Another Saturday Night Story: August 2009


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Conner Is 4 Years Old Today

My Grandson Conner turn 4 years old today. He has been a party animal all day, according to his Mother. He opened his gifts this morning and is doing second round of cake in a bit. He kept asking if it would be his birthday "all day, or just for a little bit" this morning. It was hilarious!

Have a Good Week

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hell On The Border

Orville Crawford Word , my Great Grandfather, owned Trading Post up and along the Santa Fe Trail, first in St. Louis, then later in Fort Smith. Fort Smith was the last stop before entering Indian Territory(Oklahoma), it was along the Trail of Tears, and was a main route for the Butterfield Stage Co. between the east and west.

My father is buried not far from Fort Smith, maybe fifty miles as the Crow flies. Odd that my father, and my Great Grandfather buried so close to each other. Maybe just by chance.

‘Hell on the Border”, Ft. Smith, Arkansas

The scrappy border town of Fort Smith grew up slowly around the walls of a small fort established in late 1817 on a high bluff overlooking the junction of the Arkansas and Poteau rivers. The site was familiar to hunters and trappers because it was the location for annual trade rendezvous' between frontiersmen and Native Americans. Named for General Thomas Smith at the federal garrison in St. Louis, the tiny outpost was originally built to promote peace between the warring Osage and Cherokee Indian tribes.
Because of its unique geographical position - straddling the border between what became the state of Arkansas and what was known then as "Indian Territory" in present-day Oklahoma - Fort Smith by the mid-19th century was feared as "Hell on the Border," the gateway between "civilization" and the untamed West. Through this gate passed trappers canoeing upriver; Cherokee Indians on their fateful "Trail of Tears" journey; Forty-Niners seeking gold in California; the Butterfield stagecoaches linking St. Louis to Santa Fe; Confederate and Union troops skirmishing in the Civil War; outlaws seeking freedom across the border; and even cowboys and ranchers headed for Texas.
During this period, bustling Fort Smith attracted people who later made brief marks on the pages of history - future president Zachary Taylor; Civil War general Benjamin Bonneville; "Hangin' Judge" Isaac C. Parker, the man credited with restoring law and order to the area; his feared hangman George Maledon; outlaws Cherokee Bill, Belle Starr and the Rufus Buck gang; and "Miss Laura" Ziegler, an enterprising frontier "madame."

The First Fort Smith
On Christmas day, 1817, soldiers of the U.S. Army formally established the first Fort Smith. Isolated on the edge of the American Frontier, these men, under the command of Major William Bradford, were charged with keeping the peace between the Cherokee and Osage tribes.
Officially operational for only seven years, the first Fort Smith marked the beginning of Fort Smith's eighty year history as an agent of Federal Indian Policy.

The Second Fort Smith
The second Fort Smith was established by an act of Congress in 1838, two years after Arkansas gained statehood. Unwanted by the army, the fort was initially designed as a massive fortification. Construction of the garrison took eight years due to labor difficulties, budget overruns, and other reasons. When finally completed in 1846, less than half of the original number of structures were built. The fortification wall, intended to be twelve feet high, varied from six to twelve feet in height; cannon platforms at the corners of the fort were never completed, instead several were converted into warehouses.

The second fort gained a purpose in the 1850s as the "Motherpost of the Southwest," supplying military forts further to the West. The fort was a focal point of Civil War operations in the region, as both armies prized the facility and its location.
At the end of the Civil War, the post's operational days were numbered; the facility did not age well, and within five years, both Officer's Quarters were destroyed in fires. In the summer of 1871, U.S. Army troops leave Fort Smith for the final time

The Trail of Tears and Native American History
Fort Smith's history is strongly tied to the history of the removal of the five tribes, better known as "The Trail of Tears." The soldiers of the first Fort Smith were sent West to keep the peace between the incoming Cherokees and the Osage. The stockades fort was abandoned by the army and relocated prior to the forced removal. The second Fort Smith supplied the newly-relocated tribes as well as other military posts in the Indian Territory. The federal court for the Western District of Arkansas had the task of enforcing federal law in the Indian Territory in the decades following the Civil War.

Have a Good Week

Song of the Week
You Tube has just become so big. You can get just about anything that has been recorded in the past at the website. Here is a original 1964 appearance of Johnny Rivers, playing "Memphis".

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Les Paul dies at age 94

Les Paul passed away this last week. He was by all accounts a music legend. He invented the electric guitar, and the 8 track recording tape, among other things. He later married Mary Ford, and they had several big hits. One song, a number one hit, "How High The Moon", was one of my mother's favorites. You can read more about Les Paul on Yahoo.

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Les Paul and Mary Ford, "How High The Moon".

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Dr. Thomas Walker

My Great Grandmother was Nancy Caroline Gaddy, who married Albert Pike Word. Her father was John Price Gaddy, he was the son of Thomas Gaddy and Elizabeth "Betsy" Walker. Elizabeth Walker was the daughter of John Walker, who married Mary Harris.

I have been searching as to whether John Walker was the son of Dr. Thomas Walker of Kentuky. John was afterall, born in Virginia, and married in Kentucky, before moving on to Missouri. Maybe one of our Gaddy family members can put the two together.

Here is the story of Dr. Thomas Walker:

Although Daniel Boone is often remembered as Kentucky's most famous pioneer, Dr. Thomas Walker was actually the first frontiersman in Kentucky, preceding Boone by 17 years.

A physician and surveyor, Walker led the first expedition through Cumberland Gap in 1750. Dr. Walker was an agent for the Loyal Land Company of Virginia and was exploring the western wilderness seeking land for settlement. Near the river, which he named the Cumberland; Dr. Walker built the first cabin in Kentucky, a replica of which stands on the site today. Dr. Walker’s journal, recorded during his four-month exploration, described plentiful wildlife, thickly tangled woods and rugged terrain.

See also Dr. Thomas Walker
State Historic Site

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Song Of The Week
This is another oldie from the seventies. This is some old footage,"Tin Man" America.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Short Snorter During World War I

Allied soldiers would have currency signed by comrades, much like an autograph book. As one note was filled, another would be connected to the first (usually by tape), with more added as needed. A 10 foot long "train" of notes not being uncommon. This tradition began during World War I, heightened during World War II, and was carried on into the Korean War. A "snorter" is a drink of liquor, usually swallowed in one quick gulp. A"shortsnorter" is a drink of liquor that's not quite full. This term was adopted by the soldiers as the nickname for these notes.

This Shortsnorter belong to my Grandfather, Lloyd M. Rice. It is from World War I and list all the guys in his outfit. It is a Silver Certificate dollar bill.

The Japanese Never Got Past Tulsa

Back in the 70's, when you could drink and smoke on TV. This excerpt from Johnny Carson, and the "Rat Pack".

Have a Good Week