Barry's Genealogy Diary

This online genealogical diary is hosted by Barry T. Self. It is primarily for information pertaining to the SELF surname, more particularly for descendants of John J. and Lydia Avaline Waters Self, who were married in Union County, GA in 1851. Barry Self is the SELF proclaimed family genealogist and historian, having spent over 20 years researching this Self line. This diary is dedicated to preserving and sharing the findings of his research.

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Location: Madisonville, Tennessee, United States

I am married to a wonderful and sweet wife, Svitlana, who is from Ukraine and we have a beautiful daughter, Lydia Elizabeth. I have worked in the funeral business since 1988 and thoroughly enjoy researching my family roots.

Friday, November 17, 2006

"Mountain Memories" Page 20

well as brains. Brains, because on such a job one had to do some planning and quick thinking to avoid injury or death to men or animals. It was learned later that the loggers had been using oxen instead of horses for pulling logs. The logs were lined up in the "running slide" and they started sliding too fast, but the slow moving oxen didn't jump in the "jay hole" quickly enough and they were dragged down the mountain with the logs. The logs were sliding at such a high rate of speed the oxen's horns were torn off and they were badly bruised. The company bosses had told the loggers not to work oxen any more, especially for pulling skidding log, but they had done it anyway.

The little mountain choo-choo trains ran on steam made by burning wood in the earlier years of the lumber company, but in these "modern" days had started burning coal. As I remember it being told to me, the loggers had the engines named "One spot," "Two spots," and so on.

The Babcock Lumber Company was living on borrowed time. The forest was stripped of all the virgin timber. Huge stumps throughout the hills were all that was left to prove that the tales told by these people were true.

Hearing the mournful sound of the train's highball whistle echoing up and down the valleys was a lonesome sound but that too was only a matter of time. With most of the forest already cut over and only the young timber left, the lumber company knew it would soon have to close down and move to another location. With this in mind they began to neglect their job; the railroads were going down from the lack of upkeep, they were not being cared for as they had once been and the trestles were getting dangerous.

A man by the name of Wade Caughorn had been the chief train engineer for a long time. Now he was afraid to take his train across the weak bridge, but he still wanted his job so he came up with the idea of getting out of the train and sending the engine across to see if the bridge would hold it up. When the train got across he would somehow catch up and swing back on and take control of the engine again. This plan worked fine for a while but the engineer became careless after the train continued to go across the trestles and nothing happened. He started riding the engine across once again, but tragedy was the end. One day the trestle collapsed and Wade Caughorn died.

It makes one think how strange life is. It's as if the man was put here for one purpose and his job was finished. By this time the Self family had scattered, mostly to different places in Monroe County. Louisa and Harvey, along with their three sons Sherman, McKinley and Arthur, had moved to Madisonville. The two daughters Ada and Mary were married and still living in the mountains, but not for long.