Hello, Petticoats & Pistols readers! I’m Caryl McAdoo, hybrid (traditional and independently published) author of several Christian genres, and I am so glad to be here with you today!
I grew up in Dallas, Texas and only remember going to Fort Worth one time as a child when my parents took me to their zoo.
I always thought of it as a wild town and not nearly as cultured and refined as Big D! “Where the West begins!” they say of Cowtown, and I believed them!
It wasn’t until my early forties that I visited the city again on an invitation from a writer friend and his wife for dinner and an evening at the Stockyards. I had a wonderful time and was quite amazed with the Fort Worth I never knew! I’ve been back many times since.
The photo is me and a friend on her birthday outing with Bass Hall, our destination, in the background.
So, when I started writing book three in my historical Cross Timbers Mystery series, COERCION at The Cow Palace, I decided to set the story in a notorious half acre in 1870’s Fort Worth history! I loved the research!
The famous Chisholm Trail went right through ”Cowtown”! Its dust and beef weary cowboys would gallop into town shooting their pistols and even riding their horses right into the saloons! A red-light, gambling district sprang up that indulged the cowpokes’ vices.
The area became quite famous for its lawlessness, giving Hell’s Half Acre its memorable name and less-than-angelic reputation. That’s right where I set The Cow Palace, COERCION’s setting for the murder that needed to be solved.
In researching, I also discovered two things that kept the town from flourishing as Dallas had. The first was a faraway bank failure!
In 1872, the Texas & Pacific Railroad had laid track through Dallas—bringing prosperity and growth—and about six miles west of the city to Eagle’s Ford. The company stopped only twenty-four miles from Fort Worth before disaster struck.
Bankers to the U.S. government, Jay Cooke & Company, failed up in New York causing an international panic. Cooke was also major financial backers for the railroads. The bank’s collapse devasted Fort Worth’s future! Almost overnight, the population dwindled from four thousand to less than a thousand.
One former resident reported to a Dallas paper that Fort Worth was so deserted, he witnessed a black panther sleeping in the street. This gave Fort Worth a new nickname, Panther City or Pantherville.
The other factor was a terrible winter in the same year.
So, the city “Where the West Begins” got set back and became known as a wilder, less cultural place than its nearby sister-city Dallas
Excerpt from COERCION:
The youngest woman definitely knew Fort Worth better than either Charity or Vivian, from Dallas County. She filled in a lot of Cow Town’s history she’d learned along the way. Arriving at the new dress shop, the boardwalks were practically empty.
Where were all its customers?
“Well, my goodness, it’s like a ghost town or something.” Vivian stepped out of the carriage first. Virgil offered his hand to help her down. “Where are all the people?”
“There used to be a lot more, but so many left last winter.”
“I know it was a bad one, but why would so many leave?” Charity was last out of the carriage. “Thank you, Virgil. I’m certain you do not want to come into the shop with us, so you may either wait at the door or sit with Gilbert.”
“Yes, Miss Charity.” He hurried ahead and held the shop door for the ladies.
“The weather was only a part of it. You know they just had an orgy of building once everyone heard the railroad was coming.”
Charity glanced at Vivian. The young woman had an odd way of saying things.
“Then in August—or was it September?—anyway, some bank up in the Northeast went under. Supposedly, they’d invested in railroads pretty heavily. In no time, a lot more banks and railroads failed.”
“What a shame.”
“You know the tracks stopped in Eagle Ford and never made it here. Businesses all over town were closing right and left.”
“That’s too bad. Now that you mention it, a lot of new folks came to Delaware Creek last fall.” Vivian turned to face Charity. “The Banks and the Gregorys are from Fort Worth. Oh, and the Winslows, too. They had a gun repair shop here that closed.”
“I’ve met them and the Banks, but don’t think I know the Gregorys yet. You’ll have to introduce me. Do they come to the barn dances?”
“I think they have.”
“Well, that’s a shame some bank up in the North would have such a terrible impact on the city. Morgan has mentioned how the train not coming on into Fort Worth hurt its growth.”
“Oh, it was truly devasting. So many lost their homes, too.”
“How is it you’re aware of all that, Yolanda?”
“Oh, you know, Miss Viv. I hear things from some of the city’s big men of finance who frequent the Palace.”
COERCION at The Cow Palace debuted January 12th, so is now available at Amazon and subscribers to Kindle Unlimited may read it for free—all of my titles (except a few published by New York houses) are in that great readers’ program! I hope you’ll enjoy it and the Texas history I’ve included in the story!
I pray all the great authors and readers at Petticoats & Pistols have a BLESSED and wonderful New Year! May God shower you all in His high favor!
GIVEWAWAY: I would love to offer an eBook of DUPLICITY at The Lowell House, book one in the Cross Timbers Mystery series! Just answer this question to be entered! Have you ever visited Fort Worth, Texas or had an inkling to?
BIO: Award-winning, Christian author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory. Of her best-selling novels, readers love her historical Christian romance family sagas most, but she also writes Christian contemporary romance, mysteries, Biblical fiction, and also for young adults and mid-grade booklovers. The large majority of reviewers award her stories five-stars and praise Caryl’s characters, counting them family or very close friends. The prolific writer loves singing the new songs God gives her almost as much as penning tales—hear a few at YouTube! Married to Ron over fifty years, she shares four children and twenty-one grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.
Amazon – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/caryl-mcadoo?follow=true
(Hear Caryl sing her New Songs!)
Readers’ Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Carylers