I’ve been reading a local history about Eugene Township (Indiana) by Harold L. O’Donnell, which was published in 1963. In one chapter he mentions the Chicago and Eastern Illinois (C&EI) Railroad coming to town, and he discusses the danger it was to livestock.
Livestock in the early day were a constant source of trouble between the railroads and the farmers. Stock would be killed and it was, of course, always the fault of the railroads. In one case a farmer had a hog killed by a train and since he believed himself to have some ability as a poet, wrote the railroad claim agent as follows:
My razorback strolled down your track,
A week ago today.
Your #29 came down the line,
And snuffed his life away.
You can’t blame me; the hog you see,
Slipped through a cattle gate;
So kindly pen a check for ten,
The debt to liquidate.
He was surprised a few days later to receive the following:
Old #29 came down the line,
And killed your hog, we know;
But razorbacks on railroad tracks,
Quite often meet with woe.
Therefore, my friend, we cannot send,
The check for which you pine,
Just plant the dead; place o’er his head;
‘Here lies a foolish swine.’ “
Previously published in RootsWeb Review:
10 January 2007, Vol. 10, No. 2.