We recently published this photo of Pharmacist Robert L. “Buster” Fulcher (of Fulcher’s Drugs, now Strickland Drugs) and Dr. John Flannery (of the Blanco Hospital, which was in the Old Blanco County Courthouse) posing with a dead mountain lion (also called a panther).
Roy Finch stopped by the Blanco County News office and filled us in on what he remembers.
Finch recalls that the panther was killed in 1940 when he was in third grade. The Blanco High School was under construction at the time and hadn’t yet been completed.
“Ben Braun brought the panther up to school and showed it to us kids,” Finch recalls. “He had an old coupe, guess it wasn’t old then, that was maroon. It wasn’t a Ford but a Chevrolet or Buick. He had it on the fender.”
Finch doesn’t recall the name of the man who shot it and guesses he never heard it. “He was cutting wood for ol’ man Willie Krueger, who owned Krueger Store” in Twin Sisters. The man was working on the Heideman property, which is 1,200 acres from the Little Blanco River to 473 West. He had a little rat terrier dog that treed the big cat and then the man shot it with a .22 single shot, killing it.
“That panther is the reason that’s the mascot,” says Finch. “The first year we had a football team, we didn’t have enough boys to play. Five boys from Dripping Springs transferred to Blanco, went to school here, and played football. We voted on the school colors and mascot.”
“We were tied between a lion and a panther,” Finch recalls. “Since they killed that panther, the whole school voted for the panther mascot.”
A search of the Blanco County News archives at the Blanco Library doesn’t turn up much in regards to the dead mountain lion or the mascot. Coverage of Blanco school sports in 1939 didn’t mention a mascot, and articles beginning in 1940 start referring to Blanco Panthers.
“Buster Fulcher was one of my mentors,” says Finch. “I was crazy about him and was around him all my life. He was a gun man, as I am. ... Buster had a whole arsenal of rifles.”
“Buster was quite a character,” Finch went on. “Buster went to school in Stephenville and he married Angeline Fulcher; at the time, she was the last living direct descendent of Sam Houston.”
“He got hooked on Coca-Cola,” Finch says with a laugh. “They were made with coca beans and you could get addicted to them. I never would drink any because they weren’t but this big” — he indicated a small bottle — “and you could get a tall RC for the same price.”