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Western Ramblings Blog

Austin - An Iconic Frontier Town

Austin, the state capital of Texas is in Central Texas, was originally planned on a 640-acre site on a bluff above the Colorado River. Today, Austin lays 160 miles northwest of Houston, 195 miles south of Dallas, and 80 miles northeast of San Antonio. The location isn’t as interesting as the history of the wild frontier town. The Roots of [...]

The Sketchy History of Frontier Sheriffs and Lawmen

When the Civil War ended many young men found their old way of life was gone. Their homes were left in ruins, land confiscated by carpetbaggers when the new high taxes couldn’t be paid. All or most of their family members were dead or missing. Many headed west, hoping for a new start. In the west, these men worked prospecting [...]

History of Blacksmiths & Farriers in the 19th Century Frontier

Blacksmiths practice the age-old art of forging tools from iron or steel. Most blacksmiths didn't shoe horses, those specialists are known as farriers. Many types of horseshoes made today were also used in the 19th century. During the Civil War, the Union forces had a horseshoe-forging machine which gave them an advantage over the Southern armies. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="325"] [...]

The American Sewing Machine

The development of the sewing machine began with Walter Hunt's 1834 eye-pointed needle design, which was later re-invented and patented by Elias Howe in 1846. Both Walter Hunt's and Elias Howe's machines used two spools of thread and a curved eye-pointed needle that passed the thread through cloth in an arc motion; then on the other side of the fabric [...]

The Plight of the Single Mother in 19th Century America

Historically, the death of a partner was the major cause of single parenting. So, at a time when the average woman had eight or nine children, it’s not surprising that the Civil War created many single widows and pregnant widows on both sides. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="250"] Adelia Springer, Union Civil War Widow and child[/caption] Some women were single parents [...]

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