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Western Word of the Week - Hogwash - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Hogwash - nonsense; dirty food or water

Origin of the term: Before pigs or hogs were allowed onto a ship, they had to be scrubbed. The dirty water was called "hog wash".

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Let Off Steam - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Let Off Steam - to vent or complain to relieve some anger or frustration

Origin of the term: Robert Fulton's steamboat allowed boats to go upriver easily, but they're engines were prone to explosions. So there was a safety valve installed on them to release some steam and prevent an explosion.

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Barge into Someone - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Barge into Someone - run forcefully into someone

Origin of the term: River barges could only go downstream and had little manueverability so they would bang into other boats and barges on their journey

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Bark up the Wrong Tree - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Bark up the Wrong Tree - to follow the wrong course; bothering someone; to pursue a fruitless activity

Origin of the term: Hunting dogs something got distracted by a scent and barked at empty trees

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang Labels: Scotland, Ireland, america, american, cowboy, historic, history, old west, reference, research, west, western, words, writer, writing, vocabulary

Western Word of the Week - Trailblazing - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Trailblazing - being the first to conquer/discover something/somewhere

Origin of the term: People made trails in unexplored woods and marked their tracks with a "blaze" (a white mark) on a tree

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Backwoods - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Backwoods - rural; uneducated; hillbilly

Origin of the term: Colonial Times: Scots-Irish people (who at that time in America were poor, rowdy, uneducated, rebellious, hillbilly) moved into the woods back from the coasts and thus "backwoods" people became associated with hillbillies

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Bury the Hatchet - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Bury the Hatchet - to forgive someone/something

Origin of the term: Iroquois would literally bury a hatchet in the ground to indicate a peace treaty

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Fly off the Handle - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Fly off the Handle - to lose control; lose control of one's anger

Origin of the term: Scots-Irish: Axe heads weren't always well-secured on their handles and could possibly fly off dangerously

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Redneck - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Redneck - a derogatory term for someone from a rural area who was less educated; moron; hillbilly

Origin of the term: In 1600's Scotland, during the religious wars, supporters of the National Covenant and The Solemn League and Covenant, or Covenanters, largely Lowland Presbyterians would wear red cloth around their necks.

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Half-Cocked - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Half-Cocked, Go Off Half-Cocked - ill-prepared; premature; impulsive

Another Revolutionary term dealing with Muskets. The operation of a musket was lengthy and had many steps. If the hammer was half-cocked because the user was in a hurry, it would not drop correctly when triggered and would not fire.

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Skid Row - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Skid Row or skidrow - logging road; came to be known as a poor or impoverished neighborhood

Origins of the term:
For logging road, a "skid" was a greased log.
Neighborhoods used to be known as "rows".

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Hired Gun Tom Horn - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. I caught an interesting show on Tom Horn in an episode of the "Cowboys and Outlaws" series and wanted to share some of the tidbits I gleaned from it here.

Tom Horn was born in 1860 in Missouri and started his career as a cowboy.

He left home at age 13 working odd jobs such as night livestock drover and then managed herds for the U.S. Army in Arizona. He was also a skilled tracker.

At age 26, he became the Chief of Scouts in Arizona during the Apache Wars and was part of the posse to capture Geronimo.

At age 28, he became a rodeo star.

He joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency to chase outalws. He would hunt men for months.

At some point, he began to kill men instead of arresting them, becoming something of a hired gun. Men in Wyoming were willing to pay more for him to kill cattle rustlers.

August 1895, he is arrested for the murder of a homesteader, William Lewis, but his backer, one of the cattle barons, hires the best lawyers to get him cleared.

A secret cattle baron group forms with the goal to eliminate two known cattle rustlers operating in Colorado. Tom would earn about $600 for each murder (in today's money that would be about $15,000 each)

Tom Horn was convicted in 1902 of murdering a 14 year old boy (Willie Nickell) the son of a sheep rancher involved in a range dispute with cattle ranchers. Tom was hung in Cheyenne, Wyoming a day before his 43rd birthday. It's believed during his stint as a hired gun that he killed at least 17 people.

Source:
"Cowboys and Outlaws" video series - "Frontier Hitman (Tom Horn)" episode


Western Word of the Week - Pork Barrel - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share. Since we're in the midst of presidential campaigns and races, it seemed like a good time to talk about some of the terms we hear in those all the time...

Pork Barrel or Pork Barrel Projects - funding secured by politicians to go back into their local districts but is paid for by taxpayers who won't necessarily benefit

Origin of the term: During the period of slavery, barrels of salt pork would be set out for slaves who would then clambor to get their shares

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Texas Tales - First English-Speaking Europeans In Texas - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. The next few weeks I'll be sharing some interesting tidbits I found while researching Texas treasures and tales. Hope you enjoy!

David Ingram may have been the first English-speaking European to enter Texas

David was from the village of Barking, England in the county of Essex just east of London. In October 1567, David and a crew of 114 sailed with Sir John Hawkins on his ship The Minion from Plymouth, England to Africa's slave coast along with 5 or 6 other ships. Being they were English, trading with Spain or Spanish America or Spanish colonies was strictly forbidden, but they did it anyway and one item they paid dearly for were slaves. Hawkins sold the slaves in a Spanish colony and as they sailed home, they ran into a storm near the Caribbean.

English ships were not welcome in Spanish waters, including the Gulf of Mexico or parts of the Caribbean. Their six ships were badly damaged from the storm and they stopped in enemy port Vera Cruz for repairs. Someone tipped off the government there about the English and the ships were attacked. Two ships escaped - The Judith under Francis Drake who sailed home and The Minion under Hawkins.

The Minion was overcrowded and under provisioned, so 114 men (including David Ingram) were set ashore 30 miles north of Tampico, Mexico (which is over 300 miles away from Texas).



David and his men headed north further into this unknown world. For 11 months, they headed north-east into Texas, through native lands, and into Canada ending up at Cape Breton, Newfoundland, a distance of over 3000 miles. Along the way, he lost 111 men to disease, accidents, relations with natives (an interesting result were a lot of blue-eyed native babies whose recessive gene passed down through the generations).



Quite an amazing journey on foot!

Source:
"Texas Tales" by C.F. Eckhardt; ISBN#1-55622-141-X


Western Word of the Week - Dark Horse - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share. Since we're in the midst of presidential campaigns and races, it seemed like a good time to talk about some of the terms we hear in those all the time...

Dark Horse - an unknown or little known horse (or candidate) enters the race

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Texas Tales - Ancient Chinese Explorers In Texas - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. The next few weeks I'll be sharing some interesting tidbits I found while researching Texas treasures and tales. Hope you enjoy!

Did ancient Chinese Explorers find their way to Texas?

A Chinese book called "Sun-Hai Ching" (or "Shun-Hai King")(translated literally as "Classic of Mountains and Seas"), written before the 4th century BC, contained short snippets of myths, geography, and creatures. It describes over 550 mountains, 300 rivers and 277 animals.

According to the "Texas Tales" book, the route described in a particular section computer-matched one strip of land between 10 and 20 miles wide from central Wyoming to the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park in western Texas. The detailed descriptions seemed to describe topography, minerals, waterflows, plants and animals in these regions.


One particular animal that was described, the peccary (a small pig) or javelin with its gray hair and collar are native only to the American southwest and Mexico.

It's known that Chinese had extensive trade routes with a place they called "Fusang" where they claimed people "barked like dogs". These people could possibly be the Apaches whose language sounds like barking to foreign ears. Trading lasted 300-500 years and ended in 1000 AD.

Interestingly, ancient Chinese recipes contained references to pepper pod or chili pepper and the legumes (which we call the peanut), both of which are native to the Americas. Some of these recipes have been found in Chinese tombs over 4000 years old!

Source:
"Texas Tales" by C.F. Eckhardt; ISBN#1-55622-141-X


Picture Source: https://www.britannica.com/animal/peccary

Western Word of the Week - Throw Your Hat In the Ring - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share. Since we're in the midst of presidential campaigns and races, it seemed like a good time to talk about some of the terms we hear in those all the time...

Throw Your Hat In the Ring - to compete in a race

Origin of this term: Boxers would throw their hat into the boxing ring for a chance to compete

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Texas History - Lottie Deno, The Angel of San Antonio - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Welcome to one of my favorite columns of this blog - Historical Tidbit Thursdays!

I'm really excited to be able to share my research, my favorite reference books, shows or movies I've seen that inspire, as well as my passion for history with you in a quicker and more regular way. My focus will be on my current WIP (Work in Progress) - a western romance fiction novel. So I hope you enjoy!!

This post we will take a look at Carlotta J. Thompkins, known as Lottie Deno, "The Angel of San Antonio" who was one of the most notorious gamblers in the Old West.

Carlotta J. Thompkins was born in Warsaw, KY on April 24, 1844 to a family that owned race horses and participated in gambling. When her father died, as the eldest daughter, she went to Detroit to find a wealthy husband to take care of her family. Instead, she used her beauty and charm to get into the private gambling clubs and soon her winnings supported her mother and sister. She took on the alias Lottie Deno.

Lottie met another gambler, Johnny Golden, and together they worked riverboats. Former slave, Mary Poindexter, became Mary's body guard standing over seven feet tall. Eventually, Lottie made it to New orleans and made enough off the casinos to pay for her sister's education and to see them both to San Antonio, Texas in comfort.

June 1, 1865 she arrived in Alamo City and soon made the rounds in the gambling clubs - the Cosmopolitan Saloon, the Comanche Club, the Jockey Vlub, the Jack Harris Saloon, etc. She became known as "The Angel of San Antonio" for her beauty and skills. She was hired as a dealer at the University Club, owned by Frank, Bob and Harrison Thurmond. She remained there for three years until her ex-partner Johnny Golden showed up. Lottie disappeared and later appeared in Fort Concho as "Mystery Maud".

After several months, Lottie arrived at For Griffin on the banks of the Cler Fork River. She never drank or cursed. She rented a small shack on the edge of town. For Griffin was rough - more people were killed on the streets of "The Flat" as it was known than in the history of Dodge City or Tombstone. There were over a dozen saloons, gambling parlors, dance halls and houses of ill-repute despite having only 400 residents. The town became known as the "Town of Babel" for its wickedness. She played cards with men in her home before becoming a house dealer at the Beehive Saloon.

Evenytually, Johnny Golden was arrested for horse thievery and died on the way to the stockade. Lottie paid for his coffin and a new suit to bury him in.

Lottie moved to Kingston, a small village in southwest New Mexico where Frank Thurmond waited for her. They opened the Gem Saloon in Silver City. They married DEcember 2, 1880.

After an incident where Frank murdered a man in self-defence, they gave up gambling. Frank died June 4, 1908 and Lottie died February 9, 1934.

Source:
Book - "From Angels to Hellcats" by Don Blevins; ISBN#0-87842-443-1

Western Word of the Week - Slush Funds - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share. Since we're in the midst of presidential campaigns and races, it seemed like a good time to talk about some of the terms we hear in those all the time...

Slush Funds - to funnel funds to shady politicians

Origin of this term: Navy cooks on ships would save aside the oils ("slush") from boiled meats/foods and they would then sell the oil to candlemakers or soapmakers on the sly for a profit.

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Western Word of the Week - Flash in the Pan - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Thanks for returning to our Western Word of the Day column. The next few weeks I'm drifting a little bit away from what we think of as truly "western" words to focus on some other vocabulary term that I've learned and wanted to share.

Flash in the Pan - something that is very short-lived; something with a lot of "flash" but no lasting result

Term came from Revolutionary times dealing with muskets which often would not fire properly or would malfunction. When a soldier pulled the trigger to fire his weapon, the fire would often flare up in the pan as the prime was ignited but the bullet would not be shot out. So the ignition was a success but the actual shooting of a bullet was a failure.

Source:
History Channel, "America's Secret Slang" video series
www.history.com/shows/americas-secret-slang

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Texas History - Francisca Alavez, The Angel of Goliad - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Welcome to one of my favorite columns of this blog - Historical Tidbit Thursdays!

I'm really excited to be able to share my research, my favorite reference books, shows or movies I've seen that inspire, as well as my passion for history with you in a quicker and more regular way. My focus will be on my current WIP (Work in Progress) - a western romance fiction novel. So I hope you enjoy!!

This post we will take a look at a another brave woman in Texas history, Francisca Alavez, also called "The Angel of Goliad" for her role there.

February 1836, Mexican soldiers under General Jose Urrea (one of Santa Anna's best officers) crossed the Rio Grande river. Francisca Panchita Alavez accompanied Captain Telesforo Alavez (she shared his last name but there's no evidence they were truly married). She was 20 years old and a real beauty.

February 27, Urrea surprised Francis W Johnson at San Patricio. All volunteer soldiers except for Johnson and a handful of escapees were killed or captured. He then attacked James Grant at Agua Dulce and all but Grant and 6 others were killed or captured.

upon hearing of the defeats, James Walker Fannin Jr, in charge of a contingent of men, decided to return to Goliad and prepare the site for defense against the oncoming army. He dubbed the presidio "Fort Defiance". Sam Houston sent him several directives. On March 19, just 13 days after the fall of the Alamo, Fannin moved his men out of the fort toward Victoria. Their escape was slow as he had 9 massive cannons pulled by oxen and no true road. Less than 20 miles out of Goliad, the enemy came upon them. By morning, the Texians were completely surrounded and their ammunitions cart had broke down. The small group of soliders faced over 1000 Mexicans. Fannin and his men surrendered. 240 men were marched back to Goliad as prisoners. 80 men were injured and would be transported to Goliad later. General Urrea asked Santa Anna for clemency for the men who surrendered but he refused. Fannin and 40 other injured men were executed at the Fort in Goliad. 28 men managed to escape. 20 people (physicians, nurses, interpreters, mechanics, etc) were spared to serve the Mexican army.

At a small settlement called Copano, a ship from New Orleans carrying 68 volunteers led by William P Miller docked in the bay and swam to shore where the Mexican army waited. They were tied up and left in the hot sun without food or water. Francisca raged at the guards and ordered them to be untied. Eventually, her insistency wore the guards down saving these men's lives.

They then escorted the prisoners to Goliad. She became friendly with the AMericans along the journey. When they arrived, the prisoners were added to the "Black Hole" a tiny space with over 400 prisoners and no room to lie down. She begged Colonel Portilla to let the captives get fresh air, food, and medical treatments. She convinced Portilla not to execute the men from Copano Bay as they hadn't been part of the actual rebellion and had never fired any shots. He agreed and shipped the men to a prison in Matamoros.

Under cover of darkness, Francisco smugged 12 captives onto the mission parapet to hide. She saved young Benjamin Franklin Hughes (only 15 yeard old) by claiming she needed him in the hospital to help with the injured. She saved William Hunter who'd been left for dead on the San Antonio River bank and dressed his wounds.

7 escapees were found by the Mexican soldiers. They killed 3. Francisca and another woman threw themselves in front of the firing squad and saved the other 4.

April 21, 1836, General Urrea moved across the Rio Grande into Matamoros. Telesforo (whom Francisca had accompanied all this time) headed back to Mexico City and left Francisco (supposedly he had a wife and two children back home).

Francisca had 2 children - sn Matias who went to work with Captain Richard King and daughter, Dolores. Francisca is buried at the King Ranch in an unmarked grave.

Source:
Book - "From Angels to Hellcats" by Don Blevins; ISBN#0-87842-443-1

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Texas History - Susanna Dickinson an Alamo Survivor - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Welcome to one of my favorite columns of this blog - Historical Tidbit Thursdays!

I'm really excited to be able to share my research, my favorite reference books, shows or movies I've seen that inspire, as well as my passion for history with you in a quicker and more regular way. My focus will be on my current WIP (Work in Progress) - a western romance fiction novel. So I hope you enjoy!!

This post we will take a look at a very brave woman named Susanna Dickinson who survived the Battle of the Alamo (one of the most famous battles in Texas history).

Susanna Wilerson was born in HArdeman County near Memphis, Tennessee in 1814. She met Almeron Dickinson (who was born in Pennsylvania) when she was 15 years old and rejected his affections. He courted her best friend and proposed. The day before her friend's wedding, he decided he waned to marry Susanna instead (I assume the feeling was mutual) and rode to her family's farm to get her. They stopped at a county court clerk's office to get a marriage license and were married that day (May 24, 1829).

It seems the situation became awkawrd for they moved to Gonzales, Texas two years later where Almeron established a blacksmith's shop.

On December 14, 1834, their daughter, Angelina Elizabeth, was born.

Almeron volunteered with the Texians (the growing rebellious group) and was appointed lieutenant of artillery. Eventually they end up at the Alamo in San Antonio with a small force of men.

February 1836, he sends a letter to Susanna asking her and the baby to join him at the Alamo.

February 23, 1836, a large Mexican army of thousands arrived at the Alamo for battle. Susanna, her daughter, 2 black slaves of Travis and Bowie, and 12 Mexican women and children were placed in a small room in the chapel. Susanna took on the role of nurse ripping her own clothing for bandages.

After the battle, Susanna's family friend, Ramon Musquiz beseeched Santa Anna to spare Susanna and her daughter. They were the only Anglo survivors of the battle. Any other Anglo survivors were killed and/or burned. While she approached Santa Anna, someone shot her in the leg (it's not clear whether it was on purpose or by accident). Musquiz took her to his hacienda to be cared for. Santa Anna came and was so enchanted by Angelina that he offered to adopt her and take them both to Mexico. She refused. He released her so that she could spread the news that any rebel who opposed Mexico would be killed and she was to take a letter stating the same to Sam Houston in Gonzales.

Susanna eventually moved to Houston. December 1837 Texas passed a law to give 640 acres to heirs of Alamo defenders. August 1839 she received her land grant.

Susanna went on to have several failed marriages. Her daughter also found herself in several relationships.

April 27, 1881, Susanna visited the Alamo. It was reported in the San Antonio Daily Express news.

Susanna died October 7, 1883. She was 68 years old.

Source:
Book - "From Angels to Hellcats" by Don Blevins; ISBN#0-87842-443-1

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Indian Tipi - Etiquette - #TidbitThursday

Howdy! Welcome to Tidbit Thurday!

Although Native Americans were called "savages", they actually had pretty strict rules they lived by and guide their manners.

Etiquette regarding entering someone's home was simple enough - if the door was open, friends could walk right in. If the door was closed, the visitor would call out or shake the door covering. They would wait to be invited inside.

A pretty funny joke was that if someone heard knocking, it was a government agent.

If a visitor found two sticks crossed over a door, that indicated the owners were away (or really didn't want company). Usually the smoke flaps would be crossed over the smoke hole to close it (and not allow smoke to escape).

In some tribes, inside the tipi, men typically sat on the north side and women sat on the south side. When entering, a man moved to the right walking behind anyone who was seated until they reached their spot. The seated person would lean forward. If the guest needed to walk between a seated person and the central fire, they would pardon themselves.

Typically, men would be served first starting with the oldest. The host would wait until all the guests had eaten before partaking of the meal. Guests were encouraged to eat everything they were given or else carry it home.

When the host cleaned his pipe and set it aside, that was the signal for guests to leave. They did not waste time on lengthy goodbyes.

Source:
"The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction, and Use" by Reginald and Gladys Laubin
ISBN#0-8061-2236-6

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Indian Tipi - The Fire Keeper - #TidbitThursday

Howdy! Welcome to Tidbit Thurday!

In some Native American tribes and cultures there is the concept of the Fire Keeper. Not unlike the Olympic Torch Bearer, this person carries a live coal in a special container (like a prepared horn slung over the shoulder) to the next camp to light the fires. In some tribes, the coal came from a sacred fire place and would like the next sacred fire.

Once the Fire Keeper kindled a fire, women would light their own tipi fire from it. The fire was kept alive until it was time to move again.

Every night, the fire was allowed to die down. The coals would be covered in their own ash. In the morning, the cold ashes would be scraped aside to reveal the live coals.

Source:
"The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction, and Use" by Reginald and Gladys Laubin
ISBN#0-8061-2236-6

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Indian Tipi - The Tipi Fire - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Today we're going to take a look at the tipi fire, the very central necessity that provides warmth and, in colder weather, a means to cook food.

A typical tipi fire consists of a ring of stones containing wood and burning material. In more permanent homes (such as a winter home or a summer home that will remain in place for several months), a shallow put would be dug.

The size of the ring varied by the tribe and the size of the tipi. Cheyenne and Arapaho built there ring 12"x25"x3". Comanches, Kiowas, Blackfeet, and Sioux built theirs 18-20" across.

The type of wood used to burn varied by the location and season. Wood that burned longer, threw less sparks and omitted less smoke were preferred. Hardwood (such as Willow, Cottonwood, Service berry, Chokecherry, Mountain maple, River birch) was best. Maple and Ash were good choices. Evergreens gave off too much smoke and sparks. Aspen gives off a lot of sparks but not a lot of smoke and smells sweet. Pine gives little heat. Burning Birch also has a sweet fragrance. Alder was known as "stinkwood".

Wood gathering was a community effort. Stacks of firewood were stored inside the tipi to the left of the doorway.

Sticks were used as pokers. Pipestem were used to fan coals. Narrow saplings were used as tongs.

Little chunks of greasy fat were tossed into fire for additional light.

Source:
"The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction, and Use" by Reginald and Gladys Laubin
ISBN#0-8061-2236-6

Video Review - American Heroes Channel - Gunslingers - Deacon Jim Miller

Gunslingers - Deacon Jim Miller - The Pious Killer

Season 2, Episode 6

Release date: August 23, 2015

Description:

"Gunslingers immerses viewers in the true stories behind infamous icons and conflicts of the Wild West. Watch as the real, little-known adventures of the Wild West's iconic characters, and see how their fearless pursuit of freedom and profit still resonate in America today."

Highlights:

Deacon Jim Miller aka "Killer Jim" was cagey, smart, deadly, and had a black soul.

He killed at least 51 men.

Acted like a mobster - scared off witnesses or killed them (or had someone else kill them) or paid them for silence

Yet, he didn't drink or use foul language. He appeared to be a family man and attended church.

July 30, 1884 - Coryell County, Texas - He slipped out of church, rode to his brother-in-law's house (John Coop) and killed him while he slept on his porch. Then he raced back to church to a revival meeting as if nothing had happened.

Jim worked hard on his "good guy" image. At his first murder trial, his lawyer was able to get the case thrown out (due to a technicality like a misspelled name or a wrong date).

When Jim lost his father, he and his mother went to live with his grandparents. They were his first victims at the age of 8. He was never charged or went to trial.

During his younger year, he committed petty thefts, horse or cattle thievery.

Around 1880s, the Clemens Clan (cousins of John Wesley Hardin's family) worked for them. Jim married Sally and settled in Pecos.

1891 - Bud Frazer was elected sheriff. Jim Miller became deputy. Jim attended Methodist Church.

After a slew of robberies, and Miller not making any arrests, Bud stripped him of his badge. Thus began a reign of terror in Pecos.

Jim built a crime empire of sorts - rustling cattle and horses. When Bud went out of town, crime became rampant.

Miller is eventually appointed town marshal (like a one-man police force or chief). After Bud tries to shoot him, Miller retaliates and kills him at a saloon.

After Miller's trial (where he was acquitted), he becomes unpopular in PEcos and moves to a little town near Fort Worth where he works as a gun-for-hire. His prices started at $50 then went up to $2000. He was living the high life. People were scared of him.

Upon his hanging, he kicked the stool out himself. They buried him face down.

You may be able to watch this episode on the American Heroes Channel or it might be out there on YouTube. I didn't find it on Amazon.

Link to the Gunslinger Series on AHC site

Video Review - American Heroes Channel - The Cowboy

The Cowboy

Release date: January 23, 2016

Description:

"THE COWBOY is a dynamic celebration of the most beloved American icon. These two hour-long specials tell the tale of the Old West through the lens of historians, renowned actors, directors, producers, and cinematographers —including Bruce Dern, Seth MacFarlane, Adam Beach, Anson Mount and Ben Mankiewicz—as well as real-life cowboys and modern-day Western figures. Featuring original interviews with those inspired by the legends and lore presented in iconic moments from classic and contemporary Western films, on-set and on-the-range footage all set to a classic Cowboy score, THE COWBOY explores the significance of what it meant to be this virtuous embodiment of the American character—and harkens back to the spirit that this way of life captured."

Highlights:

A Cowboy was a term for someone causing trouble and who led a hard life but Hollywood changed that. They made them more romantic and heroic.

A cowboy's job was tough - they worked in all sorts of weather (good and bad), they had to cross rivers, the dealt with harsh landscapes, unruly cattle and horses, illness

Mid-19th century was the dawn of the media age when news reported westward expansion.

First official western movie was "The Great Train Robbery" of 1903. It was ten minutes long and actually shot in New Jersey.

Movies hired out-of-work cowboys since professional stuntmen didn't exist yet.

Wyatt Earp visited John Ford's sets and talked to John Wayne.

"The Virginian" (1929) was the first grown-up western with sound

"The Big Trail" starred John Wayne but was a box office disaster

John Wayne's movies made cowboys icons/heroes giving up the "wild life"

1950s saw a slew of quirky western television shows (The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, etc)

Cowboys rarely marry the girl in television, capitalizing on the myth that they are loners

By the 1960s, big westerns are on the decline

"The Magnificent Seven" - a movie where even the bad guys can rise to hero-level status

Late 1960s/1970's, westerns became violent

"Butch Cassidy" movie, everyone dies

I didn't find a video on the American Heroes Channel but it might be out there on YouTube. Otherwise, you can purchase it on Amazon:



Link to the Episode on AHC site

Video Review - Travel Channel - Mysteries at the Museum - Outlaw Marshal

Mysteries at the Museum - Season 5 Episode 5: Outlaw Marshal

Release date: January 30, 2014

Description:

"Don Wildman investigates a deadly weapon from the Wild West that played a central role in a duplicitous plot, a device that sustained one man's unbelievable quest for survival on the high seas, and a set of 5 glimmering gemstones linked to a supposed land of riches that hypnotized some of the wealthiest men of their day."

Highlights:

July 1882 - Caldwell, Kansas - town is plagued by violence. City marshal is gunned down. Former Texas deputy marshal, Henry Brown, brings order to the town with his strict moral code (he doesn't drink, smoke or gamble).

Henry Brown seems to lead an ordinary life - he settles down, marries and then a month later he takes a leave of absence.

April 30, 1884 - Medicine Lodge - four men try to rob a bank but the safedoor is locked. They try to escape but a possee quickly forms and traps them in a ravine. Henry Brown is among those four outlaws. When he tries to escape, he's shot dead. The other three are hung for thievery and murder. Apparently the stress of his new life and mounting debts had led Brown to this end.

Interestingly, Brown had ridden with Billy the Kid in New Mexico. He was guilty of 2 charges of murder and horse thieving.

You can watch this episode on the Travel Channel Website:   Link to the episode

Video Review - History Channel - Modern Marvels - Saws

America: Facts or Fiction - Season 13 Episode 21: Locomotives

Release date: July 30, 2007

Description:

"Modern Marvels celebrates the ingenuity, invention and imagination found in the world around us. From commonplace items like ink and coffee to architectural masterpieces and engineering disasters, the hit series goes beyond the basics to provide insight and history into things we wonder about and that impact our lives. This series tells fascinating stories of the doers, the dreamers and sometime-schemers that create everyday items, technological breakthroughs and manmade wonders. The hit series goes deep to explore the leading edge of human inspiration and ambition."

Highlights:

Hand saw has teeth pointing forward (to cut on the push stroke) with gullets (spaces between the teeth) which fill up with swarf (debris).

Kerf = cutting groove

Set = the alternative outward bend to the teeth

Start off sawing with a nick or groove made by pulling saw teeth backwards.

Prehistoric flint stone saws have been found.

4900 BC - Egyptians had metal or copper saws to cut soft woods; later they were made of bronze

700 BC - Teeth were set in direction of cut

1730's - Amputation saw (no cleaning which led to a lot of infection especially when the doctor just went from one patient to the next). They basically sawed back and forth on the bone.

1930s - Crosscut saws were invented

Timber cutting is one of the most lethal jobs in America - 110 deaths per 100,000 workers.

You may be able to find this video on the History Channel or on YouTube. I couldn't find it on Amazon.

Official Modern Marvels Site

Direct Link to Saws Episode

Picture Credit: https://woodandshop.com/woodworking-hand-tool-buying-guide-handsaws/

Video Review - History Channel - Modern Marvels - Locomotives

America: Facts or Fiction - Season 15 Episode 11: Locomotives

Release date: April 7, 2008

Description:

"Modern Marvels celebrates the ingenuity, invention and imagination found in the world around us. From commonplace items like ink and coffee to architectural masterpieces and engineering disasters, the hit series goes beyond the basics to provide insight and history into things we wonder about and that impact our lives. This series tells fascinating stories of the doers, the dreamers and sometime-schemers that create everyday items, technological breakthroughs and manmade wonders. The hit series goes deep to explore the leading edge of human inspiration and ambition."

Highlights:

A fireman shovels coat into the fire box only when steam is needed. The engine uses about one and a half tons of coal an hour. The fireman is on duty 12 hours a day.

The boiler consists of a firebox surrounded by water. The steam goes up into a dome then through a throttle to power the engine. The pistons turns rods which propel the wheels.

Temperatures get up to 2500 degrees F.

When two locomotives crash head-on into each other, the one with more momentum will move up on the other one.

1896, two unmanned trains crashed into each other in Texas part of a publicity stunt. Unfortunately, the explosion caused pieces of metal to go flying to the crows and killed 3 spectators and injured a whole lot more.

You may be able to find this video on the History Channel or on YouTube. I couldn't find it on Amazon.

Official Modern Marvels Site

Video Review - American Heroes Channel - America: Facts or Fiction - Fool's Gold



America: Facts or Fiction - Season 2 Episode 1: Fool's Gold

Release date: October 7, 2014

Description:

"The real facts behind America's biggest economic boom and biggest bust will shock you. On this episode of America: Facts vs. Fiction, discover a treasure of nuggets about the California gold rush and the Stock Market Crash of 1929."

Highlights:

The first gold rush in North America was in 1799 in North Carolina.

The second gold rush in North America was in 1828 in Georgia

The third gold rush in North America was in 1849 in California (the Gold Rush we all know about and learned in school)

Over 50,000 people hit the trail in 1849 to go find gold and "strike it rich" (although most did not). The first arrivals could find gold in pans in the rivers but within months the gold was harder to find.

One in five died of diseases, accidents or violence within the first six months.

One in four miners (25%) came from outside the U.S.

Arsonists would burn hotels, etc to get the gold left behind in mattresses

The frenzy of the gold rush ends around 1860.

You may be able to find this video on the American Heroes Channel (https://www.ahctv.com/) or on YouTube. Otherwise, you can purchase it on Amazon:

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Indian Tipi - Foods - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Welcome back to our weekly Historical Tidbit Blog Column!

Reginald and Gladys Laubin's book is a wealth of information as they actually lived in the tipis they built and recreated the lifestyle including following the cooking methods and recipes used traditionally by nomadic Native Americans. Not all Indian tribes ate the same foods depending on where they lived, the tools they had available, etc. Once they moved onto reservations, some adopted a farming way of life while others were provided government rations, thereby changing a lot of the foods and meals with which they were familiar.

Here are some of the more common foods/meals:

Ash Cake - corn meal cake and dried berries wrapped in sweet leaves and baked in hot ashes
Bean Bread - (Cherokees/Eastern Indians) corn meal and beans wrapped in a large grape leaf then boiled
Camas - the bulbs could be eaten raw or were roasted in a pit oven, dried, and mashed into dough. The roots were edible (the ones with blue flowers only). The camas with yellow or cream-colored flowers were poisonous.
Corn Dodgers - dough rolled into cylinders and deep fried in fat
Fry Bread - plain flour dough fried to a golden color
Journey Cake - commonly mistaken for "Johnny Cake"; a corn meal cake
Marrow Guts - intestines heavily coated with fat and broiled over coals
Pumpkins
Roasting Ears - ears of corn (green) left in husks and roasted across hot coals
Scipio beans - pinkish beans; cooked
Squash - several varieties including Acorn Squash

Source:
"The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction, and Use" by Reginald and Gladys Laubin
ISBN#0-8061-2236-6

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Indian Tipi - Cooking - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Welcome back to our weekly Historical Tidbit Blog Column!

I took a few weeks off to research some more juicy tidbits and info for you and for my current WIPs (works in progress). Hope you enjoy!

Every family cooked for themselves and sometimes for their related immediate family members who may not live in the same tipi. A warrior was responsible for feeding his family by hunting the meat (buffalo, deer, rabbits, etc).

Several different methods were used, depending on the meal and/or the food being served. Families had limited amounts of dishes as they moved place to place depending on the season. So, oftentimes, they came up with creative ways to cook food with little to no pots.

One method was cooking in the ground (a "pit oven"). A hole would be dug into the ground and lined with sweet leaves. Chicken or ham, potatoes, corn, carrots or onions would be set in the hole and covered with leaves. Hot coals from the fire were placed on top of these leaves. A canvas or skin was laid over the hole. Embers might be shoveled on top of that. Finally, a layer or dirt to "enclose" the heat. All of this was left alone for several hours to cook. One can imagine this might be a gritty meal. Interestingly, a lot of other cultures use this same method today (google cooking pig in a pit).

Another method of cooking used is broiling. A stand containing a rack of ribs or other meal was set next to a hot fire or speared onto sticks and set directly over coals.

Many families owned an iron kettle (via trade with settlers) or at least a buffalo paunch (stomach) that was tied to a frame and used like a large bowl. It was filled with water, vegetables and meat. Stones were heated in a fire then dropped into the water to cause it to boil. Food could then simmer and cook.

One of the key methods of preparing food involved drying (or jerking) meat. This was important for wandering tribes as they needed to be able to eat while they hunted and travelled. Meat was stretched out and dried in the hot afternoon sun. At night, it would be piled up on clean canvas and covered so it wouldn't absorb moisture (which could lead to mold). It could be eaten hard or softened with a little water. Old jerky could be used in soups.

Source:
"The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction, and Use" by Reginald and Gladys Laubin
ISBN#0-8061-2236-6

Western Word of the Week - Boot-Black Cowpuncher - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...or, as I affectionately call it, Western Wednesdays!

Boot-Black Cowpuncher - a humorous term for a man who came from the East to get into the cattle business. "Boot-Black" referred to the shiny, polished boots that weren't yet broken-in from the hard work of cattle ranching.

Source:
Cowboy Lingo by Ramon F. Adams; ISBN#0-618-08349-9

Western Word of the Week - Big Scissor-Bill - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...or, as I affectionately call it, Western Wednesdays!

Big Scissor-Bill - described someone who didn't do their work very well

Scissorbill is also a term for an incompetent person.

Source:
Cowboy Lingo by Ramon F. Adams; ISBN#0-618-08349-9