Sunday, February 26, 2017


(Encyclopedia of the Great Plains) Emptiness defines the Great Plains. The region typically is described by what is missing: no trees, no mountains, little water, few people. When travelers dread crossing the Plains, it is the endless space, the passage through "nothing" that they fear. The Plains landscape offers no comfortable niches, no categorical grip, no sense of context, not even convincing evidence of movement. Most North Americans, comfortable in the ornate context of the city, feel uneasy on the Plains. They lose their bearings, their sense of place, and the panoply of stimuli they usually depend upon for a sense of self. Some outsiders simply cannot endure this emptiness. They pay for a plane ticket and avoid the empty drive. In extreme cases, people have given up halfway across, abandoned their cars, and flown home from the nearest airport. Plains residents call the unhinging effect the emptiness can have on outsiders "Plains fever."
Contrary to the typical outsider's perspective, denizens of the Plains are very attached to emptiness. Continued

‘Boy Captives’ Smith brothers straddled disparate worlds

( ... On Feb. 26, 1871, Clint, 10, and Jeff, 8, were out herding sheep at a distance from their house, when they noticed a group of riders. Older family members were not alarmed at first, seeing nothing wrong from a distance. The boys, however, saw that they were Lipans and Comanches, and began running. As Jeff faltered, Clint picked him up and carried him on his shoulders running as fast as he could, down toward a creek, and out of sight of his family. Soon, Jeff was plucked up by his hair, and when Clint finally realized he was trapped, he relented. Continued

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Old House 68

Mosquero, NM

Colt patents the "gun that won the West"

The original Colt Revolver, the Paterson (Wikimedia)
(Texas Day by Day) On this day in 1836, Samuel Colt, of Hartford, Connecticut, patented the Colt revolver. This invention, along with windmills and barbed wire, brought order to the Great Plains. It was eventually produced in numerous models, the most famous being that of 1871. Continued

Friday, February 24, 2017

Vintage Signage: You can be SURE ... if it's Westinghouse

Roy, NM

The Zimmermann Telegram

(Wikipedia) The Zimmermann Telegram (or Zimmermann Note or Zimmerman Cable) was a secret diplomatic communication issued from the German Foreign Office in January 1917 that proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico in the event of the United States' entering World War I against Germany. The proposal was intercepted and decoded by British intelligence.
Revelation of the contents enraged American public opinion, especially after the German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann publicly admitted the telegram was genuine on 3 March, and helped generate support for the United States declaration of war on Germany in April.
The decryption was described as the most significant intelligence triumph for Britain during World War I, and one of the earliest occasions on which a piece of signals intelligence influenced world events. Continued

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Old House 67

Solano, NM

Tom Pickett

(Wikipedia) Tom Pickett (1858 – May 14, 1934) was a 19th-century American cowboy, professional gambler and, as both a lawman and outlaw at various points in his life, was an associate of Dave Rudabaugh and later Billy the Kid.
Born in Camp Throckmorton, Wise County, Texas, Pickett began rustling cattle as a teenager growing up in Decatur and was eventually arrested for stealing cattle at age 17. His father, then a member of the state legislature and ex-Confederate officer, was forced to mortgage the family home in order to pay his son's fine.
While in Kansas City, he would meet outlaw Dave Rudabaugh and traveled with him to the New Mexico Territory after being indicted in Cooke County for cattle rustling in 1879. He served as a peace officer for the Dodge City Gang in Las Vegas until the two were run out of town after Rudabaugh killed a deputy sheriff.
He later had a brief stint as town marshal of Golden, New Mexico. However, he was later run out of town by a lynch mob in 1882. Continued

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The edge of town

"They go ninety miles an hour to the city limits sign.
Put the pedal to the metal 'fore they change their mind.
They howl at the moon, shoot out the light.
It's a small town Saturday night."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

1685: René-Robert Cavelier establishes Fort St. Louis forming the basis for France's claim to Texas

(Wikipedia) The French colonization of Texas began with Fort Saint Louis in present-day southeastern Texas. It was established in 1685 near Arenosa Creek and Matagorda Bay by explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle.
He intended to found the colony at the mouth of the Mississippi River, but inaccurate maps and navigational errors caused his ships to anchor instead 400 miles (640 km) to the west, off the coast of Texas. Continued