History Of The "Old High School" 1828-1840
by Charles Wells Chapin

        M. L. SYKES, New York City. — Was clerk for Jonathan Bangs, on the Hill, for about two years, and nearly one year with F. M. Carew & Co., and one year with D. & J. Ames at their paper mill at Chicopee Falls, Mass. He began railway business on the New Haven, Hartford & Springfield Railroad in 1844. During its construction between Springfield and Hartford was engaged by William Beckwith division engineer and served in the engineer corps, Frederick Harbach being resident engineer of the whole line, and Capt. John Childe chief engineer. Mr. Sykes was for a short time engaged with the engineers under Mr. Beckwith in field work upon the Connecticut River Railroad between Springfield and Cabotville, now Chicopee. He held the position of general clerk to Mr. Harbach, resident engineer, with office duties at Springfield, and as pay-master on the work. Soon after the opening of the road to Hartford, where it connected with the Hartford & New Haven Railroad (which was laid with strap rail and ran some of the old style English coaches), he was transferred to the freight office under R. N. Dowd, agent at New Haven, and then to the general offices of the company at Hartford, and became clerk to the president, Charles F. Pond, and successively to general superintendents Amasa Stone, Jr., E. H. Brodhead, and Chief Engineer T. Willis Pratt. In those early days of railroads we have the facts that one clerk at headquarters on a railroad sixty-two miles long performed the duties not only of the general office work, but also acted as a reserve for station agents when absent for cause, spare conductor, auditor of station reports, and pay-master of the road, all of which and various other duties he performed and remained with the company until 1853, passing through various grades up to the post of superintendent.

        During these nine years, however, he left the road for a short time in 1851 at the desire of the late Chester W. Chapin and took the superintendency of the Connecticut River Railroad after Mr. Chapin became president of that

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