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Legends Letter

Nov/Dec, 2008

 

 

Hey, friends and neighbors, hoping all of you are having the greatest of holiday seasons, and wishing you a wonderful new year.

 

As usual, I'm combining November and December's newsletters - it just gets too busy this time of year to keep up. And, I've been inundated with the "must dos" required of any small business -- unfortunately keeping me away from doing the stuff I like best -- writing and traveling. Instead, I've been shipping packages, took a quick trip to Texas for Thanksgiving, preparing for holiday guests, and boringly consumed with transitioning some 5,000 postcards to a new shopping cart that provides you with a choice of Google Checkout or Paypal. This is kind of a test, to see if you like it better, though I haven't seen a large difference so far. In the meantime, this transition also expanded our postcard offerings to include every state in the Union with hundreds of new postcards never offered before. Check them out!

 

On a more creative note, I've also been designing a new line of our own custom postcards. These unique postcards incorporate a 'lil bit of my own artistic abilities, along with old photos, and many of our own pictures taken throughout our travels. Take a look and I would love to hear some feedback from postcard enthusiasts. I've been pretty focused on Route 66 and the Old West, but am expanding out to "Greetings From ..." each state, and whatever else you might like.

 

And, as to the postcards, Dave is calling me a "postcard nut!!." Yes, I can be a little obsessive-compulsive and I did have postcards stacked up in three rooms all over the @*#*! He's right about the "mania," but he also just likes to have a good laugh at me. Hehehe!

 

Unfortunately, with all these mundane business tasks, you won't see a lot of new material recently, but rest easy, the new year is just around the corner.

 

I've also been working on a custom line of of small books which will incorporate much of the writing here, historical texts, and our  vintage photographs. Look for those in the early part of 2009, as well as a bunch of other new titles as we expand our book offerings.

 

Ok, enough of the tedious - on to more interesting topics.

 

In the meantime, I truly hope you enjoy the newsletter and the website!!

 

Kathy Weiser, Owner/Editor

 

 

 

 

In this Edition: 

 

New Additions & Feature Stories

 

Featured Travel Destination - Tombstone, Arizona

 

The Old West - George Maledon - Prince of the Hangmen

 

Ghostly Legends - Hell Dogs of Eldorado Canyon

 

Featured Book - Route 66 Map Series

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New Additions and Feature Stories

 

 

Well, I did get time to add a little new material, but not nearly on the scale as usual, so I'll also "re-run" a couple of interesting older items.

 

After a reader brought an error to my attention on those outlaw Younger Brothers, I decided that I just hadn't given them proper attention, simply having grouped them with the others on the Outlaw List, so you'll see an expansion on these lawless dudes and their capers.

 

To our endless lists - I have once again been expanding on Old West Forts, and you will now see feature stories on Fort Supply and Fort Washita, Oklahoma as well as More Oklahoma Fort Summaries including Camp Nichols, Fort Arbuckle, Fort Towson and more.   

 

We've got a new section on Cowboy Songs & Frontier Ballads. I just love these old jingles that tell the story of the Old West, sometimes with eloquence and sometimes with cowboy lingo. Check out just a few of these: The Cowboy's Dream, Git Along Little Dogies, The Last Longhorn, San Antonio Rose, and dozens more.

 

I also rustled up a few more frontier characters including the fascinating story of Albert Jennings Fountain, a soldier, lawyer and politician who, after making a number of enemies during his career went missing, along with his 8 year-old son, in the desert of southern New Mexico. His  mysterious disappearance has been the subject of many a writer and investigator, but yet today, remains unsolved. 

 

Adding yet another "bad boy" to our long list of outlaws, you'll see "Doc” Middleton - The King of Horse Thieves. Leading a horse thieving gang known as the Pony Boys, Doc Middleton probably stole more horses in his time than any other outlaw.

 

And, on the "white hat" side of the Old West, is Daniel Boone May, a shotgun messenger on the Deadwood Stage, who, in the line of duty,

killed several stage robbers in the 1870s and built, for himself, a fierce reputation as not a man to contend with.

 

I also dug up an old article entitled Triggerfingeritis, which was actually a chapter in a book entitled The Red-Blooded Heroes of the Frontier by Edgar Beecher Bronson, written in 1910. Shoot, just the title was enough to get my brain a itchin'. 

 

On another note, let's revisit an old article called Old Time Cures & Remedies. Recently, I had a bad bout with a wicked head and chest cold and I'm tellin' ya, I was so desperate I might just of tried some of these crazy cures. Thank goodness I didn't, cuz I'm still here to write about it. Imagine, gargling with cow dung, or packing sheep droppings around your neck. Really, don't try these remedies. They're funny but very scary.

 

And last, but not last, take a peek an at old-time Pioneer Christmas, where, in some places was not so different than today, but for others, 

far away from "civilized" life -- pioneers, cowboys, explorers, and mountain men, usually celebrated Christmas with homemade gifts and humble fare.

 

On a final note, some of ya'll have been tellin' me that you want to know me better and here's a way -- Facebook -- No, it isn't just for teenagers. In fact, I recently connected with one of my oldest and dearest friends that I had lost track of for 25 years. Great fun! Meet my friends and family - just look up "Kathy Weiser" and request to be "my friend."

 

Ok, moving on ...

 

 

Bumper Sticker Wisdom 

The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.

There is no shortcut to anywhere worth going

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.

  

Drive Home a Point!

Shop Bumper Stickers!

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Old West Wisdom:

 

An angry bull is less dangerous than an angry woman.

 

Speak your mind, but ride a fast horse.

 

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

 

Tumbleweeds are best left to themselves.

 

Never let your yearnin's' get ahead of your earnin's.

 

 

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Featured Travel Destination 

 

 

Tombstone, Arizona todayTombstone - The Town Too Tough To Die  - As I stare out the window at the drizzling sleet and shiver at the plunging temperature gauge, I can only dream of warm places and re-live fond memories. And, immediately, one of my most favorite destinations comes to mind -- Tombstone, Arizona. Filled with history, ghostly legends, and high temperatures, I wonder what Christmas looks like in the Arizona desert.

 

One of the most lawless mining camps in the American West, Tombstone was soon dubbed "The Town Too Tough to Die.” The mining camp was born when a prospector named Ed Schieffelin looked out on the mountains from where he stood at Camp Huachuca, Arizona. Thinking that the rich colors of the mountains looked like a promising place to prospect, he commented on this to a nearby soldier. However, the soldier was quick to warn him that the area was controlled by Apaches and responded him "All you'll find in those hills is your tombstone."

 

However, Schieffelin was not deterred, and the next year, in February 1878, he set out to hills alone in search of his fortune. After hiding for two nights from the Apaches he spied what looked like it might be a silver vein on a ledge high above his hiding place. Climbing to the ledge, he pried out several pieces of pure silver and was elated when he estimated the vein to be some fifty feet long and twelve inches wide. Remembering the soldier’s warning he called his vein, which would later become a mine, "Tombstone.”

 

After filing the first two claims he found two more sites laden with silver ore, which he dubbed the "Lucky Cuss” and the "Toughnut." In no time at all, word spread that silver had been discovered and other prospectors began to search the area. Before long, more mines began to open including, the Grand Central, the Charleston and the Contention mines, and a mining camp was born named after Ed’s first claim – Tombstone.

 

Tombstone's post office was established December 2, 1878 and has never been discontinued. On March 5, 1879 an official town site was laid out and lots were sold on Allen Street for five dollars each. Soon, Tombstone had some 40 cabins and about 100 residents. More people began to travel to the area including the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Charlie Storms, and other notable frontier characters. The Clanton Gang was already "working" in the area, rustling cattle and making mischief, which would ultimately lead to the infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

 

Unlike many old frontier towns, Tombstone still "lives" on, with its dusty streets and frontier character still intact. Infamous Allen Street, once full of bars, casinos and bordellos has been restored for visitors and the original 1882 Cochise County Courthouse and gallows are now a State Historic Park. This old town, full of life and history, survives the test of time and is well worth the visit. 

 

More ....

       

Featured Book:

 

Route 66 eight state map seriesThe Route 66 Map Series -  Created by Mother Road Experts Jerry McClanahan and Jim Ross, the Route 66 Map Series, consisting of a separate fold-out map for each Route 66 state, provides an easy-to-follow through route and clear, simple directions to keep you on the right track as you take the historic journey down America's legendary highway.

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Native American Proverbs:

 

A danger foreseen is half-avoided.

 

Cherish youth, but trust old age.

 

Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.

 

 

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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

 

 

George Maledon, the Prince of HangmenGeorge Maledon - Prince of Hangmen - George Maledon earned the moniker of the Prince of Hangmen while serving as Judge Isaac Parker's chief executioner during the lawless days when Parker served as judge of the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

 

Maledon, a diminuitive man standing at just about five and a half feet, was described as a "whispy" little fellow, with dark eyes and hair, a fair complexion and a long beard. Quiet in nature, he rarely smiled and was almost always dressed in black, an "appearance" that would soon seem appropriate to his new profession.

 

After the Civil War, Maledon worked as a deputy sheriff at Fort Smith before being hired as a turnkey at the federal jail in May, 1871. The next year, he was appointed as a "special deputy" incharge of execution of the condemned prisoners. For the next 22 years, he would execute more than sixty criminals and was forced to shoot five prisoners during escape attempts, two of which were killed. In no time, he was given the title of the "Prince of the Hangmen" by the local newspaper - the Fort Smith Elevator, who was only too happy to publish each and every morbid detail of Maledon's handiwork for the "entertainment" of its readers.

 

On September 3, 1875, the largest group ever to be executed at once occurred when Maledon hanged six men. The schedule event had been widely publicized in the media and a week before the execution was to occur, the city began to fill up with strangers from all over the country.

 

This event earned Judge Isaac Parker the nickname of "The Hanging Judge” and called his court the "Court of the Damned." 

 

Ironically, though the public flocked to watch these gruesome displays, Maledon was shunned by the community, as the town folk were afraid to associate with the "Prince of Hangmen."

 

However, there was one man who was morbidly attracted to Maledon's occupation - Heck Thomas. One one occasion while Thomas was at Fort Smith, he was asking Maledon for all the particulars when the executioner proudly displayed a collection of leg irons, straps, and ropes that were actually utilized in some of the hangings.

 

After more than two decades carrying out these gruesome tasks, Maledon retired from the federal court in 1894. Later, he left Fort Smith and took a "show" on the road where he displayed relics from hangings, including ropes, pieces of the gallows' beam, and photographs of some of the nation's most notorious outlaws. Setting up a tent in various cities, hundreds of people flocked to the show to hear Maledon speak and view the gruesome displays.

 

More ....

 

What our readers are saying about Legends of America:

I love the newsletter -- I don't know where to start. I like everything about it. I am 61 and blind now, it takes me to places I can't go, and I, like everyone else, read about people I never met -- gunfighters, outlaws, and even ghosts. Keep it up. Hank

Totally fascinating. I'm 82 and enjoy it immensely. Such a relief from politics. Thank you for a job well done. -- Bob, Arizona

Love your site. I was looking for information about Route 66. Wanting to take the trip, but also looking for information about where, why, how and don't miss, before I start the trip. Thanks for all the information. - Barbara, Alabama

I spend hours on this site when I get a newsletter--all the links lead to other interesting stories. This the most entertaining site! Thank you for providing a wonderful place to escape! - Robby, Colorado

Kathy, I have spent hours reading and looking at your website. I will be spending more time as I go along. It is a wonderful work with so much information. Thanks for providing this website for the pleasure and information of others. Best regards and keep up the good work. -- St. Augustine Florida

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Ghostly & Other Strange Legends

 

 

Helldogs in Eldorado CanyonHell Dogs of Eldorado Canyon, Nevada -

Man per man and mile per mile, Eldorado Canyon has a wider range of historical events than anywhere in the Wild West. This rich history, coupled with the turbulent events taking place in Eldorado Canyon in the 19th century has led to numerous ghost stories of dead miners, Indians and pioneers who once roamed the area.

 

However, some of the most fascinating are the ghostly tales of canine spirits. Reportedly, during the rowdy mining days, many of the prospectors kept dogs at their claim sites to protect their property. Reared to attack at the slightest trespass by strangers, the dogs were often extremely vicious.

 

"Man’s best friend” or not, many of these dogs were shot, left chained at the claim site to die, or released into the wild, when the gold played out and the miners left the area. Over the years, numerous tales of sightings of these many spectral hounds have been told by exploring visitors and locals alike. A few even tell of being attacked by these ferocious canine apparitions.

 

One story describes two brothers who were compelled to test the validity of the canine tales. Exploring the area, they soon found an old mine shaft where they noticed an ancient weathered chain embedded into the rock wall near the entrance. Entering the old mine, they came upon a pile of bones that appeared to be those of a large dog. As the sun was quickly setting, they determined to camp near the mine shaft.  Sitting around a small campfire, they listened to what sounded like coyotes yipping in the distance. Not alarmed, they ate dinner around the fire until both men began to feel uneasy as the atmosphere changed, seeming thick and somehow charged. Before long, they heard the sounds of large dogs panting in close proximity, followed by low and hateful growls.

 

More ...

 

 

Custom Postcards - Always thinking of something new and a way to use our thousands of photos, and a bit of artistic talent, we've started our own line of postcards.

 

  Greetings From the Old West

 

Did You Know??

Harry Longabaugh became known as "the Sundance Kid” because he served a jail term for horse stealing in Sundance, Wyoming.

 

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

 

Though the term "stick 'em up" is widely used in Western films, it wasn't actually coined until the 1930's.

 

Seattle's houseboat population is the largest east of the Orient.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Legends of America

 

A Travel Guide for the

Nostalgic & Historic Minded

 

28926 Cedar Hill Loop

Warsaw, MO 65355

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Kathy Weiser

Owner/Editor

  www.legendsofamerica.com

Email

 

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