I'll have a Burger and some history

The Burger King restaurant in Kayenta, Arizona, on the Navajo reservation displays World War II Japanese guns, flags, mortars, grenades, and a wall of photographs of Navajo Indians who played an important role in defeating the Japanese. The photos are of Navajo Code Talkers who were recruited into the MarineCorps for a program that used the unwritten Navajo language as an unbreakable military code in the Pacific theater.

Artifacts returned to Navajo Tribe

The Navajo tribe is holding a public prayer ceremony in Window Rock to mark the return of stolen sacred artifacts’ after more than a decade spent out of tribal hands. The centuries-old items have been identified by federal investigators as a mask, a tortoise shell and two coverings that may be drum heads or ceremonial vessel coverings. Investigators recovered the artifacts in 1991 after tracking them to dealers in Santa Fe, N.M., and New York. The objects had been taken from a cave in northwestern New Mexico in 1986, before it was a crime. The mask was recovered from a Tucson home. The other objects were found at a Santa Fe gallery. A New Mexico man pleaded guilty in 1992 to selling the artifacts. It has taken years to return the objects to the Navajo because federal regulations require that authorities ensure the objects are being returned to the proper tribe

Flipper pardoned

West Point's first African-American graduate recently received a presidential pardon from President Clinton, more than 100 years after his court-martial. Henry O. Flipper was dishonorably discharged in 1882 after being convicted in an 1881 court-martial of lying to investigators. Flipper was acquitted on charges of embezzlement of commissary funds, but was found guilty of "conduct unbecoming an officer" for lying. The conviction is genreally regarded as being racially motivated. Flipper died in 1940 at age 84. West Point presents an annual Henry Flipper award to a cadet who has overcome adversity in recognitipn of Flipper's perseverance. Gen. Colin Powell hung a photo of Flipper on his office wall while serving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Barton''s Office

The building that housed the apartment and office of Civil War nurse Clara Barton will not be demolished after all.
The General Services Administration will create an exhibit area in the two rooms where Barton lived and worked from 1862 to 1868 and in which a worker found dozens of boxes of personal papers and government files belonging to Clara Barton. During the Civil War, Barton devoted her time to helping wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Afterwards, she set up an office at her own expense to help the families of those still missing.
No one had connected Barton with the building, located about halfway between the Capitol and the White House, until a demolition surveyor recently found the papers and clothing. Among the artifacts found was a brass sign reading: Missing Soliders Office, 3rd story, Room 9, Miss Clara Barton. The entire third floor of the building reportedly has been closed off since about 1900.

Civil War artifacts found

Two Pennsylvania men suspected of stealing an estimated $2 million to $3 million worth of Civil War artifacts from a Philadelphia museum have been arrested. The FBI said a collector of Civil War memorabilia, and a former custodian of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, stole more than 200 items over a 10-year period. Authorities said they found many of the missing artifacts at the collector's home. The valuable items included a sword presented by the citizens of Philadelphia to Union Gen. George Meade after the Battle of Gettysburg and a rifle once owned by abolitionist John Brown.

Some would say that another crime was that it took the museum almost ten years to realize many of the historical items were missing.

Buffalo Soldier on Tube

The Story of the Buffalo soldiers has come to Television. Turner Broadcasting presented the story of the black cavalry troopers, starring Danny Glover. The program, originally aired on Sunday December 7,1997. For more information check out the TNT website. Be sure to also visit Guidon Books online catalog of books about the exploits of these brave troopers

Little Bighorn survivors to get own memorial

A new battle is about to be fought at the site of the battle between Lt. Col. George A. Custer's 7th Cavalry and Sioux and Cheyenne Indians led by Chief Sitting Bull. This time, however, the controversy surrounds plans to erect a memorial to the Indians who fought and died at the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Some say the monument is long overdue, while others say it will detract from the monument to the 270 fallen soldiers and Indian scouts, all of whom were slain by overwhelming numbers of Indians. The casualties amoung the Indians numbered about 75 dead.

Sitting Bull's Pipe goes home

The pipe and pouch, once used by Sitting Bull, is being returned to the Sioux Tribe.The items are being sent to the Indian Museum at the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota.The pipe is three feet long, with inlaid brass, carved wooden stem and red pipestone bowl. The pipe was given several years ago to Rick Mount, part Cherokee, in exchange for work he performed on a motor home.

Underground Tombstone

Tombstone, Arizona, the "Town Too Tough to Die," has another problem to contend with. The town, which rose to its glory days as a silver mining town, is suffering from the long term effects of the mining. It seems that there are many tunnels under the townsite and the years has caused some settling of the ground under the town. The problem, which has been known for some time, has been exacerbated recently. Some areas have been roped off and some historic buildings have been condemned because of sinking foundations and cracked walls.

Buffalo Soldiers Remembered

A ceremony was recently held in New Mexico honoring members of the 9th Cavalry who fought against Apaches led by Victorio. The battle took place on September 18.1979 in Las Animas Canyon. Three Buffalo Soldiers won the Medal of Honor in the battle. The plaque dedicated at the site reads, "18 September 1879, near this spot lay troopers of the 9th United States Cavalry regiment ambushed by Chief Victorio and his Warm Springs Apache. After a daylong battle, the regiment sliped into the darkness."

History for Sale

A piece of Western Americana is for sale for the low low price of six and a half million dollars. Virginia City and Nevada City, Montana are set to be sold. The towns, consisting of over 100 buildings and many historical artifacts has become too expensive for the current owner to maintain. The Governor of Montana has proposed that the State purchase the towns to preserve them for posterity. A study conducted by the National Park Service has creditied Vrginia City with being the only town in the Old West that still has so many of it general use building still intact.

The owner has given the state of Montana until June 1 to appropriate the funds to make the purchase. Otherwise, the towns are scheduled to go on the auction block. While the Montana Historical society is also attempting to raise the funds, should the legislature fail to act, there is some concern that the towns will fall into the hands of someone who does not have an appreciation for the importance of preserving the towns. If that happens the concern is that the "colonial Williamsburg of the Wild West" will be lost.

Yelowstone Bison in peril

The American Bison, once in danger of being extinct, has flourished within the confines of Yellowstone National Park. Unfortunately for them, they are unaware of man made boundaries. In recent times the Bison have wandered outside of the park. Montana cattle ranches are fearful that they will infect their herds grazing near the park with brucellosis, which causes cows to abort their calves. More than 1,000 of the buffalo have been killed this year in spite of protests from government officials and Native American Indians who would like to take some of the park's excess buffalo and transplant them to Indian reservations. Bureaucratic difficulties have stymied the effort.

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Mudd is the Name

Relatives of Dr. Samuel Mudd, convicted in 1865 by a military tribunal for participating in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy, has renewed efforts to clear the family name. Mudd is the doctor who treated the leg of John Wilkes Booth, which was broken as the actor leapt onto the stage at Ford's theater after shooting President Lincoln in the back of the head. The motivation for the resurgent effort the age and failing health of Mudd's grandson, Dr. Richard Mudd.

Samuel Mudd claimed that he was unaware of the Lincoln assassination or Booth's role in it at the time he treated Booth. Dr. Mudd was later pardoned by President Andrew Johnson from aiding in the treatment of yellow fever victims while in prison. The conviction, however, was not expunged

Rising From The Ashes

The 'New" Old Tucson is set ot reopen after being closed for nearly two years due to a fire. Almost half of the the western theme park and movie studio was destroyed by a fire in April of 1995. Originally constructed in 1939 as the setting for the movie Arizona, the location west of Tucson, Arizona has been open to the public since 1959. Lost in the fire were many wooden buildings and much of the wardrobes that had accumulated over the years. We are glad to see it risihng from the ashes.

Navajo-Hopi land dispute

The latest chapter of the Navajo - Hopi land dispute has an unknown ending. The dispute, which has its origins in 1888, involves 1.8 million acres of land claimed by both tribes. The land has been divided by Congress and the United States Courts, but some Navajos are still living on the land which has been granted to tthe Hopis.

The most recent plan, sighed by President Clinton, allows the Navajo families remaining on the land to have a 75 year lease and gives the Hopis 50.2 million dollars. One glitch- 85 percent of the Navajo families living on the Hopi land have to give written approval of the deal. The original December 31 deadline has been extended because only 6 families have sighed up so far.

The Road to Reno

The widening of the Beeline Highway in Arizona has resulted in the rediscovery of the Old Reno Road, used in the 1860s to connect Fort McDowell to Camp Reno in the Tonto Basin. Camp Reno, which was only active for a few years, was established by General Crook to maintain a military presence in, and hopefully prevent Apache Indian uprisings, in the Tonto Basin Area northeast of Phoenix

Studies are currently underway to determine whether the Reno Road is eligilbe for the national Register of Historic Places

Oldest Civil War Widow

Alberta Martin has staked her claim to being the oldest living widow of a Confederate soldier. Her husband, William Martin, was just twenty years old when he served in the Confederate Army during the seige of Petersburg. It wasn't until many years later, however, that Alberta met William, by then an 82 year old shopkeeper. She was 21 at the time.

After William died in 1932, Alberta maried his grandson Charlie, who was much closer to her own age. They stayed together for fifty years. Alberta is now 89, just seven years older than William was when they met.

Donner Party Reunion

In the winter of 1846-47, a group of 89 settlers became stranded in the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains. Many of the party died and some of the survivors resorted to cannibalism. On August 18, 1996, more than 300 descendants of what has come to be known as The Donner Party gathered to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the trek.

Although much of the focus on the ill fated journey has been on the cannibalism, family members want to emphasize the courage of the members and the contributions they made once reaching California.

If you are interested in learning more about the Donner Party contact us.


Flag from Ford's Theater in Small Pennsylvania Museum

There seems to be a growing consensus that the flag in the Pike County (Pa.) Historical Society Museum is indeed from Lincoln's box a Ford's Theatre and may be stained with the blood of the slain president. The flag may have been used as to cushion Lincoln's head after he was shot by an unknown assassin.

The flag was donated to the museum by the son of one of the cast members of the play Our American Cousin which Lincoln was watching the night he was shot.

Ike Clanton and John Behan co-borrowers

A very interesting document recently was discovered among the records of the Jacobs family, which operated mercantile stores in southern Arizona in the late 1900's. The document discloses that Ike Clanton and John Behan jointly borrowed $500 just two weeks after the famous gunfight at the O.K. corral. Although the document does not reveal the purpose of the loan, its existence provides support for those who believe that John Behan, Sheriff of Cochise County, was " in cahoots" with the Clanton family. Behan you will recall, tried unsuccessfully to stop the Earps and Doc Holliday on their way to the gunfight by falsely telling them he had disarmed the Clantons and the McLaurys.

Look out! birdie

In a three way culture clash, a Federal District Court in Phoenix, Arizona recently ruled that Hopi Indians may continue to gather eaglets on Navajo land. The eaglets are used by the Hopi Indians in some of their summer religious ceremonies.

UPDATE The Judge has ruled that the Hopi Indians may remove no more than 12 eaglets from the Navajo lands. The Navajo are closly watching to make sure the limit is not exceeded.

How Long Have They Really Been Here?

An archeologist believes he has discovered evidence that Indians lived in a cave near Fort Bliss, Texas 50,000 years ago. If true, this would have a huge impact on the current theory that the first humans to occupy North America came across the Bering Land Bridge (now the Bering Strait near Alaska) less than 12,000 years ago.

No Room for Ike

The is no room in Boothill for Ike Clanton. At least that is what the Tombstone town council has told Ike's namesake Terry "Ike" Clanton, who proposed to hold reburial ceremonies for his distant relative. Ike, who avoided being killed by the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday at the O.K. Corral gunfight, was killed six years later and is buried in an unmarked grave (which may have been located) more than one hundred miles from Tombstone. Although Ike's father, Newman Haynes "Old Man" Clanton and brother Billy (who couldn't outrun the Earp's bullets like Ike) are long term residents of Boothill Cemetary, red tape has presented obstacles to Ike's relocation. Stay tuned. I don't think we have heard the last of this.


For those of you interested in the Civil War, hope you did not miss the TNT original production of Andersonville. It is the story of the Confederate prison camp near Andersonville, Georgia. It is being rebroadcast, so if you missed it, you can still catch it. Visit the Turner broadcasting web page, which provides some insight about the making of the film. You can find a link to it below. You can learn more about Andersonville and other Civil War prison camps by reading some of the books in our special Civil War Prison Camps section.

Streets of Tombstone still need cleaning up

Tombstone, Arizona (The Town Too Tough To Die ) recently had another showdown of epic proportions. The issue: whether horses in the town should be required to wear horsey diapers. The city council proposed the ordinance, concerned that tourists would get their boots dirty. After much ballyhoo, and opposition from local merchants, the city fathers decided against the measure. According to rumor, there was only one similar attempt to clean up the streets of Tombstone. The conflagration that erupted when members of the Clanton Gang attempted to leave the O.K. Corral without the requisite diapers on their horses, is well documented.

Who is buried in Jesse's grave?

We now have it on good authority that the person buried in the grave of Jesse James is ...none other than Mrs. Zerelda James' son, ... Jesse. Forensic scientist James Starrs has confirmed that preliminary DNA tests of the exhumed body have matched that of known descendants of Jesse James. One more thing, when his body was exhumed, it was face down. There is speculation that one of the bad Hollywood movies about him caused him to turn over in his grave. This, however, has not been confirmed. Reburial ceremonies were held October 28, 1995 in Kearney, Missouri. Our good friend and customer, Wilbur Zink, was one of the Pallbearers.

If you are interested in learning more about the exploits of Jesse James and his men, you can join The James Younger Gang. This organization is dedicated to researching and preserving the history of the James,Younger Gang and their civil war guerrilla associates. For more information write to:

The James Younger Gang
P.O. Box 78
Liberty, Missouri 64068

or visitThe James - Younger Gang Homepage

Hashknife name change

In a nod to political correctness, and to more accurately describe what they do , the famed Hashknife Gang has changed its name officially to the Hashknife Pony Express. For almost forty years, this outfit has opened the Scottsdale Parada del Sol by delivering mail on horseback to Scottsdale from Arizona communities 200 miles away . The journey takes about thirteen hours and transverses some rugged terrain. This year the event was part of the Super Bowl festivities.
The original Hashknife Gang was associated during the 1880's with the famous Aztec Land and Cattle Company in northern Arizona.

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