First, today's killer links:
The deadline for the Pen Women Flash Fiction Contest is May 1. Theme is Are you Devious at Heart? Tell us a story in 100 words or less.
LibroVille is a new site doing website hosting for authors. Right now, it's free, and I believe the first twenty get to keep it free for life in exchange for helping iron out any wrinkles. It sounds like you'll be a bit of a beta tester, but that's not a bad deal for web hosting and such.
The Lexicon Writers Conference in North Texas will be in July. Writers who get there early get to participate in learning to shoot different weapons, horseback riding, golf and a pub crawl. At the end of the conference, there will be a trip to a casino in Oklahoma. Now, that's how Texans do a writer's conference!
For locals, the Pikes Peak Library District has a sort of mini-conference and signing for readers and writings, coming up this weekend, called Mountain of Authors. I'll be there, so come say hello if you end up coming!
Alright, for today's Wild West lesson, I couldn't make up my mind, so I'm going to try to do a short bio of both Kit Carson and Black Jack Ketchum. We'll see if I can accomplish that.
Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson was born December 24, 1809 in Madison County, Kentucky. He was number eleven out of fifteen kids (some reports say nine out of fourteen), and his father died when he was nine years old. He had to work to earn money for the family, so he never really received a formal education. In 1826, at around age sixteen or seventeen he joined a wagon train on the Santa Fe Trail, starting the journey that would lead him to the life of a famous trapper, Indian Agent, soldier, mountain man and explorer.
In 1828, he was hired to go on a fur trapping expedition into California. He ended up doing this in the Sierras and the Rockies, along with other mountain ranges in between, until 1840, when he became hunter, then chief hunter, for Bent's Fort here in Colorado. During those trapping years, he became very involved with the Natives, marrying an Arapaho woman (Waa-Nibe, which meant Singing Grass), followed by a Cheyenne woman (Making-Our-Road), after his first wife's death shortly after birthing their second child.
In 1842, John C. Fremont hired Carson to be his guide on map-making expeditions to the west. He worked with Fremont for years, gaining fame in his reports, and being noted as an American hero. Together, they ended up embroiled in the Bear-Flag Rebellion in California, and Carson went on to help U.S. soldiers during the Mexican-American War. When the war had finished, he became a rancher in New Mexico, though he did run dispatches to President James Polk, at times. During this time, he married his third wife, Maria Josefa Jaramillothen, who was fourteen years old at the time. They had eight children together.
Before moving to Colorado in 1866, Kit Carson was awarded the title of Brigadier General. It was highly unusual for someone to reach this sort of ranking when they were illiterate, though he could sign his name. In Colorado, he expanded his ranch business (sheep) and was appointed commandant at Fort Garland, here in Colorado. He used his friendship with the Utes and good standing with the U.S. government to try to help relations between the two, even accompanying a delegation of Utes to D.C. to help their cause.
He died May 23, 1868, of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and was buried beside Josefa in New Mexico, who had died a month before due to complications while birthing their last child.
Black Jack Ketchum
The gang members loved to attend socials in Cimarron, New Mexico and Elizabethtown, and the townsfolk thought they were just well-off, well-behaved boys. They had no idea the boys charming their girls were, in fact, members of the infamous Ketchum Gang.
Briefly, the brothers went back to ranching, but it was entirely too dull, so they robbed the rancher and went on their way, showing up in a little town called Liberty, New Mexico, where they robbed a general store overnight and took off, the owner and his posse hot on their heels. Several folks were killed on both sides in a shoutout in an arroyo, and the Ketchum boys, sans their gang, headed off to Arizona, where they joined the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, headed by Butch Cassidy. They continued robbing trains until July 11, 1899, when the rest of the gang went to rob a train without Black Jack. His little brother died of gangrene in prison, thanks to a gunshot wound, but Black Jack had no idea, or so he maintained.
On August 16, 1899, Black Jack attempted to rob a train, still unaware of his brother's demise. He ordered the train stopped so he could uncouple the cars, but he'd stopped it on a tight bend that made it impossible to uncouple them. Instead, the conductor snuck up on him with a shotgun. They fired at each other, with Black Jack taking a gunshot to the arm that almost severed it at the elbow. He fell out of the train and the conductor took off, warning stations ahead of the robber stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Dizzy and ill for his injury, Black Jack tried to flag down several trains, finally getting one to stop. He surrendered to them and asked them to take him in. They took him to Trinidad, Colorado, where his arm was amputated, and he was taken into custody, ordered to hang.
Would you pay to go to a hanging? Do you think that being kind to the Indians you've uprooted makes a difference when forcibly removing them? Any links to share?
May you find your Muse.
*Letter K courtesy of OCAL of clker.com
**Kit Carson, seated, By Mathew Brady or Levin C. Handy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
***Navajo prisoners of Kit Carson year 1864 forcet on Long Walk, (Arizona Historical Society), Wikimedia Commons
****Tom Ketchum aka "Black Jack" (1863-1901, Source: http://www.claytonnewmexico.net/images/blackjack/blackj1.jpg, Wikimedia Commons
*****"Black Jack Ketchum getting fitted with a new necktie." He is being hanged at Clayton, N. Mex. Terr., 1901, Department of Defense. Department of the Army. Office of the Chief Signal Officer. (09/18/1947 - 02/28/1964),
National Archives and Records Administration, College ParkLink back to Institution infobox template, Still Picture Records Section, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-S), Wikimedia Commons