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Tag Archives: American Folklore

Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed (1774–1847) : In American history and folklore, popular name of John Chapman, Massachusetts-born orchardist, who planted fruit trees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Johnny Appleseed was a hermit and a wanderer who was welcomed wherever he went in the Ohio territory. Everyone loved him, in spite of his unkempt appearance. He always carried a sack full of …

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John Henry

John Henry In American folklore, a black hero, born in Black River Country “where the sun don’t never shine.” When John Henry was born, he weighed 44 pounds. His mother said he had a “bass voice like a preacher,” and his father said “He got shoulders like a cotton-rollin’ rousterabout.” When John Henry finished his first meal, he went out …

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Joe Magarac

Joe Magarac (jackass) In American literary folklore, a superhuman steelworker and folk hero of the Pittsburgh area steel mills, invented by Owen Francis, who published his Joe Magarac tales in 1931. Joe, born inside an ore mountain, was seven feet tall and made of steel. He worked day and night, only taking time out to eat five meals a day. …

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Joe Baldwin

Joe Baldwin – In American folklore, a train conductor who was decapitated when his train was rammed by another train. The story dates back to 1867. In that year Joe Baldwin was a conductor for the Atlantic Coast Railroad line, and his job involved riding in the last car of the train. One night, as the train was steaming along, …

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Masterson, Bat

Bat Masterson (1855–1921) In American history and folklore, William Barclay Masterson was a sheriff noted for his fine suits, pearl-gray bowler, diamond stickpin, and notched gun. In 1875, Bat killed his first man at Sweetwater, Texas. The incident occurred over a woman named Molly Brennan. Bat and Molly were both wounded by the gunfire of her jealous exlover, Melvin A. …

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Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow

Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow In American history and folklore, the cow of Mrs. Patrick (Kate) O’Leary; it supposedly started the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 when it kicked over a lighted lantern while it was being milked. According to the legend, Kate told different people the morning after the blaze began that she was in the barn when one of her …

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Molly Pitcher

Molly Pitcher (1754–1832) In American history and folklore of the Revolution, the popular name of Mary L. Hays McCauley, who earned her nickname “Molly Pitcher” by bringing pitcher after pitcher of cool spring water to exhausted and thirsty soldiers. She took her husband’s place at a cannon after he was killed in battle. Legend says a cannon ball shot through …

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Mike Fink

Mike Fink (1770–1823) In American folklore, a legendary keelboat man, the strongest ever. Mike Fink spent most of his time on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, but he was actually born near Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh). His nicknames were “Snag” on the Mississippi and “Snapping Turtle” on the Ohio. The stories that sprang up around him were a rich part of …

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Sam Hart of Woburn

Sam Hart of Woburn : In American folklore of New England, a horseman who once entered into a race with the devil. The devil appeared to Sam in the form of a country parson riding a black horse and challenged Sam to a race. Both set off at once, but Sam soon realized that the horse and its rider were …

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Ruidoso

Ruidoso In American western folklore, a big maverick steer that brought destruction on all who came in contact with it. At its death it turned into the ghost steer of the Pecos. Its aggressive roar, that of a bull ready to charge, can still be heard at night. Taken from the Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – …

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