Today we feature a portrait of Casey Jones. To be honest with you, I did not know that Casey Jones was a real person . . . I had always heard that old train song about him, but thought it was just a made up story, but come to find out, it was detailing the story of a real person.
Casey Jones died on this date, April 30, in the year 1900 in Vaughan, Mississippi. He was the engineer on an Illinois Central passenger train between Memphis and Vaughan. The train was running behind schedule when he got his orders, and he always prided himself on arriving on time. He worked all night to get his train back on schedule. By about 3:30 AM he had managed to get the train to within a few minutes of being on time. As he was approaching Vaughan, he noticed that a train had been left on the tracks, right in his path. Casey refused to jump from the cab of the train, and held one hand on the whistle and one hand on the brake to do his best to get the train stopped before impact. He was able to slow his train down to about 30 MPH, but it did crash into the parked train. Because of Casey's heroic efforts to slow the train, there were no fatalities among the passengers. Casey was the sole fatality in the wreck. Legend has it that when they removed Casey's remains from the wreck, they found one hand still tightly wrapped around the brake, and the other clutching the whistle cord.