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Train engineer who died in a train wreck in 1900 -- his passenger train hit a freight train which couldn't get onto a side track. He was the only one killed, because he stayed on the train so he could work the brakes till the last second, and blow the whistle to warn the engineer of the other train to jump.

Jones was immortalized first in a ballad by his friend, engine-wiper Wallace Saunders. Vaudeville performers T. Lawrence Seibert and Eddie Newton changed Saunders' original song somewhat and copyrighted it in 1902. This version of the song, called "Casey Jones: The Brave Engineer," became well known, and performed by so many people that about 40 versions of the words are known (It was even parodied in 1912 by Joe Hill as "Casey Jones the Union Scab.") This is the version that Mrs. Jones is said to have considered closest to Saunders' original.

Come all you rounders if you want to hear
A story 'bout a brave engineer,
Casey Jones was the rounder's name
'Twas on the Illinois Central that he won his fame.

Casey Jones, he loved a locomotive.
Casey Jones, a mighty man was he.
Casey Jones run his final locomotive
With the Cannonball Special on the old I.C.

Casey pulled into Memphis on Number Four,
The engine foreman met him at the roundhouse door;
Said, "Joe Lewis won't be able to make his run
So you'll have to double out on Number One."

If I can have Sim Webb, my fireman, my engine 382,
Although I'm tired and weary, I'll take her through.
Put on my whistle that come in today
'Cause I mean to keep her wailing as we ride and pray.

Casey Jones mounted the cabin,
Casey Jones, with the orders in his hand.
Casey Jones, he mounted the cabin,
Started on his farewell journey to the promised land.

They pulled out of Memphis nearly two hours late,
Soon they were speeding at a terrible rate.
And the people knew by the whistle's moan.
That the man at the throttle was Casey Jones.

Need more coal there, fireman Sim,
Open that door and heave it in.
Give that shovel all you got
And we'll reach Canton on the dot

On April 30, 1900, that rainy morn,
Down in Mississippi near the town of Vaughan,
Sped the Cannonball Special only two minutes late
Traveling 70 miles an hour when they saw a freight.

The caboose number 83 was on the main line,
Casey's last words were "Jump, Sim, while you have the time."
At 3:52 that morning came the fareful end,
Casey took his farewell trip to the promised land.

Casey Jones, he died at the throttle,
With the whistle in his hand.
Casey Jones, he died at the throttle,
But we'll all see Casey in the promised land.

His wife and three children were left to mourn
The tragic death of Casey on that April morn.
May God through His goodness keep them by His grace
Till they all meet together in that heavenly place.

Casey's body lies buried in Jackson, Tennessee
Close beside the tracks of the old I.C.
May his spirit live forever throughout the land
As the greatest of all heroes of a railroad man.

Casey Jones, he died at the throttle,
Casey Jones, with the whistle in his hand.
Casey Jones, he died at the throttle,
But we'll all see Casey in the promised land.


And here's the Dead's song: Casey Jones
The Grateful Dead
Words by Robert Hunter
     This old engine 
     makes it on time
     Leaves Central Station 
     at a quarter to nine
     Hits River Junction 
     at seventeen to
     at a quarter to ten 
     you know it's trav'lin again

     Drivin' that train
     High on cocaine
     Casey Jones you better
     watch your speed
     Trouble ahead
     Trouble behind
     and you know that notion
     just crossed my mind

     Trouble ahead 
     The Lady in Red
     Take my advice
     you be better off dead
     Switchman sleepin
     Train hundred and two
     is on the wrong track and
     headed for you

     Drivin' that train 
     High on cocaine
     Casey Jones you better
     watch your speed
     Trouble ahead
     Trouble behind
     and you know that notion
     just crossed my mind

     Trouble with you is
     The trouble with me
     Got two good eyes 
     but we still don't see
     Come round the bend
     You know it's the end
     The fireman screams and
     The engine just gleams

     Drivin' that train
     High on cocaine
     Casey Jones you better
     watch your speed
     Trouble ahead
     Trouble behind
     and you know that notion
     just crossed my mind

Reprinted with permissions: copyright Ice Nine Publishing - see Grateful Dead Lyrics

The corporate point of view

Here is a actual transcript of the "Casey" Jones "Cannonball" accident report, digitized by wolfgang@sunspot.nosc.mil (Lewis E. Wolfgang)

                                        Chicago, May l0, l900
 Subject:        Collision of trains l and 83
                Vaughan, 4-30-l900

Mr. J. T. Harahan
Second Vice President

Dear Sir:

Referring the 478 report No. 26 of the Water Valley District, Mississippi
Division, and various telegrams from Asst. Supt.  Gilleas covering case of
passenger train No.l, engine No. 382, Conductor J.C. Turner, Engineer J.L.
Jones, running into rear of freight train No. 83, engine Nos. 870 and 87l,
Engineers L. Markette and C. W. Marchison, Conductor B. Hoke, at Vaughan,
Miss., 3:52 A.M., April 30, l900, in which Engineer Jones of No. l was killed
and the following persons injured.  Settlement of various cases having been
effected as shown by amounts opposite names:
        Simon Webb, Fireman Train No. l, body bruses
                 jumping off Engine 382.................$5.00
        Wm. Miller, Express Messenger, slight injuries..25.00
        W. L. Whiteside, Postal Clerk, jarred........... l.00
        R. A. Ford         "      "       "  ........... l.00

Reports received to date indicate that Engineer Jones of the passenger train,
who lost his life in the accident, was alone responsible for the accident as
train No. 83 which was obstructing the main track at Vaughan sawing by train
No. 26 was properly protected by flagman, who had gone back a distance of
3000 feet, where he had placed toropedos on the rail; then continued north a
further distance of 500 to 800 feet, where he stood and gave signals to train
No. l; which signals, however, were apparently not observed by Engineer
Jones: nor is it believed he heard the explosion of the torpedoes as his
train continued toward the station at a high rate of speed, notwithstanding
the fact it was moving up a grade; collision occurring at a point 2l0 feet
north of the north passing track switch.  It is also stated that Engineer
Jones of train No.l failed to sound the whistle for the station when passing
the whistle board.

Jones entered the service of this company as fireman in March, l888, was
promoted to position of engineer in February, l890, since which date his
record has been as follows:

Engineer Jones was promoted to position of engineer in February, l900, and
had a reasonably good record, not having been disciplined for the past three
years.  He had been assigned to passenger service between Memphis and Canton
about 60 days before collision occurred and at the first opportunity
thereafter Supt. King had talked to him about the importance of the trains to
which he had been assigned, instructiong him to use good judgement,
especially in stormy weather; to keep close lookout for signals at all times,
particularly in approaching and passing through stations and yards; adding
that the trains he would handle had been successfully handled by other
engineers who were on the runs and that satisfactory time had been made.  He
particularly instructed Jones not to attempt to do any reckless running with
the view of establishing a record of making fast time, or better time than
the other men on the runs.  Jones' work up to the time of the accident had
been satisfactory.

        The actual damage of this collision amounted to $3,323.75.

Trains lst 72, 83, lst 26 and 2nd 26 were at Vaughan Station for No. 2; lst
and 2nd 26 occupied the house track which was clear, and lst 72 and 83
occupied the passing track, which lacked about l0 car lenghts of holding the
two trains.  After sawing the two sections of No. 26 in at the south end, lst
72 and 83, while moving south on passing track to clear No. l at north end,
stopped before going into the clear on account of air hose bursting on a car
in lst 72, the rear of No. 83 fouling the main track.

Flagman J. M. Newberry of No. 83 who provided with the necessary signals had
gone back to place torpedoes, also to signal Engineer on No. l to stop, and
although he had a unobstructed view of the flagman for l l/2 miles, he failed
to heed the signals, and the train was not stopped until the collision
occurred.  The explosion was heard by crews of trains at Vaughan Station by
Fireman S. Webb (colored) on No.l, and by the postal clerks and baggageman on
the train.  Fireman Webb states that between Pickens and Vaughan Stations,
after putting in a fire, he was called to the side of Engineer Jones, who
lost his life in the accident, and they talked about the new whistle which
had been put on the engine at Memphis; Jones stated that going into Canton it
would arouse the people of the town.  This was the first trip with the new
whistle and Jones was much pleased with it.  Fireman Webb states that after
talking with Jones, he stepped down to the deck to put in a fire; and just as
he was in the act of stooping for the shovel, he heard the explosion of the
torpedo.  He immediately went to the the gang-way on the Engineer's side and
saw a flagman with red and white lights standing alongside the tracks; going
then to the Fireman's side, he saw the markers of Caboose of No. 83.  He then
called to the engineer,Jones,that there was a train ahead, and feeling that
the engineer would not be able to stop the train in time to prevent an
accident, told him that he was going to jump off, which he did about 300 feet
from the caboose of No. 83.  Fireman Webb further states that when the
torpedo exploded, train No. l was running about 75 miles per hour; that
Engineer Jones immediately applied the air brakes and that when he left, the
engine speed had been reduced to about 50 miles per hour.  He also states
that had he or Engineer Jones looked ahead, they could have seen the flagman
in ample time to have stopped before striking No. 83.  Train No. 25 was also
flagged by Flagman Newberry and stopped where he stood, which was the same
location from which train No. l was flagged.

Train No. l met train No. 2 at Goodman Station, No. l arriving at Goodman on
time and taking the siding; it left there 5 minutes late, and at the time of
the collision was 2 minutes late.  Trains lst 72 and 83 would not have been
at Vaughan Station for train No.l but for the fact that No. 83, while pulling
into the siding to let No.25 pass, pulled out two draw-bars; which resulted
in delay and prevented No. 83 going beyond Vaughan Station for the two
sectiions of No. 26 and No. l.

As shown above, Engineer Jones was solely responsible for the collision by
reason of having disregarded the signals given by Flagman Newberry.

                                        /s/ A.S. Sullivan
                                            General Superintendent

Casey Jones is a vigilante anti-hero from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, appearing in nearly every incarnation of the franchise. He's a fan favorite, having the same general appeal as Batman, The Punisher, or Todd McFarlane's Spawn.

The anti-hero is a very popular archetype, possibly because it presents to the audience a vicarious wish fulfillment fantasy. We all wish we could stand up to the bullies and fight for justice, but who wants to be constrained by the sort of restrictive morality the standard hero must abide by? How often has the hero had the villain defeated, only to show mercy at the exact wrong time, allowing the villain to gain the upper hand? We know that when Spider-man carts Doctor Octopus off to jail, he's just going to break out again. We know that Superman shouldn't hand over the last microchip Lex Luthor needs to build his superweapon just because he's holding Lois Lane hostage.

Wouldn't it be so much more satisfying to break the villain's arms so he can't cause trouble anymore? Wouldn't the world benefit from the death of one criminal if it means he can never hurt anyone again? On the other hand, is it worth sinking to the villain's level, using the same tactics he would? Would it even be effective to commit violence to try to stop violence?

Do the ends justify the means?

Casey Jones thinks so. Making his first appearance in the original Mirage TMNT comics, Casey Jones is the very definition of the vigilante anti-hero. Casey apparently lived alone in a small apartment, spending his free time lifting weights while watching cop shows, Clint Eastwood movies, and the local news. On three TV sets at once. His view of the world became a bit warped, and he decided that the police were too restrained by such petty details as miranda rights and due process of law. Donning a hockey mask, sports pads, and a golf bag full of blunt instruments, Casey hit the streets to punish the criminal element the way he felt it needed to be done.

Unfortunately Casey Jones has no sense of scale. Be ye purse snatcher or rapist, petty thug or criminal mastermind, there is only one level of law enforcement to Casey's way of thinking. He's out to punish injustice, and that involves breaking some bones. Being tough on crime means hurting the criminal so badly, he'll be afraid to ever commit crimes again.

Original Comics
Raphael was the first of the Turtles to meet Casey in the comics. He had lost his temper sparring with Michaelangelo and needed to get out for a bit to clear his head, when he ran across Casey beating up some muggers in Central Park. And by beating up, I mean he had already defeated them, and was continuing to pummel their battered and broken bodies, ignoring their pleas for mercy.

Being a traditional hero with restraint and a solid moral code, Raphael couldn't let this go, and confronted Casey with his sense of ethics. Casey didn't want to hear it, and it escalated into a fight, in which Casey was actually doing pretty well until Raphael finally calmed down enough to use his ninja skills effectively. The fight ended with the two gaining a respect for each other, and Raphael learning an important lesson about his temper and where it could lead him.

The Cartoon
In the 1980s cartoon, Casey was much the same, but played for laughs rather than as a tragically flawed hero. The major changes to his character were that he switched from fighting injustice to fighting lawbreakers, he spoke in a Dirty Harry voice, and he never, ever took off his hockey mask. Again, the Turtles were forced to step in to help curb his extremist views on fighting crime, although this time it was because the media was confusing Casey's crimefighting tactics with the Turtles, and giving them a bad name.

The Movies
Elias Koteas played Casey Jones in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, introduced in a first meeting with Raphael very similar to its counterpart in the comics. However, while in the comics Casey and Raph ended their fight as good friends, off to stop another mugging together, in the movie Casey got away. He returned just in time to give a badly needed assist during a fight in April O'Neil's second hand store when the Turtles were outnumbered by the Foot Clan and down one team member (Raphael having been ambushed earlier). Although he stayed to help out the Turtles for the rest of the movie, going so far as to beat Shredder's right hand man in combat, he didn't make an appearance in the sequel and only had a minor role in part three.

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