Friday, September 20, 2019

Happy Anniversary, Hidden Springs ~ by Kristine Raymond

A few short weeks ago, I celebrated an anniversary.  Not the kind you think - or maybe it is, given my occupation.  On September 1, 2013, I sat down in front of my computer and began typing.  I was going to write a book - just for the fun of it.  You know, to see if I could.  What made its way from my brain to my fingers to my keyboard and into my Word document ended up as the first of nine books in the Hidden Springs series.

I remember knowing with unfailing certainty that my story would take place in the Old West.  How could it not when I, the author, often dreamed of living in an untamed land where a man who was fast on the draw was equally quick to defend a lady's honor?  And that same woman, with her demure manner and gentle smile, in reality, hid a spine made of railroad spikes beneath her corset.  Ah, those were the days, weren't they?

As the words flowed, my characters began to take shape.  Sam Mackenzie, a drifter cowboy, searching for a place to belong.  Kate Ryan, a woman mistrustful of strangers, due in no small part to the violence that stripped her of her family and left her guarding a terrible secret.  Add in a frontier town, a wild horse roundup, and a love story with more twists and turns than a sidewinder, and voila!  Here to Stay was born.

Two more books followed in rapid succession - Hearts on Fire and Abby's Heart.  Two stories that pulled me deeper into this Old West world I'd created.  More followed, as each book birthed the next; sideline characters demanding equal time on the page. Before I knew it, I'd published nine books total with stories spanning thirty-three years.  All that from writing a single story for the fun of it.


I've often been asked which Hidden Springs book is my favorite and, to that, I have no answer.  Each one holds a special place in my heart, not only because they are extensions of my imagination, but because the characters and storylines and the town itself, fictional as it is, are real to me.  I love these people like they are my own friends and family.  I'm invested in their lives and futures.  I laugh with them, cry with them; celebrate their victories and commiserate with them in their defeats.  And more often than not, I giggle at their antics, identifying on a personal level with certain quirks in their personalities.  So, in a way, I guess, you could say that every time I read one of my books, I am living back in the Old West.

Excerpt from Dancing in the Dark:

The two men strode down the middle of Main Street, small clouds of dust swirling up from beneath their boot heels.  They didn’t seem to notice the looks cast in their direction by curious townspeople, who wondered what was causing the grim expressions on their faces.  Neither spoke, each man occupied by his own thoughts, though if they had, they would’ve discovered they were both thinking about the same person – Melinda Sue.

Jack’s thoughts were spinning; bouncing around in his head like the marble set his son, Micah, played with. As marshal of Hidden Springs, he had an oath to uphold, to protect the citizens of this town he loved, and those who lived in outlying areas, from anyone who wished to cause them harm. He’d failed to do that very thing six years ago and now, he wasn’t sure he could face Melinda Sue objectively. The woman had caused too much hurt and anger, and given his previous personal relationship with her, he’d always felt he shared some responsibility for her actions.

Rusty, on the other hand, was wondering why Melinda Sue would encourage her new husband to settle here, and more specifically, what fueled his interest in the Brewerton place. Garrett Sterling appeared affluent enough to reside anywhere he wanted, and though Hidden Springs was a fine place to live, it seemed beneath the station of someone so wealthy. Stomach churning, he followed Jack up the steps of the boarding house and entered the building.

“Good day, Mrs. Peabody,” Jack said, touching the brim of his hat. “I was wondering if you could tell me if a Mr. Garrett Sterling and his wife are staying here.”

“Wife!” The boarding house owner sniffed haughtily. “You mean that nasty Melinda Sue Perkins? Yep, they’re stayin’ here.” The robust woman came around the front desk, hands on her hips. “If I’da known who she was beforehand, I never woulda’ rented the room. But that Mr. Sterling came in by himself, all shined up and waving a handful of bills. It wasn’t ‘til after I gave him the key that he brought that woman in.”

“It’s alright, Mrs. Peabody. I understand how you feel.” Jack reached over and took her hand, patting it reassuringly. “I wonder if you might tell me which room they’re in. I’d like to have a conversation with the Sterlings.”

Returning the pat, Delilah Peabody arched an eyebrow. “A conversation, huh? Can you promise me you won’t be conversin’ with bullets? I have other guests to think about, you know.”

“I’ll do my best to keep the shooting to a minimum,” Jack assured her, a smile playing at the corner of his mouth.

“Well, alright then. They’re in room three. Top of the stairs to the right.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” He walked to the staircase and eased his way up, taking care to tread lightly. Rusty followed close on his heels, alert to any danger that might arise. When they reached the landing, they could hear loud voices coming from the room in question. Jack held his fingers up to his lips and leaned closer to the door, eavesdropping on the conversation taking place inside.

“… don’t care what you think! You promised me we’d come back and live here and I’m holding you to that!”

“Melinda, darlin’, you were less than forthcoming in describing this town. What am I supposed to do here all day? There is no theatre or music house in this…this…settlement, or a decent drinking establishment. The only thing I’ve seen that arouses my interest is the whorehouse.”

“Whorehouse? Over my dead body! No husband of mine will visit a whorehouse. I’ll not have the people of this town talking behind my back!” A drawer slammed shut. “Besides, I thought you wanted to be a rancher.”

Eager to hear Sterling’s response, Rusty leaned forward next to Jack, his ear to the door.

“A rancher!” Sterling snorted. “What I want, my darling wife, is a spread so big it makes every living soul in this territory green with envy. I want horses and cattle and crops, and most importantly, I want dozens of men to do the work for me. Did you see the condition of that house? The barns? The land? It’ll take months, maybe years to build the Brewerton place up to my standards.”

White hot anger boiled up inside of Rusty. It was bad enough the man was willing to pay more for the one place Rusty wanted; now he was vilifying it. Glancing at Jack, he straightened, taking a step back from the door, his spur jiggling as it made contact with a tea table sitting against the wall. The conversation in the room came to an abrupt halt and Jack barely had time to move away from the door before it was flung open.

“Why Marshal Tanner, what a pleasure to see you.” Melinda Sue draped herself against the doorway, her low cut dress showing an ample amount of cleavage. “How’ve you been, Jack?” she cooed, placing her hand on his chest. “Married life agreeing with you?” Her seductive implication was not lost on anyone.

“Darling,” Sterling remarked exaggeratedly, walking over to stand by his wife, “aren’t you going to invite our guests in?” He offered Jack his hand as the men entered the room. “Garrett Sterling. A pleasure to meet you, sir. My wife speaks very highly of you.”

Jack hid a grimace. “I bet she does,” he replied sardonically. “I believe you’ve met Rusty Flanagan?”

“Ah, Mr. Flanagan, my good man. Nice to see you again. Though I should hold a grudge that you’re trying to acquire a certain piece of land I have my eye on, I do rather like a challenge.” The man walked over to a sideboard, upon which several bottles of liquor were displayed. “Either of you gentlemen care for a drink? Whiskey, perhaps? Brandy? No? Well, excuse me while I prepare myself a libation. It’s been quite an afternoon.” He poured an inch of amber liquid into a tumbler and drank it down, then refilled his glass. Settling himself on the settee, he looked expectantly at Jack, waiting for the lawman to speak.

“Mr. Sterling…,”

“Garrett, please. Mr. Sterling sounds so formal.”

“Mr. Sterling,” Jack repeated, resuming his line of questioning. “What brings you to Hidden Springs?”

“I thought that had been made clear.” Turning to Rusty, he asked, “Didn’t you tell him that I’ve put a bid in on the Brewerton place?”

“He did tell me that. And I’m asking you again – what are you doing in Hidden Springs?”

“You always were straight to the point, Jack,” Melinda Sue laughed.

Ignoring her, Jack leveled his gaze at her husband, folding his arms across his chest. The older man shifted in his seat, almost imperceptibly, but his movement didn’t escape the lawman’s notice. “I’m waiting.”

“Now see here!” Sterling huffed, jumping up from the settee, “there is no good reason for you to be here questioning our intentions. Is this how you welcome every newcomer to your town?” His attempt to sound injured over having his motives challenged fell flat, the sweat on his forehead and puffy red cheeks giving him away.

“That’s where you’re mistaken,” Jack clarified, in a level tone. “I’m not welcoming you to town. In fact, I’m inviting you to leave. Today, and never come back. Your wife is not welcome here and by extension, neither are you.”  




Get Dancing in the Dark here.

**********************************************************************

About the Author

It wasn’t until later in life that Kristine Raymond figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up, an epiphany that occurred in 2013 when she sat down and began writing her first book.  Sixteen books (in multiple genres) later, she’s added the title of podcasting host to her resume, thus assuring that she will never be idle.

When a spare moment does present itself, she fills it by navigating the publishing and promotional side of the business.  When not doing that, she spends time with her husband and furbabies (not necessarily in that order), reads, or binge-watches Netflix.

Find out more about Kristine on her website at www.kristineraymond.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and BookBub.

And for links to podcast episodes, guest posts, and other great stuff, check out Word Play with Kristine Raymond at www.wordplaypodcast.com.




Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park


by Andrea Downing 
the Moulton Barn

Map of Mormon Row drawn by Craig Moulton, courtesy of Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum

The first homesteaders came from Rockland, Idaho, and stopped in Victor before they crossed the Teton Pass. Nowadays, we have a road, steep and full of hair-pin bends, yet they crossed the pass in wagons.  They camped on Fish Creek in Wilson, where I now reside part-year, before they moved on to make their claim for 160 acres under the Homestead Act, paying their $21 claim fee.  Some would secure further acres under the Desert Land Act, which required them to irrigate the land. 
Thomas Alma & Lucille Moulton Homestead, ca.1910
They arrived in July, too late to plow or plant. Water and shelter were their first concerns. They dug irrigation ditches, and dug down 120ft. or so for wells. This was the time to dig to be sure water would be available in summer—when water would be at its lowest. Then they built log cabins with a dirt roof, the lodge pole pines coming from nearby forests. And they went to Flat Creek, where hay was available for anyone who wanted it, cut it by hand, and also planted an early maturing oat, ready in 90 days. They plowed through the sagebrush with either a hand plow or a sulky plow. The soil underneath was fertile, and the resultant burning sage made an evening’s entertainment.
John & Bartha Moulton Homestead, ca. 1910
They called the community Grovont.  Most of them were ranchers, but the cattle they raised were not for their own consumption. Their subsistence depended on elk meat, hung in winter and left to freeze until they wanted it, and hogs killed and cured in summer, then wrapped in newspapers to keep the flies away. Huckleberries were another staple along with garden vegetables they could grow in the short season:  rutabagas and carrots predominated. The cattle were sold to raise money for other necessities; the steers were driven to Victor, Idaho, put on the train for Omaha and sales.  Since the price of a steer could vary as much as between $29 and $600, income was not guaranteed.  Some families traded hay, eggs or chickens, oats or cream for butter down in the town of Jackson. The Moultons had a dairy and sold milk to the local dude ranches. In addition, there was trapping, and one could earn about $50 a month from coyotes.
Andrew & Ida Chambers Homestead, ca. 1920
So, was there any recreation in this subsistence-level existence? Of course!  The Church was a major center of activity, not only for services but especially for dances.  Everyone danced, and dances were twice a month at the church (but no drinking or smoking allowed).  Still, they lasted until 3 a.m., and there’s a story about the piano player having to tape his bleeding fingers.  Christmas and Halloween parties were well attended, political rallies, weddings and harvest celebrations, and concerts and school plays, too.  Irrigation ditches became ice skating rinks in winter, and the butte afforded skiing and sledding, while in summer there was swimming in nearby water holes. 
In 1925, the Gros Ventre mud slide on Sheep Mountain damned the Gros Ventre River east of nearby Kelly, Wyoming, and caused a lake to be formed.  Two years later, the damn failed, flooding Kelly and killing six people, yet uncovering a warm spring that never freezes.  The Mormons called it ‘The Miracle Spring’, and they dug ditches to bring the water that would never freeze to their homesteads year-round. So life went on, improved somewhat.  Better houses were ordered from the Sears Roebuck Catalogue and shipped by rail to Victor, then brought by stage over the Teton Pass and erected by community effort.  Other new houses were stucco with cement.  Out-buildings were built:  log barns, granaries, and pump houses.  School, originally in someone’s living room before moving to the Church basement, finally had its own building when someone donated land. Mail came in by team or sleigh from Jackson or Moran.  Kerosene and gas light gave way to electricity in the 1950s. 
Thomas Perry Homestead, ca. 1910
So, what happened to this vibrant community? Admittedly, it was at subsistence level, but the homesteaders had made a conscious choice of the life they wanted, and this was it.  But in the 1950s, the government started a buy-out of the land that was unproductive.  The Snake River Company, with Rockefeller money behind it, bought up marginal lands, and then moved in on the homesteaders whose older generation took the money, with life leases permitting them to stay their lifetimes. John Moulton was the last to close at his death in 1990.  And so, this community became part of Grand Teton National Park.
Today, the Church, which served as such a center of community life, serves as the Calico Pizza, my local restaurant in Wilson, Wyoming.

An earlier version of this post appeared at andreadowning.com in 2014. My sincere thanks to Emily Winters, Director of Archives at the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, for her assistance in my research for this article.  All photos are author's own.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Barns, Buildings, and Brides

Today my mind turns to barn raisings. In my current Work in Progress; Prim a Needful Bride, I'm building not only a barn but a whole town.  As the town of Needful Texas grows it makes me think of my childhood and the work that the family would do as a group.  My whole family is very handy with a hammer and saw and when work needed to be done they all came together to get it finished. I still remember my cousin raising the roof on his house one year and how the entire clan turned out to strip it down and set new beams and rafters forever changing the profile of the home. No matter who you were, or what age, there was something you could help with. Kids carried boards, while one uncle cut them to length, and the woman laid out a spread of food that would make your head spin. As a teen, I was allowed to carry boards up the ladders to the men waiting to put the place back together.  For me imagining an old fashioned barn raising is as easy as letting my mind drift back to that day or many others.

Before power saws and construction crews communities came together when someone had a big building that needed to go up in a short time. Mortise and tenon structures made with huge beams and hand-cut rafters needed to go up fast because each part held the other together. The old barns were pinned with large wooden stakes pounded through holes drilled through the heavy wood framing. They literally pinned the whole thing together and each part of the structure supported the other. This is also how some of the old communities worked. Men and women would pull together at a barn raising, wedding, birth, or even tragedy. They knew that without their neighbors they were on their own and fostering good feelings and a community spirit was important to the health of the whole area.  This doesn't mean that friendly rivalry didn't play a part in some aspects of life. Old fashioned rodeos were designed for a bit of fun and friendly competition. Cowboys could show off their skill and earn bragging rights at least for that year.

As I'm working on my Brides of Needful Texas series my mind turns to how community and friendship, or even a bit of rivalry can be good for everyone.  Sometimes building a barn or a house was not just a chance to get work done quickly. Many young couples could start courting at a gathering like this. It was an opportunity for unattached men and women to meet in a well-chaperoned environment. Perhaps young men might have vied for the attention of a specific young woman or girls may have flirted with handsome young men showing off as they swung across rafters, or stepped boldly over wide beams high above the ground.
I wonder if Primrose Perkins will meet her match at a building party. Only time will tell.  I hope you'll be watching for Prim: A Needful Bride in the near future and see how this new community comes together.


The loss of her father has left Primrose Perkins in need of a way to provide not only for herself but also for her mother and sister. It also gives her a new and wonderful sense of freedom to discover who she can be.  Will she be able to find a way to ensure that her family will be cared for? Needful Texas is a growing town with growing troubles. Rowdy cowhands, drunken parties, and wealthy ranchers who don’t think they need to become a part of the community. How can Prim, find a home and the help she needs in a town with more men than is good for it? 

If you haven't read any of this series yet please feel free to check out Daliah on Amazon. 

Orphan Daliah Owens has been working for the Smithfield bank for two years without a problem at least until the new manager arrives and her drawer suddenly comes up short. Dismissed from her job and disgraced by a crime she didn't commit, Daliah seeks a second chance with an elderly couple heading to Texas on a wagon train. Facing the hardships of the trail with bravery, compassion, and faith Daliah quickly endears herself to not only her employer but many of the other members of the band as well. Invaluable in her knowledge of herbs for healing and nutrition she is soon recognized as an indispensable helper to all.

Spencer Gaines, still bitter after the loss of his wife is a hard man to talk to, but his five-year-old son Chad, and greatest treasure is more trouble than he can handle. Determined to finally settle down near his brother in Texas Spencer signs on as a chief scout for the wagon train but his duties often lead him far afield leaving Chad to get into so many scrapes they could both well be dismissed.

Will a devastating accident leave Spencer empty and alone forever or will he not only learn to trust God but also give Daliah his heart?




Friday, September 13, 2019

Wild Women Hotel Owners who became Millionaires


By Jacqui Nelson

A bold entrepreneurial spirit could lead to fame and fortune in the Wild West. Why be a guest in a hotel when you could own it and manage it exactly how it needed to be managed? Meet two historic hotel owners whose savvy business skills and passion for real estate development made them millionaires.

Sarah Horton Cockrell 

( born 1819 in Virginia ) 

In 1847, Sarah lived with her husband in a tent on Mountain Creek until they could purchase a headright along Texas’ Trinity River. Together they ran the Trinity River ferry service, operated a sawmill, and also worked in brickmaking and construction. Since Sarah's husband couldn't read or write, she handled the business records, correspondences, and money.

When her husband was killed in a gunfight in 1858, she continued managing her family's businesses (which then had three hotels) with the assistance from her son and son-in-law. In 1859, she opened the St. Nicholas Hotel which was destroyed in the 1860 Dallas fire. That didn’t stop her. She kept building and opened the Dallas Hotel, the St. Charles, a private residential subdivision, and also a multi-story office building.

In 1870, she formed the Dallas Bridge Company through which she built an iron suspension bridge over the Trinity River, connecting Dallas with North Texas. For the next ten years, she managed and collected the toll on the bridge.

When she died in 1892, she was said to have owned a quarter of what was then downtown Dallas and had become one of Texas' first millionaires.

Margaret Jane Boag Anderson

( born 1859 in Iowa ) 

In 1889, Margaret married a man who worked at one of California’s early orange orchards. He was 19 years her senior and some say he died leaving Margaret a widow with two young children. Others say he remarried eight years after he married Margaret.

Margaret began her hotel career working with Almira Parker Hershey (a hotel proprietor and property developer who'd gotten into business by working for her father, a lumber and farming magnate).

By 1903, Margaret and her son Stanley were managing Almira’s Hotel Hollywood. Despite the hotel's growth (expanding from 16 rooms to 250 and becoming one of the best-known hotels in the area), Margaret and Almira’s manager-owner relationship was quarrelsome. In 1909, both parties filed lawsuits that lasted two years.

Their prolonged public dispute led the Rodeo Land and Water Company to form a partnership with Margaret. The company wanted a flagship hotel to spur development and Margaret wanted ownership of land, something she’d been unable to secure from Almira.

In 1912, Margaret achieved her victory over Almira when she told everyone at the Hollywood Hotel that she’d resigned and the hotel was closed until new management could be hired. She then offered jobs to the staff and rooms to the guests at her new hotel, the Beverly Hills Hotel. She relocated everyone before Almira heard the news.

Margaret didn’t stop there. By 1914, she had the patronage of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, the top film-star couple of their era. Margaret’s Beverly Hills Hotel (built for $500,000) became the top celebrity playhouse where she indulged her guests while maintaining an ironclad policy of guarding their privacy.

If you could own a hotel, which hotel would it be? Or if you could build a brand-new hotel, where is your dream location? 

My choice would be...a hotel in a forest (far from the city) or on a beach (far from the city). Okay, there's a pattern! I'd want my hotel to be a quiet sanctuary surrounded by nature :)

~ * ~

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What is it About a Horse Whisperer? by Rhonda Frankhouser

Okay, on the scale from 1 to 10, how sexy is a horse whisperer? To me, maybe a 50. Especially when Robert Redford played the part. Mercy.

Copyright to the owner from the motion picture, The Horse Whisperer

The art of communicating with horses is an age old art form, performed, unfortunately, by fewer and fewer experts as time goes on. The technical definition of horse whisperer, according to www.yourdictionary.com, is, "horse trainer who adopts a sympathetic view of the motives, needs, and desires of the horse, based on modern equine psychology." 

I've researched the techniques used by a few working horse whisperers, though I'm sure there are a million more that I could share. 
Steve Harris - Photo rights to owner.
Well known horse whisperer, Steve Harris', main premise is not to break the will of the horse, but rather to use the gentle side of force. Thanks to a fabulous article by Jack Dunigan, The Gentle Side of Force, here's a summary of his techniques.
1. Establish a partnership between the rider and horse by showing you're a confident leader.
2. Establish two-way communication by talking face to face.
3. Establish who is the leader and who's the follower by being associates, rather than buddies.
4. Maintain a connection by spending time and being present.
5. Prove you're trustworthy by repeating behaviors to show your integrity.
6. Test respect by not 'demanding' but 'asking' them to follow.
7. Clarify what you want by being very clear with directions.
8. Once respect and enthusiasm is established between horse and rider, then ride and enjoy the symbiotic relationship.
Mark Rashid - Photo rights to owner.
Another approach comes from multi-published, horse whisperer, Mark Rashid, who employs the simple technique of 'don't fight, and be clear', to create a mutually respectful relationship between rider and horse. In his interview with PBS/ATL, NATURE Horse and Rider, he shares the following:
1. The rider must truly understand what it is they want from their mount before 'asking' the horse to follow direction. 
2. Recognize the horse's good behavior and build on that, rather than focusing on bad behaviors.
3. Horse's don't usually willingly disobey, they often misunderstand. Be sure to be 'speak the same language' and be clear what you're asking them to do.
4. Be certain the horse is healthy and not suffering from an ailment that would aggravate the training. (i.e. mouth or foot issues).
5. Use a steady stream of affirmation language to communicate what you want the horse to do and to be sure he/she understands. He suggests repeatedly using "good" for wanted behavior and "no" for unwanted behaviors. 

As luck would have it, my childhood neighbor, a delightful, strong, silent construction worker, transformed into an amazing horse whisperer working with our horses on the farm. This Nevada native, was born into the incredible horse-savvy Spanish Basque culture. One minute he was a jokester, but when he climbed on to the saddle of the meanest gelding in the barn, his attention was strictly focused on the fidgeting animal. 

We all stood around the pen, amazed as the horse settled down, perked his ears back, and followed the commands by this very quiet, very calm, very confident rider. I was sooooooooooooooooooooo envious how he could make that ornery horse do whatever he wanted. Even more so when he dismounted and the gelding followed dutifully behind without nipping or lunging (as was his favorite thing to do with me).

So really it seems, creating a good relationship between horse and rider is more about respect and trust, rather than the command of the rider over the mount. Come to think of it, that's a good adage for all relationships. Wouldn't you say?

Have you ever seen a horse whisperer in action? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After fourteen years in hospice care management in central California, Rhonda Frankhouser now writes full time from her lovely Atlanta, Georgia home. Rhonda's award-winning Ruby's Ranch Series, earned a finalist honor in the Uncaged Review Raven Awards; a second runner up in the prestigious InD'Tale Magazine RONE awards and a Book and Benches, Reviewers Top Pic ~ Books of Distinction award. Her follow up Shadowing Souls Series and Let Yourself Believe Series, have captured the attention of both romance and mainstream readers alike. Rhonda is a happily married stepmom to three beautiful daughters; two adorable pugs and a lazy Labrador named Dutch.


Check out Rhonda's Award-Winning Ruby's Ranch Series on Amazon. Book 1 will be FREE on Freebooksy September 14-16. Check this link on September 14th to get your copy!!!

Christmas at Ruby's Ranch - A Novella will be available soon!




Tuesday, September 10, 2019

DR. BATES, I PRESUME

post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines





I want to introduce you to two women who were practicing medicine in Denver before 1900. Both were named Mary Bates. Although I'm still learning about these doctors, their stories so far are still the stuff of legends and can and will  lead to so much more.

To help put their story in context let’s start with Colorado, which became a state in 1876. From the early days, Colorado was filled with people who were adventurers, the people who go where others may fear to tread. When gold and other minerals were found in the high mountains the state population began to explode. Those not searching for gold, remember the1859 slogan  “Pikes Peak or Bust”, they were providing services and goods for the searchers. 

Additionally, there was an influx of people who found the Colorado climate beneficial for their health. This combination led many women to brave this new territory to practice their medical skills. Into this mix, Mary Elizabeth Bates and Mary Helen Barker Bates arrive.

an early image of Leadville from Wikipedia
Mary Helen Barker Bates (b.1845-d.1934) was the daughter of Dr. Ezra Barker who practiced in New York. She graduated from the Woman’s Medical College in Philadelphia. In her early career, she practiced in Salt Lake City, Utah. Family history says she was the physician for Mormon leader Brigham Young. In reality, she probably was the doctor for members of his family. It was in Utah she met and married George Bates in 1876. In 1878. at the age of 33, she moved to the mining town of Leadville, Colorado. Leadville for those who don’t know sits at 10,152 feet above sea level in the Colorado Rockies. While there she was part of the group who tried to create the Ladies Relief Hospital. In 1881 she moved to Denver for her husband’s health. She was also one of the early women licensed by the State when the state began licensing physicians in 1881. (Her license #271). She took a special interest in Women's Suffrage, children and education. She introduced the Colorado bill for the Law for the Examination and Care of Public School Children which went into effect in 1910.

Image result for images of 1880 Denver colorado
Denver, CO 1887
Library of Congress
Mary Elizabeth Bates (b.1851 d.1954) arrived in Denver in 1891. Before arriving in Colorado, she was the first woman intern (1882-1883) at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois after a grueling exam in which she beat out several male candidates. She studied in Vienna from 1883-1884. Upon her return, she was a professor of anatomy at the Woman’s Medical College in Chicago from 1884-1889. In Colorado, she also was involved in the Woman’s Suffrage movement and was part of the group that affected the passage of the 1893 referendum which gave Colorado women the right to vote. Dr. Bates also was a champion of the strict adherence to the liquor and gambling laws of the state. Dr. Bates other passion was animal rights and before her death in 1954 she created the Mary Elizabeth Bates Foundation for animal care.


Both women were and are strong role models for following a dream and not giving up on what you believe in. As I continue to research and learn about these early women pioneer doctors I find their stories are something I do not want future generations to lose. The gift these women have left us are the nuggets of gold that far outweigh the stuff that was torn from the earth during the time they were practicing their careers. 

Photo property of the author
In the novel "Josie's Dream", Josephine Forrester dreams of creating a medical practice of her own. She gets the chance in the town of Kiowa Wells, CO.  Below is a short excerpt where Josies is treating Will Murphy, the man who is the one who ... 

The early summer heatwave of the past week drove Will’s patience past all control. He was sitting in Josie’s office, his hands moving under the bandage on his head.
Fussing with your bandages won’t make your wound heal any faster,” Josie said grinning.
A lot you know, lady doctor,” Will shot back.
Insulting me will not help either,” Josie laughed. The look of frustration on Will’s face was too ludicrous to keep the laugh inside.
I’ll show you,” Will snarled as he began unwinding the bandage on his head. Almost as quickly, the kitten, seeing movement pounced on the flying ends.
It was too much, Josie laughed so hard tears were falling, as she held her ribs, gasping for breath.
Sheepishly, Will grinned, reaching over to pet the kitten. “Perhaps you could…”
Still gasping, Josie could only nod her head in assent, her green eyes sparkling at Will’s discomfort. She knew she should be professional, but between the kitten and Will’s discomfort, she just couldn’t keep a straight face.
In the meantime, the kitten reverted to its ancestral self, attacking the bandage with a vengeance. The way the kitten pounced, attacking the ends, then pulling, it appeared she might manage to topple Will over.
Jumping up, Josie picked up and moved the kitten away. Taking a pair of scissors, Josie began cutting the bandage from around Will’s head. Once she’d removed the bandage, she gently examined the wound from the bullet. “Well, you’re healing nicely, but that wound is still looking like a piece of rare meat.”
Are you saying you could place my head between two pieces of bread?” Will grinned.
I doubt it would be very good, too tough,” Josie retorted.
What, you don’t like it tough?”
Josie wasn’t comfortable with the way the conversation was heading. Will was her patient, but…
What, the cat got your tongue?” Will quipped.

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Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History