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FIRST TRAIN OVER THE DELAWARE DIVISION.

The Company had announced that to celebrate the completion of the railroad to Binghamton special excursion trains would be run between Piermont and that place Wednesday, December 27, 1848. The track along the Upper Delaware Valley was yet in an unfinished condition, and Major T. S. Brown, Chief Engineer of the work, decided that it would be wise to run a preliminary train over that part of the track, from Port Jervis to Deposit, a few days before the regular excursion trains were to pass, in order that their safety might be insured and all cause of delay removed. The Rev. Henry Dutcher, now of Warwick, Orange County, N. Y., then an employee of the Company, was one of those who made that initial trip over the Delaware Division, and he thus relates his reminiscences of it to the compiler of this history:

"The train consisted of an engine, one passenger car, and two flat cars. Among those aboard were Major Brown; H. C. Seymour, General Superintendent; Silas Seymour, Major Morrell, W. H. Sidell, of the engineer corps; H. O. Beckwith, William A. Dutcher, a man of the name of Rice, myself, and others, making fourteen in all, besides a gang of laborers with pails, picks, and shovels. We started from Port Jervis at two o'clock P.m. on Friday, December 22, 1848. At Lackawaxen the engine 'Piermont' was attached ahead of our engine. We proceeded to Narrowsburg, arriving about seven o'clock. After supper we started on. It had been snowing all afternoon, the snow being from six to eight inches deep. It continued to snow as we proceeded, so that our progress was very slow. When about two miles above Cochecton, six miles from Narrowsburg, our locomotives ran out of water. We stopped at a creek, the embankment being some thirty feet above it, and forming a line, passed six hundred pails of water up to the engines. Some of the men froze their fingers. Proceeding on our way, at daylight next morning we found ourselves about a mile above Hankins Station, having travelled about twenty miles during the night. At this point we came to a dead stop. We found a mile and a half of track not laid, and no iron nearer than Narrowsburg with which to lay it. The snow was badly drifted. There were from two to three feet of snow on the road-bed. We got the trackmen out and set them to shovelling, and sent one engine back to Narrowsburg after iron to fill the break. Leaving orders to proceed with the engines as soon as the track could be laid, fourteen of us, without any breakfast, started to tramp it up the track through the snow, which was in many places to our hips. At about two o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at Long Eddy.

"'Now,' said Superintendent Seymour, 'we will have something to eat.'"

He leading the way, we all followed, ravenous, having eaten nothing since seven o'clock the night before, and having toiled incessantly all that time. The house he took us to was kept by John Geer. And another such a place! The bed-room, kitchen, sitting-room, parlor, upstairs, and down-cellar were all in one room, and not a very large one, nor a very clean one, at that. Seymour told the old lady of the house that we were as hungry as wolves and wanted some dinner. She took a box from her dress pocket, treated herself to a large pinch of snuff from it, wiped her fingers on her apron, and replied that she did not know how it would be, but she would do the best she could. Lifting a trap-door in the floor, she descended to an apology for a cellar, and brought up a loaf of bread, a plate of butter, and a dish of honey. The honey undoubtedly was clean, but the butter had the appearance of having been sprinkled with pepper and salt. The bread, while it looked good on the outside, showed layers of dirt through it when cut, as though it had been kneaded on the floor. In addition to the above, she brought from a cubby-hole at one side of the old-fashioned chimney a dish of potatoes that had been warmed over at some time, and a dish of beans, both frozen, and a plate of fried pork, and another of mackerel, each of which looked as though it had been picked at by the hens. These were all put upon a bare table, with knives and forks, but no plates— and our dinner was ready.

We mechanically went through the motions of eating, but it was a miserable failure. Our dispositions were to eat, but our stomachs would not agree with our dispositions, and we did not eat a sixpence worth. After resting ourselves for a few minutes, Major Brown asked the old lady how much we were indebted to her. After taking another pinch of snuff, she said she could not tell.

"'It wasn't much of a dinner, anyway,' she said, and me thought her judgment correct. Major Brown handed her a twenty-five-cent piece for himself, and asked her if she thought that would be about right. She thought it would, so we each handed over a quarter, thus paying three dollars and a half for what would not have fed a chicken. From there we went to the Company's shanty, opposite Big Equinunk, where we got our supper at about five o'clock. From that point we proceeded two miles farther to Jeremiah Lord's, where twelve of the party hired Lord to take them to Hancock that night. It being Saturday night, Ray Clark and myself concluded to stay with Lord over Sunday. Monday morning we got Lord to take us to Hancock, where we found the others waiting for the engine. This did not make its appearance until four o'clock Monday afternoon. We found that between Hancock and Deposit there were three miles of track not laid, so that there was no way to get further with the cars until that breach was filled, and the iron had to come from the other direction from Susquehanna. Major Brown decided that he must go through to Binghamton at all hazards. The rest of the party resolved to go no farther, but I told the Major I would stick to him as long as there was a button on his shirt. The trouble was to get to Deposit. We found a lumberman who was going there, but he had no better accommodation than a pair of bob sleighs. Turning one up over the other to make a seat, we rode the thirteen miles without buffalo robe or blanket; and what a bitter cold night it was! When we reached Deposit we found Engineer Joshua P. Martin, with the locomotive 'Orange,' with which he had brought the iron to lay the three miles of track, and was waiting for us to take us to Binghamton, forty miles distant. After getting our supper we boarded the engine, with nothing to shelter us. There were no cabs on, the engines yet. Facing a strong northwest wind, with the mercury at zero, we rode over that bleak country, arriving at Binghamton at half-past eleven o'clock Monday night—three days, nine hours and a half getting over the division. But we succeeded in getting the road in order so that the excursion train on the following Wednesday passed over the division without accident or delay."


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