Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Story Behind the Story: The Better Salesman

by Richard Prosch

A few years ago, a guy drove up to our house in a pickup with out of state plates. Middle-aged, paunchy, stubbly chin, I’d never seen him before in my life. Sitting in the cab next to him was a teenaged boy wearing a stretched out T-shirt with no sleeves.
I walked outside to greet them. Before I could say word, Paunch flipped a card at me through the driver side window.
Under his name it said, Lightning Rod Salesman.
Lightning rods? I read the card three times. Nobody uses lightning rods anymore.
An anachronism, like something out of the early 20th Century.
“Sold a complete package to your neighbors,” said the guy. “Installation in three hours or there’s no charge.”
“I don’t think we need any lightning rods today,” I said, handing back the card.
“Keep it,” he said with a patronizing hand gesture. “You don’t realize the danger you’re in.”
The trumped up look of concern in his voice along with the scene-chewing delivery made me smile. “Really?”
Solemn nod. “Really.” He turned to his son. “Ain’t he in danger, son?”
The kid ducked down to look at the roof of our house through the truck’s windshield.
“Peaked metal roof like that draws a lot of energy. Fire’s a bitch.”
“A man ought to protect his home,” said Paunch.
Anachronisms again. This time like something out of a Jimmy Cagney movie. “Be a shame if something were to…happen.”
He didn’t actually say that.
But the conversation was getting too weird, so I made up an excuse, told him I’d keep the card and keep him in mind, and eventually he drove away.
Later that day, I drove past our neighbor’s place. Sure enough, a trio of tall, straight spires with decorative blue bulbs rose from his barn roof, gleaming in the sun.
The incident reminded me of the old barn painters that used to frequent Nebraska when I was growing up.
Which got me to thinking. What if they were to cross paths? The lightning rod salesman and the painter.
Three and a half hours later, weighing in at around 2,800 words, The Better Salesman is the result.

Have you ever encountered a traveling salesman of the old fashioned variety? Ever wanted to write about them?
Please drop a line in the comment box below.

After growing up on a Nebraska farm, Richard Prosch worked as a professional writer, artist, and teacher in Wyoming, South Carolina, and Missouri. His western crime fiction captures the fleeting history and lonely frontier stories of his youth where characters aren’t always what they seem, and the windburned landscapes are filled with swift, deadly danger. In 2016, Richard roped the Spur Award for short fiction given by Western Writers of America. Read more at www.RichardProsch.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 21, 1876: THE LAST DISPATCH by Tom Rizzo

The ground under Mark Kellogg trembled like an earthquake. In the distance, he watched Indian warriors swarm over the horizon at full gallop, their horses thundering across the Great Plains.

The 45-year old newspaper reporter struggled to stay in the saddle, shocked by the surprise attack, reeling in confusion amid the crack of gunfire and the sound of steel-tipped arrows slicing through the air.

In a split-second of clarity, Marcus Henry Kellogg no doubt realized the futility of his situation.
Nowhere to turn. No safe place to run. No means of escape. A few minutes earlier, Kellogg had been riding in formation just behind Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, flanked by the colonel's two brothers, Tom, and Boston. 

The sudden impact of the attack caused soldiers to break ranks and scatter in panic, seeking shelter on the open Montana Plains of the Little Bighorn.  

Kellogg, the only reporter to accompany Custer, represented the Bismarck Tribune, New York Herald, and served as a correspondent for the Associated Press

He provided the only press dispatches in the days leading up the epic battle. Ironically, it was pure coincidence that Kellogg rode along with the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment in June 1876.

A Canadian by birth, his family settled in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He worked as an editor and a reporter, traveling throughout the upper Midwest. In 1873, he made his way to Bismarck, North Dakota, where he helped editor Clement A. Lounsberry found the Bismarck Tribune

When Lounsberry heard Custer’s 7th Cavalry Regiment was heading into the Montana Territory, he worked out an agreement to ride along and provide news coverage. Before he left, his wife became ill, and he asked Kellogg to take his place.

On June 21, 1876, four days before the epic battle, the regiment neared the mouth of the Rosebud River, and Kellogg wired what would be his last dispatch: 

"We leave the Rosebud tomorrow and by the time this reaches you we will have met and fought the red devils with what result remains to be seen. I go with Custer and will be at the death."

The term “at the death” was merely a phrase  borrowed from a fox-hunting term meaning, "present at the kill."

When Col. John Gibbon and his men arrived at the scene of the Custer Massacre the following day, they discovered bodies scattered across the Little BighornWhile helping bury the dead, Gibbon found Kellogg's body in a ravine, scalped, and an ear was missing. The colonel recovered a blood-stained diary from Kellogg's clothing. 

On July 6, 1876, Lounsberry published a special edition of his newspaper with the first full account of the battle. 

He also telegraphed Kellogg's correspondence to various eastern newspapers, including the New York Herald, which also published, posthumously, two letters Kellogg had written.

The Associated Press considers Kellogg the organization's first correspondent to die while covering a military engagement.

The North Dakota Heritage Center has Kellogg's diary and notes rescued from the battlefield. A display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., showcases Kellogg's satchel, pencil, and eyeglasses.

Kellogg's notes and news dispatches were among the historical sources of information used to recreate the days leading up to the battle, even though he never got the opportunity to write and telegraph news of a great military victory—or defeat—from the Battle of the Little Bighorn.


Friday, June 17, 2016

WOLF CREEK Rides Again!

After a brief hiatus, Western Fictioneers' collaborative series is back in a big way.

The series is set in the fictional town of Wolf Creek, Kansas in the early 1870s. About two dozen WF members have participated, each creating one (or sometimes two) unique characters who are denizens of the town (or the area.) Most books have been novels, with each chapter written by a different author from their character's point-of-view, and others have been short story anthologies (which give the authors an opportunity to delve more deeply into their characters.) The books are released collectively under the house name, FORD FARGO, but the individual authors are also identified.

If you haven't read the series yet, a great way to get started is with our new set of trade paperback compendiums, WOLF CREEK CHRONICLES, each of which reprints four Wolf Creek Books (there are three such compendiums available, with more to come in the future.) Each volume features cover artwork commissioned from comics legend Timothy Truman. They are also available as e-book boxed-sets. It may be too late to order the paperbacks in time for Father's Day, but if Dad has a kindle...

Meanwhile, three brand new Wolf Creek books have recently been released, all themed anthologies.

WOLF CREEK 14: WAR STORIES focuses on the eerie barber John Hix, created (and written here) by Frank Roderus. Hix tells people he was in the California gold fields during the Civil War, but is fascinated by the conflict he missed. As he plies his trade and makes small talk with his customers, he asks them to tell him their war stories. Several of the town's citizens do so in this volume, in individual short stories -touching, not just on the Civil War, but also on fighting Comanches in Texas during that same period, and earlier conflicts such as the Crimean War and the second Seminole War. But John Hix has a very dark secret, and if you tell him the WRONG story...well....

WOLF CREEK 15: LUCK OF THE DRAW part one, and WOLF CREEK 16: LUCK OF THE DRAW part two are a two-volume collection featuring a dozen stories altogether. The owners of Wolf Creek's biggest saloons (which include the mayor, Dab Henry) have organized, and widely advertised, a huge poker tournament to bring money (and a large number of professional gamblers) to the town. What could go wrong? That's what Sheriff G.W. Satterlee and Marshal Sam Gardner are wondering, and they're pretty sure they know the answer...

Two more books are in various stages of completion and will be appearing in the near future:


Catch up on Wolf Creek today! NOTE: a short excerpt -the prologue- from LUCK OF THE DRAW 1 appears at the bottom of this blog.

Links for the various books are listed below. But first, a list of our past and present Wolf Creek players (with more to join soon):

Bill Crider - Cora Sloane, schoolmarm
Phil Dunlap - Rattlesnake Jake, bounty hunter
Wayne D. Dundee – Seamus O’Connor, deputy marshal
James J. Griffin – Ben Tolliver (aka Bill Torrance), owner of the livery stable; also Father Sean Flannery, priest
Jerry Guin - Deputy Marshal Quint Croy
Douglas Hirt - Marcus Sublette, schoolteacher and headmaster
Jackson Lowry - Wilson “Wil” Marsh, photographer
L. J. Martin - Angus “Spike” Sweeney, blacksmith
Matthew P. Mayo - Rupert "Rupe" Tingley, town drunk
Vonn McKee – Maudie LeJeune, singer
Meg Mims – Phoebe Wright
Clay More - Logan Munro, town doctor
Kerry Newcomb - James Reginald de Courcey, artist with a secret
Cheryl Pierson - Derrick McCain, farmer
Matthew Pizzolato - Wesley Quaid, drifter
Robert J. Randisi - Dave Benteen, gunsmith
James Reasoner - G.W. Satterlee, county sheriff
Frank Roderus - John Hix, barber
Jacquie Rogers – Gib Norwood, dairy farmer; Abby Potter, madam
Jory Sherman – Roman Hatchett, trapper
Troy D. Smith - Charley Blackfeather, scout; Sam Gardner, town marshal
Charlie Steel – Kelly O’Brien, small rancher
Chuck Tyrell - Billy Below, young cowboy; Samuel Jones, gambler
L. J. Washburn - Ira Breedlove, owner of the Wolf’s Den Saloon
Big Jim Williams – Hutch Higgins, farmer


“Wait a minute,” Marshal Sam Gardner said. “You want to do what?”

“A poker tournament,” said Dab Henry. Dab was the mayor of Wolf Creek, and owner of the Lucky Break saloon. The meeting was being held in his office. Also present were Virgil Calhoun, owner of the Eldorado, and Ira Breedlove, owner of The Wolf’s Den. Gardner, the town marshal, had been accompanied by G.W. Satterlee, the county sheriff.

“Isn’t that sort of what you all have, every day of the week?” Sheriff Satterlee asked.

“Not like this,” Dab said. “We’re talking about something big—something huge.”

“All three of us have agreed to pitch in with costs,” Ira said. “It’s an investment. We’re going to pay to have advertisements in papers all through the West, and rely on word of mouth from there.”

“People will pour in from everywhere,” Virgil Calhoun said. “We’ll have it four months from now, in July, around Independence Day.”

“People will pour in,” Gardner repeated. “People already pour in from everywhere. And then a good many of them subsequently pour lead into one another. On the one hand, this keeps G.W. and me and our deputies on the payroll and in drinking money—on the other hand, you’re talking about making our lives a living hell for however long this to-do of yours lasts. How many people are we talking about? And how many of them should we figure on being sore losers with bad tempers?”

“We have it all figured out,” Dab said, excited.

“Well that makes me feel better already,” Sam Gardner whispered to Sheriff Satterlee.

“There’ll only be sixty seats for the tournament, first come first served, with a hundred dollar ante right up front. That’s what the top prize will be. Whoever is the last man playing will have won everybody else’s money, six thousand total.”

“All the games will take place at our respective establishments,” Ira said. “And we will charge admission for spectators to watch—and I expect a lot of folks will. And each of those spectators, who will no doubt come from all the counties around and maybe even other states, will want to drink. And fornicate. And gamble themselves—even if they’re not in The Big Game, smaller, independent games will pop up all over.”

“Yes,” said Calhoun, who seemed to have been instantly infected by Dab’s enthusiasm. “And every one of those spectators will be staying at our hotel and boarding houses, and eating at our restaurants. Even our smaller saloons and establishments, though they are not part of the tournament officially, will benefit from the runoff, as our places get either too crowded or too rich for the taste of the drovers and the yokels. Everybody wins.”

“It’ll put Wolf Creek on the map,” Dab said.

“Wolf Creek is already on the map,” Gardner said. “It’s on the map as a wild, unruly place, prone to Indian attacks and range wars and general fatal tomfoolery. And G.W. and me are on the map right there with it, as lawmen not professional enough to hold a lid on such a wide-open place.”

“They’re mostly sayin’ that about you, to be fair,” Satterlee said with a playful grin. “I’m just responsible for the rurals.”

Gardner ignored his friend. “And now you want to throw a bunch of lit firecrackers in the pot.”

“Lit firecrackers who spend money,” Ira pointed out. “Let me list it again: drinking, gambling, whoring, eating, sleeping, all to the benefit of our citizens and especially to us in this room.”

Satterlee immediately scowled, and Ira picked up on it at once. “I’m not accusing you of kickbacks, G.W., but you do get your legal share of the county fines. And Sam—well, Sam knows where his bread is buttered, and now we’re offering some honey to go with it.”

“When this whole thing is over and done,” Gardner said. “I expect we’ll be short a few of our fine upstanding citizens. That would be no great loss, in some cases, but it would be in others.”

Ira smiled. “That’s why they call it gambling, Sam.”

“Don’t sound like they called us here to ask our permission, or even our opinion, Sam,” Satterlee said.

“Consider it more of a courtesy,” Ira replied, “to let you know what’s coming and give you time to prepare.”

G.W. looked at him. “Well, as long as you’re throwing money around—”

“Making investments,” Ira corrected him.

G.W. continued. “As long as you’re throwing investments around—the least you can do is invest some money for Sam and me to each hire another deputy or two for that week. We have no shortage of good, reliable men, so long as it’s worth their while.”

“Listen here, now,” Dab said. “We have made careful budgetary plans, if you can’t do the job we pay you to do, that’s not our—”

Ira interrupted the mayor. “No, Dab,” he said, “the sheriff has a point. It is the least we can do.”

“And the less you do the better, as usual,” Sam said, and G.W. elbowed him.

“Then it’s settled,” Ira said. To the lawmen he said, “Prepare yourselves, gentlemen. May the games begin.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2016



STRONG CONVICTIONS by GP Hutchinson (The Hutchinson Group, LLC)

DAKOTA TRAILS by Robert McKee (Pen-L Publishing)
PISTOL MAN by Daniel Cassidy (Whimsical Publications, LLC)
THE SKELETON WALKERS by Derek Burnett (Derek Burnett)

BONE DIGGER by Douglas Hirt (Five Star Publishing)

A BRIDE FOR GILL by Dusty Richards (Galway Press)
LAST WILL by Ron Schwab (Poor Coyote Press)
LEGEND OF CALEB YORK by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Kensington Books)
NIGHT OF THE COYOTE by Ron Schwab (Poor Coyote Press)


A RANGER TO STAND WITH by James Griffin (Painted Pony Books)
DOGBREAD AND DIAMONDS  by Richard Prosch (Painted Pony Books)
THE ORPHANAGE by Sara Barnard (Painted Pony Books)
REDBUDS AND BULLETS  by Richard Prosch (Painted Pony Books)

LONGEST WAY HOME by Lorrie Farrelly (Prairie Rose Publications)

THE BOX MAKER by Scott Parker (Quadrant Fiction Studio)
FIVE SHOTS LEFT by Ben Bridges (Bookends)
HIDDEN TRAILS by Cheryl Pierson (Sundown Press)
HIGH MEADOW STORM by Wayne Dundee (Bil-Em-Ri Media) 

Western Fictioneers would like to thank Awards Chair Robert Vardeman, and the judges for the excellent job they did and the long hours they devoted to the task of endless reading.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


     If ever you find yourself strolling through a picturesque Tennessee field, keep an eye on the ground lest you trip over a Comb.
     Every region and culture has a habit or two unique to them, largely unknown by the rest of the world. These secluded habits are often forgotten by the passing of our ancestors. However, all is not always lost. Remnants can still be found...if you know where to look.

     To the west of the Cumberland Plateau, spanning several counties, lies a number of eerie remnants of Tennessee culture. My husband, a born and raised White County, Tennessee native, took his mother and I to explore a few of his ancestral cemeteries. I was not quite prepared for what I saw.

Map of the Tennessee Comb Graves.
Comb Graves: Photo by Author, Shayna Matthews.

     A cedar grove towered over the little cemetery, 100+ year old trees shielding those long-ago laid to rest below. Sunlight filtered through the foliage, casting rays of golden dust upon the graves. And yet, the feeling I had while picking my way around the graves was anything but tranquil. The graves, some of them so old the inscriptions are no longer there, (or perhaps not inscribed at all) look like pup tent shaped vaults. Sandstone slabs at least as long as the grave lean against each other, like an inverted "V". Sometimes they have head-markers, often the identity of the deceased is erased by the passing of time. The old trees seem to remember, for they embrace the strange graves, their trunks growing around the stones, ever so slowly swallowing the tombs.
The design of these sandstone crypts were so foreign, so strange, and yet my husband could not comprehend my intrigue. "They're everywhere," he told me. "Aren't they?" No. Most assuredly, no.

     These "tent-graves" are actually called combs, probably named for the peak of a gable-house roof. Digging a bit deeper into the realm of the Comb graves, I discovered that the Combs are indeed isolated to a strip of counties which seem to follow the extreme western borders of the Cumberland Plateau. This, of course, leads to the obvious question--why? Why are Combs scattered throughout this one region, and why the strange tent-shaped slabs? One theory is to protect grazing livestock from sinking into the soft-grave earth. Naturally, no one wants their cattle bogged down in a tomb. The Combs do not seem to follow patterns of religious beliefs, as families buried in the same cemetery may have a normal marker vs. a stone tent. The style of Combs also differ throughout the region. While most are sandstone, others may be based on a wooden frame, with stone or metal sheeting. Some "newer" graves from the early 1900s are even erected from metal roofing.

     A smattering of Combs can also be found in Kentucky, Alabama, and Arkansas. Interestingly, the rarest Comb recorded, made of marble, sits in Texas. The inscription reads NANCY YEATS, Born Feb. 19, 1831 - Died Feb. 19, 1910. Although Nancy Yeats expired in Texas, she rests in one of the most elegant forms of Comb graves in the books. Oh, did I mention, Nancy was a native of Tennessee? Tradition, it seems, sometimes carries on even through death.

     Contrasting the Tennessee Valley Combs, a walk through my own native land and its cemeteries will show you a much different form of heritage carved in stone. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is home to a plethora of rich Penna-Dutch folklore and traditions. My favorite? The hex sign. Pennsylvania Dutch consists of a group of people who are descendants from German immigrants. They arrived sometime before the 1800's and settled in the pristine farmlands of southeastern Pennsylvania. Confusing as it sounds, this group is not Dutch, but German. "Deutsch" is the German word for, well, "German". This is also where our English word "Dutch" derived. The Pennsylvania Deutsch carried with them a flair for artistic folklore. Their belief in Hex Signs--those colorful and intricately painted designs, began showing up on the barns they built. Now, if you know German, you know that "hex" means "witch". It is often said that the original belief in the hex signs is that they are painted at the top of a barn--the farmer's livelihood--to ward off evil spirits and witches. Others say the signs are merely for decoration.
Pennsylvania Deutsch Barn decorated with Hex Signs.
Tulips and hearts are popular designs.

     Whatever the reason for the origin, hex signs have enriched the culture. They are on our barns and in our pottery, in our paintings and even printed on the plastic wrappers on our loaves of bread. But, like my husbands' ancestors and their isolated cultures scattered throughout the fields and cedar groves, my isolated heritage can be found amongst the graves, as well. A walk through the pre-Civil War section of the German side of my family showed me a few final resting places nearly as unique as the Combs. One stone in particular caught my attention; "decorated" with an hourglass, a skull and a sickle, it reminds me of something you might stumble across late at night in a Stephen King novel. The stone is called Memento Mori, and is quite rare for a Pennsylvania German tombstone for the reason that "Death's attributes" were not popular with the culture. The Memento Mori design died out (pun intended) completely between 1740-1800 in the region, and only three stone cutters used this motif on their stones. Use of the sickle is the only known example of the grisly instrument in Pennsylvania German gravestone art. It is inscribed in German tongue, translated to read:

"So rest my friend in your grave
until that day when Jesus shall
unite the body with the soul and bring together the "brotherhood"
with our chorus of children in that great year of Jubilee.
Put your house in order
for you too must die."

     This morbid gravestone sits, dark and foreboding, among the pleasantly carved arches with intricate flowers, moons and stars, birds and hearts so colored throughout the culture. Most stone markers, perhaps unimpressive in shape compared to the Combs, were (and still are) engraved with the telltale art of the hex sign. In contrast to Momento Mori, weeping flowers, distlefinks (birds modeled after a goldfinch which bring good luck in the culture), and a number of various designs can be found carved in stone; forever granting wishes of love, prayer and good luck to the beloved resting below.

     The next time you are passing by a secluded cemetery, perhaps you will take the time to stop and look around. What remnants of isolated traditions will you find carved in stone within your own region?

--By Shayna Matthews, Author of  "The Legend of Venture Canyon" and "A Spot in the Woods", a non-fiction short within the "Memories From Maple Street, U.S.A. Leaving Childhood Behind" anthology.

The Memento Mori Grave in Lancaster, PA.
Skull, hourglass & sickle rarity.
German inscription: see blog text for
translation. Photographs by Author,
Shayna Matthews.

Two more examples of PA German gravestones.
These graves are neighbors to the Memento Mori stone.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pain in the Old West

by J.E.S. Hays

After a hard day on the trail, your cowboy's going to have sore muscles, and he might have a headache Sunday morning after a night on the town. Here are some typical pain remedies your characters might have tried. When possible, I've included the ingredients, prices, and any advertisements I found. I've also included approximate dates for the brands, so you can figure out if it would have been on the druggist's shelves when your characters were looking.

    Dover’s Powder: from the 1700's, opium and ipecac
    Pain Killer: 1854-1895, opium? (“adapted for both internal and external application, and reaches a great many complaints, such as sudden colds, chills, congestion or stoppage of circulation, cramps, pains in the stomach, summer and bowel complaints, sore throat, etc. Applied externally, it has been found very useful for sprains, bruises, rheumatic pains, swelled face, etc. Arising from toothache” “Is just what its name implies - a killer of pain. It is not a cure-all but is just the thing needed in case of the slight ailments and accidents which occasionally afflict us all. For cholera morbus, cramps, and all bowel troubles, it has no equal. It removes all pain and soreness from cuts, bruises and burns, etc. (It smarts upon application, but only for a moment)”)
    Miller’s Anodyne Cordial: 1872-1883, morphine and chloral hydrate
    Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup: 1849, 65 mg morphine per ounce ("Should always be used when children are cutting teeth. It relieves the little sufferer at once; it produces natural, quiet sleep by relieving the child from pain, and the little cherub awakes as 'bright as a button.' It is very pleasant to taste. It soothes the child, softens the gums, allays all pain, relieves wind, regulates the bowels, and is the best known remedy for diarrhoea, whether arising from teething or other causes.") for children, but adults sometimes indulged! 25 cents
    Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator: 1863, possibly opium and alcohol (“A speedy and permanent cure for headache, toothache, neuralgia, catarrh and weak nerves.") 

    McMunn’s Elixir of Opium: 1830's ("This is the pure and essential extract from the native drug.") 

    Pyroctin Fever Killer: 1885-1901 ("Reduces the temperature and relieves pain. Acts as an antirheumatic and anodyne and is especially indicated in cases of acute neuralgia hemicrania, la grippe and allied troubles, without inducing cardiac depression.")
    Humphrey's Homeopathic Specific No. 9 for Headache: 1898-1902
    Salfene: after 1898 acetanilide, salicin, caffeine, cactus quinine ("For pain and fever. Antipyretic, anodyne, sedative, anti-neuralgia and anti-rheumatic.")
    Krato Rheumatic Tablets: after 1898 ("For rheumatism, gout, sciatica, lumbago, neuralgia and headache.") 50 cents
    Dr. Shoop's Twenty Minute Headache Tablets: after 1880, acetanilide ("For neuralgia or headache.")
    Blair's Gout and Rheumatic Pills: after 1882 ("For gout, rheumatism, lumbago and pains in the head or face.")
    Warner's Safe Nervine: ca 1898, at least partially alcohol ("For headache, neuralgia, insomnia and nervous prostration.")
    Allen’s Cocaine Tablets; ca 1880's (“for hay fever, catarrh and throat troubles; cures neuralgia, nervousness, headache and sleeplessness”) 50 cents a box 
    Cocaine Toothache Drops; ca 1880's (“Instantaneous Cure! Price 15 Cents”)  

    Peptonix; ca 1890 (“sick headache resulting from indigestion cured by Peptonix digestive tablets” "Acid stomach, heartburn, flatulency, gas and all gastric difficulties are promptly relieved and effectively cured by the use of the digestive tablets.") 75 cents

    The Forest Liniment: ca 1875 (“cures rheumatism, headache, spinal complaints, swollen limbs, neuralgia and sprains, relieving pain almost instantly”) 50 cents
    The Golden Ointment: ca 1875 (“as an external application for piles, salt rheums, poison of insects, cuts, burns or wounds of any kind, cannot be surpassed. It’s effects are truly wonderful.” 35 cents a box  

    Redding’s Russia Salve: ca 1875 (“unequalled for flesh wounds, sold all around the world”)
    Holloway’s Ointment: 1860 (“will cure any wound, sore or ulcer, however long standing, if properly used according to the printed directions”)
    Hunt’s Liniment: 1842-1900 (“Rheumatism, sore throat, affections of the spine, nervous disorders, weakness, salt rheum, ring bone, spavin”)
    Alcock’s Porous Plasters (“Seem to possess the power of accumulating electricity and imparting it to the body, whereby the circulation of the blood becomes equalized upon the parts where applied, causing pain and morbid action to cease” “For lumbago and all pains”); worn on the breast or between the shoulders or over the kidneys; other adverts suggested using them for such varied disorders as quinsy (you had to put a strip of plaster under your chin, stretching from ear to ear), diabetes, St Vitus’s Dance, epilepsy, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, coughs and colds, asthma, pleurisy, whooping cough, consumption, ruptures, sciatica, paralysis, rheumatism, tic douloureux and kidney problems. (The ads boasted that it only took 2 seconds to apply the plaster. Getting it off, however, was another matter. Dick’s Encyclopaedia noted in 1872 that: These plasters adhere very firmly, frequently requiring the application of heat (by means of a hot towel or warm flat-iron), for their removal.)
       Johnson's American Anodyne Liniment: 1881-1906, morphine and alcohol ("For diphtheria, coughs, colds, influenza, bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough, cramp and pain in the stomach, bowels or side; rheumatism, spitting of blood, and all lung complaints; sore throat, spinal complaints, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, chapped hands, burns, wounds, sprains and bruises.")
       Powdered Antikamnia: 1890-1906, codeine, quinine, salol ("Analgesic, antipyretic, and anodyne. It will reduce temperature and relieve pain with the greatest certainty and celerity, and has no evil after effects. Valuable in neuralgia, myalgia, sciatica, acute rheumatism, hemicrania, also headache and other neuroses due to irregularities of menstruation.")  
       Petrolina; ca 1890, petrolatum ointment ("Nature's great healing ointment.")
       Alden's Liniment; ca 1890 ("Sprains, bruises, fresh cuts and wounds, etc. Rheumatic affections. May also be used for strains, sprains, fresh wounds, harness galls, scratches etc., on horses and oxen.")

       Chamberlain's Eye and Skin Ointment; after 1884 ("For sore eyes, tetter, salt-rheum, ring worm, scald head, barbers itch, prairie scratches, itch, piles, burns, scalds, frost bites, chilblains, frozen feet, sore nipples, chapped hands, old chronic sores and fever sores.") 25 cents