Howdy folks! In typical fashion, Kathy
and I have fallen behind on the newsletter, and there's plenty to write
about. Especially since we did six weeks on the road touring
Louisiana and small parts of
Tennessee and Alabama.
You can read about the history of the
places we visited in the Blog. Each of the Blog entries include links to
new articles and slide shows of our
History Tour photo galleries. I've included all those links in this newsletter under "New Additions and Featured Stories".
There are some things you won't read about in the
Blog though, stuff that we would share only with you, our newsletter
readers, who know how dorky we can be. For instance, the real reason
behind such a long trip is to get away from the biting cold and snow at
home. Reasonable enough, but, since we didn't leave until the end of
January our ultimate goal was thwarted. Then, in the first couple of weeks on
the road, we noticed that in
Missouri the weather was mild, which kind of
ticked us off. So, there were a few grins and giggles when finally,
around mid February we started seeing pictures of "piles of snow" from
family back home. It was probably those same smiles and snickers that
resulted in a dose of Karma, as we experienced rain, rain and more rain. In fact, in the beginning, at every RV park and campground we stopped at,
the first day or two it rained. And I'm not talking a shower here
and there, it was down right gully washers. So much so, that at Askew's Landing in
Mississippi, we watched with trepidation as the pond we parked
by came up 6 inches on the electric pole next to us. It wouldn't be
until late February, toward the end of our trip, that Mother Nature would
finally quit raining so much on our parade. I will never smirk and
giggle at weather back home again.
Weather also changed our original plans of being able to work outside the
travel trailer during off days. The grand scheme was that Kathy
would do her usual geekin' inside the trailer while I worked outside,
giving us the much needed space we are used to. We thought we might
be in trouble when we were stuck in the trailer, with our two dogs, for
three days straight, as the road in and out of the campground was
under water. Both of us were quite proud when we all came out
without a scratch, although I think Riley and Kaydee Dog may have
permanent psychological damage.
almost lost Riley Dog at Grand Gulf. We brought our best selling items
from the General Store with us on the trip so we could ship on the road. I
had carefully stacked several plastic bins of
postcards in the back of the
SUV and they appeared to be secure, but then we experienced a steep hill. We were almost to the bottom, slowly inching our way down, when the top
two bins let loose. I stopped immediately as Kathy scrambled to unbury Kaydee Dog from the rubble. "Where's Riley!?", Kathy's voice
expressing her sheer horror as we both fumbled around trying to find him. Suddenly we realized that the back window was open, and sure enough, there
was Riley...off to the side of the road, covered in huge prickly sticker
looking fruit from a sweetgum tree, mixed with a good portion of the pile
of horse crap he had landed in. He was just sitting there, head
cocked to the side, with a half quizative /half look of disdain. Neither
dog ever yelped, or showed any kind of injury, yet both appeared genuinely
grateful when I relocated the postcards to the trailer for the rest of the
there was the "almost had to change my pants" moment in Jungle Gardens at
Avery Island, Louisiana. We had just arrived to the park and saw a couple
standing by a fence gawking so we stopped to investigate. "It's an
alligator", the man said confidently. We hadn't seen one on our trip yet,
so Kathy and I grabbed the cameras to get a shot. There on the grass by a
pond, right next to the fence sat the 'gator, covered in some sort of pond
vegetation that appeared to be growing on its back. As the couple left I
couldn't help but notice that the gator seemed almost plastic. "I
don't think this is a real alligator" I said. "I think this is staged for
effect". About that time the gator slowly opened it's eyes, then
closed them. It did that about 3 times in 10 second intervals. "See, it's even robotic... I bet they have a camera in there watching us
right now and getting a good laugh". As if on queue, the 'gator
opened its mouth, but, never turned his head. I was convinced it wasn't
real now. Then, as soon as I stepped a little closer the damn thing
shot like a rocket back into the water. Luckily, I hadn't had lunch
yet, or there could have been a mess.
I've probably left out a few stories (on purpose), but, it was indeed a
grand six weeks on the road, and we both still want to travel in the
trailer, so that's gotta count for something right? Kathy has
proclaimed; however, that we will do the desert southwest next year. In the meantime, since we've been home, Kathy has been directing her
very capable OCD (obsessive–compulsive disorder) traits towards our
thousands of photos. Yes, you are, no doubt, aware that we have thousands
of photos; but, what you don't know, is that there are thousands more that
have never appeared anywhere. So, she's going through our many photo
files, loading new images and restored vintage photographs to our
photo print shop, and building numerous slideshows that are appearing at the end of
our article pages. Though this monster task will take months, check out
just a few slideshows that are already up and running.
Yellowstone and the
Central City, Black Hawk, & Nevadaville;
Scenic Views, the
Stay tuned, there will be lots more coming. In
addition to the new uploads, we've done a bit of remodeling to our photo
site, including newly re-structured galleries and a less intrusive
watermark logo to make our photos more enjoyable. Browse away at
Legends' Photo Print Shop.
Dave Alexander - Driving Miss Kathy since 2003
P.S. I wanted to thank
everyone for the responses we had to January's newsletter. We had
been hearing from a few readers who were concerned over a new Discovery
Channel show called Ghost Town Gold. The argument presented was that
the show was encouraging people to scavenge Ghost Towns for western
memorabilia, and that it wasn't right to do so. We heard back from quite a
few of you who support the show. In fact the majority did, as long as they
were promoting ethical treatment of the property. Seems that most
want to make sure historic items are preserved, even if they are in
private collections. Better in someone's home on display than
rusting to nothing in the American West.
In this Edition:
New Additions and Featured
Featured Travel Destinations
Old West -
Old West Wisdom
Feedback and Suggestions
More to See:
Legends General Store - Supporting our website since 2003
Legends Photo Prints - Our growing gallery of Vintage and Modern
images available in various print sizes. Shop, or just enjoy browsing.
Legends Travel Blog
- Follow us on our travels and catch special announcements.
Legends Facebook Page
- Daily posts of all things American History.
of the American West Facebook Page - Occasional posts of all
things Ghost Towns.
History Facebook Page - Occasional posts of all things Native
Vintage Photos of
America Facebook Page
Legends on Twitter
Legends of Kansas - Our website dedicated to the state Legends was
Riley and Kaydee were sorely missing the 14
inches of snow back home in
-- NOT. At Bay St. Louis,
New Additions and Featured Stories
we mentioned, many of our new articles spawned from our
History Tour of
Mississippi and Louisiana. We've linked those stories in
Legends' Travel Blog. In addition to the
Blog and new article links,
you will also find our
Galleries posted as slide shows. Enjoy!
I know we did.
Corinth, Shiloh and the Natchez Trace
- Legends' Winter History Tour
starts in Corinth, MS,
Civil War history, and a little bit of the Natchez
Trace in Alabama and
French Camp on the Trace - Our tour continues as we travel south from
Corinth along the Natchez Trace Parkway.
History Abounds Around Askew Landing
- We found a great spot to do our day
tripping from, with
Civil War history, old General Stores and more all
within driving distance from historic Askew's Landing.
Natchez to Home Via New Orleans
- We wrap up our Winter
following the Natchez Trace Parkway to its starting point, then south to
the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans and more Louisiana.
We've added up plenty more since our last news letter unrelated to our
trip, but along the same lines of the
Civil War . Here are a few:
African-Americans - From Slavery to Equality
- Shortly after the
American Revolution, calls to abolish
slavery and the
slave trade generated increasingly widespread
support. A major cause of the
the the 13th Amendment to the
States Constitution liberated more than 4 million African-Americans.
Slavery - Cause
and Catalyst of the Civil War - There were a number of issues that ignited
the Civil War, including States’ Rights, the role of government, preservation of
the union and the economy. But, all were inextricably bound to the institution
Amendment - This important amendment formally formally abolished
slavery in the United
States, passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, and the House on January
31, 1865. On February 1, 1865,
Lincoln approved the Joint Resolution of Congress submitting the
proposed amendment to the state legislatures.
Underground Railroad - Flight to Freedom -
Though the origin of the term "Underground Railroad" has not been determined, it refers to the effort of enslaved
African Americans to gain their freedom by escaping bondage.
Frederick Douglass - From Slavery to Renowned
Activist - Frederick Douglass' journey from captive slave to
internationally renowned activist, Douglass changed how Americans thought about
race, slavery, and American democracy.
more recently, guest author Mark Weaver gave us
General "Jo" Shelby and His Great Raid through Missouri
- Joseph Orville Shelby was one of the most remarkable cavalry commanders of the
leading his Confederate 'Iron Brigade' on a great raid through
Missouri. Author Mark Weaver explores the man and a few things you may not have
Speaking of guest authors, Jim Hinckley
continues to expand our Automotive History with two new articles.
In Praise of Eccentricity
- The line between visionary or eccentric, between progressive thinking,
and outright insanity is often quite thin. Author Jim Hinckley explores
the line in this piece on American automotive history.
Introducing America's Most Modern Automobile -
In 1773 - Author Jim Hinckley
chronicles the fact that automobiles were more than just a dream as early as
1773, as Oliver Evans patents a steam engine to propel carriages.
finally, we've added up some general history of American Buffalo
More accurately called bison today, it is believed that buffalo
crossed over a land bridge that once connected the Asian and North
American continents. Through the centuries buffalo
slowly moved southward, eventually reaching as far as Mexico and as far
east as the Atlantic Coast, extending south to
For more What's New on Legends of America
Old West Wisdom
something meaner than you.
It don't take a
very big person to carry a grudge.
When you climb
into the saddle, you'd better be prepared to ride
Wearing gloves and
button-fly jeans means you better think ahead.
silence is sometimes the best answer.
More Old West Wisdom HERE.
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Featured Travel Destination(s)
Next month Legends Of America celebrates 10 years on the World Wide Web,
so, this year we are looking back at some of the places we've visited along
the way. One of our favorites was a couple of trips we took to
Colorado in 2003 and 2006.
was originally settled in 1878 and was made official in 1880 when gold
and silver began to bring many people to the area. Though it was
first called Forest City, the small town's name was changed when the
post office objected because there were too many towns with the same
name. The new name was derived by Griffith Evans, one of
the founders, who was reading a romantic nineteenth-century novel by
the same name.
The town was laid out in six feet of snow
and provided for the miners working in the nearby mines. Beginning with a high moral character, the settlement went the way of
other booming mining towns, reaching a population of more than 2000
and taking on all the trappings of a single male population with
saloons, dance halls, and bawdy houses. When the
was under construction,
became the scene of raunchy Saturday night sprees.
In 1881 it became a station on the Denver,
South Park and Pacific Railroad line where the tracks continued
through Romley, Hancock and through the historic
Alpine Tunnel. The
settlement was considered a main source of supplies arriving by train
for the area settlers and eventually included several merchandise
stores, three hotels, five restaurants, two sawmills and a weekly
newspaper called the Mountaineer. The miners worked at several mines
throughout the area that were rich in silver, gold, copper and iron. The principal mines were the Murphy, the Theresse C., the Molly and
the Pioneer. The Murphy Mine, situated high upon the mountain,
2000 feet above the railroad, shipped as much as 50-75 tons of ore per
day to the smelters at Alpine. Altogether, there were over 150
patented mine claims in the immediate area.
found a new favorite this year on our Winter trip. The once
prominent town of
Mississippi is one of those destinations reserved for die hard
Ghost Town lovers. Nothing to do here but look at history and move
along without disturbing the few remaining residents. But,
Kathy and I found it to be one very cool place to visit!
Located in Jefferson County, about 32 miles northeast of Natchez,
Rodney was once
such an important city that it very nearly became the capitol
Mississippi. Today, it is a
ghost town with only a handful of area
Spanish took control of
West Florida from the British in 1781. Spain would hold the
site until 1791 when a
Spanish land grant deeded the site to Thomas Calvit, a prominent
As settlements along the
grew, so did the importance of the port of Petit Gulf. In 1814, the name of
the town was changed to honor Judge Thomas Rodney, the territorial
magistrate who presided at the Aaron Burr hearing.
One of the earliest and most
influential settlers of the area was Dr. Rush Nutt, a physician, planter,
and author of a multi-volume diary of travels on the
Natchez Trace. A native
Nutt grew up to earn a medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
After graduating, he set out on horseback to tour the "Southwest" in 1905.
Settling in Petit Gulf, he married, set up a medical practice and bought a
large plantation. Calling his plantation Laurel
Hill, he built a large mansion in about 1815.
admitted as a state in 1817, Petit Gulf very nearly became the state's first
capitol, missing out to old Washington, near Natchez, by only three votes.
In 1818, the
Legislature granted a charter of incorporation to the Presbyterian Church.
In the beginning the congregation would meet wherever they could, including
at a local barroom.
What our readers are
saying about Legends Of America.
This site gave me more information about
what I was researching; African American pioneers, cowboys and Nicodemus
Kansas. After realizing it was chocked full of other information about all
sorts of things I refer to it often. Great Site! - Marlene in
"Legends of America", I can't express the
appreciation and excitement I have that someone was blessed with the time,
energy, and compassion to take on such a job that will preserve, at least
a glimpse, of what Great Americans and Heroes before us saw and lived. The
Great United States of America has been blessed with a countless breeds of
individuals who sought the goodness of life and pushed to see that their
children and their children's children would have good, and possibly,
better life in this wonderful country. This may be just a glimpse, but
without Legends of America, we wouldn't even have that. Thank you L of A
for allowing me the opportunity to imagine the busy activity that once
crowded these remarkable remains that you have captured.... James in
Pioneer Recollections - Over the years, many of you have expressed
the desire to see the tales of "regular folks" -- not just those who made
themselves famous through business success, politics, or dastardly deeds.
This new category will give you a taste of that in "eye witness accounts"
of their various experiences in the "Old West." We will continue to add
new stories and tales, but, here's a look at a few you can see now:
to the California Goldfields in 1849 -
At the age of 21, Lorenzo Dow Stephens heard
the call of adventure and fortune and on March 28, 1849, joined an
goldfields. He would later write of his
adventures in a book called Life Sketches of a Jayhawker of '49,
published in 1916, where he described the trials and tribulations of the
overland journey west, including
Young's sermons at the Tabernacle in
Salt Lake City ,
and the deaths of many along the trail.
there's still more, including historic text, like A
Pioneer Story and the Lost Blue Bucket Mine - On April 28, 1938, Captain W. H. Hembree, who
was then working in a
gold mine near Estacada, Oregon,
was interviewed by the Andrew C. Sherbert of the
Federal Writer's Project for his knowledge of
pioneering days and what he might know about the legend of the
the Great Plains in Ox-Wagons - Harriet Scott Palmer recalls when she was but a girl of 11 years,
"I distinctly remember many things connected
with that far-off time when all of our western country was a wilderness.
We were six months in crossing the plains in ox-wagons."
Did you know? That you can see daily stories, from
the Old West to Route 66, on our Legends Facebook Page? it's a daily dose of Legends sure to please!