Cherokee Daily Times from Cherokee, Iowa on May 31, 1960 · Page 51
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Cherokee Daily Times from Cherokee, Iowa · Page 51

Cherokee, Iowa
Issue Date:
Tuesday, May 31, 1960
Page 51
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SECTION SIX. 1 CENTENNIAL EDITION SECTION SIX The Cherokee Courier CHEROKEE; IQWA, MAY 31, 1956 Operation When £* 123^ JS^f^n &^ZP- -~~r-. **** " * --t.rfy-iil 1 " ( PerTans^ne oTttTZn^rtmdi ng "imdiaiWta- thT^okee area Ray Wall, and pictures the mill and the dam. The mill thnved for many years, s;£!Sy^s t rs--s^^-J^s . gpajy^gjgssigujg^gjg^ PHOTO LOANED BY EAY WALL Many Stories Told Of Early Day R. R. Activities It was early realized by the pioneer that without railroads, the lands of the northwest country - though unsurpassed in fertility - woul remain comparatively useless and unsettled. Sioux City was then^the nearest, market place and' that•• was more! than sixty miles distant When reached, it offered only river, boats on-the Missouri for transportation of freight which jnethod • proved neither sure nor Satisfactory. Not until 1869 was tre road from Sioux City to Meriden (then called Hazard) completed. By early spring of 1870, emigrants began Hocking into the county and by June, the population had reached some two thousand. The rush continued, so that by December of 'the some year inhabitants numbered, three thousand. During the summer of 1870, the division frpm Iowa Falls to the West-end was connected to the division from Sioux City, finally giving this county a continuous line -from East to.West through the state and also a .two market outlet. Soon v after this road was finished it was leased to the Illinois Central Railroad Company for a term of ninety-nine years. _ Human nature, being what it is, the people were soon clamoring for an additional line toward the vast'lumber regions of the North, as well as an outlet _to the South. This rumble culminated in the organization of the Cherokee & Dakota railroad system which was projected between 1886 and 1887 from Onawa,. Iowa, to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. SINGULAR ACCIDENT There are some humorous stories told in connection with the early railroads of oin: county and the following one, which was related in the May 31, 1872 issue of the Cherokee Times, must be quoted in full for benefit of savor: "On Wednesday, road- master Little' of the I. C. railroad met .with a most singular accident which has all the. appearances of/ incredibility., were, it not attested as true. He had made purchase of a box. of cart- riges and 'one of these got mixed with the tobacco in his pocket. While -near Aurelia, he had in haste filled his huge pipe, crammed a cartridge in it with the tobacco and went on smoking as happy as a clam. Cartridges are apt to become restive when close pressed by fire, so an explosion followed, tearing the pipe-head to pieces but happily doing no bodily injury to the astonished smoker." AWFUL DEATH There were tragedies, too, connected with the coming of the "smoky-monster". Here is a report that appeared in the May 24, 1872 issue of the Times: 'A few miles west of Marcus, on Wednesday, the evening train ran over an object lying on the track which proved to be a man. The engineer saw the object but couiS "not distinguish what it was. He whistled down-brakes but too late -to stop the train in time. At thaf time it was not certain what had been run over but finding blood oh the engine it was surmised that it was the body of a human-being. Some parties took light, and went .back and about 4C rods in the rear of the train, they found the body of a man ma-ngled beyond recognition. Both legs were cut off and portions of the body and head torn away. The flesh was yet warm but the man was dead. Orderly seargent Reset arrived in Cherokee by -the Thursday train and says that the man was a deserter from the sixth infantry now quartered in Sioux City. His name was Egbert Britton and he left the regiment in company with three other men named Thompson, Connelly and Casey. The whole party was seen in LeMars on the afternoon of Wednesday and it is suspected that the others may have delt foully with'Britton and had laid him on the track'.:There was only S1.30 found on his person, yet there were letters to show that nis fathr had recently sent him money from New York state. .The deceased was a steady man and there were no indications to show he had been drinking. The engineer is of the opinion he was dead on the track from the manner in which tie laid. An inquest was he)d in LeMars yesterday. The results we have not learned. The others • are thought to be somewhere in this county and anyone arresting them will get a reward of thirty dollars for each." STORM FACTOR Of course these were times that were greatly removed from the present-day streamliners comfort-plus pullmans and luxury diners. In fact, during the severe winter storms, a refrigerator car would have been superflous. Here is an excellent account of a situation encountered by early passengers, taken from the Febru ary 2, 1872 publication of .the Times: "The storm of Saturday and Sunday was one of the severest and most sudden- ever experienced in this part of the country. Saturday morning was calm and beautiful . . . sun, cloud and sky betoken a more than usually pleasant day, but about nine o'clock a hurricane swept over the prairies, accompanied with a slight snow. The thermometer fell rapidly and one of the fearfullest days of the season followed: Fortunately, there was but a small quantity of snow on the ground, otherwise it. would have been absolutely blinding. The mercury fell to 20 degrees below zero, with a wind that penetrated the apertures of the most substantial dwellings, turning particles, of snow into recesses deemed inaccessable to their icy touch. The night of Saturday was a pitiless one. The hissing storm raging with untamed fury across the wide inhospitable prairies and heaven pity the poor wanderer caught by its merciless grasp. On Sunday,'the storm continued unabated, the fierce winds howling with rage, driving the drifting snow with fearful velocity. Afoful as the storm was here, a few miles to the west, by reason of (more snow, it was more terrible i still. On Saturday, the west' bound train passed here about half an hour late, but the storm became so severe that two miles west of Marcus it stuck fast in a ! drift. There were five passengers Ion the train, including two !ladies,' one with a babe and a | child of two or three years old, but so terrible was the storm Ithat the whole train remained jsnowed-in until Monday aftcr- ;noon. The passengers passed a Isad night on Saturday, the wind I and snow sieving through the car ! as if it had been a sieve, but fortunately there was an abundance [of fuel on the train and conduc- tor Newton with his help made this cheerless tenement as pleasant as possible. On the high prairie, the storm is said to have been most appalling, so much so that men could see but a few feet around. 'Those who have lived in the northwest these past fifteen i years say they have never be- for v/itnessed a storm so fearful and cold so intense at the same time. The passengers were supplied with provisions on Sunday • from Marcus, remaining in their | wretched quarters till Monday 'when a train from the east took them back to Cherokee and here they still are at this writing. The .company have been making vig- iorous efforts to open the track land in their efforts.have broken 1 two snow-plows and three ' loco! motives. Up to today, Wednesday, i only three miles of the track have been cleared but it was expected the greatest difficulty 1 had been | surmounted. The drift in places is ten feet deep and packed amazingly hard. Trains are expected tomorrow running through. Our connection with the east remains unimpaired." TRAIN WRECK And railroad accidents were not unheard of in those days, either! The following material contains a recount of one which was termed "disastrous." It appears that the Illinois Central suffered a wreck within the yard limits east of Cherokee at 3:30 a.m. Saturday, October 26, 1912. Two engines were put out of commission, several cars demolished, some hogs killed and a certain amount of property damage resulted. The train seems to have been several hours late getting here on account of a breakdown suffered near Manson and a sixteen hour law made it mandatory for the crew to rest. These factors seemed to be di- Illinois Central Wreck South of Cherokee - Oct. 26, 1912 rectly responsible for the accident itself. Conductor E. W. Brown was in charge of the train when it pulled into the yard <lirnits at a high rate of speed, apparently not well under control. A. yard engine was doing some switching, at the extreme end of the yards on the main line, at this same time. It had just started to back onto the sidetrack with a car of oats when the freight train carne thundering toward it. There was no time to clear so the men from' both trains jumped to safety in the nick of time. Engines met headoh with terrific impact, the switch engine being rendered almost a total loss. Both tender- tanks were thrown into the ditch but the engines remained at least partially on the rails. Six or seven cars were completely demolished. A stock car filled with hogs headed for'Sioux City was. smashed into kindling wood proportions . . . but the wonder of ' it all is how any managed to es-. cape, for only half a dozen or so were killed. Th&.carload of oats spilled along- the tracks and others filled with valuable merchandise, cement, or drain-tile, were completely ruined. The exact spot being where the Onawa line joined the main line. The men were. commended for their efficiency in clearing the mess and laying a temporary track in record time, for the morning train was delayed no more than three hours. The temporary rails let in the westbound trains and then had to be switched in order to allow the Onawa trains a means of departure. It became necessary to order the wrecker sent out from Waterloo to clean up the remainder of the wreckage. At one point, a fire broke out in'the rubble but it was snuffed out moments after its origin and before the fire department could appear. This resume should give one a general idea of our first railroads and, although some smiles may cross the faces of those who have become proficient in the modes of modern transportation, it may be well to remember that for our predecessors the train opened new vistas of development and progress, our county benefiting most of all, ,

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