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Legends Letter

July, 2010

 

Dave and Kathy in the Old WestHey Ya'll!!  Oh ma gosh, where did this month go? Hope you are having a great summer and doin' a bit of traveling. We, on the other hand, are planted for the time being, after a couple of extremely hectic months. Besides, when you live at a lake -- you gotta enjoy the summer! And, though we've been doing our fair share of "playing," we've also been dedicating a lot of time to Legends of America

  

Mostly, we've been focused on some mundane maintenance matters that we hope will increase the number of visitors to the website. Things like adding a "share" button to our pages, renaming pages to get them into compliance with web standards, fixing broken links, and adding a few new products. Yeah, I know, boring, boring, boring, but there is a lot more to managing this website than just adding up new tales.

 

Kathy Dave and the Wild BunchWith these massive updates, we apologize if you've been seeing any broken links or problems with searching the website. Unfortunately, renaming pages creates some short term issues, but in the long run, will be a great benefit. Be assured, we have not removed any pages. If you have problems finding something you're looking for or would like to report a broken link, just zap us an Email

 

Well, with no travels and focus on the behind the lines stuff, you just might be glad, I don't have so much to say. But, there is a lot of What's New! 

 

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 - Comet, Montana

 

Ghostly Legends - Alton, Texas and Goatman's Bridge

 

Featured Product - Native American Founding Fathers

  

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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.

 

Determine never to be idle...It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.

--Thomas Jefferson

 

New Additions and Feature Stories

 

Like always, when I get to focusing on a particular subject, I tear at it like a dog with a bone. You'll see lots of new material and a whole new section -- Early American History. Yes, this means we're taking a virtual "trip" back east and farther down the historic path.

   

Jamestown, Virginia ColonistsStarting with A Century Of Exploration, we explore a hundred years filled with romantic voyages and thrilling tales of exploration and conquest in the New World. From there, we move on to the Settling of America, beginning with The Old Dominion the first English colony in Virginia, to the New England Settlements, which includes Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut; and on to The Proprietary Colonies of Maryland, Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.   

  

Ultimately, we wind up in the midst of the American Revolution, when colonists began to rebel over taxes and no representation. We also include an American Revolution Timeline, Initial Battles for Independence, and you can bet there will be more coming.

   

One, of course, can't forget some of the Heroes and Patriots of this era, so you will find Nathaniel Bacon, the First American Rebel, John Paul Jones, the Greatest Revolutionary Naval Commander, Nathanael Greene, and Amercan Revolution Hero, and George Washington, the Father of our Country. This list, too, will grow over the next weeks and months.

  

Though I don't anticipate that we will expand our website as fully into the eastern states, you can also just bet, that I won't be able to leave out some of the great historic sites and destinations that go along with Early American History. Stay tuned as I do some more digging.

   

Back on more familiar territory, see Ghost Towns In The East. When people hear the words "ghost town," they associate the term with the old, abandoned towns of the Western frontier. But, every state has ghost towns and eastern and mid-western States are no exception. We also got a head's up from a reader on another ghost town, that comes along with a ghostly legend -- Alton, Texas and Goatman's Bridge. More on that below.

   

For our Treasure Hunting Enthusiasts, check out Places to Search Around Old Home Sites. Treasures are out there, just waiting to be found, and some of them may be closer to you than you think. Older homes that date back one hundred years or more have a very good chance of holding a treasure; and these old homes are in cities and towns across America.

   

Always expanding our Native American section, you'll find some new Indian Legends, including Ta-Vwots Conquers the Sun, a couple of Native American Legends of Arizona, including: Horned Toad and Giants, The Spider Tower, Weird Sentinel at Squaw Peak. Legends of Indian Territory provide Legends from Oklahoma, including A Battle in the Air, The Comanche Rider, and the Legend of the Cherokee Rose.  

       

Legends of America VideosWe've also got a new Native American Video, which is a a short promotional piece which introduces our numerous Native American pages. We've also established a new section for our new Legends Videos, so that you can easily find them. As I mentioned last month, while these first two videos, and probably the next few are short introductions, stay tuned, as we continue this venture into longer productions that tell the story of numerous themes. Our videos are uploaded to youtube.com and you can become a regular subscriber by just visiting our page here: Legends of America Videos.

 

 

 

 

July in American History

 

July 1, 1862 - President Abraham Lincoln signed the first income tax bill.

July 2, 1881 - President James A. Garfield was shot and mortally wounded. He died on September 19th.

July 2, 1964 - President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

July 3, 1775 - George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

July 8, 1524 -  The first kidnapping in America took place when Florentine explorers kidnapped an
Indian child to bring to France.

July 27, 1815 - The Seminole Wars began.

July 4, 1776 - The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress.

July 16, 1945 - The experimental Atomic bomb "Fat Boy" was set off in the desert of
New Mexico desert. creating a mushroom cloud rising 41,000 ft. It wiped out all plant and animal life within a mile.

July 22, 1934 - Bank robber John Dillinger was shot and killed by FBI agents in
Chicago, Illinois.

July 25, 1853 in a macabre instance of rough frontier justice,
California Rangers claimed a $6000 reward by bringing in the severed head of outlaw Joaquin Murrieta, preserved in whiskey.

 

Featured Travel Destination 

 

Mill in Comet, MontanaComet, Montana - Silent on the Eastern Slope - While the Big Sky State is famous for dozens of ghost towns -- fascinating places like Bannack, Elkhorn, Garnet, and Virginia City,

one of my favorites is Comet. A relative "newcomer" to "ghost towndom," Comet thrived until the 1940's. Not restored or preserved, and certainly not commercial, this "backwoods" mining camp continues to boast more than two dozen buildings, crumbling amongst the sagebrush and weeds.

   

Mining began in what would become known as the High Ore Mining District as early as 1869 when a man named John W. Russell began to prospect in the area. However, after working his claim for five years, Russell sold it to the Alta-Montana Company in 1874. The new company began to invest in mining operations and soon built a 40-ton-per-day concentrator, a mill process which separates the ore from the dirt and rocks.

 

Two years later, in 1876, the town of Comet was surveyed and platted as more and more people began to move into the area. The following year, the post office opened in Comet, but growth came slowly to the town. In 1879 the Alta-Montana Company invested over $500,000 in developing the Comet and nearby Alta Mine. However, their efforts were unsuccessful in turning a profit due to the high costs of transportation.

 

However, director and major stockholder of the Alta-Montana Company, Samuel T. Hauser, was determined to make a go of the Comet Mine and in 1883 formed the Helena Mining and Reduction Company, which bought the assets of the struggling Alta-Montana Company and again began to invest in the Comet Mine. The following year, the Helena Mining and Reduction Company constructed a new smelter, one of the largest of its kind in Montana territory, at Wickes, some six miles northeast of Comet. He then built a 100-ton concentrator and a tramway to carry the concentrate to the smelter. But, it was when Hauser induced the Northern Pacific Railway to construct a branch line between Helena and Wickes that Comet really began to grow.

 

Soon, mining operations were expanded again, adding yet more mining equipment and hiring more men. Comet's heyday years were during the 1890s, when the mine became profitable enough to even weather the silver panic and depression of 1893. At this time, the town boasted some 300 people, a school, which taught more than 20 children, numerous businesses and homes, and more than 20 saloons.

 

However, by the turn of the century, the ore was beginning to play out and the mine sold several times over the next several years. By 1913, the town had become a ghost.

 

Hotel in Comet, MontanaThings changed again in 1927 when the Comet and the Gray Eagle Mines were purchased by the Basin Montana Tunnel Company, who again made improvements, building a 200-ton concentrator, which was described at the time as "the most modern in Montana." With better technology, the mines were buzzing once again, employing about 300 men and weathering the depression years. In the 1930s, the operation was the second largest mining venture in Montana, after Butte. Mining operations continued until 1941 at which time, most of the equipment was sold, the people moved away, and Comet became a ghost town for good.

 

Comet sits on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide between the towns of Basin and Boulder, Montana. It is located on private land, but at this time, remains open to the public.

    

As always, enjoy the ride!!

 

 

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If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.

   

-- Pearl Buck

   

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Ghostly Legends

 

Alton Bridge, TexasAlton, Texas and Goatman's Bridge - About 3  miles from the present day town of Corinth, in Denton County, Texas, once stood the small village of Alton, which, for a decade, served as the Denton County seat. Today, a bridge at the long-gone ghost town is said to be haunted by a man they called the "Goatman."  

 

In June, 1848, Alton was founded as the new county seat and though Commissioners were appointed and directed lay out a town and sell lots, there are no records that this was ever done and no public buildings were ever erected. Two years later, the site was moved due to lack of potable water. Also called Alton, the new townsite was located about five miles southwest of present day Corinth on Hickory Creek. This time, the town did grow and before long it boasted a hotel and two stores. By 1856, the small town boasted a number of homes, a blacksmith shop, three stores, a school, saloon, hotel, two doctors, and several lawyers. The Hickory Creek Baptist Church, which continues to stand, was organized in 1855.

 

Though the fledgling town had begun to grow, the location of the county seat was still unsatisfactory for the majority of Denton County residents, who soon petitioned for yet, another county seat -- one that was more centrally located and again, one with better water. Put to a vote in November, 1856, the county seat was moved again to Denton, where it remains to this day

 

In the meantime, Alton began to die as many of its businesses moved to the new county seat. In May, 1859, its post office doors closed forever. There is little remaining of the old townsite today, with the exception of the Hickory Creek Baptist Church and the old Alton Cemetery, which contains graves that date back to 1852.

 

Years later, in 1884, long after Alton had died, an iron through-truss bridge was built over Hickory Creek on Copper Canyon Road, south of the old townsite. The 145 foot long bridge would serve area travelers for more than a century, first carrying horses and wagons, and later, vehicles across the creek.

 

The bridge continued to be used until about 2001 when it was replaced with a concrete-and-steel bridge and a new road, which straightened out a sharp curve. Before the new bridge was built, motorists were required to honk their horns on the one lane bridge to let other travelers know they were coming. The same year, the bridge was closed to vehicle traffic and is open only to pedestrians today.

 

Not only is the Old Alton Bridge a picturesque historic site, it is also said to be haunted by the "Goatman," hence the nickname of the bridge.

 

Half a century after the bridge was built, an African-American man named Oscar Washburn, settled with his family near the bridge. Earning his living raising goats, he was soon called the "Goatman" by the locals. An honest businessman, his goat raising business was a success. Unfortunately; there were those who did not welcome a successful black men within their midst.

When Washburn posted a sign on the bridge that advertised "this way to the Goatman," it angered local Klansman. On a dark night in August, 1938, these hateful men crossed the bridge without their headlights, then, burst into Washburn's home and drug him from his family to the bridge.

 

The Klansman then fitted a noose over his head and pushed him over the side of the bridge. However, when they looked over to make sure he was dead, they could see only the rope. Washburn was gone and was never seen again.  The hateful Klansman then went back to his home and killed the rest of his family.

 

Ever since that fateful day, a number of strange things have reportedly occurred on and around the bridge. Many believe that the Goatman haunts the overpass and the nearby woods. The tale continues that when travelers crossed the bridge at night with their headlights off, they would meet the Goatman on the other side. These tales are obviously old, as the bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic since 2001.

 

A number of other reports tell of numerous abandoned cars that have been found near the bridge, with their occupants missing.

 

Others report seeing a ghostly man herding goats over the bridge, while others say they have seen an apparition staring at them, holding a goat head under each arm. Stranger stories even include people having seen a creature that resembles a half-goat, half-man.

 

More tales of strange noises have also been described including the sounds of horses' hoof beats on the bridge, splashing in the creek below, maniacal laughter, and inhuman like growling coming from the surrounding woods.

 

More ...

 

 

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Love everything I've seen on the website, I'm native from the Miccosukee Tribe and I love learning about my fellow brothers and sisters from other tribes! Shoo-nah-bish (thank you) - Billie, Florida

 

This is my most favorite website. The stories and descriptions of the life and grandeur these old, deserted towns once buzzed with are wonderful. I really enjoy the pictures and the special attention to the hauntings. Keep up the good work! -- Janae, California

    

Just wanted to let you know I have added Route 66 to my personal bucket list. Also Hollywood, San Antonio, and Branson. Really enjoy traveling with you on your journeys and I just keep adding locations to my list. Wonderful wonderful website. So much more entertaining than the reality shows on the boob tube. Thank you. -- Donna, Oregon

 

This website has proved to be a very useful and helpful. The history content is very interesting especially about places along Route 66. We were able to compared information provided by this site with two Route 66 books. We used the website, which is very up to date to confirm various bits of information in the books. - Peter, United Kingdom
 

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Legends of America

 

A Travel Guide for the

Nostalgic & Historic Minded

 

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Kathy Weiser

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