The Cy Crumley Scrapbook
ET&WNC Railroad

Tour 4a: Chick Ferrell


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.

Shulls Mills
Date: 1916

Mr. Crumley at Shulls Mills, North Carolina in 1916. Large-scale timber enterprises operating in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina required railway extensions to ship the lumber to markets. The Linville River Railroad was built primarily for that purpose.

With products arriving via Tweetsie and other connecting railroads, Johnson City became one of the primary hardwood manufacturing centers in the U.S. Empire Furniture Company and Harris Manufacturing were two of the larger wood working companies in Johnson City both of which operated throughout most of the twentieth century. The Harris Company was an adjoining property owner to the ET&WNC Legion Street shop and spur lines. Numerous other lumber companies, brick yards, and building materials operations abounded adjacent to Johnson City's railroad spurs.

Miller Brothers
Date: 1918

Date: 1920

Harris Hardwood Lumber Yards
Date: 1926



New No.11
Date: 1915
Here is Engine 11 when she was new.  I think that would have been 1915.  On the far left I am not sure but it quite possibly is Carson Salyers.  Mr. Crumley stands on the foot board, the tall guy is Fireman Earl Vest (a really great guy), and Engineer Walt Allison.  I don't know where this was made.



After the Flood
Date: 1916
Linville River Railway
Agent's Stub

This picture had the title written on it "Capt. Crumley and crew Linville River Railway on their first run after July flood, August 5 1916."  The railway line from Cranberry toward Boone was known as the Linville River Railway and it was not finally extended to Boone until 1919. This photo was probably made in Newland.  Mr. Crumley has on his passenger uniform, Engineer Jim Miller is sitting on the handrail,  Brakeman Frank Angel has his legs crossed, and I think the other guy is Mack Winters, but I am not sure.  Behind Mr. Crumley is Jim Hardin. Another flood wiped out the Linville River Railway in 1940 and the line was not rebuilt.

Below from the Mike Hardin Collection is Linville River Railway Stock Certificate No. 1 issued to George Hardin. Usually Certificate Number 1 would be issued to the owner of founder of a railroad but the Pardee family conferred this honor on George Hardin, who orchestrated the buyout and acquisition of the Linville River line.


Linville River
Stock No. 1
Date: 1916



Herman Fletcher
Date: 1917

Brakeman Herman Fletcher and his son on Engine 10 in 1917.  He was the son of depot agent Nat Fletcher and brother of fireman Paul Fletcher.  His baby brother Ragland is still living in Newland.  This shot was made in Newland, North Carolina.



Linville River Trestle
Date: Around 1911

"Scene on the Linville River Ry, N.C."  Corrie Ford's scrapbook included this unidentified trestle located on the Linville River Railway. Any Tweetsie newsgroup historians have an idea on this one? I am placing the date at 1911 as that is when most of Corrie's photos are dated from.


Hodges Mountain
Date: 1920

That is the little 28 pushing the dump cars filling up one of the trestles on Hodges Mountain between Shulls Mills and Boone. Noted historians and authors have mis-identified the man on the end as being Mr. Crumley, but it isn't. It is Dewey Stout, a track foreman who lived in Vale and did resemble Mr. Crumley but was quite a bit taller. He was a regular at Old Timers Day. Mr Crumley and I talked some about this picture because I thought it was him as well. He told me that at that time he had a regular job on the passenger train. The regular engineer on this job was Tighteye Simerley, and looks like he was leaning way out of the little Number 28 to get in the picture.


Number 5 on the Ground
Date: Unknown

In this photo Engine Number 5 split the switch between Montezuma and Pineola, NC and flopped over on her side. The 5 was involved in numerous calamities, including flipping over upside down in the highway climbing Grandfather Mountain.  The fireman was Charlie Miller, Jim Miller's brother, and he bailed out as she went over.  Charlie hit on his feet right in the middle of the track.  The tale goes that he was so frightened he ran all the way to Foscoe, back down the railroad track.



Section Houses
Date: 1915

In another super-rare shot from the Mary Hardin McCown collection at the Archives of Appalachia, this shot shows the section houses made from narrow-gauge camp cars sitting at Linville Gap. This was done while the Ritter lumber railroad was upgraded to the larger rail to handle the ET&WNC engines after they bought the Linville River Railway. This shot was made about the same time that Chester Ford posed with the Climax, and nearly in the same place. Longtime narrow gauge employee Sirgus Cole was born in one of these camp cars. His Dad was a section foreman on the Linville River Railroad at the time. Section foremen were in charge of the maintenance and upkeep of a certain portion of the railroad, maybe ten miles or so, and had a section crew to do the work under them.




Number 4 in Newland
Date: 1918
Kyle Dennis, Ted Blaylock, Jim Miller, and Chester Ford with Engine 4 at Newland, 1918.  Picture taken by Mrs. Ford.




T-Model Ford
Date: 1920

Mr. Crumley and Monk Bayless check out Nat Fletcher's T-Model Ford at Newland about 1920.  Big John Lewis and Chester Ford look at the camera from Number 12.


Thanksgiving Day
Date: 1920
Thanksgiving Day, 1920, Newland, North Carolina. Chick Ferrell, Jim Miller, Ted Blaylock, Frank Angel, and Mack Winters.  This is a missing shot from Mr. Crumley's scrapbooks, disappearing sometime after 1972.  Thankfully, Frank Angel's wife Maude kept a nice scrapbook and their sweetie of a daughter Libby still has it, and allowed a copy to be put back.  Thanks Libby!!


"Chick" Ferrell
Date: 1920

Anyhow, I know for sure the guy on the far left in this photo is Chick FerrellGrover Miller is sporting the cowboy hat. Chick's real name was Oscar, but he got a new name one evening when the train ran away coming down Doe River Gorge.  It ran so fast that it slung the last two boxcars and the caboose off the track about 200 yards east of the hanging rock at Pardee Point.

Oscar Ferrell was a brakeman, and on the narrow gauge the brakemen really rode the cartops and set the handbrake wheels with the long oak brakeclubs.  After the derailment, Oscar was missing in action.  Brakeman Clint Cox and Conductor Williams were both found and were OK, but Oscar was no where in sight.  For most of an hour they looked around and down in the Doe River.  They were talking about how they were gonna miss him and what a good fellow he had been and how hard it was going to be for his wife and two little girls, when all at once they heard Oscar up in a tree crowing like a chicken.  He had caught up in the forks of a poplar tree when the boxcar he was on turned over into the river.  He laughed at them and said he just wanted to hear what they would say about him.  From that day on he wasn't Oscar Ferrell, he was Chick "Chicken" Ferrell.  I didn't know him, but his co-workers sure liked ol' Chick.


Captain Ferrell
Date: 1922
Straight from Corrie Ford's scrapbook. Captain Ferrell and Crew - Linville River Railway. Kyle Dennis, Frank Angel, Tom Harmon, Chester Ford, and CAPTAIN Chick Ferrell on the Linville River Road! Chick Ferrell's son (who also carried the nickname - "Chick") was a decorated Korean War hero.



Ted Laws
Date: 1980
Great painting by my friend Johnson City artist Ted Laws. Ted, who began his painting career at the age of 75, repainted railway images he remembered as a youth in Johnson City in the golden era of railroading and he continued to paint "train" scenes the remaining 7 years of his life. This scene shows the Johnson City ET&WNC Depot on the left with a passenger train.

The Clinchfield Engine 151 is shown on the right. Here is a second photo of Clinchfield 151 at the Okolona overpass near Johnson City. There was considerable camaraderie between employees of the Clinchfield Railroad and the ET&WNC. Many Clinchfield employees had worked for the smaller railroad and the Tweetsie was an important feeder line between the Clinchfield (now CSX) and Southern Railways which interchanged in Johnson City. The Clinchfield, Southern, and ET&WNC all had passenger depots in Johnson City within easy walking distance of each other.

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Feel free to copy and use these photos.


Kenneth Riddle
Johnson City, Tennessee
November 2005