Yesteryear’s News …


I decided today to go back and look at some of my history with P&P.  Our local newspaper sold after a century and a half and I’m none too pleased with some of the changes. It’s been on my mind so much, that my first anthology “Give Me a Texan” came to mind. Although it was publish a decade ago, I still love my story.  My hero is newspaperman Quinten Corbett who wasn’t exactly expecting his new apprentice to be a female.  Quin has to find something for the Boston-born Kaira Renaulde to do since she was much too sophisticated for the rough-and-tumble frontier town of Amarillo. He gives her assignments that today might be called “fluff” reporting.

In order to stay authentic, I researched newspaper articles during that era and used two of them.  “October 9, 1884: An itinerant looking man with very small mules was selling apples and things here Wednesday. They came from Wichita Falls. The apples retailed at four bits a dozen, and were quickly taken.”    — The Mobeetie Panhandle

Naturally, this type of article didn’t set well with the newspaper man, so he sends her out again.  This time she comes up with another piece.  “August 14, 1884: The juicy watermelon, the odoriferous muskmelon and the warty, git-up-and-dust cucumber have been here several days. Men and things change, but every returning season finds the cucumber possessing unalterably the same old characteristics.”    — The Mobeetie Panhandle

I’m happy to say that “Give Me a Texan” is still in print after a decade, as are the other anthologies, so if you want to know more about how Quin and Kaira handle working together, you can still order it through

In the anthology “Give Me a Texas Outlaw”, which came out nine years ago and is also still available at Amazon in both rack size and eBook, I used old newspaper articles for the epilogue taking a bit of creative liberties. I tried to tie together my stories in the four anthologies just a little bit, along with foreshadowing the next two in the series.  Never did I believe that the anthologies, particularly “Give Me a Cowboy” would lead to my contemporary western romances with the same families of Kasota Spring, Texas, three to five generations later.

Here’s some more interesting information, I researched.

October 25, 1890: “At Tolosa, five miles south of Kemp, John Williams and Will Perkins became engaged in a difficulty, both being under the influence of whiskey. Perkins struck Williams just above the temple with a black smith’s hammer, smashing his skull. Williams made his escape, with the officer in pursuit, going in the direction of Athens, his former home. Williams is the son-in-law of W. Almow, a prominent farmer.”  Note: They called this “engaging in a difficulty” in those days?          —The Galveston Daily News

December 19, 1890: “Professor Garard, superintendent of the public schools, died very suddenly last night. He had been complaining a little for several days, but was feeling better yesterday. He ate a hearty supper last night, retired to his room and was found dead this morning.”   —The Galveston Daily News

I thought it’d be fun today to give you a taste of authentic news articles during the 1800’s.  I’ve left the spelling and punctuation as it was written for authenticity, so you’ll see some very odd spelling.  It took the folks a while to decide exactly how to spell Panhandle.  It was Pan Handle and Pan-handle, plus a couple of other ways before they settled into Panhandle.

“September 27, 1883: The largest cattle ranch in the world is said to be that of Charles Goodnight, at the head of Red River, Texas. He began buying land four years ago, securing 270,000 acres at 36 cents per acre. In the meantime the price has advanced from $1 to $2 per acre, but he is still buying, and controls 700,000 acres. To enclose his landed possessions, 250 miles of fence is required. On the range he has 40,000 cattle.”   Dodge City Times

September 20, 1883: “The wire cutters are busy at work with their clippers, cutting the fences in Montague, Clay, Wise and Denton counties, greatly to the annoyance of the owners.”

–Mobeetie Panhandle

June 29, 1882: “Hamburg has a curiosity in the shape of a chicken which has only one leg. It was hatched that way, is about two months old and seems as happy and contented as though it had four legs.”     —Dodge City Times

May 18, 1882:  “Pan Handle Items: The road between here and Tascosa said to be well defined by a row of black bottles that flash back the rays of the sun. They are empty.”   –Mobeetie Panhandle

October 16, 1880: “Land in Texas is cheap. The last Legislature set apart 3,000,000 acres of land in the Pan Handle, ordered a survey and put it on the market at a minimum price of 50 cents per acre. The survey of this 3,000,000 acres has been completed, and the land is now in market.” **    —Dodge City Times

**This is the land the state traded for a new capitol building, land that became the well-known XIT Ranch.  On my list of future blogs is the story of the famous XIT Ranch, which is still in existence today.

And, one of my favorite articles comes from the Dodge City Times dated September 20, 1879: “The Pan Handle has been suffering for the want of rain, as several weeks have elapsed since rain has fallen; and if we don’t soon get rain we will have a long dry spell.” Hate to say it, but this is applicable to our weather today in the Texas Panhandle.

Since the Panhandle, as it was finally spelled, is suffering from a serious drought and prairie fires today, I must agree … if we don’t soon get rain we will have a long dry spell.

Do you have favorite newspaper or magazine quotes you’d like to share?

I’m fortune to have a supply of all six anthologies, authored with our own Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, and the late DeWanna Pace. Tonight I’ll be drawing a winner to either get an autographed copy of “Give Me a Texan” or your choice of one of my eBooks, including my recently released “Out of a Texas Night”.

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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

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23 thoughts on “Yesteryear’s News …”

  1. Good Morning Phyliss- wow those were some amazing articles. Rich in history. I especially liked the one about them trading land for a capital. I did not know this.
    Happy 4th of July to you and yours.
    Love you, Your Texan Friend up in Kansas!!

    • As always it’s great to hear from you, my Kansas friend. The XIT story is deep in the history of Texas. It’s still a working ranch and has an annual rodeo and has for years. It was fun to look back at history and the newspaper industry. Thanks again, for stopping by and may you and yours have a wonderful 4th of July! Many hugs and lots of love, Phyliss

  2. Good morning. I have a sister that was a writer for several newspapers and is an award winning writer so this blog was very interesting. It always amazes me some of the things that were in old newspapers “as news”! The wording is often funny to us now. Thanks for the opportunity of winning one of your books.

    • Hi Stephanie, good to hear from you. I love the old newspapers and it was so much fun using real stories in “Give Me a Texan”. BTW, the original name was “Amarillo by Morning” but our publisher said it wouldn’t fit on the cover; thus the name change. I know you’re proud of your sister. She sounds great. Take care and you’re definitely in the drawing. Big hugs and may you and yours have a Happy 4th!

  3. Great post. I love reading old headlines. The wording can often be misconstrued. Thanks for the great post.

    • Hi DebraG, thanks for dropping by and reading my blog. I really enjoyed writing my stories to contribute to the six anthologies. And, of course, working with such fantastic talent as our own Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas and the late DeWanna Pace, was beyond any expectations I’d hoped for. Oh, yes and wording is so different and can be misconstrued depending on what part of the country you are from. Even in Texas the Panhandle certainly has verbiage different than other parts of our huge state. Happy 4th to you and yours!

    • Thanks, Janine. Good to see you and I’m sure happy you enjoyed the blog. It was a blast from the past, but since the anthologies are still available, I thought it’d be fun to redo the blog. May you and yours have a wonderful 4th of July.

  4. I really enjoyed reading the old news worthy artic les. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Carol, so good to receive your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the old news articles. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I hope you and yours have a wonderful 4th of July!

    • Thanks, Estella. Good to hear from you. We all truly appreciate your comment about enjoying the anthologies you’ve read. Without readers like you, there’d be no need for writers. May you and yours have a fantastic and safe 4th of July!

  5. Loved this blog. Thank you, Phyliss!

    I got interested an Old West newspapers because of genealogy. It started with the Indian Journal out of Eufaula, Indian Territory, where I found obits for my great-grandmother who died instantly after being kicked by a horse, and a short time later her husband, my great grandfather from pneumonia and grief.

    The front part of the paper was national news, mostly about what was happening in Washington, picked up from national services, and the rest of the paper was entirely local, filled with such things as which relative came from where for a visit with family, who went to town to do some shopping, meetings of the Masons in town (of which my grandfather and his brother were members) and other such tidbits. Boy, those local reports of folks’ doings really made that time and place in history come more alive for me than anything else I’ve read. It put me back into that time and place, as if I was reading it at the time it came out.

    Thanks again for an interesting post, Phyliss.

    • Eliza, thanks for such great info to add to my blog. I’ve just gotten interested again in my family’s genealogy and man I’d forgotten how addictive it can be. I appreciate your additions to my blog. May you and yours have a fantastic and safe 4th! Hugs, Phylss

    • Hi Caryl, thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment. I’m so happy you enjoyed it. It’s a flash from the past, but I loved writing the anthologies and since they are the foundation to my contemporary western romances, I thought it’d be fun to revisit a couple of them. Hope you and yours have a safe and wonderful 4th of July 4th!

  6. Hi Colleen, glad to see you. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the blog. I used the foundation of one of my original blogs before I became a full-fledged Filly! When I deleted the old blog, I saw your name leaving a comment a decade ago! Thanks for being such a faithful reader. Pray you and yours have a wonderful holiday! Hugs, Phyliss

  7. The article about fences being cut fit with a book I recently read called “Barbed Wire the Fence that Changed the West”. In it the author talked about cowboys cutting fences when farmers and smaller ranchers started fencing their lands with the new barbed wire. Now I’ve seen an actual “news report”of such an incident.

    Lots of differences over the years of what was considered “news”.

    • Hi Alice, oh I couldn’t agree more about today’s news compared to the news of our forefathers. I know I did some research of laws of Texas that were still on the books today, and at that time, it was still against the law to get caught with wire cutters in your back pocket when you were on another’s land. Don’t know if it’s still there, but I might need to check it out. Hope you and yours has a wonderful 4th of July!

  8. Phyliss, this is so interesting. I don’t think I saw this blog before. These actual newspapers articles really provide a snapshot into what life was like back then. Very interesting about Charles Goodnight. Writing those anthologies was fun.

    Love and hugs!

  9. Hi my friend, thanks for leaving a comment. This blog was actually written over a decade ago. Since P&P turned 10 years old last year, I presume I wrote it as a guest blogger. Oh yes we had fun with the anthologies and I’m still fortunate enough to have you guys as my friends. We did have fun then, as we do now. Big hugs and I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July, but knowing you, you’ll work all day! Hugs and love back at you.

  10. Thank you for the interesting and enjoyable articles. The way the news feed has been lately, articles like this would be a welcome change.
    I have all the anthologies and they are firmly on my keeper shelf. They were how I first “met” the Fillies who participated. I have been enjoying books by Fillies ever since.

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