All Posts By

James C. Schaap

Essay

Silas Soule and Fortitude

As much an adventurer as anyone else from out east, Silas Soule went west when what was back home wouldn't cut it any longer. He was just a kid, but he knew--his abolitionist father told him--that what was out there…
Essay

The “Indian problem”

Ft. Laramie Treaty In his statement, Chairman Frazier cites the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty that says “no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the same; or without the consent of the…
Essay

Two Roads

I didn't know her well, just enough to tip my hat maybe, if I’d ever worn one. Probably said "hi" is all. She lived on the southwest corner of the block, a widow, her husband gone before we'd moved into…
Essay

Extraordinary Love

When Sven Johnson, his wife and two children, left their native Norway, they spent the next eight weeks crossing the choleric Atlantic in a sailboat. Impossible to imagine. A brother lived here in this new land, 100 miles from a…
Essay

Dear God

My granddaughter was, back then, just a little girl, third grade maybe, but one Sunday morning, I remember, she was already starting to wax nostalgic. Here's what she said. "You remember when we still lived in the old house, and…
Essay

Blessed Assurance

Years ago, when I was revising a novel, Romey's Place, I didn't know how it should end. What I knew when I'd started the major revision was that I was off in a new direction, writing a different story really because…
Essay

Prairie icon

Someday, I'm going to put this one on canvas. I know--it's no stunner, but I loved the image before I saw it through the screen on my phone. I wanted to get a shot of it from the minute I…
Essay

Beauty in Ruin

It's still there. Maybe. I haven't been out there for some time now, but as long as that abandoned place is circled by a substantial grove it remains pretty much hidden from passers-by. Apparently, whoever owns it isn't thinking about…
Essay

The Legends of Jedidiah Smith

Harvey Dunn, Jedidiah Smith in the Badlands Don't know whether he actually carried the Good Book through the west in those early years. The story goes he took carried a copy of the Journals of Lewis and Clark, but whether or…
Essay

Where is thy sting?

In another day and another time, the buildings crowded on the block made all kinds of sense. The school's own precious history makes clear that once upon a time the staff was entirely religious: "The Sisters of St. Francis of…