Trains, a Family Connection
September 04, 2013
Trains not only played an important part in United States history, they also played an important part in keeping my family connected. My Great-Aunt Margaret Wiley attended nursing school in Independence, Missouri, graduating in 1919. The only problem, she was born and raised in St. Louis. The train brought her to Independence on her initial voyage, but trains also brought visiting family. Margaret traveled back to St. Louis to visit frequently and soon, life on the “Western Frontier” lured both of Margaret’s younger sisters to Independence.
One of them (my grandmother) met, married, and settled with her husband in Independence. The youngest sister graduated from a course in medical transcription services and also made Independence her home. They kept the rails busy, traveling back and forth to visit parents, brothers, and extended families in St. Louis. Eventually, the girls’ parents also settled in Independence, but that did not stop the train travel. My mother and her sisters visited cousins in St. Louis, and the St. Louis cousins came out west to visit every summer, and all traveled by train.
To continue the tradition, my grandmother took me on my first train ride to visit family back east when I was a teenager. I will always remember my first train trip. The new experience was not the only thing I cherished about that trip. The importance of carrying on family tradition was not lost on me, even at that early age. I loved hearing the stories of my grandmother’s life in St. Louis. Traveling there and using the same conveyance she and her sisters used so many times only makes the memory that much sweeter to me.
Midwest Genealogy Center