Ohio Canal Ride

by Bettie Boswell

Today’s post is by an author friend, Bettie Boswell. She shares some historical background for her new release. I’m looking forward to reading it. Welcome back, Bettie!

Canals played an important role in United States history, bringing goods to parts of the land where large ships could not pass. The completion of the Ohio Miami Canal took place right before trains began to compete with commercial trade. Before trains took over the majority of that business, people enjoyed pleasant trips on passenger canal boats or shared a smelly ride with livestock, freight, and mail on packet boats traveling the waterway, spanning from the Cincinnati area to Toledo, Ohio.

Though the popularity of doing business on the canal faded in the 1840s, the route provided a physical map for those seeking freedom from slavery. The towpath became a popular guidepost for those following the Underground Railroad. Once escapees made it to the Toledo area, there were people who provided transportation to Detroit, Michigan, where the span between Canada and the United States narrowed enough for a short journey to a safe country. Toledo Metroparks still maintains a short stretch of the canal at lock 44 in Grand Rapids, Ohio. I had the privilege to ride on the Volunteer canal boat recently and was entertained with storytelling re-enactors.

In my latest book, Free to Love, I included several scenes that involve riding a canal boat and using it as a trail for the Underground Railroad. Ohio was a free state but it was not always a safe state so the journey north continued to be hazardous even after people reached states that supported freedom. Slave catchers lived as far north as Maumee, Ohio and would sometimes send people into slavery even if they had papers saying they were not bound in slavery. Helping someone on their way to freedom might mean imprisonment for a good-hearted Ohioan of any race.

About Bettie

Bettie Boswell has always loved to read and write. That interest helped her create musicals for both church and school and eventually she decided to write and illustrate stories to share with the world. Her writing interests extend from children’s to adult and from fiction to nonfiction. Free to Love is a prequel to her first novel, On Cue.

Pitch-As Ginny writes her musical, inspiration comes from journals about Missy and her maid, bound together by slavery and blood, journeying toward freedom and love. Early and her mistress have always been together. When Missy’s family forces Early into an arranged marriage with George, also held in slavery, their relationship will be forever changed. Will Early and George find a love that can survive the trials of a forced marriage and perilous journey?



Draining Ohio’s Swamps

Today’s post is written by fellow author Bettie Boswell. Welcome to Historical Nibbles, Bettie!

 The stories in the anthology, From the Lake to the River, are all set in Ohio. Ohio is an Iroquois word for the beautiful river that outlines two sides of the state. Ohio also means ‘good morning’ in Japanese. When I designed the cover art for the book I was inspired by both the state symbol, incorporating that good morning sun with golden fields of grain, and a map featuring Lake Erie and the many rivers that cross the great state of Ohio.

My story, Fred’s Gift, is set near a fictional Northwest Ohio farm where many fields of golden grain are harvested every year. The story is contemporary, but before there could be any farming in Northwest Ohio’s Great Black Swamp, settlers had to change the land.

Some of the first settlers in nearby Firelands, Ohio, were people whose homes back east were destroyed by fire during the Revolutionary War. Many soldiers traversed the swamp during the war of 1812 with their horses bogging down in muddy places like Devil’s Hole Road, near Bowling Green, Ohio. They experienced the swampy conditions but also noticed the rich soil, so they returned after the war. They made corduroy roads by laying log after log on the ground to prevent wagons from sinking. Deep ditches were dug to drain the land. They laid drainage tiles under fields so water would drain into the ditches. Those ditches still exist today and prevent major flooding from covering the area.

-Bettie Boswell


Fred’s Gift is a short contemporary romance. When Dawn learns that her father Fred is dying, she hurries to his side full of guilt for neglecting him over the last year. The year has been an adjustment to widowhood and being a single mother. Fred’s parting gift of love and forgiveness may involve more than just an inheritance.


Bettie’s Inspiration

Fred’s Gift was inspired by my father, who did leave me a portion of his farm. My dad was a proud veteran of WW2 and an avid genealogist. His historical records and tales are providing inspiration for future stories. My husband and I met before my father retired. We are enjoying a long marriage and are currently loving having grandchildren, so this story is not biographical.

About Bettie:

Bettie Boswell is an author, illustrator, and composer for both Christian and children’s markets. She holds a B.S. in Church Music from Cincinnati Bible College and a Masters in Elementary Education from East Tennessee State University. She lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Her numerous musicals have been performed at schools, churches, and two community theater events. When she isn’t writing, drawing or composing, she keeps busy with her day job teaching elementary music in Sylvania, Ohio.


Courtesy Turn by Rebecca Williams Waters

Part of From the Lake to the River: The Buckeye Christian Fiction Authors 2018 Anthology

Published by Mt. Zion Ridge Press

This contemporary romance is a definite page-turner!

I really enjoyed the humor and honesty of a widow who wants to meet a special man and begin dating again.

Lori’s son, Ethan, tends to be bossy—as if she is the child and he is the parent. She’s ready for that to change.

She used to enjoy square dancing. Should she return to it? She’d made some great friends there.

While there, a cowboy catches her eye …

Lovable characters—including Lori’s cat—make this an enjoyable read. I’ve read other books by this author and will look for more.

Recommend this novella and the other stories in this collection!

-Sandra Merville Hart



The Miracle Women of WWII

Today’s post is written by fellow author and sweet friend, Carole Brown. Welcome back to Historical Nibbles, Carole!

World War Two was raging across the seas. Women were lining up to answer the United States call for help in the factories. Patriotism and loyalty flew high and strong. They were determined to do their part, not only for their military men, but also for their country. Rosie, the Riveter was an encouraging figure for mothers, wives and women everywhere to do their duty.

Housing at times, for the women in certain parts of the country, was hard to find. Many of them shared beds, one going to work as the other went to sleep. The patriotic appeal had two aspects: The positive: “do your part” and the negative: “a soldier may die if you don’t do your part.” The Germans and Japanese already had a headstart on weaponry, so the pressure—as the war continued—increased as time went by. Stockings, certain fabrics, metals, etc. were all sacrificed.

Abigail, the young wife in Christmas Angels, is a mother to Sarah Beth, her baby. In the top apartment of a boarding house filled with elderly and middle-aged people, she spends her days caring for her daughter. But when the checks from Patrick, her husband, cease coming, when the letters aren’t in the mail box, and the bills are piling up, what is she to do? Prayers are shakily breathed to God, but the reader can easily sense her doubts and timid faith. Her mother called her a failure but her husband had always called her strong and brave. Was it wrong to fear the unknown?

Is she strong enough to get through her fears and doubts? What happens that gives her the courage to carry on? Miracles do happen, but does one occur for Abigail?

–Carole Brown

Carole’s Short Story Christmas Angels in From the Lake to the River:

Her mother called her a failure, and maybe she was. Her husband was gone—in the service, yes, but if he loved her—really loved her, why didn’t he write? Or call? Or send the money she needed?

She loved this sweet little bundle of joy—her baby—but she was scared. Was she smart enough and strong enough to raise her?

Watch for this book’s release on September 1st!



An author of ten books, Carole Brown loves weaving suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy. She and her husband have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, and the simple life.


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