HUNTERS AND THE LOCOMOTIVE.
The region through which the Delaware Division ran, fifty years
ago, was almost a wilderness, and there were few who then lived
in the region who were not in profound ignorance in regard to
the locomotive; and being accustomed to the hunt and the ways
of the forest, it was but natural that they should associate the
sound of the steam whistle with the cry of some wild animal, especially
when the whistle was heard at a distance of a mile or two. To
not immediately set themselves to work to capture the animal responsible
for that noise would have been contrary to their nature.
A short time after the locomotive "Piermont" created
the excitement at Narrowsburg by its first arrival, it was necessary
to go with it to Callicoon. The track being new and not ballasted,
the run was very slow, not more than six or eight miles an hour.
The whistle was blown at short intervals. Some of the famous hunters
of the Pike Pond region, back in the mountain, hearing the whistle
and taking it for the scream of a panther, which fierce beast
still lurked in these hills, started with dogs and guns in hot
pursuit toward Callicoon in an effort to head off the "varmint,"
and if possible capture it. The locomotive beat them several lengths,
however, but had been standing but a short time at the station
when three or four men rushed out from the bushes just across
the track, their clothing all in tatters, covered with mud, and
soaked from wading streams and swamps. The men were nearly exhausted,
for they had run miles through the woods and swamps and across
streams to intercept their game. Their surprise and chagrin to
find that the object of their pursuit was not a wild animal, but
a locomotive, standing quietly on the track in front of the station,
may be imagined.
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