Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Encyclopedia of Frontier Literature by Mary Ellen Snodgrass


Well, that title says it all.

This is a compendium guide to literature written at the time of Frontier Expansion and a good smattering of titles written well after, with the caveat being any later titles must be reflective of historical verisimilitude.

I repeat, this is less a guide to gerne fiction than it is a deep look at what was written then about the American West as it was being settled than what was written after with hindsight and Hollywood coloring.

For the historian and/or armchair scholar who finds more gold in actuality than formulaic depictions, well, this one mighty fine sourcebook.

Easy A+

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee by David Crockett


This 1834 volume is a fine glimpse into the mindset of a legend.


What particularly strikes, this reader at least, is the well he goes to again and again—How to Be Your Own Man.


A man who follows the Star of Principles over the cult of personality, the tug of party, or the absurd strictures of dogma.

A man who looks to himself even if it “ruins.”


Rare and admirable.


He said, 'I would as lieve be an old coondog as obliged to do what any man or set of men would tell me to do. I will support the present Administration as far as I would any other; that is, as far as I believe its views to be right. I will pledge myself to support no Administration. I had rather be politically damned than hypocritically immortalized.'"-David Crockett on withdrawing his support for Andrew Jackson


Ere long he found it necessary to oppose some of Jackson's measures. We will let him tell the story in his own truthful words: "Soon after the commencement of this second term, I saw, or thought I did, that it was expected of me that I would bow to the name of Andrew Jackson, and follow him in all his motions, and windings, and

turnings, even at the expense of my conscience and judgment. Such a thing was new to me, and a total stranger to my principles. I know'd well enough, though, that if I didn't 'hurrah' for his name, the hue and cry was to be raised against me, and I was to be sacrificed, if possible. His famous, or rather I should say his infamous Indian bill was brought forward, and I opposed it from the purest motives in the world. Several of my colleagues got around me, and told me how well they loved me, and that I was ruining myself. They said this was a favorite measure of the President, and I ought to go for it. I told them I believed it was a wicked, unjust measure, and that I should go against it, let the cost to myself be what it might; that I was willing to go with General Jackson in everything that I believed was honest and right; but, further than this, I wouldn't go for him or any other man in

the whole creation.”-David Crockett


Crockett was then called up, as the "undeviating supporter of the Constitution and the laws." In response to this toast, he says, "I made a short speech, and concluded with the story of the red cow, which was, that as long as General Jackson went straight, I followed him; but when he began to go this way, and that way, and every way, I wouldn't go after him; like the boy whose master ordered him to plough across the field to the red cow. Well, he began to plough, and she began to walk; and he ploughed all forenoon after her. So when the master came, he swore at him for going so crooked. 'Why, sir,' said the boy, 'you told me to plough to the red cow, and I kept after her, but she always kept moving.'"-David Crockett


I voted for Andrew Jackson because I believed he possessed certain principles, and not because his name was Andrew Jackson, or the Hero, or Old Hickory. And when he left those principles which induced me to support him, I considered myself justified in opposing him. This thing of man-worship I am a stranger to; I don't like it; it taints every action of life; it is like a skunk getting into a house—long after he has cleared out, you smell him in every room and closet, from the cellar to the garret.”—David Crockett


The time will and must come, when honesty will receive its reward, and when the people of this nation will be brought to a sense of their duty, and will pause and reflect how much it cost us to redeem ourselves from the government of one man.”—David Crockett’


I will be no man's man, and no party's man.”—David Crockett


His celebrated motto, "Be sure that you are right, and then go ahead,"-David Crockett


 March 5th. Pop, pop, pop! Bom, bom, bom! Throughout the day. No time for memorandums now. Liberty and Independence forever.”-The final entry in David Crockett’s Journal, found at the Alamo.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

An Apache Campaign in the Sierra Madre by John G. Bourke


The two great points of superiority of the native or savage soldier over the representative of civilized discipline are his absolute knowledge of the country and his perfect ability to take care of himself at all times and under all circumstances. Though the rays of the sun poured down from the zenith, or the scorching sirocco blow from the south, the Apache scout trudges along as unconcerned as he was when the cold rain or snow winter chilled his white comrade to the marrow. He finds food and pretty good food too, where the Caucasian would starve.

This non-fiction account by Captain Bourke of the Third Cavalry, U.S. Army is superlative, simply superlative.

For me to add more words to his succinct and dynamic account would take time away from your reading it.

I heartily endorse this excellent volume.

A Frontier Phrase Worth Resurrecting: “He Bubbles Pure"

  [Excerpted from our book The Frontier Stoic: Life Lessons from Those Who Lived a Life.] “ He bubbles pure .” ·         Said of a man w...