Before I get started on the topic of discussion here, I wanted to let you all know that my most recent release, RED HAWK’S WOMAN, is being released today — and in celebration of that release, I’ll be giving away a free ebook. To enter into the drawing all you need to do is leave a comment on this post.
Here on ancestor week at Petticoats and Pistols, I thought I’d take up an ancestor that is famous in many different regards. When I grew up, Sitting Bull was known by every child in school. And though most of us didn’t know much about him, he was often spoken of as being a great warrior.
And so, since many consider him to be a famous ancestor, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about his life — at least that which we know about him.
Sitting Bull wasn’t technically a warrior. Although he had skills as a hunter and a warrior, he was a holy man of the tribe — a medicine man. He was born around 1830 or 1831 on the Grand River in South Dakota. He was a Hunkpapa Sioux (or Lakota). The Sioux (Lakota) tribe has different bands that make up the tribe. A band is typically several different families, many of whom are related.
As a child, he had a nickname of “Slow.” His father, Returns Again was an esteemed warrior and so Sitting Bull seemed destined to be the same, except that as a child he showed little skills as a warrior, thus his name, “Slow.”
Interestingly, he received the name Sitting Bull (I have read several different accounts on how he received his name — but this is an unusual one) because of a fight that he had with another young Indian boy who was from a rival tribe, I believe. In the fight, he killed the other Indian boy (so the story goes), but was, himself, injured and he was called from then on Lame Bull or Sitting Bull because of the injury he received, which made him permanently lame.
But he rose above that and became fearless in everything that he did — he was also an excellent rider, an extremely good shot and could endure much fatigue without showing it.. He shot his first buffalo calf when he was 10 and another story goes that because his father was considered rich by Indian standards, the meat from his hunting was often given to the poor. Because Sitting Bull’s tribe hunted to the far north of the country, they had little dealings with the in-coming culture. It wasn’t until 1862, when the Santee Sioux from Minnesota were pushed West, that Sitting Bull’s tribe learned about what life might hold on one of the reservations.
The 1860’s started in a bad way, and more ill-feelings between the Lakota Sioux and the United States government ensued. In 1865, Sitting Bull led a party and attacked Fort Rice in North Dakota. He so distinguished himself that within 3 years, he had become a chief of the Lakota people. It was also in 1868 that the Lakota made peace with the United States government in treaty. But that treaty was quickly broken by the United States government in the 1870’s when gold was discovered in the Black Hills. And thus began the famous Sioux Indian wars of the 1870’s, culminating in the complete destruction of the 7th Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer.
Sitting Bull did not participate in that fight, but having survived the fight, he took his people north into Canada, where they lived for a period of four years. However, his people began to starve due to harsh conditions, and they demanded to go back to their own country. Sitting Bull counseled them to remain where they were and tried to assure them that they could survive in Canada, but most were determined to return, and Sitting Bull led them back to the United States in 1881. (As a note, there were several different families from Sitting Bull’s band that remained in Canada, and their ancestors still live there today.)
He was held prisoner until 1883, and in 1885, he joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show after he had become friends with Annie Oakley. Although the pay was good, Sitting Bull could little understand the poverty he came to witness while on the road. He was also routinely booed by the show’s audience, and Sitting Bull is quoted as saying, “[I] would rather die an Indian than live a white man,.” He quit after only one season.
In the end, Sitting Bull came back to the place where he had been born. There, he came to support the famous Ghost Dance. His support of this dance (which determined that the ancestors of the Indians would come back to claim their land), frightened government officials. It was this, really, that spelled the end of his days. He was killed by Indian police, in a staged incident where the police insisted he had been resisting arrest. It was a tragic end, only because this man gave so much of himself for his people.
But there is something to be learned from the life of this very famous man. It has been said, and I forget by who, that those who do not know history (real history, not that which is generally taught in school) are destined to repeat it. And so to this end, I would like to cut and paste a piece written by an unknown Lakota upon the anniversary of the death of Sitting Bull.
By: ~Anonymous Lakota
Saturday, December 15th, 2002 was the 112th Memorial anniversary of the assassination of Tatanka Iyotaka, more commonly known as Sitting Bull. This inspirational leader was murdered deep within Lakota Nation territory, a vast area encompassing much of the central and northern Great Plains. Tatanka Iyotaka in his day was one of the most influential leaders on the prairie. Today, he is the most recognizable Indian in the world.
Tatanka Iyotaka was not impressed by white society and their version of civilization. He was shocked and saddened to see the number of homeless people living on the streets of American cities. He gave money to hungry white people many times when he was in the large cities.
He counseled his people to be wary of what they accept from white culture. He saw some things which might benefit his people; but cautioned Indian people to accept only those things that were useful to us, and to leave everything else alone. Tatanka Iyotaka was a man of clear vision and pure motivation.
Sitting Bull autograph dated on card’s reverse June 12th 1889.
As is often the case with extraordinary people, Tatanka Iyotaka was murdered by his own people. The colonial force set the weak of his own race against him. A tactic they continue to use. Indian police today carry on the tradition started by the assassins of Tatanka Iyotaka and Tasunke Witko. Indian police harassing, arresting, even killing other Indian people keeps the colony in control. Seeing that their paychecks, just like those of the elected tribal/band councilors, come from the colonial government points to that quite clearly.
The unrelenting love for his land and his people caused the enemies of the Lakota to fear Tatanka Iyotaka. The Hunkpapa Oyate and the Titonwan Lakota had many powerful leaders, but Tatanka Iyotaka will forever remain the icon of traditional, full-blood strength and dignity
Taken from the website: www.sittingbull.org
What is the moral of this story you might ask? What is to be learned from it? I think it would go something like this: beware the person, people or agency who would tell you bad things about those to whom you are close — and also those who are different from you. Before you believe what is told to you about another, question that person yourself. Live in his shoes for a few days before deciding you’re angry. We are all God’s children. Unfortunately, there are those who specialize in evil, and there are those who profit from brother fighting brother. Such people are the real crazy ones — those who would sell their soul for worldly profit.
Well, that’s all for today — on Ancestor day.
Don’t forget that my newest release, RED HAWK’S WOMAN, goes on sale today. Unfortunately, the Samhain Publishing website is down today — and I haven’t yet been able to get the book up on my own website, so for now, the place to buy this book would be your favorite online bookstore.
My dad’s slugger-cousin Lou Novikoff (1915-1970) is the perfect choice for this week’s special event. Our family is 100% “Go Halos” Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim fanatics, so the fact that The Mad Russian played long ago for their top-level minor league team has always been way cool.
Here’s a few fun facts:
Playing 36 games for the AA Pacific Coast League Angels in 1939, Lou hit .452 and was named Minor League Player of the Year.
He played 174 games for the Angels in 1940 and hit .363 with 41 home runs and 259 hits. This earned him the Pacific Coast League Batting Title.
One of 12 kids, Lou grew up near Bakersfield, California and joined a professional softball team in high school. Therefore, he was banned from high school sports for accepting money. His baseball career almost ended there…
…but he became such a sensational fast-pitch pitcher and hitter that the Chicago Cubs shocked the baseball world by offering him a contract for their class C team in 1937.
He found great success in the minor-leagues. His claim to fame–purposely going after bad pitches and most times, knocking the ball out of the park!
A colorful guy with a “duck-waddling” gait, he refused to play at Wrigley Field because he was certain the vines climbing on the walls was poison ivy!
In the off season, he took on such jobs as a longshoreman out of Long Beach, California and worked in the oil fields as a roughneck.
Mostly known as The Mad Russian, reporters also gave him such monikers as The Crazy Cossack, The Soviet Slugger, The MoscowMauler, and…the Volga Batman.
He had a pet Russian wolfhound that he proudly displayed. And claimed the dog only ate caviar.
Lou was suspicious. Around 1940 with the Angels, The Mad Russian claimed he couldn’t hit unless his wife was nearby heckling him from the bleachers. Supposedly Esther’s nasty insults inspired him. Seems with Mrs. Mad Russian in the stands, her Muscovite mate batted .300 every game.
Also a proficient bowler, Lou loved his harmonica and played it in 1941 on Bing Crosby’s radio program. Oh, uh, also on left field sometimes. Once, an aria in his fine baritone earned him a fine for singing during a game.
Kids loved him. He’d purposely smack practice balls into the low-rent seats for their souvenirs.
During the Second World War, he was a beloved attraction while big-gun major leaguers were off to war. Originally deferred due to Esther’s ill health, Lou was inducted into the U.S. Army in July 1945. At U.S. Air Corps Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls, Texas, he played on the service team, The Flyers.
After an unsuccessful comeback with the Angels in 1950, Lou returned to softball. He led his Long Beach (CA) team to three championships and became the first man inducted into the Softball Hall of Fame. (1965)
Thanks with my whole heart to David Eskenazi for permission to share with us photos from his collection. For more details on The Mad Russian, check out David’s article with Steve Rudman.http://tinyurl.com/o35vo2y
“The train chugged toward the station. Smoke bellowed from the engine’s stack. Standing underneath the roof of the brick-and-mortar depot, Opal gulped as she watched it approach. …” (Excerpt from Janet Syas Nitsick’s novella, She Came by Train, included in Bride by Arrangement.)
Trains were vital to the Old West to not only transport goods but also for people traveling from East to West. They replaced wagon trains, a popular form of travel from the early 1840s to the late 1860s. Trains continued to be the dominant mode of travel until automobiles gained momentum in the 1930s and 1940s.
Passengers could purchase first, second or third-class tickets, according to their financial abilities. First-class tickets cost the most and came with the most luxuries. A second class ticket cost more than third class with this class bringing the least benefits.
If a person purchased a third-class ticket, he or she would sit on a wooden seat, be placed in an open car and had to furnish their own meal. The ticket entailed them to one washroom (our current day restroom), and it was used by men and women.
A second-class ticket enabled the traveler to sit in an enclosed car with padded seats and included two washrooms — one for men and the other for women. This passenger had three meal options: bring your own food, eat at the buffet car, or get off the train to eat during a meal stop.
Passengers riding first class sat in leather or padded-velvet seats in an enclosed car. As in the second class, men and women had their own washrooms. But different from the other classes, a first-class traveler was provided meals, could eat in the buffet car or visit a restaurant at a destination stop.
If travelers didn’t bring a meal, such as second and third-class, ticket holders, they could eat at a restaurant near the depot or eat at the dining (also buffet) car during the train stop. However, passengers had limited time to eat these unappetizing, dining-car meals, probably between 15 to 20 minutes, so often they never finished their meals and continued their trips hungry.
Around 1899, Fred Harvey solved this problem by starting a chain of restaurants at the train stations. His restaurants served appetizing meals, such as plantation beef stew on hot buttermilk biscuits and smoked haddock. Harvey hired only females for his waitstaff to allure male patrons and help women find mates.
Originally, passengers picked up their own luggage from the baggage car, but as travel by train became more popular, it became necessary to have a system to track luggage to prevent loss or theft. Metal tags, typically made of brass, were used. They included the railroad(s) involved, an identification number, and routing. One tag would go with the passenger, and a matching tag would be attached to the luggage.
When the Journey Ends
Once the train arrived at its destination, passengers needed to be careful when they got off their cars because of the short distance between the train and the platform. At the station, travelers walked, grabbed a cab or were met with individuals who took them to their ultimate destinations.
In She Came by Train, Opal has taken the long journey from Virginia to Lincoln, Nebraska, to be the governess to two young children of a lonely widower. “Opal pulled out her smelling salts and sniffed. She returned the salts to her belt before clutching her purse tight. Her new life faced her. …” (Excerpt from Janet Syas Nitsick’s novella in Bride by Arrangement.)
In The Purchased Bride, Ada fought the tears, which she believed could have filled up more than what the Mississippi River contained, as she stepped from the train to meet her betrothed, Pete Kelly. She did not know what her future would be like since her brother arranged the marriage. “With each mile that separated Ada from Virginia, she didn’t know if she felt better or worse. … her brother had seen fit to sell her to a stranger out in Nebraska — far removed from anyone …” (Excerpt from Ruth Ann Nordin’s novella in Bride by Arrangement.)
Ruth Ann Nordin and Janet Syas Nitsick are offering three paperback copies of their anthology, Bride by Arrangement, (which ranked in the top 100 in the Western romance category in the Kindle edition).
Yippee! We have a real treat — both authors in an historical romance anthology.
Miss Janet Sysas Nitsick and Ruth Ann Nordin will arrive here on Saturday, September 27.
These two talented ladies will tell us about Old West train travel. Seems it certainly wasn’t comfortable or romantic. I have a feeling, that as rough as it was, it was certainly better than those awful stagecoaches though. My heavens!
Miss Janet and Miss Ruth Ann are toting books to give away.
Welcome to Excerpt Friday! Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies. So grab a cup of coffee and read on. And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.
From Author Phyliss Miranda – THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
Children should not suffer for the sins of their fathers, Mattie Jo Ashley thought, as she put two mugs of beer on the table for a couple of regulars of the Longhorn Saloon.
Lucas Jones had posted the House Rules on each wall. Although the watering hole was one of only two in the temperance colony known as Carroll Creek, Texas, its owner wanted to make sure everyone understood what he expected. He wouldn’t stand for a rowdy crowd that might run away his patrons who never missed three opportunities. A good tent meeting. A good church sermon. And, a good drink with a quiet game of cards. . . .
The swinging doors flew open and her friend and fellow saloon girl Violet rushed in. Not bothering to acknowledge anyone around, she literally screamed, “Mattie Jo!” She rushed on without taking a breath. “The baby’s taken a turn for the worse.”
Blood ran like cold well water through Mattie Jo’s veins. “Slow down, Violet, and tell me what is going on with her.” Her heart beat out of control. She couldn’t lose another family member. “Who is watching Katie?”
“Brady is.” Violet grabbed the edge of the bar. “I caught your brother right before he left to milk the Garner’s cows, so he stayed because I needed to come tell you your baby sister’s really bad.”
“Tell me exactly what’s going on.” Mattie Jo’s asked again. With each word her legs got weaker. It wasn’t typical of Violet to get so upset, even though it involved Mattie Jo’s baby sister, Katie.
“She won’t eat. Her eyes are more matted than ever. One is completely shut.”
“Does Brady know to keep warm towels on her eyes?” Mattie Jo bit her lip. “And, wash her face frequently? He’s only thirteen.”
“I know, but he’s taking good care of her. Her fever has gone up. Cool towels haven’t helped, so I gave her a cold bath. By the time I left, it still hadn’t brought down her fever. I don’t want to upset you, but it’s a whole bunch higher. She’s even more listless, refusing her bottle and is coughing more. I think she seems
to be having a little trouble breathing.”
All of the worsening conditions Violet described balled up and hit Mattie Jo between the eyes. She swallowed hard and looked over the crowded saloon at her boss, Lucas Jones, who was delivering a tray of drinks to another table of card-playing cowboys. Tears brimmed in her eyes, just thinking about the possibility that she might lose her precious sister. She needed to go home and take care of her, but also had to work her shift because the jar in the kitchen out at her place had only three pennies and a dime in it. Not enough to pay for the doctor to make a house call especially three miles outside of town.
When you think of the old west, bicycles probably don’t come to mind. I mean can you honestly picture John Wayne chasing down bad guys on a tricycle or boneshaker? Yet, the bicycle craze that hit the country in the 1890s was just as prevalent in the west as it was in the east.
The new craze not only changed the way people got around, but also the economy. An editorial in the Fort Macleod Gazette in the early 1890s stated, “If this craze for bicycle riding continues much longer our livery stable men will have to close down.” The same lament could be heard from hatters, dressmakers and carriage workers.
Not only did cowboys, sheriffs and outlaws join the wheeling club, but so did women
One Texas newspaper in 1895 issued this warning regarding female bicycle riders: “We have been watching the course of events with breathless anxiety and Nebuchadnezzar himself never saw the handwriting on the wall more distinctly than we see it now. The bloomer is coming sure enough.”
One Kansas newspaper lamented that “Women wear their trowserettes even when their machines are left at home.” While some were criticizing women’s attire others like Susan B. Anthony declared bicycles “Have done more than anything else in the world to emancipate women.”
Head over Handlebars
Bloomers aside, muddy dirt roads and wooden sidewalks made for a wild ride. Newspapers regularly reported people taking a “scorcher” and “being knocked senseless” or “carrying an arm in a sling.”
One Texas town responded by adopting the following regulations:
1.Anyone riding a tricycle or relocopede must be supplied with a bell or horn that must be rung at all crossings. 2.Any persons riding a tricycle at night must have a suitable lantern. 3. It is especially prohibited for three or more riders to ride abreast 4. No person or persons shall rest their bicycle, velocipede, or tricycle against a building (including saloons) where the vehicle will be on sidewalks
Some cities imposed a speed limit in town, usually four miles an hour. Fines could be as high as twenty-five dollars. The ordinances created as many problems as they prevented. Not only was there suddenly a shortage of cowbells but the noise created by them posed another problem.
It wasn’t just riders that gave sheriffs and marshals a headache, but a new kind of outlaw—a bicycle thief. Bicycles were also used as getaways and one thief led his pursuers on a merry chase through Sacramento.
Hold on to Your Stetsons
An Arizona Territory newspaper reported that cowboys in Three Rivers, Michigan “have discarded their horses for bicycles in herding cattle. Cowboys in Arizona would have a happy time herding cattle on bicycles.”
Cattle didn’t always take kindly to bicycles as one doctor found out when he unexpectedly ran into a herd of cattle. He ended up with a broken shoulder blade and his $100 bike in ruins. Things got so bad that some insurance companies announced they would charge double for bikers.
Some lawmen like Arizona Sheriff Donahue decided to fight fire with fire and announced that he was the proud owner of a “handsome nickel-plated bicycle” and was in negotiations to purchase a Ferris wheel bike for his under-sheriff. John Wayne will never know what he missed.
I don’t know how it is where you live but the bicycle craze has hit my town big time and I recently caught my husband drooling over a $1000 bike. How are wheeling conditions in your town and have you joined the pack?
New on Amazon today!
A Bicycle Built for Two
Everything goes to hades in a handbasket when Damian Newcastle rides into Amanda’s life.
No one can pedal a bicycle around turn-of-the-century New York without a license, so Amanda Blackwell’s cycling school has become all the rage. The innovative establishment provides an income for the independent miss and her brother Donny, a special child. But in one afternoon, everything goes to hade in a handbasket. Amanda’s uncle is suing to put Donny into an institution and Damian Newcastle, the man she has every reason to hate, rides into her life to ruin everything.
Today I’m traveling to St. Louis, MO for the American Christian Fiction Writer’s national conference. Since I’ll be in an airport or a plane most of the day, I’m afraid I won’t be able to interact with you as frequently as I normally do. I will be checking in through my phone when I can, though, so please do leave comments.
I’ll be teaching a session with fellow author, Jody Hedlund, as well as giving feedback on several critiques I did for unpublished writers. One of my favorite conference activities, though, is singing with the conference choir. Conference Choir? Your conference has a choir? Well, yes. Since this is a Christian writer’s conference, we have short times of worship every day (not with the choir–that comes later). Since our choir members come from all over the country, we don’t practice until we arrive at the conference, so we don’t sing until the end of the event – at the big awards gala.
I’ve made some wonderful relationships with these singer authors, many of whom, like me, return year after year. I’ve sung in several choirs and a cappella groups through my college days and worship at a church that sings a cappella (without instruments) every time we come together. So it should come as no great shock to learn that I love tight harmonies and fun a cappella arrangements.
I thought I’d share one with you today. The group is Home Free and they have done a fabulous remake of the classic Johnny Cash son, Ring of Fire. I’ve got a soft spot for deep male voices, and there are several in this piece that set my heart to fluttering. Enjoy!
What type of songs make you want to join in and sing?
Do you have a favorite artist or group that is your go-to music for when you need a pick-me-up?