Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday Spotting - Crazy Charlie

Published in February of 1909 in the Tuscan Daily Citizen out of Tuscan, AZ
LONE WALKER KEEPS AT TASK
“Crazy Charlie” Refuses to Accept Home With a Brother.
SELFAPPOINTEDWATCH
Spends Most of His Time in Inspecting Southern Pacific Track
     Though a home and comforts of civilization have been offered him and many efforts have been made by a devoted brother to persuade him to quit his present mode of existence. James Dromgold, better known along the Southern Pacific railroad as “Crazy Charley,” prefers to continue weary marches across the sun-parched desert between Barstow and El Paso, Texas, in the belief that the safety of the Southern pacific trains depends on him.
     R. A. Dromgold of San Francisco has just returned to his home from El Paso from another fruitless effort to persuade his demented brother to return home. The brother a few days ago went to Indio and persuaded “Charley” to accompany him to a hotel. When he awoke next morning the old man had vanished and was away again for the long march to El Paso.
     Officer McCarrel from Mecca was sent in quest of Dromgold, riding an engine. Near Mortmere, a lonely desert station on the shore of the Salton sea, fifteen miles from Mecca, the old man was overtaken plodding along the track, examining every culvert and every rail to see that it was safe for travel.
     James Dromgold has a queer history. Apparently he is sane on every subject save the one pertaining to the Southern Pacific track. Many years ago he was a track walker for the road, but for some reason was discharged. His mind gave way, and he has followed this peculiar avocation ever since in the belief that he is still in the employ of the road. Hot or cold, armed with his roll of blankets, a few cooking utensils and a canteen of water, he has wandered long the track.
     One night while a heavily laden passenger train was speeding across the desert, a light flashed ahead. There was “Crazy Charley,” and around a curve a bridge was blazing brightly. Again when a cloudburst had swept a culvert from the road “Crazy Charley” discovered it in the nick of time and prevented another disastrous wreck.
     Though time and again conductors and engineers have offered to take the old man from the barren stretches of desert to some habitation the offers have been spurned and the solitary camp fire near the track at night has often been pointed out as a habitation of Dromgold.
     For years “Charley” walked the track form Los Angeles to El Paso. Hoping to wean his brother away from his long tramps, R. A. Dromgold, a few years ago erected “Charley” a house at Cabazon “Charley” stayed in the house one night and the next day quit it for a trip to El Paso.