Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Using Railroad Maps and Timetables to Discover How Ebenezer Moved to Texas

Today’s lesson about railroads in the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in the “Sea to Shining Sea: Researching Our Ancestors’ Migrations in America” course got me thinking how my Loveless ancestors traveled from Conway, Arkansas to Stephenville, Texas.

Ebenezer Loveless came to Texas sometime between 31 Dec 1904 when he sold land outside of Conway, Arkansas to his son, Thomas M. Loveless[1] and 12 Sep 1908, when he married Melissa M. Blount (nee Settle) in Erath County, Texas.[2]

Route to Texas
By this time, railroads crossed many parts of the United States. One could travel to almost any town by rail. Using a railroad map of the Louisiana and Arkansas Railroad, I can find the lines between Conway and Stephenville.

I used the map of the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway Company found on Wikipedia.[3] Conway is not on the map but is located just north of Little Rock on the line along the Arkansas River. From Conway, he would have ridden to Little Rock. Changing trains at Little Rock, he would have traveled to Texarkana. He then changed trains again to ride to Fort Worth, Texas. From Fort Worth, he would have taken another train to Stephenville.

Louisiana & Arkansas Map from Wikipedia

Now, to be sure where this all worked and with which railroad company, I checked The Official Guide of the Railways and Steam Navigation Lines of the United States, Porto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Cuba, 1905 Jan-Feb.[4] This guide, found on HathiTrust, gives timetables for all of the railroads and steam lines in the above countries.

Official Guide from HathiTrust

The Guide also has maps at the front showing these railroads and the branch lines. Here are the two cropped images showing Arkansas and Texas with our route.[5]

Official Guide p. 24

Official Guide, p. 23

Also, in the Guide are timetables with listings of stops on the lines and the times they stop. If Ebenezer got on in Conway, he had a choice to two trains, one in the morning and one in the evening. Our ancestors had much more choices for riding than we do today. Let’s say he wanted to take the morning train. He would leave on the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Co. train  no. 54 at 5:02 and arrive in Little Rock at 6:00 AM.[6]

Official Guide p. 780

He would have about an hour layover to catch the same company’s No. 5 to Texarkana and arrive at 11:40 AM.  Then as you can see at the bottom, he boards the Texas and Pacific Railway at 12:10 PM toward Fort Worth.[7]

Official Guide, p. 771

His last train would be Train No. 9 on the Fort Worth & Rio Grande Railway (Frisco System), leaving Fort Worth at 3:25 PM and arrived in Stephenville at 6:07 PM.[8]

Official Guide p. 723.

Using old railroad maps and timetables listed in Official Guides, I was able to determine how Ebenezer Loveless made the move from Conway, Arkansas to Stephenville, Texas in the early part of the 20th century.

[1] Faulkner County, Arkansas, Circuit Clerk records, Conway, Bk 29, p 89, Warranty Deed, E. Loveless to T.M. Loveless.

[2] Erath County, Texas, Marriages, Bk L, p. 42, 1908, E Loveless-Mrs. MM Blount; FHL film 1,026,028.

[3] “Louisiana and Arkansas Railway,” Wikipedia (, 1903 system map of the L&A.

[4] The Official Guide of the Railways and Steam Navigation Lines of the United States, Porto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Cuba, 1905 Jan-Feb, digital image, HathiTrust (

[5] Ibid, p. 23 & 24.

[6] Ibid, p. 780.

[7] Ibid, p. 771.

[8] Ibid, p. 723.

Copyright © 2021 by Lisa S. Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family, All rights reserved.

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