Saturday, December 30, 2017


By: Ashley Kath-Bilsky

As is the case with most things in life, there comes a time when we reach the end of the trail. When we realize the time has come to move on. When dreams, opportunity, or the promise of an exciting new adventure beckon us down a different path.

Although grateful for the road well traveled, like the pioneers and adventurers of yesteryear, we all want to explore new paths or see what lies beyond that distant mountain - real or imaginary. And so the time has come for me to saddle up and leave Sweethearts of the West. Today will be my final post on this site.

The first post I wrote for this blog was called Texas: A Whole Other Country back when the Sweethearts blog first began. Over the years I have shared my love of history, some personal history, and a great deal of historical research about the American West necessary for book projects. Through investigative research, writing, and period photography, I wanted to dig deep and not only address what life was like back then, but the people and events that shaped the West.

From Pinkerton Detectives, the Pony Express, Deadly Medicine in the American West, Duels and Gunfights (including the aftermath and legal consequences behind the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral) to Buffalo Hunters, the American Wild Horse, the History of the Texas Rangers, and The Comanche - Master Horsemen of the American West, I hoped to share with you my love for history, Country, and the West.

There have been biographical profiles about famous western film or television heroes such as John Wayne, Roy (King of the Cowboys) Rogers, and the legendary Will Rogers, as well as artists such as Frederic Remington.

Some of my favorite profiles were about historical figures such as Davy Crockett, Buffalo Bill Cody [Pictured in 1875], Chief Sitting Bull, Chief Quanah Parker, Clara Barton, Luke (King of the Gamblers) Short, US Marshal Bat Masterson and western authors Bret Harte and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Events from history included The Louisiana Purchase, the Alamo, the Battle at Wounded Knee, and the Battle of the Rosebud .

Inventions that helped shape our Nation were also addressed, from The Concord Coach (the first stagecoach that traveled across the western frontier), to one man's pioneering mail delivery service during the Gold Rush, and the arrival of train travel and the innovative Pullman Rail Cars.

Among my all-time favorite historical research projects were about the two guns that won the West: the Winchester Lever-Action Repeating Rifle [posted April 2011] and the Single-Action Army Revolvers (SAA) of Samuel Colt [posted March 2011], which included the famous Colt .45 Peacemaker [pictured left]. I have been so honored by the continued popularity of both these two posts, the latter of which had a whopping 148,835 individual page views.)

All in all, it has been a privilege to join the talented authors here at Sweethearts of the West, and to share my interest in history of the American West and my extensive research on subjects for their authentic inclusion in my books.

Because these posts involved hours of individual, in-depth historical research for inclusion in my book(s), they will no longer be available on this site. I will, however, be publishing them as a complimentary companion piece for readers of my western books, as well as make them available as a collective of my western historical research for history buffs or western writers.

In closing, it has been an honor to be a Charter member of this blog, and I wish to thank all the ladies (past and present) of Sweethearts of the West for their friendship, support, and encouragement.

Most of all, I want to thank ALL the many people (truly throughout the world) who have faithfully followed my posts each month over the years, many of whom take the time to contact me and even ask for research help. I hope you will continue to do so on my personal blog at

Again, thank you and I hope the New Year will bring health, happiness, prosperity, and wonderful adventures for all of you.

Happy Trails and God Bless. ~ AKB


  1. Ashley, I am so sorry to see you leave Sweethearts of the West. I've looked forward to your monthly posts because they are so informative and written in your own unique style. As a southeasterner, I know the value of research for western themed articles.
    I will miss your posts, but I know I'll see you on down the road. I wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year, Ashley.

    1. Thank you, Sarah J. I will definitely be visiting and reading all your posts. A Happy & Healthy New Year to you, as well, with lots of writing inspiration, too. Thank you for your support. ((hugs))

    2. I can tell you about your statistics. You have consistently been our author with the "most of everything"--Every post you wrote and posted garnered more page views, more comments, and more interest than any other--from Day One. I am truly in awe of you and your fantastic ability to research and write and draw in readers from all over the world.
      To say you will be missed is a given...but never would I or Caroline try to hold on to you. We know you have many more ideas and that wonderful "following" we all wish we had." So go use your talent where you wish, but please send us a note and link to read your continuing work.
      With all the love and admiration I can give, I say, "So long, y'all! Come back soon, hear?"

    3. I am so touched by your words, Celia, and the support and encouragement you and Caroline continue to bestow upon me. Sweethearts of the West is - and always will be - dear to my heart. Thank you very, very much! God bless. ((Hugs))

  2. Ashley, I'm so sorry you're leaving us! I didn't comment often but I read each and every post of yours! And you always had a way of drawing me in and making whatever your topic was very interesting and so educational and informative. I am anxious to see what you have going on in the future, and hope you'll come back and see us! You know we are all going to miss you.

    1. Thank you so much, Cheryl. I will definitely keep in touch. Have a wonderful, Happy New Year.

  3. Ashley, we hate to see you leave Sweethearts! I know you need to move on with your English series. Thank you for all the wonderful posts you've written for Sweethearts. You are a gifted writer and I wish you the very best.

  4. Ashley, as one of the newer members, I have enjoyed getting acquainted with you through your talented writing here at SOTW. Sorry to see you leave, but can tell you are looking ahead to many more "adventures!" Good Luck and a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous Year.

    1. Thank you, Cheri. This is a wonderful blog with talented authors, and I wish you the very best.

  5. Ashley, You have provided a treasure chest full of great research, tantalizing adventures and gifted writing. Thank you for being a good role model as I join the blog!

    1. Thank you so much, Arletta. All the best to you here at Sweethearts of the West.


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