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April 2011 - Vol 3, Issue 4
In This Issue
Feature Story: Witness to Her Times, A Wyoming Pioneer Teacher, By James H Nottage
Featured Photo: Pictorial View of Western Americana....Featuring Mike Thompson
Linda's Feed Bag: Cowboy Cavier - Submitted by Kay Holcombe
In the News: The Frontier Project - Celebrating North America's Cowboy Culture
Our Inner Cowgirl: Dear Fans of the American West - Meet Robin Ireland
Roaming Range Reporter: JR & B Roark Dressed Up!
and Furthermore: Cowboy Poetry by Russell Petter
Upcoming Events: Don't miss these upcoming Western and Native American events
Feature Story
Photo of Esther Hobart MorrisWitness to Her Times,
A Wyoming Pioneer Teacher 



By James H Nottage

Esther Hobart Morris, Wyoming symbol of women's rights.

In a column some time ago, I wrote about Bill Carlisle, the Wyoming bandit who robbed Union Pacific trains early in the 20th century. At the end of the article I commented that I have a few other favorite personalities who inspired my interest in history and that if the good folks at High Noon agreed, I would tell you about some of them. With words of encouragement and an occasional nudge about pressing and missed deadlines, my friend Linda has encouraged and allowed me to do so.

Let me say that in junior high school I had a great and inspiring social studies teacher named Eugene Brown. He was one of the sponsors who helped in the formation of a junior historical society. This small group of history nerds dutifully and enthusiastically gathered, elected officers, and decided upon what we would do. We determined to check a tape recorder out of the audio-visual department and conduct oral history interviews with area old-timers. Bob Burns, co-author of an important book on Wyoming ranching was an early victim. Soon thereafter, with the advice of my father, we introduced ourselves to Mable Wyoming Cheney Moudy, the oldest living graduate of the University of Wyoming. She was 86 years old and kind enough to allow us to spend a number of afternoons talking with her about Wyoming history.

Shoshone chief, WashakieMable Moudy was born in 1878 in Atlantic City, Wyoming. She told us of learning to speak Shoshone as a child, of visits to their home from Shoshone chief Washakie, and of wearing moccasins rather than regular shoes. Early in our interviews, she brought out beautiful Indian objects directly connected with the Shoshone people befriended by her family. There was a lovely stone pipe with the original decorated stem, moccasins, and other objects. She had placed some items at the Wyoming State Museum, including an extraordinary painted elk hide with scenes of warriors, horses, and buffalo hunting. As I recall, it told stories painted by one of Washakie's sons. At one time she had a whole room full of wonderful beadwork. She went to school in Lander, Wyoming, graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1900, worked as a teacher and raised her own family. She told interesting stories about the first motorcycle in Laramie and how she and others cheered as the driver went around and around the block, waving and yelling. It turns out he could not figure out how to stop the beast!



Chief Washakie, Shoshone leader.


I was not wise enough to take advantage of these kinds of memories and ask more about her experiences, but instead was fascinated by her accounting of her father's adventures in the post-Civil War West. I was lost in the stories of his life. Her father, Ervin F. Cheney, was a Civil War veteran who after the war went west with the army and in 1867 served at Fort Sanders, near where Laramie would be founded. He was involved in a number of adventures including scrapes with raiding Indians near Dale Creek Bridge along the Overland Trail and part of the newly completed transcontinental railroad. He was wounded in the leg during one skirmish west of Cheyenne. He was a skillful carpenter, helping to trim buildings at the fort, and later helping to survey Laramie. Mrs. Moudy gave me written accounts of his life written by herself and her sister. She recorded that He went to South Pass and Atlantic City, May 27, 1869, where he built a shop and did carpentering. In between times he pulled teeth, made coffins, and conducted funeral services. In 1870 he narrowly avoided death when he declined joining three friends traveling to Camp Brown. Instead, he made the trip alone that night. When his horse spooked, he discovered the bodies of the others, killed in a raid earlier that day.

In the fall of the following year, Ervin Cheney went on a buffalo hunt with a group of Shoshone men. The account Mable wrote years later was thrilling to our group of eager young students. The hunt was a great success - they dressed out the animals and cooked and ate as much as they could. Cheney abandoned such adventures and went on to study law and was admitted to the Wyoming bar. He knew and worked with many famous early-day Wyoming figures familiar to us. Among them was Esther Hobart Morris, the first woman justice in the United States, a participant in the women's suffrage movement, and an important symbol of women's rights in the United States. Cheney operated his own ranch, enjoyed fishing and hunting, raised a family with five children, was active in the Fremont County Pioneer Association, and died in 1922.

Mable Moudy passed away in 1972 as members of our group were graduating from high school. I learned recently that she was a dedicated diarist and that her extensive papers were left to the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming. I am tempted to look at the diaries to see if she recorded anything about the junior high kids who pestered her with questions about old Wyoming back in 1964. Somehow, I hope that she knew that even in retirement she was an effective teacher and that she had a great influence on one of those kids who was inspired by her stories and somehow never could get away from the fascinating history of the West.


Next time, let me tell you about Mattie Wallis. She was another Laramie pioneer who shared much of the area's history, including tales of mountain man Jim Bridger, of her father Noah Wallis, and of the late 1860s Laramie vigilantes lynching members of a local gang.



James Nottage
Chief Curatorial Officer, Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana
Founding Curator, Autry National Center, Los Angeles
Husband of Mary Ellen Hennessy Nottage


Featured Photography by Mike Thompson

Mike Thompson photo of a longhorn among the blue bonnets

Mike Thompson is an award winning writer and photographer. He's been an entrepreneur, bartender, carpenter, oil land man, cowboy, stage and screen actor (Theodore Roosevelt, A Cowboy's Ride to the White House), an explosives project engineer and a military museum curator. His military career includes active duty Air Force and Army, Reserves and National Guard. Vietnam medic, Class of 1966-67. Much of his time is spent writing but he still carries cameras with him, winning awards from Arizona to Texas.


Mike Thompson

Did You Know?

1. Aquatint, an Intaglio tonal process where a porous ground allows acid to penetrate to form a network of small dots. Any pure whites are stopped out entirely before etching begins, then the palest tints are bitten and stopped out, and so on as in etching. This process is repeated 20 to 30 times until the darkest tones (deepest recesses in the plate) are reached.

2. When Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on their journey of the West, he believed that prehistoric animals still lived in the unexplored regions.

3. Concha (the Spanish term for shell) may be oval or round. They may appear in rings, pendants, bolos, buckles and belts. Now most often used as a Navajo design for a belt.

If you have some interesting tidbits that you would like to share, send them to SmokeSignals@highnoon.com

Social Media News

Don't miss exciting Western videos now available on YOU TUBE!

Subscribe now to the High Noon and Denver Old West YOU TUBE channels and receive email notifications whenever we post new content:

Empty Saddle
Empty Saddle Logo

Brett Allen Bledsoe

1967 - 2010  



High Noon Music Box
Ranch & Reata Radio

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To receive your own copy of Smoke Signals, click on the link below.
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Linda's Feed Bag
High Noon logo

Cowboy Caviar

1 15oz can corn, drained, or 1-1/2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14oz can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2/3 cup green onion, chopped
2 large avocados, chopped
1 14oz can diced tomatoes, drained
Tortilla chips
Dressing:Photo of Cowboy Cavier
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder, or to taste
1. In a colander, drain and rinse the corn and beans. In a separate colander, drain the tomatoes.
2. Chop the cilantro and the green onions. Peel and chop the avocado.
3. Make the dressing: mince the garlic. In a small bowl, pour the olive oil and red wine vinegar - whisk to combine.
4. Add to the dressing the minced garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and chipotle chili powder. Whisk to combine.
5. Into a large bowl combine the corn, beans, cilantro, green onions, avocados and tomato. Gently toss with a large spatula.
6. Pour the dressing over the caviar mixture and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Cover and chill until serving time. Can be made several hours in advance. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
Makes 6-8 cups

Submitted by Kay Holcombe from her Tastes & Treasures Cookbook - Recipes and stories from historic Arizona properties from the Grand Canyon's El Tovar to the Hermosa Inn to the Copper Queen Hotel. Visit her website: www.historicalleague.com or call 480-367-0746


Help us "Put on the Feed Bag!" Appetize us with your favorite cowboy cuisine. Send us a recipe or culinary creation - keeping the traditions of the American West alive is about the great food too! From ribs to rhubarb, campfire food to a great bowl of chili - we Wild West epicureans want to know.
Submissions welcome at SmokeSignals@highnoon.com.

Collector News

Illustration of High Noon PediaCheck out the
High Noon-Pedia

Did you know that High Noon has a very comprehensive RESOURCE DATABASE of the ARTISTS and CRAFTSMEN who have been featured in our auctions? And they can be found on our website FREE for EVERYONE to use? It features brief BIOGRAPHIES and TIDBITS of information about these talented and important individuals and companies. It's our version of "Western Wikipedia"!

And, in the style of Wikipedia, this is EVERYONE'S database! We want to know of any corrections, additions or deletions that need to be made. It's a High Noon family effort and we welcome your input!

Email us and we'll even give you credit for your submission if you want!

Check it out:  www.highnoon.com/hnartistbios.htm
Email us:   smokesignals@highnoon.com

Consignments Wanted
Consignments wanted for January 2012 Auction

In the News

The Frontier Project 


Celebrating North America's Cowboy Culture   


The Frontier Project, Inc. is a Colorado-based publishing and multimedia company, which produces journalism through media projects to share, educate and inspire and perhaps mentor young craftsmen to continue in the traditions of American crafts.


Founded in 2010 by a team headed by award-winning A.J. Mangum, a lifelong horseman and journalist. Mangum is also editor of the forthcoming Ranch & Reata Magazine, contributing editor for The Cowboy Way and co-author of Ranch Roping: The Complete Guide to a Classic Cowboy Skill. With two decades of journalistic experience and his nine-and-a-half year tenure as editor of Western Horseman, A.J.'s passion really runs to mentoring young people interested in traditional cowboy crafts. "I saw a need for a new approach to journalism about the real West, an approach not driven by marketing or advertising, but by the need to share the stories of influential westerners, as well as the West's unsung heroes and heroines," Mangum says. "The Frontier Project will use an 'up close and personal' storytelling approach that puts its subjects front and center and allows them to tell their stories in their own words. Viewers can expect no fluff, no fads, no gimmicks, no bull."


If you haven't seen the previous two episodes of The Frontier Project, a multi-segment series documenting today's artists and craftsmen who define the thriving North American cowboy culture, you won't want to miss episode three. In this segment, the work and craft of saddle maker John Willemsma of Guthrie (OK) will be featured. John will give insights and demonstrations into what goes into the elaborate carving and craft of today's finest saddles.


In the first episode, Kansas craftsman Tuffy Flagler shares his career as one of the most gifted makers of traditional working gear. In episode two, spur maker Bill Heisman demonstrates the fundamentals of inlaying silver and Herb Mignery explains how ranch life inspires his work.


For more information and to purchase these informative and inspiring DVDs of those individuals who still celebrate the cowboy culture, visit www.thefrontierproject.net 

Our Inner Cowgirl
Photo of Robin Ireland

Dear Fans of the American West  


Some of you know me,

but most of you just know my work.

I'm the one moving the mouse and clicking the keyboard to create the postcards, flyers, banners, ads, websites and auction catalogs for High Noon Show & Auction and Brian Lebel's Show & Auction. I'm also the art director for The Cowboy Way and

Ranch & Reata magazines, and run my own graphic design firm, Ireland Graphic Design. One of the best things to come out of working with the folks at High Noon, Old West, and the magazines is that I get to meet and learn about all of the amazing artisans and craftsmen that are out there creating stunning works of functional art. The first time I walked through the show and saw the silver and stone jewelry and conchos, hand-made furniture and tooled leather saddles and boots I stood in awe of the skill and creativity that went into each piece.


DesignAmerica Texas Logo

About a year and a half ago, I was presented with the opportunity to help promote these artisans and preserve the skills they possess through a new non-profit organization, DesignAmerica Foundation. As an organization, we hope to help expand the markets available to these artisans through a series of shows (beginning with DesignAmerica-Texas), speaker's bureaus and a nationwide marketing campaign. We are forming strategic partnerships with museums and corporations that also recognize the need for the preservation and promotion of America's individual artisans and craftsmen. In addition to supporting the artisans, DesignAmerica wants to help protect the skills these craftsmen possess. With the hardships resulting from today's economic climate, many artisans have been forced to put aside their craft and find "regular" jobs in order to support their families. If they are able to continue creating their art, they are unable to afford the helpers or apprentices that will carry the skills forward into the next generation. As DesignAmerica Foundation grows, we plan on making grants available to help the artisans afford to work as mentors or with an apprentice. We also plan on a series of short, downloadable, how-to videos for teachers, scout leaders and community groups designed to teach basic skills and maybe spark an interest in the next generation of glass blowers or leather crafters.


Achieving DesignAmerica Foundation's goals is only possible with your help. For information about attending or become a sponsor or advertiser at DesignAmerica-Texas, visit www.designamerica-tx.com. To learn more or to donate to the foundation, visit theDesignAmerica Foundation website



I look forward to seeing you at the next show,


Robin Ireland


Roaming Range Reporter

JR and B Roark





JR & B Roark dressed up
at the Single Action Shooting Society.


Is that Roy and Dale?

and Furthermore...

This month we present cowboy poetry by Russell Petter...

Cowboys Don't Fall,...Very Often

Cowboys don't fall,...,very often,
but when they do,
they always hit the hardest.
From spurring broncs and riding bulls,
to practicing with an old piggin string
until his fingers bleed,
Cowboys don't fall,...,very often,
but when they do,
they always hit the hardest.
Cowboys make a lifetime of memories,
eight seconds at a time,
Cowboys are full of pain,
from traveling down the rodeo highway.
Cowboys stay bruised from a lifetime
of heart aches, from eighteen minute rides,
with women of the past
Cowboys don't fall,...very often,
but when they do,
they always hit the hardest.
The Love that was promised
so many years ago,
was exchanged for a night of lust
after some small town rodeo
with a woman,... that he will never know.
Cowboys don't fall,...very often,
but when they do,
they always hit the hardest.
The pain from the ground
does not compare,
to the pain of his nightmares.
Cowboys don't fall,...very often,
but when they do,
they always hit the hardest.
A cowboy can never predict his next ride,
or the next go round,... much less,... his next win,
A cowboy can never predict the next woman
that will lead him to sin.
Cowboys don't fall,...very often,
but when they do,
they always hit the hardest.
Nothing can ever fix the problem,
there is no solution, there is no tomorrow.
Only a lonesome highway,
that is filled with a dream,
a better bronc, a better bull,
a better calf  to rope, or,...
a better woman that leads to a better life.
Cowboys don't fall,...very often,
but when they do,
they always hit the hardest.
Behind the wrinkles of  his tanned and stoic face,
is a story that his lips will never tell.
all he can do is shake his head,
and stare off into the distant sunset.
Cowboys dont fall,...very often,
but when they do,
you can feel the earth shake.
Cowboys don't fall,...very often,
but when they do,
they always hit the hardest.
Cowboys don't fall,...very often,
but when they do,
you can feel his heart break.
Cowboys don't fall,..very often,
but when they do,
they always hit the hardest.
Cowboys don't fall,...very often,...no,
Cowboys don't fall,...very often,...
but when they do
they always hit the hardest.

Russell Petter
The KeyWestKowboy@yahoo.com

Upcoming Events

NOW Until May 15, 2011  To Picture the Words: Illustrators of the American West  Oklahoma City, OK   
NOW Until August 7, 2011 
Red Black Related Through History  Indianapolis, IN
April 15, 2011 
Cowboy Culture Celebration  Dublin, TX
April 15-16, 2011 
13th Annual Missouri Cowboy Poetry Festival  Mountain View, MO
April 16, 2011 
Western Heritage Awards  Oklahoma City, OK
April 27-May 1, 2011
  Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival  Santa Clarita, CA
April 28-30, 2011  Gathering of Nations Pow Wow  Albuquerque, NM
April 29-May 1, 2011  Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival  Santa Maria, CA
April 29-September 15, 2011  Arapaho Journeys: Photographs and Stories from the Wind River Reservation  Cody, WY
May 1, 2011  The Autry Celebrates Earth Day  Los Angeles, CA
May 1-2, 2011 
137th Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival  Los Angeles, CA
May 6-8, 2011
  DesignAmerica-Texas  Grapevine, TX
May 7, 2011  Fiesta of the Spanish Horse  Burbank, CA
May 24-29, 2011 
Bishop Mule Days  Bishop, CA
June 3-5, 2011
  Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival  Oklahoma City, OK
June 3 - October 2, 2011  Dressed Just Right: An Evolution of Western Style from Function to Flamboyance  Cody, WY
June 10-September 5, 2011 
Prix de West Art Show - National Cowboy Museum  Oklahoma City, OK
June 24-26, 2011
  Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction  Denver, CO
June 28-July 4, 2011  Prescott Frontier Days & World's Oldest Rodeo  Prescott, AZ
August 3-7, 2011 
Old Spanish Days  Santa Barbara, CA
August 5-7, 2011
  Great Southwest Antique Show  Albuquerque, NM
August 11-13, 2011  Antique Ethnographic Art Show  Santa Fe, NM
August 11-14, 2011  26th Annual Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Lewistown, MT
August 12-21, 2011
  Objects of Art Antique Show  Santa Fe, NM
August 14-16, 2011  Antique Indian Art Show  Santa Fe, NM
August 19-20, 2011  Reno Cowboy & Music Gathering  Reno, NV
September 11-October 9, 2011 
Quest for the West Art Sale & Show  Indianapolis, IN
September 20-23, 2011
  Bit Making: Form & Function Workshop (TCAA)  Oklahoma City, OK

September 20-24, 2011  Rendezvous Royal  Cody WY 

September 29-October 19, 2011  19th Annual Will James Gathering  Elko, NV 

October 8-9, 2011  Golden California Antiques Show  Glendale, CA 

November 1-6, 2011  Annual Heber City's Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair  Heber City, UT

November 6-8, 2011  Tombstone Western Music Festival  Tombstone, AZ

December 2-4, 2011  Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival  Monterey, CA

January 28-29, 2012  22nd Annual High Noon Western Americana Antique Show & Auction  Mesa, AZ 

Send event submissions to SmokeSignals@highnoon.com 

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High Noon Western Americana
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Chief Publisher: High Noon Western Americana
Chief Editor: Linda Kohn Sherwood
Chief Art Director: Robin Ireland, Ireland Graphic Design
Chief Graphic Designer: Curtis Hill, Art Direction Services
Chief Writer: Jayne Skeff, JSLA Media Solutions