Uncle Jake and the Wildcat Banks:a short-short Western Story

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Authors note;

This is a short story in a series of stories centered around the imaginary town of Carbons Creek.It is not necessary to read the other stories as they are all able to stand alone.

Uncle Jake

Sarah’s Uncle Jake came here ‘fore the war a bit after I did. He struck me as a city dude ‘cause’ his store bought clothes. Not fancy duds, mind you. Jes’ you could tell they weren’t homespun. Meant he either had money or didna’ have no wife to look out for him or both. We didna’ have a barber then so he had to take care of that moustache and thick hair his own self.

Jake might have looked like a dandy but he was tough and up to anything that had to be done. He come from up Chicago way. Guess he taught school for awhile and worked for a newspaper. Decided he wanted to write the way he wanted, not the way some boss wanted. So he ended up here to start a weekly. He called it the Carbons Creek Sentinel. Weren’t long ‘fore he was raisin’ a ruckus.

The Sentinel came out Thursdays each week. Jake was most particular about that. He been here ‘bout a year, I recalls when he printed an editorial against Wildcat banks in the county Back then the banks was chartered under state law. I think it might have varied even from county to county. Mind ye not all bankers were crooks. But the wildcatters lots of times didn’t have no security like gold to back them up. The wildcatters could issue notes with not much to back them up, maybe some mortgages and such but not gold or anything substantial They ofen’ operated in backwoods areas where it was hard for the law to keep track of ‘em. Guess back then, area round Carbons Creek fit the bill.

Jake suspisioned the banker was cozy with the law in the county. ‘Course nobody going to rob the bank’ cause nothin’ thar was worth stealin’.  There was good banks, of course, but the wildcat ones were cheating lots of folks an’ Jake was on their tails.

He figgered the county officials was in on some of the cover up along with maybe the sheriff. Even back then you couldn’t say jes’ anything in the papers. He was after getting’ proof. His editorial started bringing in folks who had been cheated by the bankers. Pretty soon he was runnin’ stories ‘bout all these folks what trusted the banks an’ lost their money.

Civil War

Both me an’ Jake ended up in the Northern  Army. I got duty as a wrangler. Jake went as a correspondent for a Chicago paper. I seen gunfights and folks kilt afore but nothin’ like what happens on the battlefield. Lots of them boys went full of hopes ‘a glory, but iffen they din’ git kilt or crippled they come out sadder than afore. I don’ never want to see nothin’ like it again. When I think on why I went in, I reckon I was agin slavery. Nobody should be owned by someone else.

Them that survived was lots of times crippled. The doctors tried to help but they weren’t much they could do. Jes hope we dasn’t have another one like it. Now Jake, he was a guy with strong feelings and had a hard time putting all he saw to rest. If he was one fighting to put stuff right before, he was really driven now.

 Durin’ the war he found a little mongrel dog what been abandoned or its owners had died. He called the dog Buddy, and they stuck together after that. Buddy wasn’t a big dog but he was spirited and loyal. He had kind of a long white coat, the kind what needs lots of combing. He also had the most soulful brown eyes you ever did see..

When I got out of the Army I managed to save a bit of money and bought a small ranch to raise horses and when Jake got back he found the Carbons Creek Sentinel in dismal shape.  The man he put in charge while he was gone tried to stand up to the sheriff and the bankers but lost his nerve when they threatened him. After that the paper didn’t amount to much.

As far as the politicians and the wildcat banks was concerned things hadn’t changed much. Soon as Jake got set up he started fightin’ the old fight. He musta got them on the run ‘cause little things started happening agin, like a brick thrown through his window. Again folks came to Jake with their stories of buyin’ bad notes from some of the banks in the county and how the sheriff ignored the complaints. He published news stories and editorials and they got hotter and hotter. So did the attacks on his property.

Then one Wednesday night he was in his shop getting’ the paper to bed, and the newspaper building went up in flames. I was part of the bucket brigade what tried to stop the fire, but I don’t know how much good we did. Jake must ‘a been overcome by smoke. That brave little mutt of his tried to save him, pulling him out of the building, but Jake died after a few hours.

A few days later his niece Sarah come from Chicago where she worked for a publisher. But that’s another story, which I reckon she can tell fer herself.

More by this Author


Comments 50 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Another good one! Up and awesome.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

WillStarr,thanks for being the first to comment. I appreciate your reading it.


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Oh my! Looking forward to Sarah's story.

Never saw another record-to-be-afilliated with . .

My hope is that you'll stay as long as you want.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Truckstop Sally,Thanks for commenting. Sarah's story is at the link above to "A New Newspaper Publisher."I put the authors note at the beginning at somebodies suggestion. i am not sure if it helps or not.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Dahoglund! I really love these stories surrounding Carbons Creek! And I really like Sarah (from the previous stories)! Voted up, up and away!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting and voting, Dexter.I'm glad that my characters are resonating with some readers.


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 5 years ago from India

wow very nice story though end was little too sad. People like Jake dont deserve this kind of death.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Sweetie,thanks for your comment. Although it was written earlier, the hub"A New Newspaper Publisher" might make you feel better as Sarah takes over. There is a link just above.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Another great story. When are you putting them together and turning them into a book? Rated up and awesome.


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

Ilove reading your stories, a taste of the old west


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

KoffeeKlatch Gals

As soon as I learn how.I'm tyhinking about publishing some ebboks. Since it is a bit like self publishing everything has to be submitted in a particular format. I'll have to master their instruction first.

Thanks for commenting and rating.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

CASE1WORKER

I appreciate your enthusiasm. thanks for commenting.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Nice story, my brother. I love your writing skill. Very well written and great author. I'll press all buttons. Take care!

Prasetio


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

prasetio

Thank you for the nice words. As long as people want to read what I write,I'll keep writing.


Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

You really have a way with words! Good character!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thank you very much. You may have been right about toning down the "dialect." Going back to the first on I find I was exaggerating more.


Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

Daho - whatever works!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks.


vydyulashashi profile image

vydyulashashi 5 years ago from Hyderabad,India

Beautiful, decent, elegant, marvelous, excellent!!!!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thank you very much.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Not bad at all and, though a Western, it has connections to what is happening today with the banks.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

The wildcat banks were a historic fact in that time period.Some banks fail through circumstances they have not control over. The Wildcats were dishonest. They got the name from a symbol of a wildcat used by a bank in Michigan.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Yes I understand the historic background to your story and thank you for making it clearer.

I think that there was indeed dishonesty in the banks in the USA that dragged the USA and much of the world recently into one financial black hole.

In the 1870s America's financial institutions were in trouble. Getting more settlers to go west seemed to be the answer the government came up with to ease the nation's financial worries.

People talk of the great depression that began in 1929.

What a lot of people don't realize is that there was a depression in the 1890s that affected the USA. Recently I have discovered that it also affected Britain and Australia. Of course the 1929 panic hit more countries harder but the pattern had earlier been established.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

In our recent troubles I think the politicians played the bigger role by pushing banks to make bad mortgage deals.I am referring to the affordable housing bill or whatever it's name was.Economics is not my subject so I do not claim any expertise here.I am sure there is enough blame to go around both financial institutions and government.The government is supposed to regulate the banks, but who will regulate the regulators. My own mortgage was with one of the worst banks in this mess.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

After the great depression the US government did regulate the banks to make sure it wouldn't happen again. Unfortunately, many of these regulations were removed in the '80s because they were considered redundant. The market and the banks could take care of themselves. Well, apparently not.

In Australia affordable housing is becoming a joke with our population souring. The politicians are responsible for this. Can you imagine kids growing up without backyards or playgrounds to play in? Can you imagine growing up in a little box where three square meals a day is a far away dream? The politicians in Australia have had it wrong for a very long time. Millionaire Dick Smith is the only person I know who has made any inroads into doing something about their insanity.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

In the US politicians have interfered with the housing market pressuring banks to give mortgages to people who have not the means to pay. In other words pressure from government caused bank to enter into bad banking practices.Yet politicians like Barney Frank do not even come under investigation.

Sorry, but I don't know anything about Australia's conditions.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Okay I get the picture now concerning US politicians.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I don't want to oversimplify. Some banks are better than others.Back in the time of my story the banks were regulated bt the states.The wildcat banks operated where it was hard to enforce, communications and transportation then not being like now.

Thanks for your comments and I only urge looking at both sides.


Multiman 5 years ago

Good story, but the ending was sad, I will get around to reading about Sarah I am sure. Voted up.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting. This story is sort of like back story.Sarah's story was posted before Carbons Creek sort of turned into a series.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

This is a most enjoyable series. Hope you do master turning the entire thing into a book. This part was sad with the fire killing Jake. Your description of how war affected the men was also poignant.

As to our current banking...yes...the politicians are responsible for most of the continuing mess that we are experiencing. What ever happened to the idea of saving up for a hefty downpayment and making certain that one could afford payments before becoming home owners? Not such a far-fetched theory of fiscal responsibility to follow. Zero downpayments also make no sense! Any little hiccop in the stream of income is likely to push people over the edge. I guess common sense left the building when our congressmen were conceiving these ideas!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting Peggy W.When I ran into the Wildcat banks history I decided to include it, partly because it does have a parallel to the modern day. I agree with business needing some regulation, but in this case those who are supposed to regulate got it backwards. In the 19th Century the Wildcat banks did not have a solid foundation like gold. Now the government has abandoned the gold standard and every other standard it seems.

A couple of other hubbers have given me advice about ebook publishing.I'm thinking of starting by trying an ebook with a short story that I took off of hubpages because I kept getting the message about being a duplicate.Test the waters so to speak.


Becky 5 years ago

I love your Carbons Creek stories. This one is great in that it explains how Uncle Jake died. Sarah is a great character. And yes, the lingo did get a little more exaggeration on this but it doesn't hurt the story. You will just have to read the first one to remind yourself how much to use.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for your observations. I had not expected to keep writing in this lingo, but some people liked it. Expect Sarah to tell another story.


Jason R. Manning profile image

Jason R. Manning 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

Very nice, I had to take a step back when you started using that country commentary...I cannot remember the last time I read dialogue written out in such a tongue. Its always the characters with something to say who go down early…nice job, hope we have a hero to stay.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the comment.I'm not sure if I control my characters or if they control me.


Becky 5 years ago

I always look forward to the Carbon Creek stories and will definitely be looking for it.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I figure that Sarah should be kept into things.Thanks for the comment.


daydreamer13 profile image

daydreamer13 5 years ago

I love your style. Excellent story!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I appreciate that.


ltfawkes profile image

ltfawkes 5 years ago from NE Ohio

Very nice, dahoglund. Love the history and you've got a terrific "voice".

As to Kindle publishing, I found a very helpful set of clear directions at a website called CJ's Easy as Pie. Following CJ's step-by-step directions, I've put four books on Kindle myself so far, and if I can do it, so can you.

If you need any help, don't hesitate to ask.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I appreciate the comment. I'll look up the reference.Thanks.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Another great perspective and enjoyed!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for reading it and glad you enjoyed it.


fashion 5 years ago

What a wonderful story though end was little sad.

Great work is done.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Yes, the end was sad but it leads to a new beginning.Thanks for reading it and commenting.


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 5 years ago

My friend please-please put these story's into e-books it is the way to publish and Sarah has a lot to tell. Voted--up!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I'm working on it. I plan to publish something shorter and free to sort of test the waters.Once I learn the ropes I have more potential ebooks. Thanks for the encouragement.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

I love the way you write in old Western style, it's like the person is actually telling the story out loud. Great stuff. One question - what does the "wildcats" mean? Is it a word that was used to describe crooked bankers back in the day? I was just curious. Thanks, Dahoglund. Voted up and interesting!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the comment

I copied the following from Wikipedia:

The term is believed to come from a bank in Michigan that issued private paper currency with the image of a wildcat. After the bank failed, poorly backed bank notes became known as wildcat currency, and the banks that issued them as wildcat banks.[1]

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