WEDNESDAY WESTERN ROUNDUP!! LORRIE FARRELLY AND BOOK GIVEAWAY!!

Jumpin’  Je-hos-ha-phat !! The boys done it again, wranglin’ Ms. Lorrie Farrelly and two of her heroes, Michael Cantrell and Robert Devlin, ‘round the campfire!! Lorrie sure does know how to serve up heroes Western style, and these men fit the bill like Wranglers fit cowboys!!  And they’re from the Wind River Basin area in Wyomin’!!  Hooo-Rah!! Did the temperature just spike or was that my blood pressure?

Hold on to yer hats folks that’s not all! Lorrie is givin’ away a signed copy of either “Terms” book, winner’s choice, to one lucky commenter today!  You heard right all it takes is a comment and Cookie will toss yer name in the hat! Just like that, easier than butterin’ bread!

But Cookie, true to form, has his little side note:  Due to the high cost of sendin’ Pony Express riders on cruise liners, the drawin’ is open for U.S. and Canadian residents only. We’re sorry folks, but don’t let it stop ya from commentin’! We want to hear from everyone!

And don’t forget to read Lorrie Farrelly’s post at the end about her inspiration for pennin’ these not-to-be-missed stories!

So come on now and grab a mug of hot thick-as-mud, black-as-tar coffee from Cookie, pull up a seat and let me introduce y’all to the Cantrells and Devlins…

The War Between the States not only destroyed all Michael Cantrell loved, it left the young, former Confederate cavalry officer without faith or hope, a solitary, haunted man trying to escape his demons in the vast western frontier. Then, one spring day along the Wind River, he finds himself suddenly in the thick of another life-and-death struggle — Annie Devlin’s war.

Desperate to hang on to her ranch and her life, waylaid by gunmen hired by a powerful rancher who covets her land, Annie and her young brother, Robbie, fight a furious, rapidly losing battle for their lives.

When all seems lost, into the fray steps a cold-eyed, steel-nerved stranger — Michael Cantrell — who saves Annie and Robbie, but is himself grievously wounded.

With Annie’s care, Michael recovers not only his strength but a portion of his embittered soul as well. Fighting his powerful feelings for her, convinced he has nothing to give, Michael determines to stay with the Devlins only long enough to ensure their safety against the treachery that would destroy them.

Reluctantly, Michael, who for years has known only loss, allies himself with a stubborn, courageous young woman who will take his heart by storm and test the limit of his honor, his mettle — and his passion.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  Both in reading and writing I tend to be character oriented, and when an author can take compelling characters and weave them into an exceptional story that keeps me turning pages when I should be sleeping you’ve got a first-rate read!  Michael and Annie are both fighters willing to go the distance even when the battle seems hopeless, but both put their whole hearts behind the war for Annie’s ranch and for the love they find in each other, and the forces against them better watch out!

Michael is a natural warrior and a Southern gentleman both characteristics lead him to get involved with Annie’s struggles. He’s a man who needs a purpose and a cause to fight for, and he finds both of these in helping Annie save her ranch. But he also needs to heal, heart, body, mind and soul, and he finds that in Annie’s heart and arms. The War Between the States hardened him and aged him beyond his years, but with Annie and Robbie he softens and finds the spark of youth.

Annie is a fighter and a Western woman born to share the load and hold on tight. She’s lost much, just like Michael, but she refuses to give up on her ranch or on life, her life and Michael’s.  I loved watching as this strong woman learned to release some of the burden and lean on Michael’s resourcefulness and muscle while combining their strengths to defeat their foe.

The secondary characters round out the story adding humor, tenderness and show us and Annie and Michael why they deserve love and each other.

TERMS OF SURRENDER is clearly a story of Lorrie’s heart, as there is a lot of heart in every page as Michael and Annie find out just how much they’re willing to surrender to hold onto each other. This is an endearing story has enough action, passion, humor and lovable characters to keep you enthralled to the end, then closing the book and looking around wondering where everyone you just met went, and why you aren’t still in the Wind River region of Wyoming.

 

Wyoming Territory, 1885. On a train in the middle of nowhere, a young woman suddenly collapses. Fellow passenger Dr. Robert Devlin, a widower traveling with his five-year-old daughter, responds immediately to the medical emergency. What he finds when he examines his new patient both shocks and outrages him, and soon he is tangled up in her no-way-out, life-or-death plight.

Teresa Rutledge has taken her toddler son and run for their lives. Fleeing her wealthy, cruelly abusive husband, knowing there is nowhere they will be safe for long, she is at the end of her strength and at the end of her rope.

Determined to protect Tess and her child, Rob takes them home to his sister, Annie, and her husband, former cavalry Captain Michael Cantrell. As Tess regains her health, she and Rob fall passionately in love. But she is trapped in a brutal marriage, and on a desperate flight from a powerful, violent man determined never to let her go.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS: It is always a treat to read the next book in a series and get the chance to visit old friends. I loved Robbie in TERMS OF SURRENDER as a rambunctious ten-year-old waiting for the former Reb to die, so he could have his horse :)  But Robbie grew into Dr. Rob Devlin and a strong, amazing hero (almost as wonderful as Michael).

First, I LOVED the family dynamic in this story. The large, loud family that supports Rob and Tess and backs each play they make. The teasing between family members and then arguments, but all weaved with love, it makes you want to pull up a chair and join the Cantrells and Devlins for Sunday dinner.   And all the children were so fun to watch, and drawn so perfectly. It’s difficult to write realistic children, and Lorrie’s are magical, each one with very distinct personalities and not cookie cutter caricatures. It was fun to see Annie and Michael again and to meet their family.

Though Tess has suffered years of abuse, her husband has not completely broken her spirit, and watching her find her strength and smile again under the attentions of Rob and his family was heartening and heartbreaking as she realized past choices might keep her from the promise of real love and family. Tess is such a charming heroine. She’s not a woe-as-me heroine who constantly complains about her situation. She recognizes her mistakes and is willing to accept the consequences as long as her son is happy and safe.  In her desire for happiness and love, she’s also willing to take advantage of the moment she’s given with the Cantrells and Devlins and pitches in becoming a part of the family. But I applauded Tess’ determination to fight for her chance at a new life despite the odds.

Rob is just the man to heal Tess in every way, and recognizes in Tess the woman who could heal his own pain.  Rob is such a compassionate man, and it’s as easy for the reader to fall in love with Rob as it was for Tess to fall for him.  And even though he’s suffered loss, he still believes things can be mended, from broken bones to getting Tess a divorce from her abusive husband leaving her free to build a life with him.  He tenaciously holds on to those he loves offering unwavering loyalty and support.  And he knows how to use his brain, as well as brawn to win the day.

Like Michael and Annie, Tess and Rob work together to battle against the enemy. Lorrie does a superb job of making it clear neither Rob nor Tess take her married status lightly just because her husband is a monster.

The lighthearted moments in TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT are all the sweeter for the sour Tess and Rob have to go through.  And you will fall in love with them and Gracie Rose and Scottie (their little ones). Heck, you’ll fall in love with the whole clan!

Lorrie draws the reader into her world through realistic dialogue and people so true to life you have to remind yourself it’s fiction.

THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE “TERMS” BOOKS BY LORRIE FARRELLY

“Terms of Surrender” came straight from my heart. When my folks passed away, I found they’d kept copies of the parole papers and oath of allegiance my great-grandfather, a Confederate soldier, had had to sign in order to be allowed to go home – to whatever home he had left – after the war. My dad was born in Georgia in 1909, and folks were not much different then than they’d been in 1865. He was a U.S. Navy officer and an Annapolis graduate, but he was also a boy who’d been raised as though the Yankees had ravaged his homeland the week before, not in the previous century. I started to imagine how terrible it must have been to choose between country and home, family and friends, duty, honor, and love. Defeat, bitterness, and loss of home and family would be overwhelming; love and hope surely would seem gone forever. How would a man who no longer believed in either ever come to find them again? That was my inspiration for “Terms of Surrender.”

The sequel, “Terms of Engagement,” came about because I just had to find out what had happened to Michael, Annie, and Robbie, and what their family had become. It took me a little while to wrap my head around an adult Robbie, but once I did, I knew right away he’d be a doctor. Then the story was, suddenly, just there. I also love writing about kids – all of my books have at least one important character who is a child or teen – so I had a lot of fun with Gracie Rose and Michael and Annie’s children. Kinley is a whole book in herself. I’m thinking about it! The other feature I love putting in my books is a touch of the paranormal. The first story I ever wrote (which is still in the “drawer” of my computer files) was a ghost story. When I first started writing, editors told me no one liked paranormal stories. Obviously, they hadn’t met “Edward” and “Bella.” (Oh, it’s good to have the last laugh. Evil probably, but good!)

Katy bar the door!!  I know y’all are chompin’ at the bit to get Lorrie’s books, and well ya should.  But don’t run off right yet!  First, leave a comment to see if you can win a signed copy!

How about you, do y’all like a bit of the paranormal in your stories?  And how about children, do ya like when a whippersnapper is included to keep the grown-ups on their toes?

Grab another cup o’ Joe, it’s only been sittin’ a few hours, and chat a bit!

 

WAGONS WEST!! CHIEF WASHAKIE!!

I tell ya folks Cookie and me have been whippin’ up some more trails to blaze and wild paths to follow!!  Fact is we’ve turned the wagon toward our next destination, but then the ol’ coot reminded me I promised to tell y’all about Chief Washakie, so he stopped the wagon! Fact is, Cookie just wanted another piece of Ma’s pie!  For that trick I offered the Shoshone thirteen horses to take the codger, they countered, offerin’ sixteen for me to keep ‘im! Dagnabbit!!

Failed negotiations aside, think I told y’all at our last campfire ‘while back each state got to choose two people whose statue would go into the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. I introduced y’all to the first person honored from Wyoming, Mrs. Esther H. Morris. Now sit on down ‘round the fire and let me introduce ya to the second person Wyoming honored with a statue, the great Shoshone leader, Chief Washakie!

Chief Washakie’s early life still holds many mysteries. The year of his birth and the year he joined the Shoshone tribe have both been speculated upon by numerous Indian agents, religious leaders and historians.  An early biographer, Grace Raymond Hebard records the year of his birth as 1798, however, his gravestone is inscribed with an 1804 date. Washakie, in an interview with an Indian Agent at the Wind River Reservation Captain Patrick H. Ray provides some hints that would place his birth closer to 1808 or 1810. Regardless of the year Washakie was born, or joined the Shoshone tribe he became a fierce warrior and a great leader for the Eastern Shoshone.

Even the name by which he would be widely known has been translated in various ways. Although, it apparently dealt with his tactics in battle. One story details a large rattle Washakie devised by placing stones in an inflated and dried balloon of buffalo hide which he tied on a stick. He carried the device into battle to frighten enemy horses, earning the name “The Rattle.” Another translation of Washakie is “Shoots-on-the-Run,” or “Shoots-buffalo-on-the-run.”

Originally named Pinaquana (smell of sugar), he was born in his father’s Salish (Flathead) tribe. His mother was Lemhi-Shoshone. When Washakie was just a boy, his tribe was attacked by Blackfeet and his father was killed. The survivors of the attack scattered with Washakie’s mother taking him and his siblings to the Lemhi-Shoshone. Later his mother returned to the Flathead, but Washakie and his sister stayed with the Lemhis.  At about the age of sixteen Washakie joined a band of Bannocks. The Bannocks, linguistically related to the Shoshones, were trading and hunting partners with the Shoshone tribe and frequently joined them on massed buffalo hunts in Montana and Wyoming. This particular band considered the Green River basin area of southwestern Wyoming their home.

One of the relationships that provide clues to Washakie’s birth year is his friendship with Jim Bridger. Washakie, in his interview with Ray, stated he met Bridger when he was sixteen after joining the Shoshone tribe and that Bridger was a few years older than Washakie.  Bridger who was born in 1804 did not enter Shoshone country until 1824. It was during Bridger’s time with William Ashley’s Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Company and at the rendezvous in the vicinity of Henry’s Fork of the Green River when the two met. Washakie then hunted and trapped with Bridger attending rendezvous with the famous trapper and explorer. This is also the time when Washakie cast his lot with a band of Shoshone who claimed the Green River and Bear River regions there Washakie lived in proximity for many years with fur trappers and traders. He learned their mannerisms and languages, English and French. He traded with these men and earned a reputation as a friend among the whites.

But while trapping and trading were valuable activities to the fur trappers these were not enough to gain prominence with Shoshone culture. In order to do this, young men had to prove themselves in battle. So at the same time Washakie was immersed in the fur trade, he also made war on the tribe responsible for his father’s death, the Blackfeet.

The first few raids into Blackfeet country, Washakie tells Ray he was young, unmarried and he followed another leader, until he gained enough prowess to lead other raids.  One of the most remarkable things about each of the journeys to Blackfeet country was that Washakie and his fellow Shoshones started on foot from their Idaho or Wyoming base and attacked the Blackfeet near the Three Forks area or even farther east or north. There were two goals for each of these raids, first to steal horses, secondly, to take Blackfeet scalps.

By early 1830s, Washakie matured enough and had achieved enough acclaim in the raids on the Blackfeet to marry his first wife. Shoshone men typically married in their early to mid-20s, depending on their prowess as warriors and their economic viabilities as hunters.  Shoshone women typically married at a younger age, usually fifteen or sixteen.

Washakie continued to maintain his hunting, trapping, trading, and warring activities from his home in the Green River, Bear River and Cache Valley throughout the 1830s and into the 1840s. During this time, the Shoshone bands were under the leadership of several powerful headmen who amassed over 2000 Indians in the buffalo hunting trips to the plains of Montana and Wyoming.  These leaders were identified by trapper William A. Ferris as: Horn Chief, Iron Wristband, Little Chief, and Cut Nose.  Cut Nose was the leader of Shoshones who intermarried and lived in a mixed Indian-White community in the Green River region. It is believed this was Washakie’s band.

Osborne Russell, another trapper, met Iron Wristband in 1834, and stated Iron Wristband was known as Pahdahewakunda and Little Chief was his brother. Little Chief was called Mohwoomha by the Shoshones.  Making clear distinctions about Shoshone leaders proved impossible for white observers. To outsiders, it seemed as if certain leaders controlled thousands of people, but in reality, such men generally were leaders of specific events, such as annual massed buffalo hunts, rendezvous, or ceremonials such as the Sun Dance, not overarching rulers. Shoshones organized themselves into loose-knit family bands for various composition and size. The economics of providing food and fodder for thousands of Indians and their horses acted against maintenance of large-scale communities. Once large gatherings ended, Shoshones dispersed into more manageable and smaller groups of 10 to 150 people.  Each of these had their own designated leaders, or headmen.

So, along with the leaders mentioned above, fur trappers noted other important warriors.  Russell called three young warriors “the pillars of the nation and [men] at whose names the Blackfeet quaked with fear.”  These three warriors were: Inkatoshapop, Fibebountowatsee, and Whoshakik. Whoshakik refers to the warrior we know as Washakie.  Another trapper, William Hamilton, camped for part of 1843 with Washakie and noted the Shoshone warrior led hunting trips into Crow territory of the Big Horn River.  In each account the trappers note Washakie’s friendly relationships with trappers and traders.

Trappers, like Jim Bridger, used their trade relationships to foster the “careers” of their friends. In 1849, Indian Agent John Wilson noted that Washakie, Mono, Wiskin, and Big Man were the main leaders. Wilson took his information directly from reports by Bridger. Washakie denied this in his interview with Captain Ray stating that Gahnacumah was the leader of his band and Washakie was the war chief.  It is also of note that close to the same time Bridger elevates Washakie to that of a leader of the Shoshone, Washakie’s daughter, Mary, became Jim Bridger’s third wife. She was about 17 years old and Bridger was 46.

Whether Washakie was “chief” of the Shoshones or not, he quickly moved into that position in the eyes of white officials. The same year of Wilson’s report, he asked Washakie to help solve an intertribal feud over horse stealing between the Utes, Paiutes, and Shoshones.  For the first time the federal government officially recognized Washakie as an important leader. The actual meeting took place in 1852. Before this meeting could take place, the government called a more important meeting to establish peace on the Plains between the Mandan, Sioux, Crow, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Blackfeet and other tribes in an attempt to provide safe passage for emigrants traveling the overland trails.  Jacob Holeman, recently appointed Indian Agent for the newly created Utah Superintendent of the Office of Indian Affairs, thought other tribes whose lands were affected by the overland emigrants should also attend the meeting.

Holeman sent Bridger to gather the Shoshones and bring them to the council. This would not be an easy task, as the site of the meeting, on Horse Creek about 30 miles from Fort Laramie, was squarely in the enemy territory as far as Shoshones were concerned. The timing was off for the Shoshones, as well. It was August, when most Shoshones were on fall buffalo hunts. Bridger found the band that included Washakie camped along the Sweetwater River. The leader of the band, Gahnacumah was hunting buffalo and refused to attend the council. And to sour things further, a raiding party of Cheyenne attacked a small group of Shoshone hunters near the camp, killing two and stealing horses.  The few leaders in camp immediately mistrusted the upcoming peace council and argued for three days. A desperate Bridger asked Washakie to take charge and resolve the issue.  Washakie stated he:  “called in all the young men who had been to war [with me]” and told them, “I was going to stay with the white men and they must make up their minds to go or to stay and they all said they would stay. There were a good many of them.”  They also elected Washakie as their war chief.

As far as the whites were concerned this began Washakie’s chieftainship.  Sixty to eighty warriors followed him to the Fort Laramie/Horse Creek council.  There the Shoshones entered in full dress regalia that reportedly started their enemies scrambling for weapons thinking the Shoshones intended to attack. Despite their grand entrance, the Shoshones were excluded from official participation since the meeting was called for the Plains tribes only and the Shoshones resided primarily west of the Rocky Mountains.  The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, established territorial claims for the Plains tribes. The Indians guaranteed safe passage for settlers on the overland trails in return for an annuity of fifty thousand dollars for ten years. Also, the nations would allow roads and forts to be built in their territories.  Although, left out of the council, Washakie adhered to the terms of the treaty and he played on this “friendship” with the whites to gain whatever advantages he could for his followers.

Washakie was the clear leader of choice for white officials. There were other prominent Shoshone headmen, chiefs in their own right, who led various bands, but Washakie was the primary leader to whom whites turned for guidance concerning most of the buffalo-hunting Shoshones. As for Washakie, he learned the intricacies of negotiating within the white world from his long relationship with Jim Bridger and other trappers and traders.  He used these skills to obtain goods, supplies, and food from government officials.

The pioneers who passed through his territory had tremendous impact on Washakie’s Shoshones.  Washakie’s band was headquartered around Jim Bridger’s fort during the 1840s. In the early 1850s, following his rise to a more prominent role, Washakie’s activities remained centered around Fort Bridger and also Salt Lake City. Washakie had built trade relationship with Brigham Young, where the Shoshones traded buffalo hides and other game pelts for goods and supplies. By the mid-1850s the continuous flow of white settlers through this area disrupted life and hunting to such a great extent Washakie began to seek out areas where whites had not yet settled.  He believed trading in Salt Lake was still important in the summer, but in late fall, Washakie’s Shoshones headed north to the Three Forks area of Montana for their buffalo hunts.  If you’ll recall this is the place where Washakie had gained his prowess as a warrior against the Blackfeet.  The band whose members formed the majority of the Plains-going Shoshones, made the change to their geographical range from the mid-1850s through early 1860s. Washakie’s plan was two-fold: first, it prevented factions within his band from raiding or killing white travelers, and second he could still lead his people to buffalo in relative safety without violating the territorial boundaries marked out by the Treaty of Fort Laramie.

The 1850s also saw change in Washakie’s band.  Shoshones and Bannocks of Idaho began more frequent campaigns of armed resistance to the invasion of their lands by emigrants and settlers.  As a result, Washakie began to lose some of his followers, especially younger warriors who resisted Washakie’s continued friendship toward the whites.  By 1858, Washakie began making overtures to white officials to set aside land specifically for the Shoshones. He first suggested land along Henry’s Fork, a tributary of the Green River near the border of Utah and Wyoming.  Later, he proposed a reserve near the Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah. But his negotiations led to gifts of food, clothing, and good will, but not a secured track of land for his people.

Spurred into action by the growing number of raids on settlers, government officials finally sought to set aside lands for the Shoshones and Bannocks.  At the same time, Colonel Patrick Connor led a large-scale militia attack on a Shoshone winter camp near the Bear River. Connor’s attack led to the massacre of over 240 Indians.  While Washakie was not at the camp near Bear River, when the government sought to make a treaty he was called to the negotiations at Fort Bridger along with ten other leaders.  The Fort Bridger Treaty of 1863 set aside over 44,000,000 acres of land for “Shoshone country.”  The land was east of the Wind River Mountains and north of the main immigrant trails through the Basin regions.

This agreement, like most during this time period, brought peace for a time between Shoshones and whites, but was riddled with problems.  Settlers and emigrants now had free access to traditional Shoshone hunting grounds in the Fort Bridger, Bear River, and Salt Lake region, and started spreading up the Green River Valley.  Therefore, Washakie and other Shoshone leaders were forced to increasingly turn to hunting in Crow territory, or even onto the Plains east of Powder River and the Big Horn Mountains. As a result, Shoshones became vulnerable to attacks by Crows, Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapahos, all vying for the same hunting grounds.  At the same time, as previously discussed in past posts, white prospectors were flooding into South Pass, Miner’s Delight, Atlantic City and farmers were claiming land near some of the tributaries of the Big Wind River. [See last week’s post on the Battle of Crowheart Butte for details on the escalation of violence between the Shoshone and Crow]

With violence between tribes escalating, the end of the Civil War, the building of the first transcontinental railway and more gold discoveries in South Dakota and Montana, a new round of negotiations with many of the Indian tribes was sparked in 1867 and continuing through 1868. Washakie took advantage of this situation upon hearing the Crow relinquished their claim on the Wind River he met with officials again at Fort Bridger and signed the Fort Bridger Treaty in 1868. This treaty created the Shoshone and Bannock Indian Agency in the Wind River Valley. Today, the Wind River Reservation is the only one in the United States which occupies land chosen by the tribe that lives there.

A treaty on paper did not create immediate benefits. Sioux warriors under Red Cloud continued to raid both whites and Shoshone towns and camps along the Wind River, making it too dangerous to make a permanent home there. The government, under Washakie’s petitions, established a military base at Camp Brown (later called Fort Washakie) to provide protection to the agency.  By 1871, the first agency buildings had been erected, and Washakie and his Shoshones began to learn a new way of life. Washakie included demands for new schools, physicians, teachers, carpenters and other skilled craftsmen in his treaties with the government.

For the next 30 years, Washakie walked a thin line between adhering to the new demands placed on his people to become “civilized,” while at the same time maintaining traditional Shoshone ways. Through the 1870s he encouraged his children to attend agency schools, but still took them on fall buffalo hunts. [Again please refer to last week’s post for information on agency schools and Rev. Roberts]  He moved from living in hide teepees to log houses, yet still led warriors into battle against the Sioux and Cheyenne in the U.S. Army campaigns of 1876. He insisted white officials abide by Shoshone council decisions regarding distribution of food, annuities, and supplies.  He maintained his role as the spokesman for the tribe, but also respected the leadership of the various Shoshone bands who lived on the reservation. He refused to allow an Indian police force (who often served as spies for white officials) to be created through the 1880s stating, the Shoshone could police themselves and provide good order.  He farmed a small plot of land, as an example to other Shoshones, and insisted white farmers and ranchers pay for the use of reservation lands in livestock or grazing fees.

But changes were already in the air that would limit Washakie’s choices about keeping even part of their traditional ways. The Brunot cession of 1872 ceded nearly one-third of the reservation.  Settlers in towns such as Lander, promoted more settlement in the “unoccupied” lands to be used for stockgrowing, hunting, and logging.

Washakie’s influence waned even more regarding reservation policies. The Arapahos, long-time enemies of the Shoshones, were moved to the reservation in 1878. Supposedly a temporary placement, the Arapahos became equal shareholders in the resources of the reservation. This severely limited Washakie’s ability to shape council decisions and limit the impact of official decisions. A more telling blow was the elimination of buffalo hunting as a mainstay of the Shoshone economy.  As long as Washakie and the Shoshones could depend on buffalo as their main source of food and economic activity, they could thwart attempts of the Indian agents to turn them into farmers.  The last buffalo were killed in 1885 and the Wyoming livestock industry expanded into Wind River country, curtailing off-reservation hunting access to other big game such as elk. This forced the Shoshone to pay more attention to farming, ranching and wage labor.

While changes and Washakie’s increasing age limited his power it did not end entirely.  In the mid-1880s, Wind River Indian agents signed on Shoshones to the tribal police service, but Washakie named the men who would serve in these positions. He often nominated the Shoshone Indian employees for agency positions as teamsters, farmers, herders, etc. While younger men played increasingly important roles in Shoshone councils, Washakie was still the dominant voice well into the 1890s. His last major act took place in the 1896 Hot Springs land cessions, when Shoshones and Arapahos gave in to the demands of the government to sell a ten-square mile parcel of land at the northeast corner of the reservation. This parcel contained natural hot springs (present day Thermopolis).  Washakie insisted that the springs remain open to all peoples; this condition is still honored today.

Washakie became ill in the winter of 1899 and succumbed to the illness on February 20, 1900. Buried with full military honors and with a funeral train that stretched for miles, Washakie’s death was a symbol, as his life had been, of the effort made to bring peace to disparate peoples, to listen to ideas and adapt to new ways while honoring the traditions of a proud people.  No other leader emerged from the Shoshones who achieved his stature.

Over one-half of the adult males expressed their loss a few months after his death in a letter written to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs:

“Our Great Father: We your children The Shoshones, Would be pleased if you would appoint some one [sic] of our number to be our Chief or in some way give us a head.  As you must know, that our old Chief Washakie is dead, and we are now left with out [sic] a head to look too.  It is now with us like a man with many tongues all talking at once and every one of his tongues pulling every which way.  We are feeling bad that things should be in such shape among us.  So we leave it to you to say who shall be our chief, or you name any number say nine or eleven but we want you to say and we will abide by what you say.”

Suffice it say, the “Great Father” did not appoint a new chief.  Instead, after many years of struggle, the Eastern Shoshones are now governed by a democratically elected Joint Business Council.

Folks, I tell ya that’s one heck of a history! Proud and heartbreaking all wrapped in one bedroll of a man who saw the need to adapt to new ways, while tryin’ to retain the honor and traditions of his people. The country as a whole could benefit from more men like Chief Washakie.

Next week folks we’ll be back ridin’ the rough trail over new ground. That is if I can get Cookie’s pie soaked behind back on the wagon and the horses can pull the extra weight…that’s right plum embarrassin’ jawin’ with the good Chief and you shovin’ pie down your gullet…

See y’all next time on the trail!!

SOURCES:

http://wyoarchives.state.wy.us/Research/Topics/FTopic.asp?SubID=4&nav=1&homeID=1

http://www.windriverhistory.org/exhibits/washakie_2/life.htm

Stamm, Henry E., IV.  People of the Wind River: The Eastern Shoshones, 1825-1900.  Norman:  University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.

 

WEDNESDAY WESTERN ROUNDUP!! ELAINE LEVINE AND BOOK GIVEAWAY!!

Folks, I am…Fit. To. Be. Tied! Cookie even had to fetch the smellin’ salts case I get the vapors. Today ‘round the campfire we have Elaine Levine and her get this….Wyoming cowboys (insert wild hoots and hollers) from Defiance!! I’m havin’ a time just drawin’ air!

And like bringin’ these fine cowboys wasn’t enough, Elaine provided a great article on why she set the MEN OF DEFIANCE series in Wyoming and the real life inspirations for the town of Defiance and it’s location in Wyoming!  So keep on readin’ cause it’s a real treat! (Though settin’ your stories in Wyomin’ just makes sense to me)! :o)

Then to put an extra spoonful of sugar in your coffee, she’s givin’ away a paperback copy of Logan’s story…LOGAN’S OUTLAW!!  So for the price of just a comment one lucky reader is walkin’ away with a whole lotta cowboy!

Cookie’s Disclaimer:  I’m sorry but due to the cost of sendin’ the Pony Express overseas (the horses don’t care for the long distance swim) the drawin’ is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

But please come on in and chat with us a spell no matter where y’all are from we love to hear from ya!!

Now let’s get to what y’all are here for…THE MEN OF DEFIANCE!

 

Running from a brutal past to the father she’s never met, Rachel Douglas must rely on the survival skills of the hard-edged gunman her father sends to guide her across the rugged terrain of the Dakota Territory. But Sager’s got another plan and a blood debt to settle.

Time doesn’t always heal all wounds. Sometimes it takes a little vengeance.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  I bought RACHEL AND THE HIRED GUN as an impulse, since Elaine was a new author to me. Oh WOW, did that impulse pay off in a BIG way! This book has it all: family feuds, vengeance, rustling, gunfights, and most importantly a hero and heroine you will LOVE, I mean L-O-V-E!! And it all begins with a wolf attack, so there’s no beating around the bush with the action. Elaine Levine does a superior job of making all of this come together without making it cliché, but she weaves the plot and characters together into a story you will treasure.

Rachel is such an emotionally strong character and so tender and sweet she’s exactly what Sager needs, and what her father, Old Jack, and her father’s enemies the Taggerts need, as well.  Rachel is coming from an abusive situation with hopes of finding a new life and peace on her father’s ranch, and build a relationship with her estranged father.  She’s soon faced with the reality that she’s only wanted as a pawn by both families in their feud. But I think it’s her gentle spirit and her unwavering faith and love for Sager that makes her such a remarkable woman.  But don’t get me wrong, Rachel’s no pushover she has the courage needed to survive in the vast Dakota Territory and when push comes to shove she’ll fight side by side with Sager to see their livelihood protected.

Sager is a hero that transfixes you from his first appearance, when he’s on the page his presence commands the attention of other characters and the readers.  His muddied past and hurts have set him on the trail to vengeance, but his honor and Rachel’s sweetness alter his course.  Sager is a man caught between two worlds, both as a man raised by Shoshone’s and living the white world, and a man desiring revenge, but desiring Rachel and the peace she brings more.

You’ll be roped in from page one to the end and then want to turn around and start at page one all over again…But there’s more men from Defiance to meet so keep reading.

 

Virginia financier Julian McCaid has put his troubled past behind him. His plans for the future don’t include Audrey Sheridan, the extraordinary frontier woman he met just once, but it’s because of her that he’s come to the Dakota Territory to investigate problems at his ranch. And it’s all the more surprising when he discovers she isn’t the innocent he believed. Now nothing but her complete surrender will purge her from his soul.

If it weren’t for the children she cares for in her makeshift orphanage, Audrey would have left Defiance long ago. Now the sheriff is blackmailing her to distract the man who might derail his corrupt schemes, a man who can offer Audrey not just protection, but a passion bold enough to make them claim their place in this harsh and beautiful land.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  I instantly bought AUDREY AND THE MAVERICK after finishing RACHEL AND THE HIRED GUN for a good story, and I got GREAT!  Julian is an outsider and a sheep rancher and in Dakota Territory both of those things cause trouble, but in a corrupt town they could get you killed. Again Elaine Levine pens a great Western full of action and more importantly bringing together two great characters. Julian and Audrey are a bit more high-spirited than Rachel and Sager and their relationship starts like a prairie fire fueled by a wild wind.

Audrey is high-spirited, proud and desperate to save her family from the crooked sheriff and his men who have destroyed the town of Defiance.  Though she is in a tough spot I admired her grit, and her love for her brother and the children she’s taken in as her own.  Like many women in the West, she does what needs to be done to care for her own, while risking her heart to love a man whose plan for his life is destined to keep them apart.  I think in this Audrey illustrates the character of the West, to risk everything for a dream.

Julian is a man who never truly felt like he fit in, anywhere, and is hoping to start a new legacy thinking it will bring him the esteem he desires.  But unfortunately this plan and his passion for Audrey don’t meld and he has to decide which legacy is more important…blood lines or love. Julian is brave and possessive, and willing to fight for what’s his. Like Levine’s other heroes he also has a quick wit and charm as smooth as good whiskey.

Then you add in the children, who add a lot to the story and actually help us see a very different side to Julian and Audrey than they show at other times adding a new dynamic to these characters, and a bit of fun.

 

To Leah Morgan’s mind, the last thing her hometown of Defiance needs is another gunman stalking its dusty streets, especially one as sweet-talking and fine-looking as Jace Gage. Despite her warnings, the infuriating man seems determined to meddle in her life and risk his own, all for a town that can’t be saved and a heart she locked away long ago.

Professional bounty hunter Jace Gage has cleaned up plenty of corrupt towns in his lifetime, and he knows he can handle whatever Defiance’s thugs have to offer. But the town’s most lawful citizen is another story. Beautiful, willful and exasperating at every turn, Leah is the one person capable of bringing the ruthless gunslinger to his knees, and capturing his desire with a single kiss.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  Jace Gage is brought to Defiance in AUDREY AND THE MAVERICK and you can’t wait to find out more about this man they call the Avenger…And he does not disappoint.

Leah is fierce, hot-tempered, self-sufficient and only a man like Jace is strong enough to hold on tight until the heart she thought was dead starts beating again. Leah has witnessed some of the worst atrocities people can do to one another, and she has lost hope that anyone or anything can change the evil hanging over her town.  As secrets are revealed Leah must come to terms with everything that’s revealed and accept the love, acceptance and hope in the future Jace offers.

Jace saunters onto the pages calm, cool, and caring less rather he lives or dies. War, death and years of hunting evil have almost drained any misguided belief in human goodness Jace had.  In Leah he sees his chance to hang up his guns and find peace, but first he has to convince her.  Jace has a very dry humor that I caught myself laughing out loud at remarks delivered without a hint of emotion. But Jace is loaded for bear and he’s determined to clean up the town of Defiance and when Jace is determined action ensues and the job is done. Leah learns this applies to his heart, as well.

Leah and Jace are two strong-willed individuals and they clash on streets of Defiance, but their hearts being every bit as strong as their wills means neither stands a chance of escaping their love.

 

Sarah Hawkins survived capture by the Sioux, but after her escape she faced public scorn. Now, she’ll do anything to start over, and the small town of Defiance promises the anonymity and security she needs. Before she melts into the shadows, though, it’s her mission to put a great injustice to rights, and that means jeopardizing her safety once more. But this time, she’s not alone.

Without meaning to, Sarah has fallen under the protection of Logan Taggert, a rough-and-tumble trader unused to caring for others – and yet unable to ignore the tempting, tenacious woman’s plight. Though she refuses to trust him, Logan won’t leave her side, keeping her one step ahead of danger…even as she takes hold of the very thing he never thought he’d risk: his heart.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  This story is ACE-HIGH, WHOO DOGIES, SIX GUNS BLAZEN…Well it’s just a must read!  It is heartrending, beautiful, and really some parts are so tender make sure you have tissue at hand. It also has plenty of gun fire, danger and good ol’ Wyoming action to get your blood pumping.

Sarah has to rank right up there in the all-time favorite heroines chart. She is so misused, abused and scorned, but she refuses to let it all crush her. There are just no words for what this woman has endured and yet she has such grace, strength, and such a kind heart she instantly threads her way into yours. There are times, as she heals through Logan’s patience and care that you are almost verbally cheering her on.  There are moments of bitterness, as there should be, but even then she doesn’t hold onto it or let it consume her she fights against it and for the new life she wants with Logan.

And who wouldn’t want to fight for Logan Taggert? First, before I get into his amazing relationship with Sarah, I have to mention I love his occupation. As a trader, Logan is able to give the reader insight into the Sioux culture, and it was such a beautiful way to weave the Sioux way of life into a story to show both the good and bad in both the Sioux and White cultures and to be able to expose Sarah to the best of both worlds when she’d only seen the worst.

Now for Logan as a man. Be still my heart.  I first met Logan in Rachel and Sager’s story and I genuinely liked him in that story, but I NEVER would have imagined the difference years and becoming his own man could make.  Like Sarah he has wounds in his past that could have made him bitter and hard, but instead he chose to become a successful businessman and a leader both White and Indian cultures respect.  His care and thoughtfulness for Sarah are so kind and expose a tender heart. But his ability to remain calm and sure in extremely dangerous situations and to take care of business in those situations leaves no doubt of his bravery and strength.

Seriously, I’m even getting a bit choked up thinking of some of the melt your heart words he speaks to Sarah and the way he works with her as a team to bring her out of the shadows.  Just read the book folks, before I breakdown right here on the blog!

Elaine Levine’s MEN OF DEFIANCE series is an auto-buy for me. I don’t even have to read the description before clicking purchase.  She knows Wyoming and her characters reflect the land and history she writes about so well you think they might be in the history books. Her stories are gritty and real.  Buy one and you’ll be hooked.

ELAINE, WYOMING, AND THE MEN OF DEFIANCE…

What a fun blog Kirsten has started! If you haven’t had a chance to wander through her Wagons West blog, grab a cup of coffee and sit down for an entertaining read of Wyoming’s historical places and people.

There’s something seductive about Wyoming. I once read a quote (I wish I could remember the source) that said, “I could tell you the truth about Wyoming, but I’d have to lie to do it.” I thought that was the perfect way to explain Wyoming. The space is so big, it’s hard to grasp. It’s green and lush in some places and arid like Mars in others. There are so few people in Wyoming—urbanization has lagged behind most of the country. I don’t know why. I don’t care. I love that it is just the way it is.

The wind is a persistent presence—sometimes as a sweet breeze, sometimes in gale force. It sounds different crossing a wide-open prairie of short grass than it does circling the edges of an isolated dwelling. It whines around a cabin, but sings across a field. You can stand anywhere in the state and hear whispers of the people whose lives passed through that spot.

Wyoming is full of surprising places, like the town of Ten Sleep. My husband and I took a trip up there a few years ago. We were coming up from Colorado. After several hours of empty, flat prairie, we crossed the Big Horn Mountains, through a breathtakingly steep ravine, down into the town. The ravine seemed to pop out of nowhere. After the blistering heat of the prairie, the ravine and the town were cool and green like an oasis.

19th Century Wyoming was an exciting place, full of interesting people and dangerous events. Heartbreaks and triumphs. Towns started and died in short spans of time, supporting the needs of the various trails west, gold rushes, and railroads. Times of such chaotic upheaval bring out the best and worst in people—and they make for a fabulous backdrop for Western Romance.

All of the Men of Defiance stories are set in a fictional town called, Defiance that looks something like South Pass City but is located near present-day Centennial at the foot of the Medicine Bow Mountains. I’ve had a blast following the lives of the characters in this series. Every time I write one story, new characters pop up who need their own story told. I’ll be releasing the next in the series late spring 2013. It’s Chayton’s story, tentatively titled AGNES AND THE RENEGADE. After that comes DULCIE AND THE BANDIT. I’m sure the sheriff in LOGAN’S OUTLAW will have his own story—he just hasn’t told me what it is yet.

I’ll be giving away a print copy of LOGAN’S OUTLAW today. Feel free to visit my website at www.ElaineLevine.com to get updates on the series and my next releases!

Kirsten—thanks so much for featuring my series and letting me make a visit to your site!

WHOOEEE, folks!!  Ms. Levine sure does know her Wyoming! The first clue bein’ she mentioned the wind.  ;o)   I always enjoy hearin’ about and seein’ the places authors use for inspiration and setting. It helps bring their stories to life.

And a Big Ol’ Thanks for mentionin’ the Wagons West posts! Me and Cookie we love travelin’ over the place we call home are glad to share it with the less fortunate who weren’t born and bred in big beautiful Wyoming.  :o)

Now don’t pack up yer bedrolls and head out, yet. Come on and jaw a bit. The coffee’s just gettin’ thick enough to use as tar, so pour a cup and tell us what ya think of the Men of Defiance. If you’ve been to Wyomin’ …Where? What did ya think?  A comment gets yer name in Cookie’s hat…once he gets that coon he caught for supper out.

WAGONS WEST!! WIND RIVER BASIN!!

WHOOEEE! We are blazin’ down the trail! What are we doin’, Cookie, 70…80 miles per hour?  Huh…really 15 miles an hour…sometimes 5 or 10 on a steep grade…Well I won’t lie that’s a might disappointin’.  BUT it gives us time to take in some more sites!  So today we’re gonna check out the Wind River region, or as I like to call it…home. Yes, folks this here’s where a little sprout Kirsten Lynn grew up.

Let’s get crackin’!

We’re chuggin’ down out of the beautiful Wind River Mountains and our first stop on the trail today is Lander…

The gold rush in 1867 South Pass City brought not only miners and prospectors to the area, but homesteaders began settling in the Wind River Basin.  At the same time the Indian tribes in the area became restless with the influx of whites and there was an increase in attacks upon settlers, freight trains, and even part of South Pass City was burned down.

Fort Bridger was the closest military base to the area and it was 150 miles to the southwest.  So, the Army began building military outposts from Fort Bridger.  One of these was Camp Augur built in 1868 and named after General Christopher Columbus Augur commander of the Army’s Department of the Platte.  Before anyone had a chance to get used to that name; Camp Augur became Camp Brown after Frederick H. Brown who was killed at the Fetterman massacre.  And before anyone got to comfortable, in 1870 the installation was moved to its present site to protect the Wind River Agency, Fort Washakie, about 16 miles north of the original camp.

The town that had built around Camp Brown, however, remained, but was called “Push Root.” The name allegedly was derived as a result of warming Chinook winds causing crops to germinate early.  Another explanation says it was a derogatory term given by a nearby competing town of North Fork (or Milford) five miles to the north.  Therefore, residents of Lander were known as “Pushrooters.”  At the time North Fork was experiencing a boom as a result of its saloons and other places of entertainment for soldiers at Fort Washakie. But the pushrooters had the last laugh when in 1884, upon the formation fo Fremont County, the pushrooters won the election to become the county seat.  When it came time for Push Root to get a post officer, the post office department rejected the name, and at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin Lowe they named it Lander after F.W. Lander.

The town was constructed on lands owned by Lowe. In exchanged for assistance in developing the town, Lowe gave a portion of the land to a man named Eugene Amoretti. Amoretti had previously engaged in the mining and mercantile businesses in South Pass City, Atlantic City, Miners Delight, and North Fork. In Lander, he continued in the mercantile business and also founded the First National Bank of Lander, the feed mill, and was one of the investors in the electric plant. Amoretti became the first mayor of Lander when the town was incorporated.  Amoretti was one of the few bank owners at the time who had no need to fear bank robbers.  He was a personal friend of Butch Cassidy, and Butch even deposited some of his ill-gotten gains in Amoretti’s bank.

Amoretti’s friend faced a threat in Lander in the form of Charles L. Stough. Stough came to Wyoming in 1880 and was elected sheriff of Fremont County in 1890. He was known to administer his office in a way that made him a terror to evildoers and gained him the enduring confidence of the County.  He’s best known for arresting the notorious Butch Cassidy and upon the outlaw’s conviction conveying him to the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary in Laramie.

Almost from the beginning Lander tried to get a railroad in the town first courting the Union Pacific, then the Chicago & North Western. When the Wind River Reservation opened to white settlers, the C&NW agreed to come to town. Construction started out of Casper in 1905, and the first passenger train arrived in Lander on October 15, 1906.  The town held a huge celebration and the county fair was incorporated into the festivities. Schools closed and the mayor declared a three-day holiday for the celebration.

During construction in Lander, five houses were moved off the newly-established right-    of-way, and the railroad completely took over First Street. The passenger train ran once daily, and included full Pullman service from Chicago. Later this was downgraded to a doodlebug, and on April 19, 1943 passenger service to Lander was discontinued, just 37 years after it began. On November 10, 1972, the last freight train ran out of Lander. But for 66 years, Lander was known as the place “where rails end and trails begin.”

So let’s keep chuggin’ on our trail.

As we cruise along north at a whoppin’ 15 miles an hour we’re comin’ to Fort Washakie on the Wind River Reservation. Camp Brown’s name was changed in 1878 to Fort Washakie, named after the great Shoshone Chief, an ally of the army against the Sioux. Chief Washakie was the last principal chief of the Shoshone. He became Chief in 1840. Washakie was the only U.S. military installation named after and American Indian Chief.  Each state has two honorees in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. Wyoming is represented by Esther Hobart Morris and Chief Washakie.

Chief Washakie’s policies of accommodation with the Whites included insistence that there be provided schools, hospitals, and other services. Therefore, in the Fort Bridger treaty of 1868 with the Shoshoni, the Government pledged to establish a school at Fort Washakie. The first teacher at the Fort was James J. Chander.  He had a class of 35 students, both Indian and white.

Chief Washakie continued his support for education by donating 160 acres of irrigated land to Rev. Dr. John Roberts for the establishment of the Shoshone Indian Mission Boarding School. Reverend Roberts, originally of North Wales, arrived in Lander on February 10, 1883, after an eight day trip from Green River City in 60 degree below zero weather.  In addition to starting the school, Rev. Roberts along with Charles Lajoe translated portions of the Book of Common Prayer into Shoshone. In recognition of his services to the Shoshone, he was bestowed the title “Elder Brother.”

Now to a bit of a controversy on Fort Washakie. On April 9, 1884, Rev. Roberts officiated at the funeral of Sacajawea, of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame, and Shoshone oral tradition holds this to be true. This has been disputed as many claim Sacajewea died in 1812 at Fort Mandan in a smallpox epidemic.

According to the oral tradition, Sacajewea left her husband Charbonneau, crossed the Great Plains and married into a Comanche tribe taking the name Porivo (chief woman).  When her Comanche husband, Jerk-Meat was killed she left the Comanches and made her way to Fort Bridger with her sons Bazil and Baptiste, who each knew several languages including English and French.  She eventually made her way back to the Shoshone people at the Wind River Reservation.

In 1925, Dr. Charles Eastman, a Santee Sioux physician, was hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to locate Sacajewea’s remains.  Eastman visited a number of Indian tribes interviewing elderly individuals, and learned of a Shoshone woman at the Wind River Reservation with the Comanche name Porivo. Some said she spoke of a long journey where she helped white men, and that she had a silver Jefferson peace medal of the type carried by Lewis and Clark.  At the end of his investigation Eastman concluded that Porivo was Sacajewea.  In 1963, a monument to “Sacajawea of the Shoshonis” was erected at Fort Washakie.

Chief Washakie died in 1900, over the age of 100, and was given full military honors.

Dang blasted, Cookie is drivin’ this rig like his mornin’ coffee had a nip of somethin’ else to it. So we’re turning this train around for a quick stop south of here in Riverton.

The history of Riverton is tied to the Wind River Reservation and irrigation.  In 1868, the United States signed a treaty with the Shoshone creating a Reservation of some 3,000,000 acres. In typical U.S. Government fashion and under a number of separate treaties that Reservation was slowly eaten away.  The last major cession being in 1905, under which there would be a per capita payment to each Indian and there would be created and irrigation system, school district, and a welfare and improvement fund would be created. In conjunction with the proposed opening of the ceded lands for settlement, the Chicago and Northwestern proposed to extend their line. As discussed under Lander, on August 15, 1906, the lands were opened for settlement with the most desirable location being near where the railroad was to be located.  Wadsworth was founded as a tent town, named after the railroad station manager, but within two weeks was renamed Riverton.

In short order a municipality, school board, baseball clubs, Free Public Library Commission, and fraternal orders were formed.  The town had two livery stables, hotels, newspaper, two banks, and two lumber companies. From the livery stables the stage left twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays for Kinnear. The town rapidly became the center of commerce taking the place of the older Shoshoni.

Initially, irrigation was to be provided by Wyoming Central Irrigation Company, headed by Chicago salt mogul Joy Morton and former Governor Fenimore Chatterton.  The demand for irrigated lands proved to be less than expected and the town of Morton irrigated only 80 acres of oats.

By 1914, Riverton became a primary shipping place for railroad ties for the C&NW. The ties would be floated down from Dubois by the Wind River Timber Company.  The tie industry declined during World War I as the federal government took over the railroads, but a resurgence occurred after the war. In 1920, Chicago businessman, Ricker Van Metre, took control of the timber company and changed its name to Wyoming Tie and Timber Company.  The last timber drive down the river was in 1946, as mechanization took over the tie industry and the days of hand hewn ties ended.

 

In 1928, an anniversary of the founding of the area was celebrated with, among other things, a giant tent dance. The tent, erected in the street was 100 ft. long with various displays and a dance floor at one end.

The Dust Bowl and Depression stirred interest in the Riverton area, as farmers left their homes for what they hoped was a better opportunity.  Riverton remains a predominately agricultural area. Riverton is also renowned as the birthplace of Kirsten Lynn, western romance author.  ;o)

“Cookie, stop snickerin’,  put down that piece of Ma’s pecan pie, and let’s get this prairie schooner sailin’!”

While today’s focus has been on the later history of the towns built around the Wind River region, I want to remind you, the area around Lander and Riverton was long traversed by American Indians and trappers and explorers. You will find reference to this in earlier posts such as my post on South Pass, and I might return in later posts and delve into this further. However, in an effort to keep this blog short of of Michner’s Centennial standards I’ve chosen to jump ahead.

If you’ll look to the right of your wagon as we head northwest you’ll see Crowheart Butte…

As more white settlers pushed into Wind River Country the game started to become scarce on the Great Plains. Several tribes, including the Crow, were forced onto the Shoshone’s traditional hunting grounds in the Wind River Valley in search of food.

By 1866, the Crows camped along the Wind River not far from a butte well within the bounds of Shoshone territory. Chief Washakie sent a warrior and his wife with a message to the Crow Chief Big Robber explaining that the Crow were welcome to hunt in the territory of the Owl Creek Range, but they must leave the Wind River Mountains to the Shoshone.

Big Robber responded by killing the warrior and sending back a message with the warrior’s wife.  He considered his tribe superior to the Shoshone and stated the Crow were prepared to go into battle and they would hunt wherever they pleased. (Not his exact words)

Washakie sent word to the Bannocks, allies of the Shoshone, who were camped along the Popo Agie River. The Bannocks joined the Shoshone in an attack on the Crow camp. The battle raged for five days, neither side gaining ground. Finally, Washakie and Big Robber decided to fight a duel to the death to reach a conclusion. The victorious chief would claim the Wind River Valley.

In the end, Washakie was victorious.  So impressed with the bravery of Big Robber, instead of taking the Crow Chief’s scalp, he cut out his heart and placed it on the end of his lance as a sign of respect.  The butte around which the battle occurred was called Crowheart Butte.

Among the local Indian tribes, the battle between Washakie and Big Robber settled once and for all who controlled the Wind River Country.  (If you’re hankerin’ for more on Chief Washakie, hold tight to yer hats.  I’ll be doing a post real soon on this amazing Shoshone Chief.)

In the 1870’s, stockgrowers and tie hacks began settling northwest of Crowheart Butte, in a location known as Never Sweat due to its warm and dry winds.  The area was on a military road from Fort Washakie to Fort Yellowstone. The road was not suitable for ordinary travel, and often not suitable for military travel.

When the government decided to establish a post office, officials in Washington found the name Never Sweat distasteful and renamed the community Dubois, after the United States Senator from Idaho, Fred T. Dubois, a member of the Postal Committee.  In protest, the citizens rejected the French pronunciation of the name (it is pronounced Du-boy-se).

The first postmaster of Dubois was Alice A. Welty, wife of Dr. Francis H. Welty, the post physician at Fort Washakie. The post office was established in a store owned by her son, Frank A. Welty.  By 1915, Welty’s store served the many ranchers in the area. The goods purchased in Omaha were shipped by rail to Shoshoni then brought to Dubois by 16-horse freight wagons. This trip could take almost a month to complete.  Ya can still stop into Welty’s if ya have a hankerin’, or need on the trail.

As mentioned in the section on Riverton, the main business (other than agriculture) in Dubois was tie hacking.  In 1914, the Wyoming Tie & Timber Company began cutting railroad ties in Togwotee Pass and Union Pass.  Tie Hacking in Wyoming dates back to the Union Pacific in 1868 with tie hack camps springing up near Medicine Bow, the Big Horns and Winder River Mountains. The railroad took 2,500 ties per mile of track, and until the 1940’s the Dubois area was the leading source of railroad ties in the United States.

Tie Hack Memorial

Ties were cut by hand, in the beginning, using a broad axe.  A good tie hack could hew 50 ties a day. Later in the 1930’s, with more mechanization, tie hacks were paid on a piece of work basis, 3 cents a tie. A good tie hack could hew 300 to 310 ties a day. Dubois depended on the tie hacks for the economy, and most tie hacks enjoyed their drink, therefore the town remained open during the prohibition years, and continued to allow gambling.  In the winter, tie camps were cut off and access to Dubois was by skiing.  In those months, some tie hacks made their own hooch, using dried fruit, or drank vanilla extract. “At one time there they sold more vanilla up there in the tie camp than all the rest of the county put together.”

The last of the major lumber mills in Dubois closed down in 1987. Currently, the town ‘s main economy is tourism as many travelers come through on their way to Togwotee Pass and on to Jackson, Teton National Park and Yellowstone.

 

 

There ya go folks! Cookie and me ‘ave brought ya full circle to the Tetons. Well, maybe more like hexagonal with crazy slashes through the center…But the point is we got ya here, and don’t be givin’ us no lip!

What? Ya ask iffin’ we’re done? Are ya flea bit, folks? Heck no!  We’ll be back on the trail just as soon as cookie can get this dangblasted rickety wagon turned ‘round and headed…well we don’t know yet, but y’all can be sure Cookie will have a pot of coffee and the campfire blazin’ each night. Speakin’ of which Cookie we’re not sendin’ an SOS, douse that fire a bit…

See y’all on the trail!

 

SOURCES:

http://www.windriver.org/info/reservation/index.php

www.wyomingtailsandtrails.com

http://www.smalltowngems.com/browsetowns/wyoming/dubois/duboiswytownhistory.html

 

WEDNESDAY WESTERN ROUNDUP!! PAM CROOKS AND BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!

By thunder! I’ve done had four hot flashes! One for each of the hunky heroes Pam Crooks brought with her to converse ‘round the campfire! I just can’t light on any one spot too long as I feel the need to be all proper and sit by each of the HOT men! If they weren’t already snatched up I’d have Cookie ridin’ hard to town and the nearest preacher man!

Not only did Ms. Crooks bring by somethin’ good to look at, but she’s givin’ us all the low down on the covers! So, after ya get done readin’ about the stories sure to be y’all be puttin’ some coin down for keep readin’ cause this is a fun and interestin’ post! Seriously, y’all it’s worth the read!

And if that wasn’t enough to get us all kickin’ up our heels, Pam is offerin’ up a copy of one of her backlist Harlequin Historicals to one lucky commenter! Easy as campfire biscuits folks, just leave a comment (Ms. Crooks even gave a topic) and your name goes in Cookie’s hat smooth as Aunt Betty’s silk bloomers!

Okay, Cookie, give yer dadblame disclaimer: Due to the high cost of sendin’ the Pony Express ‘cross the ocean the book giveaway is only open to folks in the United States and Canada.

Let’s get ta jawin’ folks! Let me introduce y’all to some fine Western gents and ladies!

All Sonnie Mancuso wants is to be needed by her father. Unfortunately, he already has a daughter–six, to be exact–and all he needs is a son.  Orphaned in the slums of New York, fifteen-year-old Lance Harmon needs a home. Sonnie’s father gives him one, on the cattle-rich Rocking M ranch. Through the years, Lance learns to love the land, the work . . . and Sonnie.

But Vince Mancuso’s health is failing, and there’s trouble on the Wyoming range. Sonnie returns home to claim the legacy that’s rightfully hers . . . but learns Lance has already claimed it.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS: WYOMING WILDFLOWER is a story of two people both searching for their place in the world…a home, and they both think they’ve found it on the Rockin M ranch in Wyoming. By birth the Rocking M is a part of Sonnie. By years of blood, sweat and hard work it’s a part of Lance.

Lance is a strong hero with a tender heart. He’s spent most of his life working hard to become more than a boy from the slums of New York. His devotion to the land and work he’s come to love, Vince who rescued him from the slums, and Sonnie who he’s always admired and loved will draw you to this man. His struggle against past demons and the desire for a future and a home will cement’s his place in a reader’s heart.

Sonnie may come off a bit condescending, but when you consider all the years she’s worked and studied to be a valued member of her family and a daughter her father would love, her initial abrasive attitude toward Lance, who she sees as the man who stole her inheritance and father, is understandable. While growing up with all the “fine things” in life and sent to fine schools and trips to Europe, it becomes clear Sonnie is just as lost as Lance and just as desperate for a home.

Pam Crooks does a brilliant job of bringing these two lost people together, as they learn how to cooperate and lean on each other’s knowledge and strengths in order to fight a common enemy, and save the Rocking M and make it a home they can share.

 

Hannah grew up on the wrong side of the law, daughter of a master thief and student to his trade. But when he dies at the hands of an angry mob, she flees to a monastery to escape the world and her sins.  Quinn is betrayed by his brother and sentenced to a life in prison. Only the thirst for revenge keeps him alive. He will do anything to escape . . .

Together, they must run for their lives to survive their pasts. And in the journey, they find truth . . . and an unlikely love in their hearts.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  HANNAH’S VOW starts out with a bang and then things really get good! Hannah Benning is a woman longing for peace and safety. Quinn Landry is a man full of rage and the need for vengeance. I really loved both Hannah and Quinn right from the start, and Quinn is a bit hard, to say the least, but there’s something so vulnerable about both of these characters like a magnet your pulled into their story and rooting for their HEA!

The story itself is different (at least for me it was) a woman raised by a thief, serving as a novitiate at a monastery, and thrown back into using the skills her father taught her this time for survival and to help the man she loves who happens to be an escaped convict. And a woman who so desires peace and safety who is thrown into danger and turbulence, add the complication of struggling with the life she thought she wanted and the new love she could have there’s no lack of conflict for this poor woman. Hannah is one of those heroines who when you close the book you really feel like she’s worthy of the title heroine.

Quinn is hardened by betrayal and focused on revenge, but he longs for the peace he finds with Hannah and is determined to keep her with him. It was fun to watch as his appreciation of her skills she learned from her father grew, and as he relied on her as a partner. Quinn is a hero you can respect throughout the story and gals you’ll find him completely sigh-worthy while you’re respecting him.

As mentioned this was an original storyline. The daughter of a master thief, turned novitiate partnering with a respectable rancher turned escaped convict. HANNAH’S VOW is action packed, but has moments of sweet humor and sizzling scenes.

 

She belonged to no world of her own.  Not the world of the Gypsy, and not of the Gaje, the non-Gypsy . . . until their worlds collide.

Liza was born to roam the land with her mother’s people, but she is shamed by the sin that made her forever different.  Reese has set down roots deep in the Nebraska prairie. His dreams are sure to come true with a new railroad and a proper wife and child.  But Liza is accused unfairly by Reese’s people, and she is forced to flee the security of her world to see safety in his. When Reese’s careful plans for success are threatened, he must fight to save all he’s ever worked for.

Will it cost him the love he’s found with the beautiful, black-eyed woman with red-gold hair? His Lady Gypsy?

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS: LADY GYPSY was another of Pam Crooks’ books that I enjoyed for the characters, but also found the story so engagingly different this time teaming a gypsy with a railroad tycoon. I learned a lot about the Gypsy culture, trestle bridges, and the railroad as well, which made it that much more enjoyable. And another great hero and heroine, Reese and Liza are wonderful!

Reese is a man with the plan. His life is carefully sketched out. He knows what he wants and he’s on track to getting it all, and then he meets Liza. And after a surviving a literal cyclone his world is tossed into another twister. Reese is an all-around good man. I know that might sound boring, but Reese is anything but boring, and I mean that as a high compliment. He’s a good man with a strong heart who’s worked hard to see his dream of a railroad come true. But it’s entertaining to see him try to keep up with his wife, and to learn the Gypsy ways and follow a few of their traditions to please her.

Liza is warm and fun and I loved her from the beginning. Her heart is so open to Reese and even as she struggles in his world she wants to see his dreams come true. Her love for her people and for Reese and being torn between the two is heartbreaking. Really there just wasn’t a moment in this story that I didn’t just love Liza.

This is one of those great stories, like I’ve mentioned before, where two people who have no business on the same side of the street are tossed together (this time literally) and you can’t imagine them being with anyone else.

 

When Carleigh flees her San Francisco home in a frantic flight through the California wilderness, Trig is blackmailed by her unscrupulous father to chase after her. Though the blossoms of her innocence are crushed forever, revenge for the death of Trig’s younger brother leaves him no choice but to outwit her escape attempts time and time again.

Carleigh must untangle the web of deceit in her past. Trig knows the truth can destroy her. But as a special agent for the United States government, he is drawn into an opium smuggling ring only Carleigh and her mother can help expose, and he is forced to choose between two loves–Carleigh or his country.

Will it cost him the only family he has left in the world? Or will he find new life with the beautiful woman whose very blood marked her his enemy?

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  BROKEN BLOSSOM’S is a bit like HANNAH’S VOW in that by the end of the book you’re exhausted for the hero and heroine, but it’s a fun ride. Again Ms. Crooks paints such a vivid picture of the places and people; you will have a hard time putting this one down.

Carleigh is headstrong and determined and gives Trig a run for his money. Her character goes through a real transformation throughout the journey to Mexico and then back to San Francisco. She goes from the sheltered, willful daughter of a rich judge to a caring and self-sufficient woman.

Trig is not only a wonderful hero, but he’s work for the United States government makes him an interesting one, as well. Though he tries to hate Carleigh for her father’s sins, he realizes he cares for her and is determined to help her find her mother and to keep her safe even as he completes his mission.

Not only is the story between Carleigh and Trig fascinating, but the history of the Opium dens and San Francisco in the late 19th Century intriguing and Ms. Crooks’ research and the history she weaves into every story bring the places and people to life.

Pam Crooks tells such wonderful stories and her characters both the hero and heroine and the secondary characters drag you into their worlds, and you hate it when it’s time to leave. Thank goodness I can put these enjoyable stories high on the keeper shelf and visit many, many times.

PAM CROOKS:  THE STORY UNDER THE COVERS

Writing a book is hard work. It’s stressful for a whole wagonload of reasons. It’s time-consuming and scary. And it may–or may not–be particularly profitable. Throughout the whole months-long process, we writers will bang our heads, chew our nails and agonize over every character, plot point and word choice until at last! We type “The End” and send the whole thing to our editor.

But it’s all worth it when we get our covers.

Most of the time.

Covers are the icing on the cake for us. They’re the final step in the process–the one thing that makes our book a real BOOK. They’re the reason why many of us write in the first place–beyond telling the stories we’re compelled to tell–seeing our name in bold, colorful print and knowing the rest of the world will see our name, too.

But waiting for that first glimpse often takes several months. Sometimes we have input, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we’re blessed with great art departments–or not. Sometimes the models on the cover are just who we picture how our characters should look, and sometimes–well, you get the idea.

Despite all this, getting the cover is THE most exciting thing about the book for me. I get my covers in jpg format, and when I find that email in my Inbox, my heart beats a little faster, and my finger hovers over the mouse for a sweetly agonizing moment while my brain worries … will I like it, or won’t I?

Covers are often hotly debated, sometimes collected, autographed and always promoted. They usually have a story or two behind them. Here’s a few of mine:

I just had to include my very first cover in today’s blog. It’s so darn special for that very reason. My first four books were released by Dorchester Publishing and their Leisure books line. We must not have had jpg’s back then, because the Production Assistant was kind enough to print me a color copy and mail it to me. I still remember standing in my kitchen with my jaw hanging down to the floor. I didn’t know that’s what the envelope held, and the surprise–and awe–at seeing my precious first cover will always stay with me. I didn’t put that paper down for 3 days.

I’ve always loved the model. He’s so-o hunky and more mature than most. The look is romantic, and the heroine is realistic and beautifully coy. My one complaint? Her gown looks like a negligee–and not a dress a woman at the time would’ve worn.

My third book with Leisure was HANNAH’S VOW. The same production assistant from above was a huge Titanic fan. When someone from the Art Department happened to stroll through her office, she noticed a photo of Jack and Rose tacked on the assistant’s bulletin board. She pointed to the picture and said–”I want a cover just like that for a book I have coming up.”

Here’s what I got. Cool, eh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, for those of you who think that every author’s book gets oodles of special attention, or that an entire department slaves away for untold hours making each cover just perfect, well, think again. The reality is that some covers get–ahem–recycled.

In this age of computer graphics, it’s easy to do, and it saves the publisher piles of money. For the author, however, it’s a bit disconcerting to see that a cover she sees and loves as her own has been used for another book.

Case in point:      My Spring Brides anthology came out in June, 2005. You can’t see it well here, but there’s a horse and buggy parked next to the church. And of course, the chair with the hat and wedding dress in front.

This was inside the front cover. Same church, but no horse and buggy, and of course, the chair was gone, too. I really liked the black and white shot of the bride walking toward the church. It fit well with the whole book.

When the book came out in the United Kingdom in May, 2006, they used the inside cover from the first book, but in color. Note that the sky is lighter than the North American version, and so is the grass, but the church is distinctively the same.

Imagine my surprise in February, 2008, when I found Jillian Hart’s cover was an exact match. Hers was the second book to launch the Love Inspired Historical line, and she got tons of promo. I suspect the cover will be laid to rest for awhile.

Below is the front and back of THE MERCENARY’S KISS, my very first book with Harlequin Historicals. I call it my infamous sausage pizza cover, and I’ll let you figure out why, but I’m told the model on the front was hugely popular with the readers, even voted Number One on eharlequin the year before the book came out.

                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did find it strange that on the back of the cover they used a different model. Perhaps a cost-saving measure. Note that they’re both wearing the same shirt and vest, but the one on the back is older and more rugged. One of my favorites.

       

 

 

 

 

He’s such a cutie, I’m glad they gave him his own cover on my UK and Italian versions.

Now this one had me scratching my head bigtime. This is the cover to HER LONE PROTECTOR. I fell in love with this guy from the get-go, and so did virtually all my readers.

This is UNTAMED COWBOY.

 

When HER LONE PROTECTOR came out in the UK, this is the cover they gave me:

 

They put the cover for UNTAMED COWBOY on HER LONE PROTECTOR. Why they didn’t use my gorgeous cowboy from the North American version of HER LONE PROTECTOR is beyond me. I was um, dismayed, because not only were the covers switched, the cover had absolutely nothing to do with the story. Nothing, nothing. I was sure someone goofed since I’ve always been given my North American covers on foreign editions, but when my agent inquired, she was assured the cover chosen was a calculated decision to give the book a western look and feel.

Now I’ve entered a new avenue for covers.  When I received the rights back for my first four books, all previously published with Dorchester, I had 100% control.  Finding an image meant hundreds of hours of trolling through galleries, but luckily, my daughter, Katie, has an eye for these things.

So after I formatted the books to self-publish on Kindle, Nook, etc., once again the covers were the icing on the cake.

Here’s what we came up with:

Well folks we have had a full blown, two-steppin’, fiddle playin’ fandango today ‘round the campfire! WHOOOEEE! Hope ya found at least one, and if not all yer crazy, of Pam Crooks books ya’d like to pick up to read while the sun is bakin’ ya like a loaf of Cookie’s bread!

Now don’t forget to leave a comment! Today, let’s talk covers. Those of you who are pubbed, have any cover stories to share?

Does cover mistakes bother you? Do you even notice? Or care?

Have you noticed any recycled covers lately? 

Come on and don’t be shy!

To learn more about Pam and her books, visit www.pamcrooks.com

 

WAGONS WEST!! WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE AND ESTHER H. MORRIS!

Folks I apologize, but Cookie is takin’ his own sweet time gettin’ our supplies here at South Pass so we’re hold up for a bit. Shouldn’t have let the man play that first game of billiards…So while the ol’ coot is loadin’ up the wagon I thought we might jaw a bit with a woman who made history in Wyoming and the country. Ya know Wyoming isn’t called the Equality State just cause we thought it was cute…

Why the Wyoming Territorial legislature passed the first law giving women the vote is a question that is still somewhat of a mystery to historians. Whether a ploy to bring attention to the territory, or as a way for Democrats to counter the predominately Republican voting Black community, or a ploy to promote partisan legislation all of these theories were bantered about in 1869, and the question remains unanswered today. Some even suggested the bill was a joke intended to embarrass Governor Campbell, however this theory was easily dismissed with the extent and seriousness with which it was defended and debated. Whatever led to the passage of women’s suffrage in 1869 (the first law of its kind in the nation), the territory later insisted upon retaining its woman suffrage law even if it jeopardized its application for statehood.  And in 1890, Wyoming became the country’s first state to allow women the right to vote.

As mentioned in the post on South Pass, William H. Bright introduced the bill giving women the vote. But before Wyoming delegates assembled in Cheyenne in 1869, women suffrage bills were introduced in three Western legislatures, Washington in 1854, Nebraska in 1856, and Dakota in 1869, all defeated. Wyoming legislators were well aware of the discussion over women’s suffrage as many had recently moved from Midwestern states.  In addition to the knowledge these delegates brought with them, two women delivered speeches in Cheyenne in support of women’s suffrage, Anna Dickinson at the courthouse, and Redelia Bates to the legislators.

Council Bill #70 “…an act to grant to the women of Wyoming Territory the right of suffrage and to hold office,”  was read two times before being sent to committee, which quickly recommended “do pass.”  After passing the Council on November 30, the bill went to the House and endured much debate with another South Pass City resident, Benjamin Sheeks, leading the opposition to women’s suffrage.  After much debate, and proposed additions and replacements to the bill (all failed) CB #70 passed into law with Governor Campbell signing the bill into law, December 10, 1869.

Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Wyoming:

Sec. 1. That every woman of the age of twenty-one years, residing in this territory, may at every election to be holden under the laws therof, cast her vote. And her rights to the elective franchise and to hold office shall be the same under the election laws of the territory, as those of electors.

Sec. 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.

Women vote, Cheyenne, WY

While signing the bill Campbell noted that women were as capable as men in exercising the good judgment required to vote. He also noted women who own property must be taxed, making women’s suffrage necessary to ensure fair representation in the creation of tax laws. News spread throughout the nation that Wyoming had become, “the first place on God’s green earth which could consistently claim to be the land of the free.”

Upon Bright’s return to South Pass, two local residents, paid a visit to William and his wife Julie, these were Esther Morris and her son Robert.

Born Esther Hobart McQuigg on August 8, 1814, near Spencer, New York, she was the eighth of eleven children. Orphaned at age eleven, Esther worked as an apprentice to a seamstress before marrying Artemus Slack in 1841. Her first son Edward Archibald Slack (who went by Archibald) was born one year later.  Artemus’ job as a civil engineer required his travel throughout the Upper Midwest, where he was accidentally killed in Illinois.

Esther took her son and moved to Peru, Illinois, to claim her late husband’s property, but faced the difficulties so many women of the time did in claiming property. Therefore, she married John Morris, a Polish immigrant and prosperous merchant.  Esther gave birth to three more sons, John (who died in infancy) and twins, Robert and Edward, in 1851.

John and Archibald moved to South Pass in the spring of 1868 to mine gold, but like many others who rushed to the Sweetwater mines they were initially discouraged to find that little surface gold existed. They eventually purchased mining and business property including the Mountain Jack, Grand Turk, Golden State and Nellie Morgan lodes, and even though he had lived in the town less than six months Archibald was appointed South Pass City’s constable. This reflected upon his energetic and congenial character and the significant turnover in South Pass’ population and appointed officers during the first year of the boom.

Esther and the twins followed to South Pass in July, 1869, and all the men soon found jobs.  John eventually purchased a saloon in 1873, although he continued to mine and speculate. Archibald became the clerk for the territory’s third judicial district for eighteen months in addition to buying several lots in the settlement he was an agent for the John W. Anthony sawmill company.  Robert also served as an agent for the lumber company and was soon appointed deputy district clerk, while Edward’s clerking was confined to a store.

However, it was Esther whose name would go down in the annals of Wyoming history and become synonymous with women’s suffrage in Wyoming.  Always a stringent supporter of women’s suffrage movement she took up the cause after moving to South Pass.

In 1869, James Stillman, Justice of the Peace in South Pass City resigned his position. While there are numerous speculations as to why Stillman resigned the most logical is his distaste for Republicans and Governor Campbell and the Governor’s questions involving the appointment of some officers in the county.  Stillman, opposed to the Governor’s interference in the county, resigned.

With the encouragement of a few local residents and the support of District Court Judge John W. Kingman, Esther Morris submitted her application to become the Justice of the Peace for South Pass City.  County commissioners approved her application on February 12, 1870, making her the first woman judge in the United States.  This action created immediate controversy. Stillman refused to give his docket and remaining records to the board in protest at being replaced by a woman, and Commissioner John Swingle claimed he opposed Esther’s application rather than approved it as recorded in the minutes.  In any case, her appointment became a split decision.

Her son Archibald and postmaster G.W.B.  Dixson underwrote her five hundred dollar bond, the board sent the nomination to Acting Governor Edward Lee, who approved it two days later, and Esther’s appointment was official.

Esther, knowing the entire country and particularly the citizens of South Pass would be closely watching her actions and decisions probably hoped for a few routine cases to begin her tenure as justice. This was not to be, and she received the most difficult challenge she faced in her job, the prosecution of James Stillman for not relinquishing the docket.

February  17, 1870, citizens packed South Pass City’s rented courtroom to see the female judge in action. Arrested just minutes before his trial, Stillman was escorted to the log building. Upon a motion by Stillman’s lawyer, Mrs. Morris agreed to postpone the proceedings for the remainder of the day to allow the defense time to prepare their case.  When court reconvened, the room was again packed, and businesses in South Pass closed for the day.  The defense attorney argued Stillman’s arrest was not completed correctly. Esther agreed and dismissed the case, but immediately issued a new warrant to begin proceedings again. Finally, the defense argued as Stillman’s successor, she had an interest in the docket’s return. She agreed and dismissed the case.

Since Stillman retained the docket, Morris purchased a new book to record the twenty-seven cases she tried during the next eight months.  Most complaints consisted of disagreements over debts, although she presided over ten assault cases, three with the intent to kill. Often those who practiced law in her courtroom presented the most trouble to routine cases, as men like Attorney Benjamin Sheeks, an ardent opponent of woman suffrage, tried her patience and sought to make trouble in her courtroom.

With national attention focused on Morris and her work, rumors and myths inevitably crawled out of the minds of newspaper men. One story asserted Esther tried her husband for drunkenness and had him tossed in jail. Denying it she replied, “A man is not alowed [sic] to be the judge of wife much less a woman of her husband. It would not be a legal proseding [sic].” Common sense more than knowledge of the law, explains the success of Esther’s tenure.

Despite their initial misgivings about a female justice, Esther managed to recruit many supporters among the citizens of South Pass, and many became advocates of women’s suffrage.  By the time her term ended in October, the territory was organized and residents would now vote for their town’s justice of the peace. Esther declined to seek election.

Morris Cabin, South Pass

Her son, Robert, explained his mother’s decision by noting she received “much glory” from holding the job and demonstrated a woman could perform well in elected offices. In summary, she had accomplished her goals.  Also, the stress generated by the national publicity and initial opposition affected her. She wrote a cousin, “…the post was given to me but the frightful fact is that no man nor woman can hold it all.”  Her husband, who opposed women’s suffrage and her job as justice of the peace was also a source of anxiety. And finally, if she decided to seek election her opponent would be none other than James Stillman.  Not wanting to cause further discord in her town, already suffering from the mining bust she did not seek election. Stillman won the election, and Morris gave him her docket.

Though her time in office was over, Esther continued to champion women’s suffrage as it faced repeal many times. The general opposition to women’s suffrage included both sexes, for most of the women refused to become involved in politics, voting or otherwise. As a result of this attitude, Esther Morris, a Republican, was the only woman to attend South Pass City’s Democratic meeting in September 1870.

After the very harsh winter of 1871-1872, in which the snow was still twelve feet deep in June, and because of her deteriorating marriage, Esther left South Pass City to live with her son Archibald in Laramie. After refusing a nomination for territorial representative on woman’s party ticket in 1873, Esther moved to Albany, New York, and then Springfield, Illinois, where she spent her winters. In the early 1880s she moved back to Wyoming to live with her son, Robert in Cheyenne.

In 1895, Esther was elected as a state delegate to a national woman suffrage convention in Cleveland. Esther Hobart Morris died in Cheyenne in 1902. Morris’ example inspired men and women to keep up the fight for women’s suffrage and repeal after repeal was defeated in the Wyoming territorial and state governments.  She would be the first woman to hold office in the nation and her example would eventually lead to another first in Wyoming and the nation when Nellie Taylo Ross, who moved to Wyoming the year Esther died, would become the first woman governor in the United States, and one of the first women in history to hold a cabinet post when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected.

It is Esther’s son Robert who is credited with Wyoming’s motto as the “Equality State.”

WHOOEEE I’d say that’s one tough Wyoming woman, but then again Wyoming only makes ‘em tough!!  Cookie has the supplies loaded (after stoppin’ all the dang time to jaw with Mrs. Morris). .. “Yeah ya did, ya old coot, ‘bout the fourth cup of Arbuckle’s and I was leavin’ yer hide behind…Don’t ya glare at me…”

Sorry ‘bout that, but now that Cookie’s backside in on the buckboard and I’ve cinched up the saddle and stepped into leather we’re on our way again, so join us for more Wyoming history and a bit of fun next Monday!

See ya on the trail!

 

SOURCES:

“Reform is Where You Find It:  The Roots of Woman Suffrage in Wyoming” by Michael A. Massie.  www.wyoarchives.state.wy.us/Research/pdf/WomanSuffrage.pdf

www.theautry.org/explore/exhibits/suffrage/suffrage_wy.html

www.madeinwyoming.net/profiles/morris.php

WEDNESDAY WESTERN ROUNDUP!! KAKI WARNER AND GIVEAWAY!!

We have our six-guns out and firin’ in the air ‘round the campfire today! Ms. Kaki Warner is sittin’ down with a mug of Cookie’s coffee and two of her heroes from the Runaway Bride series, Declan Brodie and Angus Wallace, Lord Ashby! Yessiree, a real live dyed in the wool Scottish aristocrat! Don’t know whether to curtsey or faint dead away, ‘cause these men are all man and as temptin’ as honey to a bear cub!

The good times they don’t stop there folks!! Kaki is givin’ away a copy of her newest release in this series, BRIDE OF THE HIGH COUNTRY!!  All ya have to do is leave a comment and I’ll toss yer name in Cookie’s Stetson. I’ll pull the winning name out (with caution cause who knows what else is in that Stetson) with the first ray of sunlight tomorrow morning.

Doggone Cookie has his disclaimer, can’t keep the old coot quiet. Due to postage costs the giveaway is only available for residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Now that Cookie’s had his say let’s get to what y’all are here for!!

Honest, hard-working widower, age thirty-three, seeks sturdy English-speaking
woman to help with mountain ranch and four children.  Drinkers, whores, and
gamblers need not apply.  Not very romantic, but after one disastrous
marriage, widowed Edwina Ladoux isn’t looking for romance.  What she wants is
safety for herself and her half-sister, and a way out of the war torn South, even if she has to offer herself up as a mail order bride to a stranger a thousand miles away in the Colorado Rockies.  But she hadn’t reckoned on Declan Brodie.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS:  HEARTBREAK CREEK is the first in a series where we meet four women, Edwina, Maddie, Lucinda and Pru; all very different, but all trying to escape troubled pasts and looking for hope and a future in the West.

The first book in the series is Edwina Ladoux and Declan Brodie’s story. Some of the greatest stories are those where people from completely different worlds who should never be in the same room end up married and much to their mutual astonishment attracted to each other and eventually in love.  And what worlds could be more different than a sassy Southern belle with no domestic skills or ability to tend children with one disastrous marriage to her name, marrying a stoic Colorado rancher who needs a wife to tend his home and care for his children and who also suffered from a disastrous end to his marriage?

Edwina is a fun heroine. She’s completely out of her element, but determined to do her best and find her place among Declan and his four children, and in Heartbreak Creek. Her loyalty to her sister Pru and her new family is endearing.  Though initially a bit overwhelmed by her new husband and challenged by his children, she plucks up and shows Declan and herself just how much she belongs in his world and life. And when an unexpected obstacle arrives threatening her new life, Edwina learns just how much fight she has in her to hold on to the love she’s found with Declan and the Brodie children.

I have to say, I love Kaki’s heroes. They’re real men. They’re tough, and they grunt, give monosyllabic answers, and they don’t wax eloquent, they show they care and protect their own and Declan is a man’s man. But what makes Declan such a believable hero and a lovable hero is the tenderness he shows, and the vulnerability he lets Ed (as he calls Edwina, which is just too cute) see once he realizes he can trust her with it.

HEARTBREAK CREEK is the perfect place for the two worlds of Edwina and Declan to collide and find the healing and acceptance needed to build a new life and mend their hearts.

After only three letters and one visit during her six-year marriage to a
Scottish Cavalry Officer, Maddie Wallace decides to build a life without him.
Accepting an assignment from a London periodical to photograph the West from
a female perspective, she sails from England, determined to build a new life
as an independent woman.

After an injury ends his military career, Angus Wallace returns home to find his wife gone, his family decimated by fever, and himself next in line to an earldom. His
new mission is clear–find his wife and sire heirs. His search
takes him across an ocean and half a continent, but he finally
tracks her to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado. There his biggest
challenge awaits–to convince his headstrong wife to return
home as his viscountess.

KIRSTEN’S THOUGHTS: In COLORADO DAWN, Kaki takes two different people from the same world and drops them in a new world where they can sort through misunderstandings and past hurts and find a common ground. Maddie and Angus are married, but strangers. They shared passion, but need love. And both desire independence, but are bound to each other.

Maddie was a favorite of the women heading to Colorado. I looked forward to her story, and it exceeded my expectations. She’s easy to love with a soft heart, spirited personality, and unwavering devotion to her new friends. She’s the kind of person you want as a friend whether you’re a Southern belle with insecurities, a woman soured on life and men, an old man scorned by others, or a Scottish Lord and former soldier carrying wounds both external and internal. I liked how Maddie didn’t let Ash (Angus’ nickname) walk all over her, but neither was she so bitter that she became cruel and uncaring. She heard him out concerning his reasons for past actions, and hurts he never intended to cause.  She simply wanted him to accept her, her photography, her life in Colorado, and to be allowed the freedom to choose her own path. It was refreshing to see a heroine act like a real woman finding herself in an awkward and confusing situation, and deciding which road to take.

I absolutely hate to give away spoilers and I hope this isn’t considered one: But a scene where Maddie is showing Ash the ins and outs of photography is one of my favorite scenes in any book.

Angus Wallace, Lord Ashby (Ash), is a different kind of hero in a Western, the tip off to this being his title. But like so many that came West, he fits in with all the misfits. He blusters and pontificates a good bit, but Ash stole my heart the minute he arrived in Heartbreak Creek. As a former cavalryman of the highest order and Scottish pier, he expects complete obedience, but doesn’t get it from his wife or her friends.  Like Declan, Ash is strong man needing a woman who could accept what he perceives as his weaknesses. But he’s also a man torn between family loyalty and responsibility and the freedom he desires to go his own way.

It takes thousands of miles and many heartbreaks for these two strong headed, passionate individuals to find what they want, need and what they’re willing to sacrifice to get it.

This series rates high on the “keep forever” shelf.

I really enjoyed how these books had secondary characters that almost served as the conscience to the heroes and heroines. Their methods are sometimes subtle and sometimes akin to bringing a cast iron skillet down on a few heads, but their presence keeps the hero and heroine on their toes and evaluating their prejudices and preconceived notions.

All of the supporting characters (including animals) in these stories are the best. They do their job well, supporting the hero and heroine with humor, encouragement, wisdom, or adding danger and obstacles. And Kaki does a superior job of incorporating many cultures and people who converge at Heartbreak Creek.

Kaki writes with a skill that takes the reader from gritty and raw to laughing out loud like an idiot, usually with dry humor or even a bit of slapstick fun, and then sighing with a lump in the throat at a moment of tenderness between the hero and heroine, or even between sisters and friends.

She doesn’t waste time with her people beating around the bush with issues best solved over a cup of coffee, but gets everything out in the open and then places real issues and obstacles in their way to a happily ever after.

The bond shared by Edwina, Maddie, Lucinda and Pru keeps the women, and the reader, grounded as only the dearest of friends can. And I look forward to continuing the journey of these women in BRIDE OF THE HIGH COUNTRY (Just released June 5th)!!!

I’ve been anxious to read Lucinda’s story as her past has been the most shrouded in mystery. She can be an abrasive character, but showing glimpses of a heart needing tenderness, and I look forward to learning about her past, and what formed her into the woman she is when she meets Edwina, Pru and Maddie.

Sorry I don’t have insights to share for this story, only to say I just started it and…WHOOEEE!  But Kaki was kind enough to share an excerpt that certainly has me grabbin’ the book from Cookie’s hands and sendin’ him off as Night Watch so I can get some readin’ in.  So if y’all have read the first two in the series, I’m sure your nose is buried in this one, too. If not, what are ya waitin’ for folks, an engraved invite, get all three and get ta readin’ ya won’t be sorry!

And read to the end for a bit of news about upcoming releases by Kaki Warner!

Snatched from unspeakable abuse at the age of twelve and given a new identity as the ward of a Manhattan society widow, Margaret Hamilton thinks the safety and security she craves is at last within her reach.  But as she exchanges wedding vows with a ruthless and charismatic railroad mogul, a shocking revelation sends her fleeing her own wedding…with a valise full of railroad stock certificates.

Now calling herself Lucinda Hathaway, she follows the rails west, desperate to make a new start.  But her pursuers are not far behind—one man who wants vengeance—one who wants to silence her about events long in the past—and a third who only wants the truth.  But the truth is too ugly to share, so Lucinda keeps running…all the way to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado where she finds three other women struggling to start new lives. Deciding she’s finally found the home and family she so desperately needs, she puts her ill-gotten railroad shares to use, determined to make their crusty little town a place they can all call home.

But it’s never that easy, and as her pursuers close in on her, Lucinda finds that her new start comes with a higher price, but a greater reward, than she ever expected.

 

 

 

BRIDE OF THE HIGH COUNTRY

Chapter 1

March, 1870, New York City

 

It had been written and talked about for weeks.

A fairy tale romance,” the gossip columns called it. “Doyle Kerrigan, dashing railroad mogul brought to bended knee by Margaret Hamilton, ward of Ida Throckmorton, widow of the late Judge Harold Throckmorton.”

Margaret supposed there was a certain make-believe quality to their whirlwind courtship—the penniless nobody plucked from obscurity and thrust into the world of opulence. Who would have guessed that an Irish orphan from Five Points would someday be mistress of a home as grand as Doyle’s new townhouse in the most fashionable area of New York?

Hopefully, no one. The only way to protect herself was to ensure that no one ever found out about her Irish immigrant roots. Especially her fiancé. It was a betrayal on every level—not just of Doyle Kerrigan, but of her homeland, her parents, and especially little Cathleen Donovan. But she would do it. She would do anything to stay alive. She had already proven that.

Margaret studied her reflection in the cheval mirror in her third-floor bedroom at Mrs. Throckmorton’s Sixty-Ninth Street brownstone.

The lilac silk gown Doyle had chosen brought out the green of her eyes. The diamond and amethyst necklace he had given her shimmered against her skin. More gems glittered in the pins securing her blond upsweep. Everything was the finest. Proof of Doyle’s success. At the engagement ball tonight in his lavish new home, when he introduced his unknown but well-connected fiancé to Manhattan’s elite, he would be proclaiming to the world that he had reached the highest level of society that money could buy. And she would finally be safe.

A triumph for the Irish in both of them.

Then why did she feel such a sense of loss?

Irritated that she had let her happy mood slip away, and having almost forty minutes to spare before Doyle came to pick her up, Margaret moved restlessly about the room, finally coming to a stop at the tall window that overlooked the street three floors below.

The day was fading. Smoke from thousands of coal stoves hung in sluggish layers in the still air, adding bands of deeper gray to the overcast sky. The distant oasis of the still-unfinished Central Park project seemed less green, as if painted with a muddied brush, and even the sheep dotting the Sheep Meadow looked dingy. She scarcely remembered what stars looked like.

“So you’re going through with it,” a querulous voice said from the doorway.

Bracing herself for another argument, Margaret turned with a smile. “Yes, ma’am, I am. And you shouldn’t be climbing those stairs on your own. I was just about to come down to you.”

With the hand not gripping the ivory handle of her cane, Mrs. Throckmorton impatiently waved aside the notion that she would need help. “He’s a ruffian and a thug. Do you know the kind of people who will be there tonight?”

Margaret waited, knowing the question didn’t require an answer.

“Jay Gould, that’s who.  And Jim Fisk, and even that Tweed fellow from Tammany Hall. Crooks, all. The Judge would never have countenanced an association with such disreputable types. My word, they’re Democrats!”

Margaret knew that despite her criticisms, her guardian had only her best interests at heart. But she would never understand Margaret’s driving need for the security this marriage would provide. How could she?

Having been insulated by wealth all of her life, Mrs. Throckmorton had little knowledge of the squalor that prevailed in the Irish tenements of the sixth ward. She could never have imagined the kind of depravity that went on behind the closed doors of the house on Mulberry Bend. Yet when Father O’Rourke had appeared on her doorstep fifteen years ago with a frightened, twelve-year-old Irish orphan, Ida Throckmorton had honored her late husband’s debt and taken her in.

But the benign tyrant of this staid brownstone on Sixty-Ninth Street had her rules, so she did—the foremost being no Irish tolerated.

From that moment on, Cathleen Donovan had ceased to exist. Margaret Hamilton had taken her place—a distant relative of some twice-removed cousin of the late Judge. She had been fed, clothed, and patiently tutored in academics and deportment and elocution until all her rough edges had been buffed away and she was able to pass for one of her guardian’s own class.

It hadn’t been that difficult. Most of Margaret’s Irishness had been beaten out of her by Smythe during the two years she had spent at Mrs. Beale’s. And with her blond hair and rosy cheeks she looked more English than Irish.

But sometimes, in that dark hush just before dawn, when the silence was so heavy it pressed like a weight on Margaret’s chest, the ghost of Cathleen Donovan would come calling, bringing with her a confusing mix of good memories and choking terrors that would send Margaret bolting upright in her bed, gasping and clawing at her throat as if Smythe’s hand was still there.

Don’t know about y’all but I’m at the edge of my seat! Literally folks, I’m about ready to fall off the saddle here!! 

Ms. Warner tells me we’ve not seen the last of old Heartbreak Creek.

KAKI WARNER:  I just signed a contract for 3 more books set in Heartbreak Creek, blending the old characters with a bunch of new ones.  And the current brides books will be released in mass market late this fall/winter.  I can’t show you the covers yet, but they’re all the guys.  Sort of like the Wilkins mass market books.

If that don’t get yer blood pumpin’ well maybe ya  oughta go visit the old sawbones.

And after you’ve read this series…Cause I know you’re gonna read this series, pick up the BLOOD ROSE TRILOGY from Kaki Warner! It’s another must read and keep and read again and again series!!

 

WAGONS WEST!! SOUTH PASS!

Shoot fire! Can y’all believe we’ve made it to the end of the trail in Big WYO! My backside feels like it’s done become a part of this here buckboard and I haven’t even shot Cookie! So all in all I’d call this here trip a humdinger!

But Cookie and me are bustin’ our britches cause we’re rollin’ into a place near and dear to us at this time ‘cause it’s where my current work in progress takes place, so we feel like we’re comin’ on home! And wouldn’t it just blow yer great aunt’s bloomers up, we get to visit this here place this summer for about the thousandth time but South Pass City never gets old! Why there’s enough shootin’, drinkin’,  fightin’, and spittin’ goin’ on here to keep any cowpoke happy.  Not that Cookie and me participate in any of the like. ;o)

So let’s roll on in and see what’s all the ruckus is about in South Pass!

Long before the first trappers set foot in the Rockies, or thousands upon thousands of emigrants set across the country in search of gold, or land, or escape from a war torn North and South, humans used a natural gateway through the Rocky Mountains.  This pass is known today as South Pass, and has been used for trade and travel for thousands of years.  Paleolithic hunters camped in the area for at least ten thousand years, and the entire area is rich in Plains Archaic and Late Prehistoric artifacts.

The earliest descriptions of this elevated plain depict a paradise for bison on both sides of the pass, and the large herds represented a great prize for hunters whose lives depended upon the shaggy beasts. The most successful of these people of the buffalo were the Absarokas, better known as the Crow, who battled for control of this rich country with their ancient enemies the Blackfeet and Shoshones.  As white traders introduced firearms and horses, however, the balance of power shifted, and by the time the bison disappeared from the Green River Valley, the Shoshones controlled all the country west of South Pass.

Later travelers on the Oregon-California Trail told of meeting Crow, Arapahoes, Bannocks, Cheyennes, Nez Perce, Lakotas, and Utes in or near South Pass. During the golden age of the overland trails, the Shoshones dominated the region and used the pass most heavily.

In 1812, one of the American Indian tribes who used this pass mentioned the natural corridor to an American fur trader, Robert Stuart. Though French and American fur traders wandered the northern Rockies before the return of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and Indian nations used the corridor for centuries, no one of European extraction appears to have so much as heard a rumor of the pass’ existence before August 1812. The history of this great pass and that of the United States was set on a course of change from that moment.

Stuart’s “discovery” of South Pass in 1812, was recognized by some as the momentous breakthrough it was. The “Missouri Gazette” quickly announced the news and published a full description of the Astorian’s harrowing journey. A brief report printed on 8 May 1813 predicted this showed “the world that a journey to the Western Sea will not be considered of much greater importance than a trip to New York.” But, remarkably, South Pass was quickly forgotten. Some speculated John Jacob Astor suppressed the news of South Pass, hoping to keep it a trade secret. Stuart’s journal remained unpublished for more than a century after his historic journey. More likely, it was the fact the news arrived in the middle of the War of 1812. This war drove Americans from the upper Missouri River and halted the nation’s western trade and exploration activities for ten years.

In 1822, with the reawakening of the American fur trade an ambitious Missouri entrepreneur, William Ashley, advertised he and his partner, Major Andrew Henry, were looking for one hundred “Enterprising Young Men” willing to spend as many as three years risking their lives in the fur trade. Among those who answered his call were Jedediah Smith, the four Sublette brothers, Thomas Fitzpatrick, John H. Weber, David Jackson, Daniel T. Potts, Louis Vasquez, and Mike Fink.  [Any of these names ringin’ a bell folks?]

The first two years were marked with repeated failures as Indian tribes employed all they had to keep the trappers out of their country. Finally, William Sublette, Jedediah Smith, and Thomas Fitzpatrick led a party of some sixteen men up the White River hoping to reach the beaver rich country along the Spanish River (today’s Green River).  The Great Plains, Badlands, and Rocky Mountains stood between the fur traders and their goal. On top of all that, it was already late in the year, October, when they set out on their trek. After an arduous trek “crossing several steep and high ridges that “in any other country would be called mountains,” the exhausted men sought shelter at the Crows’ main camp high on the Wind River, probably near today’s Dubois, Wyoming, but perhaps farther downstream at Riverton.

During their ten week stay, a Crow told Thomas Fitzpatrick about a pass that existed in the Wind River Mountains, through which he could easily take his whole band “upon the streams on the other side.”  In late February eleven men left the safety of the Crow village to find this passage.

Bitter cold and Wyoming wind made the search for the passage a grueling journey. After several days of travel, the party moved over a low ridge, likely the Beaver Divide, and struck the Sweetwater River where they camped. One of the men, James Clyman, recorded that after holding up for three weeks near what became Independence Rock the trappers struck out in a Southwesterly direction.  After another week of travel and another bitter night in sagebrush fighting high winds, Clyman said the next day the trappers realized they “had crossed the man ridge” of the Rocky Mountains. This simple announcement marked the first east-to-west crossing of South Pass.

It was the first crossing, but it opened the door for thousands of crossings to come. In the wake of the Rocky Mountain fur trade, the knowledge that wagons could cross the continent to Oregon, and that women (Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding) had successfully completed the journey altered the way American people thought about the Far West.  While there was not an immediate flood of emigrants to the West, by 1843, South Pass was “already traversed by several different roads,” according to John C. Fremont.  The number of roads across the open plain increased with the intense traffic that arrived with the California gold rush as travelers sought out campsites that had not been stripped of grass. Jim Bridger told one Forty-niner, “he could make fifty roads through South Pass.”  By 1848, about 18, 847 Americans had crossed South Pass on their way to new homes in the West.

The discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California, would transform South Pass and the nation, as the steady flow over the pass turned to a river. By 1860, trail historian John Unruh, calculated almost 300,000 men, women, and children had crossed South Pass.

California wasn’t the only place experiencing a rush due to the finding of gold. In 1864, officers and men from the Eleventh Ohio Volunteers, sent west to guard the telegraph during the Civil War, became convinced that there was enough gold on the upper Sweetwater to make them rich. By the end of the Civil War the West was overrun with experienced prospectors. Fort Bridger commandant Major Noyes Baldwin and Captain John F. Skelton grubstaked John A. James and D.C. Moreland to spend six months surveying the mineral prospects of South Pass.  Along with miners they found already operating in the area, the men organized the region’s first mining district, the Lincoln, on November 11, 1864 on a tributary of Beaver Creek. The men found all types of gold, ranging from very fine quality flour gold to course gold. Moreland, James, and their associates began mining on the Willow Creek, where South Pass City eventually grew.  This mine was abandoned when the miners were run off by Indians, but others returned to the area to take up where these men left off.

In July 1867, the “Chicago Times” reported, “Salt Lake papers of July 1, received here, give accounts of rich gold discoveries in the mines are located in Green river [sic] country…”   Reports stated the road to the Green River was crowded with citizens from Salt Lake, and the new gold mines “set the people wild in this locality.”  Papers and reports from the area and the East kept up the steady drumbeat and Wyoming’s gold rush was on.

What was discovered by grizzled mountain man, Lewis Robinson, in June 1867, was the Carriso ledge, which soon became the Carissa Mine. By late July there were already several other prospects that looked as good if not better, including the Morning Star, Melrose, Copperopolis, and Last Chance. Half a mile below the Carissa Mine, prospectors soon began building South Pass City. By early November, the settlement boasted fifty houses and several stamping mills. At year’s end, the Dakota Territorial Legislature made the boomtown the seat of Carter County, after the formation of Wyoming Territory, the county was renamed Sweetwater County.

In an entreaty for a post office, it was reported that by March of 1868, the population of South pass was 1,000 and it was anticipated that within one or two months, the town would have 3,000. A postal agent from Salt Lake City estimated that within a few months the City would attain a population of 10,000. Regardless, there was a need for a post office. It cost $1.00 to send a letter by private express. The road from Sweetwater to South Pass City passed over 75 miles through land “destitute of water. George W.B. Dixson was named as postmaster.  However he absconded with some of the government’s money, allegedly to the newly found Cape Colony where he remained until his wife died. He ultimately returned to the United States and died in Chicago.

Despite the postmaster’s less than honorable behavior, South Pass City retained a post office along with a newspaper, five hotels, and some fifteen saloons including: the “49’er,” “Keg,” “Magnolia,” “Elephant,” and the “Occidental.”  By 1868, the town had stage service south to Bryan on the Union Pacific. By 1869, Iliff & Co. had opened the Exchange Bank and a toll road to Atlantic City 2 and half miles away opened.

If the growth of South Pass City was rapid, its decline was equally as fast. By 1870 the bank closed and in 1871 there was a disastrous fire.  The Carissa Mine remained the chief mine at South Pass City, and by 1868 some $15,000.00 of gold had been mined, but by 1873 the mine was idled, the gold rush over. Governor J.W. Hoyt reported in 1878 that “South Pass is a scene of vacant dwellings, saloons, shops, and abandoned gulches.”  For some who came and left, the big strike and fortune was just over the next hill, and when the government opened the Black Hills they followed the scent of gold.

Despite its short boom,  South Pass City, is noted not only for the gold mines, and as a stop on the Oregon Trail, but as the home of women’s suffrage.  In 1869, William H. Bright, South Pass mine and saloon owner, was elected to the First Territorial Assembly. He introduced a bill providing for woman’s suffrage which was passed by the legislature and approved by Governor John A. Campbell.  There are various versions regarding Bright’s motivation for introducing the bill. One is that Bright was persuaded to do so by a promise made to Esther Hobart Morris, later the first woman justice of the peace in the United States. Another is that Bright was influenced by his wife, Julia, to introduce the act. Another theory is the Democrat controlled legislature thought women would vote Democrat to offset the Black community that tended to vote Republican. However, if this was the case it backfired, since this was in the days before the “Australian” or secret ballot, and it was soon discovered women tended to vote Republican.  In any case, two years later the Democratically controlled legislature attempted to repeal woman’s suffrage, but the act to repeal was vetoed by the Republican Governor, and enough Republicans had been elected (thanks to women) to sustain the veto.

The mine that started it all, the Carissa, was reopened in 1901 and the size increased, but was closed again in 1906. In 1946, the mine was again reopened and quickly closed. The three towns that boomed in Wyoming’s short gold rush, South Pass City, Atlantic City, and Miner’s Delight, have faded to ghost towns.

But turn yer wagons into South Pass and y’all will still receive a big WYO welcome. You can see the home of Mrs. Esther Morris (a topic for a blog in the very near future), the Carissa Saloon, The Sherlock Store and the Sherlock Motel (originally the Idaho House), the Exchange Bank and other remains of a city that saw more history in its short boom than some see in a hundred years, and a pass that has served as a gateway for thousands of years.

Cookie and me are headed on over to Sherlock’s to gear up for a new adventure, and maybe I’ll talk the ol’ coot into a game of billiards and a cold one over at the saloon.

Well folks, just a few miles from South Pass is what they call the Parting of the Ways where those early pioneers chose one path to California or the other to Oregon. And Cookie and me, well we don’t veer left or right, but stay right here in this part of the West we’re just as happy as pigs in mud to call home. So, we’ll let y’all choose the path that fits yer fancy as we say so long to the trails!!

SOURCES:

http://wyoshpo.state.wyo.us/

http://historicwyoming.org/

www.wyomingtalesandtrails.com