21 - Three Railroads in the Jay Gould System Probably Brought the Thomas Family to Houston
by John Tennison — History of Boogie Woogie
1. St. Louis, Iron Mountain, & Southern (from Little Rock, AR southwest to Texarkana, TX). This railroad company was formed in May of 1874 from a merger of the St. Louis & Iron Mountain, the C&F, and the CA&T. The St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Company merged into the Missouri Pacific company in May of 1917. Thus, from 1883 until 1898 (when Beulah Thomas (George’s younger sister) was born in Houston), the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Company would have been the logical choice for rail travel from Little Rock to Texarkana.
2. Texas & Pacific (from Texarkana, TX south to Marshall, TX and then west to Longview, TX). This railroad company was formed in 1871. Travel through Marshall would have taken the Thomases through the pounding sound of the town (am I some kind of poet?) of Marshall, the Chugging heart of the Texas & Pacific Railroad Manufacturing and steam locomotive maintenance shops. As stated elsewhere in this article, the Texas & Pacific Railroad company has a stronger association with the early development of Boogie Woogie than any other railroad. Thus, it is “The Boogie Woogie Railroad.” This particular part of the Texas & Pacific existed completely in the Piney Woods of East Texas.
3. International & Great Northern (from Longview, TX to Palestine, and then south to Houston). The International & Great Northern company was formed in September of 1873 from a merger of the Houston & Great Northern (formed October, 1866) and the International Railroad Company (formed August, 1870). Like the Texas & Pacific Route above, this part of the International & Great Northern exists completely in the Piney Woods of East Texas.