Cowboys in Chicago





I was watching a History Channel documentary the other night on the Chicago Union Stock Yards.

In 1848, when Chicago was only a hub for transporting livestock from the West to the rest of the country, small stockyards such as Lake Shore Yard and Cottage Grove Yard, were scattered throughout the city along various rail lines.

As the railroads expanded westward, Chicago evolved into a large railroad center. With the increase in the number of trainloads of livestock, the chicago-union_stock_yard_gate1need for a centralized stock center became obvious.

In 1864, a consortium of nine railroad companies acquired three hundred and twenty acres of swampland south west of The Loop, and the Chicago Union Stock Yards was born.

By 1890 the yards were handling more than nine million cows, pigs and sheep a year. That’s a lot of hooves!

But I wantechicago_union_stock_yards-pens_1866d to know who took care of all those critters.

Before the creation of the stock yards, tavern owners provided pastures and care for cattle herds waiting to be sold. Eventually they built 2300 livestock pens on the 375-acre site.

[They also built hotels, saloons, restaurants, and offices for merchants and brokers, but that’s another blog.]

My next question: who moved all those animals around? I had visions of cowboys working in downtcowboy-and-bearown Chicago.  [No, not THAT kind of Cowboy!]

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a storyline there, after all. The cowboys only moved the doggies as far as Dodge City, Kansas City, and all the other termini of the cattle drives.

In the early days of the Stock Yard, drovers herded cattle, hogs, and sheep down two wide thoroughfares from the railroad cars to the pens. Then the railroad consortium built more rail lines, bringing the livestock right to the holding pens—and removing the need for the drovers.

 It’s a shamecow-on-parade_belle really. A thousand head of longhorns mooing their way down Michigan Avenue ahead of a couple of heart-stopping cowboys would have been entertaining.


Make Welcome Lyn Messersmith & Jeanmarie Hamilton

The Fillies have two very special guests this weekend….Lyn Messersmith on Saturday and Jeanmarie Hamilton on Sunday.

Lyn Messersmith is a third-generation Nebraskan rancher, writer, and poet. She’s going to give us the low-down on branding and shares some of the poetry she’s written. Pretty amazing. You don’t get a first-hand account of ranching life every day of the week. She’ll tell you everything you ever wanted to know about ranching. Ain’t she a pretty little thing?

Jeanmarie Hamilton is doing a blog tour and will stop in Wildflower Junction to tell about a new anthology she’s written with five other very talented ladies. It’s called Northern Roses and Southern Belles. Looks like a real good collection of stories. While Jeanmarie is here, she’ll talk about writing her story and share some tidbits about her great grandparents.

northernrosesandsouthernbellesAh know you’ll want to drop everything and get over here.

We’ll save you a seat!

Blah, Blah, Blah Blog

montana-rose-cover3-picture-managerI don’t feel like blogging today.

I’m more in the mood for fresh air and sunlight.

So in light of being short on brain power, I’ve borrowed something that perfectly matches my mood that I found on some other lazy person’s blog. She gave me permission to steal it. Why not? She stole it herself from someone who stole it from someone else. That’s not dishonest, that’s A TEAM EFFORT.

Do you ever get those ‘Out Of Office’ replies to emails? Well, they’re annoying and boring aren’t they. Someone somewhere has gone to the effort to make them a little more fun. Here’s a list of auto replies that you might see in your email box some day.

1. I am currently out of the office at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Please be prepared for my mood.

2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.

3. Sorry to have missed you, but I’m at the doctor’s having my brain and heart removed so I can be promoted to our management team.

4. I will be unable to delete all the emails you send me until I return from vacation. Please be patient, and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

5. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first 10 words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.
6. The email server is unable to verify your server connection. Your message has not been delivered. Please restart your computer and try sending again.

7. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.
8. Hi, I’m thinking about what you’ve just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.
9. I’ve run away to join a different circus.


Michael Jackson~Dead at 50

Michael Jackson died.
Yeah, I know, you all heard.
He’s just a few years younger than I am. I listened to the television go on and on about all the awards he won, all the albums, all the sales, and all the oddities in his later years.
Look how little he is in that picture above, already part of a musical act. Can he possibly be five years old in this picture?

It’s not important how I feel about this. No one ought to care what I think. But look at him in that picture above. He’s a beautiful child. And I watched the video of him singing when he’s just a little boy, then later doing the moonwalk and the way he’d spin. Singing of course, but creating too.

You can tell from this album that he’s had some surgery already. His nose is thinner but he’s still an extremely good looking guy. Through all the madness with the charges of abuse of children, through the strange acquisition of his children, the rumors that the mother of those children more or less sold them to him. Through the Neverland Ranch and the exotic animals and the financial garbage we’d hear…maybe true, maybe not. I mostly just viewed him as the oddest of the oddball Hollywood types.

But when he was going through that last trial about abusing that little boy, yes, I was sickened. Whether it was true or not, I was disgusted that he didn’t grow up and figure out he shouldn’t be having slumber parties with little boys.

I mostly believed that something bad probably was going on. A sane man would have stopped if he could. The price for continuing it was too high. Which leaves us with a man who couldn’t.

But when I’d see him looking so awful, coming to court with pajama pants on, white skin, why is his skin white? Sometimes I’d remember that beautiful little boy. That amazingly talented young man. In ruins. And it made me sad.

What happens to a boy that he wants to cut his face off?

We Have a Winner

horseheader11.jpgMy thanks to all those who came in and chatted with me today about the covers.  There were many different answers, but I think all in all, the “favorite” cover is the new one for SENECA SURRENDER.  Nathan Kamp on the cover is simply classy and the colors are fabulous and the waterfall gives the image action, also, I think.

Anyway, we do have a winner for the free book and that person is Patricia Barraclough.  Patricia, if you could email me privately and let me know which of my books you don’t have, we can go from there.  My email address is:

Again, many thanks to all those who came in to chat — it was fun!

Karen Kay/Gen Bailey on Romantic Covers!

seneca-surrender-12horseheader11.jpgGood Morning!

Well, I thought I’d take a break from the more serious posts that I’ve been doing lately and talk about something that’s rather soothing to the mind.   Besides. it’s fun!  I just got copy of my new cover for the book that’s due to be released in March of 2010 — and it’s a honey, and here it is: 

Isn’t it beautiful?  This is Nathan Kamp for any of you who are wondering or don’t know.  He’s been in retirement apparently for two years, but he did come out of retirement to pose for this cover.   One thing I didn’t know about Nathan is that he has Cherokee heritage, as well as Swedish.  Did you know that?  Nathan must be one of the most handsome men in America.  Notice also the waterfall in the background.  That plays a large role in this new book.  Also, note the name change on this book — Gen Bailey is a new writing name for me

So I thought, while we’re at it, that I might also show an assortment of my other covers, also.   Here is the cover for my current book that’s out, BLACK EAGLE.  51obnqdgasl_sl500_aa240_1Another stunning cover.  I don’t know the model’s name for this cover, but I think I should probably try to find out.  He’s beautiful, isn’t he? Also, I want to make a note for the artist who painted this picture also and for the art department staff at Berkley, who put the whole thing together.  It is quite beautiful, I think.

red_hawk_s_woman1.jpgHere’s another one that’s absolutely stunning — this cover for RED HAWK’S LADY.  Notice the mist inthe background.  This plays a large part in that book.  I’m not certain of this, but I believe that this is Nathan Kamp yet again.  Very beautiful.  Very handsome.  RED HAWK’S WOMAN was an interesting book for me if only because it gave me the opportunitiy to research archaeology.  To this day I have about 10 books of archaeology on my library shelves…some more difficult to understand than others.   But look at the abs on this man.  Wow.  I’m an exerciser and I certainly admire a man who takes the time to work to obtain these kinds of abs and this kind of look. 

lastwarrior.jpgHere’s another one that’s absolutely stunning.  THE LAST WARRIOR.  Again, I’m in the dark as to the model of this book, but I do believe that it might again be Nathan.  Do any of you know?  This book, THE LAST WARRIOR, BLACK EAGLE, and THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF, are the three books of mine that are still in print.  princeswolf1Here’s a picture of that cover.  I used to know the name of this particular model, but his name really escapes me right now.  Hopefully, I’ll remember before I end this post.  THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF was another book that was fun to write because it encompassed two different continents, as does THE LAST WARRIOR.  THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF was an AVON/Harpercollins cover,by the way.  The rest so far, have been Berkley.   But there are a few other covers that I love too.  And I certainly hpe that you’ll bear with me as I travel down memory lane here.

spirit20of20the20wolf-sm1Here’s another one of those beautiful covers from Berkley.  This one actually has the heroine in it, also.  This is another one of my most favorite covers.  I love the colors, I love the scenery and I love the aesthetics of the coupe.  The horse in this picture also figures prominently in this particular story also.  Again, I don’t know the artist, but I should.  It is stunningly beautiful, I think.  Okay, now here’s another:the20angel20and20the20warrior-sm-2001  This was the first cover that I did with Berkley.  Does anyone know this model?  I thought that it might be John D’Salvo.  If anyone knows, please tell me.  It’s another gorgeous cover, with beautiful colors and a handsome, handsome man.

So while I’m at it, I’ll show you a few of my other covers.  All of them attest to the artistry of the art departments at these publishing companies.  lscover11.jpg

LAKOTA SURRENDER was the first cover I ever had.  Way back in 1994.  The model is John D’Salvo and Cindy Guyer.  I was very pleasantly surprised by this cover.   I thought it was probably the most beautiful cover I’d ever seen.  I still love it.


Here’s another:  whiteeagle11.jpgWHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH was my 5th book for AVON.  It was one of my best selling books.  And it is still one of those books that I love and adore.  Gosh, I have to remember this fellow’s name, cause he was on quite a few of my covers, but this one I loved.  I still remember the first time I saw it.  I thought it was one of the most gorgeous covers I’d ever seen.  Here’s another:

soaringeagle1.jpgI finally remembered this terrifically handsome man’s name.  It is Joseph Anselmo.  SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE was my 10th book for AVON/HarperCollins.  I loved this cover, too.   SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE was another opportunity for me also.  With this book I learned a bit of history and technology (early technology) of photography — because my heroine was a photographer.  Okay, now here’s another interesting cover:nightthundersm1  At the time this book came out, I was very much involved with a literacy project on the Blackfeet reservation.  At that time, there was a man on the reservation who looked exactly like this cover.  At a pow-wow there, a friend of mine, Patricia, introduced me to this man’s double, there on the rez.  Handsome!

And then there’s this utterly charming and utterlyl gorgeous cover:  ghlcover11  GRAY HAWK’S LADY.  My 4th book for AVON.  This is the book I was writing when I first met my husband, Paul.  This book remains a favorite of mine because it was during the writing of this book that I not only met my husband, but we were also married.  In this book is my reaction to our first kiss.  It literally left me breathless.  It certainly made me sit up and take notice, and within a few short months after that kiss, we were married.  : )  Note again the stunning colors in this book.  This is also the book that I was promoting at the time when I met and toured with the late, Nancy Richards-Akers.  And so this book remains to this day one of my favorites.   The model, by the way, is John D’Salvo.


This was the cover for my second book for AVON and my second book published.  Again, notice the colors and the rich texture of the artistry.  This is another one of those books that spanned two different continents.  As a matter of fact, this books takes place almost entirely in England — and yes, it is definitely an Historical Indian Romance.  The model here, I believe, is Joseph Anselmo.

Okay, so here are the remaining covers,one at a time:

lonearrow1pwwcover11wolfshadowsm1These covers are respectively, Lone Arrow’s Pride, with model Joseph Anselmo.  The Proud Wolf’s Woman (My image1713rd book) with John D’Salvo as the model.  Above and to the left is War Cloud’s Passion with model Joseph Anselmo and over tof the right here is Wolf Shadow’s Promise, also with model Joseph Anselmo.

As you can see I have been blessed with one beautiful cover after another.  I’m really excited about the new cover — so excited I had to share all my covers with you.  But here’s one that never made it to the cover of a book:lsurr-11  This is me with cover model John D’Salvo in I believe it was 1994 or 1995.  Wow, that seems a long time ago now.  So much has changed — not only in my own life, but also the very environment in which we live.

Well, there you go.  Once again, I’ll be giving away a copy of one of my books to one of the readers who leaves a comment on this blog today.  Applies to the several united States only.

So what do you think?  Which of these is your favorite cover?  And why?  I also have a picture of John and I dancing — at the same function — I believe it was an RT convention — my first ever.

I’d love to hear from you.  So come on in and let’s chat.

Train Doctors


There are headlines aplenty these days around the topic of health care, but would it surprise you to learn that one of the early adopters of employer-based health care was the railroads?   

While the vast majority of nineteenth century workers had to find and pay for their own medical care, the railroads were developing a unique and valuable employee medical benefit. 


Because the nature of railway work and travel conditions led to a heightened likelihood of injuries to employees as well as passengers and bystanders some form of available medical services became almost a necessity.  The problem became exacerbated with the opening of the transcontinental railroad.  As an ever increasing number of people were transported across unsettled territory, territory that never seen trained physicians or even the most rudimentary of medical facilities, the railroads had no choice but to hire their own physicians and set up medical facilities along their routes.

Thus was born the era of train doctors.  Most of the men and women who answered this call were actually general practitioners who could also perform surgery.   And because of the unique dangers railroad workers faced, the so-called train doctors found themselves faced with types of injuries which few had dealt with before.  They were pioneers in the development of trauma care under primitive conditions, developing techniques and treatments that eventually found their way into routine medical practice.

From the outset, most of these practitioners expressed concern over the conditions and equipment they had to work with, as well as the ability to see their patients in a timely manner when minutes could literally mean the difference between life and death.

first-aid-kitOne tool that resulted from the drive to get stop-gap care to workers who sustained injuries in remote areas, were special packs devised by railway surgeons to be carried on all trains.  These packs were stocked with basic emergency supplies such as medicines, sterile dressings and basic implements.  These were, in fact, the precursors of the modern day first aid kit.  Train doctors also promoted the training of key railroad workers in the use of such materials so that the injured party could be given appropriate first line aide until a proper physician could be reached.

As for facilities, at first, railroad doctors tried using hotel rooms, spare rooms in residences or even back porches for emergency medical care, but such rooms not only lacked the necessary equipment, their use also resulted in a large expense for the railroads who not only paid for the use of the room but also faced cleaning and replacement costs for bloodstained linens and furniture.  As an alternative, the train doctors pushed for the development and use of hospital cars to serve as both properly equipped surgical facilities and transportation for seriously ill or injured patients.  




The adoption of such cars greatly improved the survival rate of the seriously injured railroad worker and eventually evolved into highly sophisticated facilities.  They contained room to bed and care for three to four patients as well as a fully equipped operating room.  They were scrupulously maintained in order to provide a clean environment in which the surgeon could effectively perform his duties, stabilizing his patients before sending him or her on to a regular hospital.

Speaking of hospitals, the railroads were also very influential in hospital2establishing such facilities along their routes.  In mid-century it was remarked that a person traveling from St. Louis to El Paso would traverse 1300 miles without passing a single hospital.    And this was only one of numerous such stretches in the country.  The first railroad to respond to this glaring need was the Central Pacific Railroad which opened its own hospital in Sacramento in 1869.  Other railroads quickly followed suit, establishing their own hospitals along well traveled routes.

Dr. C.W.P. Brock, President of the National Association of Railway Surgeons, was quoted as saying: Mr. Greeley’s advice to the young man to “go west” may be followed with great benefit by railway surgeons from the older sections of our country; and when they have seen the superb hospitals and the practical workings of the system they will say, as the Queen of Sheba said after seeing the splendors of King Solomon, “that the half had not been told.”


narsOn a more practical front, another surgeon was heard to estimate that “the daily cost per patient at a railway hospital runs from 40 to 60 cents, compared to $1.00 to $1.50 at a city or contract hospital.”

Train doctors were overall a progressive lot.  They endorsed the emphasis on sterilization and overall cleanliness in patient care well before such thinking was met with universal acceptance.  They were also progressive in their attitude toward embracing women into their profession.  In 1894. Dr. Carrie Lieberg of Hope, Idaho was appointed division surgeon on the Northern Pacific.

In addition to surgery on railroad-related injuries and general trauma care, railway surgeons also took on the role of overall health care provider.  They treated a wide range of illnesses, performed routine checkups, delivered babies and advised on safety, health and sanitation issues.

Alas, the train doctors are no more.  There are a number of factors that contributed to the eventual demise of the once highly effective and indispensible system.  Key among them was the change in government regulations and the explosion of medical advances in the 1950s.  The last of the railroad hospitals were sold or closed in the 1970s and the remaining train doctors retired, joined other practices or set up private practices of their own.

But these dedicated men and women left an enduring legacy.   badge

Their trade journal, The Railway Surgeon, though it reinvented itself a number of times, remains in print today under the name Occupational Health and Safety

The modern day specialty of occupational medicine can trace its roots to these surgeons.  They also helped to shape modern medical practice, especially in the area of trauma study and care.  They were pioneers in front line field care, in the stabilization and transport of the seriously injured, in overall trauma care and in the development and use of the modern day first aid kit.

All but forgotten by the vagaries of our national memory, train doctors nevertheless played a major, but largely unsung, role in making the settlement of the western frontier a safer proposition for all who travelled through or eventually settled in the surrounding areas.


Tammy Barley’s Winners

tammy-1Ah know you’re all on pins and needles so I won’t dally.

Maureen — Winner of Mini-Contest #1

Pat Cochran — Winner of Mini-Contest #2

Patricia Barraclough — Winner of Mini-Contest #3

Congratulations, ladies! Yeehaw!

If you’ll drop Tammy an email at she’ll get Love’s Rescue in the mail to you before you can turn around.

Y’all take care now, you hear.

Tammy Barley and the COOLEST CONTEST EVER!


At the end of this blog you’ll find a chance to win the coolest contest EVER and everyone who leaves a comment will get their name in the drawing to win a copy of Tammy Barley’s new release, Love’s Rescue.

Now, here’s Tammy Barley:tammy2


Greetings all, and a special howdy to everyone I haven’t had the pleasure to meet yet!


Whew! I just finished throwing a huge Travel Back to 19th Century America book launch for my new release, the award-winning book one of the Sierra Chronicles Series, Love’s Rescue. My church sponsored the event west of Chicago, members brought 19th century Western/cowboy, farm, and Civil War memorabilia to entertain visitors (good turnout), I signed books in period costume plus I’d crafted displays to allow folks to try their hand at Indian basket weaving, braiding strips of leather, touching several kinds of pelts to guess the animals (whoda thunk buffaloes are THAT hairy?), and trying to guess the origin of several cowboy words, among other activities.


So I’d like to give you a chance to do the same—see if you can figure out the origin of cowboy words, that is. Normally guest bloggers give away one book, but I’m giving away THREE since I have more than one thing for you to guess. I’ll tell you more about that in a sec. First, here’s a little more about Love’s Rescue:


A Dividing Conflict

In 1863, the War Between the States is dividing more than a nation. To escape the conflict, Jessica Hale and her family flee their Kentucky home and head for Nevada Territory. Her brother, Ambrose, committed to the Confederates, rejoins the Kentucky militia and is disowned by his father. But the worst is yet to come.

A Heroic Kidnapper

When Unionists presume the family to be Confederate sympathizers, they set a devastating fire to their home. All alone and then “kidnapped” by cattleman Jake Bennett, Jessica is taken to a ranch deep in the Sierra Nevada wilderness. Can she overcome her resentment toward Jake for failing to save her family?

The Depths of Love

When Jake launches a plan to help Jessica’s brother escape from prison camp, she sees him for the honest, good-hearted Christian man that he is and now knows the depth of his love for her. Through the lingering smoke and smoldering ashes from her ruined home and murdered family, will Jessica see a future with Jake?


Me again. Yep, Jess Hale is headstrong, feisty, and Jake is ctammy-barley-3alm and solid as the earth itself. (He also looks like Hugh Jackman’s character in Australia which doesn’t hurt a bit)


As I was saying a moment ago, I’m giving away three books—one for our little contest number one, one for our contest number two (winners drawn randomly from correct answers), and one for having the gumption to take a stab at one and two (drawn randomly). So here we go!


Mini Contest One:

Here’s a scene from Love’s Rescue. See if you can figure out what Jess did to get even with the cowboys. The scene setup: The night before this scene, Jess was attacked by a pack of wolves, bit deep enough that Jake had to stitch her leg, and after he tied off the thread, her nerves were so shot that she threw up outside while the cattlemen looked on. They spent the day teasing her mercilessly about “spewin’ in the sage” while she scrubbed their laundry and seethed.


            The next morning brought with it a fresh breeze, and Jess hummed merrily as she hung the last of the clean, damp clothing and called cheery greetings to each one of the cattlemen as they passed by. Sheepish about their ruthless teasing the day before, they returned her greetings with extreme politeness, calling her ma’am or offering to lend a hand should she have need of it. These offers she responded to with an outpouring of gratitude and assurances that yes, she certainly would prevail upon their kindness, should she have a need.

The men went away, glancing at each other in unease.

When evening came and Jess was just as charming as she had been all day, they began to relax, apparently glad that she had forgiven them. She overheard one remind the others that they best not tease her again to the extent they did the day before. After all, everyone’s good humor does have its limits.

While they ate dinner in the cookhouse, Jess stayed out behind the bunkhouse, humming again as she took down the wind-dried shirts, union suits, and pants. The sun was setting when she returned the neatly folded clothes to the men with a smile as pure as golden honey.


Here’s the question: What do you suppose Jess did to get even?


Mini Contest Two:

Can you guess the origin of these cowboy words?


chuck (food)







 Good luck! I’ll see you in the Sierras!




 Simply read Love’s Rescue, answer ten questions about the story at, and you are entered to win a one-week vacation for two to a western guest ranch resort in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado! (One entry per reader.) The winner will be drawn on Valentine’s Day 2010, randomly from entrants who have answered all ten questions correctly. For more information and to enter, visit






Three Birthday Gifts to these winners…


 What I did was put your birthdates in three separate groups, the beginning of the year, the middle of the year and the end of the year. If you didn’t send me a date, I still entered you by dropping your names into the three groups to even them out


Happy Birthday to all, early and late!



And the Books go to:




Congrats ladies.  Please send me an email at with your snail mail addy!!   They’ll be winging their way to you very soon!!