Railroad Stories: Grateful For Railroad Job Opportunities While They Lasted

Railroad job opportunities provided grandfather with work.

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My grandfather worked in the coal chute for the railroad, so my mother and her family would often ride the train. They, of course, received free passes because of my grandfather's employment. Then the coal chute shut down, engines took the place of coal, and the job ended.

My father-in-law rode the train a lot. He brought lumber, nails, posts, barbed wire and supplies from Iowa to Colorado, and built the homestead house that I now live in. He would also put their cattle, hogs, cream and eggs on the railroad cars to be sold in Denver, which was more than 100 miles away.

I remember as a child, my dad held me up so I could see President Roosevelt sitting on the caboose of a train that passed through our hometown of La Salle, Colo. He was the only president I ever got to see.

I think the old trains were beautiful, with the smoke from the smoke stack, the horn and the cattle guard on the front end. They win hands down over the newer trains. I rode a train to Denver once to get state aid after my husband had a farming accident that took his leg. We received our aid, and my husband was able to receive his wooden leg. He took each of our six children with him to Denver by train when he went to the doctor.

Later, my husband and I took a ride on one of the oldest trains and had a wonderful vacation. Nothing can replace what trains have done and are still doing for the good of everyone.

Bettie Sampson
Akron, Colo.

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.