Ever wonder why it's important to honor these men? Just take a look at this write up dated April 11th of 1896. These are the men that founded our town. Their sacrifices, their courage, their honor. Their story has been left in our hands to tell.
“The Railroad Man.” Sam Jones Likes Him for His Muscle and His Heart.
Much Meaning in a Casual Expression – Tender Home Relations – High Morale of the Men as a Class.
“I am a railroad man, he is a railroad man.” This little phrase is familiar to everybody, and man is never applied in a similar way in another calling. We do not say; I am a lawyer man, I am a doctor man, I am a carpenter man, but I am a “railroad man.”
What seem often to be careless sentence, is a sentence full of point. Railroaders, as a class, have many elements of men. Every man must have a head, a heart and a muscle. If the railroad man does not exceed in the first, he has few peers in the second and third. A big heart and a good muscle, they are bound together as a class of men with very tender ties. There are hardships, there are dangers, and a horrible fate comes unto one of their fellows ever and anon, as he falls beneath the bumpers, crushed, ground under the wheels, caught in the machinery of the engine, burned by the fire of scalded by the hot water.
The railroad man never looks upon his mangled comrade, but that he realizes that this may be his fate someday, and thus the tenderest ties are woven about their hearts. These very dangers and hardships bind them to their wives and to their children.
As the engineer stands on the doorstep and kisses his wife and little ones goodbye, he knows not but that is his last farewell to his family. There is a tenderness in it which cannot be described. As he returns from his trip to his wife and little ones, the feeling of home, again from a dangerous trip, has in it much tenderness. These tender scenes repeated o’er and o’er creates a strong love and tenderness in the home of the railroad man. Frequent sights of wife and little ones weeping over the mangled body of the husband and father brought to sudden death under the wheels of his train, intensify this loving sympathy, and I believe the railroad men are the most devoted to their families of any class of men on Earth.
These are wives left alone much of the time with the care of running the home and taking care of the little ones. The very responsibility or toil and care brings a devotion to the heart of the wife. I believe the sweetest devotion I have ever seen anywhere I have witnessed in these homes of railroad men. I have met these brawny men on the train, in the roundhouse and in the shops of this country, and wherever you strike a chord that touches one’s heart, it goes from heart to heart, and tear answers tear.
I love a brawny muscle, I love an honest toiler, I love the fearless. The smut and sweat of these are emblems of honest toil. I think more of muscle than I do money, I think more of character than I do of chattels, more of grit than I do gold.”
Source: The Weekly Democrat-Times Greenville, Mississippi April 11th 1896; written by Sam B. Jones.
Image Source: J. Parker Lamb