The Cy Crumley Scrapbook
ET&WNC Railroad

Tour 14: Reunions and Tall Tales


Your host and narrator for this tour is Ken Riddle, close personal friend of Cy Crumley, legendary conductor of this great railroad. From 1906 until 1960, Cy worked on the ET&WNC as Brakeman and Conductor. This is his scrapbook of those years and his story.


Click on each photo to see a larger view.

The First Reunion
Date: 1973

Tweetsie Brakeman Clint Cox (third from left) and Conley Tucker (second from left) listen to the ceremonies at the first Tweetsie Old Timers' Day in 1973. Read the Watauga Democrat news account of the reunion.



"I Remember Tweetsie"
Date: 1973
They doubleheaded the 12 and 190 on "I Remember Tweetsie Day" and Frank Coffey ran AND fired the 190 by himself, while eating watermelon.  In this shot, Sherman Pippin stands by the cab talking to some of his posse.




Uncle Charlie Lewis
Date: 1973
My Uncle Charlie Lewis, brother of Big John, at the "I Remember Tweetsie Day" in 1973.  Uncle Charlie worked for all three railroads that ran in Johnson City.  He started on the narrow gauge, went to the Clinchfield, and retired as a locomotive engineer on the Southern.




Lunch Break
Date: 1973
Looks like Hardin Coffey is dropping off the 12 to go to the shop for his lunch at "I Remember Tweetsie Day"



Old Timers' Day
Date: 1976

Clint Cox, Jack Williams, Cy Crumley, and Frank Williams pose in front of Number 12 at the Old Timers' Day in 1976. Cy has his ever present cigar.


Frank Williams
Date: 1945

Here is our old friend Frank T. Williams in 1945 on the rear of excursion car 11.  His dad was George Quincy Williams, narrow gauge conductor and nephew of Mr. Crumley.  Frank and his brother Jack were great-nephews of Mr. Crumley.  Frank was a conductor on the Southern Railroad for many years and died way too young about fifteen years ago.

I want to put this picture of Frank in the "reunion " page because Frank, at the request of Harry and Spencer Robbins, Grover's brothers who ran the park for years (Grover died young as well in 1971) located all the living old employees of the ET&WNC and put together the original list for "I Remember Tweetsie Day" and later, the Old Timer's Days. 

Frank was a real fan of Tweetsie Railroad and spent a lot of time there.  I miss him and Jack a lot.



What a Time
they Had!
Date: 1976

Tweetsie Railroad Old Timer's Day, 1976. Man what a time they had. From left is Earl McKinney, Donnie Palmer, Lorne Harrison, not sure, Bus Helton in the checkered pants, Jim Dowdy, Casey Jones, Raymond McCoury, Mr. Crumley, Tighteye Simerly, not sure looking at his hat, Carl "Doc" Garrison, not sure who is behind Doc, not sure, Clint Cox, Charlie Sutphin. That's Ruth Tupper with her hair tied up in the foreground. That is about as far as she would ever get from Mr. Crumley.



Reunion Lineup
Date: 1976

Look at Clint Cox telling Doc Garrison a funny story. After Charlie Sutphin is Walter Nidiffer, can't remember the next one but I will, John Mackley, not sure, up in the cab is Tweetsie engineer Ralph Broyhill, and look who is standing at the gangway--Corrie Ford standing in for her ailing husband Chester ! Next to Mrs. Ford is Amie Angel, wife of Red Angel, and Fred Kirby, the King of the Cowboys! That's Harry Robbins, the President of Tweetsie Railroad, in the sweater and checked pants with his back to us. I reckon Ralph and Harry are the only ones still with us from this set of pictures.


Tighteye and Cy "Hold Court"
Date: 1976

Ruth and Raymond McCoury listen in as Cy Crumley and Tighteye Simerly discuss the old times at Tweetsie Railroad's "Old Timer's Day" in 1976.  John Waite selected this photo as the last picture for the definitive volume on the ET&WNC, The Blue Ridge Stemwinder.  This is one of my favorite photos. Look at these guys enjoying the reunion!



C.H. Simerly
Date: 2005
C.H. Simerly (Tighteye's son) with Ken Riddle at Tweetsie Railroad. We are hoping to stay in touch with as many ET&WNC relatives as possible for future reunions and events.


Last Run Reunion
Date: 2000

ET&WNC family members at the October 16, 2000 50-year anniversary of the last run of the narrow gauge ET&WNC. From the left we have Mrs. Brownie Allison, C. H. Simerly and his wife, Archie Julian, Ruth Crumley Tupper (complete with Mr. Crumley's hat), Keith Holley, Hill Carleton (longtime clerk at the yard office), Jimmy Allison (son of Arthur and a lot more easy going), George Allison (Walt's boy), G. W. Lewis (Big John's Little Boy), and Bryan Burleson. Everybody here except Mrs. Simerly had worked at least some time for the ET&WNC. We have lost George, Hill, and Ruth since then.


Pardee Point
Date: 2000

Here is the whole family group at Pardee Point on October 16, 2000 commemorating the Last Run. Everybody here was ET&WNC narrow gauge family. The color was so pretty that day.



Jack and Ruth
Date: 2001
Jack Williams with his favorite cousin Ruth Crumley Tupper (with Mr. Crumley's hat) at Doe River Gorge October 16, 2001.  Great photo by Johnny Graybeal.



12 at Tweetsie
Date: 1976
The famous Number 12 at the Tweetsie Old-Timers Day in 1976.

Reunion Postcard
Date: 1973

Souvenir Tweetsie Railroad Postcard - I Remember Tweetsie Day, 1973.

Noted on the back are that the Governor of North Carolina attended and Paul Harvey was the main speaker on August 11, 1973. Postcard above courtesy of Clint Cox Family.

Ken Riddle
also attended the first Old Timer's Day and here is his nametag and notes - see below:

I was at the "I Remember Tweetsie Day" in 1973.  That was the first Old Timer's Day.  Spencer Robbins had a post office set up there that was doing special cancellations, along with the Gov. and Paul Harvey.  Brother Ralph Smith was there making music (Arthur Smith and the CrackerJacks).  I stuck my nametag to the postcard and saved it. 

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Feel free to copy and use these photos.


Kenneth Riddle
Johnson City, Tennessee
November 2005