Second World War: Sawmill Produced Thousands of Railroad Ties

Iowan processed thousands of railroad ties at his family's sawmill during the Second World War.

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In 1942, my dad and I were sawing railroad ties for the government, 10 miles south of Macomb, Illinois. We were in a 1,000-acre timber lot. We had seven men working for us, two log cutters, one log hauler and two men with Dad and me at the sawmill. There were two men trimming ties with bark left on them after going through the mill. We were sawing 100 ties a day, as well as the lumber off of them. We sawed a little over 14,000 ties in seven months. I had just turned 38 and was exempt from the Army. 

Ernest Danielson
West Burlington, Iowa


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.