Kit Perriman


March 16, 2018

Research Trip: Pendleton (Oregon)

Pendleton is a fascinating city, with a rich history that still flourishes in the twenty first century:

1860: Abram Miller settled in the area that used to be home to the Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Cayuse Tribes.

1862: Moses Goodwin traded two mules and a wagon for Miller’s land, and then built Goodwin Station.

1866: The Courthouse Well became the central meeting place and boasted the best water in town.

1868: Goodwin Station was renamed Pendleton and appointed as the county seat.

1880: With 730 registered citizens, Pendleton was declared a city.

1888: Telephones, electricity, lighting, and piped water arrived, and a second courthouse was built.

1899: After gold was discovered in the Blue Mountains, the city became a major entertainment capital. It had 3 theaters, an opera house, and several fancy hotels, as well as the usual breweries, saloons, and brothels.

1900: Pendleton was now a thriving trading center for wheat, sheep, and cattle.

1904: The streets were paved.

 1909: Pendleton Woolen Mills opened.  They still make blankets, shirts, and other wool goods today.

1910: The first Pendleton Round-up took place – the largest 4-day rodeo event in the country, held every year in September.

Points of Interest:

  • The town has a maze of underground tunnels that run for miles through the center of the city.  One legend claims they were the first Chinatown, used by the immigrants who had worked on the transcontinental railroad.  The Chinese preferred to live out of sight of the white population, to avoid the common racial confrontations of that era.

March 15, 2018

Cheyenne Guessing Game

A Cheyenne Guessing Game: Hand or Stick

A popular traditional Cheyenne guessing game is known as the Hand or Stick Game.

There are 2 teams.  Each team has 10 sticks and 1 colored stone.

The first person from Team A hides their stone in either the left or right hand.

 Team B has to guess which hand it is in.  If they are correct they claim 1 stick from their opponents.  If they are incorrect they must give up 1 of their own sticks.

The first team with all 20 sticks wins the game!

March 14, 2018

Blazing Saddles: Texas (1850-1885)

Texan Cowboy Saddles


Horse saddles originated in the Dark Ages.  They were developed for Crusader Knights and Moors when they rode into battle.

The Spanish brought them to the New World, where they were adopted and adapted by the Americans.

  • Known as the Old California, this popular saddle was often used by cowboys for the great cattle drives.
  • In time, half-seat skirts and saddle pockets were added.
  • The majority of the saddle was made from sturdy leather, sometimes tooled in beautiful designs.
  • All cowboys carried a carbine rifle within easy reach.
  • Steel horns gradually replaced the wooden pommels.

March 13, 2018

Indian Wars: Little Bighorn (1876)

The Battle of the Little Bighorn.


(Painting: Charles Marion Russell)

Date:             June 25 and 26, 1876.

Opponents:  Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and the 7th U.S. Cavalry


                        Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, leading a combined force of Northern Cheyenne, Lakota Sioux, and Arapaho.

Place:             Little Bighorn River, Montana.

Factors:       * Custer found gold in the Black Hills, on Indian land that was sacred to the Sioux, which soon triggered an influx of unwanted white prospectors.

                       * Sitting Bull had a vision during the Sun Dance Ceremony.  He was “soldiers falling into his camp like grasshoppers from the sky” – which inspired an armed resistance to the U.S. army, pioneers, and miners swarming into the Dakotas.

                       * Custer came upon a massive combined village camped alongside the river.  He did not appreciate how large it actually was and decided to launch an immediate daylight attack because he knew that his men had been spotted by native scouts.

                       * The 7th Cavalry was split in three, the other two battalions being led by officers Reno and Benteen. Custer expected these two divisions to arrive any moment as backup.  They came under attack at the other ends of the village and failed to arrive in support of their leader.

                      * Custer made a brave Last Stand behind a wall of dead horses, but he and his men were routed and annihilated within an hour.  The soldiers were mutilated and scalped, then left to rot until the army arrived to bury them.  Custer’s body remained untouched, except some reports say his ear-drums were pierced so that he would learn to listen better in the next life.

                      * The Native Americans then went after Reno and Benteen but were repulsed long enough for General Terry to arrive with reinforcements.  The braves scattered in different directions so they would be difficult to track and hunt down.

Results:       * The U.S. cavalry lost 268 men (with 48 wounded), including Custer and his two brothers.

                      * First Nation casualties numbered 136 warriors and 10 non-combatants (with 160 wounded).

                      * The Battle of the Little Bighorn was a major victory for the Native Americans in the Great Sioux Wars of 1854-1890.

                      * But Custer’s Last Stand became a pivotal rallying point that eventually led to the end of native resistance at Wounded Knee.

                     * Sitting Bull escaped to Canada the following year.

                     * Crazy Horse  was later captured and assassinated at Fort Robinson (Nevada) a few months later.


Eyewitness to History, “Battle of the Little Bighorn, 1876” at

National Park Service, “Battle of the Little Bighorn,” at

Sanja, Mike. Crazy Horse: The Life Behind the Legend. New Jersey: Castle Books, 2000.

Wikipedia, “Battle of the Little Bighorn” at

March 12, 2018

Marty Robbins’ EL PASO

El Paso

(Marty Robbins)

“El Paso”

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican girl.
Nighttime would find me in Rosa’s cantina,
Music would play and Feleena would whirl.
Blacker than night were the eyes of Feleena,
Wicked and evil while casting a spell.
My love was deep for this Mexican maiden,
I was in love, but in vain I could tell.
One night a wild young cowboy came in,
Wild as the West Texas wind –
Dashing and daring, a drink he was sharing
With wicked Feleena, the girl that I loved.So in anger I
Challenged his right for the love of this maiden,
Down went his hand for the gun that he wore.
My challenge was answered in less than a heartbeat,
The handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor.

Just for a moment I stood there in silence,
Shocked by the foul, evil deed I had done.
Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there,
I had but one chance, and that was to run.

Out through the back door of Rosa’s I ran –
Out where the horses were tied,
I caught a good one, it looked like it could run,
Up on its back and away I did ride

Just as fast as I
Could from the West Texas town of El Paso
Out to the badlands of New Mexico.

Back in El Paso, my life would be worthless.
Everything’s gone in life.  Nothing is left.
It’s been so long since I’ve seen the young maiden,
My love is stronger than my fear of death.

I saddled up and away I did go
Riding alone in the dark,
Maybe tomorrow, a bullet may find me,
Tonight nothing’s worse than this pain in my heart.

And at last here I
Am on the hill o’er El Paso,
I can see Rosa’s cantina below.
My love is strong and it pushes me onward,
Down off the hill to Feleena I go.

Off to my right I see five mounted cowboys,
Off to my left ride a dozen or more.
Shouting and shooting, I can’t let them catch me –
I have to make it to Rosa’s back door.

Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel
A deep burning pain in my side.
Though I am trying to stay in the saddle
I’m getting weary, unable to ride.

But my love for
Feleena is strong and I rise where I’ve fallen,
Though I am weary I can’t stop to rest.
I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle,
I feel the bullet go deep in my chest.

From out of nowhere Feleena has found me,
Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side.
Cradled by two loving arms that I’ll die for,
One little kiss and Feleena, “Goodbye!”

Photo Credit:

“El Paso, 1880,” at

March 09, 2018

Corn Pudding

Corn Pudding


2 cups fresh corn kernels

2 cups milk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon sugar

2oz salted butter, melted

1 knob butter for greasing dish



  1. Heat the oven to 325 / 165 / Gas 3.
  2. Grease a large casserole dish with the knob of butter.
  3. Sift the flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and sugar into a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the middle.
  4. Add the beaten eggs, melted butter, and milk.  Mix to a smooth consistency.
  5. Stir in the corn kernels.
  6. Pour the mixture into the greased casserole dish.
  7. Place this dish in a tray of water that reaches approximately half way up the sides of the casserole container.
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, or until the pudding is firm to the touch.

March 08, 2018

Cowboy Wisdom #4


“There ain’t a hoss that can’t be rode.

There ain’t a man that can’t be throwed!”

March 07, 2018

Kit’s Crit: The Cherokee Nation – A History (Robert J. Conley)

The Cherokee Nation : A History by Robert J. Conley


Robert J. Conley is a member of the Cherokee Tribe who has written over seventy books.  It is therefore no surprise to find that The Cherokee Nation: A History (New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 2005) is an interesting and informative read.  This non-fiction history book is clearly written, well-organized, and offers a panoramic overview of the Cherokee people, from prehistoric times to the modern day.

The book begins by discussing various origin theories, both mythic and anthropological, and invites readers to examine the combined sources and recommended reading list at the end of the chapter.  He then traces tribal history through the Spanish invasion of 1540 – British Colonialism – the War of Independence – the Golden Age – the American Civil War – the Indian Wars – along the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma – the separation of the Eastern Band of Cherokees – and into the Twentieth Century.

Because of the vast scope of this project there is a limited amount of information about each period.  To compensate, Conley concludes each section with glossary of the terms used, and a list of suggestions for further research.  He also includes pictures and photographs of the Principal Chiefs, from 1762 onward.

For readers interested in Native American history in general -and the Cherokee in particular – this book is a great place to start your journey.

March 06, 2018

Billy The Kid

Billy The Kid (1859-1881)


  • Henry McCarty was born in New York City, 1859.
  • Also known as William H. Bonney and Billy the Kid  – he was one of the most infamous Wild West gunfighters.
  • This outlaw never held up a stagecoach or bank, yet he became the most wanted man on the American frontier.
  • He was called “the Kid” because of his youth, smooth face, slight build, and rash personality.
  • Billy the Kid was said to have killed at least eight men.
  • His first arrests were at the age of sixteen, for the theft of food, clothing, and firearms.
  • After joining a band of cattle rustlers in New Mexico, he had a $500 bounty placed on his head.
  • In 1880, he was captured by his friend, Sheriff Pat Garrett, for the murder of two lawmen — William J. Brady and his deputy.
  • Although sentenced to hang, Billy escaped from jail and went on the run again.
  • Garrett eventually caught up with him at Fort Summer in 1881, and killed the twenty-one-year-old outlaw in an ambush.
  • But legend claims Billy survived the attack.  Several men have since come forward claiming to be the outlaw.
  • Was the Fort Summer ambush cleverly staged by Garrett so he could claim the bounty money, and Bonney could evade the law? We will never know.  What do you think happened?


History Lists, “Nine Things You May Not Know About Billy the Kid,” at

Wikipedia, “Billy the Kid,” at

March 05, 2018

Indian Wars: Washita River (1868)

Battle of Washita River

Date:             November 27, 1868

Opponents:  Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and the 7th U.S. Cavalry.


                        Black Kettle’s Southern Cheyenne, led by Little Rock.

Place:             Washita River in Indian Territory (near Cheyenne, Oklahoma).

Factors:       * After signing the Medicine Lodge Treaty, the Southern Cheyenne (and Arapaho) were sent to a sparse reservation in Indian Territory.  Food was in short supply.

                       * In August 1868, the warriors began raiding white settlements, killing at least 15 people.

                       * Peace talks between the U.S. Army and tribal leaders at Fort Cobb broke down.

                       * Major Joel Elliott of the 7th Cavalry had tracked raiding Dog Soldiers back to their camp on the Washita River.  He returned to inform Custer, but the soldiers had also been spotted by the warriors.  Because snow had fallen over a foot deep, Black Kettle decided to wait before sending out runners to talk with the soldiers.  Meanwhile, Custer decided to attack the sleeping village at dawn.

                      * The Cheyenne had been camped on reservation land where they had been assured of safety.

                      * A white flag was flown in the village to indicate that this was a peaceful community.

Results:       * Custer lost 21 men, including Major Elliott who had ridden off without permission into an ambush.

                      * The Cheyenne casualties numbered 50 warriors, including their revered leader, Black Kettle.

                      * Custer withdrew without knowing the fate of Elliott’s band, which ruined his reputation among the ranks and caused a rift within the regiment.

                      * The 7th Cavalry used 53 women and children as human shields to protect their return to Camp Supply.

                     * This success cemented Custer’s reputation as a military leader and helped make him a popular figure in the newspapers.


This Day In History, “Custer Massacres Cheyenne on Washita River” at

Wikipedia, “Battle of Washita River” at

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