Margaret Winners

I had so much fun reading all your good wishes, I decided to give away 3 books instead of only one. 

As my daughter says, you only get married twice.  LOL!

Anyway, here are the winners:

Cathy McDonald

Emma Metz

Minna Puustinen

To claim your book, email me at margaretbrownley1@gmail.com

Margaret’s Grand Adventure & Book Giveaway

I’ve always loved writing Mail Order Bride books.  I often wonder if I would have had enough nerve to travel across the country to marry a stranger.

Many women did so out of necessity. The Civil War created not only an abundance of widows but also a shortage of men.  Many women needed marriage just for survival.  Single women had a hard time making it alone in the East. This was especially true of widows with young children to support.

Still, the thought of a woman traveling thousands of miles to an unknown future is hard to comprehend. 

Would I have done it? 

I like to think I was adventurous enough or at least brave enough to have done it.  However, recently, I found myself in a situation that makes me now know I’m basically a coward at heart.  Yep, I would have lived and died an old maid had I lived in the 1800s.

How do I know this? It all came about when a friend of mine insisted I sign up for one of those online dating sites.  She said it was nothing more than a modern-day Mail Order Bride registry like they had in the Old West.  After initially resisting, I finally gave in.  I figured if nothing else I would get a story out of it.

Lo and behold, I was contacted by a man who was also a widow and lived locally.  He suggested we meet for lunch at a nearby restaurant.  He seemed nice enough, so I said okay.  Writers will do almost anything for a story, right?

The restaurant happens to be one and a half miles from me, but it felt like a three-thousand-mile journey.  A zillion thoughts went through my mind, mainly having to do with ax murderers.

I Almost Chickened Out

There were umpteen places to turn around and I considered every last one of them.  By the time I reached the restaurant, my hands were glued to the steering wheel.

I was about to race for home when I spotted a nice-looking tall man waiting by the door.  I opened the window and croaked, “Are you Jim?”

He said that he was and that was the beginning of an amazing whirlwind romance.  Who would have ever thought such a thing possible?   He is a wonderful man and I’m so lucky to have found him.  We laughed because it turns out he had been just as nervous that first day as I had been.

Jim and I are getting married on June 5th and since we plan on doing a lot of traveling, this is my last blog.  I’ll miss you all but will come back to visit.  You can’t keep us fillies away from the barn for long.

Thank you so much for your great support through the years.  Just for the fun of it, I’m giving away an eBook copy of my book, The Outlaw’s Daughter.  Ah, but you’ve got to answer the following question to qualify for the drawing.

Have you or would you ever consider trying an online dating site?

Amazon

Gun Control in the Old West

ORDINANCE 9 OF THE CITY OF TOMBSTONE

To Provide against Carrying of Deadly Weapons (1881)

Section 1. It is hereby declared unlawful to carry in the hand or upon the person or otherwise any deadly weapon within the limits of said city of Tombstone, without first obtaining a permit in writing.

Section 2: This prohibition does not extend to persons immediately leaving or entering the city, who, with good faith, and within reasonable time are proceeding to deposit, or take from the place of deposit such deadly weapon.

Here we go again; as our politicians work on gun control legislation, it might surprise you to learn that there was more gun control in the Old West than there is in modern times.

According to Adam Winkler, professor and specialist in constitutional law at UCLA School of Law, Tombstone had stricter laws on carrying guns in public in the 1880s than it has today. “Today, you’re allowed to carry a gun without a license or permit on Tombstone streets. Back in the 1880s, you weren’t.” This was true of many frontier towns.

According to Stephen Aron, professor of his history at UCLA, the first law passed when Dodge City formed a government in 1878 was one prohibiting the carrying of guns within town limits.

Leaders and merchants considered restrictive gun laws necessary for encouraging people to move to their towns and bring families. This was considered a necessary part of creating a stable community, rather than a transient one.

Gun laws were passed quickly in the Old West. That was because they were instigated at the local level rather than by Congress.  The Federal government stayed out of gun battles.

The laws did not ban guns. Owning a gun in the Old West was a matter of survival. The laws simply stated where and how you could carry them. Guns and knives were not allowed within town limits.  Visitors were required to leave their weapons with the sheriff, livery or saloon upon entering town. They received a token which they would exchange for their guns upon leaving.

Some challenged the laws in court, but most lost.

Did the gun laws work?  If we use Tombstone as an example, the answer would seem to be no.  In his book on crime in the Old West, historian Roger McGrath concluded that it was widespread gun ownership that deterred criminality in these areas in which law enforcement had little authority or ability to combat crime.

Then as now, there are no easy answers, and the battle rages on.

Would it surprise you to know that Hollywood exaggerated crime in the Old West? Scholars have established that it was not as violent as most movies and novels would have us believe.

 

Amazon

The Legend of the Easter Fires.

Each year. the residents of Fredericksburg, Texas enjoy a tradition that began with the town’s founding in 1847.  On the night before Easter, residents dress up as settlers, Comanches, and Easter bunnies to commemorate a peace treaty the town signed in 1847.

When the early German settlers arrived, they were greeted by a harsh land full of fierce native people.  The Comanches were not happy with this latest intrusion on their territory–and for good reason. They had experienced violent encounters with immigrants moving in from the East and Mexico from the West

It didn’t take long for the German settlers to realize that if they wanted to survive, their first job was to strike a treaty with the Comanches. As such a thing had never before been accomplished, it must have seemed like a daunting task.

Just before Easter, the town’s founders rode over the hill to negotiate with tribe leaders, leaving women and children behind. 

While the men were away, Comanches scouts stood atop the hills surrounding the town. Even scarier, they sent up smoke signals. 

Not knowing what had happened to their men, the women feared the worse. This caused a near panic in the town, especially among the children who were convinced of an attack.

According to legend, one woman came up with a story that calmed everyone down. The fires, she said, had been started by the Easter bunny so he could boil his eggs to deliver the next day.  

Not long after that, the men returned, treaty in hand. it was a unique treaty struck by the two different cultures, and it turned out well for both sides. It is reportedly the only North American Indian treaty not to be violated by either party. 

Now, every year, the town celebrates the occasion with church bells, bonfires, and pageantry.   

What is your favorite Easter or Passover tradition?

 Amazon

Wooing the Schoolmarm and Giveaway

Today, three-quarters of teachers in primary schools are women.  It wasn’t always that way.  Prior to 1850, teaching was primarily a male occupation.  Men received an education, and women were taught how to run a household. 

Industrialization changed all that.  The new economy led men into business and better wages, creating a teacher shortage. This left the door open for women to step in.   

It was a tough job.  Teachers taught in one-room schools with as many as sixty pupils.  Female teachers commanded less pay than their male counterparts, but the job did give women more independence. 

In my book, Wooing the Schoolmarm, Miss Maddie Percy has come all the way from Washington D.C. to teach school in Colton Kansas.   Instead, the feisty red-haired schoolmarm finds the town burned to the ground and her only shelter an isolated sod house belonging to widower Luke Tyler and his young son, Matthew. Never one to be deterred by setbacks, Maddie is soon making friends with the local Indians, setting up a tepee to live in, and finding her blood racing every time Luke comes near.

Luke Tyler has no room in his life for a woman—especially one as eccentric, spunky, and smart as Maddie Percy.  His prairie farm life is too harsh, his memories too painful and his secrets too dark to give in to the feelings she has awakened in him.  She might be stealing his son’s heart, but he is keeping his own out of reach. If only he could keep the sparks between them from igniting something as dangerous as lo

For a chance to win a copy of Wooing the Schoolmarm, tell us the challenges you’ve had with homeschooling during the pandemic or share a favorite memory of your early school years.  

 

Amazon

Five Texas Rangers Who Left Their Mark

Anyone familiar with my books might think I have a thing for Texas Rangers, and they be would right.  The Texas Rangers are the oldest law enforcement agency and will celebrate their bicentennial in two years. Stephen F. Austin organized the first group of 10 Texas Rangers back in 1823.

Those early Rangers had no formal law enforcement training, used their own horses and weapons, and faced some of the deadliest outlaws alone.  Some even worked without pay.  It was a hard job, requiring countless hours in the saddle and endless nights beneath the stars.   

Some modern historians take issue with the Rangers’ “brutal force,” but times were tough and the stakes high. Historical events are often subjected to differing interpretations when viewed from modern times. 

Most agree, however, that many Texas Rangers made their mark in Western history. Too many, in fact, to name here.  But here are a few:   

 Frank Hamer

Frank started out as a blacksmith and then became a cowboy.  He may have remained so had he not helped in the arrest of a horse thief. That’s when the crime-fighting bug bit.

Counted as one of the most fearless men in Western history, he is credited with killing more than 60 outlaws.  In the course of his work, he sustained 17 wounds and had been left for dead four times.   He retired in 1932 but, even then, no outlaw was safe.  Two years after his retirement, he retained a commission as Special Investigator in the case of Bonnie and Clyde.  His work ended their deadly crime spree and resulted in their deaths.

 

William McDonald

Considered by some to be the greatest captains in Texas Ranger history, McDonald’s distractors considered him an irresponsible lawman who precipitated violence and sought publicity. Most, however, agreed that he was “a man who would charge hell with a bucket of water.”

 “No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a-comin’,” was his motto.  Upon being sent to Texas to prevent a prizefight, he was asked by the sheriff where the other rangers were. According to legend, this was when the phrase “One riot, one Ranger,” was coined.

 

John Armstrong

Texas Ranger Armstrong didn’t let anything get in the way of catching his man, not even a bullet wound to his leg.  On assignment to capture notorious criminal John Wesley Hardin, Armstrong cornered the outlaw on a train.  Limping aboard, Armstrong switched his cane to his left hand and drew out his gun.  (Now that’s something you don’t see in movies.) 

He shot and killed one of Hardin’s gang members, knocked Hardin unconscious, and disarmed the other three outlaws.  Once he had everything control, the other law enforcers filed onto the train to take the men into custody.

 

John “Rip” Ford

Ford couldn’t seem to make up his mind what profession he wanted to pursue. He was a lawyer, doctor, surveyor, newspaper editor, teacher, historian, playwright, printer, mayor, sheriff, chief of police, city marshal, and state and national senator. But he’s most remembered as a Texas Ranger.

He was nicknamed Rip because of his habit of writing the words “Rest in peace” next to the names on the company’s casualty list, and for leading his men into successful battles.

 

Ira Aten

Ira joined the Rangers in 1878 and played a central role in the Fence-Cutting Wars.  Barbed wire put an end to the once-open range. Disgruntled cowboys, hustlers, and outlaws became fence clippers.  Attempts to stop the wire cutters failed until Ira came up with a solution: dynamite. 

He rigged the wires so if the one on top was cut, it would trigger an explosion.  Word quickly spread that bombs were planted under the fence lines, effectively ending the “war.”

So what is your favorite type of western hero?

 

Two of my Texas Ranger stories

Margaret’s Amazon Page

Boot Scootin’ Holiday Favorite Cow Pie Cookies

 

As some of you may know, my daughter is a chef and is always coming up with interesting recipes.  I asked her to think up a recipe for Cowboy cookies and she did.  These yummy cookies are now a family favorite. My daughter wasn’t thrilled when I called them Cow Pies, but the name stuck and it makes the grandkids giggle.  Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas. 

 

 

Cow Pie Cookies

              Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of pretzel Bits
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans toasted
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes

Directions

  • Place pecans on a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted, stirring every 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture; beat well. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, pretzels, and pecans. 
  • Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes on top.  Bake at 350° for about 12 minutes or until brown. Move to wire racks to cool.

What is your favorite Holiday treat?

                           What I hear when I’m with you, is two hearts beating as one. 

Amazon

It was just his luck to have a run-in with a trigger-happy damsel.

Amazon

Margaret’s Winners

Thank you so much for sharing your Thanksgiving day  It was fun reading through your comments.  Congratulations on keeping the Thanksgiving spirit alive.  

It gives me great pleasure to announce the three winners.

Julie Butler

Janice H.  

Jen K.                  

To receive your Amazon gift cards, send an email to me at margaretbrownley1@gmail. com

Thanksgiving Giveaway

It has been a hard year for all of us, and this holiday season will be like no other. Restrictions may mean fewer people at your Thanksgiving table, and fewer hugs all around, but this day can still be special. That’s because restrictions can only go so far. No one can restrict our ability to spread love, laughter, and kindness. No restriction can limit how much faith, hope, and gratitude fills our hearts. Nor can any restriction stop our ability to create new traditions and make new memories.

Thanks to the miracle of technology, restrictions also can’t keep us from reaching out to each other and, for that, I’m especially grateful. It allows me to tell you how much we fillies appreciate your staying with us during this difficult time. Your continued support has truly been a blessing. To show our gratitude, I’m giving away three ten-dollar Amazon gift cards today.

To enter the drawing, tell us how your Thanksgiving will be different this year? What new traditions do you have planned? What is your hope for the season?

Christmas stories on sale now for only 99 cents. 

It was just his luck to run into a trigger-happy damsel

Amazon

Is their love strong enough to overcome their differences?

Amazon

Watch for this exciting new contest starting November 30