Friday, August 27, 2021

Jim Baker and Battle Mountain by Zina Abbott

 Jim Baker, known much of his life as “Honest Jim Baker,” was of Scotch-Irish descent. He was born in Belleville, St. Claire, Illinois in 1818. His family was considered poor, and he learned to hunt small game as a boy. When he was seventeen, he traveled on foot to St. Louis, Missouri, where his grandfather lived in order to get an education.

Baker was sent home because he did not show much interest in an education. On the way, he listened to tales of adventures in the mountains. He met Jim Bridger and ended up signing a contract with the American Fur Company and joined his first trapping expedition.

On May 22, 1839, he left St. Louis with a large party, heading for the annual rendezvous in the Wyoming mountains. On May 25th, 1839, he and his party traveled on an old steamer, St. Peter, up the Missouri River to Kansas City. From there, the party was transported on keel boats traveling to Grand Island on the Platte River. They reached the Laramie Plains. It was there they first encountered Native Americans.

1872 Map Southern Wyoming Territory

The party continued down the Medicine Bow and Laramie Rivers to Sweetwater, crossing South Pass to arrive at Fort Bonneville, which was a
fortified winter camp and fur trading post near present-day Pinedale, Wyoming.

In 1838 to 1839, Baker hunted and trapped the Wind River Mountains. In the spring of 1840 he returned home to Illinois.

During the spring of 1841, Jim set out for his second journey to the Rocky Mountains. He again traveled across the Laramie Plains, over South Pass, down the Green River to Bridger's camp at the Henry's Fork. Bridger, who was worried about his associate Henry Frapp (also known as Henry Fraeb), sent Baker along with others to search for the lost party who had been trapping at the Base of Squaw Mountain on the banks of the Little Snake River. The hunters had built a temporary fort and corral on a defensible hillock.

Battle Mountain - Carbon Co ctsy

On August 21, 1841, Jim Baker noticed a cloud of dust arising on the southwest side of Bastion Mountain. This mountain
is in the Medicine Bow Range on Wyoming’s southern border and sits near the tiny hamlet of Savery in Carbon County. Its peak reaches an elevation slightly over 9,100 feet, about 3,000 feet more than the surrounding area.

Battle Mountain earned its name from a six-day fight in 1841 between about thirty-five trappers and an estimated 700 warriors from three tribes, including Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho. The battle resulted in the deaths of as many as 100 natives. As the legend goes, the hunters were down to their last bullets when their tormentors finally decided they had enough and retreated from the scene. Captain Fraeb/Frapp died early in this fight, which left Jim Baker, twenty-one years of age, to take charge.

Jim Baker

On August 27th, 1841, after the Natives retreated, the trappers departed and returned back to Bridger's camp. This battle earned Jim Baker the reputation as an Indian fighter. As a result of this battle, Bastion Mountain was given its new name: Battle Mountain.

In 1847, Baker settled for a short time in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he became a government Scout and guide. His talent to speak the Shoshone language and use Arapaho sign as well as his knowledge of the rivers, trails, mountains, led him to Old Mexico. He returned from there , where he returned with a regiment of soldiers to Fort Bridger.

In 1859, Jim Baker took up homestead near Denver, three miles north on Clear Creek. He built an adobe brick building at what is now 53rd and Tennyson Street, just west of Regis College. He built a toll bridge as well as owned the first coal mine in Colorado where Eris is now, 18 miles west of Denver. In the same year, Baker was appointed a captain in the Colorado Militia.

In 1873, Jim left Colorado and returned to the Little Snake River Valley to start a cattle ranch.

Baker was married several times, each time to a Native American woman. Marina was a daughter of the Shoshone chief Washakie. His other two wives were Shoshone sisters raised by a French family: Mary (Meteetsee) and Eliza (Yanatse). He had a total of fourteen children, but only six survived to accompany him to Savery, Wyoming in 1873. They were: William, Joseph (born to Marina) Mary, Isabelle, Madeline (born to Mary) and Jennie (born to Eliza). None of his three wives were with him in 1873, having either died or been sent away. He never remarried.

The Wikipedia article on Jim Baker gives many details about his posterity.

Jim Baker Cabin - Savery, Wyoming

In Savery, Baker built a cabin from cotton wood trees that were chopped by Jim and his three daughters, Isabel, Madeline and Jennie. The cabin had three stories, the upper was used as a watch tower but as the threat of hostility with the Native tribes diminished, the third story was removed.

In 1875, Jim Baker served General Custer as a scout during the Fight at Rosebud in the Black Hills. In 1881, under the direction of Major Thomas T. Thornburgh of Fort Fred Steele, he again was ask to aide in yet another confict, this time with the Ute tribe, in what became known as The Meeker Massacre.

On May 15, 1898, at the age of eighty, Jim Baker died in his cabin near Savery, Wyoming. After traveling scouting from Missouri, to Oregon, from California to the Kansas territory, through Salt Lake and over the Rocky Mountains, one of the greatest scouts, trappers and Indian fighters of all time, died not far from Battle Mountain, the place that had earned him much fame as a young man of twenty-one. He was buried in a small cemetery overlooking the Little Snake River Valley.

In 1917, The Baker Cabin was removed from Savery and taken to Frontier Park in Cheyenne, Wyoming. However, in July, 1976, the home of Jim Baker was returned to Savery Wyoming. It is now located at the Little Snake River Museum in Savery. The cabin was reconstructed under the direction of Jim Baker's great-grandson, Paul McAllister, who still lives in Dixon, Wyoming. 


I became acquainted with the story of Jim Baker and how Battle Mountain in Carbon County, Wyoming, got its name as I researched the history of the Little Snake River Valley for my upcoming book, A Bride for Devlin. Earlier this year, I wrote Mail Order Blythe, which was set in Rawlins, Wyoming. It was then I learned about the stagecoach that operated between Rawlins and Baggs. Since my husband has been on two deer hunting trips to Baggs, Wyoming, and raved about the area, I decided that was the region where I wanted my current book set.


There are three little towns in the Little Snake River Valley

Baggs, Dixon, and Savery. Especially for the time period of my book, 1878, here is a dearth of historical information about these towns. However, while researching Savery, I came upon its most illustrious early resident, Jim Baker. He’s not included in my book, but I found his story interesting.

A Bride for Devlin is currently on preorder and will be released September 10, 2021.




Tuesday, August 24, 2021

So, you've been elected as sheriff...what now???

 Movies and TV have glamorized law enforcement in the west. But more than likely, a sheriff's job was full of dull everyday things. We all know that those in law enforcement had to be quite handy with weapons. Their skill with fire arms would have brought them to the public attention. Often, citizens might find a figure in the town that was tall in statue in order to intimidate those who might want to cause a bit of trouble.

Being a sheriff or marshal meant you were in charge of the town. You needed to keep it orderly. You needed to enforce the laws and in some cases, YOU were in charge of cleaning the streets. Remember, no automobiles - your form of transportation was by foot or by horse. Horses do have a habit of leaving their calling card. Imagine in the heat, the smell of horse poop and the hum of flies. It was once noted that in Colonial Williamsburg the layer of poop in their streets was something close to five inches thick. I shudder to think about lifting my skirts to make sure my hems didn't become matted with the muck.

Sheriff's and marshal's were not the final say when it came to law enforcement. There was a tier of interaction. Sheriff served the entire county. In those counties, there were town marshals, deputies, and just plain old peace officers. However, above them all were the Feds - a federal marshal might have the final say in many disputes. If you lived in a frontier town, your law enforcement might fall under the military. Each group would have their own jobs.

Town marshals - elected or appointed.

Sheriff - elected by the county and spent a long time campaigning or taking care of towns, villages etc that had no town marshals.

The US Marshal Service came to be in the year 1789. They were in charge of Federal jurisdictions and matters such as serving warrants, arrest of fugitives, and transportation of prisoners. 

Being in law enforcement was a full time job.Some were known to be called out in the middle of the night and often would show up in their night dress.

Because people wanted law and order. Guns were regulated in towns to keep the peace. Tombstone required weapons to be surrendered for the length of stay. Towns like Deadwood, Virginia City, and Dodge had strict laws. In Deadwood, their laws on weapons said, "No person shall fire or discharge any cannon or gun, fowling piece, pistol, or fire-arm of any description, or fire, explode, or set off any squib, cracker or other thing containing powder or other combustible or explosive material... without permission of the mayor."

Having a family would present the idea that a man was settled and trustworthy. However due to his office, the family would be under constant scrutiny. Imagine living in a fish bowl. Where people watched what you did, how you dressed, whether or not you missed church? You can see where that might have a bit of a strain on your better half.

So, being in charge of a town was a big chore. Often people voted in those who would take advantage of a situation. Graft and shakedowns were common place. Which maybe why we appreciate our "novel" sheriffs to be placed on a pedistal.

 Until next time....


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Journals through Generations

Soon To Be Released

Diary entry, January 1, 1886 


If you have been reading our family journals, by now you know the Clark family has a big secret. We have found a hidden portal to the future at the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona. 


My brothers, Jesse and Tucker, both have wives from the 21st century. Jesse is married to Skylar and Tucker's wife's name is Lucy. I love them both dearly. 


It was I who discovered the portal opens once a year on December 28th and stays open for 24 hours. I learned the hard way when I got distracted and didn't make it back to the portal in time to return to the Arizona territory of 1884. I was stuck in the future for an entire year.


Despite the modern Conveniences of the future, I much prefer the simplicity of life in the 19th century. Boy is it good to be home.


I've always been an independent sort, but I discovered in my Journey to the future how wonderful life is for the liberated Women of the future.


It's New Year's Day, and I've resolved to join the women's suffrage movement. I plan to gather signatures to hasten the passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will give women the right to vote it's a worthy cause and promises to be a perilous but exciting journey.


Did you have a journal or a diary as a kid? Do you have one now? I do. My parents bought me my first one when I was around nine or ten. Sometimes, it's fun to read them and drift back in time. Things that seemed so important then especially while raising my children don't seem so important now. There were times of celebrations and grief. I loved writing in mine and the favorite part was they had a key so I could lock my thoughts away from prying eyes. A little privacy was exciting, especially in my teens. 

I can't help but wonder if writing in my journals is what started me on my path to become a writer. I'm pretty sure it was. I was the little News Paper lady in our family. I wrote about everything that happened in my small world and sometimes, I wrote about events that I seen on TV or heard on the radio. My first understanding of death came early when my three year old little sister Tina Maria was ran over by a logging truck, and then my baby brother Travis lost his young life at one month old to pneumonia. Life was hard and tears were shed, but journals help us remember the good times and the bad. 

I wonder if my children will keep my journal's when I'm gone or if they will throw them in the trash? Hard to say. In my Chasing Time saga book two 'TUCKER' Tucker travels to the future he finds out that they're many Clark descendant's still living in or around Heaven's Cove and prospering. He also discovers his great great great grandson Cole Clark lives at the Bar C, his family home, and has his Ma's bible, and his families journals. What a shock! Did they read them? Yep, and they've used them through the generations as a guiding line for their family values.


 I sure appreciate you joining me here on Cowboy Kisses! I'll be here again next month on the last Monday of September. Until then keep safe. Be kind. Write in your journal:O)

Watch for MARISSA and a FREE Amazon gift card to one lucky individual.

Friday, August 20, 2021

THE PONY EXPRESS by Lianna Hawkins

The history of the wild west has always been a fascination for me. I’ve started to design my next series while writing book three in my Runaway Outlaws series. Part of this process is searching history for inspiration. I came across the Pony Express which holds a short window of time in history. Only a year and half. Here are some fun facts about this unique way the U.S. mail was delivered.

Photo from the National Pony Express Association


1.    ~The Pony Express was more than twice as fast as its competitors. In March of 1861, riders carried the inaugural address of Abraham Lincoln from Nebraska to California in just seven days, 17 hours. The average time was 10 days compared to an overland stagecoach taking 25 days.

2.      ~It never made a profit. When the Pony Express closed in October of 1861, it had lost around 200,000 dollars.

3.      ~There was a weight limit to be a rider. Most of us picture tough cowboys as riders, but in actuality most of the riders were small, wiry men who weighed between 100 and 125 pounds.

4.      ~The riders had to take a loyalty oath.

5.     ~ Mail was carried in a specially designed saddle bag.

6.     ~ Ordinary people usually never used the Pony Express.

7.    ~  Robert “Pony Bob” Haslam made a historic ride by traveling 380-miles run in less than two days.

8.     ~The riders didn’t have the most dangerous job in the Pony Express. Being the stock keeper at the transfer stations wasn’t safe due to them being vulnerable to ambush.

9.     ~Buffalo Bill was more likely not a Pony Express rider even though he claimed to be in his autobiography.

~The transcontinental telegraph was the historical event that finally finished the Pony Express. 

Ellie Beckett and her sisters have spent more than a decade trying to move on from their outlaw past. When Henry Weston arrives at the sisters’ business, Fallen Dove Saloon and Hotel, demanding part of their profits, Ellie schemes a plan to take him down before he does the same to them. But, when Liam Holt arrives wanting to rescue her, even though Ellie insists she doesn’t need rescuing, both Ellie and Liam collide head on with her past.

Liam Holt arrives in Helena, Montana with a motive to not only track down an outlaw but escape a life of privilege. At least long enough for him to figure out what he wants.

When Liam meets Ellie Beckett his plan spins out of control. With danger lurking, he wants nothing more than to protect her. For the first time in his life, he knows what he wants and that is to make the fiery red-head his. Though she refuses to make this an easy task, he’s determined to win her heart.

As the pages turn, sparks fly, igniting a fire between them not even they can stop. Will love win or will unforeseen circumstances keep them apart?

See you next month,

Lianna Hawkins
Award-Winning Author of Western Romance


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

BOTH SIDES OF THE LAW By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless


Many of the qualities that attracted early settlers to the West were shared among lawmen and criminals alike—mainly the willingness to risk their lives to enforce the law or commit a crime.  Given that, it comes as no surprise that history records men who, at various times in their lives, worked both sides of the law.  Given the wide-spread use of firearms by both camps, it’s hard to believe that in some towns the City Fathers begrudged not only the lawman’s salary, but the amounts spent on ammunition for their lawmen. 

Here are a few colorful examples of men who loved and loathed the law.

Tom Horn was at one time a cowboy, a soldier, a range detective and Pinkerton agent who finished his career as a hired killer.

Burton Alford made the move from lawman to the more profitable work as an outlaw.

J. J. Webb spent his days first as a lawman, a hunter, a surveyor, then a hired gun who ended his days riding with the Dodge City Gang

Henry Newton Brown transitioned from Billy the kid’s gang to deputy sheriff in Texas where he was fired for picking fights with drunks.  In Kansas, he turned respectable and was promoted to Marshall to clean up the town of Caldwell.  Sadly, he was living beyond his means and became involved in a plot to rob a bank in Texas. The attempt failed and Brown was shot and killed trying to escape.

It’s often said the lawman has to think like the criminal, so I find this thin line between law and the lawless, that was often crisscrossed, fascinating.  There are no criminal tendencies in my sheriff, Weston, in A BRIDE FOR WESTON, but he does quit once, disillusioned by some aspects of the business.  The Sheriff’s Mail Order Bride series is already up and running and I’m excited to have A BRIDE FOR WESTON part of the lineup.  You can pre-order Weston here.

Do check out the entire series here.

Kathleen Lawless blames a misspent youth watching Rawhide, Maverick and Bonanza for her fascination with cowboys, which doesn’t stop her from creating a wide variety of interests and occupations for her many alpha male heroes.   

Her hero, Steele, in HER UNDERCOVER COWBOY, is a modern-day cowboy, so when she was wooed by a man called Steel— while he’s not a cowboy, he is an alpha male and her forever hero.  Which is why all of her stories end Happily Ever After.

Sign up for Kathleen’s VIP Reader Newsletter to receive a free book, updates, special giveaways and fan-priced offers.



Monday, August 16, 2021

Beads and Flutes by Paty Jager


My favorite part of writing a book is getting to research topics that I’m interested in and sometimes I learn new things that I find interesting. The newest release in my Shandra Higheagle Mystery series is set at a powwow.

I attended a powwow about 6 years ago. It was a kaleidoscope of color, interesting music, and unique vendors. The atmosphere is one of rejoicing and roots. This book is set at a different powwow which meant I needed help from my friend Carmen Peone, who lives on the reservation where I set my story. She helped me with maps of the powwow setup and information that only someone who has been there can give. I hope the reader gets a good sense of what the event is all about when reading Vanishing Dream.

While doing my research, from both my attending a powwow and gathering information about the one where my story is set, I was intrigued by the various vendors who set up booths and sell either products they themselves make or products to help make regalia (the clothing worn during the powwow dancing), jewelry, leather, feathers, sage, beads, and other items. There are also t-shirt booths and kitsch items.

From the moment this story came to me I wanted the victim to be a woman who did beadwork. I wanted her strangled with one of her own necklaces. Not because the woman deserved it, but because it was a symbol for the person who did the killing.  

Jingle dress
I’ve done very little crafting with beads and found it interesting to watch beading    videos, look up beading terms, and even the types of beads used by Native Americans.

Before glass and metal beads were introduced from Europe, beads were hand  carved from bone, shell, copper, and stone. These days the tiny glass seed beads  are what are used in the beadwork that can at times tell a story.

Jingle cones are metal cones that are sewn on dresses in a pattern so they will          knock together as the Jingle Dancer moves. This is a distinctive noise made by the  Jingle Dancer. The sound is like sleigh bells.

When I started writing books with Native American characters over ten years ago, I began listening to Native American flute and drum music. I love the flutes. Their  ethereal tone and the journey they take me on while listening to the music is      something I enjoy. Because of my love of the music, I made another booth in my    story that of a flute maker. The character makes authentic flutes from elderberry    wood

The first legend of the flute as told by deceased Lakota Elder, Phillip Brown Bear (Phil Lane) can be found on Wind Dancer Flutes website. This is a website where you can purchase handmade flutes or CDs by Roger McGee. Roger’s CDs are part of the music I listen to when I write. This is a photo of one of Roger’s flutes. 

One of Roger McGee's creations

Vanishing Dream

Book 16 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series

Deceit, Gluttony, Murder

Shandra Higheagle Greer’s deceased Nez Perce grandmother appears in her dream, dancing at a powwow. Since Grandmother only appears when there is trouble, Shandra believes, she, Ryan, and the twins should attend the yearly Powwow at the Colville Reservation.

While out for a walk the first night, Shandra sees someone lurking in the dark between the vendor tents. The following morning a vendor is discovered strangled with her own beads.

When members of Shandra’s family are attacked, she finds it hard to stay out of the investigation. Following a suspect, she’s captured. No one knows her whereabouts. Trying to call upon her grandmother to come to her aid, Shandra realizes the dreams are vanishing and fears so could her life. 

Universal Buy Link:


Paty Jager is the award-winning author of over 50 murder mystery and western romance books. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. You can contact her through her website:

Friday, August 13, 2021

My Story Inspiration for Between Love & Lies

  My Story Inspiration
By Jacqui Nelson

What inspires a story? For me, it's often reading about history and then saying, "What if...?" 

That's what happened when I read about Dodge City, the Queen of Cattle Towns, and the damage something as tiny as a tick could do—and might do in my story. 

Below is the Story Inspiration page (a page I've included in the back of all of my books) for Between Love and Lies (book 1 in my Gambling Hearts series)...

Between Love and Lies book cover


Story Inspiration page ~ from the back of the book

The spark for Between Love & Lies came from the letter below and my collection of Time-Life Old West books containing these lines: “The longhorns were carriers of a microscopic tick. The Texas animals were immune to the parasite, but the same tick produced deadly splenic fever in local cattle.”

I imagined a small farm, held together only by the grit and hard work of its owner, might not survive such an event. I wondered what might happen next, both on that unlucky farm and in the nearest town: Dodge City, the Queen of Cattle Towns—where life would be challenging for a woman who luck had deserted.

January 1, 1878 - Letter in the Washington, D. C. Evening Star

“Dodge City is a wicked little town. Here those nomads in regions remote from the restraints of moral, civil, social, and law enforcing life, the Texas cattle drovers, from the very tendencies of their situation the embodiment of waywardness and wantonness, end the journey with their herds, and here they loiter and dissipate, sometimes for months, and share the boughten dalliances of fallen women.”

Welcome to Dodge City, the Sin City of the 1870s. Secrets, lies, and danger lurk around every corner.


Gambling Hearts Series, Book 1

Dodge City, Kansas – 1877

Sadie Sullivan lost everything when a herd of longhorn cattle bound for Dodge City destroyed her farm. Now she works in Dodge—one of the most wicked and lawless towns in the West—at the Northern Star Saloon. But her survival in this new world of sin and violence depends on maintaining a lie so deadly it could end her life before the town of Dodge can.

The one man capable of unraveling Sadie’s secrets is Noah Ballantyne, the Texan rancher whose herd destroyed her home. Back in town and taking up the role of deputy alongside legendary lawman Bat Masterson, Noah vows he won’t leave until he’s made things right. But with the saloon’s madam unwilling to release Sadie and a rich cattle baron wanting her as well, the odds aren’t in favor of finding love…or leaving town alive.

In a town ruled by sin, will he earn her love or her lies?

Book review "I loved all the action in addition to the romance of the story."


Between Love & Lies, book 1
Between Home & Heartbreak, book 2

The Gambling Hearts series. Love is a gamble, especially if you're holding a losing hand.

Hope you enjoyed my writing inspiration and that your Friday and your August are...filled with many relaxing moments enjoying the summerand lots of good books too! ❤️📚

~ * ~

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Those Singing Cowboys in the Movies-My List


Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

To let readers know, this is a subjective list of my favorite Singing Cowboys, and why I have listed them as I have. This list is based on their singing. I will do an additional post on who I believe were the top five actors. To make it easy I've limited the list to five and they needed to have made movies in which they sang.

5. Gene Autry. I know some will wonder why he is so far down on the list. I confess, his voice is too 'reedy' for me. He doesn't have much of a range, unless yodeling, but he was smart and found songs that fit his voice. That he was a fabulous businessman is undeniable. We have him to thank for the whole Singing Cowboy genre. He was the first and made more films any others.

Gene Autry - en.

4.  Herb Jeffries. Such a lovely tenor voice. Smooth and strong. Jeffries made four films as a singing cowboy. He also wrote a lot of his own music. He is one that a lot don't know about, but I do like his stylings.

Herb Jeffries -

3. Rex Allen. Allen's voice was powerful and his vocal stylings were top-notch. The thing that disconcerts my ear is the break between his chest and head voice. One thing about Allen, he was the real deal when it came to being a cowboy. Also, in case you recognize his voice, he did a lot of voice-over/narration for the Disney documentary.

Rex Allen -

2. Roy Rogers. One of the best. Lovely voice, nice vocal stylings. He was one of the original 'Sons of the Pioneers'.  He was known as Leonard Slye back then. He went on the make a number of the singing cowboy movies just behind Autry. He also acted in some of those early Autry films.

Roy Rogers - Wikipedia

1. Eddie Dean. Even before I read that both Roy Rogers and Gene Autry claimed Eddie Dean was the best singer, I loved his voice. Melodious, rich, and he could go from low to high with no break in his voice at all. His vocal stylings were outstanding and he could sing almost anything and make it sound amazing. In addition, Dean also wrote or co-wrote a number of his songs.

Eddie Dean - Wikipedia

Below are links to each of the above-mentioned. Enjoy.

Gene Autry: Back in the Saddle

Herb Jeffries: Got the Payday Blues

Rex Allen: Wandering Buckaroo Yodel

Roy Rogers: Don't Fence Me In

Eddie Dean: Let's Go Sparkin , Cool Water

This is my list, and I enjoy those old 'Singing Cowboy' movies. They are just so much fun. It would be great to know who would be on your list and in what order. 

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet

Monday, August 9, 2021

Round Rock by Sable Hunter


I have lived several places in my life, but they’ve all either been in Texas or Louisiana. For the last ten years, I’ve been in Central Texas – in and around Austin. I’ve had a blast exploring all the small towns in the Hill Country and learning the history of the region. Round Rock is one of the cities that has merged with Austin, by that I mean you can’t tell where Austin ends, and it begins. When I first came here, I had no idea Round Rock would become so important to me, but it has. One, for the people I’ve met there and two, for the interesting things I’ve discovered about the place.

Initially, I didn’t give the name of the town much thought – I guess because I was so used to seeing the exit sign when I would go back and forth from East Texas to Austin. I always considered Round Rock to be the gateway, when we would get that far, I knew we were almost home. When I decided to write a book set in the area, the name of it was SAXON’S CONQUEST, I started digging and was surprised to learn that a branch of the Chisholm Trail went right smack through the town. A surprising fact emerged that Round Rock was named after a particular rock in Brushy Creek that the cowboys would look for to know that creek was safe to drive the wagons across. So, I knew the rock existed at one time – but didn’t know it was still around. And then, I made a discovery! I found the round rock in Round Rock! And there it is – an actual, large round rock. A piece of history.

The old Chisolm Trail was the major route the cattle drivers would take to herd longhorn cattle north from Texas to sell in the Midwest during the 1800's. Much of the mystique of the old west emerged from this time, young cowboys on mustangs brought a distinct Texas flavor to the cattle industry and went a long way in making the cowboy an iconic folk hero.

From beginning to end, the trail was approximately eight hundred miles, and the journey took between two and three months to complete. The trail was closed in 1885 due to a quarantine in Kansas and the growing use of barbed wire by landowners. During its brief hiatus, more than five million cattle and a million mustangs were driven along the trail, making it the greatest migration of livestock in human history.

To make this more real for you, let me show you a photo of the wagon ruts still visible in the hard ground near the round rock. I don’t know about you, but it does something to me to see this tangible evidence of history – for me, it’s similar to a dinosaur footprint.


This is a photo of Brushy Creek today, still a beautiful stretch of water. I can imagine how it looked back them.


The street where you can access this part of the creek and the round rock is aptly named Chisholm Trail. There is a beautiful park there where there are bronzes to commemorate the historical significance

This is what is known as a Bell Steer, a particularly clever longhorn that exhibited a great deal of leadership. He would have a calm demeanor and a knack for following the trail. The cowboys learned to value this type of animal, many times hanging a bell around the steer’s neck. If he proved to be trustworthy he would be saved from the slaughter, taken home, and be allowed to repeat the journey again and again. The most famous bell steer belonged to Mr. Charles Goodnight, his name was Old Blue. Old Blue became a pet and when he would get the cattle settled for the night, he’d sleep around the campfire with the cowboys and dine on pones of cornbread. He made drives for eight years and retired to the ranch where he lived to be twenty years old.  Here is another bronze statue commemorating the cowboys who rode the Chisolm Trail. 


Another point of interest about this particular spot is a road nearby called Hairy Man. The first time I spotted it, it didn’t sound good to me. I had visions of unkempt, icky men. But when I drove down it, I fell in love. It looked like home to me. Here was this road in the middle of the city that was densely wooded on both sides with a creek running next to it. I could’ve been in Deep East Texas if I didn’t know better. Anyway, the history behind the road was compelling and tied into the story of the Chisholm Trail. According to legend, a young pioneer boy fell off one of the wagons as it crossed Brushy Creek and he lived wild among the animals in the woods around Round Rock. His absence wasn’t detected right away, and his folks never found him. How sad. He grew up as a hermit, wary of the presence of others. He was also known to have long shaggy hair. This poor individual made his presence known by frightening those who passed by. Sometimes he would hide in the trees, drag his feet over the top of the stagecoach, or drop down on wagons – attempting to terrorize anyone who came into his territory. He is said to have met his demise when he lost his balance and fell in front of a wagon to be trampled. However, he is not gone. The Hairy Man still haunts the road to this day, hiding in the foliage next to Brushy Creek. Of course, there’s also the Hairy Man Festival held in his memory. The last winner of the contest was awarded a trip to Cozumel!

You can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon the real, honest to God round rock in Round Rock. You know, this stuff - even for a weirdo like me - isn't just readily available. You can find it - - - but as in my case…you have to get out of the recliner - ha!

Thanks for reading,

Love Sable