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Legends Letter

April, 2010

 

Hey Ya'll -- I am sooooooooo glad to have my life back!!  At the lake, office window overlooking the water, doing a little landscaping, and adding up bunches to the website. But, those two months of townhouse rehab in Kansas City area really kinda "screwed" me up. A little difficulty getting back into the groove and me thinks, a lot to do with our not taking our typical "get the hell out of Dodge" trip we usually take in the winter.

 

But, things are a turning around. Got a contract on that dumb ole' townhouse in the city -- praying the inspections are good and all goes well. In the meantime, Dave had to head on down to the Texas Panhandle to look after his folks for ten days, sooooooo.... Kathy is a taking off. Yeah!!! A little road trip does wonders for my attitude. Now that we call Missouri home, I decided a little more exploring of this beautiful state is in order. Headed down to the boot hill of southeast Missouri, winding through the Mark Twain National Forest and on to the New Madrid Fault. Gotta learn more about that geological phenomenon -- see if I need to worry about my house falling off the hill. Don't worry, I won't fret much, we've got earthquake insurance. While in Missouri, do as ..... ya know.

 

The boot hill of the state also borders right up against Tennessee and Arkansas, and is real close to Illinois and Kentucky. This is my first trip to this region of our great nation and I'm getting very excited. Who knows where the path might lead me. But, you can just bet, you're probably going to see just a little bit on my first Legends venture to destinations east of the Mississippi River. Stay tuned.

 

We've got a few more short trips coming up in the next several weeks. Hopefully, we're going back to Kansas City for the final move if all goes right. We're also making a trip back to southwest Kansas over Memorial Day for my all-class reunion, so I'm sure I'll be adding up more to the Legends of Kansas page and, in June, we're looking forward to the Tri-State Route 66 Festival in Joplin, Missouri and yet another trip to the Texas Panhandle for Dave's parents 50th wedding anniversary party. Hmmm, this is starting to get tough, finding different paths to Texas but, I'm sure I will.

 

KayDeeWell, I've got lots to get done before tomorrow morning -- laundry, shipping, this newsletter, ordering some new postcards, and getting the dog's stuff ready to go to my brother's house. Oh, yeah, did I mention, we got a dog? Not great timing right before a trip, but, here she is. This was a huge surprise to my family and friends, as I've never been a huge dog fan, but, again, here she is. She won't get a cowboy hat, but  she already has a concho dog collar. Welcome to the newest member of the Legends team -- tough, mean, 'lil KayDee. 

 

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

Kathy Weiser-Alexander, Owner/Editor*

 

*(user of power tools, button hoarder, ghost hunter, teller of tales, and butt of Dave's jokes)

 

 

 

In this Edition: 

 

New Additions & Feature Stories

 

Featured Travel Destination - Missouri Route 66

 

American History - The Vicious Harpes

 

Ghostly Legends - Haunted Forts

 

Featured Book - Vintage Magazines

  

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Old West Wisdom

 

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

 

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

 

The measure of a man is when he does the right thing even when no one is watching.

 

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mirror every morning.

 

  

New Additions and Feature Stories

 

America's Greatest PatriotsThough we've been busy with the move and getting everything sorted out, we've still added up a bunch of new material to the website. Though I've never been much of a political person in the past, who can ignore Politics now as it continually floods every aspect of the news. Seems as if the country is being torn apart and one thing that we can bring to the table is our rich American History in attempt to spark some patriotism. So, you will begin to see an expansion into another era and into the eastern states. Starting with Heroes and Patriots in American History, you'll see a number of new profiles including George Washington - Father of our Country, John Adams - Founding Father & 2nd U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson -- The Sage of Monticello, and many more. Heroes and patriots in the United States are made every day, a fact that has occurred since the first man set foot on the soil of this great nation. We cannot begin to list them here, nor can we even begin to know about the vast majority. But, their "legendary" deeds and accomplishments belong on the pages of Legends of America, and to that end, our Heroes & Patriots series begins. We've added several that we've already written about -- see a few of these: Benjamin Brown, a Buffalo Soldier who fought bandits in the Wham Paymaster Robbery and was awarded the Medal of Honor; Susan "Doc Susie" Anderson, one of the first female pioneer physicians in the West; Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, who disguised herself as a man and fought in the Civil War for the Union, and dozens of others. For a full list of those that we have itemized so far, see the Index to Heroes & Patriots and hold tight as we add many more. We've also added a whole bunch of Patriotic Quotes, as well as a Patriotism Gallery of photos.

 

The United States ConstitutionWe've also added up the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, feeling as if our website could not be complete without them. These documents, created by our Forefathers, are what make the United States a leader of Free Men and Women, and a beacon of hope to all those oppressed throughout the world. Our articles include both a summary of the Constitution, the Constitutional Document, itself, and the Bill of Rights, including all of its amendments.

 

You'll also find new articles on the Galvanized Yankees, Confederate soldiers imprisoned during the Civil War, who won their freedom by swearing their allegiance to the Union and enlisting in the Union Army; as well as Early Transportation on the Great Plains, and several new forts including Fort Burgwin, New Mexico and Fort Massachusetts and Fort Pueblo in Colorado

 

I've also been doing a little work over on the Legends of Kansas site, a new ghost town article -- Neosho Falls - Falling on Hard Times. Situated along the Neosho River in northeast Woodson County, Neosho Falls is the oldest town in the county. A semi-ghost town today, this small town of less than 200 people, was once the county seat of Woodson County and described as the most important city in the area.

 

 

Bumper Sticker Wisdom 

 

If you can read this, I can hit my brakes and sue you.

 

 

Warning:  Dates in Calendar are closer than they appear.

Sure you can trust the government! Just ask an Indian!

My Kharma Ran Over Your Dogma.

 

 

Okay, who stopped the payment on my reality check? 

Shop Bumper Stickers!

 

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From Legends' General Store

American History and Patriotic Photographs

 

 

  American History and Patriotic Photographs     

 

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Featured Travel Destination 

 

Missouri Route 66Missouri Route 66- The "Show Me State" of Missouri not only has some of the most scenic views of the Mother Road, it also has dozens of vintage icons along the old highway, many of which can still be visited today.

 

Crossing Missouri diagonally from the Mississippi River in St. Louis to the plateau region beginning at Springfield and ending at the Kansas border, Missouri's 300-odd-mile-journey provides a multitude of picturesque scenes along old Route 66.

 

A very large portion of what was once Route 66 in Missouri is still under state jurisdiction as either primary or secondary state highways. While its "official" state designation may not always be "66," Missouri has more miles of the old highway under state management than any other state.

 

Beginning your journey in St. Louis, check out the Chain of Rocks Bridge before you venture into the city, where you'll see numerous historic buildings and the St. Louis Arch. On your way out of St. Louis be sure not to miss Ted Drewes Frozen Custard which has been dazzling taste buds since 1929.

 

Moseying on down the road, you will soon approach the Route 66 State Park, once the site of Times Beach, which was completely evacuated and "mowed down" due to chemical contamination. At the park you can see Route 66 exhibits that chronicle the history of the Mother Road, as well as the story of the ill-fated town.

 

In the town of Gray Summit, you can stretch your legs among the Missouri wildflowers at the Shaw Arboretum of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Continuing along your way, a "must see" along your journey is Meramec Caverns in Stanton, Missouri, which has been enticing visitors since 1933. While you're in Stanton, you can also visit the Jesse James Museum.

 

Be sure to take a peek at the Wagon Wheel Motel and the former Midway Restaurant and Garage as you travel through Cuba. Along this stretch of the road begins one of Missouri's finest wine and grape producing regions. Some vineyards can be observed from the road and you'll find several roadside stops selling grapes, grape juice, wine, honey, and other locally produced products in the summer and fall months.

 

Rolla, Missouri provides several vintage views of Route 66 as well a popular auto museum called Memoryville USA. For an interesting look something else altogether, visit the Rolla Stonehenge, a partial reconstruction of the ancient megalith, built by students at the University of Missouri at Rolla.

 

Continuing along towards Devil's Elbow, your journey will provide an extremely scenic route along the bluffs over the Big Piney River. Sheldon's Market and the Elbow Inn Bar and Barbeque Pit, both vintage Route 66 businesses, are interesting stops in Devil's Elbow.

 

Soon, you'll arrive at the historic town of Waynesville, Missouri, which not only displays vintage peeks of the Mother Road, but also several historic buildings that date back to the days of the Civil War. In Lebanon, you can see the 1940s Munger-Moss Motel; still open today, as well as Wrink's Market, a Route 66 institution for more than a half a century. Continuing on to Springfield, you will view great architecture as you continue on your westward trip.

 

Beyond Springfield is an extremely vintage portion of the highway that was bypassed long ago. Along this stretch, you will see several sad and forgotten towns that died at the hands of newer transportation routes. These old towns include Halltown, Paris Springs Junction, Spencer, Heatonville, and several others.

 

Soon, you will enter the historic town of Carthage, filled with Victorian Homes and a wealth of history -- from the Civil War to an abundance of Route 66 icons. Continue your asphalt trip through Joplin before entering the state of Kansas, with its "full" 13 miles of Route 66.

 

As always, enjoy the ride!!

 

Vintage MagazinesFeatured Book: Vintage Magazines - We have added up hundreds of vintage magazines which include publications such as True West, Frontier Times, Real West, Treasure Magazines, and More. Check these out - they make great gifts!

 

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Route 66 cartoon

  

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See your ad HERE!

  

 

  

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Legends of America averages over 1.2 Million page views each month. In March of 2010, the most popular page was Native American Totems.

 

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American History

 

MurderedThe Vicious Harpes - First American Serial Killers - Earning the dubious distinction of being the United States' first known serial killers, Micajah "Big" Harpe and Wiley "Little" Harpe ) were murderous outlaws who operated in Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois in the late 1700s. Often referred to as the Harpe Brothers, they were actually cousins who often passed themselves off as brothers.

Both of their fathers were Scottish immigrants who had settled in Orange County, North Carolina. Micajah Harpe was born to John Harpe and his wife, while Wiley Harpe, who was actually named Joshua, was born to John's brother, William and his wife. Soon after the arrival of the
Harpes in America, they changed the spelling of their original name from "Harpe" to "Harp." 

 

Growing up near each other, the boys soon took up the nicknames of Big and Little Harp, as Wiley was much smaller than Micajah. The two left North Carolina in 1775 for Virginia intending to find jobs as slave overseers; however, the American Revolution interrupted their career. The pair sided with the British, but their interest seemed to be more in violence and criminal activities than any sense of patriotic duty. Along with other like-minded irregulars, they apparently thrilled in the activities of burning farms, raping women, and pillaging the American patriots. When Little Harp attempted to rape a girl in North Carolina, he was shot and wounded by Captain James Wood; however, he survived.

In 1780, the
Harpes joined with the regular British troops and fought in several battles along the North and South Carolina borders. The next year, they left the army and joined up with a group of Cherokee Indians, raiding settlements in North Carolina and Tennessee and continuing their pillaging. Taking revenge on Captain James Wood, who had earlier wounded Little Harpe, the pair kidnapped his daughter, Susan Wood, and another girl named Maria Davidson. The women served as wives to the Harpes.

The pair, along with the brutalized women and four other men, then began to make their way to Tennessee. During the trip, a man named Moses Doss had the "audacity" to be over-concerned for the brutalized women. For his concern, he was killed by the
Harpes. The group then settled in the Cherokee-Chickamauga village of Nickajack located southwest of modern-day Chattanooga, Tennessee. For the next dozen years, the Harpes, along with their "wives" lived in the Indian village. During this time, both of the captive women became pregnant twice and their children were killed by their fathers.

 

In late 1798, the Harpes would begin their murder spree, one of the most violent in the nation's history. They first killed two men in Tennessee, one in Knox County and one on the Wilderness Trail. By December, they had moved on to Kentucky, where they killed two traveling men from Maryland. Unlike most outlaws of the time, they seemed to be more motivated by blood lust than financial gain, often leaving their victims disemboweled, filling their abdominal cavities with rocks, and sinking them in a river.

 

Next, a man named John Langford, who was traveling from Virginia to Kentucky, turned up dead and a local innkeeper pointed the authorities to the Harpes. The criminal pair was then pursued, captured, and jailed in Danville, Kentucky, but they managed to escape. When a posse was sent after them, the young son of a man who assisted the authorities, was found dead and mutilated.

 

The killings continued as the Harpes fled west to avoid the posse. While the pair was preparing to kill another settler named George Smith, the posse finally tracked them down on August 24, 1799. Calling for their surrender, the two sped away, but Big Harpe was shot in the leg and the back. In the meantime, Little Harpe escaped and soon rejoined the Mason Gang pirates at Cave-in-Rock. Four years later, Little Harpe was killed for the reward by fellow pirates.

 

During their terrible crime spree the Harpes killed more than 40 men, women and children.

 

But, what happened to the three "wives" of the notorious Harpes?

 

See More ....

 

 

What our readers are saying about Legends of America:

 

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 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  


Congratulations on a very informative and interesting web site, amazing stories and very well documented. A fantastic slice of history for anyone interested in the Old West, thank you. Andrew McGarry, County Kildare, Ireland.

I do not believe I have ever ran across a more informative piece than the letter you produce. I have truly enjoyed every letter 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.  -- Ed, Cherryvale,
Kansas

Truly a fine effort to share your love of travel - and Country. Thank You. Artist Thomas O. Nichols, Legends FaceBook Fan
 

 

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Ghostly Legends

 

Soldier GhostHaunted Forts of the American West - Old Forts, like so many other historic places in the American West tend to have their share of ghostly tales.

 

The forts of the American West varied in type from military posts, to fortresses established by fur trading companies, to private enterprises built solely to protect the pioneers within. But, without a doubt, they all have their tales of hardships, death, disease, and suffering emigrants passing through.

 

The history of these forts, coupled with the violence and tragedy so often accompanying them, provide a ripe atmosphere for dozens of ghost stories.

 

Probably one of the most haunted forts of the Old West is Fort Riley, Kansas. This still active fort has dozens of tales, including hauntings at the cemetery, in old General George A. Custer's house, right on the parade grounds and more. In fact, it is so haunted, that the active military base provides annual ghost tours in October.

 

At old Fort Brown in Texas, now part of the University of Texas/Texas Southmost College Campus, a number of unearthly spirits like to make themselves know.

 

Yet more ghosts lurk in a number of old forts, and I'm sure we'll find more as we continue to research these historic places.

 

Check out these many tales:

 

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.

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Did You Know??

 

The deepest river gorge in the North American Continent is Idaho's Hells Canyon - 7,900 feet deep. Yes, it's deeper than the Grand Canyon.

 

The area, mistakenly called the "Great American Desert" by European Explorers, is one of the top farming areas in the world.

 

The Oklahoma State Capitol is the only capitol in the world surrounded by working oil wells. Not too many years ago, giant oil rigs dotted the grounds of the Oklahoma capitol.

 

Colorado is the only state ever to turn down the Olympics.  In 1972, they stunned the world when residents said they didn't want the 1976 Winter Olympics. In a landmark vote on November 7th, 1972, the voters said by a 62% percent majority that they were unwilling to host the Olympics because of the cost, pollution and population boom it would have on the State Of Colorado, and the City of Denver.

 

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Legends of America

 

A Travel Guide for the

Nostalgic & Historic Minded

 

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Kathy Weiser

Owner/Editor

 www.legendsofamerica.com

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