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A Railroad Family

In honor of National Train Day, I thought I’d share some info about our railroad heritage. One of first documents I have regarding railroad employment is a letter of recommendation for Judson Crawford. Based on the condition of the letter, I’m guessing that Judson carried it with him.


(Original in possession of author)

Atchison, Top[ek]a & Santa Fe Railro[a]d Company.
Dodge Cy, Kan. Station July 22 1889

The Bearer Mr.
J.F. Crawford has been employ-
ed by this Co. as Brakeman
and yardman for eleven months
He is a sober industrious young
man, and is now off on account
of force being reduced, and any
favors shown him in ways of
transportation or employment will
be appreciated by himself and
the undersigned conductors of the
Santa Fe. Respy C. M. Borkur
Jno McCabe Condr
William Ril[ey]
WE. Weaver [Zmsm] B.H.P.

In March of 1900, Judson was assigned as a conductor on a freight crew between Dodge City and Coolidge on car 81. (Globe Republican, 15 Mar 1900 on Newspapers.com)


The Globe-Republican reported that J. F. Crawford filled in as yard master in Aug 1907. (found on Newspapers.com)


The 1920 Dodge City directory indicates that J. F. Crawford was a switchman for the AT&SF railroad.


Judson’s sons Leon and Marion joined their father in working for the railroad after returning from their service in the U.S. Army during World War I. Marion Crawford lost his life in a railroad accident in June of that year when he fell under the wheels of an oncoming switch engine.


As a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, Judson would serve as a member of the AT&SF Joint General Committee ORC. (Copy of photo purchased from Boot Hill)


Judson retired from the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1936.


Judson’s son, Leon Crawford stepped down from a switch engine for the last time in 1960.








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