Friday, May 31, 2013


There is not much more for me to say today other than


 And Jim McFee and Bogdan Yelcovich also wish to go.

These photos were left on one of the passenger trains.

We had no idea that the Jersey Shore was so enticing.


We were gawking at the photos when Gunther came out of his tree.
He informed us that we had to return the pictures to the railroad station ticket master.
Gunther said "That is where the person who lost them will be looking for them."
But first we all passed them around to gawk a little more; Gunther included.

We were all a little disappointed that there were not more close-ups.

Well - - - at least this group looked like they were having fun.


And then a bad element came to the shore.
©W. Tomosky♠

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Bogdan Yelcovich was all wound up about baseball.
They didn't have it in his native Russia.
And they sure didn't have it when he worked in the Darien Isthmus.
So he brought in a bunch of periodicals to ask us what it all meant.
He was confused - - - and rightfully so.
Just look at the variations of opinion and worth that are held by separate factions.

It was becoming more of a spectator sport than one in which everyone could play.

Organized religion seemed to have no place for it; at least not on a Sunday. (And maybe we should not be playing cards on Sunday morning either.)

The swells at the country club were putting in baseball fields.

So we all had a good discussion about baseball and whether it was going to catch on or not.

Now if all the little towns could do that we would be getting someplace.

Jim McFee said he had been following baseball for some time.

He offered to bring in photographs that his relatives had sent to him.

It appears the Irish immigrants are to be the ones who are going to keep it alive.


Bogdan said that it appeared to him that there may be too much competition in baseball. So we told him baseball shouldn't be all competition. It should be fun also.


But the competition is always there.

©W. Tomosky♠

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Old Ben Butler.... he is a hoot.
Both Bogdan Yelcovich and Jim McFee have heard of him.
We were talking about Butler one day and sure enough Bogdan brought in some literature about him.
Bogdan must have a house full of recent periodicals. Maybe that is where he learns about all this trivia.
Anyway we should start with the basics.
Ben Butler is big in politics but not so big in wartime.
Everyone seems to either hate him or love him. He has strong opinions on everything and does not have the patience to beat around the bush looking for snakes.

If he thinks there is a snake in the bush he reaches in, grabs it by the tail, and yanks it out.
Ben's problem is that once he gets hold of the snake he doesn't always seem to know what to do with it.
There is a story around about his school days. He decided that he needed to speak out about the Christian ways of the school he was attending. That got him close to expelled.

Bogdan had a periodical that I had never seen before. It was rather humerous and poked jokes at everbody from Commodore Vanderbilt to Old Ben Butler.

Of course they had to ask a snide question with two meanings.
Other periodicals joined in on the fun. 

 But "The Old Guard" got pretty nasty about Ben after the civil war.


 And then there is the "New Orleans" story:

It seems as though the ladies of New Orleans were harassing his troops and being generally mean to them. Butler, once again, grabbed the snake by the tail and yanked it out of the bushes.

Of course this was an insult, not only to the ladies but also to the southern gentlemen. An uproar ensued in periodicals all over the country.
This would be a good place to show the good General's photograph for comparison.

The comparison will be the picture of General Benjamin Butler that started showing up in the bottom of all the "thunder mugs" being sold for the boudoirs of New Orleans.

 Even the consumptive patients in Saranac, New York had something to say about Ben Butler and his political cronies.

And the following is an example of how Old Ben Butler ignored orders and pulled a rabbit out of the hat.

Even the Susquehanna River played a part in that story; how about that!

Someone, a hundred years into the future, may refer to Ben Butler as "a reckless, impetuous, headstrong, boy who regularly got into fights and never seemed to grow out of it."
©W. Tomosky♠

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I know, I know. You are right. I should have addressed this long ago.

I identified parts of Bogdan Yelcovich's life in the Immigrant.

I also told you a bit about me in the Scranton railroad yard.

And I discussed people such as Borges, Hudson, Gould, and cities such as Bradford and Buffalo.

So now we must talk about Jim McFee; the third member of the "Three Railroad Men."

Come, come now. You know who they are.

Bogdan Yelcovich, Jim McFee and myself; Wally.

Now Jim McFee does not have as much written history as some of the above subjects, but he does have a background.

First we need to straighten out some misconceptions. The name McFee likes to be claimed by the Scots. However, forty percent of the McFees are Irish - - - and that is what we should discuss today.

Another misconception was that all the Irish immigrated here during the great famine of 1845 to 1852. Not so.

Well - - - not necessarily so. Although a lot of them did migrate to Canada before the famine. Canada could not handle the large influx so they departed and headed for the United States.

Nova Scotia in particular had a great influx of people from the southern Irish counties of Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Cork and Kerry. They arrived in Halifax and Pictou. Some lesser numbers landed at the Gulf of Canso, Sydney, Yarmouth and other ports.

How do I reach the conclusion that there were great migrations before the famine?

Every governmental study of Ireland that was done in the early 1800's said that Ireland was on the verge of collapse.

Unemployment was high, productivity was low, and the potato crop was the singular thing keeping famine from the doorstep.

The Irish were not ignorant of these facts - - - and a lot of them immigrated before the great famine; leaving their beautiful land behind.

Just check out the origins of the people in the cemetery at Barclay. Some of those even returned to the province of Nova Scotia in Canada.

They populated the working force that worked on our canals and slaved as household servants.

Take a look at any census report from the early 1800's and see who was doing the heavy lifting and drudgery. Look to see who the indentured servants were. Then look at the column that states their country of origin.
They left an impact on all aspects of our past:

And, I am sure, they will continue to sacrifice in whatever the future deals to this great country.

©W. Tomosky♠

Monday, May 27, 2013


William McCarty; yep that was the handle his mom gave him when he was born in the tenements of New York City.

That was not too long ago; November 23, 1859.

Someone said that he was recently shot at Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

So sad; only 21 years old.

But many have said that the world may be better off without him.

He was given the name - - - by who I do not know - - - of "Billy the Kid."

This is the picture of him that the paper mongers are showing us.

Harper's finally got their licks in on the story.

OK - - - OK.  If Harper's says age twenty-two then I was probably wrong.

These are the Allen Street Tenements in New York City where he was born.

Joined a gang there also.

And picked people's pockets.

If that wasn't possible he conked them on the head.

He was very adept at it.

His father - - - was by some accounts - - - unknown. Others have said that the father was Patrick or Michael McCarty. Still others insist it was William Bonney.

That, plus other reasons, is why Billy ended up with so many names; William McCarty, Henry McCarty, William Bonney, Henry Antrim and Kid Antrim.

Where did the "Antrim" come from? That was his step-fathers name.

His mother, Catherine McCarty married Antrim and they headed out west by way of Indiana and New Mexico.

She died in Silver City, New Mexico of consumption.

So young Billy, not skilled in much of anything, tried his hand at being a cowboy.
The skills he learned were then put to good use as a rustler; or hornswaggler as others call it.

Moving up the ladder he tried lawman and gambler.

But his best skill was as a murderer.

And he died the same way.


©W. Tomosky♠

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"PAY-PAH, Getcha pay-pah hee-yah"

I was so lucky to get this job with the Scranton rail yard.
One of the benefits was to travel anywhere I chose; for free.
And in every city that I visit I find paper barons and paper hawkers.
Little street urchins like these in Hartford, Connecticut.

And these wise-guys playing craps with their hard-earned  money in Manhattan.

 Yet if we look hard enough we see some sensitivity in these little rascals.

Or these well dressed ones in St. Louis.

And of course these from the tenements of the East Side of New York.

Or the bowery.

And Chicago.

But these little vice-presidents of newspaper distribution taught the big boys how to play hard ball.


Saturday, May 25, 2013


It was a long weekend, and with the trains running, it made for a short trip. Sort of like a long-short-cut.

We rode in style to Buffalo, New York.

In several places we followed the Erie Canal.

And we saw Rochester where they make those new-finagled picture taking boxes.

We also saw Niagara Falls where thoughtful Jim McFee brought back a souvenir postcard for his cousins Joan and Chris.

However, the most interesting things were in Buffalo.

It was were the Erie Canal meets Lake Erie. It sure was a busy place.

They unloaded different types of ore on the railroad docks.
Someone there told us the ore came from the Lake Huron and Lake Michigan areas.

This is the Lafayette Hotel in Buffalo. We couldn't stay there because of the cost. The railroad allowed us to sleep in a caboose. It was warm and out of the wind.

And this is what the inside of the dining room looks like. Of course we could not afford to eat there.

Can you imagine the power it takes to lift this jackknife bridge?

They sure enjoy a good time in Buffalo; you know, parades and all that.

Buffalo is a nice place but I don't think I would like to walk to work in the winter.

Enjoy the pictures and listen to some "Buffalo Music."
©W. Tomosky♠