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This photo (rescued by my sister Angela Gruenwald) is me at age 8. I thought I was Doc Holiday, legendary gunfighter. I still like horses and cowboys and adventure. Nowadays I just write about it. I sneak horses into most of my books, though Doc Holiday has not made an appearance in my books. Okay, I admit it–I still think I’m Doc Holiday.

Happy trails to you.

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Cave-In-Rock was THE base for Ohio River pirates from 1790 to the 1870s. River pirates included Samuel Mason and the Harpe Brothers. It is on the Ohio River just west of Shawneetown, Illinois. Isaiah Potts operated the Potts Inn to waylay those foolish enough to travel by land.

Nowadays the cave is part of Cave-In-Rock State Park. The sleepy village of Cave-In-Rock grew up around Potts Inn (there is now a Potters Church). Several movies featured Cave-In-Rock.

My grandfather, Orval Pait, was from Shawneetown. For a few years his father, Alonzo Pait, lived in the village of Cave-In-Rock, no word of whether he was a pirate (just kidding, Alonzo was an itinerant minister).

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News from Mars. (Mars News Bureau?)

Today’s weather: -18 F—the high! -110 F—the low!

Mars mystery: Protonilus Mensae: Photo of Brain Drain, thought to be ice sublimating—turning to a vapor.

Amazonis Planitia: the photo with craters. Ancient lava flows.


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He is my son, works on the Ohio River, has a very good digital camera, and knows how to use it. These are just a few of his Ohio River photos.

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Diamond Island is a 2-square mile island about 10 miles downriver from Henderson Kentucky. It was base of operations for Samuel Mason, River Pirate Captain (former Militia Captain and judge). The Harpe Brothers, 1790’s serial killers, often stayed at his base.

In 1803, it was the site of the Diamond Island Massacre. Ten supposed Native Americans hiding in a canebrake attacked a flatboat, killing the mother and father. 3 children were kidnapped and never seen again. The eldest son, James Barnard, was the only survivor

Desoto may have visited it when he crossed the Ohio River. Nowadays it is farmland.

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Waugoshance Light was built in 1851 and operated in Lake Michigan near the Straits of Mackinac. John Herman was the lighthouse keeper and a mean drunk. One night he locked his assistant in the tower and staggered out into the fog, never to be see again. Thereafter coal buckets and furniture moved about on their own. After a few years, men refused to man the lighthouse. It closed in 1912.

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In 1963, workers were constructing the Sherman Minton Bridge, connecting New Albany, Indiana with Louisville, Kentucky. On the Indiana side they dug up a hoard of Roman coins. This was close to Sand Island, legendary site of the battle between Prince Madoc and Indians. Possibly someone coming upriver by boat reached the Falls of the Ohio and buried the gold coins for safekeeping. Vikings or nineteenth-century river pirates? (river pirates were active on the lower Ohio) The coins are from around 300 AD, late Roman times, almost too late for Romans to have crossed the Atlantic.

Two construction engineers took the coins. Donated by an engineer’s widow, two are in the Falls of the Ohio Museum—Falls of the Ohio State Park.


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