New Year — New Events

With 2019 now a reality (How did that happen so quickly?) I’m completing some projects and resuming work on others.

At the end of the year, I turned in my manuscript, photos and drawings for my book “The Cadottes of Lake Superior: One Family’s Journey Through the Fur-Trade Era.” It is to be published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, probably some time in 2020. Now, the process begins of working with editors at the Press to clean up and make improvements to the manuscript and get it ready for publication.

In the meantime, I have a number of presentations related to my most recently published book “Historical Adventures on the Colorado Plateau,” which was published by the History Press in June 2018.

— February 11, I’ll be at Out West Books on Main Street in Grand Junction, discussing “Historical Adventures” and signing copies of it. It begins at 6 p.m.

— February 17, I’ll be making a presentation to the Hotchkiss Historical Society based on my book. The annual meeting begins in Hotchkiss at 2 p.m.

— February 21, at the Museum of Western Colorado for the Mesa County Historical Society’s monthly presentation, beginning at noon.

As I prepare for those, I’d better get back to writing my regular history columns for The Daily Sentinel. And posting them in a timely manner.

Buffalo Soldiers on Bikes

A fascinating bit of U.S. Army history — when the Army experimented with a bicycle corps, and made Buffalo Soldiers the heart of the experiment.

bikes at Yellowstone


These are some of the soldiers on one of their first extended rides, from Fort Missoula, Montana to Yellowstone National Park in 1896.

And here’s a link to my history column that appeared in The Daily Sentinel on Monday.

Army bike corps

Lost Indian remains

In 1969, the Historical Museum in Grand Junction secured the remains of an ancient Indian with the assistance of students at Grand Junction High School.


That set of remains, described at the time as an Indian mummy, has been missing for nearly 50 years. The body was briefly displayed at the museum, then disappeared.

Erin with news

This is a photo of Erin Schmitz, currently the curator of archives and collections at the Museums of Western Colorado, who is attempting to track down the remains. She’s holding a Daily Sentinel news story from 1969.

Here is a link to my history column, which ran in The Daily Sentinel Monday, regarding the missing body.

Mystery mummy 10-22-18

Spanish flu struck a century ago

One hundred years ago, the inaptly named Spanish Flu (it didn’t originate in Spain) struck the world with a vengeance, and western Colorado was not spared.


My history column this week for The Daily Sentinel explores how that impacted our community and others in Colorado.

Here’s a link to that column:

Flu 10-8-18

influenza ward Walter Reed

This photo, from the Library of Congress, shows A nurse helping patients at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., during the 1918 flu epidemic.

Speaking in Olathe

Judy and I are off to Olathe today, where I am making a presentation before the Montrose County Historical Society.

Montrose meet

I’ll talk about the history of the Colorado Plateau and the importance of preserving links to our history. The historical society is trying to raise funds to protect some of its larger artifacts. I may also try to sell a few books while I’m there.

Meanwhile, here’s a link to my latest history column for The Daily Sentinel, about trying to locate where Dominguez and Escalante camped when they stopped near Collbran 242 years ago.

Santa Rosalia 9-24-18

Grand Mesa Vacation

In the last years of the 19th century, the Colorado Midland Railway offered a mountain getaway on Grand Mesa in conjunction with Grand Mesa Lakes Resort.

GM Lakes p5
This photo shows Eggleston Lake on Grand Mesa, as pictured in a 19th century Colorado Midland Railway brochure

But getting there was no quick jaunt. From Denver, one took the train south to Colorado Springs, then northwest to Leadville, through a tunnel under the Continental Divide, then down river valleys to the small town of De Beque, east of Grand Junction. Then it was a stagecoach trip, with a stop in Plateau City, before reaching the top of Grand Mesa.

Here’s the history column I wrote for The Daily Sentinel about the vacation package.

Midland GM tour 9-10-18


Another book project

I had great news this month when I signed a contract with the Wisconsin Historical Society Press to publish my book on the fur trade around Lake Superior.

Tentatively called “The Cadottes of Lake Superior: One Family’s Journey through the Fur-Trade Era,” the book traces a family of part French-Canadian and part Ojibwe traders who were involved in the fur trade around Lake Superior through five generations and over nearly 200 years. It focuses on a couple who lived and traded on Madeline Island, near present-day Bayfield, Wisconsin.

I’ve been doing research on the project for almost a decade, and have written several versions of the manuscript. No doubt more versions will be required. But I’m very excited about this.

cave rock

The illustration here is from an 1826 book about a tour of Lake Superior, by the U..S. Indian commissioner at the time, a man named Thomas McKenney, who visited the Cadottes at Madeline Island. The caves in the drawing look very much like those near Madeline Island.

No publication date for the book, yet. But not before spring, 2020.