Saturday, August 05, 2017

Working on the railroad ....

This is one of many vintage photographs related to Lucas County, collected by the late Jim Durham and then passed on to the Lucas County Historical Society. Most likely, there was no relationship between the donor and the subjects --- Jimmy was an avid collector.

Written on the back, in ink, is "Louis Briles, Chariton, Iowa," and --- in faded pencil --- "father is the second from the left, bridge gang on the C.B.&Q. R.R." The photograph most likely was taken ca. 1885-1895 somewhere along the C.B.&Q. line in south central Iowa. No one else is identified.

Jimmy was a meticulous researcher, but many of the tools available now just weren't there when he was at his peak. So it's often possible now to add information that he didn't have easy access to.

Louis Briles' obituary, published in The Herald-Patriot of July 17, 1919, states that he was born April 2, 1843, in Harrison County, Indiana, and died July 15, 1919, at his home northwest of Chariton, age 77. He married Martha J. Hogan (1843-1921) on Aug. 29, 1869; they had four children, one of whom died in infancy; and the family came to Chariton in 1881 having lived briefly in Texas after leaving Indiana.

The surviving children were William R. "Billy" Briles, Mary E. (Briles) Eastman and Oliver Emmett Briles, all of whom are buried in the Chariton Cemetery, too, although Mary died at Council Grove, Kansas, and O.E., in San Francisco.

Here's how Louis was characterized by the author of his obituary: "Not demonstrative but faithful in all his work, deceased will be mourned by many who had come to esteem him as a man of integrity and of loving heart."

Many Lucas Countyans have worked and continue to work for the railroads. The C.B.&Q. line now is Burlington Northern & Santa Fe and the Rock Island, Union Pacific. I wonder how many of these guys have reported for work in more recent years wearing vests and hats.

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