Posts Tagged ‘Rock Island Railroad’


Strange Sights and Sounds Be These

   Posted by: admin    in Railroad, Tara

The Fort Dodge Messenger: June 5, 1893

Strange Sights and Sounds Be These

Grim Ghosts are Haunting the Rock Island Bridge Over the North Lizzard.

There may not be any ghosts holding high carnival nights on the Rock Island bridge over the North Lizzard, but there are a number of railway employes (sic) and people in that vicinity who cannot be convinced of that fact. Conductor Joe Donald, of the Rock Island, is one of these. His brother is another. The operator at Tara has seen a few things that he cannot explain, and Section Foreman Chelgren has also had  his hair raised by strange sights and sounds. Any number of curious Tara people can also be produced as witnesses to prove that the bridge is “haunted.”

The bridge in question is a small wooden pile bridge over the North Lizzard, three-quarters of a mile north of Tara. It was on this bridge that William Roberts, a young man working with a pile driving crew, lost his life a couple of years ago, being killed by a (paragraph ends here and is continued later) flying pile. Since then the railway men have been more or less afraid of the bridge, but until recently saw nothing on which to base their suspicions.

Section Foreman Chelgren “saw” the operator’s story and went  him several better a few evenings later. He was returning after nightfall with his section men, pumping away cheerfully on a hand car and figuring on getting to their belated supper just as soon as possible. As they neared the North Lizzard bridge all the men noticed the light of a locomotive apparently moving on the bridge. they stopped the hand car with a jerk and hustled the car off the track to let the train pass. The light came no nearer and after waiting a while they put the car back on the rails and slowly pumped up to the bridge. As they approached it the light grew dimmer and dimmer and finally disappeared. There was no sight or sound of a train. A superstitious fear came over the crowd of men and they did not have the courage to cross the bridge.

They waited talking to each other in awe stricken whispers. Suddenly strange sounds floated out on the night air with startling distinctness. The listeners heard the clanking and rattling of machinery and then a dull thud like the falling hammer of a pile driver. Then again came silence. The men were badly rattled and were afraid to cross the bridge. Finally they took the hand car down the track and giving it a good start sent it rattling over the bridge, without any occupants. It crossed in safety and they followed on foot with fear and trembling.

Since then a number of skeptical Tara citizens have seen the strange sights and heard the ghostly pile driving and the town is in a ferment of excitement over the affair. Ghost hunting partied are organized every evening but no one has as yet captured his ghostship.

The station agent at Tara was the first to discover the “harnt.” One evening he had just closed up the office and was going home for the night when he glanced up the track and saw the head light of a locomotive apparently on the bridge. He immediately jumped to the conclusion that a special train was coming and that the train dispatcher at Des Moines had failed to notify him. He rushed back to his instrument and ticked off a message to Des Moines, asking about the “special” that  had stopped on the bridge near Tara. He got a reply informing him that a Roman chariot race was probably occurring in his head. The operator was mystified and walked out to the bridge to investigate. When he got to the trestle there was no light and no sign of any train. He lost no time in getting back to Tara.

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B.J. Foster is an Object Lesson

   Posted by: admin    in Crime, Police court, Railroad

The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 27, 1903

B.J. Foster is an Object Lesson

And the Moral is; Do Not Yield, Unlawfully, to the Pangs of Hunger

Foster Stole Roll of Bologna

Was Interrupted by Police Officers in Midst of Epicurean Banquet. Police News

B.J. Foster yielded to the calls of hunger on Tuesday and as a result, entered a plea of guilty to disorderly conduct in police court this morning. He was fined $1 and costs, and went to jail where he will play a waiting game.

Foster entered the purlieus of the Rock Island yards on Tuesday afternoon, and as he wandered about the yards trying to still the pangs of hunger which were rending his interior, he happened upon an open box car, wherein reposed a sack of succulent, appetizing bologna. The sight was too much for human eyes, at least for Foster’s eyes. Out came his trusty jack knife with one fell swoop the sack was cut open, and  Foster wandered up the platform, with his mouth full of sausage and his heart full of peace.

Station employees noticed Foster wrapped in gastronomic bliss, investigated, discovered the robbery, and called the police. This morning when charged with his crime, Foster admitted taking some apricots, but said not a word about the bologna, thus riveting the chains of guilt more clostly about him.

Henry Clark, plain drunk paid over the regular allowance into the exchequer of the city, and John Bergen, up on a similar charge, went to jail.

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