John Henry Historical Park, Talcott, West Virginia

John Cowgill: Stories of the Railroad

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This is the story of a man who took on a challenge… against technology.  What was this challenge?  It was the hammer in the hand of John Henry versus the steam-powered drill.  The year was 1870 in a valley in south-southeastern West Virginia.  Who was victorious?  It should be obvious.  There is no possibility that man can win against modern technology… unless you are John Henry.  That is the truth.  John Henry using just his hammer and the strength of the muscles in his arms defeated the steam-powered drill.  It was a challenge that made him victorious… and sadly ended his life.  When the challenge was over, he dropped his hammer… and he fell over and died.  He became an American folk hero in the years following with a famous song plus a few movies.  His story continues to live on through the years.

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Now some of you are saying…

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