Friday, September 21, 2018

Waterloo Area Farm Museum - A Memorial to the Michigan Pioneer Farmer

Whenever I pass an old farmhouse on a country road, I usually start to wonder about the story behind it. How many generations lived there? They must have been so proud to build a new home. I ponder what it might be like on the inside. I usually feel a bit sad for the years long past and stories forgotten.

Visiting a place like the Waterloo Farm Museum, between Stockbridge and Chelsea, Michigan, is like looking through a window into the past, an opportunity to soak up the ambience of a weathered farmhouse.

The farm museum is called a "Memorial to the Michigan Pioneer Farmer." Michigan territory had long been thought of as uninhabitable swampland, but some took their chances where the territory became a state which boasted "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you," for a motto.

Johannes Jacob Ruehle came from humble beginnings as a six-year-old German immigrant with his mother, sister and stepfather. After a visit with relatives in Ann Arbor, they boarded a train to Chelsea. Next they bought a wagon with oxen and began their journey on Native American trails
through marshy lands. They were able to purchase eighty acres and a simple log cabin in 1844.

Ten years later, a sitting room was added. This became the first room of the current farmhouse after the log cabin was torn down in the 1880s and the L frame was built.

The little boy called Jacob grew into a man and enlisted with the Union Army. He signed his name in the Americanized form, Jacob Realy. When he returned, he married the neighbor's daughter, Catherine. He opened a cider mill across the road and began his family.

The Realy's farm grew and prospered, marked by their generous sized pantry with lovely cupboards. It saw many a loaf of bread kneaded and coffee beans ground, as well as other baked goods prepared for the family there. Dishes were done in a granite tub and put away into unique pass-through drawers, which could be accessed on the other side in the dining room when it was time to set the table. Such an innovation showed off their prosperity, not to mention the fine dishes and silver in their possession.

The Realy's had seven children. Only the oldest and youngest of the daughters ever married. The four sons lived on the farm until they were quite elderly. Their sister, Sophia, looked after them.

The father, Jacob, was disabled by a wound during the Civil War and was unable to do heavy labor. He lived on the farm until his death in 1916. His wife, Catherine, died in 1919. A member of the Realy family inhabited the farm until 1960, when Albert, the last of the third generation of Realys to live there, passed away. Sometime before that the brothers had sold their property to the state of Michigan to be included as part of the Waterloo Recreation Area.

The state tore down the cider mill and the barn, but an appeal was made to the local citizens for the preservation of the farmhouse. The Waterloo Historical Society was formed in 1962 with the interest in passing on history to the next generation. The farmhouse was lovingly restored by volunteers and many family heirlooms were given by those who wanted to remember their ancestors in a tangible way.

Over the years, the icehouse, windmill, and springhouse were restored. A log cabin was erected in 1976, to replace the original, reconstructed from a log cabin taken apart and brought from the nearby town of Stockbridge. A workshop and granary were added from nearby farms. To complete the historical experience, a few miles down the road from the farmhouse still stands a one-room schoolhouse, called the Dewey School.

The Waterloo Area Farm and Dewey School Museums are both open on summer weekends and for special events. They provide a special look into the pioneer farming days, while preserving history. Find out more about these places at: and their Facebook page.

Kathleen Rouser is the author of the Bookvana Award winner, Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and the novella, The Pocket Watch. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers. Kathleen has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives.  A former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher, she lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of 30 some years, and the sassy tail-less cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Ash Hollow by Way of Windlass Hill

This article is brought to you by Janalyn Voigt.

Ash Hollow by Way of Windlass Hill

The climb up California Hill was the first major challenge that confronted emigrants traveling west on the Oregon and California Trail. A climb of 240 feet in a mile and a half brought them to a plateau between the north and south branches of the Platte River. 
Summit of Windlass Hill, looking southward.
Image courtesy of Ammodramus [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
The descent from Windlass Hill into Ash Hollow provided the best (but by no means easy) access to the North Platte, which they would follow toward South Pass. 

View looking north from Windlass Hill. Note the ravine carved by erosion in wagon ruts.

Image courtesy of Ammodramus [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

Here's a closer look at the ravine taken from the footbridge.
Image courtesy of Ammodramus [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons
The steep incline down which pioneers lowered their wagons at Windlass Hill looked impossible. Granted, erosion over the years carved ravines and no doubt deepened the drops, but the sight gave me chills. Far below, you can see Ash Hollow’s namesake trees clustered in an oasis of green threaded by blue water. No wonder the pioneers pushed so hard to reach wood, water, and forage. 

No one is quite certain why Windlass Hill had that name, since it pre-dated American emigration and there’s no record of a windlass located here. It’s fun to think of an ancient windlass in operation. I could almost hear the scrape of a lever turning and the creak of ropes hauling something up the hill. Of course, the sheer steepness of the hill could have also inspired the name. Descending took preparation and time. Wagons with wheels locked were lowered by ropes, which acted as brakes to prevent them from careening out of control and crashing. This tactic was not always successful. Panicked livestock might bolt. Wagons broke loose and hurtled downward. For those who survived the journey, the rewards were great. 

Ash Hollow was something of a Promised Land to emigrants.
(National Park Service image; public domain)
Called the Gateway to the North Platte Valley, Ash Hollow featured springs of water so fresh emigrants rhapsodized about its sweetness. They lingered in this place of wild roses and described it in glowing terms in diaries and letters. They were not the first to appreciate its natural resources and beauty.

Fossils discovered in the Ash Hollow geological formation were from mammoths, turtles, camels, horses, beavers, and other prehistoric creatures. 
Archeological digs at Ash Hollow Cave and the Clary site revealed that early Americans occupied this area between 300 and 9,000 years ago. 
Skeleton of an aphelops, an extinct genus of rhinoceros endemic to North America, from the Ash Hollow geological formation. Image by James St. John [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Pioneers described seeing several hundred teepees belonging to the Lakota branch of the Sioux tribe. After General Harney sighted the camp of Little Thunder at Blue Water Creek, his troops attacked the next morning. The Battle of Ash Hollow was the main engagement in a brief war over disputed violations of the Treaty of Fort Laramie, signed in 1851. The odds were not even. Six hundred soldiers set upon 250 Lakota. Eighty-six people, including women and children, lost their lives. The soldiers took seventy women and children prisoner.

Some of the first settlers erected the stone schoolhouse which stands in Ash Hollow today. Other sites of interest include Rachel Pattison’s grave in Ash Hollow cemetery. Rachel was a new bride of three months when she came down sick with cholera one morning. She died that same night. Her grief-stricken husband, Nathan, carved the stone marker at her grave. Descendants of his brother state that, ever-faithful to Rachel, he never remarried.

Nathan Pattison stayed behind to carve this marker for his wife, Rachel's grave.
Image courtesy of Ammodramus [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

Visiting Windlass Hill and Ash Hollow connects a person to the past in a way no history textbook can. 
Ruts made by wagons still score the hillside. Walking in them takes you backward in time in a way that's hard to describe. Honestly, it gave me goose bumps. I didn't know it then, but the firsthand impressions of the Oregon Trail that I gained by standing in wagon ruts, watching for rattlers and prickly pear, tasting the dust of dirt roads, and exploring ghost towns would make their way into a western historical romance series. Learn more about the Montana Gold series.

About Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt's unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and whimsy creates breathtaking fictional worlds for readers. Known for her vivid writing, this multi-faceted author writes in the western historical romance, medieval epic fantasy, and romantic suspense genres.

Janalyn is represented by Wordserve Literary Agency. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA. When she's not writing, she loves to garden and explore the great outdoors with her family.

Explore Janalyn Voigt's interactive website.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Thin Blue Line: Oklahoma City Police Department

1889 Oklahoma City Police Dept. Flag
Wikimedia Commons,

By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez

Hello Friends!

Thank you for joining us this month as we continue our series about first responders in our great state of Oklahoma.

First, allow us to say: we wish to pay our respects to the brave men and women of our military, and let them know our thoughts and prayers are with them, particularly those currently on deployment outside our country and away from their families.

However, we also wish to add our gratitude to those that serve outside of our military forces as well. Also called the Thin Blue Line, this group of dedicated public servants serve to keep us, our families, and our property safe. Our hats are off to you, and our gratitude for all you do.

The history of the Oklahoma City Police Department begins even before the city does. In 1887, the Southern Kansas Railroad created a stop on their line called the “Oklahoma Station”, which had two railroad detectives / policemen stationed there. In December of 1887, the US Postal Service established a post office at the rail station.

When the land-run occurred in 1889, there were thousands of settlers that settled around Oklahoma City. At first, as the community was built on federal lands, the railroad detectives and US Cavalry shared the responsibility of “policing” the community.

The city was considered under Martial Law until in 1898, with the commissioning of the Oklahoma Police force. They started with 5 officers, one of which is the department’s first chief, Charles Colcord. They held court in a small tent near California Ave.

Oklahoma City's First Five,
Wikimedia Commons,

By the end of the century, however, public intoxication had become quite the problem. In the process of statehood, the citizenry approved the prohibition of liquor in Oklahoma City. During that period of Oklahoma City law, the appropriation of alcohol became desirable in foreshadow of the decades to come: the running of alcohol to drinking establishments became quite profitable.

With the signing of a new charter in 1911, The City Of Oklahoma City converted the chief of police to a Commissioner, and changed the position from being an elected position to an appointed position. When the new charter was signed, the city commissioners decided to bring in a well known US Marshall to fill the position of Commissioner of Police, by the name of Bill Tilghman.

Bill Tilghman, 1912
Wikipedia Commons,

For those familiar with old west history, Tilghman is almost as well known as Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. For those that are not quite as familiar, he is known for the capture of Bill Doolin, and his heavy handed approach to law enforcement. For those of us that are not as familiar with old west history, but with cinematic history, Bill Tilghman was the inspiration for the character Rooster Cogburn, in the story / movies of True Grit.

Under Tilghman’s leadership, the Oklahoma City Police Department took a stand against the endemic corruption, booze-running, prostitution filled citizenry of Oklahoma City. During this time, the OCPD was considered one of the most brutal, incorruptible police departments in the nation.

Thank you for you joining us this month as we discuss the earliest roots of the Oklahoma City Police Department, one of the oldest in the state. Please join us next month as we cover more history of the OCPD from the nineteen-teens through to the Great Depression.

Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Alanna loves the history of the state and relishes in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her first published story, part of a collaborative novella titled Legacy Letters, came out September 2016. Alanna lives with her husband and parents in the Edmond area. She is currently working on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Waterloo, Oklahoma.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay

By Nancy J. Farrier

Doesn’t that sound like a modern-day movie about pirates. When I think of ghost fleet, I picture tattered sails, a dark night and fog. I hear the creak of wood in the ocean swells, and the phrase, “Shiver me timbers,” comes to mind. 

1936 Aerial Photo of Mallows Bay
War Department, Army Air Force
Wikimedia Commons
The real ghost fleet of mallows bay has nothing to do with pirates, but everything to do with a large bay filled with more than 200 discarded ships. Most are from the World War I era, but some date as far back as the Revolutionary War. How did these vessels come to be there?

This story starts in 1917 when President Wilson declared war and the United States needed to provide troops and supplies in the European theater of World War I. They were sorely lacking in ships to provide transport and to take goods across the ocean. The naval vessels we had were needed for combat, so an alternate plan was devised.

President Wilson approved a plan to build a fleet of ships made of wood, steam
Partially submerged ship, Mallows Bay
Photo by F. Delventhal
Wikimedia Commons
ships to cross the ocean with goods. They could be built faster and cheaper than ships made of steel. More than 80 shipyards around the country were to be used in building the ships. Large orders for timber were placed and the building began.

The original plan called for 1,000 ships to be built. However, by the fall of 1918, only 134 were completed and about twice that were only half completed. By the time the war ended in September of 1919, a little over 260 had been put into service and only a few of those made it across the ocean to complete a voyage.

Ships in Mallows Bay
Photo by F. Delventhal
Wikimedia Commons
With the end of the war, the price of steel lowered and it became more plentiful. There was no longer a need for wooden vessels. Besides, the ships that had been completed turned out to be poorly constructed. They were leaky and unreliable. 

The United States took a huge loss when they sold most of the ships to a salvage company in 1922. Each ship cost between $700,000 and one million to construct, but they sold 233 ships for $750,000. The salvage company had a huge problem trying to figure out where to dismantle the wooden boats. A couple of them caught fire near the dock areas, causing damage to the surrounding area. 

The ships were moved to Mallows Bay, off the Maryland coast. In 1925, a plan
Ship in Mallows Bay
Photo by Amazur, Wikimedia Commons
was enacted to burn the ships and salvage the metal parts after the wood burned away. In November, fires were set on 31 of the ships in the Bay. It was reported that hordes of rats leaped from the burning ships.

Over the years, salvage companies have gone bankrupt and left the ships sitting there. Several times the area has been reviewed to see what can be done with the more than 200 ships resting there. In recent history, it has been noted that the wooden boats have provided an ecosystem of their own. The area is now being preserved for the wildlife that lives among the ghost fleet. 

Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website:

Monday, September 17, 2018

Safe, Secure, and Secret

When I was a child, I had a private, heart-shaped diary. At least I thought it was private because it closed with a padlock and key. Never mind that the lock was attached to a plastic strap susceptible to scissors.

I’m sure I would laugh at what I wrote between the covers of that little book were I to find it today. But at the time, my 11-year-old heart believed it was a treasure worth hiding in a secret place.

So I buried it out by the hay stack not far from our corral.

Not exactly sleuth-like. 

ALT = "leather journal"Confidences have long been kept, and over the centuries, one man or woman’s determination to keep a secret well-hidden has become another’s motivation for uncovering it. 

When it comes to hiding things rather than thoughts, inventive artisans have crafted clever means of concealing items of importance and/or value. I am most fascinated by secret drawers and compartments, even rooms.

A friend of mine built an undetectable room into the second floor of her Kentucky home. As close as we are, I didn’t know it was there until she told me. Like the entrance to a tunnel or hiding place in an old mystery movie, a small bookcase in an upstairs bedroom opens into my friend’s unexpected space.

Knowing secrets can make us feel important, while keeping a secret may also keep us up at night worrying about who may find out. 

Such was the premise behind a trunk with a false bottom belonging to Elizabeth Beaumont, the heroine of my recent novel.

Like me, she kept a journal. Not only did she record the recipients of unusual letters she wrote for her nefarious employer, she kept the journal hidden beneath the false bottom of her trunk.

Victorian-era trunks differed from chests due to their reinforcements for travel, such as leather straps, wooden slats or bands, metal-covered corners, and brads and locks.

The original box typically consisted of pine, covered with protective layers of leather, canvas, paper, or tin, followed by wooden and/or metal staves.

Pre-1880s wardrobe and Saratoga trunks were famous for their various compartments and trays used for safe storage of coins, documents, hats, parasols, and other personal items. Many of these trunks also boasted secret compartments.
Tray compartments of a pre-1880s Saratoga trunk. Prochristo [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
I like to think that in 1881, Elizabeth Beaumont would have had a Saratoga trunk complete with drawers and trays serving organizational purposes, as well as at least one secret compartment.

Many different manufacturers, including furniture makers, built trunks. One of hundreds in the United States was Shwayder Trunk Company from Denver, Colorado, (1910) whose product eventually came to be known as Samsonite. Another well-known malletier (trunk maker) was Louis Vuitton who began his craft in the 1850s in France. The company bearing his name is still making luggage today. 

I have two refurbished trunks, one a packer or flat-top covered with painted canvas. Popular in the late 1870s through the 1920s, such trunks have often been called steamer trunks. However, true steamers kept in state rooms on long voyages were about 14” high for storage purposes. My trunk comes in at 23” and would not have been kept in a passenger compartment. 

My dome-top trunk also dates from the 1880s and is covered with embossed tin. Its interior has been covered with fabric. So has a large tray that rests in the top of the trunk. Both trunks are reinforced with wooden slats, metal hardware, and leather handles. 


In addition to my trunks, I have gathered countless journals—my own. Over the years, I’ve continued to write out my thoughts and prayers and wishes. The secrets held by those journals may not be as important as those kept by Elizabeth Beaumont, but the act of writing—long hand—has seen me through challenging times as well as momentous and joyous occasions. Someday my children may read those journals and be surprised to see how many prayers I penned on their behalf.

Do you have secret hiding places in your home? (Don’t reveal them here – a simple yes or no will do!) Are you a journal keeper? I’d love to hear if you have items or information important enough that you have endeavored to keep them safe, secure, and secret.


Wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, Davalynn Spencer writes Western romance. She is a Publisher's Weekly bestselling author and won the Will Rogers Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction. Connect with her at

Desperate to redeem her reputation and independence, runaway Betsy Parker returns home to face her toughest critics—the people she grew up with, a rugged lawman who threatens to steal her heart, and the one person unwilling to forgive her.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Research Trip: Interesting, Strange, Odd

King's Tavern, Natchez, MS
National Register of Historic Places
by Pam Hillman

When I first started plotting my Natchez Trace Novel series, I decided to make a trip to Natchez. I live about 2-3 hours away, so it was a great day trip, except my mother and I took two days to tour the area and walk some of the old trace that still exists along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

But one of the most interesting (and looking back, strange) things I did was tour King’s Tavern. Believed to be the oldest building in Natchez, it was built in 1769 (some sources say 1789) and as various times operated as a tavern, stage stop, and a mail station.

Knowing my mother would likely balk at eating dinner at an establishment called a tavern, not to mention that it’s still fairly dark and seedy looking, we opted for something a little less risqué and pricey.

After dinner, though, I was dying (no pun intended) to see King’s Tavern, where Madeline the ghost lives. Madeline was a barmaid at the tavern in the late 1700s. Story has it that Madeline became the mistress of Richard King, the owner, and that the owner’s wife paid two men to have her killed. In 1932, three bodies and a dagger were recovered from the walls of the tavern when a chimney was being installed — two men and a woman. Creepy, huh?

We found the tavern easily enough on a narrow, dark street. Mama was not impressed. I told her to just stay in the car, and I wouldn’t be long. I just wanted to see the building.

So, off I go to this tavern, which in reality is now a very respectable restaurant.

This is where my tale becomes a bit eerie.

When I waltzed in with my camera, the hostess on duty said that she wasn’t supposed to let people tour the building if they weren’t dining. But, she said, since they weren’t very busy that night, she’d make an exception. She pointed me to the stairs and away I went, feeling very adventurous and a bit nervous that the manager was going to find out and throw me out.

So, there I was, creeping around upstairs taking pictures and getting a feel for what the sleeping rooms and taproom of an 18th Century tavern looked like.

Not wanting to overstay my welcome, and a bit afraid that Madeline would make an appearance and I’d make a fool of myself by screaming, I didn’t stay long. I made my way downstairs and back toward the entrance.

Upstairs Bedroom
Upstairs Bedroom

And there, scowling and looking a lot like the ghost from the past with his tails and top hat (not really!), was the manager. I’m sure the hostess was on pins and needles, so I just smiled, sailed on by, and said, “Thank you so much. I enjoyed it!”

“It” is relative, if you’re vague enough.

Anyway, it was all quite fascinating and enlightening. The strange thing is that I don’t know what I expected to find at the tavern. I mostly wanted to get a feel for such an old building, one built a couple of years before my series starts. What I didn’t expect was the tension I felt. Not because of the place, or the stories of ghosts that roam the tavern, but because of my covert trip up those steep, narrow stairs and the floorboards creaking under my feet that might alert the manager that someone was upstairs.

So, tell me the most memorable (scary? Funny? Interesting?) trip or situation you ever found yourself in?

CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of.

The Natchez Trace Novel series

Saturday, September 15, 2018

World Catastrophic Deaths PLUS Giveaway!

Before reading below, what event, war, etc. do you think caused the most deaths in a few short years or less? 

While researching catastrophic events of our world I did find many of which I was unaware. Let's start with number 9.

500,000 people perished when the Bhola Cyclone plowed into East Pakistan and India's West Bengal in 1970.  

Number 8 is the 1556 earthquake in Shaanxi, China where over 800,000 people were killed.

In 1887 the Yellow River in China spilled over its banks causing massive flooding and killed an estimated 900,000 to 2 million people making it number 7 on my list.

Picture by Leruswing

Jumping up a century to 1931, China once again is hit by monumental flooding. This time the Yangtze River overflowed in highly populated areas as well as rice fields. Many of those that weren't killed by the high waters starved to death raising the death toll to 3.7 million people.

The Holocaust comes in at 5 which included people of Jewish descent, Soviet prisoners, Polish civilians, and people with mental and physical handicaps. The Nazi slaughter took the lives of 6 million people although estimates go as high as 17 million. 

(The pictures I found for the Holocaust were so disturbing so I chose not to show them on the blog.)

Number 4 is World War I where the world lost 17 million people.  

Between 1850 and 1864 a deadly uprising in Taiping took the lives of another 40 million people in China. This estimate has been lower and much higher.

We lost 60 million people during WWII which put this war into the number 2 slot.

So were any of those your guesses? 

The number 1 record for worldwide deaths was the Black Plague, also known as the Bubonic Plague, The Plague, and The Black Death. The largest epidemic of it ran from 1346-1353, leaving approximately up to 200 million people dead. That was about 60% or 3/5th the world population. 

So how did all this get started? We know that the Asian rat flea was the culprit using the rat as an accomplice to spread the disease. The Asian climate had gotten dry, driving the rats out of the parched fields and into populated areas. On those rats were the fleas carrying the bubonic plague. The Black Death is believed to have traveled up the Silk Road with the Mongol armies. 

The army had  Kaffa under siege, but the siege lingered on longer than expected. During that time the Mongol's leader, Jani Beg contacted the plague. As the siege continued outside the walls of Kaffia (in the region of Crimea on the Black Sea), the Mongols grew impatient and catapulted infected corpses over the walls, infecting those living there. 

Fearing for their lives, the Genoese traders made their way to the port and boarded ships. Little did they know in doing so they would take the plague to Sicily and to their home country of Italy. From there it spread northward into Europe.

The plague ravaged the population. Once a person was exposed their symptoms could show up as early as one day and as late as seven, but few would survive its onslaught. Fearing for their lives, people would abandon family members and homes, which left streets covered with dead bodies. 

There were 3 types of the plague caused by the Yersini Pestis Bacteria. The Bubonic Plague which was spread from the flea bite itself. The Septicemic Plague which could be spread by the bite of the flea or by fluids of an infected person. This type went into their bloodstream. And lastly, the Pneumonic Plague which was spread from the infected victims and was an airborne bacterium. So people in a house with someone with the Plague could contact it through the air. The bacteria would enter their lungs where death was quick. 

So many bodies needing removal and those removing the bodies were sure to contact the disease created its own problem. Many houses were burned with the bodies, sometimes still alive, inside. Outside mass graves were dug to try to bury the bodies.

The ugly head of The Black Plague would show its head many more times over the next several hundred years but never to the same extreme. 

So what was your guess? Did you guess the Bubonic Plague? Had you heard about any of these disasters? Did any of them surprise you?


Answer one or more of the above questions to be entered to win your choice of my books!

Olivia Macqueen wakes in a makeshift hospital, recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.

Doctor Andrew Warwick frantically searches through the rubble left by the Charleston earthquake for the lady who owns his heart. He finds her injured and lifeless. When she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. But things only get worse after he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man.

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 5 horses, 3 dogs, cat and a miniature donkey.