Sunday, October 30, 2016

THE HAUNTING OF...THE WHITE HOUSE

By: Ashley Kath-Bilsky


"Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today, I wish, I wish he’d go away. When I came home last night at three, The Man was waiting there for me. But when I looked around the hall, I couldn’t see him there at all.” ~ Hughes Mearns, ‘Antigonish’ (1899)

All Hallow's Eve begins each year at midnight on October 31st. According to legend, it is the one day of the year when spirits of the dead return to walk among the living. So, what better time than HALLOWEEN to address the continuing mystery that has confounded and intrigued people for centuries?

Namely, Do spirits haunt people and places? If so, why? And is it just on Halloween? Or, do spirits visit us every day?

When it comes to the subject of Haunted Houses one place in particular comes to mind.

The White House is perhaps the most historic home in the United States of America, and has long been rumored to be haunted. Imagine if those walls could talk. As the residence for every President of the United States since 1800, it is cloaked not only in the dramatic history of this nation, but served also as the private home for each First Family. Surely this great house resonates with the echoes of the past; imprints of those who once resided there and who perhaps never left. [Pictured: First Lady Lucy Hayes with two of her children and a family friend in the White House conservatory, 1879.]

Although most are familiar with the stories about Abraham Lincoln's ghost wandering about The White House, there have been other ghost sightings as well. As someone curious about the paranormal and haunted sites, more often than not the location is haunted by someone who lived or died there. Upon deciding to investigate rumored paranormal activity at The White House, I began my research by learning what United States Presidents died during their tenure. More importantly, did any Presidents actually die in The White House? In addition, what about members of the First Family? This blog will address my findings.

PRESIDENTS WHO DIED IN OFFICE

In total, eight (8) Presidents of the United States died while in office. They include: William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.

Among these men, William Henry Harrison was the first United States President to die in office. He also had the shortest term as a President, from 04 March 1841 to 04 April 1841. The cause of his death was Pneumonia, believed to have resulted from a severe cold he contracted after giving an almost 2-hour Inaugural Address in rain and snow. In addition, Harrison was the first United States President to actually die in The White House.

On 09 July 1850, Zachary Taylor became the second President to die in office, and the second President to die in The White House. The cause of his death was contaminated fruit consumed at a Fourth of July celebration at The Washington Monument.

Next came Abraham Lincoln. Shot while attending a play at The Ford Theatre, he did not die in The White House. However, his body was brought there for embalming and lay in state in the East Room of The White House for public viewing. A two-week funeral procession by train to various states would culminate in his burial in Illinois.

President John A. Garfield died on 19 September 1881, from an infection caused by physicians probing his body with their bare fingers and non-sterilized equipment to find and remove a bullet received during an Assassination attempt on 02 July 1881. Although shot in Washington, D.C., and first tended at The White House, Garfield died in a cottage on the Jersey shore where he had been attempting to recuperate.

The fifth President to die in office was William McKinley. While attending the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, McKinley was shot by an assassin on 06 September 1901. Tended in Buffalo, he died on 14 September 1901 from Gangrene. A funeral train transported his body back to Washington, D.C., where he lay in state in the East Room of The White House. His body would then be taken by train to Canton, Ohio, for burial.

On 02 August 1923, Warren G. Harding died in San Francisco at The Palace Hotel. Harding had been traveling cross-country by train on a goodwill tour. The cause of his death was attributed to Pneumonia, Heart Attack, and/or Stroke. Although rumors suggested Harding might have been poisoned, his wife refused to consent to an autopsy so the exact cause of death was never determined.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the only United States President elected for four (4) consecutive terms, died on 12 April 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia. A victim of polio since 1921, Roosevelt had a vacation home in Warm Springs where he believed the warm, mineral waters helped his legs. He died from a massive Cerebral Hemorrhage after complaining of a severe headache while reading official papers. Roosevelt's body was transported by funeral train back to Washington, D.C. Roosevelt did not want a pubic viewing; therefore, a closed casket service was held in the East Room of The White House. His remains were afterwards transported by train for burial in Hyde Park, New York.

On 22 November 1963, John F. Kennedy became the eighth President to die in office. After his assassination in Dallas, Texas, Kennedy's body was flown back to Washington, D.C. His closed, flag-draped coffin lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda until 25 November, whereupon a funeral procession followed a route passed The White House to St. Matthew's Cathedral. Kennedy was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

It should also be noted that three First Ladies died in The White House. On 10 September 1842, First Lady Letitia Tyler died from complications of a stroke. The East Room of The White House was used for her remains to lay in state prior to being transported back to Virginia for burial.

On 25 October 1892, First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison died from Tuberculosis in The White House. In addition to helping establish the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Caroline Harrison supervised four generations of the Harrison family living in The White House and also supervised the total refurbishing of the Presidential residence. A private service for her was held in the East Room of The White House. Her remains were then taken to Indiana for a church funeral service and burial.

The third First Lady to die in The White House was Ellen Axson Wilson [pictured above]. Although diagnosed with the incurable Bright's Disease on 01 March 1914, she realized in August 1914 how rapidly and badly her condition had deteriorated. She told her husband she would go away peacefully to die if her "Alley Bill" would pass in Congress. The "Alley Bill" sought better housing, especially for black laborers in D.C. The Senate passed the bill the same day and promised the House would pass it the next day. She died in The White House less than an hour after learning of the actions taken by the Senate and promise by the House. A private service was held for her in the East Room of The White House. Her remains were later transported to Rome, Georgia for burial.

However, of all the deaths The White House has seen, perhaps the most tragic was that of 11-year old Willie Lincoln on 20 February 1862. [Pictured: William Wallace 'Willie' Lincoln]

Willie and his younger brother Tad had contracted Typhoid Fever; both boys were being tended in separate rooms. What isn't known by many is that Willie died in what is now known as the Lincoln Bed. He was the third son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, born the same year the couple's second son had died.

A sweet, kind child, Willie had only weeks before his death told their pastor that he wanted to be a preacher when he grew up. To say Willie's death hit Lincoln and his wife hard would be an understatement. They were devastated. And although Lincoln openly wept for the boy and grieved mightily for him, the death of Willie proved an emotional breaking point for Mary Todd Lincoln.

After his death, Willie's body was taken to the Green Room for embalming. The funeral was held in the East Room. Two white horses then pulled the hearse to Georgetown for burial. So overwhelmed with grief was the boy's mother, and terrified the same fate would come to her youngest child, Mary could not bear to attend the funeral. Afterwards, she would never cross the threshold into the Green Room or the bedroom where Willie died.

What comfort can be found to one so lost in grief? What remedy that even her faith could not soothe?

The country was still divided and at War. Commander-In-Chief, Abraham Lincoln tried to focus his attention on the dire responsibilities of his Presidency, but he was also dealing with his own grief over Willie's death. In addition, he sees his fragile wife cannot come to terms with the death of their son. Lost in an enveloping darkness of her sadness, Mary somehow grasped onto the practice of spiritualism, and the possibility she might find a way to communicate with her deceased loved ones.

And so it was that on 23 April 1863, President Abraham Lincoln attended a séance with his wife. According to 'Abraham and Mary' by Kenneth J. Winkle, Mary Todd Lincoln participated in eight séances held at The White House, and one at the Soldier's Home.

As a pragmatic man, Lincoln likely attended the first séance out of concern for his wife's welfare and/or skepticism whether the medium was honest or a charlatan. The fact he allowed his wife to continue with the séances at The White House could be attributed to Lincoln's belief in whatever happened at that first séance, or by seeing that his wife was comforted by the experience...perhaps both.

Since Lincoln sanctioned the séances at The White House, he might also have experienced some type of validation. One must also remember Abraham Lincoln clearly had psychic ability of his own. [Pictured: Abraham Lincoln. Public Domain]

Ten days before his Assassination, Lincoln experienced a prophetic dream about his death. Three days before he was killed, he told his friend and biographer, Ward Hill Lamon, about the vivid, disturbing, recurring dream. Each night of the three nights leading up to the day of his assassination, Lincoln had the same dream. Ultimately, on the fateful day, Lincoln told William H. Crook (a bodyguard) about the dreams. Although Crook advised Lincoln not to attend the play that evening, the President replied that he'd promised his wife. Yet, as he departed The White House, Lincoln said 'goodbye' to Crook -- the first and only time he'd said that to the man. Before then, Lincoln always bid Crook 'goodnight'.

After the assassination of her husband, Mary Todd Lincoln's interest in spiritualism increased. She continued to attend and participate in séances. Whether or not the mediums whose services she sought were truly gifted we will never know. One can only hope they did not prey upon such a fragile lady who had lost so much and suffered such heartbreaking losses.

Yet another question comes to mind about these seances. It is often believed that seances open a door to the spirit world. What if that door was never closed? What if Mary Todd Lincoln's grief created a portal through which the ghosts of those who lived or died at The White House could return from time-to-time?

GHOST SIGHTINGS AT THE WHITE HOUSE

Without question, it is the ghost of President Lincoln that has been most seen by White House staff and several Presidential family members, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady Grace Coolidge, First Lady Claudia 'Lady Bird' Johnson, and both Maureen Reagan (daughter of President Ronald Reagan) and her husband. Others who have professed to have seen the full body apparition of Abraham Lincoln are British Prime Minister Winston Churchill,and Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands.

A very intriguing photo taken in 1950 appears to show the full body ghostly apparition of a man believed to be Abraham Lincoln. From 1949-1952, President Harry S. Truman authorized necessary structural renovations of The White House.

The photograph (left) was taken by U.S. National Park Service photographer, Abbie Rowe. The subject of the photo is the work being done beneath The White House. In the foreground, we see a man smiling at the camera and seated in the bulldozer. Also visible are three men talking in the background on the left. However, in the background on the right is the full body apparition of a man wearing a 3/4-length great coat from the 1860s, arms folded across his chest. I should also mention that this translucent figure is standing beneath the Lincoln Bedroom.

Judging by the stance of this figure, he appears to have been watching the man in the earth-moving machine, then turned his head toward the high windows as if something else caught his attention. His face appears (at least to me) to be in profile -- and he has a beard. If nothing else, it is fascinating to speculate.

Joshua P. Warren discusses his extensive research on the photograph in a short video on his website. If you would like to see the video, or learn more about this photograph and the research conducted by paranormal investigator and author, Joshua P. Warren, visit: http://freecharm.com/WhiteHouseGhostPhoto.html

One can only speculate why Lincoln haunts the White House. Does he perhaps feel his job was not quite finished? Has he remained in spirit to guard The White House, or its inhabitants? What wisdom might he wish to impart, if indeed his spirit lingers? Can a physical death destroy an intangible soul? Or, does that soul move on and--on occasion--visit the living? Just like on All Hallows' Eve. [Pictured Cropped Close-Up image of Lincoln apparition, photographed by Abbie Rowe.]

“Ghosts, like ladies, never speak till spoke to.” ~ Thomas Ingoldsby, ‘The Ghost’ (1837)

It should be noted, however, that Lincoln's ghost is not the only spirit that has been seen at The White House. According to The White House Historical Association, numerous ghost sightings have been seen. In fact, there have been rumors of paranormal activity and spectral visitations at The White House dating back to the time of its first Presidential occupant, John Adams.

Among the ghosts that many have seen or heard are:

1) Willie Lincoln has often been seen walking the halls. He was first seen during the 1870s by members of the Grant Administration. Was he perhaps looking for his family?

2) The ghost of First Lady Dolley Madison has appeared in the Rose Garden, which she planted.

3) First Lady Abigail Adams has been seen hanging laundry in the East Room (which during her tenure as First Lady was the warmest room and where she did laundry). Her ghost was reported numerous times during the Taft Administration, and seen as recently as 2002 -- always accompanied by the scent of wet laundry and lavender soap.

4) The ghosts of Presidents Grant, Lincoln, and McKinley were seen by Jeremiah Jerry Smith, who worked at The White House for 35-years, beginning with the Grant Administration. He also reported seeing several First Ladies.

5) The ghost of Andrew Jackson has been seen in his bed in the Queen's Bedroom aka 'Rose Room', and Mary Todd Lincoln claimed to have seen him stomping and swearing. Incidentally, the Rose Room is reportedly one of the most haunted rooms in The White House.

6) Thomas Jefferson plays his violin in the Yellow Oval Room.

7) John Tyler haunts the Blue Room.

8) William Henry Harrison reportedly haunts the Attic.

Although one can reasonably assume The White House does not conduct Ghost Tours, it is interesting to note how many people have seen or heard paranormal activity at The White House. Are these spectral appearance merely imprinted images from another time? Or, do ghosts visit The White House, curious to see the changes that have been made and the State of the Union? Whatever the reason, it is a nice thought to think they may be still looking out for the country they loved and served.

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed learning about the reported Hauntings of The White House.

And since it just isn't Halloween without a good ghost story to read, permit me to recommend BETWEEN THE SHADOWS, my historical paranormal mystery/suspense. Available in print and EPUB formats on Kindle, Kobo, and Nook. For more information about BETWEEN THE SHADOWS, and other titles, including buy links, visit:
https://ashleykathbilsky.com/bookshelf/

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! ~ AKB

Friday, October 28, 2016

USING HISTORIC CHARACTERS IN A WORK OF FICTION--BY CHERYL PIERSON


I am fascinated by Cherokee leader Stand Watie. I've used him as a character in many of my stories. I think the reason I can't seem to get enough of him is because of his remarkable life and accomplishments. Here's a little bit about Stand Watie and what he did--and then I'll tell you about my stories he appears in.




Only two Native Americans on either side of the States’ War rose to the rank of brigadier general. Standhope Watie (Uwatie), fighting for the Confederacy, was one of those two. Yet, what makes this accomplishment so incredible is the fact that while he was fighting for the Confederate States of America, he was also fighting other Cherokee tribal leaders who held opposing political views and very different visions for the Cherokee nation.

Stand Watie commanded the Confederate Indian Cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. While the cavalry unit was comprised mainly of Cherokee, some Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole tribal members also served.


Born in Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation, State of Georgia, Uwatie (or Oowatie) was also known as Isaac. He was educated in a Moravian mission school. In his early adulthood, he occasionally wrote articles for the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper. The State of Georgia confiscated Cherokee lands in 1832 when gold was discovered, including the thriving plantation owned by Stand’s father and mother. Stand and his brothers, part of the powerful Ridge-Watie-Boudinot faction of the Cherokee council, stood in favor of the Cherokee Removal. Their signing of the Treaty of New Echota facilitated the removal of the Cherokee people to Indian Territory—what is now Oklahoma.

Another faction of Cherokees following John Ross refused to ratify the treaty signing. This segment was known as The Anti-Removal National Party. Members of this group targeted Stand Watie and his brother, Elias Boudinot, along with their uncle, Major Ridge, and cousin, John Ridge for assassination. Stand was the only one who survived the assassination attempt. Although Watie’s family had left Georgia before the forcible removal of all Cherokees in 1838, another brother, Thomas, was murdered by Ross’s men in 1845.

In October, 1861, Watie was commissioned as colonel in the First Mounted Cherokee Rifles. Besides fighting Federal troops in the States’ War, his men also fought opposing factions of Cherokee, as well as Seminole and Creek (Muscogee) warriors who supported the Union.

In 1862, Stand Watie was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, through dissension continued among John Ross’s supporters.

On June 15, 1864, Watie’s troops captured the Federal steamboat J. R. Williams on the Arkansas River off the banks of Pleasant Bluff near Tamaha, Indian Territory. The next morning, Colonel John Ritchie’s men, who were stationed at the mouth of the Illinois River near where the two rivers met, engaged Watie’s men as they attempted to confiscate the cargo. The river was rising, and they fought to a standoff. When Watie learned of the advance of Union troops from Fort Smith, Arkansas, (within about 40 miles), he burned the ship and much of the remaining cargo, then sank it.

Watie surrendered a year later in June of 1865, the last Confederate general to lay down his arms.

In my debut novel, Fire Eyes, I weave this bit of history into my plot. The villain, Andrew Fallon, and his gang have come upon the site where the J.R. Williams was sunk four years earlier. Fallon speculates there could have been gold aboard, and sets his men to dive for it. As mercurial as his temper is, none of them dare question his order. Here’s what happens:



FROM FIRE EYES:

“Damn! I know where we are.” Dobie Perrin said.

Andrew Fallon turned in the saddle, glaring at Perrin, the afternoon sun dappling them through the leaves of the thick canopy of trees. “So do I, you idiot! So do we all, now.”

The secluded cemetery sat on a bluff, overlooking the Arkansas River. They had been wandering for two days, ever since retracing their steps to the first small creek they’d come to. The one Fallon felt sure would give them their bearings. Now, at last, he recognized where they were. He’d figured it out ten miles back.

“Tamaha,” Denver Rutledge muttered. “I was raised up over yonder.” He inclined his head toward the riverbank. “Over in Vian.”

“Then why didn’t you know where we were?” Fallon’s anger surged. “I am surrounded by idiots!”

“I shore ’nuff shoulda known, General,” Rutledge said apologetically. “Right yonder’s where we sunk the J.R. Williams. Rebs, I mean. Stand Watie’s bunch.”

Fallon jerked his head toward the other man. “Right where, soldier?”

Rutledge kneed his horse, coming abreast of Fallon. “Why, right yonder, General. It was in June of ’64. She was a Union ship, the Williams was.”

“What was she carrying?”

Rutledge shrugged. “Don’t rightly know. Supplies, maybe.”

“Payroll? Gold?” Fallon fingered his curling moustache. “Could be anything, eh, Rutledge? But the Yankees were known to cache their gold profits in casks. Maybe that’s what the J.R. Williams was carrying. Casks that weren’t really supplies, but were filled with gold.”

“Could be, I ‘spect.” Rutledge’s voice was hesitant.

Fallon nodded toward the river. “I think maybe we’ll try to find out.”

BUY IT HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Eyes-Cheryl-Pierson-ebook/dp/B00JTAFTPS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1476583998&sr=1-1&keywords=Fire+Eyes&tag=pettpist-20

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The next story Chief Watie was included in was my time-travel western novella, MEANT TO BE. Here's a little bit about this Civil War story:

Robin Mallory is facing another Christmas all alone when she decides to surprise her aunt and uncle several hours away. A flat tire leaves her stranded near a desolate section of interstate. With a snowstorm on the way, Robin has no choice but to walk, hoping to find shelter before the storm hits full force. But the road she chooses leads her back in time, to a battleground she's only read about in history books.

Confederate Jake Devlin, an officer in Stand Watie's Cherokee forces, is shocked when the spy he captures turns out to be a girl. She's dressed oddly, but her speech and the ideas she has are even stranger than her clothing. Where did she come from, and what is he going to do with her? Will he be able to hold on to his heart? Is it possible for a love this strong to span centuries? It is, if it was MEANT TO BE…

BUY IT HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Meant-Be-Cheryl-Pierson-ebook/dp/B00M28NKI2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1476584160&sr=1-1&keywords=MEANT+TO+BE+by+Cheryl+Pierson&tag=pettpist-20

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My most recent story that Stand Watie appears in is my first venture into "alternate history" in the alternate history anthology, TALES FROM THE OTHERVERSE released through Rough Edges Press. If you aren't familiar with alternate history, it's fascinating to read and to write--because you can change history to suit the story you want to tell. My novella is called MRS. LINCOLN'S DINNER PARTY--a very different story about how the Civil War ended, thanks to Varina Davis, Mary Lincoln, and of all people, Stand Watie. Hmmm...let's just see what's going on at this odd dinner party of Mrs. Lincoln's, shall we?

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“If you’ll excuse me, sir,” Mary said, “I must return to the receiving line. You’ve had a long journey—if you’d like a moment to freshen up, Mr. Pennington can show you to your quarters—” She nodded at the guard standing behind the general.

“Yes, please. I’d like to know where I need to place my bag,” the general said.

Mary glared at Mr. Pennington, who squirmed uncomfortably.

“Thought maybe there was a mistake, Mrs. Lincoln—”

“Mr. Pennington. There is no mistake. And I will not tolerate rudeness. Please, show General Watie to his quarters—and you carry his bag.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Pennington answered. “This way, sir.”

General Watie gave Mary a rare smile. “Thank you. I will see you at dinner, Mrs. Lincoln.”

Mary felt Abe’s eyes boring into her as she moved across the floor, back into her place in line.

“I’m…surprised at you, Mary.”

Mary felt the hot flush creep up her neck, into her cheeks.

“I’m wondering, what other—guests—you may have invited without my knowledge.”

Oh, how she did wish he’d keep his voice down! She didn’t want the children to see the discord between them—especially here in public, where it was so easy for others to read between the lines, pick up on any issues that were best kept private. As Robert had said earlier, they could all find themselves on the front page of the papers along with unflattering descriptions and comments if they weren’t careful.

She didn’t answer Abe’s prodding, becoming suddenly resentful of being placed in such a predicament. She wouldn’t have had to resort to this if Abe and the others who had started this war had been more reasonable.

And though, in her heart, she believed fathers loved their children dearly…she couldn’t yet reconcile how fathers could call for sons to go to war. War! Where the children mothers had fought so hard to keep safe and whole all their childhood years could—in one moment—be maimed, or left to die a horrific death at the hands of their enemy…The enemy—people who had, just two scant years earlier, been their neighbors, their friends—even their own families!

She couldn’t sit by any longer and do nothing. Robert would be heading off to West Point in the fall…then Eddie and Willie would follow.

She was not going to lose her precious boys to this confounded idiocy.

“My God,” Abe swore, his tone calling her back to the present. “Is that—”

“Varina Davis. Yes. It is.” Mary turned to look up at her husband. “It looks as if Jefferson declined the invitation. Would you care to accompany me to greet her, or—”

“Yes, I’ll come,” he all but growled. “Mary, we have some talking to do.”

But Mary was already on her way across the floor to greet Varina Davis, Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s wife.

BUY IT HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Otherverse-James-Reasoner-ebook/dp/B018CQF05I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1476584467&sr=1-1&keywords=Tales+From+the+Otherverse+by+Cheryl+Pierson&tag=pettpist-20

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I want to thank everyone for joining me today! Do you like to read fictional stories that incorporate real historical characters in them? I love it--if it's done right! Please leave a comment and you will be entered in my drawing for a digital copy of FIRE EYES and I'm also giving away a digital copy of MEANT TO BE!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

FUN NAMES ABOUND IN TEXAS



Every state has towns and regions with odd names. Since I live in Texas, I’m most aware of my state’s names. There are towns like Dime Box and the former Lick Skillet.

Not only was Lick Skillet a community, but there were FIVE places with that name before postal organization arrived to eliminate duplication. Supposedly, one such town received that name because if you were late to community events, all the food was gone and you would have to lick the skillet if you were hungry.  


Imagine you are a sports announcer and the game is between the Quitaque Quail and the Mesquite Skeeters. Quitaque is a tongue twister for many people. To save newcomers a problem, the town sign gives the pronunciation as Kitty-quay. By the way, the town is best known for its bison ranch.



I love the tale about the Pedernales River. Early surveyors and mapmakers spelled the name wrong by inserting the R in the wrong place. Did that change citizens’ pronunciation? Not a bit. The river is pronounced Perdinales.

The Pedernales River
In North Central Texas are the towns of Rio Vista and Nevada. Rio Vista is not pronounced ree-o as is correct for Spanish. Locals say Rye-o Vista. The state is Nevada but the Texas town is Ne-vay-da. We Texans just do our own thing.


What are some odd town names in your state? 


Caroline Clemmons is an award winning and Amazon bestselling author whose latest release is RACHEL, Bride Brigade book 5.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Child Raising the Nez Perce Way by Paty Jager



Wallowa Lake
I have a spirit trilogy that is set among the Nez Perce Indians of NE Oregon. The Lake Nimiipuu as they called themselves wintered and summered in the Wallowa Valley where I grew up.

To write this trilogy I had to study and research the Nez Perce Indians in the 17 and 1800's.

The children of Nez Perce families were taught by their grandparents. The grandfathers taught the boys how to make weapons, hunt, fish, track, and fight. Grandmothers taught the girls how to take care of their families, do the chores, and help their men. The elders passed down the stories of the trickster coyote and how "The People" came to be. By reading books of their legends I learned how the legends taught the children basic truths about life and how to conduct themselves to be good Nez Perce.

Grandmothers also taught the girls about the coming of age and were by their sides during marriages and the births. When a girl began her menstrual cycle she would stay in the menstrual lodge for the duration of her bleeding. It was believed the women carried strong powers during this time and were susceptible to getting pregnant. They also thought this strong power would overrule the man's power.

This isolation served a purpose. They held private discussions about personal problems and conditions of health, exchanged views on herbal medicine, and composed songs. They cooked their own meals in the lodge and didn't touch anything outside nor could they attend any ceremonies during this time.

They used buffalo hides with the fur still on for menstruation pads or buckskin and milkweed. The pads were put in a hole in the middle of the dwelling and buried. 

After puberty girls were no longer allowed to play with boys and stayed in a lodge with their grandmothers and aunts and taught the ways of women until they married.

In book two of the series, Spirit of the Lake, Dove, a young maiden who becomes pregnant from an attack by a Whiteman, is sent to live with the old woman to keep her from speaking of the incident and causing trouble. The story takes place after the treaty of 1863 that took away the Wallowa Nez Perce's land but wasn't signed by the Wallowa Nez Perce. Because they could be removed from their land at any time against their will, the leader's worked hard, sometimes too hard, to keep peace between their people and the Whitemen moving into the valley.
  
Blurb
Can a spirit set upon this earth to see to the good of the Nimiipuu stay true to justice when revenge burns in his heart?

Wewukiye, the lake spirit, saves a Nimiipuu maiden from drowning and bringing shame to herself and her family. Learning her people ignored her accusations against a Whiteman who took her body, leaving her pregnant,Wewukiye vows to help her through the birth and to prove the Whiteman’s deceit.

Dove slowly heals her heart and her distrust as Wewukiye, the warrior with hair the color of the sun, believes in her and helps her restore her faith in her people and herself.  

On their quest for justice, Dove reveals spiritual abilities, ensnaring Wewukiye’s respect and awe. But will these abilities seal their future or tear them apart?

Buy Links:



Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. She has garnered a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award for her Action Adventure and received the EPPIE Award for Best Contemporary Romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.



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