The Pilgrims are credited for starting the tradition of Thanksgiving in 1621, but how did it become a national holiday?
What follows is a quick timeline of the evolution of Thanksgiving from a tradition to being an official holiday celebrated on a specific date.
*November 23, 1775 – The Revolutionary War was seven months old, and patriots in Boston called for a “Day of Public Thanksgiving to be held in the colony of Massachusetts to celebrate their “Rights and Privileges” despite the attempts of their “barbarous Enemies” to deprive them of such.” It was a very anti-British celebration.
*December 18, 1777 – The war was still going strong, but to celebrate the victory of American Continental forces in the Battle of Saratoga, General George Washington called for Thursday, December 18 to be a day in which to engage in “Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise.” For the first time, all thirteen colonies participated.
*In 1879, President Washington called for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Congress agreed, but did not declare an official holiday.
Thomas Jefferson, our third president, believed that a Thanksgiving holiday was a violation of the separation of church and state, so there was no official day of thanksgiving between 1815 and 1863.
*In 1846 Sarah Josephina Hale, the editor of Gody’s Lady’s Book, began a 17-year letter writing campaign in support of an official national Thanksgiving holiday. In September of 1863, she wrote to Abraham Lincoln, imploring him to set an official day for thanksgiving.
*October 3, 1863 – President Lincoln, in a bid to heal a the nation during the Civil War, announced: ”I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States…to set apart and observe he last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
Lincoln proclaimed that the official Thanksgiving day would be the last Thursday in November. Sarah Josephina Hale was 74 years old, but lived to see the official holiday she’d fought so hard for.
*In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt, by executive order, moved the holiday to the third Thursday in November, in order to allow more shopping days until Christmas. (Thanksgiving fell on November 30 that year.) The new holiday was called Franksgiving by those who were opposed. There was such an outcry that Congress officially moved Thanksgiving back to the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains today.
Please everyone, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
When we think of the western frontier, few of us picture a young woman seated at her desk, studying English grammar, yet many would argue that the West was shaped as much by education as by anything else. Thus, when I learned of the pioneering institution known at its inception as the Young Ladies’ Seminary in Benicia, California, I was immediately intrigued. Established in 1852, it was the first school of higher learning created for women west of the Rockies and continues today as Mills College.
Despite the word seminary in its name, the school’s purpose was not to prepare its pupils to be priests, ministers, or rabbis. It was established to fulfill the perceived educational needs of the daughters of California’s Protestant Christian families. The original trustees were concerned that the pioneering families of the West were forced to choose between forgoing a higher education for their daughters or sending them on a long ocean voyage to New York, potentially severing family ties.
Thus the school was established while the gold rush was still in full swing and Benicia was California’s capital. According to the school’s early catalogues, its aim was “to train healthy, companionable, self-reliant women—those prepared to be useful and acceptable in the school, in the family, and in society.” To that end, the teachers deemed it important for their students to “be able to spell correctly, to read naturally, to write legibly, and to converse intelligently.” The young ladies of the school performed regular recitations at which family and select members of the public were often invited to attend. In addition to an English course of study, the school offered what they called “ornamental branches” of study which included “instrumental music (pianoforte and guitar), drawing, crayoning, painting (in water colors and oils) and ornamental needle work.” (Keep, 1931)
Initially many of the school’s students came from the nearby cities such as San Francisco, Marysville, Sacramento, and Stockton, but most came from Mother Lode camps such as Hangtown, Park’s Bar, Rough and Ready, Angels Camp, and more. A few students also came from the southern part of the Golden State, which is where my heroine, Clarinda Humphrey, hails from in my novel, Sing in the Sunlight. Keeping in mind the incredible fluctuation of fortunes and social status going on in California during this time period, the idea of young women from such varied backgrounds coming to Benicia to learn and live beneath the same roof is fascinating. What I wouldn’t give to have been a fly on the wall of the Young Ladies’ Seminary in those early days.
I think I’d have planted myself on the shoulder of those early principals first, though. It seems they had a terrible habit of forgoing their duties to pedagogy in favor of matrimony. The romantic in me is incredibly curious about how those courtships began and progressed. Further adding to my curiosity surrounding the school’s romances is the manner in which the school’s students were required to attend church.
Escorted to church each Sunday by their principal, the students were required to sit at the rear of the church in the upper gallery near the organ so that they would be out of sight of the young men present. My guess, though, is that more than one man gained a crick in his neck during services. What do you think?
Source: Keep, R. (1931) Fourscore Years, A History of Mills College
I’m excited to share with you that Sing in the Sunlight, book two of my Chaparral Hearts series which features the Young Ladies’ Seminary, is currently on preorder.
So today, I’m giving away a signed copy of Waltz in the Wilderness, book one in the series. Leave a comment below to enter. (International Winners will receive a digital copy of the book & signed bookmark in place of printed book. Void where prohibited.)
How influential was your college experience, or lack of it, in creating who you are today?
Am really excited to let you know that my newest effort, IRON WOLF’S BRIDE is due to be released on November 15th. Yea!
So, I thought I’d give you a quick glance at the cover and a little excerpt from the book, as well as the blurb. Hope you’ll enjoy the excerpt!
IRON WOLF’S BRIDE
I will return to you, my love…
Jane Glenforest’s father believed she was too young to marry, so he’d stolen her and her newborn son away from the handsome Assiniboine Indian she’d wed and taken her to Surrey, England. In spite of divorce papers and rumors he’s wed another, Jane’s never forgotten the man who’d stolen her heart and given her son legitimacy. When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show comes to England—bringing her ex-husband with it—Jane’s curious to see her lost love, in spite of her new fiancé.
Although Iron Wolf’s purpose in working for Bill Cody’s Wild West show is to fulfill his father’s vision to find and stop a deceiver, he fell in love with and married Jane Glenforest. But, no sooner had Jane given birth than her father stole her away. Now, a few years later, Iron Wolf is arriving in England with the hope of rekindling the love he once shared with Jane. However, instead of love, he finds his wife loathes him, believing he has married another. And, when he discovers she is engaged to another man, he declares war on both her and the fiancé.
But when their son is kidnapped, Jane and Iron Wolf must work together to rescue him. And, as danger escalates, they discover trusting each other might be the only way to save their son. Will Jane and Iron Wolf learn to forgive one another, to reignite the embers of a passion that never died, or will the lies of a deceiver destroy their love forever?
Warning: Rediscovered love might cause sleepless nights spent in the arms of one’s true love.
Iron Wolf’s Bride
Despite the warmth of the evening, the marble flooring of the foyer was cold beneath Jane’s slippers. She was gazing forward, looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows which graced the manor’s entryway. Lacy, white curtains framed the windows, and, as Jane reached out to touch their softness, she recalled the feel of a smooth, deerskin bag that Iron Wolf had given her upon their marriage. She’d had to leave it behind.
Iron Wolf… How she wished that this evening were already over.
Biting her lip, she looked forward once more, out the window. There were so many carriages out there; there must have been fifty or more of them, carrying the cast from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show here tonight. And, one by one they pulled into the sweeping driveway of her uncle’s red-brick mansion.
The hour was early evening, and the many lanterns—which were scattered here and there along the brick drive—shone with a hazy light into the mist of the darkness, causing small pockets of foggy light to glitter, as though held there by a ghostly hand. It caused the carriages to be appear to be as dark and as dreary as a funeral procession.
A shiver rushed over Jane’s skin as she realized that the ghosts from her past had come to haunt her tonight. Iron Wolf would be amongst these people, and her tension because of this knowledge was so great, she held onto Nathaniel with a tight grip on his arm. Luckily, he didn’t seem to mind and he patted her hand, his touch reassuring and gentle.
That her uncle had invited the entire cast of the Wild West Show to his estate was to Jane not to be believed, especially because tonight should have been the celebration party of her marriage to Nathaniel. But, her uncle had explained that because the musicians had already been hired and an assortment of cooks were still on hand to provide the dinner, the original form of the party had changed from being a quiet dinner party to a ball and a sit-down dinner.
Why was her uncle honoring Bill Cody’s Wild West Show? Didn’t he disdain those public gatherings which he labeled as “spectacles”? Was it because Jane’s sister, Luci, performed with the show? Perhaps.
And, of course Luci would be present here tonight, as would Luci’s husband, Wind Eagle. Blue Thunder would also be present…and Iron Wolf. There would be little chance she could avoid her former husband this evening, since he and his two friends were known to be Buffalo Bill’s most popular act—popular, that is, with the ladies.
During The Wild West’s long run, the threesome’s performances—which included not only daring feats of horsemanship, but also expert marksmanship—had gained steady popularity. Indeed, a few years past, the three young men had added the American Indian style of singing and dancing as part of their entertainment. From there, and because of that, the number of tickets sold to those of the female gender—young and old—had tripled the income of the show, if one were to believe the newspapers. Indeed, her uncle had informed her that Buffalo Bill had asked the three young men to entertain this small gathering of London’s “elect” which was to be present here tonight.
At the moment, she could do little more than wonder how she was to get through the evening with her emotions still intact. Pray, it might be the greatest acting performance of her life, since she was upset with them all: her sister, Wind Eagle, Blue Thunder and especially Iron Wolf. But, she would sooner die from the heartbreak they had caused her than to openly show the hurt of their two-and-a-half-year indifference. She promised herself that she would paste her most cordial smile onto her countenance, and she would grin as though her life depended upon it…and perhaps it did.
Jeremy, her son, would not be present at the festivities tonight, and for this Jane was indebted to Marci, who would attend to him and ensure his bedtime schedule remained the same as usual. More commonly, Jane saw to her son’s nighttime storytelling and to the delightful chore of tucking him into bed. Often, when there was a party, Jeremy was permitted to attend it.
But not tonight. Tonight she needed every bit of her attention focused upon her smile and getting through the evening without grief and tears.
Suddenly her heart seemed to stop. There he was, exiting a carriage and stepping toward the house in the casual manner he seemed to have perfected. His friends, Wind Eagle and Blue Thunder, as well as Jane’s sister, Luci, flanked him on either side. Suddenly Jane’s breathing stopped and her heart raced, reminding her that she had not yet healed from the wounds Iron Wolf had inflicted upon her.
How innocent she had been back then, although, if she were to be honest, she would admit to wishing to be so happy again. Ah, if life could only be like that once more.
She sighed, noticing at the same time that her sister, Luci, was dressed as she usually was when she performed with the show—as a boy—and Jane was startled to witness it. Surely, Luci didn’t have to still pretend to be someone she was not, did she? Didn’t she realize that dressing as a boy here would give away her true identity?
Whatever the reason for the disguise, it made Jane feel uneasy. Was there a continuing danger to Luci and to herself, as well, that demanded her sister continue the disguise?
But, she quickly forgot the question, when, seeing Iron Wolf walk slowly toward her, Jane’s attention came away from her sister to focus squarely onto her former husband. He wore his best clothing tonight, she noted, and he looked so handsome that she could not suppress the soft gasp which fell from her lips.
A tanned-buckskin shirt and leggings seemed to caress his casual movements, and she realized she had rarely seen him dress in this manner, for Buffalo Bill provided the cotton shirts and trousers that the American Indian performers wore. His style of buckskin clothing was adorned with beads set in round designs of orange, blue and yellow colors, and the same scheme was repeated on his breechcloth and his moccasins. She caught sight of the several feathers that were fastened together and fell down from the back of his head, disappearing from her view as Iron Wolf stepped readily forward. He had left his hair loose and long tonight, the whole of it thrown over his shoulders. There was no bow in his hands or quiver full of arrows upon his back, but still, she could see that he was armed, for a colt .45 was neatly tucked into a holster that fit around his lower waist.
He had painted two streaks of red upon his cheeks, but he wore no other war paint. From this distance, Jane’s stomach was already reacting in turmoil toward him, warning her of the danger he presented her. But, she had no choice but to ignore it. She had promised herself that she would play her part of a happy young lady tonight and nothing would distract her from that, pretense though it was.
The havoc of her emotional fears and grief, however, was so great, that when the four of them walked into the foyer, Jane thought she might faint. But, she mustered up the act she had decided to present them, and, as she and Nathaniel paced toward the four of them, her grip on Nathaniel’s arm was so tight, it might have been made of iron instead of flesh and blood.
She smiled at all four of them briefly, then said, “Luci, Wind Eagle, how are you?”
“We are well,” answered Wind Eagle.
“Good, I am glad to hear it.” Jane smiled again, but couldn’t quite look at Iron Wolf as she continued, “Iron Wolf, Blue Thunder, you are both welcome here tonight.”
Blue Thunder nodded. Iron Wolf, however, did nothing and said nothing, causing Jane to look up at him briefly. In that glance, short as it was, she saw that he did not gaze at her, but had cast his glance upon her hand which remained clutched upon Nathaniel’s arm, while Nathaniel’s hand covered hers.
And then, before she could look away, Iron Wolf thrust his chin forward and stared down his nose at her, looking at her as though she were made of something distasteful. He didn’t smile; he didn’t say a word. And, the expression on his countenance—outside of disgust—was so blank that little other emotion could be seen there.
He continued to remain silent, though his brief look at Nathaniel could have melted steel. But, instead of speaking, he turned quickly away from Jane and Nathaniel, following the other performers into the ballroom. And Jane, glad to have the first introductions accomplished without error on her part, sighed. Hopefully, the rest of the evening would go as planned.
To say that Iron Wolf was upset would not have done justice to the fury raging within him. Who was that man? Whoever he was, he had been touching her. And worse, she had let him, had perhaps encouraged him, for her hand had rested on that man’s arm.
What had happened here in this strange country of England? Was his wife’s love for him so lacking that she had placed another man in her affections? He blew out a breath in revulsion. It might be so.
Well, let them both look at and try to rationalize the performance he had this moment decided to give in this foreign and hostile place. Their music featured both Wind Eagle and Blue Thunder as the vocalists in their trio. Wind Eagle also kept time with a buffalo-hide drum and Blue Thunder accompanied the rhythm by shaking two different rattles. While Iron Wolf also sang at times, he usually played his flute in these performances. Also, he had become the group’s dancer.
For this, Iron Wolf was grateful. His part in their performance tonight would allow him to give the presentation of his life. She might not like what he was about to do, but he would ensure she would never again relegate him to the back recesses of her mind.
Áwicakeya, he dared her to forget about him again…ever.
Jane didn’t wish to view Iron Wolf’s and his friends’ act of drumming, singing and dancing. Indeed, she wished she could be anywhere else but here, looking on. But, it was not to be.
The gala which should have been her wedding party had turned sour. Not that it was anyone else’s fault. It was she, after all, who had postponed her wedding, and all because of one man, her former husband, Iron Wolf.
Servants had arranged the front of the ballroom into a stage for the performers, who were billed under their English names: Charles Wind Eagle, Luke Blue Thunder Striking, and of course her former husband, Michael Iron Wolf. Chairs were clustered around the stage in five different rows. After this performance, a ball was scheduled to follow, and, immediately after that, a sit-down dinner.
As the three men stepped forward, Iron Wolf turned so he was facing forward. He caught her eye, and Jane drew in her breath sharply. His look at her was so hostile, she had no choice but to look away.
Soon, the music began. Both Wind Eagle and Blue Thunder were singing. Blue Thunder took the lead with the song’s high-pitched intro. Wind Eagle followed the lead, singing the same minor-keyed melody. Wind Eagle beat out time on a hide-covered, hand-held drum, and Blue Thunder shook the two different rattles. Iron Wolf wasn’t singing, instead he was playing his flute, but it wasn’t long before he began to dance. Indeed, he was the only one of the three men who was dancing.
Too soon, it became evident that Iron Wolf was fashioning his performance to be much too personal, and Jane caught her breath as he stared directly at her while his dance took on a sensual, sexual nature, his hips jutting forward in time to the music. Jane stirred uneasily, for a passionate sort of excitement was arising within her, and she didn’t wish to experience it.
As his dance continued in much the same manner, she wondered how much of this she could take. Already recollections of their lovemaking from their not-too-distant past were materializing in her mind, and the reminiscence of their lovemaking flooded her body with an unwanted, yet passionate response. As she watched, she couldn’t control the unwelcome, yet soul-stirring excitement which burned like fire over her nerve endings. It was too much and she knew she had to get away.
But she couldn’t jump up suddenly and run from the room. Her uncle, her aunt and even Nathaniel would be scandalized. Briefly, she looked over her shoulder, searching for a reprieve. But, all she saw were her uncle, Buffalo Bill and her uncle’s moneyed friends, who were standing or sitting toward the back of the room.
There was no comfort to be found there. Looking forward again, her eyes met Iron Wolf’s angry and openly hostile gaze. What did he have to be angry about? It was she who was the victim of his scandalous affair.
Still, she wished now that Nathaniel hadn’t picked the front section of seats in order to watch the entertainment. She had nowhere to go.
Luckily, Luci had taken up a position on Jane’s left while Nathaniel reposed on her right, and, despite Nathaniel’s presence beside her—perhaps because of it—Iron Wolf’s gaze at her did not allow to her look away. All the while, his blatantly passionate dance made love to her. Even his flute playing did not detract from the explicit, carnal manner of his movements.
Unfortunately for Jane, his dance was causing her usually conservative composure to shatter. Suddenly, Iron Wolf squatted down on one knee, jutted his hips forward briefly, then jumped up with a vigor that proclaimed his youthful prowess. The suggestive movement caused her heart to leap, and Jane wished she were embarrassed by his antics. The truth was, however, she wasn’t. She was responding to it—unwillingly, yes. But, she was reacting to it all the same, and in kind.
She had to look away. She tried to do so, but found it was impossible. He was seducing her in front of everyone here, plain and simple. With his legs spread apart, he fell down into a partial side-split, and, taking the mouthpiece of his flute out of his mouth, he held his hands up in the air as he slid back up into a standing position. He then fell into a dance step—up and back, standing straight, then hunched over—all the while rocking and jutting his hips forward in so sensuous a manner, and in such an apparent, sexual way, it took Jane’s breath away. Parts of her body appeared to be out of her control, being awakened by Iron Wolf’s display, and, try as she might to suppress the stirred-up lust he was causing, she couldn’t. She gulped nervously.
Luci reached out to take Jane’s hand into her own, and Jane was glad of her presence beside her. At last the music became low and soft, allowing Iron Wolf to speak out in English, and he said,
My wife, what has happened to us?
My wife, I have waited for you.
My wife, did you wait for me, honor me?
No, you did not.
And yet, my wife, I give you all of me now.
Will you take me?
It is not too late, my wife; it is not too late for us.”
His gaze was direct and piercing, and there was no doubt that his poetry was for no one but her. In response, Jane could barely move; she couldn’t speak.
After his few words, the performance ended and he stepped quickly toward her. But, Jane wasn’t about to confront him. Not here, not now.
She jumped up as though there were a wound-up coil within her, and, turning around toward the entrance of the ballroom, she ran out of the room as fast as she could, aware of, but unable to look at the many curious glances sent her way. She didn’t stop, nor did she pause. Instead, she fled out into the foggy, darkened night, running along a pathway which led toward the gardens. There was a labyrinth there that she knew well. She intended to lose herself in it. Now.
Iron Wolf followed her. It was time to learn what was happening here. Who was that man?
He intended this to be his first question to the woman who should be, and still was, his wife. His second question to her would be why she believed he, her husband, had betrayed her. But this could wait.
He noted that she had fled into a maze that was flanked by fragrant bushes which were taller than a man, and, were he not the scout and tracker he was, he might have become lost within these high shrubs, for the paths intersected one another and led in multiple directions. But he didn’t lose his way. He found her soon enough.
Once he had discovered her, he spoke out softly, so she might become aware he had followed her. “What is going on here? Who is that man you were touching, the one who sat next to you? What is he to you?”
Jane spun around, the look of surprise on her countenance quickly turning to anger. She didn’t pause an instant, though, as she accused, “How dare you follow me!”
“I am your husband. It is my duty to follow you.”
“Well, you can go away now. I came here to be alone.”
Iron Wolf didn’t leave. Instead, he repeated his question, for he intended it to be answered, and asked once more, “Who is that man?”
“The one you touched. The one who sat beside you tonight.”
“He and I were to be married today.”
She turned her back on him and Iron Wolf didn’t speak; he couldn’t, for he felt as though she had punched him in the gut.
She added, “We didn’t marry today, as it turns out, because I would like my sister to be a part of the marriage ceremony. So we have postponed our wedding for the time being. And now you see that I, too, might marry another, as you have.”
Although he wished to speak out loudly, to rage the truth at her, he found it impossible to find his tongue, and so he paused until at last he was able to say, “My wife, you have become like a wild pony in my absence. How can you marry another when you are already married to me?”
“Am I? Do you forget you divorced me? And, how dare you call me ‘wild,’ when you…when you…” Her voice caught.
He ignored the insult and said instead, “You have now accused me of this too many times. Who has told this to you?”
“No one has ‘told’ it to me, as you say it. It was written up in the newspapers, and I have the divorce papers that you signed, or have you conveniently forgotten that? And, how dare you seduce me in front of all these people tonight; you, who are married to another. Is she here tonight? Does she care that you looked at me as you danced as though you were making love to me?”
She spoke so swiftly that he took a moment to understand all she had said, and then he asked, “Do you speak of the white-man’s newspapers where you saw my ‘wife’?”
“Who showed this to you?”
“Does it matter?”
He sighed. “Hau, hau, it matters. I would ask you again, who has said this to you?”
“My uncle, if you must know.”
“Your uncle who owns this house?”
Iron Wolf took a moment to collect his thoughts, then said, “You are wrong to believe these people, even if they be family.”
“So you can say easily enough. But, my uncle is beyond reproach and I am certain he wouldn’t lie to me. Besides, you forget that I have evidence of your betrayal of me.”
“No,” he countered, “what you have is ‘proof’ that is a lie. And, now I say that it is good you did not marry that man this day, for had you done so, you would have committed a grave error, one I could not easily set aside. So now, you must decide and choose between one or the other of us: me—your husband or that man. For, even in my society, a woman may have only one husband.”
“I have already chosen, and that man is not you.”
“Hau, then I will go.”
“But before I go, I wish to see these papers you have mentioned to me many times. I would witness these lies with my own eyes.”
“They are not lies.”
He raised his voice. “I say they are, and if you continue to tell me these untruths, I will say that you are a woman of no honor, who tells lies, as well.”
“How dare you shout at me, and how dare you say I am not honorable!”
He blew out his breath in an attempt to control his temper. At length, he said, “I am a man who must be convinced. Show me the papers you speak of, for I tell you true: I did not place my written name on anything. I have no other wife, but you. Why would I want another woman when the one I have is the sweetest, the most beautiful woman I have ever known or seen? I ask you, why would I throw away the woman of my heart, for, if I were to do that, would I not destroy her and myself, too?”
He noted that the compliment, spoken as it was from his heart, might have found its target. However, she did not respond favorably, and she turned her back upon him.
He encouraged, “Show me.”
When she turned around, she was crying, and his heart sank to realize that his raised voice and unkind words might have caused her grief. Still, what he’d said had been true.
“Do you really think I stoop to tell fibs? That I don’t have these things in my possession which show you betrayed me and then married another?”
“I would see them.”
She paused, as though she seriously considered his demand, even against her will. At length, she said, “I suppose that might be a fair request. So follow me. I will show you, although I am certain you are already aware of what I am talking about.”
He nodded, but said nothing except, “Show me. I will do as you ask and follow you.”
She turned around then and stomped out of the maze. And, Iron Wolf, astonished again by the obvious—that this was no act and that his wife truly hated him— trailed after her.
Well, that’s it for now. Look for the book November 15th, 2020 on Amazon. Hope y’all will let me know if you like the cover as well as I do. The male model is Lakota, by the way.
Also, book #1 of the Wild West Series is on sale now for $.99. It’s the first time this book has been put on sale for this low of a price.
You can get the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Itunes, but I’m going to leave the link here on the blog for Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/w49evpb
Also, I’ll be giving away a free e-book or paperback of the first book in The Wild West Series, THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME. Remember to look at the rules we have here for giveaways. Just leave a comment and you’re entered into the drawing.
I love the South! Several years ago my hubby and I went to Baton Rogue, Louisiana, and visited the South’s oldest and most beautiful plantation estates the renowned “The Sugar Palace” Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road the Houmas House Plantation and Gardens situated between Baton Rogue and New Orleans. Although I was familiar with the Southern Plantations of yesteryear, I was astonished at the beauty and mystic of this now thirty-two acre estate with it’s five hundred year old oaks, scenic bridges, and pathways that crisscross the former sugar plantation. Some of my blog today will be facts as I interpreted them during our tour.
Warning: This is a bit longer blog than I usual do, but there’s just too much to tell you all and I want you to enjoy my adventure.
French Explorer LaSalle first landed at this site in 1682 and described The Houmas Indians and the great herds of bison on the river banks surrounding the Houmas Village. By the 1720’s, French settlers acquired a Spanish Land Grant and were living there amongst the indigenous Indians, in the fertile plain between the Mississippi and Lake Maurepas to the north.
The Houmas sold the land to Alexander Latil in the mid 1700’s and he immediately began construction of the two story brick dwelling (now the rear wing of the mansion). Wade Hampton, the largest sugar producer in Louisiana and the largest slave holder in the South, built the present mansion in the late 1820’s, making Houmas House one of the first great columned mansions on the Mississippi River.
The original French Provincial house erected by Latil is situated directly behind the “Mansion”, adjoined by a carriageway to the grand home described during its antebellum heyday as “The SugarPalace.” The original home was later used as living quarters for the staff that served the great house. The day we were there, they were having a wedding, so we had lunch in the beautiful Café Burnside overlooking the beautiful fountain and gardens.
In 1810, Revolutionary War hero General Wade Hampton of Virginia purchased the property and shortly thereafter began construction on the Mansion. It wasn’t until 1825 when Hampton’s daughter, Caroline, and her husband, Col. John Preston, took over the property that the grand house truly began to take shape.
Irishman John Burnside, assumed ownership of the plantation in the mid-1850’s for a whopping $1 million. After purchasing the property, he began accumulating sugar cane plantations and became the largest sugar planter in America, boasting over 300,000 acres giving him the title “The Sugar Prince of Louisiana”. A businessman and a character, Burnside increased production of sugar until Houmas House was the largest producer in the country, actively working the crop on 98,000 acres. During the Civil War, Burnside saved the Mansion from destruction at the hands of advancing Union forces by declaring immunity as a subject of the British Crown. In addition to building a railway to carry his products to market —“The Sugar Cane Train (1862)” — Burnside, a bachelor, is also said to have offered payment to any parents in the parish who would name their sons “John.”
An avid sportsman who wagered heavily in horse races, Burnside once secretly purchased a champion thoroughbred back East with the intent of defeating the steeds of fellow local businessmen in a big race. He quietly slipped the racehorse into the billiard room of the Mansion where it was “stabled” until Burnside’s surprise was unveiled at the starting line and hailed in the winner’s circle.
Houmas House flourished under Burnside’s ownership, but it was under a successor, Col. Williams Porcher Miles that the plantation grew to its apex in the late 1800’s when it was producing a monumental 20 millions pounds of sugar each year.
In 1927, the Mississippi roared out of its banks in the epic “great flood.” While Houmas House was spared, the surrounding areas were inundated. I learned on the tour that there was originally a tunnel of ancient trees that rose from the banks of the Mississippi up to the Houmas House, thus creating a wind tunnel and kept the house cool. After the flood, many of these trees were destroyed and a levee was built to protect the property.
The plantation then withered away, fell into disrepair, and closed. It remained that way until 1940 when Dr. George B. Crozat purchased it to be a summer home away from his native New Orleans. He renovated the property with the intent to give it a more “Federal” look than the stately Greek Revival style in which it was conceived. The structure was painted white inside and out. Crown moldings and ceiling medallions were removed and both interior and exterior forms and finishes were simplified.
Eventually, the Crozat heirs opened the property to tourists. In 1963, the defining Bette Davis film Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte was shot on the property. The room in which Ms. Davis stayed while filming is preserved as part of today’s Houmas House tour.
When New Orleans businessman and preservationist Kevin Kelly fulfilled a lifelong dream by purchasing the home in early summer, 2003, he set about recreating the experience of encountering Houmas House circa 1840. He still resides on the property.
There were a few things I’ll never forget and one would have to see to visualize. The mansion’s faux marble exterior is painted in rich ochre which reflects the influence of Mediterranean villas owned by the wealthy Europeans that the southern planters emulated. The belvedere that crowns the house has been restored, and interior features and finishes have been reinstalled in their original form. The twin Garconierre that distinguish the property have been renovated, and the central hallway of the grand house bears a room-size mural with a sugar cane motif that characterizes the original entryway artwork common in many plantation homes along the Mississippi.
But, the most interesting of all to me from a writer’s view point is Col. John Preston’s 1847 Louisiana Census Map by LaTourette that was found in the attic in the 1980’s. Yes, 1980’s! It was preserved because it was stored in native cypress, which is totally unaffected by moisture, varmints, including termites, and other elements that would have destroyed it. According to our tour guide, if this map had gotten into the hands of the Union they would have known the location of every plantation in Louisiana, but without it all they could do was guess and roam around the bayous and swamps. It’s my opinion, with my writer’s imagination, that very likely this is the reason the Civil War didn’t reach Texas until a month after the war was over.
Oh by the way, I learned from our tour guide that the men were not being rude when they ascended the stairs ahead of the women, but were being gentlemen, as it would be inappropriate for them to view the ankles of the women as they had to lift their skirts to go up the stairs. Very inappropriate. Also, if a Southern Belle’s petticoats were showing, they were told “It’s snowing down South”. I don’t want to tell my age, but I can remember being told that when we wore can-can petticoats.
I wonder in this picture, if Miss Scarlett knew it was snowing down South?
I’d love to hear about the most interesting house you’ve ever visited.
To two lucky readers who leaves a comment, I will send you your choice of an iBook of
trade size copy of my latest Kasota Spring Romance “Out of a Texas Night”.
The old West had a shortage of everything except hard times and backbreaking work and there was sure plenty of that. Pioneer women took extra pains with all their belongings and to lose something as small as a button really was difficult to take.
Buttons have been around approximately 4,000 years with its history dating back to Egypt. Archeologists have unearthed them in ancient tombs and in archeological digs.
At first buttons were used entirely for decoration. Men and women both wore buttons to adorn themselves. King Louis XIV of France spent $600,000 a year on buttons and King Francis I once had 13,600 buttons sewn to a single coat. The First Duke of Buckingham had a suit and cloak covered in diamond buttons. Talk about extravagant.
From ancient times, buttons have been fashioned from pearls, shells, glass, metal, wood, bone and antler, precious stones, porcelain, and leather among other materials. It appears that our ancestors made buttons from everything imaginable that was available at the time. Buttons with images of angels on them date back hundreds of years.
But buttons were not just for clothing. They could be found on purses, bracelets, belts, and shoes and still can today. Early buttons showed beautiful artistry. Artists filled their time painting portraits and scenery on them. Europe became so button crazy the church denounced them as “the devil’s snare,” mainly because of women’s front-buttoned dresses. Ridiculous I know. Even the Puritans condemned buttons as sinful.
No one is quite sure when someone came along and fashioned the first buttonhole, but it was quite an accomplishment. Everyone jumped on the button wagon. It was so nice to able to make form-fitting garments that didn’t have to be secured with a belt, hooks, or other devices.
Sadly, decorative buttons have become a lost art. Today, most buttons are mass produced from inexpensive plastic.
Button collecting began in the 1930’s. The National Button Society was formed in 1938. There are thousands of collectors today. People collect all kinds and shapes and some of the prices fetched for a single button is outrageous. Recently, a button was sold in auction for $850. People are serious about their buttons.
The Smithsonian Institution has an extensive button collection as do many other museums.
Did you know that March13-19 is National Button Week?
Most of us have buttons somewhere, either in jars or in sewing baskets. I have a zip lock bag full of buttons that I’ve cut off clothes before I toss them in the trash. I always think I’ll need one for something.
A friend of mine plays a game of buttons with her grandchildren. She lets them choose from her button collection then tells them some wild story about where it came from and who wore it. The more outrageous story the better. Their eyes grow wide as they listen to the tales she weaves.
Do you have a stash of buttons? I have some very pretty decorative ones. Can you imagine wearing a piece of clothing that has over 13,000 buttons sewn on it?
Hey, y’all. I’m Christian author, Caryl McAdoo. First, I have to say I’m so thrilled to be here at Petticoats & Pistols! A big thank you to Karen Witemeyer for the invite! Y’all have such a great group of readers here!
While doing research for my Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga, I ran across a very interesting incident that some say was a catalyst to the start of the Civil War, and it happened right there in Dallas, Texas where I lived until age twelve. That’s when we moved to Irving, one of the suburb cities to the west, between Big D and Fort Worth.
I set GONE TO TEXAS, book one in the series, in 1840 along the Delaware Creek that would become Irving. It took me five books in to get to 1860, just before the Civil War began, so that I could use the Dallas incident, but it inspired the title of book five TEXAS TROUBLE that debuted on September first!
The September addition to that series always also is in the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection—this year is its third, so Collection Three! Heather Blanton, Donna Schlachter, and Kim Grist wrote CAROLINA HOMECOMING, A PINK LADY’S THANKSGIVING, and MAGNOLIA’S MEASURE, respectively for the stories that all contain a very special Thanksgiving!
It was in one of those extra hot summers where the temperatures burned over a hundred degrees for days on end. I lived through a summer like that in 1980, but back in 1860 they had no air conditioning. Poor people. TEXAS TROUBLES opens with two young friends about to go into a barn dance.
While one of the young ladies had never said it aloud, the other spread the news to anyone who would listen that she loves Aaron Van Zandt, but he’d accepted a new position as a cotton buyer for a company in Richmond, and would be soon leaving the little community.
Cass had to figure out a way to persuade him to marry her before he left, and she hoped for her friend’s assistance!
You see, Josie Jo Worley (born in book one GONE TO TEXAS) happened to be the sister of Aaron’s best friend. But her problem was that she loved the dashing Mister Van Zandt as well—had for as long as she could remember, and she’d grown since birth in his shadow. Cass was a relative new resident there, and while JoJo loved her best friend, she couldn’t bring herself to be any part of marrying him off to anyone else!
So, the second fly in the proverbial ointment is that JoJo’s brother loves Cassandra. It happened so often in those days, that neighbors and friends’ brothers or sisters wed. The distances between folks greatly limited the pool of beaus or beauties. It wasn’t so common, though, that a widower fell in love with his dead wife’s sister . . . What would people think?
In TEXAS TROUBLES readers not only get a wonderful overview of the country’s one war—hardly civil at all—where Americans fought Americans. Reviewers say the story gives an excellent rendering of what it was like for those left behind, and so far, have given it one hundred percent five-star ratings!
It shows how the women kept things going at home. How they drew ever closer to God, praying for their husbands, sons, and sweethearts day after day, knowing nothing. How they poured over the lists printed the newspapers of those fallen, wounded, missing in action, or taken prisoner. Not every man who left the close-knit community would come home.
Aaron ended up signing on with the South. The Confederates’ headquarters centered there in Richmond. His best friend, Richard Worley, more like a brother since they grew up together since birth fought for the Yanks.
Following most of those in the conservative community, he joined up with the Federalists, putting the almost-brothers on opposite sides of the battlefields.
The costs of war proved high. Four years of civil war drained the American economy in both the North and the South, and the cost of human life . . . more than six hundred thousand perished, and at least that many or more wounded. Limbs lost and horrors seen changed the men’s lives forever, and doctors didn’t know about PTSD then.
I purposely skirted the horrors of the war, mostly it’s told through letters back and forth from the men and the women who love them. But it’s chock full of history, and I loved the research! One fun thing I learned was that they didn’t manufacture shoes specifically for the right and left foot. Until the Civil War, they were all the same!
Anyone who loves history will enjoy this story and get two romances for the price of one! Readers will live with those left behind. I’ve been so blessed in my life not to have been any part of war. My husband Ron signed up for the navy reserves when we were still in high school and then after we married, but got a honorable dependency discharge when I got pregnant. He would have gone to Vietnam. But God . . .
Has war touched your life?
Brothers are for conflict; and he who finds a wife has found a good thing.
Through the first battle to the end of the Civil war, partners Aaron Van Zandt and Rich Worley fought on opposite sides. The women who loved them lived in prayer and learned to trust God even more to stay sane. While their fellows fought each other, best friends Josie Jo Worley and Cass Andrews battle jealousy, worry, and regret. Experience the war as one who’s left behind. See how they cope. Readers aren’t able to stop turning the pages.
GIVEAWAY: I love giving and especially books! To enter for the opportunity to receive a copy of TEXAS TROUBLES, please comment below whether your life was ever touched by war, and whether you’re a new reader to my stories or have enjoyed some before! BLESSINGS!
GAME: And for those of you who love word games, check this one out! So much fun! PUZZLE
BIO: Award-winning hybrid author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory. Her best-selling novels have garnered over 1000 5-Star reviews, attesting to the Father’s high favor. Readers love her Historical Christian romance family sagas best, but she also writes Christian contemporary romance, Biblical fiction, and for young adults and mid-grade booklovers. They count Caryl’s characters as 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 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.
And a happy Tuesday to you! Hope y’all are doing well and I hope you’ll find the blog today fascinating.
Don’t know if I’ve mentioned that I’ll be giving away the free e-book, WAR CLOUD’S PASSION today, thus, I’ll do it here at the start of today’s blog. Today’s blog could be a bit long, so let’s get right to it.
In my last blog last month, I tried to give an overview and an idea of how Pocahontas came to be familiar with the English colonists and how they had come to know her. If you missed that post, you can do a search under “The Abduction and Murder of Pocahontas,” and it will come up for you to read.
Okay, that said, let’s look at where I left off in my last post, which was with Pocahontas coming of age and I promised to tell you about her marriage to Kocoum, as well as her abduction by a few of the colonists, and the rather sordid details of her subsequent marriage to John Rolfe. It may take me more than this post to fill in all those holes. But let’s at least start with how she might have met her husband, Kocoum.
In the Powhatan society, a young girl and boy’s coming of age is celebrated, and it was no different for Pocahontas. However, because there was a rumor of an abduction planned for Pocahontas, her ceremony was limited to special friends and family only. There is a special dance called the courtship dance during which male warriors search the dancers for a mate. This is probably where their courtship began. After a time, they were married. Kocoum was an elite warrior. He was among 50 of the top warriors that guarded the capital of the Powhatan confederacy. He was also the younger brother of Wahunsenaca’s, a friend of Pocahontas’ father, Chief Japazaw. Because the priests (called quiakros) feared that the colonists plotted to kidnap Pocahontas, the couple went to live in Kocoum’s home, which was isolated from the colonists and farther north. She was, in fact, being hidden from the English. Kocoum and Pocahontas had a child, little Kocoum, a boy. It was Captain Samuel Argall, an English colonist, who accomplished the feat of kidnapping Pocahontas.
Please excuse me as I pause from my story momentarily to tell you of a movie I once watched where it rendered that Pocahontas and her father had a falling out and that he had banished her from the tribe, thus she had taken up with the English. Nothing could be further from the truth. Pocahontas was a princess, dearly beloved by her father. She was also married to Kocoum and had a child by him. Never would she have been banished from the tribe. That movie did nothing but further the false information about this very brave woman. That said, back to Captain Argall. Why did he wish to capture Pocahontas? Why did he take such extreme measures, for he certainly did. Once he had learned of her hiding place, he gathered together not only men, but weapons and arms to attempt her capture. But why?
Let’s speculate. Do you remember from my previous post that the English colonists were looting the Powhatan villages of their stores of food. They were also raping their women and children and oftentimes stealing their women and children in order to make them servants for the English. Sometimes I wonder at the foolishness of sending only men to the colonies. It only courted trouble. But I digress. Perhaps he simply wanted her as his woman. But I don’t think so. I think the reason is much more complex and includes money and greed. The Powhatan had many diverse and rich agricultural fields. There were no trees to cut, no land to clear. In order to take the land, all the colonists had to do was destroy the village and take the land — it seemed this was considered easier than clearing the land. This the colonists did and they expected retribution from the very powerful Powhatan tribe because of it. The tribe might have done this. But they chose not to because Wahunsenaca considered the English a branch of his tribe. Though the abuses were numerous, he still sought other ways to deal with the problem, rather than killing the colonists outright.
Through trickery and deceit, Captain Argall managed to get Pocahontas onto his ship. She was supposed to be returned. She never was. She was held for ransom. What Captain Argall demanded from Pocohontas’ father was: a) the return of English weapons that had been taken from Jamestown, b) the return of the English prisoners Washunsenaca held captive and c) a shipment of corn. Washunsenaca paid the ransom at once. In fact Argall writes of the transaction in his log in 1613, “This news much grieved this great king (Wahunsenaca), yet without delay he returned the messenger with this answer, that he desired me to use his daughter well, and bring my ship into his river (Pamunkey), and there he would give me my demands; which being performed, I should deliver him his daugher, and we should be friends.” Although Wahunsenaca quickly carried out the ransom demands, Pocahontas was never released. According to the book, THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTAS, by Dr. Linwood “little Bear” Custalow and Angela L. Daniel “Silver Star,” “…oral history states that before Argall took sail (back to Jamestown), several of Argall’s men returned to Pocahontas’ home and killed her husband, Kocoum.” It was tradition that he would have come for her and rescued her, something that Argall could not permit. Little Kocoum survived because upon Pocahontas’ capture, he was put into the care of several of the women of the tribe. As an aside, there are still many descendents of Kocoum who are alive and well to this day. You may again wonder why the Powhatan didn’t retaliate. Part of that is Pocahontas’s father’s fear for her life if he were to do so, the other reason he didn’t attack is because of a tribal custom — part of the cultural foundation of the tribe, which was that of appeasing evil. If one could, one always sought a balance between submitting to evil demands and preventing the loss of life. Even so, the quiakros (priests) of the tribe advised a swift retaliation, but Wahunsenaca would not do it, fearing for his daughter’s life.
One of Pocahontas’ elder sisters, Mattachanna, and her husband, Uttamattamakin, who was also a priest, were allowed to visit Pocahontas during her captivity. Oral tradition is very distinct on the fact that Pocahontas confided that she had been raped and worse, she suspected she was pregnant. Again, rape was unheard of in Powhatan society. Interestingly, shortly after this confession to her sister, Pocahontas was quickly converted to Christianity in order to rush her into marriage. At this time, it would have been inconceivable for a Christian man to marry anyone who was not Christian. It is also supposed that Sir Thomas Dale was actually the biological father of Pocahontas’s child, since, according to scholars William M.S. Rasmussen and Robert S. Tilton, it was Thomas Dale who was most closely linked to Pocahontas during her kidnapping. Note also that her son’s name was not “John,” but rather “Thomas.” It would also explain why Rolfe (who was secretary of the colony at the time) did not record the birth of Thomas.
Was the marriage one of love? Oral history casts doubt on this. She had just lost her husband, was separated from the father she loved, had given birth to a child from an incident she described as rape, and was rushed into marriage in order to make it appear that the birth had taken place after the marriage. Plus, she was not free to live her own life. She could not come and go as her leisure. Did John Rolfe love her? In a letter to Dale, Rolfe refers to her as a “creature,” not a “woman.” But regardless, whether they loved one another or not, they were married and Rolfe became the heir to the friendliness of the Powhatan people, which included their knowledge of the tobacco plant and how it was processed. Here is where the unsavory aspects of money and greed enter into the equation. The Virgina company wasn’t doing well. There was no gold in the New World, there was no silver, no gems, nothing to make the venture successful. There just had to some way to make the colony prosperous. Would the tobacco plant become their claim to fame?
It seems likely that this might have been their intentions. Rolfe had left England in 1609 with the goal of making a profit growing and processing tobacco. He arrived in 1610 and for three years, he had been unsuccessful at both growing the tobacco and in the processing of it. The year 1616 was the “deadline for the initial investments in the Virginia colony.” From the book THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTAS, it appears that time was running out. The colony was failing. And Rolfe’s crop was failing. Thus, Rolfe himself was failing. What was he to do?
Stay tuned. We’ve gone over her abduction now. Next month, I hope to answer the questions of what possible motive John Rolfe, Captain Argall and Thomas Dale might have had for kidnapping Pocohontas. And then marrying her. Then there’s the question of who killed her? And why? What could her death have accomplished? Most of all, however, how was the deed accomplished and covered up so thoroughly? To the point where it was believed that she had died of small pox?
So come on back next month for the conclusion of The Murder and Abduction of Pocohontas.
Am hoping that you’ll come in an tell me your thoughts about this very real American legend.
Did you know the U.S. Marshal did far more than protect the Wild West from outlaws? These courageous men—in addition to wrangling criminals to justice—also delivered writs, subpoenas, served warrants, made other arrests, and transferred prisoners. Sometimes they were given special missions, too.
They paid attorneys, clerks, jurors, and witnesses if fees were due. They were known to go into the street and recruit jurors. I can hear some farmer about town, eyeing the marshal as he held a firm hand on his holster, sporting a shiny badge. The farmer might nod real slow as he considered his options and say, “Uh, yes indeed, Marshal Everett, I reckon purchasing a new hat for the Missus can wait until after we decide on a hangin’ or not.”
1880’s U.S. Marshal badge,
photo courtesy of the U.S. Marshal website.
Marshals also hired bailiffs, janitors, and usually their own deputies. Sometimes they’d fill the water pitchers in the courtroom to allow attorneys and judges to concentrate on the cases. They traversed rural areas gathering census information, as well. One account I read involved a U.S. Marshal chasing a drunk through town and on for miles, and finally, over a fence out in the countryside. Sometimes presidents even needed marshals to become involved in acts of espionage.
Much of the west was governed by circuit judges holding court perhaps twice or thrice a year, often in a town some distance from the jail. Marshals were responsible for prisoners until the court date. It could be a mighty long wait for both the marshals and prisoners.
Although the marshal hero in Lydia’s Lot is busy capturing outlaws and winning over a bride once forbidden to pursue, my research beckoned me to consider the time these lawmen spent in other capacities. My active imagination led me to decide U.S. Marshal Heath Everett might have a companion dog to assist with holding down the field office and aiding in the capture of gun-slinging outlaws—which naturally made me think Heath would want a glorious hunting friend, such as the red Irish setter.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Loyal, friendly, and intelligent, did you know the Irish setter is a fine hunting and companion dog? They were ideal for the prairie with their long, wiry, and bony frames. When trained properly, they will point out grouse, pheasant, turkey, or other wild game to their masters (possibly outlaws, too)—and all with the wave of a hand, and little or no verbal command required.
They will hunch down quietly on all fours, front paws stretched out ahead while the master aims the shotgun and fires directly over their heads at prey. The master will then reward him with a generous portion of the quail, fish, or hunting game this amazing breed helps to secure. However, don’t take a harsh tone with this breed. The setter will never forget it.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
When did the Irish setter arrive on the western frontier? This is debatable, but we know they became wildly popular in America. According to the first pure-bred dog registry in the U.S., “Elcho” became the first Irish setter imported by Charles Turner in 1870. He sired 197 puppies! Several presidents had famous setters, including Truman’s setter, Mike; Reagan’s setter, Peggy; and Nixon’s setter, King Timahoe.
Readers inspired the name Fitzgerald Murphy (nicknamed Fitz) for the Irish setter in Lydia’s Lot. Fitz plays a significant role alongside Heath. You’ll also find some entertaining outlaws and a sub-plot in the novel.
To win a paperback copy of Lydia’s Lot, comment with what kind of mayhem an unrefined mail-order bride matched to a young preacher might be up to in my next historical western. I’d love to hear from you.
Forbidden to marry Heath, the one man she truly loves, Lydia Catherine Hayden, an American heiress from Boston, boards a train and heads west to become a mail-order bride when matchmaker, Milly Crenshaw, introduces her to Wyatt from Iowa. Five years have gone by, and she isn’t interested in any of the society gentlemen of whom her father would approve. Her love for Heath has turned to a mild hate since hearing he married someone else.
When the Wild Whitman Gang involved in an Iowa train robbery use orphans traveling west as human shields to make their escape, they converge on Lydia’s marriage ceremony to Wyatt, killing him and abducting the heiress in the process. Things don’t seem to be going well for the architect’s daughter and she’s in a heap of trouble.
When Heath, now a widowed U.S. Marshal in Des Moines, returns home to Boston to visit family, he decides to sign up for Milly Crenshaw’s mail-order bride agency services in hopes of settling down and becoming a farmer. After Milly learns Lydia is now widowed and being held captive somewhere in Iowa with seven orphans from New York City, she pulls Heath into the case, urging him to find her, and marry her if possible. But first, he has to track down one of the most notorious, dangerous, gun-slinging gangs the Wild West has ever known. Then, he has to win Lydia’s heart all over again, if he isn’t shot and killed first in the process.
The Oregon Trail was a route from Missouri to Oregon spanning about 2000 miles, and deemed too difficult for women and children until 1836 when the first white woman, 28-year-old Narcissa Whitman, crossed the Rockies with her newly-wedded husband (proving that women are tougher than believed!). Still, it wasn’t until over half of a decade later that the “Great Migration” really began, setting thousands out on this journey to the west. By the early 1850s upwards of 50,000 people traveled this trail every year!
While the journey was not easy and not everyone arrived at their destination, statistics show only around 400 settlers were killed by natives between 1840 and 1860. Cholera and other diseases presented much greater risks (they estimate 20,000 died in all).
But what if someone became lost from their group? That is the question that pestered me as I drove through the Rockies several years ago. A woman, maybe a pregnant woman, lost from the trail and her wagon train late in the season. That was the birth of Heart of a Warrior, my new release.
The Man She Fears Is Her Only Chance For Survival . . .
All Christina Astle wants is to reach Oregon before her baby is born, but the wagon train is attacked, and her husband killed, stranding her in a mountain labyrinth. Raised in the East, within civilization’s embrace, survival is not a skill she’s learned. Neither is evading the lone warrior dogging her trail.
Disgusted by the greed and cruelty of men like his white father, Towan has turned to the simpler existence of his mother’s tribal people. He is not prepared for the fiery woman who threatens to upturn his entire life … and his heart.
For More Info or To Purchase, check out the following links:
So how about you? Have you ever found yourself lost? How did you react? Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.
To keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after four—soon to be five!—munchkins. http://email@example.com
So, did you put it together yet? Okay, shall we compare times? Now, before I tell you how long it took me to put the puzzle together, be aware that I am not puzzle-oriented. Okay? It took me 11 minutes and 54 seconds — and that was after I called my husband, Paul (who loves puzzles) to come and help me. I seem, also, to be alone in my lack of tolerance and working over puzzles. Both my daughters, my grandchildren, my husband, his mother, his sister, etc. etc. — all love puzzles and put them together (really hard ones) in no time at all.
Would love to hear your time.
So here’s the multiple choice question: Is the cover?
** RED HAWK’S WOMAN
** THE LAST WARRIOR
** THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF
Thanks so much for coming here today and for playing the game with me. Know that if you leave a comment, you are automatically entered into the drawing that will take place at the end of the week. (All Petticoats and Pistols rules for Giveaways apply.)
Thanks for playing and have a super rest of the week…lots of fun!