Reliving a Great Adventure

Friday night, Becka and I arrived at Dick’s RV Park in Great Falls, Montana. We will rendezvous with other RVers for a sixty-three day tour of Canada and Alaska. A get acquainted party is planned the night before departing Great Falls on the Fourth of July.  Thirty-eight adventurous travelers plus four Adventure Caravan guides and staff make up the caravan. For logistical purposes, the caravan is limited to only twenty RVs. Each RV may tow a vehicle.

Our group is the first of two Adventure Caravan tours that include the Calgary Stampede; billed as the world’s largest rodeo. It was twenty years ago that I attended my first Stampede. Riding my motorcycle from San Antonio to Calgary and back in twenty-one days. I enjoyed the ride and the rodeo but missed much of the scenic beauty of the Northwest.

I made a promise to go again. Twenty years later, here I am following the same trail, but at a much slower pace. We look forward to participating in the many celebrations of Canada’s 150th Birthday.

 

Austin’s First Teacher

My recent submission was published in the March 2017 quarterly journal of the Texas State Genealogical Society. The prologue and first part of the article titled A Tribute to Rebeckah Mitchell-Smith, Austin’s First Teacher can be found on page 34 of Stirpes. Membership in the TSGS is open to anyone interested in genealogy or Texas History. In addition to other benefits, annual membership of $25.00 includes the quarterly journal, Stirpes.

Austin Man Patents Side-Saddle

Austin saddle maker, Fenwick Smith, perfects the western side-saddle. Women and sissy men can now enjoy riding their favorite steed without need to straddle an uncomfortable saddle. The rider will enjoy the absence of the obtrusive horn. The U.S. Patent #105734 was issued July 26, 1870.

Mr. Smith states in his patent application, “a new and useful improvement in side-saddles. It consists in forming the saddle-tress hollow with air-chambers within.” He also developed a special saddle for roping wild mustangs on the open prairie. Its oversized saddle-horn could better manage an unruly mustang.

Fenwick Smith was born June 5, 1821. When he was eighteen he left Coosa, Alabama in a wagon train that included twelve members of his family spanning four generations. Eleven members of the family arrived in the Spring of 1839; at the site for the first permanent Capitol. In December, the Capitol City was named Austin.

Off his horse on January 21, 1841 in the woods near Shoal Creek, Fenwick witnessed his brother, Judge James W. Smith, murdered by Comanche Indians. Unarmed, out manned and on foot, Fenwick watched the Indians whisk away his nephew Fayette Smith; it was Fayette’s ninth birthday.

Seven months’ later on August 7, 1841, Fenwick’s father and Travis County Treasurer, Thomas W. Smith, was killed by Indians. Half of the male members of his family were victims of Indian depredations.

Records show he served as Justice of Peace for Travis County 1860-1866. No record of marriage, children, or death has been found.

Books Make Great Gifts!

Books make great gifts and are easy to buy online. My books in the Westward Sagas series; Spring House, Adam’s Daughters, and Children of the Revolution are available at Amazon.com. Shipped directly to you or the recipient.

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Austin’s First Congress

On this date 177 years ago, the Republic of Texas convened its fourth session of Congress in the new Capitol city on the Colorado River. It was the first Congress held in what would become the town of Austin. 

Drawing of Austin's First Capitol at 8th and Colorado.

Drawing of Austin’s First Capitol at 8th and Colorado.

 

 

 

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