His maternal grandparents migrated from the Smoky Mountain area of east Tennessee to Texas, eventually homesteading in northeast New Mexico. Walt’s paternal grandfather left Kentucky in 1900 to seek his fortune in the West. Along the way he took a job breaking horses and mules for an eastern Kansas farmer and mule trader. He married the farmer’s daughter and eventually became a landowner in northwestern Kansas and Bent county Colorado near the Santa Fe Trail.
Walt grew up with an appreciation for the people of the western frontier, then and now. He enjoys writing about them in fact and fiction. Walt has lived and worked in the plains country and traveled the West. As a youth he worked as a combiner on the wheat harvest circuit beginning on the Waggoner Ranch in Texas, and finishing the season on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
When Walt writes of horses and cattle he does so with first hand knowledge. Walt’s many work experiences include mill hand, long haul truck driver, newsletter editor, photographer, article writer, electrician and business executive. Walt lived and worked in historical Howard County Missouri, the birthplace of the Santa Fe Trail and boyhood home of famed frontiersman Kit Carson.
Collecting and restoring antique firearms and horse gear is Walt’s hobby. He deer hunts with a vintage cap and ball rifle. Kentucky-style rifles are his favorite items. “I don’t care much for modern firearms, I love the old ones because of their place in history,” states Walt. Walt Ryan currently lives with his wife Denny in Osage county, Missouri.
I enjoyed your paper on the Burning of Osceola… my comment is this: my family lived in El Dorado Springs, MO (Cedar Co) and paternal grandparents outside Schell City, MO (Vernon Co.). Whenever we traveled to their farm, we had to cross the old bridge across Clear Creek at Short’s Ford. As we journeyed (north, I believe) down this bad farm-market road (1935 to 1950), my mother pointed out to me 3 mounds off to the right of the road. She said these were civil war graves and that sometimes American Flags were placed on them. I never saw the flags, that I remember. Before my mother passed, I drove her out this same road (now widened somewhat with deep graded ditches) and asked her to show me as best she could where these graves had been because no longer were there any mounds visible to the eye. She was too frail to get out and walk around but she indicated to me an area the size of 3 to 4 city lots (approx., maybe larger) where the graves were. After she passed, I asked someone from Springfield, Mo to come up and see if we could find anything. After getting permission from the landowner (lived in NY), two men came with metal detectors and combed the area but did not find anything. Since a period of some 50 years had passed, trees had no doubt grown up through the graves and the entire landscape must have been greatly changed. This area is about l mile (give or take) south and east from the bridge and borders the only road there. It is a remote area, no houses real close and probably much today as it was in the Civil War days. I live in Florida part of the year but still have property in El Dorado Springs. If you would ever be interested in my showing you the approximate location of these graves, please let me know. I am back there at least once or twice a year. I am doing my own literary search on family from both Vernon and St. Clair Counties. I am not on facebook or any social media except I do have e-mail and I have put it in below. Feel free to contact me. Thank you for yourwork!