1870s

Cowboys of the Wild West

By Russell Freedman

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Describes, in text and illustrations, the duties, clothes, equipment, and day-to-day life of the cowboys who flourished in the west from the 1860's to the 1890's

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The Negro Cowboys

By Philip Durham and Everett L. Jones

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"More than five thousand Negro cowboys joined the round-ups and served on the ranch crews in the cattleman era of the West. Lured by the open range, the chance for regular wages, and the opportunity to start new lives, they made vital contributions to the transformation of the West. They, their predecessors, and their successors rode on the long cattle drives, joined the cavalry, set up small businesses, fought on both sides of the law. Some of them became famous: Jim Beckwourth, the mountain man; Bill Pickett, king of the rodeo; Cherokee Bill, the most dangerous man in Indian Territory; and Nat Love, who styled himself 'Deadwood Dick.' They could hold their own with any creature, man or beast, that got in the way of a cattle drive. They worked hard, thought fast, and met or set the highest standards for cowboys and range riders."
Originally published in 1965.

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Reconstruction and the Rise of Jim Crow: 1864-1896

By Christopher Collier, James Lincoln Collier

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Describes the struggles following the Civil War to decide how to deal with the newly freed slaves, through the years of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, sharecropping, and segregation.

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Cause: Reconstruction America, 1863-1877

By Tonya Bolden

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After the destruction of the Civil War, the United States faced the immense challenge of rebuilding a ravaged South and incorporating millions of freed slaves into the life of the nation. On April 11, 1865, President Lincoln introduced his plan for reconstruction, warning that the coming years would be "fraught with great difficulty." Three days later he was assassinated. The years to come witnessed a time of complex and controversial change.
(From the publisher's description)

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Local Steamboat Tragedy Remembered

In 1873, a steamboat loaded with passengers, livestock and produce caught fire and sank on the Potomac River near Aquia Creek. Traveling from Washington, the overloaded vessel carried three times more people than allowed by its license, and the engulfing flames and churning waters claimed 76 passengers, most of them women and children. A new book, Disaster on the Potomac: The Last Run of the Steamboat Wawaset, by Alvin Oickle, gives the details of that terrible day.

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Bury Me Not in a Land of Slaves: African-Americans in the Time of Reconstruction

By Joyce Hansen

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An account of African-American life in the period of Reconstruction following the Civil War, based on first-person narratives, contemporary documents, and other historical sources.

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The Ice Harvest

From The Fredericksburg News, Thursday, January 10, 1878

 THE ICE HARVEST is a large one, and the business activity of the past few days to gather it in, has been a stirring scene on our wintry streets. Men and horses, waggons and carts, have improved the fleeting hours in the most rapid manner and the rumble of wheels over the icy ground has been unceasing from morning till night. Mr. A. P. Rowe's pond has furnished a large amount of excellent ice, about five inches thick, and all the Ice houses in town and country will be filled with this indispensable luxury, of home production this Season.

The Narrow Gauge Railroad

In 1852, Fredericksburg business men were concerned with the failure of the Rappahannock Canal (see Fredericksburg Times, Jan., 1978), the impassability of the turnpike, the incomplete state of the plank road and the loss of county trade to the Alexandria markets via the railroad.

The Fredericksburg Sassafras Distillery

SASSAFRAS VARIFOLIUM is an old species, fossil forms being found in the one-hundred-million-year-old rocks of the Cretaceous period in both North America and Eurasia. Since the ice ages, it has continued to live only in a small section of Asia and in North America from Maine to Florida and westward to the beginning of the prairies. Today it is most commonly found at the wood's edge along roadsides and fence rows as a tree growing between fifteen and fifty feet.

Fredericksburg Monster(s): One or More?

In July, 1872 it was reported an enormous serpent, supposed to be a python, anaconda or boa constrictor, escaped from a traveling menagerie. Its body was said to be the thickness of a lamp post, and it had been seen in the meadow below the papermill (today's water treatment plant). It had also been seen in the trees overhanging the water at Beck's Island, and "we may soon expect to hear of the disappearance of the boys who go bathing" there.