WALLACE S. LODWICK, Youngstown, OH
Wallace S. Lodwick's railroad career has been punctuated by a series of incidents that mark him as a hero, and at the same time a man who through luck or Providence-call it which you will-has escaped serious injury in wrecks, any one of which might have cost him his life.
He was born in Old Town, OH in 1859 and is the son of George W. Lodwick, a blacksmith who, with his good wife, now resides in Youngstown. Mr. Lodwick left school at the age of 14 and for ten years followed the blacksmith trade in Austintown, OH. His father was sheriff of Mahoning County, OH for two terms, and the young man was his deputy for the entire time. In 1885 he began firing on the Erie, working under engineer J.E. Farell. Mr. Kells was Superintendent of Motive Power and N. Wright Master Mechanic, and after a short time, Mr. Lodwick was transferred to work on 137, engineer Mat Shay's engine, with whom he worked over four years. He established a record of being one of the best firemen on the Mahoning Division, and kept his engine cleaner than any fireman of his time. He was promoted to engineer in March, 1889.
While firing an excursion train for engineer Thomas Walsh, the train ran into an open switch in the Youngstown yard; the air failed to work and calling for his fireman to save himself, engineer Walsh jumped from the side of the cab. Mr. Lodwick did not jump; instead, he reversed the engine, gave her sand and stuck to her till they bumped into a switch engine on the siding. His presence of mind saved the lives and limbs of many of the 500 passengers on the train (including his son, B. Lodwick, now a fireman on the Mahoning Division of the Erie).
Mr. Lodwick was in two head-end collisions while firing for engineer R. Kennedy in 1886. Also with a Shore Iron Company's engine at State Line, and with the Boice Local engine. While firing engine 1216 in Youngstown yards, he fractured two ribs but stuck to his post and fired to Sharon, fourteen miles, after his injury. On December 12, 1898, when the Erie got her first compound engines for trains 7 and 10, fifteen men in turn were called to take No. 7 to Cleveland, but none of them would handle the engine. Mr. Lodwick was the sixteenth engineer called, and although he had never handled an engine of that description, he took the train to Cleveland and made up 15 minutes the train had been delayed while the officials were securing a man who could handle the new engine.
On March 14, 1899, while running train 83 between Mosier and Girard he met with a peculiar accident. He was pulling out of the Girard Mills yard when a passenger train of the C&P ran into him, derailing both engines and causing considerable damage. The engineer on the passenger train had mistaken the position of the target switch, and as a result of the accident Mr. Lodwick had his spine injured and was badly shaken up.
He was married October 14, 1879 to Miss Mary E. Lanteman of Boardman at Enon Valley, PA. They have one son and one daughter. The son, B. Lodwick, is not yet 21 yeasr of age, and is now a fireman on the Mahoning Division of the Erie. He put his first fire in engine 236 at the age of 4 years, and did his first regular firing under the watchful eye of his father, September 7, 1898. In 1882 the Glassblowers' Union, then in session at Youngstown, voted a prize to the most popular child in Youngstown. Mr. B. Lodwick, then 4 years of age, was the winner of the beautiful token and prizes it highly to this day. At Mr. Lodwick's pleasant home is to be found an unique pet: a tame gray squirrel, which he obtained at Ellsworth, OH in 1887, and although it is 12 years old is still very frisky. Mr. Lodwick is a member of Friendship Lodge 329, B of LE.
Excerpted from: "American Locomotive Engineers, Erie Railway Edition," H.R. Romans Editor; Crawford-Adsit Company Publishers, Chicago, IL 1899.