Hellfire & Stratton: Historical Notes

Chapter I


The Wayne House Hotel

The Wayne House Hotel was a real hotel in Fort Wayne, existing in the location the book places it.

See Sanborn Map Company, Fort Wayne 1890, Map #7, location 133 at 17 W. Columbia Street.


Secret Service

The United States Service started as a department of the U.S. treasury.  It was created on July 5, 1865, to suppress counterfeit currency. At that time approximately 1/3 of the currency in circulation was counterfeit.

New York, Chicago & St Louis Railroad

 The New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad operated in the mid-central United States. Commonly referred to as the “Nickel Plate Road”. The railroad served a large area including, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. It was organized on February 3, 1881.

Fort Wayne Gazette

In the Hotel, Randy Hellfire was reading the Fort Wayne Gazette.
The Journal Gazette traces its origins to 1863, to the foundation of The Fort Wayne Gazette. It was originally founded to support Lincoln and oppose slavery. In 1899, The Fort Wayne Gazette merged with The Journal. The Journal Gazette has always been a privately-owned newspaper.


A horse-drawn omnibus was an enclosed horse-drawn vehicle, large or small, used for passenger transport before the introduction of motor vehicles. It was a common means of transportation in cities, in both the United States and Europe.


Flat Cap

Bowler Hat

It’s believed the bowler hat was designed in 1849 by the London hat-makers Thomas and William Bowler to fulfill an order placed by hatters James Lock & Co. of St James’s. The hat was commissioned to protect gamekeepers from low-hanging branches while on horseback.

Smith & Wesson Model 3 Revolver



Twenty-five-cent piece

Outside the hotel, Hellfire flipped a silver twenty-five-cent piece. Joey was surprised and grateful as it was “almost enough to buy ten pounds of potatoes and a pound of bacon.” This is a historically accurate depiction of what 25 cents could buy during that period.

Fire Department

The fire department was located at Court and Berry Street, about two blocks away as told in the story.

Aherns Boiler

All of Latta’s steam fire engines had been built with square boilers, horizontal piston pumps, and three wheels. These engines were known as “click” style.

In 1870, Chris Ahrens introduced a new style of a steam fire engine, called the “upright”. It was mounted on four wood or iron wheels, with a round boiler that could raise steam from cold water in 5 minutes (half the time of the old Shawk boiler). It also had a one or two-cylinder vertical piston pump.

Until Fox’s 1893 invention, a steamer required a separate hose wagon to carry its hose load.

The one-and-three-quarter inch smooth bore hose nozzle mentioned in the story would be a logical size choice for that boiler make, model, and time. Different sized nozzles would be chosen according to need.


Chapter II


Union Hotel

There was an actual Union Hotel. It was located across the street from a plumbing store between S. Harrison Street and Maiden Lane. See Sanborn Map Company, Fort Wayne 1890, Map #7, Location 138.

Australian Department of Defense

Australia has had different Departments of Defense since 1901. The current Australian Department of Defense was created in 1942.

Although this story takes place in 1893, Bradford Stratton is a time traveler from the future, and once served as a medic with the Australian Department of Defense.  How he arrived in 1993 will be dealt with in future stories.

The date reporting the first use of true rockets was in 1232. The scientific foundations for modern rocketry were laid by Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727).

Congreve rockets were used by British ships to pound Fort McHenry in the War of 1812, they inspired Francis Scott Key to write “the rockets’ red glare,” in a poem that later became The Star-Spangled Banner.

Although it is doubtful there are any records of rocket research by the U.S. military in the 1890s, to have Lear and Scott researching in the manner they were doing, was scientifically feasible in 1893, the year of this story.

Michigan Company C
Sterling served with Hellfire as a sharpshooter in Michigan Company C. Michigan Company C was a real sharpshooter unit during the U.S. Civil War. Captain Benjamin Giroux was the commander, who replaced Benjamin Duesler in 1861.

Vulcanized rubber

Vulcanized rubber was discovered in 1839, and patented in 1844, by Charles Goodyear (December 29, 1800 – July 1, 1860).

Vulcanized rubber is used to make rubber hoses, shoe soles, tires, bowling balls, hockey pucks, toys, erasers, and other items, however, most of today’s rubber is synthetic.

Gaston Plante battery
Gaston Plante (April 22, 1834 – May 21, 1889) invented the lead-acid battery in 1859.


Turpentine was common in the 1800s often used as lamp oil, sometimes mixed with ethanol for lamp oil also. It was used as a cheap alternative to whale oil and was eventually replaced by kerosene. Turpentine was used as lamp oil and for the manufacturing of medicines and rubber, as early as the 1700s.

Chapter III

 Telescoping cup anemometer and weathervane

Anemometers measure the speed of wind or the current of gas. The first known description of an anemometer was given by Leon Battista Alberti in 1450. The idea of a telescoping Anemometer would be to have telescoping poles rather than one very long pole, making it easier to carry or transport.


War Between the States era field desk

To see some good images of Civil War Era field desks, click on the following link. https://www.pinterest.ca/joebaerwald/civil-war-field-desk/

10-digit Thomas Arthrometer

Arthrometers were the first early calculating machines that were sturdy enough to be used daily in the office or on a battlefield. The device was patented in France by Thomas de Colmar in 1820. Various companies produced them till 1915 during  World War One


See Rockets in Chapter II Notes


Nitroglycerin was invented in 1847. Nitroglycerin is used in explosives, propellants, and was used in medicine as early as the 1840s. Although it was unlikely used as propellant during the time of this story, it was scientifically possible.

As for this story, Bradford Stratton, having been from the future, would have introduced the concept of using nitroglycerin as a propellant to Thorton Leer and Winston Scott. He would also be the one who introduced the idea of two-stage rockets. (Bradford Stratton is a time traveler from around the year 2010 and that will be addressed in more in future stories.)

Chapter IV


A derringer a short-barreled pocket pistol. The original Philadelphia Deringer was a single-shot muzzleloading percussion cap pistol manufactured in 1825, by Henry Deringer. Derringer is a misspelling of the last name of Henry Deringer.

New York City

Bradford Stratton commented, “Wicked place that New York City.”

By 1890, the New York east side was the most densely populated district in all the world, including China.  The east side at the rate of 290,000 people per square mile compared to London at its worst was 175,816. Source: How the Other Half Lives, by Jacob Riis 1890.

Spencer .56 Caliper Carbides

“…stole a shipment of 500 Spencer .56 Caliper Carbides in 1871.”
“Nice weapons have a magazine cartridge that can hold seven rounds.”

The spencer lever-action repeating rifle was used in the American Civil War and later in the American Indian Wars. It could fire 20 rounds per minute compared to the average muzzleloader rate of 2 – 3 times per minute. One advantage of the weapon was that its ammunition was waterproof and would not become unless due to rain or extreme humidity during long storage. The Spencer company went out of business in 1869, but the rifles remained in use and the ammunition was sold until the 1920s. Ammunition for the Spencer can now only be purchased in the specialty market.

Spencer rifle – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spencer_repeating_rifle

American Indian Wars – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Wars

Queen Anne Style Flintlock

Queen Anne Style pistols became popular during the reign of Queen Anne of England. The smaller sizes became known as, coat pistols, pocket pistols, or muff pistols.  A muff pistol could be concealed in a lady’s hand wormer. The larger Queen Anne Style pistols were known as boot pistols or overcoat pistols. Queen Anne Style pistols were breech loaded pistols, good for only one shot before reloading.

Griffin and Tow was one of many manufactures. Their 1735 model Queen Anne Style flintlock dueling pistol had an unscrewing rifled barrel. A picture is shown on  Page 30  of Guns a visual History.

Colt Model 1873 Single Action

The first generation of Colt Single Action Revolvers came out win 1873 and became the standard military service revolver until 1892, used in both the American Indian Wars and the Spanish-American War. The standard barrel size used by the military was 7.5 inches. It is believed Wyatt Earp used a Colt model 1873 Single action in the shootout at the OK Corral though some contend he used a Smith and Wesson.

Chapter V


1841 Model Smoothbore Cannon

Moose could have recognized the type of cannon for his Ware Between the States service. The M1841 6-pounder field gun was used by the United States starting in 1841. It was used in both the Mexican American War and the American Civil War. The difference between this model and previous models is the bore was made of bronze, instead of the heavy and more brittle cast iron of its predecessors. The barrel alone weighed 880 pounds. Generally, a team of six horses would have been used for long distances.

Although six horses would not have been needed for the short distance in this story, I chose to use six anyway. The reasoning being the two riders would want to keep their horses fresh should they need to outdistance anyone after the crime.

The cannon was also a muzzle-loading cannon. The two riders would have loaded it before or along the way to Main Street. The fuse was put in the vent at the last minute to avoid being noticed as they transported the cannon. Transporting cannon barrel only, mounted sideways on a cart was a very unlikely thing to have happened. It would require significantly less gunpowder by necessity, to fire it under such conditions with no bracing. Otherwise, under normal conditions, mounted on the proper caisson,  the side of the office building would have been devastated. (But this is pulp fiction so it’s ok to make such stretches.)


In today’s world, the first thing most people will think of when they hear the word teamster is a truck driver. Originally, and in the time of this story, a teamster was a person who drove a team of draft animals.

Royal Society’s Catalogue of Scientific Papers

The Royal Society claims its roots back to the 1640s. It is the oldest scientific foundation in the world. King Charles II signed a charter on 15 July 1662 creating the “Royal Society of London.”  A second charter was signed on 23 April 1663, with the king noting himself the founder and renaming it, “the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge.”

Catalogue of Scientific Papers  – The first volume was published in 1867. The was an effort catalog all papers published in scientific periodicals back to the year 1800 and make a bibliographic index by author.

Chapter VI


Plumbing and agriculture improvement stores

The plumbing and agriculture improvement stores existed in the same vicinity as the Union Hotel and a livery.

By the time of this story the real Central Livery out of business, however, as it appears on the map.

See Sanborn Map Company, Fort Wayne 1890, Map #7, Location 138.

Chapter VII

 Gravity fan

No such thing existed but such an invention was plausible in this period, using Victorian and current Industrial age technology. The actual time such a fan could run would depend on the gearing system, the length of the chain, and speed control. Two-and-a-half hours is a reasonable speculation.

New York, Chicago & St Louis Railroad Freight Depot

The real New York, Chicago & St Louis Railroad Freight Depot was located by Harrison Street, just as in the story.

See Sanborn Map Company, Fort Wayne 1890, Map #7, Location 131.

Central Wagon Yard

Was located at N Calhoun & E Superior

See Sanborn Map Company, Fort Wayne 1890, Map #2, Location 106.

Geary’s Museum

Geary’s World Museum did exist and was located in Fort Wayne, Indiana on East Berry Street between South Clinton street and South Bar Street.

See Sanborn Map Company, Fort Wayne 1890, Map #8, location 144.

You may find it interesting to note, that Fort Wayne also had a skating rink during this period. It was located at Main and South Fulton Streets.

See Sanborn Map Company, Fort Wayne 1890, Map #5, location 17.

Columbia City

Columbia City was, and still is,  a real town approximately 22 miles west of Fort Wayne, In.

Dennis Greene, RC Jones & Sons Livery  – made up (check on map)


That calculates to roughly two year’s annual wages for a foundry worker during that period.

.36 Caliber Remington 1863 New Model Navy Revolver

1863 Remington did indeed have an octagon barrel. The Army version was a .44 caliber 8-inch barrel. The .36 caliber Remington 1863 New Model Navy Revolver had a 7 3/8 inch octagon barrel.

Colt Model 1855 Root Revolver

The Colt Model 1855 Side hammer, also known as a Root Revolver, was designed by Elisha Root. It was a ball single action revolver and came in two calibers, .28 and.31. The caliber and barrel length, 3 ½ – 4 ½ inches, depending on the model. The total length was 8 – 9 inches. The model 1855 was used during the American Civil war.

Chapter VIII

 No significant historical notes for this chapter.

Chapter IX

Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune was the correct name for the newspaper mentioned in the story at that time. It did once hail Fort Wayne as the most lawless town in Indiana.

Fort Wayne City Hall

The new city hall had an Austrian design, as the mayor was of Austrian roots.  Many Citizens considered it ugly. The real total cost of over $60,000, as stated in the story. The building still exists and is now the Fort Wayne History Center, 302 East Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

Source:  The History Center, Fort Wane, IN

The City Hall was built the same year as this story takes place. Whether or not it would have been completed by June of that year is questionable, but this is a work of fiction.


The lockup was located in the basement of the new city hall building and can still be visited. It is as described in the story, short benches, and a trough on the floor.

Montezuma, Indiana

Montezuma was primarily a small agricultural town located in the Southwest corner of Reserve Township along the Wabash Erie Canal, in Parke County Indiana. During the canal days, the town served as the main port, establishing Montezuma as somewhat of a trading center for the local farming and mining areas of the county.  By 1865 the U.S. Canal systems were abandoned as railroads became the primary mode of transportation.

 Population of 800. No steam & No Hand Engines. No independent Hose carts. Water facilities- none Dec 1895 -Source: Sanborn – Perris Mam Co Limited. December 1985 Map

The story precedes the above statistics by 2 years.

Central Hotel

The Central Hotel was at the corner of Washington and Wilson, in Montezuma, IN, several blocks from the train depot, with a saloon at the corner of Crawford Street located midway.

See Sanborn – Perris Mam Co Limited. December 1985 Map


Egneva is a fictional town located on the south side of the junction where the Sugar Creek flows into the Wabash-Erie Canal along the Wabash River.

Chapter X


Wabash Railroad

 “Hellfire and his group rode the Wabash Railroad roughly sixty miles to Peru, Indiana.”

The Wabash Railroad crossed the entire state of Indiana from the Ohio border to the Illinois border. It passed through Fort Wayne, Huntington, Wabash, Peru, Logansport, Delphi, Lafayette, Williamsport, and towns in between.


The railroad system served Chicago Illinois; Dort Wayne, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa;  Detroit, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; St. Louis, Missouri; and Toledo, Ohio.


Lake Erie & Western

“From there, they took the Lake Erie & Western roughly eighty-five miles to Indianapolis.”

The Lake Erie and Western Railroad operated in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. A track did exist between Puru, Indiana, and Indianapolis Indiana, as depicted in the story.


 Indiana, Decatur & Western Railroad

“Next, they boarded a westbound steamer on the Indiana, Decatur & Western Railroad roughly seventy miles to Montezuma…” 

The Indiana, Decatur & Western Railroad did indeed have tracks between Indianapolis, Indian, and Montezuma, Indiana to the west in 1893. Although it is hard to find information on this railway it is on this map created circa 1896  – https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4091p.rr002140/?r=0.084,0.663,0.332,0.165,0

Montezuma no longer has a railroad though parts of where it existed can still be seen. Modern highways have replaced the need for the railroad.

Lagari Hasan Celebi

The first alleged person to ride a rocket was Lagari Hasan Celebi in 1633. According to the story, he took off on a rocket then glided back down to a safe landing. He was awarded a post in the Ottoman army for his accomplishment.


Sketch of The Analytical Engine

Sketch of The Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage, By L. F. MENABREA with notes on the Memoir by Translator Ada Augusta, Countess of Lovelace October 1842. It is a real book.

Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

Considered the father of computers. He originated the concept of digital programmable computers. The Analytical Engine contained all the ideas of modern computers.


Analytical Engine


Wild Bill Hickok

James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876. A western folk hero with a distinctive look. For  a historical lesson on Wild Bill Hickok, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Bill_Hickok

Glass eye

The introduction of cryolite glass, made of arsenic oxide and cyolite from sodium-aluminum fluoride (Na6A2F12), produced a grayish-white color suitable for a prosthetic glass eye. They were superior to the enamel versions (the 1820s -1890s) and more durable. German craftsmen are credited with the invention in 1835. Various colors of glass were used to imitate the natural color of the eye.


Chapter XI

 White Caps

I will start by saying I know of no white cap activity in Parke County, past or present. Whitecaps were groups operating in southern Indiana in the later 1800s. Parke County is located in western-central Indiana.

Whitecaps became common following the American Civil War and lasted until the turn of the 20th century. The Indiana White Caps generally aimed at those who went against a community’s values –  Men who neglected or abused their wives or children, people who showed excessive laziness, sometimes women who had children out of wedlock, children who were truant from school, alcoholics, and people who shirked from civic duty like working on road projects. all were likely targets.

By the late 1870s, the groups were beginning to target criminals for punishment and continued to carry out sporadic lynchings. There were numerous such groups like the State Horse Thief Detective Association, which carried out vigilante justice against horse thieves.

Whipping, drowning, firing shots into houses, arson, and other brutalities, were the majority of the tactics used against victims.

Most people think that the Ku Klux Klan and the White Caps were the same organization, but they were not. The Ku Klux Klan was a secret organization that operated in the South during the Carpetbag days immediately after the Civil War.

Whitecaps did not necessarily wear full robes as generally associated with the Ku Klux Klan. Many only wore a white hooded head-covering mask.



 Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights was written by English writer Emily Bronte and published in 1847.

The Aspern Pages

The Aspern Pages was written by American writer Henry James, published in 1888.

Sugar Creek

Sugar Creek starts approximately two miles south of Kempton, Indiana, and meanders west-southwest through Indiana about 93 miles and merging with the Wabash River 5 miles north of Montezuma, In.

Chapter XII

 Direct current electrical power

In the book, the Orton-Wells Power Company still supplied direct current electrical power to about twenty of the remaining buildings in town.

Electricity starting to be generated at power stations in the late 1870s and early 1880s. Soon the widespread use of low voltage direct current for indoor electric lighting in business and homes followed after inventor Thomas Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931)  launched his incandescent bulb based electric utility company in 1882.

Edison pushed for direct current utilities seeing alternating current as a dead end, whereas Nikola Tesla (July 10, 1856 – January 7, 1943) developed motors that worked on alternating current and developed a system making it possible to supply electricity economically over distances of hundreds of miles, instead of the short distances of the Edison direct-current powerhouses.

Indiana, Decatur & Western Railroad

See Indiana, Decatur & Western Railroad notes, Chapter X

Montezuma, Indiana

See notes, Montezuma, Indiana, Chapter IX

Chapter XIII

The Judiciary Act of 1789

The Judiciary Act of 1789, officially titled was signed into law by President George Washington on September 24, 1789. It was titled, “An Act to Establish the Judicial Courts of the United States.”

One of the things the law specified was which types of crimes were bailable and set bounds on a judge’s discretion in setting bail. The Act provided that all non-capital crimes are bailable and that in capital cases the decision to detain a suspect before trial was to be left to the judge.

Scott knew the law and was trying to bluff the small-town jailor into releasing Hellfire. Chances are the judge was in the adjacent township anyway.

White Cap

White Cap – see notes Chapter XI

Chapter XIV

Western Union

1856 the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company and the New York & Western Union Telegraph Company merged and become the Western Union Telegraph company.


Why was the word “STOP” in Telegrams? Earlier telegrams had no symbols for the end of a sentence.

The West Union Covered Bridge

The West Union Covered Bridge is north-northeast of Montezuma, Indiana. The two-span Burr Arch Truss covered bridge structure was built by Joseph J. Daniels in 1876. Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Union_Covered_Bridge_(Indiana)

Address: Montezuma, IN 47862 Opened: 1876

Chapter XV

 No significant historical notes for this chapter.

Chapter XVI

 The West Union Covered Bridge

The West Union Covered Bridge is north-northeast of Montezuma, Indiana. The two-span Burr Arch Truss covered bridge structure was built by Joseph J. Daniels in 1876. Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Union_Covered_Bridge_(Indiana)

Address: Montezuma, IN 47862 Opened: 1876

Burr Truss


Calisher and Terry carbine

The Calisher and Terry carbine was, British made and, sometimes used by the Confederates during the American Civil War. It was primarily used by the Colonial governments of Australia and New Zealand.

Source: Civil War Guns by William B. Edwards P 345


Chapter XVII

 Howard in Liberty Township and Annapolis in Penn Township

Montezuma is located in Reserve Township along part of the western border of Parke County, Indiana. Below Reserve township is Wabash Township, followed by Florida Township in the southwestern corner of Parke County.

Liberty Township is north of Reserve  Township in the northwest corner of Parke county. Howard, Indiana is in Liberty Township. Although it is not located on the Wabash River, it was a port on the Wabash-Eire Canal. The distance from Howard to Montezuma is approximately 22 miles. Travel between the two would be by canal, river, road, or a combination.

Penn Township is directly west of Reserve Township in Parke County, Indiana. Annapolis Indiana and Montezuma, Indiana is about 23 miles. Travel would be by road.

How likely and how often visitors from these areas would visit during that time is questionable. And of course, Egneva is a fictional city.