A Condensed History of the North American Fur Trade

The evolution of cooking has come a long way since since the heyday of eating when possible of the French Canadian Voyageurs and the American Mountain Men who served as the early work horses who bore both the burdens and the dangers of the early Canadian and American fur trades to eating when convenient made possible by contemporary, well equipped high tech kitchens.

In popular folklore, the fur trade of the American Far West generally is viewed to have begon with John Colter, a member of the accused Lewis and Clark Expedition. As they were returning to St Louis, Missouri from their winter quarters at Ft Clatsop on the south shore at the mouth of the Columbia River, their nearly two year sojourn into the unknown western wilderness close to its end, they arrived in the spring of 1806 at the Mandan Villages near present day Mandan, North Dakota.

There, they encountered two frontiersmen who were traveling to the senior Missouri River to hunt furs, Forest Hancock and Joseph Dickson. Colter approached the captains, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and asked permission to join Hancock and Dickson as the only man allowed to leave the expedition before its completion. Due to his exemplary service throughout the ordinal, the captains granted his request and thus began two extraordinary years of adventures and wanderings during which, among other accomplishments, Colter "discovered" Jackson Hole in present day Grand Teton National Park and "Colter's Hell" commonly believed to be the geysers basin of what now is Yellowstone National Park. In fact, it more likely was an area later referred to as the "Stinkin 'Hole", a similarly geothermally active region of the Shoshone River just east of Yellowstone Park near today's Cody, Wyoming.

But Cody's most well-known, some might say misadventure, occurred in 1808 as he and his trapping partner at the time, a man named John Potts (also a Lewis & Clark Expedition veteran), were canoeing up the Jefferson River in what now is southern Montana south of Three Forks, when they encountered a large band of the hostile, notoriously ferocious Blackfoot tribe. The Blackfeet demanded they come ashore. Colter complied and as he did so, was disarmed and stripped of his clothes. But Potter refused and was shot and wounded. Potter returned fire and was promptly dispatched after being riddled with Blackfoot bullets and his body hacked apart.

The Blackfeet then held a council to determine Colter's fate, after which Colter was summoned and told in Crow to begin running. Thus began a most remarkable sequence of events. Stark naked and realizing he was literally running for his life, pursued by a pack of young braves, each eager to capture the honor of claiming his scalp, after several miles of very fast running (note this, all you marathoners!) Colter, utterly exhausted and nose bleeding profusely, turned his head to see all but a lone brave had dropped far back in the race. The remaining would be assailant soon overcame Colter. What happened next best is described in the immortal 1817 words of John Bradbury, a Scottish botanist who traveled through the American West in the early 19th Century:

"Again he turned his head, and saw the savage not twenty yards from him. Determined if possible to avoid the expected blow, he suddenly stopped, turned round, and spread out his arms. and sometimes at the bloody appearance of Colter, also attempted to stop; but exhausted with running, he fell while endeavouring (sic) to throw his spear, which stuck in the ground, and broke in his hand. , with which he pinned him to the earth, and then continued his flight. "

Colter also grabbed the unfortunate aspiring hero's blanket and continued his flight toward ultimate escape and freedom until he reached the Madison River whereupon, with an incredible presence of mind, he jumped in, spied a near raft of fallen trees against the bank, grabbed one of the reeds growing alongside, then dove and hid beneath the raft, using the hollow reed as a straw through which he could breath as he felt the vibrations of the Blackfoot braves as they scampered to and fro across the raft seeking for him the rest of the day (note this, all you snorkelers!).

As night fell, the Blackfeet, believing he had escaped, withdrew to their encipherment at the beginning of that improbable foot race many miles away, and Colter cautiously emerged, alive but cold and sore, from his hiding spot and began his long trek across the intervening mountains and plains back to the Missouri River and on to St Louis. Soon after retreating to St Louis, young (but by then considered agreed!) Mr Colter found himself besmitten by a lovely young lass and before long was bound by the bonds of wedded bliss which entrapped him just as clearly as his own traps had ensnared unsuspecting beavers in his previous life. Within a few short years of his betrothal and new life as a farmer on nearby land he had purchased with what remained of the proceeds from selling his pelts of fur, John Colter passed into Eternity. It never has been determined whether John's premature demise was the result of shock caused by the sudden transition from his storied wanderings through uncharted and unknown lands to a life of domesticity or whether the extreme hardships of that strenuous life finally caught up with him and their actualized ultimate toll in the form of his succumbing to an unexpectedly premature expiration.

In truth, the North American fur trade was founded early in the 17th Century (1608) by New World French Canadian settlers who initially were bonded indentured servants who served at their sponsor's pleasure for a fixed period of time in return for their passage from Europe to North American shores. In effect, they were slaves to their masters until their commitments had been satisfied and their masters were financially astute businessmen. (There actually existed a small number of equally astute businesswomen in French Canada back then who were no less conversant with the riches to be gained by exploiting the high European demand for the vast wealth of fine furs that the Interior was known to produce and leveraging the labor of their indentured "servants", ie slaves).

These incredibly strong and hardy men (many of the more legendary ones today would be labeled as "Super Men") bore the back breaking work and long, arduous days of carrying trade goods from Montreal via canoe up first breakup in the spring to places as far flung as the Northern Canadian Rockies (think Edmonton and Jasper), before returning with hundreds of 90 lb bales of fur at the end of the summer, reaching Montreal just before freezeup. Throughout the extensive lake routes of the Quetico in Southern Ontario and the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota, many grueling ports were required in which each man, who generally was small small, carried two 90 lb packs on his back for the duration of the portage . Docuated instances of some men carrying three such packs exist in the literature of the times and traditional tales speak at least one 6 '8 "giant who reputedly once carried seven of those packs.

In practice, few of these Voyageurs, as they generally have been known through the ages, made the entire journey from Montreal to their cargo's destination, and those who did wintered there. Before long, that custom spread to include some who chose to brave the demanding winters of the intermediate country. (Temperatures at Minnesota's Lake of the Woods weather station have often been known to plunge to -60âÂï½ÂÂï½ comp comparable to today's deep freezes at Fairbanks, Alaska at the bottom of the Cheena River Basin, where the average temperatures have warmed measurably over the past several decades). The standard practice was to break the journey in half, with the western and eastern crews meeting to exchange hundreds of tons of cargo at the annual rendezvous in Grand Portage on the shore of a small bay on the north side of Lake Superior in the far corner of Northeast Minnesota. Those who chose to withstand the harsh rigors of Canada's Interior winters were referred to as hommes du nord (northern men) or hivernants (winterers). They often took native wives, had children and raised families with them, in the process spawning an historically underprivileged, unrecognized class of citizens called Metss who tended to congregate in their own small settlements along Manitoba's Red River. They historically were destined to play a significant role in expanding the western fur trade south to the Louisiana Territory of the United States.

The eastern crews were called mangeurs de lard (pork eaters) because their diets primarily consist of salted pork, which was produced in Montreal and provided to them by their masters. The western crews tend to mostly mostly on pemmican, the drawn and dried meat of fresh game that initially also came from Montreal but as the trade matured, began to be manufactured In Grand Portage for distribution to the western crews. The rendezvous served a dual purpose – providing at the same time a venue for the formal exchange of cargoes and the occasion for a couple days of raucous, bawdy debauchery before resuming the arduous treks of the oppositely departing canoe fleets powered by the once again sober Voyageurs .

In 1670, the King of France granted an exclusive royal charter for the North American fur trade to the Hudson's Bay Company. Over the next twenty years, policies changed and restrictions eased, allowing the formation of its new arch rival, the North West Company. The two companies engaged in a vicious, cut throat competition for men, resources and native alliances to lock down their sources of furs since, unlike the later American Mountain Men, the Voyageurs rarely engaged in the practice of hunting and trapping themselves, preferring to leave that task to the native peoples that they encountered and to barter with the natives for their furs. The appearance of the Hudson's Bay Company on the scene in 1770 imposed organization and structure upon an industry which until then mainly had been composed of a relatively informal, loose confederation of individual masters and their indentured servants. With the advent of the severe competition heralded by the rise of the North West Company, all semblance of independent fur operations was extinguished and the two companies battled it out until the toll great so great after twenty years of fighting and stealing each other's resources, they finally were forced to merge in 1821.

The merger also signaled the end of the Voyageur as a generic waterborne adventurer. In reality, these men actually formed a ranked class of specialized adventurers. Voyageurs employed the highest pecking order and specifically were employees of the combined HBC / NWC venture who possessed the highly prized skills and physical abilities of traditional Voyageurs. As such, they rarely strayed far from their water craft and routes. The original, independent (after satisfying any prior indentations obligations) Voyageurs became known as coureur des bois who generally traveled about New France unimpeded and at will. Their numbers diminished as HBC / NWC business flourished. Finally, there were the engagés, rough common labors accustomed to outdoor living and skilled in frontier craft who put themselves at the disposal of whomever needed their services to do whatever was asked of them.

The birth and subsequent growth of the American West Fur Trade follows quite a different path. Its nascent beginnings, certainly when formalized organization and structure are considered, can be found in the establishment, under the consent of Thomas Jefferson, then US President, of John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company in the spring of 1808, even before the triumphant return to St Louis of the pioneer Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition. and it was a trader named Manual Lisa who, in that same spring of 1808, fostered the fateful encounter of John Colter with two of his men, Forest Hancock and Joseph Dickson, on his way upriver to establish the first American trading post west of the Mississippi River at the mouth of the fabled Yellowstone River where it empties into the Missouri near what now is Williston, North Dakota.

In 1810, Astor mounted an overland expedition to Fort Astoria, which he founded in 1811 with a group of men he had sent around Cape Horn on the American merchant ship Tonquin to compete against the NWC interior posts. By 1813 he had enough and, alarmed by the unexpected appearance of the British warship HMS Racoon during the War of 1812, in 1813 agreed to sell his Astoria assets to NWC, which described the outpost Fort George.

The following years were up and down for Astor's American Fur Company until 1822, when William Henry Ashely, in partnership with Andrew Henry, formed the very successful Rocky Mountain Fur, Inc. to compete with Astor's AFC. The intension competition which follows parallel in ferocity, though later in time, that of the earlier HBC / NWC contest for power in the fur trade. The discipline it imposed on the up to that time fiercely independent streak of American Mountain Men rejected in a system of scheduled rendezvous's at specified places and times each summer, when trappers who are wintered in the remote wilderness, both independently and under the direct employment of one of the two companies harvesting furs would meet at the appointed time and place to exchange their furs for the next year's supplies that they required to see them through the winter.

The annual supply train of pack mules which returned after each rendezvous was organized every spring in St Louis by a famous Great Plains trader named Bill Sublette and his four brothers. The timing was inticate for its day, as that entire distance had to be transported at a pace carefully calculated to arrive at the agreed time and place of that year's rendezvous. As they began to pour in from every corner of Americas vast western wilderness, The Mountain Men would dispatch riders to the east until they spotted the distant dust cloud of Sublette's slowly approaching mule train, upon which they would wheel the mounts around and make a headlong dash for a camp desperate to hear the first sounds of whooping and hollering "He's almost here, he's almost here!" For in addition to the multiple grains and various tools of the trade they would need, plus the varied assortments of gadgets which each Mountain man chose to fill his "possibles pouch" and vital gunpowder, musket balls and beaver traps, Bill was known to pack prodigious quantities of whiskey of which no canister ever was known to leave the rendezvous with so much as a drop of fire water left in it, meaning the next fifty weeks would be dry as a bone teetotaling weeks for the Mountain Men.

The result was a colorful raucous, bawdy, brawling event which consistently exceeded even the exaggerated standards of the infamous Voyageurs' Grand Portage rendezvous's. The rendezvous's usually were held in locations convenient to Sublette traversing South Pass, the great, reliably easy passage across the Continental Divide at the southern end of Wyoming's rugged Wind River Range which later facilitated the passage of most of the West's pioneer wagon trains first to Oregon , then to California, beginning in earnest in 1840. Places like Ham's Fork on the Green River running through the valley on the west side of the Wind Rivers, or Bear Lake in Utah.

Many of the Mountain Men who were the American version of the French Canadian hivernants, like their counterparts took native wives and raised families with them, often holing up in remote Native villages while traveling streams in the vicity and moving with them as they migrated whenever conditions demanded. They typically would bring their spouses with them to the rendezvous's, then carry on as they rowdily pleased. The rendezvous's frequently also attended by many braves, warriors and young, unattached native maidens, the maidens mostly for the beads and trinkets they knew Sublette to pack along, the braves and warriors mostly for the whiskey and games of strength and agility which characterized those gatherings. For the most part, enmities were sidelined for the duration of those celebrations, but not always. There is a little known term of the Old West called "Up to the Green River". Legend has it that this term was coined during an incident, possibly at a Ham's Fork rendezvous. Green River knives were highly prized, heavily bought Sublette specialties for their unusual sharpness and toughness. The story goes that one night, after draining the contents of a jug of "Green River Whiskey" (ie whiskey that Sublette, seeking more profitable returns, often watered down with Green River water before selling it to the trappers), two trappers who supposedly were not on the friendliest of terms outside of rendezvous, became quarrelsome and one stuck his Green River knife into the other up to its hilt, killing him instantly. Such drunken violence hardly being uncommon among those gatherings, the term "Up to the Green River" stuck.

There exists evidence that, even prior to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Metss traders had blazed trails south from Canada into the United States, initially following the Red River south as it ran along the border between present day Minnesota and North Dakota to its source at the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail rivers between Minnesota and North Dakota. There is some indication that they may have made it as far as the Yellowstone and Teton areas of Wyoming's northwestern corner and possibly over Teton Pass at the southern end of the Teton Range into Idaho's Snake River Valley. The latter claim appears to be based primarily on speculation that the Grant Teton derives its name, at least in part, from the striking resemblance of its skyline to an exceptionally well endowed woman's breast, or "teton" in colloquial French, when viewed from the west.

Out of this unique period of American history emerged some of the larger than life figures of definitely American legend and mythology. Men like Jim Bridger, universally considered by his peers of that special time and place to be the Ultimate Mountain Man many many truly great mountain men. Kit Carson, Joe Meeker, Mike Fink, Hugh Glass, Jed Smith, California Joe Walker, Tom "Broken Hand" Fitzpatrick, "Old" Bill Williams, Jim Beckwourth (who, it might be noted, was unique as being part Cherokee and part African American) to name but a few. Let's have a look look at one of their most outstanding leaders.

Jedediah Strong Smith was born to Jed Smith and Sally Strong in 1798, one of the foremost of the mountain men of his era. Known as a fearsome but strict God fearing, teetotaling exception to the other universal code of mountain men, Jed was as well respected as he was feared. He usually was depicted as riding through the wilds toting a bible in one hand and his musket in the other, equally ready to employ either as the situation demanded. Rough and tumble trappers quickly learned to mind their tongues when in Jed's presence.

In early August of 1826, Smith and a party of fifteen trappers departed the second rendezvous at Bear Lake in the corner junction of North Central Utah with Southeast Idaho, bent upon finding a route around the fording Sierra Nevada Range between California and Nevada to what at the time was known as Spanish Alta California. Traversing through present day Utah and Nevada, they eventually found their way to a crossing of the Colorado River between Southern California and Central Arizona. Fording it, they sheltered and recuperated for a couple days in a friendly Mojave village near what today is Needles, CA, before being guided across the Mojave Desert via the Mojave Trail by two errant mission deserters. Upon reaching the San Bernardino Valley, Smith and his interpreter left for the local mission, whereupon he offered himself to its padre. The next day the rest of Smith's men arrived, at which point all of their weapons were confiscated by the garrison. Smith soon was summoned to present himself before the Governor of Alta California in San Diego who expressed alarm at his unauthorized entry to the Spanish Territories and ordered his detention while demanding that Smith remand his map and journal. Smith responded by asking permission to travel north along the coast to the Columbia River, where there was an established outposting and access to a well known route back to the United States Territories. The Governor replied, ordering Smith and his party to leave California the same way they had come while giving ground in preventing them to purchase the necessary supplies for their return to American held lands.

In early 1827 Smith finally obtained his exit visa, but upon clearing the settlements he turned north, exploring and trapping his way up California's San Joaquin Valley as far as the American River, which joined the Sacramento River near present day Sacramento. Upon reaching it, his party attempted to find a route across the Sierra Nevada by following its canyon upstream but was forced back. Realizing it was too late in the year to make it to the Columbia River, Smith led his party pack to the Stanislaus River, where they established a winter encampment. Smith then picked two men an forced a difficult crossing of the Sierra Nevada Range, eventually descending to the vicinity of present day Walker Lake from which they took the quickest possible route to make the third Rendezvous at Bear Lake. After a terrifying crossing of the Great Basin Desert during which they nearly expired from dehydration under the merciless sun of an early summer afternoon, they made Bear Lake in early July just as rendezvous was beginning. Long given up as hopelessly lost in their meanderings or dead by then, the men were overjoyed at the apparition of the three trappers and explorers which had unexpectedly descended upon them and blessed them with cannon fire.

Smith immediately left with eighteen men and two French Canadian women, traveling the same route as the previous year in order to pick up the men he had left behind. This time, however, the Mojave had turned hostile after a clash with Taos trappers and a firefight ensued when Smith attempted to cross the river during the course of which ten of Smith's men were killed, one was badly wounded and the two women were captured. The eight surviving men retreated and crossed the Mojave desert on foot before reaching the San Bernardino Valley, where they were well received. Smith then proceeded up the San Joaquin Valley until he found his previous year's group and together they traveled to Mission San Jose, where they were received with reserve and suspicion, before proceeding to Yerba Buena (now San Francisco) and finally Monterey, then the capital of Alta California where the Governor happened to be staying at the time.

The Governor again arrested Smith, together with his men, and held them until several speaking speakers occupied for him, whereupon they were released and again ordered immediately to leave Alta California by the most expeditious route possible. Once again out of sight, Smith and his party instead lingered around the Sacramento Valley trapping and hunting for several months. Upon reaching its head, after scouting it they determined the northeast route afforded by the Pit River was impassable, so they stuck northwest toward the Pacific coast, renewing their commitment to find a way to the Columbia River for their salvation and along the way became the first men to cross into Oregon Territory along the coastal route, reach the Columbia River and return to the Rocky Mountains.

Under the Treaty of 1818, Oregon Country was under joint British and American occupation. Smith and his men soon encountered the Umpqua Tribe which was wary of their presence. When one of them stole an ax from Smith's party, he and his men treated them quite harshly in order to force its return. In mid July, on a night when Smith had taken two men to scout a trail leading north the group left behind was attacked while encaped on the banks of the Umpqua. At the end of the first week in August, one of them showed up at Fort Vancouver on the mouth of the Columbia badly wounded and in tatters. He reported to the Factor that he believed himself to be the sole survivor but did not know the fate of Smith and his two men. Two days later, they also showed up, reporting that having become aware of the attack, had returned, climbed a near hill and witnessed it. A relief expedition was organized and dispatched to the scene but all were found dead and decomposing, and were buried on the spot. Smith remained at Fort Vancouver until 1829, during which time the Factor, Dr. John McLoughlin, treated the survivors, completed their supplies in exchange for the furs that were retrieved from the massacre site and restored their health to where they were fit for the long journey back to Bear Lake, which they completed without incident.

Smith returned to St Louis in 1830 and decided to abandon the northern fur trade, which already had begun to taper off due to a combination of beaver depletion caused by heavy over trapping and a slackening demand for beaver fur caused by fashion changes in Europe that spread to North America, and try his hand at the Santa Fe and Taos trade. In late May of 1831, Smith was traveling with a supply train to trade in Santa Fe when he left the train to scout for water and never returned. The train continued, believing Smith would catch up with them. He never did. After reaching Santa Fe, they encountered a comanchero who was in possession of Smith's personal belongings. Upon interrogation, the comanchero confessed that Smith had encountered a band of Comanche warriors and after being surrounded, he attempted to negotiate with them and talk his way out of it unsuccessfully. The Comanches then attacked Smith and dispatched him, but not before he had killed their chief. It was an ignominious end for such a bold and courageous trail blazer.

The Pierre's Hole (in Southeast Idaho jest west of the Tetons) Rendezvous of 1832 is widely regarded as having marked the pinnacle of the American West fur trade era. As previously noted, already the fur trade was beginning to taper off. By 1838, the last great rendezvous was held near present day Riverton, Wyoming. In 1840 the first outliers of the Oregon Immigration appeared at Jim Bridger's Fort Bridger near today's Laramie, Wyoming and most of the active Mountain Men by then had read the inevitable handwriting on the wall. One by one, they abandoned the free wheeling Trapper's life which they so long had led and hired their badly needed skills, knowledge and services to the hordes of greenhorns bent upon crossing the vast barren wastelands between South Pass after traversing the formidable Great Plains for the lush Willamette Valley with its fantastic soil of Oregon Territory before the sunset of the winter snows.

In 1837, a talented young American artist named Alfred Jacob Miller, while visiting New Orleans, attached himself to the exploring / sporting expedition of the Scottish Nobleman, Sir William Drummond Stewart, who had hired Miller to accompany his expedition to the Rocky Mountains as his official artist, charged with creating accurate renditions of everything they encountered along the way. Together with the German artist Karl Bodmer, who preceded Miller while accompanying the German Prince Maximilian's exploratory expedition to the Upper Missouri during 1832-1834, they are the only two artists known to have competently depicted the daily activities and environments of the various Plains tribes before massive corruption was introduced by fulfillment of America's Manifest Destiny doctrine.

Of the two, Bodmer only made it within eyesight beyond the horizon of the peaks of the "Shining Mountains", as the easternmost chain of Montana's Northern Rockies was known to its early penetrants. Miller, in contrast, penetrated the Rockies, enough so to attend and record the 1837 Green River (Siskeedee-Agie) Rendezvous near present day Daniel, Wyoming. While both left priceless sketches and paintings of great historical interest to the American Fur Trade Era, Miller's were more accurate, detailed and better defined. Rathermore, Miller's are the only on the scene records we have of Mountain Men in action. In 1838, he returned with Stewart, paintings and sketches in hand, to Stewart's Scottish estate, Murthy Castle, where Stewart took possession of Miller's precious records and stored them there. They never were heard of again until shortly after Word War II ended, when they were discarded hidden in a Dutch attic to keep them from the plundering hands of their Nazi conquerors. Returned to the United States, most now are preserved in a carefully controlled environment of the Smithsonian where they remain as one of our greatest American treasures.

This, then, is a brief history of the back against which modern cooking and eating practices can be assessed. Replacing the black kettles, iron skillets, fresh shoot skewers and open camp fires that characterized the earliest explorers 'and entrepreneurs' outdoor kitchens which traveled where they wandered and were set up whenever conditions were permitted today are marvels of high tech home kits featuring electric grinders, choppers, slicers, graters, blenders, grillers, deep fryers, pressure cookers, food warmers, casserole pots, broilers, convection ovens, griddles, frying pans, microwave ovens, coffee / espresso / latte makers, freezers, dishwashers, garbage disposals, trash compactors, and yes, even home breweries.

In the coming weeks we'll begin discussions of these, dissecting their various uses and capabilities plus throw in some novel recipe ideas as well through our blog series. We'll transform the art of cooking from a necessary chore into an exciting and enjoyable hobby with everyone's participation.

Trails to the Past

Many tourists have stopped to read roadside marks commemorating old trails or not old old road signs on their journeys west of the Mississippi. On a recent six-week road trip west from St. Petersburg Louis, I was often reminded of the early pioneers who used St. Louis. Louis, the "gateway to the West," and other nearby towns in Missouri as "jumping off points." Lured by gold, free land and adventure, they were expecting for a better life in the new frontier. Many were encouraged by the stories of trappers and traders that promised easy passage through the mountains, and they thought they could find their future by way of the Oregon, Santa Fe or Overland Trails. Actual paths of the old trails or roads that followed them and towns that developed as a result of the trails can be enjoyed by today's travelers.

In 1851, John Soule, an editor for the Terre Haute Express, coined the "Go west, young man!" phrase which remains part of America's vocabulary. Although Lewis & Clark had completed their journey earlier in the 19th century, no transcontinental railroad yet exhausted. On average, it took about four to six months for a family to get from Missouri to Oregon or California by wagon train. About seven years after Soule's article in 1858, the first non-stop stagecoach left St. Louis. Louis for Los Angeles. That 2,600-mile journey took twenty days. The transcontinental railroad was not competed until 1869 and quickly made wagon train and stagecoach travel obolete.

Lewis and Clark had made a successful journey to the Pacific in the early 1800's although it took them several months longer than they had planned. False reports of an easy passage through mountains which members described "as steep as the roof of a house" as well as deep snow and lack of food caused their delay. Once there, they encountered buckets and buckets of continuous rainfall. In a quintessential American moment they decided to vote on where to spend the winter allowing all the members of the party, including blacks, Indians, and women, to participate in the decision. They elected the south side of the Columbia River but still complained that they had only elk to eat and continuous rain, and they did not like the salmon. They began the return journey in March, and arrived in St. Louis. Louis in September where they were welcomed as heroes. Many Native Americans had helped them and only a few, like the Blackfoot, had hindered them when they found out that they might be trading with their enemies.

Lewis and Clark had begun their journey in May of 1804 and returned in September of 1806. They had traveled a total of 4,162 miles, and had documented 122 new species of animals and 178 plants that had never before been described. More important at the time was their fulfillment of President Thomas Jefferson's dream of opening up the West for the United States

Interesting evidence of their journey can be seen in Cairo, Illinois where there is a marker entitled, "Preceding On." Cairo is located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. It is somewhat of a ghost town now though it was once a much grander city as its architecture and wide streets attest. The marker read:

In November, 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and their growing contingent of "Corps of Discovery" men, spent five days here teaching each other celestial navigation and surveying skills. Using a sextant, octant, artificial horizon, and reference tables, they successfully obtained the first longitude and latitude data that they would use during the Expedition. Subsequent maps of the northern and western portions of the United States, preparing using Lewis and Clark's data, began at the confluence of these great rivers which, in 1803, was located just south of 2nd Street in present-day Cairo.

The Spanish had many trails of their own, and were in competition with the United States to claim the western territories. They had tried to intercept Lewis and Clark on the plains, but were unable to find them. The Old Spanish National Historic Trail is still on the map in Colorado, New Mexico and in Utah and was an historical trade route which connected northern New Mexico settlements near Santa Fe with those of Los Angeles and southern California. Approximately 1,200 miles long, it ran through areas of high mountains, arid deserts, and deep canyons. It is considered one of the most arduous of all trade routes ever established in the United States and was explored, in part, by Spanish explorers as early as the late 1500s. The trail saw intensive use by pack trains from about 1830 until the mid-1850s.

Today's travelers also can see tracks of the old Santa Fe Trail, the eastern end of which was in the central Missouri town of Franklin on the north bank of the Missouri River. The route across Missouri first used by Beckenell, a trader, followed portions of the existing Osage Trace and the Medicine Trails. West of Franklin, the trail crossed the Missouri near Arrow Rock, after which it followed roughly the route of present-day US Route 24. It passed north of Marshall, through Lexington to Fort Osage, then to Independence, also one of the historic " jumping off points "for the Oregon and California Trails.

Before Lewis and Clark and the Spanish explorers and even the French trappers, Native Americans had settled and traveled the West. Tourists can visit sites such as Aztec National Monument, Chaco Canyon, Gallup, the Hubbell Trading Post and Chinle and the Canyon de Chelly in the Navajo Nation to name a few. Aztec Ruins lies near the banks of the "River of Lost Souls" named by a Spanish exploration party in 1776. They noted many ancestral Pueblo ruins as they crossed the Animas River valley looking for California. For thousands of years, Native Americans took the trails for purposes of the harvest, the hunt, commerce, plunder, warfare, religious fervor and celebration. They may have forged trails at least as far back as some eight or nine millennia ago including thousands of miles of interconnecting trails extending from Texas' westward to California's Pacific Coast and from Mexico northward.

While most Native American trails were traveling, others served certain purposes, for instance, the puzzling 400-mile network of "roads" which radiate from the accused Chaco Canyon Anasazi Puebloan complex, the early second millennium "Rome" of northwestern New Mexico. These roads had long straight segments, sometimes 30 feet wide, with curbing, border walls, berms and small road-side "motels." They usually connected Chaco Canyon, the region's commercial and religious capital, with emerging communities. Some archaeologists think that they were for trade while others think they were ceremonial, but their purpose remains a mystery.

Although many intersections of Native American culture and pioneer culture resisted in conflict or blotshed, a happy exception was the Hubbell Trading Post. It still remains much as it was originally and has been declared a National Historic Site. The first established use of the old wagon trail route was the Dominguez-Escalante expedition in 1776.

John Lorenzo Hubbell purchased the trading post in 1878; ten years after the Navajo were allowed to return to their homeland from their terrible exile at Bosque Redondo, Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. During the four years spent at Bosque Redondo, Navajos were introduced to many new items. Traders like Hubbell supplied those items once they returned home.

Hubbell had an enduring influence on Navajo rug weaving and silversmithing, for he consistently demanded and promoted excellence in craftsmanship. He built a trading empire that included stage and freight lines as well as several trading posts. Beyond question, he was the predecessor Navajo trader of his time. Hubbell family members operated the trading post until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1967. The trading post is still active, and operated by a non-profit organization.

Religious and ethnic persecution also caused groups to take trails west. The Trail of Tears and the Navajo Long Walk are examples of ethnic persecution leading to enforced migration, while the Mormons thought escape from religious persecution. In 1846 the Navajo were offered peace by the US, but in 1863 Col. Kit Carson began a brutal campaign against the Navajo. The Navajo used Canyon de Chelly as a refugee, hiding in the rock alcoves. They stockpiled food and water. After these precedences, Carson's troops entered the eastern end of Canyon de Chelly and pushed the Navajo toward the mouth. Most were captured or killed. The troops destroyed hogans, orchards and sheep. Then the survivors were forced to march over 300 miles to Fort Sumner in New Mexico. Many died on the way and suffered from poor food and shelter and disease in the Fort. In 1868 they were finally allowed to return to their homes. Trading posts like Hubbell helped the Navajo survive. Today the Dine thrive in Chinle and around Canyon de Chelly. As a Navajo Nation leader once said, "We will be like a rock a river has to go around." (Ailema Benally, Navajo)

The Mormons were driven out of both Missouri and Illinois and were forced to make the journey west by way of the Mormon Trail. It extended from Nauvoo, Illinois, which was the principal settlement of the Latter Day Saints from 1839 to 1846, to Salt Lake City, Utah, which was settled by Brigham Young and his followers beginning in 1847. From Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Fort Bridger in Wyoming, the trail follows much the same route as the Oregon Trail and the California Trail; These trails are collectively known as the Emigrant Trail.

In 1856, the church inaugurated a system of handcart companies in order to enable poor European immigrants to make the trek more cheaply. Handcarts, two-wheeled carts that were rolled by immigrants, instead of draft animals, were sometimes used as an alternate means of transportation from 1856 to 1860. They were seen as a faster, easier, and cheaper way to bring European conversions to Salt Lake City. Hard stretches of the trail were littered with piles of "leeverites," items the immigrants had to "leave 'er right here" to lighten their wagons. In later years, the Mormons made a cottage industry of salvaging the leverites and selling them back to migrants passing through the Salt Lake Valley.

Although most of the handcart groups made it through, a few groups had large numbers of casualties. Two groups started their journey dangerously late and were eaten by heavy snow and severe temperatures in central Wyoming. One of the groups made it to Fort Laramie in hopes of replenishing their food supplies, but food was scarce there also. Despite a dramatic rescue effort, more than 210 of the 980 pioneers in these two companies died along the way. John Chislett, a survivor, wrote, "Many a father folded his cart, with his little children on it, until the day preceding his death." Trail enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Laramie which was near the Overland Stage route and on the Union Pacific portion of the first railroad.

If you are traveling in June, the "Mormon Miracle Pageant", performed each June at Temple Hill in Manti, Utah is a fascinating historical reenactment. It involves the entire community, and retells the remarkable story of how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded and of the Mormon pioneers who colonized the West.

About a year before the Latter-day Saint immigrants, the Reed-Donner wagon train carved the first trail through the final geographic obstacle between Big Mountain and the Salt Lake Valley. About half way through, the group changed course and went up and around the final constriction near the valley's mouth. The resulting brutal collapse over rock and sage most likely contributed to their historical tragedy by delaying them for several days. When an advance team from the Latter-day Saint vanguard company came through the same area, it chose to stick to the valley floor and hacked its way through to the bench overlooking the Great Salt Lake basin in less than four hours. Lansford Hastings who had proposed the alternate route received death threats. An emigrant confronted Hastings about the difficulties they had encountered saying, "Of course he could say nothing but that he was very sorry, and that he meant well". Historians have described the episode as one of the most spectacular tragedies in California history and in the record of western migration. Travelers through the Wasatch Mountains can see the marker saying the Donner Party had passed there. One can almost sense their presence, and they seem to be commemorated by the many beautiful wildflowers that adorn the trail.

As Douglas Adams once wrote, "In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life can not afford to have is a sense of proportion." Some of the early settlers and more recent historians have accused the leaders like Brigham Young or George Donner for these tragedies, but the pioneers themselves were so anxious to travel west for a better life that probably no one specific person is really to blame. They were not aware of or chose to ignore the size of the vast wilderness in proportion to their small wagon or hand cart. Of the approximately 360,000 people who traveled west on the Oregon Trail before the Transcontinental Railroad, about ten percent or 20,000 to 30,000 people died. This number is smaller than might be expected, considering the odds against them including weather, large bodies of water, deserts, mountains, lack of food and disease. Ironically some sick people believed the journey would cure them. Medicine kits the pioneers treated to treat diseases and wounds included patent medicine "physics" pills, castor oil, rum or whiskey, peppermint oil, quinine for malaria, hartshorn for snakebite, citric acid for scurvy, opium, laudanum, morphine, calomel, and tincture of camphor. It's a wonder that only one in every ten migrants died along the way. Contrary to popular belief Native Americans did not cause a major threat to these pioneers.

Boredom was another problem that modern travelers do not often think about. One pioneer said it was so boring, that he welcomed Indian attacks (although they were few). Children were known to amuse themselves by bouncing off a bloated buffalo like a trampoline. Toys and pets often employed children while adults amused themselves with songs, dances, and stories. There were well-known rendezvous spots for celebrations at designated times of the year, and inns, taverns, and trading posts along the way eased the monotony. Women often had a much longer day than the men who amused themselves by hunting and fishing while the women taught children, cooked, washed and mended clothing, and engaged in a variety of tedious tasks.

On the return trip to St. Louis Louis travelers can follow the old highways such as US 40, the old national road which was previously the national trail. It runs parallel to and alongside Interstate 70 for much of the way back to St. Louis. Louis. Arrow Rock is an interesting stop. This flint-bearing, high limestone bluff first appeared on a 1732 French map as "pierre a fleche," literally translated as "rock of arrows." Archaeological evidence shows that for nearly 12,000 years indigenous cultures used the Arrow Rock bluff as a manufacturing site for flint tools and weapons.

In the 1820s, the earliest travelers on what became the Santa Fe Trail crossed the river on the Arrow Rock ferry and filled their water barrels with fresh water at "The Big Spring" before heading west. While the village is small, it remains a vital community. In 1963, the entire town was designated a National Historic Landmark because of its association with the Westward Expansion. Arrow Rock, Missouri is also a certified site on the Lewis & Clark and Santa Fe Trails.

Back in St. Louis Louis travelers should cross the Mississippi to Illinois to see Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, is a great center of Mississippian indigenous culture. Cahokia's location near three major rivers and four ecosystems made it a perfect place for the rise of an agricultural center. In AD 1250 it was larger than London was. But the knowledge gained from previous inmates going back to 10,000 BC allowed these people to be so successful. They also benefited from traveling vast distances along trade routes already established by the Woodland Indians. They got copper, mica and sea shells and also incorporated aspects of other cultures into their own. We benefit from some of their trails today.

Learning more about the old paths and the groups that took them adds a "time travel" dimension to a trip and significantly enhances visits to history sites and museums. Today travelers no longer have to worry about taking the wrong mountain pass or the myriad of other difficulties suffered in earlier times but can experience the journey in comfort. Following in the footsteps of the pioneers provides an opportunity to travel on trails to the past.

Note: Thanks to the Oregon-California Trails Association which is the nation's largest and most influential organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of overland emergant trails and the immigrant experience.

Coaching Tennis In Japan

It's cloudy in Kansai, Japan today, but hopefully the sun will come out soon and show its face a little later on this afternoon.

In this article I want to share my own tennis story with you guys, so we can get to know each other a little better.

Every tennis player has a story to tell inside of them.

"Write yours down today and look for those critical moments in your career up to this point and write down your plans on how you are going to deal with them in the future."

On to my story.

I'm from Missouri and I played in the Missouri Valley Conference back in the late 70s and early 80s as a junior, I made all state twice in my junior and senior year and was ranked 3rd in singles and 2 in doubles both years.

I played against guys like Cameroon Thomas and Kieth Foxsworth, who were ranked 1 and 2 in our age group for juniors.

Then I had a cup of coffee on the satellite tour, before my career was cut short by a car accident.

I took the career ending injury hard at first and went into a deep depression for 2 years.

I finally came out of it in Hawaii and it was there, that I got approached by a Japanese tennis owner, to come and teach here in Japan.

The school theme was "Tennis In English" and it was a big hit from the get go, but after doing that for 5 years, I wanted to start my own school and do my own thing, I mean, why keep getting this guy rich , right?

After 6, months I quit and started my own tennis school !!

The problem was, Kansai is small and he was my sempai (my senior), so fast forward.

I finally got my "English Tennis School" going after 3 long hard years.

Now I am relocating my tennis consultant business online and teaching privates here and there around Hyogo.

That's an outline of my tennis story.

As you can see my first critical moment in my career, was recovering from my car accident, and it was also a defining moment for me, because I could have gone either way at that time.

Why did I share this with you guys?

You too, have a story that you need to tell and you need to write it down, and look for those critical moments, in your story.

Meditate on them and do what you have to do, to make them right.

Then move towards your goals.

Thanks for reading and also please share your story with me in the comment section.

I would love to hear it !!

Now make it a great day for yourself !!

Quantrill’s Raid on Olathe, Kansas, September 6, 1862

William Quantrill (1837-1865) was a Confederate sympathizer and guerrilla fighter during the Civil War, roaming the plains of Kansas, which had joined the Union as a free state in 1861, and Missouri, a slave-owning state. He was not recognized by the Confederacy as an officer, and many of his men, including Frank and Jesse James, and Cole and Jim Younger, became outlaws after the war ended. The anti-slavery forces were known as jayhawkers, and many of them were equally predatory in their treatment of Kansas settlers.

Confederate raider William Quantrill led his band of 140 men out of Missouri and into Kansas. His purpose was to terrorize the citizens who were Union supporters and to resupply his troops. On the night of September 6-7, 1862, they rode into the small town of Olathe near the Kansas-Missouri border and attacked the town. Men broke into houses, stealing money and valuables along with another more unusual item-photos of pretty young women. Quantrill was known to have a fondness for these, and few were left in towns after his raids.

One of Quantrill’s main targets, of course, was horses. A resident of nearby Spring Hill who was caught up in the Olathe raid had the courage to protest the taking of his horse. Hiram Blanchard tried to pull his bay mare away from a raider and paid for his bravery with his life. The raider blew off the top of Blanchard’s head with his shotgun, leaving the bloody body in the street. Two more men were shot and killed by Quantrill’s men before the troop galloped off to the east. Pack horses, loaded down with loot, and stolen horses followed along behind.

The next morning, Olathe residents discovered more horror. The bodies of three young men, recent enlistees in the 12th Kansas Infantry, were found. Frank Cook and the Judy brothers, John and James, had been shot down in cold blood by Quantrill’s men. Frank Cook was taken from his father-in-law’s house and made a prisoner. His body was found not far away in a ravine with two bullet holes in his chest and his head crushed by a cannon ball. The raiders ransacked the Judy house, taking the enlistees as prisoners. John Judy’s wife headed for her neighbor’s as soon as the raiders had left, but she heard the gunshots that killed her husband and brother-in-law as she hurried along the road. John Judy was shot in the eye and twice in the chest, and his brother was shot once in the face and once in the chest. The bodies of the Judys were found on the nearby Millikan farm.

Although the attack on Olathe was largely overshadowed by Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas, on August 21, 1863, where 180 men and boys were killed, it symbolized the dangers of living on the prairies at that time. Kansas justly earned the unhappy name of “Bleeding Kansas” before and during the Civil War.

William Quantrill, a Confederate guerrilla fighter during the Civil War, directed a violent attack on the town of Olathe, Kansas, on the night of September 6-7, 1862. Six men were killed during the looting of the defenseless town: three civilians and three newly-recruited soldiers.

Get Closer to Nature With a Cabin Rental in Branson

While some vacationers enjoy the amenities of luxury hotel chains, nothing beats the rustic feeling of a cabin rental in Branson, Missouri. If you are currently planning an upcoming visit to this paradise in the Ozark Mountains, a cabin rental can save you from the additional costs and hassles of reserving multiple rooms at a hotel in Branson. Most importantly, finding a cabin in Branson can help you explore the beautiful wilderness that surrounds the entertainment mecca in Southwest Missouri.

Obviously, you won’t want to live exactly like the settlers did when first moving to this great state. The cabin rentals in Branson will make your vacation comfortable and inspiring. Choose from fully furnished cabins with a more modern appearance and added amenities to simple cabins with the essential living ingredients. During your stay in Branson, you can enjoy the downtown and escape to your quiet getaway in the woods whenever you tire of the nightlife scene.

Don’t Just Learn About History; Experience History in Branson

Any visitor in Branson can tell you that the area is loaded with rich heritage. One of the most popular attractions in Branson is Silver Dollar City, which features actors and actresses who demonstrate traditional crafting such as glass blowing and candy making. At Silver Dollar City, all of these workers dress in the authentic garb of the 1800s, making you and your kids feel like a part of the pioneer times. A cabin rental enhances this rich history, offering your family the chance to enjoy your stay in old-fashioned log cabin homes.

Imagine coming home to your cabin after a relaxing autumn day of hiking and seeing the gorgeous fall colors in the area. Rather than ordering room service, you can teach your kids how to make a home-cooked meal on the stove. Keep the night warm with a fire in the fireplace, and enjoy living just the way they did in the old days.

Branson – A World of Outdoor Opportunities

While Branson has plenty of shopping outlets, live performances and fine dining in the downtown area, the surrounding state forests provide endless opportunities for hiking, fishing, swimming or boating. Many families plan their vacations here in the summer because they want to enjoy every minute possible in the outdoors. Rather than staying at a hotel downtown, you can rent a cabin nestled far from the lights and action for the ultimate vacation escape. Bedtime means gazing at the stars above the Ozarks, and you can enjoy your morning coffee with the sunrise and the sounds of wildlife. No matter the time of day, you can celebrate being a step closer to nature.

Cabin rentals in Branson will offer unique opportunities to experience a rustic vacation while learning about the area’s history, but they also give you and your family much more room than a typical hotel stay. With a kitchen and living area, a family vacation can be more comfortable in a cabin. Be sure to check out the wide variety of cabin rentals in Branson to find what best fits your vacation needs, and enjoy your trip here!

Industrial North Versus Agrarian South

We have now come to the beginning of one of America's bloodiest of all wars – Our American Civil War. The war did not just appear out of thin air but certain events gradually led up to the internal conflict.

I believe there were specific milestones established within the past several decades which extremely contributed to the Civil War. Most historians will attribute the Civil War to the decades of division which culmination in a series of confrontations based upon the moral and legal ethics of slavery. Following the years after the Louisiana Purchase our Congress was tasked to establish guidelines for the expansion of slavery into any new territories on the western side of the country. With the influx of Missouri's application for statehood (pro-slavery) we see a new spark of debts opening up. It was not so much the moral issues posed by the institute of slavery but I contended it was more of a power struggle. Missouri's entry as a slave state would give the slave state faction in congress a greater majority than the north had.

With the development of the Missouri Compromise the state was permitted entry as a slave state while in an effort to balance the congress, Maine was admitted as a free state. A line was created through the western territories at the 36â ° 30 parallel which essentially divided the north and south as those states that were free and those that were slave supporting. In my opinion, it would take a clueless legislature to think that an imaginary line could create a successful agreement between the two factions. To me this was purely adding fuel to the fire and extremely forcing the hands of the northern and southern states to wage an inevitable war to seek a permanent resolution.

Nat Turner was a slave and it seems that Mr. Turner had interpreted two solar eclipses as his formal instructions from God to initiate his rebellion. This rebellion spread through several plantations in Virginia instigating the slaves to do battle in the name of freedom. It seems that Turner's eclipses failed to reveal to him that he and seventy of his cohorts would be executed for their actions and the deaths of sixty white people would take place. It took the deployment of the Virginia militia to suppress the rebellion. In an effort to prevent future actions by the slaves the Virginia lawmakers reduced the few civil rights which the slaves had at the time. Education was banned for slaves and the right to assemble was limited.

Next we encounter the Compromise of 1850 where slavery was preceded within any of the expanded territories. It also provided support for the Fugitive Slave Act. This agreement again only temporarily postpones the hostilities between the North and South as it also failed to address the prime issues. In fact, it tended to reinvented, the disparity which was dividing the nation more and more.

At the same time we see Harriet Beecher Stowe's fictional account of slave life being disturbed in both the north and the south. Uncle Tom's Cabin created a vast amount of controversy as many readers from the north viewed the novel with horror as they saw slavery for the first time while the southerners protested that the book was spreading untrue statements. Here we go folks with another bit of trivia, Uncle Tom's Cabin was considered the second best selling book at the time, second in sales to only the Bible.

As an all out Civil War was being held at bay by a bare thread, the Dred Scott vs. Sanford decision enters the scene. Here we encounter the unusual situation where a slave is suing for his freedom in a court of law. The case ever made its way to the Supreme Court Our American Civil War can be concluded that it was unfortunately the results of events from the two previous decades prior to the first shot being fired at Fort Sumter.

There has been an assortment of fictional novels relating an alternate history where the south had won the war instead of losing it. Such novels include several by Harry Turtledove such as "The Guns of the South" and "How Few Remain". In the novel The Guns of the South, Turtledove provides us with an alternate ending to the American Civil War. The tale begins with a group of time-travelers who supply Robert E. Lee's military with modern day AK-47s which extremely lead to Southern victory.

In 1864 we find the Confederacy losing against the superior forces of the Union. The tale relates that men speaking with strange accents approach Lee at his headquarters in Northern Virginia and show him a demonstration of a rifle which is far superior to anything at that time. They offer to supply the Confederate soldiers with these AK-47 rifles. The team extremely confides in Lee and reveals that they are from the year 2014. They claim that white supremacy has failed to end in their modern era. They explain to Lee how the blacks in the future outnumber the whites. Lee is told that Abraham Lincoln becomes a tyrant during his second term and passes laws to ensure the blacks will become the dominant faction in the country. With the stranger's weapons in hand, the Army of Ulysses S. Grant is forced out of Virginia and the Confederates even manage to capture Washington, DC thus ending the Civil War. The book was interesting however; I was totally disappointed in the ending. But it is not my intent to ruin the book for others enjoyment but you may wish to read it.

In contrast, I do not feel that a victory on the side of the Confederate Armies would have lasted. Had the Confederacy gained its independence it would have initiated a successful series of events where other states would begin squabbling about something minor and decide to quite the union as well. Sort of a monkey see monkey do type of procedure. Such thoughts bring about a myriad of possible changes to not only America's history but world history as well. This is really the ultimate what if scenario for Civil War fans. Being a fan myself, I have often asked this very question. More than likely the issue of slavery would have historically died out as a result of the world opinion similar to the way it did in South Africa years ago.

There were many opportunities presented during the war for this turn of events to have taken place. The northern soldiers were severely discouraged many times. Had Lee not been so hasty during the battle of Gettysburg he might have placed a wedge between Lincolns and his reelection campaign. If this were to take place it is likely that McClellan may very well have given up and sued for peace.

The South may have done very well as a thriving agricultural nation. The wounds resulting from the war would have historically healed and trade between the north and the south would have ever begun. The initial years would have been extremely rough for the south as no nation could survive on agriculture alone. Manufacturing and retail would certainly be an added benefit to secure success. I also feel that the south would have been ripe for foreign countries to attack. At the beginning of the war the entire South had seceding and open declaration of war against the central government in power. These states were well armed and had heavy bankrolls compliments of Britain. If you take a tour of West Point and visit an area called Trophy Point you will notice a row of cannons dating back to the Civil War. Inscriptions stamped on the barrels of each cannon state, "Made in Birmingham" or "Made in Manchester." These were British built cannons captured from the Confederate Army. It would seem likely that if the south had won, nations such as Britain would once again attempt to obtain land in North America. We could sit here impeccably and discuss the merits of what "might have been" even in either case the years would not be kind to the south. In direct response to the question I believe they may have made it but it would have been extremely difficult and dangerous at best.

Wars are very strange creations. They frequently start as a result of one thing and end due to another. Wars in our history books have often been fosted for far more than what may initially appear on the surface. Since it is difficult to actively recruit people to fight for the causes of the ruling elite leaders, the parties to the war need to devise an acceptable cover story to get the conflict going.

From our nations very beginning the north and the south followed the beat of different drums. The northern climate and the soil conditions preferred much smaller farms as opposed to huge plantations. Industry was slowly becoming common place in the north due to the abundance of raw materials and the creation of large population areas which provided the manpower. The first half of the 1800s showed a drastic decrease in farm labor as it had become more profitable for young men to peruse careers in industry rather than take over the family farm. The small farms of the north saw no need for slavery as most were owned and small enough to operate by the family unit itself. More of the northern populations were involved in business, education or medicine. Most engineers were more likely to be from the north rather than the south. In contrast, the south had no large factory structure but relied upon the plantation as their central feature. The soil in the south was ideal for large farm complexes and the weather was warm and proved fruitful for planting. Crops such as tobacco or cotton flourished in the southern conditions. With the success of their agricultural endeavors there were very few southern citizens who saw a need for industrial development. By 1860, the South's slavery issues were tied closely to the areas economy.

The Civil War has painted a horrible but real portrait within the imagination of all Americans. We must salute the gallantry and heroism of those brave men on both sides who forgave for what they deemed the good life. It is sad that so much carnage and destruction was left in its wake. Far too often conversations tend to focus upon the specific battles which occurred in the war and not on the prime reasons for it taking place. The two prime arguments have been listed as disagreement over slavery and that of states' rights verses federal rule. With that said, I believe the issues were more intense than just slavery. The 1860 election prior to the Civil War split the Democratic Party dividing the north portion from that of the south. This split was a result of concern over the federal government guaranteeing that slavery would not prevail in any of the new states. This save the Republicans the opportunity to seize the power of the nation. Even though the Democrats had caused this split and temporary achieved the election of Lincoln, they were upset at the possible exit.

The claim that our Civil War was foolishly mostly to free the slaves in the south is not entirely true. This was a war that was not so much between the various states but rather between economic factions of the country. The plantation slave owners were defeated at the hands of the factory industrial slaves. No one wins in war and while most Southerners may harbor feelings of guilt we find the Northerners feeling that they did the nation a huge favor whereas we discover the truth to be the war was a mutual slaughter which wasted 630,000 American lives. The end of slavery rejected in the destruction of the old agrarian south at the hands of the growing industrial complex from the north. It was essentially a battle to see who would rule America.

The economic foundation involved the economy of the south was slavery since was was scarce. Since the southern plantation owners could not cost effectively hire people to labor on their plants slavery was the economic alternative. We can argue that the northought to end this brutal practice although one must actually ask why the north wished to end slavery. Was it strictly from a moral obligation to their fellow men or sometimes there was an economic justification for the North's actions? Did all the non-slave owning southern men suddenly became soldiers to defend slavery or was it based upon the accepted propaganda being distributed? Since the balance of the countries economic power was beginning to shift from the south to the north as a result of industrialization it is possible that slavery was a doomed concept as it was. This leaves us with the notion that the whole concept of the Civil War was about commerce. It seemed like the anti-slave supporters were becoming an annoyance to President Lincoln so he decided to act. Since the north could not compete with the southern trading among foreign nations a system of tariffs were put into play. Once the tariffs were in affect the northern manufacturers began to flourish and our industrial nation was finally launched. Tariffs were the best method of ending slavery but if pushed to far could result in civil disobedience.

The Southern states were formally agricultural while the states further north were in the initial stages of industrialization. The South did not desire any part of the industrialization process for the lifestyle in the south was directly in contrast to the large cities with their industrial workers. So we can clearly see that it was a case of the northern industrial barons swallowing the southern plantation owners as each had their own conditions to tend with however the issue of slavery actually bit into both cultures.

SaaS Vs Custom Website: You Get What You Pay For

If you are a modestly funded new business startup or a smaller business with not much marketing experience in-house, you are most vulnerable to falling into the trap of thinking that a shiny new website will get your business branded, noticed, and buzzing. It’s tempting to believe that you can just sit back and let the website do its magic, and then presto, the phone rings! But then it doesn’t.

Consider this: A shiny new website with no other marketing efforts is not much different than a shiny new business card that you never give to anyone. That’s right… you keep that box of 500 cards on the shelf just in case you need them. And when you do need one-you cannot find them! This is where most businesses fail to achieve a successful website or e-commerce strategy. They fail to grasp that a shiny new website is only the first step of many that lead to online success.

Let’s dive below the surface and look at the differences that are not so obvious but most likely will have a significant impact on the success of your website, and yes, your businesses go-to-market strategy.

First of all, I totally get the lure of “free” and the appeal of paying “only” $$/mo for a website that gets your business up and running online. These kinds of SaaS website companies have their place in the world. Yes, there are times when I recommend these services to clients.

I noticed recently that a typical marketing message of most SaaS website builders focus around the entrepreneur, characterized as the “get ‘r done” types that pull up their sleeves and chart the waters of website design with a pure passion for their business. Apparently, all these determined entrepreneurs need are some useful online tools that are seemingly smarter than they are, and the Internet is theirs for the taking. No doubt, it’s an appealing message to all those Type-A’s, but unfortunately, it’s not that simple or easy to be successful online for most businesses-small or large.

As a marketing director for 16 years in the high-tech industry, where I helped develop new B2B services designed and implemented as software-as-a-service, I have experience on both sides of the fence. That said, this article is not a rant but an explanation of what separates a reputable digital agency from an online service provider. It’s these differences that can make a difference for your business, and once you know what they are, it will give your fledgling business website a fighting chance for success.

Here’s my message-in-the-bottle to those that have been marooned on a deserted website island, unable to make their SaaS (or template) website successful by any measure, much less turn it into a thriving place to generate sales leads as most business owners want.

The first lesson business owners need to learn about the Internet is that just having a “cool” website design (however you want to define that) is not really going to get you where you want to go. Fortunately, a fumbled website strategy will cost you a lot less than this colossal mistake: Imagine building a beautiful store where no one goes because there are not any roads.

“Preposterous!” you say? Yes indeed, and this is the essence of what is going wrong when you only have a cool website and nothing else to support its purpose.

Of course, good website design is a skill that is an important part of your website strategy, but it’s just one part of a skill matrix that makes for an astounding website strategy. Here’s a sample of just some of the competencies a competent digital agency applies around a typical website project:

• Creative

• Graphic Design

• Logo Design

• Custom Programming

• Branding

• Marketing


• Analytics

• Video Integration & Promotion

• Social Media Integration & Promotion

• Hosting, Testing & Troubleshooting

• Security

As you can see, when you hire a reputable website design company, you are in reality getting seasoned marketers, programmers, and creatives who partner with you to not just get you online-that’s the easy part-but to work with you to help build your website into a lead-generating machine, or whatever your purpose may be.

I think we all know the marketing hype around SaaS website services. Some of it is justified-much of it is not. Let’s flip the hype over on its backside and read the small print to learn what a business is not getting from an online website service:

• You are not getting a custom website that looks UNIQUE.

• You are not getting a custom website that DOES exactly what you want it to do.

• You are not getting any unique functions that may be CRITICAL to the success of your online business.

• You are not getting a website development team who has your best interest in mind by working with you as a PARTNER.

• You are not getting a uniquely branded and positioned website developed by MARKETING specialists.

• You are not getting top organic GOOGLE rankings because SaaS-based websites have less than average SEO capability.

On the other hand, with an online SaaS provider, here’s what you are getting:

• An amateurish, template-based website that you will pay on monthly FOREVER!

• A DO-IT-YOURSELF service that requires you to be the expert on everything. How much time do you have to devote to this endeavor?

• OK, since you are going to be the MARKETING EXPERT, who’s going to actually run the company?

• A SaaS website is a proprietary website (typically) STUCK on another host with no easy way to transfer. Professional websites use WordPress or other open-source platforms that give you unlimited hosting options.

• Unless you are paying BIG SaaS BUCKS for digital talent (real people not just algorithms), you will only get a slight amount of technical support and little marketing insight.

So by cutting through the marketing hype, some important questions any business owner needs to ask can be boiled down to… How much is my time worth? And… How much expertise do I have in the major website competencies that will be enough to set my business apart to reach brand objectives?

OK, maybe you are a jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur often portrayed in the SaaS website promotions, and you really do have multiple skills that will create new leads or sales for your business. We wish you only the best. However, before you journey to deeper waters and make hard-to-break commitments of a SaaS/template service, you might consider some additional facts of custom websites vs SaaS that you may not have thought of yet.

A digital agency that develops websites offers a lot more than a faceless DIY website builder service, which is the essence of what SaaS online builders are selling. For example, a digital agency provides expert branding, marketing, SEO, and programming expertise with on-going consulting that will craft the central message of your website into a unique, differentiated customer experience. Digital agencies are commonly found in your region, they understand your local culture, and they have an intrinsic interest in your community because it’s where they live and work, too. Bottom line: Your success is their success.

Origins of the Mathers Family

Eminem's roots can be found in Scandinavia through his mother Debbie Nelson and in South Wales through his father Marshall Bruce Mathers II.

But Eminem has mostly Scottish blood running through his veins. On both sides (maternal and paternal sides), Scottish roots can be found.

Back to the 7th generation on the paternal side, Peter Mathers from Pennsylvania married a Scottish woman named Isabella (last name unknown). On the maternal side, Scottish roots can be found in Marshall's family in the 6th generation: Ailsa Mc Allister from Edingburgh emigrated to the United States -precisely to New York in 1870.

Most of the Mathers have been working as farmers in the state of Missouri.

Marshall Mathers I, Eminem's paternal grandfather has been working as an assistant hotel manager at Plainsman Hotel in st Joseph Missouri and his wife Rae has been employed at Del Cornonado hotel in guest services.

When Eminem's paternal grandmother Rae died recently in 2002 from an Alzheimer desease, Marshall Mathers II discovers interesting documents related to his famous son like a Christmas card from Marshall addressed to his grandmother Rae. Ethymology of the name Mathers Mathers means mower or reaper. History of the name Mathers

The name Mathers is related to the Scottish Barclay clan. The family Barclay settled down in a place called Mathers in Scotland in the 13th century. The history of the Mathers goes back to an english immigrant Theobald de Berkeley and his son who owned the estate of Mathers. Alexander was the first to use the surname Mathers. Pronounciation of the surname Mathers

It is commonly acknowledged that the surname Mathers is pronounced as if there was an y in the middle of the name: Ma (y) thers.

If you want to know more about the history and genealogy of the family Mathers, you can find some interesting info here:

homepage.ntlworld.com/davepalmer/eminem/credits.htm [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/davepalmer/eminem/credits.htm] I'd like to thank the people who made up this interesting website. I discovered a lot of info about Marshall's paternal side. I have a lot of info about his maternal side, so I hope to be able to complete his family tree as soon as possible.

DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP: The Successor Trustee & Non-Judicial Mortgage Fraud

"Pick up the phone, I'm here alone, Or make a social call

I'm always home. Call me any time.

Just ring 362-436 – ####

I lead a life of crime

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!

Dirty Deeds and They're Done Dirt Cheap! "

-Rock Band, AC / DC

This article has been inspired by the six foreclosure mill law firm appointees Successor Trustees which were granted by foreclosing parties in Missouri which is a non-judicial foreclosure state. These successor trustees received these appointments from fictitious foreclosing parties to fraudulently foreclose and evict 14,400 families, in Jackson County Missouri alone, each year for the last five years.

Jackson County is a medium-sized county in the United States.

This is the largest Ponzi scheme the world will ever know. The number of parties which are co-conspirators in some way is legion. Yes, it is a conspiracy, of that there is no doubt.


OK, I have just had it. I am right. You can not work on one subject for 6 years, 7 days a week and not understand the material. I am reasonably no genius, but I have often been told that I am very smart. Very smart? I do not know about that, but I am right about all of this.

There really have been over 20 million criminal foreclosures in the US during the last 15 years. There are about 3 people per family, so that comes to 60 million American refugees forced from their homes with the stupidest, yet successful, Ponzi scheme of all time. Each and every wrongful and illegal non-judicial foreclosure has been allowed by our US Congress, the DOJ, and the US Court system.

I am not seeing this real scoop anywhere on the internet. We have a bunch of attorneys with websites spewing out information mean to convince you that they are very smart and they can sell ads in the blank spots on their website if you visit it. But, do you really care about the late big ruling where theorrower almost wins? Of course not, you want to know how to save your house. Or, if you are a true intellectual you want to know how to save your country.

Here is the real deal. In a judicial foreclosure state there is a normal home loan which includes the logical two parties, a borrower and a lender who have a home loan contract. One to loan some money to the other who wants to borrow some money to buy a house, preferably while they are still less than 60 years old.

These are the Judicial foreclosure states:

Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico *, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin

The foreclosing party must file a lawsuit that is between the two parties, the Borrower and the Lender. Since this happens in the court it is the most fair of the two, but without good men and women do the right thing evil will still win

But, over the years, the Fellows known around town as "bankers" went around visiting with the folks we voted to represent us in our state legislatures called "attorneys". The bankers persuaded the attorneys (I know it sounds backwards, but it is true) that they needed the ability to more quickly foreclose on borrowers.

In 26 of the 50 states they agreed to create the system of Non-Judicial Foreclosures.

I am not making this up. I know that the hyphenated word Non-Judicial appears to many, myself included, to mean that the borrower signed something that seemed to take away his constitutional right to the Due Process Clause. (We can work with it, but you really need to study this) It did not, but it made it much harder to win wrongful foreclosure cases fairly.

The Due Process Clause comes from the 5th and 14th amendment as the "RIGHT TO BE HEARD". Now this has mixed up a lot of sentences. Some because the do not read or watch TV. Some because they are not smart enough to understand the constitution. Some because they are just bad people.

But do not believe judges are all bad. Because there are many judges who are getting it correctly. There are fine men and women with very intelligent minds ruling with the borrowers.

Although, I have been unlucky enough to have not run into them much.

But, anyway. In a non-judicial state the party wanting to foreclose is claiming that he:

1. has the right to collect money from you,

2. can declare that you have defaulted if you do not pay him the money you do not owe and

3. has the right to foreclose on you out on the court sidewalk out of sight of any court and get a deed to your house. It is not a very strong deed, more like a lien on your title, but it can get you evicted despite you still have the right to sue to get it back (unbelievable right?)

In the Non-Judicial foreclosure states the foreclosing parties have used the strategy of chaos and anarchy to pass laws that really just do not make any sense.

The non-judicial foreclosure states are:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming

In a non-judicial foreclosure state there are 3 parties to a home loan. A borrower, A lender, and a Trustee who is holding the home loan for the borrower and the lender. This is like in a horse race.

The borrower can still win in these states, but it is much more difficult than judicial foreclosure states where the foreclosing party must file a normal lawsuit and the borrower has a more fair way win before a judge, or the borrower can demand a jury trial . This is becoming a very popular strategy in all states.

A White Separatist Hate Group Funnels Hurricane Katrina Funds

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has shut down web sites set up by a White Separatist Hate Group which solicited funds for Hurricane Katrina Victims. Nixon claimed this group was funneling the funds to there own group. This is just one of Many Hurricane Katrina Scams on the Internet

According to the FBI over 2,000 Web Sites have been soliciting funds for Hurricane Katrina Victims and most of them are scams. The Most Popular sites pretend to be soliciting funds for the Red Cross and look deceptively like the Red Cross website. You can Donate directly to the Red Cross at their web site (redcross.org).

An Internet watch group scambusters.org has identified some popular methods used by these Internet Scam Artists to solicit funds on behalf of Hurricane Katrina Victims.

1 – Phishing scams

Many fraudulent websites with the look and feel of legitimate charities solicit funds on behalf of Hurricane Katrina Victims.

2 – Virus Scams

An E-mail is sent with an attachment claiming to contain Photo’s of Hurricane Katrina victims. When the Attachment is opened a Trojan horse is placed on your computer designed to steal your banking information.

3 – Hate websites

Hate Groups are setting up web sites and soliciting funds on Behalf of Hurricane Katrina Victims.

4 – Fee Based Scams

Spam E-mails offering to Find Loved ones lost in Hurricane Katrina for a Fee.

5 – Chain Letter Scams

E-Mail Chain Letters offering a Donation to Hurricane Katrina for every copy sent.

For the latest Scams visit the scambusters.org web site.

The best way to protect yourself is to give directly to known charities. CNN.Com has composed a list of reputable charities that are donating money to Help the Katrina Victims (cnn.com/SPECIALS/2005/katrina/help.center/)

Unfortunately with Rita on the way their will be many more scams for Rita I’m Sure.