Civil War Women: Mary Carroll, Missouri Confederate Supporter

 

Teenager Mary Carroll lived with her mother, sister, and brother, Dennis, in Pilot Grove, Missouri, at the beginning of the Civil War.

Although “Bleeding Missouri” had been a slave state in 1861, it voted to remain in the Union. Despite this, the state’s governor—a Southern supporter—offered guns and cannons to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Union soldiers then seized the armory and the state’s capital to set up a Union government, creating great turmoil. Union troops arrested Missouri residents without charges. They took their horses and food.

Dennis Carroll was arrested in August of 1862 for trying to join the Confederate army. In March of 1863, he was released from an Alton, Illinois Federal prison.

Learning of Union plans to arrest a group of Missouri men intending to muster into the Confederate army, Mary rode through hard rain to warn them and lead them to safety.

In May of 1863, Dennis and a friend helped Confederate sympathizers raid a Federal militiaman’s home. After the Union man shot one of them, some set the home on fire. Though Dennis didn’t help set the fire, he was arrested, taken to Boonville, and sentenced to be shot to death.

Mary, 17, boarded with a family in Boonville to be near her younger brother. She sneaked a crowbar into him, at his request, with his lunch. His breakout attempt that night was unsuccessful.

Giving up meant her brother would die.  She then set to work on making a key patterned like the jail door key. After several attempts, she made an iron key. It took days.

In the meantime, the Federal government ordered all Cooper county women to take an oath of allegiance. Mary complied, after making sure that nothing she was doing to save her brother violated that oath.

She gave the key to her brother. Unfortunately, it was too short.

A young Union soldier proposed marriage to Mary. She agreed—if he helped her brother break out of prison. He let her see the jail key and she made an impression of it on a book. He took it from her, but didn’t know she’d made another impression. She then created another key.

Meanwhile, the men awaiting execution tied leather around an earlier key out of desperation. The bits of leather made the key fit and they broke out of jail.

Suspicion immediately went to Mary, who was arrested during the search for the fugitives. In a letter to her mother, she asked which key Dennis used to escape. Union soldiers found her letter. She was interrogated by General Dodge and Colonel Catherwood.

The colonel remembered Mary’s question about helping her brother before taking the oath—it saved her.

Released and back at home, her relief didn’t last. Dennis was apprehended and killed by Union soldiers. They forced Mary’s family from their home.

After the war, Mary married a Confederate soldier, Thomas Brooks, and had six children. She wrote of her experiences in The Secret of the Key and Crowbar.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Cordell, M.R. Courageous Women of the Civil War, Chicago Review Press, 2016.

 

The Epistles of James, Peter, and Jude by Trina Bresser Matous

Christian Living Bible Study Series

This study takes readers through James, 1st Peter, 2nd Peter, and Jude.

Like  Paul’s Letters to the Early Church, another wonderful Bible Study by Matous, historical and Biblical background begins each new book. Each chapter contains background, overview, insights, and 2-3 discussion questions. I can see Bible Study groups easily doing one or two chapters a week, depending on discussions.

I love the author’s insights from the passages. For instance, the book of James is packed with helpful advice for Christians. Mateous describes it as “one of the most practical books in the New Testament.” She also states that “Wisdom is not the same as information.” She gives the insight that “Finding joy in the midst of trial does not negate the pain.”

Readers will find many gems throughout the book.

This study is appropriate for men’s groups and women’s groups.

This book is also a wonderful supplement for personal study.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas   Use coupon code SandraMHart for a 20% discount on Lighthouse Publishing books!

 

Eating Hearty in 1896

Today’s post was written by fellow author and friend, Linda W. Yezak. I loved learning about the Harvey Girls in Linda’s novella, Loving a Harvey Girl, from the Smitten Collection “The Cowboys.” It’s so wonderful for me to be in this Western romance collection with three other talented authors! Welcome to Historical Nibbles, Linda!

Back when the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe Railroads were the travel mode of choice, restauranteurs learned how to get more than their fair share of the passengers’ coins. As the train engineers replenished the water for their steam engines, hungry passengers would file to the establishments in search of food and refreshment. But often the locals got dollar signs in their eyes and honesty floated out the window. Special tricks included overcharging the out-of-towners, scraping leftovers together and serving them to the next crowd, and accepting pay in advance for food that wouldn’t be served before the train left the station.

That’s where Fred Harvey came in. Around 1870, he approached the president of the ATSF railway, Charlie Morse, about an idea to open Harvey House restaurants and hotels all along the train’s stops to assure great food at a fair price to the passengers. Within fifteen years, he had seventeen Harvey Houses, all staffed by women he picked, generally from “back east,” and trained in Kansas.

By 1896, Fannie Farmer published her cookbook, The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, that came complete with actual measurements. Until that point, a pinch of this and a heap of that probably made up the instructions in most recipes. Though the title indicates the cookbook was from Boston, I imagine it became a staple across the nation before long, and it wouldn’t surprise me if ol’ Fred Harvey didn’t use it himself for his restaurants. If he did, I’d be willing to bet “Eggs à la Suisse” would be one of the Harvey Girls’ favorites among the breakfast dishes. Incredibly easy to make, this dish could feed lots of people in no time, but this recipe is just for two—or maybe one, depending on how hungry he is.

4 eggs

½ cup cream

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons shredded cheese

salt

pepper

cayenne

Melt the butter in a small omelet pan, then add the cream. As the cream warms up, slip the eggs in one at a time. Sprinkle with the seasonings. When the whites get firm, top the eggs with cheese and serve hot.

Combine this with bacon and biscuits, and you have a hearty meal.

-Linda Yezak

Linda Yezak

About Linda

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing. Connect with her on her website , Amazon page , and BookBub.

Loving a Harvey Girl by Linda W. Yezak

Eva Knowles can’t imagine why the local preacher doesn’t like Harvey Girls—women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she’ll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth, and home!

Amazon 

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Trail’s End set in Wild Western Town of Abilene, Kansas

Before I ever dreamed I’d pick up a pen again, my family took a vacation to Kansas to visit my brother and his family. We visited Abilene one afternoon. I learned a bit about the history of that wild western town … enough that I wanted to know more.

My sister-in-law has family ties to Abilene—another reason for my fascination. In fact, one of her ancestors was a friend of Wild Bill Hickok, who was marshal of Abilene in 1871, the year after our story. In 1870, Marshal Tom Smith insisted that the cowboys be disarmed. Storekeepers, saloon-keepers, and hotel owners were asked to post a sign and collect the guns of their customers. Marshal Smith knew what he was doing. He made the town a safer place. Sadly, he was killed later that year.

Stuart Henry’s Conquering Our Great American Plains was a great resource for my story. Henry lived in Abilene from 1868-1872 as a boy. I love finding treasures like this author’s book that allow me to take my readers back to 1870 Abilene, Kansas. What a gift.

When my editor approached me about writing a cowboy story set in the West, it did not take long for my imagination to take me back to Abilene. Who’d have guessed that a family vacation that took place before I decided to pursue a writing career would lead to a story?

I hope you enjoy traveling back to the Wild West with me as much as I love taking you there.

Sandra Merville Hart, from the Author’s Note in the book

This book is a collection of four novellas by Jennifer Uhlarik, Linda W. Yezak, Sandra Merville Hart, and Cindy Ervin Huff.

Sandra’s story in the collection is called Trail’s End. Here’s a bit about the story:

Trail’s End Blurb

Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother.

 

Available on Amazon 

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas  Save money and use coupon code SandraMHart for a 20% discount on Lighthouse Publishing books!

 

Dictionary of Similar but Separate Words by William R. Luellen

This book is filled with words commonly used in incorrect ways. For example, do you know the difference between complement vs. compliment? How about eminent vs. imminent? Famous vs. infamous?

If any of these made you wonder about true meanings, this book may be for you.

There is also a section in the back for words that share the same spelling but not the same meaning, such as bass or present.

The author of the book is an editor, writer, and professional speaker. He wrote this book, in part, to answer questions from his clients who spoke English as a second or third language.

A nice reference book for writers, educators, and public speakers.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sour Dough Starter Survived Through the Centuries

Today’s post has been written by fellow author and friend, Cindy Ervin Huff. We’ve both written novellas that are included in “The Cowboys” Smitten collection. Cindy’s story in the collection is a page turner! Welcome to Historical Nibbles, Cindy!

 People often think of sourdough bread as part and parcel of the Old West. You might be surprised to know sourdough bread has been around since ancient Egypt. The naturally occurring yeast in the air is what sours the dough causing fermentation. The fermented goo causes the bread to rise.

Sourdough Bread gets its name from its tangy smell.

Equal parts of flour and water are mixed together and left to ferment to create the mother dough. Salt or sugar are part of the base in some recipes. Each day the mixture is stirred, and more flour and water added. Usually it takes five days before the mixture is bubbly and ready to use. Sourdough starter will live for years if fed daily.

Pioneers heading west kept a crock of sourdough starter secured in their wagon. This hardy starter survived the trail and became a staple in the new homestead. Gifting a neighbor with a cup of sourdough starter was not uncommon. The starters often had different flavors based on their origin. The bacteria in the air in New York is different from the bacteria in San Francisco. Taking a bit of raw dough from the day’s baking and adding it to the starter preserved the unique flavor. It was used for pancakes and other recipes in place of baking powder or yeast.

Most modern sourdough recipes add a teaspoon of yeast to shorten the fermentation time.

Pioneers kept it close at hand and passed the starter down through the generations.

My novella Healing Hearts, part of The Cowboy Collection, is set in 1868. Genny, my heroine, received some starter as a gift from a friend and brought it with her to Kansas.

-Cindy Ervin Huff

About Cindy

Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published, award inning author of Historical and Contemporary Romance. She has been featured in numerous periodicals over the last thirty years. Cindy is a member of ACFW, Mentor for Word Weavers. founding member of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers, and a Christian Writer’s Guild alumni. Visit her on her blog www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com.

Healing Hearts by Cindy Ervin Huff

Lonnie Holt’s external scars remind him of his failures, his internal scars torment him. Genny Collins seeks safety at the ranch once owned by Lonnie’s uncle. When Lonnie and his brother arrive, sparks fly and distrust abounds. While Lonnie and Genny fight the love growing between them, his past haunts him, and her past pays them a visit.

Buy Links to The Cowboys:

Amazon

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas  Save money and use coupon code SandraMHart for a 20% discount on Lighthouse Publishing books!

 

 

The Cowboys Releases Today!!!

 

I’m thrilled to announce my latest release!

This is my first western book. I’m in Smitten Historical Romance Collection “The Cowboys” with three other talented authors—Jennifer Uhlarik, Linda W. Yezak, and Cindy Ervin Huff. How exciting!

 

 

Here’s a bit about our stories:

Healing Hearts by Cindy Ervin Huff

Lonnie Holt’s external scars remind him of his failures, his internal scars torment him. Genny Collins seeks safety at the ranch once owned by Lonnie’s uncle. When Lonnie and his brother arrive, sparks fly and distrust abounds. While Lonnie and Genny fight the love growing between them, his past haunts him, and her past pays them a visit.

Becoming Brave by Jennifer Uhlarik

When Coy Whittaker stumbles upon a grisly scene littered with bodies, he wants nothing more than to get his boss’s cattle out of Indian Territory. But when a bloodstained Aimee Kaplan draws down on him, his plans—his heart—screech to a halt.

Trail’s End by Sandra Merville Hart

Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother.

Loving a Harvey Girl by Linda W. Yezak

Eva Knowles can’t imagine why the local preacher doesn’t like Harvey Girls—women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she’ll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth, and home!

Pick up your copy today!

***For my newsletter recipients, the town of Abilene hired Tom Smith as marshal in 1870. Good luck in the drawing!

Reviews are always welcome!

 

 

A Perfect Weakness by Jennifer A. Davids

 

No one is beyond redemption.

This 1868 novel set in Hampshire, England, Penelope Howard busies herself helping neighbors of Ashford Hall. Her brother, Thomas, had not inherited the estate as they expected. No, an American doctor was the new baron.

But she has a secret not even her brother knows.

Dr. John Turner no longer feels he deserves that title, but does his new one fit any better? Penelope soon captures his heart. That hardly matters. He doesn’t deserve her, not after what he’s done.

Both hide secrets from the world and from each other. Can God’s grace really be sufficient to cover a terrible sin?

Wounded, scarred characters tugged at my heart and made this a page turner. I couldn’t put it down for long as I had to discover how the ending.

A romance that will tug at your emotions. Recommend.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas  Use coupon code SandraMHart for a 20% discount on Lighthouse Publishing books!

Fresh Peach Pie Recipe

This recipe is from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which was originally published in 1896.

Prepare a double-pie crust dough for a 9-inch pie. I used my mom’s pie crust recipe.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

The recipe calls for 4 cups of fresh peaches, peeled and sliced. I used 5 large peaches, which provided more than 4 cups. Fruit cooks down while baking so I tend to be generous with the amounts.

The cookbook gave a hint on peeling the peaches that I remember using years ago. Submerge the peaches into boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Immediately place the fruit into cold water. This softens the skin for easier peeling.

You will need 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. If using fresh lemon, prepare the juice now.

Stir together 1 cup of sugar with 4 tablespoons of flour in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add the peaches and lemon juice. Toss these together until the sugar mixture coats the peaches completely.

Arrange the fruit in the bottom pie crust and then cover it with a top crust. Crimp sides together and cut several vents.

Bake for 10 minutes on 425 and then reduce to 350 for 30-40 minutes, until browned.

This pie is delicious! Though it is a little sweet, I loved it. Fresh peach pie is a delicious dessert on a hot summer day.

Abby Cox, the main character in my Trail’s End novella in “The Cowboys” collection, runs a restaurant in Abilene, Kansas, in 1870. Wade Chadwick, a Texas cowboy, takes a temporary job in her kitchen, freeing Abby to cook for her guests. One dessert served in her diner is peach pie. Writing those scenes made me hungry for the delicious dessert!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.

Trail’s End by Sandra Merville Hart

Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother.

Amazon

Civil War Women: Maria Lewis, Former Slave and Union Soldier

Born around 1846, Maria Lewis lived with her family as slaves in Albemarle County, Virginia. When the 8th New York Cavalry came to the area during the Civil War in October of 1863, she disguised herself as a darkly-tanned white man and joined Company C of that regiment.

Maria mustered in as George Harris, who was a hero in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Harris escaped slavery by posing as a Spanish gentleman.

Her first intentions were to remain a soldier long enough to travel North to freedom. Perhaps to her surprise, she discovered that she enjoyed army life. She skirmished, scouted, and fought with General Sheridan’s cavalry for the next eighteen months.

They burned houses and mills. They destroyed railroads and bridges.

On March 2, 1865, Maria rode with the cavalry at Waynesboro, Virginia, where five hundred of Confederate General Jubal Early’s soldiers were captured. The 8th New York seized seventeen battle flags before burning a section of the Shenandoah Valley.

Maria was part of the honor guard who presented the captured flags to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. The soldiers were granted a month’s furlough.

From there Maria went to the family of 2nd Lieutenant Lewis V. Griffin, a comrade from her regiment. She introduced herself as George Harris to his sister, Julia Wilbur, and then confessed her true identity. She wanted to return to “womanly ways & occupations.”

Though surprised to meet a black woman who served as a Union cavalry soldier, Julia wrote in her diary that she helped Maria as she had helped many other freed slaves. Making plans to find her a job, Julia gave her a chemise, petticoat, and hoops.

Julia first wrote of meeting Maria on April 4, 1865. The last time she mentions her is an entry on Sunday, April 23rd. Her sister was giving Maria a lesson, possibly teaching her to read and write.

In my Civil War novel, A Musket in My Hands, two sister have no choice but to disguise themselves as men to muster into the Confederate army in the fall of 1864—just in time for events and long marches to lead them to the tragic Battle of Franklin.

-Sandra Merville Hart

 

Sources

Cordell, M.R. Courageous Women of the Civil War, Chicago Review Press, 2016.

“Maria Lewis (soldier),” Wikipedia, 2019/04/26 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Lewis_(soldier).

Monson, Marianne. Women of the Blue & Gray, Thorndike Press, 2018.

Zeinert, Karen. Those Courageous Women of the Civil War, The Millbrook Press, 1998.