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The subject of today’s story was considered an ingenious natural mechanic…and his invention changed the life of his people forever.

Sequohah, bSequohahorn in 1760 in Tennessee, grew up among his mother’s people, the Cherokee.  He became a metal craftsman, making beautiful silver jewelry.  As a young man he joined the Cherokee volunteers who joined Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812.  While with the American soldiers, he became intrigued with what he called “talking leaves,” or words on paper that somehow recorded human speech. Although Sequohah had no formal education, he somehow comprehended the basic nature of the symbolic representation of sounds.

In 1809 he began working on a Cherokee language.  At first he tried picture symbols, but soon found them to be impractical.  Then he started looking at English, Greek and Hebrew.  He finally developed 86 characters that would express the various sounds in the Cherokee language.  It was so simple in its concept that it could be mastered in less than a week.

In 1821 he submitted his new written language to the Cherokee leaders.  As a demonstration Sequohah wrote a message to his six-year-old daughter.  She read the message and responded in kind.  The tribal council immediately adopted the system.  And Cherokee of all ages started learning the written language.

The Cherokee were divided into two groups, Sequohah’s in Georgia and Tennessee, and the western Cherokee in Oklahoma.  In 1822 Sequohah went to Oklahoma, and taught the alphabet to the Cherokee there.

Finally, on February 21, 1828 the first printing press with Cherokee type arrived in Georgia.  Within months, the first Indian language newspaper appeared.  It was called the Cherokee Phoenix.

Sequohah later went to Mexico to teach Cherokee there the language. While in Mexico he became ill with dysentery, and died.

Great monuments to the man who developed the Cherokee alphabet stand today along the northern California coast.  They are the giant redwood trees called the Sequoia.


Current Newspaper, Carlsbad, New Mexico
February 13, 1896Frontier Pharmacy

Catnip – The leaves can be made into a tea and fed to babies with colic.

Chicory – Young leaves can be eaten as a spring green and the roots dried and roasted as a coffee substitute.

Dandelion – The leaves and small flower buds are a sought-after spring green. Dried and roasted roots make a coffee substitute. Can also be used as a remedy for dropsy.

Goldenrod – The flowers can be used for dying yarn. The leaves can be made into tea for nausea.

Milkweed – The “fluff” from this plant makes a great stuffing for mattresses and pillows. The leaves can be used to make chair seats; shoots, roots, and young lower buds are all edible.

Red Raspberry – The leaves can be dried and made into a tea for dysentery, to ease childbirth pains and as a wash for sores.

Rose Hips – Tea made from these berries can be used as a treatment for scurvy.

Sassafras – The inner bark of the roots can be boiled in water for a spring tonic and as a beverage with meals.

Willow – The inner bark can be used to make tea for reducing fever.


Pearl Grey was born on January 31, 1872. He was a talented baseball player, and played for the University of Pennsylvania while getting a degree in dentistry.  Pearl was scheduled to follow in his father’s footsteps as a dentist.  Looking for excitement, he played some semi-pro baseball.  But that didn’t satisfy his need.Zane Grey Picture

Incidentally, Pearl never liked his first name, which was thought by everyone to be a woman’s name.  So he decided to change it to his mother’s maiden name, Zane.

Pearl, or as we know him now, Zane Grey never wanted to be a dentist.  He wanted to be a writer.  His first novel was a forgettable one about one of his ancestors.  But his life was changed when in 1908 he met Colonel C. J. “Buffalo” Jones.  Buffalo Jones convinced Zane to write his biography.  So Zane could get a feel of the atmosphere of Buffalo Jones’ life, Jones took the 36-year-old writer out west.

While out west, Zane Grey experienced the excitement of the west, like roping mountain lions.  Grey was fascinated with the people and landscape.  The biography of Jones, “The Last of the Plainsmen” was completed that same year.
  Although it got little attention, Zane Grey had found his calling.

About four years later Zane Grey published a novel that gained him lasting fame…Riders of the Purple Sage.  This novel was about a weak easterner who became a man because of his exposure to the culture of the West.  It was a theme that Zane would repeat in the almost 80 books he published during a life that lasted 64 years.


On January 24, 184Gold Mining8, John Marshall and John Sutter discovered gold at a sawmill construction site near Sacramento, California.

When James Marshall told Sutter of the gold discovery, his first thought was not of the potential of vast wealth, but of how it would adversely affect an empire he was developing called New Switzerland.

Even though Sutter owned 50,000 acres of land, the mill was on public land.  At that time, California was in the process of being transferred from Mexican to U.S. ownership.  With no government authority, Sutter and Marshall exchanged clothing and other trinkets with local Indians for a lease of land surrounding the site.  Even though they tried to keep the discovery a secret, in no time the whole world knew about it.

As men were panning for gold, Marshall was busy cutting lumber, and Sutter was tending his crops.  Within a year, both of their businesses failed.  Without a clear title, James Marshal was eventually run off the land where the mill was located.

John Sutter’s 50,000 acres came from two Spanish land grants.  One was declared void, and squatters took over the other.

Eventually, both men tried mining for gold.  But they failed.  John Sutter died penniless in 1880…And James Marshall did the same in 1885.

Although Sutter and Marshall, the discoverers of gold, never saw a profit from the discovery, during the first 25 years following the discovery, over 978 million dollars worth of gold was taken from the area of Sutter’s mill.


Solid MuldoonDo you think that rock stars are a creation of modern history?  Not necessarily so.  Back in 1877, the Old West had a rock star.

It was 1877, and Darwin’s theory of evolution was a hot topic of conversation.  To support his theory, in March of that year, a giant petrified man was found in Colorado, along with a petrified turtle and fish.  It was announced by its finders that, “We have found the missing link which Darwin claims connects mankind with the beast creation.  It is certainly the petrified body of a man with a tail.”

It was named “The Solid Muldoon.”  The Solid Muldoon made a tour of the United States ending up in New York.  People stood in line to pay money to see this “missing link.”  Although Darwin himself, only seeing pictures, felt the whole thing might be an imposture; others said it was definite proof of evolution.

It was February 15, 1878…less than a year after the Solid Muldoon was discovered, that one of the members of the exhibition company, feeling he wasn’t being paid enough, spilled the beans about the missing link.

It seems that back in 1877 two men met to see if they could make some money in connection with the excitement over Darwin’s theory of evolution.  One of the men was George W. Hull.  Eight years earlier Hull had made money by creating and exhibiting a Cardiff giant he had made with 2,900 pounds of cement.  The other was a P. T. Barnum, the great showman and promoter.  Hull took some cement and cast the Solid Muldoon along with the turtle and fish.  Then they had it hid in the Colorado wilderness, so they could later find it.

With the exposure of the Solid Muldoon as only a piece of rock, this star of the Old West faded. But P. T. Barnum continued showing us just how gullible we really are.

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