Thursday, 12 February 2015

Family Day

The Beast of Beverly

The Beverly Swamp is a natural wetland area that feeds the Spencer Creek watershed. Valens Conservation Area is now at the north end of what remains of this once great swamp. Much of it was logged off and drained to improve farmland in the mid 1800’s.

As their habitat was lost, wild animals, including black bears, were hunted out of the swamp. By 1900 no one had seen a bear in Beverly Township for decades.

In about 1910 a black bear appeared in the remains of the Beverly Swamp and was seen prowling around the adjacent farmlands. Local farmers were, with some good cause, alarmed. The “Beast of Beverly” proved to be too elusive for lone hunters and it was decided to hold a group hunt that would flush the bear from the swamp, using men and dogs. The undoubtedly eventful details of how this was finally accomplished have been lost to history; whether to preserve the dignity of man or beast it is not recorded.

That being said, the Beast was hunted down and shot. Who shot it is also conjecture but the pelt passed into the hands of the Inksetter family of Inksetter Road, just outside Copetown. The hunting trophy was skillfully made into a heavy fur sleigh driver’s coat and worn for many years. It was donated to Westfield by descendants of the Inksetter family in 2013.

Visit Westfield on Monday, February 16 from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. to see the coat in person!

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