Happy Birthday Casey!
Come join us as we celebrate Casey Jones’ 155th
Casey Jones was a railroad engineer who became an internationally known icon due to his heroic last ride on April 30th, 1900, when he saved all the passengers on his train!
Come and visit the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum
Located next to Casey Jones's historic home, our Railroad Museum contains many exhibits dedicated to Casey's life and famous last ride. Enjoy a short film about the story of Casey Jones, three authentic rail cars, and even an original engine model Casey drove. Kids of all ages are welcome to climb aboard and ring the bell just like Casey. Civil War enthusiasts will enjoy our permanent exhibit entitled "The Railroads & The Civil War In Tennessee." We are also proud to have the Jackson Room: a room dedicated to our town's rich railroad history.
Hours of Operation
9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday through Saturday
[Sunday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.]
The last museum tour of the day will begin at 4:00 p.m.
Senior Citizens: $5.50
Children 6-12 years: $4.50
Children 5 years & under: Free
Field trips per child:* $2.00
*A Field trip group is considered 20 or more. Group escorts are admitted free (1 escort per 20 guests).
All Aboard for a Historic Birthday Party!
People are discovering how much fun it is to have a birthday party at the Museum. For two hours, you and up to 40 guests can enjoy a private room plus free admission to the entire museum during regular business hours.
Serve your cake and refreshments in the private Jackson Room and its convenient kitchen area. To enjoy a fun and unique birthday party, call or email us today!
Read a Book...Watch a Movie...Play with Trains!
The Casey Jones Train Store houses an official Museum store full of train themed gifts including Thomas & Chuggington Toys! We were especially excited that the Train Store was featured in "Museums & More" magazine, a quality national publication. They offer industry news and product information and articles on Museum stores, zoos, aquariums, resorts and hospital gift shops. We even have a Thomas the Tank Engine corner complete with a reading nook, movie and play area that the kids absolutely love. We have regular visitors who come to the Museum just to play. There is no charge to visit the Casey Jones Train Store!
Join our Book Club!
Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum officials will be hosting free children's programming with a Reading Time at the Museum with Judy Lafont, the Casey Jones Village Education Coordinator, every Wednesday morning at 10:00 am on an ongoing basis. Children pre-kindergarten to 5th grade and their parents or grandparents are welcome to attend. The hour long program includes a themed story time followed by an activity and refreshments. Guests interested in attending are asked to call the Museum to let them know how many to prepare for at 731-668-1222.
Casey Jones Museum launched the reading program with Lafont two years ago. She is a retired school teacher who worked in the local school system for over thirty years. Lafont began working at Casey Jones Village in 2012 and helped create the award winning reading program Casey's Ticket 2 Fun.
We are a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Museums and a number of railroad related organizations. We also have a Casey Jones Museum Model Railroad Club based here at the Museum. Come by the Museum for membership forms or give us a call at 731-668-1222.
"Unlike many other legendary characters in American history, such as Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan, the story of Casey Jones is a true one. Born in a simple song by a man whose job it was to wipe clean steam engines, it captures the spirit of a proud America at the dawn of a new century.
The life and legend of Casey Jones and how it all came about is most fascinating and one in which we should all be proud, for it is not only the story of one man's death, but his dedication to duty that is representative of a people and nation whose adventurous spirit helped mold the America we know today.
Few men become legends overnight. So it was with Casey Jones. It began on March 14, 1863 in the boot heel of Missouri, no one knows exactly where, when Jonathan Luther Jones was born. He was the first of five children of a country school teacher, Frank Jones, and his wife, Anne. In 1876 his family moved to Kentucky and settled in the small community of Cayce.
Fascinated by trains, Casey spent a lot of time at the bustling train depot in Cayce. In 1878, at the age of fifteen, he left home to become a railroad man. Traveling to nearby Columbus, Kentucky he took a job with the Mobile and Ohio Railroad as a telegrapher and later as a brakeman and fireman.
He moved to Jackson, Tennessee still in the employ of the M & O. The city of Jackson would have a profound influence on his life for it was here that he met and later married Janie Brady, whose mother ran a boarding house for railroad men. Their wedding ceremony took place at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Jackson on November 25th, 1886.
He also acquired the nickname of Casey at that same boarding house when a fellow railroader asked him where he was from. When he said Cayce, Kentucky the nickname was born.
Casey Jones' work in Jackson primarily involved freight service between Jackson and Water Valley, Mississippi. Both locations were busy and important shops for the Illinois Central Railroad. He developed close ties with both between 1890 and 1900.
In January, Casey was transferred from Jackson, Tennessee to Memphis for the passenger run between Memphis and Canton, Mississippi. This was one link of a four train run between Chicago and New Orleans.
Casey and Sim Webb pulled into Memphis on the morning of April 29th, 1900 from Canton, Mississippi where they were supposed to lay over until the next day before making the run back. Sometime during the day, Sam Tate, the regular engineer, had become ill and Casey Jones agreed to take his place and make the return to Canton that night. He asked for his regular engine No. 382 and roundhouse workers installed a new six tone Calliope whistle on it. No. 1 out of Chicago was late and Casey and Sim did not leave the downtown Memphis station until approximately 12:30 am...an hour and a half late.
Casey Jones was known for his insistence that he 'get there on the advertised' and he was determined to arrive in Canton on schedule. Sim shoveled on coal and Casey poured on steam. They made up sixty minutes on the 102 mile stretch to Grenada, Mississippi. It was 23 miles to Grenada to Winona and Casey made up another 15 minutes. By the time he got to Durant he was almost on time.
By the time he reached Vaughan, Mississippi he was only 2 minutes behind schedule. Fate was quickly determining Casey's destiny at Vaughan. Three other trains were there. One had moved off the main line and two freights were ordered to another side track but their combined length was longer than the siding and four cars extended onto the track at the north end. As they prepared for a 'saw by' to let Casey pass, an air hose broke on Train No. 72 locking the brakes, leaving the last four cars of Number 83 on the main line.
Casey was approaching Vaughan unaware of the danger ahead and as he rounded the last part of a blinding 'S' curve fireman Sim Webb looked out and saw the red lights of the caboose on the main line. 'Oh my Lord, there's something on the main line!' Sim yelled to Casey who immediately reversed the throttle, applied brakes and reverse lever and sounded a long blast on his new whistle.
'Jump, Sim, Jump!' were the last words Casey Jones would ever say. About three hundred feet before impact, Sim swung down as low as he could, jumped and was knocked unconscious. The engine plowed through the wooden caboose, a car load of hay, another of corn and half way through a car of timber before leaving the track.
Close beside the twisted rail Casey Jones lay dead. No other person was killed or seriously injured. The time was 3:52 am, April 30th, 1900. The official accident report said that 'Engineer Jones was solely responsible having disregarded the signals given by Flagman Newberry'. Shortly after the accident and until his death in 1957, Sim Webb maintained that 'we saw no flagman or flare, we heard no torpedoes'.
Casey's tragic death was mourned not only by his family but also his friends, many of whom worked for the railroad. A man named Wallace Saunders worked in the roundhouse in Canton. He was an engine wiper and loved to sing. He remembered Casey in rhyme and a catchy tune that soon would become a favorite of the fellow workers and eventually the world.
William Leighton who worked out of the Canton yards passed Wallace's song along to his brothers, Bert and Frank, who were vaudeville performers and would be instrumental in spreading the new ballad ...'The Ballad of Casey Jones'...across the land.
A professional songwriting team, Siebert and Newton, copyrighted the song in 1909 and it quickly became one of the most famous songs in America. It was truly a song of universal appeal. In the 1930's a book, motion picture and a radio series added to the legend. The historic home of Casey Jones opened as a museum in April of 1956. The home was restored and filled with memorabilia of the great days of steam railroading.
On October 23, 1980 Casey Jones home and one week later the engine were moved to Casey Jones Village. After careful restoration, the museum was reopened to the general public on April 30, 1981. This date was the eighty-first anniversary of Casey Jones' tragic accident and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the museum.
The relocation to Casey Jones Village gave the Casey Jones story accessibility to the American traveling public being located seconds off Interstate 40. We feel deeply that Casey Jones has been and will forever be the personification of heroism and romance in his dedication to the ideal of work and duty, even at the risk of death.
We like to believe that Casey somehow knew, when he saw the lights of the other train that dark foggy night of April 30th, 1900, that, yes, he was going to die, but that because of his sense of value of a human life, stayed with his engine in a desperate attempt to try to slow it down as much as possible before crashing into history.
Casey Jones was the only person killed. Every passenger on his train was saved because of his heroic actions. We think what he did is worth honoring."
-Written by T. Clark Shaw, Brooks Shaw's Old Country Store Chief Executive Officer
Facts About Casey Jones
A Train...A Song...A Legend
Casey Jones had a reputation for being one of the best engineers on the rails. Neither he nor his fireman, Sim Webb, knew as they pulled out of Memphis with a train full of passengers that in the darkness of that Southern night a legend was waiting to be born. His famous last ride occurred on April 30th, 1900. He sacrificed his own life saving the lives of all of his passengers and crew. The subsequent song written of his heroism catapulted his story into international acclaim. Today in Jackson, Tennessee the historic Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum serves as a tribute to the life and legend of Casey Jones and to the men and women of the railroad.
*Born March 14, 1863
*You will note that the tombstone in Jackson pictured on the left gives his birth year as 1864 but according to the information written in the family Bible by his Mother he was born in 1863. The tombstone was donated by two out-of-town railroad enthusiasts who accidentally got the birth year wrong.
*Moved to Cayce, Kentucky as a boy--received nickname from this town but spelled it "Casey"
*Moved to Jackson to work for the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Later went to work for the Illinois Central Railroad in Jackson.
*Married Janie Brady from Jackson. They had 3 children--two boys and one girl. At the time of Casey's death, son Charles was 12, daughter Helen was 10 and son John Lloyd was 4.
*Casey was killed in a train wreck in Vaughan, Mississippi, April 30, 1900 at 3:52 a.m. The train had left from the Poplar Street Station in downtown Memphis, Tennessee on its way to Canton, Mississippi. He was the only one killed in the wreck. Casey stayed with the train to slow it down as much as possible and thus the lives of passengers were saved from injury and possible death.
*Sim Webb was Casey's fireman who Casey told to jump moments before the wreck occurred.
*Casey is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery on Hardee Street in East Jackson.
*The home in Casey Jones Village is the original home where Casey and his family were living in 1900 at the time of the wreck. It was located on West Chester Street before being moved to Casey Jones Village in 1980.
Casey Jones Historic Fund
The Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum is a non-profit organization. Owned by the City of Jackson, TN. and managed by the Brooks Shaw and Son Old Country Store. We rely heavily on tax deductable donations from supporters like you to preserve our railroad history!
We are in the process of expanding exhibits, doing further restoration work to the Casey Jones Home and renovating our railcar and caboose. We would especially like to work on repairing some walls in the Home and re-wallpapering. We welcome donations to help with these exciting projects.
Donations are tax deductible and may be made to:
West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation
Memo: Casey Jones Historic Fund
74 Directors Row
Jackson, TN 38305
Please be sure to designate your donations to the fund name "Casey Jones Historic Fund"
We are very proud to be a fund of the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation
We love trains and our States rich railroad history!
We are proud to be listed at www.trains.com
We were honored to have our good friend and renowned railroad artist Jim Jordan at the opening weekend of the Train Station expansion. Visit his website at www.jordanart.com
Railroad Sites in Tennessee include: