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  Texas : Features : Texas Railroads / They Shoe Horses Don't They :

Brenham to Sweetwater and the Big Town of Blair”
A Railroad Memoir

A letter from Johnnie Stokes
My name is Johnnie T. Stokes. I am now 76 years of age and I reside in Colorado Springs, Colo. In 1947 I worked at Lometa, Texas for the Colorado, Gulf and Santa Fe railroad.

I first worked as a Telegraph Operator Apprentice and later as a Morse Telegraph Operator. I worked as an apprentice under an Operator named of Muncy. I don’t recall his first name – since he was Mister Muncy to me. We worked 2nd trick and I later worked 3rd trick as a full-fledged Morse Telegraph operator. The railroad kept operators on duty around the clock and the depot was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We had the usual duties of Morse operator, train orders, messages and also acting as the local Western Union operator. The Santa Fe ran 2 passenger trains each way per day, and they stopped in Lometa only when flagged. The mail was hung in a sack on "crane" and the incoming bag was tossed off and picked up by the telegrapher. Later a post office employee came and got it.

The railroad ran about 12-15 freight trains a day and they usually got orders at Lometa. Orders were handed up by a hoop to train crews on "fly".

There was also a "mixed" branch line train that ran from Lometa to Menard. Ran one way each day and back the other way the next day. I don’t recall name of the train crew but recall that the conductor was handicapped with a pronounced limp. The railroad hauled a lot of sheep and goats out of Lometa in Spring and lots of wool and mohair in the fall.

I was single and stayed at the Lometa Hotel which was a frame building and just across the street from the depot. I held very little seniority with the Santa Fe so I spent my time working the "extra board" and worked at most of the stations on the Southern Div. from Brenham to Sweetwater (including Big Town of Blair) so I remember most of those stations and towns pretty well.

Well, enough of an "Old Guy's" long ago memories.

- Johnnie T. Stokes, Colorado City, Colorado
They Shoe Horses Don't They July 8, 2005 Column
Forum:
Subject: Lometa Texas John Stokes

I am E. L. "Poncho" Melvin Santa Fe Southern Division Santa Fe June 1945 through October 1990. Was telegraph operator. Found letter from John Stokes very interesting. I am sure we broke him in at Milano where Santa Fe crosses the IGN (Missouri Pacific). I worked at Lometa in 1946 . The second trick man was L. G. Muncy and the day man Fred Martin, the mixed train conducter was "Cedar Leg" Kegley. I never worked at Blair but I did work at View. - Poncho, April 27, 2006


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