Only Eight More Days!

Well, it’s only eight more days to the release of KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS! But who’s counting. For one…me. It’s always exciting when a new book comes out–even a re-issued one as is the case here. I first published this book in 2002. Very few things were online which really limited the exposure. There were no such things as blogs or even the Internet in most homes. About the only publicity was word or mouth and newspapers. The only promotion was autographings.

Here are some pictures from the very first one I did. It was at Books-a-Million in Wichita Falls and a lady came to buy my book. She told me that like Marley Rose (the baby in this book) she was won in a poker game. My mouth dropped open. I didn’t know that this had happened to anyone other than friend Juanita.

I can’t remember the scenerio but she stressed that she was very happy with the man who won her and his wife was a good mother to her. I simply can’t imagine.

It was exciting times back then. I did a lot of autographings and usually the whole family showed up.

Books-a-Million Wichita Falls, TX

The Book Rack Wichita Falls TX

West Texas Book Festival, Abilene, TX

Oaklea Mansion, Winnsboro, TX

My great niece, the real Marley Rose

Willie Nelson with Knight on the Texas Plains

I wonder what pictures and places are in store for me with the re-release of this book. I don’t think I can top these.

To win a copy of Knight on the Texas Plains with its beautiful new cover, tell me what draws your eye when you look at a cover. Is it the man and/or couple, the title, the colors–what catches your eye? 

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I Have Winners!

I’m sorry for being late with this drawing. I have a deadline and was feverishly working.

The random winners of KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS are…….

LOIS IMEL

STEPHANIE JENKINS ORTIZ CERRILLO

CHERYL LUCAS

TONYA CHERRY

MARLA TRIPP

Congratulations, ladies! I’ll contact you to see what format you’d like your copy in.

There will be other chances to win. On here next week and on the website Petticoats and Pistols on Monday, July 31st. The Goodreads giveaway will also end on August 1st for the 5 copies.

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Knight on the Texas Plains Coming!

I think every book has to be inspired by something or there’d be no reason to write it. That’s certainly true of this book and the inspiration may shock you. This is a story about a cowboy who’s lost everything and aimlessly drifts from town to town. Then he rides into Cat Springs, ties his horse to the hitching rail, and goes inside. He sits down a card table and half-heartedly plays poker. When the player across the table runs out of money, he reaches for a child on the floor and plunks her down on the money in the center of the table. Whoever wins the pot, gets the baby.

When I was a kid, we lived in a very poor part of town. A Hispanic couple lived next to us with one girl, Juanita, and I became friends with her. One day she told me that she didn’t belong to them, that the man had won her in a poker game. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t imagine such a thing. But I told my mom and after she confronted the wife, we found out it was true.

I can’t remember what my mom did–if I even knew. I don’t know if she called the cops or not, but I do know things continued as they were. We called the man Old Frank and he was falling down drunk every day of his life. He’d holler and throw rocks at us and once he chased Mom around the yard with a long knife, trying to kill her. I don’t know what if anything was done about that either but no policemen ever came to take him away.

Juanita used to cry and tell me that one day she was going to find her real parents and ask them why they didn’t love her. I knew I had to give her the happy ending that life denied her even if it was fictional.

So this is my attempt. Marley Rose is Juanita.

Duel McClain is barely able to take care of himself. He doesn’t need a baby to care for. When he tries to give Marley Rose back to her rotten father, the man says that he’ll sell her before dark. Unwilling to have that on his conscience, Duel tucks the babe next to him and and starts toward his farm. Along the way, a woman covered in blood rides up to his campfire.

And so the story starts. Duel and Jessie love this baby and she means everything to them. The book releases in two weeks on August 1st and is available for pr-eorder now online.

Publisher’s Weekly has this to say ~~  “Broday (the Men of Legend series) has a knack for capturing the hesitations of both Duel and Jessie and unfurling a twisting plot without resorting to melodrama. Through carefully deployed flashbacks, she slowly exposes the horrors of Jessie’s marriage, culminating in a truly grisly image of depravity without overwhelming the tender love story. Fans of historical romances will be pleased.”

Romantic Times gave it 4 1/2 Stars and Top Pick! ~~ “The instant a sweet baby girl, an abused woman, a stray dog, and a reluctant hero meet, readers are drawn into a tender and tough love story that touches many emotions and will have them believing in the healing power of love. Beauty and warmth spring from the pages as the quiet strength and grace of the characters capture readers’ heart and bring that deep sigh they crave.”

What has inspired you in life? 

I’m giving away three copies of the book. Comment to enter the drawing.

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Hebby Roman Has Winners!

Huge thanks to Hebby Roman for coming to hang out with all of us this week. I had so much fun!

And now for the giveaway………

Winners of the first two books in Hebby’s series are………….

STEPHANIE ORTIZ

TONYA LUCAS

DALE STEWART

Congratulations, ladies! Hebby will be contacting you so keep an eye open for her email.

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Quarter Horses and A COWBOY TO KEEP

This week I’m hosting a wonderful group of women who’re launching a contemporary western romance boxed set. Help me welcome Hebby Roman, Carra Copelin, Andrea Downing, Kristy McCaffrey, Devon McKay, Hildie McQueen, and Patti Sherry-Crews. They’re bringing you seven modern day stories that will thrill your heart and keep you sighing into the night. Catch a cowboy, Keep a Cowboy? You betcha.

Good Morning, Western Romance Fans,

I’m Hebby Roman and my book in the collection is entitled, BORDER ROMANCE, the third book in my “On the Border” Series. This series is set in southwest Texas near where I was born and raised, in the small ranching community of Del Rio, Texas on the United States-Mexican border.

In this series, my heroine owns a horse ranch where she breeds, raises, and trains Quarter horses. In the second book of the series, I feature the training of Quarter horses for working ranch occupations, as well as rodeo events, such as cutting horses, calf roping horses, and as barrel racers. For this, the third book of the series, I thought it would be fun to have my heroine consider adding a Quarter horse racing stable to her ranching operation.

The modern Quarter horse has a small, refined head with a straight profile, and a strong, well-muscled body, featuring a broad chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters. They usually stand between 14 and 16 hands, and they come in nearly all colors with the most common color being sorrel, a brownish red.

Most people are familiar with Thoroughbred racing, especially with regard to famous races, such as the Kentucky Derby. Quarter horse racing is similar to Thoroughbred racing but with some special distinctions.

The American Quarter horse is an American breed that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name comes from its ability to outdistance other horse breeds in races of approximately a quarter of a mile or less, ranging from 220 yards to 870 yards with 440 yards being a quarter of a mile. Some Quarter horses have been clocked at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. And the Quarter horse is the most popular breed in the United States with around 3 million Quarter horses currently registered.

In 1940, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) was formed by a group of horsemen and ranchers from the southwestern U.S. dedicated to preserving the pedigrees of their ranch horses. The horse honored with the first registration number, P-1, was Wimpy, a descendant of the King Ranch’s foundation sire, Old Sorrel. The King Ranch is a vast ranch encompassing millions of acres in the far southern part of Texas.

With the AQHA centered in the southwestern U.S., most Quarter horse races are found there, stretching primarily from Montana in the north to Louisiana in the south and all states in between and including California where pari-mutuel horse racing is held. Most pari-mutuel tracks host both Thoroughbred and Quarter horse races with a special season of several weeks devoted to Quarter horse racing. There is a circuit for Quarter horse racing throughout the Southwest with Grade 1 races drawing large crowds, such as the All American Futurity, the Ruidoso Futurity, and the Louisiana Breeders Futurity.

Unlike Thoroughbred racing, all Quarter horse racing takes place on the dirt part of the track, there are no turf races. And Quarter horse races are held on the straight part of the track with no turns and no advantage to the post horse.

Another distinction is that most Quarter horse races, with the exception of certain Grade 1 events, features mares racing against their male counterparts. Many of the male race horses are geldings, though stallions are also raced before entering a breeding program.

Like Thoroughbred horses, youngsters are first raced in trials at two years old. These trials are known as short sprints at 220 yards. Mature horses are normally raced at distances of 300 to 400 yards. Any distance over 400 yards are known as long sprints. Conventional starting gates are used and because the distances are short, clearing the gate cleanly is the most important ingredient to winning a Quarter horse race.

Quarter horse racing is fun and exciting to watch. The races are fast and action-packed and enjoyed by thousands of fans around the U.S. as well as other countries, particularly Canada and Mexico.

I enjoyed researching and writing about Quarter horse racing and including it as a backdrop to my romance. I hope you, the reader, will enjoy learning about this equestrian sport, along with all the wonderful stories in our boxed set, A COWBOY TO KEEP.

AMAZON LINK

Here’s a rundown of the stories:

THE LEGEND OF BAD MOON RISING by Carra Copelin
Sheriff Ben Hammond is finally over the woman who shattered his heart, but when Dinah Horne suddenly returns, can he ignore the passion still burning bright between them?

CITY BOY, COUNTRY HEART by Andrea Downing
Trading horses for subways for two years seemed like a good idea to cowboy Chay Ridgway, but can city girl K.C. Daniels keep a rein on his country heart?

BLUE SAGE by Kristy McCaffrey
Archaeologist Audrey Driggs rolls off a mountain and lands at the feet of rugged cowboy Braden Delaney. Together, they’ll uncover a long-lost secret.

THE DRIFTER’S KISS by Devon McKay
Determined to take back what belongs to her, Addison Reed will do anything. Even trust a complete stranger.

HER MAN by Hildie McQueen
Deputy Mark Hunter falls for Eliza Brock during a murder investigation. Is it fate or bad luck, especially when she may be involved?

BORDER ROMANCE by Hebby Roman
Widow Leticia Villarreal wants to establish a horse-racing stable and old acquaintance John Clay Laidlaw offers to help. But can she trust him with her business and her heart?

PHOENIX HEAT by Patti Sherry-Crews
After losing her fiancé and her New York City business, Harper Donovan returns to Arizona and meets cowboy Frank Flynn. Will his past and their differences extinguish the heat between them?

More about BORDER ROMANCE by Hebby Roman

Leticia Villarreal is lonely. Widowed for eight years, she keeps busy with her ranch and charity work, but they don’t fill the empty place in her heart. When she considers establishing a Quarter horse racing stable, her new endeavor reunites her with an old acquaintance and exposes her horses to danger.

John Clay Laidlaw, a handsome, self-assured, millionaire rancher, has been attracted to Leticia since high school. When he was young and first divorced, he tried to get Leticia to date him, but she didn’t like his arrogant and high-handed ways. Separated from his second wife, John Clay offers to help Leticia with her new racing horse. Remembering how he acted when they were young, she doesn’t trust him. But when someone tries to harm her horses and John Clay rushes to her rescue, can she open her heart to him?

SHORT EXCERPT:

John Clay swung back into the saddle and said, “You might think that calf is stupid but compared to sheep, she’s a virtual Einstein.”

Leticia threw back her head and laughed.

“But why cattle?” He asked. “I thought your ranch was all about horses?”

“Yes, this is a horse ranch. The cattle are just a sideline. We don’t keep a bull, but for some of the better-bred heifers, we use our neighbor’s Angus bull. Keeps the herd young. We cull the older ones and sell them, of course.”

“I’m surprised you bother.” He inclined his head toward the ranch house. “Must keep you busy, considering you said you’re short-handed.”

“Oh, that, it’s only temporary.” She removed her Stetson and wiped her arm across her brow. The spring day was heating up. “We need the cattle to properly train our horses. Our charro horses are our pride and joy, but we’re just getting back into them. Mostly, we train working Quarter horses, and you can’t train a cutting horse or calf-roping horse without cows.” She pursed her lips.

He slapped the side of his head. “Stupid of me. I wasn’t thinking. I’m all about sheep, except for my racing stable.”

She laughed again. “Hey, don’t get overwrought and knock your hat off.”

“Yeah.” He grinned and shook his head. “Kinda silly.”

And how right she was, he was acting like a goofy middle-schooler, just being around her. “So, your manpower shortage is temporary. Does that mean I won’t usually find you rounding up cattle?”

“No, not usually. I always have plenty of paperwork to keep me from riding out. But today has been a nice break.”

“I like the mare you’re riding; she’s a good-looking horse.”

“Why, thank you, Mr. Laidlaw, how nice of you to say.” She patted her horse’s neck. “Yep, Pearl is a sweetie. Rusty and Camila brought her back from Ponder last year, and she was so good at everything, we couldn’t make up our minds how to train her, cutting horse or calf-roping or…”

She’d moved ahead to a thicket of live oak and ducked her head under a low-lying branch. “My mare, Sally, was getting old, so I decided to keep Pearl for myself.”

He followed her into the thicket, staying behind her horse to navigate the rough, one-horse trail through the trees and undergrowth.

She cleared the thicket and stopped, waiting for him. He could see the ranch house ahead. He drew alongside her. “At least you have the grass for horses and cows. My ranches only support sheep. We keep some milk cows for the ranch hands, but other than that, it’s mostly mesquite and cactus and patchy prairie grass on my spreads.”

She raised up in her stirrups. “Yes, Eduardo chose well. This land is fertile, and we irrigate some, using Las Moras creek to grow our own hay.”

She gathered her reins and smoothed them, half-turning toward him. “But I can’t wait to show you my new charro horse foal. Midnight Princess just threw a beautiful colt a couple of weeks’ ago.”

“I won’t say no to seeing one of your charro horses. I remember how talented Eduardo’s horses were. I was sorry when I heard you’d quit breeding them for a time.”

John Clay gazed at Leticia, and he thought he could see the faintest glimmer of moisture on her eyelashes. It was obvious she was still grieving for Eduardo? Where did that leave him?

She dropped her head and fidgeted with her reins, smoothing the long ends. “Yes, Eduardo was magic with the horses.” She bit her lip.

He wished he was the one biting her lip, her neck, and lower…

ABOUT HEBBY:

Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her first contemporary romance, SUMMER DREAMS, was the launch title for Encanto, a print line featuring Latino romances. And her re-published e-book, SUMMER DREAMS, was #1 in Amazon fiction and romance. Her medieval historical romance, THE PRINCESS AND THE TEMPLAR, was selected for the Amazon Encore program and was #1 in medieval fiction. She was selected for the Romantic Times “Texas Author” award, and she won a national Harlequin contest. Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. Her contemporary romance, TO DANCE AGAIN, was a 2016 RONE Finalist.

AMAZON  |  WEBSITE  |  FACEBOOK

Do you like going to horse races? If so what part do you like best? Hebby is giving away 3 Kindle copies each of Border Heat and Border Affair–the first two books before this new one! Leave a comment to enter .

 

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Winner of Hallowed Ground is………..

Thank you all for coming to share your thoughts this subject. I think we all agree that western movies and TV shows died out for numerous reasons.

It makes my heart hurt to see something so good vanish.

At least we still have our books!! YAY!

Winner of Hallowed Ground is……………..

ALLISON PROCTOR

Huge congrats, Allison! As I stated, you can have this in ebook or print. Your choice. I’ll contact you.

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Hallowed Ground: Meet Coble Bray

Sometimes a book comes along that just grabs you. That one for me lately was Hallowed Ground by Darrel Sparkman. This is a western about a tough marshal named Coble Bray. His character reminded me a lot of Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon. Whenever a job was too hard, they telegraphed Coble because no one was better at tracking bad men.

In this story, someone is kidnapping, starving, then killing little girls and they have no time to waste in finding the killer. Darrel’s superb writing really pulls you in and plants you right there in the old west. You feel as though you’re riding this dark trail with Coble. And there’s some romance too so that made me a happy camper. In the TV westerns, I always hated when the cowboy rode away, alone and aching for someone to care, to love.

Here’s the back cover copy:

One Murdered Girl. One Unknown Killer. One Legendary Lawman. 

A lone man sits his horse atop a bluff near the southern Missouri border. There’s a story in the country ahead of him. A dark tale of murdered girls and a killer not caught, of an old friend asking for help, and a letter from a frightened young mother that has arrived too late to save her daughter. A letter that now rests in this man’s pocket….

Marshal Coble Bray isn’t subtle. He’s known as “The Deacon,’’ and when local lawmen come across murderers and thieves too tough or ruthless for them to handle, he’s the one they call. He’s got guts and brains and an itchy trigger finger, and he hunts men like others hunt wolves. But none of this will help him with the challenge he now faces.

Innocent young girls are being murdered in a ritualistic fashion. What evidence there is has turned out to be useless, and every trail turns into a dead end. Between an ambitious judge, a useless sheriff, and a gang of bloodthirsty vigilantes, the countryside is primed to explode. Dodging danger, hot lead, and the advances of two beautiful women, Coble pushes forward in his mission. He knows the murderer is near, but how do you find a killer who hides in plain sight?

There was one passage that stuck in my mind that tells you exactly the kind of person Coble Bray is. This is his answer to a woman’s question about how he lives with killing.

“I’ve always believed the mind is a room with many doors. Most of the doors you pass through all the time. Some of them you open once in a while to see what’s in there, and remember. A few of the doors…those you nail shut and you never open them. Not ever.” Coble stood abruptly, the legs of the chair scraping the floor beneath him. “And with that deep thought, I’d better get going. The rain’s stopped and I want to get to Big Springs before dark.”

* * *

If you’re looking for something a little different from the standard romance, maybe you’ll give this a try. The book is available in print and ebook. Here’s the Amazon link:  http://a.co/iaoBS66

You can find out more on his website: http://www.darrelsparkman.com/

Darrel Sparkman also has a lot of good short stories on Rope and Wire. A word of warning…you’d better have some time.  http://www.ropeandwire.com/western-short-stories-darrel-sparkman.html

My question: Why do you think TV westerns died out? They were hugely popular for so many years and then suddenly disappeared.

I’m giving away one copy of the book (print or ebook) to someone who comments.

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Idella Smyer, an Uncommon Woman

For every famous or well-known person in the Old West you can find a hundred who were just as tough and resilient but who never got their name in the history books.

Idella Stephens Smyer was such woman. I ran across her when I was reading about some of local history a few years ago when I lived near Lubbock, Texas. Idella was born in 1871. Raised by her grandfather who reared her as a boy, she rode horses as soon as she could sit up good. They had to strap her in the saddle. She took to horses like a duck to water and later started breaking and training them. Sometimes she rode as a jockey in races.

She didn’t care much for schooling and only went a couple of months a year in the fall after they’d gotten the crops in.

At the age of 15 she married Henry Smyer in Decatur, TX in 1885. She and Henry moved to her 80 acre farm outside of town. Her grandfather gave her one heifer as a wedding present. That was the start of their herd. Each year they sold the steers but kept all the heifers.

The first of their 14 children, a daughter named Gertrude, came down with malaria. Idella took her everywhere to try to find a cure. Nothing seemed to work until Idella’s brother, Blue Stephens, came to visit. He worked for the huge XIT Ranch in the Panhandle. He persuaded Idella and Henry that the dry climate would cure Gertrude. So they packed up and headed west.

But passing through Jacksboro, Texas, Henry got a job hauling rock for a new hotel. He and Idella bought a tent and lived there three years. That’s where their second daughter whom Idella named John Willie came into the world. How fitting for a woman who lived life so large to saddle her daughter with a man’s name. I laugh every time I think of this part and imagine some man asking John Willie to marry him. It’s just too funny.

Idella’s idea of raising children was to make them as tough as she could and able to take care of themselves in any situation.

By the time she finished with them, they rode wild horses like the wind, hunted wildcats, wolves, and antelopes. They camped out alone on the prairie and they feared nothing.

Neither did Idella. When her third baby was born she was all by herself. Like everything else in her life, she tackled the task and did what she had to do.

The Smyers made it to West Texas in 1892. They settled into an abandoned one room house in Crosby County and took possession. With wood a scarcity, Idella gathered up an armful of cow chips and had a roaring fire going and within an hour was baking biscuits.

Their cattle herd got bigger along with the size of their family. To make extra money, Henry took a job as a freighter. That left running the ranch up to Idella. But she tackled it like everything else in her life—without batting an eyelash.

One day a raging wildfire threatened their house and the herd of cattle. Idella gathered all the children who were old enough, gave them a bucket of water, and sent them out to help battle the blaze. They saved the house and only lost a few cattle.

Another time when a blizzard swept across the prairie and caused her cattle to drift, Idella put her children into bed to stay warm and gave them strict instructions not to light a fire. Then she headed out to round up the cattle by herself. But the cattle were contrary and wouldn’t stay together so she managed to get them into a field of maize she was growing. Although the Smyers had meant to take the crop to market, it fed the cows and kept them bunched up. Idella worked for hours in the frigid cold hauling warm water from the well to them. She knew cattle that had a full stomach and their thirst quenched would be content. She was right. She didn’t lose one cow whereas her neighbor lost 250 of his herd. And when she finally dragged herself home to thaw out, she found her children up and dressed and a wonderful meal cooked.

There were always horses to be broken and trained on the Smyers’ farm. In true Idella fashion, she let each child select a horse of their own. The only stipulation was that they break it themselves. You know the end of this story—they always did.

Idella had both physical and mental strength. She could brand, rope, and bulldog. She could tail up a weak cow or dose a sick one. She could do anything with a horse and the majestic animals were dearest to her heart.

The woman who always used her own brand of language—decent but strong—had a merry laugh and a great sense of humor. But there was a steely glint in her eye that promised she could hold her own against anyone.

Idella Stephens Smyer died on October 27, 1953 at the age of 83. (She outlived Henry by 14 years.) She had no complaints. She’d lived a full life and had done everything she ever wanted.

Do you have any ancestors that bear a resemblance to Idella?

My mother comes to mind. She was the strongest woman I’d ever known. I’ve seen her roof a house; fix a car; wipe away tears; kill a chicken, pluck, and cook it; pick and hoe cotton. There was nothing my mother couldn’t find a way do. She was my hero and my friend. I’m just really, really glad though that she didn’t name me John Willie!

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Medical Care 1800s Style

The one thing that always strikes me about westward expansion and settlers on the frontier is that so many survived. How I don’t know. They battled the harsh environment, often the lack of even basic necessities, and the lack of doctors. A simple accident such as stepping on a rusty nail could spell certain death.

So how did so many overcome those obstacles to settle the land?

One was that they had a good knowledge of the healing properties of herbs, roots, tree bark. Those people—even the mountain men—knew what could heal most things.

And even if a town had a doctor, he or she would only have certain things to treat with. Most of his arsenal consisted of the natural or holistic medicines.

Since I’m writing a story that has one of these early doctors in it, I’ve done a bit of research. What I found was very interesting.

Common in their arsenal were 12 remedies: Bismuth (stomach ailments,) Dover’s powder, Morphine, Podophyllin (used for a number of things,) Mercury with chalk, Compound Cathartic pills, Bromide of Potassium, Tincture Aconite (fevers, influenza and colds,) Calomel (kills bacteria,) Fluid Extract of Ergot (hastens contractions in childbirth and used to treat heavy bleeding,) Tincture Belladonna (colitis, peptic ulcers, nausea and vomiting,) and Tincture Hydrastis (treats a variety of problems.)

And even the doctors in the far reaches of this vast land would most certainly have had laudanum.

In his black bag, he’d carry a thermometer, obstetric forceps, a small saw, scapels, and a stethoscope. Needles and catgut for stitching up wounds would’ve been a requirement too. Some might carry more but these were standard.

Horses were the main mode of travel in making their calls, but as they were able, they bought a buggy or wagon so they could haul more supplies. Mainly, they were more comfortable.

They had to carry a lot of things in addition to medical supplies—a lantern, a shovel (for digging through snowdrifts or mud,) a hammer and wire cutters (for getting through fences,) and a blanket. Depending on how far he had to travel, he might also take some food.)

And after all this, he might get paid in livestock or garden produce. No one had much money back then.

Mid-wives often filled in during childbirth when a doctor wasn’t available. Infant mortality was very high throughout the 1800s.

Doctors had to have been awfully overworked. A lot of them became heavy drinkers, probably turning to alcohol to cope with the stress.

My mother lived through the Depression and rarely had access to a doctor. They were so poor. Of her five children, only two were delivered by a doctor…me and my baby sister Jan. She suffered one miscarriage all alone. But she lived to a ripe old age of 87. She was a true pioneer woman.

During the Depression, my daddy got his ears frostbitten and was never treated. Then he was severely burned when I was about 12 years old and spent months in a hospital.

We’re so blessed to have doctors today. I sometimes think we overuse them and go when we don’t really have to. For myself, I try to keep away from them.

I loved that show, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. She really faced a lot of hardship. And I had a special fondness for Doc Adams on Gunsmoke.

Do you have a favorite TV or book doctor?

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Sam Sixkiller: Cherokee Lawman

Men committed to upholding the law and making the frontier safe came from all nationalities. Sam Sixkiller was born in the Going Snake District of the Cherokee Nation sometime in 1842. This is what is today Adair County, Oklahoma, which sits on the Arkansas border.

When the Civil War began, he joined the Confederate Army while his dad, Redbird Sixkiller, fought on the Union side. At age 19, Sam switched sides and served under his father who was a 1st lieutenant.

Following the war’s end, he married Fanny Foreman in 1865 and began adding their six children.

Ten years later, he became the first captain of the U.S. Indian Police headquartered in Muskogee, one of the most dangerous towns in the West. He had 100 men serving under him. Sam also was a special agent for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad and a deputy U.S. Marshal. He was a very well-spoken man whose impeccable behavior spoke of his excellent upbringing. Needless to say, he was respected by good men and, grudgingly, bad alike.

During the 1800s more lawmen lost their lives within a 50-mile radius of Muskogee than anywhere west of the Mississippi.

Sam didn’t present a particularly striking figure at 5’8” and 200 pounds, but he was one of the toughest lawmen in Oklahoma Territory and got the job done, no matter how long it took or how far he had to ride.

As it had been from the first, Oklahoma Territory was a haven for outlaws, rustlers, murderers, bootleggers and other lawless men so there was no shortage of work. He faced one of his most challenging problems after a large group of harlots moved in and practically took over Muskogee since it was on a railroad line. Ordered to clean up the town, Sam Sixkiller rounded up the working women and put them in the jail. He remarked that he’d rather face an armed gang of killer outlaws than deal with those women. After a short stay, the females had a change of heart and took Sam’s advice that they might could do better in other towns, paid a fine, and left. To which Sam breathed a big sigh of relief.

One of the most dangerous outlaws in the territory was Dick Glass. He had a thirst for killing and was deadly in a fight. Sam Sixkiller tracked him down and put two bullets in his chest.

On Christmas Eve of 1886, Sam was ambushed by a mean outlaw named Dick Vann after several run ins and arrests. Vann shot him dead. Lawmen all over attended Sixkiller’s funeral that was said to be one of the largest in the territory.

Despite a huge reward and a big posse, Dick Vann was never apprehended.

Shortly after his death, the United States government signed into law that it was a crime to kill a Native American lawman and the murderer would be tried by the government instead of the tribal counsel.

What do you think drove a man to try to keep the peace in such a lawless town like this? Surely not the money. They were paid very little.

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