THE FIRST SIGHT OF THE ENGINE.
The first locomotive on the Delaware Division was the "Piermont."
It was dismantled at Piermont, loaded on a canal boat, taken up
the Hudson River to Rondout, and thence by the Delaware and Hudson
Canal to Lackawaxen. There it was set up, and used to distribute
iron and ties to lay the track on the Delaware Division. This
was in the summer of 1848. The engine was in charge of William
Van de Graff, as engineer. Along in October of that year it became
necessary to go to Narrowsburg with the engine. The news got circulated
around, and the result was that, from a long distance about, men,
women, and children came out of the backwoods settlements, two
or three hundred strong, to see the iron horse. The locomotive
was run up in front of the station and stopped, and in a few minutes
some of the more courageous ones began to examine the "critter,"
as they called it, and not a few climbed upon the engine. Suddenly
Engineer Van de Graff, full of mischief, sounded a full blast
on the whistle. The effect of that may be more easily imagined
than described. It was a "very hurrying time of year"
just about then. Those on the engine tumbled off like a lot of
mud-turtles dropping from a log. Some fell; others yelled, and
tumbled over each other in their haste to get at a safe distance.
Van de Graff was so convulsed with laughter that he rolled on
the footboard to ease himself, and the experience was his favorite
"stove committee?" tale for many a long day.
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