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Legends Letter

September, 2012


A Hillbilly MomentHello Again, Friends and Neighbors! Hope ya'll enjoyed your summer and are liking the cooler temperatures of fall. I know we are! In fact, I can hardly remember summer, other than it was very hot and very dry here in Missouri. As such, we didn't spend a great deal of time outside and we didn't have a lot of company like usual summers at the "lake shack." In the end, that was all fine and good, cuz Dave and I had lots to focus on here at Legends of America.


Just like so many small businesses, we've reached that point that we need to hire more people to keep up with everything; but, the revenue just isn't there yet. So, like many other "mom 'n' pops," we just put in more hours in an already long work week. And, with the slow economy, we're seeing the "hit," just like many others. In the meantime, we are getting all kinds of "creative" in our ideas to continue to make Legends of America and our retail sites attractive, easy, and profitable enough to make our small business more successful. Most recently, our newest "creative endeavor" was to take a trip in a travel trailer to save the expenses of hotels and restaurants. What a trip!! More on that in a minute.


We have spent a lot of time wondering what we could do to raise the revenue end of the business to our expectations. Are we doing something wrong? Is it hard to shop on our retail sites? With the help of a few of "unpaid" advisor friends, you may have noticed a number of changes to Legends' format, new products at Legends' General Store, and lots more images at our Photo Print Shop. We cannot thank these friends enough. But......... these fine people are not our customers and readers -- You Are!


So, we're asking you to give a little feedback in exchange for a chance to win! We know we have business people, artists, web experts, historians, and shoppers out there reading the Newsletter, Facebook Page, Blog, and Forum, that could provide even more valuable input. And, we're going to give two of you a $100 gift certificate to either Legends' General Store or our Photo Print Shop for taking the time to provide your thoughts. All you need to do is go to the following Survey Link and answer a few simple questions. No purchase necessary, and you don't even have to enter the drawing, however if you want to win you will be given a chance to enter your name and email address at the end of the questionnaire.


Click Here to respond to our questionnaire and enter to win! (powered by Google Form)


UPDATE 11/1/2012: WINNERS ANNOUNCED - Congratulations to Mary Wilson and Michael Goddard!  Each won our $100 Gift Certificate survey contest.  Thanks to all for your wonderful and informative feedback. More on that in the next Newsletter.


 “He who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning.”  -- Danish Proverb


In the meantime, not all has been dull on the home front. We just took a 2,500 mile trip through Tennessee and Kentucky, which you will be hearing more about with lots and lots of new stories on our website. See our What's New page as we aggressively move into the Eastern States. You can also follow our recent adventure through our Blog and Facebook Photo Albums.


The old Missouri PenintentiaryAnd yes, we did have some company this summer - such the group of family and friends who all piled into the truck to play "hillbillies." (photo above) We also took just a quick overnighter following the Butterfield Trail from Warsaw to Tipton, Missouri and then on to Jefferson City, Missouri, the Show-Me State capitol. Primary destination here was the old Missouri Penitentiary. This very creepy place opened in 1836 and housed prisoners up until 2004. Not only is it filled with the tales of outlaws, gangsters, escapes, and riots, it is also allegedly very haunted. We'll have story up on that soon.


And, when I'm a little stressed, I always end up turning to something creative. From jewelry to photo art to restoring and repurposing vintage items, there's always something to do. For those of you who enjoy these types of activities, you can follow me on Pinterest, a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows me to create image collections such as favorite places, wall art, hobbies, and more.



Kathy Weiser-Alexander

Owner/Founder, Legends of America; Writer, Photographer, Grandma, Traveler, and Queen of Sassville (which just happens to be wherever we are).



In this Edition:


Legends RV Travel Adventure

New Additions & Feature Stories

Featured Travel Destinations

Wisdom of the Old West

Featured Product




More to See:

Rocky Mountain General Store - Legends retail outlet.

Photo Prints - Our growing gallery of Vintage and Modern photos from our Photo Print Shop.

Legends Facebook Fan Page - Daily posts and photos.

Legends of America Hits the Highway - Our blog when we travel or just want to opine.

Ghost Towns of the American West Facebook Page - Dedicated to the Ghost Town lover.

Vintage Photos Of America - Facebook Page - Dedicated to history in photos.

Native American History, Photos and Information - Facebook Page - All things Native American.

Legends of Kansas - Dedicated to the state we started the business in, and lived in for the majority of our lives.


Gift Baskets from Legends' General Store

Fall and Halloween Gift Baskets now available in Legend's General Store


Legends RV Travel Adventure


Tent CampingSeveral months ago, I began to say to Dave that we MUST travel -- that's what Legends of America is all about. But, because the business hasn't been doing great, we haven't taken a trip this year. However, we MUST, I say. We're gonna buy a tent, and we're gonna go!  We have to go!! Dave, who says he really was a boy scout, but doesn't own a single boy scout skill, is not liking this tent idea, not one little bit. So, we start looking at used RV's. Before we buy something, I think it's a good idea to call our friends over at Travel Books USA, who just happen to specialize in RV books, to get an opinion. "Don't you dare!", says my friend T.C. You have no business buying any kind of RV without having at least tried the lifestyle. But, but, but.... -- the cost of renting an RV combined with campground expenses is more than a decent hotel room. My friend T.C. does NOT CARE. -- MUST do this. Ok, ok, thinking..... thinking....  How can I bribe my sister into loaning us their 21' travel trailer for an RV adventure. After a bit of back and forth banter, we are good to go!


Smoky Mountain National ParkPrimary destination -- Smoky Mountain National Park, via a small slice of Illinois and Indiana, and several days in Kentucky. NO STOPPING in Missouri says Dave -- that is all do-able in a day trip. So, we blast across eastern Missouri and find ourselves at Lake Rend, Illinois. It's a state park, very nice, wooded, lake view; but, no internet, even with my new-fancy phone. This first "camping" night, we figure out how to set it all up, keep the dogs intact, and how to get electric, but, nothing else. It was good start. The next night at Patoka Lake, Indiana is the same, with no internet and few services. The third state park we ask if they have internet and get the response: "We are not a Hilton." My response, "Honey, we ain't in Texas." In the meantime, we are learning about dump stations, and filling our water tank. However, we need the full experience.


We then turn to full-service campgrounds. Unfortunately, even these when they advertise "internet", don't always have it good enough for our needs. In the end, on our 12 day journey and first RV adventure, we learned lots, including what we need as travel writers, as a couple, and specific wants and don't wants for a long term destination. Now, we want our own travel trailer! We were only into the trip about four days when we decided that this was a travel lifestyle that we liked. Yeah, we loved our privacy, our space, and the lack of hassle with hotel rooms.



You can see our whole adventure, including the plusses, minuses, and some of our great stops on our Travel Blog:


Back to the travel trailer, we have limitations. We have a paid for SUV that we want to keep that has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. We will need to borrow from our retirement to make this happen. The "real" adventure may be in finding a travel trailer that what works for us. Looking, looking, looking, and would appreciate your feedback via our Questionnaire. Don't forget to register to win at the end! Drawing November 1st.


UPDATE 11/1/2012: WINNERS ANNOUNCED - Congratulations to Mary Wilson and Michael Goddard!  Each won our $100 Gift Certificate survey contest.  Thanks to all for your wonderful and informative feedback. More on that in the next Newsletter.



Wisdom From the Old West


Chuckwagon Cook

Only a fool argues with the cook.


Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.


Only a buzzard feeds on his friends.


Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in.


Bucking Bronco

You'll never break a horse if you stay sittin' on the fence.


Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

New Additions & Featured Stories


Mississippi River near Cairo, Illinois If you've been following along on our What's New pages or our Facebook page, you have, no doubt, noticed that we are finally expanding east of the Mississippi River. Yup, we are Legends of America not Legends of the American West (although we're that too.) I never knew ten years ago, when I started this whole thing, whether we could ever cover enough of the West to even think about going east, but, here we are. We loved our recent adventure to Kentucky and Tennessee. It is very different and will be an adjustment, especially in the not so many wide open spaces; but, already I'm learning to more deeply appreciate a broader expanse of American History. The sounds of the guns of the Civil War, the the graves of those many men who fought for our nation's independence, and the tales of explorers and pioneers who challenged unknown frontiers in pursuit of their dreams now waft about my thoughts and my typing fingers.


In fact, we have so many new stories on various places in the East, I can't list them all here; but, you will find a number of eastern states that have enough articles to justify their own page. Check out Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, These "Old States," -- that's what the westerners called them, each have a number of tales and you can be sure there will be lots more coming. In the meantime, I'll give you a few of my favorites beginning with the Discovery and Exploration of Florida, which tells of the Spanish interest in the Sunshine State starting in the 1500's. Boy, oh, boy, those explorers just weren't very nice. And, of course, if we're going to cover the Old States, we've gotta do the basics such as Jamestown, Virginia - First Successful English Settlement, The War of 1812, where American Independence was confirmed, and the Coming of the Pilgrims.


The WitchAnd, while we're "in Massachusetts, " I must write about the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria, a story I have been long interested in. Dave can tell you that  I sometimes tend to OCD on some subjects and this was definitely one them. This was just too big for an overview and you will see see lots of subcategories on this subject such as the Accused "Witches", The Persecuted Proctor Family of Peabody, The "Afflicted" Girls, The Vengeful Putnams, Procedures, Courts & Aftermath, and lots more. Hope you like this as it took over a month to put together, and it's still not entirely complete.


Civil War re-enactors at the Chickmauga Battlefield in GeorgiaI've also become obsessive about the Civil War, a good thing, since this was such an important part of our history. You'll see summaries of Civil War Battles of Kentucky, and Virginia, longer tales on important conflicts such as the Battle of Antietam, Maryland - Bloodiest 1-Day Battle in American History, Chickamauga & Chattanooga - Death Knell of the Confederacy, the Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky, as well as a new section on People of the Civil War, which includes such famous and infamous characters of such as William "Bloody Bill" Anderson, General George Crook, John Brown - Crusading Against Slavery, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Female Spies, Galvanized Yankees, and more.


From our recent trip, you will already see The Wilderness Road Opens Kentucky, the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, updates to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Daniel Boone - The Kentucky Pioneer, as well as renewed interest in our RV Pages, which will, no doubt, begin to expand.


Now, don't fret Old West fans, we will never forget our beginnings! See Zuni Witchcraft, George Armstrong Custer - Dying at the Little Bighorn, Frontier Folk, and an interesting tale of The Taos Hum.


Me thinks, for now, I've fed you a plenty of reading material, and will mosey on down the page.


P.S. Did you know there is a town called Poseyville in Indiana? Dave and I had fun doin' a mosey to Posey.


For more What's New on Legends Of America see HERE

Featured Product:


Fall Sale on ALL


Legends Photo Store


From the Old West to Rt 66! Save 20% off all purchases of $20 or more through October 15th!  Just use coupon code FALL at checkout!




Newsletter Email Address Changes:


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What our readers are saying about Legends of America:


Love this website! So many pieces of history that I didn't know about. - Lorinda, Missouri


A great wealth of information, keep up the great work! Pat, Texas


I do arm chair travel with Alzheimer's clients at a day care, and this information will really help me this year, thanks. Corinne - California


I am so overwhelmed with all the subject matter found in this website.  I have passed it along to several friends. I can not begin to tell you how marvelous this is. - Frank, Illinois


Featured Travel Destinations


Virginia City, Nevada, 1866Virginia City, Nevada and the Comstock Lode - A once bustling mining town in the late 1800s, Virginia City was heralded as the most important settlement between Denver, Colorado and San Francisco, California in the time of its heydays. One of the oldest settlements in Nevada, it got its start when two miners by the names of Pat McLaughlin and Peter O'Reilly discovered gold at the head of Six-Mile Canyon in 1859. Soon, another miner named Henry Comstock, stumbled upon their find and claimed it was on his property. The gullible McLaughlin and O'Reilly believed him and that assured Henry a place in history when the giant Comstock Lode was named.


However, the Comstock Lode would not be known for gold, but rather, for its immensely rich silver deposits. Though silver had initially been discovered in 1857 in Nevada by brothers, Evan and Hosea Grosh, they died before they could record their claims. Though the miners rushed in after the discovery of gold, they were unable to get to it because of the heavy blue-gray clay that clung to picks and shovels. However, when someone had the good sense to assay the sticky mud, it was found to be worth $2,000 a ton – a very nice amount in those days.


Hoisting Works, Virginia City, NevadaWord of the discovery spread like wildfire and lured California gold miners in a reverse migration back over the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and within no time, a ramshackle town of tents and shacks was born. When a miner named James Finney, who was more often called "Old Virginny" from his birthplace, dropped a bottle of whiskey on the ground, he christened the newly founded tent-and-dugout town "Old Virginny Town" in honor of himself. It was later changed to Virginia City. By 1862, the population had soared to some 4,000 and would continue to increase over the next decade and a half.


Grubby prospectors became instant millionaires. Famous men like William Ralston and George Crocker, who would found the Bank of California; Leland Stanford, George Hearst, John Mackay, and William Flood made their fortunes in Comstock mining. Soon mansions, imported furniture and fashions from Europe, and the finest in food, drink and entertainment were commonplace. Virginia City quickly rivaled San Francisco in size and excess.


Continue reading HERE.


Halloween is coming, and our Ghostly Legends are filled with haunts that go bump in the night!  Here's a tale from Colorado to get you started.


Cripple Creek, Colorado, 1890 Ghosts of the Cripple Creek Mining District - In the high country beyond Pike's Peak is the Cripple Creek Mining District, dotted with historic mine shafts, head frames, and tumbling down miners' cabins. Not only might a visitor find a "taste" of gold fever in this historic district, but may also experience their hair rising on the back of their necks as they "bump" into one of the many ghosts that reportedly roam the area.


Like many other mining towns of the Old West, Cripple Creek is said to be extremely haunted. Given its rich history, complete with mining accidents, floods, fires, lawlessness, and bloody battles between mine owners and labor unions, it comes as no surprise to learn of the many ghosts who continue to linger in this once thriving city. In fact, there are so many tales of spirits wandering this historic town, that at one time boasted one homicide per day, some say it is the one of the most haunted cities in the United States.


Continue reading HERE



Route 66 Emporium


Visit the Route 66 Emporium

Route 66 Books, Maps, Signs,

Photos & More.



Did you know? That you can see daily stories, from the Old West to Route 66, on our Legends Facebook Page? With our Good Guy and Bad Guy of the week spotlights, travel destinations and Quirky Saturday, it's a daily dose of Legends sure to please!



We're looking for feedback on what you think of our website and on-line retail outlets. And you have a chance to win $100 worth of free merchandise! Go to our Questionnaire and give us thoughts.



We've added up a whole bunch of True West and Frontier Vintage Magazines!

Vintage western magazines for sale.

Feedback and Suggestions


We always appreciate feedback about the website and our newsletter. Do you have a suggestion about content that you would like to see, or perhaps, would like to contribute a photograph or a story? We would love to hear about it! We also want to hear about suggestions for improvement. See a link that doesn't work or a picture that doesn't appear -- please let us know. Just drop us a line at our Email address and tell us what you think.


This newsletter is copyrighted 2012 by Legends of America.

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otherwise made public.



Newsletter Email Address Changes: If you need to change your newsletter email address, please return to the Newsletter page and unsubscribe, then re-subscribe with your new email address.


Legends of America


A Travel Guide for the

Nostalgic & Historic Minded


28926 Cedar Hill Loop

Warsaw, MO 65355



Kathy Weiser-Alexander


Dave Alexander
Owner/Operations Mgr.


Email - Kathy
Email - Dave


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