Lackawanna steam engine

Undated image, Port Morris Roundhouse. From the collection of Lois and Scott Beale.

As everywhere in America, the railroads served as a commercial boon for the towns they served-either the commuter train or the freight train. The “Iron Horse” allowed for settlements in the west and wealthy northerners could winter in the south, establishing Florida as the place for “snow birds” centuries ago.

The railroads in Morris County provided shopkeepers with goods, afforded speedy mail delivery and importantly, employment. Railroads served as a companion tool for the Morris Canal; eventually overtaking the canal as a favored transportation mode for ore, goods and people. There are examples of “canalers” trading life on the water for one on the rails.

Within the county itself, the term “railroader” became a catchall phrase for railroad employment, much the same as the term “canaler” had.

It is worth noting for the “railroader” enthusiasts that Morris County boasts its’ own steam locomotive- United States Army Steam Locomotive No. 4039- listed on both the New Jersey State and National Registers of Historic Places. The Locomotive is housed at the Whippany Railway Museum http://www.whippanyrailwaymuseum.net/

This page has a list of “railroaders” known to date. By no means is it complete. Many census records at the turn-of-the-last century include the term “brakeman” at a time when “brakeman” could imply the Morris Canal or the Railroad. Those names have been omitted.

Read our list of Morris County Railroaders.


If you have additional information or corrections, please contact Jan Williams: [email protected]