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Archive for Sunday, December 1, 2013

100 years ago: Longtime railway mail worker, 76, offered lighter duties at Lawrence post office

December 1, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Dec. 1, 1913:

  • "After forty-four years of strenuous work in the United States Railway Mail Service P. D. Popenoe of Lawrence has been transferred to a position in the local post office. Mr. Popenoe this morning began service in the mail dispatch department of the Lawrence office. Mr. Popenoe's record in the railway mail service is one that is without parallel. At the age of 32 years he entered the service, since then and until this morning he has been continuously in the work. He is now 76 years old, but still a most active and industrious worker. Last Saturday evening he completed his last 'run,' having been for the past twenty years on the run from Kansas City to Junction City and Kansas City to Salina.... Mr. Popenoe entered the service in January, 1869, when the service was but two years old. The Hannibal and St. Joseph road was the only line carrying mail to the Missouri River. This train served Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, California, and all of the territory west of the river which has since become states. Only one train made the trip each day, there was but one mail car on the train and two clerks handled all the mail for this vast amount of territory. In those days the daily mail for the State of Kansas averaged about seven sacks of papers and as many of letter mail.... Mr. Popenoe has been in a number of railroad wrecks while in the service. Mail cars are always attached next to the engine and consequently get in on all the accidents. Mr. Popenoe thinks he has been in at least forty wrecks.... This morning he recalled a wreck in the early days while on the old Hannibal line when he had his closest call. The entire train plunged down a high embankment at Salt River, Mo., and then caught fire. With the mail car all aflame Mr. Popenoe crawled out of the blazing wreckage and escaped.... It is with considerable regret that he gave up the work but he felt that owing to his advanced age he could not but accept the offer of a position at home. But Mr. Popenoe never complained of the work, he liked it, he had given his life to it, and he was able to do the work of a much younger man."
  • "Justin Hinshaw was this afternoon sentenced to an indefinite term in the state reformatory at Hutchinson, by Judge Smart of the district court, after his motion for a stay of judgment was overruled.... 'Have you anything to say before I pronounce sentence in this case?' he asked Hinshaw. 'It has been my ambition all my life to finish my education at the University,' Hinshaw replied, 'and if you send me away I can not do it. I shall go ahead and finish if I am left to my ambition. I am very sorry that I have done anything wrong.'... 'I thought when I first heard of this case that it might be one where I could parole but when the evidence was heard I found that to parole either you or Henderson would not be right,' said the judge before pronouncing sentence. 'The real punishment in this case will come not on you and Henderson, but upon your parents. I believe they are good people.... My advice to you is this: Don't waste time and money trying to make people believe you are innocent. Acknowledge your guilt. Go to the reformatory at Hutchinson and make good. Then when you are released come back here and complete your education. But remember this, if you go into the law business, never try any smart tricks. They go better anywhere else than in the law business. It is a business above all others that requires absolute integrity in the man who would make it his profession.'... Hinshaw seemed calm and self possessed after the sentence was pronounced, although his face was flushed when he sat down."
  • "The city fathers of Lawrence have a busy session before them when they assemble this evening for the last regular meeting of the year. Special business threatens to crowd the routine to the sidelines. First in importance among the matters scheduled for consideration tonight is the water proposition.... The committee's report embodies a resolution notifying the company that the council is ready to submit to the voters a figure of $150,000. This is a formal offer and probably will lead to further negotiations.... Then there is the proposition to change the names of the east and west street numbers. An ordinance calling for this change has been ready for a month, but action has been delayed.... On the whole the city dads seem to have plenty to do this evening."

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