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Our feature article is "The Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh" .
We have other articles on Ogdensburg and the North Country and the history of the Hojack Line .
We have a special feature by Richard Palmer on Where Did the Term "Hojack" Originate?
Find out about the important branch between Ogdensburg and DeKalb Junction.
See our reference section and our Lake Ontario Shore section .
You will enjoy the Timeline of Railroads in the Adirondacks , Bike Trails Along Railroads , and the The Rutland Connection .
Follow the Hojack Line on Google Earth .
See our New York Central Railroad pictures , find out about the Ogdensburg Bridge , the Ogdensburg car ferry , Massena Terminal Railroad .
See a Chronicle of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Compiled by Richard Palmer
See maps Around Watertown and Oswego , as well as Watertown history .
Follow a new railroad into the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. They run tourist trains, dinner trains, and even a ski train from Saratoga to North Creek. They want to reactivate the railroad to a mine that was closed over 20 years ago. New technology and a new attitude maybe just the right combination.
See another History of the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad .
See more Hojack Stories from the Collection of Richard Palmer . Included are: why the R.W.& O. adopted the Four Leaf Clover Trade Mark ; Newspaper abstracts concerning the RW&O Shops in Rome, N.Y. ; and the Ballad of the Hojack .
Station at Watertown, NY
|New York Central Branch from DeKalk Junction to Ogdensburg, In 1861, the Potsdam & Watertown line merged into the Watertown&Rome, the name of the new railroad was changed to Rome, Watertown&Ogdensburg, and a 19-mile line built from DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg. It lasted until the 1980's. Read the whole story.|
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A Chronicle of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg
|Compiled by Richard Palmer|
Watertown Times, March 14, 1936
BRANCH ENDS 84 YEAR'S SERVICE
Line From Rome to Cape Vincent Was Completed in April, 1852
WINDSTORM BLEW DOWN CAPE STATION IN 1895; 2 KILLED
FIRST SHIPMENT OF SILK VIA CANADIAN PACIFIC CAME OVER THE LINE
N. Y. C. CAPE VINCENT BRANCH Train 804 Pulls Into Watertown Depot at 12:10 P. M. to End Passenger Traffic Career---Freight Service to Continue---JeffWells and George Walker Are Noted Trainmen of Line.
By F. H. KIMBALL
Today the Cape Vincent branch of the New York Central system passed a milestone in its 84 years of history, when at 12:10 p.m. train No. 805 (sic) drew in at the local terminal from that village pulling the last passenger train ever likely to run over the route again.
For the past several years passenger service on the Watertown-Cape Vincent branch has been steadily declining. The system applied to the public service commission to cut out all passenger service on the line. This was recently granted and today the passenger train to and from Cape Vincent rode the rails for the last time. Freight service will continue as formerly on this line.
The Cape Vincent train left here as usual at 8:40 this morning. This train is known as train No. 804. Its return trip was made on time and the service officially ended at 12:10 this afternoon at the close of the return run. Engineman Frank I. Peacor (sic), 446 South Meadow street, was at the throttle. Samuel A. Jones, 440 West Ten Eyck street, was the conductor and John W. Schryver, 413 Coffeen street, was the brakeman.
As far back as the summer of 1847 plans were being made to build the Watertown, Rome, and Cape Vincent railroad. A poster of that date refers to the proposed road as highly importantfor all citizens from the St. Lawrence on the north to the Erie canal on the south. Subscriptions were being sought. The poster stated: By the charter we have till the 14th of May, 1848, to complete subscriptions, and make an expenditure towards the road.
The venture gained ground rapidly thereafter. A board of directors was organized and on April 6, 1850 the actual organization of the Watertown & Rome railroad designed to connect Rome with Cape Vincent was accomplished at the American hotel in this city. The organization was capitalized at from $1,000,000 to $l,500,000.
Work Began at Rome.
The original officers of the Watertown & Rome railroad were: President, Orville Hungerford, Watertown; secretary, Clarke Rice, Watertown; treasurer, O. V. Brainard, Watertown; superintendent, R. B. Doxtater, Watertown. The directors were: S. N. Dexter, New York; William C. Pierrepont, Brooklyn; John H. Whipple, New York; Norris M. Woodruff, Watertown; Samuel Buckley, Watertown; Jerre Carrier, Cape Vincent; (probably a sentence or two followed which failed to be copied).
Construction soon began at Rome and by the fall of 1850 track was laid for about 25 miles north of Rome. But it was not until May of 1851 that the first engine puffed into Jefferson county. In the summer of 1851 work went ahead on the construction of the road between this city and Cape Vincent. Contractors were at work on the new line throughout the summer and fall.
Line Reaches Chaumont in 1851
Among the first engines that traveled over the Rome & Watertown road were the Lion, the Roxbury, the Commodore, and the Chicopee. It was during this pioneering stage of the railroad that Orville Hungerford died, on April 6, 1851. W. C. Pierrepont, was named president to fill the vacancy, and it was under Mr. Perreponts jurisdiction that the Watertown & Rome railroad was finished.
The line was pushed through to the village of Chaumont in the fall of 1851 and in April, 1852, reached Cape Vincent, the original northern terminus. Cape Vincent was an important point of entrance to the country even in those days and the railroad linked the St. Lawrence river with the interior of the state. With the Cape Vincent line finished the regular operation of trains began formally on May 1, 1852. And so almost ten years before the beginning of the Civil war, Cape Vincent was united with the rest of the world by a railroad.
A ferry at Cape Vincent, The Lady of the Lake, connected the village with Kingston, Ont., and the trains were operated to connect with the ferry. Extensive docks and piers were built and a great wooden-covered passenger station was erected. This was built in 1852. It resembled a great barn with a huge gap of an entrance where the trains ran through. This old station stood from 1852 until 1895.
The end of the station was a tale of tragedy. On the night of Sept. 11, 1895, the train from Watertown arrived on time to connect with the Kingston boat. Suddenly a violet storm swept over Cape Vincent and passengers on the dock sought shelter inside the great station. The wind swooped down on the ancient structure, lifted it off the ground and then dropped it, smashing the whole building in a great crash. Two person were killed and many more were injured.
Old Station a Landmark.
Thus for 40 years that old station stood as a landmark at Cape Vincent. The conductor of the train on the evening of the tragedy was the late W. D. Carnes, city, better known to everyone as BillyCarnes. In 1889 Mr. Carnes moved to Cape Vincent and for twelve years he served on the Cape Vincent branch, having the run from that village to this city.
The late Jefferson B. Wells has been characterized as the commodore of the old fleet.Wells was long in the service of the railroad and spent many years of his life as engineer on the Cape Vincent branch. His skill in handling locomotives is still recalled to this day. His two favorite engines were the T. H. Camp and the Antwerp. As engineer of the old 44he is also remembered. This engine spent most of the later years of her life on the Cape Vincent route. Many stories are told of JeffWells and his railroading days.
"999"Used on Line.
The famous engine, the 999,whose record of 112.5 miles an hour in 1893 has never been equaled, was in its later days assigned to the St. Lawrence division and during 1912 it was placed on the (paragraph truncated in copying).
In the 1870s and 80s when the Thousand Island region was entering palmy (sic) days, the Cape Vincent branch played an important part in the early development and interest of tourists in the St. Lawrence river. Excellent docking facilities were built at Cape Vincent. Besides the great covered station which stood at that time, there were the freight sheds and a huge grain elevator. But passenger service was by no means the only development on the Cape line. Freight of all kinds was unloaded from trains there and placed on steamers to make its way across to Kingston. The first shipment of silk from the Orient over the transcontinental route of the Canadian Pacific railway was made into New York city by way of the Cape Vincent ferry and the Rome and Watertown railroad in the fall of 1883.
The separate corporate existence of the R.W. & O. continued until 1914, when the Vanderbilts made a single corporation under the name of the New York Central railroad.
George B. Walker, 259 Flower avenue west, who retired from the Central last summer, was a veteran engineer of the Cape Vincent branch for many years. Other engineers have at times filled in during the history of the Cape Vincent branch but probably Jeff Wells and Mr. Walker are the best known of the group.
Heavy Sunday Traffic.
E. N. Lucas, who has been station agent at Chaumont for 30 years, today recalled the great crowds that used to make use of this line. He remembered that 3,000 people came into Chaumont by train on July 4, 1908. He said that three trains were required to draw them and that two of them were doubleheaders. Sunday night traffic before automobiles came into general use also was heavy, it was recalled.
Mr. Lucas said that so far as he knew no one ever lost his life on the Cape Vincent branch of the railroad. No very serious train accidents occurred on the line. It was remembered that about 45 years ago the Cape train jumped the track between Three Mile Bay and Rosiere but no one was killed. The coaches were badly damaged, however, and some passengers were injured.
The passenger agent at Cape Vincent now is C. F. Fairand; at Rosiere, Harry Rainear; Three Mile Bay and Chaumont, E. N. Lucas; Limerick, William Johns; Dexter, Bruce Munson and Brownville, Evan Davis.
The Eastern Greyhound lines announced today that the regular bus service will be maintained on the route. Buses leave Watertown for Cape Vincent at 11 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. and leave Cape Vincent for this city at 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The 11 a.m. and 7 a.m. buses do not run on Sunday.
Railroad Magazine, August, 1939, P. 24
True Tales of the Rails
The Death Order
By Ralph A. Snyder
In the days when I knew Remsen, N.Y., the Thousand Islands Special, No. 55, would pause there briefly for the many orders on the telegrapher's desk, for Remsen was one of those brass-pounding jobs where good telegraphers worked like the devil to move the business.
One order for the Special stood above all others in importance on a certain morning in 1904. A restrictive order is always so. The flimsy delivered that morning read: "No. 55 will wait at Boonville until 5:15 a.m. for No. 90." It was a simple wait order, entirely correct even to the signature and timing. The conductor's lantern swished. The long train of vacationists moved away. Darkness enveloped Remsen.
Train orders containing a meet or wait affecting trains always go to all trains affected. In this case, the fast southbound cheese train, No. 90, drew the other side of this correctly repeated order. No. 90's part of the order was copied by a lady operator up the line. The night was warm, yet at her office a brisk fire burned in the stove. An an intruder, a man bulked in a heavy overcoat, sat against the stove.
After the lady had copied the order and properly repeated it, the man stalked over to her side. His lips trembled with questions and cautions. Was she sure she had copied it right? How would she manage to hand it up? Couldn't the order be written out in more plain words? It hardly made sense, according to the man, who was a soldier just returned from the hot Philippines. The oman was his wife. His prudence evidently undermined her not too great ability. Perhaps that's why she began recopying the safe order.
No. 90 slowed, for the crew knew thee was a lady at Lyons Falls. As soon as the caboose had highballed, the engineer opened again. He checked with his watch and timecard. Time to make the siding at Boonville on his order. He'd not delay No. 90 a moment.
The fast freight shot past the siding of Port Leyden, around the curves and stretches leading to the place he had selected to head in. Suddenly a level beam of light rounded a curve, then the lights of an oncoming Thousand Island Special. There was no time to wonder. No time to apply air. for before the engineer could scream a warning they were at each other. Two speeding iron monsters in a fatal embrace on a single-track road!
Officials met and conferred. The sudden death and maiming of scores of vacation-bound passengers was more than a divisional incident. Back at Lyons Falls telegraph office, the wires had abruptly gone mute. The lady might easily have grounded the wires south and gotten in touch with her dispatcher, but fear had grappled her. The returned soldier understood no wires. They called the day man.
The agent promptly grounded and got (P. 25) the dispatcher. But the director of train destiny knew nothing. Only time would reveal the secret. Idly the agent looked down to see the many tissues in the waste basket, which held an unusually large number of crumpled order forms. Slowly he began spreading them out. Several orders, parts of orders, all about one situation - the time No. 90 had on No. 55. When he checked with the file the order that had been delivered, it told a horrible story. The delivered order read: "No. 55 wait at Boonville until 5:55 a.m. for No. 90." It was a recopied order.
Should ever an emblem of death in railroading be carved, it would be that of a recopied train order. Under the original order which the agent found in the basket, he knew that No. 90 would have been compelled to take siding at Port Leyden. But under the order the freight crew received, they would have plenty of time to make Boonville - a point the dispatcher never intended them to make. There was only a difference of forty minutes. Surely time is the essence of Railroading.
Railroad Magazine, July, 1940, P. 128
Who remembers the old Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg (now a part of the New York Central)? I spent the winter of 1880 at the RW&O station in Mexico, N.Y., mar Oswego, and I'd like to hear from readers who were acquainted with this 400-mile pike.
The RW&O was rather primitive. With the exception of a stretch of four miles, iron rails were still in use in 1880. These rails. which had been brought over from Wales, were of the 56-pound type. No fishplates were used on them, the joint coming on a tie. A chair, made of boiler iron, about six inches square, with a lug turned up on the two opposite sides to keep the "chair" in place, was used to prevent low joints The ends of these rails often became battered and a low joint was almost inevitable. In such a case "shims," or broad, flat wedges of wood, were used to correct the low spots.
Bridges, usually of wood, were often too frail to support two engines at once. In case of a double-header, the leading engine was cut off before the train crossed. In 1880 the RW&O had about fifty serviceable engines. A dozen or more of them were ancient and very light.
Not an engine on the line was equipped with air, while very few had injectors. i vividly recall a time when one of the injectorless engines was stalled in a long deep cut, behind a snowplow. Before the gang could shovel her out, the water was low. To meet this emergency, they set men filling the tank with snow, jacked her free from the rails and let her drivers spin, thus keeping her alive.
Of the other engines, I remember two of the inside connected vintage. Steam chests, cylinder, guides and crossheads, etc., were under the boiler and back of the smoke arch. Main rods connected with cranks in the driving shaft instead of with a crank-pin in the driver, as at present. Perhaps a dozen of the locomotives were wood-burners, with balloon stacks. Firemen became very expert in handling the blocks of wood, often standing well back of the tender, hurling the blocks end-over-end and seldom missing the firebox door. Long woodsheds were not rare along the line, but the majority of the engines were soft-coal burners, with diamond stacks. It was at about this time that straight stacks with red-banded tops began to make an appearance.
Our train orders were anything but simple. There was no such thing as a "standard" order. Semaphores were unknown on the line. In most cases, operators used a flag, stuck in a crack on the platform, or wedged against the rails. The simplest orders were entangled in endless red tape, a change of meeting-place between two trains requiring as many as nine separate and distinct messages, answers, verifications and okays.
In spite of all this, or possibly because of it, timetables had often not the faintest connection with actual running schedules. An extra train, called a wildcat, was enough to throw the line into a frenzy of orders and counter orders. to illustrate: An original order would be sent out,"Welch and Welch (conductor and engineer). Wildcat, London to Liverpool, this day."
At this point, the dispatcher stepped in with orders. he first designated a meeting-point, ignoring the timetable. The operator at the designated point was then given the following order, "Flag and hold Train One until Train Two arrives, this day." The operator was required to repeat this order and receive an okay before the next step could be taken. The next order went to the wildcat, "Run to M (the point designated) regardless of Train One."
Next, Train One (assuming there had been no mixup in this storm of orders) was held at the designated point. This state of affairs was reported by the operator to the dispatcher. The dispatcher then okayed the statement. The op returned to Train One with the okayed statement and his order book. Conductor and engineer were then required to okay this already okayed statement and the whole thing was once more relayed to the dispatcher. When, or if, the second train arrived at the meeting-point, the whole procedure was gone through once more.
An additional complication was that separate copies of each order had to be given to conductors and engineers involved and carbon paper was not used.
In January, 1881, I was given a position as operator with the Lackawanna in the freight and coal yards at Syracuse. This line was far more modern than the RW&O.
The two divisions of the Lackawanna reaching Syracuse were both laid with steel rail. For some years, the Northern Division had operated a clumsy and costly system of trackage. It consisted of standard and broad gauge on the same ties. This made a specially designed drawhead necessary, Couplings had to be made at an angle, and links of an unusual shape were carried on the tank of every engine. "Foreign" cars sometimes proved puzzles. Just when the third rail was taken up, I don't know, but I well remember that the marks were still on the ties.
At that time most of the engines on the roads I saw, in contrast to the Rome line, were equipped with air for train use, but had no power brakes on drivers and trucks. A hand-brake on the tank and the reverse lever had to serve the purpose when the engine ran light. I believe injectors were in universal use on these lines.
Vast quantities of anthracite were carried, not only for home consumption but also for shipment by water to Canada, through the port of Oswego. Most coal was handled in jimmies, four-wheeled, boxlike affairs, each carrying about six tons. The jimmy was equipped with a bib hook for drawhead, a three-link coupling and a cruel dead-block. This type of coupling left some inches of slack between any two cars and what happened to the caboose riders when the engine took up the slack, I leave to the reader's imagination. The brake on these jimmies consisted of a long lever and rachet, operated from the running board side of the car. All boxcars, flats, gondolas, and jimmies were equipped with the bloody dead-block.
As far as I can learn, not another man of ll those who were working on the line from 1880 to 1884 is now living. If, however, I'm wrong and any of the number read this letter, I would be most happy to hear from him. - L.S. Boyd, Geneva, N.Y.
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Where Did the Term "Hojack" Originate?
By Richard Palmer
Central New York Chapter, NRHS
Although the rail lines north of Syracuse, both abandoned and existing, have
passed ownership from Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg to New York Central, to
Penn Central, to Conrail and finally CSX. This railroad has from time immemorial,
been known as the "Hojack." The origin of this title seems to be lost in
the mists of antiquity. Attempts have been made to determine the origin of
this nickname, but without much success - until recently. The term applied
to the entire system, stretching from Massena to Lewiston, Rome to Cape
Vincent via Watertown, Sackets Harbor to Utica via Carthage; and from Richland
to Syracuse. The portion of the line from Oswego to Lewiston, running parallel
to the shore of Lake Ontario, was always known as the "West Hojack."
Joseph Hughes, an oldtime New York Central conductor on the St. Lawrence
Division of the New York Central, said he was told the term "Hojack" originated
when one man standing on the main track for some reason waved his hand to the
another man on a siding and hollered-- in derision--"Ho, Jack."
Still another story was that men on the division were in the habit of saying "Hello, Jack" to each other. One often quoted story is that the term Hojack originated from the engineer of the first train in 1851 between Rome and Cape Vincent, who was named Jack Welch (often called "Big Jack"). Welch used to be a farmer and was more familiar with horses than steam locomotives. When he stopped the trains he would shout "Whoa Jack!". This supposedly evolved into "Hojack" over time. Even more unbelievable is this quotation taken from a history of the R., W. & O. written by Dick Batzing, Town of Webster (N.Y.) Historian:
Many people fondly called the R.W.& 0. by its nickname, "Hojack." It seems that in the early days of the railroad, a farmer in his buckboard drawn by a bulky mule was caught on a crossing at train time. When the mule was halfway across the tracks, he simply stopped. The train was fast approaching and the farmer naturally got excited and began shouting, "Ho-Jack, Ho-Jack." Amused by the incident, the trainmen began calling their line the "Ho-Jack."
The Syracuse Post-Standard of Jan. 12, 1906 carried this brief article:
EDICT AGAINST HOJACK
Central Employees Ordered to Drop the Nickname.
Henceforth in the lexicon of the New York Central Railroad there is to be no such word as "hojack" if the authorities of that road can render the use of the word obsolete. An order, it was said last night, has been privately issued to the employees of the R.,W.&O. division prohibiting them from using the objectionable nickname.
The question then arose as to why the term would be objectionable. Obvious the edict did not work as "Hojack" has continued to prevail right to this day. It soon became obvious that the term meant something completely different than people have concocted over the years, which tend to be unsubstantiated folklore.
An article was finally discovered in the Syracuse Herald of May 11, 1926 that sheds more light on this subject. This was a feature article about the work of the New York Central police force in Syracuse. Of course this was during Prohibition, and vagrants were riding the rails. The article states these people were classified by railroad men into three categories - the hobo, the hojack and the tramp. "The hobo," according to Inspector F.E. Welch of he Second Railroad Police District, "is a person who will not work, but will steal. It is custom to pillage and rob stores in small towns and hop a freight to the next town or village, there to repeat the procedure. A hojack works now and then, dresses fairly well and although always with some funds, will not pay for railroad transportation. The tramp is a harmless sort of a person who, through laziness alone, will not work. However, he is honest and generally carefree and happy. He spends most of the winters in jail and in the summers roaming the country."
It was also discovered that the term Hojack applied to the RW&O division at least as far back as the early 1900s and probably before, as n newspaper articles refer to trains being late late due to bad weather on the Hojack.
Still further evidence shows that the term "Hojack" was by no means confined to the RW&O. Even the Erie used the term. The Port Jervis Evening Gazette of Feb. 5, 1880 claimed it assigned this name to the way freight.*
*Port Jervis Evening Gazette, Oct. 28, 1879 - While the Hojack was backing down to the depot Wednesday afternoon a horse in a team attached to a wagon from the country got its foot fast between the rail and the bed of the track in a manner similar to that which a horse belonging to Thomas Cuddeback was ruined some time ago. it was with a great difficulty that the horse Wednesday was saved from a similar fate. The foot was got out just in time to get out of the way of the train.
Port Jervis Evening Gazette, Feb. 5, 1880 - The name Hojack, which the Gazette gave to the way train laving here for the west at 1:30 in the afternoon, sticks closer than a brother, and the train is now generally known by that name.
Why the R.W.& O.Adopted the Four Leaf Clover Trade Mark
From the Collection of Richard Palmer
Rome Daily Sentinel April 14, 1891 pg.2, col.5
Why the R.W.& O.Adopted the Four Leaf Clover Trade Mark - Other Items
The choice of the four leaf clover as the trade mark of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad was the idea of the general passenger agent. Mr. Butterfield chose the four leaf clover becouse of its popular symbolism with all good luck, and also for its peculiar adaptability to the R.W. & O. initials.
To further carry out the idea of good luck for road and patrons, Mr. Butterfield selected for the stem of the clover trade mark the French legend "Bonheur," which says, in one word familiar to everybody, "good luck go with you," "good fortunes attend you," "god speed you." this trade mark has attracted wide-spread attention, and the general passenger agent has received hundreds of letters commending the appropriateness of the design.
The extreme appropriateness and unique blending of the legend with the trade mark have been the cause of very general remarks and even of envious emulation. A western railroad of prominence and size has recently, through the New York State superintendent of public instruction, offered a prise of one hundred dollars to any teacher in new york state who shall suggest a word for a trade mark which will be as appropriate as "Bonheur."
The word has not yet been found and probably will not be. The German "gluck aut" is the only motto approaching "Bonheur" in comprehensiveness, and this motto, although under consideration at the time of the selection of "Bonheur," was discarded in favor of the more euphonious and generally comprehended one. the trade mark is now to be found on all freight cars, including coal cars of the r.w.&o., and in differing sizes on all advertising matter, and on all stationery of the passenger department.
Application for a patent of the trade mark has been filed in Washington, and the patent will, of course, prevent the adoption by any other corporation of the four leaf clover and its legend "Bonheur."
The trestle built in Utica in 1887-8 by the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad, connecting the
Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg, has been abandoned. This trestle was built so that the former road could transfer its cars over to the
Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg without having to pay the Central road for the privilege of crossing its tracks.
It was also used by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western railroad for the same purpose, the charges being only 50 cents a car,
while the Central railroad charged $1 a car.
During the period that the trestle has been used thousands of cars have been run over it and a large amount of money has been saved by the roads. The reason for abandoning it is that cars are not loaded at the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg freight house now, but at the
Central freight house, and since the central road does its own shifting and
transferring no charges can be made.
Superintendent R.C. Jackson of the railway mail service has directed that mail be forwarded on Sunday trains between Utica and Watertown and Utica and Ogdensburg.
Oswego Palladium April 14, 1891 pg.1, col.1
Theodore Butterfield, the general passenger agent of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad, is the inventor of the trade mark recently introduced upon all the cars, stationary and advertising mattier of that line. The trade mark consists of a four-leaf clover bearing the initials "R.W.& O." and carry upon the stem the word "Bonheur." It is an appropriate and suggestive symbol, and readily imprints itself upon the eye.
Mr. Butterfield has applied for a copyright to protect the trade mark.
Utica Daily Observer, April 14, 1891 pg. 4, col. 7
It has become quite popular recently for the different railroads companies to choose a "trade mark" or a distinctive sign by which their cars, advertising paper, stationery and various belongings may be marked and which distinguishes them at a glance. the black diamond, white diamond, maltese cross, maple leaf, arrow, winged wheel, etc., have all become familiar, and when one of them is seen by a railroad man he knows the name of the road at a glance.
It is a very convenient custom and in many instances a very pretty one, as it renders possible effects in advertising and printing that would not be secured otherwise. Among the recent trade marks is the four leaf clover, which within a few weeks has suddenly bloomed out upon all the printing of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad.
Someone has said it was the idea of the late H.M. Britton, but this it is not so. The design was original with Theodore Butterfield, general passanger agent, becouse of its popular symbolism with good luck. The design carries upon the clover stem the word "Bonheur," which says in one word, "good luck go with you; good fortune attend you; God speed you."
It is very pretty design, and mr. butterfield has been complimented upon its selection by many railroad and newspaper men. In all quarters the R.W.& O. will be known as the Four Leaf Clover route. It is learned that a western railroad of prominence and size has recently, through the New York State superintendent of public instruction, offered a prize of one hundred dollars to any teacher in New York State who shall suggest a word for a trade mark which shall be as appropriate as 'Bonheur."
The word has not yet been found and probably will not be. The German " Gluck Auf" is the only motto approaching "Bonheur" in comprehansiveness, and this motto, although under consideration at the time of the selection of "Bonheur," was discarded in favor of the more euphonious and generally comprehended one.
Interested in Penn Central? New York Central? Pennsylvania Railroad? New Haven Railroad? or in the smaller Eastern US railroads? Then you will be interested in "What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen". You will also enjoy "Could George Alpert have saved the New Haven?" as well as "What if the New Haven never merged with Penn Central?"
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There is a
in New York State that runs above Syracuse and Utica.
It goes East from Oswego to at least Boonville. Here's the station at Boonville.
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Newspaper abstracts concerning the RW&O Shops in Rome, N.Y.
from the Collection of Richard Palmer
Rome Sentinel, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 1870
The Railroad Machine Shops. Number and Dimensions of Buildings - Employees - Rolling Stock - Officers.
It is generally conceded, we believe, that the establishment here of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad machine shops was the inauguration of the progressive movements which have lately given our large and beautiful village character and standing as an enterprising, thrifty and industrious community. it is meet that we should recognize this fact, and give a brief description of this branch of industry among us.
Number of Buildings
There are now in constant use by the R.W. & O. R.R. authorities here no less than seven buildings. one roundhouse, one boiler and repair shop, two coach-houses, machine shop, car shop and finishing shop. the dimensions of four of the buildings are as follows: Roundhouse, 20 tracks, and turntable in the center, 165 feet in diameter; car shop 220 x 90 feet; machine shop, 140 x 80; new coach-house, 240 x 35.
A portion of the old roundhouse is used as a boiler shop, and the remainder as a repair shop. in addition to the above, under the same roof, if we mistake not, is the copper shop, 21 x 23; brass foundry, 23 x 26; smith and boiler shop, 130 x 50; engine room, 11 x 33; master mechanic's office, 11 x 21; clerk's office, 10 x 11.
The Motion Power
- of the establishment is an excellent engine of 35-horse power, from the putnam manufacturing company establishment, Fitchburg, Mass. in the machine shop is one of the most perfect hydraulic presses we have ever seen, from the taunton manufacturing company. When necessary a pressure of four tons to the square inch can be obtained.
The Locomotives -
- thirty-eight is the number of locomotives now owned by this corporation, to which number additions will at intervals be made, as the increase business of the company seems to require. of this number eleven have been added since 1864. The C. Comstock, S.F. Phelps, H. Alexander Jr. and Col. W. Lord are from the Schenectady Locomotive Works, and the Oswego, D. DeWolf, David Utley, M. Massey, Charles E. Bill, Gen. S.D. Hungerford and Gardner Colby, from the company's shop in this village. Careful judges say that the latter named locomotives are quite as good, if not better than those from abroad. the last one turned out (the Gardner Colby, bearing Wm. Jackson's "frank"), to which we have heretofore referred, is one of the best and prettiest coal burning locomotives ever made. in the above list ought to be included, also, the locomotive H. Moore, which has been added since 1864, having been purchased from an eastern company. Of the above thirty-eight locomotives eight are coal burners, and two others are about to be converted into coal burners. the company finds it cheaper using coal instead of wood, though coal is more destructive to boilers.
There are also in almost daily use 29 passenger coaches; 14 baggage, mail and smoking cars; 299 platform cars; 20 stock cars; 50 ore cars; and 274 box cars. Total 676.
Master Mechanic's Department.
The total number of men employed in this department is 268; 92 in the locomotive department at Rome, and machine shop, and 61 in the Rome car department, thus leaving the total number at Rome 153. The others are employed at Watertown and Ogdensburgh, and other places on the road.
In the round-house are 600 feet of hose, which can instantaneously be connected with the powerful force pump in the event of fire. in the rear of the roundhouse is a pump excavation filled with water, for the use of our fire department in case a fire in that neighborhood should assume large proportions.
In August, 1868, Superintendent Addison Day resigned his position, and his official mantle fell upon the shoulders of C.C. Case, General Freight agent. After a short term of service Mr. Case retired, and was reinstated in his old position, and J.W. Moak, of Watertown, the efficient roadmaster, was elected General Superintendent. Mr. Moak very wisely retained Mr. Day's assistants, Arthur W. Soper, of Rome, and Elisha M. Moore, of Oswego.
The road was never in so good a condition as at present. Early in 1869, Mr. W.H. Griggs, the master mechanic of the road, determined to follow the fortunes of Mr. Day, and tendered his resignation, to take effect February 1st. The same was accepted, and William Jackson, of Rome, appointed to succeed him. Mr. J. is a thorough mechanic, has occupied a similar position upon eastern roads, and as might be expected, gives general satisfaction. In short, we feel that we cannot say too much in favor of the executive ability of each of the present officers of the road. The direct influence upon the material prosperity of the city of Rome which the R.W.& O. R.R. shops exert, will not, we feel assured, be under-estimated.
Rome Sentinel Tuesday Jan. 25, 1870
The express train on the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad, which left here yesterday morning at 5:25, met with an accident at Philadelphia, Jefferson County, at 10 o'clock. A man named H.G. Taylor is reported to have been killed and several passengers seriously injured.
The express train due here from the north at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon had not arrived at 8:15 last evening and we are therefore without particulars.
Rome Sentinel Tuesday July 19, 1870 pg.3, col.2
The Palace Car "Ontario"
The fact is pretty generally know that two palace cars have been building at the shops of the R.W.& O. R.R. in this city, under the supervision of the efficient master car builder, Mr. Henry H. Sessions early last week the "Ontario," No.30, was finished, and Wednesday morning was taken to Watertown on trial, returning the same evening.
Its General Appearance.
The interior of the "Ontario" is of black walnut, handsomely wrought. in the center is the grand drawing-room, containing eight handsome chairs, which move on a pivot at the option of the occupant; also two easy semi-settees. At each end of the car are two elegantly arranged private rooms, each containing sitting room for eight persons. At each end there are to be tanks of hard and soft water, and the usual toilet apparatus. at one end of the car is a private apartment for ladies, at the other one corresponding for gentleman.
There are in each compartment handsome mirrors, also one at each end of the car. Eighteen windows - nine on each side, 40x42 each - admit the necessary light during the day, and at night a pretty four- burner chandelier in the center of the car and six single lights will banish the darkness.
Next Saturday the "St. Lawrence," consort of the "Ontario," will be ready to leave the shop, and on the 26th the directors will judge of their merits. the weight of each car is twenty-two tons.
Conductors Frank Estes and W.F. Van Vranken will have charge of them so soon as they commence running regularly.
Rome Sentinel Tuesday October 4, 1870 pg.3, col.3
Our Industrial Interest.
The Shops of the R.W.& O. R.R.
It is really surprising to note the expedition with which work is planned and executed at the railroad shops in this city. The amount and appearance of the work turned out in one short season is truly remarkable. But we must remember there is a demand for all this, or it would not be supplied. It has been said "there is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the ebb leads on to fortune." what is true of individuals may with equal propriety be applied to corporations. in this case the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad is the corporation which is evidently being borne with the tide toward the goal of most complete success. In the matter of the payment of large dividends, this road is second to but one in the great state of New York. Its business, already large, is growing larger day by day, until it is only by the exercise of the greatest celerity that sufficient rolling stock can be built to meet the growing demands of the road.
A new baggage and express car fifty-five feet long, a perfect model, is now receiving the finishing touches in the paint shop, and two passenger coaches, each fifty-five feet long, and of new and tasteful design, are under way in the carpenter shop. In the machine shop are three locomotives, the Adams, Kingston and D. Utley, the former of which has been entirely rebuilt, and is now in reality a new one. It will probably take its place on the line this week, after an absence of about a year.
The Kingston has been undergoing slight alterations, which will materially improve its running properties. the D. Utley, it will be remembered, was badly injured a few weeks ago in a collision near Watertown, and it will be some time before it will be ready for use.
Last Thursday the new and powerful locomotive C. Zabriskie, No. 39, from the Schenectady works, arrived at the round house, and is much admired by railroad men. it is a coal burner, and there is but little to distinguish it from the other burners owned by the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Company, save the new paint and bright ornaments.
This is but another evidence of the continued prosperity of the road. many remember when the road was thought to be quite fully equipped with nine locomotives and fifty cars, more or less.
Rome Sentinel Tuesday October 11, 1870 pg.3, col.3
The new locomotive "Adams"
Last Saturday afternoon the new and powerful locomotive "Adams," of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad, went to Watertown and back on a trial trip. The day was charming, like wise the engine, in its glory of bright metal and fresh paint. With Charlie Gillingham, an intelligent young engineer, at the helm, the iron horse moved slowly out of the depot.
It was soon apparent that although new and stiff, the machinery of the "Adams" - master mechanic Jackson's third and best - worked beautifully. at each station the journals and running rear were carefully examined, and everything found in satisfactory condition.
On our return the sun had long since disappeared below the horizon, and but for the continual crashing of machinery, and the sharp click of the switches as we passed over them, a transformation into an ideal world might easily be imagined. it is growing darker, lights begin to twinkle brightly over the landscape. But a brighter light soon floods hill and dale, meadow and woodland, and the full moon of a glorious autumn day sails slowly up in the east. but we heed not the beautiful moonlight, nor the more beautiful shadowy landscape on either side.
On we go, over bridges with the river coursing swiftly along nearly fifty feet below, and we wonder if the sleepy passengers behind think of the sleeplessness of a fellow mortal - he with right hand on the lever and the left on the throttle - he whose eyes are on the reflected head-light before him, and whose vigilance is unceasing - whose vigils are as constant as the succession of day and night.
The "Adams" was constructed under the immediate supervision of Mr. G.G. Armstrong, foreman of the machine shop.
Rome Sentinel Tuesday, Oct. 18, 1870 pg.2, col.2
Our Industrial Interest.
At the shops of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad, the workmen are all busily engaged in preparation for the winter campaign. In the blacksmith shop, William Evenden, foreman, the sturdy sons of Vulcan, to the number of about thirty, are "heating and hammering" till dusk.
In the machine shop, G.G. Armstrong, foreman, the D. Utley is being, in a measure, rebuilt, the Orville Hungerford is to have a new fire box, and otherwise improved, and the T. H. Camp is receiving a general overhauling. The O.V. Brainard, which collided with the Utley a few weeks ago on the Cape Vincent Division, is undergoing material alterations and improvements.
The New York is to be entirely rebuilt at once, and transformed into a well proportioned locomotive. Its consort the Ogdensburg, is also to be rebuitl so soon as some of the work on hand is performed. In the carpenter shop, Samuel Pinch, foreman, old coaches and platform cars are being rebuilt, and work on the new passenger coaches commenced. Last week the new baggage and express car was sent forth from the paint shop, A. Baldwin, foreman.
All the work at present turned out of the rome shops, whether in the form of locomotives or cars, will compare favorably with the best work sent out from any shops in the country.
Watertown Daily Times, Sept. 12, 1871
R.R. Car Improvements.
- The R.W. & O. R.R. Co. appear to thoroughly appreciated the fact that, next uppermost to thoughts of personal safety, cone considerations of physical ease and comfort to the railway traveler, as, absent from home and its pleasures, he or she is necessarily limited to sweep of the eye and recumbancy of person for the principal range of enjoyment.
In carrying out this idea, they have been foremost in adopting improvements in respect to both the security and pleasure of railway travel. The "Palace Car" was a new and very acceptable feature introduced about a year since, but with all its elegant aspect, it is eclipsed by the "Ladies Car" recently produced at the Company's Car Shop at Rome, and whose advent on the road was simultaneously announced in our columns.
The latter is sufficiently imposing to outside observation, being comparatively large, and well elevated from the track, on six- wheel trucks. Within, the appearance is very attractive, with its thirty capacious double seats, in lively crimson dress, gaily contrasting with the elaborate finish of black-walnut on the sides and window sash and blinds, the paneling surmounted with rare and beautiful trimmings, of knurled black ash and with its arched roof, raised in recess at the center, to increase and improve the means of light and ventilation. The ceiling and the projecting cupola are fancifully ornamented with pretty trimmings and gilt mouldings. The whole scene is a beautiful one. In short, the surroundings, with other conveniences amply cared for, are all eminently calculated to please either the rude or cultivated taste.
Rome Sentinel Tuesday October 8, 1872
Beauty Hath Charms.
New Passenger coaches for the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad
The "City of Rome" and "City of Ogdensburg," have just been placed upon the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad, to be run on conductor Van Vranken's train, leaving here on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week at 5:15 p.m., and returning from ogdensburg on alternate days. These beautiful coaches, being sent on a trail trip, conveyed a party of invited excursionists to taberg and return on tuesday\par last, with the attentive Van Vranken in charge and J.H. Smith as engineer. the expression of the company was, and could not well have been otherwise, that these are the easiest riding and handsomest passenger coaches ever seen anywhere. the cars were built at the company's shops in this city, under the supervision of the master car builder, Mr. H.H. Sessions, who is evidently determined to beat the world in turning out nice cars. The length of each car is 60 feet, body 52 feet; height 9 feet 10 inches, or 14 inches more than common; width 9 feet and 8 inches. the coaches rest upon improved trucks, patented by the master car builder. the weight of each car is 24 tons, and the cost $6,500. attached are miller's patent buffer and platform. The interior finish is strikingly handsome. The panels and moldings are of black walnut and burl ash. the windows are half oval at the top, with medallion head in the center of each and blue and ruby glass placed alternately at the top. the shades slide upward from the bottom of the window. the doors are of black walnut, and in the upper half is a single light of glass ornamentally ground, including in the embellishments a monogram of the letters R.W.& O. At each end is a convenient closet, one for the ladies and the other for gentlemen. The seats are thirty in number, having spring bottoms and curved spring backs, with coverings of silk mohair scarlet plush, and silverplated bands and arm rests. A large mirror at each end reflects the countenances of the delighted passengers, as they enjoy the comfort and luxury of a sail in one of these cars. We say sail because it is more like sailing than like riding on a rail. (do not for a moment imagine that we have ever been ridden on a rail!) the ventilation of the cars is most thorough and complete. in addition to the usual side vents, there are at each end screened openings in the ceiling of the cars, over the platforms, which openings are regulated from inside of the cars, holding the ventilation or current of air in the upper deck at any desires force (short of a whirlwind.) Spear & Co.'s heating apparatus with session's conductor attached, sends hot air to the foot of each seat, when it is desired to heat the car, and cool air in the summer when it's 'ot, you know. four handsome lamps in each car, give light in the evening. we had almost forgotten the painting, which is no mean job, and of course is necessary to the finish and beauty of the whole. the cars are in all respects a credit to the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg railroad, and to Messrs. Sessions, Aanderson and Foneuff, under whose immediate charge they were completed.
Rome Daily Sentinel Aug. 7, 1903 Pg. 2 Col. 5
Being taken down for removal to Oswego.
It is the last of the former Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Buildings
- Something about the former group of shops in the city
The Old R.W.& O. Coach House.
The work of razing the old Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad coach house in this city is in progress. It will be taken down with as little damage to the material as possible, loaded on to flat cars and transported to Oswego, where it will be rebuilt and used as a shop by the railroad company. The coach house is a very large frame building, 324 feet long and 44 feet wide. It faces S. George street and stands just north of the R.W.& O. R.R. tracks and between them and Harrison street. Its removal will afford considerable relief to engineers running out of the city, as it completely shuts off the view of George street to the north. The site of the building may be turned to account as an addition to the freight yard. It would be a handy point from which to unload cars.
The coach house was built over 30 years ago by the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Co. At that time Rome was the southern terminus of the road. Many passengers coaches were kept at this end of the route, and this house was built as a shelter and storage place for them. The coaches were kept there for protection from the weather, and were also washed, swept, dusted and otherwise cleaned in this house. When Utica was made the southern terminal of the R.W.& O. there was no use for this building. Small repairs were also made there. The coach house is the last of the group of R.W.& O. buildings in this city to stand in its original form. For many years up to about 1878 the main shops of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad were here. All were on the west side of S. George street and on both sides of the track between there and Jay street. There were brick machine, carpenter and paint shops and a round house on the south side of the tracks. On the north side there were a round house and other buildings.
The easterly buildings now occupied by the Rome Metallic Bedstead Co., fronting on George street, was formerly used as a paint shop by the R.W.& O., but all the other buildings have been torn down. All the space on the south side of the tracks, between George and Madison streets, formerly occupied by the railroad shops, is now the site of the extensive plant of the Rome Metallic Bedstead Co., which also has shops running from Madison to Jay streets.
The site of the old railroad buildings on the north side of the tracks is now occupied by lumber and coal yards, a feed mill,etc. In the old railroad shops all kinds of repairs were made to the rolling stock of the road, and new freight and passenger cars, and even locomotives, were built. These shops were a hive of industry, and at one time gave employment to more men than any other establishment in Rome. The shops were removed from here to Oswego about 1878, and in their place has sprung up another plant of very large proportions, which gives employment to a large number of men and sends its products to all parts of the world.
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The "Hojack" and the station at Wolcott, N.Y. stand silent, waiting for the trains that will never return.
from the Collection of Richard Palmer
Ballad of the Hojack from the Collection of Richard Palmer
Syracuse Post-Standard, April 11, 1948
Just Around the Corner
By Bertrande Snell
O harken, now, to my saga of the Hojack - a song of the days, long gone, a song that I sing from the heart and a tale that I tell from the soul.
And, listen too, ye modern Hojackers; for you, also. O fledglings, when twilight comes, will have a tale to tell and a song to sing of these, your days. And the gist of it and the swing of it will be even as this of mine.
For as long as a man shall live, Age will sing of Youth and Youth will dream of the future.
Hope for the young; memory for the old - what a blessed thing of life!
Ballad of the Hojack
Come, all ye old-time railroad hams, And listen now to me;
I'll sing you a song of the Hojack days
In nineteen-two or three -
Before the rails got rusty;
When the safety-valves were tight -
And a "day's work" meant you worked all day
And most of the blasted night!
When you pounded brass for thirty-a-month
And your uniform of blue
Made you pals of the village gals,
Who always fell for you!
You took your rest in the waiting-room
When the morning hours were small
And you slumbered away till the break of day;
Nor heeded the frantic call
Of the sounder, there on the office desk
As the train dispatcher tried
To make a meet for twenty-one
Ere her running time had died.
You carried your lunch in a big tin pail
Whose top was a coffee can;
And you raided the freighthouse for beer and gin
Like a regular railroad man!
The clickety-clack of the sounding brass
Was music to your ears
And you laughed aloud in the joy of youth
Not rocked of the fleeting years.
Now, these were the boys in the days of old
Who gave us their Morse-code skill
From West Shore crossing, just out of the yard
To Richland, over the hill
There was Jimmy Duell at Liverpool
At Woodard were Foster and Maine.
And every day you'd see at Clay
Charlie Zoller and Billy McCane.
At Brewerton station, all the Rogers' relation
Could handle the telegraph key -
Old Charlie was agent, and "Coon" was the clerk,
With others in close harmony.
From there you would fare to old Central Square,
Where Covell and Sprague did their stunts;
Then came this old-timer, the "Mallory rhymer,"
(Who wasn't an old-timer, once!)
At Hastings, John Benedict labored
And as onward to Parish we flit,
We greet George Murphy and Frank Haynor, too -
Both men of good humer and wit.
Fred Nicholson next, at old Union Square;
And at Fernwood we noted Bert Shear;
While Pulaski had Austin and handsome Will Pond
To keep all the business clear.
Too many, too many of whom I rhyme
Have gone where there's no overtime;
Where clicking sounders don't intrude,
But we who wait the Super's call
(Which comes to one, which comes to all).
Forget them not - for they were men
We fondly hope to see again!
No more the singing wires sing,
No more the "bugs" their message fling.
Thru all the world's expanse
They killed the Morse code and they trod
Upon the corpse, all prone.
"For now, you see," they yelled in glee
"We run the trains by phone!"
As o'er the Hojack's rusty rails
The few sad drags still go,
The roadbed cries in agony
Beneath the weight of woe.
And from the churchyarda, near and wide
We hear a low, sad moan:
"They're runnin' the trains by phone, me lad.
"They're runnin' the trains by phone."
Now this is my song of the Hojack,
And this is my bid or fame -
That, among the old-time Hojack hams,
You'll find my written name:
That I knew these men and loved them
And that I'm proud to say,
"I too, worked on the Hojack,
When the Hojack had its day!"
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