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Legends Letter

October, 2008


Kathy and DaveBoo!!!  And, Happy Halloween!


Not long back from yet another trip, though this one was not to unknown places, but rather, to an old "familiar," and to the very place that this whole website began. Five years ago, I had no concept of building a website, only an idea that I wanted to escape the rat-race of the corporate world and pursue my dreams of writing, traveling, and exploring history.


In the meantime, Grandma was "talking" to me - niggling, nudging, inspiring. Though she's been dead for 20 years, her voice was and still is predominant. I spent my summers in this little ole' miner's cabin with my Grandma in a tiny community just outside of Eagle Nest, New Mexico called Idlewild. I remember grandma wagging us along to ghost towns, museums, art galleries, etc. I also remember being mostly bored to tears. But, something in all that seeped through, cuz' here I am, perpetuating exactly what she wanted me to, and already working the same wiley ways on my own grand daughters.


Huh?  I can't possibly be old enough to have grandchildren or travel in those very same footsteps as grandma! Much less be relegated to spending my time telling stories (though that is how I spend 90% of my time.) No way! Though I might be nearing 50, it's the new "30," right? Yeah! I can still do a cartwheel, a swan-dive off the high board, swim the butterfly, and keep up with the youngin's in any beer drinkin' contest. Ok, we're good now.


In any event, it was yet another trip to those old wonderful stomping grounds, but there's a lot of new stuff too. Though you won't see a whole bunch of new articles, there are tons of updates to that place I call paradise in northeast New Mexico. Yes, I have thought very hard of moving there, but ... it snows a lot in the winter, and I don't like that part. I also invested in a new camera, so, hopefully, you will see lots of better photographs.


Guess I better get going. In the meantime, I truly hope you enjoy the newsletter and the website!!






In this Edition: 


New Additions


Featured Travel Destination - Taos Pueblo, New Mexico


The Old West - Words, Wisdom, Proverbs & More


Ghostly Legends - El Muerto


Featured Book - All American Cowboy Grill


New Additions to Legends of America



Though I've been traveling known paths, this does not exclude all kinds of new material, including this most recent trip. One of my favorite all time places to visit is the Taos Pueblo, which I have probably been to more than a dozen times, but only once since this website began, and then, we arrived on a festival day which prohibited photographs. Not this time. This was a great adventure with lots of great photos. While checkin' it out, I also looked into the Tiwa Tribe and the long history of the Pueblo Indians.


We also went through Kenton, Oklahoma, which is not yet written up, but is a semi-ghost town, in the midst of outlaw territory. With this comes a tale of not only a bandit, but also a missing treasure - check out Outlaw William Coe and His Missing Loot.


Of course, we checked out ghost towns along the way, and in addition to revisiting Folsom, Johnson Mesa, Cimarron (which is not a ghost town but a very historic place,) Elizabethtown, and Dawson; we also made a stop at the crumbling remains of Colfax, New Mexico. Not much left here, but a couple of photo opportunities.


Our travels took us further to Jemez Springs, through the Bandelier National Monument, which was unfortunately partially closed, but we still got to see a piece of it. Then onward to the Jemez State Monument, a 500 year old Indian village. I haven't gotten these places written up yet, but, stay tuned, they will be coming soon.


Once home, I'm still determined to add at least as many memorable lawmen as there are dastardly characters, so you'll now find "Bigfoot" Wallace, a long-time soldier and Texas Ranger, who turned Texas Folk hero, even including having a part in an old Texas ghost legend - El Muerto. While in Texas, we also checked out one of the longest and bloodiest of all the feuds in all history -- the Sutton-Taylor Feud. Yup, Texas does it big.


Ok, back to lawmen -- you'll also find "Dangerous Dan" Tucker - an efficient, though dangerous officer in New Mexico and a whole bunch of others on our Lawmen List.


After visiting Montana a couple of months ago, I'm still catching up on all that history. The whole story of the Montana Vigilantes is pretty fascinating and they, no doubt, hanged some bad characters such as Cyrus Skinner, an escaped convict from California, but also several other men who were thought to have been innocent, such as Erastus "Red" Yager and "Clubfoot" George Lane.


But, the greatest amount of time has been spent in expanding our Old West Lists. While these don't always turn in to full-fledged articles, it's a time consuming process to add hundreds of summaries to our lists of Old West characters. Still determined to have the longest list ever, you will see bunches of new additions to our many lists including Gunfighters, Native Americans, Women, Explorers, and more. Because the list has become so long, we are splitting some of them up and adding more lists, including our newest -- Frontiersmen & Pioneers, and there will more later. Also coming, is an index to virtually every notable person in the Old West. Talk about a big job -- this will take a while.


Better get busy!!!!   


 Bumper Sticker Wisdom 

i souport publik edekasion.

A bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory.


Drive Home a Point!

Shop Bumper Stickers!


Old West Wisdom:


Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.


Forgive your enemies. It messes with their heads.


Don't squat with your spurs on.



Native American Proverbs:


t is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand.


Before eating, always take time to thank the food.


If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come.




Featured Travel Destination 



Taos PuebloTaos Pueblo, New Mexico - 1,000 Years of History - Just two miles north of the city of Taos, New Mexico, stands the centuries old Taos Pueblo, one of the longest continually inhabited communities in the United States.


 Archaeologists have found evidence that the Taos Valley has been inhabited as far back as 3,000 B.C. and prehistoric ruins, dating from 900 A.D., can be seen throughout the area. However, the Taos Pueblo is thought to have been built between 1000 and 1450 A.D. and appears today much like it did a millennium ago, linking today’s Native Americans with those early residents of years ago.


Built by the Northern Tiwa tribe, the pueblo is made entirely of adobe – a combination of earth mixed with straw and water, and then either poured into forms or made into sun-dried bricks to build walls that are often several feet thick.


The first Europeans to see the pueblo were Captain Hernando de Alvarado and a detachment of some 20 soldiers who had been sent by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado to explore what is now northeast New Mexico in 1540. The name "Taos” was borrowed from the Spanish word "təo" meaning "village." Over the years, the pueblo was involved in a number of skirmishes with the Spanish, Mexicans and U.S. Troops.


The settlement of Taos, which grew up around the pueblo, soon grew in importance as a trading center and by the early 1800's, was called home to a number of famous mountain men, including Kit Carson, Smith Simpson, and Ceran St. Vrain.


The Tiwa people and the Taos Pueblo moved on into the future with the rest of the American West, but continue to maintain many of the native traditions, cultures and customs, especially within the pueblo walls. Though the pueblo buildings have been updated to include doors, windows, it continues to look very much as it did throughout its long history and does not allow modern utilities such as plumbing and electricity.


More .


Featured Book:

 Cowboy Grill Cookbook

The All-American Cowboy Grill
This book will blaze a new trail through the
Old West as it partners savory recipes from American cowboys and cowgirls of movie, TV, rodeo, and music fame with dozens of photos and sidebars of related interest.

Hardwater SoapLegends of America Advertising!

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The Old West



Old West  Words, Wisdom, Insults, Proverbs, Slang and More!  -  Well, as I obviously spend the vast amount of my time writing, I obviously love words, and especially those of the Old West. You can find a lot of material along those lines on the website including Words of the Old West, which includes actual statements made by many of those colorful characters, as well as Native American Quotes by heroic and famous Indians. From those first residents of our nation, we've also published some insightful wisdom you'll find on our Native American Proverbs pages. You'll also find bucket loads of Western Slang & Phrases, a little bit of Old West Wisdom, and on a lighter note, a few Old West Insults. 


Have you ever noticed that some people in English speaking nations can't seem to understand everything we say? Part of that is the vast amount of slang in our language, but part of it is the Evolution of American English.


Almost from the time that the first Englishman set foot upon American soil, our language began to evolve. A continuous process throughout the centuries, "Americanisms" have been created or changed from other English terms to produce a language that differs from our forefathers and has always signified our uniqueness and independence.


By 1720, the English colonists began to notice that their language was quite different from that spoken in their Mother land and before long, the English across the "pond" were calling our language "barbarous." How did that come to be?


The reasons are numerous, the most obvious being the sheer distance from England. Over the years, many words were borrowed from the Native Americans, as well as other immigrants from France, Germany, Spain, and other countries. Other words that became obsolete across the pond, continued to be utilized in the colonies. In other cases, words simply had to be created in order to explain the unfamiliar landscape, weather, animals, plants, and living conditions that these early pioneers encountered.


To our newly independent Americans, they were proud of their "new" American language, wearing it, as yet, another badge of independence.

Our leaders, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Rush, agreed -- it was not only good politics, it was sensible.


The evolution of the American language continued into the 20th century, as well as the American pride.  After World War I, when Americans were in a patriotic and anti-foreign mood, the state of Illinois went so far as to pass an act making the official language of the state the "American language." A similar bill was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives the same year but died in committee.


Ironically, after centuries of forming our "own" language, the English and American versions are once again beginning to blend as movies, songs, electronics, and global traveling bring the two "languages" closer together once again.


More ...


Custom Greeting Cards - Perpetuating our love of these words, as well as our large collection of vintage photographs, we've developed a new exclusive line of greeting cards, which combine the two. They're way fun, thought provoking at times, and you can't get them anywhere else. Check them out HERE!




Just In! More than 300 new postcards!


Always adding to our postcard inventory, you'll find more than 300 new postcards and there's a lot more coming! 


Oregon Postcards


Did You Know??

Cattle drives rarely went more than ten or twelve miles a day, as the cattle had to be given time to rest and graze. A drive from Texas to Montana could take up to five months.

Shrimp consumption in Las Vegas is more than 60,000 pounds a day -- higher than the rest of the country combined!

During the Wild West days in Billings, Montana, the cowboys and scarlet ladies of every saloon performed impossible dances atop bars, tables, and in some instances upon atop the pianos.

Sun Valley, Idaho is recognized as the home of America's first destination ski resort.


What do ghosts and goblins drink on Halloween?




Have you seen Quasimodo?


I have a hunch he's back!


What do you call a little monster's parents?


Mummy and deady.


Ghostly & Other Strange Legends



El Muerto Headless HorsemanEl Muerto - The Headless Horseman - In the 1800's Texas was a wild and lawless place attracting all manner of thieves, murderers, and other ruthless outlaws. To combat these many desperadoes and fight the Indians, who were prone to attacking the white settlers, in rode the Texas Rangers, who set about in taming the wild Texas frontier.

In 1850, a man known simply as Vidal was busy rustling cattle all over South Texas and soon he had a high price on his head – "dead or alive.” During that summer, Vidal took advantage of a Comanche raid which pulled most of the men northward to fight off the attack. Vidal and his men took advantage of the situation and began to rustle horses on the San Antonio River.

Among the stolen herd, were several prized mustangs belonging to Texas Ranger Creed Taylor, who soon gathered fellow ranger, Big Foot Wallace, and a nearby rancher by the name of Flores to go after Vidal. Both Wallace and Taylor were as skilled as any Comanche when tracking and the three men shortly found the bandit's trail. Surprising them while they were sleeping, the Rangers killed the thieves.

But just killing them was not enough. Taylor and Wallace wanted to set an example that would deter future bandits. In those days, stealing cattle and horses was a crime more serious than murder. The Rangers had tried all types of brutal justice including stringing them up in trees and left hanging, shooting them and chopping them to pieces, leaving their bodies for animal bait. But nothing had worked to stop the outlaws.

In a dramatic example of frontier justice, Wallace beheaded Vidal then lashed him firmly into a saddle on the back of a wild mustang. Tying the outlaw's hands to the pommel and securing the torso to hold him upright, Big Foot then attached Vidal’s head and sombrero to the saddle with a long strip of rawhide. He then turned the bucking horse loose to wander the Texas hills with its terrible burden on his back.

Soon, stories began to abound about the headless rider seen usually in remote country, with its sombreroed head swinging back and forth to the rhythm of horse’s gallop.

Finally, a posse of local ranchers captured the wild pony at a watering hole near the tiny community of Ben Bolt just south of Alice, Texas. Still strapped firmly on its back was the dried-up corpse of Vidal, now riddled by scores of bullet holes and Indian arrows. The body was buried in an unmarked grave near Ben Bolt, and horse was free of its burden at last.

That should have been the end of El Muerto, but the legend would live on. Soon after Vidal’s body was laid to rest, soldiers at Fort Inge (present-day Uvalde) began to see the headless rider. Travelers and ranchers also reported continuing to see the apparition. And, to this day, many people tell of seeing the headless rider galloping though the mesquite on clear and moonlit nights in South Texas.


More ...


What our readers are saying about Legends of America:


Thanks again for another great newsletter, sound's like you had a great time. I enjoy hearing from you & reading everything that I can. I love the Old West & you help bring it to me. - Gary

I write a blog called ramblingbob.wordpress.com and have done a bunch of gunfighter and outlaws, and Old West prostitutes, and often get referred to your excellent site. I am amazed at the amount of work you have invested in your research. My little blog pales in your your shadow. Thank you for your efforts it is great and a asset to anyone who has a love of our country's history. -- ramblingbob, Los Angeles, California

Just another great newsletter Kathy, great work on all your travels, sure gives us some incentive to get out too and see the world!  - Ron & Sherry, Manitoba, Canada

Although I am an Englishman living in Scotland, I'm very interested in the Old West. I found your website while researching Wyatt Earp, a figure who I would dearly love to have met and spoken with. I've saved your Site in my "Favorites" and return to it regularly and thumb through it's pages. For documenting the Old West, it's unbeatable and I'll return to it again and again. -- Nick, Aberdeen, Scotland

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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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