boys looking through the fence for a paper. He could not resist the opportunity to make a dime or two so clumsily climbing over the fence, he took a chance. He had just made the sale when Fred Burke came into view, moving northward.
"Hash" made a dash for the fence, which attracted Burke's attention, and he mde a rush too. Just as the largest and heaviest part of "Hash's" anatomy rose up to go over the top board it received a resounding whack from the officer's cane that caused a roar of laughter from the onlookers.
I got on the train when the conductor, Captain G. T. Witham called "All Aboard" and standing on the coach platform saw him gracefully step on after the train was in motion. The last person to speak to him as he signaled with uplifted hand the engineman to start was a young man named Harry Breckenfeld, who came out of the superintendent's office with a letter, which he handed to the conductor with a few words of information. As I saw the conductor hand this letter to John A. Muir, the agent at Rocklin, on arrival there and heard him say there was a night operator on the train for him. I supposed the letter referred to me, hence my recollection of the incident.
I learned afterward that young Breckenfeld, then in his teens, was the chief clerk, or in fact the whole clerical force, of the superintendent's office. That he made up the payrolls, handled the correspondence (in long hand), conductor's reports and supplies; kept a record of every car moved on the division and besides being a telegrapher performed numerous other duties essential to the business at headquarters. The force there then consisted of a superintendent, clerk, train dispatcher, a day and night operator, a janitor who was ex-officio messenger boy and a night watchman who fired up the wood-burning stove in winter for the night operator. Captain Witham was not in uniform. He wore a slouch hat and a gray suit of clothes. He had side whiskers and a military demeanor that well fitted his title. He seemed to know every man on the train by his first name and where he was going before he took up his ticket. The upper pockets of his vest were bulging with cigars of different sizes and brands. He refused to accept a dozen or more offered him by the passengers, who saluted him as "Cap," giving as a reason he had enough to last him until he returned from Truckee.
No Ban on Smoking
I afterward saw one of the other "old reliable" passenger conductors pass through a coach taking up and punching tickets while holding a lighted cigar between his teeth, which he did not remove to either expectorate or flip off the ashes or talk while in the coach.
I learned subsequently that Captain Witham on account of his courteous manner, strict attention to duty and his success in getting his trains over the road on time, stood high in the estimation of the officials of the company and the traveling public.
I went on duty at 6 P.M. to be off at 7 A.M. I received no instructions from the agent, he probably thinking I would not have been sent there if I needed any, and I, in my ignorance and egotism, did not think I needed any. Fortunately for me only one train passed through Rocklin that night and I had no train orders to handle.
When the conductor of the train handed me the "soup ticket" showing No. 8 arrived and departed on time with a stated number of cars I wired as a message every word from beginning to end on the ticket to Sacramento and received in return the unsatisfactory comment of "Ha ha! Where in h––– did you come from?"
It was the duty of the night operator at Rocklin to lock and seal and make a report to the freight auditor at Sacramento of the cars of merchandise arriving on the way freight from the East when it came in after 6 p.m. If it arrived before that time the work was done by Dick Moore, the office boy-now a veteran passenger conductor. The second night I was there the train came in late, so, with the ladder, seals and sealing iron, I essayed to do the work.
Just as I reached and prepared to seal the first car an engine coupled on the east end and away went the train to the other end of the yard. I saw it stop, and, thinking it was going to get away with the cars unsealed, I hastened after it. Just as I reached it away it went back to where it had been taken from.
I went after it again and then I was informed it was being switched. When it was made up I obeyed instructions to lock and seal all cars that did not contain lumber or wood. I did not take a list of the box cars I sealed, but, knowing that every one except those loaded with lumber or wood had been sealed, I took the yardmaster's record of the train and made the report for the freight auditor from it. Unknown to me the yardmaster had added about ten flat cars loaded with granite to the train list and I duly copied their numbers and reported them as locked and sealed. Had I known then that the box cars carried even and the flat cars odd numbers I would not have made the error. When the next day the freight auditor returned the report for correction and with it a sarcastic letter I had an opportunity to tell J. A. M. how little I knew about railroad business. He kindly and patiently took me in hand and gave me such instructions how to correctly perform my duties that I made no further errors and had no further trouble. Shortly afterward I was transferred to Truckee. On this, my first trip over the division to and my sojourn at Truckee. I learned more from observation of the practical operation of trains., from contact and conversation with my fellow employees in the different departments of the work than I before had considered it possible for any one man to know and that railroad service was a serious and arduous vocation.
When the Central Pacific was being constructed it was short of funds. To save the expense of erecting depots at the important stations a plan was devised to let others do it. To a number of popular caterers was given the privilege of building the depots and maintain therein a barroom and eating room and then partition off, usually at one end, rooms for the company to use as a ticket and telegraph office and a waiting room. This privilege at Roseville was given to J. R. Watson and a former French chef, Louis Bulens; at Pino to James Loomis; at Auburn and Colfax to Curley and Mahon; at Alta to Senator Bonvard; at Blue Canon to L. G. Peterman; at Summit to Jim Cardwell and at Truckee to John F. Moody. The depots at Alta, Blue Canon, Summit and Truckee were also hotels. I have understood this arrangement in subsequent years caused the officials of the Southern Pacific Company much trouble when they tried to close up the barrooms and stop the selling of liquor at the stations. No written deeds or leases existed, as the agreements were verbal ones made by Charles Crocker, superintendent of construction, with the depot owners. As possession is nine points of the law, no legal means were found to remove them. Finally, one by one, most all of them were burned down and the company, refusing to allow them to be rebuilt, solved the problem.
The wood sheds west of Blue Canon were located, evidently by design, at a proper distance east of these depots, so that while the engines were being wooded up the passenger cars stood in front of the depot. Thus the owners had opportunity for the passengers to loiter and refresh themselves in the barrooms, while away the time until the engines were ready to start and not kick at the delay. Everybody seemed satisfied and we who remember the old-timers of California and Nevada who traveled on the trains in those days that an oasis on the line of the road could not be of too frequent an occurrence.
I mention this condition so that the long stops at these stations on my trip to Truckee will be understood.
Leaving Rocklin in the afternoon the first stop was at Pino, a few miles east. The name of this station has since been changed to Loomis on account of its similarity on way bills to Reno, causing overs and shorts of freight. The Sacramento engine was wooded up here. The wood in the Pino shed was cut in that vicinity and hauled up by teams to the shed.
(Mr. Jones' article will be continued in the September number.)