The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Mayberry Memories - The Last Wolf

By Coy Lee Yeatts © 1985

Issue: July, 1985

Editor’s Note: Mayberry, Virginia is located 2.8 miles south of Meadows of Dan, Virginia and 4.3 miles south of Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not much is left of the once thriving community but the memories will live forever.

Grandpa's father died before Grandpa was born in 1870, best I can remember being told. His early years were spent on Round Meadow Creek, in Patrick County, Virginia. Grandpa told me this story many, many years ago...

Wolves were the first animals to have a bounty placed on them by the early settlers in Virginia. It began as far back as 1632, or somewhere close thereabouts, and continued on the books 'till the time of the great depression.

Wolves are not like most folks think, especially after reading Little Red Riding Hood. They usually have a runway or range that's a hundred miles or more long in which they hunt, kill and raise their pups. They are quite prolific with 7 to 14 pups per litter and they mate 'till death do them part.

The pups stay with their parents until the second year. Sometimes they run in packs of up to 50 or more. Most often though, they pair off to raise their pups. There are still some wolves out west, as well as in Michigan, Canada and Alaska.

In times past there have been some very notable wolves like the "Custer wolf" in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. It killed some $25,000.00 worth of cattle. This wolf was unbelievable in that it had two coyotes that ran with it. The coyotes ran about 100 yards on either flank of the wolf to supposedly warn it of danger, but it was finally killed.

The last wolf on the mountain killed some of Levi Hylton's sheep on the nights of December 7 and 8, 1888. Levi lived down in "the Bent" near the Dan River Gorge. A large group of neighbors got together to rid themselves of this menace to their livestock. It had snowed a few inches the day before and this made tracking possible.

The wolf was tracked all the way to "the kettles" (the kettles are large pot shaped depressions in the rocks) on top of Buffalo Mountain. It was there at sundown on a cold winter day that the sun set on an era, and the last wolf on the mountain was shot. It was the last wolf that I know of or heard about in Meadows of Dan, Virginia.