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RAILROAD RECOLLECTIONS

The Hinton News of Hinton, West Virginia

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Incredible Journey part Six.

I telegraphed to Major Temples at White Sulphur Springs to send a special engine for us to Mann's Tunnel at other side of the break. His answer not being satisfactory, I telegraphed to Gen. Supt. Perry at Richmond stating out distress and requesting a train at Mann's Tunnel, and then got a big two horse wagon and driver — put ourselves and baggage aboard it, and with a man named Williams, a horse trader of Lynchburg, who had been with us all the way and was faithful and devoted as old dog Tray — we crossed the swollen and rapid Greenbrier River by rope ferry, and started for Mann' s Tunnel beyond the obstruction.

Such a fearful ride through forests and over mountains for ten miles. Had breakfast at Alderson's before leaving — left at noon, and got to Mann's Tunnel at 5 p. m. after climbing up mountains incredible-and slipping down the other side, over the worst apology for a road ever seen.

It is a wonder we got through alive. Had a most perilous time crossing the Greenbrier River again, there, in a narrow canoe dug out of gum tree log. I greatly feared the wretched thing would capsize, so went the trunks over first so as not to overload it. Fearing an upset, I chained Agatha's big Saratoga trunk to the canoe, so it would not go to the bottom — so we might go out and pick it up in case it went overboard.

Poor Agatha standing on the bank, though she had been wonderfully self possessed and brave through all previous hardships — couldn't help sobbing when she saw the evident prospect of the trunk, containing her beautiful dresses and wardrobe made with so much care, and here fine jewels, all going almost surely to ruin. Rough Williams, too, when he saw her sobbing turned aside and wiped his eyes on his coat sleeves. It seemed too bad and so sure.

But the boatman with great skill managed to get across in safety with it. Didn't we "holler?" Then we all balanced ourselves in the canoe, and, ready to swim for it, started. But we also managed to get across in safety, though I wouldn't try it again for a fortune. Two Negroes had lately been drowned trying it.

We had a good respectable supper at Mann's house, a good Virginia farmhouse, and left at 6:30 p. m., in a box car,(as usual) for eastward. Got to Ronceverte (seven-and-a-half miles) after a couple of hours (nearly the fastest traveling we had made for two weeks). Both used up for want of rest and sleep. Concluded to go no further that night, so stayed in a lumber yard (they called it an unfinished hotel) kept by a Mr. Lively.

Next morning as there was no prospect of any train going thence eastward for an indefinite time, I telegraphed Major Temples at White

Sulphur Springs that we had managed to get along so far, and that he must send us an engine to take us to the Springs. He telegraphed immediately that he was preparing a train to send especially for us with all possible dispatch. You see, we had become famous in that part of the world, and our misfortunes were everywhere known, and ever body was very kind to us wherever we went. Even at White Sulphur and so on to Richmond and there our sufferings and adventures were known and were the subject of commiseration.

Continued next week.



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Original Publication Date: November 3, 2015



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