It Has Been a While

After more than ten years and over 300 posts, I have gone missing in action on this site since September. I’m not sure if I became bored with it, or just ran out of things to say, I am going with the latter.  At times I had posts with more than one hundred reads. Lately, I was lucky to get half that many. There are a lot of good Wyoming sites that tell the great stories of our state, and I hope they are getting read. No, I’m not giving up and will continue to post when I find something of interest, just not sure how often. I first started this site to post many of the stories I used in class, teaching history for 42 years. I even wrote a short history of Wyoming, to give people a quick look at our state. But it has remained unpublished and buried somewhere in my laptop.
The North Bluff at Guernsey State Park

Meanwhile, I will continue to post four or more times a month on my writing site. That site gives me a chance to talk about my most recent writing projects and Wyoming too.
Civilian Conservation Corps - Powder House, circa 1935

Photo Posts - I will also continue to post photos and our hiking fun from the park on my Guernsey State Park site

My Books - Thanks, once again to everyone who has purchased my books on Amazon. I am now taking in enough money on sales to make part of a pickup payment once-in-a-while.
More Pronghorn in Wyoming than in all of the rest of North America

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018 - If you are a long time follower of my history blog, take a look at my other sites and thanks for reading.
We do get out of town on occasion
Here we are, a long way from Wyoming, on a recent historical trip
Vicksburg, Mississippi

Wyoming History - Kings of Wyoming

It was a long road to statehood for Wyoming. The area that today makes up Wyoming was first claimed by the Spanish, then the French, followed by Mexico, and the Lone Star Republic of Texas before it became a state.

Kings of Wyoming – Parts of Wyoming came under the rule of 12 Spanish Kings from 1479-1821. Ten French Kings also ruled over various parts of the state from 1515-1792. When France became a Republic, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte sold the area known as the Louisiana Purchase, including a large area of today’s Wyoming, to the United States.

I love the line from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when Butch keeps asking, “Who are those guys?” That said, here is a list of Kings that at one time ruled over all or part of what would one day become Wyoming.
Spanish Kings – Four named Charles, four Phillip’s and four Ferdinand’s
French Kings – Francis I and II, - Henry II, III and IV - Charles IX and a bunch of Kings named Louis, including Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV and Lewis XVI

Wyoming became a state in 1890 a mere, 127 years ago.
Wyoming was carved from an area passed up by all but native peoples for centuries. It was, for years, ruled by, or claimed by many entities. All areas surrounding Wyoming were established in some manner before Wyoming, causing some to refer to the cowboy state as the Leftover Territory.

In 1861, Wyoming, for the first time started to take shape. What happened in 1861 that caused this? The formation of Colorado Territory giving that state a northern border and Wyoming most of its southern border. Also in 1861 Nebraska Territory was divided with the Territory of Dakota created to the north and west. When Idaho Territory was created in 1863 the eastern state line was created. In 1864 the establishment of Montana created a northern border. At last, in 1865, Wyoming Territory was mentioned in Congress for the first time, and three years later, in 1868, it became a reality.

I wrote on this topic, with a few more specifics about the creation of Wyoming borders, a few years ago. If you would like to see that post click here.

Now that the kids are back in school it’s time for all of us to start doing some reading – take a look at all of my books on my Amazon Authors Page -  here. All books available as inexpensive eBooks (none more than $2.99) or soft cover. Check them out and read a free sample. Something for everyone, Historical Fiction, Westerns, Garden Humor, Kids Chapter books, and mysteries. Thanks for looking.

A Busy Summer

This has been a very busy summer – not sure why. I have spent precious little time researching the two nonfiction books I am working on, and too few hours out with my cameras.  Now with school back in session, and the summer winding down. it is time to get back in the groove.

This week I thought I might post a few Wyoming wildlife photos I have managed the past few weeks.

I spent some time at an event in Sunrise, Wyoming last weekend and will be heading back there this Saturday for another event. It is terrific to see this old place being brought back to life. It also gives me a chance to sell a few books and talk with many interesting people. 

Meanwhile, two of my Wyoming historical mysteries are selling at a record (for me) pace. If you have a chance take a look here at my Amazon author page and take a look at, Commitment, and The Ghost Dance, and read a free sample of Wyoming fiction.

And at the end of the day a wonderful sunset - this one from last evening in beautiful Guernsey State Park.

The Wyoming Eclipse

The big solar eclipse is only a few days away. I am doing a book signing at an event in Sunrise Wyoming on Sunday, the day before the eclipse, and then expect to stay home on the big day and watch the sun disappear as I sit on our back deck.

Wyoming is expecting as many as 600,000 people to see the sun disappear for a few minutes. The last big eclipse was more than 40 years ago and the last total one was in 1919.  That, nearly a century ago eclipse, lasted for nearly seven minutes, long enough for scientists to measure the bending of light from the stars as they passed near the sun. Those measurements proved true Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the theory which describes gravity as a warping of space-time.

Guernsey State Park is expecting a couple of thousand extra visitors this week-end
But at the end of the day, I expect the sun will set over the lake as normal

The above is likely the only science lesson that will ever be found on this site. Thanks for reading and wherever you are, enjoy the eclipse. 

By Wednesday Traffic will be back to normal

Maybe a few small Bison stoppages 

Wyoming - The First Cattle

Living only a few blocks from the North Platte River, I often think about how important it once was. Not that it is unimportant today, supporting wildlife and providing power along with, much needed the past few days, irrigation water down stream and providing recreation for tens of thousands of people year round.
North Platte River in the Red Cliffs area a mile north of Guernsey, Wyoming

What I am talking about is how important, as a boundary, it once was.  When cattle were first brought into southeast Wyoming, all lands north of the river were Indian lands. Wandering, and often hostile bands of native warriors made sure the land would not be used for cattle grazing.
The first cattle in the northern part of the state were brought in by Nelson Story in 1866, who bought more than a thousand cattle in Texas for ten dollars a head and drove them to Wyoming. After reaching Fort Laramie, he took the herd up the Bozeman Trail to Fort Phil Kearny. Because of Indian problems in the area he was ordered to hold the cattle at the fort until something could be worked out. After a three week wait, Story became impatient and drove the cattle from the fort at night. The herd was soon located and drove off in all directions by area tribes, and in the days it took to round up the cattle more than 30 Indians were killed.
These Longhorns of today are a bit, okay, a lot, bigger than the 1866 version

Nelson Story went on to establish himself, and the cattle ranching business, near Bozeman, Montana, where he became both rich and influential.

Today more than one and a quarter million cattle can be found in Wyoming, and more than two and a half million in Montana. Guess story knew what he was doing. 

We took some friends from Texas out to the Ruts yesterday - always fun!

Hot Weather - The Rendezvous & Sitting in the Shade

What About this Heat?
It has ben hot the last couple of weeks. So hot that grass is turning brown fast, tough for ranchers and for city people who like a beautiful green lawn. Wyoming’s all-time record high was 115 degrees set in Basin in August of 1983. We have been over 100 but thankfully quite a few degrees from 115. Reminds me of the old Wyoming joke about the heat – “I watched a Coyote chasing a Jack Rabbit and it was so hot they were both walking.”

During these hot days of July, nothing beat sitting around in the shade, swapping stories, and in the case of many trappers, drinking, and overeating. Rendezvous took place this time of the year, July, a time when trappers really had nothing to do. Must have been quite a site, these Rendezvous, with boisterous talking, games, races, music, and dancing.  Trappers from big companies were joined by free trappers and Native Indians and salesmen with trade goods. The trade goods often include not only trapping supplies, but women for hire, and large quantities of bad whiskey. A few trappers brought in their wives and sometimes children. Some of the later rendezvous included tourists, newsmen, and artists, leaving behind a rich history. A history that is often fiction, as much as fact, interesting and colorful times they were indeed.

Enjoy the heat and remember it brings on, great gardens, baseball, barbecues and many other great summer activities.

Now I think I will go outside sit in the shade and read a good book.

Speaking of good books if you would like a bit of Wyoming fiction, you can see all my books here. Thanks for looking, all available in softcover or eBook.

Wyoming Wildlife Photography

One of my favorite activities in summer is to watch, and when I can, photograph, Wyoming wildlife.

Sometimes we take for granted what most only see on TV or in the movies.

In Wyoming, our wildlife is part of our everyday life.

Not sure I will ever take it for granted.

On today’s post are a few of the photos I have shot in the past month.

Nothing beats a chance to see nature up close.

On a side note, a big thank you to everyone who is purchasing my books the past few weeks – they are selling well, in fact, better than ever. – if you want to take a look click this link.

Coming Soon - A Visit to Fort Laramie - Again

Seems like my blogging has slowed significantly since the weather started to cooperate with my summer activities.
Summer means getting more time out with my camera
      Speaking of summer activities, I see that next Saturday, June 17, is one of my favorite summer events, Fur Trade Day at Fort Laramie. Over the years I have spent much time in the study of the Mountain Man era and loved teaching that part of the growing west in my history classes. Fur Trade Day is one event that really fits my interest. Over the past few years, we have made them all and found the reenactors to be knowledgeable, friendly and willing to answer any and all questions. In case any readers are thinking about going it takes place from 9:30 – 5:00 on that day. (Saturday, June 17)
My wife trying out a trapper recliner
I am the not so Mountain Man-ish one at Fur Trae Day last year

    Must be my preparation because I am presently re-reading, Donald Clayton Porter’s classic novel, Fort Laramie. I read this one so many years ago that it reads like a new story to me.
The Ruts south of Guernsey Wyoming
    We enjoy living only 13 miles from the Fort and less than a mile from the most famous ruts of the Oregon Trail. Life is good when it is summer in Wyoming.

For Your Enjoument - Fort Laramie Trivia 
 Answers under the last photo
1.    What two rivers come together near Fort Laramie?
2.    Which well known and now well-preserved building at the fort served as Officer Quarters and as the Post Headquarters?
3.    Where did Fort Laramie get its unique to Wyoming name?

On the grounds of Fort Laramie - July 4, 2016

1.    North Platte and Laramie
2.    Old Bedlam – May now be the oldest building in Wyoming
3.    Jacques La Ramie sometimes spelled Ramee - I prefer Ramie

Western Books

I have often read that Owen Wister's publishing of The Virginian, 115 years ago this week, on May 28, 1902, was the start of Westerns in America.  Nice that the setting was Wyoming, which was still pretty new and still a bit wild at that time. But that was not the first western, not even close. Long before the beginning of the 1900s were the Dime Novel Westerns, sometimes shortened to Dime Westerns.

Elk Mountain as seen from the town of Medicine Bow
the setting for the start of Wister's, The Virginian

The Dime Westerns became popular shortly after the Civil War spanning a time period of nearly 40 years before the publication of, The Virginian. The books were short, almost always less than 100 pages, and priced at a dime or 15 cents. These books centered on fictional escapades of real people, many of the settings were, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Montana.  Mountain Men, Indians, Soldiers and Bad Guys of all kind made up the many characters of these books. Later, a smaller format, adopted for magazines became popular, these were all set to the standard length of 32 pages.

Today westerns make up less than one percent of the overall book market – so what happened? Maybe, not much. If a reader looks, it is easy to find westerns today, just not the old tired, fake Wild West type of story. 
This is my modern day, set in WyomingYoung Adult or Adult Western Mystery

Suspense-Thrillers and Mystery-Detective along with books classified as Young Adult dominate today's best seller lists. I write books I classify as western-mysteries, some set before 1900 and some in modern time. I still read westerns today, some are thrillers, some mysteries, and some suspense, but all are set in the west.

Guess the Western is not dead, it just lost its singular classification, maybe the old time shoot-um-ups died in the street with their boots on, but today great western stories can be found in just about any popular genre.

Here is a link to my books on Amazon – four of these books could fall into the western category. Click on any of the books and read a free sample.

The second of my Blade Holmes Westen Mysteries
Cover photo from Fort Laramie - each book has Fort Laramie settings.

Things To Do On A Wyoming Mothers Day

Seems to me that a good Wyoming Sunday afternoon drive cures most of my ailments.
Sometimes it is all about the view - this one from 25 miles west of town

It is always fun for Jan and me to see what wildlife are up and around, enjoying the day. 
Looks like a family outing

Wild Iris
This time of the year it is fun to what new wildflowers are blooming.
Indian Paintbrush - Wyoming State Flower
Today we took a drive to the west of town, not a long drive, only a total of about 75 miles and a couple of hours.
Prairie Dog calling out
 I thought that today I would post a few photos of our drive – it’s kind of what Wyoming is all about. 

Hope all of you enjoyed the day as much as we did.