USU Digital Library - Old Ephraim

In the early 1900’s the raising of sheep was an important part of Cache Valley’s agricultural industry. Every spring herders would drive their sheep into the hills where they would graze until the fall.  At that time bears still roamed the hills and mountains of Cache National Forest.  Since bears like to eat sheep, problems between the sheepherders and the bears were common.  Frank Clark, a sheepherder, and part-owner of the Ward Clark Sheep Company, counted over 154 adult sheep killed the summer of 1911.  


One bear was very well known to all of the local sheepherders. At first they called him Old Three Toe and then later Old Ephraim.  He had a deformed foot with only three toes which made it very easy for the sheepherders to know when Old Ephraim attacked their sheep, and to track him.  By 1913 Frank Clark was determined to catch and kill Old Ephraim.  But at nine feet and eleven inches tall, Old Ephraim was a very large bear, and he was clever.  Catching him did not turn out to be easy.  Over the next ten years Clark tried everything he could think of to catch Old Ephraim but nothing worked.


Then, on the night of August 21, 1923, Clark was awakened by a loud roaring.  Read more...