Monday, November 02, 2009
Tales Behind the Tombstones
"We never did hang the wrong one but once or twice, and them fellers needed to be hung anyhow jes' on general principles."
~A Nameless Judge In The Old West
It's time for Turn the Page Tuesday hosted by Adrienne from Some of a Kind. I choose to read Tales Behind the Tombstones by Chris Enss, thinking that it was appropriate and fun for a late October read.
From the back cover:
A crumbling headstone in the cemetery at Bodie, California, memorializes Rosa May, a prostitute still known for caring for the sick. In Deadwood, South Dakota, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok, infamous to the end, lie interred side by side, per Jane's last request. And at the top of Lookout Mountain in Colorado lies the greatest western showman of all time, Buffalo Bill Cody, his grave site visited by thousands every year.
Simple Stones, roadside crosses, and grand monuments commemorate the lives of those ordinary citizens and larger-than-life characters who tamed the Wild West and exemplified its greatest myths. In Tales Behind the Tombstones, author Chris Enss shares the stories behind their lives, deaths, and burials.
This book is a collection of short true stories about those buried in both marked and unmarked graves all over the old west, both the infamous outlaws that we all know and many other pioneers that we don't. All of the stories are interesting, all of them taking us back to the old west.
I really enjoyed this one. It's fun to read short stories now and then and even better when we revisit some of our old outlaw friends and foes. I had always thought that Bob Ford shot Jesse James in the back of the head after Jesse had stopped his life of crime. Not so. Bob was part of the James brothers gang, had killed one of the other gang members and, after getting caught, plea-bargained his own case by agreeing to bring down the infamous Jesse James. They were in Jesse's house discussing their next train robbery when Jesse turned to straighten a picture and Mr. Ford shot him in the head. I knew most of the story; had just always heard that the gang was no longer a gang and that Jesse (alias Mr. Howard) was on the straight and narrow.
"All the world likes an outlaw. For some damn reason they remember 'em."
~Jesse James, 1879
I know that I'm posting this on Monday night but my computer seems to have a bit of a bug again, so I probably won't have any access for a couple of days. Darn thing won't recognize it's own battery pack or my photo multi-media card, among other things. Cross your fingers and wish my poor sick computer luck. Otherwise, it might soon be in an unmarked grave in the old west.
"A cemetery is a history of people - a perpetual record of yesterday and sanctuary of peace and quiet today. A cemetery exists because every life is worth loving and remembering - always."
~William Gladstone, Prime Minister of England, 1890
Posted by Paula at 9:04 PM