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My grandfather was a T&P Fireman

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:00 pm
by j. s. conroy
My grandfather, Joseph Ralph "Mate" Conroy, Sr., was hired by T&P as a fireman in December 1908, at the age of either 31 or 34. He was assigned to the Transportation Department, Eastern Division. Later Railroad Retirement Board paperwork refers to the Fort Worth Division, rather than the Eastern Division, from his date of hire.
I have copies of his pay records from 1924 to 1931. Payroll records from November 1908 to December 1912 payroll records were "destroyed upon authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission".
I have several copies of photographs of Mate in railroad settings:
1. He and a seven other men are with engine number 359, while Mate is sitting on the cow catcher, dressed in a suit and his favorite derby. Only 3 men are dressed to do their jobs, the remainder are "dressed up" in the style of the day.
2. He and 4 other men in front of a watering tank with another unidentified engine in the background. All are dressed as in photo number 1.
3. Six men standing in front of an unidentified engine, and wearing railroad work attire.
4. Three men in railroad work attire standing in front of engine numer 607, pulling a coal car marked CHICAGO GREAT WESTERN.
5. Mate in the cab of an engine, with another unknown railoroad worker standing on the platform. This is a closeup, and an expert would have to determine the type of train, but it appears to be very old to me. There is an oblong circle beneath the window Mate is in. Inside of that area is etched "Texas and Pacific", rather than the engine numbers that were in use on many engines most of the time. Mate is wearing work clothes, heavy gloves, and his derby.
I will share these photos with this site after I obtain permission from my sister, who owns the originals now.
Mate (That's all we ever called him", was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Firemen and Engineers. He retired on 7 February 1942, and was required to sign a "Certificate of Termination of Service and Relinquishement of Rights", which meant T&P did not have to rehire him. He was entitled at that point to a disability annuity under the Railroad Disability Act. As a veteran cavalryman of the Spanish American War he also applied for and received a Veterans Administration disability award.
Mate's wife, Dora Lee Stillwell Conroy, also applied for a Spouse's Annuity from the Railroad Retirement Board in May, 1959. This annuity was to end a month prior to the death of her husband, which meant that when he died they would owe her nothing more.
Mate passed away on 06-18-1960, at the Texas and Pacific Railroad Hospital in Marshall, Texas. He died of Bronchial pneumonia after falling and breaking his hip, then suffering two cerebral hemmorhages. He was in the T&P Hospital for two weeks before succumbing.
I was thirteen years old at the time and was present the last few days of his life. I recall the hospital was a clean, modern looking brick building. Mate appearred to be well cared for, as well as the medical knowledge of the day allowed. He was in a private room. It appeared to me in my youth (inexperienced, though) that there was no complaint with the hospital or its personnel (whom I now understand were nuns) nor did I hear my parents voice any.
I returned to Marshall last year and found the old hospital. It is still standing, though it is abandoned and in disrepair, in an undesireable part of town now. I took photos which I may also post on this site in the near future.
Mate's wife applied for Widow's Insurance Annuity, also under the Railroad retirement Board, shortly thereafter. And ZI have no further railroad memorabilia and very few unreported RR paperwork items.

Re: My grandfather was a T&P Fireman

Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:13 pm
by darrel
Did he work under mr Lancaster. or mr. Volmier. I have seen many photos of mr. Volmiew but i dont think i have ever seen a photo of mr. Lancaster. I would like to find one for my layout. Darrel Smith. Haltom City. Texas.

Re: My grandfather was a T&P Fireman

Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:47 am
by Steven Stein
I was in Marshall Texas in June of 2010 to visit a friend, I am an artist photographer and as we drove down the street in Marshall while he was showing me the town my friend pointed out the old abandoned T. & P. Hospital. I shot some photos of it and when I got home I wanted some more information on the history of the place for the photo I shot. I found the old post cards but little on the hospital's history, can anyone tell me more? A gallery her in Long Beach Calif wants me to show this photo on their wall but before I do I'd like to know more. When we first passed my friend told me it was a state asylum but now I know it's the T. & P. Railroad Hospital., I added a copy of the photo I shot at that time, I had to take several shots and stitched them together in Photoshop.

Steven Stein

Re: My grandfather was a T&P Fireman

Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:03 am
by Steven Stein
Photo of T. & P. Hospital June 2010
Photo of T. & P. Hospital June 2010
T. & P. Hospital.jpg (142.98 KiB) Viewed 22207 times