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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: What gear would an 1860 Californio carry with him? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: What gear would an 1860 Californio carry with him?  (Read 64482 times)
WaddWatsonEllis
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« Reply #125 on: January 26, 2010, 09:30:15 pm »

The God Rush accelerated things in Northern California so much that very little records of Californio life are extant after 1849 ... I thought I had my man in Jared Sheldon.

He was one of the first Yanquis to get to Northern California ... and became Catholic and a Mexican Citizen. A Yanqui who converted to Catholicism and became a Mexican Citizen:

Jared Dixon Sheldon, one of our earliest pioneers and originally from Vermont, came to California in 1832 and at some point afterward became a Mexican citizen. In 1842, Thomas Larkin, who was then the American Consul to Mexico, was awarded the contract for expansion and improvement of the Customs House in Monterey, which had been built in 1827. Jared Sheldon worked on this project for Thomas Larkin. Based on the size of the land grant he received as payment for services to the Mexican government on this project it could be assumed he was a foreman. He was granted Omochumnes Rancho, nearly 14,000 acres near present day Sloughhouse and Rancho Murieta, in 1843 for his work. It was there that he and friend William Daylor built a grist mill in 1845 to mill wheat for Capt. John Sutter on the Cosumnes River. To supply water to his crops south of the river he built a dam 16-ft high, double-walled of heavy oak, and filled with large stones. On July 12, 1851 he was shot and killed by 40 to 100 angry miners in the river below his dam. Also killed in the shootout were 2 of Sheldon’s 12 friends, James M. Johnson of Iowa and Edward Cody of Illinois. Three men were wounded, including a miner. The prevailing miners destroyed the sluice gate in the dam. They had unrecorded gold mining claims in the river-bottom on Sheldon’s land, which would be flooded by the rising water upstream from the dam. Subsequent floods continued the dam’s destruction, and hydraulic mining in Michigan Bar buried the remnants in silt. Public right of access to California streams was not clarified until 1879. This display shows how the mill worked and pictures of the remains of the mill. Various parts of the mill are now on display at the Heritage Park in effort to help preserve this part of our rich heritage. Plans are underway, as funding allows, to create a working model of Sheldon's Grist Mill.


Only problem is that the dam became his demise exactly one year before I would be needing an identity.

So I am still searching ... I have gone through the Sacramento Room in the State Library; the only thing listed as being more inclusive is the Bancroft Library on the UC Berkeley campus in Berkely CA. So as soon as I find a cheap place to stay down there (Meaning free if possible *S*), I guess it is my next step in researching a persona.

Any suggestions? I would love any PM that would give me a name or direction to pursue.
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

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« Reply #126 on: January 27, 2010, 12:07:53 pm »


Is that a Hall carbine?


Yes, it is.  And a Dragoon in the belt hoslter.

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« Reply #127 on: January 28, 2010, 12:23:47 am »

WWE,
A weapon you might consider is the "espada de ancha." It was a short saber very popular among horsemen in Mexico proper and I would imagine in California as well. About half the length of a regular saber, it answered for the purposes of a peon's machete, but with a more elegant appearance befitting a gentleman. There is a very fine example in the Museum of Texas History in Austin. From just a few feet away it looks much like a D-handled machete, but with a narrower and more tapering point, but up close you can see that the blade sports some very fine gold inlay. Clearly it was once a fine sword and was probably cut down for easier handling on the frontier. It has about a 24" blade.  Thus you would have a sword that could still be used to clear brush and cut forage for your horse, and was a more practical sword for dismounted combat than a full-size saber and could be worn afoot on the belt or on a baldric like an oversized Bowie.  It might be termed a horseman's cutlass.
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WaddWatsonEllis
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« Reply #128 on: January 28, 2010, 12:50:10 am »

What you say is quite true for most hispanic horseman of the New World. From Gauchos to Californios, there was a real tendency to make a short sword/long knife,especially from the hilt end of a broken saber ...

I even have a pic of a Californio with such a 'sword'

But I will only have on me what a dismounted Californio would be carrying around Sacramento town ... a quirt, an 1851 Colt (with holster and rig) a larger Belduque tucked into a Botas and a smaller Belduque on my belt ....


* james-walker-californio-1850.jpg (69.06 KB, 612x700 - viewed 1188 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #129 on: January 28, 2010, 01:16:17 pm »

Well, I can still sing the praises of the revolving rifle, actually a carbine.  colt made revolving rifles/carbines/shotguns on the patterson model and then later on the Root model.  I have not seen the root replicas as made by Palmetto, but I have held both true Colt Root Rifle and Carbine.  My assesment was in no way would I shoot the rifle. It was heavy and the only way to get a good bead on it was to hold the forestock.  Which even if you cylinders functioned perfectly is still going to burn your hand.  The carbine was a carbine from the Texas rangers in the 1850s before the unpleasantness.  It was a natural pointer and your forehand could grip under the trigger with no problem.  If you ever win the lottery, look to a root carbine.   
On a side and not to highjack the thread, i shoot a 1860 colt army and have an attachable shoulder stock for it.  As accurate as my Henry rifle at 50 yards.  (me shooting of course)
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« Reply #130 on: January 28, 2010, 03:47:21 pm »

A lot would depend on the economic level of the character that you are portraying. The wealthier,the better armed.
If you are going to carry the Ruger Old army,you could use a military style holster(Which were widely used by civilians)
with the butt covered by the flap. Although the Ruger resembles the 1858 Remington,the '58 did not have adjustable sights nor a big knob at the end of the loading lever. Also Not that many '58's had been produced or sold by 1860, so finding one on the West coast would have been rare. A Dragoon,1851 Navy,1849 pocket or Patterson would have been far more likely. Another good choice would be a single shot. On knives,the Bowie style blade was not as wide spread as the movies would have you believe. straight, single edge blades were more common.
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« Reply #131 on: January 28, 2010, 06:55:01 pm »

Mogorilla,

As I have talked about before on this thread, there are two things against considering a rifle.

1.) I bought the Pietta 1851 Colt to carry in a holster as a docent. I may fire it just to say I have, but cannot see me having a reason for a stock.

2.) My cahracter would live outside the city on a ranchero and would just be coming in for supplies .
As such, he would have left anything difficult to carry (i.e., shotgun, rifle, pistol stock etc. with his horse at a livery stable.

3. If I was going to think about a stock, it would have to be for my two Ruger Old Armys, which I DO shoot .... *S*


* Ruger Old Army Supplies 1.jpg (15.02 KB, 240x180 - viewed 321 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #132 on: January 29, 2010, 10:11:22 am »

Just a question for info - not a 'challenge'...

Did people leave things as essential as a rifle at places like livery stables?
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« Reply #133 on: January 29, 2010, 07:32:59 pm »

Kflach,

Here are my thoughts on leaving a long gun behind ....

1.) If I were putting into a new town and had no relationships with anyone there, or if I was tying my horse up on the street, well yes I would definitely go through the hassle of carrying the weapon with me.

2.) But if I made the same trip to the same destination town on a weekly basis, I would find a trustworthy liveryman, the sherriff's office, Wells Fargo Office or a hotel front office person to leave the gun with.

Remember also that this is 1852; a lever action will not come out until the 1860  Henry. The penultimate long gun would be a .45-.50 caliber plains rifle (single shot) or a cap and ball 12 gauge SXS shotgun. The two shots from the shotgun might be good in a barroom gunfight, but neither were 'town guns'. And if I was picking up shovels, pickaxes and farming tools, I would not want another tool to be carrying ....

Beside, the 'Hispanic' thought was that gun action was mildly wimpy, even cowardly. That 'real men' settled things at very close distance with knives or short swords ... that any coward could stand accross the room and kill an opponent with a gun ... look at Wild Bill Hickock's demise for one instance.


* james-walker-californio-1850.jpg (69.06 KB, 612x700 - viewed 287 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #134 on: January 29, 2010, 09:11:24 pm »

That (item #2) makes perfect sense.

Thanks!
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« Reply #135 on: January 30, 2010, 12:28:24 am »

Kflach,

I wanted to address the earlier thread about being seen as confrontational.

As an Anglo playing the part of a Californio, I would much rather answer questions here than on my first day when a person starts asking really pointed, confrontational questions.

Instead of the 'Gee. I dunno; can I look it up and get back to you?" sort of responses, y'alls penetrating questions allow me to do a bit of research (if necessary), and chew on it overnight.

I am hoping that I will already have come accross 90% of my group's questions on this forum and have been able to come up with a good, honest response.

So bring on the tough questions! I would rather see them here than on my first group when the little 8 year old asks the really hard question and I go, "Gee. I dunno: can I look it up for you?"
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #136 on: January 30, 2010, 08:59:13 am »

The escopeta, a light, smoothbore, muzzle-loading musket or carbine was a popular weapon of the 18th century soldado de cuera. Carried well into the 19th. Century,  this sturdy and dependable weapon saw use for nearly 200 years on the northern frontier.
Made with a Spanish or miguelet lock and a Catalan stock, There were many variations in barrel length, and stock design, but the miguelet lock was commonly used. In 1786, escopetas purchased for frontier use cost the Crown 6 pesos, 5 reales, 9 grains. The Model illustrated was made by Antonio Guisasola of Eibar, Spain, about 1830. It is caliber .75 with a Catalan stock and a 33 1/2-inch barrel. The quality of the piece indicates that it was carried by a gentleman or officer.


* escopeta.gif (15.73 KB, 567x125 - viewed 352 times.)
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« Reply #137 on: January 30, 2010, 09:18:38 am »

Major 2,

Great post and great weapon ... if I ever get into a docent position as a mounted person, this would definitely bear consideration.

Although nothing like the Escopeta, I used to have a Morrocan snaphance as a kid, and it brings back memories of that weapon ....
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #138 on: January 30, 2010, 11:25:19 am »

WaddWatsonEllis,
I have enjoyed your journey in developing a persona. Your statement that, in here, you relish hard questions that require hard research  so as to prepare your stagecraft in order to not cheat your audience, is not only honorable but enviable.

The very best teachers not only know their subject, but know how to inflame the imagination with that knowledge.
 
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« Reply #139 on: January 30, 2010, 11:32:52 am »

Major II;  Bore of .75.  That is the same as the Tower musket.  The Spanish & Mexicans used a lot of surplus Brit equipment. So this calibre as an officer piece would be consistent.
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« Reply #140 on: January 30, 2010, 02:44:55 pm »

Santa Anna's troops were armed with Brown Bess's when they marched into Texas , Goliad, the Alamo & San Jacinto.
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« Reply #141 on: January 30, 2010, 03:01:02 pm »

And in the mid 1840's against the US during the Mexican War.  The US troops were armed with flintlocks as well, leaving behind the Mod. 1842 percussion musket.  With supply lines long or non-existent, Gen. Scott could not count on caps being available and they were far from waterproof so might not be reliable. 
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« Reply #142 on: January 30, 2010, 03:24:06 pm »

Dr Bob,

This sounds interesting ... does anyone make a Cap and Ball Colt revolving rifle reproduction  ... and in a perfect world, .44 cal. ?

Dixie Gun Works has / had one in the 1855 military configuration, ca. .44 percussion.  Pricey bugger, but the only one I ever saw was very nice.  Check with them.  Could be they know of a copy of the Paterson type rifles from an earlier time.
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« Reply #143 on: January 30, 2010, 09:23:07 pm »

River City John,

Thank you for your kind thought ... I will try to live up to them.

The gist of it is that I expect to get a lot of "Just what is this Gringo doing trying to be Mexican"
Hence the search for an Anglo coverted Californio (There were a number of them who settled pryor to 1848, converted to Catholicism and became Mexican citizens in order to be 'fit in' and be awarded land grants bigger than Rhode Island ... And then, in 184, the Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo made them all American citizens when California was annexed to the US.)

So all this preparation is so that I won't be a total idiot when the first historically knowledgeable Mexican American tries to take me apart ....

And if I do get any more kind complements, if you could see me you would see a perfect imitation of Wallace Beery ... 'AW, shucks, man, yuh didn' hav tuh go an' do that' ...


* Wallace Beery 1.jpg (5.73 KB, 115x145 - viewed 577 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #144 on: January 31, 2010, 02:37:46 am »

And in the mid 1840's against the US during the Mexican War.  The US troops were armed with flintlocks as well, leaving behind the Mod. 1842 percussion musket.  With supply lines long or non-existent, Gen. Scott could not count on caps being available and they were far from waterproof so might not be reliable.
Not sure where you got that info Bob but it's got some problems:
1) The percussion M1841/2 musket was nicknamed the Mississippi Rifle due to it's use by the troops under Jeff Davis during the Mexican War. Also the the Colt Walker and other percussion cap firearms, including the percussion Hall breechloaders (first prodcued in 1832-33) saw a fair amount of use during the war, especially by Dragoons.
2) Caps were well developed by 1846 and were in fact most often waterproofed (Eley's were considered the best and they were offering waterproofed caps as early as the late 1820's). John J Audobon showed off his percussion gun to a friend in the early-1830's by firing it under water. By the late 1830's millions of caps were being offered for sale in St Louis, New Orleans, et al.
3) Flintlocks need flints to work and the idea that one could just pick up a chunk of an appropriate rock along the way is something of a falsehood. Military flintlock muskets generally had their flints replaced after every 20 shots. Long or non-existent supply lines would have also had an effect on powder and other supplies, including flints. Besides Scott was sent south to Veracruz by sea and was thus supplied from there and not overland from the north as was needed to be done by Taylor and Doniphan. Also during the war American traders continued  their business coming down from the north - Susan Magoffins journal is a good read regarding the traders following in the wake of Doniphan's army in 1847 south to Saltillo.
4) I've got a Potsdam musket (built in 1820, converted to cap in 1843) that was carried west in 1846 with a member of the Missouri brigade who later settled in Northern New Mexico, married a Ute woman, and became a trader to the Utes.
5) The Brits did supply a considerable number of the later model Tower muskets to the Mexicans throughout Mexico and the Spanish Southwest.
6) By 1851-52 American firearms of all types were widely available in California, including the newly produced Sharps breechloaders (BTW - the first viable lever action was the Henry, not the M1866). The idea that the Spanish would not use such improved arms is a bit strange - even Joaquin Murietta, who hated Anglos used a Colt Walker.
As to Bowie Knives, some of the finest ever made were built/sold in San Francisco by such makers as Michael Price. Besides the English in particular had been supplying them throughout the world, but especially the USA by the very early 1830's and the 49'ers brought scads of them west.

While the Spanish Californios did attempt to retain much of their culture, they were not totally reluctant to take up the weapons, tools, and yes even the clothes of the Anglos and then adapt them to their own usage. James Hunt posted a pic in a recent post on overshirts in the NCOWS forum showing two Californios in Spanish style dress with one of them packing a holstered Colt Walker.
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« Reply #145 on: January 31, 2010, 09:38:02 am »

Chuck,

As usual, your comments are succint, relevent, and really clear away the haze of what was going on ....

Since my character would have lived on the outskirts of Sacramento, approximately 100 miles (or an overnight steamboat ride) from San Francisco and the Colt distribution center of A.E. Burroughs (sp?), as well as the hometown of Winchester and Main (thought to be the originators of the California Slim Jim holster), I am going to go with a Model 1851 Colt in a Slim Jim holster ... The first shipment of 1851 Colts left New York for San Francisco in April of 1850, so they would have been available (and highly prized) in 1852.

As far as a long gun, as I have said before I am concentrating on a pistol, as I think the long guns would have been for use while on the road and not particularly a 'town weapon'. As such, I would think that a rider who made routine trips into town would have found a safe place to store a long gun and avoid having to fumble with it ...

Since my character would be off his horse on foot for a visit to a hardware store to check on some farming tools on order (That's my story and I'm sticking to it ...), I  am sticking to a leather quirt, the aforementioned 1851 Colt & rig, and a couple of Belduques on my person.


* Winchester & Main Holster 1.jpg (39.39 KB, 331x640 - viewed 446 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

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« Reply #146 on: January 31, 2010, 10:28:26 am »

Thanks Chuck - you saved me a helluva lot of typing...

I'll point out to all, that before a blanket statement gets made - please look under the blanket to verify things are as they seem.

At the time frame of this Impression - it's a pretty 'civilized' world - especially for an interpretive guide.

Folks weren't wandering up and down the streets loaded for bear, like they are at a cowboy shoot - it wasn't needed.

The carrying of a revolver or single-shot pistol and a knife would've been most commonly seen, and besides - you want to tell folks about the 'times' and not your toys, and believe me, they 'can' become distractors.

As to the 'Californio' part of things - don't try to become 'Hispanic' - just work within the times and figure out a reasonable 'Anglo' occupation to be doing for one of your age, since you'd've been there awhile.

The clothing and style is going to be fully understandable to one who's actually taking the tour, because it's what was available and styles are followed by everyone, sooner or later, but having a 'backstory' is what's going to solidify your position - so read the newspaper accounts of the times and be more familiar with then-current events and personages and the like, and that'll sell your Impression.

Most folks who take these tours aren't there to sharpshoot the docent - but if said docent isn't up to speed on the area and the era - then they're a legitimate target.

Good Luck!

Vaya,

Scouts Out!







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« Reply #147 on: January 31, 2010, 10:56:22 am »

St George,

Hmmmm ... newspapers ... looks like I will be spending some time in Davis at Shield's Library ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sacramento_Union

Thanks for the tip ... I have been concentrating on land grants and antique books ... never gave a thought to researching the Microfiche ...


* Sac_Union_Photo.jpg (22.15 KB, 225x195 - viewed 303 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

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« Reply #148 on: January 31, 2010, 12:11:18 pm »

Knowing something about the Land Grants is useful - knowing more about day-to-day activities in the community is more useful.

Make yourself aware of ship timetables and freighting and politics and people and personages and events.

It'll give a far more interesting talk to folks who actually want to learn more than just what's in the pamphlet.

And - make it simple and intelligible to average folks as well as the more historically-minded.

You can eloquently explain the minute differences of your 'belduque' - but all that most folks will hear is 'knife', as they zone out to wait for something of interest to them...

Keep your topics light and well-rehearsed and 'know' your backstory and individual history, as well as what was happening during the times, so you can flesh things out as-needed - and practice your patter with a couple of guys who'll give you honest feedback, so you can do full justice to your efforts as well as your audience.

Vaya,

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"It Wasn't Cowboys and Ponies - It Was Horses and Men.
It Wasn't Schoolboys and Ladies - It Was Cowtowns and Sin..."
WaddWatsonEllis
Watt and Wadd Watson Ellis
NCOWS
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Howdy, Pardner! Sacramento, Ca here ....


« Reply #149 on: January 31, 2010, 01:56:47 pm »

Excellent ideas ... I have always thought that being a docent is a lot like seeking perfection ... a journey that one never really finishes ...

Freight, rail and ship schedules and abilities would be great to know ... I have a general knowledge of it, but nothing like what a person of the day would have ...

Thanks!


* Wells Fargo.jpg (6.5 KB, 165x117 - viewed 279 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
NCOWS #3403
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