March 01, 2015
March 1, 1899. A Santa Fe Railroad superintendent sat down at his desk in Needles, California, to write in the passive voice so loved by bureaucrats: "Not long since, an attempt was made to hold up one of our overland trains; the plans were evidently well-laid and would have no doubt been successfully carried out, but for the cool head and foresight of the engineman. He, instead of stopping at the place designated by the robbers, pulled past the place, and then at the first opportunity pulled away. The action of the engineman is highly commendable, and I have caused 40 credit marks to be passed to his record." Several months later, Wells Fargo president John J. Valentine showed his appreciation by presenting Engineer Daniel B. Bunnell, and Wells Fargo messenger T.G. Hutchison gold watches for their "fidelity and devotion to duty under severe trial."