Superintendent A. D. Caulfield was not a rough and tumble railroad man, according to Bruce Gurner. "He was southern gentleman."
Caulfield started as a telegraph operator and moved up through the ranks to dispatcher. After working in Louisiana, he moved to Water Valley shortly after the turn of the century and became chief dispatcher then later trainmaster. In 1913 he married Helen Leland, the daughter of a wealthy Water Valley merchant in "the biggest social event of the season."
In 1914 he became Superintendent of the Mississippi Division of the Illinois Central.
"Mr. Caulfield never did anything ribald or robust," Gurner emphasizes. "He only knew two curse words."
Railroader "Hot" Thomas told Gurner of the time he was flagging on the company motorcar headed south with Caulfield between Holly Springs and Oxford. "They were headed in at Gillton and Mr. Dunn was behind them on number five. They were all standing by the motorcar when Charlie Dunn went by about 100 miles an hour."
The partial vacuum created by the fast moving train sucked everything along with it including Caulfield's expensive straw hat. Caulfield used one of his curse words. In fact, Thomas told Gurner he used the word twice for emphasis then said, "I'm going to have to talk to Charlie tomorrow about running so fast."
Superintendent A. D. Caulfield
"The world was in good order. We knew that God was in Heaven and Mr. Caulfield was in his office at the depot. The future was rosy. God and Mr. Caulfield were going to take care of us."
Some people believed that if anything ever happened to him Water Valley would lose the division office.
"Mr. Caulfield died in 1940. By 1945 everything was gone."
Copyright © 1998 Jack Gurner