Part of the USA Today Network

RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 4

RAILCAR GOLD    Chapter 18 . . . David   add 2 blanks after GOLD
RAILCAR GOLD   Chapter 18 . . . David

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 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 4

With the passing of David E. Small, the operation of Billmeyer & Small Company continued with John H. Small and George S. Billmeyer in charge. John Small, David’s brother, became President. George Billmeyer, Charles Billmeyer’s son, became Secretary and Treasurer.

Both John and George were major stockholders in the York & Peach Bottom Railway, but each also had substantial investment in the Maryland Central Railroad. As the railroad track was being completed between Delta and Bel Air, they had a friendly wager on which track-laying crew would lay the most track. John bet on the Delta crew and George bet on the Bel Air crew. The winner would be the official representative from Billmeyer & Small for any formal opening, connecting the Y. & P.B.R.W. with the M.C.R.R. in Delta.

John and George kept careful tabs on the progress of each crew. The track laying crews were neck and neck. By August 23rd, both crews had completed three miles of track. By September 22nd, both crews had completed four miles of track, which left 9.3 miles of track to be laid. All the while Billmeyer & Small received large orders for freight and passenger cars for both the Maryland Central Railroad and also the York & Peach Bottom Railway; with expectations of much expanded rail business on both lines, once the connection was made in Delta.

John Small and George Billmeyer toasted upon learning that the last rail in the Maryland Central Railroad was laid on Monday December 31st, 1883. Their toast was to the completion of what David E. Small liked to call, “a showcase narrow gauge railway; stretching all the way from their Spring Garden Car Works through southeastern York County and across Maryland; into the important railroading City of Baltimore.”

George Billmeyer won their bet. The track laying crew working north from Bel Air laid 8.8 miles of track, barely beating out the other crew. The track laying crew working south from Delta laid 8.5 miles of track. The formal opening in Delta was planned for January 17th, since proper ballasting of the track was still continuing. As agreed upon in the wager, George Billmeyer would be the official representative from Billmeyer & Small for the formal opening in Delta, however John Small was among the large Billmeyer & Small contingent attending.

The January 25th, 1884, issue of The Delta Herald reported on preparations for the elaborate formal opening of the Maryland Central Railroad and its connection with the York & Peach Bottom Railway:


Large Excursion from Baltimore and a great outpouring of people from the surrounding neighborhood—Feasting, sleighing and Speech-making.

The opening of the entire line of the M.C.R.R. from Baltimore to Delta was celebrated at this place on Thursday of last week by about 3000 people. Preparation for the reception and entertainment of the officials and friends of the M.C.R.R. on this occasion had been in progress for several weeks, and by the evening preceding the celebration the arrangements were completed, and the committee in charge sighed a sigh of relief and satisfaction.

Thursday dawned clear, bright and cold, and early morning found the citizens of Delta and vicinity astir arranging baskets of provisions and other necessaries so essential to the success of an occasion of this kind, and by nine o’clock the basement of the new M. P. church, in the western part of town, which had been selected and arranged for holding the dinner, presented a sight that would have aroused the jealousy of the busy bee—the good people bringing in baskets and boxes crammed full of tempting solids and delicacies, prepared by willing hearts and careful hands, gentlemen receiving the same and carving the fowls and meats, and last but not least, a corps of ladies arranging the viands upon the tables with a display of taste that would call forth exclamations of praise from the most fastidious epicurean.

This lengthy newspaper article will be continued in Chapter 18, Part 5. After the event, letters were received, from those attending, applauding the elegant and bountiful dinner that the ladies of Delta had prepared and for the easy and graceful manner in which three thousand persons were abundantly served with a substantial meal.

Go to Part 5