Here is a great shot of Sherman Pippin (which has inspired a figure available for model railroaders shown above). I am pretty sure this photo was made with the publicity shots in 1938 for the movie Tennessee Tweetsie. Sherman was a really great guy and one of the best storytellers I ever saw. He had a big farm up at Shell Creek and he could tell you how many trips he made as engineer on the passenger train to pay for it. His mother, Ma Pippin, would come out at her house in Roan Mountain and hand him a box full of food and clean clothes every day.
His wife and he divorced way back years ago. He had a constant companion, Miss Julie, from Roan Mountain. After he retired he stayed around with Miss Julie about all the time, but she would not marry him because he had a living wife. He might as well have been married to her.
There was an old lady that lived in a ramshackle house near White Rock. There is a long curve on old Railroad Grade Road that you can see real well from Highway 19-E today. It has a mobile home sitting there now. In that house lived an old lady named Granny Alice Miller. She thought that Sherman was her boyfriend and when the train would pass she would come out on the porch and wave at Sherman then turn around and pat her rear end at him. He would climb down on the deck and pat his lap back at her. This went on for years.
"Oh, girls beware of the railroad men.
They've got a girl on every line.
They'll toot on the whistle as the train rolls down
and come up and see you some time"