Saturday, November 05, 2005

Famous engineers

From: "Wendell Huffman"

I suppose every era had its most famous engineer. My "favorite" is George B. Jefferis who ran the first passenger train onto the train ferry Solano (1879) and the first train into the Oakland Pier (1882). What makes him really notable (in my mind) is that he managed to do all this with two wives, one in Oakland and one in Sacramento. Which apparently caused some problem, which he solved by killing the one in Sacramento and burning down the Brighton Jct. depot (where she was the station agent) to cover the crime. He managed to get out of the murder rap and bigamy charge on a technicality (well, by the time of the trial he only had the one wife) and even kept his good standing with the railroad company. In 1911 he drove Taft's special and retired as road foreman of engines in 1927. There is even the possibility that he came out of retirement to pilot the first train across the Benicia-Martenez bridge in 1930 (did he run "Huntington"?). He died in 1933.



Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I've been partial to H. S. Small, the engineer of the CP pay train in the 1870s, who was also the lead engineer on the Jarrett & Palmer express run from Ogden to Oakland in 1876. Note – don't confuse H. S. (Hank) Small with the later successor to A. J. Stevens, H. J. Small.

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

My work address is:
My personal address is:

11/06/2005 7:38 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I'd like more info on George Booth, engineer of the "Jupiter," May 10, 1869, his lucky day.


Bob Spude – Historian – Cultural Resources Management – National Park Service – Intermountain Region – 505.988.6770 Voice - 505.988.6876 Fax

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

11/07/2005 9:43 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Does anyone have any information about any of the eight engineers whose portraits can be seen online at the CPRR Museum?

CPRR Engineer Dan Hanton, 1868

CPRR Engineer Claus Gilloway, Truckee Division, 1868

CPRR Engineer E.V. Wilson, Salt Lake Division, 1870

CPRR Engineer Loyde Clark, Truckee Division, 1868

UPRR Engineer Lewis Dempsey, Ogden, 1871

CPRR Engineer Gilbert Lemery, Truckee Division, 1874

UPRR Engineer James Welch, Ogden, 1869

CPRR Engineer John Hoskins, Salt Lake Division, 1872

11/07/2005 9:51 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


The Ogden Standard, May 9, 1919 published a list of early CP engineers and their locomotives on the Salt Lake Division, Toano to Ogden, ca. 1870. They are, as listed with misspellings and numbers:

No. 79, Appolo [Apollo], Sam Jenkins, engr
60, Whirlwind [sic., 62], Sol Brace,
62, Jupiter [sic, 60], Tom Foster
90, Gladiator, Hudson Unks
91, Tiger, Tom S. Kully [Kelly?]
92, Verdi, George Pike
8 [88], Hurricane, Frank Winters
68 [98], Rattler, Frank Bloom
95, Rover [sic., 100], Lou Demson [Lewis Dempsey?]
104,....[Rambler], R. A. Wells
105, ...[Roller], Patsy Healy
54, Red Deer, Cash Eddy
28, Gold Run, John Huggins
126, Swift Sove, Jerry Weaver (Ogden switch engine)

The reporter made a number of mistakes, and suspect some typos on names; unfortunately, none of the names match the [above] CP engineers.

Bob Spude – Historian – Cultural Resources Management – National Park Service – Intermountain Region – 505.988.6770 Voice – 505.988.6876 Fax

11/07/2005 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Pike is my great-great grandfather. His certificate for membership in "Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers" hangs in my living room. The artistry of the certificate and the beautiful handwriting of the signers serves as a true testament of their dedication to the cause and pride in their trade.

2/05/2010 1:18 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

See related discussion

10/23/2011 12:11 PM  

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