After five years working on commercial fishing boats, Dick Vander Yacht began a 48-year career as a customs broker working at Border Brokerage Company, a pioneer Blaine business formed in 1927.
From his earliest childhood days, Vander Yacht, a resident of Blaine since 1954, had an interest in Western history and wrote many “cowboy” stories for his friends. As he grew older, he learned that several family members actually made part of the history he wrote about.
His family has been keeping written daily journals for over 150 years, which is unusual for a family, and drawing upon these journals for actual first-hand knowledge and experiences makes Dick’s books so interesting and so different from a lot of other westerns.
As a youth, Dick met Jim Kirkpatrick, a true-to-life cowboy, who worked as a trail hand driving longhorn cattle north on the Chisholm Trail, from Texas to Kansas. Kirkpatrick told many fascinating stories of his life on the trail. The Northwest Horse Source printed many of Dick’s short stories.
Dick uncovered old, yellowed hand-written journals, long forgotten in family trunks. One of the life-long diaries found was written by Dick’s wife’s great-grandfather, James Hughes (1820-1905), who trapped beavers with Kit Carson (a mountain man, trapper, scout, Indian agent, soldier and authentic legend of the West) in the 1840s.
James Hughes was conscripted into Quantrill’s raiders after they killed his brother, during the Civil War; drove freight wagons for Majors and Waddell after the Civil War, and finally settled in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.
Another family journal told of a harrowing three-year wagon train journey from Minnesota into North Dakota to settle in the Mouse River Valley, and their daily life as homesteaders, in the mid 1800s.
Family relatives took Dick to the site of the Johnson County cattle war in Wyoming, and through the Crazy Woman country in the Big Horn Mountains. He helped “gather” (round up) sheep on horse back with Basque sheepherders who married into the family.
Dick was an avid student of western history as he pursued his hobby of writing. He has woven many family and personal experiences into each of his three western novels, Camp on the Crazy, Drifter’s Revenge, and his latest release, Follow the Sun.
Dick Vander Yacht has not written the standard “shoot ’em up” cowboy stories.
Each book is different, taken from old family diaries, based around actual historical events, and personal family experiences in the Civil War era. They are laced with true human emotions, earthy humour, and real-life situations of the 1800s – and the way the Wild West was for the pioneers.
If you want to read fascinating historical fiction of the old west, and give someone a Christmas present that will become part of their special library, you will not be disappointed.
Dick Vander Yacht will be available to sign his newest Western adventure book, Follow the Sun at Pacific Building Center/True Value Hardware from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, December 12 at 2677 Bell Road in Blaine and Saturday, December 19 at Blaine Bouquets, 625 Peace Portal in Blaine.
The book, Follow The Sun is Vander Yacht’s third adventure western and humorously weaves together the lives of law enforcement, homesteaders and ranchers based on true stories and historical events of the 1800s.
At each of the book signings, Dick will have books available there for sale, and will also have order forms and envelopes so that you can have gift books mailed to your friends and family, anywhere in the USA or Canada for Christmas gifts (autographed if you wish).
The price for Follow the Sun is $9.50, plus $2.50 shipping. The price for Drifter’s Revenge is $5.95, plus shipping. Both books can be mailed together for only $19. For more information, call 332-5335 or 306-8666, or visit www.newerawesternnovels.com