Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Nat Love, Navigation Button & Nagging

Before we get started, I'm excited to announce that Marcus of Writing Investigated has gotten the A-to-Z Navigation Buttons ready! If you'll look to the right, underneath the A-to-Z symbol, you'll see two little buttons. One says "Next Blog" and one says "Surprise Me." These are a great help in taking you through the participants of the A-to-Z list without having to use the linky list. If you click his blog name above, you will be taken to a link that gives you step-by-step directions for putting it on your own blog.

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Are you a nag? If you don't sit down at your desk and get some writing done, do you beat yourself up? Does that help you accomplish more?

It is easy to beat ourselves up when we don't get things done, to nag ourselves, deride ourselves, doubt our abilities. But, as you may find in other situations in life, encouraging yourself, rewarding yourself when you do accomplish what it is you need to get done, and being positive about it give you the best chance to continue accomplishing those things.

If you aren't meeting your writing goals, try to step outside yourself and figure out why. Is it lack of time? Look at your schedule and see if there's something replaceable. If absolutely nothing can be replaced, do you have times where you are waiting and can't get anything done? I found success dragging a notepad with me to my children's sports, keeping one in my bag for when I'm a few minutes early to pick my daughter up from preschool, etc.

Is it because you're too distracted? What can you do to change that? Do you get caught up on the internet? Maybe setting an internet schedule would help, or making a goal you have to meet in order to get fifteen minutes online. Are there specific things distracting you, like things you need to get done? Sit down and give yourself a time period to get those things done first, so you can settle into your writing.

Looking at yourself from the outside in may help you get things done, and you won't have to nag anymore!

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For today's Wild West post, I have a guy you may or may not have heard of:

at Love aka Deadwood Dick aka Red River Dick aka Buffalo Papoose.

Nat, pronounced like Nate, was born in Davidson County, Tennessee, in June of 1854. His exact birth date is unknown, as he was born a slave, to the farmer Robert Love. Nat, himself, described his master as "kind and indulgent," at least as far as slave owners went.

His father, Sampson Love, taught him how to read and write, unusual (and technically illegal) for a slave. Each of his parents governed their own roost, his father being the foreman and his mother ruling the kitchen. He had to run around on his own, with no one, including his older brother and sister, having time to keep a real eye on him. He got himself into trouble by sneaking food from the garden and getting drunk on wine his mother had made and hidden.

The Civil War broke out when he was about ten years old. When it ended, the slaves were technically free, though Robert Love did not immediately tell his slaves (many owners did not). There was an information pipeline, though, and when Love's slaves discovered they were free, he allowed them to go. Sampson was able to rent a small farm from his former master, working it to feed his family. Sadly, he died only a few years after gaining his freedom. Nat was forced to take work on neighboring plantations to make enough money to feed his family, as the farm did not produce enough. He and his family also picked berries to take to market in order to make more money. Within a few years, his sister's husband died, followed by her a few years after. This left him in charge of his mother, older brother, and his sister's two children.

One year, he won a raffle. The prize: a horse. He sold the horse back to the owner for $50, who raffled it again. Nat won the horse again, and again the owner bought it back for $50! He gave half to his mother, and pocketed the rest, setting out west to find his future. His uncle took over care of the family, but by this time the children were old enough to work for themselves. Not to mention, $50 went a long way in that time, for people who had become accustomed to $1.50-$3.00 per month wages. The date was February 10, 1869.

He found himself in Dodge City, Kansas, surrounded by cowboys and outlaws. He approached a camp boss, asking for a job, and was told that if he could ride wild horses he was in. Nat, figuring he could, agreed, so a cowhand named Bronko Jim saddled up a horse named Good Eye and brought him over. Nat got on and realized he didn't know how to ride a wild horse, not really, but he was strong and stubborn, and he stayed on that horse. He was given a job as a cowboy paying $30 per month, a massive windfall for someone who had lived in deep poverty.

The leader of the Duval outfit gave him the name Red River Dick, not liking Nat Love, for whatever reason, and took him out for new clothing, a saddle, a Colt revolver and other necessaries. Nat had lived in the same outfit of clothing most of his life, and he suddenly had good quality clothes and accessories.

He worked with them for three years down in the Texas Panhandle on the Palo Duro River. The trip south was hard, with massive hail and an Indian raid that killed one of the men traveling with them. They made it safely, and his future travels took him all over, including South Dakota and Wyoming. On one of these trips, he was offered a higher paying position with the Pete Gallinger company, of Arizona, where he remained for several more years, learning how to be a great cowboy, but also having to fight off Indians and white horse thieves, thus improving his shooting, too.

In 1876, Nat and his crew were sent to Deadwood, South Dakota to deliver a head of cattle. On this particular journey, they ended up running into a group of soldiers, led by General Custer. They later heard that these men had died in the Battle of Little Bighorn. They delivered their cattle just in time for the July 4th celebration in town. Local folks put together money for a rodeo, the prize sitting at $200. Nat won straight across the board and left with the purse of $200 and the new name of Deadwood Dick.

On October 4, 1876, while out alone dealing with some cattle, Nat was attacked by a Pima Indian war party, led by Yellow Dog. His horse was shot, but he continued to fire back, hidden behind the animal's body. Eventually, his ammunition ran out, but he had proven himself such a brave fighter that they took him in and healed him, rather than killing him. They pierced his ears using a finely tapered bone, then tying horn earrings through the holes with "thread" made of tendons. He was officially an accepted member of the tribe, and they named him Buffalo Papoose. During his time there, he began to participate with the tribe, even doing their dances with them, and he was given to understand that he was to marry the chief's daughter. Or so he claimed. Instead, he chose their fleetest pony and awaited his opportunity to escape, which came about thirty days in.

About his experience, he had to say: "Those Indians are certainly wonderful doctors, and then I am naturally tough as I carry the marks of fourteen bullet wounds on different part of my body, most any one of which would be sufficient to kill an ordinary man, but I am not even crippled. It seems to me that if ever a man bore a charm I am the man, as I have had five horses shot from under me and killed, have fought Indians and Mexicans in all sorts of situations, and have been in more tight places than I can number. Yet I have always managed to escape with only the mark of a bullet or knife as a reminder. The fight with the Yellow Dog's tribe is probably the closest call I ever had, and as close a call as I ever want." pp. 103-104, The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick."

He met his first love while on a trail ride. She was Spanish, and they were making a delivery in Old Mexico. She stole his heart immediately, and he asked her for a drink of water, which she gave him. She refused to go with him when he left, but he was back less than a year later. Recognizing his outfit, she came looking for him. His trail boss played a trick on her, telling her they hadn't seen him since they came through the mountains, but he was hiding in the mess wagon and leaped out, embracing her and kissing her in front of everyone. They got engaged, but she got sick and died before they could be married. In his own words, he became quite reckless in his despondency, and got himself into trouble.

When the railroad came to the west, he no longer had a life full of adventure in cattle drives, so he gave it up in 1889, heading up to Denver, Colorado. He met another woman here, fell in love, and they were married August 22, 1889. He began working for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad as a porter. This didn't last long, as a mistake he made caused him a lot of trouble on one trip, and he was disgusted with dealing with the people on the train. He bought himself a horse and wagon, and began selling an assortment of food goods, including produce, poultry and honey, around Denver. He did this for about a year, then grew bored, so he returned to the D & RG Railroad and asked for a job again. They allowed him to be a porter, and he did much better this time, moving up from $15 per month salary to $40 per month, plus tips.

In 1907, he retired to California, where he wrote his autobiography and worked as a courier in Los Angeles. He died in 1921, at 67 years old.

1. In 1877, Nat and the boys got very drunk on whiskey. He rode past Fort Dodge and got it in his head to steal a cannon to use for fighting the Indians back home. He lassoed it and took off, members of the cavalry hot on his heels. They caught him, but he told them Bat Masterson could vouch for him. Bat did, and he was let go. When he told them why he wanted the cannon, they all thought it was hysterical.

2. He claimed to have met many a famous man, including Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, Bat Masterson, General Custer, the James Brothers, Buffalo Bill Cody, and many more. The truth of this has never been confirmed, and other facts in his book have been proven untrue, but those had to do with details that could have easily been confused in an outsider's point-of-view.

3. He had to buy his own porter's uniform to work on the Denver & Rio Grande. It cost $22.00.

4. In 1969 a clothing company named themselves Nat Love, Inc., after him. They invented hot pants.

5. During his cowboy days, he tried to lasso a moving steam engine. He caught it by the smokestack, and he and his horse were pulled into a ditch and dragged briefly before the rope gave way.

What do you think of the navigation buttons? Are you a self-nagger? Did you remember to pronounce Nat as Nate the whole way through (because, admittedly, I did not while writing it)? Was he a lucky man or just darned good?

May you find your Muse.

*Upset Cartoon Face courtesy of OCAL at
**Letter N courtesy of Kelly of
***Nat Love a.k.a. Deadwood Dick Source: [] {{pd}}, Wikimedia Commons
****Book cover, public domain,


  1. Your navigation buttons aren't colorful like mine. That's weird. I wonder why.

  2. Yes I'm a self-nagger, and no it never works because I get all uppity with myself and tell myself to stop nagging. Then the nagging gets worse and the rebellion gets worse. This whole cycle is only broken with chocolate!

  3. Your post about Nat (NATE!) is fascinating. I'm a Western gal so hearing tales from the Old West makes me feel right at home. Blessings.

  4. Don't worry about no color on your navigation buttons, your posts are extremely colorful. Love them...and Nat (Nate).

  5. Great idea with the nav buttons. It will save some time and headache for sure. I am a self-nagger only because my discipline needs to be better. I let myself get distracted too much. And I definitely pronounced his name wrong the entire time I read it.

    Great post. New follower.

  6. The A-Z challenge has been naggingly fun thus far. Now to get going with 'O'.

  7. I put the buttons, but they haven't synchronized on the old information highway or something.
    Nice posting on Nat. I had never heard of him until I read your posting.

  8. Nat Love sure looked like one seriously cool dude! As far as nagging, I've learned not to nag my sons. But I do hear my inner-nagger telling me to get to my writing.

  9. I will grab the buttons on my way out.

    Nat Love was a just a photo to me, and I loved hearing about his life. What an adventure every day was for him.

  10. I laughed at the story of Nat, and trying to lasso a train. The old 'which is better the horse or the iron horse' question.

    Hubby worked on the railway for many years. Metal against soft tissue is never a good set-up.

    Thanks for visiting at my place.

  11. Yep, self-nagger...(and my kids would probably go with the mom-nagger too).

  12. *sigh* I just can't figure out how to get the navigation buttons working on my blog, even with the link for info on users.

    Yes, I nag myself. All day, I've been telling myself I needed more words, more, more. Barely got over 400.

    No, I couldn't remember to pronounce Nat as Nate. Silly me!


  13. Cool navigation buttons.

    I'm not much of a nagger with people, but with writing I am.

    It was interesting reading about Nat Love.

  14. He couldn't have been lucky with a nickname like Deadwood Dick...what would that mean in today's culture?? Nevermind.

    Any chance you are planning a fun little post about Liberty Valance for V day??

    I am enjoying my trip through the old West.

  15. Thanks for the 'nag', I needed it.
    Like Erin, I can't figure out how to get the buttons to work on my wordpress blog. Not blog-smart enough yet.
    Fascinating posts here! You certainly put a lot of research and work into your blogs!

  16. I loved your wild west info! I was born in Casper Wyoming and so the wild west stuff always feels a bit like stories I grew up on! My dad and his family are all from the West. :)

  17. My kids say I'm a nag. I'm working to fix that!

  18. LOVE the navigation buttons, already added them.

    Thanks for the NAG...I really need to get back to my WIP, been concentrating too much on A to Z. LOL!

  19. I added the nav buttons too, but they don't work for me! Wonderful stuff on Nat Love, well enhanced by photographs. My grandfather was a cowboy in Montana between 1915-1925, so some of these stories seemed close to what he experienced, though trains had already made their inroads into Montana.

  20. I tried adding the navigation buttons to my blog, but they wouldn't work. They were small and gray, like yours are. I thought the buttons were suppose to be bigger and green and orange. I was going to go back and try adding the navigation buttons again, but decided that I'd pass and just stop by blogs the way I have been.

    Found your blog post interesting.


  21. That was pretty fascinating. I've heard of him, but I didn't really know anything about him. Man, what a life.
    And all of his escapes from death sound like George Washington who had a similar list.

  22. I'm a self-nagger. Sometimes I just ignore myself.

  23. I nag myself sometimes. I try not to but I must admit that I do. Great post!

  24. Matthew, I never found out!

    Annalisa, chocolate is a wonderful solution for inner turmoil!

    Luana, I'm primarily a western gal, too!

    Em, thanks!

    Sabrina, heck, I kept catching myself mispronouncing it as I was typing it. Sigh.

    Fidel, I'm glad you've enjoyed it!

    GG, I hadn't heard of him, either. But I'm glad I discovered him.

    Catherine, my 8 year old son is a nag. I try not to nag, but I also end up repeating myself over and over, which is probably how it begins.

    Susan, he certainly lived a full life!

    D.G., oh, ugh, I can imagine!

    As a Writer, haha, yeah, I imagine every kid would.

    Erin, I know, it's hard!

    Medeia, I nag myself far more than anyone else.

    Chuck, indeed! That certainly wouldn't mean anything good these days. I know I considered Liberty Valance, but I think I went with someone less well known. Valenzuela Gang, was it?

    Trisha, glad I could help! I hope you eventually got the button to work.

    Melody-Mae, yay! Wyoming is still the wild west in some ways. Colorado, too. I love it.

    Sherry, ugh, I try hard not to be. We'll see what my kids say when they reach their teens.

    Donna, good luck on your WIP!

    Beth, how fascinating about your grandpa! Love it! My grandpa was a rancher.

    Susanne, that's how I do it, too.

    Andrew, I love tales of people's escapades. The more interesting, the better.

    Christine, haha, yeah, me, too. I think I've gotten too good at ignoring myself.

    Diligent Writer, the first step is admitting it. ;-p