William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]


Rich Hill Railroad. - From Rich Hill Junction, Linn County, Kan., to Rich Hill, Bates County, Mo., 19 miles; and Carbon Center, Vernon County, Mo., 24 miles. This road deflects 3.54 miles from Rich Hill, one branch running to Rich Hill and the other to Carbon Center. Number of miles in Kansas, 4.46; in Missouri, 23.08. Total number miles, 27.54. The company was organized under the laws of Kansas, May 11, 1880, the work was commenced in June, 1880, and opened September 12, 1880. The road will be extended eastward to Osceola, St. Clair County, Mo., 25 miles.

Fort Scott, Southeastern & Memphis Railroad. - From Southeast Junction, four miles south of Fort Scott, to Springfield, Mo., 99 and from Fort Scott, 103.17 miles. Organized under the laws of Kansas, April 29, 1880. Leased the Fort Scott, Southeastern & Memphis Railway, June 1, 1880. The road of the latter was opened in 1874, 6.5 miles, and to Arcadia, 12.8 miles in 1877. The road was completed to the west line of Dade County, Mo., November 28, 1880, and to Ash Grove, Greene Co., Mo., May 25, 1881. At that point, it joined the track of the Springfield & Western Missouri Railroad (leased), making a through line to Springfield, Mo., which was finally opened for business June 6, 1881. In July, 1881, it was determined to extend this road from Springfield to a point on the Mississippi River opposite Memphis, Tenn., the distance being about 275 miles. For that purpose two corporations have been formed under the laws of Missouri and Arkansas respectively - the two to be ultimately merged into one corporation, to be known as the Kansas City, Springfield & Memphis Railroad Company. It is expected that the whole line will be completed and opened for business during the year 1883.

Memphis, Kansas & Colorado Railway (N. G.) - From Weir City, Cherokee Co., Kan., to Cherryvale, Montgomery Co., Kan., 49.79 miles. Organized December 4, 1877; work commenced in 1878 and completed February 3, 1881. The gauge of the road has recently been changed to the standard.

Short Creek & Joplin Railroad. - From Baxter Springs, Cherokee Co., Kan., to Joplin, Jasper Co., Mo., 15.46 miles. Of this line, 9.31 miles are in Kansas, 6.15 in Missouri. Organized June 3, 1879, and road opened October 13, 1879.

Fort Scott & Carthage Railroad. - Organized under the laws of Kansas, August 2, 1881, for the purpose of building a road from Arcadia, on the Fort Scott, Southeastern & Memphis Railroad, through Crawford County, Kansas, thence in a southeasterly direction through the counties of Barton and Jasper in the State of Missouri, to the city of Carthage; the estimated length of the proposed road being forty-two miles. For the purpose of reaching extensive and valuable coal fields in Missouri, 8.29 miles were constructed in 1881, Morerad, Barton Co., Mo., being the terminus. Of this road, 6.25 miles are in Kansas, and 2.04 in Missouri.

The miles operated by the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railway Company, at the close of the year 1882, were as follows:

Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad, from Kansas City to Baxter Springs, 159.92; Rich Hill Railroad, 27.54; Fort Scott, Southeastern & Memphis Railroad, 103.17; Fort Scott & Carthage Railroad, 8.29; Short Creek & Joplin Railroad, 15.46; Union Transit Railroad (Kansas City), 1.28; total standard-gauge road, 315.66; Memphis, Kansas & Colorado Railway (narrow-gauge), 49.79; Total miles in operation 365.45.

The general officers of the road are H. H. Hunnewell, President, Boston, Mass.; Charles Merriam, Secretary and Treasurer, Boston, Mass.; George H. Nettleton, General Manager, Kansas City, Mo.; L. W. Towne, General Superintendent, Kansas City, Mo.; J. S. Ford, Auditor, Kansas City, Mo.; J. E. Lockwood, General Passenger Agent, Kansas City, Mo.; J. N. Watkins, General Freight Agent, Kansas City, Mo.


On the evening of the 8th of December, 1857, a public meeting was held in the Union Church, Leavenworth, to take steps for the organization of a company to construct a railroad from Leavenworth to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory. Of this meeting, Rev. M. M. Haun, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was President, and H. Allen, of Leavenworth, Secretary. A committee, consisting of Dr. J. B. Chapman, John C. McCarthy and H. C. Justice, was appointed to prepare and draft articles of association, with request to report at an adjourned meeting to be held on the following evening. The committee submitted a report at the adjourned meeting on the evening of December 9, and articles of association were adopted. In pursuance to the article providing for the election of a President and a Board of seven Directors, an election for those officers was held at this meeting, resulting as follows: President, Dr. J. B. Chapman; Directors, J. C. Green, H. C. Justice, Adam Fisher, Hudson Burris, James Darrah, F. P. Witcher and M. M. Haun. At this meeting John C. McCarthy was appointed Chief Engineer for the company, and Dr. J. B. Chapman and Rev. M. M. Haun were appointed a committee to visit the several tribes of Indians through whose reservations it was proposed the road should pass, with a view of treating for the right of way through said reservations and securing grants of lands from the Indians for the company, and also to procure a charter for the company for the Cherokee Nation. A committee; consisting of Dr. J. B. Chapman and J. C. Green, was also appointed to prepare a charter for the company and urge its adoption by the Kansas Territorial Legislature.

Messrs. Chapman and Haun immediately visited the Indian tribes, in pursuance to instructions, and made a satisfactory treaty with the Osages. During their journey, they went to Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, and received encouragement from the Cherokees.

A charter was granted by the Legislature, approved February 12, 1858, which legalized all previous acts of the company and designated the name of the corporation as the "Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Railroad Company." The corporators were as follows: John B. Chapman, Hudson Burris, H. C. Justice, F. P. Whitcher, Joel C. Green, Adam Fisher, Milton Mars Haun, Henry J. Adams, George A. Reynolds, E. D. Ladd, John Speer, L. F. Hollingsworth, S. B. Prentiss, G. W. Deitzler, H. G. Blake, Robert B. Mitchell, John Mathias, Darius Rogers, J. M. Black, R. B. Jourdan and W. Doran. Section 3 of the charter provided that "the said company are hereby authorized and empowered to survey lands, locate, construct, alter and maintain, and operate a railroad, with one or more tracks, from Leavenworth City, on the Missouri River, on the most practicable and convenient route, by Delaware, Lawrence, Minneola, Osage City, and down the Neosho River, through the Osage Nation, in conformity to a treaty stipulation made by said company with said Osage Nation, at Littleton, on the 7th day of January, 1858, and to Fort Gibson, on the highest steamboat navigation of the Grand River, and also one branch of said road from a convenient point at the crossing of Deer Creek, in a northwesterly direction up the valley of the Neosho River and across from a convenient point to Fort Riley on the Kansas River."

During the year 1858, meetings of the directors were held at Lawrence, Prairie City, Ohio City, Garnett and Leavenworth, no particular town having been designated as the official headquarters of the company. At a meeting held at Prairie City, Douglas County, on the 23d of June, 1858, the road was divided into four grand divisions, and a Commissioner appointed for each division, "whose duty it shall be to superintend the running and location of said line of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Railroad; to open books for the subscription of stock; to employ engineers and all necessary assistants; to procure relinquishment of the right of way; to procure the necessary funds for defraying the expenses of the same, by subscription of stock, by contributions in cash, labor, or necessary supplies, or by any other laudable means to have the same completed as soon as possible."

At a meeting held at Garnett on the 13th of August, 1868, Prairie City was unanimously selected as the point for locating the general offices. At a special meeting held at Garnett on the 27th of September, 1858, it was decided to locate the western branch of the road (from the crossing of Deer Creek, Allen County, to Fort Riley) via Burlington and Emporia. On the 18th of October, 1858, a sealed proposal from John Graham for building the road from Prairie City to Ohio City was accepted. In an editorial in the Freemen's Champion, published at Prairie City, dated August 12, 1858, is the following: "This road, when completed, will be a very important one for Kansas. Commencing at Leavenworth City, the commercial metropolis of Kansas, it is to run through Delaware, Lawrence, Prairie City, and directly south to some point in Anderson County, where it will cross the Jefferson City & Neosho Valley Railroad, now being constructed; thence still southward into the Indian Territory to Fort Gibson, at the head of navigation on the Arkansas River. Thus Southern and Central Kansas will have direct steam communication with the cotton-growing and sugar-producing States, and will also be placed within a few hours' distance of our commercial towns of the North. Cotton, sugar, molasses - all the staples of Southern production will flow in here in abundance, and the best of pine lumber, which is said to be worth only $5 or $6 per thousand in Arkansas, will then be supplied to us at as low figures as the walnut and oak lumber of native production is now held at. As Fort Gibson is only about 500 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the next move will be to run a road through to the Gulf, which will be done within the next ten years at the farthest."

At a meeting held at Prairie City on the 3d of July, 1859, N. S. Goss, J. W. Meyers, O. E. Leonard, John H. Whistler, P. B. Plumb, W. J. Huff and J. B. Chapman were appointed Commissioners to locate the Fort Riley branch on the most practicable route south of the Neosho River. On the 3d of August, 1859, the general offices were located at Lawrence. On the same day a resolution was adopted providing for the appointment of a committee of three to confer with the directors of the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railroad Company, to the end of consolidating the two roads between Leavenworth and Lawrence. In the winter of 1859-60, Dr. J. B. Chapman, President, and W. W. H. Lawrence, represented the company at Washington, endeavoring to secure a land grant to the company, but without avail. April 20, 1860, S. O. Thacher was elected President of the company to fill vacancy. At the next annual meeting held at Lawrence, October 26, 1860, George W. Deitzler was elected President. November 15, 1860, Dr. H. J. Canniff was appointed Secretary, and held this position for nine consecutive years. From November, 1860, until June 6, 1864, no business of consequence was done by the company, save the annual election of officers. At the election of officers on the 6th of June, 1864, there was a quarrel among the stockholders which resulted in the election of two sets of directors. A contest for the legitimate succession ensued, which culminated in the undisputed acknowledgment of the election of the following gentlemen as directors: John Speer, A. M. Blacklidge, William Spriggs, S. N. Simpson, G. H. Field, Harvey Allen, R. E. Watson, E. D. Ladd, Sidney Clarke, J. C. Burnett, W. M. Haseltine, W. W. H. Lawrence and H. J. Canniff. At the same election, James H. Lane was chosen President. The opposition elected S. O. Thacher, President. Evidently Laneism, which entered so much in the political, commercial and social matters of those times in Kansas, was the cause of the rupture, and Laneism, as usual, triumphed. On the 10th of November, 1865, John B. Vliet was appointed Chief Engineer of the company. July 14, 1866, B. S. Henning was elected Vice President and appointed General and Financial Agent of the company, with authority to proceed east for the purpose of completing negotiations for the speedy building of the road.

The following extract from the report of a committee appointed to investigate the affairs of the company, submitted July 30, 1866, contains historical matter of interest:

The Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Railroad Company, was chartered by the Territorial Legislature of Kansas, the act being passed on the 12th day of February, 1858, and its charter amended by act of the State Legislature, approved February 29, 1864.
*  *  *  *  *
This company is authorized to build a railroad from Leavenworth to the south boundary of the State, and from Lawrence to Emporia.
*  *  *  *  *
By an act of the Legislature of Kansas, passed at the last session, the name of the company is changed to the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad Company. At the same session of the Legislature, the company was authorized to commence the construction of its road at the junction of the Leavenworth branch of the Union Pacific Railway. The earlier efforts of the company were directed to the securing of such endowments, in the way of congressional and other land grants, stock subscriptions, and county and city aid, as was necessary to secure the investment of capital in the enterprise. The result of these efforts thus far has been as follows: By act of Congress, approved March 3, 1863, the United States grants to the State of Kansas, for the purpose of aiding in the construction of a railroad and telegraph from the city of Leavenworth, by the way of the town of Lawrence, and via the Ohio City crossing of the Osage River, to the southern line of the State of Kansas, in the direction of Galveston Bay, in the State of Texas, with a branch from Lawrence, by the valley of Wakarusa River to Emporia, every alternate section of land designated by odd numbers, for ten sections in width on each side of said roads; with a provision that any deficiencies of land resulting from previous sales or reserves of any part of said lands by the United States, or their being occupied by pre-emptors, or as homesteads under the law of the United States, in such cases may be made up by other selections of lands within twenty miles of the line of the road. These lands are to be conveyed in sections of twenty miles in length, on the completion of each corresponding twenty miles of road. By act of the Legislature of Kansas, approved February 9, 1864, the lands herein named are set over to the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson Railroad Company, on the same terms as they are granted by Congress to the State. By recent examinations, certified by the Register of the several land offices, it was ascertained that the following quantities of land would accrue to the company under the foregoing act of Congress, and of the Legislature of Kansas, under the completion of their road, to wit: In the Shawnee Land District, 27,000 acres; in the Humboldt Land District, 135,000 acres; lands included in the recent treaty with the Osages, 613,000 acres; total, 775,000 acres. In addition to the foregoing, the Legislature of Kansas, at its last session granted to this company, one-fourth of the 500,000 acres given by Congress to the State for internal improvements, under an act of appropriate the proceeds of the sales of public lands, and grant pre-emption rights, approved September 4, 1841, amounting to $125,000 (sic) acres. This land is to be sold by the State, and the proceeds accrue to the company on the completion of ten miles of road. The counties of Douglas, Allen and Anderson have each voted to aid the company with county bonds to the amount of $125,000 each, or in the aggregate, $375,000.

On the 4th of June, 1866, James H. Lane was elected President, and Thomas Carney, H. Allen, S. N. Simpson, J. C. Burnett, W. W. H. Lawrence, J. B. Vliet, H. J. Canniff, William Spriggs, Orlin Thurston, P. P. Elder, J. K. Goodin, Josiah Miller and John Speer, Directors of the Company. December 20, 1866, W. W. H. Lawrence and P. O. Elder resigned their directorships, and their places were immediately filled by the election of B. S. Henning and William Sturges, respectively. H. J. Canniff resigned his directorship on the same day, which place was filled on the following day by the election of Charles Robinson. December 21, Orlin Thurston, J. B. Vliet, S. N. Simpson and J. K. Goodin, resigned their directorships, whose places were immediately filled by the election, respectively, of Shelton Sturges, of Chicago; Cyrus H. McCormick of New York; G. W. Deitzler, of Lawrence; and J. W. Foster, of Chicago. These changes were made in pursuance of a mutual agreement, previously made. The board as reconstructed, was as follows: Thomas Carney, H. Allen, J. C. Burnett, William Spriggs, Josiah Miller, John Speer, B. S. Henning, William Sturges, Charles Robinson, Shelton Sturges, Cyrus H. McCormick, George W. Deitzler and J. W. Foster. Owing to the death of Gen. Lane, which occurred in the previous July, there was a vacancy of President, which position was filled by the election of William Sturges, on the 21st of December, 1866.

On the 6th of February, 1867, Douglas County voted to issue bonds to the amount of $300,000, as a subscription to the capital stock of the company, and Franklin County also made a like subscription to the amount of $200,000. Early that year work commenced in earnest on the road at Lawrence, and on the 1st of January, 1868, it was completed to Ottawa. Col. J. B. Vliet was Superintendent.

During the year 1868, William Sturges, President of the Company, made a treaty with the Osage Indians, for the sale of their reservation in Kansas, consisting of 8,000,000 acres to the railroad company, at 19 cents an acre, but the attempt at its ratification in the United States Senate, was defeated through the efforts of Hon. Sidney Clarke, Representative of Kansas, in the House, who caused resolutions unfriendly to the ratification to be passed in his branch of Congress. November 5, 1868, I. S. Kalloch was appointed Superintendent of the road.

After tarrying at Ottawa for several months, work on the road was resumed and continued steadily until the road was completed to Coffeyville, Montgomery County, 143.33 miles from Lawrence. A branch was also constructed at an early day, from Ottawa to Olathe, 31.77 miles. The road was completed to Coffeyville in 1871. Nothing was ever done on either the Emporia or Fort Riley branches.

The Southern Kansas & Western Railroad Company was organized in 1879; opened to Harper, 148.82 miles from Cherryvale, October 1, 1880.

The Sumner County Railroad, from Wellington to Hunnewell, 18.35 miles, was built in 1880.

In April, 1879, the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston, the Kansas City & Santa Fe and the Southern Kansas Railroad Companies were consolidated, under the name of the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Railroad Company. December 16, 1880, the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern, the Southern Kansas & Western and the Sumner County Railroad Companies were consolidated, under the name of the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas Railroad Company. In November, 1880, the stock of this company passed into the hands of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company, and since the 1st of May, 1882, the road has been operated by the latter company.

Ottawa & Burlington Railroad. - From Burlington Junction, 3.79 miles south of Ottawa, to Burlington, Coffey County, 42.21 miles. Chartered February 4, 1870, as the Kansas City, Burlington & Santa Fe Railroad Company; opened March 28, 1878. Sold under foreclosure February, 1881, and re-organized under present title. Leased to the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas Railroad Company, which guaranteed principal and interest on its bonds.

[TOC] [part 6] [part 4] [Cutler's History]