Thursday, March 31, 2022

Guest Author Linda Broday


Bestselling author Linda Broday sweeps readers back to the wild and untamed West, where men became the stuff of legend, with:

·        Two young lovers ripped apart

·        A family feud turned deadly

·        A secret waiting to be unearthed

·        And a passion no one could ever deny


Crockett Legend has always loved Paisley Mahone, but a family feud sure can ruin a romance. When her father turned against the powerful Legend clan, she took her family's side and broke Crockett's heart into pieces. Now her father's dead and Paisley and her last remaining brother are convinced the Legends are to blame.

If only he can find a way to prove his innocence...

A chance meeting throws the two warring hearts together, and when their train is held up by outlaws, Crockett and Paisley have to team up to save a young boy from dying. A tenuous truce is born. Together they may have a chance of bringing the truth to light...if they can get to the bottom of who's been trying to turn the two powerful families against each other. With so many secrets to unbury, it isn't long before Paisley finds herself in the crosshairs, but Crockett vows there'll be hell to pay if anyone hurts the woman he loves—or stands in the way of a Legend in the making.


Buy Link:




Crockett smoothed Paisley’s hair back from her face. “It’s impossible to predict your brother. Try not to dwell on what he’s done. Just stay alert and watchful. I’ll keep an eye out as well. If I have to, I’ll post some men outside your house.”

“Thank you. I’m probably being silly.” Paisley hated to leave. Her brother scared her.

“Not at all. We need to get some sleep. If you want, I’ll bed down in your parlor. Would that make you feel better?”

Paisley smiled and laid a hand on the side of his face. “You’d be miserable, and I’d worry about the crick in your neck come morning. Sleep in your own bed. I’ll lock the doors. You and I have a busy day lined up tomorrow. I mean to talk to Stoker about the message in the diary at some point. I know he’ll be busy though.”

Still, she wanted to talk to him. Could she be right about her mother leaving an envelope? What could be in it?

“Yes, he’s going back out to the explosion site.” Crockett paused. “You should know Stoker wired the Texas Rangers when we got back tonight. Your brother is treading on dangerous ground, and it’s no longer just a feud between our two families. He’s going to wind up either dead or in prison.”

That had been coming for a long while, and Farrel had lost their father’s protection.

“Somehow, I always knew it would come to this.” Paisley shuddered. “I’m so glad Hilda, Tye, and I got out of there when we did.”

“Lady, if you hadn’t, I would’ve come and gotten you tonight.”

Despite the serious nature of their talk, a smile curved her lips. “I like it when you get all Legend on me.”

“Get ready for more of that. I won’t stand for anyone hurting you.”

The rough pad of his thumb brushed her cheek. She knew without a doubt that if anyone did harm her, he’d go after them with a vengeance. He was a Legend, and Legend men took care of their ladies like no other.

Weary to her bones, she rested her head on his broad shoulder. His arms came around her, and it was like he’d wrapped her in a warm cocoon, protected and safe. She needed this man and his strength for a few moments until she could find her own.

“Ah, my beautiful Firefly.”

He claimed her mouth hungrily, but with such sweet gentleness, sweeping her to a place of peace and calm. Her knees gave way, and had he not held her, she’d have fallen. She slipped her arms around his waist, clinging to him, trying not to think of what would come next.

Right now, this moment, was all that mattered.

With the deepening kiss, his mouth softened, and she held on.

Tomorrow, she’d find her courage and be brave.

This was what she’d longed for, dreamed of for so long, but part of her warned that it was dangerous to trust and even more risky to love. Yet, though she’d tried to deny it, the love she’d once had for him had never left but continued to live inside her, at times emerging as a small sigh of hope.

Paisley trembled as he murmured her name against her mouth. This thing they’d found on a sweltering summer day burned through her blood. Her heart fluttered wildly as her breath became ragged.

She pulled back, searching the strong lines of his face, the brown depths of his eyes. Anguish twisted inside her. “Crockett, what are we doing? This didn’t work before. How can it now?”

“It can if we both want this. I’ve learned how to protect the feelings I have for you, and I think you have too. Relationships are fragile things that require loving care to flourish and grow. I didn’t do that before, but I’m ready to give ours another try. We deserve a second chance. Don’t you think?” He released his hold. “I don’t know if I can find the strength to ask many more times.”

“I’m afraid of failing again.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “To fail once more will destroy me.”

He lifted her chin with a finger. “When everything is right, you won’t be scared. I just ask that you not shut me out. Let me court you, let me woo you over. One chance is all I’m asking. If it doesn’t work, I’ll walk away and never bother you again.”

The sincerity of his words, his gentleness, told her she’d regret not trusting him. He was different now. So was she. Older. Wiser. Their landscape was littered with craters. But she couldn’t miss the love on his face. She had to trust him.

“Yes. Yes, I will try again. I feel things for you that I’ve never felt for anyone else.”

“That’s all I need,” he said softly, kissing her forehead. “Good night.”

“Good night, Crockett.” She stepped away, her heart lighter. She’d let go of a little more of the past.

“Wait,” he called. “Let me see you home just to be on the safe side. Who knows what the shadows hold.”

They spoke little on the short walk. He brushed a light kiss to her lips and told her to lock the door when she got inside, then he was gone.

            Paisley bolted the lock and leaned against the door, her fingers to her mouth. His kiss burned on her lips, his soft breath fluttering across her face. Of all the men in all the world, he was the one she wanted.    

Linda is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance books and short stories. In the Texas Panhandle, she resides on ancient land that carries the voices of those who’ve gone before on the wind. If she closes her eyes and gets real still, she often hears them whispering stories her my ear.

Linda's love of history and the Old West was born from watching TV westerns and visiting museums and libraries. She's always been an avid reader and books opened up entirely new exciting worlds that seemed limited only by her imagination.

Cowboys have always fascinated Linda and she often thinks she was born 150 years too late. She loves writing about those men, their ladies, and the struggles they endure in trying to carve out a small place to call home. Western romance is her passion and she feels truly blessed. Humble roots and the love of family have become focal points in her stories. She sincerely hope readers enjoy what she strives to bring to life on the printed page.

To connect with Linda, visit her here: 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Hunter’s Girl 1st of the The Clayton Boy’s series ~ Ruthie L Manier

Hello, I'm Ruthie L. Manier and I'd like to extend a BIG thank you for joining me here today on my Cowboy Kisses Blog spot! March has been a crazy month for me full of birthdays, trips, and St. Patrick's Day, of course. Here is one of my favorite pictures that was professionally taken in Leavensworth, Washington as a birthday gift for me from my family. 

And now onto the Big News: my upcoming release:  HUNTER'S GIRL

Hunter Clayton is in Mr. Jeffries Mercantile when Mischief King(Cumming's is her maiden name, King is her adopted name) spots him. She's super excited to see him because she's been waiting ten years for him to return. Hunter was an outlaw on the run when he saved her from the malicious gang who killed her biological parents. Mischief was twelve at the time, and Hunter kept her with him just short of a year before leaving her with the King family after she was was shot in a crossfire. 

Over the tears, Mischief's adoptive parents have kept truths from her, but raised her well. After the tragic death of her adoptive mother, her adoptive father finds solace in liquor, eventually leading him to become a mean drunk who abuses Mischief and then runs out on her, leaving her destitute. But Mischief is happy she's rid of him, and this brings the reader to the reason for Hunter's return. 

Unbeknownst to Mischief,  Hunter has been sending money to the Kings for her care. The last three installments have been returned to him without a forwarding address. More importantly, Mischief is a grown woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after what makes her happy. She never stopped loving Hunter and wants nothing more than to be his wife. Hunter is attracted to her at first sight but does not realize the stunning woman is his little Mischief. When he discovers the truth, he has a hard time forgetting the 'girl' and embracing her as the desirable woman she's become. Will Mischief convince Hunter she's a woman? And that he's not to old to marry her? Well, you'll need to wait for the book to come out. There are a lot of twists and turns along their journey; murder, gun fights, and secret intimate moments that I'm planning to publish by the end of Spring. 

I'd love to have some advance readers before the book releases, so if any of you have the time, please contact me on Facebook under Ruthie L Manier, Twitter, and Instagram. Until next month on the 4th Monday of April be happy and kind to all you meet. xoxoxo

Friday, March 25, 2022

"Wild Bill" Hickok in Abilene, Kansas by Zina Abbott

Much has been written about James Butler Hickok, better known as Wild Bill Hickok. What I share today covers a little over a year of his life—the time he spent as town marshal of Abilene, Kansas.

To provide a little background about Abilene, Kansas, you might wish to read my previous post, “Early Days of Abilene, Kansas, which you may find by CLICKING HERE.

As a brief outline, Kansas Territory was opened to white American settlement in 1854. In 1856, Timothy F. Hersey staked out a claim on the west bank of Mud creek about two miles north of where it empties into the Smoky Hill river. There, he and his wife, Elizabeth, ran one of two stagecoach relay stations built to serve travelers along the Smoky Hill Trail. A few other businesses developed. Kansas became a state in 1861. 

The Homestead Act of 1862 became effective in 1863, and starting then, but especially after the end of the American Civil War, settlers—mostly farmers—moved into Kansas. Then, the Kansas Pacific (which later became part of the Union Pacific Railroad) built along this same trail. The train reached Abilene in early 1867.

Loading cattle and McCoy's Drovers Cottage

With the coming of the railroad, a man named Joseph McCoy saw the potential in Abilene for establishing a rail head for longhorn cattle driven up from Texas. After purchasing land and building a hotel, a livery, and stockyards to accommodate the Texas drovers, he put the word out. The first cattle were brought up the Chisholm Trail and shipped out of Abilene in September of 1867.

That was when the big trouble began.

  The above 1878 Abilene map shows the development that was already taking place in 1871. The original town was to the left, yellow section, and the saloon district was south of the tracks in the general vicinity of the arrow. Many year-round prostitutes lived in the pink section to the right, south of the tracks.

The cowboys from a state that, for the most part, favored the Confederacy during the recent war, collided with the more established permanent citizens of Abilene, many with Northern roots. The homesteaders, whose domestic cattle often died from diseases brought by the tick-infested long horns, opposed the cattle being brought up from Texas. Like their counterparts in Missouri—who banned cattle drives within that state—they wanted the Texas drovers and their disease-carrying cattle gone. The permanent residents of Abilene opposed the building of saloons—along with the year-round and seasonal prostitutes—that catered to these drovers. A lawless environment plagued the town.

Before Abilene's incorporation in September 1869, no official law enforcement existed in Abilene, Kansas. A town government was formed with Joseph McCoy being elected the first mayor. One of the first items of business was to establish the position of town marshal. A stone jail—the first stone building in Abilene—in spite of being torn down by the Texas cowboys during the first construction attempt—was built.

Candidates locally and as far away as St. Louis, Missouri, were sought. Several, after seeing conditions in the saloon and red-light district of Abilene during cattle season—turned down the position. It was offered to the well-known Tom “Bear River” Smith, who was hired in 1870. He did an effective job of law enforcement until he was murdered—not by Texas drovers, but by two Scotch homesteaders.

Mayor Joseph McCoy recommended hiring James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok as town marshal. Hickok had acquired the reputation of being the best gunman in the West. On April 15, 1871, he was unanimously chosen marshal at a salary of $150 a month plus twenty-five percent of all fines in arrests made by him.

“Wild Bill” Hickok was described as being about six feet in height and weighing about 175 pounds. He was well-made physically, graceful in movement, constantly alert, and cool while under fire. His brown wavy hair down to his shoulders, piercing gray-blue eyes, aquiline nose, and flowing mustache made him a figure to attract attention. His attire was expensive and showy.

Another physical description of Bill Hickok comes from Libbie Custer, wife of George Armstrong Custer:

“Physically, he was a delight to look upon. Tall, lithe, and free in every motion, he rode and walked as if every muscle was perfection, and the careless swing of his body as he moved seemed perfectly in keeping with the man, the country, the time in which he lived.”

“I do not recall anything finer in the way of physical perfection than Wild Bill when he swung himself lightly from his saddle, and with graceful, swaying step, squarely set shoulders and well poised head…. He was rather fantastically clad, of course, but all that seemed perfectly in keeping with the time and place. He did not make an armory of his waist, but carried two pistols.”


"Are you satisfied?" - Published by Harper's New Monthly Magazine, February 1867

It was those two pistols that got Hickok into trouble in Abilene. Some claim the fast draw originated with him. According to W.E. Webb, “His power lies in the wonderful quickness with which he draws a pistol and takes his aim.” His greatest strength was due to his dexterity using both of his pistols at the same time.

 The summer of 1871 brought Abilene a large group of lawless people. Several special officers were appointed to assist Hickok. Among these were James Gainsford, one of the captors of Tom Smith's murderers; James McDonald, who had accompanied Smith to the cabin on his fatal mission; Thomas Carson, a nephew of Kit Carson, the famous scout; "Brocky Jack" Norton, who later served as a peace officer in Ellsworth and Newton; and Mike Williams.

During the summer of 1871, Hickok received a great deal of criticism regarding how he handled law-enforcement issues. Some citizen thought he spent too much time at the Alamo saloon and delegated too much work to his assistants. Some disliked his proneness to resort immediately to the use of firearms in establishing his authority. Those who had respected Tom Smith, who took no part in the immoral practices of the Texans, criticized Hickok’s methods of opening carrying his guns and demonstrating a quick willingness to use them. Although many admired his show of physical courage, they disapproved of him exhibiting the same moral weaknesses of the Texans, although not to excess. 

This is how the Alamo Saloon, where Hickok spent most of his time while in Abilene, is described in the “Kansas Historical Quarterly - Abilene, First of the Kansas Cow Towns” by George L. Cushman:

The Alamo was the most elaborate of the saloons, and a description of it will give an idea of the plan of them all. It was housed in a long room with a forty-foot frontage on Cedar street, facing the west. There was an entrance at either end. At the west entrance were three double glass doors. Inside and along the front of the south side was the bar with its array of carefully polished brass fixtures and rails. From the back bar arose a large mirror, which reflected the brightly sealed bottles of liquor. At various places over the walls were huge paintings in cheaply done imitations of the nude masterpieces of the venetian Renaissance painters. Covering the entire floor space were gaming tables, at which practically any game of chance could be indulged. The Alamo boasted an orchestra, which played forenoons, afternoons, and nights. In the height of the season the saloons were the scene of constant activity. At night the noises that were emitted from them were a combination of badly rendered popular music, coarse voices, ribald laughter and Texan "whoops," punctuated at times by gun shots.

One story involves outlaw John Wesley Hardin, reputed to have killed twenty-seven men, who was in Abilene the same time that Wild Bill Hickok served at city marshal. He arrived at the end of a cattle drive in early 1871. In his autobiography, he claimed to have befriended Hickok.

Hickok knew the man as "Wesley Clemmons", Hardin's alias. He later claimed he did not know Clemmons was a wanted outlaw. He asked Clemmons to hand over his guns and told him to stay out of trouble.

Hardin complied. Hardin alleged that when his cousin, Mannen Clements, was jailed for the killing of two cowhands Joe and Dolph Shadden in July 1871, Hickok – at Hardin's request – arranged for his escape. Whether there is any truth to that claim is unknown. In August 1871, Hickok sought to arrest Hardin for killing Charles Couger in an Abilene hotel "for snoring too loud.” Hardin left Kansas before Hickok could arrest him.

However, that was not the final straw for the citizens of Abilene. The following is from the “Kansas Historical Quarterly - Abilene, First of the Kansas Cow Towns” by George L. Cushman:

The prostitutes from the colony north of town had migrated to Texas street and vicinity. There were ordinances prohibiting their practices within the city limits, but they were ignored. Petitions signed by women and the responsible people of the city were presented to the council asking for the enforcement of the ordinances, but the council was slow to give an ear. In the latter part of June a restricted zone was established on land adjoining the townsite and owned by George Fisher. Here the bawdy houses might be located where "shooting and stabbing and all-night life could be indulged in in full blast."

During the summer of 1871 an undercurrent of hard feelings had developed between Marshal Hickok and some Texans encouraged by Phil Coe and Ben Thompson, proprietors of the Bull's Head saloon. This feud came to a crisis on the evening of October 5. The end of the cattle season was nearing and some Texans were celebrating their departure with a farewell spree on the streets of the city. They began their party on Texas street about sundown. They carried Jake Karatofsky to the Applejack saloon, where he was made to stand treats. This they did to other citizens they happened to find on the streets. They found "Wild Bill" in a boarding house eating his supper. He would have no part in their pranks, but he sent them to the bar of the Novelty theater where they, could get drinks at his expense.

About nine o'clock, while Hickok and his deputy, Mike Williams, were in front of the Novelty theater, a shot was heard around the corner on Cedar street. Bill hurried through the east door of the Alamo saloon and went quickly to the front, asking in a rough manner who had fired the shot. Phil Coe, at the front with pistol in hand, replied that he had shot at a dog. Without further questioning Hickok drew two revolvers and the two exchanged shots. Coe was mortally wounded while Hickok was not hit. Mike Williams, hearing the shooting, hurried around to the front of the saloon to aid the marshal. Bill, without recognizing Williams, shot him twice, and he died almost instantly. Coe lingered for several days and died in great agony.

Cattle being loaded by McCoy's stockyard

There were a lot of high feelings for this incident, both by the Texas cowboys and the city’s citizens. However, developing the land north of the railroad, away from the lawless element south of the tracks had already begun. The sentiment against the cattle trade grew in strength. The cattle season for 1871 was almost at an end.

So was the career of “Wild Bill” Hickok as Abilene’s marshal. He was relieved of his duties less than two months after the accidental shooting.

The accidental death of Deputy Williams was an event that haunted Hickok for the remainder of his life. This incident was the last time Hickok was ever involved in a gunfight.


My recently published book, Abilene Gamble, is mostly set in Abilene, Kansas, in the summer of 1871—the same time Hickok served as city marshal. While many books portray Hickok in heroic terms, based on what I learned in my research, I did not. Here is an excerpt:

          From the look on Ollie’s face, Harry could tell he was reluctant to be there. He was no doubt torn between his loyalty to his boss and his friendship with Harry. Once Hickok and Ollie Thompson stood a mere ten feet away, Harry stepped next to Nathan before he turned and greeted them. “Good morning, Marshal Hickok, Deputy Marshal Thompson.” He nodded to the two lawmen before focusing on Hickok. “Kind of early for you to be about, Marshal. We’re not used to the pleasure of your presence in this part of town.”

          Ollie Thompson acknowledged the greeting. “Mr. Bradford. Mrs. Butler. Mrs. Schoenfeld.”

          “Mrs.?” His eyebrows raised, Nathan turned to his sister.

          “I’ll explain later.” Whispering, Stella stared at her feet.

          Marshal Hickok struck a pose Harry guessed was intended to intimidate. “Hear-tell you brought a wanted man in with you this morning, Mr. Bradford. How come he’s not in my jail?”

          “Because he’s my responsibility, Marshal. He’s not wanted in Abilene or in any Kansas town. He and I will be on the train and out of your hair first thing tomorrow.”

          “That’s not how it works.”

          “It’s exactly how it works, Marshal. He’s my capture, I’m taking him in, and I’m the one who has control of him until such time as I turn him over to the police in Indianapolis. I don’t need him in your jail where one of your deputies or their friends can help themselves to him and go after the reward.”

          “I consider that an insult.”

          “No offense to either of you gentlemen, of course, but I can’t control everyone who walks through that jail. I consider putting Mr. Schoenfeld in there a risk I’m not willing to take.”

          “And how did you know about him and the five-hundred-dollar reward, Mr. Bradford?” The marshal drawled out Harry’s name in an insulting manner.

          Harry tried to ignore Stella’s look of dismay. He suspected she blamed herself, since she had trusted him enough to give him the information he needed to find her brother.

          “I didn’t find no wanted poster for him. Mr. Thompson, here, said you were looking through the stack just before you left. Did you take it out of my desk?”

          Harry casually reached into the inside pocket of the trail-dusty vest he had put back on over a clean shirt. He pulled out the crumpled wanted poster and held it out to the Marshal. “Just borrowed it, Marshal. I got all the information I needed off of it, so you can have it back. Might as well toss it, though. Once I return Mr. Schoenfeld to Indianapolis, it won’t be any good, anymore.”

          “I don’t like how you work, Bradford. Never have.”

          “Feeling’s mutual, Marshal. But as long as we stay out of each other’s way, we’ll get along just fine. Once I board the train with my prisoner tomorrow, you won’t have to worry about me for a while.”

          “Your prisoner? I’m the law.”

          “You’re a fast gun hired to maintain order, Marshal, and we both know it. As a member in good standing of the Kansas bar, I’m an officer of the court. I know what I can legally do, and what I can’t.” And I know I’m stretching it to the limit. Harry held his breath as he waited for Hickok’s response.

You may find the book description and purchase link for Abilene Gamble by CLICKING HERE.


In addition, I’m pleased to announce that today is release day for Indianapolis Justice. The saga of Harry and Stella, as they seek justice for Nathan, continues. To find the book description and purchase link, Please CLICK HERE.




Sources: ; Cushman, George L.; Kansas Historical Quarterly - Abilene, First of the Kansas Cow Towns. August 1940 (Vol. 9, No. 3), pages 240 to 258. Transcribed by lhn;digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Cowboy Kisses News


Good Morning Cowboy Kisses!  It's mid-March and I hope everyone is well. To keep you updated with the blog and our authors, the Cowboy Kisses team bids farewell to Sable Hunter. We wish her well in her endeavors and hope she'll come back as a guest in the future. On a brighter note, Cowboy Kisses; welcomes western romance author Jan Scarbrough to the team. Please give Jan a warm welcome and be sure to check out her website and author page when you have time. 

Welcome to Cowboy Kisses, Jan! We are excited to have you on our team.      

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Hope Chests

 We all need something to hold our greatest moments. Something that stores our life histories. It is often said, that a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home. There they travel on to where the two shall be as one. A new life with memories of both families are thus combined. In order to accomplish such things need to be preserved to hand down from one generation to the next. Thus, the Hope Chest or Marriage Box was born.

Cedar chest - Hope Chests - Marriage Boxes were usually passed down from Mother to Daughter. It was a way to preserve family history for the next generation. A woman often began assembling 'her things' as soon as she learned sewing techniques like embroidery, quilting, knitting, crocheting, and sewing. Items she fashioned would be folded and stored away in the chests for her new life.

Once engaged, items given at parties found their way into these sturdy structures. Silverware, china, linens, jewelry and even money. Remember in the Quiet Man - Maureen O'Hara didn't consider herself fully married to John Wayne until she had her things and her dowry.

From the Quiet Man Film staring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara

But, chest for such things  were nothing new. More than 3000 years ago the Egyptians were doing the same. Chest contained items that were essential to the here and now as well as at death items that might help in the afterlife.

Trunks and chests became popular pieces for the every man in the middle ages. They provided ways for the families to store items in case of siege. For this reason, handles were added to the boxes of oak, popular, cedar, walnut, or pine, so the families could pick up and flee if the moment arrived.

As society lust for items continued, little drawers were added to the bottom of the chests. These drawers led to the furniture item today we called a Chest of Drawers. In our family the chest of drawers often was the Man's piece of the bedroom furniture. The ladies had a dressing table with a stool and a plain mirrored chest that held her most intimate things.

In America, as brides traveled west, these boxes might be fastened by fathers for their daughters. It was often a most cherished  piece of furniture. It would be placed at the foot of the bed to hold blankets once the house was set up. A mail order bride might carry,  a quilt pieced by family and friends, linens, china, silverware, photos, books, letters from her sweetheart, her wedding dress, veil, and fine gowns for that romantic first encounter. One important piece would be a new bible. There she would place her wedding date, dates of her children's births, and deaths. All things that would explain to the next generation who they were, where they came from, and their hopes for the future. In a sense, it was your time capsule.

I have two.

My mother's sits up on legs and she referred to it as a "high boy". Inside she kept things she was given at her marriage. She had a silk quilt she said always fell off the bed. Her grandmother crochet her a bedspread. She never used it. Down in the bottom, she had the green suit she wore on the day she and my father eloped to South Mills, North Carolina.

When I graduated high school, she took the things out of my grandmother's cedar chest and placed them in there with hers. My Grandmothers china doll with the corn silk hair and one toe that is square where she drug it across the floor loving it. A book written in 1913 about the Titanic. Her hair pins, and crochet blankets.

Once the cedar chest was emptied, it was given to me. Inside it, I have my wedding veil. I borrowed my dress from my aunt so I had to give it back, my wedding photos, blankets my mom got when I was born and she never used.Yes, I did use one for my daughter. She has that now in hers.

Perhaps its still just a southern tradition, but I hope it will always continue. We women keep the family stories going. We are the ones who pass on the traditions, the hopes, the dreams for the future. We live to tell who lives, who dies, and sing the stories.....

Until next time, 


Monday, March 21, 2022

Go west, young man. Go west.


    Go West, young man. That is a saying that we have all heard at one point or another in our lives. My favorite is when it is said in The Man From Snowy River. But he went a bit too far and ended up in Australia.
   Today we think nothing of jumping in the car and traveling a few hours and a few hundred miles to go on a vacation or visit family. Imagine traveling for months in a wagon to start a new life. Westward expansion in America was an amazing time in our history. So let's go back to how it all started.
   From 1811-1840 the Oregon Trail was laid down by fur traders and trappers were the first to blaze a trail over the Continental Divide. In  1836, the first migrant wagon train traveled it from Independence, Missouri to Fort Hall, Idaho. By 1843 the trail was filled with emigrants heading out to find a new life in the West.

Oregon Trail Map1843

The Oregon Trail was a 2,200 mile route from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon. It was a long dangerous trail that traveled across Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and into Oregon. Imagine being among 120 wagons, and 1,000 people and thousands of livestock to make a five to six month trek across mountains, deserts, and dangerous river crossings. Diseases took many lives along the trail, and others died from accidents. An estimated 350,000 settlers from the 1830s through 1869 traveled the Oregon Trail. 

Courthouse Rock and Jailhouse Rock

Chimney Rock

The first landmark seen by the travelers was Courthouse Rock and Jailhouse Rock in the Platte River valley. Chimney Rock is probably one of the most famous landmarks along the trail. It signaled the end of the prairies, and the trail would become more rugged as they headed toward the Rocky Mountains. Our Independence Rock here in Wyoming is another famous landmark. It was the place the emigrants hoped to reach by July 4th. Independence Rock has over 5,000 names carved on it. It was also called the Great Register of the Desert.  Register Cliffs is another well known place Oregon Trail travelers carved their names. Sadly over the years it has be vandalized. And not far from Register Cliffs is a great place to see the wagon ruts carved into the rocks on the Orgon Trail.

Register Cliffs, Gurnsey, Wy

Wagon ruts, Gurnsey, Wy

Cheyenne Deadwood Stage
As towns were established and populations of the towns grew, people turned to stage travel. The Cheyenne to Deadwood Stage is an example. It ran for eleven years and was 300 miles long, carrying passengers and mail. This method of travel was hazardous as well. Attacks by the Sioux as the settlers invaded their land. Robberies were frequent as well. 

1880 Train in Hill City, SD

By 1869 the Transcendental Railroad was complete and wagon trains were a thing of the past. It was a difficult race for the railroads coming from the east and west to finally meet in Utah. People went where the money was and settlements popped up where the railroad went. Drinking, gambling, prostitution and lots of violence followed in the wake of the railroad. Keeping workers was difficult as well because of the hard labor. Then the Pacific Railroad began hiring Chinese laborers. The Central Pacific Railroad employed mostly Irish immigrants and Civil War veterans. When the railroad was finished it made the journey across the States from months to a week.

Archway Museum in Kearney, NE

This brings us to today. We can travel easily and conveniently at our leisure. As the wagons set out to Oregon, I bet they never dreamed that one day there would be paved roads everywhere and travel would take a matter of hours instead of months. 
For you museum buffs, I highly recommend the Archway Museum in Kearney, Nebraska. It is a walk-through history of travel. Starting with the Oregon Trail and ending with a view over I-80.

Happy Travels!!!