Category Archives: About Writing History

Pirates of the San Pedro, Dams and Paddlewheel Boats on the River

We’ve all heard about the paddlewheel steamboats that used to ply the San Pedro. Some of us have even seen old photographs. The only problem is that it never happened. Arizona was for many years supplied by steamboats on the … Continue reading

Posted in About Writing History, Contention City, Historiography, San Pedro River, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Steampunk in Tombstone, Jules Vern, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Science Fiction and Shoot Outs in the Street

A friend of mine was on a rant the other day about Steampunk. How dare they come to Tombstone with their silly costumes that aren’t at all authentic 19th century. Get some real 19th century clothing. Besides Steampunk is so … Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, About Writing History, Steampunk, writing for the movies | 2 Comments

Blood and Thunder, not a biography of Kit Carson but still good

There is a special enmity in my heart for journalists posing as historians. I have to admit that many write beautifully and some have done a wonderful job with their subject matter. However, many pad their bibliographies by including popular … Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, 19th Century Army, About Writing History, Bosque Redondo, Indian Fights and Events, Navajo, Navajo Long Walk | Leave a comment

Never annoy an author. They’ll put you in a story and kill you.

They say never annoy an author. He’ll put you in a book and kill you. So here goes. Yesterday, Saturday, I did a presentation, The Black Legend of Lieutenant Bascom, twice, at 12 and 2, at the Western National Parks … Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, American Indians, Cochise, Geronimo, Historiography | Leave a comment

Knowing the truth from history: how do we know who’s telling the truth

Some claim the truth in history is unknowable. Without doubt the historian should be trying to present a true picture of what happened. Let us agree that only one thing did happen. There are those who seem to doubt this … Continue reading

Posted in About Writing History, Butterfield Overland Mail, Cochise, Historical Archaeology, Historiography, historiography, Overland Trails, Southeast Arizona, Tom Jeffords | 7 Comments

The Social Class of Tom Jeffords and how it affected his friendship with Cochise

Elsewhere I’ve argued that the fair use of culture as an explanation in writing history would involve two obligations on the writer. First, he must show that the cultural behavior he is claiming is or was generally accepted as an … Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, About Writing History, Broken Arrow, Cochise, Culture and Customs around the World, Historiography, History of the west, Tom Jeffords | 1 Comment

Follow Up to Rough Hurech’s Excellent Adventure

Please understand. I don’t want a solution. The mystery is more fun and has infinite possibilities. Would I accept an explanation if there was proof? How would you prove it? Yes, I would accept proof. But, the story of Pashka … Continue reading

Posted in About Writing History, mystery, Petroglyphs, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Nature of Towns

In the movie The Homesman we see the prim little community of Loup City way out in western Nebraska. Stop and ask yourself why is there a town here. Towns are an economic activity. They exist in a time and … Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, About Writing History, Bisbee, Cochise County, Ghost town, Tombstone | Leave a comment

Culture in Historical Explanation

One of those things that troubles me is how historians handle culture. All too often culture becomes a sort of deus ex machina, God from the machine. Medieval playwrights would write themselves into a corner. To solve the problem God … Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, About Writing History, Bascom Affair, Chiricahua Apaches, Cochise, Historiography, historiography, History of the west, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Historian

Some days you might think that being an historian is all about “no rules, just right.” There are so many people who write ‘history’ that really don’t know what they’re doing that you can get that impression. I wouldn’t for … Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, 19th Century Army, About Writing History, Butterfield Overland Mail, historiography, History of the west, Uncategorized | Leave a comment