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James Childers Railroad Collection

Processed by: Carol Straka, December 2014


  1. Collection Information
  2. Historical Sketch
  3. Photographs
  4. Scope and Content Note
  5. Box and Folder Inventory
Collection Information

Volume: 1 Box
Dates: 1935-90; mostly 1946-58.
Restrictions: None
Reproduction: Permission to reproduce or publish material in this collection must be obtained in writing from the McLean County Museum of History
Location: Archives

See also Photos – People – Childers
Photos – Subject – Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad Section Crew Work, McLean IL (Jim Childers Collection)

Historical Sketch

James H. Childers (1903-65) was born in Tennessee and according to the census achieved a fourth grade education. He joined the GM&O Railroad in 1926, the same year he wed Mary Holt. Childers served as a work section foreman, the source of most of the materials in this collection. He lived in McLean, IL, from 1937 onward.

  • James Childers

  • James Childers

  • Gulf, Mobile, Ohio Rail, McLean IL

  • Gulf, Mobile, Ohio Rail, McLean IL

  • Gulf, Mobile, Ohio Rail, McLean IL

Scope and Contents Note

The collection includes the foreman’s time books that Childers kept plus letters, railroad work passes, blueprints for improvements to the Bloomington railway platform, 1938 Alton Railroad maintenance workers contact, details of a 1951 workplace accident and its settlement, leases from the railroad for his home, etc.

Box and Folder Inventory
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Folder 1: General
1.1 Obituary, Pantagraph, 18 March 1965. (Added by staff in 2013)
1.2 Handwritten list of materials donated, presumably from donor.
Folder 2: Correspondence & Notes
2.1 Notes on back of memo from Trustee Henry A. Gardner of Alton Railroad Company to All Section Foremen, Eastern Division, concerning section foreman opening in Bloomington, 2 Dec 1946.
2.2 Alton Railroad Daily Work Report for Extra Gang at Joliet Eastern Division, 1 Jan 1947.
2.3 Handwritten letter from Joe A. Hanson (sp?) in Montana?, to Jim concerning Nubbins and his tickets, 3 Sep 1948.
2.4 Handwritten letter from Muriel Godar at Willow Springs, IL, to “Junior” concerning locating Lucio Rodriguez (Poncho), 8 Sep 1948.
2.5 E.M. Unzicker, Division Engineer, at Bloomington to Mr. J. Childers confirming that his job as extra gang foreman will be eliminated Jan 7 with instructions on wrap up, 5 Jan 1949.
2.6 J. Childers at Bloomington to E.M. Unzicker at Bloomington, listing all the cars in Childers’ train, 4 Jan 1949.
2.7 J. Childers at Bloomington to E.M. Unzicker at Bloomington, inventorying contents of the cars in Childers’ train, 4 Jan 1949, 18 pp.
2.8 J. Childers at Bloomington to E.M. Unzicker at Bloomington stating that Childers be placed as section foreman at McLean at of Jan 10, 5 Jan 1949.
2.9 J. Childers at Bloomington to E.M. Unzicker at Bloomington about jacks previously loaned and not currently in his inventory, 7 Jan 1949.
2.10 Miscellaneous notes including list of extra gang X53 camp equipment, 4 pp.
Folder 3: Notebooks, GM&O Passes, and Tamping Guidebook
3.1 Spiral bound notebook listing work being done each day plus related pay earned, 15 Sep 1947 thru 23 Oct 1947, 20pp.
3.2 Notebook listing extra gang cars, pay expenses, etc., undated, 12pp.
3.3 3 GM&O passes for Childers and sometimes for his gang, 1948-52, plus Childers Social Security card, 30 Mar 1937.
3.4 “Let’s Organize That Gang,” booklet about using tamping equipment published by Electric Tamper & Equipment Co of Ludington, MI, July 1946. 32pp.
Folder 4: GM&O Days Worked Toward Vacation Time
4.1 GM&O cards for employees reporting days of compensated service rendered to determine vacation allowance. 1943-52 & 53-57. 22 cards.
4.2 Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad Company blank forms for indicating choices for vacation periods, 9 copies.
Folder 5: Part List for 125 Ft. Tie Tamper Parts
5.1 Bill of material, undated, 2 pp.
Folder 6: Bloomington Station Platform Improvements
6.1 Memo from E.M. Unzicker, Division Engineer at Bloomington to M.D. Carothers enclosing tentative staging plan for Bloomington Station Platform Improvements, 19 Jul 1946, 4pp.
6.2 Blueprints for station improvements, 3 prints. Primary print is Jul 1946; Pipe line print is Oct 1935; other is undated.
6.3 Two GM&O routing envelopes, undated.
Folder 7: Fairmont W64-A-1 Derrick Car Service Instruction and Parts Lists
7.1 Fairmont Railway Motors, Inc. Bulletin 542, Mar 1946, 4 pp plus covers.
Folder 8: GM&O Time Table No. 2
8.1 Eastern Division, effective 12 Oct 1947. “For the government and information of employees only.” Two copies, albeit the second is partial.
Folder 9: Childers’ 1951 Accident
9.1 “Investigation of motor car collision wherein motor car operated by Signalman W.E. Tabb struck motor car operated by Section Foreman J.H. Childers near mile post 138 the afternoon of August 16 1951; held August 24, 1951 at 9am CST in Rm 16, Union Station, Bloomington, IL,” 11pp.
9.2 Agreement for Childers to employ James A. Dooley of Chicago as attorney in an accident claim against GM&O, 8 Mar 1952. Payment is contingent upon recovery. ½ page.
9.3 Letter from Jas A. Dooley at Chicago to Jas Childers at McLean advising that claim will be settled for $5,000, 2 Jun 1958. Attached are two copies of GM&O Final Settlement & Release.
Folder 10: Childers’ Leases from Railroad
10.1 Correspondence from Asst/ Chief Engineer Carothers (sp?) to James Childer (sic) at McLean concerning fully executed lease for property on which former section house purchased by Childers is located, 26 Jun 1951. Attachments: property lease (4pp incl layout) and agricultural lease (3pp incl layout)
10.2 Invoice to Mary Childers at McLean from Illinois Central Gulf Railroad for $240 for 1987-88 for McLean residence lease, 20 Feb 1987.
10.3 Lease extension rider from Illinois Central Gulf Railroad for McLean residence lease to Mary Childers, 12 Nov 1986.
10.4 Correspondence from Illinois Central Gulf Railroad Company to Mary Childers at McLean concerning recent sale of leased property to Chicago, Missouri & Western Railway Company, 1 May 1987.
10.5 Correspondence from Southern Pacific Transportation Company to Mary Childers at McLean concerning their purchase of land from CM&W Railroad, 27 April 1990.
10.6 Correspondence from Southern Pacific Transportation Company to Mary Childers at McLean concerning her application for lease, 22 May 1990.
10.7 Correspondence from Chicago, Missouri & Western Railway in Chicago to Mary Childers at McLean concerning reviewing lease for possible continuation, 18 May 1987.
10.8 Lease Rental invoice from Southern Pacific Transportation Company to Mary Childers at McLean, 25 May 1990.
Folder 11: Loose Foreman’s Time Books, Etc.
11.1 Includes 24 small notebooks. 21 are foreman’s time books, 1936-38 and 1942-49, 1953, 1955, 1960. Another small spiral bound notebook with Childers’ working notes. Another book covers some agricultural entries (undated) and a final book is a published agreement “between the Alton Railroad Company and Its Employes (sic) represented by Brotherhood of Maintenance-of-Way Employes (sic) effective 1 April 1938” (30pp) plus a 10 pp Vacation Agreement dated 17 Dec 1941.