August 29, 2013

Old West True Tale: Ben-Hur Novelist Meets Billy the Kid

Old West True Tale by Stephen Bly
Stephen Bly

Another Old West True Tale by award-winning western author Stephen Bly 

One of my favorite governors was Lew Wallace of New Mexico Territory (1878-1881). In addition, he was a lawyer, Union general in the American Civil War, American statesman and author. He's the source for many and Old West true tale. He's best remembered for his historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

He hailed from Crawfordsville, Indiana, same as my character Develyn Worrell of The Horse Dreams Series. I visited the Lew Wallace Museum and Library in Crawfordsville while doing research for Memories of a Dirt Road Town, The Mustang Breaker, and Wish I'd Known You Tears Ago.

What I recall most about Wallace: he built a moat around his study, to keep people from bothering him. One
Old West True Tale of Lew Wallace & Billy the Kid
Lew Wallace

way to insure privacy.

He captures my interest for at least two other reasons. As governor of New Mexico Territory, he offered amnesty to many men involved in the Lincoln County War. In the process he met Billy the Kid. On March 17, 1879, he arranged that the Kid would act as an informant and testify against those involved in the Lincoln County War. In return, the Kid would be "scot free with a pardon in [his] pocket for all [his] misdeeds." But the Kid returned to his outlaw ways and Governor Wallace withdrew his offer.

While serving as governor, Wallace completed Ben-Hur, one of the most bestselling American novels of the 19th Century. The book has never been out of print and has been filmed four times.

The story is told that Wallace set out to study the Bible in order to prove it wrong. Instead, he claimed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The novel became a statement of his newfound faith.

I like the Old West true tale idea that the author of Ben-Hur also sat down with Billy the Kid. It reminds me what interesting, eclectic people tramped out west back in the early days.

Come to think of it, westerners are still a remarkable, diverse bunch.
Old West True Tale of author of novel Ben-Hur
Move: Ben-Hur

Copyright©2009
Stephen Bly
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TWEETABLES:

Old West true tale: the author of Ben-Hur meets Billy the Kid: http://clicktotweet.com/uc9QW

Bestselling novelist Lew Wallace was also governor of New Mexico Territory: http://clicktotweet.com/mUja8

This writer built a moat around his study, a way to insure privacy: http://clicktotweet.com/3TcAk
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The Horse Dreams Series available at Bly Books website:  http://www.blybooks.com/product_category/contemporary-fiction/

The Horse Dreams Series Book 1 by Stephen Bly
Memories of a Dirt Road Town

The Horse Dreams Series Book 3 by Stephen Bly
Wish I'd Known You Tears Ago




The Horse Dreams Series Book 2 by Stephen Bly
The Mustang Breaker

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