Monday, May 30, 2011

WE NEVER SLEEP...Allan Pinkerton and the Pinkerton National Detective Agency

By: Ashley Kath-Bilsky

Long before Sherlock Holmes became a glimmer in the imagination of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, another Scotsman had achieved fame and fortune as a legendary detective and the founder of a national detective agency that became as famous for their skill as their slogan, “We Never Sleep”…not to mention the nickname that emerged based on their logo…the Private Eye.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland on 25 August 1819, Allan J. Pinkerton was the son of William Pinkerton and Isobel McQueen. William Pinkerton died when his son was eight years old—an event that resulted in grave poverty for the family and caused Allan to quit school and help support the family by working in a pattern-making shop. Eventually, as he grew older, Pinkerton found work as a cooper, but the plight of his widowed mother and the working class in general greatly influenced the mindset of Allan Pinkerton.

He became involved with the British Chartist Movement—a group of political and social reformists who believed the working class should have the same rights as everyone else, especially concerning the right to vote. Often considered radicals, Pinkerton’s involvement led to a warrant for his arrest. In 1842, after secretly marrying Joan Carfrae, Allan and his bride set sail for America. Then only 23 years old, he settled in Chicago, Illinois. He relocated to nearby Kane County and the town of Dundee in 1843, where he opened shop as a cooper.

Here is where what I like to consider one’s path of destiny appears. While minding his own business, cutting wood for his cooper business—on a deserted nearby island no less—Allan Pinkerton happened to come upon a gang of counterfeiters. The key information he provided the law helped lead to the gang’s capture. Before long, the young Pinkerton had played a key role in bringing other criminals to justice. It came as no surprise to locals when Allan J. Pinkerton was named Deputy Sheriff of Kane County in 1846. Having heard of his intellect, skill, and bravery, Cook County solicited his services. Pinkerton was appointed Deputy Sheriff of Cook County based in Chicago, and in 1849, he became the first detective in the city of Chicago.

Realizing the great need for other trained detectives, Pinkerton resigned from the police in 1850 and started his own detective agency with Edward Rucker, a Chicago attorney. Originally called the North-Western Police Agency, Pinkerton’s partnership with Rucker would end in 1851. He then joined forces with his brother, Robert, who had also formed a detective agency called Pinkerton & Co. With Allan on board, the company became known as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency and specialized in railroad theft cases.

Among the techniques invented by Pinkerton (and still used today) were secret surveillance, known as shadowing, and assuming a fictitious identity, better known as undercover work. In addition to running the business and training agents, Pinkerton always seemed to have an uncanny knack for being at the right place at the right time. In fact, his intelligence and skill for gleaning secret information became world-renowned when he thwarted an attempt to assassinate president-elect, Abraham Lincoln. Impressed by Pinkerton, President Lincoln hired the master detective and several of his agents as personal security during the Civil War. Agents also worked as Confederate sympathizes…and even soldiers. Pinkerton himself often went on many undercover spy missions.

[Pictured left: Allan Pinkerton, President Abraham Lincoln, and Maj. Gen. George McClellan]

After the Civil War ended, Pinkerton returned to Chicago and detective work at the agency he co-owned with his brother. When Robert died in 1868, Allan ran the company alone, although his sons, William and Robert, started working with him. A year later, in 1869, Allan Pinkerton suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. As he struggled to regain his health, his sons and the sons of his deceased brother worked together to run the agency. Unfortunately, in-fighting and rivalry caused problems and the agency suffered, internally and financially. As best he could, Allan Pinkerton tried to bring order back to the business.

Throughout his life, Pinkerton admitted he was difficult to work for…and live with...but he strived to be just and honest. Without question, he was also a shrewd businessman. I think a perfect example of this is when disaster struck Chicago on 07October 1871, otherwise remembered the Great Fire.

For three days the fire raged. In the aftermath, among the businesses destroyed was the Pinkerton building and most of the agency’s records. Financial ruin and the fate of the agency threatened. On the work front, agents were being hired to prevent looting in a city under martial law. On the home front, the widow and children of his brother (and former partner) were homeless. When his sister-in-law asked Pinkerton for financial assistance, he encouraged her to return to Great Britain, offering to pay for the journey. Mrs. Alice Pinkerton and her sons accepted the offer. A benevolent gesture or shrewd business decision? One thing is certain. Allan Pinkerton was well aware he needed to focus on re-establishing his business and wanted no more in-fighting with relatives. The departure of Alice and her sons left Pinkerton and his sons with complete control of the agency.

Allan Pinkerton disliked failure of any kind, so much so that when a railroad contract ended because his agents had failed to capture outlaw Jesse James, Pinkerton continued to track Jesse at his own expense. One might say he became obsessed with capturing Jesse James. The animosity between Pinkerton and James escalated, especially on 05 Jan 1875. Though it is believed the tactic was authorized by his sons, Pinkerton agents tossed an iron torch inside a house where they believed Jesse was living. The act caused an explosion resulting in the arm of Jesse’s mother to be blown off. For the first time it was difficult for the public to tell the good guy from the bad guy. Needless to say, Jesse James wanted revenge and went to Chicago to kill Allan Pinkerton. According to history, Jesse (and his loaded gun) looked for Allan Pinkerton for four months. Jesse obviously didn’t take into account he was dealing with a former Union spy and perhaps the most skilled detective in the world at that time. Finally, Jesse gave up and left town.

Even without getting Jesse James, under the leadership of Allan Pinkerton, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency grew in stature and became not only the most famous detective agency in the United States, but world renowned. It was not unusual for other countries to seek the services of Allan Pinkerton and his agents. The agency was often hired by the US government to handle cases that are now assigned to the CIA, FBI and Secret Service. In fact, Pinkerton’s impressive techniques and efforts at uncovering military intelligence during the Civil War became a major contributing factor to the establishment of the United States Intelligence Service, today known as the Secret Service.

Pinkerton agents increased not only by reputation but in number, and were often considered an army unto themselves. Their services were so highly sought after throughout the United States, they were authorized to carry firearms wherever they went. At the height of the agency’s notoriety, it was well-known that Pinkerton employed more detectives than the standing army of the United States. To say the State of Ohio found this fact rather intimidating is an understatement; they actually outlawed the agency, fearing a company of that size and skill could be hired as a private army.

In the late 1870s, Allan Pinkerton’s health continued to deteriorate. Under the leadership of his two sons, the agency continued to experience criticism, primarily because agents had been retained to investigate and stop militant labor unions. When you remember that as a young man back in Scotland, Allan Pinkerton worked for the rights of workers and had himself been a Chartist, something doesn’t sound right about his agents fighting labor unions that were supposed to help mine workers. Yet, when criticized—particularly during the famous Molly Maguires movement in Pennsylvania—Pinkerton maintained his company was trying to help the workers fight oppressive, violent labor unions that used terrorism to get their demands met.

By the end of his life, Pinkerton’s attention was focused on creating a procedure that consolidated criminal information and photographs called the Rogues Gallery that would, in turn, be shared with other law enforcement agencies. In fact, when the FBI was established they used many of Allan Pinkerton’s procedures, including his ID database. Pinkerton also wrote 18 books, including The Spy of the Rebellion (1883), which detailed Lincoln’s 1861 journey to Washington.

Allan Pinkerton died in 1884; he was 64 years old. It was not until three years later in 1887 when the fictitious Sherlock Holmes made his brilliant debut in A Study in Scarlet, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In May 2000, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency donated an archive of “rare and once-secret files, photographs, drawings and documents on Jesse James, the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, the Missouri Kid and Butch Cassidy” to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. In 2001, Pinkerton and Burns International merged, becoming part of the Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., “the largest security services provider in the world”.

On a personal note, I have always held a great fascination and appreciation for Pinkerton detectives. You see, my great-grandfather was a Pinkerton agent who worked for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, also known as the KATY. He was one of many undercover detectives who worked to prevent and/or stop train robberies. In fact, the handsome hero in my western historical romance, Whisper in the Wind, is a Pinkerton detective inspired by my ancestor. Featured left is a photograph taken in the late 1870s of my handsome great-grandfather (seated) and his partner. [Note: This image is copyrighted by me, and cannot be reproduced or used without written authorization.] Years later, after leaving the Pinkertons, he would work as a detective for the Dallas Police Department.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found my post of interest. ~ AKB

Sources:
Thirty Years A Detective by Allan Pinkerton
Allan Pinkerton: The First Private Eye by James Mackay
Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations

Friday, May 27, 2011

JASON'S ANGEL from A HISTORICAL COLLECTION


Hi everyone! I just wanted to share with you all what a great month May has been for me! I have had two short stories released this month with Victory Tales Press. Today I wanted to tell you about the one that appears in A HISTORICAL COLLECTION, an anthology that I’m in along with Karen Michelle Nutt (The Devil’s Wolf), Kate Kindle (A Tale From the Red Chest), and Miriam Newman (Deirdre). These stories all take place in different historical settings and time periods. My story, Jason’s Angel, is set in the final days of the War Between the States.

Writing Jason’s Angel wasn’t easy. My conundrum was the fact that for me, the Civil War was such a tragic time in our history that I wasn’t sure if I could see that my characters reached their “Happily Ever After” ending that I wanted them to have. The only way I could see to do that in this case was to make Sabrina Patrick’s compassion so great that she saw beyond all boundaries of gray or blue, and didn’t think of the hero, Jason McCain, as the enemy, but first as a wounded man who needed her help.

Since Jason and another fellow Union soldier had been captured and are being held in the hospital where Sabrina volunteers, she knows that they will both die of their wounds if she doesn’t do something more than let nature run its course in those deplorable conditions. There is nothing she can do but bring them home, away from the inhumane treatment they are receiving from their guard and even from some of the hospital staff. No one is more surprised than her Aunt Emmaline, who is none to happy with Sabrina’s decision.

The only thing that could make matters worse is to find out that not only is Jason wearing Yankee Blue, he’s a southern boy, born and bred in Georgia—only a few miles from where Sabrina’s home is situated. What could make him fight for the Union? As Sabrina finds out more about Jason’s devastating past, she begins to understand. Because he is half Cherokee, his family has been shunned, and unimaginable tragedy has followed. Can his restless soul find peace in Sabrina’s sweet love for him?

I will leave you with a blurb and excerpt from JASON’S ANGEL. To order A HISTORICAL COLLECTION, go to the Victory Tales Press store here:
http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

or to my Amazon author page here:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE

If you would like to read about the other exciting stories in this anthology, or any of the other anthologies that Victory Tales Press offers, here’s the link
http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

I WILL BE GIVING AWAY PDF COPIES OF A HISTORICAL COLLECTION TO TWO COMMENTERS TODAY! Please leave a comment when you stop by to read the blog along with your e-mail address and you will be automatically entered for the drawing.
Jason 's Angel by Cheryl Pierson

Two wounded Union soldiers will die without proper treatment. Sabrina Patrick realizes they won't get it at the Confederate army hospital where she helps nurse wounded men. She does the unthinkable and takes them to her home.
Jason McCain’s pain is eased by the feel of clean sheets, a soft bed, and a touch that surely must belong to an angel. But what reason could an angel have for bringing him and his brother here?

FROM JASON'S ANGEL:

Sabrina nodded. “Is there something else, Aunt Emma?”

“You’ve been acting mighty peculiar, Sabrina. Did something happen between you and Jason?” The kindness and assurance of understanding, no matter what, in her aunt’s tone undid what little resolve Sabrina had left. She had been on pins and needles since Jason had kissed her. And she’d thought of nothing else. But she’d been careful to avoid being in a similar position again since that day, and when she’d brought up his meals there had been only polite conversation between them.

Once, she’d thought she’d caught a glint of a deviling reminder in his eyes, but he’d looked past her after a moment and she couldn’t be sure. She couldn’t even tell Desi. Desi would have gotten the greatest bit of fun from that knowledge—and she was unpredictable.

For all Sabrina knew, had she confided in Desi, her younger sister might have decided to take matters into her own hands and tell Jason that Sabrina liked it. Which she had. Or that Sabrina wished with all her heart he would kiss her again. Which she did. She might even tell him of that indescribable rush of wind and heat and wonder that moved over her entire body when their lips had met—a feeling that she was still trying to figure out how to put into words herself.

But Desiree would certainly have no trouble telling Jason what Sabrina had felt like—she was never at a loss for words. And that’s why Sabrina could never tell her—not until she grew up a little.

How wonderful it would be to unburden herself to Aunt Emmaline. And how utterly shameful.

“He…he kissed me,” she blurted. The familiar heat burned her cheeks.

But Aunt Emmaline only smiled, and Sabrina watched her face transform into a reminder of the beauty she must have been as a young woman.

“Is…that all?”

Sabrina took a deep breath. This was harder than she had imagined it might be. “No. I—Aunt Emma, I kissed him back.”

Aunt Emma didn’t answer for a moment. Finally, she took Sabrina’s hand in hers until Sabrina met her eyes. “Sabrina, when I was young—younger than you, though not quite as featherheaded as Desi—there was a young man in my life. He kissed me one time—and I kissed him back. I’ve often wished through the years, that I’d allowed myself a second kiss. Things…might have worked out very differently if I had.”

“Aunt Emma—are you saying—”

The older woman squeezed Sabrina’s hand gently. “I’m saying follow your heart. He’s a lonely soul, your Jason. He’s searching for a place in the world. And this world is changing, dear. He may never find it without your help. I’ve often wondered why you brought home two Yankees. I’ve done a little digging of my own, as well. These boys are Georgia born and bred. Mrs. Davenport knows of their family, the McCains from over near Allen’s Ridge.”

Sabrina was quiet, wondering how much of the family history her aunt had uncovered.

“I…learned quite a bit, Sabrina,” she said gently.

Apparently, though, she wasn’t going to share any details.

“Mrs. Davenport is a fount of information. Those men have been through hell, and not just the last years while the war has been raging.”

Sabrina nodded, her throat tight. What must Jason believe, after what he had told her? That she was keeping her distance because he’d opened his heart to her? Or, because he was, as he said, “a half breed”?

She had to go to him.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

THE DIAMOND BESSIE MOORE MURDER TRIAL

Jefferson is a lovely East Texas town, supposedly the third most haunted city in Texas. I don’t know about the haunting, but Jefferson is a place my family and I enjoy for a little get away. It was a busy river port at one time and a prosperous commercial city. Now it's a lovely step back in time with it's well preserved homes, hotels, B&B's, antique stores, and restaurants. Today, though, I want to talk about a tragic event that happened there.

Annie Stone, alias
Diamond Bessie Moore

Annie Stone was born the daughter of a Syracuse, New York shoe dealer in 1854. She was a very beautiful girl and at the age of fifteen she left home to be with a man named Moore. Although the affair ended, she used the name Bessie Moore. Following the affair, she entered into prostitution and eventually worked in Cincinnati, New Orleans and Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was in Hot Springs in 1875 that she met Abraham Rothschild, allegedly a black sheep related to the well-to-do European Rothschild family, was born to a Cincinatti jeweller. Rothschild, alias Joseph Jaeger, alias Henry Smyth, etc., was both a shrewd swindler and a hardened criminal. His record reads more like fiction than plain facts.

The couple was together until her death, though there is no evidence that they were ever married. The relationship was at times a violent one. Rothschild's alcoholism obviously was a problem. He was once arrested for publicly beating her on a street in Cincinnati. She accused him many times of wanting to steal her diamonds.

On January 19, 1877, the couple arrived in Jefferson, a busy river port during that time. They registered at the Brooks House as Mr. and Mrs. A. Monroe. The couple attracted a lot of attention due to their fine clothes and jewelry. The exact reason that the couple visited Jefferson is not known.

On the morning of January 21, 1877, the couple was seen carrying a picnic basket across the Cypress Bayou bridge, walking away from town. Mr. Frank Malloy of Jefferson stated later that he saw the couple as they made their way across the bridge. He made comments about the size of the diamonds Bessie was wearing. It was a bit before 11:00 am that Mr. Malloy saw them.

Abe Rothschild
Three hours later, Rothschild was seen crossing the bridge alone, coming back into Jefferson. When the people at the Brooks House asked about his wife, he told them that she stayed across the bayou to visit old friends.

On the morning of the 22nd, Rothschild had breakfast alone at the Brooks House, while wearing some of Bessie‘s rings. On the morning of the 23rd, Rothschild departed Jefferson for Cincinnati, Ohio. He carried with him, Bessie's luggage.

Bessie's body lay in the woods, undiscovered, until the afternoon of February 5th, when Sarah King spotted her. Bessie had a single gunshot would to the head and was wearing none of her jewelry.

Once in Cincinnati, Rothschild began drinking heavily. He became paranoid, thinking he was being followed. He tried to commit suicide outside a Cincinnati saloon, but only succeeded in shooting out one eye. Upon being released from the hospital, he was arrested and returned to Texas to stand trial for Bessie's murder.

At this point, the Rothschild family hired a team of very expensive lawyers, who managed to get a change of venue due to the fact that the attitudes in Jefferson were strongly hostile against their client. Finally, in December, 1878 Rothschild was tried in Marshall, Texas. He was found guilty, but the legal team hired by the Rothschilds proved their worth; the decision was overturned.

Finally, he was tried in Jefferson. Again the legal team did their work and Rothschild was not found guilty. The people of Jefferson were shocked. One newspaper wrote "Certainly all that is required to save a red handed murderer from the gallows are two or three active friends and sufficient money!"

While he was in jail, Andrew "Smokey" Columbus said, "Abe wouldn't eat that jail food, an' hire me to bring his meals to him frum the hotel. His cell was fixed up lake a hotel room wid a fine brussells rug, nice tables an' chairs. He kep' plenty of beer an' whiskey to drink."

Abe Rothschild was arrested and escaped many times. He then embarked in a career as a gambler and race-horse sport, and was known at the New York, London, and Paris courses. Reverses finally overtook him, and he became nothing more than a professional criminal. When finally convicted, according to his own confession there were over two hundred criminal charges against him in the United States, distributed in every State and Territory, and he committed crimes in Canada, Mexico, Cuba, England, and France.


Diamond Bessie's Grave
 Diamond Bessie is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Jefferson, Texas. Allegedly in the 1890’s, a handsome, elderly man wearing a patch over his right eye asked to be shown the grave of Bessie Moore. Upon seeing it, he laid roses on it, knelt in prayer, commented on the goodness of the citizens to provide a decent burial, and gave the caretaker money for the care of the grave. Folklore asserts that this was a repentant Rothschild visiting the grave. In the 1930s a headstone mysteriously appeared on the grave where none had been before, and it was later learned that a citizen of Jefferson, E.B. McDonald, had it placed there one night. In the 1960s the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club built an iron fence around the grave. It is to members of this garden club that visitors owe the preservation of the town's historic sites. Thank you, ladies!

Each May the Diamond Bessie Murder Trial is reenacted in Jefferson, sponsored by the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club with community members as actors.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Letter between Families following the War of Northern Aggression - Shared by Sandra Crowley


You may or may not know by now this is the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States. I am taking this opportunity to share a bit of Crowley family history, my husband’s family history, or at least a 50/50 chance of it. LOL   
But first, bear with me while I relate my first impressions of Texas and its Confederate pride. I was about ten when my folks took me to Texas to visit relatives. I was struck by the prominent monuments to Confederate Soldiers erected in nearly every town square we drove through and surprised that feelings still ran deep, even in the 1960’s.
I met my soon-to-be-husband in the early 70’s. His folks' comments that their son was dating a Yankee astonished me. I’d never thought of myself as a Yankee; I’d never felt personally connected to either side of a war fought almost 100 years before I was born. Happy to say, my Yankeeness didn’t prevent my soon-to-be-inlaws from accepting me wholeheartedly, and we’ve grown to love and respect each other as if I’d always been a Crowley.
My husband’s cousin, Alta, compiled the family history years ago, a daunting task. Unfortunately, copiers weren't as precise then so I'm unable to provide Crowley pictures suitable for this post. I can share a picture or two taken from a different branch of my family that should represent the same or similar situation.

As in my own considerable family history, first names are repeated within and without lines which makes it hard to follow without error. So, I preface the letter below with this cautionary statement: E. P. Crowley lived somewhere within my husband’s past.
Elijah Prince Crowley was born in Tennessee on April 11 1818. He died in Texas March 6 1879. Elijah was the son of Isham Crowley a resident of Tarrant County, Texas in 1866. Isham received this letter from his daughter-in-law Louisa Jane following the War of Northern Aggression:
Elijah and Louisa might have lived in something like this.
Greenville, Clay County, Mo. 2 August 1866
Dear Mother and Father, Brothers and Sisters:
I once more embrace this opportunity of writing to you to let you know that we are on the land among the living and our health is tolerable good at this time except myself. I am just getting over a spell of sickness. I was confined to bed three weeks. My heart is not good but I do hope that when these lines reach you they will find you all well and doing well for it has been a long time since we have had the pleasure of writing to each other.
We have seen and felt a great many hard trials since this most cruel and unholy war commenced. Doubtless you have heard that my dear and lovely boy Dock, as we always called him, was murdered shortly after he came back to Missouri by a pack of those thieves and murderers called Feds. For that was their business whenever they thought they had the chance.
He came home on Tuesday night the 28 March 1865 which was very unexpected to us for we told him if he ever got to Texas to stay there until the war ended, but I expect he wanted to see us and know what had become of us again. He was at home three times, Tuesday night, Thursday night and Friday night. He went to try to get away, for the Feds was after them and had killed two of the young horses that day. On Saturday night he and James Charley was taken prisoner as they was going though Smithville. They kept them there till late Sunday evening. They told them they was going to take them to Ridgely and try them. They went about a mile and a half, took them out in the woods and shot them and left them laying there. An old man heard their groans and went next morning to hunt them and found them and made his two little boys bury them.
We heard that they were killed we got a Union man to go and find about it. We then had a coffin made and sent for him and brought him home on Friday and buried him at Bethel Church on Saturday the first day of April and I do hope and pray that he is better off then his murderers ever will be and if they do not meet with justice in this world, they will be sure to in the world to come.
I have his tintype that is dear to me. He had it taken and gave it to me before he left home. We also got the little gray mare that he left home on. Perhaps you have heard him speak of her. He called her Kate. We all think a great deal of her. We would not part with her for no mention on his account. He told us he was with you all and how kind and good you was to him. I hope the Lord will bless every one that was good and kind to him while he was gone. He professed religion several years ago and joined the Methodist Church. I hope he had not forgotten it. He was a good and kind boy to us all and beloved by all.
          The rest of Louisa Jane’s letter concerns the general health and doings of the family. Here I’ll skip to Elijah’s comments which pertain to the war:

The Crowleys might have lived/looked similar to this family (picture taken 1893).
This war has been wretched on us. We have lost a great deal by it. We greatly feel the need of what we have lost. Taxes is about to break us up. They have been very high for several years, but double this year to last year. Times are rather unsettled here. Every few days some are killed. The policy of our State is very bad. The radicals has the rule. We look for bad times at the next election, but people are determined to change policy. There is a large majority of Johnson men in this State that can vote. Our county has but few radicals. In upwards of one thousand in favor of Johnson’s reconstruction policy.
I will give you a short history of the times. Money is a little scarcer than it has been. Property high. Good horses two hundred dollars, mules about the same, milk cows from 35 to 75 dollars, year old steers 50, two year old 20 to 35, hogs from 8 to 10 cents gross per pound. Hemp about 12 dollars per hundred.
We greatly mourn the loss of our dear brother, Hiram, but we hope his is where all the angels of heaven is rejoicing. Tell his companions weep not for him for he died in a good cause, but trust in God and persevere in Holiness.
***
Thanks to Alta's research, we know Hiram joined Grapevine’s Mounted Riflemen. He was a captain in Company A of Alexander’s Regiment CSA. Hiram died at the Battle of Yellow Bayou, Louisanna 1865.
A published list of Confederate soldiers killed in Missouri lists Benjamin Franklin Crowley (aka Dock) as killed at Smithville.
I'm fascinated by family history. My side is extensively documented, also arriving from England as well as Ireland and Europe and settling in northern states--another side to this story. It's the Crowley's who came to this country before the American Revolution, fighting for freedom in that war, then settling in southern states and contributing its men to other fights for the growing land.
Thanks for stopping by. I'll try to answers any questions you might ask.
Sandra Crowley
CAUGHT BY A CLOWN, a spontaneous freelance journalist on a mission of mercy finds herself entangled with a methodical undercover FBI agent out to settle a score.
This spicy romantic suspense novel is available in e-book and print at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wells Fargo Stagecoach Rules for Passengers

In the old west, the only means of public transportation was the stagecoach.  Stage stops were as common on the western plains as bus stops are today. 

Journeys by stage were long, dusty and uncomfortable.  Coaches were cramped, loaded down with heavy merchandise and luggage and passengers jammed in like sardines—as many as twelve to fifteen at a time.  Crowded conditions such as these required rules. 

Here, taken directly from the 1877 Omaha Herald, are Wells Fargo’s Rules for Riding the Stagecoach. 

Abstinence from liquor is requested, but if you must drink, share the bottle.  To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and unneighborly.

If lades are present, gentlemen are urged to forego smoking cigars and pipes as the odor of same is repugnant to the Gentle Sex.  Chewing tobacco is permitted, but spit with the wind, not against it.

Gentlemen must refrain from the use of rough language in the presence of ladies and children.

Buffalo robes are provided for your comfort during cold weather.  Hogging robes will not be tolerated and the offender will be made to ride with the driver.

Don’t snore loudly while sleeping or use your fellow passenger’s shoulder for a pillow; he or she may not understand and friction may result.

Firearms may be kept on your person for use in emergencies.  Do not fire them for pleasure or shoot at wild animals as the sound riles the horses.

In the event of a runaway horse, remain calm.  Leaping from the coach in panic will leave you injured, at the mercy of the elements, hostile Indians and hungry wolves.

Forbidden topics of discussion are stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings.

Gents guilty of unchivalrous behavior toward lady passengers will be put off the stage.  It’s a long walk back.  A word to the wise is sufficient.

Don’t ask how far to the next station until you get there. (LOL you just know that one was for the kids!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Writing Romance Description with Western Art




When I'm writing western historical romance, I often need to do some research for accurate descriptions of clothing, the color of dusters, time of year in a certain place in the west, and various other details like architecture.

I've discovered some of the best help through the work of western artists who lived and painted in the late 1800's old west.

Charles Russell,
above, Frederic Remington, and Joseph Sharp are a few of the artists who went west to record with their paintings the landscape and people who lived there.

I've included some of their work as examples of how they illustrated the life and times of the old west. Not quite the same as depicted in most of the movies and TV serials, but every bit as fascinating.

I once had an editor ask me if my story was like the John Wayne movie,
Rio Grande. It took me a moment to answer as I mentally compared the historical details in my story with embellished old west films.

As writers, we strive for accuracy in the historical facts woven through our stories. For the answers, I often look to artists who lived in that time period, and I enjoy their amazing depictions of the old west while I'm at it.

I have to say, the cover of
Dangerous Persuasion also reflects the research that goes into producing historical romance covers that accurately portray historical clothing and the vivid desert colors.

I'd like to thank the generous web sites for the art I've shown here today.


Jeanmarie Hamilton
aka Claire Adele
www.JeanmarieHamilton.com
Dangerous Persuasion, available in ebook now, and soon in print, from Siren BookStrand and other online booksellers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shotgun Weddings

Lots of historical western romances feature shot-gun wedding plots. Since my husband and I are celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss today I thought it would be fun to share a little information on a few "shotgun wedding" places folks looking for a western-style wedding might consider tying the knot.

Vegas is famous for its spur-of-the-moment weddings. I traded in my college graduation ceremony for a wedding ceremony and met my husband in Vegas. Our immediate family and a few college friends flew in to help us celebrate. We married in the historic Little Church of the West. This place looked and felt like an old mining town church.



Here's what www.littlechurchlv.com has to say about the chapel:

The church has been the scene of more celebrity marriages than any other wedding chapel in the world. Betty Grable, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Dudley Moore, Cindy Crawford & Richard Gere, Angelina Jolie & Billy Bob Thornton to name a few. Elvis Presley and Ann Margaret recited their vows in the movie "Viva Las Vegas", filmed at The Little Church of the West. Originally built as part of the Last Frontier Hotel located on an isolated stretch of highway that would one day become the famous Las Vegas "Strip", The Little Church of the West upholds the heritage of Las Vegas with its unique architecture. It's a freestanding replica of an old west mining town church. With an exterior of cedar and an interior of California redwood, the chapel looks much the same today as when it was first built. Attesting to its historical significance, the Little Church is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places, the only such place on the "Strip" with this honor. the Little Church of the West celebrated its 65th anniversary and remains the oldest existing structure on the Las Vegas "Strip". In 2007, the Little Church of the West celebrated its 65th anniversary and remains the oldest existing structure on the Las Vegas "Strip".



For those who prefer a real western shotgun wedding check out "Parson Tom Woodard officiating Weddings of the Wild West performed in Oatman, Arizona right in the middle of the street on Historic Route 66 in front of God and congregation as witness.



"Normally our Shotgun Weddings fire off by hiding the Groom then Sheriff Slade, Sheriff Lit’l Bit and the Deputy John Henry of the Ghost Rider Gunfighters will go after him, by shotgun of course, and drag him to the alter! We also have a little surprise for the "Innocent Bride" and it is all great fun and a memory that will last a lifetime."

Or maybe you'd prefer a Tombstone Wedding? "Bring a part of the Old West into your wedding day by making your ceremony part of a reenactment show, at Six Gun City! You'll have wonderful memories and great pictures." I bet.





Or you could check out the western-style wedding at Rollins Creek, Oklahoma where the bride can wear white laced-up cowgirl boots and the groom a ten gallon hat while they get hitched at the hitching post in front of the Paradise Saloon.



After twenty-five years of marriage I'd like to believe Vegas was lucky for me and my husband and I wouldn’t trade in my five-minute ceremony for anything!
Viva Las Vegas!

Marin
Rodeo Daddy April 2011
The Bull Rider's Secret July 2011
The Rodeo Man's Promise December 2011
Harlequin American Romance
www.marinthomas.com

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Transcontinental Railroad

By Anna Kathryn Lanier


One hundred forty-one years ago this week, on May 10, 1869, the United States was "joined" East coast to West coast by the pounding of a Golden Spike joining the Union Pacific railroad to the Central Pacific railroad in Promontory Point, UT. The rails now stretched more than 3,000 miles from New York to California.



In It’s About Time: How Long History Took, Mike Flanagan tells us that the building of the Transcontinental Railroad took five years, six months and fifteen days, between 1863-1869. The Civil War disrupted the building somewhat.


The planning for a railroad that went from one coast to the other had been bounced around for decades, starting in the 1830’s. By 1845, several people were inspired to investigate a cross-country railroad. Asa Whitney explored the Central route and widely promoted the railroad via pamphlets, speeches and proposals to congress. The influx of English-speaking people into Mexican-held territory, and finally the admittance of California into the Union as a territory in 1848, quickly followed by the 1849 gold rush, increased interest in the railroad.


During the 1850’s, railroad developers and land speculators, along with commercial interests promoted the building of the rail line. However, the nation was still in a huge debate over the expansion of slavery and the idea never fully got off the ground as “sectional differences over routes delayed the start of the line.” (America: A Narrative History)


Several routes were proposed throughout the this time. A Southern Route was devised because of fears that a more northerly route would be hampered by winter snow. This route would go through Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The northern route, proposed by Theodore Judah and Daniel Strong, would go through the Sierra Nevada Mountains through Clipper Gap, Emigrant Gap, and Donner Pass, then south to Truckee. The short-lived Pony Express (1860-1861) showed that the northern route was passable, even during the winter.


The withdrawal of the Southern states from the Union and the start of the Civil War allowed for the passage of the Pacific Railway Bill with a less divided congress. Lincoln signed the bill into law in 1862, which authorized the north-central route jointly built by the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. While some construction started during the Civil War, actual work didn’t begin until 1865, after the war ended. The Central Pacific started in Sacramento, CA, while the Union Pacific started in Omaha, NE.


Each railroad was paid $16,000 per mile built over an easy grade, $32,000 per mile in the high plains, and $48,000 per mile in the mountains. The loose terms of the law allowed for a lot of exploitation on the part of the companies. They built extra miles of track and directed the railways toward land they owned.



The Union Pacific workers were made up of ex-soldiers, Mormons (through Utah), and Irish immigrants, while The Central Pacific mainly employed Chinese men looking to make it rich and return to their homeland to marry and buy land. By 1887, The Central Pacific had 12,000 Chinese laborers, representing 90 percent of their workforce. White men could earn between a dollar and three dollars a day. The Chinese workers were paid significantly less, however, after a strike, they were given a small increase in pay.


According to America: A Narrative History (my college history book), “The Union Pacific pushed across the Plains at a rapid pace, avoiding the Rocky Mountains by going through Evans Pass in Wyoming. The work crews…had to cope with bad roads, water shortages, rugged weather, and Indian attacks. Construction of the rail line and bridges was hasty and much of it was so flimsy that it had to be redone later.”


The Union Pacific had to build through mountains, namely the Sierras, and only built 689 miles of track compared to the Union Pacific’s 1,086 miles. On May 10, 1869, six years after work began, the two tracks were joined at Promontory Point, Utah, finally connecting the two coasts.


According to http://www.tcrr.com/ website:


“Despite the publicity for the "last spike", the American rail network did not yet actually run to either coast. In August 1870 the final connection was made and the Atlantic to Pacific railroad was completed. The journey was not cheap - the fare from Omaha to San Francisco via third class sleeping car was about $65.


On June 4, 1876 a train named the Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco only 83 hours and 39 minutes after it left New York City.”


The railroad opened a new era in American history. Farms, ranches and towns sprouted up around the lines. The rail lines brought people, goods and animals to vast Western United States.


References and further reading:


http://usparks.about.com/od/historicalparks/a/Golden-Spike-NHS.htm
http://www.tcrr.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Pacific_Railroad


A condensed version of this article first appeared on the Seduced by History blog on August 19, 2010.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
http://www.aklanier.com/
http://www.annakathrynlanir.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thirty-two years and he's still my prototype.

Today marks thirty two years I've been married to my hero. Or should I say heroes?

Like all writers I put people I know into my characters and the person I know best and love the most is my husband. So it only makes sense that I put a bit of him into all my heroes making them the loves of my life while I'm writing their stories.

The traits I've put in my characters that are my husband's are:
playful
hard working
steward of the land
honest
social
confident
loyal

Marshal in Petticoats - Gil- honest, confident, loyal
Outlaw in Petticoats- Zeke - playful, mischievous, confident, loyal
Miner in Petticoats - Ethan -hard working, honest, loyal
Doctor in Petticoats - Clay- playful, honest, loyal
Gambling on an Angel - Bas - social, confident, loyal

Perfectly Good Nanny - Brock - steward of the land,hard working, honest, loyal
Bridled Heart - Holt - playful, honest, loyal

Spirit of the Mountain - Himiin - steward of the land, honest, confident, loyal
Spirit of the Lake - Wewukiye - playful, social, confident, loyal

What traits of your husband or significant other are hero traits?

Paty Jager
www.patyjager.net
www.patyjager.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

NATIVE AMERICAN RESEARCH BY RUTH ZAVITSANOS

Guest author Ruth Zavitsanos shares some of her research on Native Americans for her latest release, FLIGHT OF LITTLE DOVE.
"  
Available now from WhiskeyCreek Press
When the concept of my historical romance, FLIGHT OF LITTLE DOVE, came to mind I knew I wanted the story’s setting to be America’s frontier just a few years after the Civil War. I also knew I needed to have some Indian upheaval to make the opening paragraphs work.

A run for the prey. A hunt for the kill.
This was no game of tag. Deer Shadow’s coal black eyes were filled with hunger.

Little Dove drew a deep shuddering breath. She turned to run again. Deer Shadow’s swift muscular legs would easily catch her shorter ones. She mustered up her courage to stop in her tracks just as he was about to tackle her.

A few pages later, Little Dove escapes the night before her tribal ceremony to marry Deer Shadow, the chief’s son, she considers a brother. It was important for Deer Shadow to be from a friendly tribe. However, later Little Dove comes across a stagecoach being attacked by a tribe on the warpath.
Cheyenne family
near tipi

After research, I found the Cheyenne to be the friendlier tribe and the Comanches were the more volatile group of Native Americans living on America’s frontier.


THE WAY IT WAS IN THE USA: THE WEST, By Clarence P. Hornung, became a major book of reference for this story. The book is easy to follow with some terrific sketches from the time periods the author details.

Cheyenne Mother
with baby
A chapter later, when the handsome trail guide comes across the aftermath of the stagecoach attack, he immediately notes the arrows and shape of the footprints.

In comparing the Cheyenne with the Comanche I found several vast differences, including their physical stature (The Comanches were three to four inches shorter than the Cheyenne) "judging from his tall muscular build, Seb figured he was probably Cheyenne.
 
Quanah Parker,
Kwahadi Comanche
There are other details about these two Native American tribes I sprinkle throughout the story, adding a true sense of the people who did not need to claim the frontier but rather belonged to it.

FLIGHT OF LITTLE DOVE is a MUST READ on the Night Owl Review earning 5 stars. It continues to receive a variety of highly favorable reviews and is a June book club selection at a local book shop (outside of Philadelphia) awarded BEST OF THE MAIN LINE.
 
Currently, Ruth is working on the follow-up to FLIGHT. The story takes place outside of Denver at the SISTERS INN (Tentative book title). She is a member of PennWriters, Valley Forge Romance Writers of America, Society of Children’s Writer and Illustrators and has two children’s chapter books published, THE VILLA DOG and THE OLD FORTRESS DOG. For more information, visit her website at
www.ruthzonline.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Matrimonial News


I found some samples of advertisements that appeared in the January 8, 1887, edition of the Kansas City printing of Matrimonial News. I found them interesting in comparison to what we see in the newspapers today and on the ‘how to find the right mate’ television commercials. I can’t even imagine anyone of these lonely souls getting replies, much less finding the happiness they so hungrily search for.


“A gentleman of 25 years old, 5 feet 3 inches, doing a good business in the city, desires the acquaintance of a young, intelligent and refined lady possessed of some means, of a loving disposition from 18 to 23, and one who could make home a paradise.”

“An intelligent young fellow of 22 years, 6 feet height, weight 170 pounds. Would like to correspond with a lady from 18 to 22. Will exchange photos: object, fun and amusement, and perhaps when acquainted, if suitable, matrimony.”

“A few lady correspondents wanted by a bashful man of 36, of fair complexion. 5 feet 5 inches tall, weight, 130 pounds. Would prefer a brunette of fair form about five feet, between 18 and 25 years of age. Object, improvement, and if suited, matrimony.”

“Wanted to correspond with a young lady matrimonially inclined who would make a young man a good wife: am of good standing and good family, strictly temperate, a professional man and will make a kind husband.”

“A lively widower of 40, looking much younger, 5 feet 7 inches high, weighing 145 pounds would like to correspond with some maiden or widow lady of honor who would like a good home, kind husband and plenty.”

“I am fond of fun, age 18, height 5 feet 5 inches, weight 140 pounds, have auburn hair, dark eyes; I want a gentleman correspondent, from 20 to 25. Object: fun and perhaps matrimony if suited.”

“I am fat, fair, and 48, 5 feet high. Am a No. 1 lady, well fixed with no encumbrance: am in business in city, but want a partner who lives in the West. Want an energetic man that has some means, not under 40 years of age and weight not less than 180. Of good habits. A Christian gentleman preferred.”

“I am a widow, aged 28, have one child, height 64 inches, blue eyes, weight 125 pounds, loving disposition. I am poor; would like to hear from honorable men from 30 to 40 years old: working men preferred.”

Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier
Chris Enss
The Globe Pequot Press, 2005