Samuel Dunning as a young man

This portrait of Samuel Dunning was taken at the Doremus Photographic Studio in Paterson, New Jersey, but it is likely that he had already traveled out west by the time this photograph was taken.

When I was a boy, my father would often talk of his extensive travels throughout the western United States, and it was a family legend that during his time out west he had sported long hair in the style of the famed William “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

This photograph establishes that he did indeed bear some resemblance to Buffalo Bill.


Samuel Dunning, a young traveling engineer

At left is a photograph of Samuel Dunning taken in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Note the size of his hands.  Working in the cab of a steam locomotive, besides being mentally demanding,  required great manual strength. 

It appears my grandfather could keep a sure hand on the throttle.


Samuel Dunning in the Pacific Northwest

At right is a portrait of my grandfather taken in Walla Walla, Washington.

When this portrait was taken, Walla Walla was a thriving railroad town connected to two transcontinental lines, the Union Pacific and the Northern Pacific. 

It’s likely that my grandfather delivered a new locomotive from Paterson to Walla Walla.  Perhaps he celebrated by having a formal portrait taken in a new suit of clothes.

My grandfather’s work in locomotive cabs took him practically everywhere in America.  He passed away at the age of 79 on November 3, 1936.  After a life on the move, his final resting place is Paterson’s Cedar Lawn Cemetery.

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Samuel Dunning’s photographs.