Saturday, December 29, 2018

Commissioners play free Devil's advocate

County rejects fee for Devil's Backbone area

 By Rob Carrigan,

Larimer County commissioners asked staff to look for partnerships to help cover operations costs at the Devil's Backbone, and rejected a proposal to add a day-use fee at a meeting before Christmas. The area has been free for the past 18 years.
County staff, citing Devil's Backbone increased use and popularity — matching other county open spaces in which a fee is needed to cover operations and maintenance costs — initially, proposed a $9 fee for the Backbone, but reduced the fee to $6 after several months of public hearings and open houses, and a survey and citizen advisory boards, prior to the recent decision.
Commissioners asked county staff to explore partnerships, perhaps with the city of Loveland, and to look for other ways to take care of increasing Backbone costs.
The board did approve other requested fee increases for the county Department of Natural Resources, including the cost of an annual pass for seniors and now offers a discount for veterans.
The veterans' discount will honor those who served in the military with the same discount seniors receive, offering a $65 pass for veterans. The new fees also include a 30 percent increase for camping, and an additional increase on weekends and holidays during the peak season, also to cover increasing operations costs.The increased fees are expected to be in place as soon as possible in 2019.
The 2,198-acre Devil's Backbone Open Space has 12 miles of trail connecting to Rimrock Open Space and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space for hiking, running, horseback riding, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, observing nature, as well as enjoying close-up inspection of the rock outcrop and long vistas.
"The Devil's Backbone itself is one of the most impressive and visible geologic landmarks in Larimer County, as well as an important cultural feature with a rich and colorful history," says information from the county's Department of Natural Resources.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Everyday is Christmas in Indian Country

As in most part of world, it is a curious mixture of Christian and pagan customs

 By Rob Carrigan,

Both, the Winter Solstice and Christmas, are a time to look forward to what is coming in the new year —a time when hope abounds.
Linton Weeks, is creator of The Protojournalist: an experimental storytelling project for the LURVers — Listeners, Users, Readers, Viewers — of NPR.
"With the spread of Christianity among some Native Americans in the early 20th century came certain Christmas rituals — trees and presents and jolly old Santa Claus — that were folded into traditional wintertime celebrations," Weeks said.
According to a 1909 account in the Tombstone Epitaph, members of the Gila River Indian Community — living on reservations in Arizona — were introduced to imported-from-Europe Christmas customs, such as St. Nicholas and Christmas trees. "It was the first time the Indians had ever seen the good old saint and they were highly amused and pleased."
The Yale Expositor of St. Clair County, Mich., reported on December 18, 1913 that for certain Sioux dwelling in South Dakota, Christmas and its accoutrements came through government-run schools. In each village, the Sioux collected funds for a feast. One member dressed up as Kris Kringle and made speeches and handed out presents. Native American children, the newspaper noted, "were quick to show interest in the Christmas tree."
In a round-the-nation story, The Winchester News from Winchester Ky., on Dec 31, 1910, wrote that the Christmas tree "brought to their notice by the palefaces, caught their fancy and today ...forms the center of nearly all the Indian Christmas celebrations."
Some Native Americans put a special spin on Christmas, incorporating traditions and tales that dated back ages. The Salish passed down a Christmas story of a "great and good man who came among their forefathers and performed miracles of all kinds, and on leaving them said he would return in the form of a large white coyote," the 1910 Winchester News noted. "They say he has appeared at different times, but has not been seen now for more than 150 years."
In San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., the 1913 Expositor account pointed out, the holiday celebration among Native Americans living there was "a curious mixture of Christian and pagan customs."
Members went to the old mission church in the morning, held a feast at midday and then began "a fantastic and ceremonial dance that continues for half a week."
Christmas is still celebrated at some of the Pueblos in many of the same ways.
Today, explains Deborah A. Jojola, Curator of Exhibitions at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque – which represents the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico — "most of the Pueblo Nations within New Mexico have seasonal cycles for ceremonies and celebrations."
Many Pueblo communities celebrate the harvest, she says. And the day of the patron saint of the church and the village that "blends both native and Catholic expressions with a single purpose — the welfare of the people."
But through the decades, Christmas – which also combines old familiar folkways with Catholicism — has taken on added significance. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, she says, many of the Pueblos host special masses and dances.
The Jemez Pueblo, for example, celebrates with Buffalo Dances on Christmas Eve and early morning on Christmas Day. The Buffalo Dancers – featuring two men and one woman — make their way down from the nearby mesas into the Pueblo "bringing the Spirit of Prayer, Song and Dance," Deborah says. The woman "is said to represent Our Mother of all living things, She is young, beautiful and full of strength. She holds the utmost honor during the four day celebration."
In Isleta Pueblo, Deborah says, there is a winter dance held in the St. Augustine Church after the Christmas Eve mass. Many of the festivities are for all ages. "In virtually all ceremonies," Deborah says, "Pueblo children are integral participants. Indian parents rarely, if ever, need a babysitter for traditional ceremonial preparations or actual events."
The Christmastime dancing is led by elders, but at some point – on the fourth day of the celebration — young children are invited to dance. For many, she says, "this is their first welcome celebration."
"Cultural anthropologist believe the Navajo began arriving in the Four Corner regions of Northern Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, four centuries before the Spanish conquistadors rode in from the south on horses searching for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold."
"When the Spanish arrived the Navajo’s farmed and raised livestock, primarily sheep. From the 1600 until the 1850, the Spanish settlers living along the Rio Grande and the Navajo’s in the Four Corners area raided each other. They took sheep, horses and people.".
"When the American troops arrived in New Mexico in 1846, they agreed to protect the Spanish settlers from the Navajo raiders in exchange for the support of the new American government. U.S. Army soldiers began rides into Navajo country to punish Navajos. They took sheep from Navajos and returned them to the Spanish, irrespective of any facts that the livestock were stolen, Lewis said.
"In late 1800s, the United States Army built Fort Defiance, near present day Window Rock. American Indian scout Kit Carson was called in, and troops were dispatched. They killed all the livestock, poisoned water wells, burned the crops and the homes of the Navajo people," she said.
In 1863, approximately 8,000 starving Navajos were rounded up, imprisoned and forced to walk 300 miles from Arizona to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. They were herded onto a 40 square mile government tract their new home. For four years, they suffered hunger, sickness, death and gross government mismanagement. A treaty was signed in 1868, and some 7,000 survivors returned home to the Four Corners area."
 "During their years in concentration camps, the Navajos were issued poor quality rations and government commodities when available. The woman prisoners were issued iron pots for cooking food. At home, their diet was lean hunted meats and bread made in mud ovens.
Frying was a new concept," according to Lewis' account.
"When they returned home to their land, now reservations, the United States government provided an abundance of wheat flour and lard as part of the commodities program. The Navajo woman found a way to use the issued wheat and lard, two main ingredients in fry bread," she explains.
Today fry bread is considered a food of inter-tribal unity and it’s available at all Indian Pow-Wow’s. The dough is a variation of flour used in tortillas. Blue Bird is the preferred flour. Shortening, salt, water and baking powder are the other ingredients to create tasty Navajo fry bread.
According to Jean Milford and Brenda Houser who provided the recipe for the Painted Desert Oasis, Navajo taco, if you are in Navajo-land at a gathering or visiting a Navajo family and are offered fry bread or other traditional food, please partake. The food is given with great thought and love. Show respect, even if you just finished a meal, accept the food from the family who offered their hospitality.
In addition, the holidays are a time of giving and this is not a foreign concept to Native cultures. All throughout the year, many Native American cultures celebrate special occasions and events with giveaways. Such generosity in Native cultures is a sign of a giving heart, with spiritual as well as social value. So, the concept of holiday giving easily coincides with traditional Native American beliefs, explains Murray Lee of the Partnership of Native Americans, a nonprofit organization committed to championing hope for a brighter future for Native Americans living on remote, isolated and impoverished reservations.
"Winter Solstice and Christmas  is also a time when our organization is focusing on services for those that perhaps need a little boost of hope and cheer. In addition to providing services such as winter fuel for Elders to heat their homes, staple foods for senior centers and Thanksgiving meals for Elders and their families, each year we help brighten the holidays for tens of thousands of Native Americans through our Holiday gift and meal programs. Native children, teens, families and Elders alike enjoy the gifts and the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season in the same ways as other Americans,"
Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand notes Christmas is not the only celebration held around this time of year. December 25 was a significant date for various early cultures. The ancient Babylonians believed the son of the queen of heaven was born on December 25. The Egyptians celebrated the birth of the son of the fertility goddess Isis on the same date, while ancient Arabs contended that the moon was born on December 24. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a feast named for Saturn, god of agriculture, on December 21.
Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand is a self-described Oglala Sioux spiritual interpreter from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The full-blooded grandson of Chief Red Cloud and a direct descendant of the Crazy Horse Band, he has spent the last 28 years teaching Indian spirituality and spreading the messages of the White Buffalo Calf Lady to all four directions of the world.
He identifies that Christmas wasn't always celebrated in the US the way it is today.
"In fact, the Puritans of Massachusetts banned any observance of Christmas, and anyone caught observing the holiday had to pay a fine. Connecticut had a law forbidding the celebration of Christmas and the baking of mincemeat pies. A few of the earliest settlers did celebrate Christmas, but it was far from a common holiday in the colonial era," he says.
"Before the Civil War, the North and South were divided on the issue of Christmas. Most Northerners thought it was a sinful display, while Southerners saw it as an important social occasion. The first three states to make Christmas a legal holiday were in the South: Alabama in 1836, Louisiana and Arkansas in 1838. It did not become a US National holiday until 1870."
Christmas celebrations and traditions, as most of us in the U.S. celebrate them today, became more common in America during the mid-1800s. The introduction of Christmas services in Sunday schools reduced religious opposition to a secular festival, as opposed to a somber religious day, while the Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol popularized the holiday as a family event, and women's magazines promoted the ideas of decorating for this holiday.
Some scholars suspect that Christians chose to celebrate Christ's birth on December 25 to make it easier to convert the pagan tribes. Referring to Jesus as the “light of the world” also fit with existing pagan beliefs about the birth of the sun. The ancient “return of the sun” philosophy had been replaced by the “coming of the son” message of Christianity.
"Many Native Americans in North America, and Aboriginal groups elsewhere in the world, as well as other pagan religions such as Wicca, did observe a celebration near Christmas time, called the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and falls on December 21-22 and was celebrated in the Americas long before European influence arrived. Different Indian tribes associate different beliefs and rituals with it," says Looks for Buffalo Hand.
For example, the Hopi tribal celebrations are dedicated to giving aid and direction to the sun which is ready to return and give strength to new life. Their ceremony is called Soyal. It lasts for 20 days and includes prayer stick making, purification, rituals, and a concluding rabbit hunt, feast and blessings.
Looks for Buffalo Hand describes Huron tradition.
 "Their first Christmas Carol was written by a Jesuit missionary priest, Fr Jean de Brebeuf, around 1640-41. The Hurons built a small chapel of fir trees and bark in honor of the manger at Bethlehem. This became the 'stable' where Jesus was born. Some Hurons traveled as much as two days to be there for the Christmas celebration.
The animals at the manger were the Fox, the Buffalo and the Bear. The Hurons also made a traditional tent of skins and their nativity figures were all dressed as native Americans. This Huron Carol, originally written in the Huron language and later translated to French, has become a well known and much loved carol today.
The American version of St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus originally came from the Dutch version called Sinter Klaas. This tradition was brought with the Dutch people who settled Amsterdam, New York. The Dutch settlers have also influenced the modern tradition of gifting.
Our modern day version of how Santa Claus should look comes from the Christmas poem A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore. Written for his children in 1823, the family poem was later published for the general public and included what became the now famous picture of Santa Claus by Thomas Nast.
Countless legends are told about the Patron Saint of Giving known as St. Nicholas. He has been the patron saint of Russia, Moscow, Greece, children, sailors, prisoners, bakers, pawnbrokers, shopkeepers and wolves.
"His gift-giving role in Christmas rites probably comes from his fame as the friend of children. This Christmas legend tells us that he also used to give anonymous donations of gold coins to persons in need. His cult spread in Europe and Christmas presents were distributed on December 6th when the celebration of St. Nicholas took place," says Looks for Buffalo Hand.
According to these legends, St. Nicholas was born in the city of Patara, and traveled to Palestine and Egypt when he was young. He was later imprisoned by the Emperor Diocletian, but was later released by the more humanitarian Emperor Constantine. He attended the first council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. St Nicholas reportedly died about 350 AD.
The relics of St.Nicholas are in the basilica of St. Nicola, in Bari, Italy (they were stolen from Myra in 1087 AD). For this reason he is sometimes known as St.Nicholas of Bari.
Within both Western and Eastern Christian Churches similar mythology exists.
And there is a mysterious fellow whom I have been told about on several occasions. He is a handsome brave who wears white buckskins, and brings gifts to Indian children. His name, appropriately is 'Handsome Fellow'. Other gift bringers come at different times of the year, often in the summertime, but the gift bringing element is always a part of the American Indian culture, whatever the occasion is for a gathering.
There was a real native American man in the 1800s, who was an important leader and warrior in the Creek tribe. His Indian name was Chief Hobbythacco, which means Handsome Fellow. Chiefs in native American cultures were often the beneficiaries of many gifts. According to the traditions of native Americans, the chief would then share these gifts with others of the tribe who were less fortunate.
Handsome Fellow, Fanni Mico, and later, White Lieutenant, were leaders of a Creek settlement named Okfuskee and were deeply involved in Creek-British diplomatic relations throughout the colonial period. Chief Hobbythacco (Handsome Fellow) had often supported the English, but at the outbreak of the Cherokee war, he decided to support the Cherokees. He lead an attack on a group of English traders in Georgia and thirteen of the traders were killed during the fighting.
"Traditional American Indians are raised to respect the Christian Star and the birth of the first Indian Spiritual Leader. He was a Star Person and Avatar. His name was Jesus. He was a Hebrew, a Red Man. He received his education from the wilderness. John the Baptist, Moses, and other excellent teachers that came before Jesus provided an educational foundation with the Holistic Method.""Everyday is our Christmas. Every meal is our Christmas. At every meal we take a little portion of the food we are eating, and we offer it to the spirit world on behalf of the four legged, and the winged, and the two legged. We pray--not the way most Christians pray-- but we thank the Grandfathers, the Spirit, and the Guardian Angel."
"The Indian Culture is actually grounded in the traditions of a Roving Angel. The life-ways of Roving Angels are actually the way Indian People live. They hold out their hands and help the sick and the needy. They feed and clothe the poor. We have high respect for the avatar because we believe that it is in giving that we receive."
"We are taught as Traditional children that we have abundance. The Creator has given us everything: the water, the air we breathe, the earth as our flesh, and our energy force: our heart. We are thankful every day. We pray early in the morning, before sunrise, to the morning star, and the evening star. We pray for our relatives who are in the universe that someday they will come. We also pray that the Great Spirit's son will live again." "To the Indian People Christmas is everyday and they don't believe in taking without asking. Herbs are prayed over before being gathered by asking the plant for permission to take some cuttings. An offer of tobacco is made to the plant in gratitude. We do not pull the herb out by its roots, but cut the plant even with the surface of the earth, so that another generation will be born its place."
"It is really important that these ways never be lost. And to this day we feed the elders, we feed the family on Christmas day, we honor Saint Nicholas. We explain to the little children that to receive a gift is to enjoy it, and when the enjoyment is gone, they are pass it on to the another child, so that they, too, can enjoy it. If a child gets a doll, that doll will change hands about eight times in a year, from one child to another."
"Everyday is Christmas in Indian Country. Daily living is centered around the spirit of giving and walking the Red Road. Walking the Red Road means making everything you do a spiritual act. If your neighbor, John Running Deer, needs a potato masher; and you have one that you are not using, you offer him yours in the spirit of giving. It doesn't matter if it is Christmas or not."
"If neighbors or strangers stop over to visit at your house, we offer them dinner. We bring out the T-Bone steak, not the cabbage. If we don't have enough, we send someone in the family out to get some more and mention nothing of the inconvenience to our guests. The more one gives, the more spiritual we become. The Christ Consciousness, the same spirit of giving that is present at Christmas, is present everyday in Indian Country."
Christmas Dances
"Many Tribes, including the Laguna Indians, many of whom accepted Christianity some 400 years ago, have the custom of a dance on Christmas Eve or Christmas, where gifts are offered at the Manger. There are many representations of gifts brought to braves in the fields by the great Thunderbird; or scenes with the wise men being replaced by the chiefs representing the great Nations,"says Looks for Buffalo Hand.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Never had a word for evil

Here in the West, we take the holidays seriously


 By Rob Carrigan,
Holiday celebrations such as Christmas, Hanukkah and Yule have a deeply personal bent.
Yule or Yuletide is a festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples. The word might be traced back ancient Arabic and scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht. It later underwent Christianized reformulation resulting in the term Christmastide.
There is a long-standing Irish tradition that, just before Christmas, you start cleaning out everything. Give everything a good scrubbing. Clear the clutter. Sweep out the carriage house and the front walks. Clean the barn. Paint or whitewash the outbuildings. Mop the floors. Change the curtains. Wash all the linens. Make sure the windows are spotless.
Some say it is to make ready for the Christ child, the new-born king. Some pass it off as preparing for Father Christmas.
"For centuries before any European contact, Native Americans held in high regard the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21-22, and they held celebrations around that time of year.
After European contact, many Native American tribes blended Christian beliefs with their traditional cultures and began celebrating a hybrid of Christian and Native beliefs. In fact, about three quarters of the Indian population identifies with a secular faith, the most common being Native American Catholics. So, their celebration of Christmas should not be a surprise," says Murray Lee of the Partnership of Native Americans, a nonprofit organization committed to championing hope for a brighter future for Native Americans living on remote, isolated and impoverished reservations.
Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand is a self-described Oglala Sioux spiritual interpreter from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The full-blooded grandson of Chief Red Cloud and a direct descendant of the Crazy Horse Band, he has spent the last 28 years teaching Indian spirituality and spreading the messages of the White Buffalo Calf Lady to all four directions of the world.
"Before European contact, the Indian tribes of North America did not celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, since they hadn't heard of him. However, many of the American Indian people of North America have been Christianized for several hundred years. Over this time, customs which were introduced to them by the missionaries, have become adapted to the native cultures, and are an integral part of their Christmas traditions today, just as they are in most American homes.
Many Native American people found that the story of Christmas and Christ's birth fulfilled tribal prophecies and found the message of Jesus to be consistent with the truth that was handed down by their ancestors," writes Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand.
Of the Native Americans perhaps most connected to Colorado, the Utes have a somewhat unique religious understanding, according to historian Jan Pettit, and her sources in the local tribes.
"Shamans and medicine people play an important role in Ute religious life. The position of shaman was confined to men that gained that power at an early age through visionary encounters, in which a animal, bird, or small dwarf called a Pitukupi would reveal the methods for cures, song and dance patterns, and social rules. The knowledge needed to carry out the calling of a shaman or medicine person was gained through a combination of natural ability and interest followed by a life-long learning process."
According to Ute elder Annabelle Eagle, "Indians never had a word for evil. That force was not acknowledged, only disharmony. Living in harmony with our fellow man, with nature and with our Creator is the ultimate goal of life on earth. The word evil and its connotation came with the white man and his religion. People only concentrated on bringing forth a force of goodness to overcome a deficiency in one's life ... To know is to understand."

Other traditions to follow ...

Photo Information:
Unidentified Ute Medicine Man, about 1872

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Any way the wind blows. It doesn't really matter, to me

For us, or agin' us. 

It is how you say a thing.

By Rob Carrigan,

Writers and linguists struggle with spelling, too, but in different ways. As Andrew Jackson noted, “It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.”
But among my favorite struggles is the ancient study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains. It, as most things I run into, has to do with printing, and government, and maybe other stuff.
"Why are there two different spellings: archaeology and archeology? Both spellings are correct, but there are some twists and turns to the answer! If you look up the word in a dictionary, you’ll find it under “archaeology” with the variant “e” spelling also listed, but you probably won’t find it under 'archeology,'"says Barbara J. Little, writing in reference to American Anthropological Association’s ANTHROPOLOGY NEWSLETTER from June 1975.
Little offers this explanation.
"The “ae” is a diphthong, which is a gliding vowel sound normally represented by two adjacent vowels. However, typographically, some diphthongs are represented as single ligature characters (that is, joined letters), so “ae” becomes æ.If you have occasion, take a look at actual pieces of printers type -- those small lead alloy sticks with letters that are composed one-by-one into forms and then printed on a printing press (before linotype and way before digital). You’ll find not only a’s and e’s but also æ’s. Think Benjamin Franklin! You also can see such printing re-enacted at Colonial Williamsburg if you want to watch the painstaking process of publishing newspapers and books one letter at a time. I can imagine printers thinking that ligature characters were a terrific idea because they’d save a step: pick up one piece of type to place in your composing stick instead of two," Little says.
"Here’s the particularly odd part: in 1890 or 1891, the US Government Printing Office (GPO), decided to economize by eliminating the ligatured ae. This decision was probably also helped along by the trend in American English to simplify, so that the 'ae' diphthong was replaced by an “e” in pronunciation and spelling. The decision also came soon after the introduction of the linotype machine when the technology and practice of printing was changing: always a likely time for more changes to occur. The GPO adopted new spelling rules that called for a simple substitution of e for the ligatured ae in all cases in which its earlier rules had required the ligature. No allowances were made for the history of individual words or for common usage, hence the new spelling "archeology”.
The history of the word as it was derived from Latin would have argued for the 'ae'. In 1685 Jacob Spon of Lyon first used “archaeologia” to designate a discipline concerned with the study of ancient monuments in his Miscellanea eruditae antiquitatis. The British Archaeological Association began publication of The Archaeological Journal in 1844. Archaeology as a new word was by then fully established in English. In both these cases the word was spelled with the 'ae.'
Regardless of that long history, the GPO style influenced university presses and boards of editors, notably at Chicago, Columbia and Yale. In turn, their spelling styles influenced the archaeologists who published with them, some of whom began to teach their students that the 'e' spelling was preferable to the 'ae' one. And there have been rumors about what the different spellings mean! For some archaeologists, the two spellings symbolize competing aspects of the field. The supposedly antiquated spelling with the 'ae' is supposed to connote classical or a humanist-oriented archaeology, while the supposedly modern 'e”'is thought to suggest anthropological or a social science-oriented practice. There logically is no such significance to the spelling.
"You can see the spelling used by The Society for American Archaeology. Not surprisingly, the U.S. National Park Service has archeology programs. But, oddly enough, one of the most important national laws protecting our archaeological heritage is indeed the 'Archaeological Resources Protection Act' passed by the U.S. Congress in 1979. Go figure," Little suggests.
In the tradition of printers, and linguists, and printers, and editors — I am going to spell it whatever way, my wind blows at the the time I'm spelling it.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The times, they were a changing

Most integrated battle force of the 19th century

By Rob Carrigan,

The times, they were changing, at the turn of the 20th Century. 
"It was designated the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry and often called Roosevelt's Rough Riders. They were named after Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders, the traveling show that was popular at the time," according to John Hutchinson, in article in the Camp Verde Bugle.
"The idea was reportedly born in Prescott by former sheriff and then-Mayor Buckey O'Neill, Alexander Brodie, who later was to become territorial governor appointed by Roosevelt, and James McClintock. The three originally planned an entire regiment of cowboy cavalry. Three troops were eventually formed.
"Nearly 300 joined with him and they rode to San Antonio, Texas, and were received with open arms.
The Northern Arizona Cavalry was rapidly filled and called "A" Troop. The "B" Troop of the squadron was selected from Southern Arizona. Brodie commanded the First Squadron of four troops. O'Neill was captain of "A" Troop.
The Rough Riders landed at Daiquirí in June 1898. Three days later, they saw their first action with O'Neill leading his men in the front of the line for Las Guasimas capturing the Spanish flank.
On July 1, Capt. O'Neill was killed in combat below Kettle Hill while commanding "A" Troop. William Pulsing, a German-American businessman of New Orleans, recounted O'Neill's death: "Troop 'A' took part in the general advance on Santiago. The Mauser bullets were whizzing rapidly over us, but Captain O'Neill, who was always accustomed to expose himself recklessly to fire, stood upright, apparently unconscious of danger.  He was talking to an Adjutant General. Suddenly a Mauser bullet struck him squarely in the mouth, going in so evenly that his teeth weren't injured. He fell to the ground at once, and a man named Boyle, who was afterward killed in battle, picked him up and carried his body to the rear.  He died there in a few seconds."
The whole town of Dolores, where I grew up, also considered Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, a fragment of their own history and the prominent heroes of our specific past.
At least three of the 1,250 1st United States Volunteer Calvary hailed from the little town of Dolores, where I grew up. The 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry was first commanded by Colonel Leonard Wood.
Dolores cowboys James E. Akin and William H. Brumley, Jr. were both in Troop G, and Carl John Scharnhorst (or Schornhorst in some muster info), Jr., who served first in Troop F, then transferred to Troop I in San Antonio.When American newspapers cried out, "Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain," the boys from Dolores, along with group from Durango, and Theodore Roosevelt, serving at the time as assistant secretary of the Navy, dropped everything to heed the call. Roosevelt resigned his office on May 6, 1898 — the day he secured a commission — and set about putting together a cavalry regiment to lead into battle.
Roosevelt helped put together and train the outfit comprised of cowboys, hunters, miners, Indians, policemen, bronc busters and men from Harvard, Yale and Princeton, becoming "The Rough Riders," a moniker adopted from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
Most of the members of G Troop were from the New Mexico Territory, a total of 37. The second most prolific state was Illinois with 12. Other states represented include Texas, Arizona, Missouri, New York, Massachusetts, the Indian Territory, Louisiana, Kansas, Iowa, North Dakota, Michigan, Colorado, New Jersey, Kentucky, California, West Virginia and Nebraska. Most all enlisted at Santa Fe in early May, 1898, and were to receive their training at San Antonio which was selected as the training center for the 1st US Vol. Cavalry.
Colonel Wood arrived in San Antonio on Thursday, May 5, 1898. The contingent from New Mexico arrived on May 10. For the time being they were quartered in the Exposition Hall near the center of the fairgrounds. On May 11, Colonel Wood announced that there would be three squadrons of four troops each. Each troop would contain 65 but later was increased.
On May 12, the regiment was taken on a long extended drill of marching several miles from camp and over two hours of drill. Squadron drill came in the afternoon, followed by first regimental drill formation. On May 14, G Troop was issued their Krag Model 1896 carbine.
Roosevelt, by his monied connections and notable influence, had made that happen, as well, by "hurrying up the different bureaus and telegraphing my various railroad friends, so as to insure our getting carbines, saddles and uniforms that we needed from the various armories and storehouses," as he wrote in his book, "Rough Riders."
May 18, had the excitement of the demonstration of a new weapon, Colt’s rapid fire guns. These guns could fire 500 rounds per minute. On May 19, tents arrived at the camp. These were dog tents consisting of two pieces four feet wide, and six-and-a-half feet long, buttoned together over a ridge pole about three feet high.
Drill continued all through May. The heat was punishing with several of the Rough Riders suffering its effects, but they continued to drill. May 29 reveille sounded at 3 a.m., an hour earlier than usual. By 9 a.m., the regiment was on their way to the stockyards to load on the waiting trains.
The Rough Riders reached Tampa June 2. Not having enough transport ships, the Rough Riders would go as dismounted cavalry. They would operate as infantry while in Cuba.
G Troop would travel to Cuba on the transport ship the "Yucatan" and arrive at Daiquiri on June 22. The landing at Daiquiri was unopposed. Any Spanish in the area had already took off toward Santiago.
William H. H. Llewellyn served as the captain of Troop G.
Llewellyn had previously served as Indian Agent on Mescalero Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico. He soon became one of the few agents who considered the welfare of his charges, worked for their betterment, subjected them to discipline and won their respect. He organized an Indian police force and strove to bring the lawless situation on the reservation under control. Going hunting with them, the Mescaleros called him “Tata Crooked Nose”.
In 1883 he also became agent for the Jicarilla Apaches and supervised their transfer to the Mescalero reservation. Later he established an Indian boarding school, added a doctor to the agency staff and had the Indians join the Cattle Growers Association.
In Cuba Captain Llewellyn was credited with an important contribution to the American victory in the battle for a hill at San Juan. Dubbed “Kettle Hill”, a sentry named Ralph McFie had been posted for night duty, when he heard the stirrings of Spanish troops moving into position. Retreating to his own lines he was intercepted by Captain Llewellyn. McFie was also from Las Cruces and Llewellyn knew him well. The Captain lost no time to notify headquarters, causing the promoted Colonel Roosevelt to order an early counterattack that went into history as the celebrated charge of San Juan Heights.
McFie’s vigilance and Llewellyn’s prompt action earned the latter a promotion to Major. The campaign also caused him to contract yellow fever and put him into the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
As Roosevelt’s comrade-in-arms on San Juan Heights, Llewellyn returned to Las Cruces as something of a war hero.
Since the 1890’s Llewellyn had been a member of the New Mexico Territorial Militia, and when he was appointed Judge Advocate General of the New Mexico National Guard, he was promoted to Colonel. He also was active since at least 1899 in New Mexico’s long drawn out struggle for statehood, in fact serving as Speaker of the House in the Territorial Legislature. He served in the Constitutional Convention of 1910 and in November 1911, was chosen a member of New Mexico’s first state legislature, where he represented Dona Ana County.
Fifty rears afterwards, the Prescott Daily Courier recalled Dolores local William Brumely's visit.
"Billy Brumley of Dolores, Colo., whose memory for names and incidents after a half century is amazing, tells a good story about the battle of Las Guasimas which occurred on June 24, 1898, the Rough Riders' first engagement in Cuba," reported the paper.
"WE HAD reveille at 3:45 a. m. and were told we were going to attack." the 68-year-old veteran started. "We fell into file (single line) and started toward the Spaniards." He explained the First Volunteers were on a ridge to the left of the Negro 10th outfit and the Third Cavalry, which was moving up a parallel ridge. "After about three hours of going forward through the jungle, we heard several volleys of shots," the now retired hotel owner recalled. "I threw away my rations and hung onto my Krag-Jorgensen carbine, the .45 Colt six-shooter and about 100 rounds of ammunition." HE SAID they were given an order to "spread wide and fire at will." The battle started with the Spaniards holed up in a jungle clump of cane, mangos, and other tropical trees. "We crawled and waded into the thicket," he said. "The man on my right, Harry Hefner, was hit in the stomach and killed. Louie Givers, on my left, was shot in the hip. The Spaniards' bullets were zipping. He went back to recall that after the first 100 yards advance he stepped across the body of Sgt. Hamilton Fish (of a prominent New York family), who as leader of the advance guard had been shot in the heart on the first volley. "SEVERAL hours later we pushed them out into the open," Brumley recounted. "There we fell to our knees and started firing at the running Spaniards. When they had got away, I spit on my gun barrel and it sizzled." The veteran declined to describe a kill, but he said he was a "good shot." Asked if he was frightened when the shooting started, Brumley maintained he was not and gave a good reason he was only 18 years of age. He said 21 was the minimum for enlistment in the Rough Riders, but he lied when he enlisted at Santa Fe. May 6. 1898. "AFTER the battle, the officers asked how the youngster fared," said Brumley, one of the youngest men in the regiment. "They said I didn't show a white feather." He added that as in any war there were men who "threw away their cards and prayed," and those who turned and ran to the rear. Eighty men made the attack. Enthusiastic and crotchety about delays as GIs usually are, the Rough Riders wandered at will about Prescott. They were all on hand, however, for the noon lunch. The chairman of the board of the B. F. Goodrich company, made an address in which he thanked the State of Arizona for erecting the Bucky O'Neill statue and said, "The golden anniversary of any organization is an impressive event and particularly so that of the Rough Riders, who served under the gallant leadership of two men like Teddy Roosevelt and Leonard Wood." "Lasting friendships were built by these men a half century ago and it is wonderful to return and find they are the same grand old fellows we knew so long ago." Among the speakers at the luncheon were Acting Governor Dan E. Garvey and U. S.-Representative Richard E. Harless. TOMORROW the Rough Riders will visit the Grand Canyon, returning late tomorrow afternoon and ending their reunion."
National Park Service, at Presidio of San Francisco noted the role of black soldiers in those battles as well.
Although the Spanish American War was ostensibly fought to liberate Caribbean and Philippine islanders from Spanish oppression, the participation of African American troops was very controversial in the African American community.
Some troops and many citizens openly questioned whether African Americans should fight for the U.S. government that recognized them as citizens in name only. Despite emancipation nearly 40-year before, Blacks routinely were deprived of their rights by federal and state laws. Institutional discrimination was reinforced by savage murder and terror of African Americans primarily in the South. Articles in the Black press during the war showed a diversity of opinion in the African American community.
"In order to prepare for the invasion of Cuba, the Buffalo Soldiers were posted to the southeastern United States for the first time in their history.
Originally billeted near Tampa, Florida, where overt racial discrimination was the norm, local white citizens refused "to make any distinction between the colored troops and the colored civilians" and tolerated no infractions of local discriminatory laws and racial customs. Despite this prejudice, the troops of the 9th and 10th Cavalry, and the 24th and 25th Infantry served with distinction on the battlefields of Las Guasimas, El Caney, and San Juan Heights. The terrain and climate were challenging. Troops had to deal with heat, rainstorms, mud and yellow fever. When there was an outbreak of yellow fever in the army camps, Black 24th Infantry soldiers served as nurses and hospital orderlies for the stricken Caucasian troops, ordered to do so because of the stereotype that Blacks were physically better able to deal with tropical heat conditions.
In the four months of fighting the Spanish under these adverse conditions, the Buffalo Soldiers were described as "most gallant and soldierly."
During one landing at Tayabacoa, Cuba, 10th Cavalry Privates William H. Thompkins, Fitz Lee, Dennis Bell, and George Wanton voluntarily went ashore in the face enemy fire to rescue wounded U.S. and Cuban comrades. After several failed attempts, they succeeded. Each were awarded the Medal of Honor. A career soldier, Thompkins was eventually buried at the Presidio's San Francisco National Cemetery, along with another 450 Black veterans of the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry.
Called the most integrated battle force of the 19th century, the troops of the 24th Infantry and the 9th and 10th Cavalry fought up the slope of San Juan Hill along with White regular army regiments and the 1st Volunteer Cavalry (the Rough Riders) led by Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt. Twenty-six Buffalo Soldiers died that day, and several men were officially recognized for their bravery. Quarter Master Sergeant Edward L. Baker, Jr., 10th Cavalry emerged from the battle wounded by shrapnel, but was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism. After the Battle of San Juan Hill, Rough Rider Frank Knox said, "I never saw braver men anywhere." Lieutenant John J. Pershing wrote, "They fought their way into the hearts of the American people."
Dolores cowboys may have been somewhat familiar with black troops as four companies of the 9th Calvary had been encamped just below Durango in 1881 and 1882.
 The Durango Daily Record, of June 11, 1881, noted that the black troops camped about one mile south of Durango and were on their way south to Fort Lewis to fight Indians in case they were needed.
"Actually those black troops were waiting for arrangements to move the Jicarilla Apaches. The Indians did not like or trust the black troops in the west and trouble was only averted by sending some companies from the 22nd Infantry to accompany the black cavalrymen," according to Robert Delaney's book about Fort Lewis called "Blue Coats, Red Skins, and Black Gowns."
President Roosevelt never lost his affection for his battle buddies and appointed them to important political offices whenever the opportunity presented itself. Among his special friends was Colonel William H. H. Llewellyn of Las Cruces, New Mexico, who was close enough to the President to dine with him at the White House, to escort Mrs. Roosevelt to the Theater, and who is one of the few 1st Calvary soldiers the President mentions in his autobiography.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

In an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans

  The Good Neighbors, the fair folk, or simply the folk

 By Rob Carrigan,

The aos sí, or the older form aes sídhe is the Irish for a supernatural race in Irish and Scottish mythology, comparable to the fairies or elves. They are said to live underground in fairy mounds, across the western sea, or in an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans. This world is described in the Lebor Gabála Érenn as a parallel universe in which the aos sí walk among the living. In the Irish language, aos sí means "people of the mounds" (the mounds are known in Irish as "the sídhe"). In modern Irish the people of the mounds are also called daoine sídhe in Scottish mythology they are daoine sìth. They are variously said to be the ancestors, the spirits of nature, or goddesses and gods. The aos sí are often appeased with offerings, and care is taken to avoid angering or insulting them. Often they are not named directly, but rather spoken of as 'The Good Neighbors, The Fair Folk,' or simply 'The Folk.'


Perhaps I should have seen it coming? I have lost a lot of good friends over the years, but still it is always a surprise. Lynn, Edena, Lisa, Michael, my dad, on and on ....
Mark Twain (Sam Clemons), understood it pretty well.
“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it,” he said.
And as usual, Hunter Thompson also had an interesting take.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!,” he wrote in "The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967."
A few days ago, my wife looked at me funny, as I sat in swivel rocker, knowing with that extra sense she has, that something was BAD wrong. She tried to help.
I was almost crying. I told her I was going to try and write something, but I started considering quotes from Wilson Rawls, and "Where the Red Fern Grows," and it gave me that tremble.
Unsteadiness. The shake of intense discomfort from wrestling with my grief.
A rawness, that is beyond talking about.
I had lost another one of my hound dogs to ravages of time a few days prior.
Jenny, the Treeing Walker/Blue Tick coon hound mix, and one of a pair of the best dogs a person could ask for, and very real part of my family's life for the past ten years, left us in characteristic dignity, a few days prior.
Jenny herself, knew loss. Ella, her sister from the same litter passed on Memorial Day this year.
They were naturally as close two sisters from the same litter could be, and had spent there entire life together and it showed. But they also had shared thousands of hours of photo excursions, and twilight sojourns in early morning, and around sundown, with me in the woods.
I had tried to to help in her last struggles to go out side. She died, I think as I struggled to get her back inside after she fell.
Jenny and Ella were family members, of course. But we were closer than that. Not sure any of my other family members know what its like to share a frosted-over, beaver meadow in sub zero weather, all in the early morning winter hours.
I am reminded in the excellent work of Rawls, a favorite book for obvious reasons.
“Looking to the mountains around us, I saw that the mysterious artist who comes at night had paid us a visit. I wondered how he could paint so many different colors in one night; red, wine, yellow, and rust,” he wrote in "Where the Red Fern Grows."


The banshee or bean sídhe (from Old Irish: ban síde), which means "woman of the sídhe", has come to indicate any supernatural woman of Ireland who heralds a coming death by wailing and keening. Her counterpart in Scottish mythology is the bean sìth (sometimes spelled bean-sìdh). Other varieties of aos sí and daoine sìth include the Scottish bean nighe: the washerwoman who is seen washing the bloody clothing or armor of the person who is doomed to die; the leanan sídhe who takes a human, and holds it close to her heart. Those who love the leannán sídhe are said to live brief, though highly inspired, lives. The name comes from the Gaelic words for a sweatheart and the term for inhabitants of fairy mounds (fairy). The leannán sídhe is generally depicted as a beautiful muse who offers inspiration to an artist in exchange for their love and devotion; however, this frequently results in madness for the artist, and a short life. 


Today, I notice Jenny's and Ella's collars, carefully arranged on the book shelf, in an out of the way place, in the house with their name tags out.
"Jenny Carrigan," and "Ella Carrigan," and our phone number, the metal tag says on the purple and red smooth nylon. "Microchipped," it says.
You never really get used to it, I guess. An image, or a moment, or even a sound or scent, brings back your attention to the hole in your heart, for a time. Dogs don't live long.
"Lifespan in general is determined by trade-offs between survival and reproduction. Wolves, the ancestors of dogs, can live 15-20 years, roughly twice as long as comparable-sized dogs. They start breeding in the wild no younger than 2-years-old. They need to form pairs and establish a territory before breeding. Older wolves will often have help raising their pups from older juveniles who have not managed to mate or find territories. In contrast, most dogs can breed from six months to 12 months of age, and they don’t benefit from having territories, pair bonds, or packs. Whereas wolves breed until they die, dog breeders will usually retire older females. So the whole life history of dogs is shifted to more of a “live fast, die young” style compared to wolves. On top of that, artificial selection and inbreeding have created huge problems for dogs," says Suzanne Sadedin, Ph.D. in zoology from Monash University.
In the words of Wilson Rawls, I remember.
"I knew the pups were mine, all mine, yet I couldn't move. My heart started aching like a drunk grasshopper. I tried to swallow and couldn't. My Adam's apple wouldn't work. One pup started my way. I held my breath. One came until I felt a scratchy little foot on mine. The other pup followed. A warm puppy tongue caressed my sore foot. I heard the stationmaster say, 'They already know you.' I knelt down and gathered them in my arms. I buried my face between their wiggling bodies and cried,” Rawls wrote.


A variant is Cù Sìth or the fairy dog. The Cù-Sìth was feared as a harbinger of death and would appear to bear away the soul of a person to the afterlife. In this role the Cù-Sìth holds in Scottish folklore a function similar to that of the Bean Sidhe, or banshee, in Irish folklore. According to legend, the creature was capable of hunting silently, but would occasionally let out three mournful and sometimes terrifying barks or howls.


And only three howls, that could be heard for miles by those listening for it, even far out at sea.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

It depends on the quality of the report

Bob Woodward, right, and Carl Bernstein in the newsroom 
of the Washington Post in 1973. Photograph: AP 

Thinking like a degenerate fool, living in the past, 

looking for a story-telling witness

By late February 1974, the special Watergate prosecution force had obtained guilty pleas from Jeb Magruder, Bart Porter, Donals Sergretti, Herbert Kalmbach, Fred LaRue, Egil Krogh, and John Dean. Eight corporations and their officers had pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to the CRP. In Washington, Dwight Chapman was under indictment for perjury. In New York, John Mitchell and Maurice Stans, were on trial, charged with obstruction of justice and perjury.
On March 1, the Washington grand jury that had indicted the original conspirators and burglars of the Democratic Headquarter in 1972 handed up its major indictments of in the Watergate cover-up case. It charged seven of the President's White House and campaign aides with conspiracy to obstruct justice.
“To those who will decide if he should be tried for 'high crimes and misdemeanors'
-the House of Representatives-
And to those who would sit in judgment at such a trial if the House impeaches -the Senate-
And to the man who would preside at such an impeachment trial -the Chief Justice of the United States, Warren Burger-
And to the nation...
The President said, 'I want you to know that I have no intention whatever of ever walking away from the job that the American people elected me to do for the people of the United States.'
wrote Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, in "All the President's Men."
From Bob Woodward's book, "Fear."
Trump on Attorney General Jeff Sessions: "This guy is mentally retarded. He's this dumb Southerner. ... How in the world was I ever persuaded to pick him for my attorney general? ... He couldn't even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama. What business does he have being attorney general?"
The number of illegal activities were so large that one was bound to come out and lead to the uncovering of the others. Nixon was too willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.
Read more at:
The number of illegal activities were so large that one was bound to come out and lead to the uncovering of the others. Nixon was too willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.
Read more at:
“The people of the United States are entitled to assume that their President is telling the truth. The pattern of misrepresentation and half-truths that emerges from our investigation reveals a presidential policy cynically based on the premise that the truth itself is negotiable,” said Carl Bernstein.
“We are watching a president, whose back is to the wall,” trying to grab a “get-out-of-jail pass,” the Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein says.
“Rage-aholic” Donald Trump has initiated what amounts to a “coup” against the rule of law by ordering Jeff Sessions to resign as attorney general and replacing him with Trump loyalist Matthew Whitaker, warned Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein.
“The White House had decided that the conduct of the press, not the conduct of the President’s men, was the issue.”
Carl Bernstein, in "All the President's Men"
Mueller’s investigation was triggered by a break-in at the Democratic National Committee, this time in digital form. Trump fired his acting attorney general and FBI director, just as Nixon first ordered his attorney general, and then the deputy, to fire the Watergate special prosecutor; they refused and quit on what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre. Trump, like Nixon before him, has gone to war against the media and displayed paranoia about perceived enemies.
Tweeted by President Donald Trump, Aug. 29, 2018: CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie and refusing to admit the mistake. Sloppy @carlbernstein, a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool, making up story after story, is being laughed at all over the country! Fake News
“It depends on the quality of the report. In Watergate, one of the great lessons for me personally was you need a storytelling witness; you can’t just say: ‘I overheard’ or ‘I speculated’.
“John Dean, Nixon’s counsel, testified before the Senate Watergate committee on live national television: it was on every network, gavel to gavel coverage for four days. ‘I met with Nixon. He said, how much do we need to pay to silence the burglars? What about this? What about that?’ And it was devastating. Then you had the second punch which was the tapes which validated it, made Nixon his own narrator. So I’m not sure whether that’s going to happen,” said Bob Woodward in an interview with David Smith of "The Guardian."

The number of illegal activities were so large that one was bound to come out and lead to the uncovering of the others. Nixon was too willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.
Read more at:
The number of illegal activities were so large that one was bound to come out and lead to the uncovering of the others. Nixon was too willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.
Read more at:

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Mountain men, explorers were a diverse lot

 Antoine Janis

Pardon our French, and other language

By Rob Carrigan,

We all survive in our own way. And language and place names do, too.
In Northern Colorado, for example, pardon our French.
Trappers built cabins along the Cache la Poudre River as early as 1828, making it the first Euro-American settlement in Larimer County. The French moniker refers to an incident in the early part of the 19th Century when French trappers, reportedly caught by a snowstorm, were forced to bury part of their gunpowder along the banks of the river.
The early arrivals of European-descent found Apache, Pawnee, and Comanche. But those tribes were pushed out and replaced by Arapaho and Cheyenne in the Spanish-era mostly.  Kiowa tribes visited the southeast portion of the state an the Shoshone frequented the north-west portion.
French, French Canadians, Spanish-French, and French Americans by way of St. Louis, have a lot to do with the naming conventions in Northern Colorado, as a result.
In the 1860s, only about 35,000 people lived in Colorado, as counted by the census then, but they were a diverse lot.
Antoine Janis, often designated the first permanent white settler north of the Arkansas River (Janis was born in Missouri to a French father and a mulatto mother) and earlier traveled with his father on trading caravans from Missouri to the Green River. In 1836 he may have traveled with his father on a caravan along the Cache la Poudre River valley in present-day Larimer County. It is possible and often suggested, (but not established) that the river obtained its name during this trip.
In 1844 he journeyed west on his own, working with brother Nicholas as a scout and interpreter out of Fort Laramie, where he married First Elk Woman of the Oglala Sioux tribe. While returning from a trip to Mexico, he again passed through present-day Colorado along the Poudre Valley, arriving at the spot where the Poudre emerges from the foothills. He reportedly was particularly taken by the valley, calling it "the loveliest spot on earth."
At the time, the area was not open to settlement but was part of the hunting territory of the Arapaho and Cheyenne. Janis hedged his bets. He staked a squatter's claim on the river bottom just west of present-day Laporte, in June, 1844.
The opening up of the western Nebraska Territory to homesteading allowed Janis to return to the area 1858 with his claim filed. He was accompanied by a party of other homesteaders from Fort Laramie, including John B. Provost, his brothers Francis and Nicholas Janis, Antoine LeBeau, Tood Randall, E.W. Raymond, B. Goodman, Laroque Bosquet (aka: Rock Bush) and Oliver Morrisette.
Janis settled in the area with approximately 150 lodges of Arapaho, who accompanied him to the spot. With the other members of his party, he founded the town of Colona, which later became La Porte, the first non-native community in Larimer County.
"La Porte is French for 'The Gate,' and was given because its site is the natural gateway to the area lying to the northwest. The two words have been combined into one in recent years," says George R. Eichler in "Colorado Place Names."
The following year he erected a small wooden house on the south side of Poudre River where he kept a grocery and saloon. He continued to live in the area until 1878, when a general order from the federal government forced his wife to move to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Janis sold his cabin and accompanied his wife to the reservation, where he died in 1890.
The winter of 1849 brought, Kit Carson and his company of trappers set up camp on Cache la Poudre. Carson had been there before, guiding Lt. John C. Fremont' Party up the Poudre, and connecting with Oregan Trail, in the spring of 1843.
 John C. Fremont

"From Fort St. Vrain, he (Fremont,) and his guides Kit Carson and Thomas Fitzpatrick, searched the Front Ranges for a useful pass over the Divide. In this search, Fremont was disappointed, as others had been before and many would be later. Splitting his party, Fremont then sent Fitzpatrick and some of the men on to Fort Laramie with the supplies. Carson and Fremont led the rest of the men up the 60-mile canyon of the Cache La Poudre River, up along the Eastern base of the Medicine Bow Range, until they struck the Oregon Trail," writes Carl Ubbelohde, Maxine Benson, and Duane A. Smith in "A Colorado History."
When Carson returned in 1849, nothing had changed much.

Christopher "Kit" Carson

Originally labeled Colona, between fifty and sixty log dwellings were built on the banks of the Cache la Poudre River in the valley, and in November 1861, the territorial legislature assigned La Porte county seat status. The next year Colona changed its name to La Porte, and became main office of the Mountain Division of the Overland Trail Stage Route.
First settled by French-Canadian fur trappers and mountain men,  it was considered gateway to all the mountainous region lying north of the South Platte River and extending from the Plains to the Continental Divide.
The first post office opened, and a stage stop was built on the Overland Trail. A station was erected right along the river, very near where the present Overland Trail crosses the river.  The stage fare from Denver to LaPorte was $20.00. The first bridge over the Cache la Poudre River was built as a toll bridge, and during the rush to California, numerous wagons and stage coaches crossed it every day. The toll charged ranged from $.50 to $8.00, according different records.
In 1864, the bridge was washed away by a flood, and a ferry was rigged up and used for several years until the county built another bridge.
LaPorte thrived as a supply center for emigrants. Four saloons, a brewery, a butcher shop, two blacksmith shops, a general store and a hotel made La Porte the most important settlement north of Denver, housing the Stage Station, the County Court House, the military, Indians, and trappers.
In 1862, Camp Collins was established by the U.S. Army along the river to protect the stage line from attack by Native Americans. Also that same year, the La Porte Townsite Company claimed 1,280 acres of land for the town. In 1863 the 13th Kansas volunteer infantry was stationed to Laporte, acting as escort for the Overland Stage on the trail to Virginia Dale. During the flood of 1864, the army camp was covered with water, and the soldiers had to suddenly flee to higher ground. In August of that year, Col. William Oliver Collins, commanding officer of Fort Laramie (between present-day Lingle and Guernsey in Wyoming,) on an inspection tour, and decided to move the Camp Collins army camp to Fort Collins, down river about six miles.

Col. William Oliver Collins


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Frontier violence and the last refuge of the incompetent

Realizing through that sin, his true perfection

 By Rob Carrigan,

It may be true now, as Isaac Asimov said, that “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
But it was not so, 200 years ago in the wilds of Rocky Mountains, in the heydays of the early mountain men. Those men were perhaps, products of the times.

John "liver-eating" Johnson
Lore has it, the popular movie "Jeremiah Johnson" was partially based on trapper John "liver-eating" Johnson, who in 1847 found his wife and her unborn child had been killed by Crow braves.
Rumors, legends, and campfire tales reflect upon the death of Johnson's wife and subsequent rampage by Johnson. His wife's death: she was of Flathead American Indian tribe descent, prompted Johnson to embark on a vendetta against the Crow tribe.
According to historian Andrew Mehane Southerland, "He supposedly killed and scalped more than 300 Crow Indians and then devoured their livers," to avenge the death of the wife, and "As his reputation and collection of scalps grew, Johnson became an object of fear."
This was said to be an insult, as the Crow believed they'd be barred from the afterlife without a liver.
There are certainly other examples.

John Colter
"Virginia-born John Colter first answered the call of the West in 1804, as part of Lewis and Clark’s famed Corps of Discovery. Two years in the wilderness was more than enough for most of the expedition’s members, but as they made their way home in 1806, Colter decided to shun civilization and strike out on a career as a fur trapper. He soon established himself as one of America’s original mountain men, and may have been the first white man to lay eyes on Yellowstone National Park. A section of Wyoming’s Shoshone River even became known as “Colter’s Hell” for his descriptions of its geothermal activity," wrote History Channel's Evan Andrews.
"Colter was once wounded while fighting alongside Crow and Flathead tribesmen, but the most legendary chapter in his career came in 1809, when he was captured by a band of Blackfeet while trapping near Three Forks, Montana. After killing his partner, the Indians stripped Colter naked, gave him a brief head start and then chased after him as though he were wild game. Ignoring the rocks and cactus that were shredding his feet, Colter supposedly outran most of the warriors before disarming his closest pursuer and killing him with his own lance. The mountain man then staggered into a fort several days later, having trekked over 200 miles clothed only in a blanket."

Christopher "Kit" Carson

Namesake of towns, cities, counties, forts and other geography all over the West, Kit Carson was born in Kentucky in 1809, he fled a saddlemaker’s apprenticeship at age 16 to work as a fur trapper, teamster and buffalo hunter in the West.
"Though illiterate and small in stature, Carson was also a natural frontiersman who learned half a dozen native languages and knew the wilderness like the back of his hand. In 1842, his skills caught the attention of explorer John C. Frémont, who enlisted him as a guide for a mission to map the American West. The pair eventually teamed up on three epic excursions across the Rocky Mountains, California and Oregon, and Carson became a frontier celebrity after Frémont praised him in his expedition dispatches. His fame only grew during the Mexican-American War, when he slipped past enemy lines at the Battle of San Pasquale and made a 30-mile barefoot trek to San Diego to fetch reinforcements," wrote Evan Andrews.
Carson served as wagon train guide, Indian agent, and Union army officer during the Civil War.
"He battled Confederates at 1862’s Battle of Valverde in present day New Mexico, but spent the majority of the war leading a series of controversial campaigns to subdue the Navajo and other Southwestern Indian tribes."
He was Fort Garland's post comander for a time, and died from an aneurysm in 1868, a year after being mustered out of the army as a brigadier general. His last words were supposedly, “Doctor, compadre, adios!”

Jim Baker
"A friend of Kit Carson, Jim Baker was just as colorful of a figure as his companion. While employed as a trapper as a young man, he and 35 other men defeated a much larger band of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors. He was later hired as a chief scout for the Army and retired on a working livestock ranch in Wyoming. He was married 21 times, each of his wives a Native American, and more than one even being the daughter of a tribe's chief," writes Seamus McAfee, of Wide Open Spaces.

Jedidiah Smith
Jedidiah Smith reportedly developed his thirst for adventure by reading the journals of Lewis and Clark as a boy. The New Yorker was one of several future mountain men who answered William Ashley’s 1822 call for “enterprising young men” to trap beaver and otter in the uncharted frontier. Tasked with scouting out new hunting grounds in the Dakotas and Wyoming, he helped lead an expedition that rediscovered South Pass, a key Rocky Mountain crossing that became part of the Oregon Trail. Smith went on to explore huge swaths of the West as the owner of his own fur trading company. He traversed the Mojave Desert into Southern California in 1826, and later became the first explorer to journey the Pacific coastline from California into Oregon, according to Andrews.
"As with many mountain men, Smith’s travels were often punctuated by episodes of violence. His scouting parties were ambushed and decimated by Indian attacks on multiple occasions, and he famously had his ribs smashed and his scalp partially torn off in a grizzly bear mauling. He wore his hair long for the rest of his life to cover the scars. Smith tried to retire from the hazards of the wilderness in 1830, but just a year later he was attacked and killed by Comanche Indians while traveling the Santa Fe Trail. At the time of his death, the great explorer was just 32 years old," says Evan Andrews.

Joseph Walker
Like Jedidiah Smith, Tennessee native Joseph Walker was a born explorer who pursued fur trapping and scouting as a way of financing his wanderlust. He first ventured west in 1820 as part of an illegal trapping expedition to Spanish-controlled New Mexico territory, and later served as a guide for the likes of Benjamin Bonneville and John C. Frémont. While working for Bonneville in 1833, Walker led an expedition that bushwhacked its way from Wyoming to California across the Sierra Nevada. His party was forced to eat their horses just to survive, but after exiting the mountains they became the first white men to encounter giant sequoia trees and the wonders of the Yosemite Valley. It was a sight Walker would never forget.  “Camped at Yosemite” is inscribed on his tombstone.
Walker later worked as trapper, scout, wagon train guide and ranch owner. In 1861, at the age of 62, he set off on a two-year prospecting expedition across New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. "By the time his failing eyesight forced him to retire in 1867, he had spent some five decades on the frontier and served as a guide for hundreds of soldiers and pilgrims. Amazingly, during all of Walker’s years blazing new trails and traveling through hazardous territory, only one man is reported to have died under his command," said Evan Andrews.

Tom Tobin
A legend in Colorado’s history on several fronts, Tom Tobin left his mark.
His father Irish, and his mother a Delaware Indian, Tobin, and his half brother Charles Autobees, arrived in Colorado as early as 1837 with Ceran St. Vrain and worked as trapper and scout for St. Vrain and his partners, the Bent brothers, at Bent’s Fort, as well as Taos, New Mexico.
“Tom Tobin was a picturesque figure. He rode a black horse and wore a black hat, shirt, trousers and boots. He kept two loaded revolvers in his gun belt, one on each side. Although illiterate, Tobin actively supported the local school system and eventually became president of the school board,” wrote Ken Jesson in “Colorado Gunsmoke.”
Tobin also garnered a reputation for being able to “track a grasshopper through the sagebrush” and was skilled with a rifle, pistol and knife. He counted among his good friends, the likes of Kit Carson, “Uncle Dick” Wooton, Ceran St. Vrain and Charley Bent.
It was his tracking ability that got him the job that was to make him famous as a bounty hunter. Jose Filipe Nerio Espinosa and his brother Vivian Espinosa began their murderous rampage in San Luis Valley and had extended it over Ute Pass and into Dead Man’s Canyon near Fountain. One of the Espinosas was killed but Vivian and a younger cousin carried on. Basically, they declared war on all Anglos and by their own reporting, had killed 22 people in Colorado, mostly miners in the California Gulch area from Fairplay to Red Hill, in South Park.
In an interview from Oct. 10, 1946, Kit Carson III, the grandson of Kit Carson and Tom Tobin, and the proprietor of Kit Carson’s Trading Post in Sanford, Colorado, told the following tale of the end of the Espinosa’s reign of terror.
“Colonel (Sam) Tappin considered Grandpa Tobin the best tracker in the country, had him brought in and asked to catch the Espinosas, the reward was not mentioned. Grandpa was told “kill them for humanity’s sake,” nothing said about any reward.”
Tobin tracked them to a draw near LaVeta Pass.
“The Espinosas had been working their way from Colorado Springs going south killing anyone they came in contact with.”
By noticing a bunch of crows circling, Tobin identified the murderous villians’ campsite.
“He found them busy making a meal,” related Kit Carson, III. “The older Espinosa was squatting in front of the fire, while the younger one was hobbling the horses. Grandpa waited till the younger one came near the campfire, not wanting anyone to get away in the heat of battle. Hiding behind a rock, Grandpa sighted in on the older man and shot him, he fell face first into the fire, grandpa loaded a charge and spit a bare ball into the old Hawkin rifle and killed the younger Espinosa.”
Tobin finished off the elder outlaw with his knife and took the Espinosa’s heads in a gunny sack to prove the job was done.
“When arriving at Ft. Garland, the Colonel, some of his officers, and their wives had been out riding, an announcement was made that grandpa was there to see the Colonel. He was brought into a large room where the officers and wives were relaxing after their ride. The Colonel asked, ‘Any Luck, Tom?’ Grandpa said, “So-so,” and he held the gunnysack upside down rolling the heads out onto the floor, ladies were screaming, the officers and Colonel even looked a little green.”

James P. Beckwourth
Born April 6, 1798, in Fredricksburg, Virginia, (his father an Irish American plantation owner and his mother, a Negro slave) Jim Beckwourth was educated by his father and could read, write and spoke Spanish, French and multiple Indian dialects. For eight to nine years, Beckwourth lived with a Crow band. He rose in their society from warrior to chief (a respected man) and leader of the "Dog Clan". According to his book, he eventually ascended to the highest-ranking war chief of the Crow Nation.
James P. Beckwourth had a reputation for being able to tell a good yarn.
And that was exactly what he did in dictating his autobiography to Thomas Bonner. Bonner, a Justice of the Peace in the California Gold fields. Of course, he was obliged to add or ‘improve’ certain details about himself in “The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Mountaineer, Scout, and Pioneer, and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians.”
Amazingly, most of it contained elements of truth.
“… While Beckwourth certainly had a tendency to exaggerate numbers or to occasionally make himself the hero of events that happened to other people, later historians have discovered that much of what Beckwourth related in his autobiography actually occurred,” according to
“An often-told story has it that when the book appeared, a group of miners who were well-acquainted with Beckwourth, commissioned one of its members to pick up a copy while on a trip to San Francisco. But the man, being careless, got a copy of the Bible instead. In the evening, he was requested to read aloud from the long-awaited book, and opening it at random, he hit upon and read the story of Sampson and the foxes,” according to
“That’ll do!” one of the men cried. “I’d know that story for one of Jim’s lies anywhere!”
One local story, told by Beckwourth himself, involved the legend of Jimmy Camp. Beckwourth related a tale of Jimmy Boyer (other historians have said his last name was Hayes or Daugherty) “a little dwarf Irishman” who had established a cabin and fort about 10 miles east of what is now the center of Colorado Springs. Jimmy would trade items brought from ‘civilization’ to trade with the Indians for furs.
“His wagon train would follow a segment of the Cherokee Trail (before it was the Cherokee Trail) north from the Pueblo area, and his route was called Jimmy Camp Trail, which gave the name to Jimmy Camp Creek,” writes Perry Eberhart in “Ghosts of the Colorado Plains.”
Jimmy would then light a bonfire on the top of a hill to signal that he had returned and it was time to trade. By all accounts, the Indians liked and trusted Jimmy.
Sometime from 1833 to 1835, however, Jimmy was murdered by Mexican bandits, it is believed.
According to Beckwourth, he and Indian friends of Jimmy, tracked down the murders, slit their throats and hung them by their toes in a nearby tree.
A man familiar with the American West himself, Oscar Wilde noted:  "A man cannot always be estimated by what he does. He may keep the law, and yet be worthless. He may break the law, and yet be fine. He may be bad, without ever doing anything bad. He may commit a sin against society, and yet realize through that sin, his true perfection.”
Whatever the case, I don't think your could argue they were incompetent.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Greeley goes west, but suffers from local accident

Reformer Greeley ran against Grant as a Liberal Republican

By Rob Carrigan,

Founder and editor of the New-York Tribune, the New-Yorker, and financial backer of American publications all over the country, Horace Greeley, was a surprising force in politics, media and the generation of new ideas.

His promotion of utopian reforms such as socialism, vegetarianism, agrarianism, feminism, and temperance, led to the formation of his namesake Northern Colorado city, (originally known as the Union Colony) and in 1854, he helped found, and may have named the Republican Party.

Long active in Whig politics, he served briefly as a congressman from New York, and was the unsuccessful candidate of the new Liberal Republican party in the 1872 presidential election against incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant.

As early as the spring of 1837, during a business panic Horace Greeley advised young men to go west. But at that time, "West" meant the borders of Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

"I say to all the unemployed and able-bodied, leave the cities without delay. You have a winter in prospect of fearful, unexampled severity — the times are out of joint— go to the Great West, if you have money to go so far."

Though he lectured about that advice for years, it wasn't until the spring of 1859 that he made serious trip to what would become Colorado.

"Now, in 1859, he intended to see for himself if the gold reports from the Rockies were true or false," wrote Mrs. Elmo Scott Watson in an August, 1962, Denver Westerners' Roundup.

Many new developments in this area awaited Greeley's attention in the Rockies.

"Denver City was new, established in November, 1858, and named for James W. Denver, previously the governor of Kansas territory. Auraria, westward across Cherry Creek, was about a year old, named for a small mining town in in Georgia. The Leavenworth and Pikes Peak Express service was new, operating two coaches daily, starting from each end of the line... The Rocky Mountain News was new, and so was Cherry Creek Pioneer, although the later rival was soon absorbed by the William H. Byers, founder of the News. The gold strike at the Gregory Diggings was new, discovered on May 6, just three days before Mr. Greeley started his trip from New York City," wrote Watson.

At the the end of May, Greeley boarded one of the two red coaches of the Pikes Peak Express Company headed west. The coach, costing $800 each at the time, was hitched to four Kentucky mules that were trained to start at a dead run, and drivers were well-paid, experienced and fearless.

On June 1, Wednesday, at Station 16, there was a swarm of jostling, begging Araphoe children and women.

"They are thorough savages," Greeley wrote. And that he was glad to get away from their presence.

Later that same afternoon, almost to Station 17, there was an accident.

"The stage was wrecked and Mr. Greeley was severely injured. This misfortune changed his plans for a pleasant sojourn in Denver, ... and the Rock Mountain News suppressed any mention of the accident or the injury to this distinguished visitor," says Watson.

Greeley wrote of the troubles himself, in the New York Tribune.

"We began to descend the steep bank, the driver pulling with all his might, the mules acting perversely (being frightened, I fear by Indians) ... when the left rein of the leaders broke and the team was in a moment sheared out of the road and ran diagonally down the pitch ... I was alone in the state, and I of course, went over with it ... When I rose to my feet as soon as possible, considerably bewildered and disheveled, while the driver, considerably hurt, was getting out from under the coach to go after the mules, I found I had a slight cut on my left cheek, and a deep gouge from the sharp corner of a seat in my left leg below the knee, but I walked to the station as firmly as ever."

The next day, Greeley noted that he "was so stiff he could hardly move."

A young reporter in Denver writing for the Cincinnati Daily Commercial, Henry Villard, noted his arrival there a few days later.

"This community was startled by the appearance of Horace Greeley who unexpectedly dropped among the astonished denizens of this and adjoining places. He arrived in one of the Express coaches in rather dilapidated condition, the consequences of being upset some 300 miles east of here. His countenance bore a variety of extemporized plasters, his inexpressibles revealed several tears, and the use of his left leg had become almost impossible by the severe cut he had received immediately below the left knee," wrote Villard in his dispatch.

According to accounts from such notables as Greeley, William Byers, Gen. Will Larimer and Beverly Williams, met to decide what would be the story for the press, at the time.

"It was unanimously agreed that no mention wreck, or of Mr. Greeley's injury would appear in the Rocky Mountain News. Mr. Greeley preferred to minimize his disabilities when he wrote his family and colleagues in New York," said Watson, in her account.

Other accounts had Greeley, basically retire to a cabin provided by Gen. Larimer for the remaining 10 days of his trip and arranging for an "ambulance" with four mules and driver to take him to Fort Laramie, some 200 miles to the north.

According to free-lance reporter A.D. Richardson's version, who actually was brought in to concoct a story to be printed in the News, Greeley did not appear in public at all those last 10 days in Denver, and in a book he later wrote, said that Greeley "lay prostrate for three weeks after our return, and indeed his injury was so severe that a year later he was still limping."

In fact, Greeley limped for the rest of his life until his death in 1872.

During the Civil War, Greeley mostly supported Lincoln, though urging him to commit to the end of slavery before the President was willing to do so. After Lincoln's assassination, he supported the Radical Republicans in opposition to President Andrew Johnson. He broke with Republican president Ulysses Grant because of corruption and Greeley's sense that Reconstruction policies were no longer needed.

Greeley was the new Liberal Republican Party's candidate in the 1872 U.S. presidential election. He lost in a landslide, despite having the additional support of the Democratic Party. He was devastated by the death of his wife, who died five days before the election, and died himself three weeks later, before the Electoral College had met.