Parish, Oswego Co., NY
Thursday, January 29, 2015
More about Bill Passmore
Biographical Sketch of Bertrande H. Snell
Parish, Oswego Co., NY
Parish, Oswego Co., NY
Many thanks to Richard Palmer for contributing this wonderful and very interesting Biographical Sketch on Bertrande H. Snell. A fascinating history you won't want to miss. Richard Palmer at:
Just Around the Corner - By Bertrande Snell
On a warm evening of the early summer of 1905, Wilfred(William?) Passmore and I
arrived in Buffalo from the west. We had been telegraphing in the
southwest for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad and were on our way
home, each with about $300 in bills tucked away in one of our shoes,
nestling comfortably between skin and sock.
Unfortunately, we got into Buffalo rather late in the evening and
decided to stay there overnight. We got a room in a small hotel off
Ellicott Square, deposited our suitcases and started out to "look
around" a little.
Just 36 hours later we sat in our hotel room and took inventory of our
assets. These consisted of two brand-new suits, two Ingersoll watches, a
varied assortment of pawn tickets and about $12 in cash. So, we decided
to go home. Passey lived in Gillette, Pa., and I lived in Parish, so it
immediately occurred to me that I could easily get over to Suspension
Bridge, where I was more-or-less known, nd bum a ride on the Hojack to
Oswego and thence home, with little, or no outlay.
My partner's case was different, since he was practically unknown as a
railroader outside of Pennsylvania. In spite of his strong reluctance i
forced all our remaining cash upon him - that is, all except a dollar in
change for, "emergencies" - and went our separate ways, promising to
take up where we left off, later (as to what had become of our joint
$600 fund - that's something not to be divulged in this particular
story. So don't be looking for it).
I trolleyed over to Suspension Bridge and hung around the signal tower
until 3 a.m., when I boarded the caboose of the east-bound fruit train
captained by Conductor Bob Cronin, whom I knew well. Bill and his crew
greeted me, not too effusively perhaps, but made me free of the caboose
accommodations, which in those days included plenty to eat and a place
We arrived in Oswego about 10:30 that night and I promptly hired me to
the train dispatcher's office, where my good friend, Roy Nutting held
down the "third trick." i stayed with him until morning and easily
negotiated a loan of $10. I rode the baggage car of 201 to Pulaski. Here
I waited for the Salina-bound local freight, No. 22 which left there
about 1 p.m. While waiting I had contacted George Murphy, Parish
station agent, by wire and he had informed me that my folks were out of
town for a day or two, so I rode the local clear into Salina yards.
In those days this freight train boasted as salt and efficient crew as
you'd find in a month's hunt. Sam Hollingsworth was engineman, Barney
Fidler the fireman, and Bill Mudge head brakeman. In the caboose were
Conductor Loren (Hop) Look, Flagman Jones and Brakeman Denny Haley.
As we rattled over the frogs into Salina yards, late that afternoon,
Conductor Look fixed me with speculative eye, stroked his handle-bar
mustache and remarked:
"What you doin' tonight, Doug?"
When I assured him that my schedule was blank, he continued:
"You hang around till I sign off an' get washed up. I'm a-goin' over to
th' transfer dock for a minit, you come along an' I'll show you
something pretty dang classy."
So, a little later, Hop and I crossed the yard and visited the R.W.& O.
transfer house, just above the point where the overhead now crosses N.
Salina St. Here was a scene of great activity. Merchandise of every
description was being carted about the floors and shifted from one car
to another through the length of the long warehouse. At the point where
we entered, four or five freight handlers were loading a car of cheese.
This cheese was packed in wooden "half-boxes," weighing about 18 pounds
each. I dare say many of you will recall these cheese containers - flat,
round thin-sided boxes with supposedly tight-fitting covers. Two loaded
planks were placed across the interstice between the car door and that
of the warehouse, and the boys rolled these little boxes merrily up the
incline while one man in the car piled them up in neat tiers as they
It wasn't uncommon for a box to fall from the planks as it rolled, and
in such cases the container was frequently broken. For such emergency,
there were always near the transfer door, two or three tall piles of
empty boxes used as replacements. It was toward these boxes that Hop
made his way.
"Hey, Rick!" he explained to Foreman Althaus. "Me an' Dough wants a
coupla these here empty boxes to take along. We're a-goin' to make some
whatnots fer th' wimin an' these'll be jest th' thing fer th' tops."
Rick waved a careless hand toward the empties. "Sure thing, Hop," he
agreed, "help yereself - they don't belong to me, nohow."
Hop winked violently at the two cheese-loaders and as he engaged them
in loud and rapid conversation, they diverted two of the rolling boxes
of cheese off the planks and in his direction. As one came to his hands,
he deftly placed it on the top of a pile of the empty boxes, and in a
short moment repeated the performance with the other.
After a not-too-long exchange of persiflage with everybody in sight,
Hop turned to me and remarked:
"Well, come on, Doug, here's yer cheese box - let's go."
With no apparent effort he reached up and plucked the full boxes from
off the pile of empties, handed one to me and started for the door. "So
long, Rick," he shouted to the foreman, "be seein' you."
And now you may visualize Hop and this narrator walking sturdily up
N. Salina, bearing between us 35 pounds of the best North Country
cheddar that was ever pilfered. We proceeded, forthwith, to Gaffney's
Onondaga Hotel bar room, where the savory stuff was deposited right on
the bar and the barkeep's kitchen knife quickly brought into play.
The north side sure had a cheese fiesta that night. Indeed, it is my
fondest hope that this narrative may meet the eye of some old-timer who
was actually at the feast.
Well sir, as we all stood around, eating cheese and otherwise keeping
the bartender busy, the swing doors with a mighty "swoosh" - and there,
immaculate and debonaire in his 6 feet 2 of virile manhood, stood my
partner, Wilfred Passmore, with whom I had parted in Buffalo only the
After introductions all around, I forced a huge triangle of cheese
into the not-unready hand of my friend and demanded to be enlightened.
"Nothing to it," he averred. "I made it to Gillette in fast time and
explained everything to dad, especially how you were broke on account of
us using all the money for my carfare. So, like I've always told you,
he's a good guy and an understanding guy; and he handed me a stake and
told me to hunt you up, and here I am...This time, we'll try the far east. I
wired the New Haven chief at Willimantic and he's got jobs waiting for
both of us - come on, let's go."
"Sure," I grumbled, "you've got a stake, but me - I'm broke and I'm
not going to trot around on your money, feller, you can depend on that."
"My fine-feathered friend," bantered Passy, "I just told you my old dad
is an understanding man - and he thought about that, too. When he handed
me this hundred, he gave me another for you; here she is." And he
tucked $20 bills in my pocket.
There was nothing further to be said in the matter - so we went east.
And, do you know, down there on the N.Y.N.H.& H., Passy and I got
ourselves into the darndest mess you ever heard of. You see, it was life
this - but shucks! That's another story, entirely. Let's save it.
Thus we cavorted and cacchinated while still the glamor was on the
Enjoy Out of curiosity -I googled the following site .Looks like more entertaining stories -especially if you like RR stories.
Bertrande H. Snell, author of the following articles, a native of. Parish, Oswego County, N.Y., was a telegrapher all his working life. For many .... It was Bertrand
This was ,also , on the Internet and I recognized it as taken by the Harris family barns..
You never know what you will find if you go" Surfin" on the internet.. K