March 14, 2012
Come all you rounders if you want to hear
The story bout a brave engineer
Casey Jones was the rounder's name
On a 68-wheeler boys he won his fame
Born John Luther Jones on this date in 1863, he acquired the nickname Cayce since he lived near Cayce, Kentucky, as a young man, which he later spelled as "Casey."
On April 30, 1900, with a stalled passenger train ahead of his locomotive at Vaughan, Miss., he applied the brakes and ordered his fireman to jump.
Although the Cannonball Express crashed, Casey Jones was the only casualty.
And on that foggy, rainy night, the legend began — fueled by headlines such as, "HEROIC ENGINEER – Sticks to his post at cost of life."
Didn’t hurt either he was immortalized in a popular ballad composed and sung by his friend Wallace Saunders:
The caller called Casey at a half past four
He kissed his wife at the station door
Mounted to the cabin with his orders in his hand
And he took his final trip to the Promised Land
Jones was known for getting there on time.
Also a kind of long-drawn-out note that he created on his train whistle, beginning softly, then rising, and then dying away almost to a whisper.
People living along the Illinois Central between Jackson, Tennessee, and Water Valley, Mississippi, would turn over in their beds late at night upon hearing that whistle and say as he roared by, “There goes Casey Jones.”
Casey Jones with the orders in his hand
Casey Jones mounted to the cabin
And he took his final trip to the Promised Land.
Society is founded on hero worship said historian Thomas Carlyle, and heroes are made of, “people who embody the best values of our culture..."
Values evident in the proud brave engineer from Kentucky.