Fabulous Beard Case Study

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Fabulous Beard Fact: Is it a possibility that John “Grizzly” Adams’ beard made him look tougher than the bears he trapped and trained, thereby contributing to his long standing legacy of masculinity.

But John Adams did not start out as the epitome of Western mountain manliness. He was born in 1812 in Medway, Massachusetts, a member of the prominent Adams family of New England. He was a distant cousin of two presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, as well as Revolutionary War patriot Samuel Adams. At the age of fourteen, he was apprenticed as a cobbler, but he left the trade at the age of twenty-one to sign on with a company of traveling showman as an animal collector and trainer. He hunted and trapped the vast wilderness of Maine, Vermont,
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But Grizzly Adams remained a restless man, Taking to the mountains up and down the state of California, and even into the western part of the Washington Territory, now known as Montana. It was there that he adopted his first bear, a female yearling he named Lady Washington. Adams had a natural talent for dealing with animals. He trained Lady Washington to follow him, carry a pack, and even, eventually, to allow him to ride her. One year later Adams came across a pair of very young grizzly cubs, one of whom he named Benjamin Franklin. Young Ben went on to become his favorite, especially after saving his life just a year later when the mountaineer was attacked by an angry mother bear. The altercation left John with a severe head wound, which would contribute to his death five years later. In 1854, Grizzly captured a huge California grizzly, whom he named Samson. The bear weighed in at 1500 pounds, one of the largest ever captured alive, even to this day. Almost one hundred years later, the State of California adopted a flag bearing the image of Samson, as painted by Charles C. …show more content…
Adams would often give impromptu shows with his animals. This lead to his opening a menagerie and show in San Francisco, California. He eventually became so successful that he was referred to as the “Barnum of the Pacific.” But his health was failing, due to his head injury, and he wanted to provide a secure future for the family he had left behind in New England. To this end, he moved his menagerie and show to New York City, hoping to secure a position with P. T. Barnum’s organization. He contracted with the showman for a six week run, and was a huge success. Knowing that the end was near, Adams sold his menagerie to Barnum, with the proviso that he was to perform, with his animals, for an additional ten weeks, against his doctor’s advice. Grizzly Adams made it through the entire ten week run, allowing him to provide his wife and family with the secure future he

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