Train Ride to Beaver Dam, Ohio County
An Oral History Story
My dad, Gilbert Cox (1909-1984) told the following story
to my daughter about his first train ride when he was a
small boy…from Broadway Mines to Beaver Dam. He
especially remembered how cold it was in the depot that
morning just before dawn as they waited for the train.”
G.O.: “Well, honey, we got up way before daylight…had to go down there to the depot to catch the train.”
Jennifer: “How old were you?”
G.O.: “I don’t recall. But I wasn’t very old. Because I had never started to school. I would say I was about five years old, probably. Maybe not that old. But we had to bundle up. And we got down to the depot, and there wasn’t any fire or anything. And we’d go outside and look…and see if we could see the headlight coming on the train…there was a big cut through the side of that hill…and they would stand and listen to see if they could hear the whistle.” (Laughing).
“And you had to start a fire in the (wood) stove. But it was cold, and only a few little sticks of kindling there, and it was real slow to burn, and take off. And we would warm our hands, and then put our gloves back on. I had on a pair of mittens. Didn’t have any fingers. Just a thumb, and a string around my neck to keep from losing them.”
“Finally the train come. And the headlights was shining. Boy, and it pulled in with all that noise, and steam and everything. Boy, I thought that was something. Got on that train, and we didn’t get started good until we was stopping and getting off in Beaver Dam. (Laughing). About six or seven miles.”
Jennifer: “Well, why did you take the train ride? Just for sport?”
G.O.: “(tape is illegible for a few seconds)…and then when we got to Beaver Dam, we rented a horse and buggy and went out to Pa’s farm. My Grandpa Smith.”
(Janice Brown: – I believe at the time of this train ride they were living in one of the company houses at the Broadway Mines where my grandfather, Jasper Newton Cox, worked. They were going to visit my grandmother’s parents, James Thomas and Sarah (Sanders) Smith where they lived on their farm near Select.
Shortly after this period of time, they moved to Edgerly, Louisiana and Granddaddy went to work for Gulf Oil. For a while they lived with her sister, Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie”(Smith) and her husband, Everett E. Sandefur, who worked in a store in town.
My daddy started kindergarten or first grade there at Edgerly, I’ve forgotten which, but somewhere grandmother tells about this on tape, and about dressing my daddy up for the Mardi Gras party at school. He didn’t have a costume, so she put some soot from the stove pipe on his face, and some old clothes, and he went back dressed as a tramp, and was perfectly happy).
~ Submitted by Janice Cox Brown
Source: Tape Recording June 1982: