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
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
(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
Shoe Horses Don't They
July 8, 2005 Column
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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