Sunday, January 28, 2018


I’m so thrilled! Prairie Rose Publications just released a fantastic boxed set—with SIX WHR novel-length stories included. Best of all? For a limited time, this collection is ONLY .99! Every one of these stories is a bold, exciting western read with (of course!) a wonderful romance at its core—take a look at UNDER A WESTERN SKY!

Where do the very best love stories blossom? UNDER A WESTERN SKY, of course! This fabulous boxed set of six tales of danger and romance are sure to capture your imagination as you are carried away to the old west. Handsome marshals, Texas Rangers, gunslingers, and wealthy landowners meet their matches with the daring women they happen to fall in love with, and you won’t want to put this boxed set down until you’ve read the very last story!

Authors Cheryl Pierson, Celia Yeary, Kaye Spencer, Tracy Garrett, Patti Sherry-Crews, and Agnes Alexander spin six incredible novel-length love stories filled with danger, excitement, and romance that will keep you turning page after incredible page until the very end. Saddle up and kick back for some excellent reading, as star-studded romance finds you UNDER A WESTERN SKY!
Though these stories are all different, they are all memorable, exciting, and the kind of tales you'll want to put on your "keeper" shelf. I'm so honored to have FIRE EYES alongside these other authors' stories. I'm giving away a digital copy of UNDER A WESTERN SKY today to a lucky commenter who answers this question: I'm very cold-natured and even with modern heating, in the winter, I'm still freezing! How would you have coped with an "old west" winter? Wrapped up in a quilt in front of the fire? Tried to "ignore" it? Tried to take your mind off of it somehow--maybe by knitting or cooking or something that would keep you from thinking of it? What would you have done?

FIRE EYES by Cheryl Pierson
Beaten and wounded by a band of sadistic renegades that rules the borderlands of Indian Territory, U.S. Marshal Kaed Turner understands what the inevitable outcome will be for him: death. But Fate and a war party of Choctaw Indians intervene, delivering him instead to a beautiful angel with the skill to heal him. Jessica Monroe has already lost a husband and a brother to these outlaws. Can she afford to gamble with her heart one last time?

To escape an arranged marriage, beautiful, proper Cynthia Harrington impulsively marries Ricardo Romero, a sensual Spaniard who ranches on the edge of the Texas frontier. She struggles to gain a foothold in the hostile household, determined to make a place for herself—but will she also find a way to make her husband love her?

TEXAS GOLD by Tracy Garrett
Texas Ranger Jake McCain is hot on the trail of a band of murderous outlaws when they ambush him and leave him for dead in the blinding snow. The last thing Rachel Hudson expects the blizzard to bring is a wounded Ranger with a pack of trouble. She and Jake have more than a powerful mutual attraction in common—the dangerous gunmen he’s been chasing intend to steal Rachel and her brother, Nathan. But Jake’s not about to lose the woman who means everything to him—Rachel, his TEXAS GOLD…(Previously published as TOUCH OF TEXAS)

Beautiful heiress Elizabeth White is exiled to Texas until she agrees to marry the prominent politico her parents have chosen for her—Grayson Beal. When Elizabeth is approached at a fiesta by dark-eyed, handsome Mingo Valderas, her heart will never be her own again. But Mingo has a reputation as a Comanchero—a man who is as fast with his knives as he is with his gun. Still, Elizabeth gives her trust to him, and their whirlwind courtship begins. Beal will stop at nothing to claim Elizabeth—and only one man can protect her. Elizabeth and Mingo stay one step ahead of Beal…but will that be enough?

Pampered Margarita McIntosh is sent away by her father for her own safety—from what, she’s not sure. The long journey ahead and the secret she carries in her saddlebag could be the death of her. A rough Irish gunman, Rafferty, is entrusted with getting her to her destination—for a reward—his ticket to a new life. But will Rafferty’s protection be enough to save their lives? And will the heat of their passion seal their future—if they do survive?

XENIA’S RENEGADE by Agnes Alexander
An urgent plea for help from a family member calls for action from Xenia Poindexter and her sister. But traveling west to save their uncle, a raid on a stagecoach way station would have seen them dead if not for handsome half-Sioux rancher, Ty Eldridge. Ty wants to protect Xenia from her uncle’s schemes, but he’s been burned in the past by love. Though others say they’re all wrong for each other, Xenia has never felt more “right” than when she’s in Ty’s arms. Is true love worth the chance of becoming XENIA’S RENEGADE?

If you just can't wait to see if you won in the drawing, here's the buy link for UNDER A WESTERN SKY! At only .99, it's quite a bargain of wonderful reads to keep you warm on a winter's night!

Friday, January 26, 2018


This is the legend of an unusual woman. Sally Newman, the woman later called “Mustang Jane” by her vaqueros, was born in Illinois in 1817 to Rachel (nee Rabb) and Joseph Newman. Her parents followed her maternal grandparents through several states to eventually settle in southeastern Texas and become part of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred.” (If you’re not familiar with Texas history, Stephen F. Austin’s 300 is a Big Deal here.) As a pioneer wife, Mrs. Newman was no stranger to conflict. On at least two occasions, she reportedly thwarted attacks from Comanche or Apache with quick and decisive action while young Sally watched.

Longhorn cattle

When Sally was sixteen, she registered the brand for the cattle she had inherited from her father. Although she registered the brand in her maiden name, she noted on the application that she was the wife of Jesse Robinson, a man eighteen years her senior. The alliance lasted for ten years. Custody of their children, Nancy and Alfred, was ceded to Jesse when the couple divorced in 1843. Sally kidnapped Nancy, but was forced to return her to Jesse.

Sally’s luck with her second, third, fourth, and fifth husbands was no better. She went by the last name of her second husband, Sally Scull. It was while she was married to George Scull (sometimes spelled Skull) that she developed her love for and interest in horsetrading.

Horses of the type Sally wanted

While she was losing husbands (with some speculation that she might have assisted a couple of them in departing this life), Sally was gaining a reputation for marksmanship. Whether in skirts or pants, she always wore two pistols belted to her waist and usually wore a bonnet. She was a dead shot with both pistol and rifle, in either hand. A tiny woman with steel blue eyes, she weighed 125 pounds at most. Her rough language was notorious, and she spoke Tex-Mex as well as if it were her native tongue. 

When she wasn’t traveling alone, Sally rode in the company of several Mexican vaqueros. She roamed the wide territory between the Sabine River and the Rio Grande, making her headquarters at a small settlement called Banquette, about twenty miles west of Corpus Christi. The vaqueros who worked for her and other Mexicans who knew her called her “Juana Mestena,” Mustang Jane. She could outshoot any of her ranch hands, roped and rode with the best of them, and could drive a herd better than any of the wranglers in her employ.

I doubt Sally Scull was this
cute, don't you?

Horsetrading was her primary business, a profitable one, and often under questionable circumstances. After a trip into Mexico, she supposedly always returned with a nice herd of stock, yet her money belt was still full. Sally knew all the ranches in the area. Ranch wives sometimes hinted that while Sally made eyes at the menfolk, her vaqueros were busy cutting the best horses from the herd. There were also rumors that she had assistance from the Comanche. If Sally admired particular horses and the owner refused to sell, Comanche raiders mysteriously visited the ranch shortly after Sally’s departure. No one ever caught Sally in possession of a horse for which she couldn’t show rightful ownership because she never let anyone inspect her herd.

Sally worked hard and played hard. She was an avid poker player and her favorite haunts included Old St. Mary’s Saloon at Copano Bay, Pancho Grande’s in Corpus Christi, and several places in Refugio. She attended many a fandango due to her love of dancing. Can’t you imagine her dancing while wearing those two pistols belted around her waist?

During the Civil War, Sally’s knowledge of the southern Texas backcountry served the Confederacy. Union forces blockaded Texas ports, stopping all shipments from England. The United States could not block ports south of the border, so Mexico’s ports were open. Sally sold her stock of horses, bought wagons, and turned her vaqueros into cotton haulers. 

Cotton freighting

Sally's wagons became a common sight on the roads from San Antonio to Matamoros on what became known as the Cotton Road. Cotton was traded in Matamoros for guns, ammunition, medicines, coffee, shoes, clothing and other goods vital to the Confederacy and needed by inland Texas settlements. When the war ended in 1865, Sally sold her wagons and resumed the horse business.

Sally had little to do with her son, Alfred, who lived with his father and stepmother and their eight children on Ramerania Creek, about fifty miles northwest of Corpus Christi. No one knows what happened to Alfred Robinson. Nancy and her mother were closer. Sally sent her to one of the best boarding schools in New Orleans. Nancy returned to Texas, married, and lived up to her mother’s dreams. They were close until one visit when one of Nancy’s family dogs growled at Sally and she shot the dog.

No one knows what happened to Sally Scull. Texas mothers used to cajole their children to behave or “Old Sally Skull will get you.” Not a nice remembrance, but Sally Scull had defied all expectations of womanhood for her era or any other. She walked tall in a world of strong men and made anyone in her path step aside. 

Sources: Wikipedia
FROM ANGELS TO HELLCATS: Legendary Texas Women 1835-1880, By Don Blevins

Caroline Clemmons is an award winning Amazon bestselling author of western romance. Find her books listed on her Amazon Author Page and like her there. Sign up for her newsletter for a free novella, HAPPY IS THE BRIDE.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wild Deadwood Reads by Paty Jager

photo taken by Paty

Have you ever wondered what a gunfight would have been like in the Old West? Having studied up on many things about the old west the one thing that struck me was how inaccurate the rifles and pistols were and yet men would stand in the street shooting at one another without regard for the people who might be in the street. Smart citizens would hide inside, knowing that most bullets wouldn't be anywhere near the target the other man was shooting at.

And that is what makes watching the Deadwood actors portray a shootout in the streets of Deadwood, South Dakota so much fun.

I attended the Wild Deadwood Reads last June and had a great time. The downtown area is filled with history. You can't walk into a building without seeing it and hearing about it from a proud owner.

In the summer of 1877, there were 75 saloons in the town. Some grandiose establishments and others makeshift bars with two barrels and a board nailed across them. There were also Theaters. Some were legitimate places to see plays and hear singers, while others were brothels and gambling dens.

The theaters that were brothels and gambling dens usually coaxed young women from other places to their establishments, saying they would be put up and paid to sing. Only when they arrived they realized they also had to sell drinks and themselves. They were treated poorly and those with strength would get away.

Because of the huge masses of gold, the gambling, and drinking, there were also the criminals. The seedier side of mankind hung around waiting for a chance to knock off someone who won big at a gambling table, a miner who hooted too much about his strike, or the mines' payrolls.

The fun part about visiting Deadwood is the fact that the townsfolk now, revel in every good and sordid detail about the growth of their town. Which makes hanging around there so much fun.

I'll be attending the Wild Deadwood Reads again this summer. It's June 7th-10th at the Deadwood Mountain Grand hotel. There is a meet and greet on Thursday night with the authors who are attending. Friday there is a motor coach trip to some of the surrounding sites. There are ghost tours, book readings, a breakfast with the authors on Saturday morning, a book signing, and then a fantastic VIP PBR package where we meet behind the chutes with bull riders, the announcer, and the rodeo protection athlete(clown). Then we have special seats for the rodeo and a dinner afterward.

You can find information on all of this here:

guide on the train
I had a fun time on the 1880's train through the Black Hills. If you've never ridden on an old steam train this is a great experience to understand how it felt back then.

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32 novels, 6 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.
This is what readers have to say about her Silver Dollar Saloon series: Paty Jager brings her characters to life, right off the pages of her book. You will laugh, cry, be sad and get angry right along with the characters.

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty's Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Diary of A Westward Bound Woman

Amelia Stewart Knight headed west along the Oregon Trail in 1853 with her husband, Dr. Joel
Knight, and their seven children. They began their journey from Monroe County, Iowa, on April 9 and reached their destination near Milwaukie, Oregon Territory, on September 17.

Amelia's day-by-day account of the arduous trek is included in Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey, written and compiled by Lillian Schlissel, published in 1982 by Schocken Books, Inc. I was lucky enough to find a much used copy at a library book sale some years ago. Today I will share some excerpts illustrating the trials and excitement of the Trail west.

One thing never mentioned in Amelia's diary (it was too private to write about in those days) is the fact that she was pregnant with another child when the family left home. Professor Schlissel asks us to keep that in mind as we read. The intrepid pioneer woman seemed mostly concerned about weather and road conditions, and her children: Lucy, Jefferson, Plutarch, Seneca, Almira, Chatfield and Francis. Chatfield was the youngest. Amelia's eighth child was born on the road to the "land of milk and honey."

Saturday., April 9, 1853 STARTED FROM HOME about 11 o'clock and traveled 8 miles and camped in an old house; night cold and frosty.

Monday, April 11th Morn. Cloudy. and sign of rain . . . At noon it rains so hard we turn out and camp in a school house . . . rains all the afternoon and all night, very unpleasant. Jefferson and Lucy have the mumps. Poor cattle bawled all night.

The cold, windy. wet weather continues. She mentions suffering headaches, having three horses run off over night, no feed to be bought for their stock, having to feed them flour and meal; mile after mile in the mud. Yet, amazingly, they made up to 25 miles in a day.

Tuesday, April 26th Cold and clear; found corn last night at 2 dollars a bushel. Paid 12 dollars for about half a feed for our stock. I can count twenty. wagons winding up the hill ahead of us.

Friday, April 29th Cool and pleasant; saw the first Indians today. Lucy and Almira afraid and run into the wagon to hide. Done some washing and sewing.

Monday, May 2nd Pleasant evening, have been cooking, and packing things away for an early start in the morning. Threw away several jars, some wooden buckets, and all our pickles. Too unhandy to carry. Indians came to our camp every day, begging money and something to eat. Children are getting used to them.

Tuesday, May 3rd . . . here Plutarch is taken sick.

Friday, May 5th Here we passed a train of wagons on their way back, the head man had been drowned a few days before, in a river called Elkhorn . . . With sadness and pity I passed those who perhaps a few days before had been well and happy as ourselves.

Elkhorn River, Nebraska; wikipedia public domain

Sunday, May 8th Waiting to cross (the Elkhorn River). there are three hundred or more wagons in sight and as far as the eye can reach, the bottom is covered, on each side of the river, with cattle and horses. She explains how the men built a ferry out of a wagon bed and how everything had to unloaded, the wagons taken apart, and ferried across the river. Some cattle and horses drowned, but the next morning she says everyone is lively and merry.

Wednesday, May 11th Evening It has been very dusty yesterday and today. (The men all have their false eyes on to keep the dust out.) By false eyes, she probably meant goggles. I found mention of them online, being used on the Trail.

Over the next few days, Amelia writes of terrible wind and a dreadful storm with hail and lightning that killed two oxen and scattered many animals.

Tuesday, May 31st Evening -- Traveled 25 miles today. When we started this morning there were two large droves of cattle and about 50 wagons ahead of us, and we either had to stay poking behind them in the dust or hurry up and drive past them. It was no fool of a job to be mixed up with several hundred head of cattle, and only one road to travel in, and the drovers threatening to drive their cattle over you if you attempted to pass them. They even took out their pistols. At this point, Amelia's husband intervened, leading their company off the trail and passing the drovers and cattle, thus avoiding bloodshed. Later, while stopping for dinner, they saw the cattle coming, jumped for their teams and moved on, refusing to give up their lead. The temperature inside Amelia's wagon was 98 at noon.

Saturday, June 11th . . . we crossed this afternoon over the roughest and most desolate piece of ground that was ever made (called by some Devil's Crater.) (Not a drop of water, nor a spear of grass to be seen, nothing but barren hills, bare and broken rock, sand and dust) . . .

She writes of washing dust out of her eyes so she can see to cook supper, of struggling to keep animals from drinking alkali water that will kill them.

Tuesday, June 15th . . . passed Independence Rock this afternoon and crossed Sweetwater River on a bridge. Paid 3 dollars a wagon and swam the stock across. The river is very high and swift.

Independence Rock, central Wyoming; photo ca. 1870; wikipedia public domain

Tuesday, June 21st  We have traveled . . . over mountains close to banks of snow. Had plenty of snow water to drink.

Monday, June 27th Cold, cloudy and very windy -- more like November than June. I am not well enough to get out of the wagon this morning. . . It's children milk the cows, all hands help yoke these cattle the d---l's in them. She yells at the boys to hurry, seems a bit cross. No wonder!

Monday, July 4th . . . Thermometer up to 110 . . . I never saw mosquitoes as bad as they are here. Chat has been sick all day with fever, partly caused by mosquito bites . . .

Thursday, July 14th It is dust from morning until night . . . nothing but a sandy desert covered with wild sage brush, dried up with heat; however, it makes good firewood. She's not feeling well through this section and fears an attack by Digger Indians, who reportedly kill people in this area.

Friday, July 22nd . . . smell of carrion so bad that we left as soon as possible. The dead cattle were lying in every direction. . . Chatfield the rascal, . . . fell under the wagon. Somehow he kept from under the wheels and escaped with only a good or should I say, a bad scare. I never was so much frightened in my life.

Friday, August 5th . . . (Snake River Ferry) . . . Our turn to cross will come sometime tomorrow. There is one small ferry boat running here, owned by the Hudson's Bay Company. Have to pay 3 dollars a wagon. She gives an account of how Indians help swim the stock across the river for a small fee, taking the bridle of one horse and swimming across with it; other horses and cattle usually follow.

Three days later they nearly lost little Lucy. She got left behind due to a communications mix-up. Fortunately, she was picked up by another train behind them and delivered safely to her parents.

Friday, August 12th . . . Lost some of our oxen. We were traveling along slowly when he dropped dead in the yoke. We unyoked and turned out the odd ox, and drove around the dead one, and so it is all along the road, we are continually driving around the dead cattle . . . (I could hardly help shedding tears, when we drove round this poor ox who had helped us along thus far, and has given us his very last step.)  Heart wrenching! I nearly cried, too, reading this.

At this point they are near the mountains. They received more help from friendly Indians, bought salmon and potatoes from some. Temps were quite cold.

Friday, September 2nd . . . are now crossing Fall (or Deschutes it is called here) River on a ferry boat pay 3 dollars and swim the stock. This river is very swift and full of rapids . . .

Tuesday, September 6th  Evening -- After throwing away a good many things and burning up most of the deck boards of our wagons so as to lighten them, got my washing and cooking done and started on again. . . have camped near the gate or foot of the Cascade Mountans (here I was sick all night caused by my washing and working too hard.)

Amelia is close to giving birth, and mentions being sick several times. She writes of the extremely rough road over steep, rocky hills, with mud holes, fallen trees and such, yet she admires the dense forest calling it "the handsomest timber in the world."

The terrain she describes through the mountains is nothing short of brutal: corduroy roads, swamps, rocks, descents down steep, winding, slippery hills and canyons. Terrifying to say the least!

Friday, September 17th In camp yet. Still raining. Noon -- it has cleared off and we are all ready for a start again, for some place we don't know where . . .

A few days later my eighth child was born. After this we picked up and ferried across the Columbia River, utilizing skiff, canoes and flatboat to get across, taking three days to complete. Here husband traded two yoke of oxen for a half section of land with one-half acre planted to potatoes and a small cabin and lean-to with no windows. This is the journey's end.

You can find Amelia Stewart Knight's diary on Amazon:

The Way West: Journal of a Pioneer Woman, Hardcover – October 1, 1993

Lyn Horner is a multi-published, award-winning author of western historical romance and romantic suspense novels, all spiced with paranormal elements. She is a former fashion illustrator and art instructor who resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” - with her husband and a gaggle of very spoiled cats. As well as crafting passionate love stories, Lyn enjoys reading, gardening, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.

Amazon Author Page:
Newsletter:  Lyn’s Romance Gazette
Website:  Lyn Horner’s Corner 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Western Mystery: Who Shot Johnny Ringo? by Sarah J. McNeal

A Western Mystery: Who Shot Johnny Ringo?
                 Johnny Ringo

 In my all time favorite western, Tombstone, Johnny Ringo was portrayed as a well educated member of the criminal gang known as The Cowboys. He mentally sparred with Doc Holiday and was apparently the fastest gun in the gang. I remember the part where Wyatt asked Doc why Johnny Ringo did the terrible things that he did and Doc replied that Johnny was angry for being born which implies that Johnny had some dark childhood. In the end, Doc beat Wyatt to the wooded area where Johnny waited to shoot it out and shot Johnny Ringo in the head with one fatal shot while Johnny had his gun in his hand, but didn’t get off a shot before he died.

But what’s the truth? What really happened at that shoot-out? And who was Johnny Ringo anyway? Well I dug around doing some research and found some very interesting facts about Johnny Ringo and the mystery of what happened that day when Johnny Ringo died.

Johnny Ringo was born John Peters, May 3, 1850 in Greensfork, Indiana. His family moved to Independence, Missouri in 1856 where Johnny met Frank and Jesse James who lived in Kearney, a town nearby.  His aunt, Augusta Peters married Coleman Younger, uncle of the famous Younger outlaw making him their cousin. I can see the early connection he had to outlaws by the time he was six, but the coincidences didn’t end there.

In 1858 the family moved to Gallatin, Missouri where they rented a house from John W. Sheets who would become the victim of the James-Younger gang when they robbed The Daviess County Savings and Loan Association in 1869.
               The Younger Brothers with their sister, Henrietta.

The Ringo family was traveling through Wyoming when Johnny’s father, Martin Ringo, stepped off the wagon with his shotgun and accidently shot himself in the head. Johnny, then age fourteen, and his family buried Martin on a hillside along the trail.

Ringo moved from San Jose, California to Mason County, Texas in the mid 1870’s and became acquainted with Scott Cooley, an ex-Texas Ranger who was the adopted son of a local rancher, Tim Williamson. 

But life didn’t remain quiet for Johnny Ringo. Two American rustlers were taken from the jail and hanged by a predominantly German crowd. On May 13, 1875, an all-out war started when Tim Williamson was arrested by a posse and murdered by a German farmer named Peter Bader. Cooley and his friends, including Ringo, began a terror campaign officially called the Mason County War, but by locals, referred to as the Hoodoo War. Cooley killed a German ex-deputy sheriff named John Whorley. Cooley didn’t just shoot Whorley; he scalped him and dumped his body in a well on August 10, 1875.

Cooley killed several more during the “war” adding to his reputation as a dangerous man and, amazingly, gained respect as a Texas Ranger. When Moses Baird, one of Cooley’s supporters was killed, Ringo and his friend, Bill Williams, went to James Cheyney’s house (the man who led the ambush of Baird). He was unarmed when he came out on the porch and invited them in. Ringo shot and killed him. Next, the two of them rode to Dave Doole’s house and called him out, but when he showed up on the porch with a shotgun, the two fled back into town.

Later, Cooley and Ringo mistook Charley Bader for his brother Peter and killed him. They were jailed in Burnet, Texas for the crime by Sheriff Strickland. They weren’t there long before their friends broke them out of jail.

After the Mason County War ended and many lives were lost, Ringo and his friend, George Gladden, were locked up again. One of his cell mates was the notorious, John Wesley Hardin. Gladden was sentenced to 99 years and Ringo was acquitted. Two years later, Johnny Ringo served as constable in Loyal County, Texas. There seems to be a blurry line between lawmen and outlaws in the old west. Not long after that, Johnny Ringo migrated to Arizona. He showed up in Cochise County, Arizona Territory with his friend John Graves from the “war”. He got drunk in a saloon in Safford, Arizona and shot an unarmed man named Louis Hancock for refusing a complimentary drink of whiskey because he preferred beer. Hancock survived the wound. I should add here that Ringo did not take part in the gunfight at the OK Corral as some may believe.

Ringo and Doc Holiday got into a confrontation on January 17, 1882 that was about to lead to a gunfight when they were both arrested by Tombstone’s new chief of police, James Flynn. The former chief had been Virgil Earp who had suffered a bad wound in an ambush just a few weeks prior. Ringo and Doc were and fined for carrying guns in town and Ringo was rearrested and jailed over the weekend for outstanding charges of robbery.
Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp (they look a lot like Val Kilmer and Kirt Russel playing their parts in Tombstone.)

Ringo had a reputation for his bad temper by the folks in Tombstone and he may have had a connection with the outlaw gang known as the Cowboys for some robberies and killings. A couple months later, the Earps suspected Ringo of murdering their brother, Morgan, on March 18, 1882. Later in court, Pete Spence’s wife testified that her husband, Frank Stilwell, “Indian Charlie” Cruz and a half-breed named Fries had killed Morgan. The Earps tracked down the men and killed Cruz.

After Wyatt and his posse found and killed Frank Stilwell, the Cochise County sheriff, Johnny Behan deputized Ringo and 19 other men, mostly members of the Cowboys gang and friends of Frank Stilwell to tract down the federal posse, but they never found Wyatt and his men.

Wyatt Earp killed Ringo’s friend, Curly Bill, in a gunfight in Iron Springs, about 20 miles from Tombstone 2 days after he killed Cruz. Wyatt later told his biographer that Cruz confessed to being an outlook for Morgan’s murder and that Cruz said Johnny Ringo, Frank Stilwell, Hank Swilling, and Curly Bill were Morgan's killers.

                                William Brocius "Curly Bill"

On July 14, 1882 Ringo was found dead leaning against a tree with a bullet hole in his head that exited out the back. His gun hung from one finger. Now the mystery/controversy begins. Some said that Ringo’s gun had one shot out of the chamber and his feet were wrapped in pieces of his undershirt. They found his horse two weeks later with Ringo’s boots tied to the saddle. The coroner declared the official cause of death was suicide. Some reports revealed that no bullet had been fired from Ringo’s gun leading to the suspicion of murder either by Wyatt Earp or Doc Holiday. Of course, there was that memorable scene in the movie Tombstone where Doc Holiday challenged Johnny Ringo to a fight and shot him before Johnny could fire his drawn gun.

Ringo was buried at the site of his death In West Turkey Creek Canyon which lies on private property now. Visitors must request to view the burial site from the owners before they can be admitted to the area.

The controversy over Ringo’s death continues to this day.

It must be said that Louis L’Amour didn’t think much of Johnny Ringo as a tough outlaw. He perceived him to be a loudmouth, mean drunk who wasn’t even fast with a gun and that his only claim to fame was killing the unarmed Louis Hancock over a drink of whiskey. Some authors believe Ringo’s claim to fame only came because of his opposition to the popular good Earp brothers.

One thing’s for sure; there is nothing boring about the old west. No wonder we just can’t get enough western stories. So, what do you think? Did Ringo commit suicide? Did Wyatt kill him? Did Doc Holliday kill him? Do you think he was murdered or did he lose in a gunfight with either Wyatt or Doc?

This is a repost of my article on Sweethearts of the West from June 2013. 

Beautiful June Wingate’s perfect marriage is in shambles—and she hasn’t even left the wedding reception! When she overhears two gossips discussing the real reason Kit Wilding married her, June believes there must be some truth to it—after all, things have happened just the way they said.  Is her marriage only make believe? Trust is hard for June to accept, and now, her faith in her husband has been broken—along with her fragile heart.

Kit Wilding has loved June since the moment he laid eyes on her—a vision in pink that he couldn’t get out of his mind. Now that he’s married her, he can’t understand the changes that have suddenly turned her secretive and distant. How can he make things right between them when he doesn’t know what he’s up against?

But the tables are turned when June’s father, a pillar of the community, is accused of a crime that brings shame on the Wingate family—along with prison time. Kit Wilding’s not the kind of man to give up easily, but with his budding political career at stake, will he be able to hold his marriage together? Or will he be forced to admit IT’S ONLY MAKE BELIEVE


     A loud slap echoed through the house. June’s hand stung as she placed it back in the pocket of her dressing gown, part of her vast trousseau paid for by her parents.

     Kit stepped back and rubbed his reddened cheek with his left hand while Snort, Kit’s dog, barked. June couldn’t help but notice the flash of his golden wedding band in the light of the dressing room. Her heart clenched at the sight of it. They’d been married only a few hours, and now this…

     “Hush that barking, Snort.” The dog quieted, but kept a sharp eye on June, just in case. Kit glanced from the dog to June. “What the hell was that for, June? Did I do something wrong by trying to kiss my wife?”

     “You bet you did. I thought you loved me, and now…” 

Amazon: Paperback  Kindle

Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author who writes diverse stories filled with heart. 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 and Sundown Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Day a Generation Died—The New London School Explosion by Mike Cox

We go through life and are often unaware of historical events or tragedies in our own back yards. While researching the oil fields of Texas in the twenties and thirties for my time travel, A Way Back, I ran across the mention of the New London School Explosion.

Later at a book signing somewhere in Texas, I purchased a book titled TEXAS DISASTERS TRUE STORIES OF TRAGEDY AND SURVIVAL by Mike Cox. His chapter on the New London School Explosion detailed the horror in detail. Most of the information here is paraphrased from his words or quoted. Thank you Mike. I love your book.

The tragedy occurred on Thursday, March 18, 1937, in New London, a community about 120 miles east of Dallas in the booming East Texas oil fields. Their new school was three years old.
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The final bell rang each day at 3:30. The elementary students had been dismissed earlier. A PTA meeting began at 3:00 in the cafeteria. At 3:15, a muffled explosion heard 12 miles away, lifted the front portion of the 30,000 square foot school into the air. "In the words of one witness, the building began collapsing from north too south like 'a row of dominoes falling.'"
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The band director, unharmed, loaded as many injured children as he could into his car and sped to Overton. He stopped at the Western Union Office. "The London school is blown to bits...hundreds killed and injured! Get help." Via Morse code and telephone, the nation's news services issued a "flash" on their wires, a term for only the most monumental events. Texas Governor Allred ordered all available highway patrolmen and Texas Rangers to New London. President Franklin Roosevelt asked the Red Cross and all federal agencies to stand by to offer assistance.

Even Adolph Hitler was touched by the tragedy and sent a telegram with his condolences.

By 6 P.M more than 2,000 men, many of them rough necks from nearby oil fields and fathers themselves were on the site removing debris and rescuing trapped individuals and removing bodies.

Martial Law was declared by Governor Allred at 8:30. The National Guard with fixed bayonets enforced a perimeter around the the school. Boy Scouts with unloaded rifles worked with them.

Walter Cronkite, a young press reporter from Dallas recalled, "It was dark and raining by the time I arrived. I'll ever forget the scene as I drove into the little town. I can still see those flood lights they had set up and the big oil field cranes that had been brought in to help with the removal of the rubble."
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"Hysterical mothers fought over young bodies crushed beyond recognition, each claiming a dead child as her own."

In the last classroom, only body parts were found of the twenty-seven students. In total the bodies of 280 children and 14 adults had been found. "As the blood-covered volunteers filed away from what had been the school building, National Guardsmen stepped back and snapped crisp salutes."

A thorough investigation was conducted. It was discovered gas had been leaking from pipes under the building. At that time, gas had no odor so the leak went undetected in the 64,000 cubic-foot poorly ventilated crawl space. An electric spark from a sander in the basement industrial art triggered a flash fire that spread through the crawl space at 1,000 feet per second. "In a instant the pressure built up to at least ninety pounds per square inch, far more than any structure could endure."

After the tragedy, several laws were instigated, the most important was the requirement that natural gas intended for domestic or industrial use be odorized. Sillers and Clarke developed a device called a metering gas odorizer. It injected a precise amount of a pungent chemical into natural gas flowing though it into transmission lines. They filed for a patent on June 18 1939. (Peerless Manufacturing)

Here is a little about my time travel set in the oil fields of Kilgore. I can see the rough necks from the area on the scene doing their part to relieve the agony of parents, families, and people of the community of New London. 
Amber Mathis, a Wall Street investment banker, returns to her office after burying her grandmother. Distraught, tired of the rat race, she's determined to make a career change. In the elevator she falls and rises to find herself in a vintage lift.  The date is February 25, 1930, and a man stands on the window ledge in her office ready to jump.

Wellman Hathaway, owner and CEO of Hathaway Bank in New York struggles to pay his depositors half their losses. A woman claiming to be from the future appears in his office and involves him in a scheme that forces them into marriage. With Amber's knowledge of the financial history of the 1930s, they travel to the oil fields of Texas to recoup Wellman's funds.

Two people from different centuries are thrown together to survive a difficult time. Will they find more than A Way Back to prosperity?

Thank you for stopping by today and reading. I know this is a sad topic, but that so needs to be remembered.

Linda LaRoque