Was Martin Parmer Really Known as "The Ring Tail Panther" During His Lifetime?
Yes! As a Matter of Fact, He Was.
For years, we have read and been told that Martin Parmer was called "The Ring Tailed Panther" We see this
nickname for Martin Parmer in history books and biographies over and over again. For instance, his son, Thomas Parmer,
provides the following in his book, Fifty-Five Years Ago in the Wilderness; Or the Old Ringtail Panther
of Missouri: "With one bound, as a wild beast, and an unearthly scream, his gun
barrel high lifted in the air,--'I'm the Ringtail Panther of Missouri!'
(he was ever after called the Ringtail Panther of Missouri), and, as a thunder bolt from the upper world,
it fell upon the head of the Osage brave, which sank him at his feet..." But, Thomas Parmer's
book was written in 1874 about 24 years after Martin Parmer died.
There are many variations to Martin Parmer's nickname in print:
"The Ringtail Panther"
"The Ring-tailed Panther"
"The Ringtail Panther of Missouri"
"The Ring Tailed Panther from the Forks in the Creek"
"The Ring Tail Painter" (I'm told "Painter" is a Missouri frontier slang for Panther)
But in many years of researching, I had never run across a primary document in which someone actually referred
to Martin Parmer by any variation of "The Ring Tail Panther" during his lifetime. I began to wonder
if Martin Parmer's nickname had just been a fabrication of some romantic Texas historian and that the nickname
had been repeated so many times that everyone assumed it must be true.
In early 2005 while researching some details of the Fredonian Rebellion in the R. B. Blake Collection,
I ran across a document dated January 1827. This document is located in Volume XI, page 352 of the R. B. Blake Collection.
This January 1827 document proves conclusively that Martin Parmer was known as "the ring tail panther" during his lifetime.
This document was produced during the Fredonian Rebellion 1826-1827 and refers to Martin Parmer as the leader
of the Fredonian Rebellion. "Their leader Martin Palmer otherwise known as the ringtail panther." These citizens
of Austin's Colony refer to Martin Parmer as the ring tail panther to make it clear exactly who they are talking about.
See the complete text of this document below.
If you find additional references to Martin Parmer as "The Ring Tail Panther" in primary documents such as letters
or newspapers dating form the lifetime of Martin Parmer, let me know and I will post them here for other Martin Parmer researchers.
602 Sawyer, Suite 460
Houston, Texas 77007
What is a Ring Tail Panther? Probably "Lynx rufus" or bobcat. See the link below for information
about "Lynx rufus" in Missouri.
Lynx rufus in Missouri