Tuesday, August 10, 2021

19th Century Heroes by Kimberly Grist

While researching the life of stagecoach drivers, I was especially intrigued by a quote from Annie L. Morrison of Big Jim Myers. "To sit beside him, listening to his stories, and go spinning around the downgrade curves or swing upward over the pass on a keen, frosty morning was an experience worth living for." 

Jim was reportedly careful of his appearance, handsome, jolly, well shaven, and easily handled the ribbons for a team of six. 
(Photo from the movie, Stagecoach, 1986)

A significant danger for stagecoach travelers on local or long-haul lines was the risk of being robbed. As gold mining spread across the West, so did the stagecoach bandits. Because of the dangers stagecoach drivers faced, some became folk heroes.

Another driver, Charley Parkhurst, is also notable. Disguised as a man, she was known as a skilled driver with the reputation of being one of California's safest and fastest drivers. 
(Journalist J. Ross Browne, right, rides alongside Charley Parkhurst on a stagecoach in the foothills of California, illustration from “Washoe Revisited,” 1865, Harper’s Monthly.)

Charlotte Parkhurst became known as One-eyed Charley after losing an eye from being kicked in the face by a steed.

 Image source: https://img1.wsimg.com/

Legend has it that. In her career of over twenty years, no highwayman dared to hold up a stagecoach with Charlie Parkhurst on the box, for the first two who tried were shot dead in their tracks.

A Hero is Born 

With every news article, my imagination took flight, and the image of my hero, in my new release, Shoo-fly Pie by Selah, came to life. Big Em is pragmatic, trustworthy with a keen sense of time, and of course, handsome. He brags that he has never been held up "successfully."

Here's an excerpt from my new release:

Selah unfolded the newspaper clipping with the caption: ‘Driver Continues Winning Streak. Never Been Held up Successfully.’ Such a dangerous vocation and far away from my ideal husband of an easy-going and chubby baker.

Mrs. Beasley reached for the clipping and clucked her tongue. “Count your blessings, dear. What a handsome young man. He reminds me a bit of those dime novels everyone reads spinning tales about the characters settling the west.”

“The height and stature should be enough to make anyone think twice about holding up his stage. Not to mention his rifle and the gun belt resting on his hip.” A flush rose from Selah’s neck to her cheeks. “Bethany says he is handsome with blue eyes and blond hair. Looking at this photo, I can’t decide if he looks more like an outlaw or Goldilocks.”

“Oh, stop.” Mrs. Beasley removed her glasses from a chain around her neck and positioned them on her nose. Leaning closer, she said, “Reminds me a bit of General Custer. It ought to be illegal for a man to be that pretty. The injustice of it, to think of the years I spent sleeping with my hair rolled in papers to force a tiny bit of curl.”

Can this mail-order bride handle the diversity that comes with her husband’s dangerous vocation? Together will they blend their opposing desires to create a recipe for love?


About Kimberly Grist:

Kim has enjoyed writing since she was a young girl. However, she began writing her first novel in 2017, "
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, emphasizing Faith, Friends, and Good, Clean Fun. 

Connect with Kimberly:

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kimberly-grist
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FaithFunandFriends/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GristKimberly
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Grist/e/B07H2NTJ71


  1. Thanx for the excerpt! Can't wsit to read the book!!!

  2. Very interesting article. I'm sure the book will be good also.

  3. What interesting bits of information. Thank you!