Hearts Through History Romance Writers

History on Film

I majored in History twice in college.  Yes, one bachelor’s degree wasn’t enough, so I went back and got a second.  In the pursuit of that second degree, I was blessed to take hands-down the best History class ever: Historiography.  For those who don’t know, Historiography is the history of how history has been recorded.  The more historical romance novels I write, the more important I realize the whole concept of historiography is to us.  (more…)

Gun Control in the Old West? Facts and Fiction

Guns were an equalizer in the West and required when there was little order and little visible presence of the law given the size of the territories that had to be covered and the lack of officers to handle it. Throw in the fact that in many counties and municipalities lawmen were in the pockets of the rich and powerful who owned land—and lots of it—and you’ve got some very good reasons why men walked around  “well heeled.” The Johnson County War (Wyoming) and the Lincoln County War (New Mexico) are just two examples of violence spurred by lawmen that were the arm of a faction that wanted to retain power at any price.

So it is somewhat surprising to realize that many counties and towns in the West during the late 1800’s had stiffer gun control laws then they do in the modern era.  But as western towns attracted more families, business men, and industries, the townspeople could no longer tolerate the “wild cowboys”  that were part of area ranch and cattle drives. These were generally young men in their twenties, liquored up, testosterone driven, and with the judgment of a cow on loco weed.


Falling In and Out of Love in the Wild West: Courting, Marriage and Divorce

 Being we are close to Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d do a post on falling in love western style.

 Despite Victorian mores, marriage and courting in the Wild West was a good deal less formal than the overarching norms of the period. This had much to do with the scarcity of women in the West, at least in the early period before the Civil War. After the Civil War, the female population increased somewhat as more adventurous women rode west, mainly in search of men to marry since the War Between the States had decimated the population of young men in the East and Southeast.  Of course, women still made up a smaller part of the western population even in 1890 with the West reporting 41% of its population as female while in the total United States females made up 49% of the population.

 Surprisingly, the marriage age was later for women in the West, perhaps because they could be choosier about whom they married and had a few more career options that allowed for independence, such as teaching and running boarding houses and stores, than their eastern sisters. The 1890 census reported 35% of men and 36% of females as married in the total United States while the Western Region reported only 30% of the male population married and 39% of western females as married.