When the American Civil War broke out, Jacob Evans joined the northern army, hoping to help save the Union. He was a teenager when he marched off with his regiment. They were rugged men battling fleas and lice in huts made of logs and dirt. Worse, when officers weren’t savvy enough to order the latrines to be dug downstream, sewage leached into the men’s drinking water. Many of the soldiers came from isolated farms and had little immunity against diseases we now immunize for. One sick soldier could wipe out a camp in short order. Ninety-five men died of disease […]
In 1884 Tom and Alice Glover drove up Colorado’s Grand Valley in a covered wagon to start a new ranch along the banks of Parachute Creek. Alice held their baby daughter Queenie. When they arrived, Tom pitched a tent for the family to live in that summer. Once the camp was set, he found a couple cowboys to help him build a ranch. While the men were building, Alice was on her own to make the camp a home. On wash day she carried water from the creek to heat in a kettle over a fire. She made her own […]
No, the Canary Islands were not named for canaries. Canaries were named for the islands. That seems to be certain. Many claim that Europeans visiting the islands were surprised to see large dogs on Gran Canary so named it “big dog island” in Latin. Others say the name came from a tribe of people with a similar name or maybe a tribe that worshiped dogs. Whatever. A Canary Island dog surprised me as well, though it wasn’t particularly big. I just never saw one that looked quite like that.
Galveston history makes for a strong role model in challenging times. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 is still counted the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States. After a night of battering wind and waves, survivors found much of their thriving city demolished if not washed away. Islanders had no contact with the mainland, no water, lights, fuel, or water. Many had no shelter. Food and clothing were scarce. The task of disposing of over 6,000 bodies was so gruesome that men had to be forced at gunpoint to take part, and whiskey was allotted to ease their anguish. After dumping the bulk […]
The problem with being a slippery sort is that it’s so easy to slip up. Kid Curry–the most wanted outlaw of his time and cohort of Butch and Sundance–probably changed his alias more often than his underwear. He and those he ran with were so careful to ride under the radar that even when they made the mistake of having their picture taken, lawmen spent years looking for someone who could identify them. It was the already widowed bride from the wedding the fellas dressed up for, who finally provided aliases. Even she didn’t know their actual names. I learned the iconic tale […]