Category Archives: History

Tom Bell – The First Highwayman

On a fall afternoon in 1856, members of a sheriff’s posse and a group of citizen vigilantes lynched a man considered the first outlaw to rob a stagecoach in the United States. Tom Bell—born Thomas J. Hodges around 1832 in … Continue reading

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On This Day

On this day in 1847, the first rescuers reach surviving members of the Donner Party, a group of California-bound emigrants stranded by snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the summer of 1846, in the midst of a Western-bound fever … Continue reading

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The Evolution of the American Tank

Evolved from slow, lumbering, and malfunctioning origins, the modern Main Battle Tank can cross long distances rapidly and engage targets at ranges unimaginable to soldiers and commanders in World War I trenches. But these monstrous metal warriors would be nothing … Continue reading

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Lester Pelton – an unrecognized genius

Lester Allen Pelton (September 5, 1829 – March 14, 1908) was an American inventor who contributed significantly to the development of hydroelectricity and hydropower in the old West and world-wide. In the late 1870s, he invented the Pelton water wheel, … Continue reading

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John C. Fremont

John Charles Frémont or Fremont (January 21, 1813 – July 13, 1890) was an American explorer, politician, and soldier who, in 1856, became the first candidate of the Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During … Continue reading

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John Mason

John Mason, (? – 1866), with Jim Henry, was one of the leaders of the Mason Henry Gang organized by secessionist Judge George Gordon Belt, that posed as Confederate partisan rangers but acted as outlaws, committing robberies, thefts and murders … Continue reading

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The Fetterman Massacre

The Fetterman Fight, fought on a December morning [in 1866], was the worst military blunder of the Western Indian wars prior to the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876. That William Judd Fetterman, the Army officer who led … Continue reading

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Tales of the Gun – John Moses Browning

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Shiver me timbers

YARMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — Researchers are examining whether human bones found in a Cape Cod shipwreck are those of the infamous pirate Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy. The Whydah Pirate Museum in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, says Wednesday that archeologists uncovered the remains … Continue reading

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The Horrell-Higgens Feud

The Horrell and Higgins families were ranchers who settled in Lampasas County before the Civil War and were friends and neighbors until the 1870s. The five Horrell brothers-Mart, Tom, Merritt, Ben, and Sam-first got into trouble with the State Police … Continue reading

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Women at War

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John Colter

The sinewy, bearded man raced up the brushy hillside, blood streaming from his nose from the terrific exertion. He did not consider himself a fast runner, but on this occasion the terror of sudden and agonizing death lent wings to … Continue reading

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Frank McNab

Frank McNab (or MacNab) (died 1878) was a member of the Regulators who fought on behalf of John Tunstall during the Lincoln County War. Of Scottish origin, McNab was a “cattle detective” who worked for Hunter, Evans, & Company, which … Continue reading

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On This Day

In 1968 At dawn on the first day of the Tet holiday truce, Viet Cong forces–supported by large numbers of North Vietnamese troops–launch the largest and best coordinated offensive of the war, drivingg into the center of South Vietnam’s seven … Continue reading

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How about Russian Thistle?

Most folks don’t realize that tumbleweeds (Russian Thistle) aren’t native to the American West – they were accidentally introduced by Russian immigrants from the Steppes back in the 1800s.

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When you don’t mind maiming a bystander or two

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The Battle of Athens (Athens Tennessee, that is)

In 1946, the small town of Athens, Tennessee, became a battleground. A siege was laid on the town jail by a crowd mostly consisting of WWII veterans who decided to take justice into their own hands, as their local politics … Continue reading

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This shrapnel damaged M1911 is relic from Battle of the Bulge

“Today I held hell in my hands,” said a firearms buff who came across a battered 1911, pockmarked from its wartime service before it was recovered from a World War II battlefield. MORE/PHOTOS -Brodougie

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Reed Gold Mine, North Carolina – First Gold Discovery

The Reed Gold Mine in Cabarrus County, North Carolina is the site of the first documented gold find in the United States. It would lead to the first gold rush—a half-century before the major Western rushes began. Prior to this … Continue reading

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The Brooks-McFarland feud

The Brooks–McFarland feud was a family feud that took place between 1896 and 1902, in what is now the state of Oklahoma. It began after the death of Thomas Brooks on August 24, 1896. The Brooks family blamed the McFarlands … Continue reading

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