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Monday, November 30, 2015


Authors surely know that fiction should be in three acts, resembling a play. I honestly did not learn this a long while into my writing experience. All it means is that your story should have a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Each part is distinct from the other. This is not particularly easy, nor are the parts clearly identifiable. However, if we use the concept as a rule of thumb, we may write a better novel.

I: THE FIRST ACT: Main characters and the Incident--The first act is to establish main characters, their relationships, and their place and time--"begin where the story begins." I had a terrible habit to break-- in which I felt I should explain and describe the coming story to the reader. Wrong, wrong, wrong.  
The opening is the "hook," and it bodes well if we spend some time working on that very first sentence or paragraph.

Throughout the first act, the main character is involved in or aware of some incident that leads to a turning point. This turning point ensure the main character's life will never be the same, that he will confront this issue until the end of the story. He has a problem, an enemy, or a question to solve, and his life now revolves around such an issue.

II: THE SECOND ACT: Action and Character Development--During the second act, the main character finds himself confronted with some entity that appears to thwart his goal. This may be in the form of a person, force of nature, or even an internal personal problem. In fact, the main character cannot solve the problem easily because he might not have the skills to do so. He must go through a learning process to repair his predicament. In doing so, he may need the help of another character in the form of another major character or a mentor.

III: THE THIRD ACT: Climax and Resolution--Now, during the third act, the main characters reach a turning point, intensifying tensions and reaching a conclusion. The character, as well as any others connected to him, find their way, a new direction, or a new life.
****This is a simplified version of many articles and books written on the subject. This much is the skeleton framework I try to follow, and I find it amazing that often a story naturally takes this route. In a romance novel, the skeleton framework is boy meets girl, boy and girl face dissension and part, and boy and girl make up and live happily ever after.

Starr Bright: a novella in three acts.
Act I: In my novella with PRP, Starr Bright and Conrad Taylor own neighboring ranches. They have a working relationship when necessary. Otherwise they stay away from each other. But one day Starr visits Conrad to ask for help.

Act II: Conrad steels himself to act casual and uninterested in her as he rides to her ranch. A man with a small herd of horses to sell is soon to arrive, and Conrad promised Starr to be there. She doesn't seem to need help selecting the horses, so why does she want him there? He soon learns the reason. The seller is a Spaniard as Starr is a Spaniard. The visiting man wants more from her than to sell his stock. Conrad intervenes, violence ensues, but when the visitor leaves, so does Conrad.

Act III: Alone, Starr decides to ride to Conrad's ranch and visit. The visit doesn't go according to her plan, so she returns home to wait...and wonder. Conrad, though, now understands his deep feelings for Starr and decides what he wants from her and hopes she wants the same thing.

Starr laughed low in her throat. "Oh, I don't think I'll need a man to make the decision for me. I know all about stallions, or studs, as you say. However, I have asked Mr. Taylor here to accompany and advise me."

Conrad remained silent. You did? You asked me to advise you?

He wanted to laugh, but in truth, he was enormously pleased.

With no expression, he nodded slightly to her. "Be glad to help."

There was that tiny smile again, the one that was teasing, while at the same time a little sarcastic. Truth be known, he'd probably crawl through the burning fires of hell to get to her.
AMAZON LINK: Starr Bright--a 99cent novella.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

#NewRelease A FLARE OF THE HEART by @JacquieRogers #romance #western #99cents

A Flare of the Heart
A Hearts of Owyhee Single-Read

by Jacquie Rogers

What would you do if you had a dozen weaner pigs and a woman to rescue from a wrecked stagecoach on a mountain road?

Miss Celia Yancey is on her way to Silver City to marry the pastor of the church.  The marriage was arranged by her father, who was a lot more interested in the fact that the church was built over a silver mine than on the character of his future son-in-law.

Celia isn't too fond of the notion, far preferring to choose her own husband, but that's exactly the problem--no men from which to choose that she'd have.  And she does want children.  Moving 1,500 miles away from her father doesn't sound all that bad, either.

So how does that all pan out with historical facts and the real Silver City?

Other than the timing, pretty well.  The church was, in fact, built over a silver mine.  You can see the mine entrance even now.  But it wasn't built until the 1890s, so too late for Celia and Ross Flaherty.  It was built as an Episcopalian church and is now Our Lady of Tears Catholic Church.  Here's a photo of the inside:

And here's an aerial video of Silver City that shows the church.  Yes, the video is too wide for the page but I hope it works okay.  (Thanks to Marilyn Burke, who posted it at the Pickle Barrel.)  You can't really tell but the church is built on a hill, and it's a trial getting up to it.  They've put in posts and strung rope so you can pull yourself up there.  Can you imagine doing that in a corset and long skirts?

About A Flare of the Heart

Celia Valentine Yancey has no illusions she’ll ever enjoy wedded bliss, so chooses marriage over spinsterhood even if she has to marry a man her father picked. On the way to meet her groom, she endures armed robbery, a stagecoach wreck, a dozen hungry baby pigs—and an incorrigible farmer. Ross Flaherty retired from bounty hunting to become a farmer but now Celia has brought his worst fear to his door—in more ways than one. A ferocious wolf-dog and a dozen piglets are no match for this determined lady. Which is more dangerous—the Sully Gang or Miss Celia Yancey?

You could win a free book!

A Flare of the Heart
(Hearts of Owyhee single read)
by Jacquie Rogers

Buy at these online stores:

Print books and ebooks make great gifts.  Have you started your shopping yet?  When do you start?  (My sister shops year around!  I start about Dec. 20.)  Don't forget to include your email address with your comment.  The winner will receive a free copy of A Flare of the Heart.  And yes, I do deeply appreciate reviews.  I'll draw the winner on Nov. 30, 2016, at 10pm Pacific Time.

Friday, November 27, 2015

#NewRelease -- A MAIL-ORDER CHRISTMAS BRIDE -- #Giveaway!

What could be better this holiday season than a warm fire, a cozy chair and a heartwarming collection of mail-order bride Christmas stories? A MAIL-ORDER CHRISTMAS BRIDE includes eight wonderful reads by some of your favorite authors.
 Livia J Washburn kicks off the anthology with her story, KISSING UNTIL CHRISTMAS, about a mail-order bride who isn’t exactly what she seems—but her unwilling groom hides a dangerous secret of his own.
It’s A LONG WAY FROM ST. LOUIS in Kathleen Rice Adams' story, but can a handsome Irish alley-brawler and a former debutante rekindle their romance from a decade earlier, now that circumstances have changed?
 Ella’s cryptic letter brings her husband’s brother, Caleb, home for Christmas in STORE-BOUGHT ORNAMENTS by Patti Sherry-Crews. Can they finally claim the love they’ve been denied for so long?
 Secrets and surprises are in store when families meddle with a beautiful single mother and an outlaw-turned-respectable in Tanya Hanson’s story. Phoebe Pierce may have too many secrets of her own to keep HER HOLIDAY HUSBAND…
An earthquake lands a young woman backward in time in her great-great aunt’s southwestern home. Jesse J Elliot’s story of a TIMELESS love that will prevail, no matter what century, is one you won’t forget!
In this tale by Meg Mims, will it be true love or a HOLIDAY HOAX for these mail-order brides who are traveling together? When they “switch” grooms in Holliday, Nebraska, will things work out for the best, or will they end up ruining their futures?
 Hec Murdock orders up two brides for himself and his brother, Zeke. But somehow, he neglects to let Zeke know what he’s done. I HEARD THE BRIDES ON CHRISTMAS DAY is classic Jacquie Rogers-style fun with a humorous, heartwarming ending!
 Can a jaded lawman from Indian Territory and a debutante on the run manage to find their own “happily-ever-after” in A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE? Cheryl Pierson’s tale pits a young woman against a monster, with only one man to protect her—a U.S. Deputy Marshal—who stands to lose his heart—or his life. 
 Prairie Rose Publications is proud to bring you another wonderful collection of Christmas tales for your reading pleasure!   A MAIL-ORDER CHRISTMAS BRIDE is sure to bring you hours of enjoyment.

Be sure and comment below.  We are giving away a free ebook of A MAIL-ORDER CHRISTMAS BRIDE to one lucky person.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015



Pie on the sly, from my great-grandmother's eye.

      You see, you never left her home hungry, no matter whether you ate before you came. Everybody needs more meat on their bones, anyway, right?

      She was a woman who could sweeten batter with the dip of her finger, yet she kept a few surprises tangled midst her apron strings. I was just a little girl when I went to visit them, but I recall a few things...particularly the kitchen. The green and yellow vinyl chairs that squeaked when you sat on them always solicited giggles from the younger generations. The scent of fresh-baked cookies, peach cobbler and rum cakes greeted you whenever you walked in the door.

     Oh, the rum cakes! Truth be told, when I say rum cakes, I mean it quite literally. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me she flavored most of her desserts with a wee bit'o spirit. I would sit in the squeaky vinyl chair, swinging my legs back and forth, and watch her add the 'secret' ingredient. My great-grandfather always chose his moment, waltzing in to strike up an argument with her. I can't really recall what they quarreled over, but that's probably because it was a normal occurrence. I have my theories. Namely, one. When he struck up a quarrel, she would forget whether she added the secret ingredient, and add another splash or two--just to be sure. If he could get her mad enough to leave the room, that much the better, for it would leave unattended cake batter. A splash for each hand, plus one more for good measure, and you got yourself a real down-home honest-to-goodness cake in the making! Some of those quarrel cakes were strong enough to knock the paint off a barn, but they sure disappeared in a hurry.

      There are two rules every baker should know. The first is that you never give away your best recipes without a fight. She never made it easy, as she never measured anything. "A pinch of this, a handful of that" was the answer to everything. As far as I know, some of the grandchildren are still trying to crack her recipes.

     The other rule every good baker knows is that you never serve a "quarrel cake" without tasting it first. Hers were always perfect - the kind you might see in a fancy home-cooking magazine. My great-grandmother had a system for testing her creations without letting on she had. You see, her pies and cakes were served already sliced into perfect pieces on the platter, placed with just the least little bit of space between each piece.

     Beautiful, appealing to the eye, and sheer genius. No one seemed to notice that if you slid the pieces together, forming a whole pie, it would reveal one whole slice was missing.

     Boy, how I loved that woman's ingenuity. As you enter the holiday season, gearing up for the feasts and treats, maybe you'll wear extra stretchy pants. Perhaps you'll pack a few containers to stash the leftovers. Maybe, you'll pocket your favorite flask and strike up a healthy, rousing quarrel with the baker. Whatever your method, remember, there's always a way to have a piece of pie... on the sly.

     From my table to yours, I hope you, dear reader, have a bright and beautiful Thanksgiving.

Shayna Matthews,
author of "The Legend of Venture Canyon" and "A Spot in the Woods" from the "Memories From Maple Street: Leaving Childhood Behind" anthology.

Traditional foods within a different region are always of interest, so allow me to share a few of my favorite recipes within my home-town community of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Enjoy!


"Snitz", also spelled "Schnitz" is the Pennsylvania Dutch word for apples. "Knepp" means flour dumplings. Combined with ham, it makes an incredible dish. Yum!

For the snitz you need:
1 1/2 pounds of cured ham or 1 ham hock
    2 cups dried apples
    2 Tbsp. brown sugar
For the knepp (dumplings)
    2 cups flour
    3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 egg, beaten
    2 Tbsp. butter
    1/3 to 1/2 cup milk
Snitz: Wash dried apples, cover with water and soak overnight. In the morning, cover ham with cold water and cook slowly for three hours. Add apples, water, and brown sugar, then allow to cook for one more hour.
Knepp: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in beaten egg and melted butter. Add milk until batter is stiff. Drop batter by spoonfuls into boiling ham and apples. Cover pan tightly and cook dumplings 10 to 12 minutes. Do not lift cover until ready to serve.

1 lb. elbow macaroni,
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons mustard
1 cup mayo
1 12oz can evaporated milk
1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt.
Chop: 1 small onion, celery, carrot, parsley & olives to taste. Cook: drain and cool macaroni. Mix with other ingredients and refrigerate overnight.

Wild Turkey (1 Shot many is your call)
Cranberry Juice
Grape Juice
Spritz of lemon.
Mix these 4 ingredients together for 1 tall glass. Drink 1 glass a day for GOOD HEALTH. Disclaimer - I have not tried this, but my grandfather swears by it, and he still runs up and down the Pennsylvania hillsides like a mountain goat, so I tend to believe him. If you like this, he also has a special One-Pot Man's Meal.

ONE-POT MAN'S MEAL from the kitchen of "Pops".
Mix ham, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, carrots and celery. Cook together in 1 pot for no more than 45 minutes. If you have leftovers in the morning, fry it all up together with eggs in a skillet. (Umm, ewww).

Lancaster County's best known dessert got its name when cooks had to "shoo" the flies attracted by the molasses and brown sugar.
    1 cup flour
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    1 Tbsp. shortening
    1 tsp. baking soda
    3/4 cup hot water
    1 cup molasses
    1 egg, beaten
    1 9" unbaked pie shell
Combine flour and brown sugar. Cut shortening into flour mixture until crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup crumbs. Dissolve baking soda in hot (but not boiling) water. In a small bowl combine molasses, egg, and baking soda water and beat well. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes.

For the cookies
 2 cups brown sugar
    1 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin
    2 eggs
    3 cups flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    1 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tbsp. ginger
    1/2 tbsp. ground cloves
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1/2 cup black walnuts, ground (optional)
For the filling
    2 cups 10x sugar
    1 egg white, beaten
    2 tbsp. milk
    1/2 cup shortening
    1 tsp. vanilla
Cookies: Cream sugar and oil. Mix in pumpkin and eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool.
Filling: Mix 1 cup sugar with egg white, milk, and vanilla. Add shortening and another cup of sugar. After cookies cool, spread filling generously on the flat sides of half the cookies. Top with another cookie to form a sandwich.
Yield: 3 dozen sandwich pies.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Come join us around the Yuletide fire in a comfortable chair with a flagon of ale as we celebrate the upcoming holiday season with ONE CHRISTMAS KNIGHT! This wonderful collection of Christmas stories from the medieval time period will take hold of your imagination and won’t let go until long after you’ve turned the very last page. 

You’ll be entranced with these seven tales of knights and their ladies from some of today’s top medieval authors, as well as some rising stars in this up-and-coming genre. 

A lost knight and a Scottish witch discover Yuletide wishes can come true…if you only believe…

In a fight for their lives, Meryk and Ada discover love is the most unexpected gift of all…
all, but will they survive long enough to claim it?

Sir Hugh Tarrant returns home from war with a limp from an enemy's sword and a hole in his heart from the death of his beloved. Can the knight's icy heart be thawed on a blustery Christmas Eve?

Annalisa loses everything dear to her, but Jack has the skills to help her recover it all. Can she use him without losing her heart?

Awaiting her marriage to a dreadful old nobleman, Alisoun finds her heart stolen by a mysterious commoner…

Cursed to love only one woman for all eternity,  J.L. moves through the ages, marking time by the lives of his beloved, and waiting for her call. 

Sir Baldwin is a warrior who needs to learn to become a lord—and quickly, before his past and its ghosts overwhelm him. Will he heed the beautiful Sofia or will the restless dead prevail?

Prairie Rose Publications is proud to introduce yet another wonderful collection of Christmas tales for your reading pleasure. ONE CHRISTMAS KNIGHT is sure to bring you hours of enjoyment as you read on to find out how these knights and ladies will find their very own "happily-ever-after" endings at this very best time of year—Christmas!

Be sure and comment below.  We are giving away a free ebook of ONE CHRISTMAS KNIGHT to one lucky person.

BUY LINKS   Barnes and Noble Nook    Smashwords     Kobo    ibooks

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#NewRelease -- SIX SIZZLIN’ MAVERICKS by Kirsten Lynn -- #Giveaway

When Cheryl and Livia contacted me about the SIX SIZZLIN’ MAVERICKS boxed set, I was ecstatic! What a way to two-step into the Christmas season than with some Montana and Wyoming cowboys and their feisty ladies.
Included in this set is my first full-length publication HOME FIRES. It is also the first Western Historical I wrote years ago. Cord and Livy will always hold a special place in my heart.

Readers will also get HEARTS IN WINTER, a wild Wyoming holiday story. Garrett and Jenny will keep you laughing and crying, they did that to me at least.
Then included is a collection of novellas, three of which revolve around the crazy Renner family and their friends. Speaking of crazy, you’re in for a lot of it when you read THE WIDOW’S LAWMAN.

All of this Wild West fun for 99 Cents!! That means it won’t interfere with your holiday shopping!

I hope you will all enjoy these stories as much as I loved writing each one!

LEAVE A COMMENT for a chance to win one of two e-copies I’ll be giving away today!
To whet your appetite here’s an excerpt from HOME FIRES. This scene takes place when Cord and Livy are reunited after eight years apart.

      “Livy.” His whisper so low she couldn’t be sure if she heard it, dreamed it, or wished it, but then, his gaze latched onto hers. Her eyes slid closed against everything flashing in those cinnamon depths.      Love.  Desire. Hope. Anger. Hurt. Betrayal.  The same emotions poisoning her own mind. Her heart held tight to love and discarded the rest.
     Driven by an invisible bond to Cord Matthews fiercer than any human emotion, Olivia stepped forward. She took inventory of the man before her. He was no longer the sweet young man of twenty, sporting a dashing gray uniform and heading off to a war his damnable honor forced him to fight. A man chiseled and hardened by acts and scenes her mind couldn’t conjure stood filling the small entrance to the Brennan home. Broad shoulders with muscles straining against a buff chambray shirt skimmed to a narrow waist. The denim pants, popular in the West, stretched over thick, strong thighs and legs. Someone cleared their throat and her gaze shot back where deep lines creased the bronzed skin around his eyes. She admired the man Cord had become. He fit this rugged land like he’d been born to it.
     She dismissed Tom with a wave when he excused himself. One more step planted her in front of the ghost who haunted her dreams and nightmares. She inhaled horse, leather, sage, Cord and…home. Before she scolded herself away from her course, or he could stop her, Olivia lifted to the balls of her feet, wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her lips to his.
     His initial jolt disappointed her and she braced for rejection; but then, his arms snapped around her so strong she thought her ribs would crack. His mouth slid across hers demanding she deepen the kiss, and she parted her lips, allowing him full access. His tongue swept the inside of her mouth, and with a low feral moan Cord’s kiss turned hard and consuming. The taste of all the sweetest memories of her life with Cord caused her insides to shake. His embrace tightened on instinct calming the tremors.
     Her fingers dug into the strands of silky black hair that brushed his collar as she pulled him closer.      She choked back a cry from the pleasure and pain his kiss sent through her body. Her lungs burned for air but she didn’t want to breathe if breathing meant breaking the connection with Cord. Don’t be a dream. Don’t be a dream. Don’t be a dream. The drumbeat pounded from her head to her heart.
     His mouth was ripped from hers. “Dammit, Livy.”
     She tightened her hold around his neck and tried to pull him back to her.
     “I saw your grave.”

Copyright © 2014 Kirsten Lynn Prairie Rose Publications 

Make yourself comfortable in your favorite easy chair and grab yourself this special boxed set of Kirsten Lynn stories–SIX SIZZLIN’ MAVERICKS! These tales range from four short novellas to two full-length novels. Each one is a stand-alone story, introducing you to some of the toughest heroes, the most independent heroines, and of course—in Kirsten Lynn style—the hottest, most sizzlin’ love affairs a body could ask for!

From the HOME FIRES of the Civil War to a hard-won RACE TO MARRY, you’ll love these tales of feisty ladies and rowdy men who know how to live and love to the fullest. The collection contains two Christmas tales, CHRISTMAS STROLL and HEARTS IN WINTER, which are sure to keep you wishing for a Wyoming snowfall and an old-time full-blown holiday of your very own. THE WIDOW’S LAWMAN and THE BALLAD OF ANNIE SULLIVAN round out this fantastic boxed set with a couple of tales that will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very last page.

PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS is proud to let loose these steamy tales of SIX SIZZLIN’ MAVERICKS, sure to provide you with hours of romantic reading enjoyment!

Kirsten Lynn is a Western and Military Historian. She worked six years with a Navy non-profit and continues to contract with the Marine Corps History Division for certain projects. Making her home where her roots were sewn in Wyoming, Kirsten also works as a local historian. She loves to use the history she has learned and add it to a great love story. She writes stories about men of uncommon valor...women with undaunted of unwavering devotion ...and romance with unending sizzle. When she's not writing, she finds inspiration in day trips through the Bighorn Mountains, binge reading and watching sappy old movies, or sappy new movies. Housework can always wait.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How The Texan Stole Christmas #NewRelease by @JacquieRogers Giveaway!

by Jacquie Rogers

How did folks celebrate Christmas in the Old West?  How about the single gals?  What did they do?

The best way to find out (and fun, too!) is to read newspapers that cover the time and place of my stories.  When I was researching for my Hearts of Owyhee series, I ran across this item from the December 21, 1872 issue of The Owyhee Avalanche (the oldest newspaper in Idaho, still operating out of my hometown, Homedale, Idaho):

THE CHRISTMAS TREE. The Christmas Tree Festival will be held in Jones & Bonney’s Hall. We will stake in addition to what was said in our last issue, that the Brass Band, composed at present of Messrs. Charles Leonard, Joe Gross, Benj. Davis, Rufus King, Ferd. W. Frost and E. Douglas, will perform some of their best pieces, which will add greatly to the pleasure of the occasion.

The singing, accompanied by the organ, will be done principally by young girls who have learned all the music they know in Silver City, and who by virtue of talent, industry and a good teaching have acquired, in our judgment, wonderful proficiency in the beautiful art over which the Muses preside. They are our little folks, and not imported singers, which will make it all the more interesting; that they will do their part in first-class style for their ages, we have not the least doubt, in fact, we know they will.

The tree will be a prolific one no doubt. The Argosy of Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, & Co. arrived at the port of San Francisco four days ago, as we are informed per telegram, and a large cargo of its merchandise is on its way up here, and will not fail to arrive in time. ~~

I could just see the hustle and bustle of Silver City.  
Brass bands were wildly popular all over the West then.  Yes, they decorated and put up Christmas trees.  They had dances and concerts.  And Santa was on his way!

So why not have a Secret Christmas Angel event for all the single men and women in town?  Seems like something they'd do.  And that's what How the Texan Stole Christmas (a Hearts of Owyhee single read) is all about.  Here's the blurb:

Winnifred Spangler has thrown herself into community work to ward off the pangs of her lonely heart. Fairview, Idaho Territory, is snowed in—and cabin fever has set in with a vengeance. Winnie organizes a gift exchange for the town’s single young adults. Her hope is that a few of them will find the loves of their lives.

Judd Shaw, a Texas cowhand, hates the ice and cold. As soon as the roads are passable, he’s headed back to Texas. But thanks to his childhood friend, he’s caught up in the Secret Christmas Angel game, and the name he draws is the prettiest widow in all of Idaho—Winnie.

Can Winnie’s smile melt his hardened Texas heart?

How the Texan Stole Christmas
a Hearts of Owyhee single read

Want to win a free book?  
Tell me about your favorite holiday tradition--any holiday!  
Winner will be picked at random November 21, 2015, at 8pm Pacific Time.  
Be sure to include your email address with your comment!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Evolution of Fort Laramie

Like more than one fort in this country’s history, Fort Laramie in Wyoming did not start out as a military installation. Yet, because of its location, it was one of the longest lasting forts in the eastern Wyoming frontier. Here is a brief timeline for this fort.
Frontier Trading Post

1815 or 1816 – Jacques La Ramee and a small group of fellow trappers settled in the area where Fort Laramie would later be located. He went out alone to trap in 1819 or 1820 and was never seen again. Arapaho Indians were blamed for killing La Ramie and putting his body in a beaver dam. The river was named “Laramie” in his honor.

Interior of the original Fort Laramie as it looked prior to 1840. Painting from memory by Alfred Jacob Miller.

1833-1834 – A private fur trading post was founded by William Sublette after he recovered from the wounds received after the 1832 Rendezvous in the Battle of Pierre’s Hole. He named it Fort William after his first name. The post was near the junction of two rivers, the Laramie and the North Platte, allowing the fort to command of a broad plain with water on two sides forming a partial natural moat. The nearby two smaller, safer, noticeably more shallow streams could be crossed without bridges making the location convenient to travelers. Along with Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River, the trading post and its supporting industries and businesses provided the most significant hub for commerce in the region. It sat at the bottom of the long climb leading to the best and lowest crossing point at South Pass, the easiest route to travel over the Continental Divide. It became a primary stopping point on the Oregon Trail, laid by fur trappers and traders from about 1811 to 1840 and was only passable on foot or by horseback.

The first Fort Laramie as it looked prior to 1840. Painting from memory by Alfred Jacob Miller

1836 - When the first migrant wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. As wagon trails were cleared further west, eventually reaching all the way to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, the fort became important as a stopping and resupply place for travelers.

1841 – The fort was purchased by a partner in the American Fur Company. It was later named Fort John after the purchasing partner, John B. Sarpy. Fort John (Fort Laramie) was originally built of logs in 1841.

Frontier army post

1849 – The fort was again purchased from Bruce Husband, a member of the American Fur Company, for $4,000 in June 1849 by U.S. Army Lt. Woodberry. Its operations were taken over by the United States Army to protect the wagon trains on the Oregon Trail, and also the northern emigrant trails which split off further west such as the California and Mormon trails. The name Fort Laramie came into gradual use, likely as a convenient shortening of "Fort John at the Laramie River." Three companies of cavalry arrived at the fort that same month, and Company ‘G’, 6th Infantry, which was the post’s permanent garrison for many years, arrived on August 12, 1849.

A photo of Fort Laramie in 1858
1858 - Gold was discovered at Cherry Creek near Denver, prompting the Colorado gold rush. Fort Laramie became one of these miners' major connections to the world back East.

1860 – Reference to Fort John disappeared from records after it fell into disuse following the military takeover of the Fort.

1861-65 - With the outbreak of the Civil War, the troops at Fort Laramie were withdrawn to fight in the east. A series of volunteer regiments arrived at Fort Laramie to replace them, including the “Galvanized Yankees” (Confederate prisoners of war recruited in the Union Army) and the 11th Ohio
John "Portuguese" Phillips

December 25, 1866 -  John "Portuguese" Phillips rode into Fort Laramie after riding 236 miles through hostile Indian country during blizzard conditions from Fort Phil Kearney to report Lt. William J. Fetterman's entire unit had been killed in a fight with the Sioux under Red Cloud.  Phillips was sent to summon help for Fort Phil Kearny.

Late 1860s - The fort was the primary staging ground for the United States during Red Cloud’s War.

April 29, 1868  – The second Treaty of Fort Laramie ended Red Cloud’s War and resulted in a peace agreement. The agreement between the United States and the Oglala, Miniconjou, and BrulĂ© bands of Lakota people, Yanktonai Dakota, and Arapaho Nation guaranteeing to the Lakota ownership of the Black Hills, and further land and hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The Powder River Country was to be henceforth closed to all whites.
1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie meeting

May 10, 1869 - After the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, the fort's importance gradually decreased as fewer wagon trains traveled west and most Indian tribes in the area had been pacified by the recent treaty.

1876-77 - Great Sioux War: The discovery of gold in the Black Hills touched off another period of conflict with the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne. Fort Laramie served as a major staging point for supplies and troops.

March 1877 - The last known death near the fort due to Indian hostilities occurred in on the Big Bitter Cottonwood Creek.

1889 – After a decade of minimal use, the U.S government decided the fort no longer served a military purpose. The original abandonment order for Fort Laramie was issued.

Circa 1880 Unidentified officers at Fort Laramie

March 1890 – Fort Laramie was decommissioned and the last soldiers left. Four of the infantry companies stationed there at that time went to Fort Logan near Denver, Colorado. About 30 cavalry soldiers and civilian mechanics under the command of Lt. C. W. Taylor arrived at the fort and removed any materials from the buildings they though the government could use elsewhere.

April 20, 1890 - All but one of the structures were sold at auction to private citizens.

October 5, 1891 – The former land that had made up Fort Laramie was opened up to homesteaders for settlement.

In 1873, this fort was the part of the world where Sgt. Isaiah Jenkins in the Christmas romance A Christmas Promise had been stationed for years. It was before the war with the Sioux in 1876-77, but he had been at the fort when John “Portugee” Phillips had ridden in asking for help for Fort Phil Kearney. He knew about Lt. Fetterman, how he had disobeyed a direct order by his commanding officer and, as a consequence, gotten himself and 80 of his men killed by the Sioux. And, he had an opinion about how the Army was handling the Sioux and Cheyenne question which he had shared with Annie. After almost 20 years of enlistment, he was ready to get out and start a family.


Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. Her novel, Family Secrets, was published by Fire Star Press. Her novelette, AChristmas Promise, along with the first two novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine and A Resurrected Heart, was published by Prairie Rose Publications.

The author is a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.

Please visit and follow the Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

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