A most singular incident occurred a few days ago at Cedar Bluff, on the Chocktahatchie–so singular that we could scarcely credit it, if it were not too well authenticated to admit of doubt.
A charge belonging to Mr. Cook was lying along the bank of the river, on board of which Mr. N. Mitchell, of Holmes Valley, and his lady and several children were passengers bound hither. The screams of a panther were heard at a distance, and presently after, the ferocious animal came bounding towards the barge. All fled in consternation of course. A Mr. Bowington, living near there, was on the bank and took refuge on board the barge, closely pursued by the panther, which leaped upon him and with his claws, mangled him dreadfully in the back and sides, before any thing effectual could be done for his relief. At length a rifle was procured and the panther was shot while yet in the act of tearing and mangling his victim. We are further informed that the animal was found to have in his mouth a sharp stick of wood, one end of which was embedded in one of his jaws and the other end projecting directly against the other jaw, so that he was entirely prevented from biting. What connection this singular circumstance may have had with the strange conduct of the animal, or whether this may not be a case of hydrophobia, is all matter of conjecture. The inside of the mouth of the animal shewed signs of its having been very sore for a long time, from the wound produced by the stick, and the stick was much discolored.
Pensacola Gazette, April 19, 1845
[Contributed by Brian L. Rucker, Ph.D.]