Wednesday, July 2, 2008

20th Century Poplar Grove Activities

The team thought we'd share these very expressive pictures we came across this afternoon. The pictures are from the files of Lloyd T. Emory, an engineer by trade, and date from his time working on the North River and Bergen Hill tunnels of the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1906-1908. There must have been something in the water at Poplar Grove because Gen. Thomas Emory, William H. Emory, and their decendent Lloyd were involved in railroad projects.

The first picture is of the Engineer Corps. Notice the oil lamps on their hats which they used to light their way.

This second picture is from the river tunnel taken May 9, 1907. According to the caption on the back of the photo, the two men on the right are inserting the "caulking mixture" into the joints; the two men in the middle are "hammering mixture in"; and the two men on the left are "tightening bolts after putting on grummets, grummets soaking in red lead in front."

This third picture depicts "dumping car used to place concrete below track level," according to the caption.

The last picture is of a segment of the north tunnel, with a worker standing in the middle of the track.


Adam Goodheart said...

Great photos - and great posting.

Yes, Thomas's little love affair with the iron horse back in the 1830s seems to have begotten a century-long tradition of Emorys as civil and military engineers ... starting, as you say, with William H., but also including his brother, Frederick (who served as his brother's assistant on the Southwestern survey, and then worked with Col. John Sutter laying out California towns during the Gold Rush, as his letters from Poplar Grove attest). And then Lloyd T. ... and perhaps some of the Emory descendants who are following this blog know of other family members?

Interesting too in light of the Emorys' relationship with Alexander Dallas Bache, the famous scientist and superintendent of the United States Coast Survey ... William H. Emory married Bache's sister Matilda, and it is clear from references in the papers that the families were close.

Agrarianism meets industrialism ... one of the things that makes this such a fascinating family to study.

Rebecca Hall said...

Has anyone found anthing related to Lord Baltimore's servant Nell Butler, or "Irish Nell?" It would date back to the 1670s and 80s. She married a slave and was saved from become a slave herself by Lord Baltimore's intervention. He encouraged the colonial legislature to amend a staute that made "free English women" slaves if they married a slave, but her "issue" remained in slaver for three generations. I'm writing an legal history article in which her decendants feature prominately, and wouod be excited to find more information on her. I can be contacted at

Unknown said...

My great-grandfather George Washington Emory, who came from the Easton area to Long Island just before the Civil War, worked for the Long Island railroad, possibly as stationmaster at Mineola. Not quite the same thing, but still RR related! His grandfather was Charles (the Younger) Emory. I believe Poplar Grove descended in the Charles (the Elder) Emory line. There would be some kind of cousin connection, but please correct me if I have it wrong.

Bruce Emory said...

The family tradition does continue. I am a great-great grandson of William H Emory. I am a civil engineer, and worked on the planning and construction of the Atlanta subway system (MARTA) in the 1970's and 1980's, and later as a consultant to other rail transit systems. I recently retired, and my son David Emory now works as a transportation planner in Atlanta. (I just discovered this site, so my comment is a bit late; e-mail:

Mike M. said...

I've been following this blog, and am reading the older articles. (Fascinating stuff, btw!)

Cracks me up that one family can have the same type of occupation spanning whole centuries. :D