W. A. (Fred) Rarick, shown on the left of the accompanying photo with his brothers, Frank, center, and Charles, on right, will end more than 50 years service this Friday as an employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad company, and a total span of more than 127 years of Pennsylvania Railroad service on the Fort Wayne division by the three Rarick brothers.
At 3 o'clock Friday afternoon, at the conclusion of his final tour of duty as a telegraph operator at Hamlet, Fred will give the traditional "73" signal on the Morse telegraph key, and walk down the steps of the railroad tower at Hamlet, where he is the first trick operator, for the last official time.
Charles, Fred and Frank are sons of the late Mr. and Mrs. William B. Rarick, of the Atwood community.
Wilfred A. Rarick became an employee of the Pennsylvania railroad on June 5, 1905, having learned telegraphy at the old Selby telegraph office two miles east of Atwood, and in the Atwood office, under Claude Toothill, who later became division operator's clerk and train dispatcher at Fort Wayne and who is now retired.
Fred's first assignment was the night job at Donaldson, about eight miles west of Plymouth. He worked 12 hours, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and the salary was $52 per month, or about $1.65 per day. He worked at Atwood for a long period of time until that office was closed. He has also worked at the Warsaw tower at the Big Four crossing, Plymouth, and has been at Hamlet for a number of years.
On June 5 of this year he was awarded a fifty year pin personally by George R. Weaver, present superintendent of the Fort Wayne division at a ceremony in Fort Wayne for 50 years of continuous employment. During this period he has never served time or been reprimanded by the railroad officials for neglect or breech of duty. He recently purchased the Clement Goshert farm just opposite the Tippecanoe River Park on Road 30, about three miles west of Warsaw, and is now remodeling this property. After Oct. 1, he and his wife, the former Lelah Vaughn, of Atwood, will be back among their old friends and acquaintances to enjoy their retirement and engage in their favorite hobbies of horticulture and music.
Fred has a green thumb and his property in Hamlet which he has just disposed of is a veritable paradise of fruit trees, vegetables, berries and flowers, and he is looking forward with keen anticipation to having a much more elaborate variety of these soon at his new home.
Son is Engineer
Fred's youngest son, W. A. Rarick, Jr., is an engineer on the Fort Wayne division of the Pennsylvania railroad, so he still expects to maintain an avenue of connection through his son with his employers of so many years and his many railroad friends and buddies.
Fred and Mrs. Rarick have traveled, quite extensively during his vacation periods over the years, and have visited almost every state in the union, and many places of historical and geographical importance. Along with his decision to retire, goes the congratulations and kind wishes of both the railroad officials and his many friends for many years of good health and happiness.
Charles Rarick, the oldest of the Rarick brothers and a retired Pennsylvania railroad engineer started to learn telegraphy at Old Selby east of Atwood in 1899 under Bill Neff, the day operator who later became railroad agent at Claypool where he worked for many years, and William S. Brame who was the night operator there at that time and later became the agent at Ada, Ohio, and who is now retired.
In 1900 when the Pennsylvania railroad was engaged in its program of double tracking through this county, both trainmen and enginemen were needed and Charley gave up the study of telegraphy, rode a freight train to Fort Wayne, and although he was under the prescribed weight requirements was finally given employment as a railroad fireman and an opportunity to see if he could stand the rigors of the job.
In those days all engines were hand fired, 50 empty cars or 30 to 35 loaded cars was the maximum freight train or drag, and the train and engine crews remained on duty until their train reached the terminal points which were Chicago on the west end and Crestline, Ohio, on the east end. No hours of service laws were on the statutes then and it was not unusual for crews to be on duty from 35 to as high as 50 or more hours in getting their trains from Fort Wayne to Chicago.
Only 80 pound rails were in use then, laid on ties embedded in gravel ballast and freight trains were pulled by Class G-4-A and S-R steam engines with three or four drivers on each side. Oil head lights on the engines, a manual block system for train operations, numerous steep grades, sharp curves, no public railroad crossing protection, poor right-of- way fencing, and many other circumstances which are now obsolete in railroad operations, made railroading in those days a very hazardous business.
Coal, coke, livestock, lumber, grain, fresh fruits and vegetables in ice cooled refrigerator cars were the chief items carried by the railroads. Italian laborers were used extensively to augment the usual small local force of section hands to maintain the tracks and right of way. These Italian laborers lived in old box cars placed at convenient intervals along the railroad.
In 1900 when Charley Rarick first went to work as a fireman, the salary or pay was on a trip basis. Firemen were paid approximately $1.90 for a trip from Fort Wayne to Chicago and enginemen received for their pay about $2.90 per trip, regardless of the number of hours it took to make the trip; however, a good meal could be had for 20 or 25 cents per plate at any of the numerous railroad lunch rooms along the way.
Lived Near Orland
His wife was the former Katherine A. Bowen, of Fort Wayne, and they now reside on Wall lake, near Orland in Lagrange county, having been attracted to this community many years ago by the excellent fishing provided by the lakes in this area, and where they are now enjoying their retirement and spend their spare time fishing and taking care of their lake property. they also have many friends and acquaintances living in Kosciusko county and Warsaw.
Frank O. Rarick, the youngest of the trio, learned telegraphy under his brother Fred in the Atwood tower, and went to work as an operator at Atwood in 1913. the salary then was $62.50 per month and the eight hour law had become effective. also many offices had been eliminated due to the installation of an automatic electric railroad signal system. Frank worked as extra operator for a number of years and his duties took him to practically every office from Crestline to Gary over the entire Fort Wayne division. He was furloughed in 1929 at the height of the depression for a short while, then recalled later on. At one time he was the regular third trick operator at the Warsaw tower.
Frank has resided in Warsaw at 112 North Washington street since 1922. His wife was the former Ethel Shilling of Silver Lake. He is a veteran of World War I, and has been active in civic affairs and served a term as mayor of Warsaw, and also as representative from Kosciusko county in the Indiana General Assembly. He is now the postmaster at Warsaw. He retired from his railroad duties in 1952, with over 39 years of service.
The Rarick brothers look with pride upon their long record as railroaders and their contribution to society and progress in their chosen work. They spend much time when they get together reminiscing about the many interesting incidents which have occurred during their combined 127 years of railroading, and the advancement made in railroad operations, equipment, and working conditions since 1900.
One incident which Charley Rarick likes to recall is the time years ago when he was pulling an east bound classified freight train and on arrival at Wanatah was stopped by a red home signal. Upon bringing his train to a stop, he quickly made his way to the telegraph office and there to his surprise and consternation found his brother Frank stretched out on the desk asleep with the home signal set in the restrictive position. for the sake of family relationship, no report of the delay was turned in by Engineer Rarick, of course.
The three Rarick brothers are the sixth generation of descendants of a German emigrant, namely Conrad Rarick and his wife, Anna Martha Weber, who arrived from Erback, Whittenberg, Germany in Philadelphia, Pa., on Sept. 2, 1749. The Rarick brothers have two sisters living in the Warsaw community; Mrs. Charlotte Hoffer of Route 4 and Mrs. Bertha Harman of Route 2.
Warsaw Times-Union Wednesday, September 28, 1955
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