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A depot picture is always better if it has a train or station agent in it. This photo has children, too.
I believe the station agent is Dan Cadagan and his tall, slender assistant is Harry Bedwell of Kellerton. If it is Cadagan and Bedwell, this photo was taken in 1904 or 1905.
Harry Chester Bedwell was born in Riley Township on January 8, 1888 to Chester and Flora (Crow) Bedwell. Harry had an older brother, Howard. I didn’t find out what happened to the father but older brother Howard would eventually go to Oklahoma for a land grant.
Harry and his mother were living in Kellerton at the turn-of-the-century and Harry had a fascination for trains. As early as 1903, the depot agent was Dan Cadagan. At some point, Mr. Cadagan rented a room from the Bedwells, drawing Harry ever closer to the railroad industry. A newspaper blurb from May 5, 1904 says Harry just returned from Centerville where he took the exam to be a depot helper. Bedwell was sixteen years old.
Harry learned telegraphy and by the fall of 1905, he had temporary charge of the depot at Andover, Missouri. In the summer of 1906, Bedwell was running the Kellerton while agent Cadagan was away and by the fall of 1906, Harry had temporary assignments in Shambaugh and Bartlett, in Iowa, and Union Star, in Missouri.
At age nineteen, Bedwell began to work his way west and eventually landed in Whittier, California. And it was on the west coast that Harry, still working as an operator and telegrapher, began his career as a railroad fiction author.
Bedwell wrote only one novel, “The Boomer,” but it was his short stories in magazines like Railroad Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post that brought him respect as an author. He is one of the most esteemed railroad authors of the first half of the twentieth century.
Harry Bedwell married and after his first wife passed, he married again but didn’t have children. Harry’s mother Flora was moved out to Whittier in her senior years and all are buried in California.
Frank P. Donovan, Jr. wrote Harry’s biography in 1959 – “Harry Bedwell: Last of the Great Railroad Storytellers.” One of the photos in this book was provided by Florence Whitson who was, I believe, a cousin to Flora Bedwell. Mr. Donovan traveled to Kellerton in 1957 to research his book. He arrived in Kellerton via a freight train and interviewed local folks who remember Harry in his youth. I have the book if someone would like to read it.