At least partly inspired by a visit to Fort Atkinson, about a one hour drive from my home, I’m putting a mountain man in one of my next books as the hero
and I’m having the time of my life creating Matthew Tucker.
I’m going to just publish a series of pictures I took when I was there. I’ve already written about the Cruel & Unusual Medicine at the fort HERE
And the Spa-slash-Romance-Novel called a Prison at the Fort HERE
The fort was build in 1820 as part of an envisioned series of forts along the Missouri River, all the way to the Rocky Mountains as support and protection for the mountain men who were involved in the fur trade. They only got one built, Fort Atkinson.
I’ll just let you read the sign there, about William Ashley. He asked Enterprising Young Men to Go West…this was about 25 years before the first wagon wheel turned on the Oregon Trail.
This always makes me feel bad. The Rendezvous. Where most of the mountain men ended up drinking and gambling away an entire year’s worth of earnings. But why do I feel that way? What? Do I want them to invest their money in … blue chip stocks? Perhaps a mutual fund? Do something wise to make them secure in their old age?
They lived on the land. They never went near a store. What did they want with a stockpile of money?
It’d just be one more thing to carry around with them.
They worked all year and traded their earnings for a wild party. Maybe they thought that was fair. Who am I to feel sorry for the poor gullible, knife-wielding, grizzly bear rassling, madmen, huh?
And then it ended. Do you realize how fast it ended? The furs ran out. Now do you believe that? C’mon, the Rocky Mountains are HUGE, they did NOT get all the furs in twenty years, for heaven’s sake.
Tools of the trade. A pretty gun stock.
Here is a beaver pelt, a rifle, the beaver hat…which caused all this commotion…and traps at the bottom. I’ve got close-ups.
A rifle and a skinning knife…their tool kit. So much more fun that my tool kit with a screw driver and a nail file…in case I chip a nail whilst tightening something.
And of course the traps. Trap them, shoot them, skin them. Then you’re left with a beaver carcass. Wow, just talking about it makes me hungry.
Look at the trap. JUST LOOK AT IT! Have you ever set a mousetrap and had it snap in your hand? Imagine if this thing snapped on your finger.
You’d be begging someone to shoot you and skin you.
Lots of characters out in the mountains. Jim Beckwourth. He became a chief of the Crow Indians? Bet there’s a story there worthy of it’s own whole blog!
A close up of the hat. This is a beaver hat? I have pictured a hat more like what David Crockett and Daniel Boone wore. I guess that’s a coonskin cap, but still, this is not at all like I imagined it. And is it dyed? Whoever heard of a black beaver? You’d think they go to this much trouble to get a beaver, they’d want a hat that looked a lot more LIKE a beaver. I’d’ve left that flat tail on and maybe some buck teeth.
Details about the beaver hat. Note what it says about the collapse. Twenty years and the industry collapsed because of overtrapping. You know what? I don’t even believe that. Yeah, I know it talks about nutria (which I guess is some huge water rat! There’s your nightmare, right there!!!!!!!!!!!!) But I think the industry collapsed because some GENIUS figured out he could sell a cowhide hat that looked exactly like a beaver hat and guess what??? There’s a yard full of cattle right outside. No one’s got to ride 2000 miles through Indian Territory and face down Rocky Mountain blizzards and grizzlies and wolverines. Just round up the cow. They even have black cows–no more dye. This was saving them a fortune.
Excuse me but ONE HUNDRED MEN spread over the whole Rocky Mountains? Have you SEEN the Rocky Mountains? They are just VAST. And they got all the beaver?
Or seriously, did the beavers just learn to hide? How stupid do they think these beavers are anyway?
And Jim Bridger. Now there’s a name synonymous with the west, huh? He discovered the Great Salt Lake? But how could it have gone undiscovered? Didn’t they study the satellite photos? Anyway, Jim Bridger oughta get his own blog, too. I’m not telling you more about him…this blog is long enough as it is.
Leave a comment about the kind of heroes you like (and if the mountain man in mine will work for you….trust me…he’s a wild man!)
All commenters will get their name in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card.
And though I’ve got two books coming out before then, I’m going to do one more picture. A cover reveal for the first book in the Wild at Heart Series containing Matt Tucker.
He’s the hero of book #2, Now & Forever, but he’s a strong secondary character in book #1 Tried & True.
Tried & True, I just got the finalized cover last week and it’s due for release in September.
I’ll tell you more about the series later, for now Wild at Heart series, and sure Matt Tucker is a wild man but the series title Wild at Heart…that’s in reference to the women!
Book #1 Tried & True,
Book #2 Now & Forever,
Book #3 Fire & Ice…….this is gonna be fun! 🙂