Growing up in 1945 until graduation from high school in an uncluttered time when families watched out for each other and children played from dawn to dusk under the watchful eyes of the entire community.
Watching my grandchildren navigate a typical day made me aware of how complex life had become. The technical revolution has rendered serious interaction at a personal level a thing of the past. The times of playing outside with the neighborhood kids have become obsolete. Climbing trees, building forts, pretending to be Roy Rogers, or Audie Murphy, or playing kick the can, are things of the past. I want my future family to experience what my life has been like. If I had a buck for every time I wished I had asked my grandparents more questions, I'd have enough cash to go on a cruise. I'd love to know more about my ancestors and their early lives. I'm betting that your children will wish they knew more about your life as a kid. Take the time to write a couple of lines for them. Let them into your early years. They will be amazed. Their children will embrace your stories and draw the family circle close. www.dale-swanson.com
Never a winter went by when I was a kid, that the first winter storm didn't create a memory. We particularly enjoyed “breaking in” a new kid that might move into the neighborhood; especially if the poor guy was from the “city.” There were things like, “Bet you can’t stick your tongue on that metal part of your sled,” or making him run the gauntlet to learn how to avoid snowballs. The sled thing got even better when we sent him down the hill laying on his stomach. We knew where the snow would get 4-feet deep. Usually he would disappear into a cloud of snow and pop out the other side with snow inside his jacket, up his sleeves, and inside his buckle overshoes. Sometimes he even lost his cap. Of course, these tricks only worked once. This winter, we saw that not only the kids had fun with the blizzard remains. The more snow, the more inventive the games became. This year's storm was a doozy, and my father was about to
This serves as your entry into a very special place, during a very special time in this nation's past. I think we all have a responsibility to record our history—both family history, and personal history. My reason for writing this story is to introduce my children and grandchildren to family I knew and loved, and those that they know nothing about. I want my children and grandchildren, and those that come after to feel the freedom and joy in life that colored the years from my earliest memories until graduation from high school. What I learned after this book was released is the joy it brought to others of my generation. It triggered precious memories to those that had not thought about their childhood joy for many years. It wasn't until my time in the U.S. Navy that I understood how special it was to have my family, my parents, my friends, and that special place that I called home.
He’s a forty-four inch bundle of attitude. If you can picture a skinny barefoot kid with nothing on but his swimming trunks, ribs and bony shoulders layered with a thin coating of skin, you know what he looks like. He has a hiene haircut, and sometimes his mom makes him wear a cap that buttons under his chin. He hates that. He has black high-top tennis shoes and Levis that he puts on when it’s too cold for bare legs, and at least once a year his mom soaks his foot in peroxide to cleanse the latest nail-hole. Like most nine year olds, he’s anxious to make double digits. A middle child with a sister on both sides, he’s given a free rein by his mom, and is gone from home hours at a time. He plays alone for hours and hours perfecting his Wild West Good-guy image. He’s the fastest draw, cleanest cut ‘yes maam’ cowboy on the planet. When he saunters into a saloon, he orders sarsaparilla. He has no idea what it is, but he knows it ain’t “whisky”. Whisky’s what the bad guys order. Since as long as he can remember he’s wanted a horse, but no matter how much he begs, his parents don’t budge.
It was the letter I thought was a ruse that opened my mind and the minds of my two sisters. Almost overnight, we went from the last of the line to just another branch of a very large family. That letter is what got me going on my search for answers and gave me the realization that if I didn't record my direct family's history, it would be lost forever. This chapter is the starting point and what follows will be highlights from my life and the joys I experienced while growing up in the 1950's. I hope you enjoy the read.
Working Title: Untitled Memoir
This Book Is In Development
No synopsis has been added for this book
Take a trip with me to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota. It is the week of Father's Day, 1992, and my son, Craig, and I had paddled all day in intermittent showers. The time of day was 11pm and the moon was nearly straight overhead. The beauty overwhelmed my senses. Visit my website www.dale-swanson.com to find my blog —Digging Deeper— where I share insights into my writing, backstories on my books, and fun stories written to entertain. For the free e-story on this week-long trip, comment with your name and email address and get periodic stories to lighten your day. www.dale-swanson.com
Anton McAllister leads his Dakota family west to escape the white backlash after the US-Dakota War of 1862. Settling into the Black Hills, they merge with the Miniconjou Lakota band of Lone Horn. Anton’s adopted son, Four Wings, befriends the militant warrior Crazy Horse, and their world is turned upside down as they deal with disingenuous treaties, an illegal war brought on by the Grant Administration, and a deranged bounty hunter no larger than a child. Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and powerful men from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations make their stand when the army begins to build forts along the Bozeman Trail. Red Cloud wins his war, the great herds of buffalo are methodically destroyed, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull are murdered, and Wounded Knee Creek becomes the death wail of a free Sioux Nation. And throughout it all, Four Wings struggles to reconcile the good white men he has known, including the mixed blood who raised him, with those who seek to subdue or destroy the Sioux Nation.
Cutting directly through prime buffalo land, the government began building forts on land promised to the Indian in the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty.
The end is the beginning of this nightmare for the Great Sioux Nation. My heart aches for their losses, but their greatness remains. Their nobility cannot be taken by others if held in their hearts. One's memories in many ways define the future for each of us. We hold in memory those things which are dear. Do not allow them to be replaced with anger and hurt. Never forget, but forgiveness opens the door for a positive future. Please visit my new web page at www.dale-swanson.com and my author facebook at https://www.facebook.com/daleswansonwriter/
Having seen what happened to the Dakota in 1862 after they brought the fight to settlers and army alike, Red Cloud decided it unwise to unleash Lakota anger at the civilians using the newly opened Bozeman Trail without fair warning. He limited his attacks to harassing the army and stopping the construction of forts being built along the trail in violation of the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty. In so doing, he was placing notice on anyone wishing to gamble on using the Bozeman. His chieftain status was not recognized through heredity, rather through his actions and battlefield performance. His leadership drew support from Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho, both tribes participating in what has become known as "Red Clouds War."
This scene takes place only days after the hangings that followed the uprising in Minnesota. Anton, his wife Star Woman, her son Four Wings, and Anton's friend Tatemina have just entered the Black Hills. This is their first interaction with Lakota people, and they are about to meet Spotted Elk, son of Lone Horn. In this culture, the women controlled camp life while the men hunted for food, protected the band, and joined raiding parties. Throughout the story, Star Woman's inner strength is evident.
This is the second book in the series that began with “The Thirty-Ninth Man.” The first explored the beginning of the Sioux Wars and the executions that followed. This book, “Tears Of Sorrow” reveals what happened during the next twenty-eight years of continued injustices by the U.S. Government. Legends were made, great men died, families were destroyed. Like the first, this book brings little-known facts to the fore while fictional characters weave their way through historical events.
Working Title: The Thirty-Ninth Man - Reviews
This Book Is In Development
This space is for book reviews of The Thirty-Ninth Man from several sources, including Kirkus Reviews.
Since the release of this book, I have added three more releases. The second in the history of the destruction of the Free Sioux Nation,TEARS OF SORROW, begins with the day following the mass execution of 38-Dakota Warriors and brings the reader through the massacre at Wounded Knee. Another was A FANTASY written for 9-year-olds, and tells the story of how the animals on an island sought human intervention to prevent their destruction. I find it is very popular with the older folks. THE WILD WAYS-MYSTERY OF THE HANGING TOWER. The fourth is a memoir of my childhood during the early 50s and brings the reader back in time to their own early lives. Titled SIMPLER TIMES- A MEMOIR, It will rejuvenate your most precious memories of when you were a child. Visit www.dale-swanson.com to learn more about my writing.
This is the book that started the story. Fictional characters are woven through historically accurate situations faced by the Sioux Nation Oyate. All reviews are unsolicited with the exception of the Kirkus Review, for which I paid. This book issue is self-published. I purchased all rights from the original traditional publisher so I could control marketing and generate more exposure. THE THIRTY-NINTH MAN exposes truths surrounding the US–Dakota War of 1862 and the mass execution of 38-Dakota Indians. This story is filled with little known historical truths and is preliminary to the second, and final, book explaining the end of the Free Sioux Nation as told in TEARS OF SORROW, my latest release, still awaiting public reviews.
All reviews are unsolicited with the exception of the Kirkus Review, for which I paid. This book issue is self published. I purchased all rights from the original traditional publisher so I could control marketing and generate more exposure.
The Thirty-ninth Man is a historical novel culminating with the Dakota War of 1862 and the mass execution of thirty-eight men. History tells us little of the thirty-ninth man sentenced to die with the others, and he is largely ignored in all accounts of the executions. This novel by D. A. Swanson weaves fictional events around historical facts creating a tapestry filled with accurate depictions of people from Minnesota’s past. Men like Lawrence Taliaferro, Josiah Snelling, Henry Sibley, Little Crow, Wabasha and a host of others share the stage with the protagonist, Anton McAllister, and the thirty-ninth man, Tatemina—Round Wind. On August 19, 1825, in a place called Prairie du Chien, Michigan Territory, under the guise of concern but wrapped in a cloak of deceit, the federal government began a series of treaties with the Sioux Nation that would lead to the outbreak of the Sioux Wars, and the end of a way of life. In 1862 with the beginnings of the Sioux Wars in the Minnesota River Valley, a mixed-blood named Anton McAllister balances on the razor-thin line separating corrupt Indian agents, unscrupulous fur traders, the U.S. Army, and powerful chiefs from the Chippewa and Dakota nations. When his best friend is falsely accused of war crimes and sentenced to die, Anton finds himself in a race to save his friend from the gallows. The story begins in 1804 and concludes on December 26, 1862.
This is a piece that I wrote years earlier. I had placed it in a file with every intention of including it in a fictional novel sometime in the future. That was before I read Lawrence Taliaferro's autobiography of his time as the first Indian agent for the Northwest Territory. I use the early piece as an introduction to a Dakota Sioux that would serve the story as a "type" for what I admire in a prototypical Sioux warrior. It turns out that my protagonist, Anton McAllister, harbors many of those same traits.
Both men are real, both men were of good moral character, and the two men were as different as night and day. Snelling was a military man of action who was assigned the task of managing the licensed fur trappers in the Northwest Territory. Taliaferro was appointed by James Monroe as the first Indian Agent in the Northwest Territory. It was his responsibility to keep peace between the Indian Nations and represent them in official dealings with the government. He excelled at diplomacy and settling disputes between the Chippewa and Sioux and was highly respected by both nations.
This piece was developed long before I began writing The Thirty-Ninth Man. It was to be the foundational piece to a totally fictional story and intended as an introduction to the Dakota Sioux. Then I read the autobiography of Lawrence Taliaferro, the first Indian agent in the Northwest Territory, and I knew my story had to get the history right. The man, Tomawka, meant to be a type representing the entire Sioux Nation, is about to enter a death struggle with an archenemy. For Minnesota readers, the lake is Minnetonka and the peninsula is Pelican Point, now an island in Spring Park Bay. Spirit Knob is between Brown’s Bay and Wayzata Bay.
A Note To The Reader This is the story of a great injustice and a handful of men and women who played a part. At 10 a.m. on December 26, 1862, thirty-eight men were hanged in the largest mass execution in the history of the United States. It was said, “three drumbeats signaled the moment of execution; a single ax stroke plummeted all through the gallows, the crowd cheered; bodies were buried in a single grave on the edge of town.” Thirty-nine were sentenced—thirty-eight died—one was pardoned at the last minute.
I set out to write a book of fiction—until—I read Lawrence Taliaferro's autobiography. Lawrence was the first Indian agent appointed to the Northwest Frontier. I decided that the story I was to write would be based on factual information while my fictional characters were weaving their way through those historically accurate moments. The deeper I dug, the more facts I uncovered that pointed to governmental intent to defraud and tip the scale to the detriment of the Indian Nations. I made a conscious effort to remain unbiased, although it may not appear that way. The facts told the story, the individuals on both sides lived their lives, some with good and noble intent, some with lies and deceit.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that all animals communicate with each other. I know this because I learned it from a ten-year-old boy who was given the power to speak with them. ~Dale A. Swanson A loud-mouthed squirrel named Chatter, a fidgety Gopher, named Archie, a raccoon with special powers named Ring, and all the animals living on Enchanted Island select ten-year-old Oscar Johnson to receive the Wild Ways, the language that allows animals to communicate with each other. As development threatens their peaceful habitat, the animals need Oscar to help solve a thirty-year-old mystery to save their beloved Enchanted Island and the surrounding forest they call home. With his new power to talk to all creatures, Oscar receives a series of clues provided by the animals and helps FBI agent Jim Brandt solve a murder mystery and uncover a sinister plot to use Enchanted Island for nefarious purposes. Together, they race against the clock to discover the final piece of a puzzle that reaches into the highest seats of power within the US Government.
Of course all my friends know that all animals, in every nook and cranny of every landmass in the world—SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE. It is done through thought transference. Only one person in the world knows this, his name is Oscar Johnson and the animals gave him the secret. This part of the story sets the stage for Oscar and his friend Larry to visit the mysterious building they call, The Hanging Tower. Their visit will actually change the world, when Oscar receives the gift of the Wild Ways and he learns that he must solve a thirty-year-old mystery, and uncovers a sinister plot reaching into the highest seats of the government.
I have known for a long, long time (because I’m very, very old) that children are a lot smarter than many give them credit for. I believe they see things below the surface that cannot be seen by the “mature” mind of an adult. Conversely, the young reader can often miss deeper truths aligned within a story. Conceptually, The Wild Ways – Mystery of the Hanging Tower, is a bit deeper than it appears on the surface. I think this is one reason this simple little book is enjoyed by adults as well as by children. When we go through life, we are constantly changing from the experiences we live through. In this story, Chatter, the gray squirrel learns that he is not cowardly; Oscar, the little boy, is tempted to slide to the “dark-side”, but regains his equilibrium through his contact with Ring, the raccoon. Perhaps the greatest changes occur in Oscar’s friend, Larry, and the gopher named Archie. Larry’s experience in the swamp greatly affects his future and Archie undergoes a complete transition from his introduction to stories end. The perceptive reader will see how circumstance changes perspective from how the character views him-self and how others view the character, while pointing out that we often attach mislabels to those we meet.
I have known for a long, long time (because I’m very, very old) that children are a lot smarter than many think. I believe they see things below the surface that cannot be seen by the “mature” mind of an adult. Conversely, the young reader can often miss more profound truths aligned within a story. Conceptually, The Wild Ways – Mystery of the Hanging Tower, is a bit deeper than it appears on the surface. I think this is one reason this simple little book is enjoyed by adults as well as by children. When we go through life, we are continually changing from the experiences we live through. In this story, Chatter, the gray squirrel learns that he is not cowardly; Oscar, the little boy, is tempted to slide to the “dark side,” but regains his equilibrium through his contact with Ring, the raccoon. Perhaps the greatest changes occur in Oscar’s friend, Larry, and the gopher named Archie. Larry’s experience in the swamp dramatically affects his future and Archie undergoes a complete transition from his introduction to stories end.
I have known for a long, long time (because I’m very, very old) that children are a lot smarter than many think. I believe they see things below the surface that cannot be seen by the “mature” mind of an adult. Conversely, the young reader can often miss more profound truths aligned within a story. Conceptually, The Wild Ways – Mystery of the Hanging Tower, is a bit deeper than it appears on the surface. I think this is one reason this simple little book is enjoyed by adults as well as by children. When we go through life, we are continually changing from the experiences we live through. In this story, Chatter, the gray squirrel learns that he is not cowardly; Oscar, the little boy, is tempted to slide to the “dark side,” but regains his equilibrium through his contact with Ring, the raccoon. Perhaps the greatest changes occur in Oscar’s friend, Larry, and the gopher named Archie. Larry’s experience in the swamp dramatically affects his future and Archie undergoes a complete transition from his introduction to stories end. www.dale-swanson.com
In this excerpt, Oscar is home for dinner after receiving the Wild Ways from Ring. He knows he must somehow get the info given to him into the hands of the FBI, but he can't tell anyone about his ability to talk with the animals. To add to his problem, he must tell them the truth about going to the Tower House, the one place his mother told him to stay away from. This sets up the introduction to Jim Brandt, FBI agent, and the start to solving the mystery of the tower house.
As kids, I'll bet every one of us had a friend like Larry; at least, a little bit like Larry. A tad unsure of themselves, our Larry's are a bit to anxious to show how good they are; they seem to feel a need to be the top of the heap. The problem is, they know inside, that they can't let anyone see the doubts they feel. My Larry is a kind person, full of self doubt, yet buoyed by self confidence. He makes a GREAT partner and he represents my childhood's best friend.
Have you ever had a friend that seems to think it is their duty to talk; I mean talk just to talk? Archie is one of those, but at the same time he loves to dig. Being a gopher, that is a good trait to have. This introduction of Archie, shows his self confidence while demonstrating his resistance to being told what to do. He is his own man and intends to remain in charge of his own actions. Archie is likely my favorite character in this story. Spunky with a giant heart for the good of all, he accepts the challenge.
The date is 1921 and the location is Lake Minnetonka, a beautiful lake west of Minneapolis. This scene sets the stage for animal involvement in nearly every facet of human living. Very little is done without some kind of animal having an awareness of the action. Imagine being able to ask a mouse about what transpired during a secret meeting on a remote island. In this opening scene, we know the men in the cabin are up to no-good, but it will be thirty years before we learn how this meeting will affect the future.
This baby was to be the first known recipient of the Wild Ways; the ability to understand and be understood by the wild animals. This knowledge had a profound impact on the humans of that time. Having had wild animal pets when I was a kid, I knew the joy of having them come when I called. A raccoon named Snoopy was rescued when a farmer cut down a tree and killed his mother. He grew up with my dog and lived in the swamp behind our house. He was so smart he opened outside doors and came and went as he pleased.
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