Author Topic: Harold Morrill- Grand Patriarch of the Monson Railroad  (Read 3340 times)

Roger Whitney

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Harold Morrill- Grand Patriarch of the Monson Railroad
« on: October 06, 2011, 12:32:36 PM »
Harold Morrill-  Grand Patriarch of the Monson Railroad

   Most students of the Monson Railroad recognize the name of Harold Morrill.  He was superintendent of the Monson from 1905 to1938 and was a pillar of the community who possessed an incredible range of abilities. Today he might be called a renaissance man. Lets take a closer look at the life and times of Superintendent Morrill.
         Harold was born in Brownville, Maine on May 27 1864. His family moved to Monson in 1876, attended and graduated from Monson Academy. In 1884 at age 20, he went to work for the newly built Monson Railroad as fireman and brakeman.  Romance was in the air and on December 24, 1885 he married Hattie Flint of Abbot.  They had 2 daughters.
         Harold studied telegraphy and in 1887 became the official telegrapher for the road and kept that job until 1938 when he retired. Two years later he was set up to engineer and remained in that position until the summer of summer 1904, when he was promoted super after long time superintendent Wilmot Esterbrooke died.  He was also in charge of maintenance and repairs for the locomotives and rolling stock.  This is evident in later correspondence with Vulcan when they were negotiating specs for their new locomotive in 1912.  He really knew what he was talking about.
In 1918 he became American Express Agent and assumed the jobs of conductor baggage master, freight agent, ticket agent and dispatcher; all holding these jobs until retirement.   
         He was not only a railroad man but a civic minded one also.  In 1886 he was raised in Doric Lodge A & AM and became master of that lodge in 1897.  He was a member of the Monson Baptist Church and sang in the choir.  He was on the Board of Trustees for his alma mater, the Monson Academy. As if that wasn’t enough, he served on numerous town committees.
         But time was passing by.  His wife’s health was failing and on December 1, 1938 he retired from the Monson Railroad ending 54 years of service, 34 years as superintendent. His wife of 54 years passed away the next year on May 17, 1939.  He must have been heartbroken and lonely as he went to live with his daughters. Slowly, failing health took it’s toll.  On May 7, 1945, Harold Morrill passed away at the age of 81.  His funeral was held on May 9 at the Monson Baptist Church and burial was in Abbot. Hundreds were present to pay tribute to this great man, Patriarch of the Monson Railroad.

         Note:  I’m distantly related to Harold Morrill (and proud of it). Harold was the brother of my great great aunt.  It’s a little distant in relations, but in my family, it still counts.  Every time you go to Moosehead you pass Harold’s grave.  It’s directly across the street from the Abbot town office on Route 15, very near the tall pine tree.  There is a monument with the name Morrill on it.