“Are you gwine to be a member of the Pleiades Club?”

“Yes, I is; indeed, I is.”

This refrain was sung with much gusto by the members of the telegraph
club in session at the Telegraphers’ Tabernacle, on the planet Mars, on
the afternoon of the day set apart for the telegraphers’ tournament.
The song was set to the music of the “Old Lime Kiln Club” and was
enthusiastically received.

From all points of the compass were arriving in balloons, dirigibles,
aeroplanes, members of the craft anxious to be present at the big
blow-out. Submarines, only on pleasure bent, however, came up the
Hesperian canal, filled with the operators of the olden days; across
the River “Styxx” arrived colony after colony of ex-telegraph
officials, operators and linemen, but there was no elbowing to obtain a
front seat.

President Fred Catlin looked magnificent as he called the vast
assemblage to order. This took some little time, as there were many
new arrivals and much interest manifested by those already in the
Tabernacle to see who the newcomers were; there was also much visiting,
good humor and hilarity, and everybody was happy.

“As a preliminary,” said Mr. Catlin, “I will take pleasure in giving
our friends an illustration of how the Western Associated Press was
worked in 1875. We will have Albert S. Ayres, whom you all knew
as ‘Patsey’ Ayres, do the sending at Cincinnati and the following
gentlemen will do the receiving: at Indianapolis, Milton Goewey; St.
Louis, John W. McDonald of Texas; Louisville, Charles Newton; Memphis,
Ed. Foote; Nashville, James U. Rust; Chattanooga, Jack St. Clair; New
Orleans, Taylor Adams, and at Galveston, Alex. Sinnott.”

At the mention of each of these names, a shout of approval shook the
audience, which indicated that all were well and favorably known.

“Patsey” Ayres had been fumbling with the key for several minutes,
screwing it up until there was less than a thousandth part of an inch
play, and then began a series of dots and dashes, fast and furious,
but beautiful to listen to and like the music of a grand opera to the
trained ears of the telegraphers present.

For an hour or more Mr. Ayers continued his tireless and musical
performance on the key, but never once was it necessary for any of the
receivers to break him. All of these operators were wizards with the
stylus and many in the audience took back with them a manifold sheet as
a souvenir of the occasion.

This was a particularly happy event and recalled to mind to many the
great receiving of forty years ago.

“I find that you are so much pleased with this event that I shall take
pleasure in giving you an illustration of how ‘C. U. B.’ was sent over
the Overland in early days from Chicago,” said the president, “and I
have called for the following gentlemen to officiate:

“J. De Witt Congdon will do the pitching in Chicago and the following
will do the receiving at their respective offices: ‘Dad’ Armstrong at
Omaha, John Wilkie at Cheyenne, George Merrifield at Denver, Edward
C. Keeler at Ogden, Jack Wolfenden at Salt Lake, P. A. Rowe at Elko,
Davey Crawford at Virginia City, Joe Wood of Boston and E. H. Beardsley
at Sacramento, George Bowker and John Lowrey at San Francisco, John
Donnelly at Los Angeles, Billy Leigh and G. W. Thurman at Portland, Sam
McIntosh at New Westminster, B. C., and John Henderson at Victoria, B.

“Gentlemen,” said Mr. Catlin, “this is a long circuit and you see you
can have any kind of weather you desire, from extreme cold to the
torrid zone, almost, but this never interferes with a good operator,
and now the performance will begin.”

While Mr. Congdon’s sending was not as beautiful as was that of Mr.
Ayres, it reached each point from the extreme northwest down to the
region of Catalina Island, each dot and dash arriving at its terminal
in perfect shape.

This was certainly a great feat and it was much talked about by the
happy visitors.

There was some delay in making the preparations and before the main
event was reached it was suggested by Hank Bogardus that the business
be suspended for the time being, so that all could witness a game of
base ball about to open on the Elysian Fields, at the rear of the
tournament hall. “Those base ball enthusiasts,” said Bogy, “will make
such a noise that it will be impossible to hear our instruments in the
hall, and I for one do not want to have the beautiful Morse that will
be in evidence drowned out.”

All agreed to the suggestion and forthwith there was a parade from
the hall to the ball grounds of famous telegraphers that shone in the
earthly telegraph firmament in years gone by.

It was interesting to hear the remarks made by these former “knights of
the key” as the different plays were made, showing plainly that they
had not lost any of their former enthusiasm for the national game.

“Who is the manager of the office on the grounds?” inquired Billy
Blanchard. “Bring him up here so he can enjoy the game with us,” but
before that official could be found and Billy’s request carried out the
game had finished and the telegraph crowd returned to the hall to take
up their work where they left off. When they got back and seated it was
evident that they were hardly in the right frame of mind, after the
excitement over the base ball game, to resume the details of their own
work, so President Catlin said that as there was no hurry to finish the
work in hand he suggested that the tournament be adjourned until the
next day. This would give all hands a chance to get over the effects of
their base ball experience and be able to concentrate their thoughts
upon the more important work in hand.

This suggestion was gladly accepted and all filed out and boarded
a canal craft for a ride down one of the Martian waterways in the
beautiful moonlight.

The bulletin board, which was the azure blue sky of Mars, contained the
names of many new arrivals by fast express train from the terrestrial
planet. These bulletins were seared into the bright sky by an electric
pen wielded by wireless telegraph, which left an impression plainly
visible and legible to all on the planet, and as there is no slumber
or tired feeling on the planet Mars, all of its sojourners were on the
_qui vive_ in anticipation of meeting old friends.

“Ah! There’s Nelson A. Buell, of Cleveland, Ohio,” cried out A. H.
Vanduzer, and instantly the Cleveland fraternity marshalled into line,
as one great body, to welcome the arrival of one of its loved members
while on Earth.

It was easy to recognize the face and form of the former manager of the
Cleveland office, with his Napoleonic face, from which radiated love
and kindness for his brother man.

There was a long list of friends and former associates to greet Mr.
Buell, operators, linemen, clerks and messengers being in the gathering.

Among those assembled to greet the newly arrived were the following:

E. P. Wright, A. H. Vanduzer, Chas. H. Lapp, L. A. Somers, A. J.
Desson, Nick Kerver, C. F. Stumm, Geo. T. Lowe, George Phillips, S. B.
Roberts, G. H. Wadsworth, E. T. Tindall, O. A. Gurley, E. C. Stockwell,
W. R. Williams, Richard Babbitt, D. C. Shull, J. N. McNamara, Marshall
S. Green, Thomas Callahan, John J. McCart, George E. Hinman and his
brother Walter, W. H. Eckman, Jas. P. McKinstry, George W. Baxter, Dan
R. Francis, Harry Collins, George Melton, George Winston Patteson,
Frank G. Beach, W. H. Spencer, Ed Schemerhorn, Hank Cowan, Charlie
Phillips, Ed. C. Jenney, Ed. B. Beecher, J. H. Wade, Anson Stager, Wm.
Hunter, Charlie Gorham, Hank W. Stager, Tom Miles, Thos. H. Gould and

Many telegraph people from adjacent cities were also in evidence and
such dear old faces as Zeke Butman, of Fremont, Ohio; Dewitt C. Hill,
of Painesville, Ohio; William Bryant, of Erie, Pa.; Ed Burke and P. F.
McCarthy, of Sandusky; John A. Townsend, of Dunkirk, N. Y.; Frank Ross
and John Owens, of Columbus, Ohio; Henry W. Wynkoop, of Crestline; Wm.
Kline, Jr., Charles O. and George M. Brigham, of Toledo, and Mark Luce,
of Titusville, Pa.

Mr. Buell’s arrival was hailed with much delight and when he announced
that the next meeting of the Old Time Telegraphers was to be held
in Cleveland, the enthusiasm became greater, for all remembered the
previous meeting of that Association in the Forest City in 1886 and the
good time everyone had upon that occasion.

“I will never forget the ride to Rocky River,” said Mr. Stumm.

“And I will always remembers the trip to Put-in-Bay and Kelly’s
Island,” remarked O. A. Gurley.

All of the members had something pleasant to relate and all gave out
the hope that their wishes in the matter could reach their former
earthly colleagues.

“That matter will be attended to in the highest style of the art, as I
will write the subject up and hand it to Fred Moxon for transmission to
his earthly partner,” said George Hinman, as he proceeded to sharpen
his pencil.

Late copies of Telegraph and Telephone Age, brought to the planet Mars
by Nelson A. Buell were passed around and eagerly scanned and the
doings of the Pleiades Club were favorably commented upon.

“While the secretary of the Old Timers, John Brant, is reading
felicitous telegrams at the Cleveland meeting from terrestrial friends,
I hope it will not be amiss for us to extend our congratulations to
that honorable body and I suggest that a committee of the Cleveland Old
Timers now here assembled be appointed to draft a suitable and loving
message for our friends to be read on the occasion of the 1917 reunion.”

Thus spoke E. P. Wright, and cheer after cheer greeted his suggestion
and Gen. Anson Stager, Jeptha H. Wade, Frank G. Beach and Thomas
Callahan were appointed such committee, which showed the democratic
spirit of the assemblage.

“I believe that I will send a private wireless message to my old
friend, Allen A. Briggs, and tell him what a nice place it is up here,”
said Hank Stager, and many others fell into line to do the same stunt.

Presidents Garfield and McKinley, both members of the Ohio Society,
stopped to read the bulletins and to shake hands with Nelson Buell,
whom the late presidents remembered particularly well for his
ever-gentle courtesy when they met in the telegraph office.

“We will watch with keen interest the occurrences at the next Old
Timers’ meeting, and while not regretting being present, we will extend
our hearty congratulations to our worthy brothers in session.” This
seemed to be the consensus of opinion, heartily expressed, which was
handed to Mr. Moxon, with the remark, “More to come.”

And so it appears that the doings of our earthly brothers are being
solicitously watched over by those engaged in the same line of business
and who have gone before us, and we are never for a moment left alone,
even to our innermost thoughts and desires.

The railroad superintendents of telegraph as well as the commercial
superintendents are forming an association on the planet Mars and a
report of the meeting and the names of those present will be the topic
of a future chapter in the Pleiades Club series.

There was a large number of sailing craft on the Hesperian canal, on
the planet Mars, all headed in the same direction and all evidently
bound on the same mission. There were also some small steamers which
kept up a fusillade of whistles extending “73” in Morse signals to the
other craft. On board these vessels there was a lively lot of men, with
a fair sprinkling of ladies, all beaming with smiles and good nature.
This gay crowd was en route to attend the gathering of the railroad and
commercial superintendents of telegraph which was booked to occur April

The meeting was to take place in the Telegraphers’ Tabernacle and
everybody was asked to join, for as I mentioned before, there is no
class distinction on the planet Mars. There was a long list of names
and a long array of forms and faces very familiar to the denizens of

The first one to alight from the steamer was Chas. W. Hammond, whose
once serious face was now wreathed with smiles and good humor. He
stopped to shake hands with his many friends who gathered around him
and to crack some of his old jokes with them, for he is as dearly loved
on the planet Mars as he was on Mother Earth.

“Hello, there, Charlie,” exclaimed James W. Stacey, extending his
hand to Hammond. “I have not seen you since you came down to Houston
to visit,” and the first superintendent of the Atchison, Topeka and
Santa Fe telegraph system smiled at his former colleague. Merry sallies
passed between these gentlemen and the crowd proceeded up the little
hillock to the Tabernacle.

“Well, if there is not my old friend and patron, Henry W. Wynkoop, all
the way from Crestline, Ohio, and O. H. Booth from Mansfield, Ohio,”
and both gentlemen, arm in arm, bowed their acknowledgments to a host
of their former co-workers.

And here we have still another Ohio railroad superintendent as the form
of Wm. Kline, Jr., came down the line accompanied by George A. Beach.
Mr. Kline was for many years with the Lake Shore at Toledo, Ohio, and
has graduated more first class operators from his road than any other
superintendent in the country, all of whom esteemed and loved their

George A. Beach, also from Toledo, where he spent so many years with
the Wabash Railroad, accompanied by Joseph Keenan was surrounded by a
number of old friends and colleagues.

Frank Vandenburg, from the Southern Pacific, San Francisco, and Col.
John J. Dickey, of the Union Pacific, were recounting the happy days
spent on the Pacific Coast.

“Yes, I remember how you favored big batteries, big relays and big
operators,” ejaculated Col. Dickey, addressing Vandenburg.

“Yes, and I recollect how you used to like to attend the yearly
gatherings of the old-timers,” returned Vandenburg, with a broad smile.

“Right you are, and you can see that I am doing business at the old
stand,” came from Col. Dickey as he halted to shake hands with W. B.
Hibbard and J. C. Sheldon, who were passing along in an automobile.

It was a great pleasure to witness the meeting between Harry C. Hope
and U. J. Fry, the former of St. Paul and the latter of the Chicago,
Milwaukee and St. Paul road at Milwaukee. Mr. Hope was never a
speechmaker but he is certainly a most delightful and entertaining
single-handed talker.

Mr. Fry was in his usual kind and gentle mood and made inquiries for
the many gone before whom he was anxious to meet.

E. J. Little, from St. Paul, a recent arrival, accompanied Messrs.
Hope and Fry around the Tabernacle, shaking hands with old friends.
Mr. Little brought the latest telegraph news from the Earth, which was
listened to attentively.

Many old commercial superintendents whose names are historical with the
telegraph now came along in automobiles to take part in the meeting.

Of course there was the revered S. F. B. Morse, father of the
telegraph, who received a great ovation. There was C. H. Haskins, so
well known to the old Chicagoan, Col. J. J. S. Wilson, so long with the
Western Union at Chicago; I. McMichael and James Swan of Minneapolis,
C. O. Rowe of Pittsburgh, E. P. Wright of Cleveland, L. C. Baker of St.
Louis, Frank G. Beach of the Atlantic and Pacific, Cleveland; David
Flanery of New Orleans, George H. Usher of Atlanta, Ga.; C. A. Darlton
of Washington, Asa R. Swift of Chicago, S. A. D. Forristall of Boston,
Sam S. Bogart, Jesse H. Bunnell and E. G. Cochrane of New York, and
George M. Dugan of Tip Top, Ky.

The smiling face of James H. Guild, who was superintendent for the
Oregon Railway and Navigation Company’s telegraphs for so long during
the pioneer days of Oregon and Washington, was much in evidence. He was
surrounded by a happy throng of his old boys, who were relating all the
latest news which came up from the Earth. Mr. Guild had always been a
great exponent of total abstinence and he expressed much pleasure to
know that both Oregon and Washington had gone dry. Many of the other
superintendents readily gave their “ok” to Mr. Guild’s views.

Frank Jaynes, James Gamble, George Ladd, R. R. Haines, Peter Lovell
and others of the Pacific Coast were busily engaged in making the day
pleasant for all those in attendance and in this they were cheerfully
assisted by their brothers from the East.

A committee composed of Henry C. Hope, U. J. Fry and Wm. Kline, Jr.,
was appointed to draft a telegram of congratulations to be extended the
president of the Association of Railway Telegraph Superintendents, soon
to convene in Washington, D. C.

Copies of Telegraph and Telephone Age containing the news of the
passing of Charles A. Tinker were read with much interest and a
committee was appointed to watch the Cannon Ball Express train to
welcome that gentleman’s arrival on the planet Mars.

The meeting is still in session and it will continue to be for a day
or two, after which there will be the usual excursion over the little
planet, all to be wound up by a magnificent banquet.

We hope to receive more particulars of the doings of the meeting for
future publication.