NEW BOOK COMING SOON

I have a new Romantic Suspense Novel on it’s way. Here is a sneak preview of the cover and a bit about the story.

Heather Masterson writes best selling mystery novels about Alex Hargrove, her fictional Blue Ridge Mountain sheriff. She is shocked when at a book signing in Asheville, NC a 6 foot 4 cattleman lays a book in front of her and says, “Sign this to the real Alex Hargrove.” This is the beginning of a courtship that the two mature people were not looking for at this point in their lives.

Unbeknownst to Heather, Rachelle Albright, an unstable alcoholic fan, writes a book of her own with the character Alex marrying a woman named Rachelle. When the publishing company rejects her book, she is livid. Rachelle decides she must kill Heather so the character of Alex will be hers.

Can the real Alex protect his fictional creator? Will Heather survive to find love at last.

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New Book

It’s been a while since I put up a new blog. I would like to say it’s because I’ve been lazy, and maybe I was a little, but it was one thing I had to let go because of an illness. Not mine, that of my sister. In January, my sister had a lung infection and when she had an x-ray, cancer was discovered. With no one to help her with the hospital visits and treatments that followed, I brought her to my house and became her caregiver. What free time I had, I spent writing on my next book and other things slid to the wayside. There is now a lull between her treatments and I’m catching up.

I’d like to announce the coming release of my newest Western Historical Romance. It is the first in The Barlow Wives Series – Myra’s Escape.

Myra Felton’s evil grandfather secretly sells her to a man who agreed to pay the taxes on the run-down South Carolina farm where she and her grandpa live. When Myra learns about this, she knows she can never go to live with this unscrupulous man. She escapes to Charleston where she signs with a mail-order-bride broker. In borrowed clothes, she leaves South Carolina to meet with the Wyoming rancher, the broker has described as prosperous. There was one problem. The rancher, Anson Barlow, thought he was signing up to get a cook and housekeeper, not a bride.

MYRA’S ESCAPE, published in e-book and trade paper back, by Prairie Rose Publications, will be available from Amazon, B&N, and other outlets soon. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Myra’s Escape is now available for pre-sale on Amazon. Publication date is June 29.

 

 

 

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Settings for Western Romance Novels

Where can you set your Western Historical Romance? The quick and most logical answer is that it can be set in any state west of the Mississippi River. But…and this is a big But, your book may or may not start in the west, but it does end up there. Since I am familiar with my own work, I will show examples of this from my published books.

The mail-order-bride book is an example of the life of the heroine beginning in the east and her accepting the hand of a man located in the west. In DRINA’S CHOICE, Drina Hamilton lives with an abusive father on his run-down farm in Georgia. She knows she needs to get away from him. To do so, she accepts the proposal of Aaron Wilcox, a rancher in Arizona. After her trek west, the rest of the story takes place in Arizona.Drina's Choice 2

Another type book is when the entire family moves west for another reason such as wanting to start a new life, hoping to strike gold or any other reason you can come up with. In OPAL’S FAITH, Opal Barnett’s father lost his job because he tried to report his unscrupulous banking boss. It isn’t long until the family has lost everything they have in Memphis, Tennessee. Though he knows nothing about ranching, father inherits his brother’s ranch in Arizona. Feeling he has no other choice, he moves his wife and four daughters there. With the help of Jace Renwick, a wondering cowboy with his own agenda, the family survives.Opla's Faith

The third is when an easterner goes west for an unusual reason. In XENIA’S RENEGADE, Xenia Poindexter and he sister are lured from their home in Virginia by a vicious lie that their uncle is in trouble. They go to Arizona to help. On the way, Xenia’s sister rescues an orphaned baby who happens to be a half-breed. Faced with prejudice they are forced to accept help from two cousins, Ty and Wilt Eldridge, who also happen to be half Indian. These men are accepted in the area because they happen to be the richest ranchers in the area.XENIA’S RENEGADE

Some books begin in the west and stay in the west. AMELIA’S MARRIAGE, the first in the Settler’s Ridge series, is an example of this. Amelia Donahue was born and raised on the huge Double D ranch in Wyoming. She is kind of a rebel and her father thinks the only way he can settle her down is to force her to marry his foreman, a horrible man who has the elder Donahue fooled. Amelia goes into town and hires Jed Wainwright, a bounty hunter, to marry her for six months so she won’t have to marry her father’s foreman.Amelia's Marriage

Occasionally you will come across a book that takes place in different places. BELINDA’S YANKEE, is one of these. Shortly after Belinda Babcock sees her father murdered and their home in Alabama burned by Yankee troops, she finds Victor McKay, a wounded Union Yankee officer. She nurses him back to health. In turn he helps her get to her relatives in Louisiana. He goes home to New York to resume his life and finds his life there is not what he expects it to be. He decides to find Belinda again, but she and her relatives have moved to Colorado. The book concludes in Colorado.Belinda's Yankee

Once in a while you’ll find a western book set in the east. HANNAH’S WISHES is an example. Most of the book takes place in Savannah, GA. Hannah Hamilton, confined to a wheelchair because of a birth defect, has been raised by an aunt that has her own sinister reasons for letting the girl live with her. Because her sister in Arizona is concerned she sends western detective, Jarrett MacMichael to Savannah to check on Hannah. In the last chapter, Hannah does move to Arizona to be near her sister.Hannah's Wishes

Then there is the different western such as paranormal or time-travel, etc. RENA’S COWBOY (a time-travel) is an example. Rena Dumont, a present day, widowed, Atlanta, GA police officer is on vacation in the west. Caught in a cave-in in she is pronounced lost and probably dead. But she regains consciousness and finds herself on the Arizona ranch of Jake Haywood in the year 1876. She has to cope with living in a different century and under different expectations of what a woman should be and do.Rena Cowboy COVER

As you can see, you can set any or all of your novel anywhere. You are the author and you have the power. But there are a couple of things you must remember. First be sure to know the state you’re using in your novel. If you don’t live there or have never traveled there in person, make sure to research it. Most states and cities have great websites. They also have lots of information in historical writings and photos. There is no excuse to set you novel in North Dakota if you have the action located near the Grand Canyon, an Arizona location. And if you mention the Rio Grande River, be sure you’re using Texas as a setting, not Kansas. Not only will mistakes like this, make you seem careless, it will assure that a reader will never want to pick up another of your novels.

www.Agnes Alexander.com

 

 

 

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NEW NOVEL OUT JANUARY 1

Available Now

\ullascourage

Ulla Wingate learns her aunt and uncle are conspiring, not only to take the general store her father founded, but the money he left her, too. She knows to protect herself she must find a way to leave town, but she has to work up the courage to go.

When the handsome widower, Cord Dermott brings his son and daughter to buy supplies for the wagon train trip to Oregon, she learns he needs someone to come along to help look after the children. Will this be the answer for her? Will she be able to work up the courage to volunteer to go along? And will the two of them be able to keep their distance from each other without marriage?

Would you like a free autographed copy? Just reply to this post and I will give a book away on January 31. Best of luck on winning a signed copy of ULLA’S COURAGE. (Please use the link that appears just under this writing to leave your reply.)

 

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Gunsmoke Actors

Have you ever wondered about the actors and actresses who portrayed the characters on the western shows that we and/or our parents grew up with on our TV screens? After watching re-runs of several westerns from my past, I decided I wanted to find out about these people who entertained me. After looking them up, I thought you might be interested, too. Today I’m concentrating on one of my favorites, GUNSMOKE which ran for 20 years.

                                                              matt-dillonMatt Dillon was played by 6’7” James Arness, who was born in Minneapolis, MN on May 26, 1923. His given name was, ‎James King Aurness.

When he accepted the role of Matt Dillion, he had to dye his naturally blond hair for the role, since dark hair was considered more masculine at the time. Because of his unusual height, many people guesting on the show had to stand on boxes or in ditches to look good in the pictures. He retired from acting at age 71.

He held the record for the longest continuous role (Matt Dillon) portrayed by a single actor (20 years) on prime-time television, until Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers (1982) and Frasier (1993) tied the 20 year record in 2004.

James Arness was a veteran and during his service in World War II, he received the Bronze Star; the Purple Heart; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze campaign stars; the World War II Victory Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Married twice James Arness was the father of 4 children, including his first wife’s son who he adopted.

Many stars were friends with James Arness, including John Wayne who had suggested he be given the role of Matt Dillon, but he considered his younger brother, Peter Graves (Mission Impossible) his best friend.

James Arness died of natural causes in 2011 in Los Angeles.

miss-kitty

Miss Kitty Russell, the red-haired owner of Gunsmoke’s Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas was played by Amanda Blake an American actress. Ms. Blake was born on February 20, 1929 in Buffalo, NY. Her given name was Beverly Louise Neill. She was married four times, but had no children.

Before making it in show business, she worked as a telephone operator.

An animal lover, in 1971 she joined with others in Phoenix, Arizona, to form the Arizona Animal Welfare League. The AAWL is now the oldest and largest “no-kill” animal shelter in Arizona. (Ms. Blake’s 2nd husband was an Arizona cattleman.)

Amanda Blake smoked 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day until being diagnosed with oral cancer in 1980. After enduring oral cancer surgery in 1984, the American Cancer Society awarded her with its Courage Award which was presented to her in Washington, DC by President Reagan.

In 1961 she sold her residual rights to Gunsmoke for $100,000.

Ms. Blake was believed to have contracted the AIDS virus from her last husband who was openly bisexual.

Amanda Blake died of AIDS-related hepatitis in 1989 in Sacramento, California.

chester

Chester Goode: Dennis Weaver. Weaver was born June 4, 1924 in Joplin, Mo. His birth name was William Dennis Weaver. A part-American Indian, he was a registered Cherokee, as well as Osage.

He was a struggling actor in Hollywood in 1955, earning $60 a week delivering flowers when he was offered $300 a week for a role in Gunsmoke. After nine years as Chester, who he played with a stiff-legged gait, he was earning $9,000 a week.

Weaver was a veteran and served as a pilot in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

A vegetarian, he served as the president of “Love Is Feeding Everyone” (LIFE), which fed 150,000 needy people a week in Los Angeles County.

Dennis Weaver died, February 24, 2006, in Ridgway, Colorado from complications of cancer.

doc

Doc Galen Adams was the character played by Milburn Stone. His full name was Hugh Milburn Stone, sometimes known as Milly Stone. He was born July 5, 1904 in Burrton, Kansas. He was married twice and had one daughter.

At one time he sang with Harry James and His Orchestra.

Stone’s uncle was the famous Broadway comedian, Fred Stone. Milburn moved to Los Angeles in 1935 to try his luck in films. He toiled for years and became an “overnight” star in Gunsmoke. He remained a citizen of Dodge City throughout its entire 20-year run (500 episodes), although he was temporarily sidelined by a heart attack in 1971. The ever-durable Stone missed only seven episodes. Milburn won a well-deserved Emmy award in 1968 for his crusty role.

In 1961, he sold his residual rights of Gunsmoke to CBS for $100,000.

Milburn Stone died from a heart attack on June 12, 1980, La Jolla, California.

 

festus

Festus Haggen, played by Ken Curtis, who was born July 2, 1916, in Lamar, Colorado. His birth name was Curtis Wain Gates.

Curtis began his show business career as a singer in the big-band era, and was a vocalist in the legendary Tommy Dorsey orchestra.

As the son-in-law of director, John Ford, he appeared in many of Ford’s singing westerns. He also appeared in Carnegie Hall with the Sons of the Pioneers.

Curtis was married twice and was the father of two children.

He died on April 28, 1991 in Fresno, California from a heart attack in his sleep.

reynolds

Quint Asper was played by Burt Reynolds.  Burton Leon Reynolds was born February 11, 1936 in Lansing, Michigan.

He was married twice and has one son.

In 1962, Burt Reynolds was added to Gunsmoke, as the half-Comanche blacksmith, Quint Asper. He performed that role in the years just before the departure of Chester Goode and just after the appearance of Festus Haggen.

Reynolds’s latest project is to film a movie with Modern Family’s, Ariel Winter to be filmed in Knoxville, Tennessee in June/July 2016.

newely

Newly O’Brien, gunsmith-turned-deputy in 174 episodes during the last eight seasons of Gunsmoke is played by Buck Taylor. Walter Clarence “Buck” Taylor, III was born on May 13, 1938 in Los Angeles, California.

Taylor was married twice and is the father of 3 children.

He studied art on a scholarship while in college and later was seen sketching during film and TV breaks. An accomplished and well-known western artist who enjoys exploring America’s “Old West” and delving into typical everyday cowboy scenes of hitching horses or setting up camp, he specializes in watercolor. His art is now sought after by collectors.

He and current wife live on a ranch north of Fort Worth, Texas.

sam

Sam Noonan, the bartender at the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas was played by Glenn Strange. Strange was born George Glenn Strange in Weed, New Mexico, on August 16, 1899, but grew up a real-life cowboy in Cross Cut, Texas. He was of Indian descent.

Strange was married three times and had four children.

He taught himself the fiddle and guitar at a young age and started performing at local functions as a teen. At various times in his life, this huge, towering 6′ 5” beast of a man worked as a rancher, deputy sheriff and rodeo performer.

He played several monsters in movies including Frankenstein’s monster. Though Boris Karloff was famous for the role, the studio often used Strange’s picture to promote the show. Ironically when Boris Karloff‘s obituary was run in newspapers in 1969 it was with Strange’s picture as Frankenstein’s monster.

He capped off his career with a steady 12 years by playing the role of Sam the bartender on Gunsmoke.

Glenn Strange died on September 20, 1973 of lung cancer.

 

 

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THE 1849 CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH WASN’T THE FIRST – IT WASN’T EVEN THE SECOND

In 1848, James Marshall dug in a riverbed near San Francisco and found a glittering rock about  the size of a thumbnail.  He told his boss, John Sutter and the two of them ran tests and realized they had real gold. Without telling anyone about the find, they spent weekends searching for more gold and found it. No matter how careful they were, the word was soon out and almost all the population of San Francisco (about 800 at the time) rushed to the area to search for the real thing. By 1849 the population of the area reached about 80,000 people searching for their fortune, creating the largest gold rush in history.

It may have been the biggest, but it wasn’t the first. It wasn’t even the second.

In 1799 Conrad Reed found a 17-pound large yellow rock in his father’s field in Cabarrus County, near Midland, North Carolina.  Neither did he or his father, John Reed, realize what the rock was. It’s reported that the family used it as a doorstop for three years.

In 1802, a visiting jeweler recognized the rock as gold. He purchased the rock for the asking price of $3.50.

The next year, John Reed, with three partners, began Reed Mining Operation. They worked mostly on weekends and the story goes that a slave named Peter unearthed a 28-pound nugget. By 1824 the part-time miners had recovered a yield of one hundred thousand dollars.

The first gold rush was now on. Farmers all over North Carolina began searching their creeks and rivers for the precious stones.

In 1845 John Reed died a wealthy man and the Reed Mine was sold at public auction. The mine changed hands several times by 1912 when the last underground work took place there. Portions of the underground tunnels have been restored for guided tours.

reed-tunnel1Eventually, Congress built the Charlotte Mint to cope with the volume of gold dug up in North Carolina.  When NC seceded from the Union in 1861, the Confederacy took control of the Charlotte Mint. It continued coining operations until October when it became clear it was a futile effort. (The coins minted here are among the rarest and are highly desired by collectors because of their great value.) The mint was then converted into a hospital and military office space for the remainder of the war. In 1873, the North Carolina General Assembly petitioned Congress to reopen the mint at Charlotte. This request was denied. The mint is now a museum.

charlotte_mint

In 1829, the Georgia Gold Rush became the second major gold rush in the US. It soon overshadowed the Gold Rush in North Carolina as it spread through the North Georgia Mountains. Much of the land where gold was discovered here belonged to the Cherokee Nation, but it didn’t take long for the Government of Georgia to rectify this problem. They seized the land without a treaty and divided it among Georgia veterans and residents by using a lottery system. By 1840s it became hard to find gold in Georgia and many of the miners moved west where gold had been discovered in California.

godl-rush-ga-2

The 1849 Gold Rush in California was actually the third major incident of gold being discovered in the United States. But it was the largest and the most well-known.

  Sutter’s Mill in California

sutters_mill

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New Release

New Release — XENIA’S RENEGADE by Agnes Alexander — Giveaway!

XENIA’S RENEGADE

         An urgent plea for help from a family member calls for action from Xenia Poindexter and her sister, Mea Ann. How can the rest of the family ignore Uncle Seymour’s plight and let him hang? Xenia and Mea Ann leave the comfort of their Virginia home for the wild, untamed Arizona Territory to do whatever they must to save their uncle.
But traveling west is not what these two well-bred, innocent ladies expected.

A raid on a stagecoach way station would have seen them dead if not for the quick thinking of one of the other passengers, handsome rancher Ty Eldridge.

In the midst of the deadly raid, Mea Ann finds an orphaned Indian baby that she adopts as her own. Once the stage reaches Deer Meadow where their uncle is being held, Mea Ann and Xenia discover the deep-seated prejudice that pervades the town. Indians are not welcome—even Indian children. Ty and his cousin Wilt are all too familiar with the bigots in Deer Meadow, being half Sioux, themselves.

Ty wants to protect Xenia from her uncle’s schemes to use her and Mea Ann as prostitutes in his saloon—sold to the highest bidders—but can he? Though romance blooms for Wilt and Mea Ann, Ty has been burned in the past by his love for a white woman—and he won’t risk his heart again.
Though others say they’re all wrong for each other, Xenia has never felt more “right” than when she’s in Ty’s arms. She is determined to show him she’s strong enough to adapt to ranch life—his life. For Xenia, prejudice doesn’t exist—there’s enough love in her heart to hold Ty and heal his wounds. But Ty knows if he gives in to Xenia, he runs the risk of being hurt again. Is true love worth the chance of becoming XENIA’S RENEGADE?

EXCERPT

“When you get to Deer Meadow, I’m sure you’ll find the men will appreciate you more. Then you won’t have to be subjected to an Indian raid or a man like Ty Eldridge.”

“Mr. Eldridge doesn’t seem so bad,” Mea Ann said. “He was careful to make sure there was no danger in here before he let us come in.”

He shook his head. “Now I know how innocent you and your sister are. Don’t you know what Eldridge is?”

Xenia interrupted. “I don’t think we should be discussing Mr. Eldridge or anyone else. It looks to me like we should be trying to find out what’s going on here.”

“Xenia’s right,” Mea Ann said.

“You don’t have to worry. I’m sure the stage driver will know what to do if Eldridge doesn’t kill him first.”

“What do you mean?” Mea Ann looked scared.

“Don’t you know what he is?”

Xenia wasn’t sure what Lou was going to say, so she said, “It doesn’t matter what he is.” She stood. “I’m going to look out the window and see if I can tell why Mr. Eldridge told us to stay in here.”

“The breed probably put us here to wait for his friends to come back.”

She whirled around and glared at him. “What are you saying?”

“Can’t you tell he’s part Indian? They’re all alike. I got in a little trouble with one in Deer Meadow last time I was there. Just hope it’s all been cleared up by the time we get in.”

“What difference does it make if he has some Indian blood in him?”

“Oh, Miss Xenia. It’s an important factor in this area.”

Be sure and leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook of XENIA’S RENEGADE.

Posted by Livia J Washburn at 1:00 AM September 8  at PrairieRosePublicationsblogspot.com / Copied to AgnesAlexander.com

 

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Taboos in the Western Historical Romance

Are There Taboos in Writing the Western Historical Romance?

I had a new writer tell me she didn’t think you could tackle a controversial subject in a western romance like you could in other genres. She said all you have to do to write a western romance is dream up a handsome cowboy and a pretty maiden, throw in a few gunfights, a fistfight or two and a gang of outlaws or rustlers. Then you have the couple argue and make up and all will end well.

Of course, those of us who write western historical romance know there is more to the story than gunfights, outlaws, rustlers, (though they may be there) and a romance that ends well.

When I started writing western romance it never occurred to me the number of topics some people might consider taboo, that I’d end up including in my novels.

Fiona's Journey

My first western historical rromance, Fiona’s Journey came out in 2012. It touched on the horrible subject of child molestation and rape. Though I never graphically described either of these in my writing, it left no doubt in the reader’s mind what was being referred to.

 

Valissa's Home - WEBIn Valissa’s Home I discussed gambling. Not the regular kind of gambling that takes place in a saloon as happens in most westerns, but one of my characters suffers a gambling addiction so bad that he not only lost all his fortune, but also that of his sister.

 

Amelia's MarriagePrejudice was one of the topics in the book Amelia’s Marriage. A lot of people, including her father, were appalled when Amelia fell in love with, not only a bounty-hunter, but a bounty-hunter who happened to be half Lakota Indian.

 

Drina's Choice 2Drina’s Choice was a mail-order-bride story. Though many men in the west wanted a wife to ease their loneliness and to give them children as heirs, there were other reasons for using this service. In my book, the mail-order-bride was arranged to keep a rancher from losing the ranch he’d worked so hard to build into a profitable enterprise.

Hannah's WishesDealing with a heroine who was born with a withered foot and could never walk, but who had dreams and hopes of one day having a man to love and to love her back was the premise of Hannah’s Wishes. Also I touched on how an unscrupulous relative could take advantage of someone with a disability.

 

RenaCowboy_smRena’s Cowboy was the one time-travel I’ve written. It explores how an accomplished, savvy policewoman of today’s world copes when thrown back into the primitive way people had to live in the 1800’s. It also shows how men of that place and time could learn that women were strong and could hold their own in most any situation.

edwina COVER (1)Edwina’s Husband deals with a woman who has been raised by her not-so-religious preacher uncle who has a bible verse for everything that happens, though he sees everything in the world as evil, including his wife and his niece. Of course, he sees no wrong in himself.

 

camillaCOVERChild abandonment is the first problem that crops up in Camilla’s Daughters. There is also the problem of child slavery and how a woman who never wanted children contends with having two girls thrust upon her – one an infant and the other an eight-year-old.

 

Opla's Faith

Family loyalty and revenge is in Opal’s Faith.

 

 

Hate and acceptance is forefront in Belinda’s Battle, my newest romance from Prairie Rose Publications released May 19.

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In some of the books I have sketched out I will tackle such things as: Remorse and loneliness in Zenia’s Guilt; Unwanted pregnancy and responsibility in Isabel’s Baby; and infidelity and forgiveness in Nelda’s Return.

After these books are finished, I’m not sure what, but I will come up with something else for my main characters to face. I hope it will be something I won’t be afraid to tackle or something that I’ll shy away from. I have learned that no subject is taboo when you write a western romance as long as it is written with tact and in a non-offensive way.

www.Agnesalexader.com

Amazon.com:AgnesAlexander:books

 

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Belinda’s Yankee Release

Belinda's Yankee

Release date for Belinda’s Yankee – May 19, 2016

Belinda Babcock’s father shoves her into the tunnel under her plantation home, but refuses to join her because the Yankee soldiers saw him enter the house. She is devastated when she hears them enter the house, kill her father then set far to her home.

Knowing her father died so she could live, she follows the tunnel to the cave where a hiding place has been set up. When she feels it’s safe to go outside, she stumbles upon a severely wounded man – Yankee Major Victor McKay.

Will Belinda get revenge for her father’s death by killing the almost dead man or will she do what she can to save his life?

If you’d like a signed copy of Belinda’s Yankee, leave me a comment and I’ll draw a name from all who post. I will  have print copies in a couple of weeks.  Drawing will end on May 31.  (If you choose, there is the option of getting a digital copy.)

I hope you enjoy Belinda’s Yankee as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Agnes

AND THE WINNER IS:

BETH TALLENT

CONGRATULATIONS

Thanks to all who entered.

Keep checking out my blog because I’ll have other chances for you to win copies of my books.

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WAGONS WEST

I have a lot of respect for the men and women who first made the trek across this great land of ours. The more I research this topic, the more respect I have. I don’t know if I would’ve had the grit and stamina to take the chance of settling in a new life in a strange part of the country. Researching for a western historical romance I’m working on helped me understand the many sacrifices these pioneers made.

The thing they had to decide was if they were going to convert their farm wagon into a covered wagon or to buy one already ready to go. A wagon ran from $150 to $250. The wagon was 6’ wide and 10’ long and could carry around 2500 pounds of food supplies. (The recommended amount for a family of four.) Some pioneers brought their own linen wagon covers and waterproofed them with beeswax or linseed oil. If converting a farm wagon for the trip the bows to hold the top covering were $3 a set.  To buy a wagon cover of heavy canvas sailcloth was $6 to $8

4 to 6 animals were needed to pull the wagons. Oxen were the best choice and were often recommended since they required less water and had no trouble surviving on the different grasses they would encounter. They cost $25 to $35 each. Mules were the next best selection. They ran $10 to $15 each and were often chosen because of the price, though it was recommended to bring extra along in the case of losing one or more on the trial. Horses were not recommended for the journey, but one was often brought along for the man of the family to ride in a hunting excursion or to use when serving as a look out. A prime horse sold for $100, but an acceptable one could be bought for $50. Many families brought a milk cow for milk and for the butter that could be churned by fastening a barrel to the side of the wagon. It would be jostled enough by nightfall to have made the butter. A good milk cow could run between $70 to $75.

 

Of course animals had to have riggings. An ox-yoke $8. Horse or mule harness $8. Also needed were 1 to 3 whips ($1 each). Other items suggested for the wagon were extra wheels since they often broke or came off on the trail, (Wheels sold at 2 for $50) and it was a good thing to have an extra axel ($75).

Getting the wagons ready for the trek across the wilderness was only the beginning. There are the food supplies, clothing, tools and many other items that the pioneers needed and wanted to take with them. Sometimes to survive they had to make a choice between food and some piece of furniture.

To take a wagon train west was more costly than most people realize. The average it cost for a family of four was $1,000. In that day this was a large amount of money and more than most people had. Many families not only used what little savings they had, but sold all their possessions and some still had to borrow from family and friends.

This was my first book about the Oregon Trail. It is still available on Amazon and other online outlets.

My contact: agnesalexander100@gmail.com

 

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