Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad

15-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, February 27, 1911: The roads were so muddy that I went up the railroad to school and came home that way. Besse was out this afternoon. Wish I had all of my lessons out for tomorrow especially my latin.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later: 

It’s hard to picture how bad the mud must have been in the era before paved roads. Railroad tracks for the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad (S.B. & B. R.R.) crossed the Muffly farm.The route went from Watsontown to McEwensville and Turbotville and then continued east to Washingtonville, Bloomsburg, and Berwick.

My father says that Grandma always called the railroad the Sweet Bye and Bye.

According to an essay by the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg and Berwick Railroad (S.B. & B.R.R.) was often called the ‘Sweet Bye and Bye’ because traffic was intermittent, and trains traveled at a slow speed and stopped at every hamlet and feed mill along the route. Sweet Bye and Bye is also the name of an old-time hymn.

There were flag stops at two feed mills between Watsontown and McEwensville (a distance of only 4 or 5 miles). One was at a hamlet called Pioneer–it’s just a group of 4 or 5 houses today–and the other was at Truckenmiller’s Mill which was located next to the Muffly farm.

The railroad was also sometimes called the Weak and Weary railroad. It was a financial failure because there were no major industries along the route.

The S.B. & B.R.R. no longer exists, but the track is still used by trains transporting coal to the Pennsylvania Power and Light (PP & L) power plant at Strawberry Ridge near Washingtonville.

21 Responses

  1. [...] and her sister Ruth probably flagged down the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick train at the feed mill near their farm. The train stopped at every hamlet between Watsontown and [...]

  2. [...] of the Muffly farm. The women may have come by horse and buggy—or may have taken the train.  The Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad provided passenger service to Turbotville—and there was a flag stop at a feed mill near the [...]

  3. [...] be horrific. The roads between the Muffly farm and McEwensville were not paved in 1911—but the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick railroad tracks crossed the farm, so Grandma sometimes walked the tracks to town when the roads were [...]

  4. [...] to Watsontown—or  maybe they took the train to Watsontown. (There was a whistle-stop for the Susquehanna Bloomsburg and Berwick Railroad at Truckenmiller’s Feed Mill which was located near their farm.) Once the sisters got to [...]

  5. [...] Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick railroad tracks crossed the Muffly farm, so Grandma could walk the tracks to get to McEwensville [...]

  6. [...] was about five miles from the Muffly farm. There was a whistle-stop for the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad near their farm. Grandma and her sister Ruth probably needed to change trains at [...]

  7. [...] is about 10 miles east of McEwensville. He probably came on the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg and Berwick  train since its route took it through both the Muffly farm and Ottawa. The train had a whistle-stop [...]

  8. [...] tracks for the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad went along the edge of the Muffly farm. Ruth probably got on the train at a nearby feed mill. There [...]

  9. [...] Bryson refers to Blanche Bryson. She was a friend of Grandma and her sister Ruth. The Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick railroad tracks crossed the Muffly farm, and there was a whistle stop at a nearby feed mill. I’m [...]

  10. [...] and her mother probably rode the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick train to Watsontown. There was a flag stop at the feed mill near their farm. They probably then took [...]

  11. Not sure if this will be helpful to you or not (or if you’ve already come across this info), but wanted to pass along since you’ve done such helpful work documenting Watsontown. While researching my great-grandfather’s Civil War unit, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, I came across the following reference in a historic newspaper to one of the members of the 47th who died while the regiment was stationed at Key West:

    “To rear a slab of marble in respect to the memory of a departed friend is always the first care at home – so with Capt. Gobin in the case of one of our comrades who died here last summer of yellow fever. It is gratifying to the friends to know that the last resting place of a brother or relative is marked; – so I will give it to you the fact of a monument being erected over the grave of George C. Watson, of Watsontown, Pa., that his friends may know it. The monument is of Italian marble, set in a Granite base, and bears the inscription –

    ‘In memory of
    Geo C. Watson,
    Co. C, 47th Reg’t., Pa. Vols.
    a resident of North’d. County, Pa.
    Died, Aug. 26, 1862′”

    The info was part of a longer letter dated May 3, 1863, and sent by H.W.D. on behalf of the Sunbury Guards (the group which made up Company C of the 47th Pennsylvania) to the editor of the Sunbury American. The newspaper published the letter in its May 30, 1863 edition. That edition is available online via the historic newspapers collection at the Library of Congress.

    • Thanks for sharing the very interesting information. I’ve already shared it with several relatives who are very interested in the history of the Civil War.

    • Thank you again for taking the time to provide all of this wonderful information. Since I wrote my last note to you, I’ve read the complete letter. Whew, the first person account of happenings in Key West really gave me a sense of what it was like back then much better than any modern history possibly could. When I get a little more time I’m going to go back to the paper and read the article about Stonewall Jackson’s death and the other Civil War stories.

      And, for others who read this blog, here is the link to the historic newspapers collection at the Library of Congress. It is a wonderful resource.

      http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/

  12. […] would have taken the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick train from a whistle stop near her home to Montour County. It would have been about a 15 mile […]

  13. […] of where Grandma would gotten off the train. A hundred years ago there was a whistle stop for the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad  at a mill that bordered the Muffly farm. (The mill was torn down years […]

  14. […] 17. He was her mother’s father.  Grandma and her sister Ruth would have taken the  the Susquehanna Bloomsburg and Berwick train to Turbotville for the funeral. It was about a  five mile trip.  There was a whistle stop […]

  15. […] probably expected Alma to come on the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick (S. B. & B.) train. There was a whistle stop for the train at a feed mill near the Muffly […]

  16. […] for the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad  crossed the Muffly farm. There was a flag stop at a feed mill called Truckenmiller’s Mill […]

  17. […] The Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick railroad of Grandma’s day is long gone—but the tracks are still used by trains taking coal to the PPL Montour Power Plant near Washingtonville. […]

  18. […] were train tracks that ran along the edge of the Muffly farm—and the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad had regularly scheduled passenger trains that used the tracks. I suppose Grandma was surprised by […]

  19. […] was a whistle stop of the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick train at the feed mill near the Muffly farm. Turbotville was only about 5 miles from the farm so it would […]

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