Read CHAPTER XXI of The Life and Adventures of Nat Love Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick", free online book, by Nat Love, on

A few of the railroad men under whom I have served. George M. Pullman. The town of pullman, ill. American railroads lead the world. A few figures.

Among the large number of railroad men I have served under and worked with during the fifteen years I have been on the road it gives me pleasure to recall the names of a few with whom I was more intimately acquainted and to whom I am indebted for many favors given and courtesies extended, and the pleasant duty devolves on me to mention the always courteous, obliging and most competent head of the Pullman department in Denver, Mr. Runnells, and his assistant, Mr. Wright, who sent me out on my first run in 1890. Next comes the well known name of District Superintendent J. M. Smith, who one year later sent me out on the run that marked the beginning of my Pullman service. To Mr. Smith more than to any other railroad man I am indebted for advice, counsel and countless favors shown me while I was in the service in the department over which he presided so long. I always found him courteous and obliging and never too busy to listen or to give a kind word of advice or counsel to all who approached him on company business or on the private affairs of the employees of the road. I had charge of a car for several years in his territory and many a time I have had him for a passenger and at such times he seemed more like an old friend than he did like the superintendent of the Pullman service.

I next transferred to the Ogden division. Here I met and came to know very well Superintendent Baker and his assistant, Johnnie Searce, and to these two gentlemen I am also indebted for many favors shown me, as they tried in every way possible to make my employment pleasant and profitable while I was in their territory. I was sent out on runs that covered the greater portions of the United States, and while on some of my longer runs I often started from and returned to stations in different districts under different superintendents, but I always looked on Ogden as my home station and Superintendent Baker as my chief until another superintendent was given charge of the district and I transferred to Salt Lake and started to run on Senator Clark’s new road, the S. P., L. A. & S. L. road, between Salt Lake and Los Angeles, under the superintendency of Mr. Twining and his assistant, Mr. Cotten, and these gentlemen also during the time I have been with them have shown me every favor and consideration, which goes far towards making my work a pleasure. In this connection also I mention the names of Jim Donohue, traveling engineer; W. H. Smith, trainmaster, and P. Randoff Morris and Jos. Jones, special agents, all jolly railroad men from A to Izard.

During my fifteen years’ service I have met and served under many different superintendents and to mention the names of them all, would require a separate volume, but I will always hold them in kindly remembrance as they all have without exception been kindness itself to me.

Another old friend I have recently met on the steel road is William H. Blood, at present one of the popular conductors on the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad. In the early seventies “Billy” was one of the best cowboys ranging over the western cattle country. He was with me on many of the old trails and in many a tight place, and like myself he always came out right side up with care and none the worse for wear.

E. W. Gillett, at present general passenger agent of the Salt Lake road, and one of the best known and most popular railroad men of the west, is another friend of the old days it is my pleasure to meet often now. I first met him under the following circumstances. I think it was in the year 1874 along in the fall, I had been up the trail with some cattle and was returning through Wyoming en route to Arizona. I had been riding hard all day and as it began to get dark I sighted a small station on the main line of the Union Pacific, and I concluded to give it a passing call out of curiosity. As I drew near I noticed several rough-looking customers hanging around in a suspicious manner, and I at once concluded that they were robbers there for the purpose of holding up the station. Events immediately following proved that I was right. They had not noticed me and they proceeded to hold up the agent in true western style, but that they had caught a tartar was evidenced by the rattle of the agent’s artillery. Of course it was out of the question for me to miss such fun, so not waiting for an invitation I lost no time in getting my own forty-fives in active operation, and in less time than it takes to tell it what was left of those greasers were making tracks for the nearest state line, while a red-headed youngster with a smoking 45 in his fist was shaking hands with me and trying to say something about my saving his life. I took a shine to him at once on account of his pluck and our friendship thus begun has lasted through the years until now time and fate have thrown us both together on the same line of railroad.

The railroad men as a class are the most jovial set of men one could find in any profession, well educated, broad minded, and always considerate of others and at the same time they know their business thoroughly, as they have to serve many years as apprentices, so to speak, in railroading, before they are given places of trust and responsibility, and the man who has reached the position of president or general manager of a railroad system, has learned pretty much all there is to be learned about the iron horse and the steel road, and they use that knowledge in providing for the safety and comfort of the millions of lives that are annually intrusted to their keeping.

The general manager is responsible not only for the lives of the traveling public, but of the army or railroad employees under him and he is supposed to know everything, and must always be prepared to do the right thing in the right place at the right time, and as in many cases life and death depend on it, he must know how.

A college education does not make a railroad manager, although it may help to do so. He in a great measure gets his education in the school of experience, and in some cases it is a hard school, and the most exacting of all schools, but at the same time it is a school in which one can learn anything under the sun, and learn it well, and in these days of the twentieth century’s activity and progress, it is the man who knows how to do things that makes the world move. And after boiling everything down there is left in the pot two undisputable facts. They are that the railroad men cause the world to move by knowing how to do things, the other is that the railroad men move the people who live in the world, thus they move things all around. And they are continually on the move themselves, which goes to prove that they are different from many other people inasmuch as they practice what they preach. And from these men of all classes from the president down I have received courtesies and the kindest of consideration, and these pleasant associations are pleasant memories to me and will always remain so.

It was my pleasure to meet and to chat with George M. Pullman, the father of the sleeping car, several times, and I found him to be a fine man, broad-minded in every sense of the word, always approachable and with always a kind word for every one of the large army of his employees that he met on his travels, and he always tried to meet them all. It was also my pleasure to meet his two boys who are veritable chips of the old block.

One of the legends connected with the western mining history is that early in the 60s George M. Pullman was a poor prospector and had secured a lease on a piece of mining ground in Colorado, and that he formed the idea of the sleeping car from the tiers of bunks in the miners’ lodging house, “bunk houses” they are called. However that may be Mr. Pullman has been the recipient of many a blessing from the weary traveler, and the idea, whatever it was, that led him to invent the sleeping car that has proved such a comfort to the traveler of today, deserves to go down in history as the greatest idea that ever came from the place where ideas come from.

It has been my pleasure to visit all the large shops of the Pullman company, including the town of Pullman, Ill., which is a good-sized city, named after Mr. Pullman, and was owned by him principally, and the large number of men employed in his shops there. The town contains fine churches and public buildings, a splendid library and reading rooms and amusement halls. And while I was there I failed to see a single saloon. It seems such places are tabooed there. The shops are the finest in this country, containing all the modern machinery of the finest kind and the men employed there are all past masters of their trades. Here are built all the finest sleeping cars and many of the finest special cars and railway cars seen on the railroads of this country. In addition there is also a very large amount of repairing done. As soon as anything goes wrong with a Pullman car it is at once sent into the shops for repair, and soon comes out in apple pie order. You may see the Pullman cars all over this country where there is a steel road, and other countries have their eyes on the mof late, and in the near future it will be possible to sleep in a Pullman car whether you are traveling in England, France, Sweden or China. They are a good thing and are sure to be pushed or rather pulled along.

In 1893 I went to Mr. Pullman and told him I was thinking of getting the porters of the Pullman Car Company to club together and contribute fifty cents per month apiece for the purpose of investing the proceeds in land, in view of eventually owning what we would call “The Porters’ Home.” Mr. Pullman told me he thought that a good idea, and said if we succeeded in buying one thousand acres of land, he would erect us a building on it, and signed a statement to that effect.

I then went to work and communicated with all the divisions of the Pullman Company, presenting this proposition to the porters of these different districts, but only succeeded in getting about twenty-five subscribers, the rest of them refusing to go into such a proposition, some of them saying all I wanted was to get the money and make away with it. Inasmuch as this amount was to be sent to the main Pullman office in Chicago and I was to be there each month to see this money deposited. Others refused to go into it upon the ground that they were liable to be discharged from the Pullman service at any time, and many other various excuses were offered. There were many of the Pullman conductors, however, who promised to contribute from one to five dollars toward this enterprise when we were ready to purchase the land.

My object was to have a Home and Hospital, with adjoining farming land, for the benefit of old and disabled porters who were not able to perform their duties as Pullman car porters. Had this been accomplished at that time, we would by now have had a large farm and a house and hospital connected therewith, and all the porters who are now unable to work would have had a good home and be cared for the rest of their lives. I hope to live long enough to yet see this plan become a reality.

At present the American railway leads the world. In no other country does the traveler find so much comfort, so many conveniences, so much pleasure, safety and speed as does the dweller in this robust young country belonging to our Uncle Samuel. At the present time there are in the United States upwards of two hundred and sixty thousand miles of railroad open and in operation, not to mention several thousand miles now building and projected. This immense mileage is divided between over one thousand different roads, while in 1851 there were only 149 different railroads with a total mileage of 9000 miles. The railroads today have a capital back of them amounting to over $14,000,000,000, and they pay their employees wages that foot up over $7,000,000 annually, while their earnings amount to the tidy sum of $2,500,000,000 in the same length of time. They carry somewhat more than 800,000,000 passengers every twelve months, and 2,200,000,000 tons of freight. These figures do not include the several million tons of trunks, sachels, grips, hat boxes and carpet bags that the average traveler considers it necessary to load him or herself down with on starting on a journey of any distance, and which comes in such large quantities sometimes as to make life a burden for us porters.

Read these figures again, dear reader, they are a conservative estimate of the business transacted by the railroads of this fair land of ours. You can count a million, can you count a billion? Immense, isn’t it? It seems to show that the people of this country are great travelers, forever on the move, yet they tell us this is a country of homes and that the average American loves his home and home life above all things. These figures seem to show there are a few people who havn’t any home or if they have they are looking for one they like better, which, like the will of the wisp, evades them always, but they continue to shift around, always hopeful, never satisfied, and they will continue to shift around until Gabriel blows on his little tin horn.

But this class of people make but a small percentage of the traveling public. Business in this latter day of strife and competition makes long journeys necessary, and as the business of the world grows apace and the countries of the earth crowd closer together in the struggle for the almighty dollar, there will be need of more railroads to make the globe smaller and to cut off the hours and minutes of precious time that means money to the man of today. And as a man makes and saves money so will he spend it for the pleasure of himself and family, and as he must travel to find pleasure there must be railroads to carry him, and hence these figures I write now will look insignificant beside the magnificent total that will be put before the reader of that day, because if they increase in the next century as they have in the past, walking will be out of fashion and every body will ride and I hope sleep in a Pullman sleeping car.