Milwaukee Road Conductor
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Posted by Ken Ziebarth (+312) 8 years ago
My father, Harold, had a friend who was a freight conductor on the Milwaukee Road. When he (the conductor) retired, or when the Milwaukee service ended, he gave my father two caps, one "Conductor" and one "Trainman", knowing that I was interested in railroads. I have the caps, and occasionally wear the 'Conductor' even though it is not quite large enough to stay on reliably.

My question is who this conductor was. I am sure that I would recognize his name, but neither my brother nor I can remember it and dad is gone. Clues are:
he probably was employed until the end of service, certainly after 1960 when I left home,
his run, at least part of the time, was east from Miles City to Marmarth or maybe Mobridge,
he and my father's friendship was mostly over a checker board, probably not a very unique pastime.

I have looked at the employee rosters I have found online and no name appears right. Do any of you remember the Miles City employees at the end and who he might have been. I would certainly like to associate him with the caps both for historical and value purposes.

Ken Ziebarth
Boulder
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Posted by Kacey (+3151) 8 years ago
Terry Gunther has an amazing amount of history on the Milwaukee. You should contact him. He is living in Billings now.
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Posted by Dave Roberts (+1297) 8 years ago
Wish I could be of more help, but at best could only tell you those few that I know the caps didn't belong to.

A few things that may narrow it down a bit though- whomever the caps belonged to was in passenger service at some point because AFAIK they didn't wear the dress uniforms in freight service. Never seen pictures that way anyhow.

Not all Trainmen made Conductor.

Passenger Conductors were the top guys and their uniforms and lanterns, watches, etc. were prized possessions. Makes me think that he had no heirs maybe.

A MC seniority list might be a place to look. Unfortunately, I don't have one.

I know for sure where Al and Hugo Zuelke's uniforms are and I hope that the Petersons and Hanes' got theirs back before the Woolhouse profited from MC's generosity.
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Posted by Ken Ziebarth (+312) 8 years ago
Yes, I agree he must have been a passenger conductor before that service was discontinued. But I am sure that he was on freight trains at the end of his career.
That he may have had no immediate heirs to leave the caps to is another clue.
Ken Z
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Posted by Dave Roberts (+1297) 8 years ago
I wonder if he fully retired at the end of the MILW or if conductors and brakemen could transfer over to the BN like engineers?

I guess transfer isn't the best word for it, because it was a convoluted mess I think. At least as far as engineers go, most that could retire, did. Those that were close ended up with very high seniority, but still didn't get necessarily what or where they wanted.

I think Ray Zuelke was mostly driving trains out of Hettinger, ND before he could fully retire. Now that I think about it, how many years later, it makes sense, since the line was ex MILW through there and they would've been protected on the seniority list for that run.

[This message has been edited by Dave Roberts (3/2/2012)]
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Posted by Ken Ziebarth (+312) 8 years ago
I pretty sure he retired from the Milwaukee, did not transfer to "that other company" formerly known as NP.
KZ
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Posted by RA (+652) 8 years ago
Does Winslow 'Wink' Gorman ring any bells??
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Posted by Diane Grutkowski (+208) 8 years ago
My uncle, Art Pembroke, worked for the Milwaukee for many years--not sure when he retired. If his name sounds familiar I could give you some contact information.
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Posted by Jay Johnson (+45) 7 years ago
I'm late replying to this, but might have the answer you are looking for. George Freeman Cobb was a passenger conductor for the Milwaukee RR and retired in 1939 or 1940. He was called out of retirement at the beginning of World War 2 and when he retired after the war he had a total of 55 years with the Milwaukee RR. His son was Sherman Cobb who was Manager of Hines Motor for many years and was my step-father.

[This message has been edited by Jay Johnson (5/21/2012)]
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Posted by Leonard Smith (+22) 7 years ago
My Dad, Paul Smith was a Milwaukee Conductor (freight) until the line closed down in this area in the late 70's. He was known as P.J. and worked with most everyone at one time or another. I don't recall if he ever worked passenger service. Names that come to mind that I have not heard mentioned are Harbak (sp) and Zawada. Pembroke's family had a lot of memorablia.

Dad was third generation Milwaukee trainman. My great grandfather Benjamin Butler (B.B.) Smith came in 1907 as a surveyor while they were building the line and then later was a passenger conductor. Grandfather Harry (Bing) was the second of the family to work for the Milwaukee and worked as an engineer and retired as the 'hostler' still using steam power.

Hope you get it figured out Ken. Leonard Smith
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Posted by Ken Ziebarth (+312) 4 years ago
I sent the message at the top of this a couple of years ago without finding the answers that I hoped for. I now have an additional lead: My brother and I both now think that our father's checker-playing Milwaukee Road friend may have been Kermit Slater. And I found K. Slater on the archived list of Milwaukee Road Employees as of its dissolution in 1985.
Does this name ring any bells for any of you?
Thanks again for your memories.

Ken Ziebarth
Boulder (CO)

[Edited by Ken Ziebarth (7/22/2015 3:11:59 PM)]

[Edited by Ken Ziebarth (7/22/2015 3:12:36 PM)]
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+9851) 4 years ago
If this is the Kermit Slater who was the father of Jerry and Allen and husband of Ruth, yes. Can't remember the oldest boy's name for sure. Rod? I know he worked for the Milwaukee. Both he and Ruth are gone but I am in touch with Allen on FB.

[Edited by Amorette Allison (7/22/2015 3:30:41 PM)]
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Posted by Bill Bloom (-367) 4 years ago
I had a friend named Monte Slater in high school, seems to me his dad`s name was Kermit. If I am correct on that, he had another son, that I think still lives in Miles.
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Posted by Bill Bloom (-367) 4 years ago
OK, I am maybe wrong on that, I remember the other Slaters also.
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Posted by nativemc (+418) 4 years ago
Isn't Ruth still alive and living in Billings with one of her kids?
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+9851) 4 years ago
Ruth may be alive but I think she had Alzheimer's.
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Posted by Jim Brady (+423) 4 years ago
Ken

I missed this when you first posted it and it looks like you may have found the answer to your question. I just wanted to submit that when I was growing up, there was a couple living next door on Montana Avenue named Roy and Evelin Tarbox. I'm pretty sure Roy was a Conductor on the passenger trains as I remember seeing him working on many occasions. I do not believe they had any children or at least there were none living at home in the '50's. Don't know what ever happened to them. They may have moved on as there was a lot of bumping up and down the line as the Milwaukee went into the tank.

The Haggartys(sp?) lived across the street, but I think both Ben and Wayne were Engineers. Ben may have worked the passenger trains as I vaguely remember seeing him coming or going in the blue uniform.
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Posted by Mary Pat (Brady) Young (+93) 4 years ago
My uncle, Dan Brady, was also a Conductor on the Milwaukee and I think a lot of his runs were east. A good friend of mine who went to college in Nebraska said Dan was always so kind to her as she traveled back and forth to school. He died in 1962 so his service would have been before that.
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Posted by Janet K. Klein (+85) 4 years ago
We had a neighbor by the name of Paul Byington and he was a conductor on the Milwaukee railroad that went from MC to Marmouth. He and his wife Mertie were wonderful people.
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Posted by Forestflower (+6) 2 years ago
Hello Ken, Your post from 5 years ago asking about a Milwaukee Road conductor is of great interest to me, wish we could talk about it on the phone!
Harry W. Davis, and his brother Fred W. Davis worked for the Railroad. Harry worked for the Milwaukee Road, I have his RR card he kept in his wallet for riding the rails after he retired. Don't know when Harry William retired, but his card has 1960s dates, so can only guess that he retired in the 50's, late 50's, to ride the rails in the 1960's. I have a photo of these two men, together, I think wearing their Conductor uniforms standing by a train! Don't know how to upload on this site, care to share your email so I may share the photo with you???

My email is [email protected] Note, double "rr" in the word Forrest!!!

And
[email protected] (with one "r")

Christina, in Spokane, Washington
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