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Legends Letter

August, 2009

Dave and Kathy at AlcatrazWell folks, summer is sliding by fast as always, but it's been interesting, exciting, and extremely productive. We did get to take our planned trip to California, starting out in Sacramento, visiting the old California gold camps, making our way to Yosemite National Park, back west the the Pacific Coast, and landing in San Francisco for the coup de grâce -- Alcatraz . Was very glad to get away and do what I enjoy most. Stay tuned for lots of new California material.


In the meantime, we've still been working on that new 'lil cottage, making sure it was ready for Dave when and if he lost his job. Well, he did and he didn't. On the very day we arrived home from California, he was given 24 hours to decide whether or not to accept an offer from the company that bought their division. Bottom line was that he got an offer, but not a good one, and did get the opportunity for a decent severance package. We opted to accelerate our plans and he now is a full-time partner at Legends of America. Please extend a warm welcome to Dave and I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of his input in the near future.


Though we're looking at a lean year, we're confident things will work out for the best, and though it may be a frugal year, we're not going to cut out travel altogether -- maybe just change it a bit. I see many more driving trips than flying trips, so those long stretches to Washington, Oregon and places far in the west, may not be on the agenda. However, we already have plans for a mile by mile adventure down the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas next month, and hopefully, rescheduling our much anticipated San Antonio trip for October.


Lastly, but occupying much of our time has been the planning of what I call "Fiddy birthday, fiddy people" party. Yup, I'm turning the big Five-Oh the last of the month and we're planning a blast for Labor Day Weekend. If you're going to be anywhere in the Lake of the Ozarks area of Missouri, and would like to drop by, just let me know and I'll give you directions. I do already have a few Legends fans planning on making the trip -- one coming all the way from Montana. Ought to be a hoot!!


Ok, gotta get back to "work."  In the meantime, I truly hope you enjoy the newsletter and the website!!


Kathy Weiser, Owner/Editor





In this Edition: 

New Additions


Featured Travel Destination - Ancient Cities


The Old West - Bigfoot Wallace, Texas Folk Hero


Ghostly Legends - Hornet Spook Light


Featured Book - Route 66 Backroads




Bumper Sticker Wisdom 


I chose the road less traveled. Now, where the hell am I?



You look like I need a drink.





New Additions


Migrant Mother in the DepressionYou're going to see a lot of additions in the last month plus lots of changes in the near future as we expand with Dave coming on board. The biggest addition you'll see recently is 20th Century American History as we move out of the days of the Wild West and into a whole new era. We begin with the Great Depression, a worldwide economic downturn, which was kicked off with the U.S. stock market crash, known as Black Tuesday, on October 29, 1929. On its heels came the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, a period of severe dust storms caused by extreme drought and decades of extensive farming.


You'll also find a list of Prohibition & Depression Gangsters & Outlaws. If the Old West Outlaws get a lot of historic attention, a close second are the gangsters of the 1920's Prohibition era and the 1930's Depression period. Here, you'll find such notorious names as Edward "Eddie" J. Adams, a Kansas bootlegger, car thief, and murderer; "Al" Capone, probably the most infamous gangster of the Prohibition era; John Herbert "Jackrabbit" Dillinger and the Dillinger Gang; Joseph P. Moran, a physician known for treating Depression era gangsters and a peripheral member of the Barker-Karpis Gang, and dozens more. You'll also find tales of their daring escapades such as the Kansas City Massacre.


Back to earlier times, you'll find Kiowa Chief Satanta, who became known as the Orator of the Plains, the Chouteaus, early  French traders and trappers who operated west of St. Louis, Missouri in the latter part of the 1700s and early 1800s; a mile by mile trek of the Santa Fe Trail Through Kansas, and another wild and lawless Kansas cowtown -- Hays City.


You'll also find the beginnings of articles and updates from our California trip such as Columbia, an old mining town turned California State Park today. It once had a population of over 5,000 people during its heydays when about $150 million in gold was removed from the hills surrounding the old gold camp. We've updated many of our articles with new pictures and information including the California ghost towns of Coloma, Bodie, and the once booming mining camp of Placerville. Stay tuned, they'll be lots more coming here. If you want to see all the places we visited and get an update, check out my most recent Legends Blog.


So, Dave's experience is really in sales and marketing, so you'll see some new "stay in touch" opportunities like Legends Of America Fan Page on Facebook, where if you become a fan, you will get automatic updates on new articles and photos, inside information, notifications when our Legends Blog is updated, new product information, featured travel destinations and more. Also, I am Twittering, but don't exactly get what that's all about. Also, both Dave and I will be updating the Legends Blog, so it will be more current and provide yet more information.


Well, I got a bunch to catch up on, so I better get moseying.



Did you know?

Oregon's state flag pictures a beaver on its reverse side. It is the only state flag to carry two separate designs.

The first fort constructed west of the Missouri River was Fort Atkinson near Blair, Nebraska.

North Dakota has more registered vehicles than it has residents.

In some isolated villages in New Mexico, in the north-central part of the state, some descendants of Spanish conquistadors still speak a form of 16th century Spanish used nowhere else in the world today.

Did you know that Idaho has a seaport? The Port of Lewiston allows the exportation of millions of bushels of grain down the Snake and Columbia Rivers for overseas shipment.






Custom Greeting Cards - Combining our great vintage photographs with words, wisdom and proverbs of the Old West, these photo cards are unique to the Legends' General Store.  




Featured Travel Destination 



Taos PuebloAncient Cities of the Pueblo Indians - The Pueblo Indians, situated in the Southwestern United States, are one of the oldest cultures in the nation. Their name is Spanish for "stone masonry village dweller." They are believed to be the descendants of three major cultures including the Mogollon, Hohokam, and Ancient Puebloans (sometimes called Anasazi), with their history tracing back for some 7,000 years.   During their long history, the Ancient Puebloans evolved from a nomadic, hunter-gathering lifestyle to a sedentary culture, primarily making their homes in the Four Corners region of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Though they didn't give up hunting, they began to expand into an agricultural culture, growing maize, corn, squash and beans; raising turkeys, and developing complex irrigation systems.  

For hundreds of years, these Pueblo descendants continued to live a similar lifestyle, continuing to survive by hunting and farming, and also building "new" apartment-like structures, sometimes several stories high. These structures were made cut sandstone faced with adobe -- a combination of earth mixed with straw and water; or the adobe was poured into forms or made into sun-dried bricks to build walls that are often several feet thick. The buildings had flat roofs, which served as working or resting places, as well as observation points to watch for approaching enemies and view ceremonial occasions. For better defense, the outer walls generally had no doors or windows, but instead, window openings in the roofs, with ladders leading into the interior.


Each family generally lived in a single room of the building unless they grew too large, at which time; side-rooms were sometimes added. The houses of the pueblo were usually built around a central, open space or plaza in the middle of which was a "kiva," a sunken chamber used for religious purposes.


Each pueblo was an independent and separate community, though many shared similarities in language and customs. Each pueblo had its own chief, and sometimes two chiefs, a summer and winter chief, who alternated. Most important affairs, such was war, hunting, religion and agriculture; however, were governed by priesthoods or secret societies.

There are approximately 25 pueblos that still exist and are lived in today, while dozens of others have been preserved as parks and archeological sites.


Read about some of these fascinating places in these articles:


Featured Book:


Route 66 BackroadsRoute 66 Backroads, by Jim Hinckley - Known as the Main Street of America and the Mother Road, U.S. Route 66 is the nation's best known highway.  Travel this iconic highway through the heart of America with Route 66 Backroads as your guide. This lavishly illustrated book steers you from Chicago to Los Angeles.



A Tough Old Cowboy

A tough old cowboy told his grandson that if he wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a pinch of gun powder on his oatmeal every morning.

The grandson did this religiously to the age of 103. When he died, he left 14 children, 30 grand-children, 45 great-grandchildren, 25 great-great grandchildren, and a 15 foot hole where the crematorium used to be.



Free eNewsletter


Our 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!

The Old West


Bigfoot Wallace"Bigfoot" Wallace - A Texas Folk Hero -

One of the most colorful and toughest of Texas' frontier characters was William Alexander Anderson "Bigfoot" Wallace. Growing up to be a backwoodsman, folk hero, soldier, and Texas Ranger, Wallace was originally from Virginia. Born in Lexington, on April 3, 1817, he grew up to work in his father's fruit orchard until he heard that his older brother and a cousin, who had moved to Texas, had been killed in the Goliad Massacre in the spring of 1836. He then set out for Texas himself, in order to "take pay out of the Mexicans."  


Wallace first settled near LaGrange, Texas in 1837 where he tried his hand at farming and quickly joined up with the Texas Rangers under Captain John Coffee Hays. In 1840, he moved to Austin, where he helped to layout the new town. While there, was misidentified as an Indian named "Bigfoot," who had ransacked a settler's home. Though Wallace was soon cleared, the name "Bigfoot" stuck -- an appropriate nickname for the six feet two inch tall, 240 pound muscled man.


In 1840, Wallace participated in the Battle of Plum Creek, and in the Spring of 1842, fought against Mexican General Adrian Woll's invasion of Texas. Later that year, he volunteered for the Somervell Raid across the Rio Grande River and afterwards, joined a splinter group that was later called the Mier Expedition, to further penetrate into Mexico.


However, the group was surrounded and captured by a force ten times their size. Forced into central Mexico, the men were able to escape, but were quickly recaptured and forced to participate in what became known as the "Black Bean Incident." This was a "lottery," in which black and white beans were placed in a crock, in a 1 to 10 ratio. Those who drew a black bean were executed, while a white bean meant prison. Wallace was one of the "lucky" ones, drawing a white bean and soon found himself on an 800 mile forced march to the Perote Prison in Vera Cruz. After a petition was signed by a number of U.S. Congressmen, he was released and after his return to Texas, joined in the Mexican-American War. After the war, he commanded a company of Texas Rangers fighting border bandits and Indians on the frontier. When the Civil War erupted, he was still helping to guard the frontier against the Comanche Indians.


Somewhere along the line, Wallace was granted a piece of land by the State of Texas, where he ranched along the Medina River. However, in his later years, he was living in Frio County, and when a small village was formed, it was named "Bigfoot," after Wallace, who had made a legend of himself during his lifetime.
<   More ....  

Native American Wisdom


They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind. - Tuscarora


Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand. - Tribe Unknown


We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. - Dakota


One finger cannot lift a pebble. - Hopi


Old age is not as honorable as death, but most people want it. - Crow  




Custom Postcards - Legends of America and the Legends' General Store introduces our own line of custom postcards. Utilizing original graphic designs and our own photographs, these postcards are exclusive and can only be found here! To see this new and expanding collection, click HERE!


Custom Arizona Postcard  Custom Old West Postcard  

Ghostly & Other Strange Legends



Spook Light PostcardDevil's Promenade & the Hornet Spook Light - Bobbing and bouncing along a dirt road in northeast Oklahoma is the Hornet Spook Light a paranormal enigma for more than a century. Described most often as an orange ball of light, the orb travels from east to west along a four mile gravel road, long called the Devil's Promenade by area locals.


The Spook Light, often referred to as the Joplin Spook Light or the Tri-State Spook Light, is actually in Oklahoma near the small town of Quapaw. However, it is most often seen from the east, which is why it has been "attached" to the tiny hamlet of Hornet, Missouri and the larger better known town of Joplin.


According to the legend, the spook light was first seen by Indians along the infamous Trail of Tears in 1836; however, the first "official" report occurred in 1881 in a publication called the Ozark Spook Light.

The ball of fire, described as varying from the size of a baseball to a basketball, dances and spins down the center of the road at high speeds, rising and hovering above the treetops, before it retreats and disappears. Others have said it sways from side to side, like a lantern being carried by some invisible force. In any event, the orange fire-like ball has reportedly been appearing nightly for well over a one hundred years. According to locals, the best time to view the spook light is between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and midnight and tends to shy away from large groups and loud sounds.


Though many paranormal and scientific investigators have studied the light, including the Army Corps of Engineers, no one has been able to provide a conclusive answer as to the origin of the light. Many explanations have been presented over the years including escaping natural gas, reflecting car lights and billboards, and will-o'-the-wisps, a luminescence created by rotting organic matter. However, all of these explanations all fall short of being conclusive. There are also as many legends of why and how the light came to be.


Sightings of the spook light are common, sometimes even reported to be seen inside vehicles. A few people, who have been walking along the road at night, have even claimed to have felt the heat of the ball as it passed near them.


Reportedly, the moving anomaly, growing brighter and dimmer, larger and smaller, can be seen approximately twelve miles southwest of Joplin, Missouri. To get to Devil's Promenade Road, take Interstate 44 west from Joplin but before you reach the Oklahoma border, take the next to the last Missouri exit onto Star Route 43. Traveling south for about four miles, you will reach a crossroads which is Devil's Promenade Road.


More ...


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Legends of America


A Travel Guide for the

Nostalgic & Historic Minded


28926 Cedar Hill Loop

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Kathy Weiser





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