Thomas William Jackson.

On a slow train through Arkansaw : funny railroad stories : sayings of the southern darkies : all the latest and best minstrel jokes of the day online

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Online LibraryThomas William JacksonOn a slow train through Arkansaw : funny railroad stories : sayings of the southern darkies : all the latest and best minstrel jokes of the day → online text (page 1 of 5)
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On a Slow Train
Through Arkansaw







THOS. W. JACKSON, Publisher
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Copyright 1903







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On a Slow Train Through

You are not the only pebble on the beach for
there is a little rock in Arkansaw. It was down
in the state of Arkansaw I rode on the slowest
train I ever saw. It stopped at every house.
When it come to a double house it stopped twice.
They made so many stops I said, ''Conductor,
what have we stopped for now ? ' ' He said, " There
are some cattle on the track.' ' We ran a little
ways further and stopped again. I said, " What
is the matter now?" He said, " We have caught
up with those cattle again.' ' We made pretty
good time for about two miles. One old cow got
her tail caught in the cow-catcher and she ran
off down the track with the train. The cattle
bothered us so much they had to take the cow-
catcher off the engine and put it on the hind end
of the train to keep the cattle from jumping up
in the sleeper. A lady said, " Conductor, can't
this train make any better time than this?"
He said, "If you ain't satisfied with this train,
you can get off and walk." She said she would,
only her folks didn't expect her till the train got
there. A lady handed the conductor two tickets,
one whole ticket and a half ticket. He said,



On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

"Who is the half ticket for?" She said, "My
boy." The conductor said, "He's not a boy;


On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw 7

he's a man. Under twelve, half fare, over
twelve, full fare." She said, "He was under
twelve when we started.' '

The news agent came through. He was an
old man with long gray whiskers. I said, "Old


man, I thought they always had boys on the
train to sell the pop corn, chewing gum and
candy/ ' He said he was a boy when he started.
They stopped so often one of the passengers tried
to commit suicide. He ran ahead for half a mile,
laid down on the track, but he starved to death
before the train got there.

8 On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

We had a narrow escape of being killed. Just
as we got on the middle of a high bridge the en-
gineer discovered it was on fire, but we went right
across. Just as the last car got over, the bridge
fell. I said, " Conductor, how did we ever get
across without going down?" He said, "Some
train robbers held us up."

We ran a little further and stopped again. Some
one asked the conductor what was wrong. He
said a cow had kicked the fireman in the jaw.
The engineer had stopped to tie the cow's foot up.

The conductor collected half fare from a lady
for her little girl. It made her so mad she asked
the conductor what that said on his cap. He
said, " Train conductor." She said it ought to be
"Train robber." He said he only took what
was fare.

There was a lady on the train with a baby.
When the conductor asked her for her ticket, she
said she didn't have any, the baby had swallowed
it. The conductor punched the baby.

There were three kinds of passengers who rode on
that train. First class, Second class and Third
class. I said, "Conductor, what is the difference
between the First class and Third class passengers,
they are all riding in the same car?" He said,
"Just wait a while and I will show you." We
ran a little ways and stopped again. The con-
ductor came in and said, "First class passengers,
keep your seats ; Second class passengers, get off
and walk; Third class passengers, get off and

For a crooked road, she was the limit. In
order to get the engine around the curves they

On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw 9

had a hinge in the boiler. The fireman had a
wooden leg and was crossed-eyed, half of the
time he was shoveling coal in the headlight in-
stead of the fire-box. It was so crooked we met
ourself coming back. The curves were so short
they called them corners. The engineer had to
shave every day to keep the rocks from knocking
off his whiskers.

The conductor was the tallest man I ever saw.
I said, " Conductor, what makes you so tall?"
He said it was because he had had his leg pulled
so often. He said he was born in the top of a
ten story building. He came high, but they had
to have him.

He said he had been running on that road for
thirty years, and had only taken in one fare,
that was the World's Fair.

An old lady said to the porter, "Are you the
colored porter ?" He said, no, he wasn't colored
he was born that way. She said, "I gave you
a dollar, where is my change ?" He said, "This
car goes through; there is no change/ '

There was a Dutchman on the train, he was
trying to ride on a meal ticket. The conductor
told him he would have to pay his fare. He said,
" How much does it cost to ride to the next sta-
tion ?" The conductor said, "Thirty cents.' '
The Dutchman said, " I will give you twenty-five."
The conductor told him it would cost him thirty.
The Dutchman said, "Before I will give more
than twenty-five I will walk." The conductor
stopped the train and put him off. The Dutch-
man ran ahead of the engine and started to walk.
The engineer began to blow the whistle. The

io On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

Dutchman said, " You can vissel all you vant, I
wont come back."

There was an old man and woman on the train
by the name of Jessup. There happened to be a
place where, the train stopped by the name of
Jessup's Cuv. The old man went to the car ahead.
When the brakeman came in and hollered, " Jes-
sup's Cut!" the old woman jumped up and holler-
ed, "My God! who cut Jessup?"

They ran a little ways further and stopped again.
Somebody said, "Conductor, what have we stop-
ped for now?" He said, "We have reached the
top of the hill. It is now down grade; we will
make a little better time and have an entire
change of scenery." And so we did.

"Are you married?"

"Yes, I married a spiritualist."

"How are you getting along?"


I hear they are going to vaccinate the entire
police force of Chicago.

I don't see what they want to do that for,
a policeman never catches anything.

"We had a big wooden- wedding over at our

"How was that?"

"My sister married a blockhead."

" Do you know that my sister is a duchess now?"
"No. How did she come to be a duchess?"
"She married a Dutchman."

On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw n

" I got a letter from father the other day. He
has gone in the hog business. I wrote and told
told him that there was lots of money in hogs, to
stay with it."

"What do you know about hogs?"

" I know all about hogs ; I was raised with them."

"You must be from Missouri."

" Do you think that Shakespeare wrote all those
plays that they say he did?"

" I don't know, I never thought much about it,
but when I die, if I am fortunate enough to go to
Heaven, I will ask him."

"In case he ain't there, then what?"

"Oh, well! then you ask him."

"My girl is a dressmaker; she makes wrappers
for cigars. There is just one thing wrong with
her; she is cross-eyed. She is a good girl; she is
honest but she looks crooked."

"Do you read the papers?"


" Have you noticed the number of railroad acci-
dents that have happened lately? Just the other
night at a wedding it so happened that Johnny
Carr was going to be married to a young lady of
the same name. Just as the preacher was pro-
nouncing the ceremony a rifle ball came through
the window, struck the preacher in the breast and
killed him."

"Well, what has that got to do with a railroad

"They say he was killed while coupling cars.

" Only yesterday at the hotel I am stopping at,

12 On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

one of the chamber-maids was found lying in a
room dead ; her false hair had come down, wrap-
ped around her neck and choked her to death.
They say her death was caused by a misplaced

The only difference between you and a man
that takes the wool off a lamb's back and dyes
it is, he is a lamb's dyer and you are a d 1 .

What is the difference between that ten dollars
you owe me and Tennessee.

What is the difference?

Tennessee I will see. The ten you owe me I
will never see.

There was a little town on the line called Holder.
There was a newly married couple on the train.
They were holding hands and warming right up
to one another when the brakeman came in and
hollered, " Holder! Holder!" He said it was all
right if he did, they were married.

The conductor told a fellow that the next place
was where he got off. He said, " Which end of the
car shall I get off of?" The conductor said,
" Either one; both ends stop."

There was a young fellow on the train. He
couldn't get a seat. He was walking up and down
the aisle and swearing. There was a preacher in
the car. He said, " Young man, do you know
where you are going, sir? You are going straight
to Hell." He said, "I don't give a darn; I've
got a round trip ticket."

The brakeman came in and hollered, ''Twenty
minutes for dinner!" When the train stopped
we all rushed for the dining-room, I ordered two

On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw 13

soft boiled eggs. When the waiter brought them
in, she opened one and said, " Shall I open the

I said, "No, open the window."

She said, "Ain't the eggs all right?".

I said, " Yes, they are all right, but I think they
have been mislaid."

One fellow in the excitement drank a cup of
yeast thinking it was buttermilk. He rose im-



The waiter was handing me my coffee just as
the conductor was hollering, " All aboard." She
flipped and fell and spilled the coffee down my

14 On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

back. When she got up she said, " Excuse me,
will you have some more?"

I said, "No, you can bring me an umbrella."

When I looked out I saw the train was going.
It was down grade, I had to run it for four miles ;
caught the hind car; just as I pulled myself up
on the steps the train stopped, backed in on the
siding and laid four hours to take on wood.

When we started a young lady asked the con-
ductor if her uncle would meet her at the depot
when she got off. Of course he was supposed to

At one place we stopped a fellow ran up to the
conductor and said, ' Is this my train ? ' ' He said,
"I don't think so. The company has got their
name on it." The fellow said, "I am going to
take it." The conductor said, "You want to be
careful about that, for there has been several
trains missed here lately."

The stations were so close together when they
stopped at one they had to back up to whistle for
the next.

There were some of the wealthiest ladies on
that train I ever saw. The train stopped, one lady
said to the other, " This is your town, and the next
one is mine."

Pretty soon they hollered out, " Skeetersville ! "
That was my town where I got off. I saw a sign
that read "Hotel." I went over and registered.

They gave me a room on the first floor, that is
from the roof. It was one of those rooms when
you rent it the roof uses it. When I went to bed
I had a creeping sensation come over me. I got
up and told the landlord that there were bugs in

On A Slow Train Through Arkansaiv 15

the bed. He said there wasn't a single bed-
bug in the house ! I told him that he was right
about it, they were all married and had large

I remember the hotel was on the bluff and it
was run on bluff. Skeetersville was a very appro-



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priate name for the place, for the musquitors was
all there. They would come around and look
on the register to see what room you had. The
landlord told me he had just adopted a new set of
rules. He. handed me a list of them. They read
something like this:

Rule One : In order to prevent the guests from
carrying fruit from the table, there will be no

1 6 On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

Married men without baggage will leave their
wives in the office.

Old and feeble gentlemen will not be allowed
to play in the halls.

Guests will not be allowed to use Indian clubs
or dumbbells in their rooms. If they want exercise
they can go in the kitchen and beat the steak.
I set right up to the table and beat mine.

Guests will not be allowed to tip the waiters,
as it is liable to cause them to break the dishes.
(I promise you there was no dishes broken while I
was there.)

Guests at . this hotel wishing fine board, will
please call for saw dust. Biscuits found riveted
together can be opened with a chisel furnished
by the waiter. The use of dynamite is positively

Guests needn't mind paying their board, as
the hotel is supported by a good foundation.

Guests on retiring at night will leave their
money with the night clerk, for he will get it

If you want the bellboy, wring a towel.

If you get hungry during the night, take a roll
in bed.

Base-ball players wanting exercise will find a
pitcher on the table.

If you want to write take a sheet off the bed.

If you find the bed to be-a little buggy and you
have a nightmare, just hitch the mare to the
buggy and drive off.

The landlord took me out for a drive. There is
some fine farms down there. He showed me a
farm that you could raise anything on. He said

On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw 17

they could raise potatoes as large as your head.
They could raise cabbage that would weigh over
a hundred pounds. I said, "This is certainly a
remarkable country. How do you account for it

He said, " It is the climate. That is the secret
of it all. It is the climate.' ' I said, "Old man,
do you know that in the City of Chicago there is a
building that is twenty-two stories high that
hasn't got any stairs or elevator to it?"

"How do they get up in it?"

"They climb it."

He said, "Do you know, that all we need in
this country is a little more rain and a little better
society." I said, "That is all that Hell needs."

I had only been there about a week when the
landlord told me I had been bombarding against
his house. I told him I hadn't been doing any
bombarding, but I had been doing some bum

You couldn't get a square meal. They fed us
on round tables.


Did you ever hear the story about the black
crow? No, I never did. It's a bird.

Did you ever hear the story about the two holes
in the ground. No. Well, well.

What is the greatest neglected vegetable in the
world. A policeman's beat.

Why is a pocket handkerchief like a ship at sea ?
Because it gets many a hard blow and occasionally
goes around the horn.

1 8 On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

Why are eggs always cheaper on the docks?
Because the ships lay to.

Suppose you should break your knee, where
should you go to get another? To Africa, that is
where the negroes.

Can you tell me the difference between a pair of
pants and a pie?

What is the difference?

A pair of pants has to be cut before they are
made: a pie has to be made before it is cut.

Why is a horse with his head hanging down like
next Monday?

Because its neck's weak.

Why does a hen lay an egg? Because it is
beyond the power of Carrie Nation to hatch it.

Suppose a lady should break her knee, where
should she go to get another? To Jerusalem,
where the Shee-neys grow.

Why do the stars in the American Flag rep-
resent the stars in Heaven? Because it is be-
yond the power of any nation on earth to pull
them down.

What is the difference between Christian Science
and a lean woman? One is a humbug, the other
is- a bum hug.

If you kiss a young lady she calls it faith. If
you kiss a married woman she calls it hope. If
you kiss an old maid she calls it charity.

My next stop was Potts ville. When I got there
the county fair was going on. It looked like
Fourth of July. Talk about the streets of Cairo !
they wasn't in it with Pottsville. I went out to

On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw 19

the fair grounds. I met a one-legged man selling
lead pencils. I asked him how business was. He
said he couldn't kick.

I saw a fellow turning a hand-organ with a sign
on his hat that said, "Help me, I am blind/ ' I
said to him, M How do I know you are blind? You
prove to me you are blind, and I will give you a
quarter/ ' He said, "Let me see the quarter.' '

I went a little ways further; saw a sign that
said, " Fortunes told " ; went in and had mine told.
The fortune teller looked at my hand and told
mine. He said I was going to get married and
have lots of clothes. I asked him how he could tell.
He said by my clothes line. He told me I had
been eating onions. How do you suppose he
knew that? I told him I hadn't breathed it to a
soul except him. He said that I would be without
money until I was forty years old and then I
would be used to it.

I saw a lot of fellows throwing balls at babies.
You get a cigar for every baby you hit. I thro wed
for ten minutes, and never hit a baby. I began
to get homesick right away. I suppose it was
because I missed the children.

I went to the postoffice. There I saw some signs
that read, "Postoffice open from now till then."
"From here to there." "Pistol cards for sale."
"Leave your address with the undertaker."
"Stamp your letters and not your feet." "Lick
the stamps and not the Post Master." "Office
closes at six o'clock on the last Saturday of each
week." " By order of the Post Hole office man."

A man came in and said to the Post Master, " Is
there a letter here for me?" The Post Master

20 On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

said, "What is the name, please ?" He said,
4 'Louder." The Post Master said, "I want to
know your name." He said, " Louder. J. H.
Louder. If you wasn't working for Uncle Sam
I'd take a tooth pick and come around behind
there and clean your ears."

I went to the hotel, picked up a paper, read the
heading of a piece that said, "Big Railroad
Wreck. No one hurt! Ten Texas steers and a
brakeman killed I The heading of another piece
read like this, " Big shoe store burnt in the East.
One thousand soles lost, all the heels were saved."
I read another piece that said, "A man jumped in
the river and committed suicide ! They say there
was a woman at the bottom of it!"

I read some of the advertisements.

One read, "Wanted, young lady to work in a
bakery. She must be from the East and well bred
and she will get her dough every Saturday night."

Another read, "Wanted a man and wife to work
on a farm. They must speak German and French
and understand horses and cows."

"Young man wants position in bank handling
money. Has no objections to leaving town."

" A man that never done a day's work in his life
wants a position as night watchman."

" Large dog for sale Will eat anything. Very
fond of children."

While I was there I was arrested for gambling.
The judge fined me ten dollars. I said : " Judge, I
wasn't playing for money, I was playing for chips."
He said chips was just the same as money. So I
gave him ten dollars worth of chips.

In Arkansaw they believe in doing everything

On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw 21

right. I stopped at a place where there was one
doctor, two shoe makers and a blacksmith. The
doctor killed a man. They didn't want to be
without a doctor, so they hung one of the shoe

I stopped at one place where they had lost all
track of the day of the week. They were holding
church on Monday for Sunday. Some of the
people down there have a queer way of naming
their children. I stopped with a family that had
two twin boys. One was named Pete and the
other Repete. At another place they had two
twin girls. One they called Kate, the other Du-
plicate. I stopped with a family by the name of
Wind. They had a daughter. Her name was
Helen Augusta Wind.

We came to a sign in the forks of a road that
read like this, "Take the right hand road for the
distillery. If you can't read, ask the blacksmith. ' '
At another place I was at they were going to have
an entertainment. It was to be home talent, of
course. I received an invitation and was also
asked to take part in the play, which I agreed to
do. They put my name on the program, and, of
course, I was expected to do something, I re-
member the first number on the program was a
young lady. She came out to sing. She had a
kind of a Montana voice. It was a beaut. It
was Hell-ena. She had it vaccinated but it didn't

The next was a young fellow. He sang a song
that was dedicated to the milkmen of that place,
entitled, " Shall We Gather at the River." When
he started to sing the boys went out and got a lot

22 On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

of duck eggs and throwed them at him. You
ought to have seen him duck eggs.

They have a different way of encoring you down
there. They don't clap their hands when they
want you to come back. They all holler, " Come
back." When we got through they hollered,
"Come back! Come back!" One big fellow
dared him to come back.

It came my turn next. I said, "Ladies and
gentlemen, I will recite you a little poetry. I will
take for my subject, "The Lights.' '

' ' The lights that shine tonight in this grand theater
Are not as bright as the lights that shine tonight in
Denver, Colorata."

They wanted me to sing. I told them I had just
received a message saying I had a very bad cold.
They insisted I should sing anyhow. I agreed to
sing. I said the first part of the song is awfully
simple. The second part is simply awful. If you
have any tears to shed go to the wood-shed and
shed them. When I started to sing I received the
greatest ovation of eggs that anybody ever re-
ceived. I hollered "Fowl!" Before I got half
way through the song over half of the audience
was on the stage. They said if they could find a
rail they would show me a trick. They lifted me
up on their shoulders and escorted me to the city
limits and told me not to come back and I didn't
come back. I kept on going until I got to Fort
Smith. When I got there the first place I came
to was a saloon. I walked right in and called for
a glass of seltzer. The bartender poured it out
and set it on the bar. I heard a noise on the out-
side. I walked to the door to see what it was.

On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw 23

When I came back my seltzer was gone. There
was no one there but the bartender and myself;
I knew he must have taken it. I hit him. In
came a policeman and arrested me. He took me
down to the jail, opened up a door and said,
"This is your cell, sir."

I found it to be a perfect sell. The windows,
they were great. I was just surrounded with bars
and couldn't get a drink. United States court is
held there for the Indian Territory. All the tough
characters are brought there for trial. They usu-
ally have a hanging about every Friday. There
are a great many people who leave Fort Smith by
the rope route. There is a scaffold in the jail yard
that accommodates ten at once. The hangman is
an old man. He has the distinction of being the
champion hangman of the world. He has sprung
the trap on eighty-seven men and has shot to
death seven. When he gets them on the scaffold
he hollers, "Get your feet up even!" When he
puts the rope around their necks he tickles them
under the chin and tells them he is going to make
angels out of them.

While I was in Fort Smith a policeman found a
man lying on the sidewalk who had fainted, he
took him to the police station. When he got
there he discovered the man was dead. They
searched him and found a six-shooter and forty
dollars. The policeman took the six-shooter; the
judge fined him forty dollars for carrying con-
cealed weapons.

Look at the condition of the working man to-
day, where is he? The tinners are continually

24 On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw

going up the spout. The plumbers are always
in the gutter. The paper-hangers are up against
the wall. The bakers are compelled to raise the
dough. The police has to be on the beet in order

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Online LibraryThomas William JacksonOn a slow train through Arkansaw : funny railroad stories : sayings of the southern darkies : all the latest and best minstrel jokes of the day → online text (page 1 of 5)