most things dark and historical by Holly Messinger
Bonbons and silk stockings?Scotius
Now that you mention it....Tho I prefer cheesecake to candy.
More info about railroads: George Westinghouse patented the air brake in 1869. 1880 was in a transition period; any number of trains did not have the system. Trace's cattle car may have been on such a line. You can write it that way if you please with no fear of contradiction from the likes of me.Scotius
I could probably get away with a lot of inaccuracies, where the average reader is concerned; they only know what they see in movies.For instance, a potentially big gaffe in the whole concept is the assertion that Trace was working as a trail guide. The first trans-cont railroad to Sacramento was completed in 1869. By 1880, anyone going west of St. Louis would have boarded a train, at least as far as Colorado and Utah. If he wanted work as a trail guide he would need to move further west.I'm brainstorming a different occupation for him.
Trace could have recruited immigrants in Saint Louis. His group of movers would take steam boats or steam cars to a jumping off point, then travel by wagon to their final destination. According to my Google research, railroads didn't reach Oregon until 1884. Two of my greatgreatgrandparents rode trains getting from upstate New York to Minnesota in 1855. At one way station, the immigrants stopped for a meal: they had to pay before eating. Before anyone could sit down, the train whistled "All aboard." Not to be outdone by this scam, Grandpa Charles grabbed a roast turkey from the table, stuffed it under his coat, and shoved the other hand into a pocket, intimating that he had a pistol. He shared his catch with several other families. If such a trick was pulled once, it was probably played on hapless travelers any number of times.Scotius
My notes say the Oregon and Santa Fe lines were completed in 1883, (my source wasn't great, so I'll double-check) but the point remains the same. I guess I'll keep him as a guide, just rearrange my concept of how he would go about it. His day-job, as it were, is going to be more of an issue in this story.Your ancestors' experience with the dine-and-dash is not unique. I've seen similiar incidents recorded in many sources. Very often black passengers were unable to buy meals at all, either because they had to wait to be served last or because no vender would wait on them. And this was before the Jim Crow laws.I remember from reading the Little House books that there was a train depot in De Smet, Dakota Territory when the Ingalls family lived through the long winter, which I believe was 1880.
I just may build a fire under myself to reread the Little House books. It has been twenty-five years. Wonderful World of Disney is broadcasting a miniseries about the Prairie house, based on the book, not the Michael Landon version. Pa Ingalls properly wears a beard.About dine-and-dash situations: there is an episode in "The Virginian" involving an eatery in Omaha. There prospective diners had to buy meal tickets before their orders were taken. That eliminated a problem with deadbeats.I am enjoying a fourth reading of Owen Wister's classic. I think I have figured out why I didn't like it forty-five years ago.Another incident the likes of which you may have seen in your research involved Grandpa Charles LaPlant. He trapped furs in Minnesota the winter of 1855-56. He put together a bundle one day and set off to the nearest trading post to sell his catch. The offer for his bundle was too low from his perspective, so he continued his trek to yet another post. There the going rate for his wares was even worse, so he returned to the first one, but took a circuitous route in doing so, so as to appear as if he were coming from his home. Altogether, he packed those furs eighty miles. That had to have taken several days; he was on shank's mare. Scotius
Apparently the magic words are "box car" rather than "cattle car." Here's a box car from 1879, under restoration. This one seems to have been made for hauling grain, but it does give me an idea of the size, construction, and sturdiness of these cars. Still not sure whether the cattle cars of the time had slats all the way up, or only at the top. I've seen some of both but I can't be sure of the dates.
Aha!!! There is a window in that car. Verrry interesting!!!Scotius
The Long Winter mentioned in the Little House books was indeed the winter of 1880-81. There was a fellow in De Smet that designed a stove particularly for burning twisted hay. I have these two books on pioneer railroads that my grandmother left me. That's where I found the info above. Neither of them has pictures of cattle cars that show any detail. I assume you know what a hot box is. It my not contribute to the main narrative, but you could have Trace and Boz extinguish one such fire in their adventures. In my experience, I've seen only one hot box. My duties did not permit me to rush off to put it out. It was blazing quite lustily. I figure some responsible person did extinguish it. It may well be Trace and Boz would not have a fire extinguisher designated for oil fires. Blankets could be used to smother it. Perhaps in your research, you have run across ways by which trainmen coped with hot boxes.Scotius
"Hot box" isn't a term I've run across yet. I'm guessing it's a car on fire? Please elaborate.
A hot box refers to an overheated axle bearing. As late as 1969, many railcars still had self-lubricating axles which involved boxes packed with oil-soaked cotton. The oil evaporates after long use; the unabated friction generates enough heat to ignite the journal box. If not extinguished in a timely fashion, the hot box can set the car afire. One duty of a brakeman was to look down the drag of cars every time the train rounded a curve to look for hot boxes. A freight train would stop every twenty-five or fifty miles for the trainmen to make a walking inspection for overheated journals. In January, that is COLD work. Something that I found somewhat amusing in 1969 was the automatic oilers. They were programmed to squirt oil into the open journal boxes as they passed by on a switching operation. However, they were not programmed to not splash oil on the axles with sealed roller bearings. That really wasn't all that funny;it was wasteful. Scotius
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