Skip to comments.The toffs who tried to create a corner of England in the Wild West and went bankrupt
Posted on 10/25/2012 6:15:32 AM PDT by the scotsman
'To the casual Victorian visitor, Runnymede could have been any English country town. Locals would gather at the Runnymede Arms to discuss the cricket or the failings of Runnymede Wanderers Football Club.
There was a tennis club, polo ground and a thriving amateur dramatics society full of people speaking in the assured tones of the British upper class.
You might have thought you were in Berkshire, if it wasnt for the fact that the local hunt chased coyote and some of the towns polite young men liked nothing better than to swagger down the High Street firing rounds from six-shooters strapped to their hips.
For this particular Runnymede lay amid the endless plains of Iowa and its citizens werent the usual grizzled bunch of settlers scrabbling out a hard existence, but the sons of Britains ruling classes seeking a new life in the wide open spaces of the American West.
How the British aristocracy was drawn to the frontier lands of 19th-century America is perhaps the most bizarre episode in the countrys epic immigration story, and is revealed in a remarkable new book, Prairie Fever, by veteran BBC documentary maker Peter Pagnamenta.
Lured by romantic tales of the American outdoors by writers such as James Fennimore Cooper, author of Last Of The Mohicans and the real-life gun-slinging escapades of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, these eccentric newcomers wanted the U.S. on their own terms.'
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Good article, if rather annoying it refers to England, when many of the ‘toffs’ were Scots.
Good article, if rather annoyingly it refers to England, when many of the ‘toffs’ were Scots.
Gentlemen on the Prairie: Victorians in Pioneer Iowa is not a new book, but it is a good overview of the subject for those who are interested.
It sounds like that Monty Python skit about the
Upper Class Twit Hunting Darby....
Billy the Kid’s boss, Tunston, Tunstall(?) was a Scot baron from Glasgow, I think. I grew up with a kid whose grandfather went to this ranch for a job (at age 13) and when Tunstall was murdered, he worked his way back to New York. He said he lived with Billy the Kid (William Bonney) and Billy was crazy as a gila monster. Saw pictures of the area. Tunstall took in young boys and tried to instill good morals, character and a drive to work for a living, apparently.
Is “toff” a perjorative normally?
***For this particular Runnymede lay amid the endless plains of Iowa ***
I remember reading of a similar town in Kansas founded by British elites.
There is also Rugby, Tennessee.
It was founded in 1880 by Thomas Hughes who authored TOM BROWN’S SCHOOL DAYS. Some of the original buildings are still there and it is a very beautiful part of Tennessee.
Thanks for the post.
Now come the questions:
Parker Double drilling or Henry or Winchester?
Colt, Remington, Smith and Wesson, or their English counterparts?
American horses or Arabians? Mustangs or Appaloosas?
What would the promising Mercantile have on their shelves, being shipped from the ‘old country’? Do you think that “Arbuckle’s Coffee” would find itself there, or cartons of “Twining Tea”, since they have ‘the mark of the Crown on them’?
Might be a fun read after all!
It is indeed.