N&W in 1912--Pseudo stickup

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Tue Jan 10 21:57:22 EST 2012

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Fri., March 15, 1912

Traveling Man Thought Clinch Valley Train Was Being Held Up

B. F. Branch, a traveling man who has heard a great deal about Bluefield and vicinity, was riding a Norfolk and Western train along the Clinch Valley division a few miles east of Norton Wednesday when the train stopped, being delayed for a few moments or more. He had read of holdups and was prepared to hear the call for hands up at the front end of the car. Instead of waiting he carefully worked his way to the rear platform so he could be in a position to get a first look at the holdup men if they should get on the rear platform. He was standing at the door a half moment when he heard a shot fired. This made him all the more certain he was about to witness a regular train holdup. About the same time he heard the engineer blow the signal for the brakeman to come in, and thinking this meant danger he became all the more certain the holdup men were working in the express car and the engineer was signaling for help.
In a few minutes, however, he dated to look out and saw the brakeman running toward the train and when he reached the train platform and signaled the engineer to go ahead he found the brakeman had shot a possum while he was flagging the train. It only took Brakeman Lusk a few minutes to explain that the shot was fried at a possum, and that it had been hit, and that the blasts on the engine whistle were sounded to call the brakeman in. Branch arrived here last night and was telling the story at his own expense.
Gordon Hamilton
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