Tuesday Trivia: African-Americans in the Old West

History tells us that at least 15%, and possibly up to 33%, of cowboys in The Old West were African-American. Among them was William Pickett, who invented the trick we now call bull-dogging—catching and throwing a steer—though Bill’s habit of biting the cow’s lip to control it is no longer practiced. (Not too surprising, IMHO.) … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: African-Americans in the Old West

Young Women Homesteaders and The Promise Of The West – Letters To Home

Wonderful stories! Reblogged on giffordmacshane.com

THE CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

In today’s post I will be sharing some letters from women homesteaders in the United States at the beginning of the 1900s. The Homestead Act allowed adults to work land out west in order to own it after a period of time. Their stories are inspiring and enlightening.

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Tuesday Trivia: The Land of Saints and Scholars

Ireland is often referred to as The Land of Saints and Scholars. During the Dark Ages in Europe, much of the continent was overrun by barbarian tribes. Irish priests and scholars were responsible for keeping many ancient texts intact, and for creating new art and literature. Of primary note is the Book of Kells, an … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: The Land of Saints and Scholars

Tuesday Trivia: Native Americans & the Right to Vote

Since the 2020 election season has started, I've got a trivia question for you: Who was President of the United States when all Native Americans were given the right to vote? A.) Dwight D. Eisenhower B.) Theodore Roosevelt C.) Richard M. Nixon D.) Calvin Coolidge No peeking now—just give it your best shot! C’mon, you … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: Native Americans & the Right to Vote

Tuesday Trivia: Union Suits and Linens

Cowboys & Irishmen

#amwriting #history

Thanks to the movies and mid-20th century TV, when we think of men’s underwear in the Old West, we usually picture the union suit, a garment that looked like a cross between a onesie and today’s longjohns, with buttons up the front and a flap in the back to accommodate nature’s needs.  But union suits weren’t always a single piece — it was possible to buy shirts and pants separately.  They also came in an above-the-knee length (for the especially hardy).

Union Suit Advertisement Sears & Roebuck catalogue Union Suit Advertisement
Sears & Roebuck catalogue

Less well-known were garments called “linens”, from the material they were made out of.  Linens could be long, though they were usually knee-length or shorter.  They had buttons or grommets with laces, and some had wide waistbands.  Even more obscure was a cotton garment with buttons and ribbed legs that’s quite similar to the recently-popularized “boxer-briefs”.  From my research, I believe…

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an Gorta Mor (or The Great Irish Famine, 1845-1852)

Reposting this today in honor of Mick Mulvaney, who stood in his green tie and shamrock pin yesterday to assure us all that feeding the hungry was an unnecessary luxury.

Cowboys & Irishmen

Most of the time I find history boring. But every once in awhile, I stumble over something fascinating. And usually, that something makes me cry.

I’d heard quite a bit about the Irish Famine at different places along the way, like in English class in high school when we read Jonathan Swift’s essay A Modest Proposal (if you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend it. It gives an incredible satiric look at the British government’s feelings on “the Irish problem.” The problem, in short, was that there was such a thing as “the Irish”.)

At any rate, the subject cropped up now and again. But it wasn’t until I started writing my Donovan series that I realized how closely related I was to it. My father’s family emigrated from Ireland in the early 20th century, chased out by the British Army (or so the story goes). As I started…

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