Old West History Archives


Today is the 29th of February.  As we all know, the 29th comes about once every four years.  It’s something that came about back during the Roman era, or maybe even before.

 However, there is something related to time that began in the era of the Old West.  That’s time zones.  Do you know how they came about?  Well, click on this video and you will.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I live in the mountains of Northeastern Arizona at 6,500 feet.  This morning when I got up, the wind was blowing in mighty gusts; snow was whirling around; and the temperature was in the 20’s.

 Unfortunately, I had to take our American Border Collie dog Jake for his morning constitution.

 As I walked in the blistery weather I thought about what it would have been like to be an 1800’s cowboy working a winter line shack.  The cabin would have been heated by a small stove that was also used for cooking.  The wind would be howling through all the cracks in the walls and roof.  The temperature inside would be just a bit warmer than outside.

 The ice in the water bucket would have to be thawed out before coffee could be made.  And then you would have to go out and check on the cattle.

 Can you imagine the character it would take to leave that cabin when no one would know if you didn’t?  That’s called “Riding for the Brand.”


It’s interesting how things have changed over the years.  Each week I send a free story about an event that happened during this time in the Old West.  This week’s story is about Sheriff Pat Garrett and how he died.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the circumstances, he was shot in the back while taking a “whizz”.  That’s right, a whizz.  I would say pee, but we want to keep this clean.

The man who confessed and was tried for doing it was Wayne Brazil.  What did he plead?  Self defense.  And he was declared not guilty.

 Don’t try this today folks.

 Incidentally, you can sign up for This Week in the Old West by going to: http://chronicleoftheoldwest.com/this_week_in_the_old_west-signup-new.shtml



On this date back in 1870 Hiram Rhoades Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, was sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first Black ever to sit in Congress.

 During the Civil War, Revels, a college-educated minister, helped form Black army regiments for the Union cause, started a school for freed men, and served as a chaplain for the Union Army.  Revels remained in the former Confederate state after the war and entered into Reconstruction-era Southern politics.

 It’s interesting to note that the Senate seat Revels held was once held by Jefferson David, the former president of the Confederacy.


San Francisco has had it’s strange people.  But there were few who were as strange a Emperor Norton.  And, as you will see with this video, the people of San Francisco took him into their collective hearts.

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