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Legends of America - A Travel Site for the Nostalgic & Historic Minded
Legends Letter August 2014

Kathy Weiser-Alexander during Production Shoot in Parsons, KsLights, camera, Kathy! 

As mentioned in last months newsletter, we didn't expect Kathy's on camera interview about the Bloody Benders to air on the ID channel until later this year, but it turns out Kathy makes her appearance on "Evil Kin" next Tuesday, August 12, at 8pm Central on Investigation Discovery.

The story of the Bloody Benders is intriguing enough that Kansas may be the only place where mass murderer's are noted with a state historical marker.  Be sure to read our in-depth article on the Benders (featured below) and check out Kathy's television debut Tuesday August 12, 8pm.  Here's a clip from the show to set the stage.


If the video above doesn't work, or doesn't appear, try this link HERE.


To say we're excited is an understatement, and I personally think Kathy did a great job.  Of course, I could be biased.


Ghost Towns: America's Lost World DVDAlso, want to thank everyone for their incredible support on our DVD debut in Ghost Towns (America's Lost World) 2 Disc DVD.  We've had some great feedback to this 5 hour plus Documentary from award winning Centre Communications, and are proud to be a part of the project.  If you love ghost towns, you can still take advantage of our newsletter special and save 20% on the DVD through the end of the month.  Just use coupon code NEWS after adding it to your cart.


We were thinking about taking off on our 6 week adventure north late this week, but now we plan to hang back a few extra days to catch Kathy's TV appearance. We hope you join us on our journey through parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and maybe more (see our projected path below).  We'll keep you posted through our Travel Blog, Facebook and Twitter posts, and of course new stories here on the main website.  Hope to be on the road late next week. 


In the meantime I'm in negotiations to be Kathy's talent agent, but at the moment she says I need to stick to my day job.


Dave Alexander - Trailer puller, Dog wrangler, and soon to be "figuring out how to get all that stuff on the road" dude.



In this Edition:


New Additions and Featured Stories


Our Trip


The Bloody Benders of Labette County


Featured Product


Feedback and Suggestions




More to See:


Legends General Store - Supporting our website since 2003


Legends Photo Prints - Our growing gallery of Vintage and Modern images available in various print sizes. Shop, or just enjoy browsing.


Legends Travel Blog - Follow us on our travels and catch special announcements.


Legends Facebook Page - Daily posts of all things American History.


Ghost Towns of the American West Facebook Page - Occasional posts of all things Ghost Towns.


Native American History Facebook Page - Occasional posts of all things Native American


Legends' Photo Prints Facebook Page


Legends' General Store Facebook Page


Legends on Twitter


Legends on Pinterest


Legends of Kansas - Our website dedicated to the state Legends was born in.


New Additions and Featured Stories  

Kathy's been digging into the early 1900's, and the Women's movement through 19th and 20th Century America.  In the process she's ran across quite a bit of "division" in our nation that makes today's political climate pale in comparison. Check out these latest editions.

United State is Voted Dry1919 - United States Year in Review - World War I was over and most Americans were eager for peace and security; but, 1919 would prove to be anything but. We take a look at the turmoil from race riots and strikes to anarchist bombings and the flu in this 1919 year in review.

Anarchist bombing in New York City1919 Anarchist Bombings - In 1919, the United States saw violent anarchists target political leaders, law enforcement and others through a series of bombings in several cities.

Women votingWomen's Suffrage in the United States - Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote and to stand for electoral office. Limited voting rights were gained by women in some western U.S. states in the late 19th century.

Suffrage Parade, New York City, 1912The Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 - When Alice Paul and Lucy Burns returned to the United States after working with the radical wing of the British suffrage movement, they sought to infuse the lethargic American campaign with techniques and strategies that had proven successful across the ocean. Their first activity was mobilizing 5,000 women for a massive suffrage parade on the eve of President-elect Woodrow Wilson's inauguration.

Early California WomenWomen on the Move: Overland Journeys to California - Contrasting the experiences of various women who left their homes to put down roots in California during the last quarter of the 18th century to the mid 19th century. Includes women who were part of Spanish explorer, Juan Bautista de Anza's overland expeditions in 1774-75 from what is now Mexico to the San Francisco Bay area; women who lived in California when it was under Spanish (1769-1821) and Mexican (1822-46) control; and women who were drawn to the area following the discovery of gold in 1848.

The Great AwakeningUtopias in America - During the 18th and 19th centuries there were hundreds of communal utopian experiments in the United States. The Shakers alone founded around 20 settlements. While great differences existed between the various utopian communities or colonies, each society shared a common bond in a vision of communal living in a utopian society.


For more What's New on Legends of America click HERE.

Old West Wisdom

Polishing your pants on saddle leather don't make you a rider.

Life is simpler when you plough around the stump.

Don't worry about bitin' off more'n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger'n you think.

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's good to know what it was.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

An old timer is a man who's had a lot of interesting experiences -- some of them true.

Don't wear woolly chaps in sheep country during the breeding season.

A man doesn't need to be any higher, than on top of a horse.


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.

On the Road  
For those of you who have followed our travels before, you know that all plans are "loose" until we get there.  We tend to wander, and get distracted sometimes by bright shiny objects (mainly Ghost Towns and the occasional unexpected grave yard).  So this map is our "current" primary route.  We will stop at some points along the route and do what we call "hub and spoke", where we will explore out around us by 100-200 miles for several days then move on to the next RV park and repeat the process.  Based on this route, we are still looking for feedback on "must sees", keeping in mind we are looking for history and neat travel destinations.  Would also love to hear from those of you who live in this area as to what we can expect as far as crowds, bugs and critters. 

First Part

Coming Home

While customers of our Photo Print Shop are never affected by our travels, as in the past, journey's this long will cause some delays in shipping items from our General Store. However we are bringing all our DVD's, Kathy's books, our own postcard designs and a few other items including Nuwati Herbal products with us.  We will post a special message in the General Store for all items that might be delayed. 

In the meantime, we look forward to your feedback. Again, we'll keep you posted through our Travel Blog, Facebook and Twitter posts, and of course new stories on the website.


Featured Product:

We've expanded our line of Nuwati Herbal Products!

Cherokee Herbal Remedies from the Rocky Mountain General Store

Come see our new selection of Oils and Creams, Salt Scrubs and Bath Salts, all made right here in the U.S.A. by Nuwati Herbals.  Save 20% when you use coupon code NEWS at checkout. Offer good through September 1, 2014.

Also Save on Legends of America's own published works. Just use coupon code NEWS at checkout and take off 20%, including already marked down items.

Lynchings, Hangings & Vigilante Groups - Autographed

Old West Lawmen, by Kathy Weiser-Alexander and Legends of America

Great American Bars and Saloons by Kathy Weiser



The Bloody Benders of Labette County  


In the 19th century, Kansas was a bloody place, especially before the Civil War as "Free-Soilers ” and slavery advocates "duked” it out for control of the new territory. Once Kansas declared itself with the Union and the Civil War began to rage, the bloody battles continued. After the Civil War, as pioneers began to head westward along the many trails through Kansas, murder and mayhem persisted as hardened men from the battlefields, grown used to the violence, continued their violent ways along the overland trails and in the many cow towns. If not accosted by road agents, travelers also had to be concerned about Indian attacks. Southeast Kansas, in particular, was known as a rough area.


Bender Cabin near Cherryvale, Kansas

Bender Cabin, courtesy Cherryvale Museum

What our readers are saying about Legends Of America.


Just wanted to drop you a short line to let you know how much I enjoy receiving your Legends. I'm so glad you are able to still find the time. Keep up the good work. Gloria


Hi, Kathy! I love reading your newsletter, it's full of all the stuff I enjoy...You guys do an excellent job. Thank you! Many more happy trails, Ronna Sommers, Missouri


I am fascinated with the history of the old west the legends e-mail is an absolute treasure trove of information and look forward to receiving each one. There are numerous items I would like to purchase from the legends store, do you ship items overseas ie to the UK? Keep up the excellent work. Best regards, Terry Kidson - United Kingdom (Yes Terry, we do ship most items internationally and thank you for your support - Dave A.)


I love reading all of the information you have put here. Thank you, John - New Jersey.


Like the site, found things on here I never knew I could. Thanks, Carl - Missouri.


Doing both family tree and local history in my area on the settlers who pioneered/grubbed the land in the 1830's. Traced some of them on their movement westward - ending up in Kansas in late 1860's up to 1900's. I am sure they had to grub the landscape all over again.... Anyhow, like this site for the detailed history I can find. Easy to maneuver too. John, Wisconsin


Did you know? That you can see daily stories, from the Old West to Route 66, on our Legends Facebook Page? It's a daily dose of Legends sure to please!


Though most of us know of Dodge City’s wicked ways, the deadly gunfight of the Daltons in Coffeyville, and the many outlaws and gunfighters who spent time in the Sunflower State, few aware of a family of mass murderers, living a supposed quiet life near the small town of Cherryvale.


Just after the Civil War ended the United States government moved the Osage Indians from Labette County in southeast Kansas to the "new” Indian Territory in what would later become the state of Oklahoma. The "vacated” land was then made available to homesteaders, who, for the most part, were a group of hard-working pioneers farming the area’s softly rolling hills and windswept prairies.


In 1870, five families of "spiritualists” settled in western Labette County, about seven miles northeast of where Cherryvale would be platted a year later. One of these families was the Benders, comprised of John Bender, Sr.; his wife, Almira; son, John, Jr.; and daughter, Kate. A cult-like group, the families chose from several available claims and began to make their homes. John Bender, Sr. chose a 160 acre section on the western slopes of the mounds that today continue to bear their name. The property was located directly on the Osage Mission-Independence Trail that operated from Independence to Fort Scott. His son chose a narrow piece of land just north of his father’s; however, he never lived on his claim, nor made any improvements.


The family soon built a small one-room framed cabin, a barn, corral, and dug a well.  Inside the wooden cabin the area was partitioned with a large canvas, creating living quarters in the back and a small inn and store in the front. A crude sign was hung above the front door that advertised "Groceries” to the many travelers along the Osage Trail. The little "store” carried a few supplies such as powder, shot, groceries, liquor, and tobacco; sold meals, and provided a "safe” overnight resting place to the strangers along the road. 


Keeping mostly to themselves, the Benders appeared to simply be struggling homesteaders who worked hard to earn their living like the other area pioneers.  Immigrating from Germany, John Bender, Sr. was sixty years old when he arrived to the area; his wife about 55. Standing over six feet tall, John was a giant of a man who, because of his piercing black eyes set deeply under huge bushy brows, earned him the nickname of "old beetle-browed John."  His ruddy face, mostly covered by a heavy beard, sullen expression and long hair, often led to him being described as a "wild and wooly looking man.”


Both John and his raw-boned wife spoke with such guttural accents that few people could understand them. Mrs. Bender, a heavy set woman, was so unfriendly and had such sinister eyes, that her neighbors began to call her a "she-devil.” To add to her fierce look, Ma Bender also claimed to be a "medium” who could speak with the "dead” and boiled herbs and roots that she declared could be used to cast charms or wicked spells. Her husband and son were said to have feared her as she ran the household with an iron hand.


Continue Reading about the Bloody Benders HERE.


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



Kathy Weiser-Alexander


Dave Alexander
Owner/Operations Mgr.


Email - Kathy
Email - Dave  

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