Monday, June 7, 2021

19th Century Commuting Part II by Kimberly Grist


Photos from Stagecoach (1939), directed by John Ford. The movie that made John Wayne a star.

According to an 1877 Omaha Herald article, there was a stagecoach code of etiquette and a few warnings. Here are a few:
File:Stagecoach-02 - Andy Devine et George Bancroft.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

“In very cold weather, abstain entirely from liquor while on the road; a man will freeze twice as quick while under its influence.” 
Essential Westerns” set to stampede into Music City – Cowboys and Indians  Magazine

"When the driver asks you to get out and walk, do it without grumbling.”

“If a team runs away, sit still and take your chances; if you jump, nine times out of ten, you will be hurt."

Doubling for John Wayne, Yakima Canutt is shown in one of his most famous stunts. 

13 Best Stagecoach 1939 ideas | stagecoach, stagecoach 1939, john ford
“Never attempt to fire a gun or pistol while on the road; it may frighten the team and the careless handling and cocking of the weapon makes nervous people nervous."
Stagecoach: Defining the Western. How John Ford's 1939 western classic… |  by David A. Punch | Medium
"Don't discuss politics or religion nor point out places on the road where horrible murders have been committed if delicate women are among the passengers."

Friday, June 4, 2021

Victorian-American Boot Jacks by Kristin Holt

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks

 by Kristin Holt, USA Today Bestselling Author
of Sweet Romance set in the American Old West


Necessity, the Mother of Invention

While men's boots were loose enough to be pulled free with a man's own two hands, no one knew they needed something like a boot jack. As so often happens, changing fashions dictate the need for an invention (i.e., sleeve supporters). This time, fashion's wily ways effected men.

The story presented in this 1871 newspaper article explains how "boot-jacks came in shortly after the introduction of tight boots."

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. Introduction of the Boot Jack, how and why. North Star of Danville, Vermont on September 22, 1871.
North Star of Danville, Vermont on September 22, 1871.

Imagining a Boot Jack

Are you familiar with boot jacks? Could you recognize one in a museum?

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. Photo of a Victorian mahogany boot jack with T-handle. Sold by Wilson 55 Auctioneers.
Image: Wilson 55 Auctioneers

This beautiful mahogany piece allowed the user to remove his tight boots. Yet not all boot jacks were so fancy.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. Photographs of vintage wooden boot jack, plain and utilitarian. Sold by Every Thing But The House.
Image: Every Thing But The House

Yes, many boot jacks were wooden, such as these examples. Manufacturers also cast jacks out of iron.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. Photo of 19th century American antique cast iron portable boot jack, sold by Urban Remains.
Image: Urban Remains

Even mail-order catalogues got in on the boot jack market. Montgomery, Ward & Co. Catalogue sold boot jacks made of iron.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. Boot Jacks sold in Montgomery, Ward & Co. Catalogue No. 57, Spring and Summer 1895.
Montgomery, Ward & Co. Catalogue Spring and Summer 1895, No. 57.

Boot Jacks: A Necessary Contraption?

Boot Jacks have gone the way of the dodo. Most of us haven't seen one--but many of us have. Any able-bodied man could remove his own boots, couldn't he?

Consider the tale related in 1876:

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. Fanciful tale about a man using a sapling tree as a boot jack, and the miserable results. From The Mendocino Democrat of Ukiah, California, May 20, 1876.
The Mendocino Democrat of Ukiah, California on May 20, 1876.

Reminiscing About Boot Jacks

Ah, the good old days. Some of those golden days of yore included boot jacks.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. An amusing boot jack story from Weekly Oregon Statesman of Salem, Oregon on August 1, 1890.

Now that's a charming tale. Worth a chuckle.

This next old-time reminiscence tale recalls his father's discipline applied by paddling the boy's backside with a boot jack.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. A reminiscent, glowing tale of "The Old Oaken Boot Jack," and the paddling a boy received. From The Streator Free Press of Streator, Illinois on September 28, 1900.

Boot Jack Patents

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. U.S. Patent No 8865 awarded to inventor S. Thompson for Boot Jack (illustrated), patented April 6, 1852.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. U.S. Patent No 18,844 awarded to inventor F.C. Goffin for Boot Jack, patented April 6, 1858.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Boot Jacks. U.S. Patent No 30,913 awarded to invetor J. Durham for Boot Jack, Patented December 18, 1860.

Kristin Holt | Victorian-America's Boot Jacks. The Richardson Patent Folding Boot Jack, illustrated advertisement in The Summit County Beacon of Akron, Ohio on June 11, 1868.

Have you seen or used a boot jack? Do you have something to add? Please scroll down and comment.

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Copyright © 2021 Kristin Holt LC

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Wallpaper and the Old West


Hi, Kit Morgan here! Today I'd like to talk decorating. But not just any decorating. The old west had one way of decorating that some couldn't live without. 

When we think of the old west we think of cowboys, horses, pioneers, struggle and strife and all sorts of other things. But do we ever think of wallpaper? Nope! However, when we look at pictures of those bygone days, many of them have wallpaper gracing the walls of many a farmhouse, saloon, hotel and yes, even brothels. It's in movies depicting the era, television and pictures. Who wants to look at a plain wall in the background when we're grown so used to seeing colorful wallpaper everywhere?

Wallpaper has been around forever. The Chinese glued rice paper onto their walls as early as 200 BC! As far as American, however, wall paper didn't come into the country until 1739 when a fellow by the name of Plunkett Fleeson began printing wallpaper in Philadelphia. In those early days, colonials copied European fashion. Soon paper became all the rage and American firms even created patriotic "commemorative papers" because of the revolutionary war. Artists came up with everything from neoclassical designs to rambling roses. By 1850,  eight color printing was available. The papers were getting spiffy now! And in 1888, the first wallpaper paste was invented. Wallpaper pasting machines didn't come about until the turn of the century. 

Being a bit of an architectural buff, I love to look at a blank canvas and imagine what sorts of wallpaper I'd put up. Yes, I'm a wallpaper junkie! I admit it. I love the stuff and had one house with quite a bit of wallpaper in it. There was always a lot of Oooos and Ahhhhh whenever folks came over and saw it. To me it makes a home all that more homier. And in the old west, it was a fashion statement for many a housewife. 

Then modernism came along which frowned on embellishments and wallpaper fell by the wayside. Cookie cutter homes and sterile work environments (the bane of any artist's existence) began to dominate the latter part of the 20th century, but now in the 21st, wall paper is making a comeback! Many people have rediscovered the beauty and romance of patterned walls.

So the next time you watch an old west movie or show, notice the wall paper! Some might be downright garish (the victorian era) while others are so pretty, you wish you could put some on your own walls! I often describe the interiors of the homes in the books I write and many have, you guessed it! Wallpaper! 

Until next time,


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Look What Our Authors Published in May!


  Our authors have been busy writing and publishing books. Here is what we published in May:

Tess (Prairie Roses Collection Book 9)

Annee Jones

A betrayal...a secret baby….an unknown imposter…will Tess survive the wagon train journey to Sunset Hills, Oregon after her life is threatened? And if so, what will she do once she gets there?

Garrett Kincaid is looking forward to bringing his youngest nephew, Jacob, to join his sister and brother-in-law in their new home of Sunset Hills, OR. His sister begged him to care for her young son until the rest of the family got settled. The time is right for them to make the journey west. 

Released May 4, 2021

Cadi  (Prairie Roses Collection Book 11)

By Linda Carroll-Bradd

After her father betrayed her trust by gambling away their Kentucky horse breeding business, Cadi Gruffyn salvaged the pregnant prize mare gifted for her 21st birthday. The loss of the horse farm displaces her aunt and uncle, so Cadi joins them on a wagon train to northern California where her brother established a ranch in the Diablo Valley. When her uncle dies, several men approach Cadi, insisting she needs a husband to help her finish out the trip. She refuses, afraid they only want to claim her valuable mare.

Carpenter Trynt Pembroke just wants a fresh start. A week before his wedding, he was betrayed by his fiancĂ©e who ran off with his brother. As much as he doesn’t want the complication of a woman in his life, he keeps coming to the rescue of strong and determined Cadi, a woman who shares his cultural heritage. Can he convince her they are stronger together than on their own?

Releases May 6


Albert, Angel Box Collection One

by Kit Morgan

This boxset is made up of Kit Morgan’s books where Albert the Angel and his friends appear. Albert and his fellow angels are hard at work in these stories and do their best to make sure their charges have a Happily Ever After. Whether they’re working in historical times or contemporary, Albert and his friends always get their man, not to mention their woman, together! This collection includes:

Reading the Rancher

Caring for the Cowboy

Redeeming the Rogue

Watching the Wrangler

Nursing the Newcomer

Holidays with the Weavers

A Cowboy for Christmas

Released May 17


Verity's Overlander (Brides of Pelican Rapids Book 15)

By Marisa Masterson

Verity Vaksdal wants adventure, just like her Viking ancestors. After reading dime novels, she knows that adventure will only come her way if she finds a dark and handsome hero. 

Mrs. Ella Milton helps her find that hero, arranging for her to be a mail-order bride, but Verity neglects telling her real age of fifteen. She sneaks away from home and leaves a panicked older sister behind her. 

Robbie MacTavish never thought to write away for a wife. After his wife’s death years earlier, he decided never to remarry. His aunt has other ideas and writes to a “friend of a friend”, Mrs. Ella Milton. When the bride fails to show, he is more relieved than disappointed. 

When Veronica, his bride’s much older sister, appears and not Verity, Robbie’s suddenly grows much more interested in marrying. Will he be able to convince this woman that he needs only her as his wife while they race against time to find Verity?

Released May 14

 Not all our authors put their books up on preorder. For those who do, advance sales go a long way to help their rankings on Amazon. Please consider buying before the book is releases.


Preorders for June:


A Bride for Big Ed (The Proxy Brides Book 61)

By Annee Jones

She’s wanted dead or alive…. a desperate plan to keep her safe…. will answering an ad for a proxy bride be the answer? Or will Ophelia Price get more than she bargained for when she finally meets her new husband, Tombstone Marshal Edward “Big Ed” Lawson?

Releases June 1


A Bride for Adam (Mistaken Identity Mail Order Brides Book 6)

By Marisa Masterson

Adam Collins knew his bride. No matter that the women were identical twins, he would know Liza at a glance. So why was he sure that he held Tally's hand as they stood before the preacher? Could he still say, "I do," not knowing who he married?

Releases June 11


A Caregiver for Cash (Mail-Order Mama Series Book 18)

by Annee Jones

A widowed controlling father….a blind but rebellious daughter….can caregiver Eliza Abraham help this family before tragedy occurs?

Releases June 18, 2021


 A Bride for Quentin (Mistaken Identity Mail Order Brides Book 8)

By Zina Abbott

     Because of her controlling father, Callie Randall has lost everyone important in her life, including her first love. With her father now gone, she must find a way to survive. She knows no man who knows her history will consider marrying her.

     Army Lieutenant Quentin Thompson resigned his commission rather than risk court-martial. That was far from his only loss during that time. When the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad builds a line through the Arkansas Valley of Colorado, he accepts a job as a telegraph operator in the mining town of Jubilee Springs. He works his job, keeps to himself, and makes few friends. His life is just how he likes it—uneventful—until a ghost from his past steps off the train.

Releases June 25


Preorders for July:


Beau's Elegant Bride (Matchmaker's Mix-Up Book 11)

Marisa Masterson

Annalisa Caxton loses the security she's always known with the death of her guardian. By chance, she learns about a talented matchmaker and puts her trust in that woman to solve the problem of where to find a home, a problem no one prepared her to solve on her own.

With unexpected funds anonymously coming his way, Beau LeFevre packs a wagon with goods to establish a store in the mountains of Colorado. The funds come with one string--marry the bride ordered for him.

How can he make a marriage work with this spoiled woman? …someone made a mistake!

Releases July 15, 2021