Casey Jones

Casey Jones, climbed in the cabin,

Casey Jones, orders in his hand

Casey Jones, leanin' out the window

Takin' a trip to the Promised Land

Now you've got that stuck in your head, haven't you?! I did the whole way through the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum.

 

Mind you that is the chorus from Johnny Cash's version of 'Casey Jones'. The original 'Ballad of Casey Jones' was written by Wallace Saunders, a friend of Casey Jones.

Come, all you rounders, if you want to hear

The story told of a brave engineer;

Casey Jones was the rounder's name

A high right-wheeler of mighty fame.

It is long and tells of brave Casey Jones riding the trains and saving his passengers on his last fateful ride.

 

He was born John Luther Jones in Southeast Missouri on March 14, 1863, the eldest of 5 children. He and his siblings grew up in Cayce, Kentucky. He fell in love with all things railroad. During his railroad work when asked where he was from, with Cayce being the answer he was soon known and referred to as 'Casey Jones'.

Casey started work with the Mobile & Ohio Railroad as a telegrapher at age 15. While boarding with a family in Jackson, TN he met and fell in love with the proprietors daughter, Janie Brady. He and Janie were married in 1886 and had 3 children of their own. He was a devoted father and husband.

 

Having become a proficient telegrapher, Casey then moved up to the position of fireman. Eventually earning his ultimate role as an engineer, Casey was one of the best.

 

During his employ with Illinois Central Railroad, Casey was making a run from Memphis, TN to Canton, MS on April 30, 1900. At 3.52am he was killed in a train wreck.

The mainline was supposed to be clear for the mail and passenger run but Casey didn't know that ahead, a train had stalled on a siding due to a broken air hose, leaving 3 of its carriages still sticking out on the main line.

 

Casey had almost no warning but managed to slow his engine from 70mph to 35mph, telling his fireman Sim Webb to 'jump!' just moments before the impact. With one hand on the whistle and the other on the brake, Casey's engine collided with the other train and he was killed in the crash. He had managed to slow the train enough that all his passenger cars stayed on the track and all passengers survived. He was just 37 years old.

 

If my memory serves me correctly from the short introductory video, compensation payouts totalled around $29, with the highest being $5 for bruising to the fireman.

Through personal appearances by Sim Webb at events honouring Casey Jones, the ballad written by Wallace Saunders and his wife, Casey became famous around the world.

The museum houses many railroad artefacts, a model display of Casey's crash, news articles, photos, and much more. Through the museum and out on the platform is Engine 382 where you can ring the bell of the engine.

 

After hearing the railway sounds on the platform you can walk around to go through and view his original 1870's home that was relocated to the current site in 1980. It was originally located at 211 West Chester Street in downtown Jackson.

 

Also located here is a number of small shops in the Casey Jones Village. The Brooks Shaw & Son Old Country Store, is a step back in time! From the moment you enter there are the original post boxes, counters filled with old antiques, exquisitely ornate timber shelving, the antique original soda fountain and 1890's ice cream parlor.

 

The Old Country Store offers buffet style meals, three times a day or you can get take out or eat in the Dixie Cafe on the other side within the store.

The food choices were many and everything was very fresh. There is also another area with some old homes, chapel, bakery, mini golf and farm that we didn't visit.

If you ever get into Jackson, TN this is all worth a visit!!

Kat xo

Click on the link below for more info.

Casey Jones Village

 

Georgia On My Mind

Tuesday we hit the road travelling through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and into Mississippi. We made an overnight stop at Olive Branch and today are hitting the road for Georgia.

As Elvis crooned across our airwaves yesterday Jack said we would make a stop at Tupelo to Elvis' birthplace and Museum. Yippee!

This morning we made the stop in Tupelo, Mississippi to visit the Museum. No photos are allowed in the Museum which features times during the Depression when times were tough for Vernon and Gladys Presley. There are many photos, memorabilia, clothing worn by Elvis and more.

Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935 (his twin brother was stillborn) in the tiny little two room 'shotgun' style house at this very site.

The small church Elvis and his family attended was a block over on Adams Street. When the church needed to build a larger facility it was used as a house and later purchased by the Museum in 2008 and relocated here to its current site on the house and Museum grounds.

 

He grew up with the church services and the gospel sounds that would set Elvis on a path of music, beyond the weekly gatherings around the radio listening to the Grand Old Opry.

It was Reverend Frank Smith who taught a young and shy Elvis a few guitar chords. He was encouraged to perform during services, often with his parents. The Reverend would walk and play which statements attribute this to Elvis performance style.

Also noted in the Museum was that Elvis used to entertain himself with simple toys and Captain Marvel, Jr comics. Speculation maybe? They also suggest his signature hairstyle and perhaps the TCB (taking care of business) lightning bolt could have been attributed to these comics.

 

In 1938, the family lost their house when Vernon was sent to prison for forging a check (cheque) where he served 8 months of a 3 year sentence. Gladys would work to keep food on the table.

As Elvis continued school, taking his guitar with him at times performed for friends. His teacher entered him in a state contest where he placed 5th.

In 1948 the Presley's moved to Memphis. This became a turning point in Elvis' career where he began performing with other boys who played music. He still had the intention of being part of a Gospel quartet.

In 1953, he paid $3.95 to make his first recording 'My Happiness' and 'That's When The Heartache Begins'. Then if you have ever done a Sun Studio's tour in Tennessee, we all now what happened after that and how Marion Kesker had saved the recording and later Sam Phillips produced many of Elvis' recordings.

The grounds to the Museum are spectacular with plaques of information during the years of pivotal moments, a bronze statue depicting a young Elvis in oversized overalls and a meandering walk both wheelchair accessible by way of ramps and paths or stairs to the top of the property to another statue called 'Becoming'.

 

This stunning statue shows a small Elvis and as a mature, larger than life flamboyant style as he had become.

 

Onwards and we cross into another state we have not visited – Alabama. We will pass the Talladega Super Speedway. Now comes to mind, besides NASCAR races of course, is Talladega Nights – Ricky Bobby, shake and bake – a very funny movie. We will make a stop here on the return trip to the Motorsports Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame!

 

From Alabama winding through the Talladega National Forest, we continued East heading across the border into Georgia.

 

We found the range, then the hotel and we are ready for an early start tomorrow. We missed the registration as we forgot we would lose an hour!

Kat xo

 

Smokin’ Guns At Rabbit Ridge Part 2

Okay, so after the exceptional opening ceremony yesterday, we shot 5 stages, got a little more suntan, had a blast with our posse and finished on a high note!

Friday I think as previously mentioned, was Wild Bunch, side matches, and a chilli dinner with joke night. THAT brought out some of the best and worst from all ages (might I add).

Saturday after the exceptional opening ceremony (see Smokin' Guns At Rabbit Ridge Part 1) we went through 5 stages of the main match which was pretty good and then we had a range dinner of catfish, shrimp and hush puppies with coleslaw and fries – of course a cupcake, and chicken tenders for Jack and others that didn't want catfish!

We had the band play last night but we retired reasonably early.

Throughout the night the thunder and lightning kept some of us awake and when it was time to see in the new day this morning it was still raining at a reasonable rate. Yuck!

Breakfast was had and by the time we left for the range it was very very light.

When we were ready to start shooting, all rain had ceased and we were blessed with spectacular cloudy, or cloudless weather for the rest of the day. It was particularly water logged and muddy – to say the very least!!!

 

Our group of shooters, Posse 1, (which included Annie Hicock, Fast Fingers Green, Billy Broncstomper, Belle Vaquera, Jackaroo and myself, C.S. Brady, Trail Agent, Slick McClade, Harpe, Jackalope Jeb, Red Jack Morgan, Okie Buck, Outlaw Bill Wilson, The Arizona Ranger and Three Sheets) finished in spectacular style, sliding into the very muddy Train Depot stage.

 

The clean match winners were announced and given a guncart hand towel. A neat idea and something different.

The veterans from each division (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard) were presented with a special challenge coin. I didn't know they had an area on the entry forms to state service, Jack had put his service down too and was pleasantly surprised to be included in this honour.

I present to you the 'Veterans Posse'. Everyone gave a standing ovation to these men and women. We thank you for your service.

 

Category awards were handed out with Jack and I both winning ours. Congratulations to the Lady Wranglers; Dew R Dye 2nd and Belle Vaquera 3rd! To the Silver Seniors; Three Sheets 2nd, 3rd and 4th!

 

We worked out 12 of the 16 in our posse placed!

The Mississippi State overall champions were Blackfish Kid for the Men's and Lady Gator for the Ladies.

The overall match champions were Slick McClade and Slick's Sharpshooter (not related, she belongs to a different 'Slick' family! 🙂 )

 

Well done to the Mississippi River Rangers for a fabulous and memorable weekend.

Kat xo

 

Smokin’ Guns At Rabbit Ridge Part1

……I'm an American soldier, an American, besides my brothers and my sisters, I will proudly take a stand, when liberty's in jeopardy, I will always do what's right, I'm out here on the front line, so you can sleep in peace tonight….. (yes, sing along, Toby Keith's American Soldier) well, what a heart rendering opening ceremony as Smokin' Guns at Rabbit Ridge is known for. The presentation of the Color Guard is the highlight to this match which usually falls on Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to all those who have served and are serving, be it here or across the world.

Sweetwater Sage riding Quervo trotted down the range with the Christian flag and Tumbleweed riding Sunny with the American flag ready to hand to Col. Benjamin Grierson and Sgt. Hampton for raising. This is all whilst they have Toby Keith's, American Soldier playing in the background. Man, just brings tears to your eyes. Just truly sensational! Go to Facebook to see the video.

 

After the Color Guard, National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, was a very moving tribute to Easy Lee who passed away just a short time ago. Fellow cowboy's from the Mississippi Rangers led a procession with the painted pony bearing a set of cowboy boots back to front in the stirrups, his rig, pistols and hat astride the saddle. May he rest in peace.

 

With the fire of multi shotgun blast, the ceremony was complete and after having the usual group photo beside the paddle steamer facade everyone departed to their assigned Posse and we are ready to throw some lead down range!

 

Five spectacular stages completed under light cloud cover with intense humidity….,yeah that's probably a good way to describe it, although I think the humidity hit its peak earlier this evening when the sun came out and we were all hanging around waiting for dinner and the band.

A visit with vendors, chatting with folks, drinking beer. Yep, sounds like a whole lot of fun!! When the band, Drivin' Sideways, got on to play with our resident star guitar player Fast Fingers Green from Oklahoma, we were rockin' out to the good Ol' tunes. (He played with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and Conway Twitter when teenagers! Just imagine! I was so born in the wrong era, love this music!)

 

We called it a night, been a long day, got another long one tomorrow (yes it was only 7.45pm when we left the range 🙂 ) and just too sticky to stay out longer.

 

Night y'all!

Kat xo

 

Mississippi Bound

We head out today for a trip to Byhalia, Mississippi. Home to the Mississippi Rangers and the 20th Anniversary of Smokin' Guns at Rabbit Ridge.

Will be a good catch up with lots of friends on a beautiful green grassy range, great facades and a well put together match.

Yee Haa!

Kat xo

 

Surprise! Go to their website and there is us from the last time!

www.mississippiriverrangers.com

 

Streaking Through Kentucky

That got your attention didn't it! Lol!

No streaking, drive on, drive on.

Springfield, KY – est. 1797, Lincoln Legacy Museum, closed Wednesday's, quick picture of the Lincoln Statue and some nice old buildings.

 

Perryville, KY – steeped in civil war history, we visited the Perryville Battlefield State Historical site. Great little museum and 30minute film about the battle in October of 1862. The story unfolds with Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army of Mississippi and Don Carlos Buell's Union Army of Ohio.

 

The museum is very informative and has a great collection of artefacts and uniforms. The cannon or “Six-Pound Smoothbore Field Gun” are always spectacular to look at! The ammunition case beside it was cool and now I know where the meaning of 'shrapnel' came from. The 6pound spherical case shot was invented by one Henry Shrapnel.

 

The soldiers on both sides suffered greatly as Kentucky experienced drought through this time. Many suffered heat stroke and died of dehydration as well as any injuries received during the battles that ensued.

 

When you look at the grounds surrounding Perryville, I try to imagine the some 70,000 odd troops that would have been in and around here. Great lines of men fighting each other.

 

The Bottom House is quite small and still it is hard to fathom hundreds of bodies littering the yard and porch as it was made a makeshift hospital. Many houses during that time were commandeered for such purposes.

 

Some stats from the brochure.

  • 55,396 Union and 16,800 Confederate soldiers.
  • 203 cannons located in Perryville, 90 were used in the battle
  • At least 21 states were represented in the Battle of Perryville – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisianna, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania,Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
  • 1,431 soldiers were killed (890 Union, 532 Confederate)
  • 5,618 were wounded (2,966 Union, 2,652 Confederate)
  • 669 missing or captured (433 Union, 236 Confederate)

So in fact looking at those figures for total casualties 7,718 (4,298 Union, 3,420 Confederate) that's 1/5th of the Confederate force and only 1/12th of the Union. Like most of the Civil War period Union forces definitely outnumbered the Confederates.

All things considered, that's a huge victory for the Confederates.

Winchester, KY – est. 1792, didn't see much through here as we sort of bypassed the historic downtown, oh well.

Onward through rolling hills and the green trees of Kentucky. Fall is starting to show her signs of change, as reds and yellows creep through the forest.

We have now entered into West Virginia! A new state for us, staying somewhere around Charleston tonight, then a dash to the very northern section of the state to Berkeley Springs tomorrow.

 

Signing off with a bit of John Denver ……almost heaven, West Virginia….blue ridge mountains…..

Kat xo

 

Smokin Guns at Rabbit Ridge

Another gorgeous weekend shootin' it up at the home of The Mississippi River Rangers.

Approximately180 shooters turned out for 3 days of fun. Side Events, Wild Bunch and a warm up match were held on Friday, Saturday 6 main match stages with the last 4 stages and awards today.

This is the second time we have been there and love that range. For some this is the start of the Triple Crown; Illinois and Tennesee being the other two legs but we wouldn't be able to make these ones.

Main match was opened with the colour guard and a whole match photo at the Steamboat. We had some great fun with Posse 5, some new faces, had shot with a few previously as well, so a good mix.

Saturday night was dinner and band 'Drivin Sideways' at the range where our very own Okie celebrity, shooter 'Fast Fingers Green', was Guest Guitar Player. We had the pleasure of sitting with the fellow Oklahomans Saturday afternoon and listening to them pick n play guitar. Fast Fingers, Red Knee and even the kids were having a go, including 'K D Steel's son who is going to go to music school – lots of talent! Fast Fingers however used to play with Jerry Lee Lewis' band back in the day and plays in a band still, every week.

This morning brought another cloudy start which meant just before it burnt off was getting humid and ready for a hot day again.

We were done before lunch time and then soon after into the Awards. Side match awards were done Friday night where I place 1st in Lady's Traditional for Wild Bunch. Men's Traditional 'Stump Man' and…..I can't remember the winners of Modern, that's bad, normally I remember.

Our main match Posse – Bama Kid, Blackfish Kid, Canoe Creek Kid, Sidekick, Mr Black, Cherokee Sergeant, Dew R Dye, Tuff Stuff, Riphawk, Red River Ralph, Sweetwater Sue, Hot Lead Lefty, The Arizona Ranger, Jackaroo and myself.

Main Match awards 'Jackaroo' got a buckle for 1st in Senior and a little plaque for Didn't Get A Cadillac – means 1 miss! I recieved a plaque for 2nd in Lady Wrangler and a certificate for Best Dressed Shooting Costume.

First Man and Lady Overall for the match went to 'Lead Ringer' and 'Slicks Sharp Shooter', good job!

Well done to all involved from the Mississippi River Rangers, great plaques and buckles and for hosting another awesome shoot!

Cheers Kat n Jack

P.S. And yes I noticed the Quigley Down Under pic on the certificate. 🙂

Xo