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Legends Letter

March, 2010


Kathy Kissing her Cowboy DaveWell, alright then, did you think we dropped off the face of the earth? It almost felt like we did. Kathy and I spent 5 "glorious" weeks at our home in Lenexa, Kansas preparing it for the housing market, and we're glad to say that it officially is For Sale! That means our move to Legends of America's new home in Warsaw, Missouri is complete, and we can refocus our attention to writing about the entertaining and educational stories you've come here for. Our buddy, Dave Dart in Utah, said it best on our Facebook Fan Page when he called it "Edutainment". Probably too late to copyright the word, but we'll use it here anyway. (Note to Dave Alexander - You didn't tell me about "Edutainment" -- I love that!! p.s. to readers, he can write it, but, I'm still the editor and webmaster, so can sneak in here and say whatever I want. hehe - Kathy)


It's a good thing that the weather was the worst in over 20 years. As some of you know, getting Kathy out of the house when it's 30 degrees or lower takes an act of Congress. This winter was the one time I didn't mind her being homebound since we had so much to do and little time to do it back in the city. It also taught me a little more about my wife that I have suspected, but couldn't tell for sure until now. You ever watch that television show Hoarders? Well, it appears my wife is a border-line case with a special exception. We have two houses full of stuff. From old clothes to books, to artsy-craftsy things and the list goes on. Kathy won't let me toss out most of it because "somebody can use that!" In fact, during our time remodeling the house in Lenexa, I made no less than 10 trips with her pickup full of STUFF to donate to the Goodwill store. Things that normally I would just throw away, she made sure to carefully pack and stack for me to take. (That's called "frugal" Dave - learned that from Grandma, Mom and Dad.) 


I guess I should be relieved she doesn't mind giving it away, and I can tell you, for sure, that about ¼ of that Goodwill store is dedicated to us. (Dave, can you say "tax deductible," and helping out the less fortunate?) But, I must admit I was a little concerned when, after loading up more stuff to come to Warsaw, I discovered what appears to be thousands of buttons. Yep, that's right, I said buttons -- big ones, small ones, square, oval, rectangular -- every shape of button imaginable. Didn't discover them until I heard the strangest noise while taking a curve, only to find that many of them had spilled from containers during the trip. I swear I've never picked up that many buttons in my life. Thought about asking her why she is hanging on to them, but I've decided it's best to let it go for now. Maybe there will be another trip to Goodwill soon and I can sneak them out. In the meantime they are hiding in our new garage. (Dave!!! Those are grandma's buttons!! Don't you love that button lamp I made???)


One thing is for sure, although we were knee deep in paint and wallpaper, and busy making trip after trip to Goodwill, Kathy didn't slack off a bit from adding a few stories to Legends Of America. In fact, she has now compiled and edited an entire book from 1905 by Emerson Hough and published it on the site for all to enjoy. More about that gem under New Additions below. She's also doing her best to improve the quality of your experience on Legends, including going back and re-doing some pages that didn't look quite right. Those were the ones she did in the early days when she was still gaining knowledge on being a Webmaster. We're also gearing up to add a whole bunch of new stuff to Legends' General Store. From Old West books to new Tin Signs for the Route 66 lover. Come check out what we have to offer and be watching for new merchandise over the next couple of months. And now that we're done in the city, and the weather's improving, Kathy is already dreaming up places to go and things to do "outside," so I feel another trip coming on soon. In fact, we'll probably spend some quality time with Kansas history as we take a trip to the Southwest part of the state this May. (all school class reunion -- see some of ya there!)


The Facebook Fan page is working out well for us, and has added an avenue to showcase stories daily that are of interest to many of our readers. We are approaching 2,000 fans now, much fewer than the newsletter has, but a start. If you haven't checked it out yet, we feature Outlaws, Lawmen, Travel Destinations, Native American history, Route 66 and more. It also gives you the opportunity to interact with us in a different way, comment on stories and even post your own Fan Photos. You can join the Fan Page here.


In the meantime, I truly hope you enjoy the newsletter and the website!!


Dave Alexander, Owner/Director of Operations*


*(bringer of coffee, maker of bacon and eggs, and newly added button collector) (gotta love my Dave! -- Kathy)




In this Edition: 


New Additions & Feature Stories


Featured Travel Destination - Palo Duro Canyon, Texas


The Old West - Calamity Jane


Route 66 - The Journey Begins


Featured Book - BOOK SALE!








At a time when this country appears to be splitting at the seams, let's remember Patriotism and American History.



Yankee Doodle


Captain Ed W. Freeman - An American Hero




"We can't all be Washingtons, but we can all be patriots." --  Charles F. Browne, American writer


"He who loves his country best  strives to make it best." --  Robert G. Ingersoll, American Statesman and Orator


USA Patriotism - People, poems, articles, and more.



New Additions and Feature Stories


As I mentioned, Kathy's now published an entire book on Legends Of America. The Story of the Outlaw - A Study of the Western Desperado was originally written in 1905 by Emerson Hough, a noted and well respected Western writer and includes historical narratives of famous outlaws, tales of noted border wars, vigilante movements and armed conflicts on the frontier. Though Kathy had previously added several chapters of the book, now the entire text can be found on-line, the only full book on Legends Of America. We're excited to bring you this historic text and look forward to more in the future. (My favorite "old-timey" book)


In addition, Kathy added the story of The Vicious Harpes. Killing some 40 men, women and children, the Harpes are said to be America's first serial killers. On the other side of the spectrum, you'll find new material on an American Hero with "David Crockett at the Alamo" written by John S.C. Abbott in 1874, and about Davy's last days at the Alamo, including some of his last journal entries. Then, there's more Legends like "The Queen of Death Valley" about an Indian princess ghost, and "A Ghost Story on the Oregon Trail", where years ago a homesteader in Nebraska claims to have been haunted by "The Lost Woman Ghost." You'll also find an interesting tale of "The Legend of Devil's Point, California" on the shore of San Francisco Bay.


Not to stay on the macabre, but, you'll also find an extensive history of Lynchings and Hangings of America, which covers the most popular legal and extralegal form of punishment in U.S. history. From the Pilgrims and the Civil War, to racism in the 20th Century, this article covers it all.


And, don't miss an entire new section on Mining History, such as "Gold Mining in America," "Mining History in the United States," "Silver Mining in the United States," and "Outcasts of Poker Flat", a 19th Century tale about a secret committee to rid the town of improper persons. And, last but not least, make sure to read "Galvanized Yankees," about Confederate soldiers imprisoned during the Civil War, who won their freedom by swearing their allegiance to the Union.


Ya know, it's a wonder we got any home remodel work done with all this new material. Maybe Kathy's hoarding tendency is changing to stories instead of buttons and stuff? I don't know about you, but, I wouldn't mind that at all. (no siree -- won't happen.)





Bumper Sticker Wisdom 



The police never think it's as funny as you do.


Forget about World Peace.....Visualize Using Your Turn Signal!


If you can't change your mind, are you sure you still have one?


  I get enough exercise just pushing my luck.


Drive Home a Point!

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Legends Exclusive Custom Products






"No harm's done to history by making it something someone would want to read." -- David Mccullough

Featured Travel Destination 


Palo Duro CanyonTexas Legends - Palo Duro Canyon State Park- One of my favorite memories as a child was going to Palo Duro Canyon. Living in Pampa, Texas at the time made for a fairly short drive to this incredible Texas treasure. Less than a half hour south of Amarillo, you literally stumble into the beauty coming off the staked plains of the Texas Panhandle into this 60 mile long, 800 foot deep canyon, surrounded by miles of open land and endless skies. Visitors will be amazed at the towering cliffs, banded by a myriad of colors, and the amazing rock formations carved over millions of years by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River.


The second largest canyon in the United States, it is often called "The Grand Canyon of Texas.” The term "Palo Duro” means "hard wood" in Spanish, and was named by those first explorers for the canyon's abundant mesquite and juniper trees from which the Indians made their "hardwood" bows.


The first humans to inhabit the canyon dates back approximately 12,000 years, when the Clovis and Folsom people first lived in the canyon, hunting large herds of mammoth and bison. Later, the tribes of the Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa utilized the canyon's abundant resources of ample game and edible plants, as well as the protection the canyon provided from weather and intruders.


The first European explorers to come upon the canyon were members of the Coronado expedition in 1541. At that time, the Apache people called the canyon home. However, they were later run out by the Comanche and Kiowa tribes, who had the advantage of horses brought over by the Spanish.


The canyon was first surveyed by a military team under the guidance of Captain Randolph B. Marcy in 1852. Though white settlers were beginning to migrate to the area, the canyon remained the lands of the Indians until a military expedition led by Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie was sent in 1874 to remove them to reservations in Oklahoma. This resulted in the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, the major skirmish of the Red River War. On September 28, 1874, Mackenzie led his Fourth United States Cavalry on an attack of the of Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne encamped in the canyon. Though the tribes had forewarning of the attack, their camps were scattered over a large area on the canyon floor and they were unable to assemble a united defense. In the end, the Indians were defeated and forced onto reservations in Indian Territory.


Two years later, in 1876, Charles Goodnight, famous for spearheading the Texas -Wyoming cattle drives, drove a herd of cattle into Palo Duro Canyon and began the first commercial ranch in the Texas Panhandle -- the JA Ranch. Over the next fifty years, the canyon remained the private property of cattlemen, but over the years, began to be an increasingly popular spot for tourists and local residents.


More ....





Every trail poster

Every trail has some puddles.




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The Old West


Calamity JaneCalamity Jane - Rowdy Woman of the West -Born in Princeton, Missouri on May 1, 1852 as Martha Cannary, she would later grow up to look and act like a man, shoot like a cowboy, drink like a fish, and exaggerate the tales of her life to any and all who would listen.


From the beginning Martha loved the outdoors and began riding horses at an early age. In 1865, Martha, along with her parents and five younger siblings, migrated from Missouri to Virginia City, Montana. During the five month wagon train trip, the teen-age girl spent most of her time hunting with the men in the caravan. By the time the wagon train arrived in Virginia City, she was considered a remarkably good markswoman and a fearless rider.


In 1870, she joined General George Armstrong Custer as a scout at Fort Russell, Wyoming, donning the uniform of a soldier. This was the beginning of Calamity Jane's habit of dressing like a man. Heading south, the campaign traveled to Arizona in their zest to put Indians on reservations. In her own words, Calamity would later say of this time, that she was the most reckless and daring rider and one of the best shots in the West.


In 1872, she returned to Fort Sanders, Wyoming, where she was ordered out to the Muscle Shell Indian outbreak. That campaign, in which Generals Custer, Miles, Terry and Crook were engaged, lasted until the fall of 1873. It was during this time that "Calamity Jane" reportedly earned her name.


As Calamity told the story, it happened at Goose Creek, Wyoming, where the town of Sheridan is now located. Captain Egan was in command of the Post and the troops were ordered out to quell an Indian uprising. After a couple of days, when the soldiers were heading back to camp, they were ambushed by a large group of Indians. Captain Egan was the first to be shot and fell from his horse. Calamity Jane was riding in advance, but upon hearing gunfire, she turned in her saddle and saw the Captain fall. Galloping back, she lifted him onto her horse and got him safely back to the Fort. Captain Egan on recovering, laughingly said, "I name you Calamity Jane, the heroine of the plains.''


In spring of 1876, she was ordered north with General Crook to join Generals Miles, Terry and Custer at the Big Horn River. During this march, she swam the Platte river near Fort Fetterman to deliver dispatches from General Crook to a local outpost. Contracting a severe illness, she was sent back in General Crook's ambulance to Fort Fetterman where she was hospitalized for fourteen days.


When she was finally able to ride she headed to Fort Laramie where she met Wild Bill Hickok who was traveling with Charlie Utter's wagon train to Deadwood, South Dakota. Both being outrageous exaggerators and heavy drinkers, the two it off immediately. Although, the two have often been said to have been romantically involved, there is little to support these stories. Jane joined the train which arrived in Deadwood in June of 1876.


More ...


What our readers are saying about Legends of America:


I love your newsletters as they are so much about this wonderful part of the United States I live in. -- Patricia, Arizona

My family and I *LOVE* this site! It has such very interesting articles, and has been a great help with my genealogy work, in finding information about towns in Texas where my family lived, that are no longer in existence. I think Kathy does a great job, and I commend her! Having photos to accompany most of the articles makes it so much more alive! Thank you for keeping this site going for us to learn more about the way our world was in days gone by! -- Lynda, Texas

Love your site... hang on every word thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!
Kate -- Niagra Falls, Canada


Love this newsletter -- a lot of historical info which I think is its purpose and nice seeing pics of you and your husband and friends and telling the story of you in your pj's. LOL! -- Danny


Great website, it was very helpful as I am planning a trip across Route 66 to discover America! - Bob, San Diego, California



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Route 66


Illinois Route 66Chicago - The Route 66 Journey Begins - Chicago, Illinois where Route 66 begins, has a long and rich history along its way to becoming the third largest city in the United States. Many of the vintage era icons have been obliterated with urbanization; however, it still has a few, especially along the outskirts of the city, and downtown Chicago provides a rich view of historical buildings at the very place where Route 66 begins.


The first settler in the Chicago area was in 1781 by the name of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, an African American from Santo Domingo. He chose a location at the mouth of the Chicago River for its strategic value for a trading post. Later in 1802 the same site was occupied by Fort Dearborn, which was regularly attacked by Native Americans, until Chief Black Hawk was defeated in 1832. One year later, Chicago was officially incorporated as a town and by 1837 it boasted more than 4,000 residents.


In 1848, the first railroad reached Chicago and the town really began to boom. By 1860 it had a dozen railroad lines into the city and a population of more than 100,000. Incredibly, just ten years later, this number had tripled and Chicago was on its way to becoming one of the biggest cities in the nation.


In 1871 disaster struck the city with the Great Chicago Fire laying the town in ashes. Raging for two days on October 8th and 9th, the fire destroyed 3.5 square miles, 17,450 buildings, and killed as many as 250 people. Sparks from the fire were so bad that they destroyed more than a million acres of Michigan and Wisconsin timberland. However, Chicago endured and just six weeks after the fire, construction of more than 300 buildings had begun.


Before the advent of Route 66, there was already a popular road from Chicago to St. Louis called the Pontiac Trail. In 1918, Illinois began to pave the road and by the time Route 66 was instituted it was entirely paved. By 1927, the Route 66 signs were visible all along the Illinois route and Chicago sported numerous services to accommodate the travelers. It was during this time that Louis Armstrong, as a member of "King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band", had become a mainstay in Chicago, helping to usher in the Jazz Age.


Over the next several decades, hundreds of travelers streamed through Chicago on their journey along Route 66. One such icon that remains today is Lou Mitchell's Restaurant located at 565 W Jackson Boulevard which has been serving up coffee and home cookin' since 1923. Nearby is Chicago's Union Station, once home to one of the many Harvey House Restaurants, has been preserved and still serves Amtrak passengers today. The designated official beginning of the Mother Road begins at Grant Park on Adams Street in front of the Art Institute where you will find the "Begin Route 66 Sign."


More ...



Custom Postcards - Always thinking of something new and a way to use our thousands of photos, and a bit of artistic talent, we've started our own line of postcards.



Did You Know??


The Long Branch Saloon really did exist in Dodge City, Kansas. One of the owners, William Harris, was a former resident of Long Branch, New Jersey and named the saloon after his hometown in the 1880's.  The Long Branch Saloon still exists in Dodge City and can be seen at Dodge City's Boothill Museum.


Seventeen flags have fluttered over Colorado.


The Oregon Trail was the longest of the overland routes used in the westward expansion of the United States. The Trail, used from 1840 to 1860, began in Missouri and ended in Oregon, spanning about 2,000 miles.



From Legends' General Store

American History and Patriotic Photographs -


  American History and Patriotic Photographs     



Feedback and Suggestions

We always appreciate feedback about the website and our newsletter. Do you have a suggestion about content that you would like to see, or perhaps, would like to contribute a photograph or a story? We would love to hear about it! We also want to hear about suggestions for improvement. See a link that doesn't work or a picture that doesn't appear -- please let us know. Just drop us a line at our Email address and tell us what you think.


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Legends of America


A Travel Guide for the

Nostalgic & Historic Minded


28926 Cedar Hill Loop

Warsaw, MO 65355


Kathy Weiser




Comments and Feedback:


I never realized you - not one of my children - is a "hoarder" like my mother - your grandmother was!!!!! (and me). Learned from reading the newsletter..........tell Dave you just can't help it.............. it's ingrained!! And, who ever heard of someone without a "button box!"?? I tell people how I used to "play" with the button box.......they think I'm crazy..................Maybe I am,!! Enjoyed the newsletter......wish you the best in your new location.....Dave's new position!! -- Love, Aunt Ern, Amarillo, Texas


I do not believe I have ever ran across a more informative piece than the letter you produce. I have truly enjoyed every newsletter I have received. Very interesting, also full of long ago information. Thanks for all your time and knowledge. I know this is the only way I could ever have enjoyed this much of the old times and the people of those times. Once again I thank you from the bottom of my heart. P.S. Keep up the good work. I love it. -- Ed, Cherryvale, Kansas


I just love cowboy films and am curious to know the true history of the various legends. Your site has an amazing amount of information and I am fascinated to see the original photos, putting faces to famous names. Wish I could visit the sites mentioned - they sure seem exciting as I sit here in lil ole England! I also enjoy your friendly banter! Super site - keep up the good work and enjoy your new home! :) -- Helen, England


I find your newsletter very entertaining please keep it up!! -- Jarvie, Kilsyth, Scotland


Hi, Kathy. Enjoy your newsletter! Here is a message to "Cowboy Dave": I belong to two local button clubs, two state clubs, & the National Button Society. No one throws away buttons and they don't give them to Goodwill, either. It's ok to sell them, give them away to family/friends, or just plain enjoy Grandma's treasures. Best wishes, Judy Stansfield


Funniest newsletter ever!!!  I got some buttons in a jar....... LOL - Debbie, Howe, Texas




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