Mary Catherine Bugbee: Woman Cattle Rancher

Here’s another interesting story I found in a book of mine called Texas Women on the Cattle Trails. This book is full of women who showed remarkable courage in dealing with hardship, death, and disappointment. Each made a huge contribution in the settling of the state and carved their names in history.

This week’s is about Mary Catherine (Molly) Bugbee. Her maiden name was Dunn and she was of English and Irish descent. She was eighteen and sweeping the porch of her family’s home in Sterling, Kansas when a shy thirty-year-old cowboy named Thomas Bugbee rode up to borrow an ax. He was immediately attracted to her and they began to court. A year later they married. She wore a gray poplin dress and had no trousseau. The wedding gifts were a watermelon and a cantaloupe.

But Mary Catherine had certain ideas of what she wanted. At the start of a cattle drive to Texas, she placed a wooden door in one of the wagons. She wanted a real door instead of a buffalo hide for their home. Thomas spotted it and took it out, saying they needed the room for supplies. The minute he turned his back, she carried it to another wagon. Time and again, he found it and took it out and she’d put it right back in. I do like her determination!

They settled near Adobe Walls in the Texas Panhandle and built a large dugout that served as headquarters for their Quarter Circle T Ranch. It was only the second one ranch in the panhandle. She was also the second white woman to settle here. Charles and Molly Goodnight lived 75 miles away. Buffalo was plentiful, this time being before the huge slaughter.

For needed supplies, Thomas and Mary Catherine (Molly) had to make a two hundred mile trip to Dodge City, Kansas. It took ten days.

Refusing to be defeated by the isolation or the harsh environment, Molly kept busy sewing, cooking and canning. She milked the cow, churned her own butter, made preserves, and built a coop for their chickens. She was an excellent shot and kept meat on the table when her husband was unavailable. But she often went for months on end without seeing another person or getting news from the outside world.

They had three children by 1879. Their youngest died several years later when a rabid skunk bit her.

Thomas built up the herd and in 1881, he received an offer for $175,000. Molly persuaded him to wait for a better offer. A year and half later, after a storm had destroyed much of the property, she told him it was time to sell. He sold their 12,000 head of cattle for $350,000 to the Hansford Cattle Company.

They moved to a large home outside Kansas City that had 10 acres of fruit trees. In addition, they operated an 800 acre farm in Bonner Springs, Kansas and went into partnership with William States on a 6,000 acre ranch near Dodge City. Five more children were born to them during the fifteen years they spent in Kansas City.

Tom kept expanding his holdings and ended up with more land in Texas. He was gone for long absences and Mary Catherine decided it was time to take control. She sent him a telegram which had to be delivered to him by a horseback messenger in the Panhandle. Her note said, “Get us a house. Family coming to Texas.”

And she did. She moved them lock, stock, and barrel to Clarendon, Texas. (Not far from Amarillo.) For a while, the home was so crowded the piano had to sit on the front porch. They built a larger one on what they called Bugbee Hill and it became their last residence.

After a life packed to the brim with living, Tom Bugbee died of a stroke on October 18, 1925. Mary Catherine lived three more years and died December 19, 1928.

Their daughter, Helen Francis, wrote: “To rise from the dugout to the big house on the hill, or from the covered wagon following the trail of a few straggling cattle to the ownership of herds numbered by the thousands is a feat worthy to adorn a tale; but we honor Tom and Molly Bugbee and all other pioneers like them, not only for their daring and energy, which extended the boundaries and developed resources of a great nation but also for those other qualities of integrity, big-heartedness, and firm upright nobility of character.”

I heartily agree. We owe these settlers a huge debt. I admire their strength and unfailing spirit. They carved out the life they wanted and no sacrifice was too high in achieving their dream.

I regret that I could find no picture of them.

What part strikes you as unusual in their story? For me it’s the door.

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Minnie Mae Adickes: An Uncommon Woman

For every woman who wrote her name in history, there were thousands who were simply trying to survive and carve out the best life possible. I’m always amazed by these women’s courage and strength to do things I probably wouldn’t have tackled. They inspire me every day.

For over thirty years I lived and worked in Wichita Falls, Texas. One year the heritage society offered a tour of the Riverside Cemetery and some of our historic homes, I climbed aboard faster than you could blink. I learned so much about the area and the people who founded the city.

One piece of information that captured my attention was an early settler named Minnie Mae Adickes. She arrived in 1905 with her husband, Thomas Adickes. They were barely there a year when her husband suddenly died and left Minnie Mae with five daughters to raise, the youngest only three months old. She was thirty-two.

It would’ve been easy for Minnie Mae to accept the help of both her brother and brother-in-law who were the town’s founding fathers and quite well-to-do. But, she turned them down, saying she’d make her own way. I really admire that and the fact she valued independence over everything. And I’m sure she didn’t want to be a burden to family.

Pictured below is the Frank Kell family – her brother-in-law, his wife, and seven children. They’re a story of their own.

So spurning family help, in 1906 Minnie Mae entered into the real estate profession and embarked on a career of building houses. Now as a woman, she could not at that time sign a legal document herself. But she built over 300 homes and never lost a dime. Her only contract was a simple handshake and she found cause to regret that. She built homes for the influential and also for the poor that she let pay out in installments. Her buyers always paid her on time. She taught all five of her daughters to record cash payments in their home weekly.

And so, a woman who didn’t seem to have any special ability to provide for herself when her husband died ended up building over 300 homes. She became the city’s first realtor and female contractor. Her extraordinary efforts helped the city to grow and proper until her death in 1931 at the age of 57.

The image of this late Victorian house is one that she designed and built for her brother-in-law Frank Kell and his family. It’s called the Kell House and is now a museum. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and bears both the Texas State and local landmark designation. The house is 5,500 square feet and still has a working elevator as well as many original furnishings. I toured it many times when I lived there and was simply fascinated.

Each Christmas, they open up the Kell House and have Mrs. Claus come and she bakes cookies with the children.

Minnie Mae never married again. Thomas remained her only love. She raised her daughters and taught them everything about independence and of the rights of women. During WWI she was chairwoman of the Red Cross canteen division and held parties for officers and men at the local air base. In 1920, Mrs. Adickes was the first woman elected to serve as a member of the school board. I’m sorry I can’t find a photo of her. I hear she was as beautiful as she was intelligent. She’s exactly the kind of woman I want to model the heroines in my books after.

Minnie Mae Adickes was an uncommon woman and way ahead of her time.

Are there any interesting people or history in your area? Do you know of any stories of extraordinary women? Want to share?

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Lady Bountiful of Dodge City

This next tidbit from history comes from an amazing woman with a heart of pure gold. There were a lot of them scattered throughout the old West, women of all walks of life who helped the sick and needy.

A lot about Dora Hand’s earlier life is a mystery. Some said she came from a prominent family in Boston. Others place her elsewhere. And no one knew the exact year she was born. But she was a very beautiful woman and could sing like an angel. In fact, she performed opera back East. Her stage name was Fannie Keenan.

Then she came down with tuberculosis and decided the dry air climate of the West would prove beneficial.

She arrived in Dodge City, Kansas somewhere around May 1877 and began entertaining cowboys at the Grey Lady Saloon. She was of medium height and build with a face of classic beauty. There was grace and charm in her movements that the rough cowboys had rarely seen. In addition to her job at the Grey Lady, she sang five nights a week for two hours at Mayor James Kelley’s Alhambra Saloon and her reputation grew far and wide. In the hours after singing, she plied her trade as a soiled dove.

Rumors of her benevolence became fact once they reached the editor of the newspaper. By night entertained cowboys. But by day she put on plain clothes and became an angel of mercy, visiting sick children and helping feed needy families. She earned the title Lady Bountiful of Dodge City.

On Sunday, she attended church and even sang for the congregation on occasion at which times the cowboys crowded in, raising the numbers considerably.

Dora became a very good friend of Mayor James Kelley. It’s not clear if they were more than friends because neither ever talked about it. However, it was not unusual for her to spend the night at his place.

On the evening of October 4, 1878, Kelley became ill and had to have surgery. So, Dora and another entertainer stayed at his cabin. After they blew out the lamp and went to bed, shots rang out and Dora was struck and killed.

Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Charlie Basset, and Bill Tilghman gave chase and caught the murderer. It was James Kenedy, a twenty-three year old Texas cowboy who held a grudge against Mayor Kelley. They’d gotten into a fight previously in the Alhambra Saloon over Dora. He hadn’t known she was sleeping in Kelley’s bed. When told of his mistake, he said he wished he’d killed himself. He loved Dora Hand, and some think the raging attack was fueled by jealousy.

Whatever the cause, Dora was dead somewhere around the age of 34. She was given the largest funeral the city had ever seen. Dance-hall girls, gamblers, gunslingers, saloon-keepers, businessmen, cattlemen and the like comprised the procession.

James Kenedy was tried, and astonishingly, found innocent. He hadn’t meant to kill her. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And his daddy spent a good deal of money to see that he went free. Given the town’s love for her though, I’m shocked the citizens didn’t string him up without benefit of a trial.

This is the season of giving. Red Kettles are everywhere. Do you know of other women, and men, who helped the poor and downtrodden? Mother Teresa was a tireless worker but there were, and are, lots of others. Maybe someone in your community.

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I Have Winners!

I really loved telling everyone about this book. You can’t go wrong with a cowboy hero!

I put all the names in my trusty Stetson and……………

The Winners are……………

MICHELLE R.

TONYA LUCAS

JERRI HILL

So there you have it. I’ll contact you in a bit so be watching!

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CUSTOM-MAKING A COWBOY?

Ohhhh, I’m so excited about Custom Made Cowboy By Dee Burks! This book is funny and sexy and very romantic. Plus…it’s Christmas-themed. Everything you want in a good romance. I tell you, if I could put Trampas Woodburn under a tree….well, delicious shivers run up my spine just thinking about it. Lean and rugged, he’s one hot cowboy with a killer grin.

I’m giving away three Kindle copies! Just leave a comment to enter the drawing.

* * * *

The cowboys of Moreno Valley, New Mexico, can melt rocks with just one ‘aw shucks’ smile. They like their women strong, spirited and independent and that includes ex-rodeo star Trampas Woodburn. Tired of gold digging rodeo queens, he’s ready to hit the reset button on his life as a custom spur maker but the last thing he planned on this holiday season was running into Angie Martin.

Angie has worked hard the last three years to make a go of her little art studio in the mountains of Northern New Mexico and has better things planned for her life than hooking up with a use ‘em and lose ‘em cowboy who wouldn’t know good art if it bit him in the butt. But when faced with the prospect of teaming up with Trampas or being homeless, she commits to enduring the Cowboy Heartthrob just until she gets her art studio in the black or until spring, whichever comes first.

As their awkward truce smolders into a raging fire, Angie discovers that maybe this cowboy is one worth taking a chance on. Trampas is all about keeping it light, but life can catch you off guard and a woman like Angie can turn a man’s mind toward home, family and the future.

When an emergency ripples through the families in the valley it becomes clear to all how very precious life is. Now Angie and Trampas must each decide whether to hold on to their own paths, and old fears, or take a chance and forge a new life together that may be more than either of them dare to hope for.

EXCERPT

He dropped his hand. Well, this wasn’t getting off on the right foot at all. Still, he continued to smile and shrugged. “I prefer craftsman. I make custom spurs.”

“Spurs?” She spat the word like a bad Brussels sprout. “You mean like those metal things that go on boots?”

He nodded.

She huffed as if it was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard. “Why would Larry do that? He said you were an artist, so I thought . . .” She looked him up and down and then jerked her sweater tighter around her waist. “Doesn’t matter what I thought, I guess. It’s just too much to ask for this year.”

He wasn’t quite sure what to say to that. Ask who? Santa? It seemed to him she might be on the permanent lump of coal list. She obviously had issues. He’d heard one of his sisters say something about being on some kind of meds herself for hatefulness. Maybe this woman should be asking Santa for some of those.

* * * *

About Dee:

Dee Burks is a bestselling author who brings to life today’s true west with feisty heroines and heart melting cowboys. A multi-generational Texan, she now lives in the gorgeous mountains of Northern New Mexico infusing all her settings with authenticity of the southwest while crafting love stories spicier than the hottest green chili!

Her favorite pastime is writing as the snow falls over the Sangre De Cristos, hot cup of coffee on the desk and sweet pup Charley at her feet.  When not writing, she travels the west collecting ideas and indulging her passion for fly fishing.

* * * *

What are you going to ask Santa for this Christmas? Go crazy. Leave a comment for one of 3 Kindle copies. 

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Rose of Cimarron

Sometimes teens in the old West, just as today, had some wild oats to sow. You just never think about girls doing it back in the 1880s. Yet, this one became famous for it.

Rose Ella Dunn was born Sept. 5, 1878 in Indian Territory at Ingalls, Oklahoma. She was the only girl among five brothers. That was probably the problem right there. They taught her to ride, rope, and shoot. The boys had formed their own outlaw gang by the time she was just twelve years old. I’m not sure what their parents must’ve thought of that.

A few years passed and when she was fourteen or fifteen, her brothers introduced her to outlaw George “Bittercreek” Newcomb.

She became very infatuated and Bittercreek called her his Rose of Cimarron. She was very striking and had a kind demeanor. Bittercreek was a member of the Doolin/Dalton gang and they were extremely protective of her.

Rose would go into town for supplies and whatever the gang needed, plus bring back news. It was a good system.

For some reason, maybe they got religion or something, her brothers disbanded their gang and started bounty hunting, having pretty good success–given as how they knew most the gangs and how they operated. I’m sure that made everyone on the lawless side a bit nervous.

On September 1, 1893, the gang was in the saloon in Ingalls, Oklahoma when they found themselves surrounded by a posse of U.S. marshals. A hail of bullets rained down on them. The outlaws exchanged fire and made a run for it.

Bittercreek was struck down in the street but managed to pull himself to cover. Rose watched it all from a nearby hotel, filled with horror. She ran to him with two belts of ammunition and a Winchester rifle and hunkered down next to him.

(That’s George Bittercreek Newcomb on the right.) No prize for sure.

Rose fired the Winchester at the marshals while Bittercreek loaded his revolvers. Finally, with her help he was able to escape.

Three deputy marshals lay dead. On the gang side, several were badly shot up. Rose hid out with them, nursing them back to health.

By 1895 Bittercreek had a $5,000 bounty on his head and was wanted DEAD OR ALIVE. That caught the attention of her brothers. Loyalty didn’t amount to much when that much money was involved.

The next time they came to visit at the house, the brothers were waiting. They shot Bittercreek and the outlaw with him as they dismounted, killing them both.

Rose was never prosecuted for her involvement with the gang and her life of crime ended. She married a local politician until her death at the age of 76. I could find no record of any children.

So, was she just a rebellious teenager? Or an outlaw? She certainly had some good teachers in her brothers. Let’s have a discussion.

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I Have Some Winners!

Oh my goodness, what a week! I went up to Kansas with Jodi Thomas and talked to libraries. It was great. Spent some time with Tonya Lucas and that thrilled my soul.

But you don’t want to hear about that.

Okay, the random winners for the giveaway this week are:

CHERYL C

MICKEY POWER

LOIS IMEL

QUILT LADY

LORI HAUSER

Congratulations, ladies!! I’ll contact you for your preference of either paperback or ebook.

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Texas Has a New Outlaw

I’m just astounded at the attention To Marry a Texas Outlaw (Book #3 Men of Legend) is getting. Reviewers are loving this book as well as the early readers. So I wanted to blog about it again and giving away (3) more copies. All you have to do is leave a comment to get in the drawing.

Outlaw Luke Weston survives by his wits. Everyone in Texas is hunting him–lawmen, bounty hunters, and men looking to make a name for themselves. The last thing he needs is to go looking for more trouble. But when Luke stumbles across a fiercely beautiful woman left bound and gagged in the middle of the prairie with a wagon nearby from the Lone Star Ranch, it’s obvious that trouble has found him.

Truth be told, he never could resist a damsel in distress.

Josie Morgan’s distressed, all right—and hopping mad. She has no idea why she’s been kidnapped…or who she is…or why her body melts for the mysterious gunslinger who saved her life. But as the lost memories come tumbling back together, Josie is faced with the stark reality of why she and Luke can never be…even as her heart is telling her she will always be his.

Here are some lines from the book:

She was wild, adventurous and bold–everything that Luke wasn’t. And he wanted her. Oh God how he wanted Josie Morgan.

* * *

Luke closed the door but stood there lost in thought, wrestling with himself, wondering if Josie knew he’d sell his soul for another night with her.

* * *

Suddenly, she had an overwhelming urge to abandon the search for her past. To find answers could mean she might lose Luke Weston forever…and he was not something she could ever give up….Not now. Not in this lifetime.

* * *

The kiss was hot and needy, and he didn’t apologize for the sudden roughness. Hunger for her consumed him with all the fierceness of a summer storm. He stood unmoving in its path, facing the furor.

* * *

She didn’t know he’d move heaven and earth to spend just one night in her arms. Better for her that she didn’t. Better for everyone. This way, no one would get hurt when he said good-bye.

* * *

“Dios mío. Lady, someday when I get all this mess straightened out and I know for sure you’re free, I’ll take you somewhere private.” Luke’s voice was hoarse and raw. He rested his hands at Josie’s small waist above the low-slung gun belt and vowed, “I’ll light a fire inside you and make slow, steamy love until the stars fall right out of the sky and the world disappears.”

* * *

Here’s what some people are saying…….

“Broday’s gritty depiction of the Texas frontier will strike a chord in the hearts of fans who long for proud, rugged cowboys and strong-willed women.”  ~~ Romantic Times 4 Stars

“A gunslinger who’s better than he thinks he is; a lovely amnesiac; a young, wannabe gunslinger; an abused boy; a scruffy dog; and a sadistic killer make the third book in Broday’s outstanding family saga, Men of Legend, an unforgettable journey through the Old West.” ~~ Booklist *Starred Review*

“This is one author that knows how to tie you in knots keeping you on the edge and making you smile through it all. She gives you death and heartbreak as the west is known for with plot that pulls you in. I couldn’t put this down and had to know what was going to happen next. I just love the men of legend each one took a piece of my heart as I closed the book and let the meaning of their story sink in.”  ~~ Cyn’s Reviews

“This densely plotted historical continues Broday’s tradition of well-realized, emotionally rich novels.” ~~ Publisher’s Weekly

To Marry A Texas Outlaw is a beautiful well written story from a new favorite author of mine. Historical westerns are a bit of a forgotten art, and I love that Linda Broday has brightened up this sub genre in romance and the way she writes these cowboys and ranchers and bad boys of sorts are sexy as all get out.”  ~~ Addicted to Romance

I love reviews. They can sure pump an author up when she’s struggling to get a story from her head onto paper. But the ones that slam the book, I quickly put them out of my mind. I don’t need to feel any worse. The good ones though…oh man, there’s nothing like them to reinforce the belief that you are a writer with skills and talent and you’re not near finished yet. I have to say that I get far more positive ones than negative. What does that mean? Maybe that God put me on this path for a reason. Maybe that I have staying power. And maybe that I have a lot more stories to tell. I don’t know but I love what I do. There is no better job on this earth for me and I’ll do it until I take my last breath.

Now….tell me which line from the book is your favorite? I have mine. I wonder if it’s the same as yours. Remember, I have three copes to give away.

 

 

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I Have Winners!!

Good morning, Ladies. The sun is shining in the Texas Panhandle. Hope it is where you are too.

Now for the drawing….Because I got so much response, I’ve doubled the amount of winners.

I hope that makes you happy. So……. Here they are:

THERESA WILSON

TONYA CHERRY

SARAH STUART

CHERYL LUCAS

JERRI LYNN HILL

MICHELLE REED

If you don’t hear from me, send me a note at linda (at) lindabroday (dot) com.

If your name is not listed, I’m giving away some more next week so come back.

 

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Get Ready – To Marry a Texas Outlaw!

I’m so happy, happy to FINALLY share TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW with you!  It seems this third book that the story you’ve all waited so patiently for would never come. (A watched pot never boils.) I think you’ll find it well worth the wait. The book officially releases on November 7.

At last, Luke Weston has the location for the man who pinned a federal judges’ murder on him. He’s searched for Ned Sweeney for two long years and finally has his location. He only has a one-hour window before Sweeney goes underground again. He’s riding to Dead Horse Creek when he sees a woman bound and gagged underneath a scrawny tree and covered in blood. He’s torn about what to do but his honor won’t let him ride on.

The woman doesn’t know her name, where she belongs, or how she got there. But she’s mad enough to whip someone.

Deliverance Canyon is close by so he decides to leave her with Tally Shannon and the other woman hiding out and try out what happened to Rose. He calls her that because she needs a name and there’s a row of roses on her collar.

I often think of how scary it would be to wake up and not know who I was or where I lived. You would have no starting point or nothing to relate anything to. What would you talk about? I can’t imagine. But Josie somehow keeps her sense of humor and stays optimistic for the most part. She trusts the outlaw Luke Legend and feels safe with him.

As pieces of her life slowly start to emerge, she falls deeper in love with Luke. It’s at that point she begins to pray she never finds out who she is because she senses it will change things between them. Something tells her that her past is riddled with bad people. She has contentment in what she’s found with Luke and wants to cling to that.

Despite the seriousness of her situation, she is so funny and sweet and I love that. I think you will too. But that doesn’t mean she’ll be a doormat for anyone. She’s quite a fighter.

I think that’s what Luke likes most about her. She takes whatever is thrown at her and finds a silver lining.

This story is full of twists and turns and Luke will steal your heart—all over again. Will he clear his name and get to claim the Legend name? So many forces are working against him. You’ll just have to see. All I can say is you’d better hold on tight.

Many secrets are revealed, and love claimed. By the end of the book, Luke and the Legend family will forever remain etched in your memory.

In Texas some legends are born, some are made…and some are created by destiny.

My Question: If you had one last chance to find a murderer and become a free man or woman and claim what you want most in the world, would you stop to render aid? I’m giving away three copes of this book (your choice of format) so leave a comment.

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