Friday, April 24, 2020

FROM FT. SUMTER TO SODDIES by Marisa Masterson

Sometimes I can't help but look back on terrible events in history and marvel at the events or advancement they trigger.

The Confederate attack on Fort Sumter was just such an event. Without it, would adventurous men have been able or willing to claim 160 acres just by living on it for five years? I'm really not sure.

To explain, I need to start by mentioning that the majority of the United States Army was stationed west of the Mississippi in 1861. Numerous forts existed to protect both settlers and mail delivery. When Fort Sumter is fired on, troops are moved back east. After all, 97% of the population still lived in the eastern part of the U. S. and needed to be kept safe.

So, with states leaving the Union, how to guarantee that Confederate states didn't grab for land in the West? A painting and The Homestead Act were the answers to that.

This act was aimed at freeing loyal citizens, and those seeking citizenship, from poverty. Also, officials hoped to relieve overcrowding in the cities. So many immigrants had arrived. Since many had backgrounds in farming, it made sense to imclude them in the offer.

At the same time as the Homestead Act, a German artist living in New York was hired by the government to romantize western expansion even as soldiers left homesteaders in the west unprotected. His name was Emmanuel Leutze, and he titled his mural Westward the Cournse of Empire Takes Its Way.

Free land for loyalty--what a bargain. Encouraged by Leutze's mural, families went west and settled land. They kept it protected for the Union. Volunteers would man forts in the west, especially those who were settling land because of this Homestead Act. These were volunteers toughened by hardships and interested in dominating or eliminating the native peoples in the western part of the United States. They truly acted out the title of Leutze's painting with empire forcing its will through these pioneer militia volunteers.

All because Fort Sumter was attacked...

“A great cast of characters, including the secondary characters and a fast-paced plot kept this story interesting to the end. This one is a must-read.”—Amazon Review

True love picked a terrible time to grab Ginger Snap’s heart. She saw the man she would love forever. He saw a scruffy boy.

From the moment her cruel stepfather cuts Ginger’s braid and forces her into boy’s clothes, she has lived a lie. That lie allows her to inherit a farm, giving her family a comfortable life.
Even so, she longs to escape and be herself again—especially after she meets him.

Theodore Edwards never expected to battle thieves or to be the one who has to stop a land grab that is cheating widows in southern Nebraska. He thought he’d pass a dull year working in a law office. After he caught sight of that lovely redhead skinny dipping, life has been a roller coaster. If only he could find her again instead of always running into her younger brother.

Is love worth dangers he faces to save her from the corrupt sheriff and the gold thieves who are trailing Ginger? 


  1. Marisa, I loved your post. In Texas near where I've set numerous books some of the settlers built their own rock fort. It's not that large but families went there during trouble and a few men stayed with them while the other men fought Comanches. I was able to tour this and get photos. I love visiting such places, don't you?

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