Benson: Folks, it just ain’t that long ago

Most young folks today think that everything that happened before they were born is ancient history, and therefore, totally irrelevant. Hopefully, as they grow in age and maturity they will shed this truncated worldview and grasp the fact that the past has a large influence on the future. I have noted, over the years, that if our view of the past is faulty, then our vision for the future will be also, Most historians today give our young people a faulty view of the past because it is one they were taught themselves.

This article will probably only be read by a handful of Old Timers like me, but I think it’s worth the reflection. Maybe it’s just that I’m feeling my age but I don’t think the past is really all that far away, at least not the more recent past. I have often thought about when the Old West really ended, and I’ve commented on that in the past.

Different people have different ideas about that. When I was a kid, I used to think it ended automatically on January 1, 1900, because the twentieth century was supposed to be “modern times.” Others have agreed with that, but I no longer do.

From what I have read over the years I feel that what we call the “Old West” didn’t finally peter out until sometime around 1917-18 or thereabouts. Arizona and New Mexico didn’t even become states until 1912 and Oklahoma didn’t become a state until 1907. That was two years after my dad was born. I was born in 1938. At that time, Arizona and New Mexico had only been states for twenty six years.

The last stagecoach robbery I ever read about took place somewhere in Nevada in December of 1916. The last stagecoach that I ever read about quit running in Arizona, in the 1920s, when the road to Young, Arizona was finally paved and the stagecoach was replaced with a Ford motor car.

The “Dodge City Peace Commission”, June 10, 1883. Standing: William H. Harris, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, William F. Petillon. Seated: Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, Michael Francis “Frank” McLean, and Cornelius “Neil” Brown

Even some of the character from the Old West lived down into my lifetime. Wyatt Earp died in 1929 – eight years before I was born, That’s not a long time – and his last common-law wife didn’t die until 1944, when I was six years old. Doc Holiday’s girlfriend, Big Nose Kate Fisher, didn’t die until 1940, and Virgil Earp’s wife lived until 1947, when I was nine years old.

It’s almost like the man I heard once talking about Southern heritage when he said “The past is not really past.” In a sense he was right. As long as there are people alive today with a connection to that past, it is not really dead. When I lived in Oklahoma, I saw am old man who had, in his youth, been a train robber. That had to have been in the early 1900s, given his age. I feel like my generation was the last connecting link to what we consider the Old West because a handful of people from that era lived in my lifetime. When my generation is gone there will be no connection with that time.

The farming and ranching culture of the West is under assault today as never before. There are people who, for their own nefarious reasons, want to put our ranchers and farmers out of business and do away with an independent culture that has come down to us over the generations. We should resist that and expose it for the cultural destruction it is. They want us to learn to eat bugs and fake meat, supposedly to combat “climate change’, one of the biggest farces of our day, and they want us to get our meat, if we are allowed to get any, from foreign sources – -preferably Communist China. We need to resist this insanity and its assault on our ranching and farming culture, which our adversaries are working to destroy. We need to have future generations of our own people working our ranches and farms and preserving a way of life those who hate this country want to destroy.

January 21, 2024

~ The Author ~
Al Benson Jr. is the editor and publisher of “The Copperhead Chronicle“, a quarterly newsletter that presents history from a pro-Southern and Christian perspective. He has written for several publications over the years. His articles have appeared in “The National Educator,” “The Free Magnolia,” and the “Southern Patriot.” I addition he was the editor of, and wrote for, “The Christian Educator” for several years. In addition to The Copperhead Chronicles, Al also maintains Revised History.

He is currently a member of the Confederate Society of America and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and has, in the past, been a member of the John Birch Society. He is the co-author, along with Walter D. Kennedy, of the book “Lincoln’s Marxists” and he has written for several Internet sites as well as authoring a series of booklets, with tests, dealing with the War of Northern Aggression, for home school students.

Mr. Benson is a highly respected scholar and writer and has graciously allowed the family of Kettle Moraine Publications to publish his works. We are proud to have his involvement with each of our projects.

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