RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 14 . . Centennial . . Part 4
RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 4 of Chapter 14 . . . Centennial. A new part will be posted every Thursday. Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 14 . . . CENTENNIAL . . . Part 4
The partnership of Billmeyer & Smalls is incorporated as Billmeyer & Small Company in 1876. David E. Small is President. David’s brother John H. Small is Vice President. George S. Billmeyer is Secretary. David’s son Henry Small is Treasurer.
The extensive real estate holdings of the late Charles Billmeyer are either taken by the four surviving children as their part of the inheritance or sold to Billmeyer & Small Company. George S. Billmeyer selects the Billmeyer House and lot; valued at $20,000.
On a pleasant March day, George and Dan were riding the train back from Wrightsville after a morning of fishing. Like most Saturdays, the train was crowded. At the Stony Brook stop no more seats were available for a women that had to run to just catch the train. Dan offered his seat next to George and stood in the aisle.
Dan later learned the women’s name was Emma Hauser. Her parents John and Hannah owned the Grist Mill at Stony Brook. Emma was going into York to visit her Richardson grandparents. George and Emma talked the whole way into York; they started dating the next day.
The opening of the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia was approaching fast. The Billmeyer & Small rail siding, at the Charles Billmeyer Grand Pavilion near the Exhibition grounds, was bringing in a lot of business; well in advance of the May 10th Expo opening.
Many railroads across the country were assisting in setting up state exhibitions within the grounds. Railroads were featured within many of these state exhibits. Railroad directors visited in advance to make sure these exhibits were to their liking; many parked their private cars at the Billmeyer & Small siding. This setting turned into a bonanza for Billmeyer & Small. Business at the York Car Works was booming.
Saturday April 15th was a milestone date for the Peach Bottom Railway in York County. Tracking was finally completed all the way to Delta. In anticipation of this event, Billmeyer & Small had arranged for one of their newest narrow gauge passenger cars to be pulled on a Sunday April 16th train. This car was filled with a few potential customers, some Billmeyer & Small employees and a few Peach Bottom Railway officials.
Dan kept a running time list when the train left or passed each station along the route:
- York at 9:45 a.m.
- Girard at 9:51
- Plank Road at 10:00
- Enterprise at 10:06
- Ore Valley at 10:12
- Dallastown Junction at 10:18
- Dallastown at 10:25
- Red Lion at 10:35
- Springvale at 10:43
- Windsor at 10:51
- Felton at 10:57
- Brogueville at 11:04
- Fenmore at 11:09
- Laurel at 11:14
- High Rock at 11:22
- Muddy Creek Forks at 11:28
- Bruce at 11:40
- Bridgeton at 11:49
- Woodbine at 11:54
- South Side at 11:57
- Castle Fin at 12:10 p.m.
- Bryansville at 12:14
- and arriving in Delta at 12:27 p.m.
Large numbers of potential riders were turned away over the last half of the route. The railway had all their cars in use during that day, however these were far from sufficient. This situation persisted and Billmeyer & Small soon had a build-soon-as-possible contract to produce four passenger cars and ten gondola cars; with the gondolas convertible to excursion cars.
On the morning of May 10th 1876, Billmeyer & Small took their private car to attend the grand opening of the six-month-long International Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. George Billmeyer took Emma Hauser as his guest. Within the Charles Billmeyer Grand Pavilion that evening, prior to the return trip to York, George asked Emma to be his bride.
Emma Augusta Hauser and George S. Billmeyer were married on June 1st, 1876. Dan toasted the newlyweds, “I remember George showing me something he wrote for a Princeton class reunion only last year. He wrote, ‘Not married nor even likely to be.’ Well, I was there when George first met Emma. I’d swear I could see ever increasing sparks radiating from them as they talked on the train between Stony Brook and York. It was truly love at first sight, as George shared with me after their first date the following day. I wish them all the happiness in the world as they begin their lives together as one.”
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