American folk heroes get honored in many different ways. Some get street markers, some get songs, and some get tobacco named after them. Casey Jones got all three. So who was Casey Jones? He was a train engineer who, in 1900, gave his life to save others in a train accident.
John Luther Jones was born in 1863 or 1864, near Cayce, Kentucky. We don't know specifically which year, as records from that time were less than reliable.
A bit of a speed demon, Jones loved to make his trains go fast. He received a number of speeding violations but still maintained an outstanding on-time record. In fact, He was so good that he was selected to be the operator of the Illinois Central trains at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, where he would take passengers through the exhibit.
Jones earned a solid reputation for more than just his excellence operating a train. One story holds that in 1895, he saved the life of a little girl that had been playing on the tracks.
It was on April 30, 1900, where Jones earned his last, and greatest, accolade. On that night, Jones volunteered to make a run that the original crew was too sick to do.
It was a tricky run through a thick fog, but Jones was determined to get his passengers to their destination on time. He almost did.
In Vaughn, Mississippi, there was a train that had broken down on the tracks at the station. Since the fog was so thick, Jones reportedly missed the flagman posted to warn oncoming trains of the danger. By the time he saw the danger, his train was moving at 75 miles per hour, and it was too late to come to a full stop. By the time Jones collided with the train cars in front of him, he had managed to slow down to 35 miles per hour. This speed drop is credited with saving the lives of his passengers, who only suffered a few bumps and bruises. Sadly, Jones' heroic actions came at the cost of his own life. He was the only person killed in the accident.
This heroism has been immortalized in many different ways, including these pipe tobacco blends you see here. So when you smoke a bowl of Casey Jones, think back to the man who became an All-American hero.