Friday thoughts

Nichols family plot in Oak Wood cemetery, Janesville WI

George Washington Nichols marker in Nichols family plot, Oak Wood cemetery, Janesville WI

A special train on the Chicago and Northwestern Road brought the body of Engineer George Nichols, who was killed in Kaukauna (Appleton), from Milwaukee to this city yesterday afternoon.  Accompanying the remains were 175 friends members of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen and many citizens met the body and escorted it to Oak Hill cemetery. 

The pallbearers were all engineers that had been on the same division with the deceased for years…….excerpt from the Janesville Daily Gazette, August 1900.

I have found several more records for the Nichols boys, all of whom served the Union during the US Civil War and survived, and most of whom worked for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad company following the war.  Brothers and cousins who worked for the railroad are buried in Janesville where my family lived for many years before moving onto Green Bay and Fond du Lac.  Both of my paternal grandparents were born in Janesville.

I continue to search for information, having the time of my life before tackling all those family records in German and Dutch.  No famous individuals here, just the men and women who built America.

America is the child of Capitalism, built on infrastructure, which took off with the advent of the railroad network which expanded with the Civil War.  For more information on this topic, check out Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the making of Modern America by Richard White.

Railroading was a terribly dangerous business with a high mortality rate for passengers and crew alike.


And the good news is, my surgeon says I am healing nicely.  He says I look like someone in the fourth month of recovery, not the second.  He renewed my prescription for physical therapy and I stopped by PT and added appointments through Thanksgiving.  I will add the December appointments next month. Dr. McConnell was so happy, I thought he was going to hug me when I left.  I suppose considering I am 72, he is pleased.

To celebrate not being gluten intolerant, we stopped by our favorite Asian market which had just reopened following the big fire they had last spring.  I was looking for red Miso paste, and the manager said they would have it next week. So, I threw caution to the wind, and picked out a box of chicken fried rice and some Thai crepes for our lunch (the market adjoins a Thai restaurant which is why it caught on fire.

Earlier, we had stopped by a European market, which used to sell Asian food, but now carries French, Brazilian and other Latin American foods.

We are spoiled for choice here in Arlington, which has the highest mix of foreign born individuals in the U.S…..many immigrants, many embassy personnel, and various thriving communities ethnic groups.

We passed Pat on the way home, walking to her job at the library, and after we pulled in the driveway, Kathy stopped by with more tomatoes and hot peppers for my parrots.  (My African parrots, love hot peppers.)

That’s all folks, except another photo from Joy, and guess what in it?

A fifteen-year old cow at Virginia Tech

Joy (orange shirt) and a fifteen-year old cow at Virginia Tech

17 thoughts on “Friday thoughts

  1. We have something in common: I broke my ankle and after the bone heals I’ll be starting PT too. You’re a few weeks ahead of me, so please set a good example! We are of the same vintage.

    I enjoyed your story very much; I didn’t know RRs were so dangerous back then. Any idea why this was so?


    • The technology was antiquated, the road beds were not maintained properly, leading to train wrecks; the men were asked to do dangerous things, etc. most frequent cause of death occurred when they were switching cars. The fellow coupling the cars was often crushed. Passengers also died when coal sparks blew back through open windows and set them on fire. ‘Railroaded’ tells the whole story.


  2. How funny that the parrots like hot peppers. I just used two jalapeños that I thoroughly gutted because I could tell they were terrifically hot in a salsa that is still so hot it’s almost unbearable. I’m going to mix it with beans, corn, and olives for dinner tonight. Your parrots would be in heaven.


  3. Your dear feathered friends make me smile. I’d love to see them eat a pepper. It reminds me of my dear little dog who used to love eating Chinese mustard, when she could get it. She used to lap it up like ice-cream. How wonderful that you got a good report from the doctor, very happy for you. Sad about Mr. Nichols but it sounds like he had a good send of. I also loved the family photograph. Contrary to what you said in your comment Dianne, it sounds like you have been very, very busy!


  4. Glad to hear you aren’t gluten intolerant, that would have added another layer of difficulty to life. Congrats on your healing and your “best” physical therapist. Maybe he has a Star Trek transporter between here and there.


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