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Western Short Stories Bio. of Bob Fincham
Born, raised, and educated on the East Coast, Bob was a science teacher for thirty-nine years. He started his career as a science teacher in 1967 in Pennsylvania. In 1979 his passion led to the start of a part time, mail order nursery business named Coenosium Gardens, which sold conifers around the world until 2015, when it was closed.
In 1986 Bob and his wife Dianne along with 10,000 plants moved from Pennsylvania to the Northwest where he made the nursery business his full-time job. In 1993 he reentered education in the state of Washington.
Dianne passed away in 2013 and Bob remarried in 2017 to Thecla Siqueira. They presently reside together in Puyallup, Washington where he has a conifer garden on a half-acre lot.
Coenosium Gardens was permanently closed in 2015, but he is still very active in the conifer world.
Always the educator, Bob and has self-published five books on cultivated conifers. He has also written for American Nurseryman, the NARGS Quarterly, Fine Gardening, and the American Conifer Society Bulletin, has produced three videos on conifers and propagation methods. Presently, he is working on an autobiographical book about his years as a high school science teacher.
Buffalo Hunters: On the Lower Bozeman Trail (July 1867)
James Washington had served in the 13th United States Colored Troops during the recent Civil War, so he was comfortable sitting at a table in a saloon filled with United States soldiers.
John Carter, his partner and best friend, had served in the Confederate Army as a volunteer in a Texas regiment. He was a bit uncomfortable being around the men in blue but did not show it. Read the full story HERE>>
Jedediah Strong: The Payroll (April 1874)
I sat comfortably upon my horse while staring at smoke rising in the distance. I was a civilian scout for the 7th Cavalry under Custer. I thought my army days ended after the war. But when my wife and children died of cholera, I came west and eventually ended up here.
I often wondered what the hell I was doing here in the middle of nowhere scouting for the 7th Cavalry and not looking for gold in California. Read the full story HERE>>
BUFFALO HUNTERS: John Carter, Pony Express Rider and the Paiute War (January 1860)
By Bob Fincham
James Washington, Baptist Jim, and John Carter were sitting around the campfire one night in July of 1867. They were camped outside of Fort Laramie waiting for the army to load their wagons. They were contracted to deliver assorted supplies to the forts on the Bozeman Trail. Washington was a former First Sergeant in the 13th United States Colored Troops during the recent war. Carter had served in a Texas regiment, and Baptist Jim had served from a pulpit.
Washington and Carter were partners who hunted buffalo during the winter and used their wagons for hauling freight in the summer. Read the full story HERE>>
BUFFALO HUNTERS: The Gun Runners (June 1867)
By: Bob Fincham
The wooden crates were stacked next to an empty freight wagon with a shattered wheel. There were ten long ones marked ‘Farm Tools’ while labels on five short ones said ‘Bibles’. The stenciling showed evidence of wear, and the crates themselves showed signs of splintering as if they had come from some distant location and been tossed around on the way. Read the full story HERE>>
BUFFALO HUNTERS: BAPTIST JIM: First Bounty (May 1865)
By: Bob Fincham
Fort Kearny was more of a trading post than a military fort. Since it was on the Oregon Trail, all sorts of people passed through, especially during the summer. Fur traders had largely disappeared. Hide hunters had replaced them. They hunted for buffalo skins and let the meat to rot where it lay. Immigrant trains were a common sight from spring into the early fall. Drifters, soldiers, gamblers, and preachers were all easy to find. Read the full story HERE>>
BUFFALO HUNTERS: The Freighters (May 1867)
By: Bob Fincham
James Washington and John Carter were in the freight business. They had sold their buffalo hides from the past winter to a buyer at Fort Kearny and used a part of the proceeds to buy a wagon with a team of horses to pull it.
The wagon was available because the owners, a young married couple, had died of typhoid on the Oregon Trail between Independence and Fort Kearny. The other members of their wagon train had burned their belongings but kept the wagon and its team of horses for the use of the train. Read the full story HERE>>
BUFFALO HUNTERS: The Hunt (November 1866)
By: Bob Fincham
I was scouting ahead of my partner, John Carter, in search of buffalo. We had been traveling along the border between Nebraska Territory and the Dakota Territory for almost a month without spotting a lone bull, let alone any sort of a herd.
Each day I scouted and marked a trail, which Carter followed with our freight wagon. We had a team of four mules, and we were in no big hurry. Making a lot of dust as we traveled could be a big problem because we were in Sioux Territory. Read the full story HERE>>
BUFFALO HUNTERS: The Dog Soldier (July 1866)
By Bob Fincham
John Carter and I had been searching the eastern Nebraska Territory for buffalo without any luck for more than a month. Our luck was bad, and it was time for a change. Carter was preparing breakfast while I was sitting on Nightshade, my black stallion, a short distance away from camp. I was on top of a knoll scanning the horizon and thinking about our next move. Read the full story HERE>>
BUFFALO HUNTERS: The Meeting (April 1866)
He felt like he had been sitting in his saddle forever. James Washington was bone-tired from a nonstop journey across much of the southeastern United States. Most of the time he was traveling through mud while being pelted by persistent rain storms. Even now, here in Independence, Missouri he still needed his waterproof poncho to shed the rainfall and protect his gear from damage.
Normally, a Negro who was riding a magnificent black stallion would draw unwanted attention... Read the full story HERE>>