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Roger Hensley

  Railroads of Madison County
Maurice Lewman

The Railroad Watch

Roger: From the "I get letters' department comes the following:

From: "Zimmerman, Elisha R"
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003

I recently stumbled upon your website in regards to the railroads in Madison County. I being from there found it quite interesting. I do have a question for you since you seem so well versed in the history of the railways around that area. My grandfather, Harry E. Kendall, worked for the railroad, I believe in Madison County, and he had received a pocket watch, I believe, from being on the railroads gangs. My father now possess this watch and I was wondering if you could tell me anything about it or ones like it. My grandfather would have received it prior to 1949 as that is the year he died in. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Elisha (Kendall) Zimmerman

Roger: So, I forwarded this to a couple of people and Maurice responded:

From: Maurice Lewman
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003

We don't know what railroad. Some railroads did give watches but I don't think the NYC did at that time in history. A standard railroad watch was a 16 size and 21 jewel and I think 5 adjustments. Here again at this time in history to change the time the face screwed off, left to remove, after the face is off a small lever on the upper right around the 2 o'clock position was pulled out unlocking the works so that the stem could be used to set the correct time. This system was used to prevent accidently changing the time when winding the watch. Most watches were Hamilton or Waltham. At one time Elgin also made watches for the railroads.

We had an engineer at South Anderson on the NYC named Vern Kendall and I fired for him many times. He retired around 1953 or 1954 I think. - LEW

From: "Zimmerman, Elisha R"
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003

Below is my dad's response to the information you sent me. I just thought you or Maurice might find it interesting. Thanks again for the information about the pocket watch! I'm sure he'd be interested in hearing more about Vern Kendall from Maurice since he was my grandfather's cousin. - Elisha

From: jerry kendall
Sent: Friday, February 14, 2003

Dad's watch is a Hamilton and it is just like they described it. The Vernon Kendall was my dad's cousin. My dad worked on the railroad out of Grant Co. so that might have been the PRR railroad, but I'm not sure. Vernon Kendall lived here in Anderson on East 38th St. and he died Oct. 16,1973. - Love Dad

Roger: As a person who still likes pocket watches, I thought this information was interesting.

Maurice worked the Michigan Division from 1947-1981. He then worked on the Bee Line from 1981-1992. From 1947 until august 1950, he worked on the section at Shirley and Markleville. In 1950 he started firing on steam and then on through the diesels. Maurice said, "I had the pleasure of working with C. C. Staley and Ron Buser many times."

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