Thursday, May 25, 2023

Honor the Brave - A Short History of Memorial Day by Jo-Ann Roberts


Memorial Day makes the unofficial start of summer, bringing to mind images of picnics, barbecues, a long weekend at the beach or just a lazy day off. 

But originally, the holiday was charged with deeper meaning--and with controversy. No one knows the true origin of the holiday, but here are a few worth mentioning.

The exact origins of Memorial Day are disputed with at least five towns claiming to have given birth to the holiday sometime near the end of the Civil War. According to one source, the first Memorial Day was in April 1865 when a group of former slaves gathered at a Confederate prison where more than 250 Unions soldiers had died. After digging up the soldiers' mass graves, they interred the bodies in individual graves, built a fence around them and erected a memorial arch.

In 1865, just after the close of the Civil War a local druggist in Waterloo, New York suggested placing flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers in his community.

The following year, another area resident, General John B. Murray led the small village in putting flags at half-mast and decorating the gravestones of soldiers buried in the town's three cemeteries.

 "...Let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us...the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."

General Orders No.11, Washington, D.C.

May 1868
by order of John A. Logan, Commander-in-Chief

At the onset, Memorial Day--originally called Decoration Day "designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion" was so closely linked with the Union cause that many Southern states refused to celebrate it. They acquiesced only after World War I, when the holiday was expanded beyond honoring fallen Civil War soldiers to recognizing Americans who died fighting in all wars. Still, many Southern states still recognize Confederate Memorial Day as an official holiday, and many celebrate it on the June birthday of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, But Texas observes the holiday on Robert E. Lee's birthday, January 19th.

The long-cherished Memorial Day tradition of wearing red poppies got its start in 1915. While reading Ladies' Home Journal, an overseas war secretary named Moina Michael came across the famous World War I poem, "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae. Moved by the poem, she vowed always to wear a silk poppy in honor of the American soldiers who have given up their lives for their country. She started selling them to friends and campaigned for the red flowers to become an official memorial emblem. The American Legion embraced the symbol in 1921 and the tradition spread to more 50 countries, including England, France and Australia.

With the National Holiday Act of 1971, Congress moved Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May. Critics complained guaranteeing the holiday is part of three-day weekend promotes relaxation instead of stressing the holiday's true meaning.

Since the 1950s, on the Thursday before Memorial Day, soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division have placed American flags at each of the more than 260,ooo graves there. On the holiday itself, the President gives a speech and lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Whether you attend a parade or ceremony, visit a cemetery or memorial, wear a poppy or flag pin, or donate time at a veterans' facility, take a moment to say thanks to those men and women who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Happy Memorial Day

My new release....

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Struggle - These Women Doctors Didn't Let That Stop Them

 Post (c) Doris McCraw

aka Angela Raines

Photo property of the Author 

There is a history of women struggling to be accepted in the early part of the 1800s. It began with Elizabeth Blackwell and her efforts for acceptance into Geneva medical college.

Dr. Blackwell, who graduated in 1849 from Geneva was not the only woman who made the effort to attend medical school or practice medicine openly. Dr. Harriot Kezia Hunt practiced in Massachusetts in the 1830s and had applied to Harvard Medical School, at the same time Blackwell applied to Geneva, but was denied acceptance. (It should be noted, the faculty agreed to let Dr. Hunt and men of color audit classes, but the student body objected.) Dr. Hunt was later given an honorary degree from the Female Medical College of Philadelphia in 1853.

In 1864 Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first woman of color in the United States to earn a medical degree. Dr. Sarah Hackett Stevenson, a physician in Illinois was admitted to the American Medical Association in 1876.

On January 8, 1873, the Denver Rocky Mountain News, carried the following advertisement. “Mrs. E. A. Gillett,M.D. Office and residence: Curtis Street between I and K. Special attention given to Obstetrics and diseases of women and children. References: John Major, M.D., Dr. C. Wakefield, Bloomington, Illinois: R.A. Gunn M.D., H.D. Garrison M.D., L.S. Major M.D., Prof. Bennet, Medical College, Chicago.” Dr. Gillett remained in Denver for approximately two years before continuing further west.

The idea of a female doctor in Colorado does not seem to be one of fighting prejudice. At least not overtly. Dr. Gillett had supporters, most of whom are male. There were women doctors in the 1870s in Colorado who did not fit any of the parameters we've seen in the television shows.

Dr. Alida Avery came to Denver in 1874 as the director of hygiene. Dr. Avery's credentials were impressive. She graduated from the New England Female Medical College in 1862 and then Boston University of Medicine in 1863. Prior to Colorado, Dr. Avery was a professor at Vassar from 1865 to 1874. Matthew Vassar in 1864 wanted to use all female professors, but in the 1860s there were few who would qualify. He did locate two, astronomer Maria Mitchell and Dr. Alida C. Avery, physician, and physiology professor. Dr. Avery, along with Miss Lyman and Dr. Raymond, were called by some of the students ' The Trinity' for their power in the institution. A case for fighting prejudice might be made for Dr. Avery if you include her work on behalf of women and the suffrage movement. By the time Dr. Avery arrived in Colorado, two years prior to statehood, she was involved in and was the president of “The Organization for Women's rights”. The Rocky Mountain News announced her arrival in style. The June 11, 1874 edition of the paper included the following: “the well-known professor of physiology and hygiene, at Vassar College, Alida C. Avery, M. D., has arrived in Denver and taken up residence on 20th St., corner of Champa. She has been the resident physician of that institution from its opening in 1865, having usually under her care the health and habits of some 400 young women from every part of our country. The Poughkeepsie news, in announcing her resignation, makes mention of the remarkable fact, that not a single death occurred among the pupils under her charge, during her eight years of administration....”

While Dr. Avery may have been the first female physician to remain in Colorado for more than two years, she was not the only one. Dr. Rilla G Hay, one of the first to be licensed in California when they began in 1876, regardless of where the physician had a practice, spent time in active practice and furthered her education, taking additional medical courses over the years she was active.

Dr. Edith Root was the first woman to receive a license in the state of Colorado when the state began the process in 1881.

While women had to work to achieve their dreams, so did many others. What we can take from their journey is the determination to follow through and just do it.

If you would like to know more about the women doctors who practiced in the Colorado Springs area the book: "Under the Stone: Early Women Doctors in Evergreen Cemetery" is available as an ebook. Amazon Purchase Link

My novel “Josie’s Dream” was inspired by these women that I not only admire but use as role models for following one's dreams Josie's Dream - Amazon Link.

Until Next Time: Stay safe, Stay happy, and Stay healthy.


Thursday, May 11, 2023

Finding a Flue Cover


Last week, we began a long-awaited kitchen remodel. Kitchen demolition seems to be a more appropriate term at this point. Everything from the flooring to the soffits in the ceiling came out. 

Among the surprises we uncovered (like a chimney beneath three layers of dry wall and the fact our floor slopes) were one of the big lego pieces from when they first came out, and an amazing flue cover that I fell in love with the moment I saw it. 

Flue covers date back to the days when homes were heated with wood, oil, or coal-burning stoves. Vent pipes often went through the wall and if removed, left a gaping hole. The same is true for pipes that went to upper floors, carrying welcome heat in the winter. During warmer months, the pipes might be removed and cleaned, again leaving a hole. 

The Victorians, who loved their decorations, used flue covers to hide those unsightly holes. Some of them looked like metal grates, others appeared more to be fashioned from a metal pie tin. German and French printers churned out the decorative centers on these pieces that were generally in the 8-inch range of size. 

The flue covers often hung from a chain over the openings. Some of them are just beautiful!

I decided to look up the pattern from mine. 

It most commonly seems to be referred to as Southern Belle Lady in the Garden.

The pattern seems to have been quite popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

There was even a trash can with that pattern!

If you know anything about this pattern, I'd love to learn more. 

Have you ever found unexpected treasures? 

After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with hope, humor, and hunky heroes.

When this award-winning author isn’t writing or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at: ShannaHatfield

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Simpler times- by Kimberly Grist

Pioneer life was a simpler and more challenging time. Homes were made of logs and lit by oil lamps, and days were filled with chores necessary for survival. A glimpse of what life was like still exists near my home in Georgia at Calloway Gardens, located in Pine Mountain, Georgia.

The above photo is of a two-room cabin at Calloway Gardens, constructed of longleaf pine and occupied for over a century.
Tiny House Living
Like many of you, I'm intrigued by the thought of downsizing and embracing tiny-house living. But just trying to envision where I would put all my kitchen gadgets, not to mention my husband, children, cat, and rottweiler, makes my heart race. But then again, in retrospect, my fondest memories were growing up in a modest-sized home not meant to house seven children. We ate our meals together and sat on benches like the ones shown below. When a new sibling or friend arrived for dinner, we scooted over and made room.  
Life was Simple 
This cabin was built in the 1830s and was home to many families, one of which included 15 family members who lived here at the same time. In 1959, the structure was relocated from neighboring Troup County to Callaway Gardens. As I toured the room, I could imagine this family much like my own growing up. Their meals were simple, and the conversation was lively. I can't help but believe their discussions around the table were far and away better than today's substitute of texting.

A simple design, the downstairs was one room and functioned as the main living room and a bedroom, most likely for the parents. The doorway to the additional loft space is located in the right-hand corner.
Our tour guide joked that due to the hard work required to survive, the people living here would have been so tired that the thin mattress would not have inhibited their sleep. Thinking back to my childhood, I rarely recall a night of unrest. After school, my brothers and I had a paper route where we delivered the news to the neighbor's front door. We walked and rode our bicycles for fun and played "King of the Hill," Red-light, Green-light, and Hide and Seek. Like the child who may have once slept here, we were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.  

Making the Most Out of Life
The above photo shows how the front porch could have been utilized to dry herbs. Every inch of space of the homestead was put to good use. A porch might also be used as additional sleeping space during many months of the year. Growing up without air conditioning, this front porch brings back more memories of lingering outside on summer nights, counting the stars, and watching and chasing fireflies.

New Release:
A hopeless romantic, Abilene is on the run again, dreaming of her happily ever after- an understanding husband, a house in the country, and peace.
Sheriff Mark Joseph learned the hard way that love only leads to heartache and is not worth the risk. The last thing he needs is a wife. Long work hours with a healthy dose of danger are the best antidote to a broken heart.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Yampa River, Colorado by Zina Abbott



When I first traveled to Denver, Colorado, to visit family who recently moved there, I saw frequent references to Yampa. I thought, that is an interesting name. Where did that come from? I learned quite some time later it comes from the name of a river that rises in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and ends at the Green River, just before that river leaves Colorado and continues into Utah.

The Yampa River flows 250 miles (400 km) through northwestern Colorado in the United States. It starts in the Rocky Mountains, and is a tributary of the Green River as well as a major part of the Colorado River system.

 The name, Yampa, is derived from the Snake Indian word Yamparika, meaning “yampa eaters,”  for the Perideridia plant, a member of the carrot family, which has an edible root highly prized by Native Americans. John C. Frémont was among the first to record the name “Yampah” in entries of his journal starting in 1843. He found the plant to be particularly abundant in the watershed.

Bear River Source

Early 1800s fur traders thought Yampa was the Ute word for “bear.” On some earlier maps, the river was labeled the Bear River. There is a Bear River, which The Bear River which flows from a source at Derby Peak in the Flat Tops Wilderness. The river now known as Bear River is part of the headwaters of the Yampa River, which starts at the confluence of the Bear River and Phillips Creek near the town of Yampa. The headwaters of the Yampa are in the Park Range in Routt County, Colorado.

1903 Yampa River at Steamboat Springs

The Yampa River, it flows north through a high mountain valley, through Stagecoach Reservoir and Lake Catamount, before reaching Steamboat Springs, where it turns sharply west. Below Steamboat Springs, the Yampa flows through a wider valley in the western foothills of the Rockies. It receives the Elk River from the north, then passes the towns of Milner and Hayden.

After entering Moffat County, the Yampa passes the town of Craig. It is joined by the Williams Fork. West of Craig, the Yampa crosses arid, sparsely populated sagebrush country for about 50 miles (80 km) before reaching Cross Mountain Canyon, where the river slices a 1,000 ft (300 m) deep gap through the namesake mountain. Below Cross Mountain the Yampa enters the open valley of Lily Park, where it is joined by its largest tributary, the Little Snake River.

If you would like to learn more about the Little Snake River, particularly in southern Wyoming, please refer to one of my earlier blog posts, The Little Snake River Valley by Zina Abbott, which you may find by CLICKING HERE

Farther west, the Yampa River enters Dinosaur National Monument. From there, it traverses more than 40 miles (64 km) of rugged canyons and rapids. The Yampa joins the Green River in Echo Park at Steamboat Rock, still in the center of Dinosaur National Monument, at about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the Colorado–Utah border.

Overlook of Yampa River

The Yampa River passes through two counties in the northwestern corner of Colorado. It is sparsely populated. The Snake (Shoshone) and Ute Indians dominated the area until 1881, when the Utes agreed to move to a reservation in northeastern Utah. Although there was some white settlement as early as the 1870s, most did not begin until 1881. The majority of the land was used for cattle ranching (as was Brown’s Park, Utah, of Butch Cassidy fame, and the Little Snake River Valley, Wyoming). The area also attracted
gold seekers, sheep herders, and homesteaders. However, movement in and out of the region was limited by the lack of a railroad. The first railroad arrived in Steamboat Springs in December 1908, which opened the area to coal mining.

Confluence of Yampa River and Green River

The Yampa River is one of the few remaining free-flowing rivers in the United States, which makes it an attractive destination today for those who wish to fish its waters or travel its length by boat, canoeing or tube.


I researched this area for my most recent book, which releases today, Sabrina, Rescue Me (Mail-order Brides) Book 19. It is set in 1883 in a fictional area of Colorado, which I loosely based on Moffat and Routt Counties with the biggest waterways being the Yampa and Little Snake Rivers. To find the book description and purchase options for Sabrina, please CLICK HERE