Got a very nice note from Ted Franklin Belue a couple of days ago. He had some nice things to say about the work here, which is deeply pleasing to me, because Ted Franklin Belue is a kindred spirit and, in fact, one of the godfathers of Frontier Partisans.
Belue is the author of two essential frontier histories: The Hunters of Kentucky and The Long Hunt. I’ve referenced his work several times, because I think his analysis of the way the economics and culture of the early trans-Appalachian hunters worked is right in the x-ring.
Belue’s work, along with Winfred Blevins’ Rocky Mountain Fur Trade tribute, Give Your Heart to the Hawks, provided a model for what I seek to do — non-fiction historical storytelling that is accurate and authentic, but full of the rip-roaring vigor that the protagonists demand. This history is alive to him. I reckon he’s palavering with ghosts on a daily basis, just as I am.
His experience tracks with mine:
“Early in my life, at least by third grade, I became infatuated with the romance of America’s first ‘far west,’ that being frontier Kentucky, and woodland Indians, especially the Shawnee. In school I realized I had a knack for being able to express myself with a pen.”
Yep. The infatuation — and the compulsion to turn it into prose — is shared and apparently perpetual.
Reading this: “Great site … I love perusing through here… Again, keep up the great work. We need folks like you,” means a great deal to me. It’s like getting musical kudos from Waylon Jennings or Steve Earle. Seriously. That’s where Ted Franklin Belue stands in my estimation. My hat fits a little snugger than it did before I got that missive, and I might have to get out the stretcher… but I ain’t sorry.
Ted Franklin Belue’s work should be in every frontier history library, and I promise you’ll revisit it often. And if you enjoy this campfire, give him a nod and a tip of the hat, because he provided the char cloth and the flint and steel to make and catch the spark.