What hath God wrought
Monroe Town Historian James Nelson provided the following excerpt from “Men of Erie” by Edward Hungerford, published in 1945 by Random House. It tells the back story behind the telegraphic dispatch that change railroad transportation in the United States:
September 22, 1851, is the date of first use of the telegraph for train control upon the Erie. For eight or ten years, trains had waited for one another upon sidings, to the intense disgust of most of their passengers and the general upset of service upon the line.
On that historic day in Erie history, Charles Minot, general superintendent of the New York & Erie Railroad, was a passenger on a train that waited on the siding at Turners NY (the present Harriman) foe its companion from the other direction.
Impatiently, Minot glanced from the car window.
The telegraph wire caught his eye.
He got off the train, went into the station and wired the next station to inquire if the eastbound train had passed as yet.
The answer was no.
Thereupon Minot ordered the engineer of the train on which he was riding to proceed to Goshen.
The engineer refused. He had some regard for her own precious neck.
Whereat Minot climbed into the cab and ran the train himself into Goshen, where again he wired ahead and so brought the train into Port Jervis well ahead of schedule.
Hence was a great principle in modern railroading first established.