RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 1
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 1 of Chapter 18 . . . David. 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 18 . . . DAVID . . . Part 1
In York County, the surname “Small” has long been associated with a variety of successful businesses. These businesses have provided employment to many in the county, however many more York County lives have been touched by the generous philanthropic disposition of the Small family. David E. Small definitely falls into both categories.
The Small family ancestors first ventured west of the Susquehanna River in 1743. Lorentz Schmahl settled in Windsor Township, after having emigrated to this country from Germany, with his wife, two daughters and four sons. Eldest son Killian married Eva Welshoffer, settled in Hellam Township, and changed his surname to Small. Of their seven sons who grew to manhood, Joseph was the fourth.
The Joseph Small family included three sons; Henry, Charles and Josiah. Eldest son Henry married Catharine Mosey and to them were born three sons; David E., John H. and Jacob.
David Etter Small was born in York on December 3rd, 1824. David’s first work experience was as an employee of the thriving mercantile establishment of his father’s cousins; Philip A. & Samuel Small. In 1845, being the dutiful eldest son, he left P. A. & S. Small Company to join his father Henry in the establishment of a lumber business. In due time, the growing business called for the aid of his two younger brothers; John H. and Jacob. The business became well-known as H. Small & Sons.
In 1852, David entered into a partnership with Charles Billmeyer to manufacture railway cars. David E. Small was the driving force behind Billmeyer & Small’s rapid expansion into the forefront of the narrow gauge movement. However David did not neglect their standard gauge cars, which remained the larger part of their business.
David became a significant stockholder in several railroads, among them the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1874, David’s insight was so valued, that he was appointed on a special committee of seven to examine and report upon the condition of the Pennsylvania Railroad in all its branches and properties.
David Small enjoyed walking through the car shops. When encountering a new employee, they’d often address him as “Mr. Small.” He would immediately set them straight, “Call me David.” He enjoyed being on a first name basis with his employees.
In 1876, David had a nervous breakdown; his brother John explained, “David was always going at 120 percent before his nerves gave way. He quickly recovered to accomplish about half of the tasks he desired, and gradually progressed, although he never again reached 100 percent. However that did not stop his activities to drum up business for Billmeyer & Small or to champion his many causes.”
John continued, “Earlier in February of 1883, David made a hurried trip to Boston to sure up a bid for a 400-car order that would give continued employment to hundreds of workmen in our car shops. He contacted a severe cold during that trip. Back home, all treatments were ineffectual and eventually his doctors pronounced that my brother had Typhoid Pneumonia. Under its grasp, his bodily powers gradually succumbed, until, on Sabbath morning, March 25th, just about as the Easter Bells were ringing, his redeemed soul, loosed from the bonds of earth, sped heaven-ward, through the clear sunlight, to be forever with the Lord.”
Go to Part 2