Monday, September 28, 2015


Hi everyone! I wanted to talk a little bit about my brand new single-author western romance anthology, WINTER MAGIC.

This is a collection of three stories that appeared in some of Prairie Rose Publications’ anthologies over the last year. Sometimes, it's hard to tie stories together with a logline, but I love this one we came up with: Three criminals who’ve lost everything…three women who have nothing to lose…is it love or magic that bring them together in these three romantic tales of the old west?

The first story, HEARTS AND DIAMONDS, was a part of the Cowboy Cravings anthology (June 2014). Hired gun Nick Diamond is determined to ruin the life of his nemesis, Carlton Ridgeway, by claiming Ridgeway’s bride at the altar with a damning lie. He never gives a thought as to how his actions might affect the bride, Liberty Blankenship, who is ready to sacrifice herself for respectability—though she longs for love with all her heart. When Ridgeway comes looking for a fight, Nick obliges—and all hell breaks loose—but will Liberty get her heart’s desire in the end?

Since I had brought the subject of brothers up in Nick and Libby’s conversation, and since Jake, the youngest brother, made a short appearance in HEARTS AND DIAMONDS, I decided to introduce the middle brother, Brett, in SPELLBOUND, my contribution to the Cowboys, Creatures and Calico II (Oct. 2014) anthology. We had so many wonderful submissions for our Halloween anthologies in 2014 we had to make a second volume! My story appeared in this anthology because of the element of magic—and the fact that the heroine, Angie Colton, is a witch—but it actually takes place closer to Christmas. In fact, the Christmas tree is the entire reason the showdown happens like it does between safecracker Brett Diamond and the villain, Teller Magdon. Without a bit of magic, things might not have turned out as they do!

Finally, in LUCK OF THE DRAW, the youngest brother, gambler Jake Diamond gets his own story. This tale appeared in WILD TEXAS CHRISTMAS (Nov. 2014) and I love the fact that “family” is the theme—with it being so close to Christmas. Jake has a bit of a history with the heroine, Lainie Barrett. She’s been held hostage with him for several days in Brett’s story, SPELLBOUND. They’ve said some things to one another under duress that maybe shouldn’t have been said. But when Jake accompanies Lainie back to visit her mother to let her know she’s all right, they make an incredible “find” that shows them Lainie’s odd “gift” and solidifies their relationship. Can a gambling man and a novice witch risk everything on each other?

Here’s an excerpt from the first story in the collection, HEARTS AND DIAMONDS. Nick has just forced Libby to marry him. They’re in the honeymoon suite having their first “heart to heart” talk…

“Be honest, Libby,” Nick said softly. “You weren’t any more in love with Carlton Ridgeway than you are with me. So what difference does it make you which one of us you marry?”

Libby was surprised at how quickly her little ladylike hand uncoiled from her proper stance and unerringly slapped his handsome face, only inches from hers. The noise it made was like a gunshot, and he flinched as he stepped back, his own hand going automatically to his cheek.

“You’re right, Mr. Diamond. I’m not in love with Carlton Ridgeway. The most I had to look forward to was a scrap of respectability—if not for myself, then for my parents. Now, that, too, is gone. So, the only choice is to go forward from this point and—and make the best of things between us. But I will not be used, any more than I have been already, Mr. Diamond.”

“Nick,” he corrected unthinkingly. “And we—can get an annulment, if that’s what you want.”

Libby’s smile held all the promise and danger that was stored in the reckless wildness of her spirit.

“I wouldn’t dream of disappointing you so, Nick,” she said sweetly. “No, we’ll make our dreams come true together,” she continued. “A home of our own, filled with children and, of course, true love.”

His lips quirked at her words. “That sounds pretty damn good to me, Libby. Uh…you do know what makes babies, don’t you?”

Though she only had a vague idea of how it was done, she wouldn’t give him the upper hand. She nodded sagely. “Oh, yes. And I’m looking forward to it.”

As if he knew her secret, Nick Diamond had the audacity to laugh aloud at that. Her face burned.
“I believe you’ll enjoy it more with me than you would have with Ridgeway.”

She moistened her lips and tried to settle the frantic pounding her heart had begun. “Well, then. Perhaps we should—start—immediately. With our family. Our baby.”

Nick stood silent as she floundered. Finally, he said, “Let’s have some dinner first, shall we? I’ll have the bellboy lay a fire for us so we’ll be comfortable when we come back from eating. You’ll need your strength for tonight…when the ‘baby making’ begins. I have a hell of an appetite—for good food and…good sex,” he added wickedly.


The Diamond brothers are cast out into the world by a crooked business deal at a young age. They’ve lost everything—including their father. Although they are forced to make their own way, brotherly bonds remain unbreakable: It’s all for one and one for all.

HEARTS AND DIAMONDS—Revenge sets hired gun Nick Diamond after a bride, and nothing will stand in his way. But when that bride happens to be outspoken firebrand Liberty Blankenship, all bets are off. Anything can happen when HEARTS AND DIAMONDS collide!

SPELLBOUND—Safecracker Brett Diamond and witch Angie Colton take on a border gang leader who is pure evil. Can Angie’s supernatural powers save them? No matter what, Brett and Angie are hopelessly SPELLBOUND.

LUCK OF THE DRAW—Handsome gambler Jake Diamond and beautiful fledgling sorceress Lainie Barrett make a last-ditch effort to reunite Lainie and her mother for Christmas. Along the way, Jake and Lainie realize there’s no escape from the powerful attraction they feel toward one another. But do they know each other well enough to become a family when they rescue an abandoned infant? With their own particular talents, they discover life is one big poker table—and love can be had if they are willing to risk it all!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by today! I will be giving away a digital copy of WINTER MAGIC to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave your contact info in case you win!

BUY LINKS           Barnes and Noble Nook(coming)       Smashwords       Kobo

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Don't miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

Research is a large part of a writer’s world, especially when he or she writes historical novels. I confess I love delving into a subject and have trouble keeping on task. One of the fun parts is the day trip through North Texas' mountains.

Years ago my husband and I took a trip to Palo Pinto County, Texas for a driving tour and that’s when I fell in love with the area. No, actually I already loved driving through the valleys and the mountains that look more like hills. This tour, however, convinced me this was an area in which I would set many books. So far, I have two series set here—Stone Mountain and Bride Brigade—and a time travel, OUT OF THE BLUE.

Valley view on Johnson's League Ranch
As I mentioned, to most people, these would be considered hills, but geologically, they are true mountains. Don’t ask me why, I’m just a writer. There are many picturesque areas and I enjoy driving through at any time of year. Now, however, is a prime time because the leaves are changing. You find it’s easy to see why the Native Americans dubbed the trees “painted posts”.

Although many live oaks dot the forests, most trees are smaller scrub oaks which turn colors and lose their leaves. Live oaks lose leaves, but they’re quickly replaced and have dark green leaves year around, hence the name. Also in the area are cedars and they provided fence posts material as well as small logs for cabins. Add in a smattering of cottonwood, hackberry, bois d'arc, and elm.

In Palo Pinto County are many springs, the most famous of which is the "crazy water well" near Mineral Wells. According to accounts, a family with a mentally disturbed wife moved to the area and the husband dug a well. While drinking that water, the woman was cured. It should be called sane water, but that doesn’t have the ring to it that crazy water does.

Historic reproduction of cabin and well in Palo Pinto County
The original well went through a lithium deposit and that provided relief to the woman’s condition. People came for miles to get water from that well. To this day, Crazy Water Crystals are available for sale. Frankly, I doubt these are from the lithium well due to the FDA controlling that substance. Likely they are useful as little more than laxatives from minerals. The town isn't named Mineral Wells for no reason.  

One of my favorite ranches is the Belding-Gibson Ranch, which has a spring that never dries up and was a favorite Native American campground. This is a beautiful ranch that has been continuously run by the Belding family and descendants since 1859. The original cedar log cabin dating to 1854 has been incorporated into the ranch home, as has the smokehouse and the dog trot and second cabin. Fortunately, this family is lovingly protecting their heritage and have been generous in sharing with the public.

The Gibson home on the Belding-Gibson Ranch,
which includes the original cabins
I enjoy this county, although I’m glad I live in a Fort Worth suburb with all the shopping and medical conveniences I prefer. While visiting Palo Pinto, I can visualize life as it was in the last half of the nineteenth century. A drive there sets my imagination cog wheels turning and generating new ideas faster than I can write them.

Do you have special areas that inspire you? I’ll give away a copy of my first Bride Brigade romance, JOSEPHINE, to one person who comments today.

Thanks for visiting today. Don't forget to comment if you want to be included in the drawing for a copy of JOSEPHINE!

Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, painting, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.

Subscribe to her newsletter here to receive a FREE novella. 

Photos by author; cover by Skhye Moncrief.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Changing of the Seasons

The leaves on the big oaks surrounding our yard are no longer bright green. They have already started to transition to various shades of yellow, brown, and red, and a few have dropped, littering the grass and driveway.  The acorns that fell last month no longer crunch beneath my feet as I carry out the trash. Between the deer munching on them and the squirrels gathering them, they are almost as forgotten as the lawn tractor-sprinkler that dutifully pulled the garden hose behind the last couple of months.
I know we’ll soon put away the patio furniture and complete the other needed chores to prepare for the winter months, but that is about it. There is no large fall harvest that we need to complete in order to know we’ll have a pantry full of food this winter. In thinking about that, I was reminded of one of the Little House on the Prairie books—The Long Winter

I read these stories as a child, and of course watched the series (and still do on cable), but it wasn’t until I was older and looked at those fictional books more as research that I realized  The Long Winter was about survival at its core. The story talks about how the family moved from their shanty a mile away into the small town in preparation of the bad winter that was being predicted. And later about how the snow was so deep they had to dig tunnels from building to building in town. The first snow had fallen in October and by Christmas the grocery store was out of food. The weather made it impossible for the train to deliver much needed supplies. Laura talks about how the family only ate two meals a day because Ma said the days were short and there wasn’t time for more than two meals, and how funny Pa looked. That is eyes sunken, he was thin, and not nearly as strong as usual. She talks about how tired they all were and how dull everything seemed. 

They were all starving. 

She talks about grinding wheat in the coffee grinder to make flour, and how Almanzo and another man braved the elements and travel 20 miles in order to get a few bushels of wheat.  Winter didn’t end until May that year. That’s when the supply train finally arrived and Ma cooked their belated Christmas dinner. 

Meteorologists have confirmed that the winter of 1880-81 was very close to what Laura Ingalls described in that book. This story really is documentation of life during a very severe winter back then.  

It’s also a book of perseverance and of being grateful for what you have, no matter how small.

So as fall arrives, I readily admit how grateful I am for the resources we have in place that assures we will never have to wait until May to have Christmas dinner.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Fur Trapper's Wife

By: Peggy L Henderson

Life in the early 1800's was extremely difficult for both men and women. The life of a fur trader was even more difficult as he tried to survive in the uncharted wilderness to make a living as a trapper. Women of European descent were virtually unheard of in the fur trade. The very few women, usually wives of managers of fur companies such as the Hudson’s Bay Company or the Northwest Company, who accompanied husbands to remote outposts, were considered “tender exotics.”

Because of society’s class structure in those days, most of these women didn’t last longer than a year on these posts before suffering from mental health problems or returning to cities in the east. Wives of managers were expected to associate only with other wives of other managers, and in those remote posts, these were far and few between. The women were not allowed to associate with Indian women or half-breed women, even if they could communicate somehow. Servants (Indian women) were usually available to perform domestic duties, so there was nothing for a wife to do to even relieve her boredom. Her only duty was to her husband and family, and most of the time the husband wasn’t even at the post, traveling for months at a time.
Fur trappers in the Rocky Mountains often took Indian women as wives. An Indian woman’s primary responsibilities in her tribe was that of housekeeping, which included child rearing, butchering, cooking, the labor-intensive task of tanning hides, collecting firewood, preserving food for winter, setting up and maintaining camp, and sewing clothing.

A man who wanted to take a bride would have to provide the woman’s father (or oldest male relative if the father was dead) with certain trade goods such as horses, guns, blankets, etc., in exchange for the woman. The bride price was determined by the father based on the value he placed on his daughter’s loss of productivity around his lodge.

Many Indian women considered it an honor to be chosen as the wife of a fur trapper. It offered the woman a different way of life which was often easier physically and offered her more material things. An Indian woman married to a trapper either remained at her village, or moved to the fort or trading post with her husband. She might also accompany him on his wanderings. If a woman remained with her village, her life probably didn’t change much, except that she had access to many luxury items which were not available to the other women.  Items such as kettles, knives, awls, wool and cotton fabrics greatly eased the domestic burdens of the women.

Because there were no preachers or priests to perform wedding ceremonies, marriages were “after the customs of the country,” or a la facon du pays. This arrangement met both the needs of the Indian and the trapper. By making their women available to trappers and traders, the Indians were able to forge trade alliances and social bonds, and expected access to trading posts, provisions, and trade goods.

Trappers also realized the benefits of marriage to an Indian woman, especially the daughter of a chief or highly respected hunter. Such an arrangement provided the trapper with a translator and cultural liaison within the tribe. The domestic chores the wife performed freed the trapper to spend more time trapping and trading.

Marriages were easy to terminate by either the man or the woman. A man could simply “turn off” his wife by leaving her behind, and a woman who wanted a “divorce” would indicate this by leaving the man’s belongings outside their lodge. Statistically, most marriages lasted up to 15 years, and most ended with the death of one or the other spouse.

Anyone who has read any of my Yellowstone Romance Series books knows that I fudge with the  historical accuracy quite a bit, but hey! It's fiction. And romance! And the location and era make such a great backdrop for a romance series. My mountain men heroes live in the remote Yellowstone region year round, which most likely never happened, and even more far-fetched is it that they would marry a white woman and raise a family there. My Teton Romance Trilogy is set a little south of Yellowstone in the Teton/Jackson Hole region, and I introduce a new mountain man hero, and the woman who proves herself strong enough to endure all that the wilderness (and the people of the era) can throw at her. 

Peggy L Henderson
Western Historical and Time Travel Romance
“Where Adventure Awaits and Love is Timeless”

Author of:
Yellowstone Romance Series
Teton Romance Trilogy
Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series
Blemished Brides Western Historical Romance Series

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Feast of Western Christmas Romance

By Lyn Horner

I’m so excited to be part of an upcoming Christmas anthology featuring ten western romance authors, several of whom are best sellers AND members of Sweethearts. Titled Silver Belles and Stetsons, the anthology is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Silver Belles and Stetsons


Ten Western Romance Christmas Novellas
Available as a boxed set for a limited time

A savings of more than 75% if the books were purchased separately.

Amazon Bestselling authors bring you ten western romance novellas featuring cowboys from the past and the women who loved them. This boxed set will take you back in time when men were rugged and handsome and the women courageous and daring.

The Greatest Gift: A Montana Cowboy Christmas by Kathleen Ball. Amazon Bestselling and Award- Wining Author. Looking for the man who ran out on her, Ginger finds a cowboy worthy of love but he doesn't want or need love.

Catherine’s Cowboy by Cait Braxton, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. During a supernatural dust storm, Fate steps in when rugged army tracker Elam helps Catherine deliver her child.

Stone Mountain Christmas by Caroline Clemmons, Amazon Bestselling and Award-
Winning Author. Can Celia restore the town's Christmas spirit? "A beautifully written
story about love and hope and all the emotions Christmas brings out in people." Karren Lucas

Angel and the Texan from County Cork by Carra Copelin. Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Does Angel trust marriage to the man she suspects of killing her husband or the stranger who promises to pay off her debt and set her free if she decides their marriage of convenience won’t work?

The Drifter’s Proposal by Kristin Holt, Amazon Bestselling Author.

The Perfect Gift by Lyn Horner, Award-winning author. Friendship has blossomed into young love, but it seems destined to die on the vine...until an unexpected Christmas gift promises happiness.

Marshal Mistletoe by Susan Horsnell. She married the wrong man. Will fate intervene?

Christmas Redemption by Paty Jager, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives? "A story of forgiveness that has a wonderful hero who has worked hard to redeem himself."

A Hard Candy Christmas by Hebby Roman, Amazon Bestselling Author. Two damaged souls. Can their budding love and the healing power of Christmas bring them together?

Christmas Cowboy by Margaret Tanner. Will a miracle Christmas baby unite two tortured souls, or will it forever keep them apart?

Now here's a little taste of my Christmas novella The Perfect Gift.
Nora stood on the front porch watching for riders. Goshdarn! What was taking Mr. and Mrs. Crawford so long? Uncle Tye and Auntie Lil had come early to help Mama and Daddy get ready. Lil’s parents were to come later with their men, but surely they ought to be here by now. What if something had happened to prevent them from coming?
No! Don’t even think that! They have to come, they just have to!
Smoothing the front of her Mother Hubbard, a short, baggy little girl’s dress she hated, she wished for a grown-up gown, but Mama had decreed she couldn’t start dressing like a woman until she turned fourteen. At least this Hubbard was made of pretty pink calico printed with sprigs of white flowers, and she liked the ruffled shoulders and neck. The color set off her black hair, which Mama had helped her put up, and her black stockings and high tops. She hoped Vito would approve.
She stuffed her hands into deep side pocket and glanced at her brothers and cousins. She’d shooed the four boys outside so Grandda Seamus could nap in his favorite chair in the parlor. Together with Maria’s younger children, they were playing ring taw, a game she’d once loved but now considered babyish. Crouched around a circle drawn in the dirt, they took turns shooting marbles, trying to knock each other’s marbles out of a small inner circle. Her brother Reece, less than two years younger than her, was winning judging by the pile of marbles he’d collected. Not surprised, Nora scowled, remembering how many marbles the little fiend had won from her and their baby brother Seamus in the past.
A faint thudding sound caught her ear. Shading her eyes, she spotted a cloud of dust in the distance. Then she made out a buckboard and horsemen. Finally! The expected company was almost here. Heart thumping wildly, she whirled and ran inside to alert her parents.
“Mama! Daddy! The Crawfords are coming,” she yelled, forgetting about her napping grandfather. At his grumble of complaint, she said, “Sorry, Grandda.”
Aunt Lil stepped out of the kitchen holding a large bowl and spoon just as Mama walked in the back door.
“Are they here?” both women asked.
“Not yet but almost. Should I tell Maria?”
Her mother nodded. “Aye, and your father and uncle. Lil, let’s greet your folks outside.”
“Right, you go ahead. I’ll set the cornbread on the stove and be right out.”
Nora was already dashing for the courtyard. “The Crawfords are almost here,” she announced to her father and uncle as she raced toward the cookhouse.
“What’s your hurry?”  her father called.
“I have to tell Maria that Vittorio’s coming.”
Hearing the two men chuckle, she tore into the steamy little building. “Maria, Vittorio’s nearly here!”
“Sí, I heard you, niña,” the cook said with a broad smile. Tall and rather plump, with gray-streaked black hair, Maria was one of Nora’s favorite people. She was kind and good-natured and always ready with a tasty snack for all the children. And she was Vittorio’s madrecita, making her special.
Setting aside the huge kettle of gravy she’d been stirring, Maria mopped her sweaty face with her red-checked gingham apron – only worn on Christmas – and motioned for Nora to lead the way. “Let us go and welcome my son.”
By the time they joined everyone out front, Auntie Lil’s folks were pulling up in their buckboard followed by several riders. Nora had eyes for only one, a slim young cowboy with dusky skin and raven hair. Drawing rein, he gave her a bright smile, a smile she had seldom seen since he’d gone to work as a wrangler for the Crawfords and Uncle Tye a few months ago. Four years older than she was, Vittorio had been her best friend all her life.
She watched him dismount and greet his younger siblings who danced around him like eager puppies. Then it was her turn. Bounding down the porch steps, she launched herself at him. He laughed and caught her, lifting her off the ground in a tight hug.
“Hola, pequeña.”
“Hola, Vito! I’ve missed you so much!”
“I suppose I have missed you a little bit too.” He winked and whirled her around, making her squeal and laugh with joy. Caught up in him, she paid not a lick of attention to laughter and teasing remarks from their audience of cowboys, family and friends.
On the porch, Jessie shared a smile with Maria, whose husband Luis stood nearby with David and Tye. Short and wiry, Luis was the River T’s head horse wrangler. He glanced at his wife, grinning over Nora and Vittorio’s exuberant reunion. “I think maybe they are glad to see each other.”
Maria nodded. “Sí, they are each other’s best Christmas gift.”
“Aye, and always will be,” Jessie said under her breath.

I guarantee this collection will put you in the mood for Christmas. Pre-order now on Amazon:

Friday, September 18, 2015

War Hero and Humanitarian, General George Crook by Sarah J. McNeal

General George Crook: Civil War Veteran, Commander in the Indian War Campaigns, and Humanitarian

It’s not often that we find military men in history who not only excelled in the campaigns they led, but were also kind to their adversaries and kept every promise they ever made. Such was the leadership and character of General George Crook.

Crook was born on a farm in Montgomery County near Dayton, Ohio to Thomas and Elizabeth Matthews Crook.  Congressman Robert Schenck nominated George to the United States Military Academy. He graduated in 1852, ranking near the bottom of his class. I think greatness may come for some as they mature, so I didn’t let this little factoid influence me, but it woke me up to the understanding that where a person ranks in their class has very little to do with their character. I knew a different George who used to frequent the ER drunk and high on drugs. He had a master’s degree in English and bragged about it. All I saw was a waste of an education I would have loved to have had. He contracted AIDS from dirty needles, was homeless, and ended up dying in the street. So much for class rank. Just sayin’. But back to my article.

He was assigned to the 4th U.S. infantry as brevet second lieutenant, and served in California from 1852–61. He also served in Oregon and northern California to fight against several Native American tribes. Crook commanded the Pitt River Expedition of 1857 and was severely wounded by an Indian arrow. Fort Ter-Waw in what is now Klamath, California, was established by George Crook.
Crook was promoted to first lieutenant in 1856, and then to captain in 1860. With the beginning of the American Civil War, Crook was ordered east and in 1861 and made colonel of the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He led it on duty in western Virginia.
In the meantime, he married Mary Tapscott Dailey, from Virginia.
He commanded the 3rd Brigade in the District of the Kanawha where he was wounded in a small fight at Lewisburg, VA. After his wounds healed, Crook returned to command of his regiment during the Northern Virginia Campaign. He and his regiment were part of John Pope's headquarters escort at the Second Battle of Bull Run.

After the Union Army's defeat at Second Bull Run, Crook and his regiment were attached to the Kanawha Division at the start of the Maryland Campaign. On September 12 Crook's brigade commander, Augustus Moor, was captured and Crook assumed command of the 2nd Brigade, Kanawha Division. Crook led his brigade at the battle of South Mountain and near Burnside's Bridge at the battle of Antietam. (Just a little reminder here. The battle of Antietam was one of the bloodiest in the history of the United States with a loss of life greater than all our wars combined.) He received a promotion to the rank of brigadier general on September 7, 1862. During these early battles he developed a lifelong friendship with one of his subordinates, Col. Rutherford B. Hayes of the 23rd Ohio Infantry. I hope that name is familiar since he became President of the United States some time later.

I could wax on here in great detail about the Civil War battles and how Crook led his men or how he ended up a prisoner of the Confederates in February, 1865 until he was traded back to the Union Army, but that would over shadow the thing I really wanted to speak to in this article, and that would be the campaigns Crook led against the Indians on the western frontier.

At the end of the Civil War, George Crook received a brevet as major general in the regular army, but reverted to the permanent rank of major. Only days later, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel, serving with the 23rd Infantry on frontier duty in the Pacific Northwest. In 1867, he was appointed head of the Department of the Columbia.

George Cook upon graduation from West Point

Snake War

Crook successfully campaigned against the Snake Indians in the 1864-68 Snake War, where he won nationwide recognition. Crook had fought Indians in Oregon before the Civil War. He was assigned to the Pacific Northwest to use new tactics in this war, which had been waged for several years. Crook arrived in Boise City to take command on December 11, 1866. The general noticed that the Northern Paiute used the fall, winter and spring seasons to gather food, so he adopted the tactic recommended by a predecessor George B. Currey to attack during the winter. Crook had his cavalry approach the Paiute on foot to attack at their winter camp. As the soldiers drew them in, Crook had them remount; they defeated the Paiute and recovered some stolen livestock.

Crook used Indian scouts as troops as well as to spot enemy encampments. While campaigning in Eastern Oregon during the winter of 1867, Crook's scouts located a Paiute village near the eastern edge of Steens Mountain. After covering all the escape routes, Crook ordered the charge on the village while intending to view the raid from afar, but his horse got spooked and galloped ahead of Crook's forces toward the village. Caught in the crossfire, Crook's horse carried the general through the village without being wounded. The army caused heavy casualties for the Paiute in the battle of Tearass Plain. Crook later defeated a mixed band of Paiute, Pit River and Modoc at the battle of Infernal Caverns in Fall River Mills, California.

Tonto Basin Campaign

(A little side note here: The "0" Mile General Crook Trail Marker is located in the place where in 1871 General George Crook established a military supply trail which connected Forts Whipple, Verde and Apache. The marker is located close to the Fort Verde Administration Building at 125 E. Hollamon St. Camp Verde, Arizona.)
President Ulysses S. Grant next placed Crook in command of the Arizona Territory. Crook's use of Apache scouts during the Yavapai War brought him much success in forcing the Yavapai and Tonto Apache onto reservations. In 1873 Crook was appointed brigadier general in the regular army, a promotion that passed over and angered several full colonels next in line.

Great Sioux War

From 1875 to 1882 and again from 1886 to 1888, Crook was head of the Department of the Platte. Crook served against the Sioux during the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. He fought the Lakota at the Battle of the Rosebud. On 28 May 1876, Brigadier General George Crook assumed direct command of the Bighorn and Yellowstone Expedition at Fort Fetterman. Crook had gathered a strong force from his Department of the Platte. Leaving Fort Fetterman on 29 May, the 1,051-man column consisted of 15 companies from the 2d and 3d Cavalry, 5 companies from the 4th and 9th Infantry, 250 mules, and 106 wagons. On June 14, the column was joined by 261 Shoshone and Crow allies. Based on intelligence reports, Crook ordered his entire force to prepare for a quick march. Each man was to carry only 1 blanket, 100 rounds of ammunition, and 4 days' rations. The wagon train would be left at Goose Creek, and the infantry would be mounted on the pack mules.

On June 17, Crook's column marched northward along the south fork of Rosebud Creek. The Crow and Shoshone scouts became apprehensive. Although the column had not yet encountered any sign of Indians, the scouts seemed to sense their presence. The soldiers, particularly the mule-riding infantry, had tired from the early morning start and the previous day's 35-mile march. Crook stopped to rest his men and animals after two hours march. Although he was deep in hostile territory, Crook made no special provisions for defense.

The Crow and Shoshone scouts remained alert while the soldiers rested. About 30 minutes later, the soldiers heard the sound of intermittent gunfire coming from the bluffs to the north. As the intensity of fire increased, a scout rushed into the camp shouting, "Lakota, Lakota!" The Battle of the Rosebud began. The Sioux and Cheyenne had fervently engaged Crook's Indian allies on the high ground just to the north. Heavily outnumbered, the Crow and Shoshone scouts fell back toward the camp, but their fighting withdrawal gave Crook time to deploy his forces. Rapidly firing soldiers drove off the attackers but used up much of the ammunition meant for use later in the campaign. Low on ammunition and with numerous wounded, the General returned to his post. Historians debate whether Crook's pressing on could have prevented the killing of the five companies of the 7th Cavalry Regiment led by George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The way I look at it, Crook saved his men from unnecessary death. I can’t see where his men could have made a difference in the outcome since they were low on ammunition. But that’s just me.

Crook commanded the Department of the Platte from 1875 to 1882, with headquarters at Fort Omaha in North Omaha, Nebraska. During this period, in 1879, he spoke on behalf of the Ponca tribe and Native American rights during the trial of Standing Bear v. Crook, in which the federal judge affirmed that Standing Bear had some of the rights of US citizens. That same year his home, now called the General Crook House, was completed.

General George Crook with two of his Indian scouts

Geronimo's War

By 1882, Crook had returned to command in Arizona. The Apache had taken up arms against the U.S. army under the leadership of Geronimo. Crook repeatedly forced the surrender of the Apache but saw Geronimo escape. As a mark of respect, the Apache nicknamed Crook Nantan Lupan, which means "Grey Wolf". Nelson A. Miles replaced Crook in command of the Arizona Territory and brought an end to the Apache Wars. He had Geronimo, the Chiricahua Apache band, and the Chiricahua scouts, who had served the U.S. Army, transported as prisoners of war to Florida. Crook was reportedly furious that the scouts, who had faithfully served the Army, were imprisoned as well and telegrammed numerous protests to Washington. It is said the scouts, along with most of Geronimo's band, were forced to spend the next 26 years in captivity before they were finally released.

After years of campaigning in the Indian Wars, Crook won steady promotion back up the ranks to the permanent grade of Major General, and President Grover Cleveland placed him in command of the "Military Division of the Missouri" in 1888.

After the Indian wars, Crook served in Omaha again as the Commander of the Department of the Platte from 1886 to 1888. While he was there, his portrait was painted by artist Herbert A. Collins.

He spent his last years speaking out against the unjust treatment of his former Indian adversaries. He died suddenly in Chicago in 1890 while serving as commander of the Division of the Missouri. Crook was originally buried in Oakland, Maryland.
Red Cloud, a war chief of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux), said of Crook, "He, at least, never lied to us. His words gave us hope."
In 1898, Crook's remains were transported to Arlington National Cemetery where he was reinterred on November 11.

In honor of his tremendous service both in the battles he commanded in the Civil War and the Indian Wars, there are many memorials to General George Crook. Here are some of them:
 Bronze of Gen. Crook at Fort Omaha.
His good friend and Union Army comrade, President Rutherford B. Hayes, named one of his sons George Crook Hayes in respect of his commanding officer. Crook County in Wyoming and Oregon were named for him, as was the town of Crook, Colorado.

"Crook City", an unincorporated place in the Black Hills, of South Dakota was named for his camp there in 1876. Crook Mountain is near there, between Deadwood and Sturgis, SD. Crook City Road also passes through there from Whitewood, SD heading toward Deadwood, SD.

Crook Peak in Lake County, Oregon, in the Warner Mountains is named after him;  near where the general set up Camp Warner (1867–1874) to subdue the Paiute Indians. Crook Mountain, a peak in the Cascade Range, was also named for him.

Cañon Pintado Historic District, 10 miles south of Rangeley, Colorado, has numerous ancient Fremont culture and Ute petroglyphs, first seen by Europeans in the mid-18th century. One group of carvings has several horses, which locals call Crook's Brand Site, as they claim the horses carry the general's brand. The Ute adopted the horse in the 1600s.

Forest Road 300 in the Coconino National Forest is named the "General Crook Trail." It is a section of the trail which his troops blazed from Fort Verde to Fort Whipple, and on to Fort Apache through central Arizona.

Numerous military references honor him: Fort Crook (1857 – 1869) was an Army post near Fall River Mills, California, used during the Indian Wars, and later for the protection of San Francisco during the Civil War. It was named for then Lt. Crook by Captain John W. T. Gardiner, 1st Dragoons, as Crook was recovering there from an injury. California State Historical Marker 355 marks the site in Shasta County. Fort Crook (1891 – 1946) was an Army Depot in Bellevue, Nebraska, first used as a dispatch point for Indian conflicts on the Great Plains, then later as an airfield for the 61st Balloon Company of the Army Air Corps. It was named for Brig. Gen. Crook due to his many successful Indian campaigns in the west. The site formerly known as Fort Crook is now part of Offutt AFB, Nebraska.

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division is nicknamed "Grey Wolf" in his honor, in a variation of his Apache nickname meaning "Grey Wolf".

The General Crook House at Fort Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska is named in his honor, as he was the only Commander of the Department of the Platte to live there. The Crook Walk in Arlington National Cemetery is near George Crook's gravesite.

The PBS Historical Website
Arlington National Cemetery webpage for George Crook
Today in History news letter

Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER and Critical Care nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press. Some of her fantasy and paranormal books may also be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery and Victory Tales Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media: