Humorous yet fact-filled. Rick Hague, President, Summit Historical Society
Want to laugh? Enjoy the high-spirited antics of the shysters, shady ladies, swindlers and rogues of 1800s Colorado mountain mine camps in Rascals, Scoundrels and No Goods. This amusing romp through the gold rush era is also factual history by award-winning Colorado author Mary Ellen Gilliland.
Winner of a prestigious Legacy Award from the Colorado Independent Book Publishers Association, the book's colorful prose highlights the rowdy side of regional history. In its pages, readers meet the colorful miscreants of Colorado mine camp history, usually long on charm and short on moral fortitude.
Rascals offers intriguing look at the brazen seizure of 1860s claim jumpers who not only took possession of prospectors' claims but jumped whole towns; the creative thievery of high graders, mine workers who pilfered valuable ore from under the watchful eyes of management; and the escapades of 1920s bootleggers and moonshiners to name a few.
Gilliland is no stranger to writing gold and silver rush history. Her historical writing began with SUMMIT, A Gold Rush History of Summit County, Colorado, in its shorter first edition, in 1980. Gilliland doubled the size of this book in a 25th Anniversary Edition of SUMMIT in 2006. She has also published histories titled Breckenridge, 150 Years of Golden History, and Frisco, A Colorful Colorado Community, plus several others. Her trail guides, The New Summit Hiker and The Vail Hiker are companion guidebooks that detail the history of each trail described.
The publisher, Alpenrose Press, has produced more than 20 books on Colorado history, hiking and the outdoors.
Rascals, Scoundrels and No-Goods is Gilliland's twelfth published book. While its mining escapades are universal to Colorado mineral history, many of its characters come from Summit County mine camps, where the first gold discovery on Colorado's Western Slope took place in spring of 1859.
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Mary Ellen Gilliland, local historian, story-teller and author, has written 16 books and nearly 200 magazine and newspaper articles.
Her latest history, Breckenridge, 150 Years of Golden History, celebrates 15 years of Breckenridge history, 1859-2009. It chronicles new information on gold discovery days and details the early days of skiing to carry through the post-mining years of the folksy 1940s, 50s and 60s up to today.
Ten of Gilliland's books are on Summit County, Colorado, including the new SUMMIT, A Gold Rush History of Summit County Colorado, 25th Anniversary Edition. The new history doubles the size of the original 1980-published SUMMIT. Its 15 new chapters include histories of Summit's four ski areas, plus 1934-launched Chalk Mountain at old Climax. Gilliland, who has lived in the Colorado mountains for over 40 years, was on hand when ski areas such as Breckenridge Ski Resort, Copper Mountain, Keystone Mountain and Arapahoe Basin were launched or still in their infancy. The ski greats who founded these world-famous mountains granted interviews to Gilliland, who weaves their intriguing stories into her historical books.
Years of interviews with old-timers, such as Karl Knorr, Sue Giberson Chamberlain and Frances Marshall Long, yielded a history of the local ranches on the Lower Blue River, as well as ranches around Frisco and Keystone.
Her 2005 book, Rascals, Scoundrels and No Goods, profiles the amusing antics of local swindlers, cheats, shady ladies and seducers. The book has elicited great reader comments and good reviews. The Summit Daily News called the book a hoot.
An avid hiker, she has written two popular mountain hiking guidebooks. They are The New Summit Hiker and The Vail Hiker. The eighth update of her in-demand Summit guidebook, includes a number of trail re-routes.
SUMMIT, plus the Rascals history and The New Summit Hiker have each earned awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.
Fiction writing has occupied Gilliland's attention as well. She studied creative writing at New York University in Manhattan, has published magazine fiction and taught creative writing for Colorado Mountain College for several years.
Gilliland has lived in the Colorado high country with her husband, Larry since 1970.
Mary Ellen Gilliland is a popular speaker for convention and community groups, and has presented to over 100 audiences.Review:
Dixie and Rosie An excerpt from Mary Ellen Gilliland's new history, Rascals, Scoundrels and No Goods. Montezuma's Soiled Dove Montezuma, an 800-strong Summit County town in 1880, had hotels, restaurants, saloons, a general store, blacksmith, livery stable, mine offices, meat packing plant and even a candy store. Montezuma also had a resident red light lady, Dixie, who kept a neat white cottage back from Main Street. When Montezuma rode high on the price of silver, Dixie employed several girls. When the Silver Panic of 1893 brought economic disaster, Montezuma's soiled dove flew solo. Proper ladies dressed in subdued gray, brown and black, but Dixie sported huge picture hats with gaudy orange and fuchsia scarves. As loud as her scarves were Dixie's cheers at local baseball games. When the game intensified, blistering curses on the competition blared from her mouth. The proper matrons had to remove their children from the stands and seat themselves on rocks near the playing field. Elizabeth Rice Roller, who grew up around Montezuma, recalled, Dixie was not glamorous a little bit of a woman with a wrinkled face like a dried up apple. Dixie had a soft heart. She bought Columbine tinned milk and fed it to the town dogs and cats. Dixie carried soup to disabled miners, former patrons, and nursed their illnesses. She maintained a certain dignity, according to Roller, and kept her girls in line to avoid the ill will of the community. A Sham Artist Sidestepping ill will was not the strong suit of a hussy in lamb's clothing who alighted from the Montezuma stagecoach on a blithe summer evening. She managed to fleece the town flock. Rosie had asked the stage driver about Mrs. Bianci, a kind Montezuma woman who had sheltered Rosie and her siblings after their mother died. Now married to a sick husband, Rosie found herself destitute with six small children at home. Once more, she needed help. Mrs. Bianci had died, but her daughter, Isabella Black, remembered some pathetic dark-eyed children who had once shared their home. Touched, she rallied the townsfolk to help Rosie. Donations poured in. Mrs. Black fed and housed young Rosie. The town hosted a Friday night benefit for Rosie's children. She herself sang a hit song, When I Lost You, while miners tossed her their silver dollars. Next day, donors suggested that residents of nearby Sts. John might also contribute. Rosie trudged up the track to Sts. John and at sundown had not yet returned. Finally she strutted down Glacier Mountain on the arm of the Sts. John mine manager, known for his courtly ways but also his dissipation. Ignoring the shocked townspeople, the pair headed for the saloon. Hours later, Rosie's benefactors steamed with rage as the couple disappeared into Dixie's establishment. When Rosie and her paramour stepped from the parlor house on Sunday morning, she was escorted out of town. For months following, Montezuma citizens chafed when they heard Rosie's hit song. They renamed it, When I Lost My Dough. --Book Excerpt
"Prepare to hoot and holler over some entertaining stories . . . a smorgasbord of sin, a feast of felony," Summit Daily News
Local History Book Is a Hoot . . . headline, Vail Daily News
Immensely readable, informative and entertaining! Who is better than Mary Ellen Gilliland to write a humorous yet fact-filled treatise on Summit County's colorful and somewhat off-color characters of the past. A real historical treat! Rick Hague, President, Summit Historical Society --Book Reviews
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Book Description Alpenrose Press, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1889385085
Book Description Alpenrose Press, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111889385085