Tuesday, June 15, 2021

19th Century Slang Terms PLUS Book Giveaway!

Today's post is written by guest blogger and my awesome critique partner, Kathleen L. Maher. Be sure to leave a comment after you read this fun post to be entered in her giveaway.

Historical fiction writers try to create an authentic experience in establishing a diverse array of setting details. Accuracy in wardrobe, current events, period trends, hairstyles, architecture… all of these are important. What could be more compelling than hearing the way people spoke, especially in the authentic slang of the age?

Here is a list of random and expressive words and phrases from the 1800’s.

Mouth:  “sauce box”, “bone box”, “clap trap”,” gob”, or “quail pipe” referring to ladies’ voices, bagpipe, a talkative man, conversely to” shut pan” is to close one’s mouth, be quiet

A Gossip or talkative woman was called a “church bell

foreman of the jury”—one who monopolizes a conversation,

“jaw-me-down” a very talkative fellow

Muffin wallopers is a similar term for women who meet over tea to gossip and discuss scandals, thus tea would be called “chatter broth” or “prattle broth” or even “scandal broth

To fight:  to “shake a flannin”,or “fit” (short for fought) or “row someone up Salt River

to “whip one's weight in wild cats” meant to defeat a powerful opponent

Similarly, “chalk” meant to strike one’s face, and a sockdologer was a powerful punch or blow

Skilamalink” meant something amiss, shady, 

To cheat:  hornswoggle, honey fuggle

I snore”, “I swan”, or “I Swow”: socially acceptable alternatives to the expression "I swear," which was considered impolite

When a woman turns down a man’s proposal, she is said to “give him the mitten

Questionable food: “bow wow mutton”, or “bags o’mystery”, may cause one to “cast up one’s accounts”

To be given “the dog’s portion” meant given little to eat, likewise a little of something was “a lick and a smell”

And The Cold Cook was no cook at all, but the undertaker

The Eternity box-was your coffin , for when you’re “under hatches” or “cold as a wagon tire

To steal—condiddle, the thief—conveyancer

Clergyman- held a “Finger post” And a Man of the cloth worked a “Glue-pot” in the “Gospel Shop” (church)

A “Spoil pudding” was a preacher who went on too long, presumably delaying a “Sabbaday”, or “Sabberday” meal

To take a “smile” was to take a drink

Drunk: groggified, or “glorious” spectacularly drunk, “half seas over”-half drunk, “Swallow a hare” exceedingly drunk, “corned” “pickled

To be sent on a fool’s errand was to be “Sent for a horse’s ladder

Blue stocking—an educated woman(derogatory) Thornback—an old maid

Slow—a snail’s gallop

To absquatulate—to run off in a hurry, to “pull foot,” skedaddle, vamoose.

Perhaps some of these words and phrases sound familiar to you. Or maybe there are others you could add. What is a word or expression that you have found amusing or original, maybe passed down in your family? 

CONTEST: Please share below for a chance to win a Kindle copy of my new release, No Man’s Daughter, set in 1866 Shenandoah Valley.

A man with something to prove and a lady with something to hide clash over hotly contested property and an arranged marriage proving anything but convenient. Will her claim on the land prove harder to drive out than her claim on his heart?

Benjamin Sharpe sets out after the war to acquire the neighboring farm and finds a beautiful and stubborn squatter has taken residence. A half-wild orphan girl, Willa gives him a piece of her mind with a piece of lead aimed at his boots. Bossed around his entire life by his brothers, Ben isn’t about to take it from any girl. But will his ambitions go so far as to force a waif from her home? As Willa’s resourceful defense of the property frustrates his plans, admiration plucks at his heartstrings. Ben must find a compromise while saving face with his family. But the chit has no intention of playing nice or seeking truce. In Bridgewater, Virginia, the war is still on!

About the author:
“Stories where every underdog has his day."
Kathleen L. Maher's first crush was Peter Rabbit, and she's loved conflicted heroes ever since. She has two novellas in BARBOUR BOOKS' collections: Victorian Christmas Brides and Lessons on Love. Winner ACFW Genesis Award. Author of Sons of the Shenandoah Series: The Abolitionist's Daughter, The Chaplain's Daughter, and No Man’s Daughter. “The Meddlesome Maverick” will release in the Scrivenings Press’s collection Cowboy Cousins in Spring 2022. Kathleen and her husband live in an old farmhouse in upstate New York with their children and a small zoo.

Monday, June 14, 2021

World War II's "Number One Woman Spy”

By Johnnie Alexander


Velvalee Dickinson, a respected member of the national doll-collecting community in the early 1940s, had a secret. A skilled marketer, she carried on a regular correspondence with many of her clients throughout the United States, created brochures detailing the dolls she had for sale, and wrote articles for hobbyist magazines.

She also wrote letters to her contact in Argentina—a woman who probably didn’t exist—using a jargon code that provided information about U.S. ships damaged at Pearl Harbor to the Japanese. As I mentioned last month in my post titled The Doll Woman ~ A World War II Traitor, Velvalee forged the signatures of a few of her clients and even used their return addresses on the letters. Between February and August of 1942, the FBI received five of these letters.

The Bureau’s efforts to break the jargon code and their search for the traitor who’d written the letters had begun.

As a reminder, here’s a quick summary of the five letters.

In February 1942, wartime censors gave the FBI a suspicious letter supposedly written by Maud Bowman of Spokane. The letter, dated January 27, 1942, had a Seattle postmark.

· That same month, Mary Wallace of Springfield, Ohio, received an envelope with her address marked Return to Sender. Her signature had been forged on the letter. She gave the letter to her local post office director who forwarded it to the FBI.

· The FBI worked with post office censors to intercept three more letters in August 1942. Two of these were supposedly written by Sara Gellert of Portland and the third was supposedly written by Freda Maytag of Colorado Springs.

A top priority was to decode the letters. Unlike a substitution code, where a number or letter is substituted for the correct number or letter, a jargon code hides a message within a message. To the casual reader, these five letters had a gossipy tone and were about different kinds of dolls. But their hidden meanings provided important information to our enemy.

For example, the Wallace letter included these lines, transcribed here as originally written:

You wrote me that you had sent a letter to Mr. Shaw, well I want to see MR. SHAW he distroyed YOUR letter, you know he has been Ill. His car was damaged but is being repaired now. I saw a few of his family about. They all say Mr. Shaw will be back to work soon.

FBI codebreakers determined that the misspelling of the word destroyed followed by the capitalized YOUR were meant to bring attention to these two words: Destroyed + Your = Destroyer.

The USS Shaw, a Mahon-class destroyer commissioned in 1936, was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Three bombs hit the ship during the Japanese attack. Most of the crew were ashore, but twenty-four crewmen died.

According to an article on a website called Gangster, Inc.:

“Temporary repairs were made at Pearl Harbor during December 1941 and January 1942. Then, on February 9, Shaw steamed towards San Francisco, about two weeks before the Springfield letter was sent, where repairs were completed, including the installation of a new bow” [bolded emphasis added].

FBI agents interviewed the women who supposedly wrote the letters. That’s when they learned the letters had been forged. The common element was that each of the women collected dolls and corresponded with the owner of a doll shop on Madison Avenue in New York City.

Even though the FBI now suspected Velvalee Dickinson as the letter-writer, they spent more than a year gathering evidence. Their investigation led the agents to the founders of the Humpty Dumpty Doll Hospital in Redondo Beach, California. Velvalee had often sent them postcards during a trip she had taken along the West Coast.

This itinerary helped the agents retrace Velvalee’s journey. They found the typewriters that Velvalee had used to write four of the letters at the hotels where she had stayed. They later determined that the Springfield letter was typed on Velvalee’s personal typewriter, a portable Underwood #621465.

In January 1944, the FBI arrested Velvalee, the “War’s Number One Woman Spy,” while she was taking money out of her safety deposit box in a midtown Manhattan bank.

Special Agent E. E. Conroy is quoted as saying that Velvalee “fought bitterly, kicking, clawing, and screaming in an attempt to escape.” He also said that Velvalee had “sent many coded messages to South America containing military and naval information vital to our security and valuable to our enemies” (The Doll Woman by Barbara Casey, p. 79-80).

Faced with the evidence, Velvalee claimed her husband—by this time deceased—was the true traitor.

Though Velvalee was charged with espionage and faced the death penalty, she eventually pleaded guilty to censorship violations. She served seven years and changed her name to Catherine Dickinson.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a sister of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy, had taken an interest in Velvalee during her imprisonment and helped her get a job at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. She later worked for Mrs. Shriver as a secretary. Velvalee died in California in 1980.

Velvalee’s traitorous letters and the FBI’s investigation inspired the plot of my newest novel, The Cryptographer’s Dilemma, the first in Barbour’s Heroines of WWII Series. The book releases in August.

Johnnie Alexander imagines stories you won’t forget in multiple genres. A fan of classic movies, stacks of books, and road trips, she shares a life of quiet adventure with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her racoon-treeing papillon.

Pre-Order The Cryptographer's Dilemma at http://bit.ly/ja-TCD.

Connect with Johnnie at johnnie-alexander.com.

Photo Credits: The image of the letter is from the FBI ArchivesOther photos are in the public domain.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

How Atlanta's Famous Peachtree Road Was Built

by Denise Weimer

My last post revealed my surprise when I learned a War of 1812 fort once existed in the county where I grew up. That’s unusual for North Central Georgia. Constructed in the fall of 1813 as a defense against Creek Indians allied to the British, Fort Daniel also served as a jumping-off point for the construction of one of Atlanta’s iconic routes—Peachtree Road.

A reconstructed Fort Mitchell

During the Creek War, supplies for the American army had to be rafted across the Chattahoochee River nine miles below present-day Columbus, Georgia. Then they were taken by wagon to Fort Mitchell, which was built by General John Floyd in the summer of 1813 as the main supply depot for the troops in the field (present-day Alabama). A two-pronged plan was launched to better supply those troops. First, a road would be built southwest to the Chattahoochee River, where a fort would be constructed. Simultaneously, a boat would be built that could launch from farther up the river.

The X on the map fell on Standing Peach Tree, a Creek Indian village on both sides of the Chattahoochee River at the mouth of Peachtree (as it came to be called) Creek. The village served as the terminus for the Creeks’ Peachtree Trail, which ran along the top of the Chattahoochee Ridge from near present-day Toccoa to what is now Buckhead, where it divided. One branch continued to Standing Peachtree. The other branch ran across Peachtree Creek toward the Sandtown Tail at Five Points in what is now downtown Atlanta.

In December of 1813, after being appointed deputy quartermaster, Major Thomas Bourke commissioned a boat to be built under a Lieutenant Morris at Vann’s Ferry that could navigate the Chattahoochee south from Peachtree.

Meanwhile, the route from Fort Daniel to Peachtree followed a trail from Hog Mountain to Suwanee Old Town (the east-west dividing line between Creek and Cherokee Indians), across Peachtree Ridge, and on to the Peachtree village—a total distance of about thirty miles. Lieutenant George Gilmer would oversee a detachment of twenty-two soldiers which would accompany three locals, stock raisers, who would grade the road after an initial team marked it out. But first, Sergeant James Montgomery, Jackson County resident and US Army wagonmaster, learned when he arrived at Fort Daniel that no tools had arrived. He had to scour the countryside for whipsaws, axes, and a cross-cut saw. The sons of the local men drove the carts. One night, the fathers had some fun at the expense of the boys as they ate dinner, riding in from picket duty whooping like Indians.

Bourke’s boat left Vann’s Ferry on January 23 and reached Peachtree by February 11. The supply chain for the army had begun. 

At the fort site, the soldiers raised two large blockhouses, six dwelling houses, one frame storehouse, a bridge, and five boats, costing the government a whopping five thousand dollars by the time work was completed in July of 1814. By then, the Creek Indians had been defeated and signed treaties giving away most of their land. James Montgomery, the sergeant in charge, loved the area so much, he later returned to become postmaster of Standing Peachtree and establish Montgomery’s Ferry.

And Peachtree Road just got busier and busier after that.

Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She’s a managing editor for the historical imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and the author of a dozen published novels and a number of novellas. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses!

Connect with Denise here:
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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Part Calamity - All Jane

By Kathy Kovach

The other day, I walked through the room as my husband had the Western Channel on. Some of the TV shows and movies in the western genre are, shall we say, less than accurate. I mean, come on. Playing cards with numbers on them? The wrong train whistles? Rough and tumble women with coral lipstick, false eyelashes, and pearls?

Yep, that last one really got to me. The actress was Judi Meridith in The Raiders (1963) and she was playing Calamity Jane.

Of course, when it comes to unlikely actresses taking on the iconic role, Doris Day and her tiny waist comes to mind. Other bombshell actresses to play the frontier woman include Jane Russell in The Pale Face, Yvonne de Carlo (The Munsters) in Calamity Jane and Sam Bass, and Anjelica Huston in Buffalo Girls. The latter played her closer to the vest.

With all the singing, hair flipping, and doe eyes for Bill Hickok, it made me wonder who the real Calamity Jane was.

Much of her life is shrouded in mystery and tall tales, some told by the woman herself. Let me be clear. Any truths about Calamity Jane have been blowing like ash from a long dormant campfire and many “experts” disagree on certain points. One seemingly accurate researcher tackled the subject and believes he was able to separate the truth from the myth. James D. McLaird refutes just about everything you’ve ever heard. But the larger-than-life legend is so much more interesting. If you wish to learn what he found, I suggest you visit Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok (historynet.com)

Born Martha Jane Canary on May 1, 1856 in Princeton, Missouri, she died on August 1, 1903 at the age of 47. It’s said she looked twice her age at 30 due to a hard life.

That hard life started with her father who was a farmer (or gambler. . .or perhaps a gambler turned farmer,) and her mother, a prostitute. Both died leaving pre-teen Martha, the oldest of six, to take care of her siblings. It was on the wagon train with her family that Martha learned how to be a teamster, driving a team of oxen, using a 30-foot bullwhip to spur them on.

Much of the rest of her story is filled with adventure as she is said to have fought Native Americans, worked on the railroad, and according to her, rode for the pony express, though one or more of these accomplishments are probably just sensational tall tales. At one point, she became a scout at Fort Russell in Wyoming, something McLaird refutes. She also worked in saloons, and for a brief time followed the family business (the world’s oldest profession.) She did anything needed to take care of her brothers and sisters. Again, McLaird believes her siblings were farmed out to family. He also claims that she often wore dresses and did women’s work. But, of course, we also know that besides the mundane, she also dressed like a man, shot like a man, and rode a horse like a man. Not to mention her penchant for alcohol, smoking, and, shall we say, colorful words.

Calamity and Bill Hickok rode into Deadwood in June of 1876 in the same wagon train party. They became friends, but probably not lovers. A woman claiming to be their daughter surfaced, but it was proven fraudulent. Later, Jane supposedly married a man named Burke around 1885 and they did have a daughter. . .some think, others say no. Calamity Jane's history is so sketchy! Hickok and Calamity shared similar interests as both were dime novel celebrities and no doubt drank together. They’re buried near one another in the Deadwood cemetery, which fuels the imagination as to their relationship. If one were to weed through the sensational stories, one would find that the two only knew each other for a couple of months. Hickok was murdered while playing poker on August 1, 1876 by a man who was avenging his brother's death. Apparently, the lawman killed him in another town. Hickok was holding two pair: black aces and eights. This has been dubbed the dead man’s hand as a result. Twenty-seven years later, Jane was on a train and became ill. She made it to the Calloway Hotel in Terry, near Deadwood where she died on August 1, 1903, on the anniversary of Hickok's death. Her demise was most likely from her life of hard drinking.

At the grave of Bill Hickok in the 1890's
Deadwood, Dakota Territory

Somewhere along the way, she earned the name Calamity Jane and embraced the fitting moniker, even writing her own dime novel of her (ahem) true exploits. No doubt most of it was a work of fiction, but she read it aloud to eager audiences, I imagine performing some of the action.

To capitalize her notoriety, by 1893 she became employed in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show run by Bill Cody. In 1901, she traveled with the troupe to Buffalo, New York and the World’s Fair Pan-American Exposition.

In her kitchen with a cigar
Livingston, Montana 1901

Among the wild tales, Martha Jane had a heart of gold. It's been said that she exhibited compassion to the sick and needy. She worked as a nurse during a smallpox outbreak in Deadwood, volunteering to work where the fainthearted dare not go. 

Tall tales aside, Martha Jane Canary turned out to be a colorful character in our nation’s history. She may not have been your run-of-the-mill pioneer woman, but if she had been, she never would have carved her name, Calamity Jane, into our hearts.

MissAdventure Brides Collection
Seven 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? Includes:
"Riders of the Painted Star" by Kathleen E. Kovach

1936 Arizona
Zadie Fitzpatrick, an artist from New York, is commissioned to go on location in Arizona to paint illustrations for an author of western novels and falls for the male model.

Kathleen E. Kovach is a Christian romance author published traditionally through Barbour Publishing, Inc. as well as indie. Kathleen and her husband, Jim, raised two sons while living the nomadic lifestyle for over twenty years in the Air Force. Now planted in northeast Colorado, she's a grandmother, though much too young for that. Kathleen is a longstanding member of American Christian Fiction Writers. An award-winning author, she presents spiritual truths with a giggle, proving herself as one of God's peculiar people.

Friday, June 11, 2021

A Woman of Many Talents:

Barbara Jordon: Everlasting Legacy 

by Martha Rogers

Last month I wrote about a woman of wealth with an unusual name who worked tirelessly to bring history alive for Texans. Another woman who grew up in Houston became a powerful speaker for the people she represented and the state she loved. Barbara Jordan was born in the Fifth Ward on February 21, 1936 and and grew up to become one of the best known women not only in the city of Houston, but also the state of Texas. 

Her parents, Arlynne and Benjamin Jordan, a Baptist pastor, made sure Barbara and her two sisters had a good spiritual foundation. Barbara, Rose Mary and Bennie, grew up in the fifth ward. Her sister wrote that their childhood was really no different that of other children. They walked to school together, played games like jump rope and marbles. Barbara was the first to learn to ride a bicycle and taught herself how to play the guitar.

Barbara loved to read which became an asset when she joined the debate team at Phyliss Wheatley High School. That's when her public speaking skills took flight and empowered her throughout her political career. Serious reading and research preceded each debate. She honed her speaking skills and gained experience at her church, Good Hope Baptist. 

A picture of Barbara with her parents and sisters.

After graduating with honors from Wheatley, Jordan continued her studies at Texas Southern University. She continued to thrive and shine in debate with majors in political science and history. Her achievements there included being a national championship debater and member of Delta Sigma Theta, and graduating magma cum laude in 1956. From there she headed off to Boston University School of Law. After graduation, she taught political science for a year at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. In 1960, she returned to Houston to start her own private law practice.

Her ability as a speaker and her knowledge of law led her to seek public office at the call of friends and colleagues. Jordan answered--ready for the challenge. Her first two campaigns to run for the Texas House of Representatives did not go well, but she did not give up. The third time proved to be the charm, and in 1966 she won a seat in the Texas Senate and became the first black woman of African-American descent to do so since 1883, in the post-Reconstruction era. She even served Texas as governor for the day on June 10, 1972. That same year, she became the first Black woman from the South elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

It didn't take long for Barbara to make an impact in congress. She became famous for her powerful speeches. She earned the support of Lyndon B. Johnson
and his help landed her a position on the House Judiciary Committee. She made the opening statement for the Committee's impeachment hearings of President Richard Nixon. That speech became regarded as one of the best speeches of all time.

Two years later, she delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National

Convention. She was the first African-American to do so.

By 1973, the physical effects of her multiple sclerosis began to show, and she began using a wheel chair to get around. She became quite sensitive about using the chair in public and not many years later, she retired from public office.

But Barbara was not done serving. She joined the faculty as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas. She also served on the Board of the Peabody Awards, and Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Honor in 1994. In that year she also chaired the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and served until her death.

Barbara became ill with leukemia and it claimed her life with pneumonia related
complications on January 17, 1996.  She is the first black woman to be buried at the Texas State Cemetery.

Death did not stop the accolades and government, educational, and local groups honored her by naming schools, post offices, and housing complexes among others in her memory. 

She is well known for her words about our country and its government. Although spoken many years ago, this one could be used to address us today.

"If society today allows wrong to go unchallenged, the impression is created that those wrongs have the approval of the majority."

A school named in her honor: 

One of the most impressive images I have seen of Barbara Jordan is a bronze statue at the airport in Austin, Texas. It's a beautiful expression of the woman and statesperson she was. She is shown with a book in her lap, glasses on top, and her hands together with an expression of deep contemplation on her face.

Another statue sits on the Austin campus of the University of Houston. The oldest women's organization at the university, Texas Orange Jackets, spearheaded the project. 

One reason I became so interested in Barbara Jordan is that she and I were born the same year. I was amazed at her accomplishments despite the setbacks that came her way. I was privileged to be in her presence in the eighties, and one thing that impressed me was her beautiful smile and the confidence in her voice. 

Many women have overcome the obstacles of their gender and have successful careers in government and business. Is there one you particularly admire?

Martha's newest release:

While Abby and her friends are practicing their sign language skills, they inadvertently overhear two men discussing a crime they are planning. Once again Abigail Billings becomes involved in uncovering the scheme despite warnings from
the local police, the FBI, and anonymous threats in the mail. This time she may end up as the victim of a crime rather than the victor despite the efforts of her friends, Ben and Harry to protect her. Join Abby and her friends as they seek to unravel a plot that is bigger than even they can imagine.  

Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and multi-published best-selling author from Realms Fiction of Charisma Media and Winged Publications. She was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009. She is a member of ACFW and writes the weekly Verse of the Week for the ACFW Loop. ACFW awarded her the Volunteer of the Year in 2014. Her first electronic series from Winged Publications, Love in the Bayou City of Texas, debuted in the spring of 2015.  Martha is a frequent speaker for writing workshops and the Texas Christian Writers Conference of which she is a director. She is a retired teacher and lives in Houston with her husband, Rex. Their favorite pastime is spending time with their twelve grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. 


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Have I Got A Cure For You…and Other Snake Oil Salesmen Promises

By Suzanne Norquist

“Have I got a cure for you!” The snake oil salesman called into the crowd of interested bystanders. “Do you have gout, fever, diarrhea, lethargy, or sore muscles? One teaspoon every morning, and all your ailments will be gone.”

In modern times, no one wants to be called a snake oil salesman, a term fitting for someone who crawled out from under a rock to engage in shady dealings.

A once respected profession declined into a disreputable racket. In the 1800s, Chinese immigrants brought an ointment made from the oil of water snakes to America. Omega 3 and fatty acids in the oil had a healing effect, creating a moderately effective treatment for sore muscles. I don’t get the impression it was touted as a cure-all at the time.

Since the United States didn’t boast an abundance of Chinese water snakes, men wanting to make a quick buck figured any snake would do. Rattlesnakes were used. In California, rattlesnake hunters bottled their oil for sale. Unfortunately, the snakes didn’t provide any healing properties. However, with enough alcohol, opium, and herbs, people believed the hype. Salesmen used their charisma, visual demonstrations, and storytelling to push a product that could heal any ailment.

Around the same time, cure-all patent medicines became popular in America. Many people didn’t trust doctors with their extreme cures, such as bloodletting and purgatives. Easy health in a bottle proved attractive.

Most patent medicines weren’t actually patented. The term comes from letters of patent granted by the English crown in the late seventeenth century. Patents authorized the use of royal endorsements in advertising. Many of these contained generous levels of alcohol and opioids but no snake oil.

The US government didn’t regulate or oppose these medicines. Instead, they taxed them. During the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, every bottle wore a tax stamp. Proceeds funded the war efforts.

Both patent medicines and snake oil were sold by traveling medicine shows. The events ranged from a single mom-and-pop wagon to an elaborate circus-like company. Wild West or Native American themes were popular. Jugglers, acrobats, dancers, musicians, or fire-eaters could be part of the group. Residents of rural communities flocked to enjoy free entertainment, and between acts, “doctors” or “professors” described the benefits of the medicine. The show left town before people had a chance to learn that most claims were false.

Many believed in the curative powers of ancient Native American remedies, so some salesmen said they learned secrets directly from natives. They brought “Indians” along as part of the show.

Companies published books and pamphlets to push their products. These included almanacs which provided a plethora of helpful information. Publishers and newspapers strongly supported the patent-medicine industry because so much money was spent on advertising.

In the early 1900s, investigators began publishing articles about the dangers of these patent medicines, leading to a massive public outcry. In 1906, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act. Soon after, the Food and Drug Administration was created.

Medicine shows continued into the mid-1900s under the new regulations.

Surprisingly, a few patent medicines were legitimate, such as Listerine, Bayer Aspirin, Milk of Magnesia, Ex-Lax, and Richardson’s Croup and Pneumonia Cure Salve, which is now known as Vick’s VapoRub.

Thankfully, "snake oil salesmen" don’t use actual snakes anymore. They just act like them.


”Mending Sarah’s Heart” in the Thimbles and Threads Collection

Four historical romances celebrating the arts of sewing and quilting.

Mending Sarah’s Heart by Suzanne Norquist

Rockledge, Colorado, 1884

Sarah seeks a quiet life as a seamstress. She doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers, and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away?

For a Free Preview, click here: http://a.co/1ZtSRkK

Suzanne Norquist is the author of two novellas, “A Song for Rose” in A Bouquet of Brides Collection and “Mending Sarah’s Heart” in the Thimbles and Threads Collection. Everything fascinates her. She has worked as a chemist, professor, financial analyst, and even earned a doctorate in economics. Research feeds her curiosity, and she shares the adventure with her readers. She lives in New Mexico with her mining engineer husband and has two grown children. When not writing, she explores the mountains, hikes, and attends kickboxing class.

She authors a blog entitled, Ponderings of a BBQ Ph.D.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Living a Legacy + Book Giveaway

 By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Last month, the family from the famous book, Misty of Chincoteague, came to life in living color here on this blog, with facts you likely had never heard before, especially if you only read the book or saw the movie. If you missed last month's post, you can view it here: https://www.hhhistory.com/2021/05/the-beebe-legacy.html.

This month, it's time to get a little personal in sharing some of the tidbits from my family history. I'll also be giving away not one, not two, but THREE different books. Haven't done a giveaway in a while, so I'm making up for lost time. *winks* Read through the post to the bottom for further details.


When I was a little girl, my mother read me the story of Misty of Chincoteague, then regaled me with stories of her father and how he knew Grandpa Beebe, Paul, and Maureen. She also showed me a picture of her standing with Misty! You can imagine my wonder and awe at seeing my mother and her father as "famous." At least to a little girl, anyway. *grins*

Daniel W. Gault, Sr. &
Carrie (Jester) Gault
But let's go back a few years to 1919, when my grandfather (Pop-pop as I called him) was born on Chincoteague Island. His parents, Daniel W. Gault, Sr. and Carrie Jester Gault had both been married before but lost their respective spouses and brought one child each to their marriage. Pop-pop was the first of seven children to follow, nine altogether.

When Pop-pop was 6 years old, the very first official Pony Penning Day occurred. I can just imagine him as a young lad eager and anxious to race to the island's beach area where the water from the channel which separated Chincoteague from Assateague lapped against the sand. That very beach would be where the saltwater cowboys would drive the wild herd across the channel and onto Chincoteague to be sold at auction. The events surrounding that day will be a key highlight in the first book of my proposed trilogy for Harlequin. Stay tuned for 2017 for more information on that.

Daniel W. Gault, Jr. &
Esther Mae (Seiple) Gault
Through the 1920's and most of the 1930's, Pop-pop remained on the island with his family. As with everyone, times got extremely difficult during the Depression. My mother remembers stories told to her of how her grandfather would cut up old car tires to use the rubber in order to re-sole the shoes of his children. Talk about ingenious! I admire the true survivors from that era, the ones who did whatever it took to survive and never gave up. And from the time Pop-pop was thirteen, he took a position behind a barber chair in his father's barber shop to bring in additional money for the family, cutting hair like his father before him.

After Pop-pop graduated high school in 1937, the barbershop on the island was sold and his family moved to Washington, D.C., where he met Esther Mae Seiple, my future grandmother. Two years later, WWII began, and in 1941, Pop-pop enlisted in the Army, only to be sent to the Panama Canal. When he returned after 5 years, he married Esther and joined his father in business at the Father & Son Barber Shop on Pennsylvania Avenue, just south of Capitol Hill.

Galt Jewelers stamp on packages
Galt & Bro, Inc. Jewelers, est. 1802
Together, they cut the hair of many senators, congressman, and Washington elite. Their clientele was quite the "who's who" list in D.C. Makes sense, as another part of my family is Galt (name spelled without the "u") and they owned Galt & Bro, Inc Jewelers, which opened in D.C. in 1802, and served numerous presidents among other society members. The business was the "oldest business in the District" and remained open always near the White House for nearly two centuries before quietly closing its doors in 2001. Oh, the stories I could tell about President Abraham Lincoln's watch being repaired there when the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter, or Edith Galt taking over ownership after her husband died then going on to marry President Woodrow Wilson while he was president. But those are stories for a whole other series. *grins*

Senator barbershop
my older brother's first haircut
Back to my Pop-pop. Around 1952, not long after a barbershop for senators and representatives was opened in the basement of the Capitol building in the late 1940s, my great-grandfather retired and returned to Chincoteague island, leaving Pop-pop to run the barbershop alone. He did that until 1966 when the Safeway grocery around the corner decided they wanted to expand with a new loading dock and bought out the entire block where that barbershop sat. That's when he moved with his wife and daughter (my mom, born in 1950) out of the city to Suitland, Maryland, then rented a chair in a barbershop in Fairfax Village. That chair was where my older brother received his first haircut at about 2 years old.

Pop-Pop with me and older brother
Pop-pop remained there and worked until 1979 when he left Maryland and returned to Chincoteague Island, where he took over ownership of a barbershop there and rented an apartment across the street. That apartment holds very fond memories for me, as I remember visiting him and sitting on his knee making up stories about how my older brother and I were in danger in some way and he came to the rescue. See? I was telling stories even at the early age of 4. *winks* Unfortunately, that time together was short-lived, as a heart attack took Pop-pop's life in 1982. I was only 6 years old, but the memories have lasted, and now his legacy lives on through this blog as well as the upcoming books I'm writing.


I don't have any books on my family history published YET, but I *do* have books celebrating family connections and generational stories. So, that's what I'm offering in the giveaway today.

For your chance at one (1) of three (3) FREE books from my Brandywine Brides trilogy (Bound by Grace, Stealing Hearts, Antique Dreams), answer one of the questions below in the comments and leave your email address as a way to get in touch with you if you win. Good luck!

* Select one unique fact from the post above that stood out to you and share why it appealed to you.

* What stories do you have of your own family ancestors surviving through the Depression? What did they do to feed themselves and their children or to avoid being evicted from their home?

* Is there anything in your family which has been passed down through the generations? Perhaps a skill, a trade, a legacy, a house, or a building?

Leave answers to these questions or any comments on the post below. Next month, I'll be sharing about how my great-grandfather provided clams and oysters to the White House and received personal thanks from the President himself. Come back on the 9th of July to find out more.


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning, best-selling author and speaker who is also an advocate for literacy as an educational consultant with Usborne Books. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help better their lives.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children, two dogs, and two cats in Colorado. She has sold twenty (24) books so far and is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.