The 70th anniversary of the founding of the Rock Island lines, was fittingly observed by the Rock Island men in Shawnee by citizens on October 10, 1922.


The 70th anniversary of the founding of the Rock Island lines, was fittingly observed by the Rock Island men in Shawnee by citizens on October 10, 1922.

A large crowd was present at the tree planting and unveiling of the table dedicated to the memory of John A. Levins, former Rock Island brakeman, chose as the recipient of the honor at this point. Young Levins lost his life in action in the World War, and the unveiling of the monument was done by Mrs. T.J. Wylie, mother of the dead hero. Earl Moroford of the American Legion, and member of Levin’s company, gave a brief review of the army life of Levins. He gave the details of the events of the day in which the tragic event occurred and Levins’ brave and glorious death.

T.G. Amos, Rock Island agent, as officer of the day, had charge of the planting of the tree. Mrs. Wylie threw the first shovel of dirt around the roots, as she spoke the words of dedication. This she followed with a recital of the beautiful poem, “To A Tree,” written by another soldier, who also made the supreme sacrifice.

Preceding the tree planting ceremony, Amos explained the purpose of the gathering, speaking briefly of the progress made by the Rock Island since its founding. Amos also spoke of the pride and satisfaction it was for the Shawnee employees of the road to participate in the celebration.

Later a meeting was held at the Convention Hall in which George D. Pugh of Little Rock, AR, who was an attorney for the Rock Island, was the principal speaker. Amos also introduced E.C. Stanard, who made a short talk of interest. Stanard called attention to the fact that comfort was taken in the progress of civilization with railroad transportation. He stated that in less than 100 years ago, the ox cart was one of the principal means of transportation. The coming of the steam engine completely revolutionized the world.

Pugh talked about the pioneer days of the steam railway. He told several amusing anecdotes of experiences of the pioneers of the railroad world. He closed by stating that it was his hope that the time would come when the great Rock Island would be owned by the men who operated it.


The Philadelphia North American afforded a large portion of their University of Pennsylvania review to the playing of Clark Craig, Shawnee lad who was specializing in that school. Craig was in the game on October 22, in which the Pennsylvania team defeated the Swarthmore eleven. The following was the excerpt from the article telling of Craig’s prowess:

“Clark Craig, the husky lad from Oklahoma, who has been unable to do any work for the last two weeks because of an epidemic of boils, turned up yesterday as spry as a cricket, ready for action. He ran through the early signal drills, caught and threw forward passes and then was injected into the second varsity-junior varsity scrimmage drill, which was about as fierce in intensity of play as ever seen on Franklin Field this season.

“Craig showed flashes of the form during the scrimmage drill that made him a star in the southwest before coming north. He made the only score against Tom McNamara’s squad of fighters, going over from the six-yard line on a line buck that carried three of the ‘jay-vees’ along with him.

“With Craig in shape to play, some of Coach John Heisman’s worry of late will be lifted. The lad from Shawnee has all the earmarks of a star, although this is his first effort in the backfield. Before entering the West Philadelphia institute, Craig played an end post so well that he was given an all-mention in his district. His fleetness of foot and ability to hit a line with all his might and weight led Coach Heisman to change him into a running back.

“If Miller is unable to start Saturday, the backfield, in all likelihood it will contain Craig, with Sullivan, Hamer, and possibly McCraw. This combination is probably one of the strongest that can be formed from the red and blue squad.”


U.S. Marshal Alva McDonald issued a statement on October 24, 1922, in which he warned the families of strikers and strikers from interfering or molesting in any way, with the families of men who were working in the different shops.

“It has come to my attention,” McDonald said, “that certain men and children in Shawnee are molesting the families of men who are working in the Rock Island and Santa Fe shops. This must cease. I cite the following from the federal court injunction for the information of those who may have been following this practice without knowledge of the possible consequence:

He mentioned the basic tenets of the injunction prohibited anyone from intimidating, threatening, or causing physical harm to an employee of the railways who was currently working. This also included members of their families.

“It is plain then that such action can lead to prosecution as contempt of the court,” added McDonald.

ATTENTION SHAWNEE CITIZENS AND BUSINESSES: If anyone is interested in placing a Tribute/Memorial page in the upcoming third volume of the history of Shawnee, please contact the Historical Society, and they will get word to me. I will then contact you for the details. You may want to purchase a tribute page for your family in some way. Our you might want to give attention to your business, or possibly your family’s business of the past. Civic Club may want to give a tribute to the history of their organization. You may also contact me directly at (981)470-3728, or by email at

 (These stories and hundreds more appear in the first volume of Shawnee history, entitled: “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE EARLY YEARS, 1830-1929.” It can be purchased by calling Clyde Wooldridge at (918) 470-3728, or by visiting the Pottawatomie County Historical Society at the old Santa Fe Depot. It can be purchased for $35. Volume two, “1930-1949,” is also available for $30. They may be obtained as a package for $60. Volume three, “REDBUD CITY: SHAWNEE, THE MIDDLE YEARS, 1950-1969,” is coming sometime before Christmas. All three volumes are more than 400 pages with hundreds of photos and illustrations. They are fully indexed, making it easy to look up individuals or places of business. Volume four 1970-1989; volume five 1990-2009; and volume six 2010-to the present, are scheduled in the next two to three years, bringing the history up to the current time of publication.)

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.