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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