Nineteenth-century History

American West

Kit Carson

Kit Carson

No one person in the history of the American west played so many important roles in the shaping of this vast American landscape than Kit Carson. Despite his modest upbringing and the modest attitude he would carry with him throughout his life, the epic adventures he would lead in his lifetime would ...
Rocky Mountain Mining Towns: Idaho Springs, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Mining Towns: Idaho Springs, Colorado

There are few mining towns of the old west which are still operational. Most mining operations were shut down for a large variety of different reasons and the towns supporting them then slowly dried up and eventually became ghost towns. Idaho Springs, Colorado, however, is one of the few which are s...
Life in Nineteenth Century Mining Towns

Life in Nineteenth Century Mining Towns

One of my biggest fascinations with the Old West is with what life in a Rocky Mountain mining town in nineteenth century would have been like. It would have been a life full of filth, rough characters and hard work combined with drinking, fighting and gambling as pastimes. Of course these are stereo...
The Johnson County War

The Johnson County War

The Johnson County War has gone down in history as one of many Wild West legends about range wars. Some accounts claim various famous gun slingers like Jesse James were involved, however, this was certainly not the case. The real range war occurred in April 1892 and was the result of tensions, brewi...

Wyoming Territorial Prison

Well, the internship that I was going to start at the Wyoming Territorial Prison Museum fell through unfortunately, but I am going to write about it anyway. Located in Laramie, Wyoming, the Wyoming Territorial Prison was the result of the need for a penitentiary for convicted felons after Wyoming be...
Who were the real cowboys? (Part 5)

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 5)

Life on the cattle trail in the late 19th century was often monotonous and boring, however, there were also times that were quite exciting and dangerous. Chief among the many dangers that the cowboys had to face on a regular basis were Indians, thieves and stampedes. Indian raids were certainly amon...

How Railroads took the ‘Wild’ out of the West

While I’m finishing up some other articles for History Rhymes (such as the 5th installment of the “Who were the real cowboys?” series…finally), I found a good article about how the railroads took the wild out of the wild west. It was a very interesting read actually about the...
Who were the real cowboys? (Part 4)

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 4)

In the late 19th century, the combination of high demand for beef in the eastern United States and the lack of railroads or really any kind of infrastructure in the west was the cause for a unique phenomenon west. The western ranchers in states such as Texas and Wyoming needed to find a way to...
Who were the real cowboys? (Part 3)

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 3)

The image of the American cowboy as we perceive it today was created in the 19th century, particularly in the postbellum period, or the period after the Civil War. After the war, many soldiers from both the Union and the Confederate sides had difficulties finding jobs in the east despite the South&#...
Who were the real cowboys? (Part 2)

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 2)

The history of the cowboy is a story that begins long ago. What we now think of as a uniquely American tradition is not solely American at all. Cowboy tradition first originated in mediæval Spain with the hacienda, or estate. The haciendas belonged to wealthy landowners and were generally, but not ...
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