
The body of the wolf was carried up the ragged and icy face of the hill and through the wild woodland back to Uncle’s farm, where she was hanged from a tree limb. Then at midnight, a sort of wolf jubilee was held, and for several succeeding days, people came from all directions to see the animal.
Your loving brother,
Standing directly in front of the plaque, site through the square notch a boulder on top of a boulder. The letterbox lies beneath this boulder.