Takin' Twenty with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Oct 15 22:28:21 EDT 2013

Hi Skip,
I'm glad to hear that some of the Brethren enjoyed the article on the Durham Local I put together with Fred Reburn.  I talked to Fred on Saturday and he offered some more details on the photos used in the article.  He said that the cover shot was taken coming past the coal chute at Durham and that the engineer was likely a Mr. Stanley or Mr. Simpson, or perhaps "Uncle Joe" Richardson.  On page 4, he thinks the undated photo of the Island Yard engine house was taken in 1917 as part of the ICC Valuation report.
He believes that the small photo on page 5 of the tool house and storage house with the bridge in the background was actually not on Island Yard, but rather taken down below the Lynchburg passenger station and across from the freight house that still stands.  He said the two story building was originally built by the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad.  This photo also probably dates to the 1917 ICC report, as the bridge in the background was replaced by the Williams viaduct around 1919.  He said the tracks directly in front of the buildings belonged to the C&O and that the buildings were torn down when the C&O double tracked the line along the James River.
Rob Minton

On Friday, October 11, 2013 8:08 AM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway.  We signed a Happy Birthday Card for Raymond East.  Raymond is one of the very few remaining ex-Virginian Railway Engineers who actually hand-fired a VGN steam engine.  He enjoys telling about the summer he fired the last remaining VGN steamer, the old "SA" 0-8-0 Baldwin #4, in Suffolk, VA,  working the peanut plants there.  Raymond, who fought in combat in Korea and defended freedom for all of us, is the perfect example of why we should not forget those who worked for our beloved fallen flag.  He turned 89 on Tuesday.
I showed the Brethren Abe Burnett's May 1963 photo taken at 12th Street in Roanoke, of someone sitting on the fireman's side of N&W GP-9 #898.  Most agreed they did NOT think is was Raymond East in the cab seat.  When Raymond arrived, he confirmed it was not him in the picture.  "That man has gloves.  Only real hard working people used gloves.  I never wore 'um because I didn't nee 'um as an engineer".  The Brethren could not identify the fellow in the photo.
Dr. Gibson Davis recently injured his shoulder in a farming accident and may have to have surgery.  Last night he told us he would have to leave our session a little early to go to the Carilion Clinic to get an MRI.  The Clinic is located on the corner of Jefferson Street and Reserve Ave (where VGN crews slept and ate at George's) and "Gibby" said as he was leaving:  "I'll be getting the MRI just a few feet from where my Daddy gave me a ride on the old Virginian Railway turntable".
For Show and Tell, I took the July-September "Turntable Times" newsletter of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS and the October-December "The Arrow" magazine of the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society.  Landon Gregory especially enjoyed Rob Minton's "On the Durham Local in 1948 with Fred Reburn" which brought back memories to him.
"Duck Dynasty" is now one of the most popular TV shows on cable.  One of the lead characters, Si Robertson, has recently written a book called "Si-cology 101".  I just finished reading it and could not resist sharing the following from Si:  "I smoked cigarettes in Vietnam to occupy my time, more than anything else.  One night, a sergeant ordered a buddy and me to deliver supplies to a camp on the other side of a jungle, in a driving rainstorm.  As we made our way down a dark road, I heard a tap on the passenger-side window of our Jeep.  "Hey, there's somebody knocking on my window!" I told my bubby.  "Well open it and see what he wants", he said.  I rolled down the window.   A Vietnamese man was staring at me.  I didn't know if he was a civilian or Vietcong.  "Do you have a cigarette?, he asked.  " Hey, he wants a cigarette," I said, " What do I do?"  "Give him one and let's get out of here!", my buddy said.  I handed the
man a cigarette and rolled up the window.  "Step on it," I said.  I was a little freaked out by the incident, so I lit up a cigarette of my own.  I figured we were probably driving 60 MPH through the jungle.  Then I heard another knock on my window.  "Good grief," I said.  "He's knocking on my window again."  I rolled down the window, "Do you have a light?" The Vietnamese man said ."Light his cigarette!" my buddy said and "make it quick".  I lit the man's cigarette and my buddy put the Jeep's gas pedal to the floor.  We were probably going 90 MPH now!  Then I heard a knock on my window again.  "What in the world?" I screamed.  "He's back! How is he doing it?"  I rolled down the window again, expecting him to shoot me.  "What do you want?" I asked.  "Would you like some help getting out of the mud?"
Time to pull the pin on this one!
Departing Now from V248,
Skip Salmon
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