John Luther Jones , nicknamed Casey ( born John Luther "Casey" Jones ; March 14, 1863 - April 30, 1900 ) - the legendary engineer and hero of American folklore .
|Birth name||John Luther Jones|
|Date of Birth||March 14, 1863|
|Place of Birth|
|Date of death||April 30, 1900 (aged 37)|
|Place of death||Vaughan, Mississippi|
|Occupation||steam engine driver|
|Spouse||Mary Joanna Brady|
The early years
Casey Jones was born into a rural teacher's family somewhere in the southeastern corner of Missouri . Casey's exact birthplace is unknown. In 1876, his whole family moved to Keyes, Kentucky . Like all the boys, John loved to watch trains and staff work. Often visited the depot. In 1878, when he was 15 years old, he joined the telegraph office in Columbus, pc. Kentucky, for the Mobile & Ohio Railroad Company. And then moved to Jackson, Tennessee . Here he became Casey Jones. This was the practice among American railroad workers at that time - to give young guys nicknames so that they could easily distinguish all those who have the same name (there was no diversity in them then either). Immediately upon arrival, to the question of where he came from, John replied: "From Case, Kentucky . " So for him this nickname was fixed. And although he pronounced it Cayce , his wife subsequently changed the name to Casey .
Family and Growth
On November 25, 1886, Casey married Mary Joanna Brady (“Janey”) and bought a house in Jackson, on West Chester Street. In 1890, he became the freight train operator of the Central Illinois Railway and very soon established himself from the best side. And his locomotive whistle was immediately recognized - no one had such an amazing sound. According to eyewitnesses, he resembled a war cry of the Vikings. Of course, after the death of Casey Jones, much in his biography was embellished. But with regard to the whistle, it is confirmed by evidence made during his lifetime. Throughout the Jackson, Tennessee, and Water Valley, Mississippi stretch, people did not go to bed until they heard Casey Jones passing by ...
Casey did everything to achieve the position of driver of a passenger train, which was much more prestigious (and paid better). In February 1900, his wish came true. He moved to Memphis and began driving a passenger ambulance between Memphis and Canton, Mississippi. It was one of four relay high-speed trains linking Chicago and New Orleans , and nicknamed the "Cannonball" for high speed.
On April 29, 1900, Casey was in Memphis , where he brought his ambulance number 2 from Canton. Here he found out that Sam Tate, the train driver of No. 1 train (Memphis-Canton), suddenly fell ill. Casey was asked to replace him and make a double trip - back to Canton (although he was supposed to rest by the rules the next morning) - and Casey agreed. "First" was in excellent condition, an experienced Sim Webb was a stoker on it. At 0.50, with a delay of 1.5 hours, ambulance No. 1 in the steam train 382 and 6 wagons left Memphis. The weather was rainy, although the locomotives were not afraid of it, but in addition to the night there was fog and visibility was not very good. Casey made up almost an hour on the stretch of 170 km to Grenada, and won another 15 minutes on the 37-kilometer stretch of Grenada-Winona, so that by the time the ambulance arrived at Duran, he was on schedule.
In Duran, Casey received a message about two freight trains standing in Vogan on the siding of a steam train to a steam locomotive, but the tail of one of them sticks out on the main track (a similar episode is captured in the film Highway ). In such cases, the drivers carry out a special maneuver with movement - if the tail interferes, then first a long train (or, in this case, a “coupling” of two goods) removes it, moving forward and allowing the train going along the main path to go through the entrance arrow and enter to the station, and when he passes it, the “long” one backs up in the shortest possible time, removing its bow from the main path at the exit arrow.
Casey Jones performed this maneuver more than once and didn’t really worry, but he didn’t know the main thing - the air hose on the second freight train burst, and 4 cars remained motionless on the main track (although there was still the opportunity to tow the frozen train with another steam locomotive in the hitch). Meanwhile, making up the last minutes of the schedule, Casey Jones drove his ambulance to Vogan too quickly (probably about 120 km / h, this is the limit for steam engines of that time with a light load on a flat straight section). The section of the road here resembled the letter S, Jones was in front of the second turn, and could not see the signals, and then the drivers did not have radio communications. However, on the left side, which was not blocked by a turn, the red signal was seen by Sim Webb. “My God, there is someone on the main road!” He shouted Casey. The latter immediately ordered the stoker to jump off and already in the jump Sim heard the well-known “Casey Jones whistle” - the driver’s last attempt to warn the train was approaching.
Despite Casey Jones' desperate attempts to stop the train (in a few seconds he released almost half a ton of sand onto the brake pads), his locomotive crashed into the cars on the tracks. Of the 4 cars, he rammed 3 - first a carriage with hay, then - with grain, and finally - with wood, and only after that, completely distorted, went off the rails, and the fourth carriage of freight train flew to the siding. The efforts of the driver, who did not leave the engine to the very end, were not in vain - his emergency braking saved the lives of all passengers, the only dead was Casey Jones, who was only 37 years old. His stopped watch showed 3:52.
The Central Illinois company tried to blame Casey Jones for the disaster, saying that he ignored the signals from John Newberry, but Sim Webb immediately after the death of Casey and until his death in 1957 denied the presence of signals, missiles, firecrackers and other emergency means of warning. All passengers praised the machinist’s heroic deed, and the newspapers, which came out with huge headlines about Casey Jones’s exploit, completed the case, after which everyone knew about it. Gradually, “The Brave Driver,” as Casey was called, became a hero of songs, legends, and anecdotes. At present, the Casey Jones Museum operates in Water Valley, where in 2000 the 100th anniversary of his death was solemnly celebrated.
Wallace Sanders Song
African American Wallace Sanders, a friend of Casey Jones, washed steam locomotives in railway workshops in Canton. And at leisure he liked to compose simple songs about people whom he knew well. He sang well and whistled. Immediately after the disaster in Wogan, he wrote a song about Casey Jones on the theme of the then popular song “Jimmy Jones”. She quickly dispersed among the railroad workers, and soon she was sung along the entire Central Illinois road. Legend has it that the engineer William Leaton heard the song and recorded it for his brothers, Frank and Bert, who performed in vaudeville. The brothers edited the song, added a chorus to it and included it in their repertoire. In 1902, it was published. The author of the music and words was T. Lawrence Seibert and Eddie Newton. Since then, as the author of Casey Jones Village writes Bruce Garner (biographer of the deceased driver), more than 40 versions have been published. It is noteworthy that neither the Jones family nor Wallace Sanders received a cent for them ...
The popularity of the Casey Jones song only grew over the years. It was successfully performed by popular American musicians (mainly country - since it was written in this style) - Woody Guthrie , Pete Seeger , Johnny Cash , young actor and country singer Stuart Anderson and many others. Lyrics about Casey Jones over the years have deviated somewhat about the original version. However, not so seriously - individual words were replaced. For example, the verb rose (into the cockpit) sounds in different ways. And Stuart Anderson has a steam locomotive instead of a cabin . In general, the story of the heroic death of the Brave driver remained the same.
Casey Jones - the Union scab (Joe Hill variant)
The popularity of the Casey Jones name has led to the fact that after a dozen years it has somewhat depreciated. In 1911, the famous radical worker activist and author of "protest songs" Joe Hill wrote completely different words to a well-known tune. Casey Jones introduced the new version as a strike breaker (scab) of the South Pacific Railway. The reason for writing this option was a large (up to 35,000 people) strike of workers at the railway workshops of the Central Illinois system (which included the South Pacific). In the USA, both versions were performed by Pete Seeger.
After the war, Hill's version was first translated into German, and then into Russian. This song about strikebreaker Casey Jones (the main character is called "Casey", as in the German version) was sung by Leonid Utesov . There are other, original variations of Casey Jones songs. Recent authors include Grateful Dead, an American rock band.