Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sarah Josepha Hale Mother of Thanksgiving

Sarah Josepha Hale
1788- 1879

I was recently asked an interesting question. What inspires you? Without thinking i answered jokingly, coffee and chocolate. My husband can attest that I am not a morning person, so it is true the thought of a good cup of joe motivates me when the annoying sound of the alarm clock doesn't. I probably don't even need to explain the magnetic force of chocolate.

But what really motivates me  is everyday people who overcome obstacles with grace and dignity. Which brings me to the mention an unlikely heroine born more than two hundred years ago, but we feel her contributions still today. Her name is Sarah Josepha Hale.

Though women of the time could not attend college, Sarah was fortunate to have a mother who encouraged her to read and learn. She also had a brother who did attend and taught her as much as he could. 

In 1822, when she was expecting her fifth child, her husband died of pneumonia. To support herself she first took a job making hats, and at night while her children slept, she wrote. 

She also wrote for magazines and was eventually offered a job for Ladies Magazine and later for another influential magazine, Godey's Lady's Book. She wanted to expand women's minds beyond fashion, so she published articles on history, science, household advice, and advocated for female education.

Her collection of Poems for Our Children was published
 in 1930 and included,  "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Even though George Washington proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving in 1789 to recognize the success and conclusion of the War of Independence, for the most part the recognition of an official holiday was a state or local affair. Typically the governors would select a date in late November or early December. 
Thanksgiving was a New England tradition, not embraced by the Southern States. It was the New Englanders who spread the holiday to the western territories. 
By the 1840s, the traditional New England menu of turkey, cranberries, potatoes, and pumpkin (and other) pies was in place, but recognition of the holiday still varied. 
Writer and editor Sarah Josepha Hale tried for many years to establish a national Thanksgiving holiday, similar to Independence Day. In 1827, as an editor of Boston's Ladies Magazine, she began writing essays calling for a national holiday of Thanksgiving. 

In 1846 as editor of Godey's Lady Book, she launched a letter writing campaign to enlist support for her cause. She wrote directly to President Zachary Taylor in 1849, asking him to reinstate a National Day of Thanksgiving.

Sarah knew that America was growing fast and believed a national celebration could help bring the country together. In her 1860 editorial she wrote, "The New National Holiday would awaken in American hearts the love of home and country, of thankfulness to God, and peace between brethren."

But the idea of a celebration after the harvest was certainly nothing new. The cattle drives ended by the end of November and farmers would have completed their harvest, both would be a cause for a celebration. 
Unsuccessful, she continued her quest and wrote letters to five Presidents, Finally in 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens," to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

Early American Cookery: "The Good Housekeeper," 1841 by [Hale, Sarah Josepha]

Over the years Sarah published articles and recipes for roast turkey with sage dressing, mashed potatoes and pies that to this day are associated with the celebration. By the time Thanksgiving became an official national holiday, her magazine had already inspired women to want to participate.

So what about you? What inspires you?

In my debut novel, Rebecca's Hope, I introduce several inspiring young women who face everyday obstacles typical of the 19th century with grace and dignity. 

Rebecca's Hope, combines History, Humor and Romance with an emphasis on Faith, Friends and  Good Clean Fun. Rebecca's Hope  is a work of fiction that reminds us how God can use adversity to strengthen us and draw us closer to Him and give us the desires of our heart in ways we may never expect.               

Fans of western historical romance will enjoy this beautiful story set in the late 19th-century of love and forgiveness. As the unfortunate circumstances of Rebecca's childhood unfold, we discover a heroine who is both resilient and kind. Rebecca and Sam's love story will have readers rooting for their happy ending. 

Connect with Kimberly:

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/authorkimberlygrist
Website: https://kimberlygrist.com/


Monday, November 12, 2018

A Day to Honor Veterans

World War I, which was known at the time as “The Great War”, officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. It is still known by that name in many nations.

To read President Woodrow Wilson’s speech concerning this recognition, you may find it on Wikipedia by CLICKING HERE. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

The Uniform Holiday Bill was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Including Veterans Day as a Monday holiday became unpopular, so it was changed to the actual day. Only, this year, with November 11th falling on Sunday, as a holiday, it is observed today, Monday the twelfth.

While the holiday is commonly printed as Veteran's Day or Veterans' Day in calendars and advertisements (spellings that are grammatically acceptable), the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website states that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling "because it is not a day that 'belongs' to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans."

Veterans Today 

The military men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life; they are parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors and coworkers, and are an important part of their communities. Here are some facts about the veteran population of the United States:

  • 16.1 million living veterans served during at least one war.

  • 5.2 million veterans served in peacetime.

  • 2 million veterans are women.

  • Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 558,000 are still alive. (2014)

  • 2 million veterans served during the Korean War.

  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.

  • As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.

  • As of 2014, 3 states have more than 1 million veterans among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.7 million).


In addition to my grandfather who served during The Great War, my father and my uncle who served during World War II, I also wish to honor my own sweetheart who served in Viet Nam.

My Millwright’s Daughter as a single has gone live today. It is part of the anthology, Undera Mulberry Moon which is still available for a short time. If you read it as part of the anthology and would like to leave a review for it as a single, I would greatly appreciate it. You may view the book page on Amazon including the place to add your review by CLICKING HERE.

Here is the book description:

After the death of her mother in 1882, Eliza Wells goes to live with her grandmother, Caroline Arnold, whom her parents named as her guardian. Not long after her grandmother has a stroke, her uncle, Joseph Wells from Kerr’s Ferry, California, whom she has never met in person, arrives in Ohio and whisks her away for a visit with family while her grandmother recovers.

At first Eliza enjoyed visiting her cousins in California. Now she grows concerned at her uncle’s repeated refusals to arrange for her transportation home. Her grandmother has not replied to her letters, so Eliza can no longer look to her for help.

Since Caroline, slowly recovering from her stroke, has heard nothing from her granddaughter in months, she hires Kit Halsey, a former railroad detective, to find her granddaughter and bring her home. He agrees, for what he will receive in pay for the job will put him through law school.

Joseph urges Eliza to spend time with his business associate, Daniel Irwin, almost fifteen years her senior. Unlike her cousin, Eliza does not care for Daniel. The only man for whom she feels an attraction is the new freight driver, Kit Halsey.

Startling details from the past come to light, and the only person Eliza can turn to for help is Kit—if he is willing to risk his future to save her.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Christmas Release and an Excerpt!

By Kathryn Albright

I love autumn with a capital A! So I truly prefer to think about Christmas AFTER Thanksgiving. That said... my publishers at Harlequin have released my Christmas book, and so I do want you to be aware of it among all the hubbub as we approach the holidays!

A Western Christmas Homecoming contains three novellas that take place during the Christmas Season.  Christmas With the Outlaw, my story in the anthology, is the last book in the Oak Grove Series that I have been writing with Lauri Robinson. Oh my, how hard it is to say goodbye to the inhabitants of our dear fictional town, but I believe after seven books, it is time. Here's a blurb of the characters and plot...

Abigail White reports the news for the Oak Grove Gazette -- clearly, concisely, and ...rather critically, until the day outlaw Russ Carter stumbles through her back door, injured and seeking a place to hide.

Russ never expected to see Abigail again. She's all grown up now -- sharp, smart, and fascinating. Compassion is not her strength, but in this season of giving, a few elves are hard at work, and Abigail's own heart might just be the cost.

    ~  Excerpt ~ 

Christmas with the Outlaw

Russ drained the cup on his next sip. It wasn’t very big—a woman’s dainty, painted teacup. He was glad that she held it. In his hand, it might shatter. Well…maybe not so much now considering how weak he felt. He lay back against the pillow as a wave of gratitude washed over him that she’d been here…that Teddy had been here. “So… I made it to Oak Grove.”

“You wouldn’t have made it an inch farther. What in the world happened, Russ?”

He was still trying to sort that part out. “A lot. I…uh…appreciate you taking me in.” She hadn’t wanted to. He remembered hearing that much during a lucid moment.

Startled, she met his gaze. “Russ… Of course, you are welcome. We’ve had our differences, but I would never want you…”

“Dead?” He gave a half laugh to cover his frustration. His life had suddenly come undone. To hell with the teacup, his life was what was shattered, and he’d played a part in letting it happen. “We didn’t get on all that well, you and me. Guess you’re entitled to your own opinion.”

They were harsh words, but honest.

She avoided his gaze. Where was her patent keen retort? Her silence now could only mean one of two things. Either he’d been so near expiring that he really had frightened her or, which was more likely, her opinion of him was still mired in the mud. Unspoken, but heavy in the room, was their last parting.

She set the teacup aside. “How is Tim?”

So it was still Tim. He blew out a breath, a sense of unease weighting his gut. “He’s married now. Loves ranching. He and his wife are expecting their first baby.”

She pulled back, her composure stiff. “Then he’s content living in Colorado.”

“Abby. He wasn’t for you.”

She pressed her lips together. “That really isn’t any of your business. Then or now.”

Why was she still angry with him after all this time? Didn’t she realize that she had deserved someone who was more her match? Someone stronger, with more grit than Timothy. Someone a heck more like himself. “If he had really wanted to stay, he would have.”

“You’re implying I should be grateful that you whisked him away?”

“Yeah. Maybe you should.” Tim was too easily swayed. She would have been bored after a month of marriage. Russ figured he’d saved her from a pile of grief and he wasn’t one bit sorry about it. “It proved his mettle.”

A moment passed as she mulled over his words. “Teddy once said the same thing.”

“There you go.”

She met his gaze. “No one calls me Abby here. When we moved here, I asked Teddy to introduce me as Abigail. It’s more professional.”

“Hmph. I like Abby.” She’d always be Abby to him.

Amusement flashed in her eyes. “You would.” Then her entire demeanor softened as she lowered her shoulders. “I suppose I like it too. And Russ…I’m glad you felt you could come to Teddy…come to us for help. Friends are…so very important.”

As long as they don’t shoot you, he thought bitterly. How long had it been since then? “What day is it?”

“Early Wednesday. Morning has just broken. I found you yesterday in our storage room.”

Four days then. McCabe was shot on Saturday. Word would be out about him.

She studied him, her dark brows knitting together. “The important thing now is that you are better. You are going to be all right.” She stood. “I’ll see to some breakfast for us.”

He wasn’t used to having anyone worry over him—not since his own mother. Yet he couldn’t deny that it felt good to be among friends he could trust, friends who cared. “Sounds good. I’m starving.”

A wry smile formed on her lips, revealing dimples on each cheek.

He remembered those dimples. At thirteen, they’d been inconsistent with the rest of her sharp-edged personality and she hadn't showed them much anyway. Now? Hmm…

“Starving it is? Then you must be feeling better. Perhaps you won’t even mind my cooking.”

How difficult could it be to whip together toast and eggs? “You’ve got to be teasing.” And then it struck him. Abby? Teasing?

Her cheeks flamed pink. “No. Actually, I’m telling the truth.” She scooted from the room.

A Western Christmas Homecoming © by Harlequin Books & Kathryn Albright
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

Here is the back cover blurb about the other two stories
and a necessary caution since this is a blog site that caters to stories that are G-rated...  Since I haven't read these two stories I am unaware of their "sweet & clean" status, however Christmas with the Outlaw is rated G!


Three festive stories ~ Christmas in the Wild West!

In Christmas Day Wedding Bells by Lynna Banning, buttoned-up librarian Alice is swept away by US marshal Rand Logan on a new adventure. Then, Welles is Snowbound in Big Springs in this novella by Lauri Robinson, where he must confront Sophie and their undeclared feelings… Finally, rugged outlaw Russ rescues Abigail from spending the festive season alone in Christmas with the Outlaw by Kathryn Albright! 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Party for a Cause

by Shanna Hatfield

Today, I'm hosting a party over on Facebook called Cowboys and Christmas. Of course, you're all invited!

The reason for the party is primarily to kick off a campaign I hold each year called Read a Book, Help a Cowboy. It raises funds and awareness for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. If you've never heard of JCCF, it's a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to rodeo athletes who sustain catastrophic injuries that keep them from competing (and earning wages) for an extended period of time.  There are many things to love about JCCF, but one of the best: they contribute 100 percent of all donations to the athletes in need. No funds are extracted for administrative costs, etc. 

From November 1 through December 24, I donate a percentage of my book sales to the JCCF. For more detail, hop over to my website: http://shannahatfield.com/jccf

The party is also a time to gather some fun authors like our own Kit Morgan. It's four hours of fun, giveaways, games, prizes and awesome surprises. Seriously, you do not want to miss this!

And because it's party day, I'm offering a freebie! You can get the first book in the Hardman Holidays series for free!

Be sure to download your copy of The Christmas Bargain from Amazon!

One Old West Cinderella discovers
Prince Charming is a. . . Cowboy?

The death of her mother left Philamena Booth grieving and at the mercy of her drunken father. After spending more than a decade held captive on their run-down farm, she’s left speechless when her father strikes a bargain to settle a long overdue debt. In lieu of payment, a handsome cowboy agrees to take Philamena. Mortified yet relieved to leave the farm, she finds herself married to the charismatic, caring man.
Luke Granger might own Hardman’s bank and the fanciest house in the Eastern Oregon town, but he’d much rather be outside riding his horses or wrangling his herd of cattle than keeping his account books straight. In a strange, unsettling turn of events, he finds himself accepting a farmer’s daughter instead of money to cover a loan. If the man hadn’t threatened to sell her to the saloon owner, Luke might have refused. He has no idea what to do with the beautiful Filly or their marriage of convenience, but he’s about to get far more than he bargained for.
Full of Victorian and western charm, The Christmas Bargain is a sweet holiday romance filled with the spirit of the season.
Here’s an exceprt:
Luke grinned at her and wiggled his fingers. “Come on, Filly. It’s a little late to worry about propriety now, don’t you think?”

She took his hand and swung behind him, lacing her hands around his waist and leaning her head against his back. As they rode to the parsonage, Luke kept his hand resting on top of hers.

“I’d like to speak with you about your ride to the Jenkins farm,” he said, using his most official banker’s tone.

She should have known riding through town with her skirts up to her knees and hair flying would embarrass Luke. She was really going to have to work on behaving with more decorum. More like a proper banker’s wife.

He smiled and his icy eyes warmed to a liquid blue as he looked at her over his shoulder. “I’d like to discuss how enticing you looked with your skirts hiked up and your hair rippling behind you. I pictured you as some ancient Irish warrior queen riding into battle. Filly, my girl, you’ve been holding out on me by keeping all that glorious hair confined to buns or braids. I think we need a let-your-hair-down lesson to go along with our kissing lessons.”

USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is a farm girl who loves to write. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances are filled with sarcasm, humor, hope, and hunky heroes. When Shanna isn’t dreaming up dreamy characters, twisting plots, or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, she hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:
Find Shanna’s books at:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Early Texas Towns and Cities—Farmers Branch, Dallas County

A community located fourteen miles north of present-day Downtown Dallas is known as Farmers Branch, Texas, but that wasn’t always so. The area was first settled in 1842 by three families—Thomas Keenan and his wife Sarah, Isaac B. Webb, and William Cochran--who received the original land grants. Remember, single men were awarded a headright of three hundred forty acres, and married men received six hundred forty.

Originally, the settlement included all the land between the Dallas County Line on the north, Cedar Springs to the south, on the east, White Rock Creek, and the Elm Fork of the Trinity River on the west.

In my new Christian historical Cross Timbers Family Saga series, book one GONE TO TEXAS, the four main families came from Tennessee and settled in what’s today the Irving area.

Just after these families arrive and stake the boundaries of their property (around seven thousand acres) in 1840, they met a new neighbor loosely fashioned after history’s Thomas Keen—Thomas Baldwin, a single man whose two sisters, their husbands and children arrived and staked their acreage off just north and east of our original characters in TEXAS MY TEXAS 1841—later Farmers Branch.
By 1842 the area was first called Mustang for the wild grapes that grew along Mustang Creek, so named for the wild horses present in the area. It was a part of Peters’ Colony—the name of four empresario land grant contracts issued by the Republic of Texas’ president Sam Houston, and later the State of Texas, to several groups of both English and American investors all headed by William Smalling Peters.

On August 30, 1841, it was Peters’ son-in-law Samuel Browning who actually signed the first contract. The fourth contract added ten million acres of land to the west, including all or portions of twenty-six additional counties. A county in Texas typically encompasses an area of nine hundred square miles.

Because the soil was so rich, and the crops plated flourished so, William Cochran changed the settlement’s name to Farmers Branch, and the little community became the best-known of all the Texas settlements from 1845 to 1850 as the Texan Land and Emigration Company advertised in the east and Europe for pioneers for immigrants to come and settle there.

The first church in Dallas County was organized by Farmer’s Branch founder Isaac Webb, with its first meeting held in Webb’s log cabin in March 1844. On May 5th, 1845, missionary Reverend Shook preached to five members at the cabin.

Webb donated the land for the church building and an eighteen-foot square log building was erected in 1846 called Webb’s Chapel. It also served as the areas first school house. Some forty years later, a frame building was built to house the Methodist congregation that still existed into the 1990s.
A Baptist minister, William Bowles started the area’s first blacksmith—his slave Jordan was the smithy—and a gristmill in 1845. Farmers Branch got a post office in 1848 with Isaac Webb serving as post master. It functioned until 1866, was closed, then re-opened in 1875. The first local cotton gin was built in 1849 by James A. Smith.

In 1874, early settler Samuel Gilbert and others sold right-of-way through their property to ensure the railroad would come through their little town. A few years later, the Dallas and Wichita Railway finished a track from Dallas to Lewisville—with a stop in Farmers Branch (depot built in 1877)—that was later taken over by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company in 1881.

By 1890, one hundred souls called Farmers Branch home.

BIO: Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory which is what she lives to do. Her award-winning, best-selling novels enjoy a lion’s share of 5-Star ratings from Christian readers around the world. With thirty-eight titles, it’s obvious she loves writing almost as much as singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. She and high school sweetheart Ron celebrated fifty years of marriage in June 2018; they share four children and eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door. 

WebsiteNewsletter / Influencers’ Group / YouTube (Hear Caryl sing her New Songs!) / Facebook /
Blogs: The Word & the Music - HeartWings (Devotional) / GoodReads / Google+ / LinkedIn /  

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thanksgiving Receipts - 1868

Being the month of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share two receipts from 
Peterson's Magazine 1868 
(now remember, I haven't tested these receipts/recipes... so be careful)

Mashed Potatoes. – Mashed potatoes form a very common dish at English tables. This dish is generally, however, a kind of substitute, for the vegetable is seldom mashed unless it be so bad, when boiled, as to be uneatable, as is often the case. The ordinary mode of mashing potatoes is very unwholesome; it forms a greasy and often rancid compound in the stomach, so tenacious of the adhesive principle that the most robust powers of digestion can scarcely act upon it; and yet it is eaten by the most delicate females, who find themselves indisposed after it, but never impute their ailment to the potatoes, “which,” as they say, “never can do any harm.” Potatoes for mashing should be as nicely boiled as if they were intended to be eaten without further preparation; only they should be dressed a little more, though care should be taken not to let the water get into them. The farinaceous* part only should be used, and with it a small quantity of the freshest butter. It is customary in some families to brown with a salamander the top of a dish of mashed potatoes. This is by no means objectionable, though we are of opinion that by adding a little cream, and putting the mashed potatoes into the oven to brown them, a great improvement would be made. Mashed potatoes are also very nice if made up into round balls, covered with yolk of egg, and fried a light brown. They might with great advantage be mixed with some cold fish finely shred, and a little chopped parsley, then dipped in yolk of egg, and fried. In many families the cold remains of fish are often thrown away, which would answer this purpose extremely well, and form a very savory dish for the next day’s dinner. These two later preparations should be garnished with fried parsley.

Sweet-Potato Balls. – First boil the potatoes, then carefully mash the farinaceous* part. Boil, in the meantime, a pint of milk with some lemon-peel, a couple of small lumps of sugar, and a little salt. When the milk boils, take it off the fire, and add the potatoes, so as to form a paste, or rather a tolerable thick mash. When cold, make it into balls; cover these with crumbs of bread and yolk of egg. Fry them of a nice brown color, and serve them up with sugar strewed over them.

*farinaceous -  consisting of or containing starch

I imagine that Mrs. Hampton of the Hampton Boarding house in Bower, Colorado would find these receipts edifying and something to consider when setting her menu for fall. With the rivers nearby, there might be some nice fish to use in the suggested receipt for left over mashed potatoes.

Then again, with all of the people staying at the boarding house, I doubt that she'd have any left overs at all.

Home to Roost - on Amazon