Tap Lines
W.E. Boone
Jacksonville's Locomotive Contractor
by
John B. Allen and Donald R. Hensley, Jr.
Photos from the collections of John B. Allen, Thomas Lawson, Jr. and Donald R. Hensley, Jr. unless noted otherwise.
This photo essay was originally researched by the late John B. Allen many years ago and was given to me prior to his passing away.
 I have added  additional research and present this photo story of an unusual occupation.
For another John B. Allen researched story please see the one on Milliard Timmerman, Traveling Photographer.


web
W.E. Boone # 91 at a phosphate mine near Dunnellon. This old Rogers shows clearly the numbering and lettering scheme of Boone.
This photo was taken in the 1890's and is one of a series of three showing the mine.
Anyone have a clue about the use of the round tank on the rear of the tender? Air brakes reservoir?

    William Elijah Boone was born at Thomasville, Georgia on New Years Day, 1853, a grand nephew of the legendary Daniel Boone. Being a mechanic by trade he moved to Fernandina and worked for the Florida Transit RR which had their main shops at Fernandina in the early 1880s. When the railroad merged into the Florida Railway & Navigation Co. the main shops were moved to Jacksonville in 1884 and young William  Boone relocated to that city. It was not long however before he decided to go into business for himself and in 1888 he purchased his first three locomotives from the Central Railroad & Banking Co. of Georgia.  Two of these were 35 year old Rogers locomotives which set the standard for many of his latter purchases. You could say he was very fond of the Rogers locomotives from years of working for the  FR&N which owned quite a few.

Now William Boone was in the leasing business, he would rebuild these locomotives and lease them out to the many businesses located in the industrial area of the city. Jacksonville was the home of many sawmills along the waterfront and he certainly had a ready market for his locomotives. Many of the sawmills logged along the St. Johns River and his locomotives could be barged down to the logging areas. The sawmill themselves needed switching service which he could provide. There were other large industrial outfits in town that could use his leased locomotives. The Cummer Lumber Co. was also was a big customer of his, as he provided locomotives as needed for their logging and phosphate mining ventures. The Cummer's also owned the Jacksonville & Southwestern RR which was a big user of his leased locomotives.

By the early 1900's he ventured out into South Georgia renting locomotives as far as Valdosta and Savannah. In Florida his locomotives were being leased out in the Live Oak and Perry area and he arranged to set up shop at Alton, using the shops of the Florida Railway in 1905. Here he leased locomotives to the Standard Lumber Co., Florida Ry, Live Oak Perry & Gulf and the Dowling Lumber Company.

The Gainesville & Gulf rented and later purchased one of his locomotives. The Cummer's used his locomotives in the logging and phosphate mining areas around Newberry. Locomotive were being leased out to sawmills in Alchua and Marion Counties.  Boone had a good steady market and was able to expand throughout North Florida and South Georgia.

From available records we know he purchased at least 21 used locomotives from CRR&B, Southern Ry., Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line. From photographic evidence we know he numbered his locomotives from 91 to at least 126 which would total 36 locomotives, leaving 15 locomotives purchased from other sources. All his rebuilds had the initials W E B on the panel under the cab window. They had large numerals on the tender and small numbers on the headlight and sand dome. All the photos I have seen from the earliest 90 series to the later 120 series had oil headlamps. All had balloon stacks and were wood burners. Some had simple single pump air brakes for mainline service. His Jacksonville shops were located at 1700 West Church Street, on the northwest corner of the Seaboard yards. In 1911 this was known as Boone's Terminal Co.

Its not known when William E. Boone quit the business, but the 1920 census shows that he was retired at the age of 67, living with his daughter Elizabeth (Nellie) and his son in law Edward O'Hara. The census shows that he was well off enough to afford a live in cook by the name of Mary and that he was in the Railroad Property business.  By the 1930 census he had moved into his own home at 3205 St. Johns Ave. with a housekeeper by the name of Etta. He died at his home on November 19, 1938 at the age of 85.



web 98
WEB 98 was leased by the Live Oak & Gulf and is shown here at Luraville in 1898 with the mixed train.
This locomotive is not a Rogers but appears to be either a Baldwin or a Danforth-Cooke.
Note that this early locomotive has Westinghouse air brakes for mainline service.
   
  

web 107
This photos shows W E B # 107, another Rogers locomotive being leased by a sawmill on the old Florida Southern Ry
 between Gainesville and Ocala. This Rogers is not as ancient as some of Boone's other engines,
 judging by the engraved cylinder block and the regular sand box cover.

   

web 110
WEB 110 shown at the Florida Ry shops at Alton, Florida circa 1910. The Florida Ry had the contract for repairing his locomotives.
This photo was probably taken by Henry Leach, master mechanic of the railroad.

   

web 114
Another one of Boone's engines being used on the Jacksonville & Southwestern RR circa 1905.
 The caption at the top reads Henry Buck and Boone engine 114.
Note this locomotive has air brakes for mainline service.
Photo from Florida State Archives

   


web 125
WEB 125 at the Florida Ry shops at Alton.  Another old  Rogers awaits orders for a trip out to the woods for a load of logs.
The WEB locomotives at Alton were used by  the massive Standard Lumber Co. mill a few hundred feet away.
   
  

web 126
WEB 126  out on the Standard Lumber Co. and being piloted by Henry Buck, an engineer employed by WE Boone.
While the photo mentions the date 1928, I find that the date is probably closer to 1918.
Note that this loco does have air brakes and can be used over the mainline.

William Elijah Boone
W E B
Roster of Locomotives

Date bought   Type        Builder       C/N     Date           Purchase from                                                                     
2/29/1888     4-4-0       Rogers        524     9/54           CRR&B 5 (ex Muskogee RR "Atlantic")
4/23/1888     4-4-0       Rogers        525     9/54           CRR&B 6 (ex Muskogee RR "Pacific")
5/14/1888     4-4-0       Baldwin       973    10/60          CRR&B 302 (ex M&G #4)
10/1893        4-4-0       Rogers        1873   3/71           CRR&B #68 (ex M&W # 19 "Jonesboro")
5/1895          4-4-0       Manchester 557      5/73          Southern 1441 (ex CC&A # 31, 731 & 61)
5/1895          4-4-0       Mason         384     12/70         Southern 1440 (ex C&G # 16, 816 & 762)
7/11/1895     4-4-0       Manchester  556      5/73          Southern 1440 (ex CC&A # 30, 730 & 60)
1/19/1897     4-4-0       Baldwin        3541   3/74           Southern 1443 (ex C&G # 18, C&G # 18, 818 & 79)
12/1898        4-4-0       Baldwin        4339   5/78           Southern 1133 (ex SU&C # 4 & 236)
6/17/1899     4-4-0       Pittsburg       541     1/82           Southern 1137 (Ex C&G # 8, 808 & 233)
                                                                                      WEB sold to SI&E # 261-resold to Robbins & McGehee 12/12/1903
11/19/1901   4-4-0       Rogers         1739    5/70           ACL 404 (ex N.E. # 21 "Orion"; to ACL of SC # 566)
11/1901        2-6-0      Baldwin         9889    3/89           SAL 101 (ex SA&M 101 to GA & AL 101)
                                                                                       WEB sold to Marion County Lumber Co.(FL)
11/1901        2-6-0       Baldwin        9890    3/89           SAL 102 (ex SA&M 102 to GA & AL 102)
                                                                                       WEB sold to Weldon Lbr Co. (SC)
4/25/1902      4-4-0      Manchester   560      7/73           ACL 415  (ex WC&A # 30 to ACL of SC # 575)
7/1902           4-4-0     W&W           112       /76            ACL 407 (ex W&W # 112)
7/1902           4-4-0     Rogers          ?            /72           ACL 407 (ex WC&A # ? to  ACL of SC # 571)
7/1902           4-4-0     Rogers          ?            /72           ACL 400   (ex WC&A # ?, to ACL of SC # 568)
7/1902           4-4-0     Rogers          1324      /65           ACL 400 (ex W&W # 32 & 94)
8/1902           4-4-0     Rogers          3071     8/82          SAL 314 (ex AG&WIT # 20 to FT&P # 20 "Hernando")
1/1903           4-4-0     Rogers          2890   12/81          SAL 312   (ex AG&WIT # 18 "Havana")
12/1905         4-4-0     Rogers          2889  12/81           SAL 311 (ex AG&WIT # 17, "Key West")
???                0-4-2TB Baldwin        4483   11/78           Hilliard & Bailey Lbr Co. RR "Florida"
                                                                                        WEB sold to A.L. Bunnell (FL)
                                                                                        sold to SI&E # 321 and resold to J.B.Blades Lbr Co. # 7 4/25/05 (NC)

Proof of Actual Numbers
91   Photo    4-4-0   Rogers   switching phosphate mill circa 1896
93   sold to S E Townsend, Welborn, Fla
96   sold to Gainesville & Gulf 11/21/1926
98   Photo    4-4-0 Baldwin or Cooke Live Oak & Gulf circa 1898
107   Photo    4-4-0  Rogers
110   Photo   4-4-0   Rogers
114   Photo   4-4-0   Rogers leased to Cummer Lbr Co.
120   Leased to Sumter Lumber Co., Edenfield, Fla 1908 and sold to the Atlantic Lumber Co., Alachua County, Fla
122   Leased to Wylly Gabett Co. of Savanah, Ga 1904-05
125   Photo     4-4-0   Rogers  
126   Photo     4-4-0   ?

ACL - Atlantic Coast Line
SAL - Seaboard Air Line
AG&WIT - Atlantic Gulf & West Indies Transit
W&W - Wilmington & Weldon
WC&A -  Wilmington, Columbia & Augusta
ACL of SC - Atlantic Coast Line of South Carolina
M&G - Mobile & Girard
CRR&B - Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia (later Central of Georgia)
CC&A - Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta
C&G - Columbus & Greenville
SU&C  - Spartanburg Union & Columbia
NE - North Eastern
SA&M - Savannah Americus & Montgomery

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