Minot State staff member publishes second book
For the second time in the past year, Mark Timbrook has authored a book, hitting the stands this month. "Inculpatory Evidence" re-examines the High Plainís epidemic of 1837, with a detailed analysis of the potential causes of the smallpox outbreak and its impact on the Native American populations of the Upper Missouri River.
Timbrook, the Office of Instructional Technologyís technology support specialist, adjunct history instructor and a past president of the Ward County Historical Society, is also the author of the recently released book, "The Last Hurrah: An Account of the Mouse River Valley, Bone Town, Little Chicago, and the Magic City." "The Last Hurrah" is currently in its fifth printing. Timbrook said his intention with "Inculpatory Evidence" was "to provide the reader a broader, deeper, richer history of the region and to connect the local to the larger themes of state and national history."
He hopes his new book accomplishes several objectives. "Foremost, I hope the book rekindles regional interest in an often forgotten tragedy, one of unfathomable magnitude that happened at our very doorstep," Timbrook said. "I hope it challenges the declaration, by some historians, that this smallpox outbreak was somehow an accident, the result of ignorance and the Neolithic mindset of the era, or the unavoidable consequence of cultural collision."
In "Inculpatory Evidence," Timbrook carefully examines the potential causes of the 1837 epidemic and the personalities involved. And to connect these factors, he attempts to decipher the true state of human knowledge concerning smallpox during the era. The Upper Missouri trade system in the early 1800s was predicated on the ability to transfer goods up and down the Missouri River. Unfortunately, smallpox was not new to the region and had during previous outbreaks killed thousands, and in some cases, nearly eradicated entire cultures. The story of the smallpox-infested St. Peterís (the boat involved) is a 170-year-old debate, intertwined with myth, exaggerations, twists, turns and lies. The event forever changed the power structure and history on the Northern Plains.
"Inculpatory Evidence" will be available at local book and gift stores, as well as the Minot State University Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Watch the Minot Daily News for local book signings.