History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


Railroads of Kansas - Page 2

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Sixteen charters were granted to railroad companies by the legislature of 1857 -- the second legislative session to be held in the territory. Governor John W. Geary, Samuel J. Jones, John Calhoun, J. A. Halderman, P. T. Abell, and a number of others incorporated the Grand Central Gulf Company, with a capital stock of $10,000,000 and authority to build a road from the northern to the southern boundary of the territory, to connect and cooperate with roads in Nebraska on the north and Texas on the south, thus forming a line from the interior to the coast.

The act incorporating the Marysville or Palmetto & Roseport Railroad named 13 directors, fixed the capital stock at $5,000,000, and granted the company a franchise to build a road from Marysville to Roseport in Kansas "so as to connect with the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad."


P.T. Abell and John H. Stringfellow were the chief promoter of the Atchison & Fort Riley Company, which was granted a charter to build a road between the points named, work to begin within five years. The capital stock of this company was $1,000,000.



Shooting buffalo from the train

When the railroad pushed westward through the plains, buffalo were often shot for sport as the trains passed by, the carcasses left to rot upon the prairie. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, June, 1871.

This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE.



The Missouri River & Rocky Mountain Company, with a capital stock of $1,000,000, was authorized to build a road from any point on the Missouri River between Leavenworth and Delaware City to any point on the western boundary of the territory. John Calhoun and D. A. N. Grover were at the head of this company.

The Delaware & Lecompton Company was incorporated by amending the act of the previous session relating to the Kansas Central, the powers, rights and privileges of the latter being transferred to the Delaware & Lecompton Company, with the original incorporators and capital stock.

The Mine Hill Railroad and Mining company was incorporated with a capital stock of $5,000,000 and a franchise to begin mining or the construction of a railway within five years, but the terminals of the railroad were not definitely fixed by the act of incorporation.

A charter for the Atchison & Palmetto authorized the issue of $1,000,000 in capital stock for the purpose of building a railroad from Atchison to Palmetto "on the Big Blue River."

An amendment was made to the charter of the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Company, giving it the power to build a branch "beginning at some favorable point on the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western and follow the most practicable route southwardly, to terminate on the southern boundary of Kansas at some point where easy connection may be had with a line of railroad extending through the
Indian Territory and the State of Texas to the Gulf of Mexico."


Thomas Johnson, Johnston Lykins, John C. McCoy, David Lykins and A. M. Coffey secured a charter for a company to be known as the Eastern Kansas & Gulf Railroad Company, with a capital stock of $5,000,000 and the right to build a road from the western boundary of the State of Missouri, on the south side of the Kansas River, so as to connect at its western terminus with the Pacific Railroad.


The Palermo & Lecompton, the Atchison & Lecompton, and the Prairie City & Missouri State Line companies were chartered to build lines between the points named in the respective acts of incorporation, and the last named company was also authorized to build "two branches to any point in the territory."



Railroad in KansasThe Central Railroad Company of Kansas received a charter at the session of 1857, to build a road from Roseport, opposite St. Joseph, Missouri, southward via the Neosho valley to Galveston bay. The authorized capital stock of this company was $5,000,000, and among the incorporators were Aristides Rodrique, Daniel Woodson, W. P. Richardson and John W. Forman.


Wilson Shannon, John Calhoun, R. R. Rees, L. J. Eastin and their associates secured a charter for the Missouri River & Nemaha Valley railroad, to run from the Missouri River in Doniphan county toward Fort Kearny, etc. The capital stock of this company was $5,000,000.


The St. Joseph & St. George Company, composed mostly of citizens of Hannibal, Missouri , was given a franchise to construct a road from St. Joseph, Missouri to St. George on the Kansas River in Pottawatomie County, and the St. Joseph & Topeka, with a capital of $1,500,000, was authorized to construct a road "with one or more tracks," from a point on the Missouri River opposite St. Joseph to Topeka.


A glance at the charters above mentioned shows that the principal promoters of proposed railroads during the first three years of the territorial existence of Kansas were prominent pro-slavery men -- John Calhoun, Daniel Woodson, Samuel D. Lecompte, etc. But after the Free-State party carried the election for members of the legislature in the fall of 1857, a new set of railroad projectors came to the front. The legislature of 1858 -- the first one controlled by Free-State men -- granted charters to a number of railroad companies, and in every instance the incorporators were members of that party.

In the act incorporating the Delaware & Lawrence Company, S. B. Prentiss, Cyrus K. Holliday, James Blood, O. E. Learnard, John Hutchinson, E. B. Whitman, J. S. Emery, S. C. Harrington, J. W. Pennoyer, George Q. Twombly, J. A. Finley and William Hutchinson were named as the first board of directors. The capital stock of the company was placed at $1,506,000, work was to be commenced within six years and the road was to be completed within ten years from the date of the charter.

Among the incorporators of the Kansas Central, which was also chartered by the legislature of 1858, were Charles Robinson, J. P. Root, W. Y. Roberts and Henry J. Adams, all Free-State leaders. This company, the capital stock of which was $3,000,000, was authorized to build a railroad from the Missouri River "at or near the mouth of the Kansas to a point at or near Fort Riley ."

The act incorporating the Elwood, Palermo & Fort Riley railroad named 40 incorporators, among whom were Cyrus K. Holliday, Thomas Ewing, Jr., J. H. Lane, H. Miles Moore, J. P. Root and A. L. Lee. The capital stock of this company was $3,000,000. Work was to be commenced on a road between the terminals named within five tears and the road was to be completed within twenty years.

The Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson (also called the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas) railroad received its charter on February 12, 1858, authorizing the construction of a road from Leavenworth to the southern boundary, and from Lawrence to Emporia. Several years were spent in efforts to secure land grants and subsidies to aid in building the road. By the act of Congress, approved March 3, 1863, the state was given alternate sections for a distance of 10 miles on either side of a road from Leavenworth toward Galveston Bay, and the legislature of Kansas on February 9, 1864, turned over this grant to the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Company. In 1867 Douglas County voted bonds for $300,000 and Franklin County for $200,000 for the construction of the road. Work was commenced at Lawrence soon after these bonds were authorized, and on Jan. 1, 1868, the road was completed to Ottawa. In 1871 it was finished to Coffeyville. The line is now a part of the   Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe system. The original stock of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Company was $2,000,000, and among the incorporators were H. J. Adams, R. B. Mitchell, G. W. Deitzler and John Speer.


Another company chartered by the legislature of 1858, and one with a high-sounding name, was the Leavenworth City, Delaware City & City of Lawrence Railroad Company, with a capital stock of $1,500,000. The act named 25 incorporators, including Gaius Jenkins, M. J. Parrott, George W. Smith, George W. Deitzler and H. Miles Moore.

The charter of the Missouri River & Rocky Mountain road was amended at this session. In the list of names of the 27 incorporators of the Leavenworth, Hamlin & Nebraska railroad appear the names of H. M. Moore, J. H. Lane, Gaius Jenkins, W. Y. Roberts, J. P. Root and E. N. Morrill. The capital stock of this company was $2,000,000.



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