Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Dr. Henry H Hewitt - Or the joys of research

Post by Author Angela Ranes - aka Doris McCraw 

Photo Property of the Author

Hope everyone had the best Christmas possible. This is a fill-in post to tide us over until 2023. I'm sharing some research I came across that you might find interesting.

I came across this information when I started on the journey of early Colorado women doctors after reading an obituary in a newspaper. It happened again as I finished the short book about the early women doctors buried in Evergreen Cemetery here in Colorado Springs. 

What, you may ask, happened this time? Well, I came across the name of an early doctor, not a woman, by the way, that seemed to want to keep his identity hidden. His story was intriguing, and I may have to write a fiction piece about him. But, as you know, hidden information just gets me into the hunt. I'm lucky to have access to historic newspapers and an Ancestry account. 

Prior to late November here's what I found:

Name: Henry H. Hewett

Birth: 1846 - (+or- a year or two) in New York

He may have enlisted in the Union Army at age 18 in September 1864 with the 148th New York Infantry, Company I. He was mustered out in June of 1865 in Richmond, VA.


He lived in Colorado in 1860 during the early gold rush in this state, left and studied medicine in Ohio, returning in 1869


He was a combination miner, Doctor, Deputy US Marshal, and Deputy Provost Marshal here in the Colorado territory. From 1863 to 1866 he lived in California Gulch, Lake County, CO. where in 1860 gold was found. He then moved to Georgetown where he had some success as a miner. In 1878 he was in Leadville, Lake County, CO., and then in the early 1880s, he moved to Aspen.

The only information I have about his death was that he was injured in a stagecoach accident between Aspen and Glenwood Springs. He died from his injuries in Denver.

The last piece of information I located about Dr. Hewitt is that he was the first County Physician appointed for Lake County Colorado.  

I continued my search and in November I found out more. Most of the information I gleaned was from the Don and Jean Griswold books on Leadville, CO. 

He appeared in the Leadville papers many times as not only the law, but the doctor called in for various fights with fists, knives, and guns. 

He evidently married at some point prior to his death in the stagecoach accident. He was taken to Denver, CO. where he passed away from his injuries. I found his headstone in Riverside Cemetery in Denver CO. His birth date is 1834 and his birthplace is New York. His death date is listed as September 28, 1887.  The following link will lead to the Find A Grave website for Dr. Hewitt. Dr. Henry H. Hewitt - Find a Grave


Until 2023...


Thursday, December 22, 2022

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Symbols of the Holiday by Jo-Ann Roberts


When it comes to decorating for the holidays, there are certain Christmas symbols that pop up over and over again like stars, bells, mistletoe, and Christmas trees.

While Christmas is an event with religious origins, celebrating the birth of Jesus, there is also a secular side of the holiday with wreaths on the door, a tree decorated with homemade and heirloom ornaments, stockings hanging from the mantle, and the scent of freshly baked gingerbread men wafting from the kitchen. 

Even if we decorate without much thought during the holidays, here are a few symbols and rituals that will surprise you with their origins.


In Northern Europe, pagans believed the sun was a wheel that rolled away from the Earth during the winter. So, in order to coax the sun back toward them during winter solstice, they

decorated their homes with wheels festooned with greenery and candles. The evergreens and unbroken circle reminded them of God's eternal love.

Candy Canes

 Folklore has it that these treats first came about as a means to keep children quiet. In the 17th century a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany couldn't keep the choir members from talking during rehearsal for an upcoming pageant, so he asked a local candy maker to bend white peppermint sticks into the shape of a shepherd's hook, reminding the children that Jesus is the "good shepherd" who keeps his flock safe.  The crook-shaped candies spread across Europe and are still popular today.

Lighted Christmas Trees

While many cultures used evergreens to decorate during the long, cold winter, it was likely the Germans who popularized the fir tree we know today. As the story goes, Martin Luther went walking in the woods one night and was struck by the beauty of the stars filtering through the boughs. He cut one down, brought home, a decorated it with candles to recreate the scene for his family. His idea caught on, and now Christmas just wouldn't be the same without a tree.


These festive plants that we closely associate with the holiday have their roots in Mexican folklore. As the story goes, two children wanted to bring gifts to their town's Nativity scene but didn't have money. Instead, they picked up some pretty leaves on the road. Though the townsfolk teased them, they placed their gifts around the manger. Magically, they bloomed

into the star-shaped flowers we know today. Joel Poinsett, the first American ambassador to Mexico, and a botany enthusiast, first discovered this plant in Mexico. I wondered if he could have imagined how these few cuttings he brought home to the U.S. would turn into a billion-dollar industry!


People have been hanging their stockings with care since the dawn of indoor fireplaces, but no one knows for sure how the custom got started. The most popular story is that an old man was worried about the future of his three daughters as he didn't have enough money for their dowries. St. Nicholas heard about his dilemma and wanted to help. But knowing the man would look upon it as charity, he slipped down the chimney and deposited gold coins into the girls' stockings that they had left to dry.

Christmas Gifts

You may ask, "If Christmas is Jesus' birthday, why do we get presents?" While the pile of gifts may bow to the commercialism of Christmas, remember that the Three Wise Men arrived with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the baby Jesus. Although we don't give gifts of this nature, the spirit of giving remains the same.


The custom of kissing under the mistletoe dates back to at least the 1800s when Washington Irving mentioned it in one of his stories in 1820. Because it blossoms even in the cold winter, it's believed that people in the 1st century viewed mistletoe as a symbol of fertility, romance, and vitality, so it's no wonder couples pucker up beneath it.


Although tinsel isn't as popular as it once was, decorating with it comes from a Ukrainian folk tale in which a poor father found a pinecone rooted outside and brought it in for a Christmas tree. Since they had no money to decorate it, they went to bed with a bare tree. But overnight, a spider crept in and spun beautiful webs all over it. As the sun rose, it turned the threads silver and gold, making it a merry holiday for them. Today, many European households hang a spider on their tree to commemorate the legend.
 P.S. My mother had the patience of a saint...she put one strand at a time on the tree!! 

My Christmas release, Noelle-Christmas Quilt Brides, is now available both as an e-book and paperback!


Wednesday, December 21, 2022




Post (c) Doris McCraw aka Angela Raines

Photo property of the Author

As the Christmas and Holiday season approaches, I'm taking a look at some early celebrations in Colorado. Imagine if you will, in 1858, you have followed the siren's call to Colorado in search of the 'golden fleece' known as gold and silver. Life has been busy and the high desert with its mild weather has fooled you. Then when you do the figuring, it's Christmas, what do you do? Or maybe you have traveled with your family and now you plan to celebrate in the middle of nowhere. Join me as I share some of the stories I have found.

According to the records, the area around what is now Denver had about 200 men and 5 women (four were married) and assorted children. Perhaps I should add the two towns that made up the area were about sixty days old. Plans were being made in the two camps for a festive meal. One camp was planning candles for a tree that had been cut in the foothills. This was the German couple and trees were a part of their home country festivities. The other party had a meal of buffalo, rabbit, wild turkey, and rice pudding along with peach and apple pie, according to the listing of the menu.

USGS Topographic Mapping Field Camp

It is written that Christmas morning that year was 'soft and genial as a May day...'. Into this lovely mix "Uncle Dick" Wootton (sp) brought his gift, "Taos Lightening". Needless to say, the day was one to be remembered, if you hadn't taken in too much of the free gift Uncle Dick brought to the party. (I'll have to tell you more about Uncle Dick later)

One family on the Arkansas river, up close to the cut-off to what is now Monarch pass, had been cut off from others and the towns due to heavy fall snow storms that year of 1863.  They had been working their claim, even in the heart of winter. When Christmas arrived, they had plenty of food, but not much variety. So the one daughter decided to bring out the good china brought from their home in Nebraska and serve up a feast. According to the story, they made mock turkey from beef, and beans, and substitute coffee, made from browned bran. The parents were the guest of honor. This creative young lady set this up with the help of her siblings.

. Harding sandstone on gneiss and schists 1.5 miles northwest of Canyon [City]/USGS. “

In the early trapper days around 1842, the northeast corner of Colorado/Utah saw a holiday take shape with the help of the Indians in the area. Their Holiday meal consisted of appalost, a type of shish kabob with lean meat and fat roasted over a low fire, buffalo cider, a liquid found in the stomach of buffalo, supplemented with washena, marrow fat, and pomme blanc from the Indians.

In Leadville in 1888, Dick Berryman's Saloon offered the following bill of fare: Possum, Turkey, Roast Pig, Sweet Potatoes, and Corn Dodgers.

Leadville, Colorado, mining district, subject of an early mining-geology study, 1879.

As you can see, even back in the early days, people did what they could to celebrate. I will leave you with a lovely passage from Isabella Bird's book, "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains". As Isabella traveled the Rocky Mountains, alone, she wrote letters back to her sister in England. This passage is from her time in the Estes Park area of Colorado in 1873 as she rode her horse Birdie through the fir-covered area.  "...I think I never saw such a brilliant atmosphere. That curious phenomena called frost-fall was occurring in which, whatever moisture may exist in the air, somehow aggregates into feather and fern leaves, the loveliest of creations, only seen in rarefied air and intense cold. One breath and they vanish. The air was filled with diamond sparks quite intangible. They seemed just glitter and no more. It was still and cloudless, and the shapes of violet mountains were softened by a veil of the tenderest blue."

Wishing everyone the best Christmas and New Year possible.


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Cowboy Sayings - Raring to go

“Are you ready to go to the party?”

“I’m more than ready. I’m raring to go!”

In the early 1800’s this saying increased in popularity, but its origins come from those who worked with horses. When a horse wants to move forward but is held back, they often will go up on their hind legs and stand up in a manner to resist the hand that is holding them back. The more excited the horse is to go forward, the higher they might go up, or they will hop up and down over and over again.

This action among horses is called “rearing,” but often cowboys called it “raring” instead, and the words became interchangeable. Excitement, exuberance, youth, fear—all of these can be driving factors that cause the horse to stand on its hind legs if they are stopped from going forward when they desperately want to.

Over time, this phrase became used to show that the person is very excited and prepared to move forward on whatever action when asked if they are ready.

Have you ever heard this saying before? Used it yourself? Could you see yourself using it now? Let me know in a comment!

On average, P. Creeden releases a story every other month. Interested in learning more? 
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Friday, December 16, 2022

How Bicycles Influenced 1890s Fashions by Zina Abbott












The 1890’s were known as the “Gay Nineties” for more than one reason. One was the direction taken in women’s fashions that allowed them greater freedom of movement. As the new decade approached, the stiffness and fussiness typical of the Victorian Era eased. Much of this was due to the technologies that developed, as well as women’s involvement in those technologies.

1895 Women on bicycles- Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ashton Collection

Perhaps the innovation that had the greatest influence on the change in women’s fashions was the drop-frame safety bicycle. The 1890s became an era of great dress reforms which allowed women the opportunity to ride bicycles more comfortably, and therefore, created the need for appropriate clothing.


Keep in mind, in the late 1860s, after the end of the Civil War, fabric was in shorter supply, so the hoop skirts wider than the Mississippi River became narrower, with a slight protrusion in back. That protrusion developed into the bustle, which, by the mid-1880s, often stuck out on a woman's rear like a small mountain. All during this, the ladies were contained in a stiff corset that squeezed their inner organs and often prevented breathing easily. It definitely restricted movement.

Big-wheeler bicycles 1887

Although horses and horse-driven conveyances still dominated in the more rustic West, t
oward the end of the 1880s, bicycles and—for the ladies with their more restrictive clothing—tricycles became available. 


These were probably seen more in the East and possibly the around the larger cities (read: roads that weren’t a dust bowl in the summer and a muddy swamp in the rainy season) in the West.

Photographer unknown. Staff of the Mechanics Institute Reference Library, 1895. Photograph. Toronto: Toronto Public Library

However, Western society in Europe and North America began to move away from the stiff, moralistic, Victorian Era. Women were enjoying new levels of independence as opposed to the Victorian Era (and back through time) belief that they should restrict their interests and activities to those involved in being a homemaker. During the decade, the number of women employed outside of the home almost doubled. The “New Woman” was an intellectual, young female. 


1898 Women in bathing costumes--ooh! Look at those bare legs!

As more and more began working outside the home, they began to pursue interests in cycling and participating in sports (as opposed to always being the admiring audience to the wonderfulness of men’s sporting activities).

1895-1900 students Atlanta Univ. George

In order to do this effectively, women needed clothing that was less restrictive. The introduction of electricity in clothing manufacturing produced a boon in the ready-to-wear market.


Less restrictive it did become, as heavily boned corsets so stiff and tightly laced they were strapless gave way to straight front corsets, also known as health corsets, athletic corsets, hygienic corsets, and sanitary corsets. They did not have the heavy boning, but were buttoned in the front and held in place with shoulder straps.

1896 Charvet Avertisement


Dresses focused more on mobility, with free-flowing skirts and leg-o-mutton sleeves. The “mutton sleeve”—the vertical puff at the shoulders—developed to allow greater freedom of movement in the arms. This style reached its peak in 1895. By the end of the century, it gradually diminished.

Skirts were bell-shaped, gored to fit smoothly over the hips. Gone were the multitude of heavy petticoats. This allowed for more self-expression and a more natural silhouette for women’s bodies.

These skirts also allowed for greater mobility. They made it possible for women to ride the drop-frame safety bicycle instead of being restricted to the tricycle of the previous decade.

Along with the floor-length that used for everyday wear, to appeal to the athletic woman, a “walking skirt”—a skirt that fell to just above the ankles—also came into style. For younger girls, the walking skirt fell to just below the knees.

On occasion, such as bicycle riding, women set their skirts aside and wore what were formerly referred to as bloomers. This was a bold move, and it was not universally approved due to the controversy surrounding women wearing pants.

1895 Bicycle Suit
Text on image:

Gertrude. "My dear Jessie, what on earth is that bicycle suit for!"

Jessie. "Why, to wear, of course."

Gertrude. "But you haven't got a bicycle!"

Jessie. "No, but I've got a sewing machine!"

In this era, they were also known as "rationals" or "knickerbockers." The entire outfit, including the jacket, was known as a “bicycle suit.”


So, hail, hail to the 1890s new woman with her greater freedom of movement, her greater selection of choices, and her greater health—all largely made possible by the adaptions made in clothing styles so she could more comfortably ride the humble drop-frame safety bicycle.


One of my two 2022 romances set in the 1890s was Joshua's Bride, set during the 1893 Cherokee Land Run. Although neither Rose Calloway nor her sister, Marigold, wore bicycle suits or rode bicycles during the land run, there were those who did. The sisters, who rode the train to where they wished to claim land, wore walking skirts.

To find the book description and purchase options for Joshua's Bride

please CLICK HERE.

Marigold Calloway has her romance in 1894 after she is already on the two city residential lots she claimed during the land run. Having spent her life as a schoolteacher, she definitely fits the description of the modern woman who works outside the home. The streamline skirts and looser clothing of the era suit her just fine.

To find the book description and purchase options for Marigold

please  CLICK HERE.




















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