Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Travel Tuesday: The FRISCO Railway and my Missouri ancestors



Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

My Harrison ancestors in Missouri had a long association with the FRISCO Railway in the late 1800's through the mid 1900's.   My paternal grandfather, John P. Harrison, had a lengthy career with the FRISCO, many of which were spent in the capacity of Engineer driving steam locomotives prior to his retirement in 1935 at age 70. He drove long-distance passenger trains on cross county routes to and from Missouri. He was very proud of his job, and wrote about it in his journal. What fun he must have had,  watching the scenery go by from his engineer's station in the cab of the locomotives.  I have written about my grandfather previously in this Blog- see http://genieinarizona.blogspot.com/2009/06/remembrance-legacy-of-john-p-harrison.html


John had many other relatives who were employed in some capacity by the railroads in Missouri.  The railroad was in their blood.  John's own father, John Milton Harrison, had harvested trees and sold lumber from his own farm to make railroad ties for the FRISCO. John P.'s eldest son, David Essex Harrison, married the daughter of a FRISCO executive.  At least 2 of his daughters married men who worked for the railroad in St. Louis at the time of their marriages.   Many of John's nephews also had railroad jobs in various parts of Missouri.  John's youngest son, Marvin Milton Harrison (my father) worked for the railroad too for a few years, until the advent of diesel engines made the job he had been trained for (fireman on steam engines) obsolete and forced a career change and a relocation to California in the mid 1950's.  The FRISCO is no longer in existence today, having merged with another rail line after my grandfather''s retirement.

To this day, railroads are in my blood too.   From the time I was a little girl, train trips were a welcome adventure.  I have re-discovered train travel in my own "early golden" years.  One of my favorite adventures today is to hop a ride on a cross-country Superliner train, which today consists of Amtrak trains that are now government-regulated.   One of my favorite trains which services the area I live, is the Sunset Limited which travels east and west between Los Angeles and Chicago.  Another favorite is the Coast Starlight, which travels north and south along the coast between San Diego, California and Portland, Oregon.   I love nothing better than riding a long distance train, sitting in the sightseeing lounge watching the scenery go by.