Today I’m blogging about my new historical romance series, Brides with Grit. Set in the Ellsworth, Kansas area during 1873, the town’s top cattle drive year, these sweet western romances combine sweet clean love stories with cowtown history.
I also live close, so it was handy for me to explore the area, and envision the vast herds of cattle that dotted the hills almost a century and a half ago.
One can find a vast amount of information on the internet about the cattle drives which went through Kansas in the 1870’s. Here’s some interesting tidbits, written by F. B Streeter in 1935, for an article in the Kansas Historical Quarterly.
As a means of advertising the new trail and the shipping points on the line, the Kansas Pacific issued a pamphlet and map entitled, Guide Map of the Great Texas Cattle Trail from Red River Crossing to the Old Reliable Kansas Pacific Railway. The writer has located only two editions of this pamphlet: one issued in 1872, the other in 1875. To quote from the 1875 edition:
Drovers are recommended to make Ellis, Russell, Wilson’s, Ellsworth and Brookville the principal points for their cattle for the following reasons: Freedom from petty annoyances of settlers, arising from the cattle trespassing upon cultivated fields, because there is wider range, an abundance of grass and water, increased shipping facilities and extensive yard accommodations. Large and commodious hotels may be found in all these places, and at Ellsworth, especially, the old “Drovers’ cottage,” so popular with the trade for years, will be found renovated and enlarged.
Ellsworth became the principal shipping point for Texas cattle on the Kansas Pacific Railroad in 1872. The first three droves of longhorns that season arrived in Ellsworth early in June. These droves numbered 1,000 head each. Two weeks later a total of twenty-eight herds, numbering from 1,000 to 6,000 head each, had arrived and many more were on the way. The fresh arrivals contained a total of 58,850 head of longhorns. These, together with over 40,000 head which had wintered in the county, made a total of more than 100,000 head of Texas cattle in Ellsworth county.
That season 40,161 head were transported from Ellsworth, or one fourth of the total number marketed over the Kansas Pacific…Besides those shipped by rail from Ellsworth, about 50,000 head were driven to California and the territories from that place. In the months of June and July more than 100,000 head of beef and stock cattle changed hands at Ellsworth. Drovers found buyers on their arrival, enabling them to close out at a good price and return to their homes.
The prices paid for cattle that season were as follows: $19 to $22 for beeves; $15 to $18 for three-year-olds; $9 to $10 for two-year olds; $12 for cows; and $6 for yearlings.
My first thought on reading this? Wow! That’s a lot of cattle to surround the little town.
My second? Dust, manure and flies…and a good setting for a western romance…
The first three books in the eight book series are available now on Amazon, and more titles will be released during the year. Here’s the titles and taglines for the first five books.
Rania Ropes a Rancher – Book 1
She can ride, rope, handle livestock and children—and he wants her as his ranch wife. But will danger rip them apart, or rope them together?
Millie Marries a Marshal – Book 2
This mail-order bride arrives to find out her groom has died! So, she moves into the town marshal’s house—and into his heart.
Hilda Hogties a Horseman – Book 3
She bought his homestead out from under him with her horse race winnings…and now he wants it back.
Cora Captures a Cowboy – Book 4
She has just days to convince the cowboy into marrying her, or its back to Boston as another man’s bride.”
Sarah Snares a Soldier – Book 5
She leaves her groom at the altar, because there’s a soldier who has snared her heart. But can she catch him as he marches away?
* * *
Sound interesting? I’ve had fun writing these stories, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading them too—without having to worry about the dust, manure and flies…
What’s your first thought when you hear the words “cattle drive?”
Please leave a comment for a chance to win one of two Kindle copies of Rania Ropes a Rancher.
Many thanks from the Kansas prairie…
where I’m writing love stories for you to enjoy