Meeting The Train At Pangburn


White County Historical Society

Some time back I read a good research and history on the Missouri & Arkansas train line by Troy Nowell and it brought to mind how we used to meet the train.

Seems like it ran at 11:15 a.m. and kids, old men and loafers all liked to watch her come in. Of course, some came to get freight or meet passengers. Likewise, Uncle Bart Sims would get from three to six or seven sacks of mail and push his two-wheeled cart up the sidewalk toward the post office with a half-dozen kids tagging along with him.

If there was freight to be delivered, Ellis Moody ran a dray service and would handle it. Before the day of very many cars or good roads, people who came in by train and wanted to go out to, say, Hiram, Little Red or Clay would rent a rig or a hack from the Fisher Livery Barn.

But back to the depot. It was interesting seeing who came into town and who went out and, besides, there was all the excitement of the spewing steam, rolling black smoke, dinging bell and loud whistle. At one point in history, folks on the Mississippi waited for the steamboat. Then as the west was settled they waited for the stage. But as a boy in my hometown, we waited on the M&NA, later changed to just the M&A line.

Back in the 1920s, a man was to take an early-morning train out of Pangburn to be married. As he heard the whistle down the track he was all excited and in a hurry. He meant to jump into his trousers and toss his coat over his arm. But he did just the opposite, came running up carrying his trousers. The conductor helped calm him down.

Working in the fields we tried to knock off right after 11:30 for lunch and feed and water our teams. Just as soon as old "Doc," one of our mules, heard this 11:15 train whistle, he just quit and was ready to head for the barn. I was a lot like this mule. I would like to end this article with a little song or poem about this old train line. You may have heard a similar song.


From the flatlands of the Wonder State

To the hills of Joplin, Mo,

Thru snow-white fields of cotton

Past sawmills on the go;

She’s smoky and she’s noisy

All hear her clickaty-clack.

She is the M-A Cannon Ball

As she rolls along the track.

She came up from Georgetown

Thru Letona by the way.

As she stopped for Pangburn station

You could hear the people say:

There’s a girl from Woodruff County,

She’s long and she is tall.

She came to make a visit

On the M-A Cannon Ball.

Listen to the jingle,

The rumble and the roar

As she glides thru Patton Hollow,

Sugar Loaf and Little Red shore.

See the mighty bluff at Libby,

Listen to the Heber call.

You’re traveling thru the Ozarks

On the M-A Cannon Ball.