by David Parmer
Click to the left to hear Jackie (Henline) Bowser sing her dad's, Charlie Henline's, parody taken from real life on Oil Creek. Thanks to Jackie's cousin Joyce Brannon, the daughter of Charlie's talented sister Olive Mae (Henline) Brannon, for her encouragement & assistance in getting this recording.
To the right is Charles Heline, below left is Charles and his wife with their daughter Jackie, who is the singer in this recording of her dad's song.
The Amos Henline family lived about midway between Orlando and the mouth of Posey Run from the early 1910’s until around 1935. Amos worked at the Gowing Veneer Mill in Burnsville and later for the gas pumping station in Burnsville. Like many employees in those early days, Amos walked or rode a horse the three miles or so to work from his Oil Creek home. At home were his wife, the former Charlotte Blake, their oldest child, Olive Mae, and Olive's younger brothers, Jim, Charlie, “Jake” and “Pat.”
The family had the usual small farm, keeping chickens, ducks, and a milk cow to help feed this growing family. This small farm on which the Amos Henline family lived abutted upon the busy right of way of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.
When farm animals escaped their fenced lots or fields and wandered onto the busy railroad tracks the animals invariably came out second best in collisions. Uncle Zeke 3 in the Buzzardtown News often reported on the deaths of farm animals which resulted from an untimely rendezvous with the cow-catcher of a fast moving freight or coal train. In his January 18, 1923 column Uncle Zeke mentioned that the southbound Passenger Train 35 killed a “bunch” of sheep belonging to J. F. Posey at the Orlando junction. Later the same year in October, Doc Henline’s favorite fox hound fell victim to a B & O train. Undoubtedly, many a lowly cat or chicken also fell under the wheels of a locomotive without even the barest mention by Uncle Zeke. In July 1924, a westbound double-header3 freight killed George Riffle’s only cow and Passenger Train 65 in June 1926 snuffed out the life of Pat Brennan’s cow.
Of course farm animals were not the only victims of rail traffic through Orlando. Many, many people died or were maimed by the trains.
~ Phebe (Posey) Riffle lost her arm but not her life one day in the 1940s. See the footnote about Phebe and her husband George "Short" Riffle in the Aug '07 entry About 'Coon Hunting.
Other stories of flesh vs. the iron horse can be found at
~ Dec '06 The Ballad of Eugene Butcher Gene Butcher
~ Nov '06 Another Death On The Rails Homer L. Skinner
~ Nov '06 Railroad Tragedies Warren McCauley
So, Amos Henline’s milk cow decided to take a stroll on the B & O Railroad line. Unfortunately the cow didn't know that a B & O freight train always has the right of way and the poor cow was milked and filleted at the same time. Charles Henline set the tale to music, and now, its history.