Howdy, my loves!
This time I have something different for you... I would advise you to turn off the lights and wrap yourself in a blanket because this is going to be a scary journey!
The Old West was and still is a fascinating place for most of us! Doesn’t it excite you whenever you think of it, my dears? Because it sure does excite me!
But the last thing we can imagine when thinking of the Old West is…ghosts. That’s right, ghosts. Who would have thought that they used to have their own haunted stories back then? It’s amazing when you think of it!
This is why today, I have prepared some of the most terrifying Old West stories, that I’m sure will keep you awake at night. Are you ready?
The legend of La Llorona is extremely popular in Mexico and Mexican culture, and it’s so widespread, that even the United States has its own version of the story.
In our folk-tales, La Llorona was a young woman who used to love dancing. Dancing was her passion. She would spend hours dancing every day, again and again, even going as far as to neglect her own family’s needs!
In her obsessive mind, her children limited her ability to follow her dream so she started growing resentful of them. It got so bad, that she started threatening them and wishing to kill them.
One day, she went out of her mind; she simply didn’t know what she was doing. She took her two young kids and drowned them in a local river, killing them in the most horrible way! When she came back to her senses, she felt so guilty for what she did that she jumped in the river, taking her own life!
Since then, many testimonies have arisen, of a young woman wandering around the same river every night, crying and shouting “Oh! My sons! Where are my children? Give me back my children!”.
There are many different versions of it too, with only some minor things changing. For instance, some say that her husband caused her mental breakdown when he came back home from a trip, with a younger woman. Nonetheless, she went mad!
Parents tell their kids this story, to remind them not to wander outside alone because La Llorona will take them. I think this story is enough to stop all of us from walking out alone, especially near a river!
Do you believe in dark magic? Because this legend is going to make you question everything.
The Navajo, the second-largest Native-American tribe, have their myth of strange creatures called the skinwalkers or yee naaldlooshii, which means “they who walk on all fours”. According to legend, they used to be witches and healers who took the path of dark magic and transformed into something out of this world.
It’s hard to find details on this topic because even talking about them can result in great harm to the teller. By most sources, they can shift into any animal and imitate any sound to lure people towards them. Their intention is to kill!
Cowboys started spreading tales of the skinwalkers throughout the Old West, creating a sense of fear. The skinwalkers were blamed for almost everything after that; whether it was a murder or a disappearance, they would take the blame over any culprit. Pretty convenient, huh?
As a gang leader, Jesse James, an infamous robber, was a nightmare for every Sheriff. He committed criminal acts all across the Midwest and he soon became a wanted man. Every bad and good deed is repaid, however, and this is exactly what happened to him.
He was shot down by a member of his own gang! People didn’t believe it, of course, because of his unmatched reputation. An experienced criminal got killed by an unknown person? Impossible! People did not believe that he was really dead or that anything could ever stop him!
This all changed when people spotted him… or his ghost. When they would try getting close to him, his figure would disappear. There were many testimonies and the myths only grew from there.
Even to this day, locals report eerie voices, and pictures of his figure still circulate online! Most support this is all Jesse James’ ghosts doings, who wants to live a peaceful life on the farm, a century after his death…!
Maybe he really is out there!
This is enough to give me nightmares tonight! Have you ever heard of these stories before?
And do you have your own to share? Please do comment below and share everything you know!
See you next time!
Written by Cassidy Hanton
Hello, my loves!
Today I have a unique article for you!
Everyone has heard of cowboys. Everyone has heard the myths. Lone wolves with their revolvers, ready to fight for justice. Their appearance is always the same; tall, muscular, bearded, white.
What if I told you, 1 in 4 cowboys was black?
Surprised, huh? As it turns out, you’re not the only one! Most Americans are unaware of this and I was just as amazed as most when I found out.
Before slavery was abolished, the life of a cowboy was the only freedom the average African American men could have. The equality which came with the cowboy life was something revolutionary for its time. They slept in the same beds and they even received the same wages as their white comrades!
However, only black men would have been called “boy”, hence where the word “cowboy” came from. A white man wouldn't be called something that was so often used for slaves; that would be demeaning!
On top of that, the work of a cowboy was no easy task! Someone had to do it and many preferred the easier route; African American slaves.
When Texas ranchers fought in the American Civil War, they had to depend on their slaves to care for their land and cattle. In turn, the slaves developed skills unmatched to anyone and that deemed them irreplaceable in the post-war era.
Despite their demand, their life was characterised by high degrees of racism and hardships. Unlike their white counterparts, many black cowboys were declined entry to restaurants and even whole towns. It was truly horrible!
However, their spirit only got stronger and they never allowed discrimination to limit them. This is a true example of the cowboy spirit; it can never be blemished!
Some truly remarkable examples are:
Nat Love was a man born in slavery. He managed to master the skill of roping, and branding horses and cattle throughout his life. He also learned how to write and read, something most slaves weren’t allowed to do!
After he was freed, he and his father started working on a farm, but this was all stopped after Nat’s father's death. He managed to win in a raffle and he gave half of the money to his mother, doing everything in his power to support her.
He soon moved to Dodge City—as a cowboy—where he became a living legend, earning nicknames that only respected men earned at that time.
There are many legends and myths about Nat Love, but I’ll leave those for another time!
Bose Ikarb was born in Mississippi, as a slave. It is believed his father was a slave master named Dr. Milton Ikard, but there’s no concrete proof of that. After the Civil War, Bose gained his freedom and began his adventure as a cowboy, marking his place in Western lore.
Charles Goodnight, the man Bose Ikarb worked for, built a strong friendship with Bose and he was impressed by his work and life ethics. Goodnight praised Bose on an engraved monument, giving us an insight of what a magnificent person he really was!
As yet another man born in slavery, Ison Dart’s (Also named Ned Huddleston) story is one worth telling. Born in Arkansas, he helped Confederate soldiers steal food during the civil war!
After he was freed, he traveled across Texas and Mexico, rustling cattle, which was a horrible crime for the time. He had to make a living somehow and his only solution was stealing. He tried changing, aiming to become a better person, but he was unsuccessful.
His life only went downhill from there and he became infamous for his involvement in gambling and numerous fights. Just like before, he tried to turn his life around, hoping to become a better man, but he failed to do so.
Not everyone is a perfect human and he wasn’t either. Though, he shows us the harsh reality that came with the dangerous life of the west!
As you can see, black cowboys were (and still are) a big thing in the West. Unfortunately, many people, outside the area, are very unfamiliar with this. What about you, my dears?
Have you ever heard of them before?
Do you have any thrilling stories to share?
I would love to hear from you! I can’t wait to hear your comments and thoughts on this.
Until next time!
Written by Cassidy Hanton
Imagine a typical ordinary day in the Old West. Saloon fights, shootings, bandits, robberies, stagecoaches, mining accidents, diseases...And I’m mentioning these without much thinking, my dear! The way of life and the conditions of the Wild West were definitely risky.
And when something bad—like the above—happened, people would need...medical treatment! And who would treat them?
Well, doctors of the Old West. Who were called physicians.
So today my dear, prepare to be shocked...
Of course, things were way different than they are today—and I’m grateful for that. A doctor back then could easily prescribe a mercury compound to a sick person that not only it would not help his condition, but also it would probably make the person’s teeth fall.
That is why many people who lived back then claimed that the doctor’s work was the devil’s work. Many doctors of the Wild West performed some kind of surgery—wait for it—without anesthesia!
People tended to be afraid of the medical treatment much more than their injury or sickness. But can we blame them?
The most shocking thing I found out in my research was that most of the Frontier doctors were untrained. They had no previous medical experience or any experience at all. And just like that, they were physicians. Or to say it better, they called themselves physicians…
They were self-taught and many times they performed surgery without even having seen one before in their life. Some of them had perhaps read one or two books written by healers of their previous era, but we can understand that this wasn’t a relief to anyone. Healers and druids might have known some important things about treatments, herbs and homemade medicines back then, but they weren’t scientists in any case.
Well, we can imagine that, if the majority of doctors was like that during the Frontier Era, the medicines were even worse. The patients were treated with purgatives or drugs. Their doctors claimed that purgatives would clean up their entire system, and make the sickness go away. Of course, the sickness didn’t bother...
The other option back then was drugs. Strong, powerful medicines that caused the patient dizziness, delusions, trembling and numbness. Those drugs were also very expensive. A single ounce of each could cost more than a horse, or a cow back then. Quinine or Ipecac were especially wanted. Most of the time, the effect of the drugs wasn’t the patient’s cure.
It was strongly believed that strong-smelling and vile-tasting were also very effective treatments. Drinking sulfur, for example, was considered to do good in everything. Instead of drinking milk, for example, people of the Western Era were drinking sulfur or other strong stuff.
Steam or frozen baths, weird diets and Indian herbs were also widely popular. Very few of them actually helped the sick people though.
And now it’s time to tell you about the famous calomel!
It was the drug made of mercury that was supposed to cleanse the patient’s system, but also had another effect…It made the patient’s teeth fall.
Bloodletting or just bleeding was another treatment method. It was thought something like purging. The patient should let the disease flow through his blood.
Homemade bandages, knives and alcohol would easily be found in a physician’s bag. Alcohol was thought to be a very good painkiller and was offered to the patients in any case. It didn’t matter what you had—it did matter what you drunk. Whiskey in most cases. What else?!
A “physician” would perform “surgery” everywhere. At the kitchen table, at the saloon, at home. Many times, his tools were rusty or not cleaned properly, but still, he would perform the surgery.
Needless to say that except for alcohol, there wasn’t any painkiller available back then. Therefore, a patient had to suffer the surgery without any anesthesia at all.
In my research, I found examples of real experiences in the Old Western medical treatments. Among others, I was shocked to read about:
There were many cases in which physicians were examining the bodies of deceased people, in order to know the human body and understand its remarkable functions and organs.
It is kind of ghoulish, but back in those days, there wasn’t any other way to explore and discover human anatomy and the miracle of the human organism. That was how anatomy and biology were developed after all.
In conclusion, we may say “good old times” when talking about the Old Western Era ,sweetie, but the truth is that when it came to medical treatments things were terrible—and terrifying, if you ask me!
Thank you for being here with me once again! I appreciate your love and support!
I would love to hear your thoughts once again! So please feel free to share them with me! You know how! 😉
Written by Cassidy Hanton
My dear, I hope your holidays have been amazing so far! Christmas is my favorite time of the year and December my favorite month. And of course, since I’m a fan of the Old West, today you will learn everything you need to know of the Old Western Christmas...
...celebrations, traditions, gifts and food of the Wild West during the Christmas period!
Get comfortable, make yourself a warm cup of tea and join me in the most beautiful time of the year!
Well, sure! From 1836 to 1890, every state had officially recognized Christmas as the annual religious holiday on December 25th. Perhaps you already know it, dear, but allow me to tell you this: Christmas time was a really hard period for pioneers.
And why? Because of the weather, of course. Those who lived on the prairies were in huge danger due to the terrible December blizzards and winds. Men who worked at the mines had a really difficult time because of the freezing cold and the terrible storms. These mountain men had to go and stay somewhere else, way before December arrived if they wanted to survive. Cattlemen could also be stuck in a snowstorm and, finally, others could already be somewhere safe and sound, locked inside their homes!
However, the most remarkable thing about all the pioneers was that despite their difficulties and harsh life conditions, they never, ever forgot to celebrate Christmas. Even in the most humble way!
From 1850, the Christmas tree was one of the most popular traditions, both in the West and East. I think we can imagine how easy it would be for a pioneer to go and just cut an evergreen from his land, take it into his house and decorate it, right, sweetie?
But it’s worth mentioning that not every pioneer house had a Christmas tree inside. In some cases, the house was smaller than the tree, so a huge evergreen would not fit in there. Perhaps a smaller one would work, though...well, it’s a pity that there weren’t fake trees back then!
People who lived during the Western Era we all know and adore, didn’t have the variety of decorations we have today. Well, an old western Christmas tree would be decorated with many nice things...
Despite the lack of variety and choices, people had the sweetest imagination and the greatest of ideas. They were decorating their trees with many colorful ribbons, paper strings and—wait for it—berries!
They were also creating dolls and small figures made of straw or yarn. How beautiful is that? This tree couldn’t become more homemade than that. And this is so touching considering their harsh way of life.
Back then, exactly like today, people had warming family and friend gatherings. They were having great feasts while exchanging homemade gifts with each other.Of course, every hostess would prepare a meal according to her or her family’s budget. Let’s not forget that not everyone back in those days had the luxury to afford to eat whatever they liked...but I’ll come back to that later. The important thing is that, despite the cold weather, the people of the West were keeping their hearts warm by gathering and eating together, creating a splendid and lovely Christmas atmosphere.
Exchanging gifts is—and will always be—a unique tradition when it comes to holidays, especially Christmas. If you ask me, it’s the gesture that counts more! It’s wonderful when your loved ones show their love for you by getting you a gift, isn’t it? Or should I say better, by making it?
As I wrote before, during the western era, there weren’t many options when it came to decorations. Well, the same thing applied for presents too. But homemade is always better, right?
The families were working months before Christmas in order to prepare or make the gifts they were going to give their kids, friends and relatives during their Christmas visits. Corn husk dolls, carved wooden toys, dolls, pillows, embroidered hankies were some of the most common but beautiful homemade gifts!
It was also very common back then, especially for the women of the era, to sew. So other homemade gifts were knitted scarves, socks, hats and mitts.
Also, if you ask me, a really sweet gift would be a peel from an orange, meant to scent a drawer. Even a piece of candy was often considered a cherished gift.
It’s worth saying that the well known and very popular today wish cards started their huge success back then. Typography and chromolithography made the printing of multiple cards at a time possible and very easy. With the transcontinental railroad making the mail service easier, people started buying and sending many Christmas cards to their loved ones, or offering them as a gift to their closest people.
Candies, toothbrushes, cookies and fruits were found inside their stockings. Other gifts for children were homemade figures and dolls, small toys, medicine, gingerbread, books or letters and pens.
Now it’s time for food! The big feast, my dear!
Common meal choices for Christmas were pies of all kinds—sweet pies like apple pie, or savory ones like a mince pie, venison meat, bear meat, mincemeat, bacon, plum pudding, bread, crackers, baked beans, cookies and cakes!
Pies and cakes were coming in any shape or form you can imagine. Star, heart, flower or even jigsaw puzzles to fit together. I would love to try and make a few of these...puzzles!
Oh my! Delicious food combinations, right?
Here sweetie, I would like to share a frontier recipe I found while doing my research about Christmas during the frontier era. So please, allow me to present you the Victoria Sandwiches! Well, I’ll definitely want to try this...
~4 eggs (weigh them in their shells)
~Caster sugar, equal to the weight of the eggs
~Butter, equal to the weight of the eggs
~Flour, equal to the weight of the eggs
~¼ teaspoon salt
~Jam or marmalade, of any kind
Cream the butter for about five minutes, then add the sugar and beat for about two-three minutes. Add the eggs and beat for three minutes. Add the flour and salt and beat for an additional five minutes.
Butter a 9”x9” baking tin and pour in the batter. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Allow to cool on a cake rack.
Cut the cake in half and spread the jam over the bottom of the cake. Place the other half of the cake on top and gently press the pieces together. Cut them into long finger pieces. Pile them in crossbars on a glass dish and serve.
From Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management, Isabella Beeton, 1874, London.
Recipe web resource: https://truewestmagazine.com/christmas-on-the-frontier/
Except gatherings, gifts exchanging, cooking and decorating, there was one more very important tradition. In fact two. And they had to do with the spirit and the soul!
People of the Old West used to go to church right before their family feasts. After the service they would be happy, having gatherings with their loved ones, singing songs around the fireplace. How lovely!
My dear, I would like to wish you and your loved ones the very best, with all my heart. Make the most of your Christmas holiday and may the New Year finds you happier than ever, stronger and healthier!
Thank you once again for being here with me and for reading this article. If you enjoyed it, comment below or send me your thoughts through email.
Until then, you have my love!
Written by Cassidy Hanton
Today, my dear, I’m in a mood for a good old western mystery. That’s why I’d like to present you one of the most curious and unsolved mysteries the Wild West had ever seen!
The case still remains unsolved, and if you ask me, it will remain this way…forever!
Have you ever heard of Lizzie Borden?
Well, it was about a murder that became quite famous during the Frontier Era. It was the case that make the infamous Lizzie Borden famous, but not in a good way at all. Sit tight my dear…because I’m going to present you the facts of a case and a trial that shocked so many people…and kind of inspired some other! Yes! You heard right!
You probably already know about that case…in a way! Because dear, I’m telling you, this case has become something like a legend in the history of the American culture. And that’s not all. You will find Ms. Lizzie Borden in poems and literature, films, theaters…or even songs!
She was born and lived in Massachusetts, in 1869. Her mother died when she was two years old. She was younger than her other sister, Emma. After her mother’s death, her father Andrew married another woman, named Abby. Abby wasn’t exactly close to her stepdaughters and apparently the feelings were mutual.
Anyway, Lizzie stayed unmarried and continued to live with her father and stepmother. But she was a very active member of the society and the local community! At the age of thirty-two she was teaching at the Sunday School, singing in the church choir and working occasionally at the hospital. And there’s more! She was delivering bouquets and baskets to the poor and sick people, helping anyone in need and, during the Christmas holidays, she was even preparing meals and turkeys for the orphan children.
Curious Fact number 1: None of the Borden sisters ever got married. Very unusual considering the era they lived. The Result? They stayed with their 70-year-old father and their 63-year-old stepmother…This might not have been so pleasant for the sisters.
The Bordens’ maid named Sullivan, one day got very sick. A very serious nausea. And guess what?! Both Andrew and Abby had the same symptoms! Abby got really worried and went to see a physician. She probably described the symptoms and told him what they had eaten. The physician assumed that since three members of the house had the same symptoms it must have been food poisoning, probably from having eaten a-not-so fresh fish. But was it so?
Shortly after this incident, there was a time during the day that Lizzie was left alone in the house with Abby. Where was everyone else? Well Andrew was away organizing errands, Emma was out of town with her friends and their maid, Sullivan, was outside, cleaning the windows.
Sullivan finished the windows and Andrew came home. And then something strange happened. When he asked where his wife Abby was, Lizzie showed up and said that Abby had received a letter from a sick friend and left home in order to visit them. Then, her father didn’t go to any room, just sat on the sofa to get some rest.
In the middle of the night, Lizzie started screaming. So loud that awoke Sullivan up. She was screaming that her father was dead. And he truly was. On the sofa, struck by an…ax (or hatcher)!
Lizzie told Sullivan to go get a physician, or any close friends—generally to go get some help. Sullivan did that, but when she got back with help, people started asking where Abby was…
Where Was Abby?
Lizzie claimed that she heard Abby returning home. When they searched for her, they found her dead at the guest house, struck by an…ax (or hatcher) as well!
If this was an outsider’s work there should be a forced entry, or something like that. But their door was locked. Lizzie was accused of killing her parents, since she was the only one in the house, when both murders happened.
But there was no actual evidence, thought, in order for Lizzie to be imprisoned. Only circumstantial evidence. For ,a witness said she was seen at the kitchen burning a dress of hers three days after the murders. Perhaps blood? Well, Lizzie claimed that she had painted something and that the dress was spoiled with paint.
According to another witness, of the local drug store, Lizzie had bought a very poisonous acid a day before the murders. Well, Lizzie claimed that she wanted it for cleaning purposes.
When she was asked where she was during the murders she said she was back at the barn, where she liked to spend her free time.
Many questions followed and Lizzie’s answers were contradicting to each other.
This trial, sweetie, was one of the most popular in the American history. The prosecution presented shocking…evidence in front of the court. Seeing them, Lizzie fainted. Also, her testimony regarding the drug acid was canceled, because she had been prescripted with morphine. So, under this influence, she couldn’t be taken seriously.
The prosecution and the witnesses really tried very much to prove that Lizzie was guilty. They had circumstantial evidence, but it was not enough.
After a two-week trial, the jury and the court found Lizzie Borden not guilty! She was a very respectable member of the society and she couldn’t have done something like that.
Lizzie was free of charges. Of course, as you can imagine, her reputation was ruined. Despite not being imprisoned, she would always be thought as the woman who killed her parents, for many people.
Here are at least some of them that were heard after this case:
Well, she inherited a large amount of her father’s money, that she used to buy a house in an upper class neighborhood, gave away to charities and spend it to the theatres. She also traveled a lot.
But lonely. After all of these, she could never have a romantic relationship, or a friend. She had become a social outcast, no matter the final verdict.
Enough of all these, though. You probably know this curious story became a legend. The lyrics of the popular western song, Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay were referring to Lizzie. To put it clearly, this song was written for Lizzie. She became the protagonist of the musical New Faces of 1952.
In 1956, Lizzie’s story was an episode of the series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Among others, in 1975 Lizzie’s story became a film. Elizabeth Montgomery had the role of Lizzie Borden and the title of the film was The Legend of Lizzie Borden.
Want more recent artworks? In 2014 the film Lizzie Borden Took an Ax is produced. Later, in 2015 a series as the sequel of the film followed. Its title? The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, with Christina Ricci in the role of Lizzie.
This was the curious case of Lizzie Borden. Hope you find this…curious topic rather article interesting! Thank you for being here with me, my dear!
After all, we always have romance and love to warm our western hearts!
I would be thrilled to hear your thoughts about this unusual case! You can leave a comment below, or send me an email!
You have my love!
Written by Cassidy Hanton
Today I have a very special article, just for you! The honor code of the Wild West…Oh my!
I’m sure you know, darling, that especially during the Western Era there were many, really many unwritten laws. What you may not know until now, though, is that if those rules were broken, there would be some kind of punishment! It could be acquiring a bad reputation, lack of respect, tarring and feathering…And of course a fight. Because after all, it’s the Old West!
I’m talking about the “no written” code. Cowboys had a hard life, but their code was all about justice, loyalty, respect, hospitality and protection of their lands.
The lack of any written laws during the Frontier Era was a huge problem. Especially when newcomers and settlers were coming, searching for a better life, a business opportunity and probably a piece of land. I think you can imagine what chaos this lack of laws caused.
And that’s how unwritten and unbreakable rules started in what we call today the Code of the West!
This Code had to do with people’s moral aspect. This unwritten code was in fact rules of behavior. Ethics. The code was unbreakable and it didn’t matter that they were never written. They weren’t official laws, but I can assure you that a man of that era would never dare to break any of them. Basically it was the agreement of a man of the West to obey certain behavior rules.
Below, I will present you some of the rules of this “no written” code. I will be happy to receive your comments about these! Pick one (or more, dear, it will be my pleasure) and leave a comment after the article! 😉
So let’s get started!
As I said before, if a man broke these rules, there would be punishment. According to his fellas, “he wasn’t a man”. Since the rules weren’t “official” or “written”there wasn’t certain punishment. But, the man who broke them would obtain a really bad reputation. He would become a social outcast, without any sign of honor. I think it was fair enough. Except this rule about the whiskey! 😉
It seems that our beloved Wild West, despite the difficulties and the harsh way of life, had a more…sensitive side. I feel the moral code proves it.
Those men based their behavior on love, respect, loyalty and honor. It is remarkable, don’t you think?
Hope you enjoyed my article and learned something new today! Have an amazing day! Thank you for staying with me until the very end!
I look forward to your comments, or e-mails! You know where to find me! Until then, farewell!
Written by Clarice Mayfield
Nowadays, we have endless—?!—possibilities of falling in love, going on a date and eventually getting married.
I said endless? Okay not endless, even today, but definitely more than those women of our beloved Old West had. And then it occured to me! How exactly a woman and a man would flirt or go on a date during the Frontier Era? The right term back then was courtship…I bet you already know that, because of propriety, there were courting rules!
So today, my dear, join me for a ride back in the history of courting, wild-west style…Believe me, gentlemen of the Old West who were truly in love, were doing their best to show their love while at the same time trying to be appropriate!
This time, I won’t focus on the Mail-Order Bride advertisements or the letters and correspondence that were very common back then. It’s worth saying, though, that most of the marriages during the western era were done through this process. Men mostly en, but later on women too, were posting their ads, waiting for someone to respond.
But today, sweetie, I will present to you with a couple of things that lovebirds did face to face. No letters, no advertisements. Just the two of them, courting! Well, almost. Because there was another way for a man to court a woman…and it was through a photograph!
Yes, you read right…through photographs!
Here is an example. A man of marriageable age visits his best friend’s house. His best friend is married to a beautiful woman. There are many framed photographs in their house.
Suddenly, there she is. In a photograph the man sees his friend wife’s sister… “Is she single? Can I meet her? Can I write to her? May I ask her father’s permission to court her?” would be some of the interested man’s questions. If the woman would be available, perhaps the family would prepare for a second marriage!
Back to our face-to-face meetings now…
Where could a man find a single woman? In church, most probably; also in social gatherings, celebrations and festivals, in balls, or even at a barn “party”. Well, we should keep in mind that men were much more in number than women. That is why they were the ones who started posting Mail-Order Bride advertisements…to find available ladies!
Let’s say two lovebirds have found each other. That they have found love. What now?
Well, first of all the man had to make his intentions clear. The man in love had to ask the permission of his love’s father, brother or uncle to court her. He had to show that his intentions were serious and that he was not fooling around. The lady had a reputation to protect after all.
Needless to say that many marriages started from courtship. Back then, courting meant that a man was spending time with a woman to see if they are indeed “compatible” for marriage. It wasn’t like an engagement but it was surely a promise for both of them to be seriously committed to one another. Also when a lady was being courted, she couldn’t court or flirt with other single men or potential suitors.
Propriety and society back then were very demanding and strict. The saloons—that were something like our bars today— weren’t places for a lady. Only saloon girls could go there. So where could the two lovebirds meet up? What they were allowed to do?
Do: The man could visit girl’s place. Of course, with an adult family member as a chaperone. As I said, the lady had a reputation to protect.
Don’t: The man could not be alone with the lady in her house without a chaperone.
Do: Spending time in his girl’s house and joining her family in meals.
Do: Going for a walk alone, only the two of them, in public places where other people could see them as well.
Don’t: The two of them alone, in a private place. We can say here that the Victorian rules were far more restricted. In the Old West, things were a bit looser. At least regarding the romantic walks…
Do: Riding. Who doesn’t love horses?
Do: Dinner in wonderful restaurants. Great choice. Public place, warm atmosphere, nice food and little times of privacy…;)
Do: Picnics. It was really common for people back then to go on picnics and enjoy the outdoors. It was considered a truly romantic gesture! If there was ice cream too, it would be the best!
Do: The two lovebirds could attend social events together. Of course, the man had to ask for the lady father’s permission. He had to pick her up from her doorstep, take her to where the festival/event was and then take her back home, at a reasonable time, without any delays.
Don’t: Staying together after the event has ended…and people knew what time that was! If the two lovebirds would stay together somewhere private after the event, the lady’s family—and not only— would find out. The lady’s reputation was not protected.
Do: Reading together or playing games together. Poetry, literature, parlor games, card games.
A man could open the door for his beloved, as proof of his interest. He could also bring her some flowers or offer her a present…a dress, a handkerchief, an embroidery, a ribbon for her hair!
What is more, as mentioned before, correspondence during the Western Era was crucial. The man could not express his love and desires directly to his lady, but he could write a love letter! How romantic is that?
When the commitment became even more serious, the couple was allowed to sit together in the church or hold hands. BUT: Holding hands required the presence of the lady’s mother or father. Difficult times, what can we say?
Also, the man could help the lady with her shopping: , the heavy bags. What is more, the man could help his lady’s family too. If her father needed help in the ranch or something, our man would be the first to help.
Love is love…
When our lovebirds would finally get engaged, they could exchange their first kiss! Well, at last, if you ask me! 😉
That’s it! It’s time for me to say goodbye to you, dear. For now, at least!
Thank you for reading my article, I sincerely hope you enjoyed it! I must say I loved writing it.
I will be thrilled to read your thoughts, as always! You can leave me a comment below, or send me an email!
Until then, you have my love 🙂
Written by Cassidy Hanton
As lovers of the Wild West, I’m sure you are quite familiar with the term Western Lifestyle or else Cowboy Culture. You might already know which were the top—and the best—cowboy activities but let me ask, darling, would you be interested in learning what were some of the artistic skills of the most talented people of the era? Well, if you’re as thrilled as I am, join me and let’s start today’s wild western and artistic trip!
Because, being a cowboy those days wasn’t only about what one was wearing, drinking or even chewing and smoking—tobacco!—but also what activities one was doing…
…and I’m telling you, sweetie, the following men totally left their mark in the history of the Old Wild West!
Ranchers, farmers, cowboys, sheriffs, outlaws…But what about the western artists? Were there painters, sculptors, photographers? Of course, there were! All of them.
Please, meet our first artist, for today. Mr. Frederic Remington.
He was born in 1861, from a German father and a French mother. He moved with his family to Ogdensburg, New York where at the age of eleven he attended the Vermont Episcopal Institute. Frederic had difficulty in focusing and in this Institute, his father was hoping that the discipline would lead him to a military career. But there, a miracle happened!
Frederic took his first drawing lessons! He was transferred to another military school, let’s say a more “loose” one, where he actually had some fun…
Then he went to Yale to study his new love…art! At the age of nineteen, he made his first trip to Montana.
Fun Fact: At first he went to Montana to buy a cattle operation and try his luck at the mines, but he didn’t have enough money to financially support neither of his two business choices, after all! Either way, he stayed there and lived his own western experience.
When he later on moved to Brooklyn, he sent some of his drawings and illustrations where he was depicting his western experiences, to the newspaper Harper’s Weekly. The newspaper seemed very interested in his work.
Thanks to his experiences, he had gathered many notes, sketches, drawings and photos, where it was clear he had studied very well the world of the Wild West and its… colors! He started working at Harper’s Weekly as an artist correspondent. Among others, he covered the government’s war against Geronimo, the Charleston Earthquake in 1886, and many others.
Yes. He totally did! During a period that it was really tough to be an artist, Frederic managed to earn a few thousand dollars in his first year of working at Harper’s Weekly. His paintings, photos and illustrations drew people’s attention and, as a result, Frederic started selling some of his work.
His attention to detail and the historical aspect he was presenting through his work made important people of the era, such as Western Army officers, to request from him their portraits!
From an artist correspondent, Frederic became a kind of historian artist! He visited many Western towns and countries and he kept painting. When he became more confident with his work, he claimed that at that point of his life, he remembered so well the western sceneries, that he didn’t even need a camera to capture the scenes and landscapes (so that he would be able to study them while starting a new project). Later on, he also became a sculptor.
Edward S. Curtis was a photographer and a very important ethnologist who focused on the American West and the Native American people. In 1895, after changing a few partners in the photographic studios of Seattle where he was living, he met Princess Angeline Kickisomlo, who was the daughter of Chief Sealth of Seattle. He photographed her and with her photograph he started his portrait career. He took part—with great success—in many exhibitions.
During his expeditions, Edward met the famous anthropologist George Bird Grinnell who taught him many things and historical facts. He and Grinnell went to an expedition to photograph people of the Blackfoot Confederacy…together! How brave!
With his projects, he managed to get proper funding and gain the support of many respectable anthropologists. This way he could continue his work and publish not only his photographs but also his studies and notes about the American Native peoples and the history of the Old West!
He worked extensively with many ethnologists, photographers, and anthropologists.
Well, later on, in 1922, Edward moved to Los Angeles where he opened his studio. He worked as an assistant cameraman to earn some money. One thing is for sure, darling: his two published studies educated many people who totally ignored the history and the people of the West!
And now, dear, I’ve got a sweet cowboy poet for you!
Bruce Kiskaddon’s poems were literally…everywhere! Calendars, books, magazines…Oh my!
Of course, to be a famous cowboy poet those days, you needed to have some experience. And let me tell you this: our dear Bruce had ten years of experience when he first started composing his poems. He had worked ten years as a cowboy! I honestly don’t have anything else to say here.
But there is more! In the outbreak of World War I, he joined the army and honorable served his country in France. After returning, he worked with great success in many cattle industries.
Bruce started writing poems about what life was really like in the Wild West.He first published his genuine poems in 1924. Two years later, he went to…Hollywood! And he never came back. He stayed there for the rest of his life,taking part in Western films.
And since we’re moving towards the end of this article, I will close it with a part from Bruce’s poem Shorty’s Yarns – Western Stories and Poems:
I wonder jest what that fat feller would think,
If he lived on short grass and went miles fer a drink.
And wintered outdoors in the sleet and the snow.
He wouldn’t look much like he does at the show.
I wouldn’t be like him; no, not if I could.
I caint figger out why they think he’s so good.
The time to say goodbye has come…I’m sure you love the Wild West as much as I do and that’s why I truly hope you love its artistic aspects as well!
I hope those men inspired you today. Thank you for being here with me in another unique western experience.
I would love to hear your thoughts. I’ll be more than happy to see your comment below or find an email in my inbox folder!
See you soon!
Written by Clarice Mayfield
Well dear, you can guess the topic of this article. Probably one of our favorites…Clothes, clothes, clothes!
I’d say we, as fans of the American Frontier era, already know about what cowboys and, generally, people of the Old West wore…but allow me to start with a fun fact.
The famous cowboy hat, wasn’t actually made for…cowboys. Crazy right? We’ll find out more below where I will present you some musts in a western wardrobe.
Shine your boots and let’s get started!
The shirt we all know with a stylized yoke on the front and on the back was made of tartan or denim. Full of patterns, colors, shapes very…intense! Patches, pockets, different fabrics were used in a single shirt during that time. The yoke would always make a color contrast with the color of the shirt. The western shirts were usually decorated with embroidered elements such as roses of other flowers, horse shoes of abstract shapes.
Why so many contrasts? Because most of the men of the Old Wild West were taking part in rodeos. The cowboys would have to be easily identified by the audience. Also, by wearing shirts and costumes with colors and patterns different from other participants, each guy would become recognizable and easy, for his fans, to remember. To make a perfect costume set, those shirts were easily matched with buckskins.
Which bring us to the next…piece of garment…
Not much to say here. The well known suede. The buckskins were usually consisted of a fringe jacket and leggings, made of the same material—the hide of deer. The fringe was very useful back then because the frontiersmen had a difficult life full of cold. In case of rain the fringe would shed the water and get dry sooner. So buckskins were warm, resistant and…modern! It brought the wamus!
Fringe jackets like the ones I mentioned before, frock coats, ponchos, duster coats and even waist coats. Made of wool or, most commonly, leather! Always with embroidery details, patterns, shapes flowers. The piebald, a.k.a. color of the cow, or cow pattern as I’d like to say, started its career during the Frontier Era. The Western ladies usually wore boleros, shawls and denim jackets. Honestly, denim was the best invention ever if you ask me. I love jeans. Trousers, jackets…even bags and dresses!
Of course there were special occasions! What did people wear then? Does Eisenhower or Ike jacket ring a bell? The leisure suit? Or the sports coat?
The Ike jacket is more of a soldier’s clothing. It is a waist length jacket with many pockets mostly in the chest and many embroidery and rhinestone details. It is adjustable with fly-front buttons and shoulder straps.
Leisure suits. Perhaps, if you are fond of hard rock or country music, you already know what are these. I’ll tell you one name. Johnny Cash. Black western suit. Oh my! No further comments 😉
The lounge man jacket. It could be made of suede, leather, denim, wool. An all time classic. Ideal either for outdoor activities or a festival, a ranch party, a stroll with his love, another formal occasion. Meeting his bride, perhaps?
Fun fact. Coats with rhinestone decoration were used by many country artists and performers. And that is how the phrase rhinestone cowboy appeared!
At first they were made of wool. But then denim came and changed our lives. Ranchers, cowboys, sheriffs started wearing jeans. With pockets as we know today, accessorized with belts and metal details. If they didn’t wear denim trousers, their other option was leather. But these weren’t exactly…trousers.
Leather chaps were leggings, but much more loose than jeans. The had a belt and many many details or even fringe. Thick and strong clothing. These leather chaps were protecting the cowboy’s legs from cacti! Sure this was a huge problem of the era. Have you ever been injured by a cactus? Hopefully not. Because it really hurts. Imagine the cacti in the desert. A total nightmare! No thanks, I’ll pass.
Prairie skirts were very popular during the Frontier Era. They were knee-length and…puffed. Other options? Gingham dresses. Usually this pattern was red or blue, sometimes green too. Suede was a very popular material too. Suede fringe skirts, like the jackets I mentioned above, were a very preferable choice by the women of the era.
As for the saloon girls’ clothing…
…well, sexy short dresses, usually red, with fascinating corsets was, let’s say, a woman’s number one choice! Other accessories the saloon girls choose to wear were garter belts, amazing tight necklaces usually made of lace and stockings. That was how frontiersmen, cowboys, outlaws, sheriffs were falling for them. Astonishing, sexy and at the same time really tough and strong!
Men and women of the era were constantly wearing constantly. The silk cravats of the Victorian Era, were changed to awesome bandanas, with many crazy patterns. Neckwear was necessary, especially for the cowboys, because it absorbed the sweat and it was keeping the desert dust away from the face.
The pioneers also invented a new type of necktie: the bolo tie. This was a necktie braided with metal and leather tips and it was secured with an ornamental clasp. It was said that the bolo tie was the gamblers’ favorite accessory. Later, the Mexican horsemen known as charros adopted this…impressive style. Looking for something forbidden? Wear a bolo tie! I don’t know about you, but I would certainly wear one!
And finally, the famous cowboy hat we all know and are familiar with…was not so cowboy-ish after all!
As “cowboy hat” we know the famous Stetson. But guess what? This hat was associated with the cowboys in the movies! This happened because the famous cowboy hat we know today, back then it wasn’t practical and didn’t help the travellers. The most common hat back at the time was the bowler hat.
The cowboy hats had stampede strings to prevent the hat from being blown off when the cowboy was riding at speed. The strings were made of leather or horsehair. Other hats worn during the western era were the sombreros and the coonskin hats.
Well dear, that was a short presentation of what our beloved cowboys and ladies were wearing during the glorious period of the Old West. These clothes were truly impressive, considering how harsh life in the Wild West was.
Riding, searching for outlaws, being an outlaw, dancing, drinking, gambling…each occasion had its own dressing code. Regarding women, either walking, shopping, teaching, reading, sewing, dancing, singing and many many more…there was always a perfect dress, skirt or jacket.
Of course, there was always the footwear. What else? Boots!
Thank you for staying with me ‘till the end and I hope you enjoyed the article! If you did, I will be happy to see your comments below, or find a friendly email in my inbox folder.
See you soon!
Written by Cassidy Hanton
Despite the patriarchal society people were living in, there were some women that were brave, strong and…badasses!
Well, darling, today’s topic is about them! Make yourself comfortable, pour a glass of whiskey in your glass—you’ll need it—and get ready to meet six of the most notorious female outlaws from the Wild West!
I couldn’t have started this article with anyone else. But let’s take things from the start. Calamity Jane, a.k.a. Martha Jane Canary was born in Missouri, but her family decided to head to Montana while searching for gold. By the age of fifteen, after the death of her parents, Canary was left on her own, with her siblings. She went to Wyoming and the following years she worked in a boarding school, danced with soldiers, worked as a laundress and also as a prostitute.
Well, that’s an easy one to answer! She liked to dress like a man, scorning the dressing code of the women of the era, she was an excellent shooter, rider and—what else of course?— a hard drinker! She was one of the first white women to enter the Black Hills of South Dakota. I bet she could chew tobacco way easier than the…notorious tough men of her era!
So, about her nickname…
Even though there are many rumors around this topic until now, here are the two most popular ones I found:
In July 1876, she joined a wagon train headed north, which is where she first met Wild Bill Hickok. She became friends with him and they were in Deadwood together. She must really have admired Wild Bill because after his death she claimed to have been married to him. Furthermore, she admitted she was the father of her child, whom she said was born on September 25th, 1873 but was given for adoption. Unfortunately, we’ll never know if that was true because there are no records to prove the birth of a child. The fact, though, is that before her death, Calamity Jane’s last wish was to be buried next to Wild Bill. I get emotional every time I read or write about this story…
Despite her tough character and image, Jane had a really hard life. And also despite her upbringing, she always wanted to take care of people in need—her siblings, her friends, probably her sweethearts. Kind, fair, sweet were, in fact, the most distinctive characteristics of her extraordinary personality.
Our second lady—and what a lady was she!— is…who else? Pearl Heart!
Educated and coming from a middle-class family, she became one of the most notorious female outlaws. Her specialty? Stagecoach robberies!
Being young, attractive and adventurous, Pearl eloped with Frederick Hart, who eventually proved to be abusive, a drunkard and a gambler. When Pearl realized who he really was, she left him and moved to Colorado. She became a saloon singer, but when she found out that she was pregnant with Fred’s child, she went back to her family. She gave birth to a boy that she left to her mother.
Sometime later, Frederick Hart and Pearl got back together and Frederick tried to live a domestic life—to find a decent job so that he can be able to support his family. They also had a second child together. But after a while, Frederick couldn’t handle the family life and Pearl left him, for the second time. She, again, returned to her family along with her second child. But the taste of the West she had gotten was enough for her to leave her family again and move to Arizona alone, where she fell for Joe Boot!
With her new love, they decided they needed to make some extra money by holding up a stagecoach, even though neither of them had any previous experience in robberies. However, in 1899, Pearl (dressed as a man) and Boot stopped a stage on the run between Globe and Florence. Their first robbery would have been successful if Pearl and Boot hadn’t chosen such an obvious trail, which eventually led the sheriff of Pinal County to them, arresting the young couple four days later. Ironic, isn’t it?
They managed to hold up the stage but they were caught while trying to escape…
Joe Boot was sentenced to thirty years and Pearl to five. Neither of them served out their terms, though. After several years of good behavior, Joe was released and people never heard from him again.. Pearl somehow got pregnant after a year in prison. For this sole reason, Governor Alexander O. Brodie pardoned her. It would be a disaster for the government to explain how Pearl got pregnant, in a prison facility…
A businesswoman of her era…
With her French accent, she showed up in Nevada City all of a sudden. Her plan? To open up a casino! Her business was so successful that she opened a second one. But over time she got tired of that kind of life, so she bought a ranch and stayed away from her previous activities. She fell in love with a man named Jack McKnight, but as it turned out, he was a conman, who sold her ranch and ran away. Eleanor’s nickname? Madame Moustache!
This independent, dynamic, high tempered woman tracked Jack McKnight down and shot him dead. Broke but not guilty, she went back to gambling and created an even larger name for herself. There were many hilarious stories of her foiling robbers or threatening steamboats at gunpoint. Her ending though was a real tragedy…She killed herself when her gambling debts became too large as she couldn’t pull it through.
Well, dear, one thing is certain: her reputation lived and will surely continue to do so!
Mary Fields, known as “Stagecoach Mary”, wasn’t an outlaw—she simply was incredibly tough. She was born into slavery under harsh conditions. After being emancipated at the age of thirty, she went west, to Montana. She was very tall and extremely strong, so she worked as a general handyman and laborer at a school for Native American girls. She had quite a reputation for her strength, her stiffness and her participation in fights with people who annoyed her. At some point, the local medical examiner claimed that she had broken more noses than any other person in central Montana!
Rumor has it that one time she got stranded on a supply run and fought off wild wolves at gunpoint!
One day during another epic fight, Marie was fired from her position after having a shootout behind the school. At the age of sixty, Fields went to work for the U.S. Postal Service. That way she became the first black woman to work for the service. After so many years of driving coaches and traveling hundreds of miles, she retired by starting her own cleaning services.
I think we all agree that this woman was a real fighter, right?
Bonnie was a bright student who wanted to become an actress. Until she found love…
At the age of nineteen, Bonnie met the twenty-year-old ex-con, Clyde Barrow. The two fell immediately in love and Bonnie joined Clyde’s gang. Next to Clyde, she became a full-time thief and a…wait for it…murderer! Bonnie and Clyde followed a two-year criminal career during which they crossed five states and killed thirteen civilians. In 1933, a warrant was released for Bonnie and Clyde’s arrest. After a year, they died in an ambush together.
Bonnie and Clyde were partners in life and in…crime!
Belle Siddons, a.k.a. Madam Vestal was born and raised by a politically powerful St. Louis family. During the Civil War, she decided to use her good looks and became a Confederate spy at the age of twenty-five. She was caught and imprisoned but pardoned after four months.
Later, she married a gambling man named Newt Hallett, who taught her how to play cards. Finding that she was naturally good at the game, she became a famous dealer of the game 21.
When Newt died of yellow fever and Belle had to support herself, she followed the Gold Rush and set up shop in South Dakota. As the owner of her own dance hall, bar and gambling establishment, she became “Madame Vestal”.
In her establishment, she met and fell in love with the stagecoach robber Archie McLaughlin. Using her skills and beauty once again, she became a spy and retracted information from stagecoach drivers that she passed on to her lover.
Unfortunately, one night she let slip that there was going to be a robbery. You can imagine what followed. McLaughlin was caught, tried, and hung.
Belle found a company in her whiskey…She was last seen during an arrest in San Francisco in 1881.
And now I think it’s time to end this article. Let’s finish our drinks, sweetheart because I think we all need a final glass after what we learned today!
But that’s our sweet Old West…full of outlaws, scandals, forbidden romances, passionate love stories, marriages, drinks, shootings, saloons and many, many more! It is fascinating that, behind the cruelty and the rough times of the era, there was always love, romance, and sweet stories to soothe the realism and the difficulties of life.
Thank you for staying with me till the end of this article. I’m so grateful!
If you enjoyed it, I’d be happy to see your comment below, or perhaps your email in my inbox!
Have a blessed day!
Written by Clarice Mayfield