All Hallows Eve

The migration of nearly two million Irish during 1845-1849 first brought the custom of Halloween to America. Irishmen by the thousands came to California for the Gold Rush from 1849 forward, although the traditions of adult legend-telling and children’s games on All Hallows Eve probably took a back seat to other considerations in those years.  Almanacs of the period make no mention of Halloween in their lists of holidays until later in the 19th century.  Have a safe & happy Halloween.

 

The Glamorous Pony Express

It was a legend in its own time. The very idea of a solitary rider transporting mail 2,000 miles astride a swift, strong horse set 19th century hearts a-flutter—and the faint, echoing sounds of the Pony’s hooves still excite the imagination today. The Pony Express began in April 1860 and ended in October 1861. It was in operation less than 19 months, yet it remains one of the West’s most impressive, romantic dramas.

Spike Teams

Before bicycles and automobiles, city folk got about on foot or horseback, and in a variety of four-wheeled conveyances. A solitary horse could manage a light-weight buggy, but heavier wagons were generally powered by teams of mules or oxen. A “spike team” was a familiar term for an unusual turn-out of three oxen (two at the wheel and one in the lead) that always attracted much attention when it passed by on city streets.