from Kathy - Well, I don't know about your neck of the
woods, but here in the Show-Me-State of
it's real Fall-ish.
Love this weather, 'cept for the part that Fall comes right before
winter. We're in a mad rush to get our hills smoothed out and plant
some grass before the first freeze so we pushed back our
trip until we get that very large chore out of the
way. But, I'm hoping that delaying the trip will be even better, as
maybe we'll get some great Autumn color in our photographs.
We did make our trip down to a little
place called Howe, Texas, an annual get together with my sis,
Debbie. With half the Fam Dam in the
Lone Star State, it's getting
tougher and tougher to find a new route each time, but, I seem to
manage to figure it out.
our way due south to
we stopped and saw and old friend of my mom's before rolling through
Eureka Springs, and a leisurely
drive through Devil's Den State Park before making our way to Van Buren, a
historic river port city just outside of
We then criss-crossed our way down the
border, making stops at Fort Chaffee,
Spiro Mounds Archeological site, in
American village that existed
from about 950 and 1450 A.D. Then, we're back
on the road to
Heavener Runes State Park in
The runes were fascinating and I had never heard of them. So, these
would make the Vikings the discoverer of America and not Christopher
Columbus. Didn't learn that back in school. Then we're headed south
Ouachita National Forest
with my eyes pealed as I scan the dense forest hoping to spy
Big Foot. Yup, there have allegedly been many sighting of the
large, smelly creature lurking within these woods. According to one
forest ranger, the tales have been circulating as long as there have
been people in the area, with some of the earliest sightings
reported by the
Well, we didn't see
but the drive was beautiful.
off to explore
Washington Historic State Park, which provides glimpses into a
nineteenth century community and its history of the people and
events of Territorial, Antebellum,
history. Then we're off to see if we can find the legendary
Boggy Creek Monster
Nope, no big hairy, smelly beast here either. Darn!!
we make a stop at
built in 1824, when the area was rife with conflict
between white settlers and
as well as numerous lawless elements, and threats from Mexico.
We then come upon the
Doaksville Archeological Site,
one the largest towns in the
Nation. Our final stop on the journey is Fort Washita, established in 1842 by General
Zachary Taylor to protect the Choctaw and
from the Plains
Later it served as a major stop on the trail during the
California Gold Rush. Sadly, we got to Fort Washita just in time. The reconstructed south barracks were destroyed by fire on September 25, 2010.
The blaze is thought to have been arson. Who would do such a thing?!
final note on
Did we finally find traces of
where we weren't looking at all. My sister and I drag the boys down
this trail pointing to a place called Government Springs and the old
townsite of Hatboro. While the men are fussing about this short hike
being a worthless endeavor, we trek on and find what? Yes, an old
spring, but also some very strange tracks in the mud. Us girls are
convinced that we have found signs of the great hairy beast --
The boys, not so much. We'll let you decide. (Click on picture to see a larger version.)
To follow our trip, check out our photos and
information on our
HERE. You don't have to be a
Facebook member to view.
Next month, we're off to trace a little more of the Santa Fe
Trail and make a stop at the
Bucksnort Trading Company and Saloon in Blackwater,
Here, Gerald and his wife have painstakingly reconstructed an
old-fashioned saloon, with the help of my book
Great American Bars & Saloons. He says with the help of all
the photos, his book is in tatters. We'll take along a new
autographed copy and check this place out. Then we're gonna make a
stop to meet a "new" old friend -- Kay Weldon in Mexico, Missouri.
Kay has been a long time reader of the newsletter and website, and
become a good friend on
Facebook. We love meeting the people that we are in
Then on to
so we'll have lots of new material for ya next month.
In the meantime, we truly value you as a
reader, and hope that you enjoy this
Legends Of America for years to come.
Kathy Weiser-Alexander, Owner/Editor*
*(user of power tools, digger of rocks, obsessor of history, legends
collector, and butt of Dave's jokes)
In this Edition:
& Feature Stories
Featured Travel Destination - Fort
The Old West - The Colfax County War
Ghostly Legends - 15 of the Most
Haunted Places in the United States
Exclusive For Newsletter Subscribers - Kathy's newest book and
another great 66 book discounted
More to See:
Facebook Fan Page - Daily posts and photos.
Flicker Photo Page - A growing gallery of our travel photos.
Legends of America Hits
the Highway - Our blog when we travel.
Examine history, for
it is philosophy teaching by example.
-- Thomas Carlyle.
earned 1,093 United States patents, a record that still stands. He
kept a cot in his New Jersey lab so he could work through the
night when inventing.
President William Taft, who weighed 332 pounds, got stuck
in the White House bathtub the first time he used it. A larger one was
The African custom of creating songs
to transmit information was adapted by slaves in North America.
Follow the Drinking Gourd is a coded song that provided the
route for an escape from Alabama and Mississippi.
At his inauguration,
President George Washington
had only one tooth. At various times he wore dentures
made of human teeth, animal teeth, ivory or even lead. Never wood.
Did you know?
New Additions and Feature
We've been having a lot of rainy days and some cool
weather here lately, which means I'm spending lots of time on the
keyboard. So, you'll find a bucket-load of new articles.
On another one of my obsessive kicks, I've been up to
my eyeballs in the
Do you realize that the 150th anniversary of this beginning of this
terrible war between the states is next year? Sesquicentennial
events commemorating these pivotal events in our nation's history
will be held over the next several years.
Preparing for the anniversary, I've begun to add a
articles, as you've probably already noticed. You'll
now find a summary of both the
States of America and The Union in the Civil
War, as well as several new biographies including Jefferson Davis - President of the Confederate
States of America,
Robert E. Lee - Celebrated General of the
South, Ulysses S. Grant - Civil
War Hero & 18th President,
- Reconstructing the South, and
Stand Watie, a
brigadier general for the
and the last to surrender.
also got a new article on the Reconstruction
Era. Though armed resistance in the South was at an end, there remained a
great question, namely, how the North should use its victory and what
to do about the South? Long before the close of the
Civil War, President
Abraham Lincoln had laid out a plan for
though the plan had not been finalized with Congress. When it came
time to answer the many questions of
Lincoln was no longer alive and it was left to
During the summer and autumn of 1865, when Congress was not in
President Andrew Johnson
proceeded to apply
plan to the states of the South, just as if it had been definitely
settled that Congress was to have no part in their reconstruction.
Johnson, although having supported abolition, was
not an advocate of black rights, and applied
plan his own way. Arrayed against him were the Radical
Republicans in Congress, brilliantly led and ruthless in their
was no match for them. Thus,
Reconstruction was mired in politics, corruption, and the
exploitation of freed slaves, which would last for years.
Continuing on, you'll now see all of the Civil War Battles of
fighting at the
Battle of Shiloh, which was the deadliest battle in
at the time; as well as other large battles such as
plus dozens more were fought in the Volunteer
State. Hold tight, over the next year, we will be expanding our
Civil War Campaigns and Battles for all
states. While working on
Civil War Battles, we also add up the
History of the
Back out West and continuing on the "war theme," you'll find the
Revolution and one of its heroes,
Samuel Houston, as well as the
The Mexican-American War (1846-1848)
Timeline. You'll also see some of the places we visited on our recent trip
Doaksville Archeological Site
and Fort Washita,
including information on the fire, in
also figured since I've added a bunch of
U.S. Presidents already, I might
as well list them all, so you will now see a short summary on all of the leaders
of our country. To make it a little more fun, I also added up
Presidential Trivia, Fun Facts
One final destination "Back
East" is the
Mountain National Park.
America’s most visited
National Park, the
Great Smoky Mountains
National Park straddles the border between North
preserving a rich cultural tapestry of Southern Appalachian history.
We're also gearing up for Halloween and you'll find a new article on the
Most Haunted Places in the United States --
more on that below. Hold tight ghost lovers, we'll be bringing you more creepy
stories next month.
Oh, yeah, I about forgot. My newest book is out!!
From Route 66, and we're offering an
autographed copy at a 33% off. See our Featured
Paddle faster! I hear banjos.
Warning: Dates in Calendar are closer than they appear.
Hey idiot - You're driving a car, not a phone booth.
Shop Bumper Stickers!
in American History
September 3, 1783 - The Treaty of Paris was signed formally ending the
American Revolutionary War.
September 4, 1886 - The last major Indian War
came to an end as Geronimo
September 8, 1900 - A hurricane struck Galveston, Texas,
killing over 8,000 persons, making it the worst natural disaster in
September 11, 2001 - The worst terrorist attack in
history occurred as four large passenger jets were hijacked then
crashed, killing nearly 3,000 people.
September 14, 1901 - Eight days after being shot, President William
McKinley died from wounds.
September 17, 1862 - The bloodiest day in U.S. military history occurred
in Antietam, Maryland during the
By nightfall 26,000 men were dead, wounded, or missing.
September 17, 1908 - The first airplane fatality occurred as a biplane
piloted by Orville Wright fell from a height of 75 feet, killing Lt.
Thomas E. Selfridge, his 26-year-old passenger. Wright himself was
September 25, 1789 - The first U.S. Congress proposed 12 Amendments to the
ten of which, comprising the
Bill of Rights,
Featured Travel Destination
Smith, Arkansas National Historic Site - On the isolated edge of the American Frontier,
was established on Christmas day, 1817. Under the command of Major
William Bradford, the soldiers' initial task was to keep the peace between
tribes. The site of the new fort was Belle Point, a prominent bluff
overlooking the Poteau and Arkansas Rivers.
Sixty-four men of the Rifle Regiment erected
temporary shelters in just eight days and then began the work on a
permanent fortification. Construction progressed slowly, and upon
completion, the fort was a simple log stockade with four sides of 132'
each and two blockhouses at opposite angles. Barracks, storehouses, shops,
a magazine, and a hospital were located within the walls.
In 1824, the Federal Government determined
that the location of the fort was too far away from the newly
(Oklahoma) and established
Fort Gibson some 60 miles up the
As a result, the troops departed Fort Smith.
The post then served as the
agency for the
tribe until more tribes were relocated in
Territory and fearful residents
of the new State of
requested that a permanent military garrison be placed on their
western border. In 1838, Congress authorized construction of a new
fort adjacent to the old fort on Belle Point.
In the spring of 1839, construction of the new
fort began. The design called for a pentagonal-shaped fort of stone with a
bastion at each angle and enclosing seven acres. Inside the wall, several
buildings were to be situated around a parade ground including two
enlisted men's barracks, two officer's quarters, the commandant's quarters,
a hospital, the quartermaster store, and other buildings. This ambitious
plan, however, would never be fully realized. Over the next several years it had become
apparent to the military that armed warriors would not descend on
Territory. Yet, hostilities threatened another frontier, and
Mexican-American War loomed on the horizon.
Fort Smith was
ideally situated to equip military units marching to the Rio Grande River
and to supply frontier posts in
Territory. Therefore, in 1845, the
half-finished post was formally designated as a supply depot.
On April 23, 1861,
Arkansas State Troops occupied
Fort Smith. Until
September 1, 1863, when Federal soldiers re-garrisoned the post,
Fort Smith served the Confederate Army as a major
supply base and defensive bastion protecting Southern interests in
In 1872, the United States District Court of the Western District of
Fort Smith. A valuation of property indicated that 27
buildings stood on the former military reserve. Nearly all of these were
relegated to civilian or federal use.
The former enlisted men's barracks became the Federal Courthouse and also
housed attendant offices. A permanent gallows was constructed along the
inward side of Bastion 3, or the old Magazine, and the Federal Courthouse
basement served as a jail. When overcrowding in this makeshift prison,
known as "hell-on-the-border," received adverse public attention, a modern
prison wing was added to the south end of the courthouse. This structure
was completed in February 1888.
Fort Smith is best known for
Federal Judge Isaac C. Parker, whom
President Ulysses S. Grant appointed to the bench in 1875.
Replacing Judge William Story, whose
tenure had been marred by corruption,
Judge Isaac Parker
on May 4, 1875.
For the next
presided over 13,000 cases and 79 offenders were hanged
for their crimes, earning him the nickname of the
for Newsletter Subscribers ONLY
Kathy's newest book -
Greetings From Route 66
33% off Retail Price!
Keeping You On the Mother Road
25% off Retail Price!
Did you Know?
the most active
gunfighting state, with some 160 shoot-outs from the
1850's through the 1890's.
I am one of those
who never knows the direction of my journey until I have almost
-- Anna Louise Strong
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Colfax County War (1870-1877) -
Guns roared for almost two decades after
Maxwell sold the largest land grant in
history, located in
Illinois, came to
just prior to the acquisition of the territory by the United States and the granting of the ranch then known as the Beaubien Grant. He
was in the employ as a hunter and trapper for the
American Fur Company. He then began to work as a guide and his work
often brought him to the Beaubien-Miranda
ranch, where he met and married one of Carlos Beaubien's six daughters,
Luz. After his marriage, he
continued to lead a nomadic existence as a guide and along with
Kit Carson, led
Colonel John C. Fremont across the desert to
one of the most interesting and picturesque in all
New Mexico contained nearly two million acres of ground
and was traversed by the
Santa Fe Trail.
In 1864, after the death of his father-in-law,
his wife bought out the five other heirs eventually owning the entire
grant. Paying a sum total of $35,245 (a little over two cents per acre)
for the 1,714,765 acres,
Maxwell became the largest land owner in the world, renamed the property the
Grant, and made his headquarters in
Over the years,
a fortune, building businesses, managing a large ranch operation, and
especially, when gold gold was discovered on his land. Later; however, he
made large investments in banks and railroads, eventually losing most of
his fortune. By 1869, he was looking to sell his land and did so the
following year, along with all its assets, for $750,000. He then moved to
In the meantime, hundreds of squatters had
settled on the immense acreage, a fact that both Beaubien and
had mostly ignored. By the time
sold the grant, many had built homes, businesses, and were mining on the
Senator Jerome B. Chaffee and the others who had purchased the land from
almost immediately sold the land an English syndicate for $1,350,000;
and, just six months later, it was sold again to a Dutch Firm in 1872. The new grant owners immediately began to aggressively exploit the
resources of the grant, opening a sales office at
old place in
Cimarron. They waited for the customers to rush in, and they continued to wait. Faltering gold production and the shadow of Indian attacks
spooked potential buyers. Meanwhile, folks who had already settled on the
grant were riled at the brisk way the new owners tried to collect rents
soon setting off the
Colfax County War.
of the first items on the Grant owners' agenda was the removal of the
squatters who had moved on the grant during the past 30 years. The
farmers and miners who had settled on the grant had held a grudging
Lucien Maxwell, but they felt no such loyalty to the absentee foreign
firm. The settlers, having invested their lives and money into homes
and businesses were not prepared to leave, especially because the title of
Maxwell had conveyed was being contested.
an effort to remove the settlers from their property, grant officials, in
league with a group of lawyers, politicians and businessmen known as the
Ring, began making false allegations against locals. Making matters worse,
some who spoke out against the
Ring were soon found dead. Locals then turned to
Clay Allison, a local
gunslinger for help.
A reign of terror then began in
and the town was out of control. Violence, lawlessness and
apprehension fed the residents and many packed their belongings and left
the area. At one time, guards were posted at all entrances to
and no one was allowed to leave town without the Colfax County Ring's
permission. By November 9, 1875 the
Santa Fe New Mexican
informed the public that
Cimarron was in the hands of a mob.
More violence began as the grant owners petitioned the courts to allow them to demand purchase or
rent monies from the settlers in 1876. After sheriffs served eviction
notices, grant pastures were set on fire, cattle rustling increased
and officials were threatened at gun point. Grant gang members made
nighttime raids of area homes and ranches with threats of violence to
encourage their cooperation.
The grant owners continued the fight in the
courts and the guns continued to roar until in the spring of 1887,
the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the survey and legitimized
the grant owners. Abandoned by
their government, many of the homesteaders bought or leased their places,
some just gave up and left, and a few continued the struggle, in the
forlorn hope that the government might reverse itself. The Dutch Firm continued its exploitation of the many resources of the
grant and it thrived for several decades.
In the end, it is estimated that as many as
200 people were killed in the
Colfax County War.
What our readers are saying about Legends
I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely LOVE
your website. I've
been on it every day for the last two weeks and learn something new each
time. I can't recommend it enough. -- Tessa from Tampa, Florida
I have been very pleased with
Legends and look
forward to reading it. I never met any of my father's family but I
know someday I will read about them in
Legends. He was from the
Cherokee Nation, was born in the 1800's and was related to
Starr and Tom Starr. My father used to speak of his Aunt Pearl who
lived in Fort Smith,
-- Thelma M. (Starr) Platt, Bowling Green, Kentucky
Thanks for the
great article on
Illinois. Some of my family came West from
there. -- Ann Phelps
Hello Kathy, Thank
you for the newsletter, I always enjoy them very much! It sound's
like you are keeping Dave busy, he sound's like a jack of all
Trade's! Ha! Ha! Keep up the good work, I'm sure everyone enjoy's
newsletter as much as I do! Your Friend in Alaska, Gary Ferriss.
Two thumbs up!
Right now I'm at our ranch in Utah where I do most of my Western
fiction writing (contemporary crime, action, and genre).
Unfortunately, I left most of my research materials on the Old West
back at my farm in Virginia, so in researching
I happened upon your site. Great! Keep it up. You've got another
scalp (fan) to add to your belt. -- J. D. Harkleroad, Farm in VA
and Ranch in
Kathy, I want to thank you and Dave
for all the hard work. I love and look forward to your
Letter. Know that y’all are on my prayer list and pray for you
every day. Thanks again and I love the updates. Just Me, Danny P.
I love your monthly reports and think you do a better job in your
historical research BEFORE you publish a story than ANY other
historical person does! Keep up the good work -- Howard,
Colorado, and Grain Valley,
I work as a
recreation coordinator in a nursing home, Adult Day center in New
Jersey. The time for travel is well gone for my folks, but your
website on Route 66 has brought much joy to everyone. I’m able to
hook the computer up to a large screen and we are now in
"traveling" one state each week. Thank you for the time you spent
to put this together. --
Candy C., New Jersey
Places in the United States -
These destinations consistently rate as the most
haunted places America from multiple sources. See 15 of the most haunted
including the Bell Witch Cave, Adams, Tennessee;
The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California; Mount Misery Road, West Hills, New York;
the Eastern State Penitentiary,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and 11 other scary places.
Alcatraz, San Francisco, California -
With its centuries old history from ancient Native Americans, to
Fort Alcatraz, to a Military Barracks, and
most often known service as one of the toughest federal penitentiaries in
the Nation, it is no wonder that this place is said to be one of the most
haunted in the nation. Often described as a portal to another dimension,
Alcatraz is filled with the energy of those
who came to the "Rock” and seemingly never left.
Today, these spirits that continue to lurk in the shadows of the often
fog-enshrouded island have been heard, seen and felt by both the staff and
many visitors to
Alcatraz. The sounds of
men’s voices, screams, whistles, clanging metal doors and terrifying
screams are said to be heard within these historic walls, especially near
Grove Cemetery, Midlothian, Illinois - Largely abandoned since the mid
1960's, this 1800s-era cemetery is well-known for its haunted stories and
sightings. The small cemetery in the
metropolitan area, is
located near Midlothian and Oak Forest,
Illinois in the Rubio Woods Forest
Preserve at 143rd Street & the Midlothian Turnpike. Victim to vandals over
the years, many of the tombstones are toppled and rumors circulate that
the cemetery has been the location for satanic and occultist groups
performing ceremonies. Over the years, numerous stories have been told of
glowing balls, sightings of apparitions; strange noises being heard
including moans, squeaks, and groans; and voices. Paranormal
investigators report strange photos, anomalous recordings and
sightings of unbelievable creatures. Near the cemetery is a quarry pond
that is also said to be haunted. The foul, dark, algae covered pool is
said to have been used by Al Capone and other gangsters as a dumping place
of their murder victims. Other reports tell of the
ghosts of a farmer and
his horse who were drowned in the pond as well as another unknown
Moore Home-Ax Murder House, Villisca, Iowa - One the morning of
June 10, 1912, the small mid-western community of Villisca, Iowa awoke to
find eight of their own had been brutally murdered by an axe during the
middle of the night. This fateful evening changed the town from a peaceful
community where people left their doors unlocked and trusted their
neighbors into a community of suspicion, where the townsfolk reinforced
their locks and openly carried weapons. Accusations, rumors and
suspicion ran rampant among friends and families. Newspaper reporters,
private detectives and law enforcement agencies from neighboring counties
all verged upon the town collecting hundreds of interviews and and facts.
Though there were several suspects, the murders were never solved. The
walls of this old home today continue to protect the identity of the
vicious murderer who bludgeoned to death the entire family of Josiah Moore
and two overnight guests. Open for tours today, the old house is said to
be the site of a number of paranormal activities. A number of reports have
been given that visitors hear the sounds of children voices and laughter
when there are none present, objects seemingly move of their own accord,
mysterious banging sounds are heard throughout the house. paranormal
investigators are known to have come away with mysterious audio,
video and photographic evidence.
And, there eleven more we've featured. Check
them out HERE, for your Halloween fun.
History in our kind of society is not a luxury but a necessity.
-- Patrick Hazard
Did you Know?
which were strewn across the Great Plains after the mass
hunts of 1870-1883, were bought by Eastern firms for the
production of fertilizer and bone china. "Bone pickers” earned
eight dollars a ton for the bones.
Though the term "stick 'em up" is widely used in Western films, it wasn't
actually coined until the 1930's.
Feedback and Suggestions
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Legends of America
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