Finding Someone from Western History

We all know what the movies and Western shows tell us about the old West, but what are the facts? Here, we’ll discuss what these truths are, and get a better idea of what life was like in the real West!
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Re: Finding Someone from Western History

Post by cowgirl » Tue May 30, 2017 6:37 pm

rooster davis:7225 wrote:Stargazer, thanks for your comments. I too like to imagine what things were like for those people who died so long ago. On the subject of Pony Express riders, and how people used to live, there was one rider named "Broncho Charlie" (that's how they used to spell it) Miller. He was born in 1850, worked for the Pony Express at the age of 11(!), and lived until he was 105, in 1955. Imagine all the things he saw! He lived a full lifespan before he ever even saw a radio or an automobile yet when he died he had seen cars, jet planes, skyscrapers, possibly even color TV and had heard about computers. At the age of 81 he rode across the US on a horse, the oldest (possibly one) person ever to do it. And after that he narrated his autobiography and still lived 20+ more years. I bought a copy of his book, published in 1934, and it's on my reading stack. I will bet that by the time he died, having seen so much, he would have preferred to live in the mid 1800's again if he could.

Michelle, I've read plenty of old headstones - I like the ones where they have an epitaph - usually those are the oldest ones. I remember one I've seen more than once, if I can recall it:

"Children and friends, as you walk by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, so you will be
Prepare for death and follow me."
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Re: Finding Someone from Western History

Post by cowgirl » Tue May 30, 2017 6:37 pm

Stargazer:7226 wrote:Rooster - The book about Broncho Charlie would be an interesting read.  Traveling across the US at age 81...wow!

Michelle - Ah, a kindred spirit...  
Just got to briefly visit Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in MA and saw the graves of Alcott, Hawthorne, Emerson & Thoreau...that was so neat.  Would loved to have explored more but didn't have enough time.  

I have to say though, 1880 to 1900 and the old west is the time I am drawn to the most!
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Re: Finding Someone from Western History

Post by cowgirl » Tue May 30, 2017 6:37 pm

chrisb6263:7235 wrote:Nothing morbid at all about wandering graveyards, Michelle - Pam and I have done it many a time.  Rooster, you are right about more epitaphs being on the older headstones - we have seen headstones here in Wisconsin from the 1830's and 1840's (nothing older than that here because settlement in WI didn't start until the first land grants were issued by the U.S. Government about 1835) - anyway, I remember one headstone in a pioneer cemetery about an adult male born I think in 1780 in Connecticut and died in 1844 here in SE Wisconsin.  Underneath his name were the words, "Killed by a Sheep".  My initial reaction was laughter, but then I felt bad for doing that because I'm sure he probably suffered much while being attacked by the sheep (maybe it was a Ram?), and he had probably faced many perils traveling from CT to WI (no trains here until after 1850), then to die in that manner after probably only spending a few years here in the Wisconsin wilderness, clearing virgin timber and brush to make a space large enough to construct a rough-hewn log cabin (no lumber mills here in 1844 either).  So, I ended up feeling some sadness for the manner in which this gentleman had died.  There are numerous other headstones, with much more detailed epitaphs, all over this area.  So, Michelle, you are NOT morbid - touring a cemetery is a fascinating way to learn about the people who lived in that particular area! :grin:
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Re: Finding Someone from Western History

Post by cowgirl » Tue May 30, 2017 6:38 pm

rooster davis:7238 wrote:
Stargazer wrote:Rooster - The book about Broncho Charlie would be an interesting read.  Traveling across the US at age 81...wow!

I have to say though, 1880 to 1900 and the old west is the time I am drawn to the most!
I'm a bit more interested in the 1850's on forward - by 1880 the cattle drives were already starting to wind down, or soon after. By 1890 the census showed there were enough people in the West that there was no more 'frontier' anymore.

I'm interested in Broncho Charlie's ride at age 81 of course, but what I really want to know is what it was like for him living in the 1800's, and what it was like for an 11 year old to ride Pony Express. I have no doubt that they equipped him the same as any other P.E. rider - they certainly would have had to - with a pair of Colt revolver and a large knife for self defense. Imagine being 11 years old and doing something that dangerous for a living! I hope Charlie has a lot of those memories in his book.

Meanwhile, today's 11 year olds... news flash... "The surgeon general has determined that juice boxes distributed at free school breakfasts do not have sufficient levels of zinc and fiber...." Oh dear.
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Re: Finding Someone from Western History

Post by cowgirl » Tue May 30, 2017 6:38 pm

Stargazer:7246 wrote:smiley_girllaughing

Rooster - that's a good one!  Yes, we are taking all the "starch" out of our kids!  I'd like to see an 11 year old playing "outside" after school, like we used to, instead of planted in front of a TV or computer.  Times sure have changed.
"Keep your 'sites' on The Rifleman"
"The Rifleman hits the 'Mark' every week on abc."
A cowgirl's work is never done.

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