Saturday, July 12, 2014

Another Mystery - The Railroad Conductor.


Man at front of house

This photograph turned up in an "antique" mall in Amarillo, Texas.

The uniformed gentleman appears to be a bus driver or a rail employee.

Man at front of house

The message on the reverse is very short but informative. We know his name is John T. Gibson, he's retired from something, and the date is September 30, 1943.

The large flashlight might indicate a railroad career.



Well, let's assume that John retired on that date. If he retired at around 65 that would make his birth year about 1880. Of course he could have retired much earlier than 65 or for that matter, much later. But let's use 1880 as a target date and look at anything give or take ten years.

As for location, well, there's not much help there. These old abandoned photographs have a way of circulating around in the junk markets form state to state. And of course there is no way of telling if the photograph might have been sent across many states to a relative. So the fact that it was found in Amarillo really means nothing.

As you might have guessed, Ancestry.com says there are LOTS of John Gibsons from that time. No clue as to which one is our man.

So let's look at some city directories from the era around 1943. Ancestry.com turns up a few listings about the right age.

After reviewing a dozen or so, this one from a 1941 Denver City Directory turned up a couple candidates. There were two of John Gibsons living in Denver a the same time.


In 1941 there was a John T. Gibson working as a Brakeman for the Union Pacific Rail Road. Do you suppose this is our man? Might be just a coincidence. But wait. Look at that address. 5757 West 35th Ave.

Now let's look back at that photograph for more clues. There it is on the door behind John. 5757. It's our John T. Gibson.


Having established where he was in 1941, with his name, approximate age and employment, we should be able to find lots about him now.



Here's a tidbit: Google Earth shows the house is still there. The screen has been replaced and the numbers are now mounted on the left door casing. But the narrow windows are still there as well as the two step concrete entryway.


Man at front of house

I'll spend a little time and see what else I can find. I'll add to this page if something interesting turns up.


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