Railroad Header Images

One thing is certain...the railroads and the river were important to our Bussell family in the 1800's! 

And of railroads, there were many!  The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad ran up the east bank of the Hudson, where the Carlow family lived, The Erie Railroad had a Newburgh Branch that ran up the west bank and served Cornwall, NY where Richard Bussell lived with Mary Elizabeth VanBeuren and once the Poughkeepsie River Bridge was completed the Boston, Hartford & Erie Railroad allowed train passage (without the use of a ferry) across the Hudson.  Before the bridge was completed, there was still a "train car" ferry going back and forth.
(see postcard from 1905 on right)

Somehow, the BUSSELL family, living in Cornwall, Orange County, and the CARLOW family, living across the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, had to meet. Whether they met in New York City or in the middle of the Hudson River, there is not doubt that trains were critical to the lives of both families.  As an aside, it would not surprise me to discover Peter CARLOW was the captain of one of those ferry boats.
Newburgh on Hudson Train Transfer Ferry
Pointing Finger

Richard Bussell married Antoinette "Nettie" Carlow in 1888 in Dutchess County.  Richard's father died 8 years and 4 days before in Cornwall, Orange County and his mother is living in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County.  At the time of the wedding a railroad bridge was not completed!

It is possible that Richard met Nettie while he was in his teens or maybe they knew each other for a much longer period of time.  Just for grins, let’s assume they knew each other as 5-year old children back in New York City perhaps through church or some sort of business dealings across the river or from the City directly.  That puts getting back and forth in the 1860 - 1888 timeframe. The choices are train, steamship or horse drawn carriage - 65 miles up river. Which would you choose?

Nettie’s grandfather, Peter Carlow, was a well-known boatman on the Hudson for many years before he died in 1882.  It’s also known that back in the 1830’s, Peter Carlow and his wife Cornelia were living in New York City, based upon land records at the time.  Maybe the Bussells and the Carlows were long-time friends going back to the 1830’s? So many questions I just don't have answers to ... yet!
The point here is...THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN ABOUT THESE TWO FAMILIES! 
Finding out how they got around between New York City and both banks of the Hudson River is just a beginning and helps to work out the relationships. 
Pointing Finger

By 1880 New York City would have a population of 1.7 million-up from 1 million only twenty years earlier and destined to double by 1900. Aside from the river itself, trains seem to be the most likely means of transport, aside from carriages.  Being 65+ miles from New York City, I would have to assume a train ride to be far more convenient than a horse drawn carriage, at least to get back and forth from the City.  A carriage on the ferry across the river is certainly possible as well.

For now, the focus is on the trains!  The Hudson River Railroad Bridge at Poughkeepsie which burned on the afternoon of May 8, 1974 cannot be considered because of the dates.  While it was the first bridge to cross the Hudson River between Albany and New York City and it was 1 ¼ miles long which made it the longest bridge in the world and it connected Highland on the west bank to Washington St. in Poughkeepsie on the east the fact remains...
...it opened on New Year's Day 1889, far to late to have been a mode of travel for our families.

Walkway Over the Hudson, Past, Present and Future is a 10 ½ minute video on YouTube  and quite an interesting history of the bridge.  I can't show it here but you can view the video by clicking on the image to go to YouTube.
YouTube Link to Hudson River Bridge

Old Railroad Steam Train
From “Introduction to the Development of Industry and Transportation in the Hudson River Valley

"Many small-scale local railroads sprang up, coalesced, and spiraled down into bankruptcy. Dutchess County hosted several of these ventures as the Hudson River Valley emerged as a high-profile center of commerce due to its natural resources, available workforce, successful port and manufacturing industries, and banking establishments."
The Hudson Line in particular, began in the 1830’s. This following is a reprint of “The Hudson Line” from World Rail Photos by Pierce Haviland, formerly The NJ, NY & CT Railroad Website.  (click to visit).

Because of the importance of this railroad line and others to the transportation needs of our ancestors, I have copied it here.
The World Rail Photos by Pierce Haviland site was created as a forum for rail fans of the Metropolitan New York area.  Subjects covered range from the latest Metro-North, Amtrak, LIRR and NJT equipment to historic photographs to Pennsy GG-1's. You can also find information on various aspects of railroad operations in the New York City area, and historical data about predecessor railroads.  This is a most interesting site and I recommend it.

The Hudson Line

THE HUDSON LINE

THE HUDSON LINE BEGINS AT GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL and starts a steep climb in the Park Avenue Tunnel. This part of the line was originally the New York & Harlem in the 1830s. At 86th Street you are still in the tunnel, but you reach your highest point in elevation on the Hudson Line. As you leave the tunnel, nearly three miles from Grand Central, you will ride upon the Park Avenue Viaduct. This structure was completely renovated to allow a smoother, faster ride. On the viaduct you will come to your first station at 125th Street, the main street of Harlem. As you look west, on the north side of the street you can see the famous Apollo Theatre.

...After leaving 125 Street, you will cross the Harlem River and divert in a northwesterly direction. At Mott Haven Junction (MO), the tracks of the Hudson Line swing off towards the Harlem River. You will pass the new Yankee Stadium where a new station opened in 2009 and follow the river to Spuyten Duyvil. This is where the Amtrak Empire Branch from Penn Station joins the Metro-North tracks. Now your train is heading north along the banks of the mighty Hudson River. This is the former route of some of the New York Central's most famous trains; like The Twentieth Century Limited and The Empire State Express. Try to be seated on the left side of the train to view the Palisades Cliffs on the opposite side of the river. As a customer-oriented improvement, Metro-North removed many of the obstacles along the river that might block your view.

... As you pass through Yonkers, Tarrytown and Ossining (express stops) your train will reach speeds up to 75 mph. South of Poughkeepsie, trains travel up to 90 mph on Metro-North tracks. If that's not fast enough, you can continue your trip to Albany at speeds up to 110mph. What's the hurry? With the views you have on the Hudson Line, you may want to catch a local.

...Metro-North's major shop facility is located at Croton-Harmon, at the northern end of third-rail territory. Electric MU's, diesel locomotives, Bombardier coaches, and other MN equipment are serviced here. There is a highway bridge that brings cars across the yard to Croton Point Park - you can get a good view of the shops from there. It's a good place for photographs, but don't even think of trespassing in the yard. It's dangerous, and illegal. Croton-Harmon is also an Amtrak stop.

...Poughkeepsie is the northern terminus of commuter service on the Hudson. The former New York Central station is tucked in between the Mid-Hudson Bridge, the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge, the Hudson River, and New York Route 9. The Poughkeepsie Bridge used to carry New Haven freights across the river to the major yard in Maybrook, New York. It was the only Hudson rail crossing south of Albany (not counting the New York tug floats). The bridge suffered a tie fire in 1974 (under the stewardship of Penn Central), and has been closed ever since but will soon reopen as a public park with a pedestrian walkway. Until approximately 2003, there was a switchback interchange that ran from the former New Haven tracks down to the Poughkeepsie yard that served several CSX freight customers. The connection was cut and the tracks removed.

From the funeral notice for Richard Bussell (senior) it is also know that the family must have used the Erie Railroad, Newburgh Branch as a means of getting back and forth between the City and Cornwall.  Apparently the Mountainville Station was nearest to their home in Cornwall. 
Richard Bussell - Obituary Aug 1880

From “Erie Railroad's Newburgh Branch” by Robert McCue, we read:

For over 130 years, the Erie Railroad s Newburgh branch was a key factor in the economic and social life of the city of Newburgh, New York, and the towns that had stations along its 19-mile route between Newburgh and the Erie main line. Only five miles of this once vital rail link survive today. Looking at this lightly used rail spur today, the casual passerby would have no hint of the rich history that can be seen for only a moment from the car window. Erie Railroad s Newburgh Branch will take both dedicated and new railfans back to the days when rail travel was every town s modern mode of transport as well as its economic lifeblood.
Erie Railroad - Old Timetable
Found at Road and Rail Pictures (click to visit)

Mountainville Station - Erie Railroad

photo from "http://byalextrains.blogspot.ca - credited to Douglass Barberio.

Mountainville
Then and Now


Mountainville Station - 2010

photo from "Road and Rail Pictures" link above
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