Thursday, February 28, 2019

Retirement in History

RETIREMENT - The Golden Years

My sweet husband retired last night. For his second time.  I married a prince of a man and after a year of retirement the first time, he went back to work so I could write books. I love my man.

But last night was it. He is officially retired and let the fun begin.

SO I started thinking about the history of retirement. You never hear of cowboys retiring but then maybe they just got put out to pasture.

Before the 1800s, life expectancy was too low to even think about it. People lived  26-40 years, so their work was not hampered by age.

In 1883, the German chancellor, Bismark, decreed that anyone over 65 would be forced to retire and they would receive a pension.

In the USA, in the mid 1800s, municipal employees began receiving pensions. 1875, American Express offered pensions and by the 1920s many industries offered pensions.

While retirement now has a happy connotation, early on it was forced on people as the idea that after 60 people couldn't do their work and should be put out to pasture. Many workers wouldn't quit and younger workers couldn't get jobs. The Great Depression brought about changes. and in 1935, social security was enacted to help older people retire and have some income.

Well he we are in 2019. And as the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. While many want to retire, the bank account says no.

AS for me and my house? We are going to enjoy our time together. AS for me? I will be writing stories for as long as I can. I am blessed to be able to do something I can do in my golden years.

Have a blessed day.

You can find my books on Amazon and free on Kindle Unlimited.  ENJOY!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A Place To Call Home: Where Do The Elderly Reside?

A Place To Call Home: Where Do The Elderly Reside?

In today's world, when the time comes for the elderly to be taken care of, many are placed in nursing homes or taken in by their children or a family member. Sometimes the elderly are left on their own until a fall happens and the office of aging becomes involved. Then, they are either sent to a nursing home or taken in by relatives. 

In the 1800's, as the westward movement expanded, many folks left their ageing parents behind in the east while they traveled west. Other folks who traveled with their elderly parents may have settled in the mid-west for awhile, then set out later on to find a place further west since it was harder to travel with older folks. When the Homestead Act of 1862 was enacted, many families forged further west to make their dreams of owning land come true. Mostly, families were scattered because of this movement.

Many elderly women left widowed or unmarried usually lived with their own children. Even though life expectancy wasn't as long as it is today, many women married men who were much older, leaving them alone more often than not. 

There were no nursing homes in the 19th century. Poorhouses were available for the poor, elderly folks who had nowhere else to go. Sadly, the treatment in some cases was horrific. Many of the poorhouses were actually farms with outbuildings where the residents were housed. Conditions in some cases were deplorable, causing sickness and even death. 

As time went on in the 1800's, many insane asylums were opening up for the mentally ill. Dementia was not understood that well and the distinction between mental illness and dementia or senility was more or less all bundled together. Many elderly with signs of dementia were mistaken for mental illness and locked away in asylums. 

Nonprofit organizations realized the problem with the elderly and how the poorhouses took away the respect of the elderly. They began to establish benevolent societies that were affiliated with many different types of groups like the Masons, Knights of Columbus, Irish and German Benevolent Societies and many, many others. In this way a person can join the society when young and healthy, pay dues and when they become old and in need, then the member received help when elderly or in ill health. The societies built homes for the aged where their members could live, paid for by the members of the society. 

There were also a few elderly men and women who were able to live in rest homes. These were basically rented rooms in private family homes. Because they were privately owned, many times they were called convalescent homes or medical boardinghouses.

In my book, A Bride for Samuel, is the story of a young bride who was trying to rescue her uncle who was sent to the poorhouse. Luckily, she had a groom who was willing to help her and their adventure shows how a person was treated in those days. Even though her relative was well-off, all it took was one person claiming he was unable to care for himself and the man was legally sent away. 

If you get a chance, read A Bride for Samuel for some adventure and romance. You can find it here on Amazon.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Matchmaking Old West Style

It's true many men and women found marriage partners through ads in newspapers in the mid to late 1800s. Men in the old west outnumbered the women significantly. Many women needed help after the Civil War since their families often had lost businesses and bread winners to the war. Some of them were desperate enough to leave their families and homes to marry men they hoped would take care of them.

There have always been people who could see opportunity in most any situation. Some of those people found mail order brides headed west to meet husbands to be the perfect opportunity to help men and women in need while making a business out of it. Matchmakers did exist and they made the process of finding a husband or wife easier and cut out answering ads and letter writing.

Matchmakers took at least some of the risk out of finding a spouse. The mail order bride process was filled with uncertainty for each party. Neither knew if they were being scammed until they actually met and sometimes falsehoods weren't found out until much later. When a matchmaker introduced a couple, each party had been at least somewhat vetted.

In my Colorado Matchmaker series, Susannah Jessup took pride in bringing women from the east to Colorado and matching them up with men who wanted a good wife. She prided herself on her intuition about which couples would fall in love and marry for more than need. As a mail order bride herself, she knew the pitfalls of the process and she understood the worries and concerns of the women traveling west. Giving the women a place to stay while they learned how to properly run a home in the west, she worked tirelessly to find the perfect match for each woman who sought her services.

Susannah plays a role in each story, but each couple she puts together has their own story that needs to be told. The love story of Delilah Waterford and Ethan Townsend is found in Book Eight of the series and was just released in mid-February. Here's an excerpt where Susannah has set up the perfect situation for Delilah and Ethan to meet.


“Hello?” Susannah called out as she reached the large barn. The doors were open, but it was difficult to tell if anyone was in the big building or not. 

Almost immediately a young gentleman stepped out from the shadows. He had a soft grin as he fixed his rolled-up sleeves. His pants were covered in hay and there was something splattered on his shoulder but she didn’t want to think about what that might be. But no matter how quickly he had grown up, Susannah would know Judge Townsend’s son anywhere. “Good afternoon,” he offered politely. “How might we be of service?”

She beamed at his manners. “You might not remember me. I’m Mrs. Jessup, the sheriff’s wife. Why, I haven’t seen you in years, young man. I could hardly believe it when the pastor told me you had returned home already. It looks as though you’re finished with school.”

“Yes,” he nodded. “Indeed, I’m finished,” his eyes already beginning to wander. But not far, she noticed. Lemondrop was breathing on her back which meant Delilah had to be close by. Ethan’s eyes drifted from hers to her left shoulder, where Delilah must be standing. Or hiding, as she tended to do when she was feeling shy. “And I think I remember you. But…”

Lemondrop snorted and Susannah jumped, her stomach tightening. She laughed it off immediately and moved out of the way, further from Lemondrop and to allow Ethan to see who Delilah was. The lovely young woman clung to Lemondrop’s bridle tightly with both hands with a lowered gaze. Though she was getting better at being less shy, Susannah hoped she was just doing this because Ethan was so handsome. 

Turning to Delilah’s other side, away from the horse, the woman nudged her lightly. “My apologies,” she began graciously. “How rude of me for not introducing the two of you. Mr. Ethan Townsend, this is Miss Delilah Waterford. She is a guest at my home and has been for the last few months, having come all the way from Philadelphia. Delilah, this is Mr. Townsend. His father is the judge, so he works closely with my husband. I knew Ethan before he left for school in New Orleans. Now, it would appear, we have two veterinarians in Rocky Ridge.”

Her ward and the young man offered shy and brief greetings before Susannah turned the attention to the horse. Lemondrop was more than happy for the attention. 

“So what’s the problem with your horse, Mrs. Jessup?” Ethan spoke to Susannah, but looked over at Delilah as he waited for her response.

“Well, she seems to have trouble chewing. I don’t see it all the time, but sometimes she seems to move her mouth funny. I know that sounds odd, but I just want to make sure this isn’t a warning of something bigger.” Susannah blinked quickly and took a deep breath hoping she’d be able to keep her ruse going long enough.

“Let me take a look.” Ethan leaned in and pulled back Lemondrop’s upper lip on one side and then the other. The horse snorted lightly at the intrusion, but she kept her feet still. “Hmm. I’d expect to see something wrong with her teeth or some sign of an injury, but there’s nothing there.”

Susannah smiled and nodded, expecting to hear this assessment. “Well, that’s good news, then. Do you think she’ll be fine, then?”

“Yes, ma’am. It’s likely nothing since she doesn’t appear to be not eating.” Ethan looked at Susannah and then back at Delilah.

Realizing his interest was piqued by the girl, she did her best to bring Delilah into the conversation. “Delilah, here, is crazy about this horse. And of course, Lemondrop loves her, too. You’ve enjoyed learning to ride, haven’t you, Delilah?” 

Poor thing, she was still so reserved and shy. While Delilah had made leaps and bounds in the way of being social, introductions to a new person always took a while to take root. Her cheeks stained bright pink, she nodded.

“It’s nice to know you enjoy riding, Miss Waterford.” Ethan smiled at Delilah, seeming happy to have an opportunity to speak to her. “Riding is one of my favorite pastimes. Especially with the mountains as a backdrop.”

“I imagine so. It is quite lovely here.” Delilah’s voice only trembled with her first few words. That was a small triumph.

Susannah watched the interaction thoughtfully, thinking these two just might fancy each other if they were to meet often enough. Ethan certainly seemed taken with her and that was half the battle. Realizing they needed to be on their way back home, she wrapped her shawl tighter as she turned to leave.

“Thank you for stopping in. I think your Lemondrop is just fine and she’s a lovely horse. And farewell, Miss Waterford!” He added just loud enough to be heard.

It made Susannah smile. She glanced over at Delilah surreptitiously and winked as the girl’s cheeks began to flush again. “He’s a good man,” she offered lightly, trying not to sound pushy or like there was already a plan in place to bring the two of them together. “He’s always been very kind, and I was told he was very smart. I’m good friends with his mother, after all.” It would only work, of course, if both parties were interested. 

“Are you?” Delilah responded softly as though she was trying not to sound too interested.

“I am,” she nodded and decided to leave it at that. Leaving the young girl to her thoughts, Susannah ran over the conversation in her mind and tried to review what had happened. If her instincts were correct—and they usually were—Ethan was definitely intrigued by the light blonde-haired girl. And she dearly hoped that she was right about Delilah as well. There had been something there, she was certain of it.

If you'd like to read the complete story, you can find Delilah and Ethan on Amazon.


Annie Boone writes sweet western historical romance with a happy ending guaranteed in every single story. Inspiration comes in many forms and Annie finds more than one way to make her stories entertain and inspire.

To connect with Annie, find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019


By Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Image result for images of pawnee buttes colorado
Pawnee Buttes on the Pawnee Narional Grasslands in
Northeast Colorado - Photo from USDA Forest Service
In my current work in progress, "The Outlaw's Letter", my hero's family has a ranch on the northeast plains of Colorado. Now, I know many people may wonder, why the plains when the mountains are so close and have all the great mining history. Well, the plains have some rich history also.

Let's take a look at some of the towns on the central and northeast plains. Starting in the far northeast corner, you have Julesburg.
Julesburg is perhaps known as one of the stopping points on the Pony Express route, but its history goes much deeper. Here is a link to a history piece written in the Colorado Magazine's 1930 edition: It starts on page 139. Julesburg

Next is Fort Morgan. It was established around 1864 along the Overland Trail to protect those immigrating west, in addition to protecting supplies heading to Denver and the mining camps. This short piece begins on pg 227. Fort Morgan

Then of course there is Greeley. It was originally started as a utopian society in 1869 with the name Union Colony. It officially changed the name of the town to Greely in honor of Horace Greely, editor of the New York Times, who had come to Colorado during the initial gold rush of 1859. This link, beginning on page 135 tells the story of one of the pioneers who lived in the area. Greeley

There were also towns like Kit Carson, Limon, Wray, Burlington, Sterling and others who were part of the westward expansion of people and railroads. Of course you cannot forget the Goodnight Trail, running along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountians and the Great Western Cattle trail that had a portion run along the Kansas, Colorado border.

So the next time you think of Colorado, think about the area that was settled before you ever reach the mountains.

I will leave you with this link from the BLM on the empire of ranching in Northeast Colorado. Ranching History

And a story of a rancher who had not one, but two outlaws visit him on his ranch. Outlaws visit a ranch on the plains

In my novel "Chasing a Chance" my hero is traveling on the plains of Colorado as he heads to a town in trouble to save the woman he loved and thought he'd lost.

 Edwin found a pleasant place to stop in a stand of cottonwood near the Arkansas. He'd just forded the river as the sun was painting the western sky with red, purple and yellow. He wanted to keep going, but knew if he rushed in, he might walk into more problems than he could handle. Despite his desire to reach Booming and Mary, he wanted to arrive with an understanding of the area. He wanted to observe what was happening as best he could. The more he knew, the better he would help—could help—Mary. That was the story he told himself as he made camp and began to prepare his meal.
The truth was, he wasn't sure he was up for what he might have to do. Sure, he'd been in the war and survived. Now, he was an old man who'd spent the years since the war, taking it easy. If things got physical with whoever was taking over the town, he didn't know if he had what it took to prevail. What if he had to kill someone? He'd sworn after the war that he was done with violence, yet he'd so easily attacked Chet. What was he doing? Could he really do any good?
Edwin thought about the stories coming from that lower southeast section of the state. The stories of gangs from the Nation, of conflict about where the county seat would be. Was any of it true or just exaggerations of something small? The more he could find out, the better he felt he could handle what was happening. He just prayed it wasn't as bad as he'd heard
Edwin was lying back against his saddle, holding the locket, taking in the evening sounds. He enjoyed the soothing sound of the river, along with the other sounds he rarely heard in town. Into his reverie came the clip clop of a horse. He pocketed the locket and sat up to see who it might be, but was not alarmed. Whoever was coming would have smelled his smoke even if they hadn't seen his fire. He'd usually been able to talk his way through any situation. The horse came closer, heading toward his camp. The only sign of worry Edwin showed was a bit of perspiration on his upper lip. He had his hunting rifle, but that was only to be used as a last resort. He hoped to never use it against a human.
"Hello the camp," came the call from the twilight outside the fire's glow.

"Come on in, if you've a mind," Edwin replied, tracking the sound of the horse as it neared the fire.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Cowboys and the Long Trail

In the American West, large tracts of land were ideal for raising cattle, and southern temperatures, like in Texas made winter raising easier. But with the spring, the ranchers would drive their cattle north to stockyards and railyards in Kansas, where the train cars waited to take the cattle to different portions of the country.

Cowboys had to take weather into account, to avoid rapid moving waters that happen with snow melt. Though the spring grasses helped keep the cattle at a good weight while they moved at 12-15 miles per day. A heard of around a thousand cattle would take between 4-6 drivers as well as a Trail Boss and Chuckwagon/cook. 

Overnight, they often took turns watching the cattle and the horses. To keep the horses nearby when not mounted, they often kept grazing hobbles on the horses--tying their front legs together--to restrict the horses' movements.

Raising and driving cattle was part of the yearly life for the rancher. They spent all year breeding, raising, and keeping the cattle for the once-a-year payoff that culminated in the cattle drive. During the drive, the cattle, horses, and men are most vulnerable to the elements, and timing is everything. To mitigate losses, the Trail Boss needed to be a smart strategist as well as able to command a number of men with respect. 

P. Creeden is the Sweet Romance and mystery pen name for USA Today Bestselling author, Pauline Creeden. Animals are the supporting characters of many of her stories, because they occupy her daily life on the farm, too. From dogs, cats, and goldfish to horses, chickens, and geckos -- she believes life around pets is so much better, even if they are fictional. 

Get her latest historical romance set in 1868 Texas:

Monday, February 18, 2019

Everything Old is New Again -- In Cars

By Sophie Dawson

Imagine opening up the 1896 Montgomery Ward catalogue and ordering an automobile. I know some of you haven’t a clue what Montgomery Ward is. It was the first mail-order catalogue for general merchandise in the United States, being sent out in 1872. The first mail-order catalogue was Tiffany’s Blue Book. Mail-order and its consequences is an entirely different blog. So, back to an automobile.

1896 Electric Automobile

This early American automobile isn’t what you might think of as a car of the time. It wasn’t a Stanley Steamer, run by a steam engine. Nor was it propelled by an internal combustion engine, which we are all familiar with, as most of our vehicles still use today. It ran on electricity.

That’s right, folks, just as we are able to do in the 21st Century, those of the late 19th Century could order and drive an all electric car.

Automobiles, or autocars as they were called in Great Britain, were in development during most of the 1800’s. There were cars run by steam and the newly invented internal combustion engine. Due to it’s easy starting and driving, and comfort, lack of noise, and non-emissions of nauseous fumes, one of the most popular was the electric automobile. It was especially popular with women and doctors.

The electrically powered vehicles were first demonstrated by Thomas Davenport, of Brandon, VT in 1835 and Charles Page, of Salem, MA around the same time. Surprised? I certainly was. I’d thought the automobile was a late Victorian invention, and generally it was. Steam powered cars were primarily in initial development in the 1860’s. The first internal combustion engine wasn’t invented until 1876 in Germany. It was ten years later before Carl Benz began production of commercial automobiles.
1897 American Electric Delivery Van

Okay, enough with the dates. Electric cars were very popular due to their positive driving experience. They did lack several elements crucial to their continued success. They had limited range. At the beginning of the 20th Century, electric cars could only traverse 20 miles before their batteries needed recharging. The life of the storage-batteries was limited and were bulky. Even Thomas Edison was unable to develop a viable battery that could compete with the internal combustion engine. Range limits seems to be the major sticking point of electric cars today.

Next time you are looking to purchase a vehicle, no matter what type of engine, all electric, hybrid, or gas powered, remember: The electric automobile was the first one developed and its positive elements are still those of today, quiet, comfort, and non-emissions. They date back to 1835 a half-century before the internal combustion engine was invented. I have little doubt that someday you’ll be able to order an all-electric car on Amazon.

Sophie Dawson is an award-winning author of sweet historical and contemporary romances. Her latest release is An Agent for Delaney, The Pinkerton Matchmaker #16.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Presidents Day

With President’s Day nearing, it’s important to take a moment and reflect on those who served as chief executive of our country.  And while you may be well-versed in textbook facts about each president, you may have never heard of some of their peeves, quirks, and pastimes.

For example, while Abraham Lincoln is renowned for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that abolished slavery, did you know that the 16thpresident was a near-undefeated wrestler? And Calvin Coolidge, our 30thpresident, liked having his scalp massaged with petroleum jelly while he enjoyed breakfast in bed.

  • Here are some others I found:
  • George Washington’s teeth were not made of wood, but from elephant and walrus tusks.
  • Thomas Jefferson spoke six different languages
  • James Monroe, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all died on July 4th.
  • Martin Van Buren was the first American born president.  
  • John Tyler had 15 children
  • Franklin Pierce memorized his entire inaugural speech of 3,319 words.
  • James Madison- Monrovia, the capital of Liberia is named after him.
  • Martin Van Buren’s nickname was Old Kinderhook, it’s a theory that “OK” came from his campaigns.
  • Zachary Taylor died from eating contaminated cherries that caused cholera.
  • James Buchanan regularly bought slaves in Washington DC and quietly freed them in Pennsylvania.
  • James Garfield was ambidextrous.  He could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other.
  • Chester A. Arthur was known for his impeccable attire, earning him the nickname “Elegant Arthur.” He owned 80 pairs of pants.
  • Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson was an auto mechanic and teacher before becoming president.
  • James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were once arrested for taking a carriage ride on Sunday.  It was against the law in Vermont at the time.
  • Harry S. Truman read every book in his hometown library. Also he has no middle name, just a letter “S.”  His parents couldn’t decide which grandfather to name him after, so just named him Harry S. Truman.
  • Herbert Hoover spoke Chinese to his wife to keep their conversations private.
  • Calvin Coolidge was the only president to be born on the 4thof July.
  • Warren G. Harding gambled away a set of White House china.
  • William H. Taft was the heaviest president at 332 pounds.
  • Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest ever to be president.
  • Grover Cleveland was the first and only president to serve two non-consecutive terms.
  • Rutherford B Hayes was the first president to use a phone. His phone number was 1.
  • Benjamin Harrison (23rdpresident) was the grandson of William Henry Harrison (9thpresident). William died after only 31 days in office. He died of pneumonia.
  • John Quincy Adams enjoyed skinny-dipping in the Potomac River in the early morning while in office.
  • James Buchanan was the only bachelor president.

Hope you all enjoy Presidents’ Day.

 Barb Goss