Seth Kinman - Trapper

Seth Kinman ?-?

Legendary Humboldt County trapper Seth Kinman captured grizzlies and fashioned them into articulated chairs.

Californian hunter whose presentation of an elkhorn chair to the President on November 26, 1864 attracted wide publicity. Kinman, with a penchant for western buckskin clothes and eastern publicity, Stanley Kimmel wrote that after presenting the chair and explaining the seven years of hunting that went into its production, Kinman told "the President that he had another little keepsake with him in the form of a fiddle made from the skull of his favorite mule, which, when alive, appeared to have music in his soul, for he would always look around the camps on the plains when he heard music. After the mule had been dead for some time, he passed his bleached bones one day and the idea struck him that there might be music in the bones, so he made the fiddle. Later he took a rib, and some hairs from the tail, and made the bow. Much to the amusement of Lincoln and other spectators, he played 'Essence of Old Virginia' and 'John Brown' on the bones of the mule. Lincoln said that if he could play the fiddle he would ask him for it, but since he could not, the fiddle would be better off in Mr. Kinman's hands."

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Quotation:
MARSHALL R. AUSPACH
The Lost History of Seth Kinman, 1947

"This was intended to surpass all his previous efforts, and was made from two grizzly bears captured by Seth. The four legs and claws were those of a huge grizzly and the back and sides ornamented with immense claws. The seat was soft and exceedingly comfortable, but the great feature of the chair was that, by touching a cord, the head of the monster grizzly bear with jaws extended , would dart out in front from under the seat, snapping and gnashing its teeth as natural as life. This chair (below left) Seth presented to [President] Johnson, September 8, 1865."