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About Meteor Showers
About Meteor Showers and Falling Stars
What Is A Bearcat?
Trivia  - What Happened in Lesterville, September 8, 1541?
Missouri Native American History at Bearcat

Bearcat is a great place to observe the night sky! Here's what will be happening this year!
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Catch A Falling Star!  Bearcat is a great place to observe Meteor Showers in Missouri! ~ Get away from the city lights!



Every year, we observe the annual meteor showers, celestial light shows in which "shooting stars" blaze in rapid succession or in brilliant clusters- across the night sky. WOW! Bearcat is the perfect viewing spot for nature's attempt to get the attention of the people of Planet Earth! Away from city lights, it's the perfect place to view such expressions of the universe. Spread your blanket or lawn chair and just look up!

Why We have Meteor Showers

An excellent article written by David H. Levy, appeared in the January 16, 2000 edition of Parade Magazine. To paraphrase Mr. Levy: On any dark and clear night, you might see some "falling stars." These aren't really stars of course, for stars are mighty suns that shine from vast distances in space. Falling stars are tiny particles, each no larger than a grain of sand, that enter the Earth's atmosphere at speeds so high - up to 150,000 miles per hour - that they cause the air around them to glow brightly. What we see, in effect, is a high-speed collision (with Earth's atmosphere) taking place less than 80 miles above our heads.

How do meteor showers happen? The answer has to do with comets- village-sized bodies of rock, dust and ices. As comets travel close to the Sun, their ices warm and instantly become gases (as dry ice does on Earth), escaping into the comet's tail. This frees up comet dust particles, which stretch out in a second tail much like the wake of a ship. The dust slowly spreads through space, forming a ring around the Sun. And every year, as the Earth crosses this ring, its dust particles heat up in the atmosphere, briefly glow and expire- and we see a shower of meteors. Depending on the width of the band of particles, a meteor shower might last an hour or two or as long as a week.

The relatively few streams of particles we encounter each year are a tiny fraction of all the comet dust in space. For example, we never passed through the dust from Comet Hale-Bopp when it sailed by in 1997. So, no shower. Our two best meteor showers each year occur around Aug. 12 (the Perseids) and Dec. 14 (the Geminids). We name them after the constellations from which the meteors seem to come. While the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, we can trace their paths backward to the same point in the sky: the Perseids from Perseus, the Geminids from Gemini. It's an illusion, of course, as when we look down a railroad track, and the two rails appear to converge. The meteors are coming at us along parallel paths- but, way out there, it looks like they're all coming from Perseus or Gemini or Leo. Since the Earth is heading straight into them after midnight, your chance of seeing meteors increases the later you stay awake.

When To Watch A Meteor Shower

Date Shower Name Where It Comes From
April 21 Lyrids Comet Thatcher (from 1861)
May 4 Eta Aquarids Halley's Comet
July 28 Delta Aquarids Yet to be discovered
August 12 Perseids Comet Swift-Tuttle
October 21 Orionids Halley's Comet
November 18 Leonids Comet Tempel-Tuttle
December 14 Geminids Asteroid Phaethon


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What Is a Bearcat?  The animal, not a football team!


Shamanism, the world's oldest healing tradition, is found in all cultures on Earth. Shamans work with their allies--the animal spirits. According to shamanistic principles, each animal holds spiritual wisdom that often appears before the animal itself appears. 

Bearcat's Wisdom Includes:
· Communication by alternative means
· Ability to interchange senses – i.e. replace vision with smell
· Solitude
· Defense of personal space
· Ability to see in dark places
· Territoriality

Binturong commonly known as a Bearcat

Arctictis Binturong

The binturong, sometimes called the bearcat, is a member of the civet family. It lives in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, from India to the Malay Peninsula. The binturong is primarily a fruit eater, but also eats insects, fish, small mammals, and birds. The binturong has a long, prehensile tail, which it uses to grasp branches as it forages in the trees. They love bananas and grapes!

They're about six feet (1.8 meters) long (half body, half tail), weigh about 50 pounds (23 kilograms), and have shaggy black fur tipped with gray. And what a face! Small and intense eyes, with dime-sized ears topped by long, furry fringes. Thick, wild whiskers frame a small muzzle, ending in a shiny black nose. They're neither bears nor cats. They're one of two carnivores with a prehensile tail (the other is a kinkajou). One amazing feature of the binturong is a popcorn-like aroma, which comes from a scent gland near its tail.

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What Happened in Lesterville September 8, 1541
Missouri History ~ DeSoto crosses the Mississippi River and enters Missouri

Discovery of the Mississippi by William H. Powell (1823–1879) is a Romantic depiction of De Soto seeing
the Mississippi River for the first time. It hangs in the United States Capitol rotunda.

As you may remember from grade school history class, Desoto discovered the Mississippi River.  The irony is that the discovery itself ended his dream of finding a northern passage to China. There was no hope for finding a nearby sea upstream of such a river and Desoto knew that. Spanish Conquest of America ended in Illinois. DeSoto would die of anguish within 8 months of his now famous discovery.

According to Hernando de Soto's Secretary, © Univ. of Alabama Press "On Tuesday, the sixth of September (1541, DeSoto's army) departed from Coligua (Kaskaskia) and crossed the (Mississippi) river another time (into Ste. Genevieve)..." precisely on Full Moon. They would encounter five different Tribes of Native Americans before leaving Missouri on the next Full Moon.

Scouts, including the author of the above quotation, had crossed the Mississippi River several days earlier chasing Indians and searching for salt on Saline Creek, just across the river from Kaskaskia. The army spent more than 12 hours crossing the Mississippi River in canoes provided by the Indians of Kaskaskia. Since the army was well rested and fed, most hiked as far as the flats of east Farmington before stopping for the night.

"...and on Wednesday (September 7th) they crossed some mountains and went to Calpista (the Ironton area), in which there was a spring of water from which very good salt is made, cooking it until it cakes (stragglers caught-up to the army at Pilot Knob). On the following day, Thursday, they went to Palisma (over the mountain pass at Lesterville), and on Saturday, the tenth of September, they came forth to sleep at a body of water (the Current River, having camped in the fields of Bunker the night before)."

Another eye-witness describes the army's journey, "We traveled for five days (from Kaskaskia) and reached the province of Palisema (which extended from Lesterville to the Current River). The house of the chief was found (probably near the mountain refuge of Centerville) with coverings of colored deerskins drawn over with designs, and the floor of the house was covered with the same material in the manner of carpets. The chief left it so, in order that the governor might lodge in it as a sign that he was desirous of peace and his friendship, but he did not dare remain. The governor upon seeing that he was away, sent a captain with horse and foot (soldiers) to look for him. The captain found many people, but because of the roughness of the land (the highest mountains in Missouri) they captured only some women and young persons. It was a small and scattered settlement and had very little corn (there's nowhere to grow it). On that account, the governor left it immediately (choosing to camp farther down the trail on Bunker's Plateau)."

Information and maps courtesy Donald E. Sheppard
http://1st-history-of-the.us/missouri.html - it's everything you ever wanted to know about Desoto.

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Native American Indian History at Bearcat
in Reynolds County Missouri
~ Trail of Tears

Osage (by Catlin)
Delaware Tribe (by Catlin)
Shawnee (by Catlin)

We have been thrilled to find literally hundreds of artifacts from the first residents of this area.  After each heavy rain or flood along the river, new artifacts appear on the surface to be discovered.  History in the Reynolds County, Black River Area goes back to paleo-Indians who camped and hunted along Ozark rivers, perhaps as long as 14,000 years ago. Reynolds County was the hunting ground of several tribes including the Osage, Delaware, Kickapoo, Shawnee and perhaps others.  The Osage tribe was master of the area. The Osage Indians were first recorded in 1673 by explorers Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette.   Only the Osage Indians seemed to be native to Missouri and the Ozark region.  All the other tribes were driven from the east of the Mississippi River as the white man made his gradual advance across the eastern portion of North America.

The Osage empire covered roughly a portion of four states:  Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.  How many people this represented is not known, but the war-like Osage had the numbers to rule this area preeminently against the other tribes that flanked them on every side.  As quoted from History of Early Reynolds County Missouri, by James E. Bell, "Due to their marriage customs, the Osage were tall, physically strong, and possessed unquestionable courage.  The smaller, weaker males often were denied marriage and the mightiest warriors got the girl plus all her sisters.  In this way they had a form of selective breeding, which undoubtedly accounts for most of the tribe being over six feet tall."  When the first white settlers came to Reynolds County in the early 1800's, it is estimated that there were about 20,000 Indians in Missouri.  Early maps verify the presence of a village of Delaware Indians along the Black River. 

The Osage Indians gave up their claim to most of the Ozark Plateau in a treaty with the federal government in 1808. As paraphrased from Mr. Bell's book, the Osage always considered this treaty not to include their right to use the Ozarks for their frequent hunting trips.  This often caused many problems for the first white settlers even though the Indians were mostly friendly and often hunted and traded with the white man.  The ever increasing white population in conjunction with the various treaties that relocated the many tribes that were common to this area, made it rare to see a red man in this locale after 1830.

Sadly, unverified local Lesterville lore holds that the Trail of Tears passed through the Adams Farm just 11/2 miles from Bearcat.

Addendum August 2007 
The Osage after the 1808 treaty with the federal government and migration to Oklahoma Indian territory
obtained from Reader's Digest "Through Indian Eyes"

When Oklahoma finally became a state in 1907,  Indians throughout the area including the Osage, were soon swamped by a massive new influx of boomers. Native communities survived, but their reservations were not preserved and the tribal land base disappeared almost completely.

An exception was the case of the Osage tribe, which in 1870 had arranged with the government to sell its reservation in Kansas and relocate to the eastern part of the Cherokee Outlet, adjacent to the Cherokee Nation proper. In 1896, as the Dawes Commission's negotiations with various tribes were inching forward, oil was discovered on the Osage reservation-suddenly raising the stakes to an entirely new level. Talks slowed to a halt and remained deadlocked until an ingenious plan propsed by the Osage was accepted by Congress in 1906; the reservation's surface area would be allotted much as it was on other reservations, but mineral rights would continue to be owned communally, with proceeds to be shared by the 2,229 tribal members officially enrolled as of January 1907. Their foresight and shrewdness were well rewarded. The explosive demand for oil and natural gas in the 1920's produced so much money that until the Great Depression set in, the Osage were the wealthiest nation per capita in the world.

The Japanese air attack that surprised Pearl Harbor on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, brought a swift response from the US government; Congress delcared war the next day. But some of the nation's citizens-Native Americans, as it happened-reacted even more quickly. In a rural area of northeastern Oklahoma, just hours after the radio reports about Pearl Harbor, war drums summoned members of the Osage tribe to repel the enemy. During the months and years that followed, the Osage saw many of the young people off to war and sought other ways to contribute to the defense effort.

Chief Fred Lookout presided over ceremonies at which warriors' names were bestowed on the tribe's men (and in departure from tradition, women) who entered the armed forces. By April 1943 there were 381 Osage in uniform, the most prominent among whom was Clarence L Tinker. Before his combat death in 1942, Tinker had been made a major general in the Army Air Corps-the first Native American to achieve a general's rank since the Civil War, when Ely Parker, a Seneca, served as one of Ulysses S Grant's closest aides and Stand Watie, a Cherokee, was the last confederate general to surrender.

More than 200 Osage were employed in airplane factories located in Tulsa, the city nearest Osage County, where most of the tribespeople lived. Those who remained at home collected scrap metal, rolled bandages, and staged victory dances celebrating the exploits of tribal combatants. Using some of their remaining oil wealth from the 1920's, the Osage bought war bonds in quantity and added a distinctive flair to their defense effort by negotiating the purchase of a training airplane for the Army Air Corps.

Kickapoo Woman (unknown artist)

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Bearcat Getaway, PO Box 65, Lesterville, MO  63654 
if phone is busy call 573-637-2011

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