James "Scotty" Philip
|James "Scotty" Philip|
|Member of the South Dakota Senate
from the 25th district
|Preceded by||Denton B. Thayer (R)|
|Succeeded by||Fred S. Rowe (D)|
April 30, 1858
Dallas, Morayshire, Scotland
|Died||July 23, 1911(aged 53)|
|Resting place||Scotty Philip Cemetery, Fort Pierre, Stanley, South Dakota|
(m. 1879 – 1911); his death
James "Scotty" Philip (30 April 1858 – 23 July 1911) was a Scottish-born American rancher and politician in South Dakota, remembered as the "Man who saved the Buffalo" due to his role in helping to preserve the American Bison from extinction.
Philip was born in Dallas, Morayshire, Scotland. He emigrated to the United States in 1874 at the age of 15. He first settled in Victoria, Kansas, but moved to Dakota Territory on hearing of the discovery of gold in the Black Hills.
In 1879 he married Sarah Larribee (1851 – 1937), in Fort Robinson, Nebraska: in 1881 they settled down to ranch in Stanley County, Dakota Territory, just east of the present location of Philip, whose name memorializes the man who helped found it. At the time, Stanley County was still part of the Great Sioux Indian Reservation and ranching by non-Natives was illegal: the Philips were allowed to locate their ranch there because Sarah was a Native American.
Saving the bison
While he was building his cattle herd, Scotty Philip met Pete Dupree, whose son Fred had rescued 5 bison calves from an 1881 buffalo hunt along the Grand River. After Dupree's death, Philip decided to preserve the species from extinction, and in 1899 he purchased Dupree's herd, which now numbered 74 head, from Dupree's brother-in-law, Dug Carlin.
Philip prepared a special pasture for the bison along the western side of the Missouri River north of Fort Pierre, and drove the herd there in 1901.
Scotty Philip died suddenly on July 23, 1911: by that time the herd had grown to approximately a thousand head. He was buried on a family cemetery near his buffalo pasture. As the funeral procession passed, some of the bison came down out of the hills. Newspapers of the time suggested the bison were "showing their respect to the man who had saved them".
Bison from Philip's herd helped restock herds throughout the United States, including the large herd at Custer State Park.
- George Philip Jr., son of George Philip who was the nephew of James "Scotty" Philip.
- South Dakota Legislature, Legislative Research Council, Historical Listings
- Black Hills Visitor Magazine: "James (Scotty) Philip, Saving the Buffalo"
- Federal Writers' Project (1940). South Dakota place-names, v.1-3. University of South Dakota. p. 56.
- "Hall of Great Westerners". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
- 'Scot who saved American buffalo subject of film', by Craig Brown in The Scotsman, 22 September 2013