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Western Stories, the Laramie Saga

Western Stories, the Laramie Saga

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Western Stories, the Laramie Saga

Longueur:
249 pages
3 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Feb 8, 2015
ISBN:
9781311527936
Format:
Livre

Description

This book is a saga of six stories. Book One “The Hanging of Big Steve Long” is a western novelette about the Hansom family from New York who join with a wagon train traveling the Oregon Trail. They settle near Laramie where they collide with an outlaw marshal known as Big Steve Long. Book Two “Badlands Bart” is a sequel wherein Charlie Burton, a New York neighbor of the Hansoms, travels first to The Dakota Territory where he gets into trouble then moves on to join the Hansom family at Laramie, Wyoming Territory. Book 3 “Lawmen of Laramie” is a sequel to Bart of the Badlands. Buck Benson and Bart are the law in Laramie City where they collide with an outlaw gang who attacked the Riley family home. The chase takes them to Cheyenne, Denver and Salt Lake. They return to Laramie only to get involved in another gunfight. In book 4 “Cowboy Cattle Call Song” James Riley is pursued by a bounty hunter. He travels to Montana and Dakota Territories before eventually returning to Laramie. Book 5 “The Z-Bar Ranch Incident” returns to Dakota Territory for more adventure. The last of the series, book 6, “The Lakota Cattle Drive” involves James Riley’s son Mato in a cattle drive for the Lakota Tribe.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Feb 8, 2015
ISBN:
9781311527936
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Burr lives in Syracuse, New York, has 4 children, several grandchildren and says that Great grandchildren are arriving at an alarming rate. Burr is a history buff and works hard on his family's genealogy and has a web site at www.burrcook.com which is partially biographical. He may be contacted through this site. He has traveled extensively throughout the US, Europe and Asia by air, rail and highway. Burr has enjoyed a 50 year career in information technology, has owned a worldwide seminar business and a company called “Cyburrsource” providing the public with internet connections. He is now semi retired and enjoys a life as a freelance writer of action/adventure/romance stories primarily in a historical western setting.


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Western Stories, the Laramie Saga - Burr Cook

author.

Preface

This book is a saga of six stories. Book One The Hanging of Big Steve Long is a western novelette about the Hansom family from New York who join with a wagon train traveling the Oregon Trail. They settle near Laramie where they collide with an outlaw marshal known as Big Steve Long. Book Two Badlands Bart is a sequel wherein Charlie Burton, a New York neighbor of the Hansoms, travels first to The Dakota Territory where he gets into trouble then moves on to join the Hansom family at Laramie, Wyoming Territory. Book 3 Lawmen of Laramie is a sequel to Bart of the Badlands. Buck Benson and Bart are the law in Laramie City where they collide with an outlaw gang who attacked the Riley family home. The chase takes them to Cheyenne, Denver and Salt Lake. They return to Laramie only to get involved in another gunfight. In book 4 Cowboy Cattle Call Song James Riley is pursued by a bounty hunter. He travels to Montana and Dakota Territories before eventually returning to Laramie. Book 5 The Z-Bar Ranch Incident returns to Dakota Territory for more adventure. The last of the series, book 6, The Lakota Cattle Drive involves James Riley’s son Mato in a cattle drive for the Lakota Tribe.

Book 1 The Hanging of Big Steve Long, a Western

Book 1 Preface

This Story is almost entirely fictitious although there are some historical figures mentioned herein. The facts surrounding these figures are true to the best of my ability. The names of these folks are as follows: General Sherman Civil War veteran; Kit Carson Indian scout; N. K. Boswell rancher and Sheriff of Albany county, Wyoming Territory; Rollie Hard Luck Harrison, prospector, Big Steve Long, Outlaw Marshal of Laramie City and his two half brothers Ace and Con Moyer; William Pitt for whom the city of Pittsburg was named; George Donner who led the Donner party on a disastrous journey over the Sierras. Also, historically significant was the Zane family including the famous Elizabeth Betty Zane, Ebenezer Zane, their parents and siblings; The Wetzel family including the man known as Wetzel who loved Betty Zane.

The descriptions of the Overland trails and points of interest along the route are somewhat real.

All other names are strictly fictitious as well as the incidents surrounding them.

The westward trails such as the Oregon/California, The Mormon Trail and The Overland Trail were well traveled by the end of the Civil War. The Oregon Trail actually began at Kansas City or more correctly Independence Missouri, a suburb. The gold rush of 1849 was when the routes really took shape.

Prolog

The Hansom family lived in New York City throughout the Civil War. The parents William and Marilyn lived with their two children a son Jack and a daughter Carla. Jack had recently returned from the war. He served under General Sherman as a ranking officer and was awarded medals. The daughter Carla was barely twenty years of age and had worked as a nurse in an army hospital.

Just why they had decided to leave New York and go west was something they couldn’t tell you but they had made the decision and were pretty much prepared to leave. It was early spring of 1867.

The family was not extremely wealthy but they were considered to be fairly well to do and were more than able to purchase a couple wagons, with canvas covering to keep out the weather, and to buy horses. Their plan was to make those purchases at Kansas City. Although they had heard talk about it they did not know that in a couple short years there would be a railroad completed all the way to the west coast.

Their journey began with a train ride to Philadelphia. They were leaving in early spring so as to avoid the mistakes made by those who went their own way such as the Donner Party in 1846, which took far too long getting over the mountains. Many of them perished as they were caught in the Sierra winter. It was much wiser to get off to an early start and to stick with the known routes.

The Hansom family detrained at the station in Philadelphia where they stayed at an Inn for two nights while sightseeing and making arrangements and some purchases for the next leg of their journey. At one time this had been the nation’s capitol and among the many sights to see was the liberty bell with its crack. They learned that the Greek meaning of the city’s name, Philadelphia, is "The City of Brotherly Love".

From this famous city they found themselves on a train headed for Pittsburgh over tracks with more ups and downs. This railway followed the path of an old highway that was first used to any great extent during the French and Indian War and also was very useful during the Revolution. They past the famous battle field at Gettysburg where so many perished on both sides in the Civil War. The latter portion of the trip from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh was a little more mountainous than the straight path through New Jersey and the three hundred plus miles of Pennsylvania took them over a winding route while avoiding climbing Appellation Mountains. There were even a couple of tunnels to pass through.

At Pittsburgh they encountered many travelers hurrying to secure positions on Steamers heading down the Ohio River. People were arriving in Pittsburgh from several directions. Many came from Virginia by way of the Potomac and the Monongahela River and some arrived by way of the Allegany River from upstate New York. There were also many arriving via previously untraveled overland routes, some with the idea of continuing the journey by boat on the Ohio River.

Some facts they found about the trip were that the steamships and barges traveled from here to Louisville Kentucky before a falls made it necessary to disembark briefly before continuing by connecting with another waiting boat. This falls was the only interruption in the route from Pittsburgh to Cairo where they connected with the Mississippi River. At Cairo Illinois the Mississippi’s size was more than doubled by the convergence. The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi. Including the Allegheny River further upstream it is approximately 981 miles long.

Some of the travelers came by covered wagons and planned to board barges with all of their supplies. The Hansoms planned to purchase what they would need in Kansas City. There were also some who were journeying overland from here.

The indigenous people of the Ohio River valley built major earthwork mounds such as Angel Mounds near Evansville, Indiana. The Osage, Omaha, Ponca and Kaw lived in the Ohio Valley, but under pressure from the Iroquois to the northeast, they migrated west of the Mississippi River to Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma in the 1600s.

The Hansom family found the history of Pittsburgh to be fascinating. Firstly it was founded in 1758 and named in honor of the British statesman William Pitt and was incorporated as a borough in 1794 and chartered as a city in 1816. The Fort Pitt Blockhouse, dating to 1764, is the oldest structure in the City of Pittsburgh. A great fire burned over a thousand buildings in 1845, but the city rebuilt. By 1857, Pittsburgh's 1,000 factories were consuming 22,000,000 bushels of coal yearly. The Civil War boosted the city's economy with increased production of iron and armaments.

Following the Ohio River they actually had to travel to the northwest for a distance before the river nearly made a complete u turn and headed southwest to Wheeling in West Virginia a state that had recently been formed from Virginia. It was formed from that portion of Virginia that sided with the Union during the War Between the States.

At Wheeling the travelers were joined by parties that arrived by way of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) which had connected Wheeling to markets back to the port city of Baltimore, Maryland and stimulated development.

The Hansom family, after visiting the memorial to Betty Zane while stopping in Wheeling, had an uneventful steamboat ride on to Louisville. The falls there made it necessary to travel a short distance over land to join another craft.

At Paducah, Kentucky they were joined by a southern family by the name of Riley who had come partially by land and partially by the Tennessee River which was only navigable some of the way. They came from Atlanta with seven children ages five through seventeen and were quite poor compared to the Hansoms. Their names were Harold and Jill and they soon became good friends with William and Marilyn. Jack Hansom suddenly found himself very much interested in seventeen year old Elizabeth Riley who was called Beth for short.

The two families got well acquainted by the time they navigated up the Mississippi to the Missouri River and on up to Kansas City.

Chapter 1 The Journey

The families spent a few days in Kansas City purchasing supplies, wagons, guns, horses and a long list of things they had thought about all the way from the east to the very center of the continent.

When they visited a wagon factory Bill Hansom noticed that Harold Riley was looking at a wagon that was far too small for his family of nine. Bill had planned on buying two large wagons and six horses. He wanted two teams and two spare horses. He planned on Jack driving one team and he the other.

Before either family made a wagon purchase they decided to sleep on it and make the deal in the morning.

Bill had bought two large tents which he shared with the Riley family that night. He talked things over with Marilyn after dinner and they decided that they liked the new friends as traveling companions and they could use the help of their many hands, all big enough to do some work. So it was decided that he Bill Hansom would buy three large covered wagons and allow the Riley couple to hook their horses to one of them. They could make use of the extra wagon when they got to Oregon or where ever they stopped. So Harold bought four horses instead of the three he had planned on. This he did to help offset the additional expenditure made by Bill and they both knew that they would need the extra horses and the children could take turns riding them. There wouldn’t be enough sleeping room for the entire Riley family in the wagon but the kids thought they would enjoy sleeping under the wagons and in case of bad weather they had the tents. So the two families were joined almost as one.

They found the other wagons forming a caravan at Independence Missouri from where they planned to depart in another day to join a much longer train at Atchison, Kansas where the railroad terminated.

The caravans travelled together in large bands mainly because the Civil War had forced the U.S. Army to move its regular soldiers from forts and outposts along the Oregon Trail to the east and replace them with volunteers. As a result, Native American raids on the trail intensified during the war. This present group of emigrants was especially concerned about rumors of raids by Cheyenne, Arapaho and Sioux Indians around the area of the Laramie Plains in Wyoming that they would be passing through by midsummer. These Native Americans had gathered in the area partly due to changes in the locations of buffalo herds. They later learned that the forts were now populated with regular army personnel and Indian raids were not that frequent anymore.

The travelling to Atchison went well and the two families worked together as one. They arrived at mid day just in time to witness the huge dust cloud kicked up by horses and wagons as far as the eye could see. They thought that they had seen a long train leaving Kansas City but this was more than doubling the size of the group.

As they merged in with the existing train they nodded to the neighboring Waggoner’s. All seemed friendly. After a few hours of riding Jack and his sister Carla grew tired of the wooden wagon seat and saddled a couple horses to ride along. One of the Riley boys, a 12 year old by the name of James took Jack’s place driving for a while.

Shortly before stopping for the night they were joined by two riders who came along side of their wagon and said howdy to Bill and Marilyn. A couple of the Riley children were riding behind the Hansom couple. The men introduced themselves as the wagon master Buck Benson and his assistant Larry Lownds. They wanted to know how many were traveling in the party and were introduced to both families. They made a list of their supplies, wagons, animals and most everything. Buck was a very tall and very handsome man and he showed a great interest in Carla who didn’t appear to mind. In fact she kind of liked the attention and called Buck by his first name when she asked if he came by often.

Now that I’ve met you, Carla, I’m sure that I’ll be by this way again soon. He said with a tip of his hat.

Buck had a very impressive gun belt that hung low on his hip and was well loaded with bullets all the way around. Before he left them he said Our next stop will be at Fort Kearny where we’ll spend a day. They have a good trading post and sell most everything anybody might want for the rest of the trip. It’s the best of its kind that we’ll pass. I’d suggest that you purchase some larger water kegs while we’re there, you’ll need them in Wyoming. You also might consider a pair of oxen if you can afford them. You may notice that the wagons pulled by ox teams tend to lag behind sometimes but always catch up on the rough spots. They’re slow but very powerful and can get your wagons through places that horses can’t. Stay away from mules. Those that use them have had a lot of experience with them. They can be unruly at times. Where are you from?

Bill answered The four of us are from New York and the Rileys are from Atlanta, all nine of them.

Well when we get to Wyoming watch for rattle snakes. I hear the place is infested with them this year. They can spoil your trip. I see some of the kids are walking barefoot. They’ll be ok as long as they stay with the main group and follow along. Well my stomach tells me it’s about dinner time so I’ll just say good luck to you all for now. Don’t hesitate to call for me if you need anything. And with that he tipped his hat toward Carla again and rode off.

Soon the wagons formed a tight circle with plenty of grass in the center for the animals. Many of the horses had been branded and were allowed to roam the pasture formed by the circle. The Easterners had neglected that step temporarily so they tied various colored cloths to their horses, oxen, cows and whatever else they brought along. The Hansoms had left their dog with friends in New York but vowed to pick one up in Fort Kearny.

When they were about a third of the way from Atchison to Fort Kearny a family that followed behind the Hansoms by the name of Jenson decided to turn back. They were poorly supplied and had very little funds. They did have a team of oxen and two horses. The Jensons wanted to sell their oxen and wagon. The wagon was small but Bill wanted to add to his supplies at the trading post in Fort Kearny so he made Ed Jenson a decent offer for the team and wagon along with most of his supplies. There were three of the Jensons and they had two horses so Bill through a horse into the mix and closed the deal. He now owned four wagons. The Jensons just took what they would need for a three day ride back to Atchison where they planned to take a train to Kansas City and find work. Ed planned to work for another year before starting west again.

For the next two days all was peaceful for the travelers. They alternately rode on the wagons, on horseback and walked along. Jack and Carla took the ox team for a while and lagged behind a bit. They were not concerned as they knew they would catch the family again when they hit an uphill stretch. They had a horse tied to the back of the small wagon and Carla soon grew tired of the hard seat and switched over to the saddle for a while.

It wasn’t long before another rider came along beside her and tipped his hat saying Howdy miss, I’m Sam Dooly. I am traveling with two other men who I’m getting real tired of and thought you might talk with me for a spell.

Well I’m Carla Hansom. I came from New York City where I was taught to never talk with strangers. Maybe my brother Jack up ahead there would like some company.

Jack looks like a fine lad but you’re much prettier to look at Carla.

I think that you’re being far too familiar Sam. I think you should ride on back to your friends. She was still smiling but getting rather irritated.

We’re kind of stuck together here; A few hundred people alone on a long trip. We can’t afford to make enemies now can we? Most folks in this train are real neighborly. They get acquainted very quickly and easily. With that said Sam pulled his horse closer to hers and grabbed her hand. Why don’t we get down and walk a little while so we can talk?

Carla was getting a little frightened, let go of me! she said a little loud.

At that point Jack turned and looked back just in time to see Carla pulling away from Sam. Jack was very muscular. He had grown up on the streets of New York and had been through the war. What’s going on back there? he exclaimed as he stopped the team and jumped down from the wagon.

I can handle this. Carla answered as she gave Sam a sharp slap.

At that Sam, still hanging

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