That’s as succinctly as H. Reid could make his apt description of the Hatcher brothers, who became as synonymous with Clinchfield Railroad history as the iconic steam locomotive the two powered through the South for eleven years. Ed and George were the sons of Fanny Lasure Hatcher and George L. Hatcher Sr., a Clinchfield Railroad conductor. The brothers had nine other siblings and grew up in a large home in the Canah Chapel community of Erwin. Ed was born on January 27, 1917, and George on October 14, 1920, which, he likes to point out, is also the birthdate of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Clinchfield No 1 cover
Ed was confident and a star athlete at Unicoi County’s only high school. He went on to play for East Tennessee State College in nearby Johnson City, where he became an All-American fullback on the football team.
He was easy-going and employed a dry sense of humor. Like his older brother, George was a good athlete, known for many years, even late in life, as a star runner and bicyclist. Growing up, the brothers were inseparable, so it surprised no one to see them working side by side on the railroad.