Friday, April 19, 2019

The Thin Blue Line: Lighthorse Police

Flag of the Cherokee Nation
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez

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

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.

Over the last few months, we have been delving into the history of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and of the various police departments here in this great state. This month, we look into the history of the Lighthorse Police. This is a group that, historically speaking, is quite rich and diverse.

The term “Lighthorse Police” covers both an actual department and units within the different departments located in each of the “5 Civilized Tribes”. The first of the Lighthorse police was created in Georgia, during the late 18th century by the Cherokee tribe. They were named after the unit commanded by Colonel Harry “Lighthorse” Lee during the American Revolution. His unit was called the Lighthorse due to the speed and maneuverability in which they moved. An interesting tidbit, Col. Lee was actually the uncle to Robert E. Lee.

Col. Henry Lee, Lighthorse Unit Commander
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The Cherokee Lighthorse were tasked with keeping tribal laws. After the ratification of the Constitution, the Cherokee were given provenance in keeping their own laws. Many of these laws were identical to the laws of the US, including, rape, murder and theft.

During the War Between the States (WBTS), the Lighthorse became the backbone of the cavalry inside the army. They were, also, tasked with keeping the peace inside their respective nation, during the war as well. This created conflict inside the tribe as well, especially when approximately half of the tribe went to the north after the schism in 1862.

After the WBTS, the tribesmen went back to their homes and continued on, as if little had happened, as though the conflicts continued inside the tribe, which led to needing the Lighthorse be kept as a stronger form of peacekeeping force.

Each of the “Five Civilized Tribes” has historically had their own Lighthorse as their own independent police force. That is, until they lost their reservation lands in the late 1880’s. Even now, most of the tribes still have “Lighthorse” as part of their internal police forces. The “Lighthorse” groups of the different tribes are considered to be an elite part of the tribal police, much like SWAT is in most other departments, in that they have specialized training and weapons they utilize.

Thank you for visiting us this month as we wrap up our venture into the history of the different law enforcement agencies in this great state of Oklahoma. If you have further questions about any of these agencies, then we invite you to contact them through different means, either Facebook, telephone, or their different websites. Join us next month as we look at the historical facts behind the seven different land runs that occurred in our great state, Oklahoma.

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. Judge was born and raised in Little Axe, Oklahoma, the son of A.F. Veterans. Judge and Alanna love the history of the state and relish in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her second and third published story, part of a collaborative novella titled 18 Redbud Lane, came out March 2019. Alanna and Judge live with her parents in the Edmond area. They are currently collaborating on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Oklahoma.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Chicago's Cultural Center - The People's Palace

By Nancy J. Farrier

Inset in Library Wall
A few years ago I blogged about visiting Chicago Cultural Center and what a treat it was to visit there. I hope that posting this again will encourage someone to stop by on their vacation. If you're in Chicago, you will love seeing this hidden beauty.

Victor Hugo Quote
The architecture is wonderful in Chicago. The old buildings downtown are worth the trip to admire. While we were in Millennium Park, I decided it might be worthwhile to go back up the street and see if we could take a look inside the building that housed the old Chicago library. I told the kids that sometimes the inside of old buildings can be even more beautiful than the outside. Little did I know how true that statement would be.

Column Decoration Inset Glass
After the Chicago fire of 1871, the first library, also a cultural center, with a reading room containing 30,000 books, was destroyed. Not long after the devastation of the fire Chicago began to receive book donations, but had no place to house the volumes. For years, the library had only temporary places to house their collection, which grew to 120,000 books by 1891.

Civil War Room Dome
By 1893, the year of the Chicago World’s Fair, the Library Board had selected a place for the new building, Dearborn Park. Due a conflict in priorities, an unusual decision was made. The State Legislature had awarded the American Civil War veterans part of Dearborn Park for a memorial. It was decided to tax the citizens for the new building which  would house both the library and the Civil War memorial. That way the building would belong to the people of Chicago.
Civil War Memorial Architecture

The People’s Palace ended up having two different types of architecture. The north side of the building, which houses the Civil War Memorial, is inspired by Greek architecture, with military-influenced decorations. Inside there are carvings of shields, swords, helmets and flags. The designs were meant to remind the viewer of the loss that comes with war. Everything is very somber, but breathtaking at the same time.

Wall Decoration Inset Glass
The south side of the building, which housed the library, is inspired by Roman architecture. The lobby has different types of marble, white Italian Carrara marble, from the same marble used by Michelangelo for his sculpture, and green Irish Connemara marble.

Inlaid Author's Names in Arch
Throughout the hallways, staircases and rooms are decorative touches of stained glass and mosaics done by the Tiffany Glass company. Inlaid are the names of famous authors and quotes from many of them.

Tiffany Room Dome
The room we enjoyed the most is now referred to as “The Tiffany Room.” The decorations were all done by the Tiffany Glass Company and are incredible. The dome is 38 feet in diameter and made of Tiffany Favrile glass. The wall sconces and chandeliers were also made by Tiffany. The effect is dazzling, and it’s hard to imagine reading in a room where you want to take in all the surrounding beauty.

Tiffany Room Dome Center
Tiffany Room Dome Pattern

There are quotes in ten different languages around the room; Hebrew, Italian, French, German,  Greek, Chinese, Arabic, Latin, Spanish, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. The archways in the room have inlaid names of famous authors.

Tiffany Room Clock
By 1915, cultural programs were a regular feature at the library, and the building became a true landmark to Chicagoans. By the 1920’s the number of volumes and visitors began to overwhelm the space. As early as 1930, discussion began about what to do about expansion or rehousing the library.

Tiffany Room Glass Decoration
In the 1970’s the library was moved to other locations as renovations began. At one point, the building was in danger of being torn down. Due to the efforts of many people, including Mayor Richard J. Daley and his wife, Eleanor, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is now protected.

Steinway Piano in Tiffany Room
Today, there are many cultural programs held in the south end of the building that once house the library. My family and I attended a free concert held in the Tiffany Room. The acoustics were beautiful making this a highlight of our trip. There were also several art exhibits throughout the building. If you are ever in Chicago, take the time to visit this incredible historic landmark.

Have you ever visited the Chicago Cultural Center? What 1800's buildings have you been inside and what impressed you about them? Have you ever seen Tiffany glass in a ceiling like this? I would love to hear your comments.

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:

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bridge Over Roaring Waters

Would you work 14 hours, seven days a week, for 30 to 60 cents an hour, all the while hanging over a 1,000-foot granite gorge?

In 1929, you might have. Eighty men in Fremont County, Colorado, answered such a call for construction crews needed for the world’s highest suspension* bridge. The span would cross the Arkansas River’s nine-mile, sheer-granite gorge near Cañon City. It wasn’t the safest job in town, but with the Roaring Twenties fading to a whimper, Wall Street’s foundations crumbling, and the Great Depression creeping in, it was a paying job.
Photo of the Royal Gorge Bridge and canyon by Timothy Brown.
Once known as the Grand Canyon of the Rockies, the gorge bottlenecks the Arkansas River between 1,000-foot granite cliffs that close in to as little as 30 feet across. It was impassable to explorers like Lt. Zebulon Pike in 1806 as he followed the river into the massive canyon just west of a park-like rendezvous area later known as Cañon City. Others were also hindered by the shoreless river section, including Major Stephen Long in 1820 and John C. Fremont in the 1840s.

Long before, Mountain Utes wintered in the area as did occasional Spanish missionaries in the 1640s, fur trappers and mountain men of the 1700s and 1800s, and settlers in the 1850s-60s.

One hundred years after Pike’s account of the great canyon, President Theodore Roosevelt recognized the geological phenomenon and signed a congressional grant ceding what was by then recognized as the Royal Gorge plus 5,120 wildland acres to the city of Cañon City.

Twenty-three years later, bridge-building financier Lon P. Piper of San Antonio, Texas, and Chief Engineer George E. Cole of Houston, began the seemingly impossible project of spanning the gorge. O.F. Copes and Fred Rice served as construction superintendents on either side.

A Cañon City Daily Record article by Peggy Gair from May 17, 2013, recounts the construction, beginning with trenches dug on each rim of the gorge and two 150-foot fabricated-steel towers set into the granite. Two half-inch steel cables were lowered on either side and joined at the bottom of the gorge. The cable was pulled back up to the rim, and from this, workers pulled additional cables across the expanse – 4,200 galvanized No. 9 steel wires, Gair said, one at a time. 

“Twenty-one hundred strands of this wire made up one giant cable for each side that holds up the deck of the bridge,” Gair wrote.
View of the cables from the North Rim as author drives across the bridge in 2011.
Collars were clamped around each massive cable prior to securing steel girders on the bridge deck. Wire fencing was attached to railings and 1,292 planks were laid. The bridge was roughly a quarter mile long (1,260 feet) and 18 feet wide. It still is.
Construction began on June 5, 1929 and was completed that November. An engineering feat in any decade. 

According to historical records, there were no major accidents or fatal injuries during the bridge’s six-month construction period, despite its remarkable height. The bridge opened to the public on Dec. 8, 1929 with a toll of 75 cents per person. Cost of completion: $350,000, reportedly $100,000 over budget.
Old meets new at the North Rim reconstruction site following the 2013 wildfire.
The bridge is seen intact and unharmed in the background. Photo by author.
In June 2013, a wildfire tore through 3,000 acres in the area, including the 360-acre parkland hugging each end of the bridge that forms the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. All but two buildings were destroyed when the fire leaped from the south rim of the canyon to the north. However, the bridge itself sustained only minor damage to a few wooden planks. The park and its exhibits were rebuilt over the next two years and officially re-opened in May 2015.
Look closely to see the hanging bridge holding
the railroad a thousand feet below. Photo by author.
Thanks to the construction of the famous hanging bridge that was anchored into the granite walls just above the same river section in 1879, a railroad travels the once impassable stretch. Serving as a passenger route in the 1880s and 90s, the railway later succumbed to alternate routes through the Rocky Mountains. The passenger line was discontinued in 1967, but the Royal Gorge Route Railway currently provides scenic trips through the gorge year-round.

Ninety years after the span was conquered, the Arkansas River still roars, and the bridge still stands. Mountain runoff during summer-rafting months sends category-4 and -5 rapids through the gorge, clearly audible from the bridge 1,000 feet above.

*The Royal Gorge bridge maintained its status as the World’s Highest Bridge for 70 years until the construction of the Liuguanghe Bridge in China in 2001. It remained the World’s Highest Suspension Bridge until the 2003 completion of the Beipan River Guanxing Highway Bridge in China.
Davalynn Spencer can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. As the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, she writes romance for those who enjoy a Western tale with a rugged hero, both historical and contemporary. She holds the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction, teaches writing workshops, and plays the keyboard on her church worship team. When she’s not writing, teaching, or playing, she’s wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Learn more about Davalynn and her books at

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The History of Archery

by Pam Hillman
Robin Hood, Brave, Avengers, The Hunger Games, and Confederate Civil War veterans all have one thing in common...


I enjoyed reading about how bows and arrows have been used from the beginning of time, all across the globe, for hunting and military maneuvers. Hunters and warriors from the Stone Age, through the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and into the Middle Ages relied heavily on the sport of archery for survival. One interesting tidbit according to one article was that historically bows were used as weapons on all continents except Australia. I haven’t been able to confirm that notation from other sources though. But it is still interesting, and begs the question of why.

The advent of firearms changed history. Regardless of the fact that early firearms were undependable, and susceptible to wet weather, firearms became the first choice for survival. Despite the drawbacks (pardon the pun) early firearms were more accurate, could penetrate armor more effectively, and were superior for shooting at a target from concealment, so the preference was understandable.

Some far flung regions still use bows and arrows for hunting and defense. A remote group in Brazil, recently photographed from the air, aimed bows at the airplane as it flew overhead. Bows and arrows saw considerable use in the 2007-2008 Kenyan crisis. But generally, archery is a sport these days and not a matter of survival.

With archery harking back to the beginning of time, I won't attempt to give a blow by blow description of its uses in every century, so today’s post will offer an interesting snapshot of archery today as well as an interesting incident that happened after the American Civil War.

In some cases, Ex-Confederate soldiers were not allowed to own guns after the war, so naturally the men turned to other modes of survival such as trapping, fishing, and archery to provide food for their families.

Two Confederate veterans, brothers Maurice and Will Thompson, honed their skills as archers in the wilds of the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. Thomas Williams, a former slave who lived near the Thompsons, had knowledge of English-style archery (the longbow) and helped the brothers become proficient with the weapon.

Russell Crowe as Robin Hood

Later, Maurice Thompson wrote a book, The Witchery of Archery, and people once again became enthused with the sport of archery. In 1879 the National Archery Association was formed, and Maurice Thompson became its first president.

Public interest in archery soon subsided, until 1911 when Ishi, the last of the Yahi Indian tribe came out of hiding in California. Ishi died in 1916, but not before he willingly passed on many aspects of his culture, including how to hunt using a bow and arrow, to Dr. Saxton Pope of the University of California at Berkely Anthropology Museum.

Soon, Dr. Pope was joined by archery-enthusiast Arthur Young and the two men hunted in Alaska and Africa and took several large game animals. In the 1920s, engineers (as opposed to craft experts) took an interest in archery and this led to new and improved bows such as the recurve and compound bows that dominate modern Western archery today.

Katniss, The Hunger Games
It’s interesting to note that the prowess of Katniss in the Hunger Games, and box-office hits such as Brave, Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe (to name one of many Robin Hood adventures), and Avengers has resulted in a resurgence of interest in traditional and modern archery.

In an article dated August 2, 2012, the Miami Herald states, “USA Archery said membership is up 20 percent from last year, and the organization sent a letter to The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, thanking her for making archery cool with the younger generation.” Miami Herald, Archery Gaining Popularity, August 02, 2012.

When I was a kid, we made our own bows and arrows out of whatever came to hand (yes, I was a tomboy). I honestly can’t remember if I hit anything with the ones I made, but I do remember stringing bows and sharpening sticks, and practicing my skills for many, many hours. And I’ve shot my sons’ compound bows. At least the ones they had when they were first learning archery. I’m not strong enough for the big guys! It’s a good feeling to hit the target, and makes me want to try harder next time.

So, what’s your experience with archery? Have you ever shot a bow? Do you have family members who enjoy the sport? If not, surely you watched Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner, or more recently, one of the movies mentioned above?

In anticipation of the release of
The Crossing at Cypress Creek, book #3
in my Natchez Trace Novel series, the first two ebooks are on sale during the month of April!

Click here to get The Promise of Breeze Hill!

Click here to get The Road to Magnolia Glen!

Monday, April 15, 2019

1942 Bluetooth, WIFI and Satellite Technology?

The year is 1942, WWII is raging in Europe, and the United States has joined with Allied Forces. In a desperate attempt to get the upper hand on the Axis Forces, the National Inventors Counsel asked Americans to contribute ideas for the defense of the United States and world. 

Twenty eight years earlier a little girl was born Hedwig Kiesler in Vienna. Once grown, she married Fritz Mandl, a wealthy munitions dealer who developed remote controlled weapons for the Nazi. Unhappy in the marriage, Hedwig fled to the United States where she was discovered by MGM in 1937 and given her surname by Louis B Mayer. Mayer named her after the studio’s silent-era star Barbara La Marr and Hedwig Kiesler became Hedy Lamarr.

Hedy Lamarr found stardom in such moves as Samson and Delilah, White Cargo and Tortilla Flat with super stars such as Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and Jimmy Stewart. Hedy starred in 30 films and was considered the most beautiful woman alive. But those accolades left her wanting more out of life. And in 1942 when she heard about the National Inventors Counsel asking Americans to help with invention ideas in the War effort Hedy’s wheels started turning. 

While attending a dinner party she sat and talked with composer George Andle. She knew that radio controlled torpedoes were unreliable and she also realized the enemy would have a harder time jamming signals if they were sent over different and changing frequencies. She talked with George and when leaving she wrote her number on his window in lipstick. Together the two designed a process called frequency hopping which allowed transmitters and receivers to change frequencies randomly. In 1942, believing they had something that would help the war effort, they got a patient. But the military did nothing with it other than basically throw the idea in a drawer. By the time science used their idea the patient had expired so neither of them ever benefited from their idea. 

The system she and George invented is known today as spread spectrum technology communications. This technology is the bases for things we take for granted every day now, such as GPS, Satellite, Bluetooth, WiFi, and yes our cell phones. 

Hedy loved science and practiced her favorite hobby of inventing every chance she got, in her trailer between scenes as well as staying up all night at home. One of her successes was streamlining Howard Hughes racing airplane. Lamarr said she didn’t have to work on ideas they just came naturally. She was once quoted as saying anyone can be glamorous all they have to do is stand around and look stupid. 

It took 55 years before Hedy was recognized for her contribution to technology. But in 1997 she was given a Pioneer Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in which Hedy Lamarr replied, "It's about time."

Avice Touchet has always dreamed of marrying for love and that love would be her best friend, Philip Greslet. She’s waited five years for him to see her as the woman she’s become but when a visiting lord arrives with secrets that could put her father in prison, Avice must consider a sacrificial marriage.
Philip Greslet has worked his whole life for one thing—to be a castellan—and now it is finally in his grasp. But when Avice rebuffs his new lord’s attentions, Philip must convince his best friend to marry the lord against his heart’s inclination to have her as his own.

Purchase Here

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 miniature donkey.
Connect with Debbie Lynne: