Saturday, August 30, 2014

THE CONTINUING LEGACY OF JOHN WAYNE

By: Ashley Kath-Bilsky

“Don't ever for a minute make the mistake of looking down your nose at westerns. They're art--the good ones, I mean. They deal in life and sudden death and primitive struggle, and with the basic emotions--love, hate, and anger--thrown in. We'll have westerns films as long as the cameras keep turning. The fascination that the Old West has will never die.” ~ John Wayne

It really isn’t surprising that when people think about iconic western films, the name John Wayne comes to mind. Truth is, despite the fact he died in 1979, many of the westerns starring Wayne are now considered classics. As for the man whose nickname was “Duke”, he continues to be listed each year among the Harris Poll’s Top Ten All-Time Favorite Movie Stars.

John Wayne made over 175 films across a variety of genres. I must admit ‘The Quiet Man’ (1952) is one of my all-time favorites and a ‘must see’ every St. Patrick’s Day. But what I love most are his westerns, many of which were directed by his good friend John Ford.

Who can forget the first time they saw the breathtaking panorama of Monument Valley in a John Ford western? To this day, whenever I see a photo of the sandstone buttes, especially the famous left and right mittens, I expect to see John Wayne somewhere nearby on his horse.

For many people, especially those who live in other parts of the world, western films provided their first visual of the American West. And John Wayne was the iconic tough-guy western hero.

Many of us grew up watching his films on television. His first generation of movie fans (which included my grandparents and parents) saw those films when they were first released as the main attraction in movie theatres. Today, younger generations see his now ‘classic’ films on DVD as well as the occasional airing on television (yet another reason why I love the Turner Class Movie Channel).

[Pictured: John Wayne and Montgomery Clift in Red River]

I have many favorite John Wayne westerns, including early films such as Red River (1948), Stagecoach (1939) and The Angel and the Badman (1947). But my two absolute favorite Wayne westerns were both directed by John Ford in beautiful Technicolor.

The first one is 3 Godfathers (1948), stunningly filmed in Death Valley, California with such authenticity you feel the scorching heat. Wayne stars as one of three outlaws trying to escape capture by riding into the desert. Nothing seems to go right for these good-hearted bank robbers. Not only is one of them wounded, they run out of water and lose their horses in a blinding sandstorm. Determined to survive, they continue on foot. Hoping to find a watering hole, they come upon a stranded pregnant woman and help deliver her son. Grateful for their help—and aware she is dying—the woman names her son after the three men and asks them to see her newborn to safety.

I absolutely love this film. I love John Wayne’s character, Robert Marmaduke Hightower, and the life and death journey he takes toward redemption. Harry Carey, Jr., and Pedro Armendariz make up the other two godfathers, and Wayne’s frequent co-star and real-life friend Ward Bond plays the sheriff hot on their trail.

I should note that the amazing cinematography was done by Winton C. Hoch, who also worked as cinematographer on my other all-time favorite John Wayne-John Ford western, The Searchers (1956).

Director John Ford masterfully captured the spectacular panorama of the American West, and also encapsulated a frightening period in America’s history and the realistic struggles encountered by pioneering men and women who moved west. Wayne’s performance is brilliantly disturbing and compelling. As Ethan Edwards, the bigoted Civil War veteran, he is determined to seek revenge and rescue his niece from the Comanche Indians who murdered his brother along with his family. Yet what drives Ethan most is hatred, bigotry, and what he believes is the only way to end his niece’s suffering and disgrace.

[Pictured: Jeffrey Hunter and John Wayne in The Searchers]

Interestingly enough, I saw an interview with John Wayne’s son, Patrick (who also appeared in the film as Lt. Greenhill, a young Cavalry officer). Patrick was questioned about The Searchers and his father’s reticence about playing someone like Ethan. According to Patrick, his father told director John Ford, “I can play as mean as you want, as long as there is something redeemable about me in the end.”

[Photo: Portrait of John Wayne by Everett Raymond Kinsller, Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City, OK]

It is interesting to note that John Wayne never played the ‘perfect’ hero. The men he portrayed on film were tough, flawed men who made mistakes. They drank whiskey and enjoyed poker as well as a good game of chess. They loved the land and the flag. They didn’t sugarcoat anything, but said what they meant and meant what they said. They didn’t go looking for fights, but they didn’t back down when someone challenged them or sought to harm someone else. To the depths of their being they had a code of honor. They sat tall in the saddle and said more with a grin or narrow-eyed glance than some long, drawn-out conversation going nowhere. They were men who believed in God, country, and family. And you just knew that when the going got tough or you were in trouble, you wanted that man on your side.

What loyal audiences realized during the fifty year film career John Wayne had, was that he was very much like the man they saw on screen. Although there were many who didn’t agree with his politics or personal viewpoints, he respected their right to their own opinion. To those that worked with him, he was always professional, always prepared, always kind and respectful to every cast and crew member.

To the public, he appreciated their support and wanted to provide them with quality films they could enjoy. He once said: “I don’t want ever to appear in a film that would embarrass a viewer. A man can take his wife, mother, and his daughter to one of my movies and never be ashamed or embarrassed for going."

He also never walked away or ignored a fan who wanted to speak with him or have an autograph. He maintained fans were the reason he’d achieved success and the ability to provide for his children, and he would not ignore them.

[Photo: John Wayne in The Angel and the Badman]

But what I think says most about this man is his family, and the enduring love and respect his children have for him and their determination to honor his memory.

Through the continuing efforts of his children (and now grandchildren), the John Wayne Cancer Foundation is a leading force in cancer research and has established amazing diagnostic and treatment protocols for various types of cancer. The Foundation also provides programs for emotional support and education to those suffering from cancer, as well as their families.

How many of us have known someone diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, I have lost many loved ones to the disease, including a sister, aunt, and parent. And I know many more fighting like valiant warriors every single day to beat it, including children. For the person dealing with this disease on a daily basis (and their families), the John Wayne Cancer Foundation along with its Research and Education arm, the John Wayne Cancer Institute, offers support, education, and vital opportunities toward finding a cure. In fact, one of the programs implemented by the John Wayne Cancer Institute is a Surgical Oncology Fellowship Training Program to “train surgeons of tomorrow in the latest techniques and technologies for treating and researching cancer”.

Another interesting fact is the breakthrough “Sentinel Node Biopsy Technique”, a standard used worldwide for treatment of melanoma and breast cancer was developed by the John Wayne Cancer Institute.

[Photo: John Wayne, The Shootist]

One life can touch another in so many ways. It could be through our work, our vision, or how we raise our children. Ultimately, there is no greater testament to a person’s life than how they are remembered, and the positive influence they might have had on another human being. As a result, for me, the legacy of John Wayne isn’t just the wonderful films he made for generations to enjoy, but also the manner in which he lived his life and raised his seven children, giving them not only love but understanding about the importance of philanthropy and helping others.

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” ~ John Wayne

John Wayne was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 1964. Surgery to remove the diseased lung and several ribs proved successful. However, fifteen years later, cancer returned. John Wayne died in 1979 of stomach cancer. After losing their beloved father to the devastating, insidious disease, Wayne’s children vowed to continue his fight and battle cancer through measures to diagnose, educate, treat, and find a cure. A remarkable family, to be sure.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. If you have a favorite John Wayne film you’d like to share, please do so. As a special treat, below is a fan video I saw on Youtube that you might enjoy. And, please, if you would like to learn more about the John Wayne Cancer Foundation and what you can do to support their ongoing efforts, please visit: www.johnwayne.org. ~ AKB

Friday, August 29, 2014

THE MEANING OF THE FLAG DRAPED COFFIN by CHERYL PIERSON

This was passed along to me in an e-mail and I learned something I never knew. Just wanted to pass it along to everyone.



All Americans should be given this lesson. Those who think that America is an arrogant nation should really reconsider that thought. Our founding fathers used GOD's word and teachings to establish our Great Nation and I think it's high time Americans get re-educated about this Nation's history.

Pass it along and be proud of the country we live in and even more proud of those who serve to protect our 'GOD GIVEN' rights and freedoms.
I hope you take the time to read this ... To understand what the flag draped coffin really means ... Here is how to understand the flag that laid upon it and is surrendered to so many widows and widowers.

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?


Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.


The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.



The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.



The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.



The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, 'Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.'



The 6th fold is for where people's hearts lie. It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America , and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic..



The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.



The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.


The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.



The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their Nations motto, 'In God We Trust.'





After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning.

In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why.

Share this with the children you love and all others who love what is referred to, the symbol of ' Liberty and Freedom.'

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BARON DE BASTROP COMES THROUGH!


This is a tale of how a man with a rough start can accomplish great things.

Felipe Enrique Neri, colonizer, legislator, and self-styled Baron de Bastrop, was born Philip Hendrik Nering Bögel in Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana, on November 23, 1759, the son of Conraed Laurens Nering and Maria Jacoba (Kraayvanger) Bögel. He moved to Holland with his parents in 1764, and in 1779 enlisted in the cavalry of Holland and Upper Issel. Bögel married Georgine Wolffeline Françoise Lijcklama à Nyeholt in Oldeboorn, Holland, on April 28, 1782 and they had five children. The family settled in Leeuwarden, where Bögel served as collector general of taxes for the province of Friesland.

Baron de Bastrop

His military service, marriage, and appointment as tax collector suggest that he was a staunch supporter of the aristocracy during the late-eighteenth-century revolutionary period. He always gave the French invasion of Holland as his reason for leaving the country, but he actually left for different reasons. In 1793 he was accused of embezzlement of tax funds and fled the country before he could be brought to trial. After the Court of Justice of Leeuwarden offered a reward of 1,000 gold ducats to anyone who brought him back, Bögel adopted the title Baron de Bastrop.

By April 1795 he had arrived in Spanish Louisiana, where he represented himself as a Dutch nobleman. During the next decade he received permission from the Spanish government to establish a colony in the Ouachita valley and engaged in several business ventures in Louisiana and Kentucky. After Louisiana was sold to the United States in 1803, Bastrop moved to Spanish Texas and was permitted to establish a colony between Bexar and the Trinity River. In 1806 he settled in San Antonio, where he had a freighting business and gained influence with the inhabitants and officials. In 1810 he was appointed second alcalde in the ayuntamiento at Bexar.

Moses Austin benefitted
from Baron de Bastrop's intercession

One of his most significant contributions to Texas was his intercession with Governor Antonio María Martínez on behalf of Moses Austin in 1820. Because of Bastrop, Martínez reconsidered and approved Austin's project to establish an Anglo-American colony in Texas. After Austin's death, Bastrop served as intermediary with the Mexican government for Stephen F. Austin, who would have encountered many more obstacles but for Bastrop's assistance and advice.

Stephen F. Austin,"The Father of Texas,"
interviewing prospective Texas settlers
for his Old 300 colonists

In July 1823 Luciano García appointed Bastrop commissioner of colonization for the Austin colony with authority to issue land titles. On September 24, 1823, the settlers elected Bastrop to the provincial deputation at Bexar, which in turn chose him as representative to the legislature of the new state of Coahuila and Texas in May 1824.

Old rendition of Galveston, the port
due in part to Baron de Bastrop

During his tenure as representative of Texas at the capital, Saltillo, Bastrop sought legislation favorable to the cause of immigration and to the interests of settlers; he secured passage of the colonization act of 1825; and he was instrumental in the passage of an act establishing a port at Galveston. His salary, according to the Mexican system, was paid by contributions from his constituents. The contributions were not generous.

Bastrop did not leave enough money to pay his burial expenses when he died, on February 23, 1827. His fellow legislators donated the funds to reimburse Juan Antonio Padilla for the expenses of the funeral. Bastrop was buried in Saltillo.

Today Galveston's Port hosts Cruise Ships

Even in his last will and testament, Bastrop continued to claim noble background, giving his parents' names as Conrado Lorenzo Neri, Baron de Bastrop, and Susana Maria Bray Banguin. Some of his contemporaries believed him to be an American adventurer; historians have thought him to be a French nobleman or a Prussian soldier of fortune.

Only within the last half-century have records from the Netherlands been found to shed light on Bastrop's mysterious origins. Although his pretensions to nobility were not universally accepted at face value even in his own lifetime, he earned respect as a diplomat and legislator. Bastrop, Texas, and Bastrop, Louisiana, as well as Bastrop County, Texas, were named in his honor.

Rolling uplands and broken hills
leading of Bastrop County TX

Bastrop County consists of coastal plains just below the Balcones Escarpment and encompasses 895 square miles of southeast central Texas. Its seat of government, Bastrop, is situated in the center of the county about thirty miles southeast of downtown Austin. The terrain throughout most of the county is characterized by rolling uplands and broken hills with surface layers of primarily sandy, loamy soils, and woods where post oaks predominate but where cedar, hickory, elm, and walnut also occur. In the northwestern corner of the county and along the central southeastern border, the topography changes to blackland prairie with waxy clay soil and tall grass cover.

The Colorado River crosses Bastrop County

The Colorado River bisects the county from northwest to southeast; along this waterway and its tributaries can be found rich alluvial silts and clays. Near the river, the Lost Pine Forest extends through an east central section of the county. Elevations range from 400 to 600 feet above sea level. The county's climate has been described as subtropical humid, with a low average January temperature of 40° F, a high average July temperature of 96° F, and an average annual rainfall of 36.82 inches; the growing season is 270 days long. Mineral resources include clay, oil, gas, lignite, sand, gravel, and surface and underground water.

The McCormick site near McDade has produced archeological evidence of human life in the area during the Neo-American period, a thousand years ago. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, Tonkawa Indians inhabited the area, and Comanche Indians came to hunt along the river each autumn. With an early road between Nacogdoches and San Antonio running through the region, in 1804 Spanish governor Manuel Antonio Cordero y Bustamante established a fort at the Colorado River crossing where the town of Bastrop now stands.

Bastrop State Park also known
as the Lost Pines State Park

In 1838 another significant industry began when the Bastrop Steam Mill Company started operation. It initiated Lost Pines lumbering activity that reached a peak in the early 1840s, as Bastrop mills supplied lumber to Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and other settlements. Lumber production continued for decades until available timber declined, but agriculture remained the predominant means of making a living.

Spring in Bastrop County TX
Between 1850 and 1860 the population of Bastrop County more than tripled, reaching 7,006, with 2,248 slaves making up almost a third of the total and foreign-born residents totaling 700. The county had 596 farms in 1860, and livestock raising was growing; the number of cattle increased from about 12,000 in 1850 to over 40,000 in 1860. Six churches were reported in an 1860 survey: two Methodist, two Lutheran, one Christian, and one Baptist.

Bastrop, Texas

In 1870 Bastrop County's population topped 11,000, and it had thirty-four manufacturing establishments. The following year brought a further stimulus to growth in the form of the Houston and Texas Central Railway, completed through the northern part of the county to connect Austin and Brenham. Towns soon sprang up along the railroad, the most substantial being Elgin. Now many farmers had a freight outlet for their harvests of corn and cotton.

Monument to Baron de Bastrop
in the town of Bastrop TX


Where does this lead? 

So glad you asked. 

Bastrop is only ten miles from the fictional town of Valdesta, setting for the first book in a new duet boxed set titled MAIL-ORDER TANGLE. Jacquie Rogers' book is MAIL-ORDER RUCKUS  and mine is MAIL-ORDER PROMISE. This boxed duet goes on sale September12th, but is available for preorder on Amazon.



Blurbs for MAIL-ORDER TANGLE:

MAIL-ORDER PROMISE
by Caroline Clemmons

Ellie Dickerson and her sister are in desperate straits when she contracts to become a mail-order bride to a Texas rancher on the condition her sister can accompany her. After her arduous trip from Virginia, she learns her fiancé has died.  His brother has sworn to take care of her. He's handsome. He's single. And he doesn't want her. What will happen to her and her sister?

Kage Johanssen, co-owner of a ranch in Idaho with his cousin Matt, is forced to take over his family’s Central Texas ranch on the death of his older brother. Kage is in no hurry to get married, and when his brother’s bride shows up, she’s everything he doesn’t want in a wife—except she’s a stunningly beautiful redhead. Despite his deathbed promise to his brother and his attraction to Ellie, he’s convinced she doesn’t have the grit to be a rancher’s wife.

When a greedy, sadistic villain attempts to take over the ranch and kill Kage, can Ellie save her true love? What will it take to prove that she’s the only woman for Kage?


MAIL-ORDER RUCKUS
by Jacquie Rogers

Matt Johanssen returned to the ranch he and his cousin Kage started in Owyhee County, Idaho Territory, not knowing he took Laura Dickerson's heart with him.  Now that her sister no longer needs her, Laura wants a home of her own and a family to put in it.  No other man would fill the bill as well as Matt, but he’s not interested.  Not wanting to live as a spinster aunt the rest of her life, Laura signs a contract with a marriage broker, choosing to go to Silver City, near Matt’s ranch, in hopes that he might come around.  But he’s not on the roster of eligible grooms!

When Matt sees Laura among the brides on display on the balcony of the Idaho Hotel, he feels gutshot. He’s in no position to take a wife, not with a ranch eating up every spare moment and dollar. But if he doesn't step forward, the one woman he wants will be wed at the end of the week—and not to him.

Will Matt walk away from the woman who stole his heart or let go of everything he's worked so hard to build go in exchange for love?

MAIL-ORDER TANGLE will be released September 12th, but is available for preorder now on Amazon. Two books for only $3.99. What a deal, right?

Preorder Link: http://www.amazon.com/Mail-Order-Tangle-Caroline-Clemmons-ebook/dp/B00MZ6ZRXC/ref=sr_1_11?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408978547&sr=1-11&keywords=caroline+clemmons

Sources:
Texas State Historical Association Handbook of Texas online
Wikipedia
Photos: Wikipedia
Google commons
Texas State Historical Association

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Story Idea by Lauri Robinson


www.laurirobinson.blogspot.com


This post isn’t all about cowboys or the west. I hope no one minds. 

My son received a genealogy software program for Christmas last year and we all enjoyed the tidbits of information he found while researching our family heritage. Some of it was new, other bits we’d heard about from other relatives over the years. The most significant probably being my 8 times great-grandmother was imprisoned in 1692 for witchcraft in Salem.

Her name was Elizabeth Austin Dicer and she was married to William Dicer. Her trial records have not survived according to the sites I’ve found, and she lived in Gloucester, not Salem. However, the women accused in Gloucester were divided between the Salem jail and the Ipswich jail. She was part of a group of women whose families petitioned for them to be released from jail in November 1692 because the conditions were so horrible. They promised to return in June. It appears none of the women were made to return because around that time is when the wife of Gov. Phipps was accused and the entire fiasco was called to a halt. 

Her son-in-law is who petitioned Elizabeth’s release. His name was Richard Tarr and was married to Elizabeth’s daughter also named Elizabeth. My paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Tarr and her line of grandfathers leads directly to Richard. From what I’ve discovered Elizabeth Dicer may have been a bit of a crotchety person who accused others of witchcraft prior to her arrest. 

As we now know, the entire fiasco was a tragedy that could have been avoided with a bit of education, but times were different back then—not so long before then they’d believed the world was flat. 

Last month while attending the RWA conference in San Antonio I had lunch with my wonderful Harlequin editor. She’s is from London and it was our first in person meeting, which was a joy. During our discussion, she asked if there was another era I’d like to explore. (My series of books set in the roaring twenties will be released in 2015.)

I told her about Elizabeth Dicer and a plot for a romance story ‘lightly based’ on her plight that had been tumbling around inside my head. She said to write up a synopsis and send it in. I did that last week, so now I wait to see what the rest of the historical team thinks. Writing in a somewhat uncommon era has its benefits and downfalls. It can be looked upon as something new and unique, but readers may not want to embrace reading stories in a time period different from what they’ve come to know and love. I’m guilty of that myself at times.

I have no idea if Harlequin will give me the go ahead on my story or not, until then I will focus on a couple other works in progress where the heroes are cowboys. Such as my next release (November 1st) which is appropriately titled, The Wrong Cowboy.

One mail-order bride in need of rescue! 

All the rigorous training in the world could not have prepared nursemaid Marie Hall for trailing the wilds of Dakota with six orphans. Especially when her ingenious plan—to pose as the mail-order bride of the children's next of kin—leads Marie to the wrong cowboy! 

Proud and stubborn, Stafford Burleson is everything Marie's been taught to avoid. But with her fate and that of the children in his capable hands, Marie soon feels there's something incredibly right about this rugged rancher and his brooding charm…. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Flu Season....of a Different Kind


By: Peggy L Henderson


Fall is quickly approaching, the kids are going back to school, and we all know what that means – flu season. But people aren’t the only ones who suffer from influenza. Our dogs, cats, and horses can get the flu, as well.
Equine Influenza outbreaks these days can have economic impacts on the racing and showing industry. But what about in the nineteenth century? Everything was dependent on horse power back then, just as we depend on gasoline today. An outbreak could have devastating consequences. 
treating flu stricken horses 
In 1872, an outbreak of equine influenza crippled the US economy.  It came to be known as the Great Epizootic of 1872. The Long Riders’ Guild Academy, the historical organization that researched the outbreak, has said that "The Great Epizootic was the worst equestrian catastrophe in the history of the United States - and perhaps the world."
When horses became unable to perform their duties in the eastern cities, the economy came to a grinding halt. In fact, the influenza outbreak that year is said to have been a major contributor to the economic crash in 1873.
workers pulling their own wagons
The first cases of the disease were reported in Toronto Canada, and within three days spread to New York. It took less than three days for the street car horses to become infected and unable to perform their jobs. Three weeks later, the New York Times reported that all of the cities public stables had been infected, and more than 95% of the horse population had been rendered useless by its owners. "It is not uncommon along the streets of the city to see horses dragging along with drooping heads and at intervals coughing violently."
 On October 30, 1872, a complete suspension of travel had been noted in New York. Massive backups at ports and with freighting companies occurred, because horses could no longer pull the loads from the docks. They couldn’t pull the coal cars that supplied fuel to the railroads.
Men were forced to pull wagons by hand. Trains and ships full of cargo stood unloaded. Perishable food spoiled.
"Coal cannot be hauled from the mines to run locomotives, farmers cannot market their produce, boats cannot reach their destination on the canals ..."
Fire vehicle without horses
One of the greatest casualties that was directly associated to the equine flu outbreak occurred in the city of Boston. Fire engines back then were drawn by horses, and with the animals sick, could no longer respond to fires. A fire broke out in the city on November 9th, and the firemen were required to pull their own equipment, severely impeding their firefighting abilities. The fire raged and became one of the worst disasters in the city’s history. It killed 13 people, destroyed 776 buildings, and cost over $75 million.
Out west, even the US cavalry was  affected. The flu virus had spread south to Mexico and Cuba, and also to the Pacific coast. The soldiers fought their Indian campaign against the Apache on foot. The Apaches had to do the same, as their animals became infected as well.
The vast majority of affected horses that survived (the mortality rate was said to be 10%) were fully healthy again the next year, but the economic impact of the outbreak was felt by major cities for years to come. 

In my time travel romance, Ain't No Angel, this epidemic plays an important role in the story, as the influenza outbreak reached my hero's  Montana Ranch.


Excerpt from Ain't No Angel  (Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series, Book 2)


“This colt has the flu, like I said. Any idiot can see that.” She glared toward Gabe. Tyler no longer held back his smile. His little wife was displaying her feisty side, and she wasn’t backing down. His insides warmed. She defended the horses as a mother would defend a child.
“Flu? What the hell is that? I ain’t never heard of it,” Gabe sniggered.
“You’ve seen this before?” Tyler stepped closer to her. Laney met his stare. She looked ready to do battle with him.
“Yes, and it’s very contagious. I wouldn’t be surprised if more of your horses don’t catch it.”
“What is flu?” Tyler asked, wanting to understand her.
Laney’s forehead wrinkled, a dumbfounded expression on her face. “You know . . . the flu . . . equine influenza. Just like people can get the flu, so do horses.”
“The grippe?” Gabe laughed from outside the stall.  “You’re saying these horses have the grippe?”
Laney glared back at him. “I don’t know what that is, but where I come from, we call it influenza . . . flu for short, and it’s definitely not treated by blistering. Why would you want to make these horses suffer even more than they already are? That’s just the most archaic, stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.”
“How do you treat it?” Tyler asked quickly. The dead colt at Ian’s place popped into his mind again. If his and Ian’s horses suffered from an influenza outbreak, it could have devastating consequences, assuming it was as deadly as it was in people. He’d never heard of the illness in horses, and he was only vaguely familiar with the symptoms of the grippe in people. A neighboring community had suffered an outbreak several years ago, and many of the townsfolk had died.
  “There was a colt at Ian’s place last week that had the same symptoms before it died,” he said slowly. “He’s lost several foals since then.” Tyler frowned. Where had this sick animal come from? Anger surged in him. There would be hell to pay when he found the owner of that dead colt.
“Then I suggest you tell Ian that he’d better keep an eye out for his horses. If any of them drink the same water, or eat from the same feed barrel, they’ll be exposed,” Laney said firmly.
Tyler recalled watering the horse he rode to Ian’s place at the trough in Ian’s yard. Was that how he had brought the illness back to his ranch? He cursed under his breath. The saddle horse wasn’t infected, as near as he could tell. He appeared well when he rode him the day before. He’d ridden Charlie to Ian’s ranch this morning. Damn.
“If you’ve seen this before, how is it treated?” Tyler’s admiration for his wife grew. Where had she learned so much about horses? The women he knew, even the rancher’s wives, simply didn’t pay that much attention to what was always deemed as men’s business.
Laney glanced from him to the wranglers standing outside the stall. “Well, you have to keep the sick horses away from the healthy ones. Don’t share feed or water buckets, bridles, anything. Everything you touch needs to be disinfected. There’s really no treatment. It has to run its course.” She stopped to gape at him. “Where I’m from, it would have been easier to prevent with . . .” She shook her head and her eyes widened as if she’d said too much.
Prevent with what? Tyler didn’t have a chance to ask.
 “Keep them warm and comfortable, and hope for the best. Try and get them to drink and eat, even if you have to force water into them. The best thing to do is make sure it doesn’t spread.” She turned her head to the gray colt. “I’m worried he might have pneumonia, with all that nasal discharge. We’ll have to watch him closely.”
“I still say draw the diseased serum out of him. Blistering is a sure-fire way to rid horses of their ailments,” Gabe said.
Tyler didn’t know what to think. His foreman was a knowledgeable horseman, and he himself would have opted for the treatment Gabe suggested. Laney’s firm conviction in what she said gave him pause even if some of her unfamiliar words were downright perplexing. How she knew all of these things was a question he’d ask later.
“Gabe, I’m gonna ride out to Ian’s place first thing in the morning, and tell him to inspect all his horses, and to separate the sick ones. I want you to do a thorough inspection of our stock. Any horse that so much as sneezes gets separated from the others. For now, hold off on the pine tar.”
“I’ll do whatever you think will get these horses well again, Ty,” Gabe said slowly. His eyes lingered on Laney, his expression unreadable, then he turned to Eddie and Sammy.
“You heard the boss. Let’s go check out the other horses before it gets too dark. Any sick ones, we’ll separate into the south pen.” He nodded toward Tyler, then strode from the barn, the other two wranglers on his heels.
Tyler turned toward Laney. She twisted the rope in her hand into a tight knot. She offered a soft smile, but the worry remained in her eyes. He stepped closer.
“You said this could have been prevented. How?” He reached for her hand. Her eyes widened in panic.
“I . . . I didn’t mean totally prevented. I meant the spread could have been prevented.” Her eyes darted to the colt in an obvious attempt to break eye contact.
There was something she wasn’t saying. What did she know that she didn’t want to divulge? Tyler shrugged it off for now. It was too late for prevention, anyhow.
“I’ve had the strangest feeling that there’s more to you than what you’re letting on. One of these days I’m going to figure it out, but until I do, I want you to know I’m glad that you’re here, Laney,” he said quietly, sincerely. If only her passion for the animals would extend toward him as well. 


Peggy L Henderson is a laboratory technologist by night, and best-selling western historical and time travel romance author of the Yellowstone Romance Series, Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series, and Teton Romance Trilogy. When she’s not writing about Yellowstone, the Tetons, or the old west, she’s out hiking the trails, spending time with her family and pets, or catching up on much-needed sleep. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart. Along with her husband and two sons, she makes her home in Southern California.