Friday, May 8, 2020

Captain Al

Albert Allen Waller (1872-1942) known as “Captain Al” worked for the railroad all of his adult life.  If he had lived another year he could have retired from the railroad with 53 years of service. He was the son of Joseph Waller and Amanda Kenney Waller and he was born north of Delmar.  Both of his brothers Harry and William also worked for the railroad.

He started with the railroad on January 20, 1890 as a brakeman for the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad.  In 1893 he was promoted to flagman.  In 1902 he was made a freight conductor. 

In 1902 a group of ten Negros tried to take over the train he was conductor of and in trying to remove them he was shot twice by them, once through the chest and lung and once through the collar bone.  The train was rushed from Delmar to Salisbury where he was operated on at the hospital.  While he was being operated on a posse was formed and an attempt was made at finding the Negros.  One posse armed with revolvers and Winchesters was headed by Albert’s father Joseph K Waller.

above Joseph K Waller

Joseph Waller found some of the Negros near Chapman Mills north east of Delmar.  In the shootout that followed one was shot in the leg by Waller.   Others were arrested south of Delmar and it was never clear which ones did the shooting. 

In 1907 he was made a passenger conductor.

In 1909 the train he was conductor of smashed head on into another train in Fruitland.  Several were killed on the other train but his passengers cars were saved from harm by being behind several non-passenger cars in the line of cars.

above the 1909 Fruitland smashup

In 1911 he was transferred from Delmar to Cape Charles where he was yard master for five years.  In 1916 the position of yardmaster was abolished and he was transferred back to Delmar as a conductor and he purchased a home on Pine Street from George l Long, no doubt one of the American four square style home Mr. Long was known for building. He remained a conductor until he died in 1942. 

Along the way he married in 1897 Annie Elizabeth Adkins (1876-1967) daughter of Sampson and Sallie Venables Adkins.  They had two children Helen (1898-1988) and Lewis Allen Waller (1902-1977).  Lewis would work for the railroad. Helen would marry Ray Corbitt Sturgis who also worked for the railroad.

Conductors tend to be political people not necessarily as in running for elected office but just social joiners.  Captain Al was one of the organizers of Delmar Lodge. No. 123, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, and of Delmar Lodge, No. 445, Order of Rail road Conductors. Charter Lodge Member Mr. Waller also was a charter member of Delmar Lodge. No. 201, A. F. and A. M., and of the Delmar Loyal Order of Moose. He was active In civic and church activities here, serving as a trustee of the Delmar First Methodist Church for 22 years. He made an unsuccessful attempt for Mayor in 1939. 

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