Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wolves at the door

The one who was the church clerk

Last week my cousin from New Hampshire was visiting, and we made the genealogy rounds.

Samford University's Special Collections has a treasure trove of old Alabama Baptist church records. In between learning that one ancestor was a church clerk and that another was excluded (thrown out) twice, I overheard this conversation:

"Listen to this. The church has been in two previous locations."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah. It says they had to move the first time because the church was built in a spot with no access to water. The second time, they had to move because of too much activity from Timber Wolves in the area!"

Actually I'm sure they meant Red Wolves (Canis rufus), since there never were any Timber Wolves (Gray Wolves, Canis lupus) in Alabama.

The Red Wolf was declared extinct in the wild in the 1980s.

There are now over 16 million Southern Baptists.


Red Wolf Recovery Project

Red Wolves of Alligator River

Red Wolf Coalition

This page shows the historical range of the Red Wolf. The subspecies that lived in Alabama, called the Florida Red Wolf (Canis rufus floridanus) was completely extinct by 1930. A second subspecies, the Mississippi Red Wolf, Canis rufus gregoryi, was extinct by 1970, leaving only the Texas Red Wolf, Canis rufus rufus, the species being used in the Recovery Project.


Wayne said...

Very neat stuff on the red wolves. The Endangered Species Handbook has a fine passage on the elimination of the red wolves in the southeast.

Got a good graveyard laugh out of the 16 million southern baptists.

Rurality said...

Thanks for that link! It has a few different dates for the extinctions... I guess they are not certain when the last ones disappeared from the wild. The Smoky Mountain program they mention has been shut down, though. It was deemed a failure - not enough prey animals there. Sounds strange, but the wolves kept dying or leaving the area, and that was apparently the explanation.

Becca's Dirt said...

I love reading about history and learning about our ancestors. Nice post. Becca

KFarmer said...

I saw a show on the wolves in Yellowstone the other day on GPTV. Seems a whole bunch of them were wiped out by the Parvo (sp) virus.

I know what you mean about the rain... I threw my moon chart out the window and am doing the best I can with what I'm given. Be a good year for rice I'm thinking.. ;)

mountainmelody said...

Ah! I've done my time at Special Collections more than once. :) Probably headed that way again soon.
Interesting post!

Rurality said...

Becca, thanks! By the way, I have tried to comment on your blog but the comments always disappear into never-never land!

KF, yeah I think they can be affected by lots of canine diseases. Sad.

MM, I had a feeling you might be familiar with the place. :) They sure are nice there.

Island Rider said...

As a Southern Baptist, I got a good laugh out of your comment. Although I think sometimes, we are killing ourselves and will be endangered soon. I'm a historian and went to Furman which used to be a Southern Baptist school. I spent TONS of time in their special collections!

Rurality said...

I was amazed at some of the old records they had. And they sure threw people out of the church a lot back then... for swearing, drinking, gambling, etc.

countrypeapie said...

I love the angle of his hat.

Now that the wolves are gone, just what is the Southern Baptist's natural predator? ;)

Urban Wilds said...

Fascinating stuff! I thought I knew my American natural history, but I was previously unaware of the plight of the red wolf.

Rurality said...

Meg, LOL! I love the hat too. I forgot to mention that he was in his Masonic garb - that is the white collar.

UW, I didn't know much about it either, to tell you the truth. I knew there were wolves in AL in the past, and I didn't really think they were Timber Wolves, but didn't remember the details until I looked them up for this post.

Jenn said...

There is a faction that believes that the wolves and coyotes interbreed, and that your coyotes are subsequently larger than average.

Pamela said...

I feel melancholy now and want to howl at the moon ....