The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 571
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from Kansas, through the Indian Territory, into and through
Texas to the coast, and from Kansas across Missouri to St. Louis
From this vantage point the reader witnesses the building of the
railway and the laying of the tracks at the almost unbelievable
rate of a mile a day on many occasions. He sees the various
celebrations as they were held on the completion of certain
segments of the line. He witnesses the actual birth and early
development of many of the towns which one sees now as he
rides the Katy from Missouri through Texas.
The book would be well worth reading, if the reader found
nothing in it except the personal sketches and character descrip-
tions of the men and women whose lives were so closely tied to
and affected by the railroad. Big John Scullin, the master track-
layer, a "big-six-foot-two son of Erin with hands like hams and a
tongue that lashed like a bull whip, was in and out of every
dram shop, hurdy-gurdy house, and gambling tent in southeast-
ern Kansas, rooting his rollicking Irishmen out of their dives and
getting them back on the job." The down East men of money and
culture like Judge Levi Parsons, Bob Stevens, and others, worked
through the frontier leaders of independent and self-reliant spirit
to the small army of laborers and workers who actually threw
up the roadbed and laid the iron tracks. These frontier workers
stayed rather consistently on the job regardless of disease, weather,
excessive liquor, and other handicaps. Mr. Masterson portrays
this motley conglomeration of human beings in a way that makes
it easy for the reader almost to imagine that he is living with and
becoming personally acquainted with the early railroad builders
and their associates.
One cannot read this book without realizing that the present-
day American people owe much to the independent, self-reliant,
and hardy spirit of those who lived seventy-five years ago. What
those people who built the Katy lacked in modern machines and
materials, they more than made up for in plain human determi-
nation and personal reliance. They had what it took to conquer
An interesting part of railroad and Southwestern history can
be gleaned from a study of the products and materials which
made up the shipments of the Katy during its first years of
existence. Cattle and cotton, of course, made up the bulk of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/675/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.