January 31, 1897
A story appeared in the Arkansas Gazette, apparently written by Elbert Smithee, about the “gowrow,” one of several fabulous monsters reported in Arkansas popular lore. The story may actually owe its origins more to that article than to any traditional narrative and folk belief. Elmer Burrus provided an illustration, allegedly based on a photograph, to accompany the piece. Creatures such as the gowrow abound in the folklore of exaggeration that is often associated with the frontier. Though sometimes stories about them may be told as true, more frequently they are tall tales or “lies,” as some storytellers denominate them. In fact, Vance Randolph presented his material on the gowrow in his collection of tall tales titled We Always Lie to Strangers.