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Tom Myers Remembered For Service To City

Tom Myers with his fireman, F. R. Williamson, on the occasion of Mr. Myers retirement from the Illinois Central Railroad on his birthday, Feb. 20, 1946.

Tom Myers and Casey Jones both came to Water Valley in 1888. Railroad men were needed here and W. H. Myers, moved the family from Centrailia, Illinois, so the older Myers could work as a fireman on the Illinois Central Railroad.

Myers was almost three when he came to Water Valley. He went to work at an early age – perhaps as young as seven – at the Yocona Twine Mill. When he was 16 he went to work as a call boy on the Illinois Central.

One version of the story tells that when Myers was hired as a call boy, he went to the Yocona Twine Mill and got his Mother. He told her she would never have to work another day in the despicable sweat shop conditions of the mill.

Myers was promoted to fireman at 19 and by the age of 23 he was an engineer. He worked for the Illinois Central for 45 years.

Although he apparently had no formal education, Myers was an eloquent writer and speaker. He was elected to municipal office and served for 26 years as an Alderman, Vice Mayor and finally Mayor.

Sixty years ago, October 2, 1947, a letter from Mayor Tom Myers appeared on the front page of the Herald concerning traffic problems on the streets of Water Valley. It appears that most of the same traffic violations continue today.

In his letter, Mayor Myers requested that, “all who do fast and reckless driving on the streets of Water Valley to obey stop signs, and other markings made in the interest of public safety. I am also asking you to park correctly and in accordance with the rules and requirements as provided by ordinance. This will surely save trouble and maybe human life.”

He added that, “Speeders will be subject to arrest and fines, as well as those who in any other way disobey traffic rules.”    

He and his wife, Lois Gean Myers, married in 1923 in the living room of their newly-built home at 1212 North Main Street. Myers was known for his well cared for yard and his rose garden that he tended until his death in 1963.

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