A man by the name of “Peters” was logging this part of Michigan with a crew of 100 men. A narrow gauge railroad terminating at Manistee served to haul the logs. That time was long before compressed air had ever been thought of to check the speed of trains. The only means then known was “hickery” and the old fashioned hand-powered brake wheel, rod chain, and shoe.
It was a raw day in mid-winter and the rails were slippery with snow and ice. The trains, consisting of a long string of flat cars, had been daily loaded, or rather over loaded, near Peacock, and the conductor had issued his orders for the engineer to pull out. An argument ensued with the engineer vividly pointing out to the conductor the danger involved in trying to move the string of flat cars under those dangerous conditions. The argument developed into a controversy, but the engineer, who apparently understood his business, was adament and finally refused to run the train.
The conductor, incensed at the position taken by the engineer, and in a spirit of bravado, announced that he would take the train down by himself. Riding each flat car and astride the pinnacle of the pyramidal piled logs, was human freight. That freight was lumbermen of every nationality. They were all expert in their field. They were clad in mackinaws of color, calked boots, heavy trousers, and caps.
Now they were enjoying a brief respite from their labors, all joyous and unaware of the awful fate in store for them at the bottom of the ravine ahead. And, that will come tomorrow afternoon in Part Two.