Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ring Tailed Cat

The Ring Tailed Cat

This is a new animal to me. I found it interesting that it is also called a miner's cat and they were domesticated as mouse catchers by early pioneers and miners. Isn't he a cutie?

  Robertbody at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Early pioneers and miners in the Southwest made friends with the Ring Tailed cat to keep the mice problem under control.  Since domestic cats were scarce, this little fellow was worth his weight in mice.

Also known as Miner's cat, ringtail cat and even civet, this pretty little critter is in the raccoon family and not a cat at all. Found throughout the Southwest, they are nocturnal and somewhat smaller than a house cat at 12-17 inches long and around 3 pounds. 

I have always loved animals and think they add fun and humor to stories. Hope you're enjoying my animals of the west serires.
Patricia PacJac Carroll

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Receipts of the 1900s - Part 1

I'm a bit of a book pack rat. The annual Friends of the Library sale in Honolulu, Hawaii, is my crack... errr laudanum. I have more books than I could possibly read in  my lifetime and perhaps a few more besides. Part of my excessive collection is comprised of Civil War Era Ladies Magazines bound by year.

I thought I'd share some of the 'gems' I found in these editions, as it fits the Old West/Historical books that I write and I think it informs the world around my characters.

The first thing to note is that Recipes were called RECEIPTS. When I mentioned Receipts on another blog, people always wanted to correct me. I completely understand why, since we don't use Receipts in that manner in our modern world.

**Please Keep in Mind that I have NOT tested any of these recipes, so try them at your own risk**

Godey’s Lady’s Magazine 1864 – August 
ONION SOUP. – Chop fine six onions, and fry them in a gallon saucepan, with two ounces of butter or dripping fat, stirring them continuously until they become of a very light color; then add six ounces of flour or oatmeal, and moisten with three quarts of water; season with pepper and salt, and stir the soup while boiling for twenty minutes, and when done, pour it out into a pan or bowl containing slices
of bread.
Godey’s Lady’s Book 1865
Take as many oranges as will be necessary*, cut them in half, press the juice from them; take the pulp carefully from the rind, and put it in a bowl, pour a little boiling water on it, stir it well and strain it through a sieve; mix this with the orange-juice, and stir in as much sugar as will make a rich syrup. If the oranges are fine, rub some of the sugar on the peel to extract the essence.  Freeze it like ice cream.
Godey’s Lady’s Magazine 1864 – August
Have ready one pound of pounded loaf-sugar, one and a quarter pounds of chocolate, also in powder, and four new laid eggs. Beat up the whites of the four eggs to a stiff whip, and add to them the sugar and the chocolate.  Beat all well together, and with a spoon drop the mixture in little cakes on paper, or on paper buttered or sugared, and bake the cakes in a moderately cool oven. 

    *I have some frustration when reading through the receipts/recipes in Godey’s books… their lack of actual measurements. Some of their instructions do have specifics but the majority of them don’t. So, I guess they’re going to make you work for it. Or, rather, make me work for it.

    Thursday, March 16, 2017



    I'm currently writing a story that takes place earlier than I've ever written before and something hit me. One of my character's might not do so well...because she's just not the right type.

    When I think of the great pioneer women of the late 19th century, I think of women who worked hard right alongside their husbands. They raised families. They grew gardens and prepared meals in situations that leave me tired just thinking about. They didn't waste time, daylight, food, or resources. What they had was seen as a blessing.

    So, when so many people are looking for a read that will help them escape the work-a-day life, why choose the pioneer era to read about? When, arguably, it was so much more work than now? Why not write about princesses and castles (I do like the occasional princess story)?

    I think it's for a couple of reasons. First, we like the idea that we could be like the heroine. Even if she does more in a day than we normally do in a week, we could do some of the things she does and that empowers us as readers. Secondly, we see how far technology has come and it makes us grateful for what we have. We are so used to modern conveniences that we don't even consider what life would be like without a bathroom, until we read about someone in that situation.

    I love writing about strong women and men, because, let's face it, the pioneers had to be. As an author who wants to be truthful about my characters, what a better age to pick from? Literally, an age (or rather a place) without princesses. They wouldn't have lasted long. Every character in a western novel has to have not only inner strength, of will and courage, but also physical strength, to weather the tough times.

    I just hope I can find half the courage and strength that they did.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2017

    Earliest Women Doctors in the United States?

    Post (c) Doris McCraw/writing as Angela Raines

    Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health, carved by Edmonia Lewis c. 1871-1872 for Harriot Hunt's grave, from

    In studying the women doctors of the 19th century you wonder, where did the idea of women struggling to be accepted start and who were the women whot took up the challenge? A look at early medical societies and education may help.

    In 1846 the American Medical Association was formed to bring a higher level of competence from doctors. Prior to the AMAs formation various states’ medical societies fulfilled that purpose. The Massachusetts Medical Society stated it well when it wrote “A person who is engaged in the practice of medicine or surgery in this commonwealth, not being a fellow or licensate of this society, nor a Doctor of Medicine of Harvard University, shall be deemed by the fellows of this society an irregular practitioner, likewise anyone who has been expelled from this society, or who after being permitted to resign his fellowship has been denied his privileges.” As noted, there is no mention of women and in the case of Massachusetts, a graduate of Medicine from Harvard. It wasn’t that women hadn’t attempted to attend medical school. They were simply denied entrance. Things started to change with the admittance of Elizabeth Blackwell to Geneva medical college and her subsequent graduation.

    Dr. Blackwell, graduated in 1849 from Geneva Medical College in New York, which made her the first women in the United States to do so. What makes her graduation even more interesting is that Dr. Blackwell at one time found the idea of studying medicine abhorrent. A dear friend, who suffered greatly during her treatments, told Elizabeth that “you are fond of study, have health and leisure; why not study medicine? If I could’ve been treated by a lady doctor, my worst sufferings would have been spared me.” At the time Elizabeth told her it was an impossible suggestion and that she could not stand the sight of a medical book. The idea however began to take root and soon Elizabeth was considering that very thing. She methodically set about finding out all she needed to know to pursue that course of education. Upon finding the costs to attend college would be around $3000 she took a job teaching music at a school in Ashville North Carolina. It was at this school, where the principal, Rev. John Dickinson, was a former medical doctor that she took up a trial study of medicine. When she had accumulated the needed funds she returned to Philadelphia. At this time Philadelphia was considered the major medical learning center. Still Elizabeth was unable to secure admittance to any of the medical schools there. She eventually broadened her search applying to and being accepted at Geneva Medical College after a vote of the student body agreed to admit her. In her autobiography she speaks fondly of classes, the school and the professors, but makes mention of the fact that the women of the town felt she shocked Geneva propriety, that they felt she was either a bad woman, or insane. It after her graduation that she learned her admittance may have been a lark, but she does not give much credence to it being a problem for her.

    While Elizabeth Blackwell may have been the first woman to graduate from medical school, she was not the first woman doctor. There were some like Dr. Harriot Kezia Hunt, who practiced in Massachusetts in the 1830s. Although she is noted as the first woman to apply to Harvard Medical School, as a doctor, she was self-taught, having been denied admittance to that institution. Dr. Hunt began her studies when her sister Sarah became ill. Out of desperation for her sister’s health, Harriot had the English couple, Elizabeth and Richard Mott, take on her sister’s treatment. As she says in her autobiography ‘the doubt, uncertainty, and inefficacy of medical practice had been our portion; and the best physicians had given up an only sister!’ She continued studying with and working beside the Mott’s until Richard’s death and Elizabeth’s removal to New York. From that point on Harriot continued to build her practice, focusing on women and children. Hunt also was involved in social reform, specifically abolition of slavery and women’s rights, attending the 1850 women’s rights convention in Massachusetts. Dr. Hunt also corresponded with Dr. Blackwell on at least one occasion. Again from her biography Dr. Hunt states ‘after my experiences with Harvard College, first the professors, then the students who played the same game with different men, it was truly encouraging to hear that Elizabeth Blackwell had graduated at another college, had been to Europe to perfect herself in her profession, and returned to the New York to commence her practice. My soul rejoiced – I poured out my feelings in a letter, and gave her the right hand of fellowship; it was acknowledged in an answer worthy of the writer.’ Later Hunt was awarded an honorary degree from the Female Medical College of Philadelphia in 1853.

     Justin, “Elizabeth Blackwell. The Entry of Women into Medicine in America: Education and
    Obstacles 1847-1910.”

    Blackwell, Elizabeth. Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women: Autobiographical Sketches. Longmans, Green, and Company, 1895.

    Hunt, Harriot Kesia. Glances and Glimpses: Or, Fifty Years Social, Including Twenty Years Professional Life. J. P. Jewett and Company, 1856.

    Doris McCraw - writing as Angela Raines 
    Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
    Colorado and Women's History

    For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 

    Photo and Poem: Click Here 
    Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

    Tuesday, March 14, 2017

    Blog Tour Tuesday - The Barn by Morgan Dawson

    This week’s Blog Tour Tuesday Features

    The Barn 
    By Morgan Dawson

    About the Book:

    **This is a sweet historical romance novella written by a 13 year old author**

    Can she find forgiveness in her heart?

    Still holding onto her anger for past hurts, Adeline struggles after her older sister moves away, leaving her in charge of her younger sisters.

    Adeline must find a way to care for her family, while following her own dreams, but what will be the cost? Will her heart be able to forgive her pa, like she so desperately wants, or will it be too late?

    Follow Adeline’s story as she finds her true heart’s calling, thanks to a man who has always believed in her.


    I head out the door and go in the opposite direction of the creek. It truly is hot in the house, so at least out here I will get some fresh air. I head past the chicken coop into the meadow where I always go and lay in my packed down spot.
I close my eyes again, my cheek still throbbing with pain.


    I hear a voice from the direction of the chicken coop, and I sigh, rolling into the long grass beside me, hoping he won't see me. I can't see August right now. He's probably talked to pa and now thinks I'm stupid and is coming to tell me that.
I hear him walking toward the packed down area. I hold my breath, not daring to move.

"Adeline? I saw you come over here. Please come out." He puts his hands in his pockets. His eyes move to where I'm hiding in the long grass and I feel the blood rush to my head. He chuckles. "What are you doing in the grass?"

    Dang it. 
I sit up trying, to fake a laugh. He offers his hand, which I hesitantly take as he pulls me up on to my feet.
  His eyebrows furrow and he moves his hand toward my face. I don't move, unsure what to do as he lightly touches the tender spot on my cheek. I wince pulling back. 

    "Adeline?" He steps toward me but I step farther away, shaking my head. "Come on Adeline. What happened?"

I let out a frustrated groan. "You seriously don't know? I thought my pa would come and tell you two instantly."
He shakes his head, opening his mouth but not saying anything. 
"We got in a fight, is all.”

    August steps toward me again, panic rising in his voice. "And he hit you?"

    "No. Oh heavens no. I ran and sort of fell, hitting my face on the ground. I'm so clumsy." I laugh, looking down at my feet.

    "What were you fighting about?" He smiles, sitting down in the grass.

    I sigh, taking my place beside him. "You don't even want to know. It's just something stupid because of my selfishness, and I realize now I was the one being unreasonable."

    "Please, tell me. I promise I won't judge." August gives me a reassuring smile, his kind, green eyes sparkling.

I groan. "Fine, but I just want to let you know, it was nice for me to finally have a friend to talk to.  I’ll miss you." 
I pause, and he chuckles.

    "So, Hazel told me pa was selling a cow to a buyer so I went up to the pasture. The cow he sold was one my sister and I had named Pumpkin. I remember the day so well. My sisters and I spent the whole day running around the pasture, while my ma and pa dealt with calving cows." I stop, looking at him to see if he's bored. "And well, I kind of started yelling at him, and being stupid and stubborn as always."

August laughs, which makes me smile a little. He keeps laughing and soon I find myself doing the same. Finally, I whack him lightly on the arm. "It's not that funny."

    "No, it's just you. I've never met someone who takes all of the blame on themselves and is so unfair to themselves.”

    I smile. "I know, but this time it truly was my fault for the argument. And I said something truly horrid to him. I told him I hated him, which is far from the truth."

    We sit quietly for a while, until he shifts beside me. "So about that fall...”

    I give him a glare, smiling. "Yah, I tripped on my dress and the good thing is, my cheek took all of the impact from the fall."

    He laughs and stands up. "Come on. Let's get you back to the house. I've got a barn to finish."

    I stand, but grab his wrist, stopping him in his tracks. "How did you see me? Were you coming up to the house?"

    "No, I was up on the ladder and what else do I see but a mass of curly, blonde hair running to the meadows."

    "Oh." I reply. I walk beside him and he hesitantly reaches for my hand, which I debate pulling away. Clearly, without knowing the reason, I let him take my hand in his and we walk in the direction of home.

At the bottom of the hill the house sits on, August stops. “I’ll walk to the barn from here. And Adeline? Try not beating yourself up so much. It’ll eventually wear you down.” 
A flicker of hesitation appears in his eyes before he plants a quick kiss on my forehead. "Get making supper." He laughs, pulling away and walking back to where pa and Robert are working. 

    I stand there, watching him walk away, unsure of what just happened.


    Morgan Dawson is the thirteen year old daughter of western romance author Kay P. Dawson.

    She has always loved to read, saying some day she would write a book of her own.  The Barn is her second book, (Book 1 is called “The Wagon” and is also available on Amazon) and she has more books planned for the series.

    Follow Morgan on Facebook -

    Monday, March 13, 2017


     One of my favorite characters in my latest book, Kizzie's Kisses, is Charlie Gray Cloud, a man in his late twenties who is half Kaw. The Kaw Indians, also known as Kansa Indians, are the tribe that gave their name to both the river that joins the Missouri River at Kansas City, and to the state of Kansas. He worked as a scout on the same oxen-pulled freight train with my hero, Leander Jones. At the time of my story, the two men are traveling east of Salina, Kansas. The following is a little bit about the history of the Kaw/Kansa tribe.

    Early History

    The Kansa tribe of farmers and hunters lived along the Kansas River, a tributary of the Missouri and extended from Kansas into Nebraska. They were a strong, proud, war-like people who fought with other tribes, the fur traders and white soldiers and settlers before signing a number of treaties which culminated in their forced removal to reservations.

    The Kaw Nation derived its name from the Siouan word for “south wind,” which was the tribe’s role in war ceremonials, using the power of the wind when recognizing warriors. Among the many variations of the name given by French traders and other Europeans were “Kanza” or “Kansa.” By the mid-18th century, the “Wind People” were the predominant tribe in what became the state to which they gave their name (Kansas). Their territory extended over most of present-day northern and eastern Kansas, with hunting grounds extending far to the west.

    The Kaw, along with the Osage, Ponca, Omaha, and Quapaw — technically known as the Dhegiha-Siouan division of the Hopewell cultures of the lower Ohio Valley —lived together as one people in the lower Ohio valley prior to the white invasion of North American in the late 15th century. Sometime prior to about 1750, the search for better sources of game and pressure from the more powerful Algonquians to the east prompted a westward migration to the mouth of the Ohio River. The other tribes moved up and down the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and the Kaws assumed control of the region in and around present-day Kansas City as well as the Kansas River Valley to the west.

    The French explorer Bourgmont was the first European known to visit the Kaws in 1724. He found them living in a single large village near the future site of the town of Doniphan, Kansas, on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River.  In 1780 the Kaw abandoned this village and took up residence on the Kansas River, but the ruins of their earlier village were long a landmark for travelers. When Lewis and Clark ascended the Missouri, they noted passing the site of the “old village of the Kanzas” on July 2, 1804.

    Culture of the Kaw/Kansa People
    In the past, each Kansa band was led by a chief who was chosen by a tribal council. Kansa men were hunters and sometimes went to war to protect their families. Kansa women were farmers and did most of the child care and cooking. Only men became Kansa chiefs, but both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.

    The Kansa Indians lived in settled villages of round earthen lodges. These lodges were made from wooden frames covered with packed earth. Kansa houses were very large (more than fifty feet across) and several families shared the same lodge. When Kansa men went on hunting trips, they often used small buffalo-hide tipis (or teepees) as temporary shelter, similar to camping tents. Unlike other Plains Indian tribes, Kansa families did not normally live in teepees.

    So-Jum-Wah - 1865
    The men wore a blue or red breechcloth with a belt, deerskin leggings, moccasins with no ornamentation, and sometimes a blanket over the upper part of the body. Shells, beads, or metal ornaments were attached to the rim of the ear, sometimes to great profusion, and long slender hair pipes were common. Kaw men shaved their heads, leaving only the scalp lock uncut. Sometimes the edge of the lock was colored with vermilion, or an eagle feather was inserted. On top of the head a roach (headdress) might be worn, made of deer tail, dyed red and parted longitudinally by a silver spreader (James, 1823). 
    Quyulange aka Eagle Plume 1877

    For my character Charlie Gray Cloud, I used a combination of the photographs of these two men to visualize what he might look like and how he may have been dressed. 

    Kaw women wore moccasins, knee-length leggings of blue and red cloth, a skirt and occasionally a cloth thrown over one shoulder. The hair was worn long, parted in the middle, the part colored with vermilion. Like the men, many of the women tattooed the body.
    Grandma McCauley

    Kansa artists are famous for their native weaving, beadwork, and hide paintings.

    One of the best early records of the Kaw people came from the 1832 visit by the artist George Catlin. His paintings of Kaw people preserved images of the dress styles of the time.

    The food that the Kansa tribe ate included crops of maize, beans and squash and fish caught in the rivers. In the summer the hunters provided a variety of meat, especially the buffalo.

    The religion and beliefs of the Kansa tribe were based on their belief in the Great Spirit and Animism that encompassed the spiritual or religious idea that the universe and all natural objects animals, plants, trees, rivers, rocks, mountains etc. The Kansa religion involved vision quests and many different spirit beings, or wakan, who held different powers.
    Meach-o-shín-gaw, Little White Bear, a distinguished Kansa brave
    Demographers have estimated that, as a consequence of the white man’s diseases (principally smallpox, cholera, and influenza), their population had been reduced perhaps to less than 50 percent, down to about 1,500 men, women and children by 1800. Even so, the Kaws presented a formidable obstacle to American expansion into the trans-Missouri West following its acquisition of this vast region by the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. From their villages and small vegetable farms in northeastern Kansas and later along the Kansas River west of present-day Topeka, Kaw warriors maintained control of the lower Kansas valley against both the white man from the east and alien tribes to the west. Kaw hunters also engaged in semi-annual hunting expeditions onto the plains of western Kansas.

    In 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804 - 1806) shortly after the Louisiana Purchase pulled this territory under the dominion of the United States. Members of this expedition attempted to make contact with the Kansa tribe, but the people were on a buffalo hunt. In September of 1806, A grand council was held between Zebulon Pike and James Wilkinson and various chiefs of the Kansa, Pawnee and Osage Nations.

    However, this turned out to be monumental events for the region, for the expedition returned east with favorable reports of the region. This prompted emigration to the region and the establishment of Kansas City, one of the trade centers and jumping-off points for travelers heading further west.

    Francis French Killer, Wah-Sis-Tah-Shin-Kah
    However, this was not the first contact with Europeans. Prior to that, due to their location at the junction of two major rivers, they came into contact with both the Spanish and later the French.which established trading posts in the region. Contact with Europeans resulted with a devastating smallpox epidemic killed many people in 1801. Between sickness and intertribal warfare, the number of Kansa people declines dramatically.

    the early 1800s, the Kaw’s domain extended well beyond the present-day borders of Kansas. From 1780 to 1830 the Kaw lived at Blue Earth Village on the Kansas River, at the site of present-day Manhattan, Kansas. The Kaw probably moved to the Kansas River Valley to be closer to the buffalo herds on the Great Plains. The tribe increasingly depended upon buffalo hunting for its subsistence and less on agriculture. Also, living on the Kansas River gave them access to a rich territory of fur bearing animals to trade to the French for guns and other commodities. Unfortunately, this movement west also made them more vulnerable to attack from powerful enemies such as the Pawnees. Lewis and Clark noted that they were "reduced by war with their neighbors." They estimated the Kaw to number 300 men—about 1,500 persons in all.

    In 1825, the Kaw ceded a huge area of land in Missouri and Kansas to the United States in exchange for a promise of an annuity of $3,500 annually for twenty years. The promised annuity—to be paid in goods and services—was often late in arriving or found its way into the pockets of unscrupulous government officials and merchants. The Kaw were indifferent to the pleas of government agents and missionaries that they take up farming as their sole livelihood.

    Meanwhile, the Kaw faced smallpox epidemics in 1827–1828 and 1831–1832, which killed about 500. During the same period the tribe split into four different competing groups living in different villages, a consequence of rivalry between three groups of conservatives, who favored retaining traditional ways, and one group under White Plume which favored accommodation with the United States. Important in the latter group were 23 mixed bloods, the sons and daughters of French traders who had taken Kaw wives.

    Due to pressures from encroaching white men and decimation by disease and warfare, and a flood that destroyed their crops in 1844, in 1846, the Kaw sold most of their remaining land and the federal government forced them onto a 20 square-mile reservation surrounding Council Grove, Kansas. Council Grove is a beautiful area of forests, water, and tall grass prairie. About 1,000 people, struggling with disease and starvation, lived in three nearby villages. However, Council Grove was probably the worst location that could have been selected for the already weakened and demoralized tribe. It was a favorite stopping place for the rough-mannered teamsters and traders and greedy merchants on the Santa Fe Trail. The first Kaw arriving there were beaten up by traders. The flourishing whiskey trade in Council Grove was detrimental to the Kaw. Whites invaded Indian lands and sporadic efforts by soldiers to force them off the reservation were ineffective. In 1860, the Kaw reservation, overrun by White settlers, was reduced to 80,000 acres.

    The Kaw lived on the reservation for less than 30 years when, despite an impassioned plea to Congress by Chief Allegawaho in 1873, the US government relocated 600 kaws to a new reservation in (present-day Oklahoma).

    Kizzie’s Kisses is Book 2, the first full-size book in the Grandma’s Wedding Quilts series. You may read the full book decription as well as purchase Kizzie’s Kisses by CLICKING HERE.