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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Comanches - Recreation and Games - #TidbitThursday


Welcome to our newest addition to the blog - Historical Tidbit Thursdays!

Today I want to focus on the games and recreations of the Comanche Indians. A lot of the games they played are still played today such as Lacrosse (a game involving sticks with ball-catching nets, pictured above), horse racing, wrestling, dice games(color-based dice as opposed to number-based).

Women played a game called "double ball" which consisted of teams of 10 who used hooked sticks (about 3 feet long) to catch and throw a rawhide thong tied at each end to balls (thus the name "double ball"). They had to toss the thong around a stake (goal).

Men held arrow-shooting contests. One such contest, the men would shoot 4 arrows and the one closest to the "mark" was the winner.

The Comanches: Lords of the South Plains by Ernest Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel; ISBN#978-0806120409

Picture Credit - Lacrosse: https://cdn.indiancountrymedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/10.lacrosse_ball_players_by_george_catlin_smithsonian_800px-ball_players.jpg
Picture Credit - Double Ball: http://www.manataka.org/images/doubleballpg23s.gif

Western Word of the Week - Sagebrush Men - #WesternWordoftheWeek


Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Sagebrush Men - cowboys working in the dry/arid portions of Montana, Colorado and Wyoming.

The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Travel - Pioneer Days at the Chisholm Trail Museum (Part One) - Cleburne, Texas - #TravelTuesday

Welcome to my weekly column #TravelTuesday featuring places I've discovered during my research trips or just wandering around in historical areas. I hope you enjoy my discoveries.

This year, I was able to attend the 14th Annual Pioneer Days at the Chisholm Trail Museum in Cleburne, Texas. The free event features costumed interpretive guides, the firing of the Civil War-style canons for a mock battle, crafts for children, honey tasting, a longhorn cattle drive, gunshot battles, antique and art vendors, food vendors, and much more. If you plan to head this way, I highly recommend you try to make it during this weekend (details for 2018 will soon be available on their website). There's also the Big Bear Native American Museum on site for an additional small fee.


The Chisholm Trail Museum is about two hours from Dallas in Cleburne, Texas off Highway 67. You can't miss the giant statue silhouette of a cattle drive. Once you turn inside, you can park in the grassy spots along the gravel drive outlined with small rocks and wander as you desire. The Civil War battlefield sits to the very left near the vendors, courthouse, and school house. To the right you'll find Native American-style tipis, cabins, a cemetery, a garden, and a mule barn. The Big Bear Native American Museum sits on the very right side of the complex and requires a small entry fee (their hours are dicey, so check the website below).

The museum is named after the infamous Chisholm Trail which ran north-south from Texas to Kansas. Cattle ranchers drove their herds of cattle up to the railroad stations in Kansas where they could fetch higher prices. It was formally established in 1867. Once the railroad reached into Texas, the invention and utilization of barbed wire (effectively keeping cattle off grazing land), and the citizens of Kansas towns no longer tolerating rowdy cowboys, the trail was no longer needed. The cattle drive took up to 2 months and the cowboys faced many obstacles along the way - angry farmers, alkaline or bad water, toll roads, rustlers, and stampedes (as cows were easily frightened and ornery). Today, special markers have been placed at key spots along the former trail.

The highlight of Pioneer Days (in my opinion anyway) is the re-enactment of Terry's Texas Rangers (8th Texas Confederate Army Cavalry) and the firing of the cannon on the battlefield every hour. It's really amazing watching all the very formal steps the soldiers would have taken to prime and prepare the cannon for firing. Seems like a lot for one single shot. And it's very loud.


Watch the video I took of one of the firings:

Learn more by checking out the office site - jcchisholmtrail.com

Chisholm Trail Museum Physical Address: 101 Chisholm Trail, Cleburne, Texas 76033-0771 Phone Number: 817-648-4633 Hours: Monday - Friday: Regular Hours (April-Dec) Thur/Fri/Sat 10am-5pm. Sunday 1pm -5pm and gate is open. **Daytime Walking Tours Permitted if Gate is Closed.

Photo Credit - Chisholm Trail Museum Signage - https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/02/cb/bc/1e/the-chisholm-trail-museum.jpg

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Comanches - The Lance - #TidbitThursday

Welcome to our newest addition to the blog - Historical Tidbit Thursdays!

Today we're going to examine one more piece of a warrior's arsenal - the lance or spear.

A lance or spear was 6-7 feet long and was thrust from under the arm (not thrown like a javelin). The tip was made of iron or steel (probably of flint before trading brought metal). A war lance was hooked on the end like a shepherd's hook.

It was considered cowardly for a warrior to retreat from hand-to-hand combat while carrying his lance.

The lance would be set upright outside the warrior's tipi with the scalps of his victims dangling from it like a trophy case.

The Comanches: Lords of the South Plains by Ernest Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel; ISBN#978-0806120409
Labels: 19th century, america, american, cowboy, historic, history, old west, reference, research, west, western, words, writer, writing,

Photo Credit - Lance - https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/images/lance-catlin.jpg

Western Word of the Week - Ringy - #WesternWordoftheWeek


Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Ringy - an ornery man or animal

Also spelled "ringey".

The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Travel - Historic Courthouse Square - Glen Rose, Texas - #TravelTuesday

Glen Rose, Texas is a small town of about 2500 people but it thrives on the thousands of tourists that flock to its many sites including the Dinosaur Valley State Park, Dinosaur World, The Promise, Creation Evidence Museum, and Fossil Rim Drive-through Safari park. The city is full of historic buildings and markers. I was able to visit the History Courthouse Square downtown.

  A large bronze statue of Charles and Juana Barnard sits near the front end of the square. This depiction of Glen Rose's founding family was sculpted in 2007 by Robert Summers (a local artist). The Barnard's is a real sweet love story - Juana Cavasos was rescued from Comanches by George and Charles Barnard who were Indian traders. Juana fell in love with Charles and married. In 1861, they built a grist mill in what would become Glen Rose.

    After the first burned down, the Somervell County Courthouse was rebuilt in 1893 of native limestone in the Romanesque Revival architectural style.

  A plaque about Somervell County which was named after General Alexander Somervell (1796-1854).

The Bandstand
A Star-Shaped Fountain
A Star Mosaic

  Dinosaur Footprint

For more info on Glen Rose, Texas, check out their official site: www.glenrosetexas.net/164/Convention-Visitors-Bureau
Info on the Courthouse: www.texasescapes.com/CentralTexasTownsNorth/GlenRoseTexas/SomervellCountyCourthouse.htm
Additional information and pictures can be found on the NOAH site: https://alwaysnoah.com/poi/wtgr-barnards-brazos-courthouse-square

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Comanches - The Shield - #TidbitThursday

Welcome to our newest addition to the blog - Historical Tidbit Thursdays!

Today we're going to investigate another valuable piece of a Native American's arsenal - the shield.


The shield was vital for a Native American as it protected his body from arrows, axes and in some cases bullets. It was made from the thicker, rougher shoulder hide of an old buffalo bull. The hide was heated over fire (or steamed) and rubbed with a rock to flesh it. Scrapers were used to complete the fleshing process. A smooth stone was then used to rub the hide of all wrinkles. Then, the hide was stretched over a two-foot diameter wooden hoop. Layers of hides would be sewed around the edges with strips of rawhide and feathers or paper would be stuffed between the layers for padding. Loops or bands of rawhide would be used to fasten the shield to a warrior's left arm. Decorations like horse or mule tails or feathers would be attached to the underside. Some were painted by a "good artist" in the village.

The Comanches: Lords of the South Plains by Ernest Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel; ISBN#978-0806120409

Photo Credit - Medicine Shield - https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/images/medicine-shield.jpg
Photo Credit - Decorative Shield - http://www.sheltonsmith.com/images/artwork/originals/2c17e-Burgess_-Quanah_-shield-2---Copy.JPG
Photo Credit - More plain shield - https://www.oldsantafetradingco.com/assets/sized/assets/collection-images/SHIE66-450x514.gif

Western Word of the Week - Rep - #WesternWordoftheWeek


Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Rep - a cowboy who represents his ranch at a general roundup.

Also known as "Stray man" or "Outside man".

The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Travel - Dinosaur World - Glen Rose, Texas - #TravelTuesday

During my travels, I often find activities that contribute to my own research while entertaining my younger family members. Dinosaur World in Glen Rose, Texas is not only a place that provides a lot of fun for them, but gave me the ability to experience something I hadn't tried before - sluicing for treasure.

Dinosaur World is a large park with a cement walking trail that winds through trees past over 100 life-sized Dinosaur statues in natural settings. In the center is a fish pond (where you can feed the fish with bags you purchase in the gift shop). There are also two playgrounds, a fossil dig, and an indoor fossil museum with animatronic dinosaurs at the end. You will want to bring your own water and snacks as they have limited options.

The sluicing troughs are set up with a continuous water pump so that water circulates through the system and simulates a river flow. You purchase a bag of dirt and dump it a little at a time into your sluicing box which you dip into the trough. The water separates the dirt from the stones to make it easy to pick the treasure out. It's really quite fun and easy to see why miners sat hour after hour at the edge of rivers panning for gold.

Learn more by checking out the official site - http://dinosaurworld.com

Dinosaur World Texas - 1058 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043, 254) 898-1526

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Comanches - Bow and Arrow Weapon - #TidbitThursday


Welcome to our newest addition to the blog - Historical Tidbit Thursdays!

Today we're going to explore the very recognizable piece in a Native American's arsenal - the bow and arrow.

The wooden bow was vital to the Native American existence as it was a main tool in hunting food. The wood used depended on where the tribe/band was located. The Comanches used Osage orange, Hickory, or Bois d'arc wood. The Omaha Indians referred to Bois d'arc wood as "yellow wood" as it had a yellow tinge to it. A bow took a few days to a full month for a fancier version. Bow strings were typically made from horse tail hair.

Orange Osage
Bois d'Arc

Arrows were considered prized possessions. Young Dogwood or mature Ash wood would be used for arrows. The wood was seasoned by fire for 10-14 days. Then it would be straightened. The shaft was polished and sometimes decorated with paintings or markings. Wild turkey, owl or buzzard feathers were used. Eagle or hawk feathers were not used (they had other purposes).

Before coming in contact with traders, Comanches created arrowheads of flint. Afterward, they preferred metal arrow points. A buckskin wristband was worn on left wrist to protect it from the "twang" of the bowstring. The bow and arrow were carried in a buckskin case hung over the right shoulder.

Bow and arrow was accurate up to 50 yards.

The Comanches: Lords of the South Plains by Ernest Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel; ISBN#978-0806120409

Photo Credit - Osage Orange Tree - http://www.naturemuseum.org/Media/Default/Blog%20Photos/Andrew%20Wunschel/OsageTree230.jpg
Photo Credit - Bois d'Arc Tree - http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/uploadedImages/Websites/Famous_Trees_of_Texas/Trees/Freedmen%27s%20Bois%20d%27Arc.jpg
Photo Credit - Hickory - http://texastreeid.tamu.edu/images/TreeImages/hickory_mocker150.jpg
Photo Credit - Bow and Arrow Sunset - https://comanchenationentertainment.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Little-Known-Facts-about-the-Comanche-Bow-Comanche-Nation-Entertainment.jpg
Photo Credit - Comanche Arrows - http://primitivepathways.com/image/cache/data/Bows/comanchearrows1-1280x720.jpg
Photo Credit - Comanche Arrow (Quanah Parker) - http://www.quanahparkertrail.com/Quanah_Parker_Trail/Arrow_List_files/shapeimage_5.png
Photo Credit - Carrying Case - http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/28726/25038866_2.jpg?v=8D3C09CB83B5820