R. H. SOULE at Roanoke -- JOSEPH H. SANDS

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jun 22 06:49:58 EDT 2017

In September 2016,  I began a thread on R.H. (Richard Hermann) Soule, N&W's
Superintendent of Motive Power 1891-1897.   So I shall post this new
information under that same thread-name.

Soule, if you recall, was apparently the man responsible for the Board of
Directors'   "vote of no-confidence" in the Railroad's General
Superintendent, Joseph H. Sands in 1897.

Last Fall, I posted Soule's listing from the 1906 Biographical Directory of
Railway Officials of America.  Those listings were sent in by the men
themselves, and Soule does not mention his own early information in the

But the problem of Soule's origins is solved by the 1920 Harvard University
report on the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1870.   The article gives
his family history, marriage, children, and his complete employment
record.  It also details the physical malady under which he labored most of
his life, and which finally claimed his life in 1908, at age 59.  When he
finally had to retire from work due to his malady, he "found occupation in
the advanced study of harmony," of all things.

Soule had earned an A.B. from Harvard in 1870, and a B.S. in Mechanical
Engineering from M.I.T. in 1872.  His employment string is remarkable:
 Boston Water Works, PRR, New York West Shore & Buffalo, Erie, N&W, thence
Baldwin Locomotive Works, thence into  business for himself as a consulting
mechanical engineer in New York City.

So I have put into PDFs (attached) two new items on this interesting man:

(1)  His posthumous biography, lifted from the Harvard "Tenth Report of the
Class of 1870," published 1920.

(2)  A very good two-part article from Soule's pen in 1877, dealing
 the new signal equipment used to handle the crunch of railroad traffic at
the 6th World's Fair, the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.  This
PDF was lifted from two 1877 editions of Railroad Gazette and merged into a
single file.  At the time of the 1876 Centennial Exposition, Soule was
"employed in the office of the Mechanical Engineer at Altoona," so perhaps
he was detailed to Philadelphia for this major event.  This article is the
best record of that 1876 railroad operation that I have ever seen.

It appears that both Soule and his wife were from Massachusetts old
families.  His wife entered the DAR in 1894, on the record of a
Massachussetts Captain, and there is one reference indicating Soule himself
may have had connections to the early Massachusetts Puritans.  Interesting,
there was a Richard H. Soule (b. 1920) who died just two years ago (1915)
in a small town near Soule's home in Brookline.  This was likely Soule's
grandson - the dates match up.

-- abram burnett
                  Sent to You from my Telegraph Key
Successor to the MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH LINE of 1844



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