Telegraphers and Wires on the Shenandoah Division

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Thu Dec 22 20:17:09 EST 2011


A lot of responses posted to the N&WHS web site on this subject. I
am unable to read all of them.\

JB Starkey West

As published at some point

ZN Solitude
NO Kino
RU, NB Natural Bridge
J, JN Lochlaird
JS, GD Beuna Vista
OF Lofton
S Sampson
OU Lynwood
AN,SJ both shown Shenandoah
AN Alos shown at Grove Hill in 1907
CS, BO Shown Charles Town
JA, VA Shenandoah Jct
MA, St James I do not show SJ
V Shomo
G, HJ Hager tower
G, AU HJ Hagerstown Jct. WM
DX Hagerstown TFR
HG, HN, DX Hagerstown DX to HN 1923

Q South Roanoke
?? Wertz
OH, W Walnut Cove
W, HF Walkertown

At 10:31 AM 12/20/2011, you wrote:

>This is an email that I recently sent to a friend, in continuation

>of a longstanding discussion we have been having about telegraph in

>the stations of the Shenandoah Division. Perhaps others on the List

>will enjoy seeing the information. Obviously there were, over the

>years, more telegraph offices than those listed here, but some had

>been closed by the time the 1942 Official List of Officers, Agents

>and Stations was published.


>-- abram burnett



>To: ____ ,


>Some years ago we talked about the men who worked the telegraph and

>tower jobs on the Shenandoah Valley, and I told you I once had a

>conversation with 1940-hire telegrapher Troy Humphries in which he

>gave me a listing of the operator's "personal sines" for as many of

>the Shenandoah Division telegraphers as he could remember. This

>conversation occurred when I visited his home in 1978 and he gave me

>several pieces of telegraph equipment. (A telegrapher's "personal

>sine" consists of one or two letters of his choice, which he uses in

>making a receipt for messages on the telegraph wire. E.g. tapping

>out "OK SO" is much briefer than sending "OK O'Brien." The only

>constraint is that the sine could not conflict with the personal

>sine used by other men on the Division, with the Chief Train

>Dispatcher having the final decision in such matters.)


>The conversation occurred on October 27, 1978. I can be certain of

>that date because earlier that morning I had bought two tires at the

>Shenandoah Tire Service Co. in Roanoke, and on the back of that

>receipt I jotted some notes while talking with Troy, and stuck it in

>the back of N&W Official List #63, dated August 1, 1942, which I had

>taken along on the visit. (I carried the 1942 List in my grip for

>most of my 15 years on the N&W, used it mainly to look up station

>numbers, and sometimes jotted notes in it.)


>During that conversation 33 years ago, I opened the 1942 Official

>List and asked Troy to give me as many of the "personal sines" as he

>could remember for the telegraph employees listed in the Official

>List. I wrote them next to the mens' names.


>Agent at HO Hollims was R.W. Floyd, sined RA

>Agent at QA Cloverdale was E.A. Wiseman, sined X

>Agent at MJ Troutville was J.O. Dillard, sined JD

>Agent at CH Lithia was I.R. Lane, sined IR

>Agent at HA Buchanan was H.T. Hudson, sined D

>Agent at NB Natural Bridge was W.L. Burks, sine unknown

>Agent at GA Glagow was P.L. McNeil, sined MC

>Agent at JS Beuna Vista was F.C. Merritt, sined M

>Agent at RQ Riverside was J.M. Wise, sined JM

>Agent at MY Midvale was M.T. Ramsey, sined MAgent at MF Vesuvius was

>W.H. Humphries, sined UM

>Agent at GI Cold Spring was G.W. Mitchell, sined ME

>Agent at SX Stuarts Draft was W.I. Rader, sined G

>Agent at HU Lyndhurst was W.H. Painter, sine unknown

>Agent (freight) at BC Waynesboro was L.F. Taylor, sined AR

>Agent (passenger) at BC Waynesboro was G.H. Harman, sine unknown

>Agent at CM Crimora was E.A. Taylor, sine unknown

>Agent at GO Grottoes was E.C. Lemon, sined MO

>Agent at PR Port Republic was M.T. Hite, sine unknown

>Agent at DN Island Ford was J.T. Bassett, sined FO

>Agent at KO Elkton was O.H. Grubbs, sined OH

>Agent at AN Shenandoah was H.A. Fix, sined F

>Agent at CA Stanley was E.A. Skelton, sined W

>Agent at FH Luray was E.C. Mitchell, sined CR

>Agent at VY Rileyville was R.L. Rodgers, sined R

>Agent at HD Bentonville was S.C. Weaver, sined SC

>Agent at FK Front Royal was R.E. Purdum, sined B

>Agent at RV Riverton was Z.J. Compton, sine unknown

>Agent at AY Ashby was C.H. Davis, sined X

>Agent at SQ White Post was L.C. Murray, sined MU

>Agent at DK Boyce was S.M. Lane, sined MS

>Agent at BV Berryville was S.G. O'Brian, sined SO

>Agent at KG Ripon was W.L. Fink, sined CR

>Agent at BO Charles-Town was R.D.Earley, sine unknown

>Agent at JA Shenandoah Jct was W.O. Huddle, sine unknown

>Agent at QD Shepherdstown was W.W. Waddy, sined W

>Agent at FU Antietam was E.P. Earley, sined J

>Agent at SJ St. James was A.H. Spielman, sine unknown

>Gen Agent at HJ and G offices, Hagerstown Jct, was H.K. Hawbaker, sine unknown


>Agent at AF Starkey was J.R. Young, sine unknown

>Agent at PD Boones Mill was D.N. Green, sined GR

>Agent at RM Wirtz was B.S. Gregory, sine unknown

>Agent at RY Rocky Mount was R.Y. Melton, sined D

>Agent at F Lannahan was C.B. Cullen, sine unknown

>Agent at QM Ferrum was A.D. King, sine unknown

>Agent at MB Henry was C.H. Lemons, sine unknown

>Agent at B Philpott was K.M. O'Bryan, sine unknown

>Agent at KB Bassett was W.P. Wheeler, sine unknown

>---------- Q Payne - no Agent shown

>Agent at KN Fieldale was W.M. White, sined WN

>Agent at VM Martinsville was H.S. Teague, sine unknown

>Agent at HR Ridgeway was R.R. Young, sined R

>Agent at RA Price was B.G. Sharp, sine unknown

>Agent at SN Stoneville was R.E. Dean, sine unknown

>Agent at MN Mayodan was I.J. White, sined W

>Agent at AM Madison was Edward Moffett, sined F

>Agent at DF Pine Hall was M.D. Webb, sine unknown

>Agent at W Walnut Cove was M.N. Wheeler, sine uknown

>Agent at HF Walkertown was C.R. Flemming, sine unknown

>Agent (freight) at FO Winston-Salem was E.B. Kearns, sine unknown

>Agent (passenger) at Winston-Salem was C.C. Cash, sine unknown


>Only the names of the Station Agents were published in the Official

>List. They probably represent only a quarter of the telegraphers

>active on the Division at the time, the others being night men,

>levermen, Train Dispatchers and extra list telegraphers.


>On the back of my tire receipt are these notes:


>1. The roll-back telegraph resonator Troy gave me is from Riverton

>Tower, closed 1941 or 1942 and torn down 1953 or 1955.


>2. The peg-type telegraph switchboard Troy gave is from Troutville

>station, closed Spring 1974. He was the last agent there and took

>the switchboard off the wall when the depot was closed.


>3. Tower at Charlestown was BO; QD Shenandoah Jct was in the

>depot, there was no tower there.


>4. Telegraph Wires on the Shenandoah Div were:


>Wire #1 (which he stated was "Really wire #5," and unfortunately I

>did not get a clarification) was dropped into every telegraph office

>on the Division and also went to GM Office in Roanoke.


>Wire #2 was in all telegraph offices and went to the DS (the Train

>Dispatcher) and UD (the Shenandoah Div message office.)


>Wire #4 was dropped in only at Glasgow, Waynesboro, Elkton,

>Shenandoah, Shenandoah Jct, Vardo and went to UD.


>Wire #202 was the Western Union wire into all telegraph offices.


>4. In response to my question as to when telegraph was

>discontinued, he said, "All Shenandoah Division wires were cut loose

>in 1955 or 1956."


>Unfortunately, after all these years I have forgotten Troy's own

>"personal sine." Perhaps some day I shall find a note clarifying the matter.


>Troy believed that he was Winston Link's first contact on the

>N&W. According to him, he was working at either Luray or Waynesboro

>(I can't remember which) when No. 1 rolled in and Mr. Link alighted

>from the train. They struck up a conversation and Link said

>something like, "This railroad has some magnificent engines. Wonder

>if they would let me take some photographs of them?" Troy said he

>made a few calls the next morning, and Link was put in touch with

>the appropriate people in Roanoke, and the rest is history.


>It is also unfortunate that I did not get a photograph of Troy at

>any of our three or four meetings. All I have to remember him by is

>that wonderful Winston Link night photo taken in BC telegraph

>office, Waynesboro. That's Troy sitting at the telegraph

>instruments, with his back to the camera. I asked him for the

>identity of the old "Conductor" (with a toothpick in his mouth) at

>the right in the photo. Troy laughed and said that was not a

>Conductor, it was the C&O Car Inspector whom Link conscripted and

>posed in the photo... name unknown.




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