Jim grew up in Newton, Kansas –known at one time as the wickedest town in the west– which is the subject of his latest book. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1951, and served three years in the Navy during the Korean War – two of which as the Supply Officer on a destroyer operating in the Pacific. After leaving the Navy he worked for seven years with the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, and then moved to Arizona where he participated in developing an automated fire control system for the US Field Artillery. When this prototype was completed he went to work with Lockheed Aircraft, who had a contract to do an information systems study for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Shivering from the cold he returned to Arizona in 1963 and joined the Indian Health Service. He later moved to Albuquerque as the Director of Systems Development for the IHS. He wrote his first book, Leaves of Autumn, in 2006. He has since published two more – The Third Musketeer, and Newton, Kansas. Shiela, his wife for 52 years, passed away in October of 2011.
The Third Musketeer
“Kill religion and you kill the nation,” the man said. Ben Foxworth, a recent widower, returns to Oldvil, Kansas, for his 50th high school reunion, and while renewing ties with old friends, suddenly finds himself the target of three Anglo Islamic terrorists. Ben’s two closest buddies from his teen years are there, along with his high school sweetheart, and the years seem to slip away as they relive old times. But Ben and his friends have unknowingly seen one of the terrorists and must be eliminated before they can identify the assassin. After two attempts on his life Ben decides to take matters in his own hands. Traveling from his home in Colorado to NewYork City and then Albuquerque, NM, Ben tries to unmask the identity of the other terrorists and disrupt their next planned attack which will have devastating consequences on religion and the country.
Leaves of Autumn
A young man interested in the massacre of ten settlers by Cheyenne Indians in Central Kansas in 1869, discovers Old Joe, a grizzled, old-timer who purports to know about the raid. Old Joe tells him about the incidents leading up to the attack – the Sand Creek Massacre, Roman Nose’s famous war bonnet, Forsyth’s Scouts, the early pioneers in Lincoln County and much more, leading the man to wonder how Old Joe seems to know so much about those days that occurred 140 years ago.
The story that unfolds is a sweeping saga of the settlement of Central Kansas and the end of Cheyenne domination of the plains they loved so dearly.
For a year and a half it was the end of the trail for the Santa Fe Railroad headed West, and the Texas cattle drives coming North. It was born overnight, and became home for gamblers, saloon keepers, prostitutes, Texas gunslingers and honest citizens hoping to create a peaceful new community. It was Newton, Kansas, and quickly earned the reputation as “the wickedest town in the West.”
Ted Baker, owner of Ted’s Bakery and one of the town’s leading citizens, is embroiled in these calamitous events, culminating in the Hyde Park Massacre in which five men are killed and three wounded. Ted, and his friend, Buck McNurty, a cowboy from one of the early cattle drives, try to turn the violent town into a safe and peaceful place to live.
But the town suffers from more than just the gun play of the Texans. It also has a corrupt county government, experiences a major fire that destroys a significant part of the town, lives through tornados and blizzards, and is hit by a grasshopper invasion that consumes everything in sight.
Relive these tumultuous early years in McArthur’s latest book based on actual events in the history of Newton, Kansas.