Friday, September 30, 2022

Siouan Language Roots-Chiwere by Zina Abbott


Last month, inspired by my research into the Omaha tribe of Native Americans, I discovered they were part of the Dhegihan division of the Western Siouan Language group. As this group migrated west and south from the Great Lakes region, they broke off and separated into what today is several different tribes. To find that post, please CLICK HERE. ­

What really sparked my interest was that I discovered their new homelands along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers were leap-frogged with that of other Siouan-language people of the Chiwere-Winnebago language division, also from the same general region, that also migrated west and south. I wish to share about the Chiwere tribes in this post.

1635 Native American Tribal Map

Around the 16th century, successive groups of the Ho-Chunk and Siouan-speaking tribes of the Western Great Lakes and Upper Midwest split off and migrated west and south. These became distinct tribes, the Otoe, the Missouria, and the Ioway. All these tribes were part of the Chiwere-Winnegago language division of the greater Siouan family, with the Otoe, Missouria, and Ioway specifically Chiwere.

Indian Tribes of Iowa

The Iowa, also known as Ioway, and the Bah-Kho-Je or Báxoje, which in English means gray snow. The Iowa, along with the Missouria and Otoe tribes were once part of the Ho-Chunk people. Members of these tribes are all Chiwere language-speaking peoples. They left their ancestral homelands in Southern Wisconsin for Eastern Iowa, a state that bears their name.

White Cloud head chief of the Iowa-painted by George Catlin

In 1837, the Iowa were moved from Iowa to reservations in Brown County, Kansas, and Richardson County, Nebraska. The Iowa moved to Indian Territory in the late 19th century and settled south of Perkins, Oklahoma.


Indian Map Nebraska-red- Dhegihan; blue: Chiwere

The Otoe were once part of the Ho-Chunk and Siouan-speaking tribes of the Western Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. Around the 16th century, the Otoe, along with the Missouria and Ioway, split off as they migrated west and south and became distinct tribes. The Otoe settled in the lower Nemaha River Valley of what is today southeastern Nebraska, but ranged into Kansas, Iowa, and Missouria.  

Indian Tribes in Kansas- Dhegihan; blue: Chiwere

They lived in elm-bark lodges while they farmed, and used tipis while traveling, like many other Plains tribes. They often left their villages to hunt buffalo. Later, they adopted the horse culture and semi-nomadic lifestyle of the Great Plains and made the American bison central to their diet and culture

Oto Delegation to Washington D.C. 1881

In the early 19th century, many of their villages were destroyed due to warfare with other tribes. European-American encroachment brought disease, leading to their decline.

Missouria - Otoe - Ponca by Bodmer

Today, Otoe people belong to the federally recognized tribe, the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, which is headquartered in Red Rock, Oklahoma.

Indian Tribes of Missouri- Red: Dhegihan; Blue: Chiwere

The Missouria or Missouri, who, in their own langugage, call themselves Niúachi, also spelled Niutachi, historically lived along the Grand River at its confluence with the Missouri River, the mouth of the Missouri River at its confluence with the Mississippi River, and in present-day Saline County, Missouri. They stayed closely connected to the Otoe. The now live primarily in Oklahoma. The state of Missouri and the Missouri River are named for the tribe.

I will cover the Ho-Chunk and Winnebago in a separate post.


My two most recent publications, Bee Sting Cake by Brunhilde and Loving Lila are both Thanksgiving romances.


BeeSting Cake by Brunhilde has been published and is available. To find the book description and purchase options, please CLICK HERE.



Loving Lila is currently on pre-order and will be released October 10th. To find the book description and purchase options, please CLICK HERE.







Monday, September 26, 2022

Lost Maples State Natural Area by Bea Tifton


Many people make jokes about Texas only having two seasons, hot and cold. While Texas doesn’t have the leaf peeping industry of New England, some places do exist where beautiful fall colors can be seen.  One of the most popular places to visit in the autumn is the Lost Maples State Natural Area.

Lost Maples State Natural Area is located in Bandera and Real counties. The park covers about 2, 174 acres. In 1979, the area opened to the public after being obtained from private owners in 1973. In 2009, the state acquired 603 additional acres.  Prehistoric people used the area, and in the late 1600s the Spanish explored and settled there. The Apache, Lipan Apache, and Comanche Indians roamed the area and had clashes with settler into the mid 1800s.

The park is visited year round for hiking, camping, bird watching, fishing, hunting, and star gazing. Among the most sought after birds are the green kingfisher, the black-capped vireos, and the golden cheeked warblers. Fortunate visitors can also spy gray foxes, white-tailed deer, armadillos, raccoons, bobcats, squirrels, and javelinas.

Although the natural area is popular year round, it’s quite well known for the breath taking fall foliage. Beginning in the last two weeks of October and lasting through the first two weeks of November, leaf peepers can travel to see the Uvalde big tooth maples show off.  The website includes a “Fall Foliage Report” and encourages visitors to visit during the week since the park only admits 250 cars a day. For the leaf peeper set in Texas, Lost Maples State Natural Area is a wonderful place to visit. 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

THE TRAVELS OF A RECIPE by Marisa Masterson


Once there was a lutheran pastor's wife who brought the recipe with her. She moved to the small community in Michigan and brought her fantastic cookies to her congregation. 

Later, a young wife received that recipe. She began to make the cookies and give them away. In fact, people started to believe it had always been her recipe.

When the wife was old and had become a grandmother, a young woman and her family moved into the community. The old woman took them under her wing. She shared more than the cookies and the recipe. The young family became like her own relatives. 

Who knows where the recipe started from? Who invented it? That's not the important part. 

What matters is the love each woman showed as she made the cookies and passed on the recipe to others. It's the love that I pushed to share in my next book. 

The recipe I'm referring to is for molasses cookies, and that's how it made its way to me. The recipe means so much to me that I wrote a book about it.

Curious about the recipe. It's included in my book!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Pikes Peak - What's in a Name


Post by Doris McCraw aka Angela Raines

Pikes Peak
Photo Property of the Author

Most have heard of Pikes Peak, but do you know the other names that this mountain has had? Read On.

1. Tava - this is the name that the Ute called the mountain. The word means "Sun Mountain"

2. Montana del Sol - this is the name the first Spanish explorers used for the mountain. Translated it is "Mountain of the Sun"

3. El Capitan - this is the name the Spanish explorers used later. The definition is "the Captain" or "the Leader". This may have come into use as the peak is the easternmost of the 14ers on the Front Range of Colorado.

4. Heey-otoyoo- this is the name the Arapahoes gave the mountain. Translated it means "the Long Mountain"

5. Grand Peak - this is one of the names Zebulon Pike called the mountain in his journals.

6. Highest Peak - this is another name that Zebulon Pike for the mountain in his journals.

7. James Peak - This was in honor of Edwin James the botanist with the Long Expedition who actually climbed to the top in 1820.

8. Pike's Highest Peak - a number of the early explorers, trappers and settlers called the mountain by this name.

9. Long Mountain - The use of this name may have been for Stephen Long, the leader of the expedition of which Edwin James was a member.

10. Pikes Peak - the name we all know the mountain by today. Named for Zebulon Pike, who tried, but never climbed the mountain that bears his name. 

The mountain has also had many elevations over the years.

14,109', 14, 147', 14, 500', 14, 110', and finally 14, 115' which is the official altitude today. (And no, it is not the tallest peak in Colorado. The tallest is Mt. Elbert, near Leadville, at 14,433')

For fun, here is a link to the cameras at the top of the mountain: Cameras at the top of Pikes Peak

For a full article on the Peak: History Colorado article

I've just published a book about the early women doctors who are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, in Colorado Springs, CO. the town that sits on the base of Pikes Peak.

Amazon or Books2Read

Until next time, Happy Reading. Doris McCraw

Friday, September 16, 2022

The Thread of a Story - by Jo-Ann Roberts

When I began blogging for Sweethearts of the West, I chose a topic that had been close to my heart for more years than I'm willing to divulge...quilting.

It is easy to sit at my machine, find a color of thread that coordinates with the fabric (however, I usually use a light grey thread when constructing the squares as it is easy to rip out when I make a mistake!) then begin sewing. And when I run out, a quick trip to my local quilt shop, Jo-Ann's or Michaels solves my dilemma.

My current historical WIP is part of a series with quilting as its theme (shh, it's still a secret!) so it got me thinking. How did women get thread, where did they get it, and when was it available to the average housewife, seamstress, or milliner?

And thus, the research began...

Forms of very early sewing thread were made of thin strips of animal hide. This was used to sew together larger pieces of hide and fur for clothing, blankets and shelter. There is proof throughout history of some form of threading used even when cavemen were in charge of the planet. As civilizations moved forward, thread did also and eventually it evolved to including the spinning and dyeing of thread.

There are three basic types of thread, and they are based on their origin, Thread is animal, plant, or synthetic depending on its make up. Silk thread is touted as the best because it is strong, very elastic, and fine in diameter. Silk is interwoven into a lot of regular threads for added strength. Pure silk thread use is done in finer clothing.

However, since the heroine in my story resides in a small Kansas town in 1871, I imagined she'd only use cotton thread, the least expensive in her quilting.
                                                                                                                                                      Thread is made of a series of plies--or cords, twisted together. The plying and twisting creates a stronger unit than the original strands alone. A ply is two or more strands of cotton twisted together. A cord is two or more plies twisted together. The earliest form of cotton thread was three-ply thread--three single strands of fiber twisted together.

Manufactured cotton thread was available to the hand sewers in the U.S. and Europe in 1800. At first, they were sold in hanks as some yarns still are. Thread came on wooden spools beginning in 1820. Like the soda bottles of today., the spools could be returned for a deposit, to be refilled. Mass production put an end to the deposits since the spools could be produced so cheaply.

Historians credit James and Patrick Clark, mill owners in Paisley, Scotland with developing the first cotton thread. When silk and flax became scarce during the Napoleonic wars, they were forced to find a suitable replacement with which to create their famous (and profitable) Paisley shawls.

Eventually, some Clark family members moved to the U.S. and began their own thread companies, including George Clark and William Clark, grandsons of James who opened a cotton thread mill in New Jersey.


George Clark perfected six-cord thread for use on sewing machines. He called it "O.N.T." for "Our New Thread," combining fineness with strength as well as being inexpensive.

In 1815, another prominent Scottish manufacturer, James Coats, began making thread. His sons, James and Peter formed J&P Coats, Co., introducing thread to the U.S. around 1820. By 1869, they began manufacturing sewing thread in Pawtucket Rhode Island. It was here where they developed a unique spool shape with smooth curves.

The emergence of the sewing machine in the 1840s further escalated the need for a better-quality thread. Three-ply was too uneven, and six-ply was too thick. Silk and linen threads were either too thick or too weak for use with the machine. Three-ply silk was too expensive. 

Improved cotton seemed the only option.

At the beginning of the 20th century, mercerization was developed to make a stronger, smoother cotton thread. It is a process of immersing cotton thread in a solution of caustic soda, resulting in a stronger, more lustrous that also accepted dye more readily.

Polyester thread became available in 1942, and cotton-wrapped polyester in the late 1960s.

Other Thread Manufacturers

Belding & Corticelli, a silk thread manufacturing enterprise was started by the Belding brothers in Michigan. From their home the produced spools of silk thread which traveling salesmen marketed door to door.  Sales of silk thread dwindled during the Great Depression, forcing the company to close its door the next year.

Max Pollack & Co. operated a silk mill in Mansfield, CT from 1900 - 1904. Textile companies of all kinds located in this area of Connecticut.


Rice's Silk Mill

Built in 1876 to house a woolen mill, this multi-section brick building was purchased in 1887 by William Bainbridge Rice, who established his silk-processing operation here. The premises were expanded in 1895 after Rice acquired a New Jersey silkworks and moved its equipment here. The Rice Company was one of Pittsfield's largest businesses at the turn of the 20th century. It produced a number of highly specialized materials, including silk cords for parachutes which they later also made out of nylon. The company was particularly known for its braided silk cord.

This has a local connection for me as I was born and raised in Pittsfield!

Lucky for us quilters, sewers, seamstresses, and those whose talent with needle and thread, thread--cotton thread, in particular--has evolved over the last 250 years and has been supplanted by other fibers.

So, whenever Noelle Prentiss (my heroine) threads a needle and joins fabrics together to make a quilt, she'll be continuing the tradition of those who came before and after her by carrying on the thread of the story.

A Welcome to Autumn Party from the Authors of the Love Train Series

You are cordially invited to welcome in Autumn from the authors of the Love Train Series on Thursday, September 22nd, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.  Join us for fun, games, and giveaways! One winner will be chosen to receive a $100 Amazon gift card!


Monday, September 12, 2022


By Caroline Clemmons

In the Eastern United States, riding a coach meant travel from one stage stop to the next, stopping at a tavern or inn for a meal and perhaps spending the night. In the West and Southwest, there were not enough established towns. Western travelers had to be made of grit and determination!

In 1858, John Butterfield undertook an overland stage line connecting St. Louis and San Francisco by way of El Paso, Texas. The route also ran through Tucson and Los Angeles, both of which were only villages of a few hundred residents. A federal contract paid the stage company $600,000 a year to carry U. S. mail across the continent. That sum helped subsidize way stations at regular intervals. The company spent nearly a year getting everything into place to support semi-weekly stagecoach service.

Butterfield Stage Line Route

When Butterfield’s Overland Mail Line opened for business on 16 September 1858, the journey between St. Louis and San Francisco required three weeks of hard traveling—if the weather was good. Coaches moved all day and all night except for brief intervals at way stations. The fare did not include the price of meals, which cost an average of a dollar each three times a day. Passengers had to sleep aboard the coach. These mail lines were guaranteed to be rugged, but they got the mail through.

Newspaper illustration 1858 
Butterfield Stage Coaches

At this time, most coaches set on springs which provided a bumpy, jostling ride. If passengers were fortunate, the route included riding in a Concord stagecoach. The first Concord stagecoach was built in 1827 in Concord, New Hampshire. Abbot Downing Company employed leather strap braces under their stagecoaches, which gave a swinging motion instead of the jolting up and down motion of spring suspension. They were known to be built so solidly they didn’t break, they just wore out.

Concord Stage Coach 

Over 700 Concord stagecoaches were built by the original Abbot Downing Company before it disbanded in 1847. However, a company by that name was still building coaches, wagons, and carriages, according to their business card of 1898. The coach was noted for its ability to keep passengers dry while floating across streams and rivers. The swaying motion caused some passengers to become “seasick”.

In his 1861 book ROUGHING IT, Mark Twain described the Concord stage’s ride as like “a cradle on wheels.

Compared to other coaches, the Concord must have seemed like a smooth-riding luxury sedan would to us.

Mud Wagon

Not all stagecoaches were of one of these types. Celerity or mud wagons were much lighter and cheaper to build. They had no springs so they offered a much rougher ride. They were primarily used on lines where passenger and express traffic was too light to justify the expense of Concord coaches. Instead of having a heavy wooden top, the celerity had a light frame structure with thick duck or canvas covering, greatly reducing the vehicle’s weight. Wheels were set further apart and were protected by wide steel rims that helped keep the coach from tipping over or the wheels from sinking in soft sands.

While not as comfortable for daytime travelers, they were designed for passenger travel at night. Waterman L. Ormsby, special correspondent to the New York Herald, described the sleeping accommodations.

As for sleeping, most of the wagons are arranged so that the backs of the seats let down and form the length of the vehicle. When the stage is full, passengers must take turns sleeping. Perhaps the jolting will be found disagreeable at first, but a few nights without sleeping will obviate that difficulty, and soon the jolting will be as little of a disturbance as the rocking of a cradle to a sucking babe. For my part, I found no difficulty sleeping over the roughest roads, and I have no doubt that anyone else will learn quite as quickly. A bounce of the wagon, which makes one’s head strike the top, bottom, or sides, will be equally disregarded, and ‘nature’s sweet restorer’ found as welcome on the hard bottom of the wagon as in the downy beds of the St. Nicholas. White pants and kid gloves had better be discarded by most passengers.”

Celerity/Mud Wagon 
sides rolled up

Unlike the classic Concord stagecoaches, which could be mired in bad weather, mud wagons could travel over trails and roads during inclement weather. The only protection provided for passengers against bad weather and dusty roads were the canvas side curtains which could be rolled down and fastened.

By the way, the word “stage” meant the place where the horses or mules were changed—staged along the route. These were spaced every 12 to 20 miles, depending on the terrain, and were usually operated by a single man living in a small cottage who kept a change of horses in a barn and/or corral. The stage stopped only long enough for passengers to stretch their legs while the horses or mules were changed.

Every 50 miles were the “home” stages, which were usually a couple or family who served meals and could provide overnight lodging—though sometimes passengers slept on a dirt floor. These stations also might include a blacksmith and stables. Drivers might be switched there.

Some coaches had two seats facing one another. The larger Concord squeezed in a center, forward-facing third seat, which made passengers very crowded and uncomfortable. Often the third seat had no back, which must have made retaining balance awkward as the coach swayed along. Often passengers had to interlock knees due to the crowded interior. Imagine you were a lady in the 19th century who’d been raised to observe propriety, and you found yourself on a long coach ride having to lace legs with a male stranger. Even if he was a perfect gentleman, the situation would be embarrassing.

Here are a set of rules posted by Wells Fargo in 1888:

1.      Abstinence from liquor is requested, but if you must drink, share the bottle. To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and unneighborly.

2.      If ladies are present, gentlemen are urged to forego smoking cigars and pipes as the odor of same is repugnant to the Gentle Sex. Chewing tobacco is permitted but spit WITH the wind, not against it. (I’d think this would be a given, wouldn’t you?)

3.      Gentlemen must refrain from the use of rough language in the presence of ladies and children.

4.      Buffalo robes are provided for your comfort during cold weather. Hogging robes will not be tolerated and the offender will be made to ride with the driver.

5.      Don’t snore loudly while sleeping or use your fellow passenger’s shoulder for a pillow; he or she may not understand and friction may result. (If you’re asleep, how do you control whether or not you snore and, if you do, how loudly?)

6.      Firearms may be kept on your person for use in emergencies. Do not fire them for pleasure or shoot at wild animals as the sound riles the horses.

7.      In the event of runaway horses, remain calm. Leaping from the coach in panic will leave you injured, at the mercy of the elements, hostile Indians, and hungry coyotes.

8.      Forbidden topics of discussion are stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings.

9.      Gents guilty of unchivalrous behavior toward lady passengers will be put off the stage. It’s a long walk back. A word to the wise is sufficient. (I love this one!)

To these, the Omaha Herald in 1877 added cautions to:

Never ride in cold weather with tight boots nor close-fitting gloves.

When the driver asks you to get out and walk, do so without grumbling. He will not request it unless absolutely necessary.

Don’t linger too long at the pewter wash basin at the station. Don’t grease your hair before starting out or dust will stick there in sufficient quantities to make a respectable ‘tater patch. Tie a silk handkerchief around your neck to keep out dust and prevent sunburns. A little glycerin is good in case of chapped hands.

Don’t discuss politics or religion nor point out places on the road where horrible murders have been committed.

In very cold weather, abstain entirely from liquor while on the road. A man will freeze twice as quick while under its influence.

Don’t imagine for a minute you are going on a picnic: expect annoyance, discomfort, and some hardships. If you are disappointed, thank heaven.

There are many things about the Old West I admire and think I would enjoy. Stagecoach travel is not one of them.

The heroine in my latest release, GENTRY AND THE MAIL ORDER  BRIDE, Book 1, Texas Hill Country Mail Order Bride Series, traveled by stagecoach from Indianola, Texas to Bandera, Texas. Her name is Heidi Roth, and she had traveled by ship to reach Indianola. This series is of clean, sweet historical western romances, and books are family oriented. They are set in or near the small (fictional) Texas town of Harrigan Springs.

GENTRY is available at: in e-book and print and is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.


Nothing much riles Gentry McRae. He works hard on the ranch he co-owns with his immigrant best friend, and is content with his life. He’s proud of all they’ve accomplished in the ten years since the war. That is, until his partner dies and leaves a fourth of the ranch to his mail-order bride—and wills the bride to Gentry. 

Now just a doggone minute, I don’t plan to marry for years!” 

But, a single woman can’t reside on a ranch where four men live without ruining her reputation. What’s a good man to do, except marry the woman when she arrives? 

Heidi Roth has been spurned for being too plainspoken and too tall. In addition, her sister constantly makes fun of her for those reasons. That’s why—with many doubts—she’s willing to travel for months from Germany to Texas to marry a man who once lived in her town. When she arrives, she learns her prospective groom is dead, but left a fourth of the ranch he and Gentry owned. She has serious doubts, but agrees to wed Gentry to protect her reputation. Sure enough, from the next day, one event after the other happens to complicate her life and Gentry’s.

Caroline Clemmons is an award winning and bestselling author of historical and contemporary western romance. She and her husband live in cowboy country in North Central Texas, where they are owned by a menagerie of rescued pets.


Texas State Historical Association Handbook of Texas online