Those of you who’ve read my blogs for any length of time know I love history. I not only enjoy writing about the past, but researching those bits and pieces that make the historical story I’m working on more realistic, interesting and accurate. I’ve been known to lose myself for hours down the “research rabbit hole.”
I’ve found many ways to research. Of course, I can spend hours in a library, hunting through books. Or online, looking for one particular fact. But my favorite type of research is the kind I didn’t plan, those you find in—or are sent from—unexpected places.
You’ve probably had the same experience. You stop to grab lunch at a restaurant off the freeway and discover the nearby town has, for more than a hundred years, hosted a festival in celebration of prickly pears. Or that there is a fully restored Civil War-era mental hospital only a few blocks away.
In my road trips to research a story, I’ve come across some fun facts. Did you know there was a salt war in Texas? Neither did I until I saw the roadside historical marker on my way to Jack County, Texas
Were you aware there was a Revolutionary War battle in St. Louis, Missouri? That’s right, halfway up the mighty Mississippi. The Battle of Fort San Carlos was fought when British-led Sioux, Sac, Fox, and Winnebago warriors attacked a newly built French entrenchment in May of 1780. That historical fact came from a local newspaper article my mother forwarded to me.
Ever heard of Crash, Texas? It’s a town that was built for the express purpose of allowing spectators to witness a train crash up close and personal. A friend sent me that news story. I did a blog on that for P&P – CLICK HERE.
Then there’s the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race, begun in 1848 and revived in 1977. I found out about it when researching the coach stops along the Santa Fe Trail after visiting the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Do you read the footnotes and attributions at the end of a historical research article? Or you might take a stroll through the archived blogs right here at Petticoats & Pistols –the Fillies have shared some wonderful research.
I love running across obscure information while I’m researching something else. And you can find some of the most interesting—and mostly useless—tidbits in some unlikely places. ebay® is one place that surprised me. I found some cool info on china and crystal and Texas artifacts there once when researching for a story.
What’s the most unusual fact you discovered in an unlikely place?
LASSOING A GROOM
How is a woman supposed to catch a husband? In the wild, wild west, she’s got to find a way to Lasso a Groom! Some of them are lawmen…some are outlaws. Ranchers and homesteaders are fair game, as well—none of ’em safe from love’s lariat, or the women who finally manage to rope ’em in!
WANTED: THE SHERIFF by Tracy Garrett
He’s a confirmed bachelor…but she’ll capture his heart.