Sunday, September 28, 2014

Trail Drive by Brian Garfield

Trail Drive is part of an Ace Double, the other being Trouble at Gunsight by Louis Trimble, a paperback printed in the 1960's.

Dan Sweet was asked by Ben Gaultt to take a herd of 4,000 cattle to the railroad and he showed up to do just that.  Sweet is a tough, determined, strong-minded cattleman and he said he was the one in charge of the drive and if anyone objected, they could head for the boonies right now. Of course, some of the boys didn't like his overbearing attitude and he would have to iron out the wrinkles to ensure he had total control. And there was the trouble between Ben Gaultt and a man named Nate Ringabaugh, exactly what the trouble was between them Sweet didn't know. Then there were the Apaches that Sweet figured he would have to fight off to protect the cattle, and what about the crooked men that sold whiskey to them?  And what about Harriet Gaultt, who was in love with Ringabaugh? Sweet thought he just might fall for her himself and what was her brother, Russ Gaultt up to, taking off every night?

He had a lot of ironing to do to get things straightened out and the herd to the railroad, including interference by Emmett, young Pete Santell and Owen Mingo, but Hank Flood was on his side and would fight to help him out. All the characters are well drawn and fill out the script nicely. They run into the Apaches as they enter the final drive up the mountain to the railroad and snow begins to fall. If it doesn't stop the cattle will never get through the pass.  

Everything should come out fine in the end, but getting there is not only half the battle, it's all the battle as Sweet struggles to control the men, the cattle, and the Apaches. Oh, yes, and Harriet, too.

A fine novel from Edgar Award winner, Brian Garfield, who has written more than 70 books..

Thursday, September 25, 2014

E-Book, Prisoner of Gun Hill

This is the first book that I have read by Paul Lederer (writing as Owen G.Irons), Prisoner of Gun Hill, and I can't say that it will be my last. This story starts off with a man, Luke Walsh, running away across the desert from Tucson to put some distance between him and the law. He reaches the point where his horse finally dies from the heat and lack of water and Luke is about on his last legs, too. He collapses and is lying on the desert floor thinking about dying when he feels someone trying to pick him up and offer some water. He is loaded into a wagon and wakes up at the place called Gun Hill. How did he get here, he thinks, and remembers why he left Tucson. He had shot a man at the request of his old female friend, Dee Dee Carlson, a local girl who works in a bordello.. The man he killed was supposed to be the outlaw named Virgil Sly, mean and tough, who Dee Dee was trying to get free of she said, but it was Marshal Stoddard that was shot.

He finds himself in a tough predicament, being a prisoner of  Boston Sears, Frank Rafferty, Billy Rafferty, Susan Rafferty, and an older woman who we later find out is Boston Sears' mother. Boston turns out to be a member of the Red Butte outfit, Virgil Sly's gang of thieves. They took his revolver and rifle and he doesn't know where they are. All he has to do is get away, but how? They put him to work with Billy from sunup to sunset digging a shaft. It grows uglier as two more outlaws show up and Virgil Sly and Dee Dee appear. A young man called Tick Tock is brought in by wagon having lost his mule on his way to Crater. There are rumors of other men dying or being killed while working in the mine, which was originally the property of Frank Rafferty and Chris Gunn. Gunn ends up dead and leaves a map for his pardner, Frank, to dig another shaft and find the gold vein which had run out.

Luke is falling for the young blonde girl Susan to add to the mess he's in and she returns the favor, he thinks, but Dee Dee has messed that up. Will he make an escape and get away clean or will he join with Billy and Tick Tock and get away and end up with Susan in his arms? And what happens to Dee Dee who owes Luke for setting up the wrong man for death? Which gal will he choose if he gets a chance?

This is what kept me glued to the page, to find out if Luke gets away and how he manages to do it with all the odds against him. A fine story, not too long, but tightly written and keeps the suspense going to the end. I would recommend Prisoner of Gun Hill to anyone who reads Westerns..

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Missionaries to the Pawnees

In 1834, the two Presbyterian missionaries, Samuel Allis and John Dunbar showed up at Bellevue, Nebraska, to aid the Pawnee people as best they could and also assist the Government in handing out aid to the Indians. In The Pawnee People, there is much praise for these two missionaries for their actions with the Pawnees, helping them at every turn, it seemed, during the hard years of resettlement on the Loup River.

But Mister Dunbar, according to the reports of the Indian Agent, got in trouble with the Government for selling alcohol to the Indians and was banished from the reservation for a while, a fact not mentioned in the Pawnee book. And I can understand why with all the assistance Mister Dunbar gave to them. Both missionaries were not happy with the Agents assigned by the Government, either, since the Agents were not fulfilling the promises to the Pawnee. It doesn't seem too likely to me that a missionary would be furnishing alcohol, but in any event Mister Dunbar was banned from the res for some reason and maybe the Agent just used that excuse to do it. There was considerable confusion and disruption at this time among the Pawnees, who were suffering from hunger and small pox and the argument of the Government against the annual hunts. And most of the employees of the Government were fired at this time, too.

I have on my shelf a book entitled Presbyterian Missionary Attitudes toward American Indians, 1837-1893 by Michael C. Coleman and it doesn't mention Allis or Dunbar or even the Pawnees in it at all. It concentrated mostly on the Choctaws of Oklahoma and the Nez Perces of Idaho and Oregon. I guess the Board of Foreign Missions of the church didn't think the Pawnees were important enough to be included or maybe they had other reasons.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Pawnee People by Carl N. Tyson

This book, The Pawnee People, covers the history of the four different groups that make up the Pawnee Tribe starting with the earliest times and taking you right u to the modern day. It is one of the Indian Tribal Series published here in Phoenix with a 1976 Copyright. This volume is autographed by the Tribal Chief Thomas Chapman, Jr., "Big Eagle."

I procured the book in order to see what the Pawnee said about the early 1800's, about 1835-47, to be exact and learn about their history during that time period. I have read the reports of the Indian Agents during this time because my great-great-grandfather, James Case, and his two sons lived with the Pawnee and Oto as the Indian Agency's farmer on the Loup River and further north with the Otoes during that time-frame.

The Pawnees (Pani) were already a fairly peaceful, agricultural people, settled in Nebraska and Kansas (three branches in Kansas and one in Nebraska (the Skidi). But as time passed the Government and the four branches agreed to move the tribe to the reservation on the Loup. This reservation wasn't set aside until 1857; however, it was called a reservation by the Indian Agent earlier while my great-grandfather was the Agency farmer. According to The Pawnee People, a tract of land 15 miles wide and thirty miles long was designated the Reservation in 1857.

According to the reports I read on microfilm, the period 1835-47 was fairly peaceful with a couple of attacks by the Pawnee on other tribes and one large upset on the reservation where the Pawnee "revolted" against the Government's ruling over the Pawnees and the Indians ruined their crops and danced around the farmer's house with torches and a lot of yelling and screaming. No one was killed in this uprising, but it had the effect of ending the cooperation of the Indian Agency for a while.

The Pawnee People indicates about the same, except that the Pawnee at first didn't like the Loup setting because of raids by the Dakota Sioux, but they came around and finally settled there. But they would not give up their hunts in the summer and making raids on other tribes. They had a hard time settling down to an agricultural life. And the new Indian Agent was no help, rather, he was not liked by the Indians and got into a struggle with the Chief and he and his son were killed. In 1846, the Pawnee had gone on their summer hunt and the Oto burned their village. In June, the Dakota raided the mission (John Dunbar, the Presbyterian missionary) and drove off all the horses. (Note: I think this is the incident the Agent was talking about above.) And the bad times continued until the Mormons came along and gave the Indians supplies in 1847. And my great-grandfather joined up with Brigham Young and came on to Utah with him.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

And Then There Are Horses

One of the favorite sports for a discerning few is watching horses swim. Not unusual in itself, but when they swim across a channel, they become a tourist attraction. The Aug/Sep edition of Country magazine published an article by Pat and Chuck Blackley with pictures covering the annual swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague, Virginia, on the last Wednesday in July. There are a couple of theories about how the horses ended up on Assateague Island, but they have been there since the 1700's or earlier according to the article. In 1925 they started the channel swim which before that they were hauled over in boats. I had heard about this when I was on a ship out of Norfolk, Virginia, but never thought about making a sojourn to watch horses swim. They didn't have the Kiptopeake Bridge then either which takes you right to the tail end of the peninsula and you can drive right up to the eastern shore of Maryland. Chincoteague is just below the Maryland border.

Anyway, the purpose of the swim is to auction off the foals and others to keep the herd to about 150, a manageable amount for the island. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company manages the herd and auctions off the horses to make money to keep it going. The swim lasts about thirty minutes and is accomplished between the changing of the tides when there is no current, the article says. A couple days later the remaining horses are herded back into the water for the return to Assateague.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Upcoming Arizona Events

It's turning Fall-ish again and time to get out and celebrate Life:

Sep 11-14: Mohave County Fair in Kingman, the Andy Burnett town.

Sep 13-Jan 20: 2015 Grand Canyon Celebration of Art, at the Grand Canyon, of course.

Sep 20-21: My-Oh-My Apple Pie Weekend and Country Craft Fair in Willcox. The best apple pies            you'll ever taste!

Oct 2-5 63rd Annual Rex Allen Days also in Willcox. Rodeo, parade., and concerts.

Oct 10-12: Tucson Meet Yourself in Tucson. Artisans, home cookers, dancers, and musicians from   
           Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico.       .

Oct 18-19: Arizona Taco Festival in Scottsdale. Fill up on creative tacos from various restaurants.

Oct 31: Route 66 Cruizers Halloween Bash in Kingman. Trick or treat in historic downtown                            Kingman.

(Reference and thanks to AAA Magazine, Highroads.)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

John Wesley Powell

The header sketch is my rendition of John Wesley Powell, the explorer of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Born March 24, 1834, died September 23, 1902.

He was the one-armed cliff-climber who clambered up and down the cliffs along the Green and Colorado Rivers while making the first exploration of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon in 1869.

 In 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army at age 27 and fought in several battles, losing his arm in the battle of Shiloh, and later he was in the battles of Champion Hill, Big Black River Bridge, and the siege of Vicksburg. He was elected to Sergeant-Major of the regiment after joining the 20th Illinois and was soon promoted to lieutenant and earned his way up the ladder to brevet lieutenant-colonel, but was always called "Major".

In May, 1869, he left Green River, Wyoming, and traveled to the conjunction of the Colorado and on down through the Grand Canyon. One man quit the expedition early and three more later on in the trip. These three were killed by the Indians in a case of mistaken identity it is believed. Of the travels through the Utah portion, he said: ..."wonderful features-- carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments. From which of these features shall we select a name? We decided to call it Glen Canyon."

After this, he was appointed second director of the U. S. Geographical survey and he was also the director of the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian until his death.

Reference: Wikipedia and Wikipedia Commons. An interesting man and an interesting write-up.