Erie Railroad Obituaries - 1917

Selected Obituaries from Erie Railroad Magazine:

From the September, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

William Ashby, tinsmith, passed away recently at the ripe old age of eighty years. The tinsmiths contributed a beautiful floral offering. The bereaved family have the sympathy of all the employees. The burial took place at Climax, MI. Mr. Ashby had been in the service for over 20 years. (From Buffalo Car Shop News, P. 428).

From the September, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Washington Irving Babcock, consulting engineer, Erie railroad, died suddenly at his home, 229 West Ninety-seventh street, New York, August 7 (1917). He was fifty-nine years of age. Mr. Babcock was a marine architect and engineer of note, and at one time was manager of the Union Dry Dock at Buffalo. He designed many lake and ocean vessels. His father, Captain David S. Babcock, was a master of sailing ships. Decedent was born at sea.

From the August, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

William Thompson Boyd, an old and faithful employe of the Erie railroad and for years a member of the Telegraph department, died at his home in Harriman, N.Y., at the age of sixty.

Mr. Boyd was seized with a paralytic stroke on May 30, last, and never regained his strength. On June 19 (1917), another stroke resulted in death. Funeral service was held at his late home and he was buried at Wurtsboro, N.Y.

In the death of Mr. Boyd the New York division has lost one of its oldest and best known employes. His record follows: Born August 5, 1857. Summer 1876, extra operator and agent, New York division; February 1, 1877, agent, Central Valley; also, for awhile he was train dispatcher at Carbondale, Pa. About 1879, he was sent to the "W. U." office, Olean. N.Y.; then manager Western Union telegraph office at Wellsville, N.Y. In July, 1881, he was sent to New York to work in' the "Y. A." office. On January 14, 1887, he was appointed division operator at Jersey City. On January 28, 1908, he was given the title of station supervisor, in addition. On October 16, 1913, he was appointed agent at Harriman, N.Y., where he remained until he died.

He was a son of Dr. Boyd of Monroe, who was for years the company's physician and surgeon at that point. He leaves a widow, but no children. A delegation of Erie employes, close friends of deceased, attended the funeral.

From the June, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

John Broughton, who died on April 4 (1917), was with the Erie for many years, serving in various capacities, his last two positions having been chief clerk to the commercial agent in Chicago, and chief clerk to the general manager of the Erie Despatch. He left the service in August, 1909, to accept a position as secretary of the Beatrice Cold Storage company, Beatrice, Neb. A large delegation of Erie men attended his funeral, which was held in Chicago April 7. (p. 221)

From the August, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

George Burke, executive car porter, and for twenty-eight years a faithful and loyal employe of the Erie railroad, died June 14 (1917), at his home, 183 Duncan avenue, Jersey City, N.J., at the age of fifty-six years.

Mr. Burke had been ill for some time prior to his death, his ailment being Bright's disease. The funeral which took place on the following Sunday, was attended by many friends from the executive and other offices of the company. Many beautiful floral offerings were sent, one particularly fine one from President Underwood. whom deceased has served well and faithfully. Mr. Burke had quite a history in and out of railroad life. Earlier in his life he served with General Lawton during the Indian campaign in the Northwest and acted in the capacity of "Striker," which in military parlance means one who is an attendant on an officer.

After entering railroad life he was employed on the Erie as porter on executive cars. He held this position under Presidents John King, E. B. Thomas and with Mr. Underwood. Going about the country with these high officials brought him in contact with many prominent people. He had looked after the comfort of President Harrison on a trip to New England; also of Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt while en route.

Mr. Burke was a native of Alexandria, Va, He leaves his widow, a. son and daughter.

From the June, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Death has again invaded the Erie ranks, this time taking James Burke, superintendent of Chicago terminals, who succumbed to pneumonia on Tuesday, April 17 (1917), after a short illness. Mr. Burke was born at Oswego, N.Y., in 1856. He entered railway service with the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railway in 1873, was in the engineering corps of the Chicago & Northwestern between 1878 and 1879, was work train conductor and assistant roadmaster on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe between 1880 and 1882 and division roadmaster on the Minneapolis & St. Louis between 1883 and 1886. The following three years he was division roadmaster of the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie, and between 1889 and 1893 was superintendent of construction for the same company. During the following five years he was general roadmaster of the Soo Line and in 1899 was appointed division engineer of the Baltimore & Ohio. He became connected with the Erie in 1902 as engineer, maintenance of way, at Cleveland, 0. He was later appointed superintendent of roadway, bridges and buildings, with headquarters in the same city, and in January, 1914, was appointed to the position held at his death. His unfailing good nature and ready wit had endeared him to all with whom he came in contact. (p. 221)

From the August, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

A blow that fell heavily on the Erie employes at Moosic, Pa., was the recent death of Jacob Christ, a veteran in the ranks of locomotive engineers and a loyal employe of the Erie railroad. He enlisted at the age of sixteen and with the Sixth Pennsylvania volunteers went to the front in defence of the flag. At the expiration of six months he was mustered out and re-enlisted in the Sixth U. S. cavalry, serving in most of the engagements. In 1866 he entered the service of the Lehigh Valley railroad as brakeman, afterward becoming an engineer. In 1880 he entered the service of the Michigan Central at St. Thomas, Canada, and ran passenger.

Returning to the United States shortly after, he entered the service of the Erie railroad and remained with it until six years ago when failing eyesight caused his retirement. He had been on the W. B. & E. division of the N. Y. S. & W. all these years.

He was a loyal member of Division 403, B. of L. E., Dunmore, Pa. and a man of sterling character. He was buried at Tunkhannock, Pa., with military honors, wrapped in the flag he fought to preserve.

From the October, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Another old-time employe of the Erie railroad passed away at his home in Elmira, N.Y., recently. Dexter Delos Curtis entered the company's employ in 1865 as chief clerk at Owego station. Later he was transferred to Elmira as clerk to the division superintendent, and three months later he was sent to Binghamton and placed in charge of the ticket office, and finally was made chief clerk of the station. In 1873 Superintendent R. B. Cable, of the Susquehanna division, made him his chief clerk, which position he held until 1885, when he was appointed station agent at Elmira and given full charge of the local freight business. Eight years ago he retired from the service on account of failing health.

Mr. Curtis had been a member of Ivy Lodge, No. 398, F. & A. M., since 1880, and was the master of that body in 1885. He was also active in the work of the Corning Consistory, Scottish Rite Masons, and September 20, 1898, at a session of the Sovereign Grand Lodge, held at Cincinnati, Ohio, was advanced to grand inspector general with the thirty-third degree. Mr. Curtis had also been active in the Grand Lodge, F. & A. M., of New York state, and was a past officer of one of the departments of that body. For many years until 1913 he had been president of the Elmira Masonic club, being an honorary member at the time of his death. He was also a director of the Century club and a director of the Chemung Valley Mutual Loan Association.

From the August, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

George G. Dow, cashier and billing clerk of the Erie Lake line, New York city, died May. 27 (1917), in Pasavant Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa., after being ill there for several months. His death was due to a fractured hip, the result of a fall from which he suffered greatly and never recovered. Mr. Dow entered the Erie service in 1875 as clerk, later becoming bill of lading and general clerk, and finally cashier.

From the September, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Sandford Downs, a veteran railroad man and a veteran of the Civil War, died while on a visit to his son's home in New York, July 16 (1917). During his career he served as a brakeman, a switchman and a train baggageman. He had been retired from service several years ago on account of a loss of hearing. (From Hornell Shops News, P. 428).

From the September, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

James Epperhardt, blacksmith, who died in July, was one of the oldest employees of the Erie, having been in the service over 32 years. He was a capable blacksmith and a good Christian. His death is greatly deplored by all employees, who extend their sympathy to the bereaved family. (From Buffalo Car Shop News, P. 428).

From the February, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

On January 23 (1917), Charles W. Everts, a veteran passenger conductor of the Meadville division, died at Salamanca, N.Y.

Mr. Everts was probably the best-known conductor in service on the Ohio division, his activity, even beyond the pale of daily duty, bringing him strongly into the limelight. Deceased, happily, was possessed of a sunny nature and kindly disposition. His contact with the traveling public was one continuous round of merry greetings and this made him extremely popular along the line.

Mr. Everts was taken ill on January 15, while in charge of train No. 6 from Cleveland, being relieved at Meadville; later he was taken to Salamanca, N.Y. and from a hotel sent to a hospital. His condition became so grave that Mrs. Everts was sent for. It was apparent then that pneumonia had developed, and its gravity was such that the sufferer gradually sank until death occurred.

Mr. Everts was born in Cuba, N.Y., December 16, 1848, and entered the service of the old A.&G.W. as freight conductor in November, 1872. He was promoted to passenger conductor in December, 1878. At the time of his death he ran trains 5 and 6 between Cleveland and Salamanca.

He was an enthusiastic worker for the Erie Employes Relief Association, of which he had long been identified and was its president and one of its founders.

Fraternally he was a member of Cattaraugus Lodge, 239, F.&A.M., Salamanca and Royal Arch Masons, Commandery and Shrine. Funeral services were conducted at Masonic Temple, Salamanca. A widow, married daughter and two sisters survive.

From the September, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

George W. Gould died August 7 (1917) at his home in Chicago after an illness of six months. He served in the civil war and was mustered out at its close as a lieutenant of cavalry, his entire service being in the First Wisconsin cavalry. He entered the service of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad company in the Mechanical department and served for many years as an engineer in both freight and passenger service. He entered the service of the Soo line as a roadmaster and was made an assistant superintendent. From there he came to the Erie as superintendent of its Employment bureau, in which position he rendered valuable service. He was a man of character and industry, a brave soldier, a good citizen and comrade, loyal to his associates and employers. His example is worthy of emulation.

From the October, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Jacob Holder, machinist, died recently of heart trouble. He was 65 years old. Mr. Holder had held the position of machinist in the Erie shops for a number of years, and his death was a blow that fell heavily on the Erie employees at Port Jervis, NY.

From the February, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Harry Chester Hooker, Assistant to the President, died January 7 (1917) at his home, 400 Convent avenue, New York, of pneumonia. He was ill one week. A widow and a brother, William F. Hooker, survive him.

Harry Hooker, as he was affectionately known by all officials and hundreds of employes, was born August 24th, 1869 in Milwaukee, WI. At the age of three years, upon the death of his mother, he was taken to the home of his uncle, William Peacock, his mother's brother, at Gowanda, N.Y., near Buffalo, where he lived and received his education.

About the year 1888 he was employed as stenographer by the general manager of the Buffalo Car Wheel Works at Black Rock. In 1890 he went to Milwaukee where he was employed in a confidential position in the office of the late Francis Hinton, manager of the Illinois Steel Company's Milwaukee business. Later he was employed by E.P. Bacon & Co., of Milwaukee, one of the largest grain concerns in the West. He then was secretary to Theobald Otien, Jr., Congressman from Wisconsin.

Later he became private secretary to the General Manager of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. He came to the Erie with Mr. Underwood as his private secretary, and about three years ago was appointed Assistant to the President.

Mr. Hooker was a fine bass singer, and on social occasions in which Erie men participated, was usually on the program for a solo. He was at one time a member of the Arion Society of Milwaukee, and a few years ago sang with the New York Musical society. At the Traffic department's banquet in Buffalo, and upon one occasion at Princeton University, he received high praise for his renditions.

About two years ago Mr. Hooker was married to Christene Halstead Shipman of New York.

The funeral service was held at the Reformed Church of Harlem, the Rev. Edgar Tilton, Jr., officiating. About five hundred of Mr. Hooker's friends attended the service. Beautiful floral tributes from his associates and others showed how highly he was esteemed. The body was taken to Geneva, N.Y., for burial, the trip to and from that city being made by relatives and friends in two private Erie cars over the Lehigh Valley railroad.

Harry Hooker will be long remembered as a kind and patient, loyal and faithful co-worker by an army of Erie men. He was a Christian gentleman and a strong believer in the creed that the termination of Life in the flesh called Death is not the End of Life, but THE BEGINNING.

Tribute From President Underwood: President Underwood's official notice of Mr. Hooker's death is as follows:
Assistant to the President, died at his residence in New York, January 7th.
He began railway service with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, coming to the Erie in 1901. By zeal and tact he became valuable to this company in marked degree.
His manly personal attributes endeared him to all who knew him. Proven faithful in few things, he came to be entrusted with many. We who knew him best mourn a man and good comrade.

"He scarce had need to doff his pride or slough the dross of earth— E'en as he trod that day to God so walked he from his birth, In simpleness and gentleness and honor and clean mirth.”

From the October, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

P. H. Leonard, live stock agent of the Erie railroad at Chicago, died September 4 (1917). Mr. Leonard was an old-time employe of the company, and was well and favorably known in Western live stock circles.

From the October, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Nelson B. Mapes passed away at his home in Howells, Orange county, N.Y. on September 8 (1917), at the advanced age of 88 years.

Mr. Mapes had been for many years the faithful station agent of the Erie at Howells, and was a familiar figure to the patrons of the road. In fact, he had been station agent ever since the Erie was constructed through to Howells, and ranked with the many veterans of the service in that capacity, having served fifty years before his recent retirement.

He had been sixty-six years married. and had no children except a nephew whom he adopted and is now teller in the Merchants Bank of Middletown, N.Y. For thirty years Mr. Mapes served as justice of the peace for the second district of the town of Wallkill, and his fairness won for him the title of "dean of the justices of Orange county." He was also a member of the town board and was generally addressed as "Judge Mapes."

Funeral services were conducted at the Howells Congregational Church, of which deceased was a consistent member. The burial was in Howells Cemetery.

From the February, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Henry Paulson, former section man on the Marion division, died recently. He was born near Flensburg, Germany, December 31, 1850.

He emigrated to the United States in 1882 and settled near Leiters Ford, Ind.; in 1883 he commenced work for the Chicago & Atlantic, now Marion division, on a section and worked continuously until 1913 as laborer and foreman. On account of the illness of his wife he worked only in the summer months of 1913-14 and 15.

Mr. Paulson was a faithful and conscientious employe, and was always ready to perform duty when called upon. It was a great source of pride with him to tell others how the Erie had come to the front. He leaves a widow and one son, Hans, who is a brakeman on the Marion division.

From the September, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

F. Pflughaupt, upholsterer, died suddenly. He was formerly employed in the Buffalo Car Shops, and had been in the service 24 years. The bereaved family have the sympathy of all the employees. (From Buffalo Car Shop News, P. 428).

From the October, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

James Porritt, machinist, for sixty years a faithful and loyal employee of the Erie railroad, died August 7 (1917) at the Deer Park Sanitarium, Port Jervis, NY, age 85 years. Mr. Porritt came to Port Jervis as a young man in 1857 to work in the shops of the Erie. In 1863 he was made foreman of the erecting shop, and held this position for almost forty years.

From the October, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

William B. Pyne, of Dunmore, Pa., night roundhouse foreman of the Avoca district of the Erie railroad, died August 10 (1917), at the Mercy (Burns) hospital, after a long illness, of stomach trouble.

He was forty-nine years of age and is survived by his wife and one daughter and other relatives. The funeral took place Sunday, August 12. A Knights Templar escort attended and acted as a guard of honor. At the grave Union Lodge, F. and A. M., conducted services.

Mr. Pyne had been president of Dunmore for the past twenty years. Fifteen years ago he secured employment with the Erie Railroad company and was advanced continually. Five years ago he was placed in charge of the Avoca district with the title of night round-house foreman, a position be held until his death.

In addition to being a member of Union Lodge of Masons, be was also a member of Lackawanna Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Melita Commandery, and the A. A. O. N. M. S.

From the April, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Charles Benjamin Pitts died recently at his home 82 Murray avenue, Goshen, N.Y. Mr. Pitts was born in Washingtonville, February 8, 1843. For a number of years he was employed by the Erie ticket office at Goshen and later became connected with a large oil refinery. Mr. Pitts was married to Ella Reevs, February 14, 1895, who survives him, together with one brother, William R. Pitts, of Haverstraw. He was a member of Goshen Lodge, No. 365, F&A.M., since 1872.

From the September, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

While checking numbers of nine cars on Harlem transfer float, No. 2 at bridge 4, Jersey City, recently, in his capacity as checker, Henry E. Richards, 21, of Leonia, N.J., received injuries that later proved fatal. No one witnessed the accident but it is supposed he was squeezed between two cars at the west end of the float as three cars were being pulled off by a yard engine. An ambulance was summoned from St. Francis hospital but the young man died before .the hospital was reached.

He was unmarried and resided with his widowed mother in Leonia. Municipal Court Justice Edwards of Brooklyn is a brother of deceased, and from his home the funeral took place. He was buried in Greenwood cemetery.

From the June, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Moses S. Terwilliger, passenger and freight agent at Susquehanna since 1887, died Aug. 8 (1917) at his home in that city. He was one of Susquehanna's best known and most highly respected citizens. Mr. Terwilliger's health failed several months ago and he retired from active business. He had been with the Erie, in continuous service, since 1865.

From the June, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

On March 31 (1917), Albert Wagner was called to the Great Beyond. On April 4, his beloved wife received the same summons. In 1864, when President Lincoln called for volunteers, Mr. Wagner was among the first to respond. He was wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville, the nature of the wound being such as to cause his discharge from the Army. Returning home in 1866 he moved to Dunmore, PA when the shops were moved there. From 1866 to 1917 he worked for the Erie at Dunmore. He was a member of Ezra Griffin Post, GAR No. 139 and F&AM No. 584. They are survived by two children, Leet and Charles Wagner of Dunmore. (p. 238)

From the October, 1917 Issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:

Timothy Welch, one of the Erie's best known and most popular passenger conductors, died at his home, Port Jervis, N.Y., September 2 (1917) at the age of 69 years, after an illness of five weeks. He was an Erie man both by birth and desire, having been born at Lordville on the Delaware division. He came to Port Jervis early in life and entered the company's train service, rising to the position of passenger conductor, which he filled with great credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his employer. It is safe to say that "Tim" Welch, as he was affectionately known, was as loyal a man as the Erie employs. He was a consistent Brotherhood member.

"Tim" Welch loved the Erie railroad, and would quarrel with any person who spoke ill of it. His good nature and natural wit won for him the good will of innumerable patrons all along the line, and he will be missed by these and a host of railroad men who worked with him. He had conducted the Erie's best through trains and could always be depended on.

Mr. Welch had served two terms of two years each as a member of the board of trustees of the village of Port Jervis, and had also been tax collector of the school district. He was a member of Neversink division, No. 52, Order of Railway Conductors, of St. Mary's Church, and of Port Jervis Council, No. 471, Knights of Columbus. For several years Mr. Welch has been the general chairman of the board of adjustment of the Order of Railway Conductors on the Erie system, and was also a member of the board of directors of the Erie Employes' Relief Association.

The surviving relatives are his wife and one daughter. May, of Port Jervis; three sons, John and Edward, of Port Jervis, and William, of Susquehanna. Edward is in the employ of the Pullman company, and runs on trains 5 and 6, of which his father was train conductor. Following is his Erie record: June, 1869, conductor, Delaware division; May 6, 1911, re-examined; February 9, 1914, re-examined; passed each time.

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