I’m happy to introduce Velda Brotherton’s latest release from The Wild Rose Press and the fascinating facts she uncovered in her research…
Researching for this book, the second in The Victorian series, has been fun and somewhat surprising. I learned that a small sleepy town in Kansas was once the home of a large group of English/Scottish settlers who refused to embrace the western life, but rather brought their English life with them. From farm animals to lace for the tables, these people were determined not to leave their heritage behind.
I was raised in Kansas, but never knew the history of Victoria, Kansas until I visited my brother one summer. It so intrigued me that I knew I had to write not one, but three novels set there.
October, 1872 George Grant traveled by the Kansas Pacific railroad to Hays City. He was 50, with a vigorous six-foot frame, and carried himself with the grace and dignity of a king. He came to buy a large tract of land and form a colony of Englishmen. England was overcrowded. Worthy men could not make a living and young men had little future. He would name the colony for the queen, the Victoria Colony.
Wild Bill Hickok was marshal of nearby Hays City and enforced the Colt law. He shot up a bunch of soldiers from the Seventh Cavalry and was run out of town. Buffalo Bill Cody killed buffalo and peddled the meat from door to door in Hays City. Calamity Jane came from the east and could swear, shoot and hold her liquor with the best of them. She was genial and immoral and well liked, starting trouble wherever she went. Shootings were so regular it was like one long fourth of July. Hays City was one wild place.
Trains ran irregularly and rarely at night for fear of Indian Attack. Beyond Hays City the prairies stretched smoothly as far as they could see. In the far distance the blue sky kissed their purple edges. Antelope and buffalo grazed on the short green grass. Tall crimson grasses waved along the creek banks and sunflowers grew along the RR tracks. .
Permanent residences in the new settlement were all to be of stone, the frame buildings being turned over to the hired help. There would be free schools, a church, a library and special train rates. He would keep a herd of high-blooded stock, cattle, horses and sheep, a supply of pure seeds, steam cultivators such as were in use in England. None of these things were available to homesteaders.
On April Fool’s day 30 English and Scottish began their journey to America and the prairies of Kansas aboard a steamship leaving Scotland to begin a trip that would take a year by ship, rail, boat, and often horse-drawn stages. Many came with the assurance that allowances varying from 50 to 200 dollars a month would be sent to them regularly. They were called remittance men and were, for the most part, unmarried and in their early twenties.
On May 17, 1873 Mr. Grant and his first colony arrived at Victoria. In the group were 38 men, women and children and several head of Black and Red Aberdeen Angus Bulls, some sheep, and supplies needed upon their arrival. The Bulls were later placed on his own ranch and used to cross breed the long horn cattle from the area. Victoria became the birth place of Aberdeen Breed in America. The settlement grew and flourished for ten years. A nearby German settlement finally took over as the English moved out. No stone castle remain. Today the site is the home of St. Fidelis Church.
Blurb: Rowena’s Hellion- The Victorians —
Loving a man damaged by war is a challenge, but Rowena was captivated from the first time she laid eyes on the man her sister was supposed to marry. Something about his haunted eyes captured her nurturing heart. Building a life together proves difficult as she struggles to bring peace to Blair Prescott.
He rode the Kansas prairie in the moonlight, wild to escape the visions of the dead who followed him from the battlefields. The woman Rowena haunted him as well, but he dared not follow his desires. He would only hurt her.
Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/mzkbqru
Velda Brotherton writes of romance in the old west with an authenticity that makes her many historical characters ring true. A knowledge of the rich history of our country comes through in both her fiction and nonfiction books, as well as in her writing workshops and speaking engagements. She just as easily steps out of the past into contemporary settings to create novels about women with the ability to conquer life’s difficult challenges. Tough heroines, strong and gentle heroes, villains to die for, all live in the pages of her novels and books. Her writing lives up to her brand: Sexy, Dark, and Gritty.
She lives with her husband and writes from their home in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Her career spans nearly thirty years with close to that many books to her credit.