Sentiment For Separation In The Far West

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

As the “history” books to which government school students are subjected begin to deal with the War of Northern Aggression, they tend to make little mention of those states and territories west of the Mississippi, with the exception of Missouri and Kansas. Missouri, so we’ve been told, was chock full of greasy, “racist, hate-mongering “nativist” bushwhackers, who wanted nothing more out of life than to lie in wait so they could ambush the noble, virtuous, godly abolitionists from Kansas to whom “anti-slavery was the law of God.” Other than their presenting us with this little tidbit of historic fertilizer, they tell us almost nothing of what went on in the rest of the West. Either they haven’t done the homework or they have and hope we haven’t.

I’ve seen lines in some Western movies that talk about the War being an “Easterner’s War” and saying the West had nothing to do with it. Not quite accurate!

Historian Alvin M. Josephy Jr., in his interesting book The Civil War in the American West, has given us somewhat more detail than our students’ “history” books are wont to do. He has informed us of the political situation in Colorado, about which he has written: “In Colorado, where support for the Union was admittedly the majority sentiment, William Gilpin, the Federal territorial governor, wrote worriedly  that 7,500 people, almost one third of the population of Denver and the mining camps, were secessionists.”

The mining camps around Denver were originally started by people from Georgia–something else you were never told about. So there was a definite secessionist presence in Colorado, even though most today have no idea it existed. Josephy also informed us that: “New Mexico, with a reputation for being Free Soil and with only a handful of slaves and a total of eighty-five blacks in the whole Territory,  tacitly supported slavery in 1859 by adopting a code to protect slave owners that dismayed Northerners. Moreover, secessionists were actually in control of southern and western portions of that Territory.

Another little item that Yankee hysterians, oh pardon me, I meant historians, have left out was the racial attitudes of many in the far Western states. At one point, Oregon had voted to ban all blacks, free or slave, from entering the Territory,  and California came  close to doing the identical thing. In the election of 1860, Lincoln took the state of California by a mere 711 votes, and, although he also won in Oregon, he did it by less than 300 votes! Lincoln said it was “the closest political book-keeping that I know of.”

Josephy told us that: “In California, where almost 40% of the state’s 380,000 inhabitants were from slave states,  only seven out of fifty three newspapers had supported Lincoln.” So, you can hardly say he won by a landslide in the far West!

Josephy said: “Congressman John C. Burch called on Californians to ‘raise aloft’ the Bear Flag of the short-lived California Republic of 1845. ‘I was warmly sympathetic with the South’ another congressman,  Charles L. Scott, declared, urging his constituents to establish ‘a separate republic’.”

We have been told that areas around Los Angeles and San Bernadino were hotbeds of secessionist sympathy. So the picture is hardly as black and white as it has been painted. In fact, an ordinance of secession was actually passed by a convention of the people of Arizona at Messilla, Arizona Territory, on 16 March, 1861. The ordinance stated, in part: Resolved,  That geographically and naturally we are bound to the South, and to her we look for protection, and as the Southern states have formed a Confederacy, it is our earnest desire to be attached to that Confederacy as a Territory.

However, don’t hold your breath waiting for that one to show up in the “history” books. The folks in the West and Southwest don’t really need to know this and that it is part of their heritage and culture–do they? Just ask the historians! Mr. Josephy is honest enough to tell you about it. Most of them ignore it.

There was even, believe it or not, secessionist sentiment up in Montana. How many have ever been told that the mining town of Virginia City, in western Montana, was first named Varina City, in honor of Jefferson Davis’s wife? The name was eventually changed to Virginia City by a local judge who felt that the name Varina City was really pushing the envelope! If you ever get to Montana you should visit Virginia City. It is an interesting spot and they are trying to restore it so that it looks like it did originally.  When we were there, some of the old, original buildings were still standing, unrestored, but that’s a few years ago.

Often, the efforts of the Indians in the far West to preserve their hunting grounds and way of life and liberty were, in some cases, construed as interfering with the Yankee war effort in the East, thus giving “aid and comfort” to the Confederacy.

I am sure that, at some point, some radical Leftist “historian” will point to the poor Cheyenne souls massacred at Sand Creek by John Chivington as “Confederate sympathizers.” The Yankee/Marxist spinmeisters will, no doubt, laugh all the way to the bank about that one!

Of course, after the shooting phase of the War was over in the East, the whole, solidified, consolidated Yankee territory had to be opened up for settlement and the Indians were in the way. By that time, the Yankee/Marxists felt that if the could accomplish what they did against a civilized Christian South and get by with it, war criminals and all, then they could certainly do as much and worse to a batch of “benighted” savages–and so, according to Phil Sheridan, the only good Indian became a dead Indian. Arsonists like Sherman and Sheridan planned for their extermination.

Truly the West was (and still is) deeply affected by the War and its aftermath in a way that has never been fully grasped. The Yankee/Marxist mindset that prevailed in Atlanta and the March to the Sea also eventually prevailed at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, a quarter of a century later–and it prevails in places like Bunkerville, Nevada and eastern Oregon to this very day. Contrary to what the “history” books tell us, this country is much the worse for the way things turned out.

Federal Fertilizer in the Bundy Ranch Standoff

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

Most folks may not remember or be aware of it, but back in April of 2014, I did a series of ten articles on https://revisedhistory.wordpress.com about the Bundy Ranclh situation and the egregious behavior of the Bureau of Land (mis)Management. Most folks outside of the West don’t know much about the Bureau of Land Management, (BLM)–ironically with the same initials as the Black Lives Matter Leftist group. Actually, the two groups could probably be comfortably merged into one and, outside of skin color, hardly anyone would know the difference.

Having spent time in the West over tlhe years, I’ve talked to people who were forced to deal with the BLM. For the sake of charity and brevity, let’s just say that, in the West, the BLM ain’t on too many people’s top ten list of popular organizations.

At any rate, in 2014, when the Bundy Family sought to prevent the BLM from killing and/or stealing their cattle, they were accused of leading an armed rebellion against federal agents. There’s the bovine fertilizer part right there.

We have reached a point in this country  where protecting your lives and property against federal aggression  is labeled “armed rebellion.” The Soviet Union had nothing on the “land of the free.” Whether Mr. Trump will be able to do anything about this federal tyranny remains to be seen, but you have to know the Feds will stop him if they can.

Cliven Bundy and his sons and several others were arrested for the high crime of defending Bundy property, and some of them have now endured four trials either resulting in not guilty verdicts or hung juries, but the Feds would love to keep on trying them in their Kangaroo Kourts  until they eventually found a jury that would convict them of something, anything, so the federal prosecutor could carve another notch on the butt of his Federal pistol.

Thanks to evidence that has surfaced, the judge has had to, reluctantly, dismiss all charges–with prejudice–which means that these poor folks can’t be dragged into another Kangaroo Kourt for yet another go-round with the federal bloodhounds. She was forced to admit that the federal prosecutor had really screwed up in regard to evidence they seem to have forgotten to turn over which violated the due process for the Bundy’s–seems there were about 3300 pages of it. No doubt, a minor federal “oversight.”

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

What Is The West?

by Al Benson Jr.

Folks who have followed my writing for awhile will recognize that what I write below will be a little different than much of what I usually do. I have written about the South for decades now and I love the South. I love the palmetto and palm trees, the Spanish moss, the abundant  wildlife, the bayous, and the wonderful hospitality of Southern people who, even though we were from the North originally, once they found out we understood their history and were willing to defend that history and heritage, opened their arms to us and literally made us “one of them.” So now we live in North Louisiana and we have never regretted the move south. This is home and we are content with it. No complaints!

But along with that, both my wife and I also love the West. We have traveled much there and before I was married I spent parts of several years in the West, including one year that I lived in Oklahoma for part of the year. Oklahoma is still a favorite spot. I was trying to eke out a living painting western scenery. I wasn’t good enough to make a go of that but I still enjoyed it.

When I went “back east” I worked near a bunch of young guys who enjoyed my paintings and when once they got an art show up they wanted me to put some of my stuff in it, which I did. They also wanted me, as someone who had spent time in the West, to submit something written about my impressions of the West. Most of them had never been there except for the big cities and they all look alike to me no matter where they are. I never spent any time in or near cities I didn’t have to, had no interest in them, except for Santa Fe, New Mexico, and it was different.

At any rate, what is below was what I gave them to print up, with some minor modifications. Some of you all that live in the West may be able to identify with some of what I say here.

The West is many things to many people. To those who have never experienced it,  I can only say that they have missed something that will not long remain even as it is now.

The West, to me, is more than a geographical location (like the South).  It is more than the beautiful state of Texas, which most easterners seem to think all westerners come from. It is more than the dry, burned out desert most who have never seen it think it is. They have not learned that there is beauty even in the desert if you know how to look for it.

The West is a place, but it is more (like the South). It is an atmosphere, an enigma, a way of life, and a people. As a way of life, it is something that can be carried far beyond its geographical boundaries.

The West is dark thunderheads far off over the canyon, it is the Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River at flood, it’s Monument Valley at night and the Painted Desert at noon. It’s the flat (but sometimes rolling)  country of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and it’s the majestic peace of the high plains country on the Platte River in Wyoming. It is a land so big that when you stand in it you feel small, and you have to realize within your deepest being that God created it and that man,  mighty though he would like to think he is, is only one small finite part of it.

The West is also people. It’s the old cowboy at the Pawhuska (Oklahoma) rodeo, who upon hearing the announcer reveal the name of the next contestant  in the saddle bronc riding, shouted “That’s my cousin Homer. He cain’t ride nothin’, He’ll get throwed first jump out the gate.” And he did! It’s the man in the store in Guymon, Oklahoma who, when asked if it was always this windy around here, replied “Hell no. Sometimes it gets windier.” It’s the ancient Indian at Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, who, when the smart-alec tourist tried to talk him into letting him into the pueblo for nothing, proceeded to charge him three times as much as he’d charged me to get in. The irate tourist tried to explain to him how, forty years ago, he’d gotten into the pueblo for nothing. After his ten minute (but ineffectual) tirade, the old Indian simply answered “Times change.”

For me the west did not really end each time I recrossed the Mississippi River. Thankfully, living in North Louisiana, we don’t have to recross the Mississippi to go east anymore.

For me, the West is a great deal of all I have seen, felt, lived and experienced during my numerous times in it. The deepness of its experience (like that of the South) is not something that leaves you upon the crossing of a boundary line. You, like many easterners, hate it and never go back (it’s not “green” enough for you) or you love it and continue to go back. There is no middle ground, the same as there is no middle ground with Confederate and Southern heritage. You either live it wherever you go, or you’ve never truly experienced it at all.