Black Bart: Stagecoach Robber and Poet

Stagecoach receipt

Subsidized by government contracts, stage lines, such as Wells Fargo and Company began carrying passengers as well as mail into the Western United States in 1840. Stage coaching quickly became the most elegant form of transcontinental transportation.

 

While there were many bandits who sought easy money by robbing stagecoaches, none had as much dramatic flair as English born Charles Earl Bowles, better known as Black Bart. Bowles conducted a series of successful stagecoach hold-ups throughout Northern California and Southern Oregon during the 1870’s and 1880’s. Bowles, terrified of horses, conducted his robberies on foot, was always courteous and used no foul language. He wore a long linen duster coat and a bowler hat, covered his head using a flour sack with holes cut for the eyes, and brandished a shotgun. These distinguishing features became his trademarks.

Black Bart

On his final robbery, Bowles was wounded in the hand and left a number of personal items at the scene, including a linen handkerchief, with the laundry mark FXO7. The Wells Fargo detectives were able to identify the Chinese laundry that Bowles used thus able to track him to his modest boarding house, where he was arrested.  Bowles was also known to leave handwritten poems at the crime scene, the most  famous:

 

Here I lay me down to sleep
To wait the coming morrow,
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat,
And everlasting sorrow.
Let come what will, I’ll try it on,
My condition can’t be worse;
And if there’s money in that box
‘Tis munny in my purse. – Black Bart

One of the most exciting pieces in our collection is our Wells Fargo Stagecoach. The coach, made in the Concord style was crafted by Gronway Parry, whose restored wagons and farm equipment formed the bulk of our collection in 1973 when the museum opened. Parry built the stagecoach in the 1950’s and it has been used in parades, movies, and television. The Parry coach is the only replica in our collection. We invite our visitors to climb about and imagine themselves on their own stage journey across the West. Just be sure to watch out for Black Bart.

American Pickers is coming to Utah

Mike and Frank

Here at Frontier Homestead we recently received a call from an Associate Producer of AMERICAN PICKERS, a very popular show on the History Channel. She asked us to pass along some exciting news about the show coming to Utah and asked us to send out some information to anyone who might be interested in having the hosts Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and their team explore through their collection as they return to Utah. They plan to film episodes of the hit series AMERICAN PICKERS throughout the state in July 2017.

AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique ‘picking’ on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way.

Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. AMERICAN PICKERS is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to:

americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 855-OLD-RUST.

 Where History is YOUR Story

Frontier Folk Festival 2017

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum and The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation are pleased to bring the second annual Frontier Folk Festival to Cedar City, Utah, June 16-17, 11 am – 8 pm each day. Thanks to the support of sponsors, admission is free.

Original art, live music, and delicious food combine to celebrate the diverse heritage of southern Utah.  The Frontier Folk Festival promises to be filled with remarkable talent.  Featured performers include Clive Romney, The Red Hill Rangers, Karyn Whittemore, Silversage, and the Griffin Family.

 

Performers at the 2016 Festival

“We’ve been talking about this idea for years,” says Todd Prince, Park Manager.  “Working with our Museum Foundation, we finally decided to take the leap and offer a new experience to the community and all our patrons.  It will be a great event for anyone attracted to history, the visual arts and folk music.”  Museum Foundation Chair, Mike Scott, added, “The Foundation is thrilled to offer this family friendly experience to the community.  It is a wonderful opportunity for us all to experience our heritage.”

Art, craft, and food vendors will be on hand.

The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation is looking forward to a diverse, high quality show, and wish to thank its exhibiting artists, musicians, and food purveyors in advance for helping to bring the arts in all of their forms to the residents of Iron County and beyond. The Foundation Board also wishes to extend a special thank you to the Cedar City/Brian Head Tourism & Convention Bureau (http://scenicsouthernutah.com) for their support in helping to advertise the festival throughout the western U.S.  A list of all Folk Festival sponsors can be found at http://frontierhomestead.org/arts-festival.

For more information call the Park at (435) 586-9290.

 Where History becomes Your Story

Cedar City: A Look Back – Union Pacific Train Depot

The Cedar City Depot was built and paid for in 1923 by Union Pacific with the hope that a railroad spur would increase rail tourism in Southern Utah. The trains brought tourists and movie companies into the area and the depot served as the gateway to the national parks until 1960, which marked the final year for regular passenger use of the railway. The north end of the depot served as the express office where local residents could pick up rare items such as salmon and halibut from the Northeast. The depot officially closed in 1984 and now serves as the location for a variety of local businesses.

The depot, 1924.

The depot with the El Escalante Hotel in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

The UPC vehicles ready to transport the arriving tourists.

The cast of “Forlorn River” leaves Cedar City, 1926.

Trains leaving the depot.

Book Review: Death by Petticoat – American History Myths Debunked

Here at Frontier Homestead, we thought we would, from time to time, share with you what we are reading. This month our review comes from one of our interns, Maureen Carlson. We encourage you to share with us your favorite reads as the year progresses.

Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked by Mary Miley Theobald is an American Historical book full of many historical myths told around the US in museums, historical books, and classrooms. This book, as the title states, debunks those myths, telling how they were or may have started, or even just stretched with a bit of truth, then giving the facts at the end of each myth.

Everybody has heard that the second most common reason for death for Colonial women, just under childbirth, was burning to death from a petticoat that caught fire, haven’t they (Myth #1)? Or, that the reason so many Colonial women used a fire screen was to protect their wax makeup from melting off (Myth #4)? Considering those are both incorrect, it is a shame that so many people seem to not only believe those myths, but that they continue to be told in history books, classrooms, and museums alike all around the country! The truth is that petticoats, being made of wool, cotton, and linen, burned very slowly, even if they did catch fire, allowing the women to stop the incident before it spread too far.

The fact behind women’s makeup melting is that Colonial women, in reality, hardly wore any makeup at all. If they did decide to wear makeup, women had to make it themselves using various ingredients. Not one of those ingredients was wax. The actual purpose for the fire screen, which wasn’t even a common household item, was to shield one from direct heat. Now that makes perfect sense, wouldn’t you think?

 Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked by Mary Miley Theobald holds quite a few of these little myths, tall tales, and stretched truths in her little book. Sixty-three of them, to be exact. It is a short, easy read and is quite informative. I admire the work and research that Theobald has put in to debunking so many tidbits that happened to get twisted and made up throughout the years. It is astonishing to me how much is taught as our history that isn’t even true!

One example in this book that really surprised me as being a fabrication of time is Myth #59: “Quilt designs were really secret codes meant to assist escaping slaves through the Underground Railroad”. According to Theobald, this myth began in the 1990’s and no one knows why. Since then, many have worked together to debunk it without much success, sadly, as it is still being taught. The book states that “there is no evidence or example of coded quilts” (117). I grew up with this story in elementary history classes and seeing it on TV shows quite often, so couldn’t believe when I saw it in this book. It is a nice story that made me feel good, which is one of the reasons it has stuck around. People like a good story that is either exciting or gives you warm fuzzies. But if it is false, no matter how it makes one feel, it should not be spread. That is how Theobald feels as well, and why she wrote this book and does the research that she does.

Death by Petticoat is an enjoyable book, for the most part. Many of these so-called myths within the book I have never even heard of myself. Reading through the stories, I found that I have actually been taught the truth or had common sense enough to realize the facts myself, as some of the myths seemed too far-fetched for anyone to believe. That being said, there were a number of good things that I did learn, and it is an interesting book. It is worth checking out if you want something quick and interesting to read. The contents might even surprise you!

Cedar City: A Look Back – Welcome Sign

Tourism has been and continues to be an economic mainstay for Cedar City and Iron County. In summer of 2016, a little over one million visitors, ate, slept, shopped, and were entertained in our local area. This does not count the thousands who come during the winter to enjoy our amazing winter recreation opportunities. This Welcome sign stood on the corner of Main and Center for many years. The photo was taken in 1947. For up to date information visit the Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau at visitcedarcity.com

Featured Artist: Blaine Demille

Colorado Mines Hotel Still Life
Oil

Aside from our regularly exhibited artifact collection, Frontier Homestead State Park Museum has a rotating special exhibit gallery that is used by artists and artisans of many disciplines to showcase, highlight, and sell their work. Through May 31 we are pleased to feature the work of visual artist Clayton Blaine Demille. Exhibited works feature an extensive collection of paintings highlighting desert scenes, portraits, and various still lifes.

For over three decades, Demille has been producing personalized fine art commissions in portraits, murals, and decorative painting. His early training was grounded in traditional figure and portrait studies under the late Al Gittins at the University of Utah art department. Later, in Denver, Colorado he tutored with European painter P.A. Kontny.

The Grandfathers
Charcoal

Demille designs and creates custom wall murals, sky ceiling, and painted furniture pieces for homes and business settings. In these diverse works, Demille endeavors to bring to the painted wall a touch of old world magic – an imaginative space which transforms any architectural setting.

Demille has exhibited in Colorado, Northern California, Florida, and throughout Utah. Frontier Homestead is open Monday-Saturday, from 9am to 5pm. Don’t let the opportunity to see this amazing artistic collection pass you by. Remember, the exhibit closes June May 31.

Demille painting a mural for the Violin School of America in Salt Lake City, UT.

The completed mural can still be seen at 200 South 300 East in Salt Lake City, UT

Archaeology Day 2017

Frontier Homestead State Park welcomes archaeologists young and old and their families to participate in its annual Utah Archaeology Day on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in activities involving Native American games, history, traditional crafts and skills, and visit with a variety of demonstrators. Archaeology Day will take place from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Cost per person is $2.00 per person or $5.00 per family.

Archaeology Day is the kick-off for a series of activities sponsored by Frontier Homestead State Park, Project Archaeology, Bureau of Land Management, Southern Utah University-College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Intersearch, Transcon Environmental, and the Cedar City Public Library.

Archaeology Day 1 - atlatll (1)The celebration of Utah Archaeology and Preservation Month continues on Friday May 12th and 19th at 7:00 pm with two showings of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the Sharwan Smith Center on SUU campus.  An archaeologist will give a brief introduction. Admission is free, seating is limited, and the film is rated PG-13.

On Monday May 15, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the public can take advantage of a rare opportunity to see artifacts from local archaeological excavations.  Repository Director, Barbara Frank, will open the SUU Archaeological Repository to the public.  The Repository is located in Room 101-A, west basement door, ELC, SUU campus. The tour is free and family-friendly.

Next, Saturday May 20, enjoy a free, guided tour of historic cabins in Kolob Canyon.  The tour will begin at Frontier Homestead State Park at 9 am and return by 1 pm. Sack lunches will be provided to all registered participants.  You must request a reservation and receive confirmation for this event, as space is limited.  Send request to samanthakirkley@suu.edu  This event is free, but not appropriate for all ages.

Come enjoy a special slide presentation by Shanandoah Anderson from the Southern Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Shivwits Band on Monday, May 22, at the Cedar City Public Library.  Ms. Anderson has taught at several reservation schools and enjoys sharing her cultural knowledge with others.  Don’t miss this unique and enlightening experience. This presentation is free to the public and appropriate for all family members.Archaeology Day 1 - pump drill (1)

The Hunter House Summer Kitchen

Once the interior of the Hunter House was complete, we turned our attention to the back. It has taken some time, but the back garden and summer kitchen is looking good and ready for action. Enjoy this look at a little of the work that went in to getting it to the pleasant area it is now.

The kitchen consists of an earth oven, a cast iron stove, a grilling area and food storage and preparation areas. There is still some work to be done with landscaping so keep checking back.

The summer kitchen will be available to rent starting this summer. It will be a great place for special events.

The Hunter House

Joseph Sneddon Hunter

Joseph Sneddon Hunter was born November 20, 1844 in Scotland to Joseph Hunter and Elizabeth Davidson. The family had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1840 and in 1849 all seven immigrated to the United States. After pausing in Missouri where Elizabeth and two children died, Joseph Hunter and his sons set out for Utah, arriving in Salt Lake in the early fall of 1852. The Hunters were then called to help colonize Cedar City and arrived there in October.

Joseph Sneddon Hunter subsequently made his living in farming and livestock. In 1865 he married Elizabeth Catherine Pinnock, by whom he had ten children. Their house was built in three stages, between 1866 and 1891 with an addition in 1924. Hunter was active in church and civic affairs. He filled missions in the Southern States and in Washington County, held Church offices and gave the Church generous financial support. He believed strongly in the value of education which he supported financially and as a trustee. Joseph died in this house July 26, 1904.

Hunter House at the Homestead

The first section of the Hunter house, built in 1866, is a 1 – 1 ½ story brick example of the Central Hall vernacular type. Vernacular architecture is based on localized needs, uses local construction materials, and often reflects local traditions. The east facade displays the distinctive wall dormers which characterize much of Utah’s mid-19th century architecture. The 1866 section has gable-end chimneys and exhibits common brick bonding and relieving arched windows. Decorative features include a plain entablature, gable-end cornice returns, gable and dormer finials, and elliptical fan lights in the dormers. The mixing of Greek and Gothic Revival stylistic elements is commonly encountered on vernacular houses of this type.

Hunter House by Al Rounds

In 1891 the house received several additions in the “Victorian” stylistic tradition. A rear “T” extension was placed on the west side of the house. Unfortunately, this section proved too unstable to move. An elaborate porch was placed on the east façade of the main house at this time. This porch exhibits Eastlake design qualities in its intricately turned posts, scroll brackets, and spindled frieze. The richly articulated cutout designs between the posts are a particularly distinctive Eastlake feature.

Moving the Hunter House

In 2005 the Hunter House was relocated from its original address at 1st East and Center Street to Frontier Homestead State Park Museum.  The move and subsequent restoration of the historic 1866 portion is a testament to the communities desire to preserve and protect their heritage for all to experience and enjoy.