A Historical Novel
by R. Reed Johnson
12/25/1921 to 12/19/2014
Littleton Independent Story, Obituary

Available from
Western Reflections Publishing Company

(970) 944-0110



Preview 1  
Preview 2
Preview 3

About the Author

Shadycroft Farm


by Steve Voynick,
Colorado Central Magazine

   A Thread of Gold, is an intriguing tale of three pairs of brothers and how their lives entwine, even though each pair lives in a different century -- the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth -- and each is from a different territory or province of the western United States – namely Texas, Colorado and the Spanish Province of New Mexico. The thread of gold that binds these six lives together is their search for a fabulous, bonanza that lay hidden in the rugged Lost Creek Canyon in the Tarryall Mountains of Colorado. Their experiences are set within historical events that the brothers encounter – each in their own time and place.

   Enjoy an adventure story as exciting and colorful as the land that inspired it; blending accurate historical events with a fast-paced tale about the quest for a lost gold treasure.  Historical elements of the story touch on Don Juan Bautista de Anza's campaign against the Comanches in the late 1700s, Ute Indian customs, the Colorado Volunteers in the Civil War and The Battle of Glorietta Pass, prospecting in the Colorado gold fields during the late 1800s, and scenes of Littleton Colorado in the early 1930s.

   What fun to read! Reminiscent of Ralph Moody’s Littleton books, Little Britches and Man of the Family, Dr. Reed Johnson’s A Thread of Gold tells the story of three pairs of brothers in the southwest. He crafts his tale well, weaving the lives of the Valdez, Reynolds and Johnson brothers together. Their stories, loosely based on Colorado and New Mexico history, make interesting connections and brings the legend of lost gold to 1930’s Littleton.  The Littleton connection is often anecdotal and ties Dr. Johnson’s recollections of 1930’s Littleton into the search for lost treasure.
   Of course, the link to Littleton history makes the story more appealing to me as curator of the Littleton Historical Museum. The book is easy to read and the adventures of the three pairs of brothers will draw anyone interested in western history into the tale.
   I suggest that you allow yourself to be drawn into the saga and get lost in an historical novel based on the lives of young western adventurers.
       Lorena Orvañanos Donohue
       Deputy Director/Curator
       Littleton Historical Museum, Littleton Colorado

... Although fictional, A Thread Of Gold provides an interesting and informative history of western America's history which is highly recommended for students of American history. A Thread Of Gold is a very educational as well as highly entertaining read and quite appropriate for personal, school, and community library collections.
Midwest Book Review, March 2006

This sort of novel is sometimes called "faction," because it blends actual individuals, incidents and locations with an imagined story - in this case, the search for gold over three centuries and the characters real and imagined, who were involved. History buffs will recognize names and incidents - they just have to embark on this entertaining read with the realization that the once imaginative child is now an imaginative writer! Purists will have a problem.  Sonya Ellingboe, 2005 review

Previews from A Thread of Gold:
The beginning of Part 1 - New Mexico, 1778

   Silent and still as the rocks that surrounded them, the two brothers stood on the summit of a high sierra in the northern reaches of the Spanish province of New  Mexico. The hot midday sun blazed down upon them as they carefully inspected the surrounding hills and valleys for any sign of movement. Except for the silent flight of two majestic eagles soaring in the thermals high above their heads and the occasional flick of their horses’ tails as they whisked away an annoying fly, everything was quiet. Far below and miles to the south of them, a yellow haze of dust hovered above the valley floor, marking the advance of a ragtag army led by Lieutenant Colonel Don Juan Bautista de Anza, the current governor and commandant of the Province of New Mexico. The vast region was so named in the 1500s after the Spanish had captured the territory and declared it to be a possession of Spain...
(continue reading, preview 1)

The beginning of Part 2 - Friday, the Fourth of November, 1932
   The black shroud of night enveloped me so that I could scarcely see. Yet, if I looked closely, I could make out the ghostly outline of my home at Shadycroft Farm. It was there that I’d just seen something that frightened me...
(continue reading, preview 2)

The beginning of Part 3 - September, 1859 - John Reynolds’ Journal
   It was the twenty-fifth of September 1859 when me and Jim left our folks’ ranch in the hill country of Texas and lit out for Colorado. Before we left, our daddy gave us a couple of good ridin' mares and a burro, plus enough money and gear to get us to where we was goin'. From then on we was on our own. First off, we headed west to an army fort close to the town of El Paso, and from there headed up the Rio Grande Valley past Santa Fe and Taos to Fort Garland in the southern end of the San Luis Valley. We figured we’d hole up in one of them places if the weather turned bad. But we was lucky. The weather stayed good, and we rode the whole way up without a speck of trouble, 'cept'n that Jim’s horse, Blaze, throwed a shoe a little ways outside of Fort Garland. But that evening, the blacksmith at the fort fixed her up good as new, and the next mornin' we took off bright and early, passin’ by the west side of some big sand dunes what lay at the foot of the biggest mountains I’d ever seen. Their tops was all covered with fresh snow....
(continue reading, preview 3)

      A Thread of Gold is available now.  Ordering information can be found here!

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