Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Here is a bonus peek at one of the documents included in Little Lodges on the Prairie.
This page is from the minutes of the very first meeting at which Laura served as Worthy Matron of the Mansfield Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star (an office which is explained in the book). Notice that it is also the meeting at which Almanzo petitioned to join the Order. Yes, he was not only a Freemason, but also an Eastern Star along with Laura.

There are many more such historical documents in the book. I'll be posting a few of them here in the next several weeks. If you are interested in seeing them, you might want to consider following the blog so you don't miss any. You can order the book from Amazon.com.
Do you like this? Do you have any questions about it? I'd love to hear your comments!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Little Lodges on the Prairie - Coming Soon!

Welcome to my (revised) blog!
If you’ve been here before, you will notice that I have removed almost all of my previous posts. That’s because, for a while at least, Hen Scratches will focus more on the hen’s scratches than on the hen.
One of the few remaining previous posts is the announcement of the upcoming Little Lodges on the Prairie.

Little Lodges has been my primary research/writing project for the past couple of years. I’m excited to be able to give you an update. Biggest news: it will be released this month!

The subtitle of the book has changed, to “Freemasonry & Laura Ingalls Wilder.” The book focuses on more than just Laura, which is why I chose the original subtitle, but after receiving much feedback that having Laura’s name on the cover is essential, I have taken heed of the advice. As implied, the book chronicles the connections of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family to Freemasonry. Although it has long been known that Laura was an Eastern Star, and her father and husband were Masons, few other details have been documented. Little Lodges on the Prairie provides those details. One of the records included is Charles Ingalls’ original petition to the Masonic Lodge. Another is Laura’s report to the Grand Chapter of Missouri, Order of the Eastern Star, as District Deputy Grand Lecturer. There are lots more; I hope readers will enjoy seeing these documents, and come away with a new perspective of Laura and her family.

Check back here, or at www.LittleLodgesonthePrairie.com, to learn when the book is available. I’ll be having some sneak peeks and bonus documents posted regularly, too, so check back for those as well.

Now that Little Lodges is complete, what will become the hen’s primary scratches? I have long been intrigued at how some people see the hand of God in everything from butterflies to the Holocaust, while others experience the same events, both joyful and tragic, and see them as evidence that no god could possibly exist. My next book - currently about a third completed, and still untitled - is a work of literary fiction that explores faith and reason in our lives. I’ll be posting more about this in the future, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

In development: a book based on the life of my ancestors. Set in mid-1800s Texas, it will tell the story of how my Comanche g-g-g-g-mother was taken from her tribe by a Texas Ranger (my g-g-g-g-father), and how she dealt with life as a native woman in a white (mostly man’s) world.

My first three books: a nonfiction, a literary fiction, and a historical-western-memoir. This reminds me of when a new friend visited my home for the first time. He went immediately to my bookshelves, saying, “You can tell a lot about a person by their books.” After browsing through for a few minutes, he turned to me and said, “This is a very eclectic collection; you’re still an enigma to me.”