J.A. Killingsworth created poems about the railway that reflected his years of service to the industry.
Killingsworth’s family moved to St. Thomas when he was a young boy. After completing his formal school, he worked for the Michigan Central Railroad (MCR), first as a fireman and later as an engineer. During his railway career, Killingsworth also was manager of the St. Thomas Street Railway and Chief Clerk at the Pere Marquette Railway.
Killingsworth wrote many poems, including ‘Welcome to Our City':
Welcome to Our City
You are welcome in St. Thomas
Where there’s many railway men.
We are honoured by your visit
And invite you back again.
We are proud to show our city;
It’s the finest in the land.
It’s the home of pretty tulips,
And the climate here is grand.
It is called the “Railway City”-
Seven railways enter here.
Which includes two interurbans,
And the lakeside too is near.
It was here that poor old Jumbo
Lost his life some years ago.
He was the chief attraction
Of the Barnum and Bailey Show.
We have many side attractions-
Soldiers ready for the “front”;
Pretty parks, fine schools and churches
Where we do our Sunday “stunt”
We’ve as fine a lodge of “trainmen”
As the brotherhood contains;
And we have the fastest engines
And the very finest trains.
And the road you’re riding over
Has a record, brothers, too,
On the C.S.R. division,
That’s unequalled for it’s true
That this railroad hasn’t killed a
Single passenger – not one
And it’s forty years and over
Since her trains commenced to run.
We would like to entertain you
But we know you’re on your way,
So we thank you for your visit,
For your thirty minutes’ stay.
In conclusion we would ask you,
When you get back home to say
Something good about St. Thomas,
For good advertisers pay.