Smith R. Mudge And Osawatomie
Smith R. Mudge was a railroad engineer whose life had a positive impact on
Osawatomie and demonstrates the path many railroad employees took during their careers in the 19th century. Mudge’s railroad career began when he began working for the Lake Erie and Western Railroad as a fireman in Sandusky, Ohio, in 1856 at age 23. Mudge was promoted to locomotive engineer 14 months later, and was a locomotive engineer in Ohio for nine years, during which he was accident free. Mudge was transferred to the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad in 1868, and continued to be accident free during his service with that railroad line.
Mudge’s next career move illustrated a difference between the 19th century and today, for without the benefit of a college education, with on-the-job experience and training, Mudge was promoted to railroad engineer and went on to work for the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1878, supervising the maintenance of the Atchison to Downs line in Kansas.
Mudge was promoted again in 1880, and supervised the construction of railroad lines extending from Sedalia, Mo. In November of 1880, Mudge was promoted again to the office of road master of the Kansas and Arizona Division of the Missouri Pacific Railway, and held that office for seven years and was headquartered in Osawatomie.
Mudge was promoted to road foreman of engineers for the Kansas City Road, and was given added responsibilities in the same capacity for the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad Line, and the Cameron, Mo., Branch line in 1891.
Mudge was certainly an ambitious man, but he did have a private life outside of his work. Mudge was married to Ellen Dawson and was a member of the Free and Ancient Masons of Osawatomie, the Elmo Commandery of Paola and the Royal Arch Masons of Fort Wayne, Ind. Mudge was also a property owner in Osawatomie and helped to build up Osawatomie’s economy.
Mudge’s life also demonstrates the timeless truth that hard work, intelligent choices and determination results in success. Mudge earned promotions in the railroad industry via conscientious and intelligent hard work, and we can learn from his success today. It is possible to build a stellar career from humble beginnings if we are willing to apply copious amounts of elbow grease and make intelligent choices like Smith R. Mudge did during his lifetime.
Mudge was not the only beneficiary of his success, Osawatomie also benefitted from Mudge’s success. When Mudge lived and worked here, he joined local civic organizations and bought real estate and helped to build up the community. He was one of many Missouri Pacific Railroad employees who built up Osawatomie in the 19th century, and helped Osawatomie grow and prosper. Osawatomie still benefits from its Missouri Pacific and Union Pacific employees and retirees who constantly work to improve all aspects of the community’s life. We owe them a debt of gratitude and respect.
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