Welcome Guest – Linda Hubalek!!

Linda_HubalekLilly: Bride of Illinois,

What does the Union Stockyards in Chicago, have to do with a mail-order bride story set in 1890?

I needed a place in Illinois, where a woman from Massachusetts, could meet a man from Kansas. While doing research, I found out the American Horse Show was held in The Yards on Nov. 1-8, 1890 (125 years ago!). The setting and dates were perfect for my contribution, Lilly: Bride of Illinois, book twenty-one, in the American Mail-Order Bride Series, which debuted Dec. 9th. This book is a spin-off of my Brides with Grit Series featuring one of Pastor and Kaitlyn Reagan’s boys, Seth, as an adult.

The Union Stockyards was established in 1865 and became the point where livestock raised in the west, were shipped and processed. Then the meat was shipped on to the Eastern States. (This is where the Texas cattle were shipped to after arriving in the Kansas cow towns.)

Union_stock_yards_chicago_1870s_locThis color lithograph was made by Charles Rascher, and published by Walsh & Co., c1878.

Caption below title on lithograph: Packing houses in the distance. Covered pens for hogs and sheep; open pens for cattle. Area of yards, 75 acres; 50 miles railroad tracks. Daily capacity: 25,000 head cattle, 160,000 hogs, 10,000 sheep, and 1,000 horses.

A tidbit from Wikipedia: Processing two million animals yearly by 1870, in two decades the number rose to nine million by 1890. Between 1865 and 1900, approximately 400 million livestock were butchered within the confines of the Yards. By the start of the 20th century, the stockyards employed 25,000 people and produced 82 percent of the domestic meat consumed nationally.

Eventually, the expanded 375-acre site had 2300 separate livestock pens, but closed in 1971.


Lilly-Bride-of-IllinoisHere’s the story line for Lilly: Bride of Illinois.

Lilly Lind was forced to emigrate from Sweden two years ago, due to circumstances beyond her control. She finds a job as a garment maker in the Brown Textile Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, finally feeling as though she is settling in her new country. Then a suspicious fire burns the mill, making Lilly seek another way to survive. She answers a mail–order bride ad in the Grooms’ Gazette and sets off for Chicago, believing she will be a business owner’s wife.

Kansas rancher Seth Reagan travels to the Union Stockyards in Chicago to attend the 1890 American Fat Stock Show, the American Horse Show, and to purchase horseflesh to augment his herd. When arriving at the train station, he overhears a conversation between a young woman and a shady–looking man. Seth becomes concerned for the mail–order bride who is whisked away to a saloon, not to her new husband’s home.

When Seth goes to the saloon to check on the young woman, he finds her in trouble and offers to help her escape. While buying horses and arranging their return travel to Kansas, Seth realizes he would like to bring Lilly home with him, too, but she is still being hunted by the saloon owner’s thugs.

Lilly’s good fortune in meeting Seth makes her want to start a life with this man, but he came to Illinois for horses, not a bride. Would he want her after he learns of her secrets?


I’m giving away a Kindle version of Lilly to someone who comments on…If you could visit Chicago, what would you like to do and see there?


The American Mail-Order Brides Series is a joint venture with 45 total authors representing all 50 states. On fifty consecutive days beginning November 19, 2015, a romance will be published featuring a mail order bride, one set in each of the fifty states and released in the order the states were admitted to the union. The stories all take place in 1890, when a factory fire in the East burns to the ground, leaving these women unemployed. These women answer mail-order bride ads in the Grooms’ Gazette, and then head out to find their groom.

To see the other books in this series, head over to the American Mail-Order Brides Website.

About the Author

Linda writes historical fiction and sweet western romance books about pioneer women who homesteaded in Kansas between 1854 to the early 1900s, often using her Swedish immigrant ancestors in the storyline.

Sign up for her newsletter at www.LindaHubalek.com.to hear about the release of future books, contests and more. Linda loves to connect with her readers, so please contact her through one of these social media sites.

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27 thoughts on “Welcome Guest – Linda Hubalek!!”

  1. Hi, Linda! I love the unique idea you of your mail order bride story. Why would I go to Chicago? Well, a few months ago, I would have said to visit a friend, but she moved to Kansas (ironic?), so I guess probably just to visit the Pacific Garden Mission.

    • Thanks! I love to research and find out something different to put in my stories. I bet there’s never been a mail-order bride story centered around a stockyard and livestock shows. My stories are more like real people and real situations too, not the heroine being helpless and the hero always handsome.
      Now you’ll have to travel to Kansas to see your friend!

  2. If I could visit Chicago I would go to Wrigley Field and watch a Cubs game. I like baseball:). Secondly, I would visit the museums.
    Thanks Linda!

    • There is so much to see in Chicago, so it will be interesting to read everyone’s comments today.
      Thanks for stopping by.

    • I’d love for you to read Lilly’s story! Have you been to the Swedish American Museum? That would be my top museum to visit.

  3. Hi Linda! Welcome back to P&P. We’re so happy to see you again. How wonderful to be involved in such a groundbreaking event. Congratulations! This is exciting. I love the cover of LILLY! That couple really draws your eye. And then having the flag on the corner of each of the books in the series just adds a wonderful touch.

    Wishing you much success!

    • Thanks, Linda. It was a great experience to work with a great group of authors to make the American Mail-Order Brides series happen. The cover worked out well and the design of the series makes them all stand out.

  4. welcome, and enjoyed the post,dont enter me in this contest,i don’t have a kindle or reader,just wasnted to welcome you

  5. Hmmm, well I guess I would have to look and see what would truly interest me there if I went… Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • These days we can research a town on the internet so easy before we set foot in a town. I looked up “Chicago Museums” and was amazed at the variety there was there.

  6. Congrats Linda! I’m behind on the AMOB stories, but intend to read all 50. Enjoyed the background post, too.

    I guess I’d enjoy visiting the museums and local eateries. But NOT in winter.

    • Hi Alisa,
      Reading this post on the stockyards will really get you into Lilly’s book then. Great you’re reading all the AMOB books. I’m reading them all too, but have gotten behind (got to work and sleep part of my day). I just downloaded Book 17, Isabella.

  7. I grew up in Illinois and have no desire to go to Chicago…way too big for me….lol!! So really, I don’t even know what’s there to do. I think my favorite spot on the map is the Seattle waterfront. Since I live a short distance from my sister-in-law (4 hour drive), we sometimes make a day of going there when I come to visit. I guess if Chicago had similar kinds of things, I’d go 🙂
    Thanks for the book drawing! I love mail-order bride stories.

    • Thanks Trixi, I’m not a fan of big cites, so I prefer to see landscapes and parks instead. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  8. Thank you for your interesting post! Chicago is a great city to visit and between the museums and the pizza, I am good to go!

    • Oh yes, Chicago pizza. I bet the founders of the city never thought that would be one of the things their town would be known for. 🙂

  9. I’d visit Navy Pier, The Shedd Aquarium and the Brookfield Zoo. I hate driving around Chicago. They have the craziest drivers who cut you off and they drive really fast.

  10. I guess I would visit the Natural History Museum and their Art Museum that is so well known. I found the lithograph fascinating. I never considered how big they would be. Thank you for teaching me something new.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS! Thank you for visiting.

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