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arrow Stories and Tales of the Weather Service
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Table of Contents
  Evolution to the Signal Service Years (1600 - 1891)
  Professor Cleveland Abbe
  Isaac M. Cline
  H. B. Boyer
  D. G. Benson
  Henry Calver
  Ford A. Carpenter
  Norman B. Conger
  Henry J. Cox
  John P. Finley
  H. C. Frankenfield 
  Glynn Gardner
  John S. Hazen
  C. F. von Herrmann
  J. W. Smith
  Richard H. Sullivan
  Wilford M. Wilson

signal service years

Personal View of John S. Hazen

I took the examination for the service in June immediately after my graduation from the Kansas State Agricultural College, was appointed the last of August, and was assigned to Pittsburgh temporarily thence to Savannah, GA, then to Hatteras, NC, Nashville, TN, Ft. Apache, Ariz., Santa Fe, N.M., San Francisco, Calif., Des Moines, Ia., Springfield, Mo., Tampa, Fla., and Canton, N.Y.

Hardships and heroic deeds have been scarce articles with me. Perhaps the most outstanding incident in my career was at Ft. Apache when I was ordered out to make an inspection of the telegraph line south from the fort with a detachment of three troopers as escort. This was during the time when the Apache Indians were not especially tractable.

We had made the trip of about fifty miles during the day without incident but on making camp, I cut in on the line with a pocket telegraph outfit and immediately got a frantic call for me to return at once to the post. We were all tired enough to quit but there appeared nothing else to do but return so after feeding and giving a rub down to the horses, getting our supper, and taking an hours rest we started on the fifty mile trip back. It was a weird trip of mountains and trees, plains and cacti, passing at one point the charred remains of a wagon train, which had been destroyed a short time before.

The only untoward incident attending the night trip occurred about three a.m. when one of the horses was noticed to be without a rider but on returning a short distance the trooper was found sitting in the road somewhat dazed but not hurt. He said he had been asleep but didn't know how long.

We reached home just as the sun was coming up the next morning and found the man from Cooleys, who had been sent down to take my place, had proceeded to get gloriously drunk soon after his arrival and had continued so in spite of the guard. On entering the office he was seated at the key, and alternating between swearing a steady stream, copying a portion of a message and tearing up same when he failed to get it. I don't remember how long he had been thus occupied but the office looked as if there were literally hundreds of partially copied messages torn up and scattered throughout the room.

The message which I finally got was from the War Dept. ordering out a troop of cavalry to subdue a small Moqui uprising. After watching the troop depart, I turned in and slept until night.


There comes to mind now the one told on Hayden when he first went into the service of how he was found locked in a closet and down on his knees praying for support after having broken every thermometer but one on the station. It seems he had started to whirl the maximum and the psychrometer at the same time with the result that every thermometer in the shelter was broken. He rushed to the office and while making his selection from the remainder managed to step on three more.

Likewise, the following on the man from Texas who could not get a leave to go fishing but went anyway. He made an artistic series of six observations coded same and filed in Western Union, first carefully explaining to the clerk that he was to send them in serial order one each morning at seven a.m. The man then starts on his fishing trip unconscious of the workings of fate.

The clerk carrying with him the careful explanation of how to send these messages was called away the next day. A new clerk finding the bunch of his desk the following morning fired the whole lot in. Result; an Inspector with a lieutenants uniform and proper credentials waiting at the door for him when he returned. A trying hour for Mr. Texas and a shift in scenery.

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