Home

Roll-Call of Veterans.

Old-Timers Who Twisted Hand-Brake Wheels,
Threw Oregon Pine Into Wood Burners,
and Risked Life and Limb in Coupling
When George Westinghouse Was a Schoolboy.

HONOR FOR A CONDUCTOR

Edgar E. Clark Began as a Brakeman Thirty-four Years Ago
and Is Now a Federal Official.

FROM brake-wheel to the Interstate Commerce Commission is the record of Edgar E. Clark, recently appointed to the reorganized and enlarged commission by President Roosevelt. Mr. Clark began his railroad career as a brakeman on a Western road in 1872, at the age of sixteen. For fourteen years he served in that capacity, becoming a conductor on the Denver and Rio Grande in 1886; Two years later he was elected grand chief secretary of the conductors' organization, and two years after that became its chief. He was a member of the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, which settled the great strike of 1903. Mr. Clark's salary in his new position is ten thousand dollars a year.

BEGAN WITH CARNEGIE.

And Served the Pennsylvania Railroad Faithfully for More Than Half a Century -
Now a Pensioner.

FIFTY-TWO years and three months' service, without an absence of a day from the pay-roll, came to an end when Herman S. Delo was placed on the pension list of the Pennsylvania, June 30, at the age of seventy. He entered the employ of the road as a clerk in the Altoona yard the same year that saw the beginning of the service of Andrew Carnegie and Robert Pitcairn. In 1858 he became live-stock agent in Pittsburgh, where he handled thousands of dollars for the company without bond or loss. Six years later he was made assistant motive-power clerk in Altoona, and in 1882 he was transferred to a similar position for the lines east of Pittsburgh and Erie, a position which he held at the time of his retirement.

RIDDEN A MILLION MILES.

Joe Speck's Record on a Passenger Engine
Without Counting the Thousands of Miles on Freight Runs.

JOE SPECK, a Missouri Pacific passenger engineer, figures he has ridden more than a million miles on passenger locomotives in his thirty years' service with the Missouri Pacific. In this count he does not figure the many thousands of miles of travel on freight locomotives before he was promoted to a passenger engine.

His run is now between Kansas City and Falls City, a distance of one hundred and one miles, and if he bad traveled the total distance over this route it would have been equivalent to more than five thousand round trips. It would equal nearly seventeen hundred round trips between Kansas City and Saint Louis. The distance traveled exceeds that of a round trip over every mile of railroad in the world. - Kansas City Journal.

THE OLDEST ENGINEER.

Asher Smith, of Kansas, Who Ran an Engine in Maryland in 1849 -
Three Generations On the Road.

ASHER SMITH, now living on a farm near Melvern, Kansas, is the oldest locomotive engineer in the United States. His experience dates back to 1849, when he began running on the Mount Savage and Cumberland Railroad, in Maryland. After two years there he turned his face westward and ran for a few months on a road just opened between Chicago and Elgin, Illinois. His next berth was with the Milwaukee and Mississippi, now a part of the Northwestern. It was the day of the old wood-burners, and the rails were hewn scantling with an iron strip nailed on top.

Mr. Smith gave up railroading in 1859 and settled on the farm where he now lives, passing through much of the border and guerrilla warfare which distracted the State before and during the Civil War. He was in Lawrence when Quantrell's band sacked and burned the town, but escaped unharmed. After the war he lived the peaceful life of a Kansas farmer until the call of the railroad became too strong for him, and he entered the service of the Santa Fe in 1878 and remained there until his final retirement in 189~~. He is now eighty-one years old. At the time of his service on the Santa Fe there were three generations of his family in the employ of the road. Asher Smith was running out of Emporia, his son, B. E. Smith, out of Topeka, and his grandson, B. F. Smith, now a full-fledged engineer, was firing out of Topeka.

MARKED FOR MISFORTUNE.

An Engineer Who Rubs Elbows With Death Again and Again,
and Finally Dies of Heart Disease.

MATHEW DE COURCY, the veteran engineer who dropped dead of heart disease while sitting on the stone abutment of the Northern Central bridge across Frozen Run Creek, in Pennsylvania, recently, had a unique record for daredevil runs and narrow escapes. In his first year as brakeman on the Northern Central he had two accidents, the first of which cost him two fingers and the second three toes. His next mishap was years later, when he was running an engine on the Union Pacific. Lightning struck the locomotive, and De Courcy was taken out of the cab apparently dead. For weeks he lay in the hospital more dead than alive.

After his recovery he tried his luck on an Eastern road running into Washington. Here misfortune attended him ill the shape of a live wire which dropped down on the engine as it stood in the yards and became entangled about the cab. When he caught it to throw it out of the way he received the full force of a heavy current of electricity, and was unconscious for forty-eight hours. The accident which finally retired him from active service came a few months later, when his right foot was ground off at the ankle by his own engine. Then he turned his attention to more peaceful pursuits, and wrote and published "Sons of the Red Rose: a Story of the Rail." One paragraph in this hook is evidently written from the depths of De Courcy's own experience of hospital wards. In a tribute to the boys of the switch-shanties he says:

"A cheery 'The boys send you this' casts a living ray of Christ's sunshine through the black hell of crutches and bandages. There has never been another lot of men in the world welded together like the boys of the switch-shanties. For danger to life and limb, nothing in the world compares with it. The soldier who rides a hopeless charge, the sailor flattened on a lofty yard, swinging in the blackness of an Atlantic night out over white-maned hungry waves, the quiet-eyed scout riding alone through the perils of an Indian country, the fireman on his mission of mercy, high on an icy ladder against a tottering tenement, have all, through the magic of the brush or pencil, a deathless life on the walls of Valhalla, but the bright young lives crushed into eternal dust beneath the wheels of modern commerce leave only a haunting memory ever present in the hearts of their comrades."

"FAITHFUL MIKE" GRIFFIN.

Gate-Tender at One Crossing for Twenty-eight Years
and Never a Complaint of Neglect of Duty.

WITH the retirement on half pay, August 1, of "Faithful Mike" Griffin, gate-tender for the Boston and Maine in West Medford, Massachusetts, forty-one years of faithful service came to an end. Griffin began his work for this road as section-hand on the old Boston and Lowell, now the southern division of the Boston and Maine. For twenty-eight years, however, he has been gate-tender on the High Street crossing. During that time he has not had a single accident on his crossing, nor has he ever been called up "on the carpet" for neglect of duty.

Home
Prev     Next
Site Map