Window to the Past

The Early Railroad Days


Cow Killed

A cow belonging to a farmer near Carthage strayed on to the Northwestern Railroad track and was killed by a train. The farmer decided his cow had trespassed on the company’s property and received her just desserts, so he gave the section men a dollar to bury her and said no more about it. The matter was reported to headquarters in the course of business, and soon afterward an officer of the company called on the farmer.

"You had a cow killed on the track a few days ago, didn’t you?"

"Yes, sir" timidly replied the farmer, thinking he was up against a soulless corporation in a suit for trespass.

"Well, how did it happen?"

"I’m sure I don’t know; the cow got out of the pasture and onto the tracks and was killed; it wasn’t my fault, I paid the section men one dollar to bury her, so the company isn’t anything out."

"How much was the cow worth?"

"Oh, she was a fair cow, worth about $25."

The agent left and the farmer worried about a trespass suit against him. A few days later he received a letter, and upon opening it he discovered, not a summons for trespass, but a check for $25 for the loss of the cow and an annual pass over the road, the letter stating that he was the only man that ever had a cow killed on their road that did not swear she was a registered thoroughbred worth $150.

Delphos Herald — Aug. 29, 1900

Glass Railroads

By means of a valuable toughening process, recently discovered, glass may now be molded into lengths and used as railroad ties. Glass rails are also produced. It is therefore possible to have a complete glass railway. The rails are turned out in sizes and shapes similar to the steel rails. They are tougher and resist the elements better.

Delphos Herald — Sept. 3, 1900

Toledo, Delphos and Burlington Engines

The T.D. & B. Railroad has received one of an order of several new locomotives, weighing twenty-three tons. It was made by Messrs. Mason & Co., Taunton, Mass., and is of a new and improved pattern. It differs from the locomotives in general use in that the tender and locomotive are joined solidly together. It was tested Tuesday and gave satisfaction. We understand that two more of the same will be put on the road shortly.

Delphos Herald — Sept. 9, 1880

New Railroad

"The Cleveland and St. Louis Narrow-Gauge Railway" is the name of a new railroad incorporated last week, to run from Ottawa to Willshire. Ottoville, situated on the canal, will be a station on the "sea board."

Delphos Herald — Sept. 6, 1877

Narrow-Gauge vs. Standard Gauge

On a standard gauge road the rails are laid four feet eight inches apart. On a narrow-gauge, three feet apart. Locomotives, standard, weight 35 to 60 tons each. Narrow gauge engines, 8 to 18 tons each. A standard box car will carry 10 to 12 tons of freight; narrow gauge 8 to 10 tons. There is no difference in speed.

Delphos Herald — Oct. 18, 1877

Firemen Complain

The railroad firemen are now complaining because the mammoth engines now being used are so hard to fire and they nearly kill the men who are assigned to them. These engines, with the same crews, do a little more than twice the work that engines did ten years ago. Some firemen have been relieved from this severe strain by an experimental apparatus for mechanical firing on the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad.

Delphos Herald — Dec. 10, 1900

A Novel Affair by Miss Rose Shenk

A very novel and pleasant social affair was that given by Miss Rose Shenk at the home of her parents Thursday night, in honor of her guest, Miss Lenore Simons of Lima. Invitations were issued for a trip to Chicago on the Go Slow and Never Arrive R.R. to start from the home of Miss Shenk. The guests were received at the door and ushered into the depot waiting room.

After all had arrived, the start was made. The trip consisted in the playing of ten games of progressive pedro, starting from Delphos (the booby table) and ending at Chicago (the Ace table). Stops were made at Van Wert, Ft. Wayne, Warsaw, Plymouth and Valparaiso. Prizes were given to those making the best time in arriving at Chicago and making the longest stay in the Windy City. Miss Mamie Weger and Lou Laudick received the first prizes and Miss Lulu Trame and Gus Weger received the booby prize.

After the trip was over a dainty lunch was served in the dining room. Miss Agnes Wahmhoff and Mamie Weger acted as conductors and assisted in serving luncheon. After luncheon was over, all repaired to the spacious third floor where dancing and other amusements were indulged in.

Delphos Herald — Jan. 4, 1901

A Quick Job

The new bridge to span Jennings creek, west of Delphos on the P. Ft. W. & C. railroad is about ready to be placed in position. A force of men got the new double track structure together Friday afternoon, and it rests on iron rails on the north side of the abutments, which were built for a double track bridge.

Sunday the men will work like beavers to remove the old single track structure, and the double track bridge will be shifted over into its place and the rails connected. The men expect to get the new bridge in position in 30 minutes time, in order that trains will not be delayed.

Delphos Herald — Oct. 13, 1900

Narrow Escape

After the third section of No. 9 freight, bound west on the P., Ft. W. & C.R. Way yesterday, had got under headway after leaving Delphos, the engineer, Chauncey Burlington, discovered a small child on the track. He immediately called for the brakes, but descending a grade at the time, the brakeman could not get the train under control in time to prevent striking the child. The fireman, seeing the danger, ran out on the pilot of the engine and held himself with one hand while with the other grabbed the child just as the point of the cow catcher had passed, thus saving the child’s life by his great presence of mind. Had it not been for the courage displayed by the fireman, the poor child would have lost his life.

Delphos Herald — July 5, 1877

First Railroad In Ohio

In June, 1837, a ship pulled up to the Toledo docks and unloaded a Baldwin locomotive, the first seen in town. It looked like a long barrel laid on its side, fastened to a wagon with huge wheels, a long stack at one end and a teakettle-like arrangement on the other. This was the Adrian. Surrounded in steam and flying embers, it snorted and rattled out of Toledo with cars in tow, and the Erie & Kalamazoo Railroad was in operation.

In August 1837, another ship came down the Maumee and docked briefly before going out to the bay. Aboard were 200 Ottawa Indians who had been rounded up on Buttonwood Island for the first of three deportations of the tribe.

The Indian age and the railroad age passed each other in the oak openings south of Sylvania. Dresden Howard, a friend of the Ottawas, tells of the story of that day when he was out hunting with his Indian friends: "we traveled on north and sounds reached us like distant thunder and continued, until we called a halt to listen, when we saw a black object apparently about the size of a large horse, rapidly passing through the trees. We were nearly a half mile away from it and one of the Indians said it was an iron horse; a ‘hot water horse that spit hot water’, and this explanation enlightened us.

"We all knew of something they called a railroad, but we supposed the wagons were drawn by horses, but they had just made an exchange for a horse of iron."

"After (the devil of the woods) had passed, we all went forward and took a good look at this innovation of the Indian trail, composed of strap iron spiked to four-inch wooden stringers."

The straps worked loose and snapped up into "snake-heads" which afforded employment for one early Sylvanian. He walked up the tracks toward Adrian every morning before train time to spike down the snakeheads, and then walked back making it safe for the return of the cars to Toledo.

Passengers and freight rolled along together, but, usually the passenger cars were last, to get them as far from the smoke and hot sparks as possible.

They used odd shaped cars with two lower compartments, each holding eight people and an upper middle section with seats covered with sheepskins. Ladies usually rode up there. We confess curiosity as to how they managed to get up there with proper decorum; and what happened to them at the all-to-frequent times when the Gothic tipped over trying to negotiate a curve.

At intervals along the track, farmers were hired to keep a supply of firewood close to the track where the train could stop to refuel and dip up water from a nearby ditch. One of the wood stations was supplied by the Bryne family.

"The engine has not been fully tested but it is ascertained that it can move at a rate of over twenty miles per hour."

Mr. Brigham, a repair agent says the following, "The train left Adrian for Toledo at 7 p.m. and worked its way along the ice-covered track until we got out of wood and water, when we picked up sticks in the woods and with pails dipped up water from the ditches and fed the boiler, and made another run towards Toledo. When we got about four miles from Toledo, the train again ran out of steam, wood and water, we decided it would be easier to foot it the rest of the way. So we left the locomotive and cars standing upon the track and walked into the city, reaching there about 2:30 a.m. I was rather lame and sore, but gratified that we were enjoying the ‘modern improvements.’"

From Ohio Cues — March, 1975

P., Ft. W. & C. Railroad Double Tracked

It is likely that not more than half the distance between Lima and Ft. Wayne will be double tracked this year. The steel is arriving slowly and a large number of the men employed in the work have returned to the farm, on account of corn cutting.

Delphos Herald — Sept. 6, 1900

Delphos and Paulding R.R.

Notice is hereby given that the books of the Delphos & Paulding Railroad Company are now open, at office of Company in Delphos, Ohio, for subscription of stock to the capital stock of said Company. By orders of Incorporators.

Delphos Herald — Apr. 29, 1880

Hot Water For Robbers

On the new locomotives of the Denver & Rio Grande railway, nozzles have been placed on the roofs of the cabs pointing to the rear of the tender and the platform of the baggage car. They connect to the hot water of the boiler with a cock connection to the engineer or fireman, who can instantly send a jet of steam and boiling water, at 200 lbs. pressure, that would kill anybody happening to be in range. This is for protection against train robbers.

Delphos Herald — Sept. 8,1900

"Billy Railroad" Goat

The International & Great Northern Railroad of Texas has a trained goat in its employ. The goat receives no salary, but the best of treatment and seems to fully appreciate the important position. This goat is used to load sheep onto the cars and is well known all along the line. He was raised in Mexico, near the Mexican National R.R. Great was the surprise of his owner about a year ago when the goat, on his own, paid a visit to the stock pens at Lampazos, where a shipment of goats were being loaded, and led a big flock of stampeded animals back into the pens and into the cars.

The value of this goat was quickly recognized and for several months he had regular employment along the line of the Mexican National. A few months ago a large shipment of sheep was to be made and "Billy Railroad" was sent for, and he handled the big flock better than a force of 20 men.

His value is so appreciated that a large price was offered for him. He is now jointly owned by the two railroads.

Delphos Herald — July 31, 1900

Compressed Air Locomotive

A compressed air locomotive is to be tried on the Manhatten Elevated Railway of New York City. The locomotive is little more than a long black cylinder, similar to the boiler of a present locomotive, with the cab at one end. There will be no smokestack, no tender and no dome. The only protuberances on the cylinder besides the cab will be the whistle and the sand-box.

Delphos Herald — Sept. 23, 1900

State Street Bell

The electric bell at the State street crossing is becoming a nuisance, residents of that vicinity say. It either rings continually or not at all. Last Sunday it rattled away for hours at a time, to the disgust of residents, who became tired of hearing it.

Delphos Herald — June 26, 1900

Odd Looking Locomotive

An odd looking locomotive for narrow gauge track, was loaded on a flat car in the makeup of a westbound P. Ft. W. & C. train at noon today. It was only about 15 feet long and on the side was painted "Tecolotes."

Delphos Herald — Jan. 5, 1901

Discharged Engineer

A locomotive engineer who had just been discharged for some cause, gave vent to his spite by saying that it was about time he left anyhow, for the sake of his life, for "there was nothing left of the track but two streaks of rust and the right of way."

Delphos Herald — Jan. 24, 1878

Compiled by Robert Holdgreve
Delphos Historical Society

October 21, 2006 Delphos Herald Newspaper

Back to Window to the Past Home - Delphos History