Sunday, September 14, 2008

Protecting Railroad Payroll

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Loni Hayes-Mazzocco"

In the later part of of 1800's, did the railroad hire their own employees to protect the railroad's payroll during transport on the trains or did they hire outside the company? If outside help was contracted, what are the names of those companies?

I'm attempting research on my great-grandfather, Benjamin Daniel Hayes. My father has a six-shooter hand-gun that he was told belonged to his grandfather. He was told by his father that his father carried and used this gun when he work for the railroad protecting their payroll during transport. In the wood of the handle is carved 7-notches. The notches represent the number of men he killed while performing his job.

He was born in Shelbrock, Indiana in 1859 and moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa. I am assuming that he relocated to Council Bluffs for employment with the railroad. While in Council Bluffs, he met and married my great grandmother, Nellie Margaret Hanson. He was 40 and she was 18. My father said his dad told him that his grandfather was "a tough son-of-a-bit....".

How can I go about researching this story that has been passed down for 4-generations (to my children)? I'm looking for an historical record such as a payroll log or journal that a company may have used. At this point, where would those records be stored?

I have absolutely no idea where to start my search. Any ideas or historical railroad information....such as what railroad company(s) would have been based out of Council Bluffs, Iowa between about 1870 to 1890? I would appreciate any help or suggestions.




What was the gauge of the rail used on the transcontinental railroad? What was the typical length of a straight rail? How did this rail compare to the rail used in the east?

—Dan Hally