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FIRST CONDUCTOR KILLED ON THE ERIE.

The freight train ran off the track just as it was passing on to the high trestle over the Hackensack River, five miles from Piermont, Saturday afternoon, April 6, 1843. The locomotive and two freight cars were precipitated through the trestle work about fifteen feet to the ground, instantly killing Henry W. Watson, the conductor, who was on the locomotive. The engineer and fireman escaped without a scratch, but were found unconscious, each at his post. One of the cars that fell through was loaded with pig iron and calves. Nineteen of the calves were crushed to death by the iron. There were fourteen passengers on the train when it arrived at the turn-out, some distance west of the trestle, and lay there for the evening passenger train to overtake and pass it. When the passenger train came along the passengers were transferred to it from the freight train, and many of them were thus undoubtedly saved from death.

Conductor Watson was one of the civil engineers who made the final location for the Eastern Division of the railroad and had been retained in the Company's employ, "such was his probity and correct business habits, a compliment which our citizens will bear us witness too many of his associates did not deserve," pointedly remarked a Goshen newspaper in its account of the accident. He was the first Erie conductor (or employee) to be killed on the railroad.

James Lytle came on the Erie as conductor in April, 1843, succeeding Henry W. Watson. He was from Washington County, N. Y. David P. DeWitt, a nephew of Superintendent Seymour, was running Conductor Worden's passenger train at that time, Worden being ill with consumption. DeWitt was a civil engineer. When Worden died DeWitt was called to the field and Lytle was placed in charge of the train. Lytle ran the train until the opening of the railroad to Port Jervis in January, 1848, when he was made agent at that place, W. H. Stewart taking the passenger train. In April, 1848, Stewart became ill, and Lytle took the train again, Stewart becoming agent at Port Jervis. When the railroad was opened to Binghamton in 1849 Lytle, Sol Bowles, and Captain Ayres ran trains through. It was a hard, cold winter; the snow was deep, and the fuel was green wood, hard to burn. Lytle asked Superintendent Seymour to give him his old train back. Seymour told him to "run that train or nothing." Lytle quit the road, and was in business in Middletown until his death in 1884.

Conductors following these pioneers (not in chronological order) were Albert Stone, Isaac Wood, Hank Masterson (who was the first baggage-master), Charley Green, Phineas Thompson, David DeWitt, Tom Houston, Jerome Dennis, Tom Hill, H. C. Chapin, John Sayr, David Doremus, Sam Crouch, John Buckhout, Charles Salmon, Solomon Bowles, Henry Smith, Ryerson H. Stewart, Charles Robinson, Ned Chamberlain, William C. Clark, Ellis Haring, Ed Haring, Dave Killinger (who afterwards kept the railroad dining saloon at Hornellsville), Ruel H. Chamberlain, Harvey Lamb, Al Larwill, Scott Harris, Lew Stanley, Frank Spring, C. C. Quick ("Lum"), Sam Walley, Jim Westervelt, R. R. Carr, "Hi" Hurty, Mark Ball, Jim Martin, Coe Little, Abe Wandell, Pat Jeffries, Dave McWilliams, W. C. Van Wormer, Joe Northrup, A. D. Thompson ("Tone"), George Wooley, I. A. Post, Gabe Writer, A. S. Cobb, Maj. Lee, Dana Crum, and many others of the old school, few of whom are living. David Doremus has been constantly in the service since 1857, and is the dean of the fraternity of Erie conductors, being the longest in actual service. He runs trains Nos. 5 and 8 between Jersey City and Binghamton. Harvey Lamb runs the milk train on the Delaware Division. Ellis Haring is in the service of the Belt Railroad of Chicago. Henry Smith is running a livery stable at Wellsboro, Pa. "Charley" Salmon has retired, and is living at his ease. Scott Harris is a prosperous boot and shoe dealer at Owego. Uncle Joe Northrup, who ran the milk train on the Eastern Division more than thirty years, is enjoying life, at 80, in retirement at Otisville, hale and hearty. W. C. Van Wormer is Erie yard-master at Port Jervis. Few of others of the old-time conductors survive.


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