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


[TOC] [part 14] [part 12] [Cutler's History]

1883, PART 2.

Railroad Legislation. - The finality of law-making with reference to the railroads is found in the following act, which, after many verbal and written protest on the part of Senators and Representatives, was approved by Gov. Glick March 6, 1883:


Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:

SECTION 1. No railroad company shall charge or receive a rate in excess of three cents per mile for the transportation of any passenger who is over twelve years of age, upon any railroad in this State, nor in excess of half that sum per mile for the transportation of any passenger of the age of twelve years or under. Each passenger over twelve years of age paying fare shall be entitled to have transported without any additional charge, baggage not exceeding one hundred pounds in weight, and each passenger of twelve years of age and under, paying fare, shall be entitled to have transported without additional charge, baggage not exceeding fifty pounds in weight.

SEC. 2. The Executive council shall, before the first day of April next, elect three competent persons, who shall constitute a Board of Railroad Commissioners, and who shall hold their offices from the dates of their respective elections for the terms of one, two and three years from the first day of April next. The Executive Council shall, in like manner, before the first day of April in each year thereafter elect a Commissioner, to continue in office for the term of three years from said date; and in case any vacancy occurs in said Board, by resignation or otherwise, shall in the same manner elect a Commissioner to serve for the residue of the term. The Executive Council may, at any time, remove such Commissioners, or any of them, and elect others to fill the vacancy; and all votes cast by each member of the Executive Council for the elections of any person to the office of Railroad Commissioner, or removal from the same, shall be recorded in a journal kept by them for that purpose, which journal shall be kept open at all times to public inspection. The said Board of Commissioners shall have authority to appoint a secretary and remove him at pleasure. No person owning any bonds, stock, or property in any railroad company, or who is in the employment of, or who is in any way or manner pecuniarily interested in, any railroad, shall be eligible to the office of Railroad Commissioner or secretary of said Board. Said Railroad Commissioners and secretary shall be qualified electors of the State, provided, that not more than two of the commissioners shall belong to the same political party. Said Commissioners and secretary shall be sworn to the due and faithful performance of the duties of their respective offices before entering upon the discharge of the same. Each of said Commissioners shall enter into bonds, with security to be approved by the State Treasurer, in the sum of ten thousand dollars, conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties.

SEC. 3. Said Commissioners shall keep their office in the State house or at some other suitable place in the city of Topeka, and they or either of them may act officially in any part of the State. They shall each receive a salary of three thousand dollars per annum, and the secretary shall receive a salary of fifteen hundred dollars per annum, to be paid as the salaries of other Sate officers are paid, and said Board shall be provided, at the expense of the State, with necessary office furniture and stationery.

SEC. 4. To provide a fund for the payment of the salaries and current expenses of the Board of Commissioners and Secretary the Board shall certify to the Auditor of State on or before the 20th of May, in each year, the amount necessary to defray the same, which amount shall be divided pro rata among, the several railroad companies, according to the assessed valuation of their property in the State, and the Auditor shall thereupon certify to the County Clerk of each county the amount due from the several railroad corporations located and operated in said county, and the County Clerk shall place the same on the tax rolls of his county to be collected the same as other taxes upon railroad property, and the County Treasurer shall account to the State for the same the same as provided by law for other State funds, provided that in unorganized counties the amount so found due from railroad companies therein shall be included in and levied and collected with such taxes as are levied and collected by the State from railroad companies located in said unorganized counties.

SEC. 5. Said Commissioners shall have the general supervision of all railroads in the State operated by steam, and all express companies, sleeping car companies, and all other persons, companies or corporations doing business as common carriers in this State, and shall inquire into any neglect or violation of the laws of this State by any person, company or corporation engaged in the business of transportation of persons or property therein, or by the officers, agents or employes thereof, and shall also from time to time carefully examine and inspect the condition of each railroad in the State, and of its equipment and the manner of its conduct and management with reference to the public safety and convenience. Whenever in the judgment of the Railroad Commissioners it shall appear that any railroad corporation or other transportation company fails, in any respect or particular, to comply with the terms of its charter or the laws of the State, or whenever in their judgment any repairs are necessary upon its road, or any addition to its rolling stock, or any addition to or change of its stations or station houses, or any change in its rates for transporting freight, or any change in the mode of operating its road, and conducting its business is reasonable and expedient in order to promote the security, convenience, and accommodation of the public, said Commissioners shall inform such corporations of the improvement and changes which they adjudge to be proper, by a notice thereof in writing, to be served by leaving a copy thereof, certified by the Commissioner's secretary with any station agent, clerk, treasurer, or any director of said corporation; and a report of the proceedings shall be included in the annual report of the Commissioners to the Legislature. Nothing in this section shall be construed as relieving any railroad company, or other transportation corporation, from their responsibility or liability for damage to persons or property.

SEC. 6. Said Commissioners shall, on or before the first Monday in December in each year, make a report to the Governor of their doings for the preceding year, containing such facts, statements and explanations as will disclose the workings of the system of railroad transportation in this State, and its relation to the general business and prosperity of the citizens of the State, and such suggestions and recommendations in respect thereto as may to them seem appropriate. Said report shall also contain as to every railroad corporation doing business in this State.

First - The amount of its capital stock.

Second - The amount of its preferred stock, if any, and the condition of its preferment.

Third - The amount of its funded debt, and the rate of interest.

Fourth - The amount of its floating debt.

Fifth - The cost and actual present cash value of its road and equipment, including permanent way buildings and rolling stock, all real estate used exclusively in operating the road, and all fixtures and conveniences for transacting its business.

Sixth - The estimated value of all other property owned by such corporation, with a schedule of the same, not including lands granted in aid to its construction.

Seventh - The number of acres originally granted in aid of construction of its road by the United State, or by this State.

Eighth - Number of acres of such land remaining unsold.

Ninth - A list of all its officers and directors, with their respective places of residence.

Tenth - Such statistics of the road and of its business for the year, as may, in the judgment of the Commissioners, be necessary and proper, for the information of the Legislature, or as may be required by the Governor. Such report shall exhibit and refer to the condition of such corporation on the first day of July of each year, and the details of its transportation business transacted during the year ending June 30.

Eleventh - The average amount of tonnage that can be carried over each road in the State with an engine of given power.

SEC. 7. To enable said Commissioners to make such a report, the President or managing officer of each railroad or transportation company doing business in this State, shall annually make to the said Commissioners, on the 15th day of September, each year, such returns, in the form which they may prescribe, as will afford the information required for their said official report; such returns shall be verified by the oath of the officer making them; and any corporation herein named whose return shall not be made as herein prescribed, by the 15th day of September, shall be liable to a penalty of one hundred dollars for each and every day after the 16th day of September that such return shall be wilfully delayed or refused.

SEC. 8. The said Commissioners shall have power, in the discharge of the duties of their office, to examine any of the books, papers, or documents of any such corporation, or to examine under oath or otherwise any officer, director, agent or employe thereof, of any such corporation, or any other person. The Commissioners or either of them are empowered to issue subpoenas and administer oaths in the same manner and with the same power to enforce obedience thereto in the performance of their said duties as belong and pertain to Courts of Record in this State, and any person who may wilfully obstruct said Commissioners in the performance of their duties, or who may refuse to give any information within his possession that may be required by said Commissioners within the line of their duty shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable on conviction thereof, to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, in the discretion of the court; the cost of such subpoenas and investigation to be first paid by the State, on the certificate of said Commissioners.

SEC. 9. It shall be the duty of any railroad company when within their power to do so, and upon reasonable notice, to furnish suitable cars to any and all persons who may apply therefor for the transportation of any and all kinds of freight, and to receive and transport such freight with all reasonable dispatch, and to provide and keep suitable facilities for the receiving and handling of the same at any depot on the line of its road; and also, to receive and transport in like manner, the empty or loaded cars furnished by any connecting road, to be delivered at any station or stations on the line of its road, to be loaded or discharged, or reloaded and returned to the road so connecting; and for compensation it shall not demand or receive any greater sum than is accepted by it from any other connecting railroad for a similar service.

SEC. 10. No railroad company shall charge, demand, or receive from any person, company or corporation, for the transportation of any property or for any other service, a greater sum than it shall at the same time charge, demand, or receive from any other person, company or corporation, for a like service from the same place, or upon like condition and under similar circumstances, and all concessions of rates, drawbacks, and contracts for special rates shall be open to and allowed all persons, companies and corporations alike; nor shall it charge more for transporting freight from any point on its line than a fair and just proportion of the price it charges for the same kind of freight transported from any other point.

SEC. 11. No railroad company shall charge, demand, or receive from any person, company, or corporation, an unreasonable price for the transportation of persons or property, or for the hauling or storing of freight, or for the use of its cars, or for any privilege or service afforded by it in the transaction of its business as a railroad company. And upon complaint in writing made to the Board of Railroad Commissioners that an unreasonable price has been charged, such Board shall investigate said complaint, and if sustained shall make a certificate, under their seal, setting forth what is a reasonable charge for the service rendered, which shall be prima facie evidence of the matters therein stated.

SEC. 12. It shall be unlawful for any railroad company to make any contract or enter into any stipulation with any other railroad company running in the same general direction by which either company shall directly or indirectly agree to divide in any manner, or proportion, the joint earnings upon the whole, or any part of the freight transported over such roads, and any violation of this provisions shall render the railway company violating the same, liable to a penalty of $5,000 for each month for which such earnings are divided, to be recovered for the use of the common school fund in the name of the State.

SEC. 13. No railroad company shall be permitted, except as otherwise provided by regulation or order of the Board to change or limit its common law liability as a common carrier. All railroad companies shall, on demand, issue duplicate freight receipts to shippers, in which shall be stated the class, or classes of freight shipped, the freight charges over the road, giving the receipt, and so far as practicable shall state the freight charges over other roads that carry such freight. When the consignee presents the railroad receipt to the agent of the railroad that delivers such freight, such agent shall deliver the articles shipped on payment of the rate charged for the class of freight mentioned in the receipt.

SEC. 14. In all cases where complaint shall be made in accordance with the provisions of Section 18, hereinafter provided, that an unreasonable charge is made or that the rates charged for freight are unjust, unreasonable or extortionate, and the Board shall find such complaint to be true, they shall require a modified charge, for the service rendered, such as they shall deem to be reasonable, and shall certify their finding to the managing officer of the road, against which such complaint is made, and the rates so determined by the Board to be reasonable shall be by the railroad company accepted thereby, and posted up in a conspicuous place in each depot on the line of its road that may be designated by said Board; and such rates so found, shall, in all actions arising in any court in this State, be taken to be reasonable compensation for the services for which they are provided, until the contrary is proven, and all compensation demanded or received by any such railway company in excess of the rates so determined by the Board, shall in any such action be taken to be unjust, unreasonable and extortionate until the contrary is proved. All cases of a failure to comply with the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners shall be embodied in the report of the Board of Commissioners to the Governor, and the same shall apply to any unjust discrimination, extortion or over-charge by said company, or any other violation of this act by such company.

SEC. 15. Any person, partnership or corporation, engaged in business, other than that of a common carrier, may own or lease railroad cars, and may load and bill the same to any railroad point, and all railroad companies and connecting lines to whom any such car is delivered, shall receive and transport the same, with all reasonable dispatch, toward its destination: Provided, That such cars shall be constructed in conformity to the rules and regulations of the company to which such application is made, and for such compensation as may be fixed by the commissioners; and having arrived at its destination it shall be unloaded and shall be, unless otherwise ordered by such shipper, returned to its starting point with like dispatch, and shall not be deviated from its route, and shall be in all respects handled the same as a car belongs to any railroad company: Provided, That it may be by said railroad company reasonably loaded upon its return trip, and the owner be allowed a reasonable sum for its use; and such owner shall be responsible for all necessary repairs.

SEC. 16. Neither said Board of Railroad Commissioners nor any railroad company shall raise the charge for transportation of freight on any railroad without first giving sixty days public notice of such change in such manner as the commissioners may determine.

SEC. 17. Any person, upon written permission, given by the Board, may exercise in the same manner and to the same extent as is now enjoyed by railroad companies, the right of condemning and appropriating land, and laying out and constructing any spur, switch or railroad track there over (sic) and connecting the same with any railroad already constructed; and the right to use such spur, switch or track shall be public at rates and on terms and conditions such as the Board shall prescribe, if the parties interested cannot agree.

SEC. 18. It shall be the duty of said commissioners, upon the complaint and application of the Mayor and council of any city, or the Trustee of any township, to make an examination of the rate of the freight tariff charged by any such company, and of the condition or operation of any railroad, any part of whose location lies within the limits of such city or township; and if twenty-five or more legal voters in any city or township shall, by petition in writing, request the Mayor and council of such city, or the Trustee of such township, to make the said complaint and application, and the Mayor and council or the Trustee, refuse non-compliance in writing upon the petition, and return the same to the petitioners, and the petitioners may thereupon, within ten days from the date of such refusal and return present such petition to said commissioners, and said commissioners shall, if upon due inquiry and hearing of the petitioners they think that the public good demands the examination, proceed to make it in the same manner as if called upon by the Mayor and council of any city or the Trustee of any township. Before proceeding to make such examination in accordance with such application or petition, said commissioners shall give to the petitioners and railroad company reasonable notice in writing of the time and place of entering upon the same. If upon such an examination it shall appear to said commissioners that the complaint alleged by the applicants or petitioners be well founded, they shall so adjudge, and they shall then and there decide what is a reasonable charge for such freights and shall inform the corporations operating such railroad company, of their adjudication, and such adjudication shall be prima facie evidence of what is a reasonable charge in all actions for such service.

SEC. 19. Any railroad company which shall violate any of the provisions of this act, shall forfeit for every such offense to the person, company or corporation aggrieved thereby, three times the actual damage sustained by the said party aggrieved thereby together with the cost of suit, and a reasonable attorney's fee to be fixed by the court; and if any appeal be taken from the judgment or any part thereof, it shall be the duty of the Appellate Court to include in the judgment an additional reasonable attorney's fee for services in Appellate Court or courts.

SEC. 20. Any railroad company or individual wilfully violating or evading any of the provisions of this act, not otherwise herein provided for, shall for each offense forfeit and pay a penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $5,000. All penalties provided for in this act shall be recovered by a civil action, to be instituted and prosecuted in the name of the State, by the county attorney of the county in which the offense has been committed, upon the direction of the Board of Railroad Commissioners. If upon the trial of such action the jury shall find for the plaintiff they shall assess and return with their verdict the amount of the fine to be imposed upon the defendant, and the court shall render judgment accordingly. All such penalties so recovered shall be paid into the school fund of the county in which such offense has been committed, and the Board of Railroad Commissioners may require the Attorney General to assist such county attorney in the prosecution of any such action. No bond for costs shall be required of the State in any such action.

SEC. 21. In any action against any railroad company for violations of the provisions of this act the plaintiff may join in the same petition as many different causes of action as he may have against such company arising under this act.

SEC. 22. Any person who shall willfully and corruptly swear, testify or affirm falsely to any material matter, upon any oath or affirmation or declaration legally administered in any cause, matter or proceeding before said Board, or any member thereof, or in any return, answer or report required by this act to be made, shall be deemed guilty of willful and corrupt perjury, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary at hard labor for a term not exceeding seven years.

SEC. 23. Said board of Commissioners shall keep an accurate record of all its official acts, and shall also provide a seal, on which shall be the impression"Board of Railroad Commissioners, State of Kansas Seal." All process or certificates issued or given by the Board shall be attested by said seal. Copies of the record of the Board, certified by the Secretary and attested with the seal of the Board, shall be received in evidence with the like effect as copies of other public records.

SEC. 24. Any member of said Board while acting in the performance of his duties as such, together with such clerk accountant or expert or other agent, whose services he deems to be important in the discharge of said duties, shall have the right of passing at all times over all railroads and on all railroad trains on any part thereof in this State, free of charge.

SEC. 25. Nothing in this act shall be construed to estop or hinder any persons or corporations from bringing suit against any such railroad company for any violations of any of the laws of this State for the government of railroads.

SEC. 26. In construing this act, unless such meaning be repugnant to the context or to the manifest intention of the Legislature, the term railroad company shall include and be construed to mean any incorporated railroad company, or any express or transportation company, or any railroad bridge company; or any persons or persons, lessee, assignee, trustee, receiver, partnership, joint stock company, or corporation, engaged wholly, partially, jointly, or severally in laying out, constructing, owning, operating, using or maintaining any railroad operated by steam, or any portion or part of such railroad line. The word "person" shall include persons, partnerships, joint stock companies and corporations.

SEC. 27. Sections 56, 57, 58 and 59, of Chapter 23, of the general statues, are hereby repealed.

SEC. 28. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its publication in the official State paper.

On March 31, the Executive Council made choice of the following named persons for Commissioners: Henry Hopkins, of Lansing, for three years; James Humphrey, of Junction City, for two years; L. L. Turner, of Sedan, for one year.

The Kansas State Temperance Union, incorporated October 30, 1879, held a meeting at Topeka, January 10 and 11, 1883, and made choice of the following-named persons as officers:

A. B. Campbell, President, Topeka; L. R. Elliott, Vice President, Manhattan; James A. Troutman, Secretary, Topeka; George M. Stearns, Treasurer, Topeka.

Executive Committee - Joab Mulvane, Chairman, Topeka; R. Wake, Centralia; T. E. Sewell, Abilene; M. V. B. Bennett, Columbus; H. A. Canfield, Lawrence; H. C. Finch, Burlingame; William Fairchild, Leavenworth; Phillip Krohn, Atchison; E. D. Hewett, Wichita.

The following Constitution was adopted:

ARTICLE I. This organization shall be known as The Kansas State Temperance Union.

ART. II. The object of this Union shall be to combine the various temperance organizations in the State in order to secure concentration of effort in promoting the cause of temperance, and in obtaining the enactment and enforcement of laws for the prohibition of the traffic in intoxicating liquors.

ART. III. Any temperance organization, church or Sabbath school in the State contributing annually to the funds of the Union shall be regarded as auxiliary to the Union and entitled to representation by three delegates in its meetings. Any individual in sympathy with the objects of the Union may become a member by paying one dollar annually, or a life member on payment of ten dollars.

ART. IV. The officers of this Union shall be a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, whose duties shall be such as usually devolve on such officers. The Treasurer shall give such bond and security as shall be satisfactory to the Executive Committee.

ART. V. The management of the affairs of this Union shall be entrusted to an Executive Committee consisting of thirteen members of which committee the Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer shall be ex officio members.

ART. VI. The duties of the Executive Committee shall be to hold meetings, employ a State lecturer and other public speakers, organize local Unions, circulate temperance literature and use all proper means to create a temperance sentiment and to secure the enforcement of prohibitory laws throughout the State.

ART. VII. In the meetings of the Executive Committee, five shall constitute a quorum.

ART. VIII. The election of officers, and members of the Executive Committee, shall take place at the annual meeting of the Union in August or September of each year; the date and place of meeting to be determined to the executive committee.

ART. IX. This constitution may be altered or amended at any annual meeting, provided such alteration shall have been previously submitted to the executive committee.

The following plan of work was adopted:

Your committee on plan of work beg leave to report:

1st. That we recommend the appointment by the Executive Committee of this Union of one person in each county, to be known as county organizer, whose duty it shall be to superintend the organization of temperance societies in each city, township and school district, and to hold public meetings in each township in his county, at least once every three months.

2d. We recommend the appointment by the Executive Committee of a sub-committee, consisting of three or more, whose duty it shall be to collect statistics bearing on the subject of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor, and its effects, and report the same to the Executive Committee.

3d. We recommend that no itinerant lecturers be recognized by local organizations unless duly authorized, and having in their possession credentials duly authenticated by the State Executive Committee.

The following preamble and resolution were adopted:

WHEREAS, Gov. John P. St. John has been for six years President of the Kansas State Temperance Union and now to our regret at his own earnest request retires from that position to enter upon a wider field, therefore

Resolved, That our hearts go with him wherever he may go to plead our cause, and while we regret the necessity which takes him from us as our President we believe that the cause of temperance throughout the United States needs the services of our gallant leader, and we consent for this reason only to his retirement from the chief office of our organization.

The following resolutions submitted by C. E. Wheeler, and offered by ex-Gov. St. John was adopted:

Resolved, That our Representatives in Congress be hereby requested to secure an amendment to the revenue laws, so that no permits shall be issued except to persons authorized under the laws of the State to sell intoxicating liquors.

Albert Griffin, of the Manhattan Nationalist, offered the following, which was adopted:

Resolved, That the Legislature is requested to add to the prohibitory liquor law a provision that the possession of a United States liquor dealer's tax stamp shall be prima facie evidence that the person to whom it is issued is engaged in the business.

The following is the platform adopted by the Union:

We, the temperance people of the State of Kansas in convention assembled, trusting in God for the rectitude of our intention, declare as the sense of this meeting:

lst. That the effect of the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage is drunkenness, and is a public and private wrong, injurious alike to the citizen and the State; the great cause of pauperism and crime, and to aid to rid the people of this curse is the duty of every philanthropic, patriotic citizen in the land.

2d. That the State has no moral or legal right to license any wrong, but should enact only such laws as will promote what is right and prohibit what is wrong.

3d. That the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage is a great moral question, and is right in principle and in practice, and it is the duty of all good citizens to foster, aid and encourage the vigorous enforcement of all laws of the State enacted for this purpose.

4th. That the will of the people, expressed in the constitution and laws, is the sovereign and supreme power of the State, to which all citizens owe unconditional obedience. To refuse such obedience in the citizen, or a failure of any law officer to execute the law in good faith, is treason to the State, and should receive the condemnation of all good citizens.

5th. That we are not only in favor of the enforcement of the prohibition law as against the liquor-seller, but we favor an active, vigorous campaign for the purpose of inducing men, by appeals to their higher nature, to cease the habit of drinking.

6th. That we are opposed to and protest against any attempt by the Legislature to strike prohibition from the constitution, by submitting an amendment for the purpose of the repeal thereof, or the emasculation of the law already enacted for the enforcement of the same.

7th. That we are opposed to the calling of a constitutional convention.

8th. That we are opposed to the organization of a new party.

9th. That we invite the co-operation of all lovers of law and order, regardless of politics or religion, in support of other principles herein announced.

The following additional plank, offered by Gov. St. John, was adopted:

That we hereby pledge ourselves to vote for no man nor support any party that favors licensed dram shops.

[TOC] [part 14] [part 12] [Cutler's History]