Sunday, October 25, 2009


We think nothing of picking up the cell phone or firing up the computer and sending an instant message. But think out our ancestors - no phones and letters often too up to a month to go around the horn because the Panama Canal hadn't been dug. A stagecoach was no better it shortened the time by only seven days -23 day run.
By 1860 and the Civil War raising its ugly head, the abolitionist wanted to bring in California to the Union side. But how? Why the American Way of course - competition.

In order to create a quick, reliable mail service three men, William Russell, William Waddell and Alexander Majors who all ready ran a freight line, proposed a series of relays between stations placed 10 miles apart. These horses and riders would mount and ride as fast as they could and deliver a letter from ST. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California in 10 days for the coast of $5.00 per half ounce weight. In two months, these men recruited 30 riders, created 190 stations, and acquired at least 500 horses for the project.

Riders were paid $25.00 a week and allowed to carry the tonto y feo or mail pouch, a water sack, a bible, a horn, and their choice of a rifle or pistol for protection. Because they were riding at a full gallop on a horse or what we would call today a large pony standing at 14 1/2 hands high, riders could weigh no more than 125 pounds. ( ok, I all ready weigh to much . sigh) Riders would ride day and night, year round. And in all this, only one pack was lost. ( hum think about how much mail gets lost today).

As we know, the Butterfield Stage Company won the contract and the pony express slowly dwindled the three stock holders selling to Wells Fargo Company. But, what happened to the men who developed this?

William Russell? Died in 1872 broke and shunned by friends.

William Waddell? Never went into business again. Lost his son in the Civil War. His property and land sold for back taxes. died broke as well in 1872

Alexander Majors? Returned to freighting. Moved to Salt Lake City. Helped with the
construction of Union Pacific Railroad died in 1900

But , oh, how their dream lives in the hearts of western lore.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Help support your "GIRLS" October is Breast Cancer Month

A good friend of mine is holding a contest and providing some great information on Breast Cancer and helping to find the cure. Won't you please go over to and check out the video and register to be in the drawing.

Nancy O'Berry
Think Pink.

Breast Cancer Awareness Contest
In honor of all breast cancer survivors and casualties, we'd like to welcome you all to our annual October BREAST CANCER AWARENESS event. We're a few romance authors who want to spread some happily ever afters around while urging you to get your annual checkups! Just visit the following websites or blogs to read up on the latest health information and learn how to enter each of the participating authors' contests.

Skhye Moncreif
Hywela Lyn
Sky Purington

Each author will offer a prize. So, be certain to visit each author's page and enter each contest. Prizes will be announced Halloween night.
I'll be giving away a Pink Ribbon Basket containing items such a ceramic travel mug, calendar, pens, as well as some romance books. To enter, just send an e-mail to and tell me one of the symptoms listed in the video below. IBC is a very aggressive cancer and, therefore, one of the most deadly breast cancers out there. Learn the symptoms so you can be aware.

Also, I'll give hold periodic drawings on my blog and guestbook during the month for Pink Ribbon Goodie be sure to visit and leave comments there as well.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Remembering Mom,

Today I'm participating in a mass blogging! WOW! Women On Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We're celebrating the release of Therese Walsh's debut novel today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy, (Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost when they were teenagers. Visit The Muffin ( to read what Therese has to say about family relationships and view the list of all my blogging buddies. And make sure you visit Therese's website ( to find out more about the author.

My mother was born in 1912 and grew up in the Great Depression the fifth child in a house of nine. I envy her growing up with brothers and sisters to fight with, to play with, to grow. Her childhood was so different. She never learned to ride a bike because it was unladylike to sit astride. She couldn't go fishing or ride on the boats with her brothers but mom learned to roller skate.

I'd like to think of my mom as the first roller derby queen. Her brothers rode the bikes towing her with a rope whipping her around. How that was lady like I don't know, but she loved to tell the stories. Her wild rides resulted in a broken arm not once but twice in the same place.

Her skills on wheeled shoes she transferred to me. I can remember her holding my arms leading me around telling me to push with the right, shift your weight, push with the left.

My mom was not only a parent, but a best friend. I miss her terribly. She was the one who turned me on to romance. Now, I guess I can call her a mentor as well. I love you, Mom. Thanks for all you gave up and for all you pushed me to achieve. I hope to do you proud.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


We have fond memories of our own childhood. Growing up along the Elizabeth River in Tidewater, I recall riding bicycles around the neighborhood. Learning to fish with the older neighborhood boys and climbing the tall pines that sheltered our yards. We wore our shorts and tops, our tennis shoes and flip-flops, and we'd laze away under the shade reading during the heat of the day. As wonderful as those memories are, it's hard to believe childhood is a modern day phenomenon.

In the later 1800, there weren't the carefree days of youth that we think about as summer vacation. Children in some ways were a commodity, a source of labor that helped bring income into the family. The age of Industrialization and the machinery to run mills often required the use of small hands to replace parts. Over 700,000 children worked in places today we consider unsafe, such as mines, factories, mills to make clothing or yarn. Their days were long and hard sometimes lasting from twelve to sixteen hours for nothing more than $2.50 wage. Today that's probably less than an hour baby-sitting or the cost of a drink and burger from a value menu. With few labor laws restricting employers working with children until the turn of the century abuse ran ramped.

It's no surprise then the expressions on Rockwell's young men running from the swimming hole. So when we complain about today's youth being without a care, it's ok. We need to remember they earned it. Just ask your grandparents or your great grandparents, they might tell you let them enjoy their freedom with a bit of structure to balance it off.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

American's new direction

The American Civil War had shaken the nation to its core and awakened the sleeping giant of Industrialization. The years following the Civil War 1866 through 1900 found our nation actively rebuilding itself.

It was a time of personal, social, and economic turn. the Gilded Age brought out the worst in humanity, case of greed, graft, and poverty streamed out of control. A devastated south tried to bring its cities back to life under an unforgiving thumb and lashed out against their fellow man when their efforts seem thwarted. It was an age of excess that contrasted the poor against the wealthy robber barons. The "Age of Excess" that truly portrayed the lead beneath the gilded over-lay of gold.

This is the period I love to write about - to explore - to see the changes in our nation that made us what we are today. I sometimes wonder if we learned those lessons.

Join me as we explore the wonders and sadness of the Gilded age and meet some writer friends along the way.
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