KanColl: The Kansas Historical Quarterlies

The Birth of The Atchison, Topeka
and Santa Fe Railroad

by Joseph W. Snell and Don W. Wilson

Autumn, 1968 (Vol. 34, No. 3), pages 325 to 356
Transcribed by Barbara J. Scott; digitized with permission of
the Kansas State Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets refer to endnotes for this text.

ON SEPTEMBER 14 Emporia celebrated the arrival of its new railroad in grand style, as recorded in the Emporia News of September 16, 1870:


     The day preceding the celebration of the completion of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad to Emporia was exceedingly disagreeable—drizzly and discouraging—and fears were entertained by some that the affair would fail, as did the one last winter on the occasion of the completion of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad to this point; and the morning of the 14th dawned dismally enough—foggy and unpromising—but the sun speedily dissipated the mists that hung over the town, and the day proved to be as favorable as could have been desired. The several committees to whom was entrusted the building and care of the tables went to work early and vigorously, and with the determination to make their part in the programme as creditable as possible. How well they succeeded the sequel will show. The several merchants who had been requested to supply the table furniture responded most generously, and by the time the three tables in the bowling hall of Mr. O. I. Case, and two long ones outside parallel with the hall, had been constructed, an ample supply of clear white plates and dishes, and all that was required to furnish the five long tables fully and beautifully, were on the ground, and fair, competent and eager hands waiting to arrange them. A shed had been constructed at one end of the bowling hall, in which a large cook stove was in full blast, with capacious boilers for coffee on the top, and experienced cooks actively and dextrously manipulating the crude elements of a mammoth dinner, which were disposed in assorted heaps conveniently near. The wagons detailed to collect the contributions of the citizens, came up loaded with generous baskets of roasted chickens, boiled hams, sweetmeats, etc., etc., to which were added the liberal donations of many of our enterprising and clever farmers. Whatever doubts may have been entertained by anybody as to the success of the celebration, it was evident, long before noon, that the dinner would be not only ample but excellent.
     The first train arrived on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe road about half-past ten o'clock, with five of the large, handsome passenger coaches of the road attached, and all filled to their utmost capacity. Four of them came from Topeka, with two hundred or more of the mirth-making population of that notable village aboard. Another car was attached at Burlingame, and by the time the train reached the last station before Emporia, they were all densely packed. It is not improper to say that a more genteel and intelligent looking company of people, numbers considered, were never before seen in Kansas together. The ladies were all handsomely dressed, and without exception, good looking. So much could not be said of the gentlemen; but "handsome is that handsome does," and as they were found in such good company, it is reasonable to suspect that their cleverness (in the estimation of the ladies, at least,) compensated for the hasty or blundering touches made by Nature in their outside finish. This remark, of course, will not be considered with reference to anybody in particular, as it may not be generally known that the homliest men in Topeka stayed at home, and we might be accused of noticing the wrong ones. Among the Topekaites were Governor James M. Harvey, A. Thoman [Alois Thomas], Auditor of State; J. B. McAfee, Mayor of Topeka; Judge [Lewis] Hanback, the witty; the rotund S. S. Prouty, of the Commonwealth; Hon. John Guthrie; General [Harrison] Clarkson, general agent of the Ætna Insurance Company; the irrepressible Tom Anderson; [Noble L.] Prentice [Prentis], of the State Record; T. H. Walker and many others more or less distinguished.
     From Lawrence were Senator E. G. Ross, T. Dwight Thacher and the ponderous, broad-shouldered I. S. Kalloch, of the Lawrence Journal; L. J. Worden, Sidney's left bower; S. A. Riggs, Capt. Steele, the bachelor brother of our amiable Colonel; Col. N. A. Adams and others.
     From other points were Col. D. R. Anthony, Chairman Republican State Central Committee; W. H. Slavens, editor of the Neosho Falls Advertiser; M. M. Murdock, of the Osage Chronicle; S. A. Manlove, of the Fort Scott Monitor.
     From the depot, headed by the Emporia brass band, the visitors were conducted to the Court House, every seat of which, on the floor and galleries, was soon filled, and Mayor [H. C.] Cross, after a few appropriate words of welcome, introduced the orator of the day, T. D. Thacher, of the Lawrence Journal, whose appearance was warmly greeted by the audience. And while he spoke of the struggles of the people of Kansas, and their many discouragements during the early settlement of the State, their intelligence and public enterprise, the fertility, beauty and unparalleled development of the country, the rapid construction of 1,500 miles of railroad within the State, the influence of the railroads upon the habits of the people and upon the children who grow up under the sound of the steam whistle and within sight of the mighty engine and rushing trains, so earnestly and eloquently set forth, the close attention given to his remarks by his auditors denoted that the orator was most heartily appreciated.
     At the conclusion of Mr. Thacher's address, Governor Harvey was called for, whose appearance was loudly applauded. He briefly congratulated our people upon the completion of the railroad, and expressed, in a few well-spoken words, his pleasure to participate with them in the festivities of the day. S. A. Riggs, Senator Ross, and others failing to appear in answer to the calls of the audience, all eyes were gratified by the majestic figure that slowly rose (great bodies move slowly) above the heads of the people in response to the call of "Kalloch!" Mr. Kalloch was pleased to have a story to tell. He thought he was very fortunate in this, as it was a good thing to have an anecdote at hand when he had little else to say, especially if it would make people laugh. (We would repeat the story here in spite of his protest, if we did not feel our inability to tell it so well, and we do not feel like spoiling a good thing.) Suffice it to say it was told in the speaker's happiest mood, and the laugh followed as a matter of course. In illustration of the progressive spirit of the age in his inimitable style, he closed with a few poetical stanzas of Whittier, written during the Presidential campaign of 1856, describing Fremont's march up and over the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Mr. Kalloch sat down amid loud applause.
     Major [Edward P.] Bancroft then announced that dinner was ready, and the audience filed out of the house and marched to and surrounded the tables in the most orderly manner. And the dinner! On all sides expressions of the heartiest admiration and satisfaction were heard from the visitors. The tables were truly magnificent. They were not only loaded down with all manner of inviting viands, but were most beautifully decorated with flowers. The ladies and gentlemen who spent the forenoon in preparing the dinner left no room for improvement. Their success was the result not only of their skill and taste, but of harmonious, systematic and industrious labor. Some confusion was occasioned about one o'clock by the arrival of an unexpectedly large crowd that came in on the M. K. & T. road, and reached the dining hall just about the time the committee began to think the last of the guests were fed. But this embarrassment was transient; the tables were soon replenished and everybody was supplied with an inward feeling of satisfaction.
     A noticeable figure in arranging the tables at one time was a gentleman from Freeport, Illinois. He was standing by looking on just at a time when a little additional help was needed. One of the committee asked if he would lend a hand. "Just as soon as not," was the ready answer, and taking off his coat he went to work, and the energy, rapidity and propriety he displayed in meeting the wants of the occasion attracted the attention and respect of all present. It was soon learned that he was a stranger, (his name we failed to learn,) and being favorably impressed with what he saw of the citizens of Emporia, he said he liked this place and people, and had then and there determined to come here to live. The energy and industry he displayed on that occasion entitle him to a welcome.
     The afternoon was spent by the visitors in looking at the town; many visited the Normal School [now Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia]; and all were gratified as well as surprised to see so many new buildings and other evidences of prosperity in the city. The Republican State Central Committee met during the afternoon at the Robinson House, but adjourned without transacting any business until evening, when it met in the Council chamber. The several hotels were equal to the emergency, and the great number who thronged their tables at supper went home feeling that the resources of our prosperous little city in coloring and stiffening for the "staff of life" were inexhaustible.
     About half-past six p. m. the excursion train left the depot for Topeka. As it rolled out three lusty cheers and a faint tiger were given for Emporia, and the larger number of the guests were on their way home, bearing with them, as we know, the kindest wishes of our citizens, and as we hope, happy hearts and pleasant reflections of their day's experience in our city.
     The ball in the evening was given in the large business room, the floor of which had just been laid, of Ruggles & Plumb's new building, and about forty couples were present. Several of the visitors from a distance stayed overnight to enjoy the dance. It passed off to the entire satisfaction of all present. The party adjourned to the Madison House for supper. We are unfortunate in that we cannot speak of the evening's entertainment from personal observation.
     In conclusion, we have only to say that the celebration was not as largely attended as might have been expected, but it is gratifying to state that it was universally pronounced one of the happiest celebrations that has ever been held in the State. Everything passed off harmoniously, and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. There was no disturbance of any kind during the day. The amount of provision furnished for the dinner was full and of the best quality. About twenty baskets in the city were packed which were not called for. The Emporia brass band made most excellent music, and was on hand whenever needed during the day. In fact, everyone who participated in the work of the day seemed to be "the right man in the right place," and they all have reason to congratulate themselves individually and collectively for the success of the celebration.

     In order to obtain more construction money the directors of the Santa Fe decided to mortgage the completed portion of the road. With the help of D. L. Lakin, Cyrus K. Holliday, and Thomas J. Peter, first mortgage bonds were successfully disposed of and 40 more miles of road were ordered built in a southwesterly direction. According to the Topeka Kansas Daily Commonwealth, September 13, 1870, the directors of the Santa Fe wanted to close up the gap between Topeka and Atchison next, but were overruled by the purchasers of the bonds who wanted to tap the bustling trail cattle industry then nearly monopolized by the Kansas Pacific (formerly the Union Pacific, Eastern Division).
     On September 16, the Commonwealth explained the decision more fully:

THE A. T. & S. F. ROAD—

     The construction of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad is to be pushed forward to the Arkansas without any intermission. The funds are provided, all plans matured, and the work will be pushed ahead with the greatest possible rapidity. A section of forty miles southwest of Emporia, extending somewhat beyond Cottonwood Falls, is to be placed under contract immediately. This section of the road is an exceedingly favorable one for rapid work. The line will follow the valley of the Cottonwood, which is remarkably level, with few streams to be bridged, and those small ones.
     The company have definitely determined not to commence active work on the line between this city and Atchison until the road shall have been completed to the Arkansas river. The considerations which have led to this determination are practical and controlling. It is obviously to the interest of the company to make their splendid lands in the southwest available, and this cannot be done until the road shall have been built through them, rendering them easy of access and establishing rapid and convenient communication between intending settlers and their future markets. Then, the control of the southern cattle trade is a matter of great, probably of paramount importance. Only the slightest knowledge of the geography of the country is necessary to show that, when the road shall have reached the Arkansas, it will be in a more favorable position to command this immense business than any competitor.
     We take it that the town lot fever will soon commence to rage in the vicinity of the Arkansas. It has not been determined at what point the road will strike the river, but wherever that point may be a large and prosperous town is certain to spring up. We understand that it will be the policy of the company to donate a site to the Texas interests, which are expected to develop the locality and to make the town the great depot and emporium of their collossal traffic. There will be many interested in ascertaining the location of this favored spot. . . .

     The Commonwealth, October 25, 1870, predicted that the road would reach the mouth of Doyle creek in Marion county (the future site of Florence) by Christmas while reporting another fact important to Topeka:

     The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad company will build machine shops at this place. The building will be 100 x 65 feet, two stories high. The depot building will be raised one story.

     Some of the rails being used by the Santa Fe came from across the Atlantic. The Topeka Commonwealth, October 27, reported the arrival of a recent shipment:

     The A., T. & S. F. railroad company are shipping the iron they propose to use this fall and winter in track laying beyond Emporia, from Wales. One cargo has already arrived at St. Louis. The company expects to have a great many miles of new track for use before January next. The contract of grading the first fifteen miles ready for the iron will be completed in a few days.

     On November 29 the railroad signed a contract to build the line from Topeka to Atchison. The Topeka State Record, December 7, 1870, felt the news was good for all of northeastern Kansas:


     We learn from the Atchison Champion that, on Tuesday last, a contract was entered into between certain Atchison parties and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad for the construction of said road from Atchison to Topeka.
     The contract stipulates that work shall be commenced on the road, at Atchison, on or before the first of April, 1871; that the road shall be completed and running, by the first of October, 1871, to the south line of the county; and that it shall be entirely completed, by the Grasshopper [Valley] Falls route, on or before the first of May, 1872, between Atchison and Topeka.
     This is uncommonly good news for the people of Topeka, and of the whole of that part of the State lying between here and Atchison. To the cities of Atchison and Topeka especially, however, the prospects of an early commencement and speedy completion of this section of the A. T. & S. F. road is one of the most gratifying things that could be announced. Atchison wants a connection with the south-west; and Topeka wants another outlet eastward. The fulfillment of the contract referred to will secure both of these objects—besides bringing the two cities into more neighborly relations with each other.
     The Champion promises to celebrate the completion of the work with—"cannons, roosters, and the biggest and screamingest of headlines"—a glorification which we hereby agree to duplicate to the full extent of our facilities for that kind of a job.

     At the westward end of the line laying of track commenced once again on December 15 and for the next several weeks construction notices appeared in Kansas newspapers with increasing frequency. The Burlingame Osage Chronicle, January 12, 1871, said:

     More than one hundred car-loads of iron passed through this place in the last three days, for the A T & S F, which is being rapidly put down, below Emporia.

     The Topeka Commonwealth, January 31, 1871:

     One hundred and eighty-five car loads of iron passed through Emporia last week for the A., T. & S. F. railroad.

     The Commonwealth, February 2:

     The work on the A. T. & S. F. R. R. west of Emporia is progressing as fast as the weather will allow. The iron and bridge timbers are being piled up at that place ready for the workmen whenever they get a chance to lay the iron.

     The Commonwealth, February 11:

     There is sufficient iron on the A., T. & S. Fe road, south of Emporia, to lay forty five miles of track. The ties have not all arrived yet.
     Orders came yesterday to the engineers on the A., T. & S. Fe road to locate seventy miles more of the line. This undoubtedly will complete the road from Florence to the cattle [Chisholm] trail.

     And the Emporia News, February 17:

     Another first-class engine for the A. T. & S. F. road will arrive next week.
     The bridges for the extension of the A. T. & S. F. road are manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio. Piles of them, says the Commonwealth, are now lying at the depot in Topeka.
     The tracklayers on the A. T. & S. F. have been laying the iron down very lively for some days. If the weather is favorable Cottonwood Falls will see the engine in a few days.
     The track of the A., T. & S. Fe road was laid Friday [February 10?] to Buckeye creek, thirteen miles west of this place.

     The Santa Fe reached Cottonwood Falls early in March and the barrage of newspaper articles continued. The Topeka Commonwealth, March 21, 1871, stated:

     The A. T. & S. F. railroad will make the terminus of their road for the coming year at a new town called Newton, situated on section 17, township 23, range 1, east, in Sedgwick county [Harvey county was then part of Sedgwick county]. They will also build cattle yards near the trail, one mile west of the town.

     On March 28 the Commonwealth included these items:

A. T. & S. FE ITEMS.

     The telegraph posts are set as far as Burlingame, and the builders are waiting for more wire. A heavy planer and an engine lathe will arrive in four weeks, and be put up in the machine shop.
     Two new passenger coaches will arrive on Wednesday next.
     Five new engines have been ordered for the road, and it is confidently expected that one hundred will be running before the end of the year. The business of the road is increasing very rapidly.
     This road will strike the Texas cattle trail near Newton. Cattle yards are to be built at Topeka.
     The contracts for the grading and masonry of thirty miles of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad from Florence to Newton were let last Friday. The work was sub-divided and a dozen or more parties took contracts. The work is to be completed by the 15th of May.

     The Commonwealth reported on April 8:

     Workmen are grading the northern extension of the A. T. & S. F. R.R.
     The telegraph poles on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad are set beyond Osage City.
     The track on the A. T. &. S. F. railroad is laid seven and one-half miles beyond Cottonwood Falls.
     The A. T. &. S. F. railroad company have received fifty new stock cars, and expect fifty more soon.

     And on April 13, 1871, the Commonwealth contributed the following:

     The track on the A. T. &. S. F. road is laid ten miles beyond Cottonwood Falls.
     The telegraph poles are set on the A. T. & S. F. road six miles beyond Osage City.

     Marsh Murdock, editor of the Weekly Osage Chronicle at Burlingame, mentioned several aspects of the Santa Fe's construction and renovation program in his issue of April 20, 1871:

A. T. & S. F. R. R.

     Superintendent Peter is pushing the Railroad south-west with the utmost vigor. He, and the Gen. Freight Ag't M. L. Sargent, are east, leaving the entire management in the hands of W. W. Fagan, Ass't Superintendent. About 500 men are grading and track laying. The present terminus of the road, Newton, near the Arkansas river, on the cattle track will be reached in June.—All the grading and mason work is finished to Florence. Newton is going to make a good town. A hundred new cattle cars have just been received in anticipation of that trade. The entire management of this great enterprise has been judicious and everything has been conducted on a scale fully comprehending the national importance of which this road promises to be.—The small iron first laid between here and Topeka, is rapidly being replaced by English fish-joint iron. The telegraphs poles are up to Emporia and the wire will be up in a few days.

     The Santa Fe's telegraph wires passed through Emporia on April 28 and the Emporia News, May 5, reported that grading had progressed "several miles beyond Cedar Point." Two weeks later the Commonwealth recorded that grading would be completed to Newton "within ten days, and cars will be running to Newton by the first of July."

     A correspondent from Newton produced a capsule history of that town which appeared in the Commonwealth on May 30, 1871:


Correspondence of the Commonwealth.
     You have doubtless heard of the new town, and perhaps a few lines from one of your former citizens, now a resident of Newton, would not prove tedious to your readers, at least to those who contemplate moving south-west.
     This is an enterprising railroad town, situated on the proposed line of the A. T. & S. Fe. R. R., and the intersection of the great Texas cattle trail; is thirty miles north-west of Augusta, thirty miles west from Florence—the present terminus of the A. T. & S. Fe. R. R.—and seventy-five or eighty miles south of Abilene.
     Grading of the railroad between Florence and Newton is being pushed forward rapidly; track-laying will begin in a few days and the cars will be running to this place by the first of July. Several thousand head of Texas cattle are now grazing in this vicinity waiting the completion of the road for shipment, and thousands more are coming in every day; even this minute looking out my western door, I can see two large herds entering the town, all waiting to ship from this point, because it is more convenient and water and grazing better than anywhere along the line of the K. P. R. R.
     Newton is situated upon a beautiful elevation on the east side of Sand Creek—a tributary of the Little Arkansas—occupying a central position; it is accessible by stage from all quarters, and in immediate connection by railroad with all the eastern states.
     The general character of the country surrounding Newton, is that of a gently rolling prairie; over the whole is a rich carpet of sweet, nutritious grass, and in every direction run streams of water. The soil is rich and inexhaustible—being from two to ten feet deep. If one were disposed to be imaginative, this vast expanse, stretching far beyond vision, might be likened to an ocean, the majestic swell of which had, in an instant, during some far off time, been changed to solid earth. A free, pure breeze, invigorating as that of the sea, makes the climate one of the healthiest known.
     Four weeks ago today, the first building was commenced, and we now have twenty houses almost finished, with lumber on the ground for the speedy erection of as many more. A dozen or more loaded wagons with lumber arrive here every day, and from "early morn till dewy eve" can be heard the carpenter's hammer, Sunday not excepted.
     We are blessed with the one thing needful to give reputation to a new town—a first-class hotel in every respect, kept by S. J. Bentley, who, with his clever and polite lady as chief of the culinary department, serves to the tired and hungry traveler the "fat of the land."
     Markwort & Lunn have a fifteen thousand dollar stock of groceries, etc., and are daily receiving more with which to supply the great south-western and Texas trade.
     The railroad lands belonging to the A. T. & S. F. railroad company in this vicinity will, as I see from your paper, be placed in market on and after the first day of June. Having traveled over them extensively I must say they are a choice lot of lands, being well watered by running streams in every direction, and first-rate prairie and bottom soil. Muse & Spivey, real estate agents at this place, are daily receiving application for these lands.
     There is some excitement in town to-day in consequence of the discovery of gold quartz in quarrying stone for a house foundation. The stone from which it was taken is of a gypsum shale, and a practical miner here says it contains quite a large per cent of gold.
     The COMMONWEALTH arrives here every evening with the stage from Florence, and is highly appreciated by those who get an opportunity to read it. We have no regularly mail route established through our town yet, but have our mail sent to us from Florence by the driver of Parker & Tisdale's great southwestern stage company. For fear of trespassing on your columns and the patience of your readers, I will close by extending a general invitation to all honest, energetic and live men to come to Newton before settling elsewhere.
    NEWTON, KAN., May 24, 1871.


     While the Topeka Commonwealth, June 13, 1871, reported that trains would run to Peabody on June 19, it also mentioned that "work on the first two sections of the northern extension [to Atchison] of the A. T. & S. Fe road was commenced yesterday."

     By July 2 the Commonwealth could report that "track laying on the A. T. & S. Fe railroad was within six miles of Newton yesterday evening at 5 o'clock. It will reach Newton on next Saturday [July 8]."

     The first Santa Fe passenger train ran into Newton on July 17 and the next day the Commonwealth announced that the

A. T. & S. Fe R. W. Company will not extend their line beyond Newton at present. When the northern extension is well under way, the road will take its flight from Newton to the "Golden Gate." "Steady but sure," is the motto, and they will win.

     With Newton as temporary western end of track, work on the Atchison extension intensified. On July 13, 1871, the Commonwealth reported:

     Work on the northern extension of the A. T. & S. Fe road is progressing along the whole line. Bridges, abutments and culverts are going along together. Stiffens is working on sections 38 and 39 near the city. O'Brien is "driving things" on sections 33, 34, 35, 36 and 37. Tom Harper serves up the best of "grub" a la Europa. The employees are rejoicing over the anticipated pay day, now at hand.

     The Santa Fe was being built partly by men from the "auld sod." The Commonwealth, August 4, 1871, noticed one who had been in the business more than half his life:

     Work is progressing very favorably on the A. T. & S. Fe northern extension. An Irishman, seventy years of age, is employed on the line, who has been on the "spade" forty-three years, and worked on the first fifteen miles of railroad built west from Philadelphia.

     The same issue of the Commonwealth commented on the happy fact that Topeka's "public houses of prostitution" had all been closed and that several of the demi monde had left for Newton. No doubt they, too, contributed to the infant town's growing delinquency which had already been the cause of several serious affairs ending in bloodshed. The most terrible of all, however, was to occur two weeks later with a bloodletting known to history as the Newton General Massacre.

     The Emporia News, August 25, 1871, reported the affair, which involved some Santa Fe employees who were bystanders:


     On Sunday morning last [August 20] a row occurred at Newton which resulted in the murder of two men and the wounding of nine others, three of whom have since died from wounds received in the affray. This affair occurred in one of the sinks of iniquity near the town called a "dance house." A former resident of this town who was at Newton gives us the following particulars of the affair:
     It seems that this murderous affair was the result of several less fatal shooting scrapes which have been happening at Newton for some weeks.
     It must be borne in mind that the state of society in that town is now at its worst. The town is largely inhabited by prostitutes, gamblers and whisky-sellers. Pistol shooting is the common amusement. All the frequenters of the saloons, gambling dens and houses of ill-fame are armed at all times, mostly with two pistols.
     About two weeks ago a Captain French, from Texas, had George [or Arthur] Delany, alias Wm. [or Mike] McCluskie, a St. Louis hard case, arrested on a charge of garroting. He was tried before Esquire [C. S.] Bowman, and they failed to prove anything against him. On the day of the election on railroad bonds, McCluskie and a man named [William] Bailey [or Baylor], both of whom were on the special police, got into a difficulty about the matter of the arrest, and about a woman. Bailey got drunk. The difficulty commenced at one of the dance houses, just out of the town, and after coming to the village, Bailey was shot and killed by McCluskie. French and other Texans, among whom was one named Bill [or Hugh] Anderson, then swore they would put an end to McCluskie's life, and break up his crowd. Several small difficulties occurred between the parties and their friends. At 1 o'clock last Sabbath morning, when all but one of the dance houses were closed, and most of their frequenters had left, the murderers proceeded to carry out their desperate threats. One of these disreputable places remained open. McCluskie was one of the loiterers. It proved to be his last hour on earth. Could he have known this, he would doubtless have preferred to spend it elsewhere.
     Several of the bloodthirsty Texans entered the place, accompanied by a few lookers-on, who had found out the intentions of the murderers. One or two innocent men were shot in the affray who were present only to see. Directly Anderson entered, and immediately the bloody work commenced. With murder in his eye, and his foul mouth filled with oaths and epithets, he stepped up to McCluskie and shot him. The ball entered McCluskie's neck. He sprang to his feet and shot Anderson, and then fell to the ground. The shooting then became general. McCluskie was shot in three places, and died in a couple of hours. John Martin, a herd boss, was shot through the jugular vein, and died. Bill Anderson, an owner of Texas cattle, was shot through the thigh; John Anderson, his brother, was shot through the right arm and lungs; [William] Garrett was shot through the lungs, and has since died; Patrick Lee, a railroad employee, was shot through the loins, and has since died. He was in no way a party to the difficulty. Hickey was shot in three places, and we believe has since died. [Jim] Wilkinson was shot through the jaw and nose. Bartlett was shot in the left shoulder.
     On Sunday, two other white men and a negro were shot, but our informant did not learn their names. Neither of them were killed. A coroner's jury was called on Sunday morning, and after an investigation, which lasted from 8 o'clock a. m. to 12½ p. m., they found Bill Anderson guilty of manslaughter, they having proved that he fired the first shot. They adjourned, and soon after received notice that if they did not leave at once their bodies would be found Monday morning "ornamenting neighboring telegraph poles." On Monday morning three of them came away on the early train, and the other three went to Wichita. Anderson came on the same train and went to Topeka to have his wounds attended to. Anderson and his men had such control over the crowd that the officers were afraid to arrest them.
     The Texans were talking Sunday night of burning the town and running out the prostitutes and gamblers. Several of them left, and as we have heard of no such action on their part, we conclude they have abandoned the matter.
     This was one of the bloodiest affrays that ever occurred in our State, and we hope that measures will be taken to prevent its recurrence. [13]

     On August 22 the Topeka Commonwealth carried a description of the battle written by its correspondent "Allegro" the day after the shooting. In his account Allegro stated that McCluskie's death was avenged by an unnamed "Nemesis" who did most of the shooting. He wrote:

     A stalwart figure suddenly appears on the scene. For an instant he remains motionless, as if studying the situation. Then a sheet of flame vomits forth, apparently from his hand, and a Texan staggers from the room across the area and falls dead at the door of the "Alamo." Another and another and another shot follows, until six men . . . have bowed to his prowess.

     Less than a year later Theodore F. Price, in his poem Newton: A Tale of the South-west (Topeka, 1872), named the shooter as "Riley." R. W. P. Muse, who was in town that night, wrote in his 1882 "History of Harvey County, Kansas, for One Decade—From 1871 to 1881" (published in Edwards' Historical Atlas of Harvey Co., Kansas, 1882) that the man was a "friend of McCloskey, a boy named Riley, some 18 years of age, quiet and inoffensive in deportment, and evidently dying from consumption. . . ." Later historians have assigned the given name of James to Riley, but confirming contemporary evidence cannot be found.

     The Abilene Chronicle, August 24, 1871, repeated the story of the massacre but was more specific regarding the names of those wounded and killed. In part that story said:

     During the fracas McCluskie received three pistol shots, any one of which would cause death. He must have exhibited great courage and bravery ere the fatal bullets pierced his body, for the barrels of his six-shooter, when picked up, were found to have been emptied of their charges. He lived but a few hours.
     Another Texan, whose name we have been unable to ascertain, was also shot and killed.
     As far as we have been able to learn the names of the wounded are as follows: Pat Lee, a brakesman on the railroad, a looker-on, in the abdomen, probably fatally; Billy Garrett, a Texan, in the arm, slight; —— Hickey, a section boss on the railroad, in the calf of the leg, slight; Jim Wilkerson, a Texan, in the nose, slight; Henry Kearnes, in the right breast, fatal; Hugh Anderson, the supposed instigator of the riot, thigh and leg, not serious. The brakesman, Lee, and Kearnes, will probably die.
     On Monday evening last threats were made, by many desperadoes, that in case Tom Carson, late a policeman in Abilene [under Wild Bill Hickok, city marshal], was placed upon the police force, that they would kill him. He was, however, appointed a police officer, and that evening patroled his allotted beat as unmolested as if he were in Abilene, no disturbance whatever occurring.
     Thus ends the third or fourth chapter in Newton's bloody history—a town only a little over three months old. Let its police force be strengthened by good and honest men, and all violators of the law be made to suffer the extreme penalties of its wise provisions. Then bloodshed will cease. But if the worse than beastly prostitution of the sexes is continued, and the town is controlled by characters who have no regard for virtue, decency or honor, it will not soon become fit for the abode of respectable people.
     LATER.—Since writing the above we learn that three more of the wounded men have died, making six deaths so far.

     Except for an occasional shooting, one or two of which ended in death, Newton soon began to quiet down to assume the characteristics of a permanent city. The trail cattle business was prominent there only in 1871 when 40,000 head were shipped to eastern markets. By the time the next trail driving season had arrived the Wichita and South Western had connected the Santa Fe to Wichita and that place assumed the cowtown mantle. But for a while Newton was the bustling western end of track while construction continued on the eastern end of the line.

Kinsley 1878

This 1878 lithograph of Kinsley and the Santa Fe line clearly shows the central role played by railroads in the development of western Kansas towns.

Topeka 1880

When this view of Topeka was sketched in 1880 the Santa Fe already had acquired the King Wrought Iron Bridge Company building for its shops, lower right. The old shops, upper left, became the line's lumber yard. Today Whelan's lumber company occupies part of the site. The railroad's first depot paralleled the tracks with it front facing north on Fourth Street.

King Bridge Co. building

Portions of the original King bridge company building, erected in 1872, still stand, as shown by this recent photograph of its west facade.


Santa Fe shop workers in 1968 rebuild air brake components with modern assembly line precision under the wooden trusses of the old bridge company shops.

Locomotive shed
In the old steam locomotive shed sensitive modern machines grind, hone, and polish axles to close tolerances.

Car fabrication

Where once locomotives were built (see photo below referring to "locomotive section of the Topeka shop" showing the same interior), gondola cars are now fabricated.

     The Topeka Kansas Daily Commonwealth gave one of its periodic reports on that phase of the operation on October 3, 1871:

     "Track laying from both ends of the A. T. & S. Fe northern extension will commence on the 15th inst. and will be finished on the 10th of December.

     On November 3, 1871, the Emporia News reported that grading to Parnell Junction was completed and that the western end of the line would be extended:


     The A. T. & S. F. Railroad is growing at every point. The grading between Atchison and Topeka is completed, and track is being laid from both points. The road will be finished by New Years, and Emporia will thus receive an important addition to its direct railroad connections with the north and east. Orders have been given to grade both the branch line from Newton to Wichita [14] and the main line from Newton to Ft. Larned as rapidly as possible, and large forces of men will be kept at work through the winter. The grading is to be completed to these points by the first of June. . .

     With the Santa Fe approaching, Hutchinson was laid out where the line was to cross Cow creek. The town was still an infant when this report appeared in the Commonwealth on November 11, 1871:

     The Wichita Tribune learns that the new town of Hutchinson, the next point on the A. T. & S. F. railroad, is going ahead with rapid strides. It has five stores already, and the lumber for twenty new buildings is on the ground. The foundation for a large hotel is being laid, and it is expected the cars will be running there by the first of May. Grading has already been commenced west of Newton.

     In addition the Commonwealth reported this letter from Newton:

     Messrs. Leighton, Wiley & Cutler are pushing the work on the A. T. & S. F. R. R. with much energy. They have men at work on every mile to Cow creek. Captain Cutler, of this firm, has just returned from Topeka and Lawrence, where he has been purchasing a stock of groceries, clothing, boots and shoes and tools to supply the workmen on the road. He is also receiving corn and coal, which he proposes to furnish employees cheaper than they can procure them of the dealers here. The supply store is to be located at the Little Arkansas, to which place this company propose to remove their headquarters in a few days. Mr. Wiley has been "running" the business of the firm here, and is very popular with the workmen and citizens. He is rushing the work of grading right along, and says he will have the work to Cow Creek, ready for the iron, by Christmas. . . .

     Grading on the Atchison extension had been completed early in the fall but no rails had been spiked by Thanksgiving. The editor of the Atchison Champion, John A. Martin, wrote to Thomas J. Peter asking him to clarify the difficulty. Peter's answer was printed in the Champion's November 23, 1871, issue:


     As our readers have been informed, the grading of the entire line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad between this city and the State Capital was completed on the 1st of October, ult., and proposals were received, on the 5th of that month, for the track laying, the work to be finished by the 10th of December. But there was an unaccountable and unexplained hitch in the progress of track laying, and as many of our people were asking us, almost every day, questions concerning it, we wrote to Col. T. J. PETER, the energetic and efficient General Manager of the Road, asking him why the work did not go on. The following is his answer. It is full and explicit, and will be entirely satisfactory. We had heard the same statement made before, but not officially. The Company has been as anxious to have the Road finished as our people have been, and it regrets the delay as sincerely as we do. It has not been in the remotest degree to blame for it, as this letter fully shows:

A., T. & SANTA FE R. R.,
TOPEKA, KANSAS, Nov. 21, 1871.

     JOHN A. MARTIN, EDITOR CHAMPION:—Dear Sir:—In answer to your favor of the 20th inst., relative to the delay of track laying on the Atchison extension, I would say:

     This Company purchased English iron for this part of the line, which, under the terms of contract, was to have been delivered in New Orleans on the 1st of October. Contracts for grading and masonry were accordingly made, requiring the road bed to be ready for the track by that date (Oct. 1st.) From some unexplained cause the parties failed to deliver the iron at the time agreed, and although all ready for the iron, and contract made for laying track, with cross-ties, bridges, &c., all ready, we are still without iron.
     We had some six or seven miles of rails on hand, which we have laid at this end. We are now erecting bridges, &c., so that we can speedily put down the rails when received.
     We have telegraphic advices from New Orleans, under date of the 17th inst., saying that the first cargo of iron has arrived, and trust it will soon reach us.
     The delay is deeply regretted by our people, and they made every effort to purchase iron for immediate delivery, as soon as it was known we were to be disappointed, but were unable to find any rails of our pattern in the market for immediate delivery. So we have been compelled to delay, at a great damage to our Company, indeed, and for which we will hold the parties contracting to furnish iron responsible.
     I have no doubt your citizens are anxious to see our line open, and am not surprised that they exhibit some impatience at the delay. But you can assure them our people are in no manner responsible for it, as the contract for iron was made in ample time, and with parties we supposed to be reliable. They failed, and we are the sufferers. Yours truly,
T. J. PETER,         
General Manager.

     Just when rails were first laid on the extension is not known but by December 12, the Topeka Daily Commonwealth was able to report that they were going down:


     The A. T. & S. Fe railroad company have erected a fine Howe truss bridge with iron girders, over Soldier creek. The track diverges from the K. P. a short distance west of Calhoun's bluff, and thence runs in a northeasterly direction towards Atchison. The rails are being laid rapidly, and as soon as the road is opened, through trains will run from Topeka to Chicago and St. Louis. An eating house will be opened near the site of the present depot. With the opening of this important railway connection, every business man in Topeka will rejoice, and we may look out for lively competition in passenger and freight tariffs.
     The enterprise and energy that has ever characterized the building of this line of railway is very commendable. Now is a golden opportunity for the merchants of Topeka. With their present patronage and competitive freights, almost at hand, they need have no fears of their ability to compete with any city in the west. The territory around about should be thoroughly canvassed by drummers and every retailer invited to come in and see our stocks. Push the road to Atchison, gentlemen, and our business men will bless you.

     The Commonwealth also mentioned that "contracts for building the A. T. & S. Fe road from Newton to Fort Larned have been let, and two hundred and fifty teams are on the line and will commence grading this week."

     On December 30, J. P. Brown rode over the Santa Fe's graded right-of-way from Parnell Junction to Valley Falls and wrote this favorable report which appeared in the Atchison Daily Champion, January 3, 1872:


ATCHISON, Jan. 1st, 1872.

     EDITOR CHAMPION:—On last Saturday I had a drive over that portion of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad between Parnell Junction and Grasshopper [Valley] Falls, with Mr. Hillyer, the Company's agent, and two railroad engineers, enjoying a holiday from their charge of the construction of other roads.
     The grading, masonry, and bridging of the road are finished in a manner really creditable, both to the contractors who did the work, and to the officers in charge of construction.
     The grading is fully as good as any that can be seen on first class Eastern roads.
     The embankments are very substantial, having a width of fourteen feet at grade; the cuts at grade have a width of twenty feet; the slopes are trimmed and finished to a line; and the entire road bed presents an even, smooth and uniform surface.
     The masonry of the bridge abutments is "first class" in reality as well as in name, being composed of an excellent quality of stone, rock face with hammer dressed beds and joints, laid in regular course, and the work throughout all its details bearing the unmistakeable imprint of experienced mechanical hands. These abutments, for strength, durability and neatness of finish, are not excelled on any road either East or West.
     The masonry of the culverts and cattle guards is the very best of its class, and greatly superior to that which is generally used for such purposes.
     The bridge superstructures are the most approved, and decidedly the best now in use—Howe trusses, with iron girders, so constructed as to freely admit of expansion and contraction under the extremes of temperature.
     The water tanks deserve special notice. They are no mere temporary concerns built on trestles, as in the case on many roads; but are supported by "round towers" of a superior class of stone masonry, and it is perfectly safe to say that such structures cannot be found on any other Western road.
     The work, in all its parts, conclusively proves that no necessary expenditure has been spared in its construction, and that the officers in charge have faithfully and efficiently performed the duties with which they were entrusted.
     At Parnell Junction the track has been laid for several hundred feet, and the space all around is crowded with ties, spikes, square timbers, etc., etc. Here in Atchison, too, there are some eight or nine thousand ties ready for shipment to the Junction as soon as they are needed.
     As there is no doubt that the same liberality in expenditure, and the same efficiency in superintendence will mark the progress of the work to its completion, Atchison will very soon have another railroad of which her people will be justly proud.

     More problems faced the advancement of the railroad in the new year. One, reported by the Emporia News, January 12, 1872, was of remote origin:

     The A. T. & S. F. railroad track laying beyond Newton has been delayed on account of the loss at sea of an entire ship load of rails. The vessel went clear to the bottom. Another ship load has just arrived at New York, with rails for about twenty-five miles of track. They will be put down as soon as they arrive. The cattle trade is over until spring. Shipments in that line will be lively after the grass has been green a few weeks.

     Weather, too, delayed the road. The Commonwealth, January 14, commented:

     The late cold weather suspended work on the northern extension of the A., T. & S. Fe road, but it will be resumed as soon as the roadway permits and pushed rapidly to completion.

     Weather in the West moderated so that grading could be resumed toward Hutchinson but in the East cold still delayed the work though rails were arriving in large quantities. The Atchison Champion, February 2, 1872, stated:


     The iron for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad is now rapidly arriving. Forty-three car loads arrived in Winthrop, opposite this city, a few days ago, via the North Missouri Road, and is now being brought across the river in wagons, on the ice. The remainder of the iron necessary to complete the entire line between Atchison and the State Capital is arriving via the Missouri Pacific Road, a portion of it having already reached here. Track laying will be commenced just as soon as the weather will permit, and prosecuted with all possible speed to completion. By the middle of April, at the furthest, our city will be connected directly by rail with nearly all sections of Southwestern Kansas, and another great line of Railroad, two hundred miles in length, will be added to those already concentrated at the "Great Railroad Centre."

     Finally, early in March, the ground had thawed sufficiently for the ties and rails to be placed. The Champion, March 5, 1872, said:


     We were pleased to receive a call yesterday from H. D. SELDON, contractor for laying the track on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Road. He informs us that he will commence putting down the iron to-day, and expects to complete the work in forty days. Iron for twenty miles of the Road is now here, and the remainder is arriving. By the middle of April, if the weather is at all favorable, the Road will be finished from Atchison to the State Capital.
     LATER.—At six o'clock last evening a construction train for the A., T. & Santa Fe Road arrived via the Missouri Pacific. The train was drawn by a splendid locomotive named the "Atchison." [15] Work will now proceed with vigor on this most important [project].

     Back in Topeka "our railroad" received another eulogistic article from the hands of the Commonwealth's editor, March 8, 1872:


     Of all the material enterprises of which Topeka can boast, none commands greater praise than the construction, extension and equipment of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad. The line has been built with the greatest care; the bridges are all of the best material; the rolling stock is of the latest and best approved styles. At the present rate of the southern extension, Uncle Sam's frontier outposts will soon be reached, and then across the cattle ranges of New Mexico and through the gold ribbed mountains of Arizona, the iron horse of the A., T. & S. Fe company will flee away on lightning wings to the shores of the tranquil Pacific.
     Not content, however, with progression in the uncivilized portion of the American domain, tracklaying was begun last Tuesday [March 5] at Atchison and in a few weeks, at farthest, connection will be made with the main line at Topeka, thus giving the capital city two grand trunk and competing lines to the east.
     While all honor is due to the enterprise of a few gentlemen in Topeka, no one deserves greater credit for pushing this noble enterprise to its present status, and that too on a cash basis, than Col. T. J. Peter, the able and efficient general superintendent. The broadest generalities and minutest details of the management are alike known to him and cared for.
     Leaving generalities which could be multiplied indefinitely, we would speak of things seen. The first improvement attracting deserved attention, is the elevation and enlargment of the depot building at Topeka, in which, beside the regular depot offices, are the general offices, including freight, ticket, engineers', treasurer, superintendent, etc. These are fitted up in handsome style, and reflect credit on the gentlemanly officials. There are now employed six clerks in the freight and ticket office, all under control of the very accommodating gentleman, M. L. Sargent; two in the general manager's office, and one in Assistant Treasurer [Edward] Wilder's office, which, by the way, is the most neatly fitted up office in the outfit. Remember we have not seen Assistant Superintendent Fagan's office, but he is entitled to rank as one of the first practical railroaders in the west. Whether directing those immediately under him or throttling the "iron" beast, he is the same quiet, but courageous and efficient official.
     Besides several new and very handsome engines recently placed on the line, a new, combined mail, baggage and express car is now running, which gives each official an exclusive and commodious room for the transaction of his special business. . . .

     Why the company began building southward from Parnell Junction instead of from Atchison is not clear but perhaps the convenient location of the Central Branch Union Pacific railroad, between those two points was a consideration. At any rate the Santa Fe early planned to lay its own track into Atchison and to the new depot and machine shops planned there. The Atchison Daily Champion, March 15, 1872, reported at length:


     In this morning's paper will be found an advertisement inviting proposals, to be received until Wednesday next, 20th inst., for the grading and masonry of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad between Parnell Junction, on the C. B. Road, and the Missouri river.
     COL. PETER, the General Manager, informs us that he expects to have this work finished and the iron down within sixty days. Until this portion of the road is completed the track of the Central Branch will be used between this city and Parnell's.
     A contract was let, yesterday, to M. M. TRIMMER, for the foundation of a freight depot for the Road, in West Atchison. The Company has also purchased ground for machine shops.

     A fine resume of the Santa Fe's progress from 1859 to 1872 appeared in the Chicago Railway Review of March 16 and was reprinted in the Atchison Champion, March 20, 1872. Since much of the article contained the history of the road as already related here only that portion concerning other details will be given:

     The equipment consists of 15 engines, [16] 13 coaches, 6 baggage cars, 22 box, 100 stock, 100 combination, 42 platform, 94 coal, and 4 caboose cars.
     During 1871 there was constructed and ironed 74 miles of road; and the company erected 1 machine shop, 1 oil house, 1 carpenter shop, 2 engine houses, 4 depots, 2 frame 5 room buildings for section men, 1 hotel at Newton, 8 tool houses, 3 water stations, with stone foundations and tanks enclosed, and stock yards at four stations,—those at Newton capable of yarding 6,000 cattle, with facilities for loading six cars at one time. The equipment added during 1871, consisted of 8 engines, 8 coaches, 4 baggage, 100 stock, 100 combination, 10 box, 50 coal, and 4 cabooses.
     The line now in operation, 136 miles, passes from Topeka to Newton through Osage, Lyon, Chase, Marion and Sedgwick counties. The located line west of Newton passes through Sedgwick, Reno, Rice, Barton, Stafford, Pawnee, Kiowa and Ford counties, to Fort Dodge; west of this point counties are not organized. The present connections of the Road are the Kansas Pacific at Topeka and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas at Emporia. When opened to Atchison the Road will have connection at Grasshopper [Valley] Falls with the Kansas Central (Leavenworth & Denver) Railway—narrow gauge; at Parnell, with Union Pacific, Central Branch; and at Atchison, with the Missouri Pacific, Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs, and Atchison & Nebraska Railways, now in operation—and with the Atchison branch of the Chicago & Southwestern Road, proposed to be opened in the spring. These companies are united for the purpose of building a Railway bridge over the Missouri river at Atchison, and its erection is promised during the present year.
     In construction, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Road is first class,—wide road bed with first class masonry at all openings; bridge superstructure, Howe Truss with iron bottom chords; track of the best English 56 lb. rails, with fish joint; water stations all having stone foundations, tanks enclosed and each provided with a wind mill; depots all substantial frame buildings of neat design and well finished. The construction has all been under the immediate supervision of T. J. Peter, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Road, who enjoys the reputation of having built one of the best roads west of the Mississippi. . . .

     By mid-April the Santa Fe was opened to Valley Falls. The Champion, April 11, 1872, stated:


     On Wednesday next [April 17], we are informed by Mr. FAGAN, Chief Engineer, regular trains will commence running on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad between this city and Grasshopper Falls. The Road will be completed to that place by Sunday next [April 14], and all arrangements for running trains will be perfected by the Wednesday following.
     The track-laying beyond Grasshopper Falls will be pushed forward with vigor, and early in May the Road will be completed to Topeka.

     A correspondent of the Atchison Champion rode the first train down to Valley Falls and wrote a lengthy account of the trip which appeared in the issue of April 20, 1872:


GRASSHOPPER FALLS, April 19, 1872.

     The first regular train from Atchison, on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, left that city at 2:50 Wednesday afternoon [April 17], and arrived at Grasshopper Falls at five. The distance is twenty-six miles. The day was unfavorable for a pleasure trip. It had been raining during the morning, and was still cloudy and the atmosphere chilly and damp. Still there was a fine crowd aboard, and all seemed in good spirits.
     The track lays through a very


     Part of the way it runs through as fine bottom lands as there are any where; and again over wide, beautiful prairie land. The country traversed is generally slightly rolling, but as fine for farming purposes as could be desired. In the vicinity of Nichols, twenty miles from Atchison, the track reaches a point from which is obtained a magnificent view of the surrounding country. The grand prairies stretch out for many miles around.


is very smooth and even. For a new one, it is superior. Mr. H. P. Selden, the contractor, has done himself great credit in its construction. Mr. Selden has had a very large experience in building railroads, on many of the first roads in the country.


consisting of a new and complete outfit, comprising a beautiful engine, the "General Burnside," Frank Crocker, engineer, a first class baggage, mail and express car and a fine passenger coach. Mr. A. B. Shepard, the conductor, is an affable and courteous gentleman.
     At present the trains are running over the track of the Central Branch


a distance of six miles. On this part, however, the work of grading on the new road is pushing forward with great rapidity. Half the distance is under contract, and the Company is building the other part. Mr. John Fagan, father of the worthy Assistant Superintendent, W. W. Fagan, Esq., is superintendent of the construction department on this part. Mr. Fagan is working one hundred men. In all there is a force on this six miles of perhaps fifty teams and two hundred men. The track is right along side that of the Central Branch.
     Mr. Seldon has the contract of completing the track


     The grading, masonry and bridging between these points is all complete. There are also about four miles of track laid and twenty to lay. This work will be pushed forward with energy, and should the weather be favorable, Mr. S. expects to lay a mile and a quarter per day, which would enable him to finish the work by the tenth of May. He employs a force of thirteen teams and eighty men.


there are two regular passenger trains daily each way. The one is a mail and express and the other an accommodation train. There is also running on this part a coal and a freight train. The distance is one hundred and thirty five miles. The little piece of twenty miles between here and Topeka, completed, will give the Company over one hundred and eighty-five miles of finished road.
     Messrs. Keyes & Seldon are the contractors for laying the track of a


of twenty-seven miles in length, from Newton to Wichita. They have already laid ten miles, and are building at the rate of a mile a day.
     The work of track-laying on the


from Newton to Fort Larned, will commence within a few days. The distance between these points is one hundred and fifteen miles. This, finished, will give the trains a three hundred mile run. The road is to be completed to Fort Larned by the first of November next.


     My information is, there are now seventeen Thornton [Taunton?] engines on the road, fifteen passenger coaches, six baggage and mail cars, six way and two hundred stock cars, fifty flats, one hundred coal cars, and two hundred more on the way. The station houses are all first-class.


     This road is officered and manned by gentlemanly, efficient railroad men. Gen. G. Twichell and A. C. [Isaac T.] Burr, both of Boston, are respectively President and Vice President. Col. T. J. Peter, of Cincinnati, who arrived in Atchison with the first train, on Tuesday last, is the Superintendent and General Manager. M. L. Sargent, Esq., is the General Ticket and Freight Agent, and E. D. Hillier, of Grasshopper, is Supply Agent. Mr. Hillier is a wide awake business man and courteous gentleman. D. L. Lakin, of Topeka, is Land Commissioner of the Road. Messrs. Chas. Marsh, Agent, and J. F. Crawford, Operator and Ticket Agent at Atchison; W. C. Butts, Agent, and N. W. Fordham, Operator and Ticket Agent at Grasshopper, are all pleasant gentlemen. . . .
R. A. H.

     As spring wore on, western Kansas, as it had for several years, jittered over a possible Indian uprising. Word even floated back that John R. Ellinwood, of the Santa Fe, had been captured. A correspondent of the Topeka Kansas Daily Commonwealth, April 27, 1872, corrected that misapprehension and dispelled rumors of an outbreak in this letter written from the new town of Great Bend:


To the Editor of the Commonwealth.
     In your issue of the 21st inst., you say that [it] is rumored that Capt. Ellinwood, chief engineer of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe road, has been captured by the Indians, etc. Allow us to inform his many friends, through your paper, that the captain was here to-day, looking as genial, gentlemanly and smiling as ever, and in good health. His present headquarters are at Zarah, but will soon be changed to this place, or Larned. Regarding the many reports of the Indians being troublesome west of here, it is all a canard. Some of the surveyors locating the road west of Dodge, report "no Indians." The only thing "troublesome" apprehended is, perhaps, their inclination to "run off stock," when the grass is better.
     The road is progressing finely. Grading will be completed to Larned by the 10th of next month. The contractors, Messrs. Wiley and Cutler have a way of driving things, and without much fuss. Their huge "Paddy," the "Wauchop Grader and Ditcher" is on their work, and doing wonders and astonishing the "natives." The Kansas grading company, (of which Abram Cutler, Esq., of Sumner, is general superintendent) have the exclusive right of Kansas of the above machinery, and which promises to make a decided change in railroad building in this country.
     It might not be out of the way to speak of this place, "Great Bend." Within two weeks over twenty buildings have been erected. We predict a hundred within a month. It has the finest site that we have seen in Kansas, located about a mile from the big Arkansas, and three miles from Walnut creek, on a rise of ground from which you have a splendid view of the valley for miles. Settlers are fast coming into the valley. Town lots are selling fast. The change that will take place within one year, even in this town and surrounding country, is hardly to be realized. No better country for agricultural pursuits exists than this. None too much has been said of the "Arkansas valley." All that see it, and more particularly that portion of it west of Zarah to Larned, pronounce it unequalled for its bounteous products of the soil, good climate, water and other features. In two months from now the iron horse will be rushing through the valley, destined, eventually, for the Pacific.

     The Commonwealth, May 7, 1872, reported that

yesterday, the A., T. & S. Fe Railroad Company put a force of seventy men on the Topeka end of the northern extension of their road. They will continue track-laying until they meet the contractors coming from Grasshopper Falls, whom they expect to meet the last of this week.

     And in little more than a week the northern extension was completed. The Commonwealth, May 16, recorded the event for history:


     The last rail necessary to complete the connection between Topeka and Atchison, on the A. T. & S. Fe road, was in all probability spiked down last night. At all events, when Colonel Peter left there about four o'clock yesterday afternoon, the gap to be closed up between the two gangs of workmen was less than half a mile. The boys were in the finest spirits and seemingly determined to drive the last spike before they quit. The place of meeting would apparently be about one-half mile this side of the crossing of Little Muddy creek. The ties put down are of a very superior character, composed very largely of hewn black walnut and of an extraordinary size, and the rails are just as good as can be bought anywhere. These two gangs of tracklayers are to be kept upon this part of the road, putting the road-bed in perfect running order, during the balance of the week, when they are to be transferred to the other end of the road to push things there.

     The first train to make the trip between Atchison and Topeka could not return because of high water. The Commonwealth, May 18, 1872, carried this short story:

     The A., T. & S. F. Road ran its first train through between Atchison and Topeka on Thursday [May 16], but in the attempt to return yesterday, the undertaking was abandoned at Grasshopper Falls, there having been some three bridges washed away.

     "The first train over the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe road, from Topeka to Atchison, arrived at the latter place at 8 o'clock Thursday evening," commented the Emporia News on May 21.

     With the connection to Atchison completed, the Santa Fe could concentrate on its movement west. In an effort to speed things up bridges were prefabricated in Topeka and shipped out to the plains where the rails were reaching out at the rate of two miles a day. Weather, however, continued to hamper some operations. The Topeka Commonwealth, May 22, 1872, reported that track laying had been stalled at the Little Arkansas because of high water:

     The Little Arkansas has been impassable for a week, greatly retarding work on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad. The rails are laid to the river bank, and material is accumulated in great quantities for the rapid extension of the line westward. The Little river will be bridged in a few days, and 200 men are on the ground ready to lay two miles of track per day.
     The cars will undoubtedly reach Hutchinson about June 5.

     In spite of all set backs the tempo of the construction increased. The Emporia News, May 31, 1872, commented that

the grading on the A., T. & S. F. railroad is now entirely completed to Fort Larned, one hundred and ten miles west of Newton, and still moving. Col. Peter has put seven hundred men to work laying rails beyond Newton.

     Santa Fe rails reached Hutchinson on June 8 but showed no signs of stopping. The Emporia News, June 7, 1872, recorded the great race to the border:

     The track of the A. T. & S. F. road is still pursuing the "star of empire" at the rate of two miles per day. It will be laid to Hutchinson, Reno county, by to-morrow night, and trains will probably run there on Monday. The road is lined with material for its own extension from one end to the other, and it will be pushed rapidly to the State Line. It will reach Larned as soon as two miles per day will reach it.

     On June 18, 1872, the Commonwealth said:

     The A. T. & S. Fe road is now ten miles beyond Hutchinson, and regular trains will run to that point next Thursday [June 20].

     "The grading of the road is completed to the mouth of Coon creek, ten miles west of Larned, . . ." stated the Commonwealth, June 29. "The tracklayers, under the efficient superintendence of Mr. Kreiley [Criley] . . . will reach Raymond Saturday night [June 29?]." The rails had passed through Peace (now Sterling) on June 24.

     "Track laying on the A. T. & S. Fe railroad reached the Big Bend of the Arkansas river last night," reported the Topeka Commonwealth, July 12, 1872. "Col. Peter contracted, yesterday, with Hugo Kullak, to build four depots—at Nickerson, Ellinwood, Pawnee Rock and Raymond," it continued.

     As the railroad company pushed westward in its attempt to beat the March 3, 1873, deadline laid down by the act of March 3, 1863, records were set almost daily. The Commonwealth, July 16, 1872, reported a new high in rail laying:

     Three miles and four hundred feet of track were laid on the A. T. & S. Fe road last Saturday [July 13]. This beats anything in the previous history of track-laying in the west.
     The A. T. & S. Fe company would be working twice as many men at the present time if they had the room. . . .

     The Hutchinson News, July 18, recorded that the rails had been set six miles beyond Great Bend and ties were being floated in from the Rockies:

     FROM UP THE RIVER—We had a long conversation with Mr. J. S. Duncan, who with his brother has just finished a boom across the Arkansas river, between Zarah and Great Bend, against which to lodge ties floated from the mountains for the A. T. & S. F. R. R. Mr. D. says they will have no trouble in catching the ties. The boom is 805 feet long, 350 feet of which is very [word illegible] made of heavy pieces of timber, bolted together with iron bolts, and swung angling across the stream, with large guys extending to the shore. Messrs. Duncan are brothers in law of Mr. Green, who has a contract with the A. T. & S. F. R. R., for getting out 200,000 ties. Mr. Green cut the ties in the Rocky Mountains, near Fair Play post office, and proposes floating them six hundred miles down the Arkansas river, to the above mentioned boom. We presume the floating operation has already commenced. It is proposed to throw about twenty thousand ties in at a time and have a body of men follow in boats and otherwise, to prevent them lodging. Mr. Green is sanguine of success, we learn, and if the experiment succeeds it will throw a new impetus into the timber region of this valley. There is a vast amount of timber in the mountains, and if crossties can be floated down other timber can. Mr. Duncan says that if the experiment succeeds a company will be immediately formed for getting down a general assortment of lumber. He promises to let us hear from the enterprise frequently.

     Track reached Pawnee Rock on July 20 but was hindered in its further progress by inclement weather. On July 23 a terrible storm struck Raymond in Rice county. The Topeka Kansas Daily Commonwealth, July 26, 1872, reported that item as well as several others of railroad interest:

A., T. & S. FE ITEMS.

     Twelve and three-tenths miles of track were laid in six days last week.
     Twenty-three cars of Texas cattle passed east, yesterday, via Atchison.
     Everything is reported very lively on the front, and no Indians have been seen or heard of.
     The frequent storms of late have prevented the usual progress in track-laying, but with the extra men called for in this issue, the work will go bravely on.
     The track is now two and one-half miles beyond Pawnee Rock—284½ miles from Atchison and six and one-half miles from Larned, which will be reached next Saturday night [July 27].
     A fearful storm of wind and rain occurred at Raymond last Tuesday evening. Tents were blown down, and hoops, skirts, band-boxes, Dolly Vardens, etc., were scattered all over the prairie. Houses were moved several feet from their foundations and the roof of the water tank was blown off.


     The track of the A. T. & S. Fe railroad reaches Larned station, six miles east of Fort Larned, this week. Mixed trains will, next week, run from Hutchinson to Larned, leaving the former place on the arrival of the express, at 11:30 P. M.
     The railroad company will be able to make eastern connections in a short time by which they can change their running time, so as to arrive at the Arkansas river at Wichita and Hutchinson about nine o'clock in the evening, and leave for the east about five o'clock in the morning. At present the run through the magnificent valley is made entirely in the night, thus depriving the passengers of a view of the wonderful crops, and of the rich lands of the company.
     Railroad lands are selling very rapidly, as all east of Hutchinson has recently been thrown into market. . . .

     Weather wasn't the only problem to plague the Santa Fe. Horse thieves, too, delayed construction. The Hutchinson News, August 1, 1872, reported:


     On the night of July 28th, a grand steal took place on the A. T. & S. F. R. R., about 100 miles west of here. The horses, a majority of which belong to the Railroad Co., are grazed on the prairie. On the night of the 28th the herder disappeared and at the same time between 75 and 100 horses. The disaster of course stopped work and created great excitement. A party immediately went in pursit, found out where the thieves crossed the Arkansas River, and up to latest accounts had recovered 16 horses. The thieves were making in the direction of Wichita probably in search of a market. If such be the case, they will undoubtedly be speedily overhauled. If they are, Judge Lynch will hold a court that will place them beyond such pranks hereafter. The deputy sheriff of the county, Al. Updegraff, [17] accompanied by H. C. McCarty and others, left here early Monday [July 29] to assist in the pursuit. It is thought the herder in charge was the ringleader of the raid.

     The Commonwealth, August 4, 1872, gave another series of short Santa Fe comments:


     Two new engines, the "Wichita" and "Grasshopper," [18] arrived yesterday.
     The tracklayers reached a point ten miles west of Larned last evening.
     The plans for an engine house at Hutchinson are being prepared; also, the plans for the machine shops, which will be commenced as soon as the ground can be secured.
     From the 24th ultimo to the 2d inst., 207 cars of Texas cattle were shipped east over this road.
     The depots at Raymond and Larned are nearly completed.
     The foundation of the depot building at Great Bend is completed and ready for the superstructure.

     "The A., T. & S. Fe road was completed thirty-two miles west of Larned last Sunday night [August 18] and will be finished to Fort Dodge by the first of September," stated the Commonwealth, August 20, 1872. Two days later the Hutchinson News stated that "the end of the track is 45 miles on the other side of Larned."

     Among the subcontractors who were grading the right-of-way were two brothers from Sedgwick county who later gained fame in another field. Bat and Ed Masterson, assignees of the firm of Wiley and Cutler, are reported to have graded four miles in Ford county during the summer of 1872. [19]

     Man-made problems continued to concern the railroad as rustlers and desperadoes increased their activity. "Out towards the end of the track of the A, T. & S. F. railroad horse thieves abound," said the Hutchinson News, August 29. The Topeka Commonwealth, August 27, reported that

     The latest reports from the military detachment, which was sent from Fort Dodge to capture the thieves who stole some forty head of stock from the graders on the A., T. & S. Fe road, say that they are about forty miles behind the thieves a short distance south of Pueblo, New Mexico. The commanding officer of the detachment has orders to follow them until the property and the thieves are captured.

     "A shooting affray took place at Raymond [Rice county] on last Sunday morning [August 25], between the conductor of a train and a desperado. No one was hurt," added the News of August 29.

     But in its next issue, September 5, the Hutchinson News could report that "the A. T. & S. F. R. R. is now finished and running to Dodge, 366 miles west of Atchison." Still another week and the News mentioned that rails were 10 miles beyond Fort Dodge "and still traveling towards the setting sun."

     Though the railroad was bothered by mean characters, its employees were able to protect themselves and even go a little further if need be. The Topeka Kansas Daily Commonwealth, September 8, 1872, reported the death of a man who may have caused the disturbance at Raymond on August 25:


     For some time, a notoriously mean and contemptible desperado, named Jack Reynolds has been "beating" his way on the western division of the A., T. & S. Fe road by murderous threats, backed by a six shooter. On one occasion, he tried his "little game" on Conductor Jansen, (since died of a broken arm,) who tackled the brute, took the six-shooter away from him and pitched him off the train.
     Jack, with all his other meannesses was very quarrelsome. On Thursday last [September 5], he got into a quarrel at Dodge City with one of the tracklayers, who, without any "ifs or ands," put six balls, in rapid succession, into Jack's body. The desperado fell and expired instantly; and thus the law-abiding people of the southwest were rid of a terror.
     Only a few days before, Jack had shot a man at Raymond for some supposed injury.

     Dodge City was just an infant when a correspondent of the Leavenworth Daily Commercial visited there and wrote this letter which was published in the issue of October 5, 1872:

     Saturday evening [September 7?] we reached Dodge, or Buffalo City, as it is called, a small town on the A., T. & S. F. Road, five miles west of Fort Dodge. The "City" consists of about a dozen frame houses and about two dozen tents, besides a few adobe houses. The town contains several stores, a gunsmith's establishment, and a barber shop. Nearly every building has out the sign, in large letters, "Saloon."

     The road is being pushed along with surpassing rapidity, and is now running trains fifteen miles west of Dodge. . . .

     By September 19 the Hutchinson News could report that "track laying on the A. T. & S. F. R. R. is thirty miles beyond Fort Dodge," and, in another week, that the railroad had the grading "almost completed to the western line of Kansas, forty miles below Fort Lyon."
     "Regular passenger trains will run to Dodge City, on the A. T. & S. F. R. R. next Monday [October 7]," recorded the Newton Kansan, October 3, 1872. "The conductors from Topeka go through to Wichita; and the train to Dodge City will be made up at this place."
     Early in November the track had been pushed to a distance of 60 miles beyond Fort Dodge. The Commonwealth, November 13, reprinted an article from an unidentified issue of the Kansas City Times:


     This road is now completed to a point sixty miles beyond Fort Dodge, and will be finished to the state line by the 15th of December, 117 miles from Fort Dodge, making the entire finished portion of the road 468 miles from Atchison. Work will be suspended when the work is finished to the state line until spring, when it will be again resumed and pushed rapidly to Santa Fe.
     A Times reporter passed over the road to Fort Dodge during last week, and reports that a better constructed and finer equipped new road it has never been his pleasure to travel over.
     Travel over the road is daily increasing. . . . Our reporter had the pleasure of calling on George H. Nettleton, general superintendent, in his office at Topeka, and found him as usual as busy as a bee, but however busy, always courteous and polite to all callers—the humble brakeman received in the same courteous manner as those of high official grade. To conductors James and Mills our reporter extends thanks for courtesies extended on the trip.—Kansas City Times.

     Unfortunately an error had been made in locating the position of the western Kansas border, the target for complying with the government's stipulations for acquisition of the land grant. Consequently the railroad moved its end of track town four miles farther west than had originally been planned. The Hutchinson News, December 12, 1872, reported:

     MOVING—The "State Line City" is being removed four miles farther west, in consequence of the government survey establishing the State line that far from the estimate of the A. T. & S. F. R. R. Company. As the city is built out of tents we presume that no great difficulty is experienced.

Boarding cars for workers, 1872

Boarding cars used by construction workers at end of track west of Dodge City, 1872.

Water carried to construction gang

Water was carried to Santa Fe construction gangs by this crew in 1872.

Santa Fe officials

Unidentified Santa Fe officials posed for this time exposure at end of track west of Dodge City.

Engineer payroll, 1873

1873 Santa Fe payroll for locomotive engineers. Courtesy Santa Fe railway.

Paymaster car, 1884

Engine No. 5, the Thomas Sherlock, coupled to the paymaster's car in front of the second Santa Fe depot in Topeka, 1884. Courtesy Santa Fe railway.

yard of the Topeka shops, 1879

In the yard of the Topeka shops about 1879. Courtesy Santa Fe railway.

The Santa Fe locomotive

Locomotive No. 35, the Santa Fe, pulled the first through Santa Fe passenger train from Kansas City to the West Coast in 1881.

Number 048 locomotive

Engine No. 048 was built in 1878 and was originally named the R. L. Wootton. Courtesy Marion Perrin.


The Wellington roundhouse about 1920. Courtesy William Bain.

Number 2 locomotive

The Santa Fe's second No. 2 (1881), the William B. Strong, was also the second locomotive constructed in the Topeka shops. Courtesy Santa Fe railway.

No. 541 locomotive

No. 541 at Dodge City before the turn of the century.
It had been built by Manchester in 1887. Courtesy Santa Fe railway.

Santa Fe Locomotive, 1879

A Santa Fe locomotive and its crew on the outskirts of Dodge City, 1879.

Number 1017 locomotive

No. 1017 was a 262 Prairie type built by Baldwin in 1901. Courtesy William Bain.

Santa Fe building

The Santa Fe office building about 1915. The State Memorial building, which houses the Kansas State Historical Society, shows in the background on the far right. Courtesy Santa Fe railway.

Locomotive section

The locomotive section of the Topeka shops when engine construction was at its height.

Rhode island Company locomotive

A 468 class 4-6-0 built by the Rhode Island company in 1900. Courtesy Marion Perrin.

Pacific-type locomotive

This locomotive was a 4-6-2 Pacific type built by Baldwin in 1914. It was one of the last four cylinder balanced compounds bought by the Santa Fe.

Topeka depot 1942

The second Topeka depot, remodeled, about 1942. It was replaced in 1949 by a one-story structure. Courtesy William Bain.

diesel locomotive

Engine No. 28, built in 1948, typifies the diesel powered systems which replaced steam after World War II. Courtesy Santa Fe railway.

     On December 19 the News explained the conditions of the land grant:


     By law the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company acquire the title to all their lands within the ten mile limits as fast as they complete and operate the road, that is, taking it in subdivisions of twenty miles in length of the road. They also acquire the title to the indemnity land, which is outside of ten miles and within the twenty miles of the road on each side, when they complete and operate the road to the west line of the State of Kansas, provided they so complete the road by March 3rd, 1873, but if they fail to so complete, they still acquire title to all within the ten miles as far as the road is completed. The road is now completed within about 14 miles of the line. The bed is graded to the line except three or four miles, the iron and ties, are all purchased and within the state, and the road will probably be completed this month or early in January. As the company must have the road accepted and all conditions duly complied with before that time, it is evident that the titles to all the R. R. lands on this line must be perfected before March 1st, 1873. . . .

     The Santa Fe always took a paternal attitude toward the towns it had fostered along the right-of-way. This was not only true initially but has continued through the life of the road. It was not unusual, for instance, for the railroad to send a special locomotive to help local authorities and citizens as it did in September, 1878, when the home of Harrison Berry, four miles west of Dodge City caught fire. "A locomotive loaded with citizens was at once despatched to the scene of the conflagration, reaching there in time to save the hay stacks and stock from the fiery elements," reported the Dodge City Times, September 21. Among those rushing to Berry's aid were P. L. Beatty, Chalk Beeson, and Wyatt Earp, all Dodge City pioneers.

     Conditions in the new towns along the line were so disturbing in 1872 that the Santa Fe planned to support more strict law enforcement as reported by the Newton Kansan, December 19, 1872:

     We understand from a reliable source that a bill of some kind will be presented to our Legislature next month for the protection of new towns and counties in Kansas against those known as roughs, and the murderous proceedings which are being enacted in some localities almost daily. The officers and members of the A. T. & S. F. R. R. are much aggrieved at these operations along their lines, and their influence will be in favor of anything that will attain this object. There can be no doubt but that a stringent law could be established for this purpose. . . .

     Finally, in spite of human predators, bad weather, tight money, long supply lines, and innumerable other complications, the track of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe reached the true state line on December 28, 1872. J. D. "Pete" Criley, in charge of construction, immediately notified his superior in a flowery message which was printed in the Hutchinson News, January 2, 1873:

     AT THE STATE LINE.—The A. T. & S. F. Railroad has at length reached the State Line. The following dispatches passed over the wires on Sunday night:

STATE LINE, Dec. 28, 1872.

Col. T. J. Peter, General Manager:
     We send you greeting over the completion of the road to the State line. Beyond us lie fertile valleys that invite us forward, and broad plains die away in the distance, dotted with mingling herds of bison and cattle, awaiting our further advance. The mountains signal us from their lofty crests, and still beyond, the Pacific shouts amen! We send you three cheers over past successes, and three times three for that which is yet to come.
Sup't Construction.


TOPEKA, Dec. 28, 1872.

Col. Criley, Sup't Construction:
     We clasp hands with you over the timely and successful completion of our road to the State line, and heartily share your good wishes for the future.
General Manager.

     The Topeka Kansas Daily Commonwealth, December 29, 1872, gave a resume of the railroad's progress the past year:


     The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railway was completed yesterday to the west line of the state, over two months in advance of the limitation of the time within which the road was to be built to obtain its land grant.
     There has been laid, since the first of March, 1872, 362 miles of road. When congress refused to extend the time in which to complete the line, the company at once made extensive preparations for the work in a very short time; and when these were completed they went ahead with it with a rapidity that is a miracle in western railroad enterprises. When track-laying began, last March, the road had been graded from Newton to Hutchinson, and it preceded the laying of iron thence to what, up to the time of the recent revised survey, was considered the west line of the state, Hutchinson was reached on the 14th of June [June 8], two hundred and fifty-three miles from the west line, and that extent of track has been laid since. In the month of August, fifty miles of track were laid, the largest month's work done on this or any other railroad in the country, save some exceptional divisions on the Union Pacific. The magnitude and rapidity of these operations are enhanced when the fact is known that they put in side tracks beside. The entire grading was finished last November to the putative western boundary of the state, afterwards corrected by survey, which required four more miles of grading.
     The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe may now justly be called one of the great railroad lines of the country, From Atchison to the west line, the distance is 470 miles, which, including the 27 mile branch from Newton to Wichita, makes 497 miles of road graded, ironed and equipped since 1869.
     The preliminary survey of the road from the state line to Fort Lyon has been made, and a party is now out locating the line. It will continue the survey on to Pueblo, Colorado, which extension will be built as rapidly as possible. The road cannot remain on the prairie in the Arkansas valley, but must be pushed on to a profitable terminus in the cattle regions of southern Colorado, and the silver mines of the territory. It is our opinion, based on our knowledge of the enterprise and resources of the company, that the A. T. & S. F. road will not be completed until it is stopped by the waves of the Pacific, and has been made the fair weather trans-continental route of the nation.

     There was little money for new construction beyond the state line and raising additional funds was hampered by the panic of 1873. As the railroad's financial situation improved, however, work was resumed in earnest. Pueblo, Colo., was reached in 1876. Work progressed at a more rapid pace through the remainder of the 1870's though company engineers had their skills tested when they spanned the Rocky mountains. After clearing the pass at Raton, N. M., the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad reached Santa Fe on February 16, 1880. Two years later the company was operating trains to the Pacific coast.

     Meanwhile there had ben mergers and consolidations of lines in extreme eastern Kansas. These developments, and the leasing of the Kansas City, Topeka & Western railroad, gave the Santa Fe additional connections with the East by way of Kansas City which became the eastern terminus on October 1, 1875. There the road remained until the 1880's, when competition from Eastern lines building into the West weakened the Santa Fe's position. As Eastern lines began offering Kansas farmers one-road shipment all the way to the Great Lakes, a decision was made to extend the Santa Fe to Chicago. Construction started in March, 1887. "In nine months," summarized one historian, "Santa Fe engineers and crews located, surveyed, graded and ironed about 350 miles of new line; about 100 miles more were rebuilt almost from the grassroots and five big bridges were thrown across major rivers, to say nothing of scores of smaller ones totaling, in all, about nine miles of bridge." [20] The Chicago extension went into full operation May 1, 1888. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe was now, in fact, a transcontinental railroad system.

     As the line extended its mileage, service to passengers was improved. In this area Fred Harvey food became world famous. Relations between Fred Harvey and the Santa Fe began in the spring of 1876 when the first Harvey House opened in the old Topeka depot and office building. Later in 1876 Harvey started a hotel at Florence, Kan. These were the beginnings of a close association between the Santa Fe system and the Harvey enterprises that was to last for many years.

     The Santa Fe experienced its greatest period of expansion in the 1880's. Until then, most of its mileage lay in Kansas. By 1890, however, the extreme termini of the road were Chicago, St. Louis, [21] Galveston and El Paso, San Diego, and Guaymas, Mexico. The Santa Fe had become a corporate giant, controlling numerous subsidiary railroads and other operations ranging from coal mines to resort hotels to a steamship line in Mexico. Then, three years later, financial difficulties beset the company as a result of over expansion and the panic of 1893. On December 23, 1893, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company passed into receivership. Stock in some of the subsidiary companies was disposed of and the company reorganized on December 12, 1895, as the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, the present designation.

     The subsequent history of the railroad has typified the development of American business. Today the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company is one of the largest privately owned lines in the world, operating over 21,500 miles of mainline and secondary track.


JOSEPH W. SNELL and DON W. WILSON are members of the archives staff of the Kansas State Historical Society.

13. For additional information on the Newton General Massacre see Nyle H. Miller and Joseph W. Snell, Great Gunfighters of the Kansas Cowtowns, 1867-1886 (Lincoln, Neb., 1967), pp. 65-75.

14. The Santa Fe did not build from Wichita to Newton but rather leased the line of the Wichita and South Western which was completed between those two points in May, 1872. Many Santa Fe officers were also officials of the Wichita and South Western, and T. J. Peter was the builder.

15. The Atchison was engine No. 9, a Taunton-built American-type 4-4-0.—Worley, Iron Horses, pp. 19, 55.

16. The 15 engines which the Santa Fe owned by the end of 1871 were named Cyrus K. Holliday, No. 1; Gen. Burnside, No. 2; Dauntless, No, 3; Henry Keyes, No. 4; Thomas Sherlock, No. 5; E. Raymond, No. 6; Alden Speare, No. 7; I. T. Burr, No. 8; Atchison, No.9; D. L. Lakin, No. 10; T. J. Peter, No. 11; F. H. Peabody, No, 12; George Opdyke, No. 13; Henry Blood, No. 14, and Thomas Nickerson, No. 15. All, except Nos. 1 and 2 were Taunton-built 4-4-0's of various classes.—Worley, Iron Horses, pp. 18, 55, 58, 62.

17. Updegraff later moved to Dodge City where he served as assistant marshal in 1879. Two years later, in April, 1881, he was seriously wounded in a street fight with Bat Masterson.—Miller and Snell, Great Gunfighters, pp. 281-284.

18. The Wichita was an 035 class 4-4-0 built by Taunton in 1872; The Grasshopper was an 0111 class 4-4-0 also built by Taunton. They bore Nos. 26 and 27 respectively.—Worley, Iron Horses, pp. 59, 62.

19. Both Bat and Ed went on to become famous frontier peace officers. Bat was elected sheriff of Ford county, in which Dodge City is located, in November, 1877, and Ed was appointed city marshal there on December 4. Ed was killed by a drunken cowboy on April 9, 1878, but Bat died a natural death in 1921.—Miller and Snell, Great Gunfighters, pp. 175, 178-185, 207, 318-320; "Mathew McGrath vs. the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Rail Road Co.," case records of the Shawnee county district court.

20. James Marshall, Santa Fe: The Railroad That Built an Empire (New York, Random House, 1945), p. 201.

21. The St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Company, with trackage from Kansas City to St. Louis, was owned by the Santa Fe from May 23, 1890, until sold under foreclosure on June 27, 1896.

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