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Legends Letter

Nov/Dec, 2010


Dave and Kathy HalloweenHey Ya'll! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and much to be thankful for. As I usually do, I'm combining up the November and December newsletter into one. At this time of the year, I know ya'll don't have a lot of time for reading, and I haven't near enough time for writing. As promised, you see the picture of Dave and I at the Halloween Party we attended as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. I did fool at least one person who really thought I was a man. Not for long though. How in the heck do you guys with mustaches drink a beer or anything else, for that matter? Mine was constantly sopping wet.   Driving me crazy, I soon had to rip it off.  When I posted up the photos on Facebook, one friend had this to say: "Poor Doc, that TB really effected his chest." Thanks Albert, had to chuckle at that!   After attending the party in the Kansas City area, we then made way over to Lawrence, Kansas, where the grandkids live. Just had to see them all dressed up and share a few of their Halloween treats.   Back home in Missouri it was then time for lots of work, finishing up our new addition to the house -- painting, moving furniture, organizing, and lots of cleaning. Still packed in tightly from our move from Kansas City into what previously served as just a weekend home, the additional closets and space, as well as having the washer/dryer on the main floor has made a significant difference in our lives. And, finally, I have my new office/studio, as well as a bedroom for guests! While my computer was always handy, I never had enough room for all my books, files, and research material. And, as to my creative endeavors, the sewing machine, paints, papers and etc, would usually wind up on a card table in the living room. Not any more! Now, I can get to all my projects and materials easily.   As you probably know, we always try to take a winter trip each year. This year, we've decided to do it differently than in the past. Before, we would pack up, fly somewhere warm for 7-10 days, rent a car, stay in a different hotel room every night, and eat every meal out. Now, I gotta tell ya, those were expensive little ventures. So, I got to thinking, for the price we pay for just those ten days, we could maybe drive and plant ourselves somewhere for a longer period. So, this year, and hopefully, every year in the future, we plan to spend 4-6 weeks planted somewhere so we can really explore an area without killing ourselves. This year, our destination is Del Rio, Texas. Located near the Mexican border about half way between San Antonio and the Big Bend National Park, we will day trip and take short 2-3 excursions to several ghost towns, see the Marfa lights, visit Judge Roy Bean's old place at Langtry, stroll through the Alamo, and much more.   Not to worry, we did the research on that part of the border with Mexico. It's safe and we won't be crossing over. We've rented a two bedroom apartment, are taking our dog, and it's just great to know that we can eat at "home" and not have to pack everything up each night. Not to mention, Missouri is mighty cold in February.   More on all that in January. In the meantime, Dave and I truly wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!     Kathy Weiser-Alexander Owner/Editor - Legends Of America  




In this Edition: 


New Additions & Feature Stories


Featured Travel Destination - Death Valley Ghost Towns


The Old West - Oregon Trail, Pathway to the West


Message from the Shipper Dude


Exclusive Newsletter Special - Discount Coupon


Featured Product: Nostalgic Tin Signs




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.




Join our Facebook Fanpage


New Additions and Feature Stories


Well, despite the fact that we've been busy with the house, we've also got lots of new material for you to take a look at. Continuing our tentative explorations into the "Old States" (back east), we've got just a wee bit on Kentucky including the History of the Blue Grass State. One of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth, Kentucky was originally a part of the state of Virginia. Once a noted hunting ground of the American Indians, it was continuously inhabited as early as 1,000 B.C. to about 1650, AD exclusively by Native Americans.


Daniel BooneThen we just had to add up old Daniel Boone. In the mid 1700's the English colonists lived almost entirely between the Alleghany Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. This continued to be their narrow boundaries up to the beginning of the Revolutionary War. However, by the end of the war, the western boundary extended to the Mississippi River and a number of pioneers and backwoodsmen began to move westward. One of the most noted of these pioneers was Daniel Boone. Frontiersman, pioneer, surveyor and Indian Fighter, Boone would blaze the trail known as the Wilderness Road in 1775.


Delving more into the Civil War, especially in light of the fact that 2011 is the
sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary), of the beginning of this terrible conflict, we will be adding many new stories, beginning with one on the Sesquicentennial itself. While we can't bring you all of the events and activities of the commemoration (that would be a website in and of itself,) we do provide you with links to sites that do. In the meantime, we've added more stories including  General Grant and The Vicksburg Campaign, Civil War Battles of Mississippi, and the Causes of the Civil War. Slavery and States' Rights were the two primary causes of the Civil War in the United States. They came before the people in a variety of forms, which, in spite of repeated compromises, only widened the sentiments between the North and South.


Then, I move on to one my greatest pet peeves as a frequent traveler -- Go-Lane Vs. the Slow Lane. Please tell me you're not guilty of this. The Passing Lane is not a driver's personal scenic byway, it is not a lane where drivers are allowed to go the speed limit to send a message to any who are "breaking the law" by speeding, it is not a place to make a point that you can do anything you want and be damned anyone who tells you otherwise.


Then back to what we know best -- the history of the American West. Headed to Texas soon, I got thinking I just really had to provide the whole story of Sam Bass and His Train Robber Gang. Bass first rode with the Black Hills Bandits robbing stage coaches in the Deadwood, South Dakota area and pulled of the Big Springs train robbery in Nebraska in 1877Making off with some $10,000, he returned to his native Texas and formed the Sam Bass Gang, robbing trains and banks. He and another gang member, Seaborn Barnes, were killed by Texas Rangers at at Round Rock, Texas in 1878. We've also added up several articles that pertain to Bass and his gangs including John B. Jones - Commanding the Texas Rangers. Jones was in charge of the Texas Rangers who put Bass and his gang out of business.  


We also added up several articles on his cohorts including, Jim Murphy - Betrayer of the Bass Gang, Joel Collins - Cowboy Outlaw of the Black Hills, and James Berry - A Little Known Outlaw From Missouri; as well as the details of the most famous Union Pacific Railroad robbery ever pulled off -- the Big Springs, Nebraska Train Robbery.


Continuing on the Old West front, you'll alse see another outlaw -- Kit Joy, as well as Cherokee Myths & Legends, and a A Cow Hunter's Court.


I'm a thinking that's enough for now.


In the meantime, we wish you  a Merry Christmas, and we'll be back with you after the New Year.



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Featured Travel Destination


Ghost Towns of Death Valley - With record low temperatures here in Missouri for the month, I've definitely got warm places on the mind. Fascinated with Death Valley, I've begun to explore the many ghost towns in that vast expanse of desert and have become so entranced, this is probably going to be the destination for our 2012 winter trip.


Since the 1848 discovery of gold in California, Death Valley has experienced over 140 years of boom and bust mining, creating a number of ghost towns in the area. Little did those many miners passing through the area in 1849 know that there were vast deposits of gold, silver, copper, and borax just waiting to be taken out of the mountains and valley floor that they crossed along the way.


From the 1880's to early 1900's mining was limited and sporadic in the Death Valley region, mostly because many of these early mining districts met with a notable lack of success. Primitive and inefficient technology, scarcity of water and fuel, and the difficulties of transportation made it economically impossible to mine any but the highest grade ores. Some of the towns that died even before the turn of the century included Kasson, Rhodes Spring, Old Tecopa, Old Stovepipe Wells, and Panamint City, as well as dozens of mines.


However, one of the earliest successful mining operations was the Harmony Borax Works, which was active from 1883 to 1888. This mill was famous not for its ore deposits, but for the Twenty Mule Team wagons used to transport the partially refined borax.

With renewed interest in gold and silver mining, the early 1900's witnessed a number of new mines and settlements.
Skidoo, Rhyolite, and Keane Wonder Mine became large-scale operations. The boom towns which sprang up around these mines flourished during the first decade of the 20th century but, soon slowed down after the panic of 1907. Prosperous large-scale metal mining in Death Valley ended around 1915.


Today, some mining continues in the area, but, the vast majority of Death Valley's mining heydays displays only the remnants of mines, mills, and mining equipment, as well as hundreds of old mines and ghost towns. Though I've already written up dozens, there are just as many more, so hold tight -- they're coming. In the meantime, check out a few of these fascinating places: Amargosa, Nevada, Beveridge, California, the Bullfrog Mining District, Nevada, Cerro Gordo, California, Dublin Gulch, California, Harmony Borax Works, California, and dozens more. 


Adding a bit more information, you'll also find the history of Borax Mining in Death Valley and some interesting characters of Early Death Valley, including Shorty Harris, who must have claimed at least half of the Death Valley finds for himself; Pete Aguereberry, who worked his Eureka Mine for more than 40 years, entirely by himself; William T. Coleman, a self-made millionaire, who lost it all in the borax industry, and lots more.   


And, not forgetting our ghost hunters, we've bumped into just a couple of lively spirits at Death Valley Junction & the Haunted Amargosa Hotel, as well as getting to know  Patsy Clark, who developed the town of Furnace in Death Valley and his Haunted Clark Mansion in Spokane, Washington.


More ...


Featured Product:  Nostalgic Tin Signs - Tin signs make great decorating items and gifts. From beer, to war bonds, Route 66 and more. Silk screened on solid metal and are ready for hanging.


Tin Signs from Legends' General Store

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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!  



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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!

Old West


Albert Bierstadt's Oregon Trail, 1869Oregon Trail - Pathway to the West - The Oregon Trail became one of the key migration routes that pioneers crossed on their way to the vast west. Spanning over half the continent the trail proceeded over 2,170 miles west through territories that would later become Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. The long journey through endless plains, rolling hills, and mountain passes, began in Independence, Missouri and ended at the Columbia River in Oregon.


The route of the Oregon Trail began to be scouted as early as 1823 by fur traders and explorers. By the 1830s, it was used regularly by mountain men, traders, missionaries, and military expeditions.


At the same time, small groups of individuals and the occasional family attempted to follow the trail, with some succeeding in arriving at Fort Vancouver in Washington.

On May 16, 1842 the first organized wagon train on the Oregon Trail set out from Elm Grove, Missouri, with more than 100 pioneers. The following year, an estimated 800 immigrants arrived in the Willamette Valley. Hundreds of thousands more would follow, especially after gold was discovered in California in 1849.


Many rock formations became famous landmarks that Oregon Trail pioneers used to navigate, as well as leave messages for pioneers following behind them. The first landmarks the pioneers encountered were in Western Nebraska, such as Court House Rock, Chimney Rock, and Scotts Bluff (where wagon ruts can still be seen to this day). Further west, in Wyoming, you can still read the names of pioneers carved into a landmark bluff called Register Cliff.


In 1995, the National Park Service established the National Trails System Office in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Salt Lake City Trails Office administers the Oregon, the California, the Mormon Pioneer Trail and the Pony Express National Historic Trails.


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Notes From Dave and Legends' General Store


Dave Alexander loves working for his wife Kathy so Much that he's hiding this "I Love You" Message on this pictureOverall it's been a great year for us at Legends of America. Like many other businesses, and I'm sure some of you, we've taken our licks in this economy, but at the same time we found many new friends and are thankful for all those that have been our long time readers.

I took a call the other day from one such reader in New Mexico who's been a Newsletter subscriber since 2006. I was so happy to hear from Jean that I probably came off sounding a bit desperate for business. The truth is, I was humbled and extremely grateful for the fact she has been following Legends for four years. While we appreciate each and every person that visits our website, even if just once, it's those of you who have been with us for so long that keep Kathy motivated in her writing, and keep me busy trying to find new ways to say thanks.

And your numbers are growing. We crossed the 6,000 threshold in Newsletter Subscribers this year, and we have gained over 3,500 fans on our Facebook Fan Page in just over a year. We've also seen an increase in people visiting our site, up 13% to over 4.6 Million in the past 12 months.

All this helps not only motivate, but also fund our obsession with history. And I'm not talking about just selling merchandise. Even when you don't buy anything from us, your visit to our website has an overall effect on our ability to sell advertising, promote and market Legends of America. It's solely because of you that we are able to travel to these historic places, write about fascinating characters, and meet so many wonderful people. I guess that's why I'm so humbled and grateful to have you as a reader. It keeps both of us from having to go back to the corporate world, which at this point I couldn't even imagine.

We are still very small in the grand scheme of the World Wide Web, and will be facing some pretty big challenges in the year ahead as we try to grow the business to the next level. But I promise this, we will always be thankful for you, our readers, and look forward serving each and every one of you with quality content and merchandise in the new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Dave Alexander
Legends' Legends' General Store Shipper Guy and maker of bacon and eggs.






November in American History

November 4, 1862 - Richard Gatling patented his first rapid-fire machine-gun.

November 6, 1860 -
Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th U.S. President and the first Republican.

November 15, 1864 - During the Civil War, Union troops under General William T. Sherman burned Atlanta.

November 17, 1800 - The U.S. Congress met for the first time in the new capital at Washington, D.C.

December In American History

December 6, 1865 - The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery.

December 25, 1868 - President Andrew Johnson granted general amnesty to all those involved in the Civil War.

December 29, 1890 - Members of the U.S. 7th Cavalry massacred more than 200 Native AmericanSioux men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota.

December 30, 1803 - The United States took formal possession of the territory of Louisiana from France, nearly doubling the size of the U.S.

December 31, 1879 - Thomas Edison provided the first public demonstration of his electric incandescent lamp at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

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Legends of America


A Travel Guide for the

Nostalgic & Historic Minded


28926 Cedar Hill Loop

Warsaw, MO 65355


Kathy Weiser




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