Monday, March 25, 2019

Sand Creek Massacre: Maj. Scott Anthony and Capt. Silas Soule (with Giveaway)

In an ongoing series about the Sand Creek Massacre, last month I told you about Major Ned Wynkoop, commander of Fort Lyon and the man who’d originally been approached by the Cheyenne with a request for peace. Because of his unexpected action to take various chiefs to Denver for peace talks, Major Wynkoop was later removed from his post at Fort Lyon and placed under investigation by one Major Scott Anthony.

Maj. Scott Anthony

Scott J. Anthony was the fourth of twelve children in his family born in January 1830. In his early adulthood, he moved from New York to Leavenworth, Kansas, where he held various positions—from businessman to county clerk to a position as a Leavenworth Ranger, a law-enforcement group in the border state of Kansas leading up to the Civil War. 

Maj. Scott Anthony
Rumors of gold led Scott Anthony west to the Pike’s Peak region of Colorado in 1860. He and a partner set up a mercantile and did some prospecting, though they sold out and returned to Leavenworth later that year. Again, he went west in Spring 1861, but once he reached his destination, he learned the Civil War had broken out. He stayed in Colorado and enlisted in the Army at the rank of Captain. Very quickly he was elevated to Major and served in some of the same campaigns with Colonel Chivington and Major Ned Wynkoop.

Unfortunately, during his tenure in the Army, Anthony’s health took a turn for the worse when he developed scurvy—a disease brought on by the lack of Vitamin C. Aside from bleeding gums and bruise-like spots on the skin, one of Anthony’s more obvious symptoms was that his eyes turned quite red.

Within days of Major Anthony’s arrival at Fort Lyon, orders came to move Ned Wynkoop to Fort Reilly while Anthony took over leadership of Fort Lyon. This sudden and unexpected change bothered the Arapaho Indians who had camped alongside the fort waiting for the promised peace treaty. Especially disturbing was the way Major Anthony immediately demanded all Indians currently within the boundaries of Fort Lyon be rounded up and jailed. As per a previous agreement, they were there to receive rations of food and other supplies. When news of these upsetting changes reached Major Wynkoop, he immediately tried to assist in smoothing the transition between his leadership and Anthony’s. He set up a meeting with the Arapaho chiefs to introduce them to the new major.

To this point, Anthony’s attitude had been hard-nosed and unbending, demanding that soldiers follow every rule to the letter. However, upon stepping into the Arapaho camp, he softened some. While it went against the rules to allow the Indians to receive provisions, he agreed the arrangement could continue with one condition. As long as the Arapaho remained camped within a mile of the fort, they must give up their guns. Chief Left Hand, leader of the Arapaho, agreed and pistols and rifles were turned over.

After that fateful meeting, the Arapaho people discussed the disturbing appearance of Fort Lyon’s new leader and quickly dubbed Major Anthony “Red-Eyed Soldier Chief.” Under Left Hand’s guidance, they continued seeking peace, but Anthony’s blood-red eyes caused no small amount of concern and distrust among the Native Americans. 

Anthony continued to cause concern for the Indians when he opened fire on a small group of approaching Indians. The fired-upon braves escaped without harm despite Anthony’s best efforts. After this incident, Anthony ordered the Arapaho people to join their Cheyenne friends along the Sand Creek to wait for the coming peace treaty. The Arapaho, hungry for peace, complied.

Weeks after he was ordered, Wynkoop finally left for Fort Reilly, and within a couple short days, Colonel Chivington rode in with hundreds of soldiers spoiling for a fight. At Chivington’s arrival, the two officers were reported to have gleefully joked about wanting to kill and maim the Native American population and “wade in their blood.”

On the night of November 28, Major Anthony ordered his soldiers from Fort Lyon to accompany the 550 soldiers Chivington brought from Denver to the Cheyenne and Arapaho encampment at Sand Creek. You can read here about the massacre that ensued.

So what happened to Anthony after the massacre? Well, he changed his tune after that experience. When Ned Wynkoop was cleared of all charges and told to begin an investigation of the massacre, he interviewed many of those involved. One who testified was Anthony, telling of the types of atrocities he and others witnessed and participated in. I can only hope that he was so changed by the horror of what he and the others had done that he decided to do what was right during the investigation, although I’m unsure his true motives for testified against the actions Chivington ordered them to take. 

Capt. Silas Soule
Capt. Silas Soule

I also want to shed light on one amazing officer, Capt. Silas Soule, who was there that day along the banks of Sand Creek. Capt. Soule was originally from Maine but moved to Kansas in the late 1850s. A founder of Lawrence, Kansas, he and his family were an instrumental part of the Underground Railroad. He also proved his bravery and moral character when, after abolitionist John Brown was executed, Soule traveled to Harper’s Ferry and attempted to free two of Brown’s followers. Unfortunately, the attempt was not successful.

Like Scott Anthony, the rumors of gold led Silas Soule to the Pike’s Peak area of Colorado. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Soule joined the Army and was commissioned as a Lieutenant. He served in the same campaigns as Chivington and Wynkoop, and once the Confederate forces were repelled, he was promoted to Captain and stationed at Fort Lyon under Major Ned Wynkoop. It was here that he participated in the original contacts with the Cheyenne and Arapaho who came seeking peace. And he, too, accompanied Major Wynkoop and the Chiefs to Denver for the peace talks preceding the Sand Creek Massacre. He’d worked hard, as had Major Wynkoop, to bring about an era of peace with the Indians, so when Colonel Chivington and Major Anthony commanded the troops at Fort Lyon to ride out to Sand Creek and open fire on a peaceful camp, Captain Soule refused.

In an act of utmost bravery and conscience, he made it known he would not raise arms against the Cheyenne and Arapaho people, and he commanded the men under him to follow his lead. Of course, this could easily have led to a court-martial for Soule and any men following his direction. Worse, it is rumored and even referenced in Soule’s post-massacre writings that Colonel Chivington threatened his life.

After the massacre was over, Soule returned to Fort Lyon and penned a letter to Major Wynkoop, detailing the barbarity he’d witnessed. If you are interested, the detailed account he wrote can be read here. When the investigation of the massacre began, Captain Soule boldly testified against Colonel Chivington and his men for their many inhumane actions.

Memorial marker placed at the site of Capt. Silas Soule's murder

In April 1865, Soule married and moved to Denver, Colorado. Not long after he testified against Chivington, he was murdered on the streets of Denver, and according to this plaque marking the place of his death, his murderers were never brought to justice.

It’s Your Turn: Do you respect Major Scott Anthony for testifying against Chivington and the actions taken at Sand Creek, or is his change of heart a matter of “too little too late”? Why do you think Captain Silas Soule was the only officer to vow not to fire on the peaceful encampment of Indians? Leave your comments along with your email address to be entered in the drawing for an autographed copy of Sand Creek Serenade

Jennifer Uhlarikdiscovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list numerous times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

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Dr. Sadie Hoppner is no stranger to adversity. She’s fought to be taken seriously since childhood, when her father began training her in the healing arts. Finding acceptance and respect proves especially difficult at Fort Lyon, where she’s come to practice medicine under her brother’s watchful eye.

Cheyenne brave Five Kills wouldn’t knowingly jeopardize the peace treaty recently negotiated between his people and the Army. But a chance encounter with the female doctor ignites memories of his upbringing among the whites. Too intrigued to stay away, tension erupts with the soldiers, and Five Kills is injured.

As he recuperates under the tender care of the pretty healer, an unlikely bond forms. However, their fledgling love is put to the test when each realizes that a much greater danger awaits—a danger they are wholly unable to stop and one which neither may survive.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Bustle: A Pain in The Behind

"......all the most ungainly and uncomfortable articles of dress that fashion has ever in her folly prescribed, not the tight corset merely, but the farthingale, the vertugadin, the hoop, the crinoline, and that modern monstrosity the so-called "dress improver"[i.e.bustle] also, all of them have owed their origin to the same error- the error of not seeing that it is from the shoulders, and from the shoulders only, that all garments should be hung.
-Oscar Wilde, The Woman's Dress 1888-1890

A bustle was a pad or frame worn under a skirt to support the fullness and drapery at the back of a woman’s skirt. Though the bustle had long occupied a place in a well-dressed woman’s wardrobe, it was clearly the article of clothing that was most vilified, especially by men.
The bustle was also blamed for many women’s health problems, and was thought to cause organs to be squeezed or misplaced.
Shopkeepers considered bustles a nuisance.  Shops tended to be small and crowded and bustles were thought to take up too much space.
Shopkeepers weren’t the only ones complaining about the size of bustles. An editorial in a Boston newspaper asked why there was no city ordinance prohibiting bustles from protruding more than a foot in length beyond the sidewalk.  
Bustles also confounded soldiers during the Civil War. Enterprising women used bustles as a safe-deposit box to hide jewelry and other valuables from marauders.  Bustles would be ripped apart and stuffed with treasures.  It worked for a while.  But then some soldiers noticed a marked increase in the size and proportions of women’s behinds and grew suspicious. The discovery resulted in the theft of many bustles.
Bustles also caused an uproar with freight agents. Since it was cheaper to ship wire goods than dry goods, merchants listed bustles as wire goods.  Freight agents argued that bustles were made from feathers and wool and had no wire.  Merchants said that bustles superseded hoop skirts, which gave them every right to be billed as wire goods.  This view eventually prevailed, but freight agents weren’t willing to give up so easily; they simply raised the cost of shipping wire goods.  
Bustles came in many shapes and styles. As one Victorian merchant said, “There were more styles of bustles than herrings in a box.” The Washboard bustle was ribbed like a washboard.  The bustle was considered a good deal for the merchant.  For it was almost impossible to sit down without smashing the washboard, thus necessitating another trip to the store to replace it.
There was also the Brooklyn Bridge bustle, also known as the suspension Bridge or Two-Story bustle. As the name suggested, this was a series of bustles that extended down to the knees.
Another type of bustle was the Wind bustle, made of rubber.  This included a rubber hose so that it could be inflated.  This bustle was especially handy should
a woman suddenly find herself in water, as it served double-duty as a life preserver. 
Some practical woman would wear only bustles made by wrapping newspapers around baling twine. This cost nothing to make, but made a crinkly sound.
Mrs. Grover Cleveland is credited for unwittingly causing the demise of the bustle.   The story goes that two Washington newspaper reporters had nothing to report during a hot July. So, they made up a story that President Cleveland’s wife had abandoned the bustle. According to newspaper reports, Mrs. Cleveland later visited a department store and asked to see their bustles.  Supposedly, the merchant told her that since news broke that she had given up bustles, none had sold and had been moved to the basement.
Mrs. Cleveland then turned to her companion and said, “Well, if they say I’ve quit wearing the bustle, then I guess that’s what I need to do.”

What fashion in recent years did you most like or dislike?


Coming in May!

Saturday, March 23, 2019


Picture this, the wide, empty street down the middle of a 19th century wild west town. A lonely tumbleweed rolls into the dusty street, turns, and heads off into the distance.

Could you picture any western American town without a tumbleweed or two rolling around it?

Tumble Weed (Salsola Tragus) a.k.a. “Russian thistle” or “wind witch”.

As the name implies, tumbleweeds aren’t native to North America. So just how long ago did these Russian invaders arrive to have been so strongly associated with all things American western?

Up until 1873, North America didn’t have tumbleweeds. Seriously? I would have thought they would have been here long before that to be such a Wild West icon. It is believed that they snuck into the country with some Ukrainian farmers’ flax seed. Another theory is they hitch a ride in wool. The first report of the tumbling pests in the United States was in Bon Homme County, South Dakota. Within two decades, these nuisances were in a dozen of states and by 1900 had reached the Pacific Coast.

In an 1894 report by government botanist Lyster Hoxie Dewey, he wrote this about the effected areas in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska, “…this makes one almost continuous area of about 35,000 square miles which has become more or less covered with the Russian thistle in the comparatively brief period of twenty years.” Nearly every state is now home to the Russian thistle. They are an agricultural nuisance and fire hazard.

There is something mystical about this ball of dried up plant that comes from somewhere yonder and heads to places unknown. So much so, that tumbleweeds have become sort of a legend in themselves. They have been immortalized in movies, TV, books, poems, and songs. Here’s one song by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers.

They survive and thrive at almost any elevation from below sea level to over 8500 feet and in most inhospitable environments. They are drought resistant and spread like wild fire. They grow from a few inches to three feet, even some the size a VW Bug. Each winter when they dry out, the whole plant above ground dries out, breaks off, and goes wherever the wind takes it. Literally. Each tumbling ball has around 250,000 seeds. No wonder they are so invasive and took over so quickly.

But things are not all bad concerning this invasive plant. Navaho found some medicinal uses for the plant for treating influenza and small pox. Frontiers-people burned them to make soap. Recipes using tumbleweed were created in areas where little else was available. Several animals, including mule deer, pronghorn, prairie dogs and birds, feed on the succulent, tender young shoots of the plant. During the severe drought of the 1930s, some farmers saved their livestock from starvation by feeding their livestock tumbleweeds when other food wasn’t available.

Tumbleweed have been both a blessing and a curse.

Even tumbleweeds as playthings!

Did you know you can buy tumbleweeds from many places online? It goes to prove that some people will buy just about anything.

I may just have to git me one. =0)

The MISSADVENTURE BRIDES CollectionLove Is One of Life’s Greatest AdventuresSeven daring damsels don’t let the norms of their eras hold them back.Along the way these women attract the attention of men who admire their bravery and determination, but will they let love grow out of the adventures?
Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure, a 1904 road-tripZola Calkin sets out on an adventure to be the first woman to drive across the country. Will the journalist tasked to report her presumed failure sabotage her efforts? Or will he steal her heart?

#ChristianRomance #HistoricalRomance #Romance

MARY DAVIS s a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her 2018 titles include; "Holly and Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection (January), Courting Her Amish Heart (March), The Widow’s Plight (July), Courting Her Secret Heart (September), “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection (December), and Courting Her Prodigal Heart (January 2019). She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups. Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-four years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Norman Rockwell - His Art Told a Story

Triple self-portrait by Norman Rockwell
by Marilyn Turk

*Leave a comment and your email for a chance to win a new book!

I’ve always loved Norman Rockwell’s painting. To me, they tell stories of America in the best light with few exceptions. Small town life with baseball games, children playing, family dinners, town meetings, the local diner—all came to life with his brushstrokes. In his own words,

Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.

Rockwell always wanted to be an artist, and when he was 19, he was hired for his first job as art director for Boys Life, the magazine for the Boy Scouts of America. When Rockwell's tenure began with The Saturday Evening Post in 1916, he left his position at Boys Life, but continued to include scouts in Post cover images and the monthly magazine of the American Red Cross.

A scout is kind.

In 1926, he resumed work with the 
Boy Scouts with production of his first of fifty-one original illustrations for the official Boy Scouts of America annual calendar. His last commission for the Boy Scouts of America was a calendar illustration entitled The Spirit of 1976, which was completed when Rockwell was 82.

His work with the Post lasted until 1963, a span of almost fifty years, producing 321 cover drawings for the magazine. During those years, Rockwell showed what America experienced through wartime, and the patriotism the country shared. His famous cover of Rosie the Riveter showed the role women played during World War II when they took jobs formerly performed by men so the men could go to war.
Rosie the Riveter
In 1943, during World War II, Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms, which was completed in seven months and resulted in his losing fifteen pounds. The series was inspired by a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, wherein Roosevelt described and articulated Four Freedoms for universal rights. Rockwell then painted Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, and Freedom from Fear. 

One reason I like Rockwell’s painting so much are the facial expressions on the people. His brush truly captured the character. As he said,

If you are interested in the characters you draw and understand them and love them, why, the people who see your picture are bound to feel the same way.

As a writer, I can relate to this statement because I want to write my characters so that my readers will understand them as much as I do.

"Going and Coming" - Doesn't this show the true feelings of going on vacation and coming back?

Space does not allow me to cover more of Rockwell’s work, a lifetime that produced more than 4,000 pieces of art. I personally have many favorites as well. What is your favorite Rockwell painting?

*Enter a comment with your email for a chance to win a copy of Rekindled Light.

The war destroyed their engagement. Misunderstandings keep them apart. Will a mysterious arsonist be the only one fanning a flame or can their love be rekindled?

Historical fiction flavored with suspense and romance

Multi-published author Marilyn Turk calls herself a “literary archaeologist,” because she loves to discover stories hidden in history. Her World War II novel, The Gilded Curse, won a Silver Scroll award. When readers asked what happened to the characters after the book, Marilyn wrote the sequel, Shadowed by a Spy. Her four-book Coastal Lights Legacy series—Rebel Light, Revealing Light, Redeeming Light, and Rekindled Light—feature Florida lighthouse settings. Marilyn’s novella, The Wrong Survivor, is in the Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides collection. She has also written a book of devotions called Lighthouse Devotions and writes for Daily Guideposts. 
Marilyn is also the director of the Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat.

She lives in the panhandle of Florida where she and her husband enjoy boating, fishing, and playing tennis when time permits (and it’s below 100 degrees).

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