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History of Livingston County
from The History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri. 1886
Historical Sketch of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad - The Charter - The
First Great Railroad Convention of Chillicothe in June, 1847 - What the County
did in Aid of the Road - Complete Sketch of the Road until the Present - General
History of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railroad - Other Projected Roads
which were never built - The "Chillicothe and Des Moines" Railroad -
The "Chicago and Southwestern" Railroad - The "Ottumwa,
Chillicothe and Lexington" Railroad, the "Utica and Lexington"
Railroad, the "Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Extension" - The
Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad.
The first steps taken to build the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was in a
meeting held in the spring of 1846, in the office of John M. Clemens, Esq.
(father of Mark Twain), on the northwest corner of Bird and Hill streets, in
Hannibal. Hon. Z. G. Draper was president, and R. F. Lakenan was secretary.
The enterprise had a small beginning, it is true, but it succeeded, because
its inauguration was timely, and its existence was demanded. It was at first
contemplated to run the road through Palmyra, Shelbyville, Bloomington, Linneus,
Chillicothe, Gallatin - all county seats - and on to St. Joseph. But local
jealousies and controversies sprang up, and prevented its location anywhere for
The newspapers of the towns through which it was thought the road would be
built favored it; those located off the line were opposed to it, and the people
divided with the newspapers. The St. Joseph Gazette, of November 6, 1846,
in an article favoring the building of the road, said: "We suggest the
propriety of a railroad from St. Joseph to some point on the Mississippi, either
St. Louis, Hannibal or Quincy." The people of Hannibal were interested in
having their town made the initial point; St. Joseph only cared to be the
terminus. It was important, therefore, that Hannibal should watch carefully, and
not allow any other Mississippi river town to step in and take the prize. An
effective ally in favor of Hannibal was secured in the person of Hon. Robert M.
Stewart, of St. Joseph. In the year 1846 he was elected to the State Senate, and
promised to work for the procurement of a charter making Hannibal the initial
and St. Joseph the terminal point.
The State Senator from the Marion district was Hon. Carty Wells; the
Representative, Hon. John Taylor, of Palmyra. To secure their support, it was
necessary to make Palmyra a point on the line. Mr. Lakenan drew up the following
charter, which was approve by other parties, and passed by the Legislature in
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows
Section 1. That Joseph Robidoux, John Corby, and Robert J. Boyd, of St.
Joseph, in Buchanan county; Samuel J. Harrison, Zachariah G. Draper and Erasmus
M. Moffitt, of the city of Hannibal; Alexander McMurtry, of Shelby county;
George A. Shortridge and Thomas Sharp, of Macon county; Wesley Haliburton, of
Linn county; John Graves, of Livingston county; Robert Wilson, of Daviess
county; and Geo. W. Smith, of Caldwell county; and all such persons as may
hereafter become stockholders in the said company shall be, and they are hereby
created a body corporate and politic in fact, and in name and style of the
"Hannibal and St. Joseph's Railroad Company," and in the same title,
the stockholders shall be in perpetual succession, and be able to sue and be
sued, implead and be impleaded in all the courts of record and elsewhere, and to
purchase, receive, have, hold and enjoy to them and their successors, lands,
tenements, hereditaments, goods chattels, and all estates, real personal and
mixed, of what kind or quality soever, and the same from time to time to sell,
mortgage, grant alien and convey, and to make dividends of such portions of the
profits as they may deem proper, and also to make and have a common seal and the
same to alter or renew at pleasure, and also to ordain, establish and put in
execution such by-laws, ordinances and regulations as shall appear necessary and
convenient for the government of said corporation, not being contrary or
repugnant to the constitution and laws of the United States or of the State of
Missouri, and generally to do all and singular the matters and things which to
them it shall lawfully appertain to do for the well being of the said
corporation, and the due management and ordering of the affairs of the same; provided
always, that it shall not be lawful for the said corporation to deal of use
or employ any part of the stock, funds or money in buying or selling any ware or
merchandise in the way of traffic, or in banking, or brokering operations.
Sec. 2. That the capital stock of said corporation shall be two millions of
dollars, divided into twenty thousand shares of one hundred dollars each, and it
shall be lawful for said corporation, when and so soon as in the opinion of the
individuals named in the fore-going section a sufficient amount of stock shall
have been taken for that purpose, to commence and carry on their said proper
business and railroad operations, under the privileges and conditions herein
Sec. 3. That the said company are hereby authorized and empowered to cause
books for the subscription stock to be opened at such times and places as they
may deem most conducive to the attainment of the stock required.
Sec. 4. The said company [shall] have power to view, lay out and construct a
railroad from St. Joseph's in Buchanan county, to Palmyra, in Marion county, and
thence to Hannibal, in said county and entitled to all the privileges, rights
and immunities which were granted to the Louisiana and Columbia Railroad
Company, by an act entitled, "An act to incorporate the Louisiana and
Columbia Railroad Company," passed at the session of the General Assembly
in 1836 and '37 and approved January 27, 1837, so far as the same are applicable
to the company hereby created, as fully and completely as if the same were
Sec. 5. Nothing in this act, nor in that to which it refers, shall be
construed so as to allow said company to hold or purchase any more real estate
than may be necessary and proper for the use of the road and the business
This act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
Approved February 16, 1847.
The act was passed by the Legislature with some opposition. The leading
workers in its favor were Col. R. M. Stewart, James Craig and J. B. Gardenhire,
of Buchanan county, and Carty Wells and John Taylor, of Marion.
A vigorous canvass was immediately opened along the line to secure
subscriptions from the several counties. Meetings were held in every county seat
and town. A large meeting, or convention was held at Chillicothe, June 2, 1847,
according to previous and general notice. The proceedings of this meeting will
bear detailed mention in this volume.
The convention organized in the court-house, which then stood in the public
square, at 11 o'clock, by calling Hon. Austin A. King, of Ray county (then judge
of the Fifth judicial circuit and afterward Governor of the State, member of
Congress, etc.), to the chair, and electing Dr. Cravens, of Daviess county, and
Alexander McMurtry, of Shelby, vice-presidents, and Henry D. LaCossitt, of
Marion county, and Chas. J. Hughes, of Caldwell (now of Richmond, Ray county),
It was moved that the delegates in attendance report themselves to the
secretaries, whereupon the following gentlemen gave in their names and took
their seats: --
B. F. Loan and Lawrence Archer, from Buchanan county; Absalom Karnes, from
DeKalb; Robert Wilson, John B. Conner, Volney E. Bragg, William Peniston, James
Turley, Thomas T. Frame, Jacob S. Rogers, M. F. Greene, John Mann, Woody Manson
and John Cravens, from Daviess county; George Smith, Patrick Smith, Jesse
Baxter, A. B. Davis and C. J. Hughes, from Caldwell county; A. A. King, from Ray
county; John Cravens, Thomas B. Bryan, Elisha Hereford, John Harper, F. Preston,
F. L. Willard, John L. Johnson, S. Mansur, John Bryan, B. F. Tarr, Thomas
Jennings, Wm. Hudgins, William Hicklin, Wm. L. Black, Jas. H. Darlington, Robert
Mitchell, John Austin, James Austin, from Livingston county; Dr. Livingston,
from Grundy county; W. B. Woodruff, James C. Moore, James Lintell, John J.
Flora, Jeremiah Phillips and Wesley Halliburton, from Linn county; Geo.
Shortridge, A. L. Gilstrap and Benjamin Sharp, from Macon county; Alexander
McMurtry, from Shelby county; Z. G. Draper, James Waugh, Henry Collins, H. D.
LaCossitt and Wm. P. Samuel, from Marion county.
On motion of Col. Peniston, it was resolved that a committee consisting of
one member from each county represented in the convention be appointed for the
purpose of reporting upon what subjects this convention shall act. The president
appointed Robert Wilson, L. Archer, A. Karnes, G. Smith, F. L. Willard, Dr.
Livingston, W. B. Woodruff, Geo Shortridge and Z. G. Draper.
On motion, it was resolved that a committee, consisting of one member from
each county here represented, be appointed to report a basis upon which to vote
in this convention. The president appointed A. L. Gilstrap, B. F. Loan, Wm. P.
Peniston, Thomas Butts, Thomas R. Bryan, Dr. Livingston, W. Halliburton and
George Smith, of Caldwell, presented the following propositions for the
consideration of the convention, and moved to lay the same upon the table, which
was done: --
WHEREAS, The people of Northern Missouri are in favor of the project of a railroad from Hannibal to St. Joseph; therefore,
Resolved, By the delegates (their representatives) that we recommend the following as the best method to procure the means for the construction of the same: --
First. A liberal subscription by the citizens of the State to the capital stock of said company.
Second. That Congress be petitioned for a grant of alternate sections and all parts of sections of vacant lands ten miles on each side of said road, when located.
Third. That the company procure a subscription to the stock by Eastern
capitalists, and, should the foregoing means prove inadequate, we then recommend
that the Legislature pass an act authorizing the company to issue bonds, to be
indorsed by the Governor or Secretary of State, for the residue; the company to
give a mortgage on the whole work to the State, for the liquidation of said
The convention then adjourned till afternoon.
At the opening of the afternoon session, it was resolved that the rules for
the government of the House of Representatives of Missouri, be adopted for the
government of this convention.
A report was adopted, by which the basis of voting in the convention was
fixed as follows: that each county represented in the convention be entitled to
one vote for every 100 votes therein, by which rule the county of Marion was
allowed 15 votes; Shelby 7; Macon, 9; Linn, 7; Livingston, 8; Grundy, 6; Daviess,
9; Caldwell, 4; Ray, 15; DeKalb, 3, and Buchanan, 22.
The committee to whom was referred the duty of submitting subjects for action
of this convention reported: --
The convention then adjourned till the following morning, when, on
reassembling, the five above-mentioned resolutions were unanimously adopted,
with the exception of the fifth, which was adopted with an amendment striking
out all after the word "president."
Among the resolutions offered at this session of the convention, the
following by Judge King, of Ray, was unanimously adopted by the way of amendment
to a similar one offered by Dr. Grundy, of Livingston: --
Resolved, That, whereas, this convention has adopted a resolution
authorizing a memorial to Congress for donation of alternate sections of land to
aid in the construction of the contemplated railroad; also, authorizing a
memorial to the Legislature for such aid in the undertaking as can be afforded
consistently with the rights of other portions of the State; therefore, we, the
delegates, pledge ourselves to support no man for Congress who will not pledge
himself to the support of the proposition aforesaid, nor will we support any man
for Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or member of the Legislature, who will not
pledge himself to give such aid in the construction of the said railroad
consistent with the rights of other portions of the State, as contemplated by
the resolution aforesaid.
Mr. George Smith, of Caldwell, offered the following resolution, which was
read and adopted: --
Resolved, That the committee appointed to petition the Legislature be
instructed to ask for an amendment to the fourth section of the act
incorporating the Louisiana and Columbia Railroad Company (being the law by
which the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad Company are to be governed), so as to
give the power to the president and directors of the last named company to call
in an amount not exceeding 10 per cent every 60 days, and change the notice from
60 to 30 days.
The following resolution by Mr. Sharp, of Macon, was adopted: --
WHEREAS, It is not only extremely important to the agricultural and commercial interests of the immediate country that a good wagon road be opened from St. Joseph to Hannibal, but the United States mail stages can not be put in motion on said route until said road shall be opened. And
WHEREAS, It is of the utmost importance, as well to the whole intermediate country as to the two extremes, that mail facilities be speedily obtained in stages through said counties. Therefore,
Resolved, by this convention, That it be recommended to each county
through which said road may pass, immediately to open, bridge, and put in good
repair the said road, in order that mail stages may be immediately started,
according to the act of Congress establishing said road.
Mr. Tarr, of Livingston, moved to reconsider the vote adopting third
proposition reported by the committee on business, which was agreed to.
He then offered to following amendment to said third proposition: --
Adding to third proposition by the committee on business, as follows:
"Also to petition Congress that should any of the alternate sections on the
road, or within six miles of either side thereof to be sold at any time
subsequent to the 16th day of February, 1847, and before the action
of Congress in relation to these lands, that other lands be granted as nearly
contiguous as possible in lieu thereof." This was agreed to, and the third
proposition as amended was then adopted.
Dr. Livingston, of Grundy, offered the following resolution, which was
Resolved, That the proceeding of this convention be signed by the
president, vice-presidents and secretaries, and that the president be requested
to transmit a copy thereof to each of our representatives in Congress,
requesting them to use their utmost endeavors to obtain from Congress the grant
of land contemplated b the proceedings of this convention.
The president then announced the following committees: --
On motion, it was resolved that the thanks of the delegates and constituents
are due to the officers of this convention for the able manner in which they
have discharged their duties in this convention.
The convention then adjourned sine die.
For a year or two thereafter, interest in the enterprise flagged, and there
was a time when some of its friends thought best to abandon it. But in 1850 real
and earnest efforts were renewed to secure subscriptions to the capital stock of
the company. Such of the directors as were lukewarm gave way to those who were
more zealous and enthusiastic. Each county through which the road was expected
to pass was recanvassed. The measure was made popular, and candidates were
elected to the Legislature, and even to Congress, because they pledged
themselves to favor it whenever the opportunity should offer.
In February, 1851, the Missouri Legislature granted the credit of the State
to the road to the extent of $1,500,000 in bonds, on condition that the company
expend a like amount, in installments of $50,000 each. In 1851 Marion county
subscribed $100,000, and Hannibal $50,000. Other counties and localities
subscribed, but not so largely.
The first subscription of Livingston was August 15, 1848, when the county
court ordered John Graves, as agent of the county, to subscribe "to an
amount not exceeding the amount already paid over, and to be paid, of the fund
arising from the sale of the 500,000 acres of land donated by the United States
to this State, and by this State divided among the counties thereof by an act of
the Legislature approved March 27, 1845." (Record A, p. 507) To this order
Judge John Stone entered his protest.
Other action by the county court may thus be summarized: At the August term,
1851, a majority of the voters of the county having assented thereto, it was
ordered that stock to the amount of $25,000 be taken. September 13 following,
the following order was made: --
Robt. M. Stewart, as the agent of the Hannibal and St. Joseph's Railroad
Company, appeared in court and moved the court to subscribe, on behalf of the
county of Livingston, for 250 shares of the stock of said railroad. Which motion
the court assents to, and accordingly subscribes to the books of said company,
in behalf of said county, for 250 shares of said stock [of $100 per share], the
installments of which, as called for by said company, are to be paid by the
county's assigning the notes of said county, payable in twenty years, or sooner,
at the discretion of the county court of said county, and to bear six per cent
per annum from date, to be paid annually, and which are to be delivered to said
company - tow which terms and conditions the said Stewart, as the agent of said
railroad company, assents to. (Record B, p. 30)
October 18, 1852, the county court, in response to two distinct calls of the
president of the road, issued the county's note for $2,640, due 20 years after
date, and bearing six per cent interest.
In April, 1853, Thomas R. Bryan was ordered to subscribe on the books of the
company the sum of $25,000, "in lieu of former subscription."
November 7, 1853, $1,400 was subscribed "in lieu of the said sum
subscribed by a former court." What sum is meant by "said" sum is
not clear. If it means the sum of $1,400, no record of any former subscription
of that amount can be found. If it means the total amount of the county's
subscription, $25,000, the meaning is certainly not well expressed.
October 14, 1854, the county's note for $5,000 was given to pay two
assessments (Rec. B., p. 92), but in February, 1855, this note was returned and
cancelled. (B, p. 98.)
To the compiler hereof the authorities of the road have written on the
subject of the county's subscription: --
We have gone through the records as far as it is possible, and find that
Livingston county subscribed $5,280 in bonds in aid of the road, but on
September 30, 1856, these bonds were returned to the county without any pay.
Therefore, as a matter of fact, the county paid no money towards the
construction of the road. Some money was subscribed by citizens, but it is
impossible now to find out how much. It is only clear that the county has not
paid anything towards the construction of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad.
The board of directors, as reorganized for the years 1851-52-53, was composed
of R. M. Stewart, John Corby, Robert S. Boyd, ---- Tolbert, Z. G. Draper, J. D.
Dowling, Thomas E. Thompson, R. F. Lakenan and E. M. Moffitt. The officers were:
R. M. Stewart, president; Washington Jones, secretary; E. M. Moffitt, treasurer;
R. F. Lakenan, attorney.
In the fall of 1851, occurred at Hannibal the formal ceremony of
"breaking ground" for the new railroad. November 3 was the day
appointed and the occasion called forth a large crowd, and many distinguished
persons from all parts of the State were present. A considerable delegation came
from St. Louis. The day was opened by the firing of cannons, the ringing of
bells and great rejoicing. A meeting was regularly organized. Col. R. F.
Richmond, of Hannibal, was president; L. L. Hawkins, of Palmyra, secretary. Hon.
Joseph B. Crockett, of St. Louis, was the orator of the day, and delivered a
most eloquent address, which was published and circulated.
A large procession was formed, headed by Hon. A. W. Lamb as chief marshal,
and marched out to Drapers's meadow, selected as the site for the breaking of
ground, and the serving of a bountiful dinner. Amid the close attention of the
large concourse, a few shovelfuls of dirt were thrown up by Col. R. M. Stewart,
Hon. James H. Lucas, of St. Louis, and Hon. L. M. Kennett. Then there was great
cheering. Among the many prominent men of the State present on the occasion were
Lieut.-Gov. Thomas L. Price, Hon. James B. Bowlin, Hon. Carty Wells, Gen. John
B. Clark, Sr., Hon. Claiborne F. Jackson, Hon. James S. Green and Hon. Willard
P. Hall. At this ceremony Livingston county was represented by W. C. Samuel, who
was sent down by the county court, expressly as the county's representative.
Work, however, on the new road progressed slowly. The route was not
definitely located, and the subsidies not all secured. Besides, not as much ws
known about railroad building in those days as is known now. The board of
directors, in 1851, memorialized Congress for a large grant of the public lands
to aid in building the road, and made earnest efforts to secure this result. The
president, Hon. R. M. Stewart, and attorney, Mr. R. F. Lakenan, in 1852, visited
Washington to aid in securing the favorable action of Congress. No better agents
than Bob Stewart and Mr. Lakenan could have been selected for this purpose.
A bill was introduced in Congress for this purpose, and came up for action in
May, 1852. Hon. Willard P. Hall, of Buchanan county, then chairman of the
Committee on Territories in the House of Representatives, had charge of this
bill, and very well did he manage it. The scene on the passage of the bill was
very exciting. There were strong opponents to the measure, and they were working
hard to defeat it. It came near being lost by an amendment being offered by Hon.
W. A. Richardson, of Quincy, who desired that the eastern terminus of the road
should be at this town, and sought to have the officers of the road agree that
it should run to Quincy eventually, at any rate. His amendment was to grant a
like quantity of land to a proposed railroad in Illinois. Congress had already
granted an immense domain of valuable land to the Illinois Central Railroad, and
Richardson's amendment excited strong opposition to the Hannibal and St. Joseph
Stewart promised Mr. Richardson that if he would withdraw his amendment a new
company should be formed to build a branch from Palmyra to Quincy. Hon. Stephen
A. Douglas had left his seat in the Senate to urge his friends in the House to
support the measure, and he kindly interfered and induced Richardson to withdraw
the amendment, the latter saying he did not design to injure the measure. The
bill then passed the House by a vote of 103 to 76, and in the Senate it had but
little opposition. The provisions of the act of Congress gave alternate sections
of land to the State of Missouri in trust for the benefit of a railroad from
Hannibal to St. Joseph, and the State turned these lands over to the Hannibal
and St. Joseph Railroad Company.
The grant of 600,000 acres of fine agricultural land settled the fact that
the road would eventually be built; the people knew it was a mere question of
time. In August, 1852, a contract was made with Duff & Leamon, of New York,
to build the entire line. This contemplated the "Northern route"
through Bloomington, then the county seat of Macon county. Afterward, at a
meeting of the directors at Glasgow, March 10, 1853, the "Southern
route" - on the present line - was chosen, and the contract relet to John
Duff & Co., of New York, at $23,000 per mile.
The road was located by Maj. James M. Bucklin, chief engineer, a very
superior engineer, but addicted to drink, and who, in two or three years, became
a confirmed drunkard, and was discharged. He lay around the old Virginia Hotel,
on the levee, in Hannibal, John Toncray, proprietor, drinking at Toncray's
saloon, until he became a wreck. The town of Bucklin, Linn County, was named for
him. The preliminary survey had been made by Simeon Kemper and Col. M. F.
Tiernan, who were accompanied by Col. R. M. Stewart. The latter gentleman's
indefatigable efforts in behalf of the interests of the road contributed more
than those of any other man to their ultimate accomplishment. His services in
behalf of the road also made him Governor of the State in 1857, when he was
elected on the Democratic ticket over Hon. James S. Rollins, Whig, of Boone.
Stewart's majority was only 334, which it is said was accomplished by Whig votes
from the strong Whig counties of Marion, Monroe and Macon, and other counties
along the line of the Hannibal and St. Joseph, which votes were cast for him out
of friendly considerations for what he had done in aid of the new enterprise.
Early in the year 1857 work was begun at the St. Joseph end. In March of that
year the track extended east from St. Joseph seven miles. The first fire under
the first engine that started out was kindled by M. Jeff. Thompson, afterward
the Missouri Confederate brigadier.
The Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was completed February 13, 1859. The
next day the first through passenger train ran out of St. Joseph. Of this train
E. Sleppy was engineer, and Benjamin H. Colt, conductor. The first engineer to
run a train into St. Joseph was George Thompson, who ran first a construction
train, then a freight train. The final work on the road was not done by Duff
& Co., but by J. M. Ford and others
On the 22d of February, 1859, occurred at St. Joseph, the celebration of the
completion of the road. Not less than 600 invited guests were feasted at a grand
banquet given in the spacious apartments of the Odd Fellows' Hall, on the corner
of Fifth and Felix streets.
The road was completed through this county in February, the month of its
The road did a big business the first two years. It had no competition,
charged five cents a mile for passengers, and sometimes more, and had all the
business it could well do.
During the war it suffered severely. Its officers were all loyal, and early
in the day the entire management was known to be on the side of the Government.
The principal stock was held in Boston, and nearly all the various
superintendents and other officers were Northern men.
The secessionists of the State, therefore, attacked it, and injured it no
little. September 3, 1861, the bridge across Platte river was destroyed by them,
and a train containing men, women and children ran into the chasm, and some were
killed. In December following, the Chariton bridge was burned. It became
necessary to station detachments of troops at every bridge and trestle work. The
bushwhackers tore up the track, ditched the trains, burned cars and stations,
from time to time, and the road came out of the war, like other property in the
State, much the worse for the conflict.
In the early fall of 1861 the military authorities compelled the union of the
tracks of the Hannibal and St. Joseph and the Quincy and Palmyra, at the latter
city, and Quincy became the terminus, practically, although Hannibal was and yet
is the nominal and legal terminus, according to the charter. March 2, 1867, the
Quincy and Palmyra passed into the hands of the Hannibal and St. Joseph. This
was done under authority of the act of the Legislature of that date, all the
stock of the Quincy and Palmyra (having been previously acquired) being merged
into that of the Hannibal and St. Joseph, under the charter of the latter
In 1867-68 was built a "feeder" of the road from Kansas City to
Cameron. The road was chartered before the war, and was originally called the
Kansas City, Galveston and Lake Superior. Afterward the name was changed to the
Kansas City and Cameron. February 14, 1870, this road was merged into the
Hannibal and St. Joseph, and is still part of the same. The first train over the
railroad bridge across the Missouri at Kansas City passed July 4, 1869.
In the summer of 1872, the Hannibal and St. Joseph Company commenced the
building of a branch or extension of the road from St. Joseph to Atchison, Kan.,
a distance of 21 miles. This branch was completed in October of the same year.
In the summer of 1881 began the legal controversy between the State and the
railroad company (see p. 80). In this controversy it must be admitted the
railroad bore a most honorable part, and suffered very severely, financially,
for its efforts to discharge its obligations to the State. It was understood by
the railroad company that when it should pay over the $3,000,000 to the State,
the payment should operate as a discharge of the debt, but after receiving the
money the State would only receipt for it "on account," and would
neither surrender the obligations of the road nor give back the money.
It may be said of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, that its sobriquet
of the "Old Reliable" is well deserved. It boasts, and the boast is
verified, that its trains are always on time, arriving and departing at the
advertised hour. Nothing but the most extraordinary circumstance occasions a
deviation from this rule. Its policy towards the traveling and general public is
most liberal. It resists no claim or demand for damages, save when fully
justified by the facts and circumstances of the case. Its officers are men of
ability and integrity, who, while guarding well the interest of the road,
carefully respect the rights of the people.
The North Missouri Railroad was chartered by the Legislature March 1, 1851.
The company was authorized to build, equip, and operate a road from St. Louis,
by way of St. Charles, thence on the dividing ridge between the Missouri and
Mississippi rivers through the State to the Iowa line, and in the direction of
Des Moines. The road was completed to St. Charles in August, 1855, to Moberly in
November, 1858, and to Macon in February, 1859.
The Missouri River Valley Railroad Company was incorporated May 5, 1860, with
"full power to survey, locate, construct, and operate a railroad from any
point on the North Missouri Railroad in Randolph county, by way of Brunswick, in
Chariton county, thence through Carroll, Ray and Clay counties to any point on
the Missouri river in Platt county." The Chariton and Randolph Railroad
Company was organized November 20, 1858. With the latter company Gen. Sterling
Price was prominently connected. Both the Missouri River Valley and the Randolph
and Chariton companies were organized and intended for the same purpose - to
build a railroad from the North Missouri through Brunswick and up the Missouri
river, the former to build the road between the North Missouri and Brunswick,
and the latter to continue it on up the river.
In 1864, by an act of the Legislature, both companies were consolidated with
the North Missouri, and the latter completed the entire line to Kansas City
during the year 1869; to Brunswick the road was completed December 15,1 867.
The Chillicothe and Brunswick Railroad Company was incorporated by an act of
the Legislature approved January 26, 1864, and empowered to construct and
operate a road between the two points named. The first board of directors was
composed of J. B. Leeper, J. B. Bell, Benj. Berry, D. G. Saunders, S. K.
Alexander, Thos. T. Eagles, W. A. Love, W. S. Davis, S. B. Deland and John
Smith, of Livingston county; W. H. Plunkett, Thos. Anderson, John H. Blue,
Adamantine Johnson, W. E. Moberly, John Ballentine, John H. Davis, James
McFarren and David Loud, of Chariton county: W. R. Creel and W. A. Delany, of
On the 15th of May, 1866, Livingston county voted on the question
of taking $200,000 stock in the Chillicothe and Brunswick Railroad, and the
proposition was defeated by the following vote: For taking stock, 451; against,
536. But April 25, 1867, another election was held to decide whether or not the
county should take stock in the road to the amount of $150,000, and the
proposition carried by the following vote: For, 1,064; against, 678. The county
court made the subscription May 7 following, agreeing to issue 8 per cent bonds
of the county as follows: When the first ten miles of track shall be completed,
$25,000; and $25,000 for every additional five miles of track. The bonds were
dated August, 1, 1868, and not signed or issued till that time. The last of
these bonds was paid by the county in the year 1885.
The road was constructed in 1869-70, and on its completion to Chillicothe,
there was great rejoicing, and a large excursion to Brunswick.
The St. Louis, Chillicothe and Omaha Railroad Company was organized June 18,
1867, to build a road from Chillicothe to the Iowa line. The first board of
directors was composed of W. R. King and St. A. D. Balcombe, of Omaha; C. P.
Chouteau and E. W. Samuels, of St. Louis; J. B. Bell, C. V. Meade, L. D. Murphy,
J. H. Hammond and Peter Markey, of Chillicothe; D. H. Solomon, of Glenwood,
Iowa; J. S. McIntire, of Clarinda, Iowa; W. C. Stewart, Gallatin, Mo., and C. V.
Comstock, Albany, Mo. On the 4th of June, 1869, the name of the
company was changed to Chillicothe and Omaha Railroad Company. September 13,
1870, the St. Louis, Council Bluffs and Omaha Railroad Company was incorporated
in the State of Iowa to build a road from Council Bluffs to a connection with
the Chillicothe and Omaha, on the State line. A week later, September 20, the
Chillicothe and Omaha and the St. Louis, Council Bluffs and Omaha were
consolidated under the name of the latter.
Going back to the Old North Missouri Company, it must be said that in 1871
that corporation became bankrupt, and sold its property to M. K. Jessup, of New
York. The following year Jessup sold it to the St. Louis, Kansas City and
Northern Railway Company, which was organized the same year, for the purpose of
purchasing the road, and which operated it until November 7, 1879, when it
consolidated with the Wabash Railway Company, and the new organization was
called the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific, commonly called Wabash. The old Wabash
originated in the Toledo and Illinois Railway, which was organized in the State
of Ohio April 25, 1853, to build a road from Toledo to the western boundary of
For some time after its completion the Brunswick and Chillicothe Railroad was
operated by lessees, but in a few years it and the St. Louis, Council Bluffs and
Omaha were absorbed by the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific.
On the 27th of May, 1870, an election was held to test the sense
of the qualified voters of the municipal township of Chillicothe as to the
propriety of a subscription of the county, in behalf of the township, of the sum
of $12,000 in aid of the Chillicothe and Omaha road. The election resulted: For
the subscription, 320; against 50. On the 10th of April, 1871, bonds
of the county, in behalf of the township, were issued to the amount of the
subscription, which was $12,000. The bonds numbered 24, of $500 each, bearing
interest at 8 per cent.
The First National Bank of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, purchased the bonds
soon after they were issued, on which the county paid the interest until in
February, 1877, when the county court, understanding that a recent decision of
the United States Supreme Court had declared similar issues of bonds null and
void, refused longer to pay. The bank thereupon brought suit, and the case is
now in the United States Supreme Court, having been decided in favor of the bank
in the courts below. At the time of the voting of the bonds Rich Hill was a part
of Chillicothe township.
The extension of the road north from Chillicothe was begun in 1870 and was
completed to Plattsburg the following year. In 1879, when the Wabash, St. Louis
and Pacific took charge of the old Chillicothe and Omaha, work was resumed, and
during that and the following year the road was extended to Council Bluffs, Ia.
In the year 1869 the grading between Chillicothe and Trenton was done for a
railroad contemplated to be built between Chillicothe and Des Moines, Ia., but
the enterprise was abandoned, and the labor and expense have so far been
profitless. It is confidently believed, however, that some day a road will be
completed over this grade, at least between Chillicothe and Trenton.
As to railroads which were designed to run through the county and were never
constructed in accordance with such design there may be mentioned: --
The latest railroad enterprise to come into the county is the Chicago,
Milwaukee and St. Paul, which was located in the latter part of March last. The
project was first broached in the fall of 1885. A survey of the line was made
through the county in October, running diagonally through the county from
northeast to southwest, by way of Chillicothe and near Dawn, and through the
southeastern portion of Caldwell by Polo. The road in this quarter is a portion
of the extension of the main line from Ottumwa, Ia., to Kansas City, and is to
be completed by the 1st of April, 1887.
The county obtained the road on very liberal terms. The railroad company
merely asked for the right of way through the county, with the depot grounds at
Chillicothe, and even this was not insisted upon as a condition precedent to the
location of the road. Upon the citizens of Chillicothe mainly fell the burden of
defraying the expenses. Not until the 1st of March did they set
fairly to work, but in a short time they had subscribed the sum of $18,000 and a
committee had gone over the route surveyed and bargained with the owners for the
right of way. The latter, as a rule, were selfish and exorbitant, asked the very
highest prices for their lands and were unwilling to make any concessions to the
enterprise or to their fellow-citizens. The citizens of Dawn subscribed $2,500,
although their town was more than a mile from the proposed depot.
A few of the owners of the land through which the road runs generously
donated the right of way - notably Mr. P. H. Minor and Joseph Slagle, of
Chillicothe township, who gave several acres in all of valuable land. The right
of way committee, who did the most and best work were H. C. Ireland, J. W.
Butner, W. H. Mansur, C. W. Asper.
The Tribune and Crisis (or Evening Star) newspapers worked incessantly and with good effect in aid of the enterprise.