Tom Brown and HIs Bear Bob
Tom Brown purchased 444 acres at the junction of Live Oak Creek and the Pecos River in Crockett County, Texas in 1916. He was a farmer and cleared enough to have an irrigated farm in Crockett County. I still don’t know of any irrigated farms in Crockett County or any farms at all in the county. He tried many different crops throughout the years. He raised lots of vegetables on his farm and my wife Anne remembers her mother telling about going to the farm from the Perner ranch approximately 10 miles away on the divide towards Ozona and getting a wagon load of vegetables and melons. I am sure that was a big trip as they had to go down and up Lancaster Hill. She told Anne they were wonderful vegetables and melons. Along with the farm he operated a combination filling station, store and fishing camp on Live Oak Creek. He and his son “Bill” had a small zoo of sorts, with wild animals of local variety, which Bill caught in live traps, plus exotic birds Tom purchased from different places. Tom also acquired a bear cub from Mr. Royce Brownriggs of Ozona, who had captured the bear somewhere in the Davis Mountains. It was against the law to sell a black bear in Texas, so Tom purchased a chain, which was attached to the bear cub.
Tom played with the bear and he never was violent, even Tom's boys wrestled with the cub. Bob, the cub, loved Coke, so customers would buy Cokes and give the cokes to Bob the bear. The station and farm was a big success and all the family enjoyed the life on Liveoak.
On Nov. 11, 1934 Bob the Bear slipped his chain and collar and got loose. He was 3 years old at the time. Tom mixed some sugar and cornbread in a bowl and went after Bob. Bob had gone down Liveoak and when Tom found him Bob attacked Tom. An employee J.F. Brackeen had gone with Tom and he tried to scare Bob off of Tom, but to no avail, so he went back to the station to get a gun and some help. When they all returned they found Tom alive but badly mauled by the bear Bob. They took Tom to the hospital in Iraan but he died in transit to the hospital. A posse was organized and the bear was tracked for a mile from where the attack happened and Ford Chapman of Pecos killed the bear with a .32-20 rifle.
Maybe this is one reason you don’t hear of many pet bears………I never heard of a good pet bear.