Author: Will Welton
Page count: 211
Genre: African American, Historical Fiction Western
Soft cover Price: $10.00 Createspace.com
E-Book Price: Smashwords.com is $6.99
Growing up, in the Choctaw (McCurtain and Choctaw Counties) and Creek Indian (Okmulgee County) Nations of Oklahoma, with the spoken languages of Choctaw, Ojibwa, Spanish and English was an asset in my knowledge of story telling. A reporter for the McCurtain County Gazette told me, “Write down the stories and the things you have done in life for some day they would be useful in keeping the tales of the old folks alive after we all are gone.”
Working various jobs from cowboy and farmer to holding, the positions of Foreman of a bridge gang, with the Saint Louis San Francisco, Railroad and Command Sergeant Major in the Army, gave me the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people. Medically discharged from the military, I did construction work until finally being forced to retire completely because of my health.
Moving near Russellville Alabama because my children came to this area to work and raise my grand-children.
Now I live and play near the Crooked Oak community with my seven grand-children. The older three have read all but two of my novels so there is not sexual intent or as much violence as on the evening news. I write short stories, young adult books, free lance magazine articles, articles for several news papers and write novels about the tales of the old folks when I was growing up. In addition, to the fifteen Western novels, I have written two mysteries of modern day times.
Tell us about your book:
In the early years of the War Between the States, Civil War or War of Northern Aggression, as some southerners called it, a man paid his debts however, and he could. In the southern states, at times, slaves were used as collateral and won or lost on the turn of a card in games of chance. Whole plantations was lost because of this war and the slaves set free with no where to go or any means of support for food. Many of the slaves’s starved to death or were hung because of them stealing food or clothing.
During the Civil War, there were people who did not believe in slavery and helped the slaves to escape to the north or to the far west. This is about one such incident, which happened, and how the slaves were moved to Colorado. There are many more stories of such things happening and the destination was one of the western Territory’s. Quiet a few towns sprang up in the west, which was for the black people to live, and it was for blacks only.
In the western part of the United States, a black man was measured by what he could do and by his honesty. There were many cowboys, wagon drivers, horse wranglers, cooks, and other jobs the black people excelled in every way. They were accepted by the Indians and some whites as equal men. In the west, the black man was accepted into the Calvary and was soon feared as the fiercest fighting man by all hostile Indian.
How long did it take to write the book?
What inspired you to write the book?
A story that I had heard from a Mister Ford, a old colored man, who happened to be just a kid when the wagon train he traveled on came west from Arkansas in 1863. Mister Ford was ninety years old and he told us kids the story several times. I used his tale as the basis of my book. I had to do a lot of research on the border towns of Kansas which were close to Oklahoma Indian Territory because the new maps show place which were nonexistence in the 1863 time frame.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
My writing routine is to write when I think of something to write. At times I will write for eight to ten hours a day without letting up and sometimes it might be a week before I set down and write anything.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
How regardless of your color or what you may think of one person that you learn to respect all people regardless of whom they are or where they were born.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Createspace.com and Amazon.com
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Sam Mountain Texas Ranger”—http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/24464
Cane Longbow Range Detective”—http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/23993
“Treasures Of Indian Territory Of Oklahoma http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/21543
“White Bear Clan Black Thorn” http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/21272
Tanner Oaks Texas Ranger—http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/25728
Run From A Hanging:—http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/25673
Excerpt from book:
Jed Marcus had been working the river boats for the last five years. He had been on the Delta Queen for the past two months and was known by many of the high stakes card players for his honesty at the poker tables. The people he always tried to play with were plantation owners, bankers, tycoons and such. The air was still cool during the day and could get cold during the night for it was the April of 1861. Jed had just finished a letter to his father and mentioned in it he was going to head out this summer and see his mother’s people. As he leaned his five foot six inch frame on the railing of the Texas Deck, he watched as people came up the gang plank for he was looking for potential customers. The breeze was blowing gently and his shoulder length black hair that blew gently in the breeze. Of course, he would give the passengers time to settle in their cabins. Jed would always let the boat get under way, have a good meal, and then he would head to the main deck where the Texas Bar and gambling tables were located.
One reason for wanting to head west was the talk of war coming over the slavery issue. In addition, because his skin was a light brown color and he had been mistaken as a Mulatto several times. He had to explain a lot about his mothers people the Navajo and his fathers being Irish. Out west, a man was his honesty and worthiness and not judged only by his color even though there were a lot of people against Indian blood.
It being the last of April the weather was on the warm side during the afternoon hours. The day had turned from cloudy looking as if it might rain to bright and sunny. The wharves was a busy hub and farther down were two paddle wheelers being loaded with cargo and one being unloaded for it had just completed tying up to the dock. The deck hands were busy tying down the load on the lower deck to keep creates from shifting while the boat was under way. The river was running high from the spring rains so the Delta Queen would not be hanging up on any mud bars but would have to watch for floating trees moving down the river.
Jed had heard the pros and cons about the emancipation act, which was now in congress for a vote. However, with Lincoln and Congress spouting setting the slaves free it was getting harder at the gaming tables, to get the usual big spenders to turn loose much of their money, for people new that a war was inevitably coming and money might get tight. There was money backed by the Confederate Congress and he tried to shy away from taking it. However, when he did take it as won in a poker game he would go to the nearest bank and trade it for gold coins. Most of the men, which played poker for high stakes, had plantations and such in Louisiana or Texas along the mighty Mississippi. The gang plank was starting to swing back onto the boat and Jed stubbed out his cigar, turned from the railing, and headed back to his state room. He was going to lie down for a while and he just might take a nap before the evening meal was served.
At the small state room, six feet wide and eight feet long, Jed removed his suit coat, his boots, and his shoulder holstered .32 before lying down. As he lay there on the bunk, he could feel the boat swing away from the pier and into the current. He knew there would be a war coming and he did not want to have to choose sides. One of his brothers lived with his family and their mother in Pennsylvania while the other brother was in South Carolina.
He must have drifted off to sleep for when he woke the sky he could see through the small window was black. He had heard a knock on the door to the state room and he answered, “Jenkins thanks for coming by and I’ll buy you a drink at the bar.” Jed did not get an answer from the retreating foot steps but Jenkins the deck foreman was as regular as clock work on waking Jed. The arrangement had been with the deck foreman ever since Jed got to the Delta Queen.
Jed got up, shaved, washed up with the water in the pitcher and changed shirts. He made a mental note to either get some laundry done or buy a few more white shirts for this was his last clean one. Slipping the shoulder holster back over his shoulder he made sure there were four shots in the pistol ready for use. Jed took his wallet out of his coat and counted out four thousand dollars in Yankee green backs and two thousand dollars in Confederate paper money. The Confederate money was in case one of the gentleman gamblers used any for betting. He slid the other nine hundred dollars down into the top of his boot. Donning his jacket, he then looked in the small mirror hanging over the wash cabinet and he straightens his string tie. Stepping back, he got a fair look of his five foot two inch frame from the waist up. He straightened his jacket so the pistol was not quiet as obvious. Ensuring that the door was locked as he exited the room, for he had eight thousand dollars in his valise under the bed, he then went to the dinning room for supper.
Jed had to stand for fifteen minutes or so until he could get a seat at one of the tables. There were six others at the long table and they were having a conversation about the slave issue. As Jed ate pork roast and potatoes he listened to the conversation around him and heard that President Lincoln was trying to pass a law through Congress to abolish slavery and that some of the southern state representatives were trying to block the law. He could tell that several of the men at the table behind him were true blue blood southerners and one of the men said the slave market had bottomed out. That he could not even sell his slaves for near what he had invested in buying them.
Shortly the group left the dinning table and Jed over heard them mention going to the bar room on the upper deck. Jed ate slowly to give the men time to hit the whiskey a few times at the saloon before he would mosey up the stairs to the upper deck. By the time he was finished eating the dinning room was down to just him and a nice looking young lady setting with an older lady who looked like something the dogs had drug in, then pissed on the pile, and left it out to dry.
Not long afterward Jed was entering the Texas Bar. There were a dozen men standing along the bar drinking and talking loud with the five gaming tables holding five patrons each. The card games were in progress and some of them would probably be going on till dawn or later. At that time, several men left the bar and Jed made his way over to order a brew of ale. Jackson the first mate had been stocking the bar with the ale since Jed had saved his life from a stowaway trying to put a knife in his back and Jed taking the knife away from the stowaway and then had thrown the man over the railing into the water.
Jed had stood around for over an hour and decided to get a breath of fresh air for the smoke was rising from so many cigars burning. He stepped out on the walkway and almost bumped into the two ladies from the dinning room. Jed was watching the river bank slip by in the moon light when Jackson came up and stopped. They talked awhile and Jackson told of the latest news received by Captain Holt in a telegram, which had come as the gang plank was coming up. The South had fired on the Northern Army at Fort Sumter some where on the east coast. Jackson said he had not heard exactly where but the war between the north and the south was starting.
After a while, Jed headed back into the gaming room and bar. Several of the tables had became vacant since he had went out side and the one he had been keeping an eye out for had a man just standing, picking up his money, saying, “Hate to leave you men but I need to get some sleep for it will be a long day for me tomorrow.” The man walked away and Jed came over to the table and said, “Mind if I set in for a few hands?” Several of the men waved him to the seat, introductions were made, and Charles La Bissau said, “Table stakes and skies the limit.”
Jed set down in the chair, pulled his wallet from his inside coat pocket, took out four thousand dollars of his money from his wallet plus the confederate bills, he would play tonight and hopefully win if he lost he still had the other money in his stateroom, and placed the stack of money on the table. He then returned his wallet to his pocket. He then motioned Herrick the bartender for a glass of ale. La Bissau called over to the bar and ordered whiskey and a new deck of cards. He had a large stack of money in front of him and as the night progressed, it seemed to float over towards the other players. By the witching hour La Bissau, Jed, and Fredrick Lumas were the only players left setting at this table. La Bissau stack of money was almost depleted when the next round of cards were dealt by Lumas.
Jed caught two deuces, two nines and the ten spot of hearts. Lumas must have had a good hand for he raised the pot a thousand dollars. Jed saw the thousand and bet two thousand. La Bissau kept fumbling with his money and saw the three thousand to him. Lumas bet four thousand and kicked in the other two thousand to cover Jed’s bet. La Bissau only had a few bills in front of him and Jed knew he had a chance to discard the ten spot and just might draw a deuces or a nine. Even though holding two pair of cards had won him many hands at the game of poker. Jed counted out four thousand to cover the bet and another five thousand into the pot for a raise. If La Bissau was going to stay in the game, he would have to come up with nine thousand to cover the bet and Lumas looked to have the five thousand in front of him to copper the pot.
La Bissau went to stammering and wiping sweat as he looked over at Jed and said, “You’re trying to buy the pot. I got money in my state room to cover your bet.”
Lumas replied, “Table stakes Charles that is the name of this game and you’re the one who said it.”
La Bissau took another drink of his sour mash whiskey and wiped some more sweat. La Bissau looked over at Lumas and said, “Fred how about taking a marker for ten thousand from me till after we dock tomorrow?”
“Charles I haven’t got that much money with me.”
La Bissau then looked at Jed and said, “Sir I am good for the money at Greenville when we dock and I will go to the bank with you.”
Jed took a drink of his ale and found it was hot. He then waved at Herrick the bartender and waited till he received a cooler drank. Sipping the foam from the drink he then asked La Bissau, “What can you put up for collateral on a note?”
“I got sixty slaves with twenty five of them men and the rest woman and children. That is collateral enough for any man.”
Jed studied his cards and the laid them back face down on the table. He then extracted a cigar from his case he kept in his coat pocket. Lighting the cigar he held the match until it burned almost down to his fingers before he replied. He knew from the sweat pour from La Bissau that the man might have got in over his head. “La Bissau,” Jed paused for effect, “All your slaves, wagons to transport them and their belongings, horses and such to pull the wagons and food supplies to feed them for a month.”
“Hell man those slaves are worth fifty thousand!” La Bissau said in almost a shout.
Jed smiled and replied, “On the open market you probably wouldn’t get a hundred dollars for the best field hand. The Confederacy fired on the northern troops yesterday and the war will began. That is why I said what I said.”
The paddle boat Captain was passing through for his nightly toddy and he must have over heard the conversation for he stopped and said, “What Mister Marcus has said is true about there starting a war because the news on the wire is that the south fired on a northern fort on April 12.”
“Well the south will win the war and prices will be even higher. I’ve got nothing to worry about for after we dock you can go with me up to the bank and receive your money.” La Bissau said. He waved at the bartender and asked for paper and pen. When the items arrived, he wrote out the paper and signed it. He then handed the paper to Jed.
Jed looked it over and asked, “Mister Lumas, Captain could I get you two gentlemen to witness this document?”
Lumas dipped the pen in the inkwell and wrote witness and then signed his name on the paper and added the date of April 14, 1861 near his name. He handed the pen to the Captain and the Captain did the same. While this was happening, Jed counted out the ten thousand dollars and passed the money over to La Bissau. La Bissau moved the whole ten thousand dollars, to cover his bet, into where the pile of money was setting on the table and replied, “Call you Mister Marcus.”
Jed looked at his hand, pushed another thousand dollars out to the pile of money, and said, “One card,” As he slid the ten spot face up out to the discard pile. Lumas dealt Jed one card and then he covered his bet with a thousand dollar bill. He then slid two cards out of his hand and received two into his hand. La Bissau grinned and laid out one card saying, “I only want one.”