JIM BRIDGER BORN

On this date back in 1804 that great mountain man Jim Bridger was born.

At the age of 20 Jim headed west along the routes that Lewis and Clark had pioneered. At the age of 21 he was the first white to see the Great Salt Lake…Incidentally; he thought it was the Pacific Ocean.

Getting married to the daughter of a Flathead Indian Chief, he decided to settle down and started a trading post, founding Fort Bridger along the Oregon Trail in Wyoming.

At the age of 64 with eyesight failing and rheumatism, he retired in Westport, Missouri and died at the age of 76 on July 17, 1881.

NAMING OF SHOW LOW

I live in the northeastern part of Arizona in the White Mountains. The name of the town where I live is Show Low. How the name came about is a very interesting history.

To hear that story go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCJ4vUTc4sY

MAX BRAND

On this date back in 1919 western story novelist Max Brand published his first novel.  Max Brand was only one of 21 pen names that Frederick Faust wrote under.

He wrote under pen names because he was embarrassed about writing pulp fiction.

Frederick claimed to dislike the American West and spent most of his adult life in Europe.  And he made no pretense to writing historically accurate western novels.  He wrote about the west of his imagination and he could tell a great story.

During his life Frederick Faust wrote more than 500 western serials and short stories.

Do we, as fans of the Old West, require more authentic fiction than a century ago?  If Max Brand were an unpublished author today, do you think he could find a publisher?

NATIONAL DAY OF THE COWBOY

I received news today from Bethany Braley, the Executive Director of the National Day of the Cowboy, that the Wyoming State Legislature has passed a resolution recognizing one day a year as “The Day of the Cowboy.”  This is the first year they’ve passed the resolution and they made it permanent.

This year’s designated day is July 28.  If you’re not familiar with the National Day of the Cowboy, do visit their web site: www.nationaldayofthecowboy.org

It’s a cause in which anyone who’s interested in the Old West should be involved.

SO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO THE OLD WEST?

In searching some old files I came across the following information.  This is how it was at the end of the 1800’s.

  • The average life expectancy in the U.S. was forty-seven.
  • Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
  • Only 8 percent of homes had a telephone.
  • There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
  • The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour.
  • The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
  • More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
  • Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education.  Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as “substandard.”
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month!  When they did they used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • The five leading causes of death in the U. S. were:
  1. Pneumonia and influenza
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Heart disease
  5. Stroke
  • One in ten U.S. adults couldn’t read or write.
  • Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
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