Revisit Marshall’s historic railroad and train era this Thursday as the Harrison County Historical Museum hosts its next Journey Stories lunch and learning series, titled “Harrison County by Rail (Railroads in East Texas)”.
The special presenter will be Daryl Ware, former conductor and member of the board of trustees of the T&P Museum, who is currently the author of a book on the history of Harrison County railroads, titled ‘The’ History of the Railroad and Its People in Harrison County ”.
“This is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities,” Ware said of the special presenter. “I feel honored to be able to share the story of all these employees who have left.
“No one, to my knowledge, has ever recognized the railroad workers, as much as their trades that they all were able to offer the railroad, back in the stores, when the stores were at their peak, here. ,” he said. “It’s an honor. I think it will be a unique opportunity for me to present this.
The presentation will begin with a lunch at 11 a.m. at the Marshall Visual Art Center, located at 208 E. Burleson St. Entertainment, with Boogie Woogie musician Benjamin Cohen, will begin at 11:15 a.m. and the program will follow at 11:40 a.m.
“For the menu this time, Sweet Sabine found an 1800s Texas & Pacific dining car menu,” said Becky Palmer, assistant director of education for the museum.
Palmer said Juli Jameson, owner of Sweet Sabine’s, will be serving a selection of sandwiches from that menu, as well as a piece of homemade buttermilk pie that’s also on the menu.
“It’s pretty cool,” Palmer said. “Because they all used the same menu and there are many (rail) lines that have used it, it’s called Mexico-St. Louis special because the train was leaving from St. Louis, all the way to Mexico.
Palmer said he chose Boogie Woogie as a tribute to the importance of the musical genre in Harrison County railroad history, which dates back to the early 1870s, during the decade when Marshall became the headquarters of the Texas & Pacific Railway Company.
“It’s the (linked) railroad and we had Boogie Woogie here,” Palmer said.
At Thursday’s lunch, attendees will learn about Ware’s 10 years of research into the county’s rich railway history.
“I’m going to present the book, chapter by chapter, a kind of short summary of each chapter,” he said.
He noted that he would first enlighten guests on the outdated county railroad.
“When people hear about the railroad in Harrison County, what first comes to mind is the T&P, and rightly so, since everyone was indirectly or directly related to the railroad, with the T&P back when it was the job to work for in the county, ”Ware said. “It was the highest paying job, but there are other aspects of the railroad in Harrison County, including the expired charter railroad.
“What I’m going to do in this chapter is just list the names of the railways that have been chartered to Marshall but never built,” he explained. “You have to build so many miles of track in a certain amount of time and if you don’t meet that deadline you lose your charter, so a lot has happened.”
From there, Ware will discuss the two streetcar railways that ran through Marshall.
“I’ll have a slideshow and some of the photos of the streetcar tracks that we can still see today on the bricks around the courthouse,” Ware said.
Another chapter that he will unveil is that of “tram routes”.
“The streetcar routes in this particular area were on forest railways,” Ware said, explaining that the streetcar routes were built to cross the woods so that logging companies could transport the timber to sawmills.
Another chapter he will talk about is that of public transport railways.
“This is where most people can relate to in Texas and the Pacific,” Ware said.
Ware noted that he decided to honor railway workers in the title of his book because of the major role they played in the history of the railway.
“During my research, I came across hundreds and hundreds of employee names,” he said. And that’s why I mentioned that I would like to recognize them as what they did in the county. And that’s where a lot of us come in.
The author said he will have a list of employee names he has collected over the past decade on Thursday. Participants will have the opportunity to verify the accuracy of the names.
“Basically it’s the T&P and then the predecessor and successor to the T&P as well,” he said of the list of employee names.
The names will also include employees of the Marshall and East Texas Railroad (M&ET) company.
“There were two railroads in this county that directly affected Marshall’s growth because they went through town and that was Texas and Pacific and Marshall and East Texas,” Ware said.
The roster will also include employees from Marshall Car Wheel and Foundry.
“It was a huge industry that built and manufactured railcar wheels as well as many other parts used by the rail industry,” he said of Marshall Car Wheel and Foundry. “There were several hundred for this case.
Ware said what has been most interesting about writing his book is the complexity of the research.
“It’s confusing back then, from the time the railroads were chartered until construction started,” Ware said.
Nonetheless, it is a fascinating story that has been an important part of Harrison County.
“Harrison County and Marshall, Texas, was the gateway to Texas. That’s what they were called once Texas and the Pacific were established, ”Ware said. “When the T&P was chartered it was a single charter because it was a federally chartered railway. Most of the railroads were state chartered, but it was federally chartered and was designed to run from Marshall to the Pacific Ocean. It would be the first transcontinental railroad. Congress felt it was the perfect route because it didn’t have to cross the Rockies. “
Ware said his love for the railroad goes back to his childhood when he received his first train, a Christmas present, at the age of 8.
“It was sort of the start of my interest in trails, railways. Ten years later, I find myself employed at Missouri Pacific as a switchman, ”he said, adding that he had been there for 34 years. “I made a career out of it. “
His father also had a career in the railroad, working one summer in the T&P Railway stores in Marshall at the age of 16. His grandfather, who owned Ware and Driskell Lumber Company in Marion County, used the abandoned streetcar tracks in Marshall. to build its road tram service.
“It was (a) family (business),” Ware said of his family’s interest in the railroad.
He encourages the public to get out there and learn more about the county’s illustrious railway heritage.
“The legacy of what the railways have brought to this county and to Marshall is a rich one,” Ware said. “I think that’s probably the richest legacy of any county in this state, because we’re talking about 1857, in east Texas. It was the location of all railroads during this period. It is important because of the 32nd parallel; it allowed expansion to the west when Congress authorized construction.
“It’s just amazing what the railroad did back then just to help people in the community,” Ware added. “This is how they moved. If it wasn’t a horse and a buggy, the railroad was the only other option. Hats off to those railroads back then for providing a service they didn’t make a lot of money on. Railways – particularly with Harrison County – Marshall was the largest city they provided service to. Everything else was small, small communities.
Tickets for Thursday’s lunch and series cost $ 15 and include lunch, entertainment, and admission to the event. Those interested in participating can register at the Harrison County Historical Museum, located in Room 111 inside the 1901 Harrison County Historic Courthouse in downtown Marshall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. h. Online payments are also accepted at harrisoncountymuseum.org. Funds raised will benefit the museum’s children’s education programs. For more information, call the museum at (903) 935-8417, ext. 1.