Feudin’ and Fightin’ Friday: The Great Hopewell Frog War

While doing some family research last week, I came across something called a “frog war”.  What’s a frog war?  I’ve done some “frog” stories, one called “The Battle of the Frogs” and one about an old horned toad named Rip, but this one isn’t about an amphibious creature or a lizard.  This one had to do with railroad lines. Hopewell Frog War In the late eighteenth and into the early nineteenth century, the fledgling new American government began building a series of turnpikes, toll roads and canals to facilitate transportation of goods, as well as westward expansion.  A Revolutionary War veteran, lawyer and politician by the name of John Stevens III experimented with steam in the early 1800’s and was the first to construct a steam-powered locomotive in the United States, testing it on a track which ran around his Hoboken, New Jersey estate. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens...

Feudin’ and Fightin’ Friday: Colorados y Azules (Some Things Never Change)

As the political rule-of-thumb goes, most people don’t pay attention to upcoming national elections until after Labor Day.  Here’s a look back at an era gone by – or is it?  As another saying goes, “some things never change”. Today we are accustomed to the color-coded political classification system of “red states” vs. “blue states”.  The concept, however, is not a new one.  Following the Civil War, political parties in South Texas used a system to help illiterate or Spanish-speaking voters utilize ballots which were printed in English.  This practice started in the 1870s and continued until the 1920s. The system revolved around what was called “boss rule”.  In that era, elections were a big deal (they still should be, but that’s another story) with each side attempting to outdo the other with parades, bands and dances.  Democrats Stephen Powers and James G. Browne organized the Democrats of Cameron County into a Blue Club, with about one hundred members, both Anglo and Hispanic. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share...

Feudin’ and Fightin’ Friday: A Bloody One in Arkansas

The Arkansas feud known as the Tutt-Everett War or the King-Tutt-Everett War or the Marion County War wasn’t over love, money, water or land – it was pure politics and it was bloody.  The Marion County War might be the most appropriate name since it eventually seemed to have involved just about every citizen in the county. The Tutt family, led by Hansford “Hamp” Tutt, had come to Searcy County, Arkansas from Tennessee sometime in the 1830’s.  The Tutts were members of the Whig Party and wielded political influence in Searcy County.  They were also known to be a rough bunch – gambling, horse racing, fighting and drinking.  Hamp was a merchant and also owned a saloon which served as a local hangout. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

Feudin’ and Fightin’ Friday: The Hay Meadow Massacre

It was a Kansas feud, a county seat war, but the massacre occurred in a strip of land which is now part of Oklahoma, the “panhandle” part.  In 1888, however, it was called the “Neutral Strip” or “No Man’s Land”. Stevens County, Kansas was established in southwest Kansas on August 3, 1885.  The town of Hugo (later called Hugoton) was established in late 1885 and the town of Woodsdale was founded in 1886 by Colonel Samuel Newitt Woods.  Hugoton and Woodsdale would later lock horns over which one would be the county seat.  In that day, county seat wars were all too common – Gray, two counties northeast, was another that turned into an unfortunate bloody affair (you can read about it here). NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

Feuding’ and Fightin’ Friday: Spikes-Gholson Feud

This family feud simmered quite awhile before it ended in the early 1900’s in eastern New Mexico, in an area now known as Quay County.  The feud began in east Texas during the Civil War when the two patriarchs of the Spikes and Gholson families crossed paths, or should I say just “crossed.” John Wesley Spikes (see this week’s Tombstone Tuesday article here in case you missed it) was a member of the Texas 12th Cavalry, whose job was rounding up draft evaders.  During the Civil War men were often recruited with the “point-of-a-gun” rather than willingly join the cause. One day in 1864, Samuel Gholson was in the town of Kaufman (Spikes lived in the county at the time as well) stocking up on supplies when he was approached by one of Spikes’ men.  Sam Gholson was the son of Albert Gholson who fought Mexico for Texas independence years before.  Sam, who rode with the Texas Rangers, had also distinguished himself in the Indian wars.  His family’s illustrious history apparently made no impression on Spikes’ men. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter...

Feudin’ and Fightin’ Friday: Battle at the Sandbar

This “battle” only lasted about ten minutes, and perhaps only receiving historical mention because from it emerged the legend of James “Jim” Bowie, expert knife-fighter, who less than a decade later famously perished at the Battle of the Alamo. James Bowie was born in Kentucky in 1796,  the son of Rezin and Elve Ap-Catesby (Jones) Bowie.  By 1801 his family had migrated to Rapides, Louisiana and sworn allegiance to the Spanish government.  During his teen years, James hauled lumber down the river to market.  Fond of fishing and hunting, it is said that he also rode wild horses and alligators (maybe more legend than fact).  James and his brother Rezin decided to join Andrew Jackson’s forces during the War of 1812, but soon after their decision to join the war had officially ended. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email...