Friday, November 30, 2018


In the series, The Widows of Wildcat Ridge, set in the Uinta Mountains, there is an occasional reference made to concerns about coming in contact with the Utes of the nearby Ute Reservation.They would actually be the Northern Ute.

The Utes are actually made of twelve major bands. The people and their culture and are among the Great Basin classification of Indigenous People. They have lived in the regions of present-day Utah and Colorado for centuries, hunting, fishing and gathering food. In addition to their home regions within Colorado and Utah, their hunting grounds extended into Wyoming, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. They had sacred grounds outside of their home domain that were also visited seasonally. Spiritual and ceremonial practices were observed by the Utes.

The origin of the word Ute is unknown, but Yuta was first used in Spanish documents. The Utes self-designation is based upon nuuchi-u, meaning the people.

The Utes are part of the Numic language group Ute people are from the Southern subdivision of the Numic-speaking branch of theUto-Aztecan language family, which are found almost entirely in the Western United States and Mexico. It includes both the Colorado River Numic language (Uto) dialect chain that stretches from southeastern California, along the Colorado River to Colorado and the Nahuan languages (Aztecan) of Mexico.

The history of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is dominated by a long process of territory contraction and cession. Prior to contact with Europeans, the Ute people inhabited a vast expanse that included much of present-day Utah, Colorado, and northern New Mexico. They are generally believed to have first appeared as a distinct people in AD 1000–1200 in the southern part of the Great Basin, an area roughly located in eastern California and southern Nevada. The Ute people migrated to the Four Corners region by 1300, from where they continued to disperse across Colorado’s Rocky Mountains over the next two centuries.

There were twelve historic bands of Utes whose culture was influenced by neighboring Native Americans. Although they generally operated in family groups for hunting and gathering, they came together for ceremonies and trading. The Utes also traded with other Native American tribes and Puebloans.

Photo by Mathew Brady
In 1880, Chief Ouray and other Utes traveled to Washington. D.C. to negotiate a treaty that would result in the removal of the White River and Tabeguache Utes from Colorado to the Uintah Basin in present day Utah. Chief Ouray died at age 47 shortly after this trip. Seated from left to right: Chief Ignacio of the Southern Utes, Carl Shurz, Secretary of the Interior, Chief Ouray and his wife, Chipeta. Standing are Woretsiz and General Charles Adams. This photo was shot in Washington, D.C. in 1880 when a delegation of Ute Indians traveled to Washington to negotiate a treaty with the U.S. government.

Ute reservations as of 1868
Here is a basic timeline of the interaction between the Northern Utes and the United States government during the time period of the series:

1873 U.S. government officials appoint Ouray as Head Chief of the Utes.
1878 Meeker became agent at Whiteriver agency.
1879 Agent Nathan Meeker is killed by Yamparika Utes.
1879 As a result of the Meeker incident, officials force the Colorado Utes to sign an agreement which removes the Yamparika and Taviwach Utes to Utah (ratified June 15, 1880).
1880, Mar 6        Treaty signed by the Indians.
1880, June 15     Treaty signed by congress for Indian removal from Colorado.
1880, Aug 24      Death of Ouray.
1880-1891 Ghost Dance Movement
1881 Yamparika Utes are moved to the Uintah Reservation in Utah.
1882 Act of January 5, 1882--Uncompahgre Reservation
1885 Miners found Gilsonite--significance--only deposit in U.S.
1886 Uintah and Ouray agencies consolidate.


My latest novel, Nissa, Book 3 in The Widows of Wildcat Ridge series is now available on Amazon including Kindle Unlimited. To read the book description and purchase your copy, please CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Ever since I came upon some of the weirdest vintage Easter cards I’d ever seen and blogged about those (in two parts, no less!) I’ve just been fascinated by some of the ideas that artists of the past have had for greeting cards. What in the world crossed their minds? Who did they think would enjoy these cards, much less pick them out of all the choices available to buy and send?

Evidently, I’m not the only one who has wondered. Take a look at some of these—they are beyond “odd”.

Yes. Scallops lamenting the absence of their friends (natives), so the card says—obviously the British. “May we soon see them again.” Uh…why? So they can eat us? MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but…being wish “Compliments of the Season” by a boiling pan head imp that looks female on top and male on the bottom…well, that’s just plain weird. For some reason, this reminds me of the scene at the beginning of Bewitched when the pan boils over on the stove…

Downright creepy. An educated pigman. Or is it a boy? The hat looks like that of a young boy, but that face is anything but endearing. And why does he need the binoculars? “The better to spy on you with, my dear…” Oh, but he’s carrying a book, so at least he must be educated.

Nothing says Merry Christmas like a picture of a dead robin, does it? I mean, what could be more joyful? Nope…can’t think of much else that could come close.

Do y’all remember the picture on the Easter card of the rabbit carefully stepping out of his home to go hunting with the colored eggs all around him? That’s what this reminds me of. A sweet little dog with a rifle near at hand…just in case he needs it.

Well, what have we here? A frog that has been robbed and murdered by another one. But, let’s not forget to have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, shall we?

As long as we’re on the subject of frogs, how about this one? Beetle and frog having a Christmas waltz, while the dragonflies dance in the background and the giant mosquito plays the tambourine. Festive, right?

Merry Christmas! If you survive being mauled by the polar bear…

It’s hard to think what must have been going on inside the creative brains of these illustrators, isn’t it? Or…were they just toying with us? Maybe these were meant to be ridiculous and make us laugh. But wait…what’s that I hear? Crying children? Wings of a…LOOK OUT!

Above all, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, even if you’re fighting off polar bears, dancing with frogs, or running from wasps!

Monday, November 26, 2018


The time from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve is my favorite time of year. My husband and I have been watching Christmas movies each evening via Netflix. Are there certain movies your family watches each year at this time?
For this Christmas post, I thought I’d take you on a trip through the earliest holiday movies.
First Christmas Movie Made

I was surprised that the first Christmas movie was made in 1898 by George Albert Smith. This is a vignette only a few minutes long. Also, this is the first appearance of Santa Claus in film. He looks nothing like the Santa shown now.

Can you visualize how excited people were to see this movie? I wonder if the movie was shown in an auditorium or tent. In addition, I wonder how much the tickets were, don’t you?

Scrooge or Marley’s Ghost was made in 1901. At least half of the film has been lost, but enough remains that one gets a sense of what the entire movie was like. This is the oldest known film adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1843 novel A Christmas Carol.  It was shown to King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra at Sandringham House in December 1901 in a Royal Command Performance.

The Parish Priest’s Christmas

Shining with simple faith, this work by Alice Guy, the world’s first woman director, captures a more pious side of Christmas in 1906.
A local priest attempts to buy a statue to complete the crèche, or Nativity scene, in his church. Unfortunately, the priest and his humble flock lack the funds to purchase even the smallest stand-in for baby Jesus. At mass, beautiful angels appear and reward the congregation’s devotion by bestowing an effigy of Jesus to fill the cradle.
In The Parish Priest’s Christmas, Alice Guy deploys special effects for maximum dramatic impact. The film’s deliberate pace and the naturalistic interactions between characters draw the audience into the priest’s dilemma. The special effect of the heavenly angels is achieved through hidden cuts
The Night Before Christmas

Edwin S. Porter, a pioneer of narrative logic in cinema and director of The Great Train Robbery (1903), evokes the snowbound wonder of Clement Clarke Moore’s beloved poem in 1905. And, as in The Great Train Robbery, Porter ends the film with a fourth-wall-breaking shot (not unusual in early movies) as Santa Claus acknowledges the spectators and wishes them a merry Christmas.
The Night Before Christmas involved a herd of apparently real reindeer, as well as a model version to show their “flight” from the North Pole. You can see the  iconography of Christmas as we know it today—the jolly red suit, the list that Santa’s checking twice, and the magical sleigh. Intertitles with verses lifted straight from Moore’s poem contribute to the film’s charm.

A Christmas Accident

You may remember how much The Grinch was changed by Christmas. In the same tradition comes a short, sweet movie from Edison Studios in 1912.  A Christmas Accident provides a glimpse into the holiday celebrations of ordinary, working-class people shortly after the turn of the century.

Prosperous, crotchety Mr. Gilton and his long-suffering wife live right next door to the harmonious Bilton family. After months of enduring their neighbor’s bad temper, the Biltons are settling down for their modest Christmas Eve festivities.
“Santa Claus is poor this year,” says Mr. Bilton, explaining to his children why they’re not getting a turkey. But what to their wondering eyes should appear? Why, Mr. Gilton, blown by a snowstorm right into their home—with a turkey under his arm.
The Adventures of the Wrong Santa

In 1914, a comical amateur sleuth named Octavius bumbled through a series of short one-reel films produced by Thomas Edison. In the final series installment, the hapless hero shows up at a party to dress as Santa for his friend’s children. Holiday mayhem ensues.
No sooner does Octavius don the bushy white beard and red suit than he gets conked on the noggin by a burglar. Dressed up in a different Santa suit, the villain steals the children’s gifts from under the tree and flees with Octavius in pursuit.
All this merely serves as an excuse to show two men in Santa costumes chasing after each other and brawling. I suppose this is an historic Die Hard. Fortunately, as the intertitles tell us, “Octavius never fails.” The detective ends up returning the Christmas presents and gets to canoodle behind a curtain with a pretty girl.
Excluding the two battling Santas, this movie documents the customs of a middle class Christmas on the brink of WWI.

Those above are old films, some of which have been restored. As for my family, our favorites are The Muppets’ Christmas Carol (which is amazingly faithful to the book), the original Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas in Connecticut, and Christmas Story. I can’t fail to mention classics like White Christmas, Elf, It’s A Wonderful Life, Die Hard, Home Alone, The Holiday, and The Santa Clause. Actually, there are too many Christmas films to list here.
What are your family’s favorite Christmas movies?
The Lobby Post, John Hess

Caroline Clemmons has two new releases. BLESSING is book two in the Widows of Wildcat Ridge Series. This book is set in Utah in the gold mining town of Wildcat Ridge after explosions kill most of the town’s men. BLESSING is available at

Blessing is the real name of Buster Odell, who thinks her nickname more suitable for a rancher. She has horses she's auctioning off to split the money with the widows in town. Thad King tracks stolen horses to Buster's ranch. Buster is adamant that her father would not knowingly buy stolen animals. Together, Buster and Thad plot to discover the horse thief and capture whoever is rustling Buster's cattle.

MAIL-ORDER MORIAH, a Brides of Beckham novel, is the first in the exciting new Pearson Grove Series. Up for pre-order now, it will be released on December 6. You can reserve your copy now at .

Moriah travels from England hoping to find a job in a shop where she can save to send for her sister. After an unsettling encounter with the owner of the shirt factory in which she works, she becomes a mail-order bride. Scott Ferguson owns the mercantile in Pearson Grove, Texas. He needs a wife to help in his store, cook, clean, and be a true helpmate. Marriage brings more than either had expected, including a bank robbery and Moriah's rescue of a woman from a burning home. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018


This post will go live on November 22, 2018 which is when the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. There have been a number of posts about the beginning of this holiday. That is not what those of you who read this will see. Instead, I want to take the time to honor those who give me reason to be thankful.

My parents, both of whom have passed on. To them I want to let the world know how supportive they were in anything I attempted. They always told me, there will always be someone who does something better than you, but you will do things better than others. It all balances out. Follow your dream and you will achieve it. You know what? They have been right. They also read to me. Of course I kept demanding it and they gave me the love of language my honoring my need for stories.

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Williams. I spent most of my early life in and out of the hospital. I missed most of my first year of school. Since I attended a small school with multiple grades in one room, she passed me with my classmates and I did first and second grade together, with her as my teacher. She also read to us every day, a gift I still treasure.

To all those delinquents whose life intersected with mine. While they did not always come out of the system alive, they offered me a look at how others lived and what it took to survive in a world they were ill equipped to live in. Some grew and succeeded in life, others chose to spend their lives incarcerated or made a choice that led to their demise. From them I learned patience and compassion.

To all the co-workers and fellow students throughout my life, a huge thank you for being a part of this world and offering lessons I needed to learn.

To Chris Nichol from PPLDs Special Collections who encouraged me to share my love of research and history with the world. As a result I've written four papers for their History Symposium, which is streamed world wide. Those papers were: ' Karol Smith; from Real Life to Reel Life', ' The Cripple Creek Volcano; a thirty-five million year disaster', 'Doc Susie and Hollywood; Myths of 19th Century Women Doctors in Colorado' and 'Joe Ward; the Man at the Center of Colorado Springs first Sensational Murder Trial'

To Cheryl Pierson and Livia Washburn Reasoner of Prairie Rose Publications for believing in a novice fiction writer and giving her a chance to follow a dream. Because of these women my first story "Home for His Heart" was followed by "Never Had a Chance", "Lost Knight" and so many others.

This is not a complete list, but I would be remiss if I didn't have great gratitude for my fellow authors and the wonderful stories they share with the world. And last but definitely not least, to all the wonderful readers who read the stories I and my fellow authors write. Thank you!

May you all enjoy your lives and loved ones this coming holiday season and throughout the upcoming years.

From "A Gift of Forgiveness"

     Laughter shook the room, as the silly story ended. Nettie was sure that John had made it up for Ila and Albert to enjoy, and it seemed they weren't fooled. Both asked whether it was true. John turned to Nettie and, with a twinkle in his eye, then looked straight at both of the children. "I swear on a Bible, it's a true story."
     Ila looked very serious. "John, don't swear on a Bible and tell a fib. You could get into a lot of trouble. I know."
     John looked at Nettie, a questioning look on his face. He didn't seem to understand what Ila was talking about. To forestall any further questions, Nettie ventured, "Ila, if John says the story is true, I'm sure it is. Now, I'd better get started on that dinner. Why don't you help set the table?"
     As Ila moved ahead, John leaned in and whispered, "What was that all about?"
     "It was just her way of making sure you were not telling a fib," Nettie whispered back. She didn't feel she could tell him how Ila felt about testifying and what the whole incident in her past had done to her. Still, from the look in his eyes, she could tell he knew there was more to it than that. Feeling trapped, Albert saved her the explanation as he took John's hand. "Come see what I found."
     John gave Nettie a look indicating he would let it go for now, and followed Albert.
     "That's one lie I don't want to tell again," Nettie said as she headed into the kitchen.
Amazon e-book

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
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Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Tales of Thanksgivings Past

Since it’s so close to Thanksgiving, I will share with you a few stories of pioneer Thanksgivings that I enjoyed reading. I hope you do too.

Thanksgiving on the Frontier

Wild turkeys were present on the frontier, but on one occasion thankfulness came not for enjoying the turkey, but for still being alive, as recalled by Mrs. Hulda Esther Thorpe.  “One of the best Thanksgiving dinners we ever knew of was when a family of settlers had their nice wild turkey dinner taken by the Indians, who came in silently and just shoved the folks back and eat [ate] it up.

“They did not harm the white people though and after they were gone the women made a big corn bread and with what few things the Indians left, they had a feast, the best as the daughter tells, that she ever eat [ate]. This was because they were so happy and thankful that the Indians spared them.”   (Excerpt from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940, a public government work).
Miracle of the Gulls Monument, Salt Lake City;
photo by David McConeghy; wikipedia creative commons 2.0

The Mormons’ First Thanksgiving

The first Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. They got a late start on planting that summer, and the crops didn’t yield a plentiful harvest, not allowing for any thanksgiving feast. The hundreds of Saints who arrived that year had a rough time just surviving winter.
A late frost in May 1848 killed many crops, and a lack of rain caused further difficulty. The warmer summer planting season would have allowed some of the frozen crops to recover, but crickets came on the frost’s heels and destroyed the few healthy plants that remained.
It was a difficult time to live in the Valley—the outlook was so bleak that a few people continued on to California or returned to the United States. But most of the Saints stuck it out, did all they could to preserve their crops, and trusted that God would make up the difference.
That’s when the famous seagulls came to their rescue, consuming the destructive crickets and leaving the Saints with a chance to plant again. By midsummer they were hopeful for a plentiful harvest. They believed God had brought the seagulls and provided much-needed assistance. They decided to set aside a day for giving thanks to God—August 10, 1848.
That morning, the Saints gathered for the celebration. They raised a white flag on a pole—a traditional symbol of freedom—and decorated the pole with wheat, barley, oats and corn. They fired a cannon and a band played. The Saints shouted “Hosannah to God and the Lamb, for ever and ever, Amen.”
Then they feasted on bread, butter, cheese, cakes, beef, pastries, corn, lettuce, melons, radishes, beets, carrots, peas, onions, cucumbers, parsnips, squash and beans. No Jello salad!

How to Season the Dressing
The most famous Laura Ingalls Wilder Thanksgiving story is the argument between Laura and her sister Mary about how to season the dressing. The argument began when their Pa announced he intended to shoot a goose for Thanksgiving dinner. After he left to hunt, Laura delighted over the prospect of dressing seasoned with onion. Mary objected, saying she doesn’t like it seasoned with onion and wanted it seasoned with sage instead.

The sisters continued to bicker back and forth: “Sage.” “Onion.” “SAGE!” “ONION!” Until Pa came back without the goose. This evidently remained a favorite story for Laura because it’s a reminder at Thanksgiving to look around and be grateful even if “the seasoning of my blessings has not been just as I would have chosen.”


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 pair of very spoiled cats. As well as crafting passionate love stories, Lyn enjoys reading, gardening, genealogy, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.

Amazon Author Page: (universal link)
Newsletter:  Lyn’s Romance Gazette
Website:  Lyn Horner’s Corner