The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 373
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Notes and Documents
A President's Special rai Stops
inI Wills Poit
A HALF CENTURY AGO Robert McLeod of Wills Point, Van
Zandt County, Texas, was just entering upon a successful
career with the Texas Company. He is still quite active
there in civic and business affairs. Despite time and a busy life Bob
cannot but vividly recall that day fifty-odd years ago when by
simply cutting a cotton cord, he caused a President of the United
States to make an unscheduled speech and also enabled hundreds
of Texans for the only time in their lives to see and hear a Pres-
ident of the United States. Here is the story.
On Sunday, October 24, 1909, the good folks of Wills Point and
territory for miles around were up and about earlier than usual
on the Lord's Day. There was a reason. The President of the
United States, the Honorable William Howard Taft, was on a
tour of Texas and the reliable Wills Point Chronicle had reported
that the President's private car was to be attached to the ten
o'clock regular Texas and Pacific's "Cannon Ball," and, what is
more important, the Chief Executive had promised to greet the
folks of the community at the station. Most everyone knew that
it was the day when R. R. (Deacon) Ramsey' would be at the
throttle and remembered that he always took plenty of time to
oil his engine and to check it otherwise. He would be extra
careful today, they felt.
The Deacon, a deeply religious man, was known to everyone
who regularly met the "Cannon Ball" and to many others, as a
devout, fearless, friendly man. Church folks thought of the
Deacon when they sang "Life is like a mountain railroad with an
iMrs. R. R. Ramsey, surviving wife of Deacon Ramsey, presently lives in Dallas
and despite her ninety years maintains a continuing lively interest in railroading,
especially in the Texas and Pacific for which her husband was for more than fifty
years a colorful locomotive engineer. This account is dedicated to Mrs. Ramsey.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961, periodical, 1961; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/m1/410/?rotate=90: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.