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


Above and Beyond

I hope that when I recreate a costume that I have done the original justice and the 'Eva' gown is one of these that I truly hope I have.

Finishing the last on the panels today for the skirt. It has been full on chain stitch embroidery, appliqués, sequins and a little bit of bling to get it looking a little like the Hell On Wheels version.

It's actually a shame now to have to gather these panels to the skirt, but it has to be done.


Want to know how much embroidery has gone into this skirt?

This even stunned me yesterday – 296m/321.9yds of embroidery floss!


You heard me right and I haven't even started on the bodice yet which thankfully won't be as much work BUT is going to be stunning and I can't wait to see it finished, proper accoutrements gathered and worn by the lovely Belle Vaquera at a costume contest!

Love, love, love it!

Kat xo


Kansas to Minnesota

This morning after a fabulous breakfast and great hospitality from our hosts, we hit the road again and headed out for Kansas City.

We are visiting Union Station, just across the border in Kansas City, Missouri.

What a grand old lady is Union Station, with beautiful architecture, ornate ceiling rosettes, grand chandeliers AND Harvey's – a restaurant that once upon a time was a Fred Harvey house. I have a bit of an obsession with Harvey Houses.


Now there is Science City and a current exhibit of Mummies showing but we headed for the 2nd and 3rd floor history exhibits.

Union Station as it is today, replaced a smaller Union Depot that had served the city since 1878. The bigger station was built in 1914 on a new site away from floodplains just south of the central business district.


Just a few facts:

  • Jarvis Hunt, Architect was hired in 1906 for the building of Union Station.
  • When it opened in October, 1914 it was the second largest train station in the country.
  • It takes up 850,000sq ft/79,000m2 of real estate
  • Each chandelier, of which there are 3, weighs 3,500pds/1600kg
  • The Grand Hall clock face is 6ft/1.8m in diameter
  • The ceiling height in the Grand Hall is 95ft/29m high
  • In 1917 during WWI peak train traffic numbered 271 – 1945 during WWII peak passenger traffic was 678,363
  • 1933 Union Station massacre made headlines Frank Nash (notorious gangster, bank robber and escaped convict) along with 4 of his hit men attacked the men who had come to take him back to Leavenworth. 5 men including detectives and FBI agents were killed.

There are fabulous old photographs, information boards and displays of artefacts on the two levels overlooking the Grand Hall.


Mementos from special exhibitions are also on display along with information regarding the National Memorial and WWI Museum. The view across the lawn and fountain area to the Memorial is mighty fine. Landscape designer, George Kessler, indeed planned a beautiful city back in the late 1800's-early 1900's.


With a visit to Harvey's for extra breakfast (lol, don't need lunch! Have a go at the size of Jack's pancakes!!) we rolled out the door and back to the car to head further North through Missouri and into the state of Iowa.


Iowa is another new state to visit. We took a quick pit stop at Lamoni at the Welcome Centre and Amish store. I thought the buggy and horse were a statue when I saw the buggy parking sign! Lol! The horse must have realised the blonde needed an acknowledgement and with a turn of his head I realised it was real!


How fabulous Amish stores are with all their homemade and harvested fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices. Jack scored some Fig Jam and we got some awesome licorice wheels, YUM!


I head to the other end of the store where there is a neat little cafe set up and more goods. In the meantime, Jack perusing the information stand, finds the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum brochure. Winterset here we come!

Born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, John Wayne is one of the most recognised western actor's history has seen.


This small museum has a theatrette, a gallery with costumes, guns and other items used in films he starred in. It has one of his last customised cars on display, a buggy and beautiful panels from the ballroom in The Shootist.


The wax statue and painted scenes of Monument Valley are excellent. Monument Valley lends the perfect western landscape to many movies. Director John Ford made John Wayne a star in 'Stagecoach' in 1939. John Wayne directed and starred in 3 other films in Monument Valley – 'Fort Apache', 'She Wore A Yellow Ribbon' and 'The Searchers'.


John Wayne starred in 152 movies! (200 actually, including cameo appearances)


The sweet little 4 room house and birthplace of John Wayne sits on it existing site just round the corner on the same block as the Museum and Gift shop. It has been restored and includes period furniture of 1907 when he was born.


Then it was back on the road!

We need to be in Faribault, Minnesota y'all!

Kat xo


Branson Triple Classic

It's show time in Branson! In more ways than one. The city of shows – magicians, singers, acrobats, comedy acts – and then there are cowboy action shooters.

Yes folks, the Butterfield Trail Cowboys hold the Branson Triple Classic. Missouri State Wild Bunch, Black Powder and Cowboy Action Championship. Three shoots, one place, a whole heap of fun rolled into one action packed weekend.

Our dear friends Alvira Sullivan Earp and Virgil Earp from Australia were in the room next to us at the hotel and other Cowboys were starting to roll in for the next four days of competition.

Wednesday and Thursday mornings we shot 10 stages of Wild Bunch. Black Powder shooters shot 10 stages of holy smoke over the same two days. We had a small good mix of Traditional and Modern shooters – Brisco Kid, Alvira Sullivan Earp, Virgil Earp, MO No Name, Long Ranger, Cletus, Coffin Sam, R. J. Rust, Shortgrub, Doc Hurd, Luke McGlue, Jackaroo and myself.


Thursday evening was the banquet for Wild Bunch and Black Powder awards. Jack finished 5th overall in Modern and 2nd place Modern Senior. I finished 1st in Ladies Traditional and 2nd overall in Traditional. Both Virgil and Allie placed 1st in their Modern categories also!


Friday and it's day 1 into Cowboy Action match. It's early morning, about 5C if we are lucky (think the temp was showing 35F in the car), the sun is rising – right in our eyes! – suddenly smokeless gunpowder appears as if you were shooting black powder! There goes the clean match on the first stage.


Needless to say, we had fun, finished strong for the day and did have a good Posse. Our Posse, Posse 6, Brisco Kid, Kiamichi Queen, Alvira Sullivan Earp, Virgil Earp, Slipnoose, Ozark Outlaw, Hawkshaw Fred, Annie D Vine, Lil Feisty, Django, Rose Webb, (oh my goodness, I've forgotten someone's name and didn't have a photo of the posse!!), Jack and myself.

Given we were finished early a group of us after lunch headed to the cinema and watched the new version of Magnificent 7! We thought it was very well done and enjoyed it.

Friday evening they had a cowboy social – basically another banquet with a band and a separate room with gaming tables and slot machines! We had vouchers that you took and got chips or tokens so you could play roulette, black jack, Texas hold 'em, or slots. At a certain time in the night, the games were closed off and you traded in any wins for more tickets in the side raffles.


Saturday and its last chance to shoot well, have fun and see it through to the end. Lunch was provided every day at the range which was good and varied.


An afternoon rest, beginning of packing and last catch ups with friends before it was time to get ready for the Awards Banquet.

It was all very convenient to be staying in the hotel where all the banquets were held. No having to drive anywhere, just take the stairs or elevator and you were there.

We had a guest speaker that night who had started her film career working on the Lonesome Dove series. A great western series that just about every cowboy will have watched at least once in their time. Kelly told us of her beginnings, working with the actors and the many unforgettable moments during the filming of Lonesome Dove.

It was also a pleasure to meet Dusty Rogers, son of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (Virgil and Allie have known him for years and were glad to see him again). Dusty is a member of the Butterfield Trail Cowboys and he was the compère for all the awards. It was great to hear the odd little piece about his parents during this time.

Onto the awards and Allie placed 1st in Lady Silver Senior and 5th lady overall. Virgil placed 2nd in Silver Senior Duelist.


Jack finished 1st in Silver Senior and 14th overall with the 'Geezer Gang' and all out Oklahoma team. In 2nd place, Snake Oil George (right) and in 3rd place, Matt Valentine (left).


I placed 1st in Lady Wrangler with my very good friend in 2nd place and Missouri State Champion, Belle Vaquera!


Missouri Lefty won Men's overall and myself for the Ladies overall finishing 11th outright.


Of course a huge congratulations for the two Overall Missouri State champions Missouri Lefty and Belle Vaquera.


Another good shoot, another lot of fun, time to head back to Oklahoma and get ready for the SW Regionals, Red Dirt Rampage next weekend.


Kat xo


St Louis, Missouri

The Anheuser-Busch Brewery, in other words Budweiser! Amongst other brands they produce or own.

What a way to finish off the afternoon, arriving into St Louis, Missouri and taking the 4.10pm tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, in the historic Soulard area.

We booked the Day Fresh Tour that takes you on the 'Seed to Sip' with other bits in between. Visiting the Clydesdale paddock and stables, the beechwood aging cellar, the historic Brewhouse and the packaging facility.


Upon arrival, where would we be without a visit to the Biergarten while waiting for the tour to start?! I chose to sample the Blue Point, Toasted Lager and Jack the Hoegaarden (the lighter coloured one)


The Budweiser horse team consists of 70 Clydesdales, 50 of which are located here at St. Louis. Grants Farm, just a short distance away, is where the Clydesdales are raised. They eat around 20-25 quarts of grain feed a day but I think he's had a bit too much beer today!


Into the stables we go, an old building trimmed in red and green against the beautiful red brick exterior with its stained glass windows.

It takes about 5 hours to prepare the hitch for parades etc. and they first performed in 1933.


The Dalmatians were introduced in the 1950's to protect the deliveries on the hitches.


The beautiful chandelier, all 600 pounds of brass was installed after being acquired at the 1904 World Fair.

The smaller stalls are original to the beautiful 1885 building. I am blown away and we are only on the first stop of the tour.

Next we headed to the aging cellars. A pleasant to cool 50F/ all year round.

Beechwood chips are procured from the local areas, cooked up to remove any other flavours and then used 3 times over before removing, washing and mulching.

These aging tanks, if you drink a beer every 24 hrs would take you 137years to drink one tank. 1.2 billion 12oz beers per tank!


On to the process – Barley, rice, hops, water and yeast. Your 5 main ingredients to making a bud!

The rice gives the beer the crisp clear colour we see in our first sample for the tour.

The recipe today is the same as it was in 1867, in particular the yeast recipe, guarded with only 5 individuals having knowledge of its full potential.

To give you an idea of beer strengths, Bud Light stays in the mashing process for about 4 hours where normal Bud is only in for 2 hours. This is the process of breaking down the carbs and sugars, more calories in the short, less in the longer process obviously.

Next was up to the third floor of the brew house. Oh my god, the chandeliers, tiled artwork and architecture in here are exquisite! The 3 storey chandelier is all hops flowers.


During the prohibition era, the 'elephant' atop the pillar, was actually the logo for their yeast product on the back there was a warning about what not to use it with and how not to brew beer. Lol! During the prohibition time, to keep the company running they produced everything from barley malt syrup, bakers yeast, soda to ice cream! In fact 20 different products kept their company running during that time.


Opposite the brewery was an elementary school building until they decided that perhaps it wasn't a good idea to have a school opposite the brewery. It was their headquarters office until they outgrew it.


'Bevo' the fox featured on all 4 corners of the packaging warehouse is based on the fox from Grimms fairytale, who always knew where to find good food and drink at all times!


Up to the 3rd floor of the packaging warehouse. After rinsing and sterilising, the bottles are filled within 1/10th of a second to ensure purity and crispness to each.

750 bottles per minute!

At 24 beers per case, all cases are sent down to Mississippi River for storage. Housing half a million cases at any one time, say production was stopped and STILL, it would only take the whole Mid West to drink the whole warehouse dry in a mere 18hrs!


At the conclusion of the tour we received the freshest bottle of beer you'll ever get, bottled this morning around 3am! Room temp at moment so needs to go in the fridge.

Two free beers on tour plus a free ticket for a 16oz beer in the beirgarten after.


Luke and Allie were our tour guides. On their summer break this was their first year of tours, rotating between the different tours and the gift shop. If you're over 21 they can work the bar as well. They were sensational! What a job, 4 days a week, I think I could handle that easily! Although you wouldnt get any samples!

$10 bucks, holy hell, was so worth it! If you are ever in St.Louis, you really must do this tour!

Ahhh, life is good, cheers!

Kat xo


Jesse James, Missouri

Travelling through Missouri we see a sign for a Jesse James, Wax Museum.

On the old Route 66 and adjoining the Meramec Caverns, once a hideout for Jesse James.


Jesse James and his brother Frank joined the Civil War in 1861 at a very young age. Whilst serving in the war they basically learnt to kill. They met Bloody Bill Anderson and William Quantrill thus becoming part of the Quantrill Guerillas rogue gang.


Meramac Caverns near Stanton, Missouri was one of Jesse James hideouts, famous now from Route 66 days. The entrance to the caverns able to fit 300 cars and a dance floor! I'm sure that's NOT what Jesse and his gang were doing back then!

Now this little museum is about….well maybe….that Jesse didn't die early on but that he lived to be 103, passing away in 1951. His cook and other gentlemen attested to this around the time of his 102nd birthday. Including a Colonel that he had known during the Civil War and around the time of his supposed 'staging' of his death.

It was said to be proven that the exact 8 markings on Jesse's body were examined and identified in 1951. A Mr Turilli (having written a book and given many public accounts) knew Jesse James for 2 years, otherwise records show he did die in 1882.

Included in the Museum are some gorgeous antique artefacts and wax figures. The antique post office was apparently the most frequently robbed in the state of Missouri.

Jesse's first daylight bank robbery took place on Feb 13, 1866 he had already done plenty prior to this. It was also the first recorded bank robbery in US history. The stolen amount was reported to be in excess of $60,000.

The man using the name J. Frank Dalton (take from those names what you will!) living in Lawton during 1948 and at the age of 100 claimed to actually be Jesse James. There is no actual record of a J. Frank Dalton.

(This picture from Wikipedia and I very briefly read the bio there)

There is a photographic aging picture without any digital change, just morphed, definitely looks like a much older Jesse James that's for sure. Truth? Or Fiction? You be the judge.

Kat xo

P.S. Unfortunately could not take any pics within the museum. The price to enter was a bit much for what it was but very, very interesting to say the least.


Guerilla? Or Just an Outlaw

Jesse James was one of the most famous or infamous outlaws of the American west – robbing stage coaches, banks, trains, and leader of the James-Younger gang.

Why am I talking about Jesse James you might ask? And where does the guerilla bit come into it?

Well, once upon a time, in a land far far away….lol, no simple really. Jesse and his brother Frank James were confederate guerrilla's (also known as bushwackers). Road Runner, fellow Okie when we are there, requested a Jesse James guerrilla shirt.

With eyebrows slightly raised, of course I accepted the challenge and had him send me a picture. (As seen below)


Not hard really, finally found fabric that would drape nicely in the required grey, a simple black bias binding should work and found some studs that could replicate the trim.

It came time in the book to get onto this one and so I fiddled around with a pattern and created the very simple oversized guerilla shirt with slanted rounded pockets. Ta dah! Road Runner's guerilla shirt.

(Hmm they could actually have had more slant on the pockets now seeing it on the mannequin, noticeable when it's laying flat)

These shirts with their pockets shaped like that apparently made for ease of carrying extra ammo and accessibility to it. (so I've heard)

Personally I'm thinking that if you are galloping around on a horse at break neck speed you might lose it but then I thought about the drape of the fabric and figured it might well stay put due to the weight of the ammo.

The guerrilla shirts were often made by wives or sweethearts, some were elaborately embroidered, some plain, some with a placket and collar, made from various fabrics and patterns. According to civil war websites the shirts originated in Missouri but were similarly worn down through Texas.

Here are some more examples worn by the Duvall brothers and Bloody Bill Anderson.


All very different indeed!

And the whole guerrilla story with William C Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson is a tale for another day.


Kat xo


St Joseph, Missouri

Heading into Missouri now and for St Joseph where we will be exploring places like The Pony Express Museum, Patee House and Jesse James House.

Skirting the city limits of Kansas City, some old buildings amongst the new skyline, an interesting bridge and a casino taking on the appearance of an old steamboat.

Lots of trees in this part, thick groves of them.

St Joseph is just over an hour away from where we were staying in Overland Park, Kansas – so for those who live close by in the north east quarter of Kansas you could do this as a day trip or a weekend. The St Joseph website even has a couple of guided tours listed and gives you an estimate of time in order for you to plan a short trip.

We got into the older part of St Joseph and found our way to the Visitor Centre/Library in the newer business district. Not open Sundays but self serve on any of the brochure’s and maps required.

Heading back to old town we stopped at the Pony Express Monument. Oh, I’m sorry, you mean you don’t know what the Pony Express was? Well here’s a little bit of info to get you up to speed.

The Pony Express was an idea for getting mail, overland from St Joseph, MIssouri to Sacremento, California. Mail could possibly take weeks to go by sea and now it could go by horse rider and be there in 10 days! Wow, what a breakthrough. Horses were positioned along the route, so the rider could change horses and would have another rider to hand off to if need be.

The first ride of the Pony Express began on April 3, 1860 at 7.15pm. One lonely rider with monchila (mo-chee-la) loaded with mail heading out across, plains, desert and high country to get the mail through. The first Pony Express rider to set out on that day is said to be “Johnny Fry”.

Enjoy a couple of pics here, rest on Facebook and check out the website link below for more about the Museum.


Then it was on to Patee House Museum, used to be a hotel 3 times, a girls college twice and a shirt factory for 80 years prior to being turned into a museum. It is huge, 4 floors of heritage, well 3 they aren’t restoring the top floor and you can see in the stair wells winding up to the other floors – the original staircases, banisters, the timber batons and horse hair plaster detail.

There is so much to see in here it is mind blowing, two and a half hours easily spent there.

Travelling and arriving……

….and going out in style.

Or maybe you just want to take a train?

Or pretend you are still in your childhood riding the unique “Wild Things” carousel. (I’m betting put a kid on the mako shark and they will have nightmares!! I didn’t take a pic of it!)

Patee House was opened by John Patee as a luxurious hotel in 1858 to serve travellers. It is most famously recognised for being the Pony Express Headquarters where Russell, Majors and Waddell had their office starting April 3, 1860. It was also the US Provost marshal’s office and the Union recruiting office during the Civil War era, holding grand balls and court in the ballroom as well.


The Jesse James Home is situated on the neighbouring grounds of Patee House, the home Jesse bought for his wife and children and where he was shot whilst straightening the hanging needlework picture.

The bullet hole in the wall has been covered with glass but before this could be done there were many that would enter the house and chip out toothpick sized pieces of timber both from the wall and from the blood stained floor.

There are some original pieces of furniture from the house still there. An exhibit of the exhumation that took place in 1995 holds pieces from Jesse’s casket – handles, scripted plate/plaque, the broken viewing glass, his tie pin etc.

Well all done and dusted, a full day of museum history, pretty much done what we came to see, so cancelled motel and headed back for Oklahoma.

Good day. Over and out.

Kat xo