Share it

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hybrid Author

Your attention is respectfully directed to the Terry Burns Post at From the Heart blog in the column on the right. Terry defines and discusses the "Hybrid" author. I gather from it that authors who go the traditional route and self-publishing, and write articles for various magazines and papers, would fit the description. I recommend you read the article and decide for yourself. Who knows? Maybe you are one!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Note About the Memoirs of John R. Young, Mormon Pioneer

I found the journal of John R. Young to be interesting in that he as a young boy writes about the Mormons being blasted out of their hometown of Nauvoo, Illinois, by the people who thought the Mormons were evil and demonic for building a beautiful little town out of nothing near the Mississippi River. And some of the people also believed the Mormons were devils and had horns on their heads. They killed their leader, Joseph Smith, in cold blood as he rested in a jail where the people of Illinois had put him for daring to start a new religion that didn't agree exactly with the way the people thought it should.

Anyway, Mr. Young relates the trials and tribulations from his perspective as the Mormons travel West in 1846-47. After finally reaching the area of the Great Salt Lake, they begin to build houses and another town, and Brigham Young, John R.'s uncle, sends his adherents on missions to other places in Utah to help settle the Territory and bring more people into the fold. John R. Young, at the tender age of sixteen, is called upon to go on a mission to the Sandwich Islands.  Under the guidance of the mission President, he and others are sent to the various islands to preach and proselytize. He doesn't know a single word of the Kanaka language, but within two weeks of landing on Maui, he has practically mastered it just from conversing with the natives. He describes in detail the times he spent preaching and talking to the people in Hawaii and the troubles he had from certain individuals. He returns to Utah, happy in his soul that he did everything within his power to enlarge the church.

He goes on to tell abut his marriages and his mission to England and Wales, the people he met there and the money he earned working to send a number of converts to Utah and his return. His problems with polygamy later on are described in detail, the narrow escapes, and his sojourn in Mexico. He had a total of four wives, one marriage only lasting about a year due to the death of that wife in childbirth. He loved deeply all of them and their kids and the wives loved each other, too. They lived for a while in Orderville, a town that was set up by Brigham Young as an experiment in Communism in the 1870's, where everyone was treated as equals in wages and everything else in the social order. After Brigham died, the town returned to the "normal" way of life.

Jacob Hamblin, the Missionary to the Indians, was sent to end the practice of the Utes of choosing a bride for a tribal member. They no longer fight over who is going to get the girl like they had become accustomed. Mr. Young was witness to one of these fights where an Indian selected a young girl to be his bride, but another Indian also wanted her - ergo the fight. One of them was bigger and stronger than the other, so more men were selected by the Chief to fight on one or the other's side, with about twenty on each side when the fight began. Some of the Indians fell into a creek along with the girl who was seen only by her long, black hair on the surface of the water and she was pulled out by a white man. This resulted in a fight between the first Indian who wanted the girl and the white man with the white man winning and dragging the girl to the other Indian. And they all started fighting again with the girl between the two main participants. Her brother saw that she was in terrible pain and suffering, so he jumped up and stabbed her in the chest and killed her. The brother took a stance and said that if anyone wanted to kill him, to go ahead, he wasn't afraid of dying. This ended that fight and the girl was given a funeral.

Mr. Young wrote fine tributes to three of his wives and was very poetic, writing poems as the urge hit him throughout his life, several of which are in his journal.  The end of his Memoirs, Chapters 36 and 37, consist of poems reflecting on his life, Brigham Young, and Utah, among other subjects.

Being reared as a Mormon, I found the Memoirs of John R. Young, to be interesting and educational, especially on the early years in the history of the Mormons.This book is available for free at Project Gutenberg.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mister St. John by Loren D. Estleman

A crusty old man is hired by Pinkerton to round up the Buckner gang, who have been robbing banks and trains instead of doing honest work. This crusty old man, Irons St. John, was a famous lawman in the Oklahoma Indian Territory who for years had been rounding up the bad hombres and putting them before Judge Parker to receive justice. Mister St. John quit being a Peace Officer and ran for Congress and got trounced by his opponent. Enter the Pinkerton Agent Rawlings, who offered him the job of going after the Buckner gang for $20,000 and expenses.

St. John decides to take on the job and sets out hiring a couple of crusty old men, not necessarily friends, George American Horse, who was a Crow Indian, and Bill Edwards, a sharpshooter who was beginning to lose his eyesight and wore glasses now. These two men wee working in a Wild West Show when St. John contacted them. And then their was the Preacher that St. John thought he needed because of his pistol work, Midian Pierce, called Testament, who read the Bible most of the time and molested young girls when he thought he could get away with it. He was a blood-thirsty killer. St. John hired the Menendez brothers to go along on the ride. They were neither brothers or named Menendez, but cross-border thieves and killers.

A crusty and dirty bunch of lawmen, it was, that went looking for the Buckners, Merle, the cousin of Race, the other Buckner and outlaw, thievin' train and bank robber. And long with them was the crusty Killer and Thief, Jim Shirley, who fought in the war with Cuba and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that lost both his hands. He buys an Indian woman, Woman Walking, who helps him recover from his loss of hands, and they devise a way for Shirley to shoot a gun with straps and a trigger device. He becomes well versed in the use of his pistol and becomes a permanent member of the gang along with the Indian.

The hunt is on and goes to Colorado to Wyoming and further down the road. St. John's men almost catch 'em, but they manage to get away again. And that's the way it goes down to the very last page with shoot-outs and long horseback rides in the snow and cold until it finally comes to an end, sort of.  There is a back story on almost everyone that's just as exciting and thrilling as the story going on with people getting killed and shot up and all.

A hard and hearty novel by Loren D. Estleman that keeps you going to the end to find out what's what and who wins out. This was Mr Estleman's seventh western of the many he has written. This edition was published by Fawcett Gold Medal in January 1985.       

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Tad More on the Great Salt Lake

During Fremont's explorations of of 1843, he had the opportunity to see the Great Salt Lake with his very own eyeballs and said a little about it.

"We were upon the waters of the famous lake which forms a salient point among the remarkable geographical features of the country, and around which the vague and superstitious accounts of the trappers had thrown a delightful obscurity . . hitherto  this lake had been seen only by trappers, who were wandering through the country in search of new beaver-streams, caring very little for geography; its islands had never been visited; and none had been found who had entirely made the circuit of the shores; and no instrumental observations or geographical survey of any description had ever been made anywhere in the neighboring region. It was generally supposed that it had no visible outlet; but among the trappers, including those in my own camp were many who believed that somewhere on its surface was a terrible whirlpool through which its waters found their way to the ocean by some subterranean communication . . . And my own mind had become tolerably well filled with their indefinite pictures, and insensibly colored with their romantic descriptions which in the pleasure of excitement, I was well disposed to believe, and half-expected to realize."

And Fremont even gets a little romantic by comparing his first view of the lake with Balboa discovering the Great Western Ocean. And he goes on about landing on an island and making camp, saying in his journal: "We felt pleasure in remembering that we were the first, who in the traditionary annals of the country, had visited the islands, and broken, with the cheerful sound of the human voices, the long solitude of the place."

Of course, they never found the whirlpool, but they did discover the solitude of the place on the island away from all the noise of  the Indians and other men of the party who remained in the main camp on shore.

They would really be amazed if they could see it a hundred and sixty years years later with all the mining operations on the south shore and the noise of the beachfront entertainment sites like Saltair and Blackrock and not far away the city of Salt Lake with its bustling trains and traffic sounds. 

Ref: The Founding of Utah by Levi Edgar Young and Memoirs of My Life by John Charles Fremont.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Tid-Bit of Utah History - Number Four

It was a tough competition, all right, and the competitors didn't even know they were competing. Which brings me to the question or brings the question to me, who was the first person to discover the Great Salt Lake? I thought it was someone else and maybe it was after all the dust finally settled back to the earth. Of course, not to be considered in this race are the Pag-uampes and other Indian tribes who would have already been there and done that and turned away with a shrug, "Ugh, too much salty."

Was it that dern French beaver-skinner and mountain-climber, Etienne Provost?

Was it that dern American beaver-skinner and mountain-clinber, and fort builder, Jim Bridger?

Or, was it that other dern Spanish beaver-skinner and mountain-climber and explorer, Father Escalante?

Or, maybe it was that dern beaver-skinner and mountain climbing rock-hound, exploring and fur party-leading  Captain Ashley?

Except for the Pag-uampes and the devout Father Escalante, the competitors were all in the same party of that Captain Ashley. One set out this way, one the other way, and one didn't. Jedediah Smith was along, too, but he wasn't named as being the first white man to gaze upon the Lake. According to Robert Campbell, who was in the party, the discoverer of the Great Salt Lake was none other than that early western mountain-climber, Jim Bridger. It appears that Bridger went down the Weber River to its mouth and found the Lake.

But Etienne Provost left the main party with a group of men and struck a tributary (Pumbar's Creek) of the Weber and at its mouth was the Lake. A man named Dale writes in his Ashley-Smith Explorations " that if Provost reached the Great Salt Lake before winter set in, he must be credited with its discovery."

So, I guess either one of the same party could have claimed victory. But what if someone else could have also claimed to have discovered it? How about Baron LaHontan? This LaHontan shows up in a comment by Captain Stansbury in 1852 that this Baron LaHontan as early as 1689 wrote of discoveries in this region, which was published in English in 1735. He wrote that "150 leagues from the place he then was, their principal river empties itself into a salt lake of 300 leagues in circumference." He never said how he determined the size, though, and how could he see it from that far away?

If true, this takes away the gun fodder of Bridger or Provost or Smith or other explorers having found the Lake first.

Shucks, you just never know.

Ref: The Founding of Utah Levi Edgar Young and Exploration of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake by Howard Stansbury.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

FLASH - Free Book

News Flash - Hold the Presses - Grand Announcement........

O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy will be Free this weekend starting the eighth of Aug and ending the eleventh. Put your order in at for this exciting novel by none other than Yours Truly ooly duly.

Tom Anderson returns from a mission and gets mixed up in a bank robbery in the fictional town of Hillside, Utah Territory, and he sets off in the posse to capture the robbers. Returning unsuccessfully,  Sheriff O'Shaughnessy gets wind of where the thieves might be. He makes Tom a Deputy Sheriff and tells him to hunt the bank robbers down with the help of two men assigned by the church to retrieve the bank's money, since most of it belongs to the church. And the chase is on.

Tell your friends and enemies and other people about this chance to get a FREE copy of O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy. And please write a short blurb on Amazon about your like/dislike of the book, etc. And THANKS TO YOU-ALL.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Will Rogers, The Oklahoma Cowboy

The header sketch this time is supposed to be Will Rogers from a photo on Wikipedia Commons.

I don't think very many school kids of today ever heard of Will Rogers, but when I was growing up we looked forward to the day when one of his movies would be shown at the church house because we knew that it would be full of down-home, common-sense humor, and everyone would laugh and carry on and go home and repeat his jokes later. At the time, he was downright funny with his horse and rope tricks and his political jokes.

He wrote several books and articles like He Chews To Run, There's Not a Bathing Suit in Russia, and Illiterate Digest. He wrote a weekly newspaper column for The New York Times for several years. He starred in silent movies and sound movies and was a popular actor, playing in the Ziegfield Follies and many other vaudeville acts and nightclubs.

Monuments to him stretch from Oklahoma to California and Texas and points East. He was famous for his one-liners like A fool and his money are soon elected,  Our foreign policy is an open book, a checkbook, When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence level in both states, and one more of his many, The Income tax has made more liars out of Americans than golf. Okay, here's another one, Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.

Rogers even ran a mock campaign in Life magazine for the Presidency. He was the "bunkless candidate" for the Anti-Bunk Party. His only campaign promise was that if he won, he would resign.

Will Rogers like to fly and supported Billy Mitchell, who advocated a military air force. He died with his friend, Wiley Post, in 1935 in a plane crash in Alaska.

Ref: Wikipedia/Will Rogers Bio

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Tid-bit of Utah History - Number Three

Yes, brethren and sistern, uh-huh, who was the first white man to explore the mountains and canyons and rivers of Utah before it was a Territory? It was the Catholic, Father Escalante,  who in 1776 a memorable year) explored the Utah Valley and the Utah Lake and called the Jordan River the "Rio de Santa Ana," and the local Indians were called the Timpanogatzi, who had friendly relations with the Paguampe, who were scattered near the Great Salt Lake. These Paguampes spoke the Comanche language says Father Escalante and, like I just said, were friendly to the Timpagonotzis until someone killed one of them and since has not been so friendly. A killing has that effect on some people, take the Palestinians and the Israelis, for instance.

Ahem, now who was the first American to write about the mountains, rivers, and valleys, and lakes of Utah? It was not another Catholic or even that Great Explorer, the Pathfinder, John C.Fremont. It was another man who most always had his Bible handy and was ready to preach to anyone at the drop of a hat or a moccasin, that Methodist Bible-totin'  feller, that Jedediah Smith, no less. It was in the year 1825 that Mr. Smith descended on the Rocky Mountains with the party of Ashley and his men. But, he didn't stay long, leaving in August 1826 for California and returning via the Sierras and the great desert to the land of the Great Salt Lake, passing through the lands of the Pa-ulches (Paiutes) who had not clothing except rabbit skins and lived off grasshoppers and seeds. Jedediah said he was compelled to eat most of his horses and mules to survive due to the lack of any edible material in the desert. And this famous beaver-killing mountain man, explorer, frontiersman, and mountain climber was friendly to the Indians and read to them from his Bible and shared some of his equipage with them. In the year 1830 his company sold out to that other old mountain man, beaver killer, frontiersman, and mountain climber, Jim Bridger, and Smith and company hit the trail for St. Louis with his precious packs of beaver skins and a lot of dust. Unfortunately, most of Smith's writings and papers and maps and red tape were demolished in a fire there in St.Louie, Louie.

Ref: The Founding of Utah by Levi Edgar Young  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tid-bit of Utah History, Number Two

This is my version of this bit of history.

In the years back then, before the beginning and just after Man descended onto the Western landscape, there was a river discovered running through it. Yes, the Colorado River ran through it, cutting out of the desert and mountains a great gorge with very high cliffs in places that no man had ever been, not counting the thousands of Indians that lived on or near it for thousands of years. But even the Indians had not been in some of the places, being warned by the Great Spirit of the danger to be encountered by anyone venturing into these places.

And so it came to pass that a man named Powell and his eight brave men took off on the Green River from a sacred place called Wyoming to make the first trip through these cataracts and bring forth their reports of the exact nature of the River and the country. Verily, it was in the years of 1869 and '70 and this Green River ran smack dab into the Colorado River and it further came to pass that three of his men became disgusted with all the fol-de-rol and not to mention hunger and near drownings of the exploratory party and made their escape by climbing out of the deep gorge up the sides of the cliffs to level ground high above and looked down into the chasm and laughed and waved goodby.

And it further came to pass that these same three men found an Indian Village up there and hal-looed and yelled and wandered closer, scaring the pee-wadden out of the residents. And the residents did see them and did welcome them into their midst and did promptly pounce upon them and beat them severely around the head, neck, shoulders, torso, legs, and feet of the strangest of strangers until they were all three mortally killed. And the Indians danced and sang around their bonfires at night and consulted the Great Spirit in an effort to find out who these strangest of strangers could be. And nobody, not even the highest of the high, like the likes of Brigham Young and his  high Counsellors, ever heard of these three brave men again. That is, not until another year had passed and everyone had aged more in their complete selves, and it further came to pass further, that this one-armed cliff-climber, this Major Powell, ran into an Indian Chief and became a hear-say witness to the fate of his three men.

It happened and came to pass that these three men had found a Shi-wits Indian camp, and after a couple of moons, or I should say nights, they were massacred. Jacob Hamblin was the interpreter as the Major learned about this travesty. Yes, it was the Jacob Hamblin who also went down into Arizona Territory and encamped with his followers and started a town down there out of nothing, but that's another story.

Ref: Levi Edgar Young's The Founding of Utah and John Wesley Powell's Exploration  of the Colorado River and its Canyons

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Tid-bit of Utah History

News Flash:

St. George, Utah. The Black Hawk War is raging in the Territory in the year 1866 when Captain James Andrus received the call to mount an expedition for the purpose of scouting out the Indians from Hell and Back. Oh, no, he was to take his party across the Territory betwixt there and the junction of the Grand and Green Rivers  and pinpoint the camps of the Indians, if any, and report the findings to his superiors. The weather was fine, nice and sunny in the summertime and the Indians were raising havoc in the southern towns. They killed some settlers, stole their cattle, and burned their towns, absolutely terrible conduct. Captain Andrus rendevoused with his company of militia some miles east of St. George and set out on the expedition, traveling east to Pipe Springs, Arizona Territory, and north through Kanab, Utah Territory, and east again, taking notes of the Indian trails  for his report. They traveled over a hundred miles before they made camp and Lieutenant Joseph Fish showed up with his company from the town of Parowan.

Lt. Fish had an encounter with the Indians on his trek when he sent some men back to Parowan. They were set upon by Indians and Elijah Averett was killed and several of the men wounded in the battle. Twenty-five men were sent after them, but the Indians escaped into the mountains. Captain Andrus left and made his way back to St. George in September before the snows came and submitted a report describing the Indian trails and the country from top to bottom of that remote area, which is still practically vacant from bottom to top and is still just as remote.

Captain Andrus was the oldest of 57 kids in his family and he ended up with two wives and 20-odd children of his own. And I'm sure I went to school with a couple of his descendants.

Reference: The Founding of Utah by Levi Edgar Young. Scribners, 1923, 1924