Monday, August 31, 2015


                                                   Thomas Carlyle

     My family and I have a personal connection to the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty that took place in 1867.  My uncle five generations back on my grandmothers side (Elliott), was Major Joel Elliott second in command of the 7th Cavalry under Custer and Commander in his absence due to Custer's court marshal.
     Elliott was a Quaker from Indiana who had enlisted into the Indiana 2nd Infantry in the Civil War.  He rejoined as a commissioned officer in the 7th Indiana Cavalry when his first enlistment was over.  By receiving an officers commission he was shunned by the Quaker congregation.
      Elliott was wounded twice in actions in Arkansas and received accommodation's for his actions.  After the Civil war he was one of the few to transfer from the state regiments to the Regular Army and retain rank.  He was assigned to the newly formed 7th Cavalry based at Fort Riley Kansas and served at various forts in Kansas protecting the Santa Fe Trail and settlers that were being attacked by the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers.
     When the Government decided to make peace with the five principle tribes south of the Platte River Custer was back home in Michigan after the judicial proceedings against him for leaving his troops and ordering executions of deserters.  Elliott was one of three officers to testify at Custer's tribunal.  The other two being Capt. Benteen and Capt. Hamilton, (grandson of alexander Hamilton).
      When the Peace Commission set the dates and location of the Gathering of the tribes Elliott lead five units of the 7th Cavalry for security.  During the two months it took to bring in all five tribes, (Southern Cheyenne, Kiowa, Arapaho, Plains Apache, and Comanche), Elliott spent a lot of time in the lodges of the various chiefs and struck up a friendship with Peace Chief Black Kettle of the Cheyenne.  A year later he would be ordered to attack Black Kettles camp on the Washita River in Indian Territory during the winter campaign.
     Custer would be called back to lead the 7th against the hostiles the next year and made his fame as an Indian fighter by attacking a camp full of old men, women, and children.  First to be killed in the surprise charge was Capt. Hamilton.  Elliott was ordered to pursue fleeing Indians running east where his troop of 17 ran head long into Arapaho who were coming to the sound of the shooting.
      Captain Benteen would report the truth of the battle to the St. Louis newspaper about Custer abandoning Elliott and his troops and not going back for two weeks to recover the bodies.  Also that the camp attacked was not the camp of those Indians that had raided in Northern Kansas and was just the first camp in a line of winter camps of the various tribes.  Black Kettle was flying the US Flag and a White flag of truce and had a freshly signed letter from the Cavalry Commander in charge of the Indians in the territory.
      Major Joel Elliott's brother William Quincy (WQ) had settled in Peace Kansas and had kept in touch with his brother through a sister in spite of the Quaker shunning.  Peace became Sterling Kansas and the Elliott name is still found in the area today.  William owned the bank, donated land for the cemetery, and owned  several farms in the Stafford County area.  He also sat on the Board of Directors of Friends University in Wichita Kansas.
     The connections to my family of the history of Kansas and Barber County gives us a personal interest in the proceedings.  History is a foundation and history sometimes is not entirely well reported or recorded.  A biography of Major Joel Elliott called A HOOSIER QUAKER GOES TO WAR - THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MAJOR JOEL ELLIOTT.
     The author is a respected biographer and university professor who has written a lot on Custer and kept running across the name Major Elliott.  Historians do not all agree on Elliott's life as well as I don't agree with the biographer on everything.  But it is a source of pride and connection to this country we call home.

Friday, August 28, 2015



      In the course of the westward movement a huge obstacle for the settlement and taming of a wild land was the native tribes that had lived on the plains, as well as the entire continent, for hundreds of years.  Moving from peaceful negotiations to actual warfare the young country moved west in a never ending stream.
     The fact that not one treaty that the United States Government ever made with the tribes was ever honored is a fact of history that will be debated forever.  The story of history, be it bad or good, is just that and not subject to revision or changing.  Too many would change the facts to suit the modern sensibilities of the way they would prefer things to be.
      Communities all have a heritage that needs to be remembered and it is the fact that the community of Medicine Lodge Kansas was the site of a peace treaty with five of the plains Indian tribes.  In 1923 the community started a pageant to commemorate the peace treaty that took place in 1867.  It is a piece of the heritage of the community and the commemoration has been taking place at intervals.  This is the year for it's presentation.  Some of the players in the spectacle are 5 generations from the first participants.
      The Pageant is now on a four year rotation.  The task of putting on such an event takes the energy and total commitment of the entire area.  The statistics are impressive.  The numbers of people, vendors, security, fire, EMS, residents and friends who come to assist.
      Twenty eight pieces of rolling stock are owned by the Peace Treaty Association as well as the land where Peace Treaty Park exists.  Due to the good graces of one founder, the Rule family donated the location.  The park is located in the area of the original treaty signing.  This gives the visitor with vision and imagination to experience what it would have looked like at that time.
     Representatives of the original tribes take part in the event and now have their own Pow Wow grounds where they have a yearly event on the circuit that is followed by the tribes in competition.  Their village is open to visitors to meet and experience the Native American culture.
      There is a parade on Friday and Saturday downtown and a show on main street on Saturday night.  As well as the Stockade Museum is open for tours and entertainment.  On Saturday afternoon their is a gathering of authors from 2-4pm to meet, buy their books and have them autographed.  I will also be there to sell my book and CD.  I am hoping to meet my readers there.
      On Friday and Saturday nights is the Kansas State Championship Ranch Rodeo.  Winners of the event travel to the National Championship in Amarillo Texas.  This year the announcer is Western Music artist, and real cowboy, RW Hampton.  Hampton will be entertaining at the rodeo arena and downtown on Saturday night.
      This entire event and all the activities attract visitors from all over the country and overseas visitors.  Here at the Bunkhouse we get calls and e-mails every day for reservations.  It is always disappointing in the fact that we would love to put everyone up here, but we have been full for the last four years.  If you are looking for overnight accommodations I would recommend you check with the Chambers of Commerce here in Medicine Lodge, Pratt, Anthony, and Kiowa for information on lodging opportunities. There are places around Medicine Lodge for camping.  Check for a list of options.
      When you come to visit the activities make sure to have extra time to check out the Gypsum Hills and Barber County.  The Gyp Hills Scenic Byway runs from Medicine Lodge west on US 160 Highway to Coldwater.  Heads up on Dave's Pizza at Coldwater, Buster's Saloon in Sun City, The Bull Pen in Sharon (home of Martina McBride), and a whole host of food and vendors in Medicine Lodge.

620-886-9815  E-MAIL

Go to these sites for the entire schedules.

Monday, August 24, 2015


                                            Winston Churchill

     I much prefer to look at things with a light heart and have the humor of a situation come out.  However as I watch the happenings in this country and the world my opinions have taken a serious turn more times than I like.
     I am disappointed at so many church congregations, where there is only the regular order of readings connected to the church calendars.  And no relevance as to how the teachings are applied in the world we live in. 
      Being a lover of history I, and others, seem to look at all the violence and evil in the world as something that has gone behind.  That somehow we are modern and have risen above it all.  Yet we have hundreds of thousands of modern day martyrs being killed and tortured in the most inhuman ways all over the world right now.
     We have an 8th century religion that has at it's heart the forced conversion, or death, of any that is different or believe anything contrary to their tenant's.  And we are told by those who wish to think that in the 21st Century that a modernization of this religion must have happened and that tolerance is actually possible if we just negotiate or be "tolerant".
     We also think that something as 'inconvenient' for a woman can be torn apart and ripped out of her body, and then sold for research.  And when confronted with the reality of the act, angry accusations come forth and hatred.  People turn their eyes from the remains of torn apart babies and ignore the words of the people who make light of the actions.  As one practitioner warns "when shipping a head make sure the eyes are closed".
     The highest court of the land has declared that there is a right of two of the same sex to marry.  A concept that did not even come into the discussion until the late 20th Century.  And those who stand by the context of scripture and common decency are scorned, and can be attacked financially and socially for holding to their beliefs.  Even speaking against the practice in their own church can cause the loss of their job.
     A government that has been supplanted by unelected bureaucrats that can make rulings, and subvert the intent of congress, can cause the destruction of the land.  Can cause the violation of private property rights, jail any who oppose, send swat teams against anyone who stands in defiance.  And yet can give 'room' for protesters in inner cities the chance to create destruction for wrongs that are the popular vernacular for the day.
     We have come to the time when you cannot ride the fence.  You have to choose.  Stand with God and what is right or stand with Satan and evil.  In your pulpits, in your governing bodies, in your home, and in your communities.  You have to decide which side of the line you will be counted and judged. 
     When the time comes I hope that I will have been on the side of right and good.  As scripture says "I knew you before you were even born and could count the hairs on your head".

Monday, August 10, 2015


                                                       Ronald Reagan

     If you have not seen the pictures of Durango Colorado you are just not paying attention.  The clear clean running mountain Animas River is now a dirty orange filled with lead, copper, heavy metals, and arsenic.  How did this happen?  The ENVIRONMENTA PROTECTION AGENCY!  Typically an agency that purports to know more than anyone else about what is good for the environment, started to dig around the plug of a retention waste pond from a gold mine.  The mine having been shut down since the 1920's.  The goal was to clean up the hazards.
     Well once again we see that a group of bureaucrats with unlimited power have no shred of common sense let alone the knowledge of how to do anything right.  What will come of it?  Well they said they were sorry.  If anyone else did this it would be front page news for the next six months, individuals would be criminally investigated and prosecuted.  Companies would be heavily fined.  And a host of 'experts' would come tell them how to fix the problem.
      DO YOU THINK ONE EPA EMPLOYEE WILL LOSE THEIR JOB OVER THIS?  If you do you are just not paying attention to how the government operates.  Statements have been made by the EPA that wildlife will not be harmed in a major way.  HUH!!!!
     Cities along the river depend on it for drinking water.  Wells near it are showing up orange.  This is a disaster that will play out for years.  But it is in a long string of government disasters.
      Citing the endangered status of a spotted owl the lumber industry in Oregon and Washington was devastated.  Towns that relied on over 50 to 75% of their economies were devastated.  Yet the spotted owl is doing fine in second growth timber once real science is utilized.
      Due to the loving to death our national forest, parks, and federal lands the one hundred plus years of fighting every fire, limiting lumber production, and stopping grazing, coupled with housing being built in hazardous areas, the west is burning up.
     Add to the mismanagement a drought, and the fire conditions are more severe than ever before.  Plus throw in the caveat that failure to remove diseased timber and allowing the pine beetle to run non stop, we are set up for more fires than has ever been considered possible.
     Take the one fire out west.  The standard science that predicts fire behavior estimated that the spread of this fire under the conditions would take seven days to reach the point it did.  It did this in five hours.
      In California a judge has held up a ban on hobbyist gold prospectors from using small dredges to recover gold.  The happy by product is that it removes the mercury that is still in the streams from the gold rush in the 1800's.  Yet the government is spending three million dollars to have a commercial dredge that does do damage used to clean up mercury and the expectation that only one million dollars in gold will be recovered to offset the costs.  This that the hobbyist was doing for free and not doing lasting damage.
     Have you looked at the chart that a power company now has to negotiate in order to do business?  What was a simple three to four step process is now so complicated that I don't see how the government even understands it.  But you will see it on your electric bill.
      So now one area has made it illegal for a home owner to go off the grid in order to be self sufficient and orders everyone to be hooked up to every government mandated utility available.  Government intelligence indeed.
      So far I have not seen any politician advocating the dismantling of the EPA or any other agency that can now dictate how you do anything.  Remember the EPA just approved itself the authority to regulate everything including the mud puddle in your back yard.
      Also remember that if you disagree and oppose the draconian regulations that an agency creates, they will come after you with a Swat team.  Ask Mr. Bundy.  Or don't pay your taxes, unless you are Al Sharpton.
     Good luck Durango, I hope the EPA has a regulation to make the river clean itself up.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


                                                      Milton Friedman

     I have ranted several times and sent e-mails to government officials and elected officials about the 747 Air Tanker that Evergreen Airlines built to fight forest fires.  I have heard government officials say how they were not holding back anything to combat the terrible fires in the forests and the West.  Which is a huge lie.
      First there is the first new technology for dropping water and retardant from the air since WWII that Evergreen pioneered.  Converting 747 Boeing aircraft into an air tanker that could replace 12 common aircraft being used today.  The government dragged it's heels on certification first.  Then just did not give a contract second.
      We went through a bad period in the fire service when the old air tankers were converted WWII aircraft.  The planes just plain wore out and many deaths of talented pilots were lost before fighting fires became big business.  Thank goodness the new fleet is being designed for the job from the ground up.
      There are 3 747's now setting on the ground in Arizona not being deployed because Evergreen Airlines has several problems.  One, their owner died in 2014.  Two, the investment in building the state of the art fire tanker was not used in this country, (it was used on a fire in Israel), and three, the company is now in bankruptcy. 
     Now I do not pretend to know all the circumstances that caused the company to go into chapter 7.  I do attribute the fact that when we have firefighters being killed, houses and buildings burning, and wild land being scorched.  No government bureaucrat would approve the use of these tankers to be used.
     One of the original excuses is that jet aircraft could not function in the fire environment.  Well Tanker 912 has dispelled that myth.  The new generation of smaller tankers are under jet power being built now.
     So what happens now?  Three 747 air tankers setting on the ground.  Will they be scrapped?  Will a company buy them and use them to fight fires?  Ultimately the answer will lie in an anonymous government official and someone with a vested interest in whether we really commit all we have to stop fires or line someone's pockets.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


                                                           Mary Catherine Bateson

     One of the benefits of being associated with Western Music is the huge group of truly nice and genuine people.  And the huge amount of talent that could cause me to feel real inadequate in comparison.  Yet the group of people in this area have been more than gracious in letting me set in with them and once in a while sharing their stage.  That is why losing one is so hard.  As hard as all the great friends I have lost personally in the last 20 years.
     On July 30th in Nashville at Vanderbilt Hospital we lost Lynn Anderson age 67.  I met Lynn several times at the Western Music Association Festival and she could have been aloof and wore here stature as a successful artist as some would and not be down to earth and real.  She was a very genuine and nice person that always had time for a word and always had a seat at a jam for anyone who wanted to sit in.
     I was also very fond of her mother Liz who was just a lovely person and it was handed down to Lynn from her.  Lynn was a surprise to her parents when she decided to be an entertainer because she was an active horse woman from a very early age.
      She went on to make her mark in Nashville and the mainstream Country Music industry.  She had hits on Country and Pop charts and as Nashville left Country & Western behind for the new 'Hot Country' sound, Lynn was a survivor.  Lynn was a great ambassador for Western music and a great example for the younger artists coming on strong.
      Lynn just released a new album a month prior to her death and was getting attention from a music industry who had cast off its stars and created stars with a cookie cutter mentality.  I believe that Lynn was about to lead the rediscovery of the music and the artists that put Nashville on the map before the big sell out.
     Lynn had been admitted to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville with pneumonia and suffered a heart attack.  I guess it was fitting because she had such a big heart.  She leaves behind her father Casey Anderson, her partner Mentor Williams, three children and four grand children.  And a whole host of artists, friends, and fans that will miss her very much.