Search This Blog

Sunday, June 7, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

As I pondered what I might write about this month I decided to take a look at my walk/hikes, research, and writing to see what I could find.

A trail in Garden of the Gods
photo property of the author

As most know, I've been getting out on the trails and in the parks during this time of physical distancing. I'm fortunate that I have so many options available close to me. Although I try to combine errands with the walks, sometimes that hasn't been possible. My journeys have taken me over some challenging terrain and through fascinating cemeteries. The current novel has my heroine having to walk out of the area where she and her party were attacked. The trails in CMSP and Garden of the Gods are just the right kind of terrain she may have had to journey across. Talk about being able to be realistic. The trails are heaven, though somewhat challenging, and I get to use my experience in the story.

Landscape and trail in CMSP
photo property of the author
The cemeteries are a wealth of names, dates, and stories in stone. One stone told of how the couple met at a river here in Colorado, fell in love and married. Many times I can follow the stories of these pioneers via Ancestry, City Directories, Newspapers, and Google Books. Another couple I located were early pioneers in the Bijou Basin just east of what is now Colorado Springs.

Did you know Melinda has sometimes been spelled, Malinda? How about Charles N Green, born in Illinois in 1856 he had later moved to Colorado. In 1900 his occupation is listed as a mining broker, and he and his wife Mary had a three-year-old son. Both were forty-one at the time of birth if the math is correct. Christine McIntosh dies of uterine cancer at the age of sixty-four according to the death record I found in on the library's research website. She had been born in Canada but that's all I've found on her at this time.

Headstone in Evergreen Cemetery
Photo property of the author
My heroine is a doctor and in my research, the story of an early Colorado Springs doctor fits the profile I have of Pauline. (Her name at this time). Researching Esther's ancestry, her marriage, and information gleaned from papers and other sources is a way to add veracity to the story.

Sometimes I have found pieces written about people or an area in Google Books. The history of the Arkansas River Valley in Colorado is a rich source of what life and the land was like in the 1870s. I also found the autobiography of Harriot Kezia Hunt, an early doctor in Boston. It is called "Glances and Glimpses ..." and was published in 1856. A book published in 1912 even states she was the first woman to practice medicine in the United States, having opened a practice in Boston in 1835.

So you see my pondering and wanderings do lead to some interesting information. The last few months of 'staying away from people' has had its silver lining. And, yes, I am still out on the trails, still reading, still writing and still digging into the stories of those who came before me.

Triple Threat Trail in Ute Valley Park
Photo property of the author
The above photo would have been what my hero and heroine in my first novella, "Home For His Heart" might have had to traverse.

Here is a very brief excerpt:

     “Sam, Sam, saddle up.” shouted Paul. “All hell has broke loose. Where are you?”
     “I'm here by the barn,” answered Sam. “What do you mean all hell broke loose?”
     “Saddle up and I'll tell you on the way.”
     Riding toward town, Paul explained. “Shortly after you left this man came rushing into town, how he managed to stay on his horse is amazing. He was talking about dangerous men, warning, fire. It was hard to understand what he was saying. He was in bad shape.”
     “Any idea who he is or where he came from?” asked Sam.
     “No, and that isn't all. It may be coincidence, but as we were taking him to Sally's, Fred came staggering out of Clara's house. Said someone hit him and Clara's gone missing,” said Paul.
     “What do you mean missing?”
     “Sam, I mean Clara is nowhere to be found.” Paul stated. “I headed to Clara's and the house was in shambles as if there had been a fight,” said Paul.

Home For His Heart by [Angela Raines]
Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


  1. Great post. I am also fascinated by the real lives behind the grave stones. They fire my imagination. I especially like those which give a little more than the basics, and tell you something of their lives. Harriot Kezia Hunt's biography sounds fascinating.

    1. The stories on the stones seem to lead to so much more, don't they? I really do not only enjoy walking through cemeteries, but studying and documenting the stones. I think you would find Dr. Hunt's story an interesting one, and it's free to read on Google books. Her journey is really one of grit and determination.

      Thank you for the kind words, and I relish another person who gets why grave stones are so important. Doris

  2. You certainly do come across some interesting places. I doubt I would be able to navigate some of these places where you have walked. That you used this knowledge in your book to walk your characters away from an attack adds so much interest to the story.
    I love old cemeteries, too. There is a serenity and reverence about cemeteries I find comforting and peaceful. I like to read the inscriptions on headstones and it makes me wonder what those departed souls were like when they lived.
    As always, I enjoyed reading about places and people in your blogs, Doris. You always have something fascinating to say.

  3. Sarah, some of those hikes were a challenge. I've gotten better the more I've walked, but if I didn't have my walking stick, it would be a lot tougher. I do have a bit of a balance problem and the stick helps greatly.

    There really is something special about cemeteries. Like you, I wonder what their lives were like.

    I thank you for your kind words about my posts and my adventures. Doris

  4. Doris,

    I am enjoying the pictures of your walks that you've posted on Facebook. You're fortunate to have such lovely trails and byways to explore.

    1. Thank you Kaye, I feel blessed everytime I set foot in a park or on a trail. I really am so lucky to have so much available to feed my love of hiking, photography and nature. I am glad others are enjoying my small contibutions to the beauty of the world. Doris