Thursday, December 18, 2014

Detainment of American Citizens in the West

Detainment of American Citizens In The West

 During World War II, between 1942-1946, Americans became suspicious of their neighbors, Japanese citizens of our country, because the citizenry believed the Japanese might have sympathies to their homeland of Japan, after the bombing attack on Pearl Harbor. Well, considering that Americans are a blend of just about every country on Earth, I found this piece of history particularly grievous. Unfortunately, this fear caused innocent people to suffer and to live in Internment Camps sprinkled across the western United States. This could be considered profiling at its worst.

By Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized local military commanders to designate "military areas" from which "any or all persons may be excluded." 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt

This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire West Coast, including all of California and much of Oregon, Washington and Arizona, except for those in government camps. Approximately 5,000 "voluntarily" relocated and some 5,500 community leaders were arrested after Pearl Harbor and were already in custody. The majority of mainland Japanese Americans were "evacuated" from their West Coast homes over the spring of 1942. The United States Census Bureau assisted the internment efforts by providing confidential neighborhood information on Japanese Americans. The Bureau denied its role for decades, until 2007 when it was proven to be true. How frightening to learn that the Supreme Court of these United States. in 1944, upheld the constitutionality of the removal when Fred Korematsu's appeal for violating an exclusion order was struck down. The Court limited its decision to the validity of the exclusion orders, avoiding the issue of the incarceration of U.S. citizens. Doesn’t that make you wonder how our Constitution can be so loosely interpreted?

Fred Korematsu (later awarded the American Freedom Award by President Bill Clinton. Died in 2005)

Just to be clear, most of these Japanese Americans were second and third generation Japanese. Included in this scandalous act were Italian Americans and German Americans.

Major Karl Bendetsen and Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, head of the Western Command, each questioned Japanese American loyalty. DeWitt, who administered the internment program, repeatedly told newspapers that "A Jap's a Jap" and testified to Congress, “I don't want any of them [persons of Japanese ancestry] here. They are a dangerous element. There is no way to determine their loyalty... It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen, he is still a Japanese. American citizenship does not necessarily determine loyalty... But we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map.”  

General John L. DeWitt

March 27, 1942: General DeWitt's Proclamation No. 4 prohibited all those of Japanese ancestry from leaving "Military Area No. 1" for "any purpose until and to the extent that a future proclamation or order of this headquarters shall so permit or direct."

May 3, 1942: General DeWitt issued Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34, ordering all people of Japanese ancestry, whether citizens or non-citizens, who were still living in "Military Area No. 1" to report to assembly centers, where they would live until being moved to permanent "Relocation Centers."
Notice to Japanese Americans and Instructions for Relocation

These edicts included persons of part-Japanese ancestry as well. Anyone with at least one-sixteenth (equivalent to having one great-great grandparent) Japanese ancestry was eligible. Korean-Americans and Taiwanese, [citation needed] considered to have Japanese nationality (since Korea and Taiwan were both Japanese colonies), were also included.

Internment was popular among many white farmers who resented the Japanese American farmers. "White American farmers admitted that their self-interest required removal of the Japanese." These individuals saw internment as a convenient means of uprooting their Japanese American competitors.

Japanese-American Children pledging Allegiance 

Austin E. Anson, managing secretary of the Salinas Vegetable Grower-Shipper Association, told the Saturday Evening Post in 1942:"We're charged with wanting to get rid of the Japs for selfish reasons. We do. It's a question of whether the white man lives on the Pacific Coast or the brown men. They came into this valley to work, and they stayed to take over... If all the Japs were removed tomorrow, we'd never miss them in two weeks, because the white farmers can take over and produce everything the Jap grows. And we do not want them back when the war ends, either."

Heart Mountain Detainment Center in Wyoming

Can you imagine what kind of press these declarations and presumptions would make in today’s news? Fear and hatred can cause people to say and do the most horrendous things.

After the dust settled from World War II and people began to reconsider how the Japanese American were treated, the government made laws protecting American citizens.

Beginning in the 1960s, a younger generation of Japanese Americans who were inspired by the Civil Rights movement began what is known as the "Redress Movement," an effort to obtain an official apology and reparations from the federal government for interning their parents and grandparents during the war, focusing not on documented property losses but on the broader injustice of the internment. The movement's first success was in 1976, when President Gerald Ford proclaimed that the internment was "wrong," and a "national mistake" which "shall never again be repeated"

The campaign for redress was launched by Japanese Americans in 1978. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) asked for three measures to be taken as redress: $25,000 to be awarded to each person who was detained, an apology from Congress acknowledging publicly that the U.S. government had been wrong, and the release of funds to set up an educational foundation for the children of Japanese American families.

President Jimmy Carter

In 1980, under mounting pressure from the Japanese American Citizens League and redress organizations, President Jimmy Carter opened an investigation to determine whether the need to put Japanese Americans into internment camps had been justified by the government. He appointed the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) to investigate the camps. The Commission's report, titled “Personal Justice Denied,” found little evidence of Japanese disloyalty at the time and recommended the government pay reparations to the survivors. On February 24, 1983, the commission issued a report entitled Personal Justice Denied, condemning the internment as unjust and motivated by racism and xenophobic ideas rather than real military necessity. The Commission recommended that $20,000 in reparations be paid to those Japanese Americans who had been victims of internment.

President Ronald Reagan signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988

 U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which had been sponsored by Representative Norman Mineta and Senator Alan K. Simpson – the two had met while Mineta was interned at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. The Act provided redress of $20,000 for each surviving detainee, totaling $1.2 billion. The question of to whom reparations should be given, how much, and even whether monetary reparations were appropriate were subjects of sometimes contentious debate.

President George H. W. Bush 

On September 27, 1992, the Civil Liberties Act Amendments of 1992, appropriating an additional $400 million to ensure all remaining internees received their $20,000 redress payments, was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush, who also issued another formal apology from the U.S. government on December 7, 1991, on the very day of the 50th-Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack: "In remembering, it is important to come to grips with the past. No nation can fully understand itself or find its place in the world if it does not look with clear eyes at all the glories and disgraces of its past. We in the United States acknowledge such an injustice in our history. The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated."

Detainment at Heart Mountain, Wyoming at a Dance

Some Japanese and Japanese Americans who were relocated during World War II received compensation for property losses, according to a 1948 law. Congress appropriated $38 million to meet $131 million of claims from among 23,000 claimants. These payments were disbursed very slowly. The final disbursal occurred in 1965.  In 1988, following lobbying efforts by Japanese Americans, $20,000 per internee was paid out to individuals who had been interned or relocated, including those who chose to return to Japan. These payments were awarded to 82,210 Japanese Americans or their heirs at a cost of $1.6 billion; the program's final disbursement occurred in 1999.

Under the 2001 budget of the United States, it was also decreed that the ten sites on which the detainee camps were set up are to be preserved as historical landmarks: “places like Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, Topaz, Amache, Jerome, and Rohwer will forever stand as reminders that this nation failed in its most sacred duty to protect its citizens against prejudice, greed, and political expediency”.

On January 30, 2011, California first observed an annual "Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution", the first such commemoration for an Asian American in the U.S. On June 14, 2011, Peruvian president Alan GarcĂ­a apologized for his country's internment of Japanese immigrants during World War II, most of whom were transferred to the United States.

The United States is a relatively young country. We’re still working things out to allow all of our citizens to receive fair and equal treatment, in wartime and in peace. Although it is disturbing to learn that these terrible things were done and that we still don’t have a perfect government, I am hopeful that we can get our act together and find ways to allow everyone in this country the freedom and civil liberties they deserve.

Before I go, I wanted to lift the mood a touch and wish you all a very merry Christmas and a New Year filled with love, prosperity, and happiness!

Sarah McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery, Victory Tales Press, Prairie Rose Publications and Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press, imprints of Prairie Rose Publications. She welcomes you to her website at

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Where Do YOU find Inspiration? ~Tanya Hanson

Howdy all, thanks for the great time in the Sweethearts corral! Merry Christmas in Jesus’ name, and a most blessed 2015!

Today is my farewell post at this wonderful blog. I've felt so cozy as a's been a very difficult decision. But  I’ll be guest-ing in future, for sure. In the meantime, I hope all y’all will stay in touch at

Okay, so if you’re like me...places you go inspire your stories. I drove through Red Cliff, a tiny mountain town in Colorado a year ago, when my story Open Hearts cried out to be set there. So back at the condo, I hunkered down on a snowy day and started to write it.

Something similar happened to Reverend Phillips Brooks in 1868. (Good heavens, not that I’m comparing myself to one of the most gifted orators of the 19th century.) Nonetheless...the young Pennsylvania pastor (1835-1893) was touring the Holy Land at Christmastime when he got the inspiration for the most popular Christmas carol of American origin.

(I know this hymn got mentioned a few days ago, but consider this a double-dose of a wonderful song.)

Gazing down on Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, he experienced one of the “sublime memories” of his life. Three years later, he wrote a poem about that night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, for the children of his Sunday School at Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia.

Church organist Lewis Redner (1830-1908) promised to write a melody for the poem so the children of the Sunday School could sing it at the next Sunday’s church service. When he went to bed on Saturday night, he had yet to compose a melody. During the night, he claimed an angel refrain woke him, Jumping from bed, he quickly jotted down the notes he’d heard. He presented the new song the next morning, and Redner forever after insisted the music was a gift from heaven.

Phillips Brooks, who became one of the greatest orators and best-loved preachers of the 19th century, was the Episcopal Bishop of Boston when he died in 1893. He was popular for preaching not from the pulpit but from the chancel steps. Lewis Redner remained organ-master and composer at Holy Trinity for 19 years.

Anyway, to make writing this post even more fun, the wonderful Prairie Rose Publications has just released Open Hearts, originally part of an anthology, as a singleton story for just 99 cents! If you love snowbound love stories, this one’s for you!

Ps. The hero’s name was inspired by one of my former students! He and his wife were delighted when I asked if I could use Keith’s name in a story!

To honor her brother’s last request, Barbara Audiss takes on his identity as a district judge. Letting loose her secret will get her arrested. But keeping it prevents her from giving her heart to handsome sheriff Keith Rakestraw.

Furious at “Judge Audiss’” latest verdict, Keith discovers she’s a fake and consequences seem easy: toss her in jail. But he finds himself eager to give her his heart.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

By Anna Kathryn Lanier

Often, by the time the immigrants arrived at their destination, they were dire straits.  Their provisions were gone, their money was low and winter was setting in.  In many cases, the women who started out with a husband arrived a widow.

Lucinda Cox Brown left Illinois in 1847 and traveled with her husband, three small children, her father and his children and an uncle and his family. Her husband, Elias, took ill half-way through the journey, probably with typhoid and died.  I’m sure her extended family helped Lucinda make the rest of the trip to Oregon.  Once she arrived though, she was destitute, owning only the clothing she and her children wore.  With three children to feed and shelter, she made clothing and caps during the winter. The following spring and summer, she plaited wheat straw and made hats trimmed with ribbons.  They were a huge hit with the women in the area and Lucinda not only supported her family with her earnings, she made enough money that she was able to obtain a homestead in 1849.  She remarried two years later and had several more children.  It is not known if she continued to make hats after she married, but her innovation kept herself and her children from starving.

I’ve discussed Tabitha Brown in a previous post (find it HERE) and mentioned this already, but Tabitha’s story didn’t end with her arrival in Oregon.  Tabitha started the journey in her sixties, already a widow.  Her older brother-in-law traveled with her and Capt. John Brown took sick on the trip.  They arrived at the end of the trail much like, Lucinda, with only the clothes on their backs.  It was then that Tabitha discovered that what she thought was a button at the end of a glove’s fingertip was really a six-and-one-fourth cent piece.  She used the meager amount to “purchase three needles and traded off some of my old clothes to the squaws for buckskin, and worked it into gloves for the Oregon ladies and gentlemen.” During her first winter, she profited $30.

(Tabitha Brown)

Tabitha’s story doesn’t end here either, and though I’m more set to discuss those women who survived by gumption, I’ll tell the rest of her story.  In October 1847, while visiting her son on the West Tualatin Plains, (now called Forest Grove) she met the Reverend and Mrs. Harvey Clark, missionaries in the area. She also learned that many children were left orphaned on the trail.  She was moved by this revelation and asked The Reverend Clark “Why has Providence frowned on my and left me poor in this world? Had He blessed me with riches as He has many others, I know right well what I should do. I should establish myself in a comfortable house and receive all poor children and be a mother to them.”  Believing in her sincerity, Rev. Clark provided her with the means to start up a school for orphans.  In the Spring of 1848, Tabitha “found all things in readiness for me to go into the old meetinghouse and cluck up my chickens for the next Monday morning.” The first school in the territory to board children, local families also sent their children to be educated. Those who could afford it paid a dollar a week per child.  By 1851, her ‘family’ had 40 people at Tualatin Academy.  In 1854, the territorial legislature altered the academy’s charter to provide for the creation of Pacific University.  The academy and the college thrived under Tabitha’s tutelage. The growth of a local public high school caused the Tualatin Academy to be closed in 1915 and Pacific University stood on its own -- a pioneer institution of higher education. Tabitha died in 1858 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Salem, Oregon.

Luzena Stanley Wilson learned her first day in a California gold mine town what she was worth…or rather what her cooking was worth. Luzena, her husband Mason and their two young sons left Missouri in 1849 in search of riches in the gold fields where gold “lay in the creeks and mountain valleys, ready to be scooped out with just a spoon.”  A few months later, they had crossed the plains, mountains and valleys, “plodding, unvarying monotony, vexations, exhaustions, throbs of hope and depths of despair” to arrive in Nevada City, California.  After scrubbing her boys back to their natural hue, Luzena set about fixing supper.  A man approached and offered her $5 for biscuit.  Before she could answer, he upped the offer to $10 (about $250 in today’s dollars).  No fool, she took the money and realized where her value lay.  She studied the market and discovered that the local hotel charged a $1 a meal.  As Mason searched for gold, Luzena set up a restaurant, chopping the steaks and planks for tables herself. Her husband arrived back home, weary and worn one evening to see 20 men eating dinner his wife had cooked, each paying a $1 for the meal. Less than two months later, she had saved over $700 and calculated what to do with her profit. With Mason’s help, they built a bare wooden building and served between 75 to 200 boarders a week.  Her reputation for clean beds and good food drew in the customers. 

(Luzena Wilson)

Eventually, the Wilsons built a store and a bank.  But all their ventures, hotel, store and bank were destroyed in a fire that swept through Nevada City.  The family was left with the clothes on their backs and $500, a very small amount considering at one time, Luzena had stashed over $200,000 in her bedroom.  The family sold their plot of land and moved on to Vaca (later to become Vacaville….a town I lived in as a toddler).  There they started over and eventually became substantial land owners. Twice more, Luzena lost her businesses to fire, but each time, she recovered and survived.  Luzena died in 1902 in San Francisco.

Mrs. A. B. Eaton opened her door in San Francisco one day to find a distraught young lady who had just landed in the port city after a journey around Cape Horn from the east.  Her brother was supposed to meet her, but he wasn’t there when the ship arrived.  The girl was in a strange town with no one to help, but turned to the woman with a kind face.  This encounter led Mrs. Eaton to establish, with the help of churchwomen from various denominations, the Ladies Protection and Relief Society, dedicated to rendering “Protection and assistance to strangers, to sick and dependent women and children."  The organization provided an orphanage and temporary shelter to women in need.

Women did what they had to do to survive in the harsh new land.  If they could cook, they served food, they built hotels or boarding houses or they did laundry. The men may have left the East in search of fortune, but, as it turned out, they really didn’t want to leave civilization.

Chartier, JoAnn and Enss, Chirs. With Great Hope: Women of the California Gold Rush. The
Globe Pequot Press, 2000. Guilford, CT.

Reiter, Joan Swallow. The Old West: The Women. Time-Life Books, Inc., 1978. New York, NY

Schlissel, Lillian. Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey. Schocken Books, Random House, Inc, 2004.
New York, New York.

Further reading:

A list of Pioneer and Immigrant Women with short bios:

Friday, December 12, 2014

As American As…Christmas Carols

By Kathleen Rice Adams

What would Christmas be without Christmas carols? The tradition of caroling—wherein bands of marauding singers rampage through neighborhoods, doing their best to carry tunes across unsuspecting others’ lawns—has fallen by the wayside, but the carols themselves remain. Many of the most enduring carols arose hundreds of years ago in Europe as religious hymns, but a surprising number were American-made in the mid-1800s.

Evidently, American Christmas carol ingenuity upset the British, who have been doing their deal-level best to sow seeds of confusion ever since.

Here are the most prominent American carols, with titles linked to YouTube renditions. (All audio clips used for illustration are in the public domain.)

Away In A Manger

A 1996 Gallup Poll ranked “Away in a Manger” the second most popular Christmas carol in Britain, but the song was written by a Kentucky lawyer, minister, and composer named Jonathan E. Spilman. More than 41 adaptations of Spilman’s 1837 melody exist. The most popular U.S. version is James R. Murray’s 1887 arrangement; in Britain, William J. Kirkpatrick’s 1895 arrangement—a slight variation of Spilman’s original work—is more popular. The two harmonize so well, though, that many contemporary performances weave them together.



It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts, wrote the lyrics for “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” in 1849. The melody didn’t come along until 1850, when Richard Storrs Willis, who had studied under Felix Mendelssohn, composed a tune he called “Carol.” Willis’s arrangement remains the most widely known in the U.S. On the other side of the Atlantic, however, the British appropriated the lyrics and set them to “Noel,” an 1874 hymn written by Arthur Sullivan. The two songs sound nothing alike.



Jingle Bells

One of the best-known Christmas carols was written to celebrate Thanksgiving. A plaque in the town square in Medford, Massachusetts, commemorates the song’s birth from the pen of James Lord Pierpont inside the Simpson Tavern in 1850. Though Pierpont was a church organist, “Jingle Bells” is one of the few classic carols that was never intended to be a hymn. Instead, the song was inspired by Medford’s popular sleigh races. Of note: The British didn’t tinker with this one.


O Little Town of Bethlehem

Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest and Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia, wrote the lyrics to “O Little Town of Bethlehem” in 1868, three years after visiting the holy city. Church organist Lewis Redner added the melody. Once again the Brits ran off with a perfectly good American carol and made it their own, changing the tune so drastically as to make it unrecognizable. In 1903, British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams adapted the English hymn “Forest Green” from an earlier folk song, and that tune underlies the more popular version in the U.K. (They call the American version “saccharine” and “plodding.” Ingrates.)



We Three Kings of Orient Are

John Henry Hopkins Jr., an Episcopal deacon and music director for the General Theological Seminary in New York City, wrote “We Three Kings of Orient Are” (originally “Three Kings of Orient”) for his students to sing during an elaborate 1857 Christmas pageant. The song gained popularity right away, becoming the first American carol to be embraced internationally in its original form. In fact, “We Three Kings” received the singular honor of publication in Christmas Carols Old and New, a prestigious and influential collection of carols published during the 1870s in the U.K. Even then, the Brits couldn’t resist fiddling: Although Christmas Carols acknowledged the song’s parentage, the editors flipped the order of two verses.


All of these carols would have been familiar in the Old West. Imagine cowboys riding night herd and serenading the dogies with these ditties. They very well may have done exactly that.

Wherever you are and however you celebrate, I wish you a merry holiday season filled with joy and peace.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

And the stockings were hung . . .

I 've said before how much I love Christmas. Winter and the Holidays are absolutely my most favorite time of year. The decorations, the trees, the stockings . . . the excitement and anticipation of the children waiting for Santa Claus. Another of my favorites is the poem by Clement Clarke Moore, and I thought I's share it with you.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

I hope you've enjoyed a revisit to Mr. Moore's poem and a glimpse at some of the pictures of my family's Christmases past. We wish y'all a very Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 8, 2014


By Celia Yeary


This year has been a good one in many ways, but not so good in others. Health issues in our household have kept us on edge at times, but through the miracle of modern medicine, and the miracle of Christ Jesus, we kept the faith and kept our appointments.
2014 has been bittersweet, but I look back now and consider all the good times with which we've been blessed and choose to remember those.

I could not find an appropriate  topic for my day on the blog, so I decided to post links to a couple of very short stories about couples in the Nineteenth Century. These are 1500 words long, which I wrote under the tutelage of an excellent editor I worked with early on in my adventure of creating stories.

In writing these, I learned how many useless words we authors add to our writing. Each story began with approximately 3000 words, and the editor said, "Nope, only 1500."

I argued with her, but she stood her ground. I would return to the manuscript and try to eliminate words and still have my precious story.
To her, I would say, "Okay. I've cut out 1000 words. That's it. I cannot delete anymore."

This time, I asked, I begged her.. to cut the extra 500 words for me, but she was a hard one.

So, I worked on it again.
When I succeeded in telling each of my stories in 1500 words, I felt as though I'd won a contest!

The first one is titled WISHES DO COME TRUE:
~Western Romance ~
Ross doesn't want to make a fool of himself,
but decides to take the risk one more time for the woman he wants.
Anna is practical and independent, and believes she can never marry a man like Ross.
Will Anna send him away once again?
Will Ross take no for an answer?

Click here on the pdf on my publisher's Freebie page:
The second one is titled: MERRY CHRISTMAS, VICTORIA:
~ Christmas Western Romance ~
Victoria yearns for the love of one special man.
However, Cade Hollister treats her as a friend.
As she works in her cold dress shop on Christmas Eve,
he stops by and walks her home.
At the door, he gives her an unexpected kiss.
Cade has loved Victoria for a long time, but he's never found a way to tell her.
This Christmas, though, he takes a chance.
Will his surprise gift make her understand how much he loves her?
A note about "Merry Christmas, Victoria"--
While playing around, trying to write this story, I had the stereo playing a Ray Charles album. The next track in the CD was the old Eddy Arnold song made famous by Ray Charles, "You Don't Know Me."
I happened to be toward the end of the story. I listened the deep emotional words, sang in a way only he can do, and without consciously doing so, I used some of the phrases.

You give your hand to me
And then you say, "Hello"
And I can hardly speak
My heart is beating so
And anyone can tell
You think you know me well...
But, you don't know me..
No you don't know the one
Who dreams of you each night
And longs to kiss your lips
And longs to hold you tight
To you I'm just a friend
That's all I've ever been
No you don't know me.

 Click on the pdf link on the publishers Freebie page:

Thanks to you who have bought and read my books, and written reviews,
and sent lovely notes to me about them.
I appreciate every kind word.
I hope you enjoy these stories.
Celia Yeary

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Recently, I've been talking about everything bright and beautiful in Wyoming, but for this post I thought I'd discuss a controversial figure in Wyoming’s history. Aren’t most Wyoming figures controversial you might ask? If you get a chance to stop for a bit as your run out of the state for a smart tongue, take a look at the story of Tom Horn.

Tom Horn was born in Scotland County, Missouri, in 1860. By his own account, he left home at the age of fourteen.  Taking up a series of livestock and stage-driving jobs, he ended up in Arizona Territory. Horn was intelligent and tough. He had an ear for languages and quickly picked up Spanish and later some of the Apache language.  He’d also picked up an ability as a tracker.
Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise that while still in his teens he became employed by the Army as a scout and interpreter.  The chief of the scouts for the U.S. Army, Al Sieber, recruited Horn in the Army’s campaigns against the Apache. In April 1886, Horn was one of the scouts that escorted the Army column led by Lt. Charles B. Gatewood to find the famed Chiricahua Apache leader, Geronimo.

In his posthumously published autobiography, Horn took credit for the actions of Lt. Gatewood. He claimed it was he whom Geronimo trusted and it was he who convinced Geronimo to surrender. However, the autobiography is the only account of Horn’s involvement with the negotiations.

Whatever the level of his involvement in the surrender of the Chiricahua leader, Horn made a name for himself.The Pinkerton Detective Agency hired Horn, in 1891, to pursue bandits who robbed the Denver and Rio Grande train near Canon City, Colorado. He stayed employed by the Pinkerton’s over the next decade.

About the same time Horn started working for the Pinkerton’s he came to Wyoming.  He already had a reputation for certain skills and his services were sought after by some of the prominent ranchers in the area. A few of his “secret” employers included, Ora Haley, John Coble, Coble’s partner Frank Bosler, and the huge Swan Land and Cattle Company.

Bosler Depot, 1916
Yep, folks here we are again with those cattle barons.  As discussed in the post on the Johnson County War, the large cattle ranchers were suffering from beef glut and blaming the small ranchers for the lack of grazing land and accusing many of rustling.  As many ranchers went out of business and many longstanding cowboys and more recent immigrants to the Territory took up homesteads and other land claims, the once powerful Wyoming Stock Growers Association found its membership and its revenues from dues dwindling drastically.

After the public outcry against the Sweetwater lynchings and the backlash of the Johnson County invasion, the large cattlemen decided to take care of the “rustling problem” in secret. Enter Tom Horn.

By May of 1892, Horn was working for the Pinkertons and was deputized by U.S. Marshal Joseph P. Rankin to investigate a murder in the aftermath of the Johnson County invasion. But by 1895, Horn was most likely fully employed by private interests when he was suspected of murdering two settlers.

The first was William Lewis. Lewis was an English immigrant who moved to Wyoming in 1888. He settled southwest of Iron Mountain between the Chugwater Creek and Ricker Creek on the Laramie-Albany County line.  Lewis had been jailed for stealing clothing and cheating a boy at a faro game.  He was suspected of cattle theft and under a court order to refrain from butchering cattle.

In July 1895, Lewis received a letter telling him to leave the area.  He ignored the warning, and on July 31st, as Lewis was loading skinned beef into a wagon he was shot three times. The coroner estimated the shooting had been done from a distance of 300 yards.  A rumor circulated about an offer Tom Horn made at the Stockgrowers’ Association and the tall stock detective, Tom Horn, was summoned for questioning.

Horn was located in the Bates Hole region of Natrona County, two counties away. Laramie County Prosecutor, John C. Baird assumed Horn was hiding out after the shooting and prepared an indictment. However, Tom Horn had a number of rancher and cowboy witnesses who were willing to swear straight faced that he had been in Bates Hole the day of the killing.  The alibi couldn’t be shaken and the authorities released him.

Horn immediately rode into Cheyenne and indulged in a ten-day drinking spree dropping hints at the truth. “Dead center at three hundred yards, that coroner said!” And he grinned. “Three shots in that fella ‘fore he hit the ground. You reckon there’s two men in this state can shoot like that.” Publicly, he denied everything. Privately, he created a blood-chilling image of himself as a hired assassin.

The second settler was, Fred Powell.  Powell homesteaded with his wife Mary and 18 month old son Billy east of Laramie County. The marriage was not a blissful one, and Fred carried a long scar on his face where Mary took a butcher knife to him. Powell was charged with stealing cattle and horses at least seven times, each time he was let go for lack of evidence.  Evicted from his homestead he moved to another along Horse Creek, proving up his claim in 1892. Like Lewis, Fred started receiving notes telling him to get out. Powell ignored the warnings.

On the morning of September 10, 1895, Powell and his hired hand Andy Ross were along the creek working when Ross saw Powell clutch his chest and gasp, “My God, I’m shot!”  He collapsed and died.

Again, Tom Horn was the first suspect, and was brought in for questioning. Horn shook his head and kept his face expressionless and his voice calm. He had a strongly supported alibi ready, and again he was released.

Enjoying a night of liquor and entertainment provided by the professional ladies of Cheyenne, Horn made vague insinuations admitting to the killings. “Exterminatin’ cow thieves is just a business proposition with me. And I sort of got a corner on the market.”

After a friend once told him that he didn’t think dry-gulchin’ a man seemed very sporting. Horn replied in amazement, "I seen a lot o' things in my time. I found a trooper once the Apache had spread-eagled on an ant hill, and another time we ran across some teamsters they'd caught, tied upside down on their own wagon wheels over little fires until their brains was exploded right out o' their skulls. I heard o' Texas cattlemen wrappin' a cow thief up in green hides and lettin' the sun shrink 'em and squeeze him to death. But there 's one thing I never seen or heard of, one thing I just don't think there is, and that's a sportin' way o' killin' a man."

After the first two murders, the warning notes were rarely ignored.  The lesson learned.
When Fred Powell's brother-in-law, Charlie Keane, moved into the dead man's home, the anonymous letter writer took no chances on Charlie taking up where Fred had left off and wasted no time on a first notice: "IF YOU DON'T LEAVE THIS COUNTRY WITHIN 3 DAYS, YOUR LIFE WILL BE TAKEN THE SAME AS POWELL'S WAS." This was the message found tacked to the cabin door. Keane left, within three days.

For three straight years, Tom Horn patrolled the southern Wyoming pastures. How many men he killed after Lewis and Powell, if he killed Lewis and Powell will never be known.

One of Horn’s most notable “clients” was Wyoming Governor W.A. Richards who was being plagued by cattle theft on his own land.  Richards was good friends with W.C. “Billy” Irvine president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. In a meeting between the two men, Richards told Irvine he would like to meet Tom Horn, but didn’t want him coming to the Governor’s office. Irvine offered to hold the meeting in the WSGA President’s office just down the hall.  Horn, in his usual calm manner, informed the Governor he would either drive every rustler out of Big Horn County, or take no pay. But when he finished the job to the governor’s satisfaction he would receive $5000.00. Horn put no limit on the number of men he planned to kill. Though stunned, Richards agreed. After Horn left Richards told Irvine, “So that is Tom Horn! A very different man from what I expected to meet. Why, he is not bad-looking, and is quite intelligent; but a cool devil, ain’t he?”

Horn continued his work as a cattle detective through the 1890s. In 1900, he murdered Matt Rash and Isom Dart, two suspected cattle thieves, in Brown’s Park where the Colorado, Utah and Wyoming borders intersect.  The crimes received little notice in Wyoming.

The only thing cattlemen hated more than homesteaders were sheepherders. And while the large and small cattlemen fought amongst themselves the sheepherder entered the territory taking over land and grazing their destructive herds over the already crowded land.  But it didn’t take long for the eyes of the cattleman to turn his wrath on the sheepherder. We’ll get into all this in more detail next week, but for now we’re looking at one particular sheepherder Kels Nickell.

Nickell Homestead
Seven miles from Iron Mountain was the ranch of Kels Nickell, the only sheepherder in the area. On July 18, 1901, Nickell’s fourteen-year-old son, Willie was shot and killed by two bullets to the back. Willie, tall for his age, wore his father’s coat and hat and rode his father’s favorite horse, and therefore it was believed the killer mistook him for Kels. Though Willie fell face down, someone turned the body over and placed a stone under Willie’s head. There were no footprints or shells left at the scene.  Seventeen days after that, Kels was shot, wounding him in the arm, hip and side. While he was in the hospital, masked men clubbed a number of Kels’ sheep to death.  The Nickell family moved to Saratoga not long after he recovered.

Joe LeFors
Deputy U.S. Marshal Joe LeFors was hired by the county commissioners in Cheyenne to investigate the crime. LeFors used letters from a former boss in Miles City, Montana stating the need for someone to do a “secret” job to lure Tom Horn out of hiding.

Horn left John Coble’s place in Bosler meeting LeFors at the U.S. Marshal’s office in Cheyenne on January 11, 1902. LeFors secreted a stenographer, Charles Olnhaus, and a witness, Laramie County Deputy Sheriff Leslie Snow, behind a locked door. Over the course of a two hour interview, LeFors led Horn into making a series of incriminating remarks about the Nickell killing. The most damaging statement being, “It was the best shot I ever mad and the dirtiest trick I ever done.”

Horn allegedly told LeFors that he had been paid in advance and received $2,100 for killing three men and taking five shots at another. He told LeFors the reason there were no footprints is he was barefoot. LeFors asked whether Horn had carried the shells away, to which Horn responded: "You bet your [expletive deleted] life I did." On Monday, January 13,  Laramie County Sheriff Edwin J. Smalley, accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Richard A. Proctor and Cheyenne Chief of Police Sandy McNeil arrested Tom Horn in the bar of the Inter-Ocean Hotel. Deputy United States Marshal Joe LeFors watched.

16th Street, Cheyenne, 1902
John Coble paid for Horn’s defense, with the general counsel for the Union Pacific, John W. Lacey representing Horn.  The trial was held during an election year with both Prosecutor Walter R. Stoll and Judge Richard Scott up for re-election. On top of this, public interest in the case was overwhelming and the trial received widespread newspaper coverage in Wyoming and Colorado.
Horn’s defense was three-fold:

(1.) Horn was under the influence of liquor, tended to make things up, and became talkative when drunk. Witnesses were produced that Horn had been drinking. He denied making the statements in the Scandinavian. He contended that his jaw had already been broken when he was in the Scandinavian and with the cast he could not talk.

(2.) Horn had an alibi and could not have been in the Nickell ranch at the time of the killing. He was in Laramie City, as proven by the fact that Horn's horse, Pacer, was lodged at the Elkhorn Livery in Laramie City for a ten-day period at the time of the killing. Witnesses testified that Horn was nowhere near the Nickell Ranch at the time of the slaying.

(3.) The killing could not have occurred as he described to LeFors in the following regards: (a.) Dr. Amos Barber testified, based on learned texts, that the wounds could not have been inflicted with a 30-30 similar to Horn's. (b.) Frank Stone had bunked with Horn several days later and had observed no injury to Horn's feet such as would have been produced had Horn gone barefoot. One of Horn's lawyers testified to having examined the area of the Nickell gate where the killing took place. He testified that the area was strewn with cacti and rocks such that no one could go barefoot in the area. Samples of the rocks were introduced into evidence. (c.) Horn, in his statement to LeFors, described the shooting as coming from one direction. The fatal shot came from another.

Horn took the stand in his own defense. The cross-examination by the prosecutor, Walter Stoll, was devastating. Statement by statement, Horn admitted making the various statements testified to by LeFors, Snow and Ohnhaus with the exception of one statement which Horn did not remember but conceded he might have made.

Horn’s lawyer closed emphasizing all evidence was circumstantial, and Horn’s supposed confession was nothing but drunken boasting.

The prosecution claimed Horn killed Willie Nickell to keep the boy from reporting his presence in the area.  But in the day before sequestered juries it is likely they had their minds made up before they entered the courtroom.

Despite appeals to the Governor to spare Horn and fears that Horns numerous friends would attempt a jail break, on November 20, 1903, Horn was hanged at the Cheyenne jail.  Prior to his hanging, Horn spent his time in jail braiding a rope. When it was clear his time was at an end, Horn wrote John Coble:

Dear Johnnie:
Proctor told me that it was all over with me except
the applause part of the game.

You know they can't hurt a Christian, and as I am
prepared, it is all right.

I throuroughly appreceiate all you have done for me.
No one could have done more. Kindly accept my thanks,
for if ever a man had a true friend, you have proven your-
self one to me.

Remember me kindly to all my friends, if I have any
besides yourself.

Tom Horn remains a controversial character due to the lingering questions regarding his guilt or innocence in the Nickell murder.  There's also a question regarding the WSGA's involvement with the trial, and the contention Horn was a scapegoat for the powerful cattlemen. Horn’s supporters and later historians questioned his confession to LeFors stating LeFors got Horn drunk and tricked him. Others stand firm that not only did Horn kill Willie Nickell, but an unknown number of men, and that Horn received a fair trial and was represented by one of the finest trial attorneys in Wyoming.

Like the outcome of the Johnson County War, more than the question of Horn’s guilt or innocence is the political shift evident in Wyoming during his trial. Horn, friend of cattle barons was convicted and executed. Their power once unquestionable was on the dwindle as ordinary Wyoming citizens refused to cower under their heavy hand.


Carlson, Chip.  Tom Horn: Blood on the Moon : Dark History of the Murderous Cattle Detective, High Plains Pr., Sept 2001. 

Ball, Larry D.  Tom Horn in Life and Legend.  University of Oklahoma Press., 2014.

Kirsten Lynn writes stories based on the people and history of the West, more specifically those who live and love in Wyoming and Montana. Using her MA in Naval History, Kirsten, weaves her love of the West and the military together in many of her stories, merging these two halves of her heart. When she's not roping, riding and rabble-rousing with the cowboys and cowgirls who reside in her endless imagination, Kirsten works as a professional historian.