Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Ghost Stories From The Old West

Ghost Stories From The Old West

Ghost stories have been around forever. How true they are is something each person reading the story will have to decide for themselves. Even back in the 1800s, the west was filled with stories and ghost sightings. 

One such tale, The Phantom Train of Marshall Pass in Colorado tells the story of an old engineer, Nelson Edwards, who was assigned to a train after the rails were laid across this particular pass. One night as he traveled to check the pass when someone reported there was a defective rail, he was a bit unsettled for no reason he could think of. 

He began the long ascent, he heard the echoes of a train whistling far out in the rocks, so he slowed down and braked. His conductor wanted to know why he signaled and stopped the train. But he hadn't given a signal, but he was worried because there was a train behind them climbing the rails.

A whistling continued, and then all of a sudden Nelson looked out the window and a train was speeding as it climbed the rails behind them, the whistles blowing and the conductor standing on top of the train, laughing like a mad man. He prepared himself for a huge crash but it didn't happen.

As it got quiet, the phantom train rolled from the bank into the canyon and disappeared. He hurried out of the canyon and when he got to the next stop, a message was written in frost on his window. 

It said, "If you ever run this road again you will be wrecked!"

He quit that day and joined the Union Pacific railroad instead. The weird thing was there was no train wreck in that canyon to be found the next day.

Phantom Train sm - Gothic Western 
Many of the Forts across the west were supposedly haunted. But the most haunted has been said to be Fort Riley, Kansas. George A Custer's house was said to be haunted as well as the cemetery and even the parade grounds. Even today, the active military base close by will have ghost walks. 
There is a rumor that at the University of Texas campus, where the old Fort Brown stood, spirits like to make themselves known. 
Do you know of any stories from back in the day about hauntings in the west? Please comment below if you have a ghostly story to tell. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Yankee Doodle went to town
A-Riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni

There has to be someone else out there who's wondered why patriots would call a feather macaroni. The song doesn't make much sense--out of context that is. When I researched about cockades, a light went on in my brain. Now I understand.

First, let me introduce what a cockade is. Ribbons would be formed into the shape of a rosette. Then a button was secured in the middle. Look at the hats in the picture above and you'll see the cockades on the brims.
British officers also wore cockades on their hats. These were nicknamed macaroni. George Washington urged his officers to wear cockades of specific colors to match their ranks. Lack of uniforms caused him to order this.

Washington ordered, "that the field officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats, the captains yellow or buff, and the subalterns green."

When ribbon cockades became scarce, revolutionary war soldiers used items from nature, like feathers in their hats. So, when Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni, he actually was replacing a cockade with something he found around him. This way, other soldiers would know his rank. Amazing, isn't it?

Cockades with the palmetto in the center started appearing in South Carolina even before the state seceded. During the Revolutionary War, soldiers hid in the palmettos and attacked British soldiers from them before retreating back into the thick protection provided by these scrub trees. Remembering that, the state government added the palmetto to its flag that year. Citizens wore the cockades in support of rebellion against a repressive government.

Several states in the south adopted this cockade so that it became a common sight. Women pinned it to their dresses in support of their men who were fighting for the southern cause of freedom from what they viewed as tyranny.

Today, cockades aren't likely to be made from ribbons and buttons. Still, they're seen daily on the bumpers and back windows of vehicles. After the Gulf War, the yellow ribbon became a common sight. A different medium, but the desire to support the troops is the same as what those women in the 1860's experienced. From Yankee Doodle to bumper stickers, we've had a long love afair with cockades in this country.

Interested in learning more about cockades? Check out these sites:

Massachusetts, 1861

All’s fair in love and war.
Hardly! Neither war nor love have been kind to Milo Roberts.

He survived a battle no one expected only to have his brother die next to him. Wounded, he lays in a cot and determines to leave war behind, no matter what his abolitionist father says.
Fiona immigrates to the United States after her cousin promises her a job. While aboard ship, she worries about the war ramping up in that country. Little does she know danger is much closer than the battlefields.

At the Boston docks, she escapes the trap set for her. When the woman who gave her safety asks Fiona to marry her son, the girl agrees. She longs to live on the farm that will be his when they marry.
If only the husband wasn’t so tempting.

While the North and the South war, the battle in their farm house involves unfulfilled love and the tormenting nightmares. What can a man do when his beloved wife prefers the cow’s company? With unrest among the Irish and interference from Fiona’s cousin, will his Irish beauty ever love him?

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Friday, April 24, 2020

Abigail Scott Duniway--A Woman Ahead of her Time

In researching my last release, The Suffragette’s Vow, book 8 in the multi-author “Keepers of the Light” series, I stumbled acrossperhaps a better term is clicked tothe fact a feminist newspaper started printing issues in May of 1871 in Portland Oregon. The timeframe fit with my story, as did the location, and my heroine, Nadina, became an intrepid reporter.
courtesy of Wikimedia

Abigail Scott Duniway, a married woman and mother of six children, launched The New Northwest as a weekly publication that carried the motto “Free Speech, Free Press, Free People.” Her brother, Harvey W. Scott who later became chief editorialist of the Portland Oregonian, helped with editing, as did her sister Catherine Coburn. Her disabled husband, Benjamin, managed the business affairs, and several sons helped with the printing press. Missus Duniway supplied much of the copyinclude news reports, topical essays, travel pieces, and serialized fictionherself. Almost twenty years earlier, her family was among one of the early groups of settlers to move to Oregon Territory. All her life, she was aware of the inequality between the sexes. Her wish was to promote discussion about issues pertaining to womendivorce law, economic status of women in a pioneer state, and of course, women’s suffragein the hope of making their lives easier.

The New Northwest is acknowledged by contemporary historians as the first effort in the Pacific Northwest to further women’s rights. Missus Duniway arranged for Susan B. Anthony to visit in summer, 1871 and conduct a tour through the state, making speeches in support of women’s rights and suffrage.  In several elections from 1884 through 1910, males did not support initiatives to grant the right to vote. However, credit is given to Missus Duniway and The New Northwest for the passage of the Married  Women’s Property Act of 1878. After passage, women were allowed to manage their own wages and to own property. When the state’s suffrage initiative was passed in 1912, Governor West asked Abigail Scott Duniway to author and sign the official proclamation. The New Northwest remained in circulation until February, 1887.

Taglines for The Suffragette’s Vow

Can a reclusive lighthouse keeper prevent a curious reporter from digging into his past?

Will a reporter wrest a story from a taciturn lighthouse keeper and gain her independence?

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Keepers of the Light series page

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Interesting Jobs in the 1800s

Aw, a sweet rose. Who doesn't enjoy looking at flowers? And for centuries, people have enjoyed their beauty year round with artificial flowers. 
Artificial Flower Makers
This was one of the jobs that women could do. They used silk, wax, glass, feathers. And it was their skilled hands that created beauty to behold on cold winter days.

Corset Makers  - Another job of the 1800s,  and I don't know about you, but I'm glad that one is no longer needed.  

Rag Pickers - These were the beginnings of the recycle business. They would go through garbage piles and pick out things that could still be used and sell the items.

Hostler and livery stable-keeper - Think of a motel in the 1800s. They didn't have cars but they had horses. The Hostler took care of the horses for those traveling and staying in the inns. The livery also rented horses, wagons, and buggies.

Whitewasher - cheaper than paint, many used whitewash to coat the wood and protect it from the weather. A mix of lime it could be a dangerous job.  Tom Sawyer was whitewashing a fence in the famous story by Mark Twain.

Cooper - made barrels, casks, even coffins.  Oftentimes for wine and spirits.

Drayman -  to go with what the cooper made, the drayman delivered beer from a brewery.

Galloon maker -  nope, this one doesn't go with the cooper. A galloon is an ornamental strip of fabric used as a trim on clothing and upholstery.

So many of the occupations through the ages are driven by advances in technology. You can see that only a hundred to two hundred years ago many of the jobs were agricultural. 

Makes me wonder what the jobs of the future will look like.
In my series - Bridgette's Bridal Registry - Bridgette helps young men get started after a stay in prison and finds them jobs along with a mail-order bride. I've had fun trying to think up things for them to do.
Have a blessed day and stay safe and healthy. 
Patricia PacJac Carroll
You can find my books on Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited.

Monday, April 20, 2020



My name is Teresa Ives Lilly.  I am new to this blog, but look forward to sharing many fun things with the readers over time.  My slot is the third Monday of each month.  This month, that happens to have landed on my birthday.  April 20th.  
I was born on the same day as my brother... just 7 years apart. 

I joked in the title about taking toilet paper, because,
this birthday happens to fall in the middle of the world's COVID19 epidemic
 when many people are hoarding toilet paper.  
So my question is, when did toilet paper come into use in the United States?

Since the Chinese invented paper, it’s no surprise that the first documented use of toilet paper is from that country in A.D. 851, when a visitor noted of local customs, “They do not wash themselves with water after they have done their necessities, but they only wipe themselves with paper.” 

Paper took a backseat to cloth during the Ming Dynasty, when the emperor had special fabric sheets cut into squares expressly for the purpose of cleaning up one’s behind for the imperial court. 

The Greeks wiped themselves with the same materials they used as tablets: stone and clay. The Romans used communal sponges on sticks stored in brine. 

Europeans in the Middle Ages contented themselves with grass and straw -- definitely softer than rocks, but a bit scratchy nonetheless. This was the age of outhouses and privies, when whatever one used could be tossed into a literal black hole and forgotten.

Joseph Gayetty, a New York entrepreneur, In 1857, introduced hemp sheets infused with aloe which he claimed prevented hemorrhoids but they weren't a very big hit.

Finally; toilet paper as we know it was introduced by the Scott brothers, Clarence and Edward Irvin, in 1890. They created paper stored on a roll designed specifically for when nature called.

I can honestly say, I've never read a historical book in which toilet paper or toilets were even discussed and maybe that's a good thing.  
My brother and sister-in-law were missionaries in Russia for four years and told us many toilet stories, as the public restrooms were just holes in the ground to hover over.  When the toilets were added on trains the people did not understand that you sit on them.  They would climb up on top of the toilets and use them as they do the holes in the ground.  They  also told me that many people in Russia still used corn cobs as toilet paper... and that was in 1989. 
Paper seems to be a precious commodity there.  We gave presents to some of his missionary friends who visited the United States in 1990.  They carefully undid the packages, folded the paper and slipped it into their purses. They explained that they would use that paper several times over.



TERESA IVES LILLY’s ninth grade teacher inspired her writing by allowing her to take a twelve-grade creative writing course during the summer. Since, then it has been her passion and dream to write, however until her Salvation in 1986 when she discovered the genre of Christian Romance, Teresa did not even try writing. Since then, she has gone on to write over twenty-five novellas and novels including two published by Barbour Books. Teresa lives in San Antonio, Texas where she and her husband are close to their three grown children and one grandson. Teresa believes God let her be born “at such a time as this” to be able to write and share her stories of faith.

Teresa has many historical fiction to choose from

To order An Unchained Love on Amazon click HERE   


When Texas Hill Country Ranch owner, Dustin, stops at a farm house to get his horse shod, the last thing he expects to find is a young woman chained in the kitchen, forced to cook for her uncle. Dustin offers to hire her as a cook and takes her home with him, but doesn't realize that the woman will not only fill his stomach but will soon fill his heart as well.  

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Please Welcome Teresa Ives Lilly

We're pleased to announce the newest author on the 
Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, 
Teresa Ives Lilly

Teresa Ives Lilly is a writer of historical novellas, mostly with  a western theme as well as some more contemporary. She also dabbles in a bit of mystery. She publishes with Barbour Books, Winged Publications and Lovely Christian Romance.   Her books are always clean, sweet and in general have a light Christian message of hope.   

Follow Teresa through her newsletter or on Facebook

For more information on Teresa, including her latest books, please visit her Author Page.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author
April is National Poetry Month. I thought my April post should reflect the importance of poetry. For many in the 1800s, poetry was something they enjoyed. For many, the cadence helped them to remember the words. There was a reason many lessons were taught via the rhyme and rhythm. 

Below are four poets of that era and a poem for your reading enjoyment. There would have been times when characters would reference some of these poems or some of the lines when courting.  Perhaps a schoolteacher would assign one of these to a student to recite in class. Whatever the reason, poetry was popular and widely used by many during this time. So imagine yourself sitting by the hearth and listening to the wind, and someone reading or reciting one of the following works.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls

The tide rises, the tide falls, The twilight darkens, the curlew calls; Along the sea-sands damp and brown The traveller hastens toward the town, And the tide rises, the tide falls. Darkness settles on roofs and walls, But the sea, the sea in darkness calls; The little waves, with their soft, white hands, Efface the footprints in the sands, And the tide rises, the tide falls. The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls; The day returns, but nevermore Returns the traveller to the shore, And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Christine Rosetti (1830-1894)


Remember me when I am gone away,
         Gone far away into the silent land;
         When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
         You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
         Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
         And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
         For if the darkness and corruption leave
         A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
         Than that you should remember and be sad.

Photo property of the author
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Sonnet 43

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885


Mysterious shapes, with wands of joy and pain,
Which seize us unaware in helpless sleep,
And lead us to the houses where we keep
Our secrets hid, well barred by every chain
That we can forge and bind: the crime whose stain
Is slowly fading ’neath the tears we weep;
Dead bliss which, dead, can make our pulses leap—
Oh, cruelty! To make these live again!
They say that death is sleep, and heaven’s rest
Ends earth’s short day, as, on the last faint gleam
Of sun, our nights shut down, and we are blest.
Let this, then, be of heaven’s joy the test,
The proof if heaven be, or only seem,
That we forever choose what we will dream!

     In my last novel "The Outlaw's Letter", my heroine, Harriet (Hetty) Osgood loved Homer and his story The Odyssey. She was a school teacher who went off on an adventure that started with her agreeing to deliver a letter to an outlaw. But was he really? 

     Here is a brief excerpt from the story:

  “Well, we made it Odysseus,” Harriet, ‘Hetty’ Osgood, remarked as she rode up to the Bucket of Blood on South Union Street in Pueblo, Colorado. The sun was slipping away behind the mountains to the west, painting the sky with blues, grays, and oranges.
Tying off Odysseus, the horse she’d raised from a young cold, Hetty stepped into the shadow, adjusting the bindings on her chest and torso. As she worked to make sure they were secure, she felt her locket press against the area around her collar bone. She’s fallen in love with it the moment her grandmother gave it to her.
Grandmams had bought it in St. Joe, at The Bavarian Jewelry and Watch Repair shop, for her twelfth birthday. “Harriett,” Grandmams told her after she opened the gift, “there are going to be people who say you are homely. Others who will tease you, make you try to fit in. You hold true to who you are and don’t settle. It’s better to be spinster than settle just to be married.,” Grandmams had given her a huge hug, adding, “you follow those words written in there, they will guide you through life.” Engraved inside the locket ‘I Corinthians 13:13’
Hetty had taken Grandmams words to heart. As a spinster, she knew she’d never have the love others claimed, so she’d made a place for herself in the world where she could do the most good. Now, she hoped she was doing the right thing. She admitted it felt right, but she also was thrilled to have taken this short adventure. 


Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Text messaging in the 19th Century by Kimberly Grist

"The Telegraph," Harper's Magazine, August 1873, 332

We live in a world where we have communication at our literal fingertips. I'm old enough that I recall the time where telephones were plugged into the wall and calling anyone outside of town was costly. While researching life during the 19th century I became fascinated by the lives of telegraph operators, many of who were women.

Telegraph operators would often greet each other in morse code - at the beginning and end of their shift. They had the unique opportunity of getting to know other operators when they weren't busy sending the people's messages. Messages were sent with dots and dashes and abbreviations were much like we do today via text. 
Telegraph operator, Willow Graham benefited from a unique lifestyle growing up with her grandfather. She's independent and loves spending time riding and training animals. With her twenty-first birthday approaching, her family pressures her to return to the city and take up the lavish lifestyle her uncle has planned for her. But another option piques her curiosity - a matchmaking agency's recommendation that she begin a correspondence with a handsome farmer. 

New Release:

Hardworking, twenty-seven-year-old, Leo Weaver is a man of many talents. He's helped his father develop, a successful farm. Loyal to Carrie Town, he volunteers as a deputy sheriff. But handsome and charming, Leo becomes the target of several well-being ladies in the community who have submitted his name for a new matchmaking venture. 

Willow craves the outdoors. Leo loves community life and wants to live in town. Can a matchmaking agency really help two independent people realize the opposing desire of their hearts?

About Kimberly Grist:

Kimberly Grist is married to her high school sweetheart, Nelson, who is a pastor in Griffin, Georgia. She and her husband have three adult sons, one with Down syndrome, and they have a passion for encouraging others with family members with special needs. 

"Kim has enjoyed writing since she was a young girl. However, she began writing her first novel in 2017, "I wear so many hats working inside and outside the home. I work hard, try harder and then begin again the next day. Despite my best efforts, sometimes life just stinks. Bad things happen. I need and want an outlet, an opportunity to relax and escape to a place where obstacles are met and overcome." 
Fans of historical romance set in the late 19th -century will enjoy stories combining, History, Humor, and Romance with an emphasis on Faith, Friends, and Good Clean Fun. 

Connect with Kimberly: