Just Because It’s in a Book, does that mean it's true?

Comments

Tim Ehrhardt 7 years, 9 months ago

This is a topic that irritates some old timers and historians alike. Someone writes a history piece, gets it published somewhere. Newbies to the area rave about the story and… the old timers and other historians happen to know that some material facts are wrong. Sometimes, these are wrong simply because the base material quoted was wrong. It happens more often than you think. Books like Rim Country History are great, but there are some inaccuracies. Sometimes the mistake is made because… the writer of the article is sloppy. I don’t care what you family you’re from or how good you are, it’s easy to get crossed up on stuff if you’re not careful.

Let’s go back to the other point, about inaccuracies in “treasured” works, there are more mistakes than you might expect. This isn’t to say that these books are worthless. By and large, every book written about Rim Country’s history has some great segments. Rim Country History is still the most authoritative book out there on this area’s history. It’s on my bookshelf and it absolutely should be on yours as well. (Plug: Available at the Rim Country Museum for $25.)

But keep in mind that accounts vary. Even the person who lived through an event can be mistaken on a date. And we all know that stories can get stretched over time.

So what is a historian to do? Source, source, source, question what has been previously been written and try to get material facts from multiple distinct sources. By distinct, I mean sources that are completely different from each other, because sometimes something pretty bogus gets picked up multiple places and just because it’s cited that way multiple times and ways, doesn’t mean it’s right. Check and double check, and then some. Persistence is a virtue when it comes to history research even when you think you have things figured out, keeping an eye out for something additional is important.

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Pat Randall 4 years ago

Tim, Its been over three yrs. so thought I would start you up on history again. When we moved back up here we went to the museum in the park about '94 or '95. Upstairs they had a board with brands on it. When we came back thru the entrance we told the man at the desk in a nice way that one of the brands was wrong on the board. He got really nasty. I went home got three different copies of certificates of the brand that came from the Ariz. Dept of Agr. One when we bought it, one while we owned it and one when we sold it. Also a paper from the Forest Service with the correct brand. The brand was never changed. So much for accurate history. The brand is an L with a backwards F. It is on the board LF. Wrong. The brand now belongs to Edward Pratt.

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