Category: History – General

Linda Carroll-Bradd researches Nineteenth Century Health Resorts

Before I started writing An Agent for Dixie, book #73 in the popular Pinkerton Matchmaker series, I had a rather contemporary view of health spas and resorts. Of course, I had read about the waters at Bath in Somerset, England, from various regency titles over the years. But those books don’t go into much detail about what people actually did while they were there. I always assumed Bath was more like a popular destination where people went to be seen or to make connections.

Public baths were popular in Roman times and were often not located at a natural hot spring. Under the level of the pool, water was heated in boilers with wood fires. The location usually had three rooms with pools of different temperatures. A bather could use each in his choice of order or soak in only one. The warm pool was called the tepidarium. The caldarium contained hot water, and here slaves would rub perfumed oil over their masters and then scrape off oil and loose skin with a knife. The cold bath, where bathers swam, was called a frigidarium. 

Over the years, public baths went in and out of fashion, related to fears of catching certain diseases, as well as times when they were seen as places where political dissidents met. In the 16th century, ancient medical texts were recovered in Italy containing information about balneology, the science of the therapeutic use of baths. Chemical composition of the water was analyzed to determine which natural spring might help which ailment. More and more, “taking the waters,” or balneotherapy, became a doctor’s directive for the patients who could afford to take time away from their daily live for “the cure.” Another reason was that doctors didn’t have other remedies, before the invention or development of modern medicines, to recommend for certain maladies. Better to prescribe something than to admit their lack of knowledge.

In the 1800s, especially in mountain locations, health resorts sprang up throughout Europe and the United States (more so in the 2nd half of the century) where thermal pools had been discovered. Some people experienced an improvement in their health by drinking the mineral waters (usually from cold springs). Others were told by doctors that the hot mineral waters helped conditions like gout, arthritis, muscle strains, skin conditions, rheumatism, and lumbago. Often, mud treatments, massage, or restricted diets became part of the regime.

Owners of the natural pools hoped people would come to the location and linger, so hotels and/or boarding houses were constructed near the thermal pools. In the grander hotels, entertainment and activities were offered for the times the guests would not be partaking of the waters. The amenities ran the gamut from nature walks to game of croquet and shuffleboard to concerts and balls, depending on the clientele. Because of the variety of offerings, some enthusiasts made a circuit of visiting several locations during the summer months.

Health resorts that appealed to the citizen possessing modest means offered camping spots or minimal shelter
and advertised the benefits of sleeping outdoors. Some churches conducted their revivals at certain resorts, and annual traditions were born.
 Armed with this research, I had great fun in inventing a resort town with a spa in the grand fashion of an Italian bathhouse.

Foreign diplomacy is the Zivon family business but Alexei resists the polite constraints, not lasting a year in law school. The four successful years working as a Pinkerton agent prove he was meant to follow a different path. Now, he’s faced with the biggest challenge of his career—training a female agent who has no practical skills. Alexei figures he can convince her to just observe as he solves the case, because nothing will interfere with his success rate.

Since childhood, Dixie LaFontaine lived in her older sister’s shadow but applying to become a Pinkerton Agent is her first major decision. Being matched with confident Alexei is intimidating, especially when the assigned case involves them pretending to be brother and sister at a health spa where jewelry has gone missing. Dixie has no qualms about pretending to be a French heiress needing care for her arthritis. Soon, she falls victim to Alexei’s charm and realizes that hiding her feelings might be as hard as ferreting out the thief among the spa’s clientele.
Will Dixie focus on learning the skills of an agent, or will she concentrate on turning her marriage of convenience into a lasting love? You can check the book out on Amazon.


Have you ever been to a health spa or read about them. I’m giving away an e-copy of An Agent for Liana, book #63 in the “Pinkerton Matchmaker” series.

Loner Dale Claybourne is not afraid to face down thieves, swindlers and even murderers. But he quells at having to train a female agent. Gregarious Liana LaFontaine yearns for a taste of the adventurous life of being an agent. Impulsive by nature, Liana jumps into situations she doesn’t have the experience to handle. Dale fights his growing admiration for this French beauty while keeping close to guard her safety. At odds over almost everything, the pair has to solve the mystery of who is stealing from a Virginia City saloon—a task made even harder because of the wild attraction that shouldn’t be present in a marriage of convenience.

 

Mother’s Day History and Trivia

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. It’s Mother’s Day as I write this and even though Mother’s Day will be over by the time you see it, I thought it would be fun to share some history and fun facts that surround this special occasion. And yes, I know that for many of us, this Mother’s Day was celebrated differently than what we might have liked

HISTORY:

Mothers have been celebrated throughout history.

  • In one of the earliest celebrations was in ancient Greece. In the spring they would honor Rhea, mother of the gods and the goddess of fertility, motherhood and generation.
  • In ancient Roman there was also a spring festival celebrating a mother goddess named Cybele. It was held on the Ides of March, lasted three days and was called Hilaria. It involved having her followers make offerings at the temple, hold parades and masquerades and play games.
  • In England the day coincides with an observance called Mothering Sunday. Originating in the 17th century, it takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally, families who had moved away would return home to the original church they attended. A prayer service honoring the Virgin Mary was held and then afterwards children would present flowers to their own mothers.
  • In America, the celebration had a different origin.
    In an effort to honor her own mother Anna Jarvis, who was not a mother herself,  wanted to establish a day to celebrate mothers in an intimate manner. She tirelessly campaigned to that end and in May of 1913 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day, thus making it a national day of celebration.
    Unfortunately Anna’s story does not have a happy ending. She quickly became disillusioned with the holiday, declaring it had become overly commercialized and that this detracted from the personal aspects she had envisioned. She began staging boycotts and walkouts. Anna eventually spent all her money fighting her cause and died, destitute, at the age of 84 in a sanitorium.

GIFT GIVING

  • In 2017 approximately $23.5 billion was spent on Mother’s Day gifts and the average consumer in the US spent a little over $185 on their moms.
  • Mother’s Day holds the record as the third highest day for flower and plant purchases Only Christmas and Hanukkah rank higher. In fact, approximately one fourth of all flowers purchased annually are bought for Mother’s Day. Something that may account for why Mothers love getting flowers is that a study conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D of Harvard Medical School, found that that when fresh-cut flowers are around it generally makes people more compassionate and happier in general.
  • It will probably also come as no surprise that Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year for folks to eat out, beating out even Valentine’s Day for that honor. In 2018 approximately 87 million adults visited restaurants on Mother’s Day.
  • And for those who can’t be there in person to take their mom to a restaurant, Mother’s Day is also the day that ranks as the highest for number of phone calls made. That number  reaches something around 122 million.
  • In 2018 Approximately $4.6 billion was spent on jewelry during the Mother’s Day buying period.
  • And of course the most popular item to give Mother on her special day is a card. Every Mother’s Day about 152 million cards are sent.

TRIVIA

  • During the 1920s France handed out medals to mothers who had large families. This was done to signify gratitude for helping to rebuild the population of the country that was devastated by the loss of so many lives during WWI. The practice was eventually discontinued and today the more common gift for a mother in France is a cake shaped like a flower.
  • The record for the oldest woman to give birth is held by a retired schoolteacher in India. Satyabhama Mahapatra gave birth to a boy at age 65.
  • The record for the shortest length of time between births is held by Jayne Bleackley whose two babies were born only 208 days apart.
  • On the flip side, the woman who holds the record for the longest interval between births is Elizabeth Buttle. Her first child was born in May of 1956 and her second in November of 1997 when Elizabeth was 60. The infants were born 41 years and 185 days apart.
  • The record for the highest number of babies born to a single woman is a whopping 69! The woman was a Russian peasant living in the 18th century. She gave birth to 16 sets of twins, seven sets of triplets and 4 set of quadruplets.
  • And did you ever wonder why the word for Mom in nearly every language starts with an “M” sound? It is likely because the first sound an infant learns to verbalize is the ma sound. Since babies only need to open and close their lips to make these sounds – no teeth or tongue are needed – it comes more easily to them than other sounds.

There you have it. Did any of these facts surprise you? Also, how do you normally celebrate Mother’s Day and how was it different this year?  Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for winner’s choice of any book from my backlist.

 

 

Updated: May 11, 2020 — 4:09 am

Ever Hear of The Travelers Aid Society?

 

In this pandemic, most travel is prohibited, especially international. But I can’t imagine how frightening it would be to be stuck somewhere and have no resources. And double that fear if I found myself in a strange country and be unable to speak the language.

So organizations founded just to help travelers are a godsend, no matter when or where.

The Travelers Aid movement began in 1851 with Bryan Mullanphy, a former mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, who bequeathed half a million dollars to assist “bona fide travelers heading West.”

This organization furnished provisions and the means with which to make the trip for men and women in good health who showed the stamina required for the journey. I can only imagine how many adventurous settlers they helped.

Until recently, I had never heard of this organization and never knew anything like this existed!

Once the West was settled, the Travelers Aid Society moved into providing protection for women and girls traveling alone. Such a beneficial program that kept them from falling victim to the white slave trade and other criminal enterprises.

By the early twentieth century, they served all people regardless of gender, age, race, class, or religion. It truly became an organization for everyone.

Image by 272447 from Pixabay

 

It morphed into the National Travelers Aid Association in 1917 under Grace Dodge. They welcomed immigrants to the U.S. and provided assistance and a safe place to stay for anyone needing one. The organization set up offices near all the ports of entry and stood ready to dive in and assist anyone with a problem.

During the 1920s and throughout WWII, they were a prominent fixture at railroad stations, helping soldiers, unaccompanied minors, and assisting stranded travelers.

There are still around 40 Travelers Aid programs in the U.S. with offices at major airports to assist where there’s a need. In 2010, they assisted 7 million people in getting to their destination.

Now there’s an international branch for world travelers. There will always be a need for someone to help the lost, the desperate, the confused.

For an organization that’s 169 years old, that’s pretty darn good.

Have you ever traveled to a strange place and needed help? Would you ever reach out to The National Travelers Aid association if you were in a bind? I’m giving away a signed copy of The Mail Order Bride’s Secret so leave a comment to enter.

 

Most of my books are now on SALE! AND Free e-book Give-away

Howdy!

Hope y’all are doing well in this weird world.  Who would’ve ever thought the entire world would shut down?  All I can say is that I hope y’all are surviving well in this time period and that when it’s over, you’ll go on to do even better than before.

Almost from the start of this, I started putting a few of my books on sale.  Many have gone from $5,99 to .99 cents.  ALL of my paperback books have gone from (we started this about 2 months ago) $14.99 to $9.99.  My newest book, THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME, will be put on sale soon — we just uploaded it to Amazon and it’s going to their editing at the moment.  But, when it comes on, it will NOT be put on sale at $14,99, but rather at $9.99.

In truth, the reason I started doing this right from the beginning is that often when one is frightened or bored or uncertain, a romance book can raise them up a little and often put a smile on their face.  So, here we go.  This is a list of the books that are on sale for .99 cents right now or read for free on KindleUnlimited:

So the books on sale for .99 cents are:  Gray Hawk’s Lady; White Eagle’s Touch; Night Thunder’s Bride; War Cloud’s Passion; Lone Arrow’s Pride; Soaring Eagle’s Embrace; Wolf Shadow’s Promise; The Angel and the Warrior; The Spirit of the Wolf; Red Hawk’s Woman and The Last Warrior; Black Eagle; Seneca Surrender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these books (except for Lakota Surrender) are priced at .99 cents or can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited.  The book, LAKOTA SURRENDER is on sale for $3.99.  This is a special edition, newly edited book that is the 25th Anniversary Edition of that book.

As I said all of my books that are in paperback are also on sale for $9.99.  They used to sell at $14.99, but we’re trying to reduce those prices as much as we can so that if you read only paperback books, you’ll also have a sale.  These paperback books on sale for $9.99 are:  Lakota Surrender; The Angel and the Warrior; The Spirit of the Wolf; Red Hawk’s Woman; The Last Warrior; Seneca Surrender; The Princess and the Wolf; and Brave Wolf and the Lady.  Lakota Surrender is also on sale in e-book for $3.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if there are any of these books that you haven’t read, now might be the time to pick one up.

But my blogs wouldn’t really be a blog if I didn’t give away at least one book for free.  And so, today, I’m giving away an e-book of my latest release, THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME, to one of today’s bloggers.

On another note, I’m wondering how y’all are doing during this time period.  Are you reading a lot?  Doing gardening?  Cleaning the house?  Doing all those little things in the yard or around the house that we seldom have time to do?

Would love to hear how you’re doing during this time period and any suggestions you might pass along to the rest of us as to how to keep in touch with others in this time of enforced social distancing.  We, as people, i think thrive on our associations with others, our conversations, talking back and forth, sharing jokes and sharing even our heartbreaks.  If you’d like to share things you’re doing, how you’re doing, I’d love to hear it.

May we all come out of this time period a little wiser, a little more aware and a little bit better off for the experience.  Remember that this, too, will pass.

The Eagle and the Flame: https://tinyurl.com/w49evpb

 

Updated: April 14, 2020 — 9:13 am

Charlene Raddon: Were Those Really the Good Old Days?

We’re so happy to have Miss Charlene Raddon back visiting with us. She’s brought an interesting subject to talk about in addition to a giveaway at the bottom. Take us away, Charlene.

Thank you for having me. I’m so happy to be back. My image of a typical 19th-century family sitting down to supper used to include a table laden with healthy, wholesome, homemade foods. To a shocking degree, the truth is the opposite. Contamination was rife, even among foods prepared at home, on the farm or ranch. Few people understood germs, bacteria and E. coli. Foreign substances and chemicals tainted foods. By the 1840s, home-baked bread had supposedly died out among the rural poor. I find this hard to believe. But it is true that people living in small urban tenements, typically unequipped with ovens, bought their bread when they could afford it.

In 1872, Dr. Hassall, the primary health reformer and a pioneer investigator into food adulteration, demonstrated that half of the bread he examined had considerable quantities of alum. Alum lowers the nutritional value of foods by inhibiting the digestion. The list of poisonous additives from that time reads like the stock list of a wicked chemist: strychnine, cocculus inculus (both hallucinogens), and copperas in rum and beer; sulphate of copper in pickles, bottled fruit, wine, and preserves; lead chromate in mustard and snuff; sulphate of iron in tea and beer; ferric ferrocynanide, lime sulphate, and turmeric in Chinese tea; copper carbonate, lead sulphate, bisulphate of mercury, and Venetian lead in sugar confectionery and chocolate; lead in wine and cider. All were extensively used and accumulative in effect, meaning that, over a long period, in chronic gastritis, and, indeed, often fatal food poisoning.

                                          

Dairies watered down their milk then added chalk to put back the color. Butter, bread, and gin often had copper added to heighten the color. In London, where ice cream was called “hokey-pockey,” tested examples proved to contain cocci, bacilli, torulae, cotton fiber, lice, bed bugs, bug’s legs, fleas, straw, human hair, cat and dog hair. Such befouled ice cream caused diphtheria, scarlet fever, diarrhea, and enteric fever. Meat purchased from butchers often came from diseased animals.

 

A significant cause of infant mortality was the widespread practice of giving children narcotics, especially opium, to keep them quiet. Laudanum was cheap—about the price of a pint of beer—and its sale was unregulated until late in the century. The use of opium was widespread both in town and country. In Manchester, England, five out of six working-class families used the drug habitually. One druggist admitted to selling a half-gallon of a very popular cordial, which contained opium, treacle, water, and spices, as well as five to six gallons of a substance euphemistically called “quietness” every week. Another druggist admitted to selling four hundred gallons of laudanum annually. At mid-century at least ten proprietary brands, with Godfrey’s Cordial, Steedman’s Powder, and the grandly named Atkinson’s Royal Infants Preservative among the most popular, were available in pharmacies everywhere. Opium in pills and penny sticks was widely sold and opium-taking in some areas was described as a way of life. Doctors reported that infants were wasted from it—’shrunk up into little old men,’ ‘wizened like little monkeys’.

And what was the fate of those wizened little monkeys? Chances are the worst of them grew up in a “sanitorium” or an asylum for the mad. After all, we can’t have rich Aunt Matilda or the preacher’s wife seeing such a child. Or the child might be put in the attic to be raised by Grandma, who’s not quite right in the head.

Kept in a drugged state much of the time, infants generally refused to eat and therefore starved.  Rather than record a baby’s death as being from severe malnutrition, coroners often listed ‘debility from birth,’ or ‘lack of breast milk,’ as the cause. Addicts were diagnosed as having alcoholic inebriety, morphine inebriety, along with an endless list of man dypsomania, opiomania, morphinomania, chloralomania, etheromania, chlorodynomania, and even chloroformomania; and – isms such as cocainism and morphinism. It wasn’t until WWI that the term “addiction” came into favor.

In the beginning, opium was considered a medical miracle used as the essential ingredient in many remedies dispensed in Europe and America for the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, asthma, rheumatism, diabetes, malaria, cholera, fevers, bronchitis, insomnia, and pains of any sort.

One must remember that at this time, the physician’s cabinet was almost bare of alternative drugs, and a doctor could hardly practice medicine without it. A great many respectable people imbibed narcotics and alcohol in the form of patent medicines and even soft drinks. Coca Cola got its name because it originally contained a minute amount of cocaine, thought to be a healthy stimulant. A shocking number of “teetotaling” women relied on daily doses of tonics that, unknown to them, contained as much alcohol as whiskey or gin. Of course, it was no secret that men imbibed alcohol at alarming rates, and alcoholism was rampant. The result was a happy but less than healthy population.

 

 

I used this in my mail-order bride story, Forever Mine. The hero’s shrew of a wife had diabetes and treated it by drinking a tonic that promised to cure everything. It didn’t. In my book, Taming Jenna, the heroine’s missing father fell victim to dipsomania and was saved by the hero’s determination and kindness. In Thalia, Book 7 of the Widows of Wildcat Ridge Series, my heroine is in love with the town’s newspaper owner. Unfortunately, he suffers from dipsomania. It doesn’t faze Thalia though. She loves him anyway.

Is it any wonder the nineteenth century became known as “the good old days”?

What are your thoughts on this? Would you have drank Coca Cola if you knew it had cocaine in it? I’m giving away a $5 Amazon gift card plus a copy of one of these books—Forever Mine, Taming Jenna, or Thalia—to one person who comments. The drawing will be Sunday.

 

Charlene Raddon is an Amazon bestselling author of sixteen historical romance novels set in the American West. Originally published in 1994 by Kensington Books, she is now an Indie author. Charlene also designs book covers, specializing in western historical. You can find her covers at https://silversagebookcovers.com

http://www.charleneraddon.com

http://www.facebook.com/charleneraddon

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/charlene-raddon

These Boot Are Made For Giving!

After the Civil War, the boots cowboys were wearing weren’t cutting the muster on the job. While accounts differ whether this occurred in Kansas or Texas, most agree a cowboy went into a shoemaker asking for changes to the day’s boot style. Each feature the smart cowboy asked for fixed a problem. The pointed toe made it easier for him to get his foot in the stirrup. The taller shaft served the purpose of protecting his leg from mesquite tree thorns, barbed wire, snakes and other dangers. The bigger, thicker heel kept his foot from coming out of the stirrup. The boot’s tough leather protected a cowboy’s ankle from being bruised by the wooden stirrup.

The cowboy changed his footwear his footwear because it wasn’t working. A lot of my stories deal with something not working in my hero and/or heroine’s life. Sometimes they know they need to make a change. Sometimes not. Sometimes life forces them to make a change when it’s the last thing they want. But still, my characters tug on their boots, put one foot in front of the other, whether they’re happy about it or not, and walk toward the future.

In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, both AJ Quinn and Grace Henry are forced to make a change in their lives, and neither is very happy about it. Grace is laid off and her best friend talks her into coming to Texas to manage her bed and breakfast. AJ is undercover for the FBI taking the recently vacant job as chief of police to catch a forger. Both vow working in Wishing, Texas, is temporary. They know where they want their lives to go and this isn’t what they had in mind.

Their meeting is one of my favorites. Grace is driving into town and her breaks give out. She rear ends AJ’s truck. AJ tries to tell Grace who he is, but she won’t let him get the words out, instead saying they should exchange insurance info, call a tow truck and be on their way. AJ lists the reasons to call the police, her insurance company may require a police report, debris needs to be cleared from the road, and someone needs to divert traffic until their vehicles are moved. When Grace still resists, AJ asks if there’s a reason she doesn’t want the police called. Grace responds that all the police will do is complicate the issue and small-town police will be even worse about it. Talk about an awkward first meeting! I love when my characters dig themselves into a hole and refuse to put down the shovel!

Another thing I love to do is have the hero or heroine give a gift to the other during the story. Though they may not realize it at the time, the gift is a big turning point in their relationship. In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, Grace is a New York city girl. AJ tells Grace she can’t keep running around in flip-flops and gives her a box. What does AJ give her? What else? A pair of cowboy boots she admired!

I’m going to admit something…I love shoes and I love boots even more. I have four pairs of cowboy boots I wear in the winter and various open toe ankle boots I wear in the winter. Stop by today and leave a comment about your favorite footwear to be entered to win a signed copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy and a pair of boot socks. 

Updated: March 26, 2020 — 9:34 am

Research Road Trip

As an author of historical novels, I love it when I get a chance to walk over the same ground as my characters. Most of my research is done online, but every once in a while, I get the chance to get my boots walking in the actual setting of a book I’m writing. This past January was just such an occasion.

During the last weekend of January, I took a research trip to explore the setting of my current work in progress. Not only did I get to dig into the local history of Kingsland, TX, but three writing friends met up with there and turned the weekend into a writing retreat. So wonderful to be blessed by the fellowship of fellow writers and friends.

Anne Mateer and I are in the ticket window with Nancy Kimball (left) and Crystal Barnes (right) in the main living area.

I love staying in historic places whenever possible, and especially when I’m trying to immerse myself in an historic setting. We pulled that off in Kingsland with The Antlers Hotel. The hotel was built by the railroad in 1901 a few years after the rail line came through town in 1892. Unfortunately, it’s about 6 years too modern to include in my story, but it offered fabulous accommodations. I took some photos inside the lobby as well as the exterior.

Since there were four of us, and retreats are much more fun when we can all stay together, we rented a separate building on the property. The Depot cabin we rented had been an actual railroad depot in Muldoon, TX in the 1890’s. I loved opening the door to discover two ticket windows still in place. So fun! Creaky wooden floorboards added to the historical ambiance.

After spending a couple hours on Friday afternoon in the local library’s genealogical section reading up on local families, I drove down to the railroad bridge that is still standing from 1892. I found a really cool tidbit about how folks from the Burnet side of the Colorado River could only get into Kingsland by rails – either on the train or by walking across the railroad bridge. I took a photo from the Burnet side showing the top of the track. I also took a picture from the Kingsland side to show the underside and the pillars. The 4 stone ones are original. The concrete supports were added later.At some point, one or more of my characters is going to be in peril on this bridge. I just need to figure out who and why.

Saturday morning, I took a drive down a country road (and I mean country – dirt, cattle guards, livestock free and ranging) to get some photos of Packsaddle Mountain. It was named for the dip in the middle that makes it resemble a packsaddle on a horse. A major plot point in my novel revolves around this mountain, so being able to see it in person will help me get the details right. A couple decades before my novel’s timeline, this was also the site of the last Indian battle in the region. The settlers, while greatly outnumbered, routed the raiding Apaches and ushered in a time of peace.

On my drive, I also ran into this fellow. Probably not historically accurate, but fun nonetheless.

We finished off the weekend by having brunch on Sunday at the Grand Central Cafe located on the same property where we were staying. It is a grand Victorian home built around the turn of the century and serves wonderful food.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. So much history, so many great conversations, and great food for the imagination and the taste buds . (Crystal Barnes made us her famous farm fresh breakfast with ingredients straight from her very own cow and chickens Saturday morning and fried us up some fresh-off-the-hoof hamburgers for dinner. Yum!)

What are some of your favorite historical locations to visit?

Kingsland was only about a 3-hour drive from my home. Do you have places close to you that are rich in history?

 

Secrets of My Heart and Book Giveaway

Secrets of My Heart comes out March first and is part of the Willamette Brides series (a sequel to the Heart of the Frontier series which came out several years ago).  The story deals with three women who are caught up in the racial conflicts of 1879 Oregon. As I researched for this story, I kept finding a lot of issues that reminded me of problems we’re continuing to deal with today.

For instance, did you know that early in Oregon’s history, exclusion laws went into place that made it illegal for African Americans to even take up residency in Oregon Country.  Wagon train masters signed agreements to not allow blacks in their trains. In one of the museums I visited they had a display that told the story of former slave Rose Jackson who was forced to hide in a specially made wagon box all day, every day, as the wagon train came west. She was only able to come out at night after everyone had gone to bed.

Freed slave in Oregon.

There were three exclusion acts – Peter Burnett’s Lash Law was one of these that called for African Americans to be expelled from Oregon, and if they refused to go, they were to be lashed. The law was rescinded in 1845 when it was determined lashing too harsh. The next exclusion law was made in 1849 and stated, it was unlawful for any “negro or mulatto” to enter or reside in Oregon Territory.  It was rescinded in 1854.  The third and final exclusion act was passed in 1857 and actually written into Oregon’s Bill of Rights. The clause prohibited African American from being in the state, owning property, and making contracts. Oregon became the only free state admitted to the Union with an exclusion clause in its constitution. It wasn’t repealed by voters until 1926, with final racist language not removed until 2002.

While the exclusion laws were generally not enforced, they hung as a threat over the heads of African Americans who feared that at any given moment new laws might be passed to strip away their possessions and force them from the state.  This was especially driven home when the Fourteenth Amendment issue came up.

The Fourteenth Amendment which grants citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States, including former slaves, was ratified by a very narrow margin in 1866.  Oregon then rescinded that ratification in 1868.  The Fourteenth Amendment in Oregon was not re-ratified until 1973. They also refused to ratify the 15th Amendment which allows African American men the right to vote. That law wasn’t ratified in Oregon until 1959.  For more information go to:

https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/exclusion_laws/#.XRf4A-tTmpo

https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/14th_amendment/#.XRfyZetTmpo

https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/15th_amendment/#.XRfxxutTmpo

Of course, along with these laws, were laws against the Native Americans. Including making it illegal for whites to marry a person who was at least half Native American or even a quarter black, Chinese or Pacific Islander. This law wasn’t rescinded until 1951.

Learning about these laws and the problems they caused was quite fascinating and reminded me that as Solomon said in the Bible there truly is nothing new under the sun.  It also reminded me that as Christians we should love others as Jesus loved us and when we do that, it allows for no prejudice or negativity based on the color of our skin. 

I hope you’ll enjoy the series.

Soli Deo Gloria

 

What do you think would be the hardest part of traveling the Oregon trail in a covered wagon?

Tracie is giving away a print copy of Secrets of My Heart to one person who comments today.

Amazon

Tracie had an unexpected travel engagement arise today and will not be available to respond to comments here today, but she welcomes readers to contacted her directly at tjpbooks@aol.com or through her website http://www.traciepeterson.com.

Updated: March 9, 2020 — 11:13 am

In Honor of Steve Reevis — Give-Away and 99 cent books

Howdy!

About 3-4 weeks ago, I learned that a good friend of mine, Steve Reevis had passed away.  He passed on in December of 2017.  Unfortunately, for me, I was unaware of this because when I moved away from LA, his family and mine lost contract.  Steve was a Native American Actor, and he appeared in many films.  Probably my favorite film of his was “The Last of the Dogmen,” where Steve played the major Native American role.  I will leave a list of many of his films at the end of this blog.

Steve was only 55 years old when he passed, much too young to leave this world.  In 1999, Steve helped me and my husband and a few other friends to set up a literacy project on the Blackfeet reservation.  This was the first time I had met Steve.  He was a very handsome young man, he was quiet, yet when he did speak, we listened, for he was also a wise young man.  Steve never asked for anything in return for the help he gave us, his main concern being to help his people.

In truth, I was shocked when I learned of his passing, and so I thought that today, I would hostess a give-away in the style of the Blackfeet in Montana.  (I am adopted Blackfeet.)

I’ll be giving away many books today, so do leave a message so that you can enter into the give-away.  I’ll also be giving away a pair of Blackfeet made earrings.  Now, let me show you some pictures of a fundraiser that we did with Steve and his beautiful wife, Macile, in a Walmart in 1999.  All of my Blackfoot Warrior series (three books total) will also be on sale for a week for 99 cents in honor of Steve. (See  below for the links to those books.)

The picture to the left here is of Steve when he was speaking at the fundraiser.  This event also included many romance authors from the Orange County Romance Writers Association.  At the event, we had a local drum group, who also donated all of their time and their musical art for the literacy project.

Off to the right here is a picture of Steve in a conversation with Maria Ferrara, who helped to fund raise for the project and was instrumental in getting the project off the ground.  Without her help, there would have been no project.

As you can see here, Steve is listening intently to Maria, and this is one of my favorite pictures from that time.

To the left here are several people connected to the project.  From left to right are:  Mark Reed; Maria Ferrara; Jeff Butler; Harold Dusty Bull; Kinder Hunt; Steve Reevis; Macile Reevis; George Randall; Toni Running Fisher; Saginaw Grant; Yours truly.

 

And again, to the left is Harold Dusty Bull, who was In Charge of the Project.  In the background to the left is Steve and on the right is Mark Reed, from the Iroquois/Mohawk tribe, I believe.

Both Harold and Steve grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana.

 

 

 

To the left here is Steve dancing.  Steve was a grass dancer.  

And, to the right is a couples dance.  Here is Steve and Macile; behind them are Harold Dusty Bull and the founder and head of the H.E.L.P. project (Hollywood Education and Literacy Project), Kinder Hunt.  Pulling up the rear in the picture is Saginaw Grant and Toni Running Fisher.

Also, there was Blackfeet style Indian bread and tacos — made by Toni Running Fisher.

 

 

 

To the right here is another view of Steve and Macile dancing the Couples Dance, with Saginaw Grant and Toni Running Fisher not too far behind them.

Here also is a view of some of the men who gave in the drum who gave us the music so the dancers could dance.  To the left is another picture of Steve dancing.

To the left here is Steve speaking, and in his hand he holds an eagle feather fan.

To the right is Steve’s beautiful wife, Macile.  Macile, by the way, has her own clothing line of Native American clothing.

 

To the left here is a picture snapped of us when we were visiting the L. Ron Hubbard Author Services Center in Hollywood, CA.  From left to right are:

Paul Bailey (my husband); Harold Dusty Bull; Steve Reevis; Macile Reevis and her daughter; me; Toni Running Fisher and her husband Kevin.  By the way, the dress I’m wearing in this picture is one of Macile Reevis’ creations.

 

And lastly, here we all are:  the authors, the Drum, Steve and Macile (off to the left).

The event was very successful and the HELP literacy project was also a success on the Reservation, and was up and running there for many years.

I will miss my friend, Steve Reevis.  Somehow, I thought he would always be here, alive and well, and I wish that I hadn’t lost touch with his family when my own family moved East.  Steve once said to me in a passing conversation, “Why do you think all those warriors in the past would risk their lives?”  I didn’t know and said so.  Steve then said, “Because they knew they would live again.”

Somewhere, in some other time and place, perhaps, I feel that Steve is still with us, and is, even now, the cause of someone else’s joy and happiness.  Good-bye, Steve.  You are missed.  But I know that wherever you are, those who are with you, love you.

All of the Blackfoot Warrior Series books are on sale for .99 in honor of Steve.  Those books are:

GRAY HAWK’S WOMAN — https://tinyurl.com/qtl7hsu

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH — https://tinyurl.com/vbanq3m

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE — https://tinyurl.com/twdjtx4

These are list of some of Steve’s Films, as well as some photos from those films:

 

  • CREDITS
  • Film Appearances
  • Indian, Twins, Universal, 1988
  • Indian child, Grim Prairie Tales (also known as Hellbent),Academy Entertainment, 1990
  • First Sioux and first warrior, Dances with Wolves, Orion, 1990
  • Indian in desert, The Doors, TriStar, 1991
  • Chato, Geronimo: An American Legend, Columbia, 1993
  • Two Bears, Posse, Gramercy, 1993
  • Yellow Wolf, Last of the Dogmen, Savoy Pictures, 1995
  • Sioux Chief Whistler, Wild Bill, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1995
  • (As Steven Reevis) Shep Proudfoot, Fargo, Gramercy, 1996
  • Freddy, Follow Me Home, New Millenia, 1997
  • Sam Keno, The Outfitters, New Skivvies Films, 1999
  • Sim Lundy, Highway 395, Creative Light Worldwide, 2000

 

 

 

  • Film Work
  • Stunt performer, War Party, c. 1989.
  • Television Appearances
  • Movies
  • Crazy Horse, TNT, 1996
  • Mule, Horse Sense, The Disney Channel, 1999
  • Episodic
  • Sammy Wheeler, “Return of Jimmy Blackhorse,” JAG, NBC, 1996
  • “The Only Goode Indian,” Goode Behavior, 1997
  • Jake Stonecrow, “Mayday,” Walker, Texas Ranger, CBS, 1997
  • Sheriff Lamont Nez, “The Outrage,” Promised Land, CBS, 1997
  • John Wolf/Lone Wolf, “Way of the Warrior,” Walker, Texas Ranger, CBS, 1999
  • Also appeared in Unsolved Mysteries.
  • Other
  • Grey Eyes, Miracle in the Wilderness, 1992
  • Jack Buck, Wild Grizzly, 1999
  • RECORDINGS
  • Videos
  • Life, Love, and Earth (educational music video), Shenandoah Films,1999

 

 

 

Updated: March 9, 2020 — 7:16 am

Chapel Cars – Reprise

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I have a book due at the end of this month and the last few weeks heading toward a deadline are always pretty intense for me. So I hope you will forgive me for pulling out an old post and dusting it off to share once again. This one appeared during my first year as a filly, 2009. Wow, hard to believe I’ve been part of this fabulous fun group for 11 years now!! Time really does pass fast when you’re having fun 🙂

 

‘Saving’ The West

I came across an article when researching circuit preachers for a minor story thread in one of my books.  The article covered a unique tool utilized by missionaries who were attempting to do their own brand of ‘taming the west’ – namely Chapel Cars.

These were railroad cars that were modified to serve as traveling churches.  They rode the rails from town to town, shifting over to sidings for as long as they were needed, then continuing on to the next stop.  They included modest living quarters for the missionary and, if he had one, his wife.  The rest of the space was utilized for the church itself.

Most western movies and tales glorify the gun-toting lawman or vigilante, portraying them as the tamers of the wild and woolly west.  In actuality, the peace-minded missionaries who rode the rails played a larger, more influential part in bringing peace to the lawless west than any of their more aggressive counterparts.  They traveled in their mobile churches to remote areas of the country, bringing spiritual direction and a civilizing influence to people who were starved for something to offset the violence and loneliness of their existence.

These Chapel Cars traveled throughout the west and mid-west – including North Dakota, Nevada, Minnesota, California, Louisiana, Texas, Oregon and Colorado.  They stopped at mining towns and logging camps, tent cities and newly established towns, bringing their gospel message and the reminder of civilization to people who had seen neither for a long time – if ever.

And, given the unfettered existence of those in the camps and towns, their appearance was surprisingly well received more often than not – especially by the ladies of the area.  The arrival of these Chapel Cars signaled not only the chance to attend Sunday services, but brought with them someone to perform weddings, funerals, baptisms and also a welcome excuse for social gatherings.  In addition, many a rough and tough cowboy who would have balked at attending a traditional church, seemed to feel differently about these side rail services.  In fact, the very novelty of the Chapel Car brought folks from miles around just to have a look.

Of course, they didn’t always receive a warm welcome.  There are recorded instances of the Chapel Cars being pelted with eggs and refuse, defaced with graffiti and even set on fire.  But these were rare instances and the cars and their custodians survived to continue their mission.

These repurposed rail cars were furnished with pews, a lectern, an altar table and in some cases an organ.  Depending on the construction, they could seat over 70 people inside.  The Chapel Car was a multipurpose unit, serving as a home, church, Sunday School, social hall, library and meeting place.  They carried bibles and tracts which were distributed all along the lines.  The missionary and his wife, in addition to their usual ministerial duties, were expected to function as singer, musician, janitor and cook.  They helped organize permanent churches, including raising the necessary funds and helping to construct the buildings.

There are records to support the existence of eleven Chapel Cars in all, though there is some evidence there may have been as many as seventeen.  Of the eleven known cars, three were utilized by Catholics, seven by Baptists and one by the Episcopalians.

Chapel cars remained in use throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  With the advent of World War I, however, the railroad tracks had to be kept clear for troop movement.  In addition, new regulations prohibited the railroad companies from giving ‘free rides’ to the Chapel Cars, something that had been common practice up until that time.  And as paved roads and the automobile became more prevalent it became easier for folks to travel longer distances on their own to attend church.  Thus, the Chapel Cars that had brought their spiritual message and civilizing influence to the rough and tumble west faded into history.

So, where’s the most memorable place you’ve attended a church service?

 

And on the good news front, Love Inspired is re-releasing one of my previous titles this month in a 2-in-1 volume with former Filly Cheryl St.John.  Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a signed copy.

 

SECOND CHANCE FAMILY

Mitch Hammond is a man of his word. And as far as Cora Beth Collins is concerned, that’s a problem. The stubborn sheriff has vowed never to love again, for fear of wounding someone else. The most he can offer Cora Beth is marriage in name only. And with no other way to adopt two runaway orphans and keep her patchwork family together, she accepts.

Mitch is doing the honorable thing. So why does it feel so wrong? Despite his intentions, Mitch is starting to want more from Cora Beth…and from himself. For in her trusting eyes he sees everything he hopes to be—as a lawman, a father and a husband.

 

 

Updated: March 9, 2020 — 12:31 am