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Legends Letter

June, 2010


KayDee navigating the mapThe last couple of months have been very busy for us. Dragging along a friend, I took that trip down to the boot hill of Missouri and what was supposed to be a coupla short excursions into Tennessee and Kentucky. Unfortunately, our timing was real bad, as when we entered Tennessee, we seemed to be just ahead of the flooding. We did get to take a tour through Graceland; but, not much more, as we were forced to head westward to escape the water. Then, took a little detour through Arkansas before following the Mississippi River Road up through Illinois to St. Louis. Some very neat stuff there -- stay tuned.


On the home front, our house in Kansas sold, we got all the rest of our stuff moved down here to the lake, Dave's son, Nick, graduated from high school, we attended an all-class reunion in southwest Kansas, and Dave's parent's 50th wedding anniversary in the Texas Panhandle. We also became official Missourians -- with state tags, driver's licenses, insurance, etc. Check, check, check.


Toodlin' Down Route 66After leaving Texas, we took a slow trip across Oklahoma, toodlin' along Route 66 and stopping in El Reno, Oklahoma, where we met up with a long-time Legends reader. Calvin then took us to the now almost ghost town of Concho, Oklahoma headquarters of the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.


From there, we headed on to Oklahoma City, where we met up with a couple more Legends readers and purchased about 500 old magazines. Stay tuned, they'll be coming soon. We about got caught in yet another flood trying to get out of the state's capitol city and our Route 66 tour the next day was filled with rain. We made another stop to tour the sights of Tulsa before finally making our way to the  Tri-State Route 66 Festival near Joplin, Missouri.


There, I made a speech to a bunch of roadies on the History Beyond Route 66, we saw a bunch of old friends, met some new ones, sold a few postcards, and even tagged along on a paranormal investigation to a couple of old buildings in Galena, Kansas.


We also just celebrated the 7th anniversary of Legends of America!  A big thank you to all of our readers who have supported us along the way.  


In the meantime, we're still not even unpacked from moving all our stuff down from the city and after the whirlwind last couple of months, we plan to stay planted for a little while, catch up, and enjoy the lake.


Family coming for the big July 4th celebration. Hope all of  you also enjoy a wonderful holiday weekend!


Oh, and by the way, if you think that I look like a dog this month, I do. I previously introduced KayDee, but we are putting her into hard "team" training as she sits in the backseat navigating the map. She'll be joining us on many of our future travels. 


Time to run. 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 - Goldfield, Nevada


Ghostly Legends - Phantoms of Vallecito Stage Station


Featured Book - Keeping You On the Mother Road





If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.

--Glenn Clark


More to See:


Legends of America Hits the Highway - Our blog when we travel.

Flicker Photo Page - A growing gallery of our travel photos.

Facebook Fan Page - Daily posts and photos.





New Additions and Feature Stories


Though we've been very busy lately, we have lots of new additions.


Legends of America VideoThe one I'm most proud of our brand new video we put together for our 7th anniversary. This is a three minute introduction into what Legends of America is all about. Utilizing our historic photographs, dramatic background music, it provides a montage of American History, from the American Revolution through Route 66, and the many places and events that we write about. Check it out HERE and please leave comments, as this is just the first in a series of videos we will be producing. We're always looking to improve and your ideas and critiques are most welcome. 


Bollinger Mill and the Bufordville Covered BridgeFrom my southeast Missouri trip, you'll see several new additions including The Mississippi River and Expansion of America. No river has played a greater part in the development and expansion of America than the Mississippi River. Since the first person viewed this mighty stream, it has been a vital factor in the physical and economic growth of the United States. Along the path of the river, we've added several new articles including Fort Belle Fontaine - The First Fort of the West, Cape Girardeau Forts and its Civil War Battle, the history of the St. Louis Arsenal, Fort Davidson and the Battle of Pilot Knob, Missouri, and more. You can follow along the journey on our Blog.


While in Missouri, we also added Missouri Forts of the Old West, which includes

frontier trading posts to Civil War military forts, such as Fort Cap-Au-Gris, Fort Carondelet, Fort Hovey, Joseph Robideaux' Trading Post, the Liberty Arsenal, and more.


On one of our recent trips back to the Kansas City area, we made a detour to Atchison County, Kansas. Over on our Legends of Kansas site, you'll find lots of new information on the county's history, current cities, ghost towns, and extinct settlements. settlements.


While on our Route 66 adventure, we got bunches of new photos and updates of places we stopped along the way, such as the ghost town of Shamrock, Oklahoma; Route 66 towns including Chandler, Erick, El Reno, Tulsa, and more.


Another place to visit that we picked up along the way is the living ghost town of Empire City. Now annexed to Galena, Kansas, during its lead and zinc mining days, it's main thoroughfare was described as as so decadent that they were never exceeded in any other frontier mining camp.


Butch Cassicy DVDWe've also got a couple of new products including Old West Videos, which include the Texas Rangers, Butch Cassidy and the Outlaw Trail, and Buffalo Bill and the Wild West Show.


Keeping You On the Mother Road By Dave NewmanFor Route 66'ers, we now have a brand new book -- just off the press -- "Keeping You on the Mother Road."  Loosely called the Route 66 Yellow Pages, this great guide features annual events, campgrounds, 66 history, interviews & stories, yellow pages by town, and much more.





Bumper Sticker Wisdom 



Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.



If you don't like the news, go out and make some.


How can I miss you if you won't go away?




Shop Bumper Stickers!




Old West Slang


Cook - Usually referring to the chuck wagon cook. Bean master, belly  cheater, belly robber, biscuit roller, biscuit shooter, cocinero, coosie, cusie, dough belly, dough boxer, dough puncher, greasy belly, grub slinger, grub spoiler, grub worm, gut robber, lean skillet, pot rustler, old lady, old pud, soggy, sour dough.



Chuckwagon Cook


Featured Travel Destination 


Goldfield, Nevada, 1907Goldfield, Nevada - Queen of the Mining Camps - In December, 1902 gold was discovered in the hills south of Tonopah, Nevada by two grub stake prospectors. In no time, tents began to dot the barren hills in the mining districted dubbed "Grandpa," later named Goldfield. Just a year later, only 36 people lived in the new town, but that was to quickly change as gold began to be mined in the area in larger and larger quantities.


In the summer of 1903, those miners who had spent the previous winter Goldfield, living in quickly constructed shanties or tents came up with a better solution. Soon they began to dig new homes along the banks of Coyote Wash. Brownstones from the canyons of Malpai Mesa were hauled in to close the fronts of these hurriedly dug caves, making them more suitable against the harsh winter winds and the heat of the summer desert. Some parts of these old brownstone homes were still evident as late as the 1940s, but today it is almost impossible to determine where these structures once stood.


By 1904, the town supported three saloons, a grocery store, and two feedlots, along with its area mining operations. In the spring of that same year, Virgil and Wyatt Earp arrived in Goldfield, once more chasing the prospect of easy riches. Though Virgil's arm was atrophied from the bullet he had taken in Tombstone in 1881, he was soon sworn in as a deputy sheriff in Goldfield. In February, 1905, a man named Tex Rickard opened the Northern Saloon, Goldfield's most celebrated saloon and gambling house. Wyatt, who had met and become friends with Tex in Nome, Alaska, was hired as one of his pit bosses.


In 1906, the town reached its peak with a population of over 30,000, when as much as $10,000 a day in ore was being taken from the mines. The flourishing mining camp soon became the largest city in Nevada, and in 1907, the county seat was moved to Goldfield from Hawthorne.


But, like other mining towns, Goldfield's fortunes wouldn't last. By 1918, the mines produced only 1 ½ million dollars in ore, with half that amount in the next year. By 1920, the town was called home to only about 1,500 residents and for the next three years, only a cumulative $150,000 in ore was produced by the area mines. 


Today, though Goldfield is called home to less than 500 residents and is all but a ghost town, it still retains the title as the Esmeralda County Seat. The courthouse has been in continuous use by the county since the building opened in 1908. Behind the courthouse, the original jail also continues to stand, containing three levels of metal cells; two levels of which still house inmates in 18 cells.


More buildings in Goldfield offer glimpses of its more prosperous past, including the. The Santa Fe Saloon, and the Goldfield Hotel, which according to legend, is extremely haunted.


See More ....


Santa Fe Saloon in Goldfield, Nevada

The Santa Fe Saloon still stands in Goldfield, Nevada, continuing  to serve customers since 1905.



As always, enjoy the ride!!


Featured Book:


Keeping You On the Mother Road By Dave NewmanKeeping You on the Mother Road -  Loosely called the Route 66 Yellow Pages, this great guide features annual events, campgrounds, 66 history, interviews & stories, Car & Motorcycle Clubs, Route 66 Associations, city maps, yellow pages by town, and much more.










Free eNewsletter


eNewsletter features articles on the Old West, travel destinations, ghostly legends, and subscriber only specials from our Legends' General Store. Sent directly to your inbox, grab a cup of coffee and travel the historic paths of the American West. Sign up today!

Ghostly Legends


The original Vallecito Stage StationThe Phantoms of Vallecito Stage Station -  

Not only is the Vallecito Stage Station in San Diego County, a California Historic Landmark, it is also reportedly haunted.


Located on the west side of the forbidding Colorado Desert, the name "Vallecito" means "Little Valley," which dates back to the times when the Spaniards were exploring this vast land. The valley, with its natural spring and grasslands, was a welcome relief to travelers after crossing the desert, which they called "The Journey of Death."


The road through the valley was the only wagon road into southern California and during California's Gold Rush days, thousands of prospectors passed through Vallecito, refreshing both themselves and their animals.


About 1851, a pioneer by the name of James R. Lassiter saw opportunity in the valley and established a store and campground to accommodate the many emigrants. His home and outbuildings were made of sod cut from the plentiful ciénega (salt grass).  Soon, other pioneers built homes and businesses in the valley to serve the many travelers.


In 1854, two men by the names of Samuel Warnock and Joseph Swycaffer, implemented the first regular mail route in southern California. The semi-weekly horseback delivery between San Diego and Yuma, Arizona made Vallecito a regular stop along its route. In the fall of 1857, the nation received its first overland Atlantic to Pacific mail service when James E. Birch's San Diego-San Antonio mail began operation. The forerunner of the Pony Express and the northern stage lines, it was a known as the "Great Southern Overland, " but more familiarly called The Jackass Mail.

In addition to being a regular mail stop it also became an important resting place for Army detachments traveling to and from California. In 1858 it was made one of the stops of the famous Butterfield Overland Stage Route that traveled between Missouri and San Francisco. With the new passenger service, Vallecito soon became a place of prominence as hundred of travelers utilized the valley as a resting place.


Though a welcome relief after days of exhausting travel through the desert, the stage station also had its dark side. Like numerous other places of the Old West, the station was witness to murder, robberies, and daily human miseries.


One of the ghostly tales is the specter of the White Horse of Vallecito that allegedly began with a stage robbery long ago.

Two more ghosts who are said to lurk about the old stage station are two old Texas emigrants named Buck and Roland who were allegedly both killed in a duel with each other.


In the Carrizo Wash area there is supposedly a phantom stagecoach that has been spied numerous times over the last century.  Pulled by four mules, the ghostly stage lumbers along the old Butterfield Stage Road carrying no passengers but driven by a spectral figure.  


Vallecito's  most "famous" ghost is that of the "White Lady of Vallecito."  When she arrived on the Butterfield Stage, sometime in the late 1850's, she had taken ill and had to be carried into the station. From somewhere back east, she was on her way to  Sacramento, where her fiancé had struck it rich in the Sierra goldfields. Young and frail, her name was Eileen O'Conner, and she was taken to a bed in the back of the station and cared for over the next two days. Despite the best attempts of those tending to her, she died. When the station staff went through her traveling trunk they found her white wedding dress in which they dressed her and buried her in unmarked grave.


But evidently, she was not ready to "go," as almost from the beginning people have said that she paces restlessly about the old station site, waiting for the stage to take her to Sacramento. Today, her grave, along with two others, are in a small cemetery (Campo Santo) near the old stage station.



More ...



What our readers are saying about Legends of America:


Your site is such a treasure!! It was one of my lucky days to find such a wealth of History. History is my passion, I have been a Civil War reenactor twice. I will be spending the next several days just reading all the wonderful things on your site alone. Thanks so very much for the gift, and it is worth having the computer just for your site alone. -- David, Tennessee


Great sight, it's in my favorites now, lots of good valuable info here, i can also see there was a great deal of work put into making this sight, thank you so much for all your hard work so we can enjoy, God Bless. -- Allen, Texas


I have always been interested in the history of the Old West. I have studied it for quite a few years. My main interest is in Jesse James, George Custer, Sitting Bull, and Geronimo. I find your site very comprehensive and enjoyed looking through it and will be referring to it a lot in the future. Your site is very easy to use and full of information not shown on some other sites. Terry, Isle of Wight, U.K.


Great website and pictures. I'm a route 66 fan as I drive on it every day. I love "ghost towning" and have been to several in my area. Keep updating this website it is very interesting. -- Mike, Kingman, Arizona

Thank y'all for such an in-depth "western history" site!!!! Specially the "slang-dictionary' as I am doing research for a book about 8 generations of Texans on my dad's side of our family tree. I must tell y'all that before I found your wonderful site I was as "frustrated as a fire-fly on the 4th of July..!" tryin' to cobble together bits and pieces of the almost lost and forgotten true language of the "old west" I am "atellin" all my "texas-folks" about your site... And soon "thay'll will be "aflocken'" to it from far and "ner-here"... You "bet-cha"... Thank y'all . --  Aloha, Richard, Texas-Hawaii

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Legends of America


A Travel Guide for the

Nostalgic & Historic Minded


28926 Cedar Hill Loop

Warsaw, MO 65355


Kathy Weiser




Reader's Comments:


It's a fantastic website about our western history. You provide so much information that it's almost overkill... but I love it.  -- Joseph, Oklahoma


Just a great newsletter again!  Great job! - Ron and Shelley

I have enjoyed Legends for sometime. Love your enthusiasm and in depth sleuthing to find information. -- Gloria, California

Congratulations on your move to Missouri. I hope that everything works out good for you and that you are happy in your new surroundings. Take it easy and get the rest you need to keep up the great job you do with this site. Thank you for the update. -- Ed 

I have started counting the days until the next "Legends of America" newsletter is wired. Please keep them coming. This is the best there is. -- Richard, Missouri


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Silk Kachina Scarves


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