Railroad Stories: Father Collected Railroad Memorabilia

My father worked for the railroad for about 45 years. Most of those years were spent as a telegrapher and office clerk doing bills of lading. Through the years, he collected railroad memorabilia.

My father not only worked around trains, he loved them. Our old home movies are full of train scenes, pictures of old steam engines, views of trains moving through snowstorms or under sunny skies. If we were out for a drive in our ’36 Chevy and had to wait for a train, it didn’t bother my father. In fact, he had some way of sounding the Chevy’s horn as a signal to the engineer that he was also involved with trains.

After my father passed away, my sisters and I gave many of his mementos to a nearby town, where the Shawmut Historical Society is located. Today, under a glass case, in an old railroad car, my father’s things are displayed – a shovel once used to put coal into an engine, a railroad lantern, old bills of lading, books of railroad rules and snapshots of my father standing beside a locomotive.

If he can see all of this, he must be overjoyed. He loved the railroad!

Joan Stephen
Portville, N.Y.

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.