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


[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]


The road has acquired by purchase, lease or construction, tributary and branch roads, aggregating more miles in length than the trunk road itself. The following statement gives a description of the branch connections, going South from Atchison, with the date of each acquisition, etc.

Kansas City, Topeka and Western Railroad was incorporated and was leased in perpetuity by the A., T. & Sta. F. Co., October 1, 1875. The route extends from Kansas City, Mo., to Topeka, Kan., 66.32 miles, at which point it joins the trunk line. It was the successor of the Lawrence & Topeka and Kansas Midland Railroads, and under the perpetual lease, the A., T. & Sta. F. Co., owning all the stock and contracting to pay all interest on the funded debt of those corporations, is now virtually owned by and a part of the property of that company. It has become the most important section of the main traffic of the road, superseding the Atchison & Topeka Division in importance as the avenue of Eastern travel and transcontinental transportation.

Pleasant Hill & De Soto Railroad (Pleasant Hill Branch), extends from Pleasant Hill, Mo., through Johnson County, by way of Olathe, to Cedar Junction, on the Kansas City Branch of the main road, a distance of 44.9 miles. This road was formerly a part of the Lawrence & Western Railroad, which was sold under foreclosure, in 1877, the eastern section being purchased by the P. H. & D. S. Co., by whom it was leased in perpetuity to the A., T. & Sta. Fe Co., September 1, 1877. The stock is now all owned by the lessee.

Manhattan, Alma & Burlingame Railroad, extends from Manhattan, Riley County, in a southeasterly direction through Wabaunsee and Osage Counties, making a junction with the A., T. & Sta. F. R. R., at Burlingame. The length of the road is 56.62 miles. It is owned jointly by the A., T. & Sta. Fe Co., and the Union Pacific which connects with its northern terminus at Manhattan.

Kansas City, Emporia & Southern Railroad (Howard Branch), joins the trunk line at Emporia and extends south, through Lyon and Greenwood Counties, 64.2 miles, to the north line of Elk County. It was completed October 10, 1879. An extension of 11.8 miles to Howard, Elk County, was built the same year, under the name of the Elk & Chautauqua Railroad. The entire line was leased on its completion to the A. T. & Sta. Fe Co., which also owns a controlling portion of the stock.

Florence, El Dorado & Walnut Valley Railroad (El Dorado Branch), extends south from Florence to Douglas, Butler County, 53.9 miles. It was begun under the auspices of the A., T. & Sta. Fe Co., in 1877, and has been operated under a perpetual lease by that company, since August 1, of that year.

Marion & McPherson R. R. (McPherson Branch) extends from Florence westerly, and north of the main road, through Marion, McPherson and Rice Counties, to Lyons, a distance of 78.77 miles. It was opened to McPherson, September 29, 1879, and to Lyons June 1, 1880. An extension under the name of the Marion & McPherson Extension Railroad, was completed in 1881, from Lyons to Ellinwood, 20 miles, where a junction is again made with the Trunk road. This deflection, is under perpetual lease to the A., T. & Sta. Fe Co., that company owning also a controlling part of the stock. It is virtually owned by the company.

Wichita & Southwestern Railroad (Caldwell and Arkansas City Branches), leaves Newton and extends southward to Wichita, Sedgwick County, 27.28 miles. It was chartered March 2, 1868, and completed under the building management of the A., T. & Sta. Fe Co., May 13, 1872. It is leased perpetually to that company, who also own all the stock.

Cowley, Sumner & Fort Smith Railroad, is an extension of the road last mentioned. It extends from Wichita, south, through Sedgwick and Cowley Counties to Arkansas City, a distance of 68.61 miles, with branch deflection at Mulvane to Caldwell, Sumner County, 37.8 miles. This road was opened to Arkansas City, December 31, 1879, and to Caldwell, June 13, 1880. It is entirely under the control of the A., T. & Sta. Fe Co. It was built under its auspices, is leased to it perpetually, and, of its capital stock of $1,500,000, $1,200,000 is owned by that corporation.

The total length of branch and tributary roads in Kansas is 530 miles. The length of the trunk line from Atchison to the western State line is 470 miles total in the State of Kansas, 1,000 miles.


The Government Land Grant, before mentioned as made to the company March 3, 1863, comprised very nearly 3,000,000 acres in alternate sections, extending ten miles on either side of the road, when built, through its entire length in the State of Kansas, except where before settled and occupied; in such cases, other lands to be designated and conveyed in their stead. At the time of the grant the eastern part of the State had become generally occupied by settlers, and the grant was made to lands beyond and west of the line of settlement at that time, the width on either side of the road being twenty miles for a sufficient distance to compensate for the already settled territory along the extreme eastern section of the road. Under this arrangement the grant was located as follows: The eastern line of the grant crossed the road at Elinor, Chase County, extending northwesterly twenty miles to near the center of Morris County, and southeasterly from the same point, twenty miles to near the southeast corner of Chase County. West from this point, the grant embraced alternate sections, twenty miles on each side of the road, for a distance of 187 miles to Nettleton on the dividing line of Pawnee and Edwards Counties; thence to the western boundary of the State, the grant covered alternate sections, ten miles in width on both sides of the road.

Their lands, as fast as surveyed and patented to the company by the Government, have been offered for sale to actual settlers in such quantities, on such liberal terms of payment, and at such prices as to result in their rapid disposal and settlement.

The following table of population shows the rapid development along the line of the road in the land grant counties:

COUNTIES      Organized 1860. 1870.  1875.  1878.   1880.
Morris......... 1858      770 2,225  4,597  5,656   9,266
Chase.......... 1859    1,046 1,975  3,116  3,798   6,081
Marion......... 1865       74   768  5,907  8,306  12,457
Butler......... 1855      437 3,035  9,852 14,175  18,587
Harvey......... 1872    ..... .....  5,046  8,107  11,454
McPherson...... 1870    .....   738  6,205 11,291  17,143
Reno........... 1872    ..... .....  5,112 11,528  12,824
Rice........... 1871    .....     5  2,453  6,149   9,292
Stafford....... ....    ..... .....  .....  .....   4,755
Barton......... 1872    .....     2  2,099  8,251  10,319 
Pawnee......... 1872    .....   179  1,006  6,114   5,396
Edwards........ 1874    ..... .....    234  1,700   2,400
Ford........... 1873    .....   427    813  2,160   3,122
Hodgeman....... ....    ..... .....  .....  .....   1,704
Gray..... Unorganized   ..... .....  .....  .....   .....
Sequoyah. Unorganized   ..... .....  .....  .....   .....
Kearney.. Unorganized   ..... .....  .....  .....   .....
Hamilton. Unorganized   ..... .....  .....  .....   .....
                        ----- ----- ------ ------ -------
Total................   2,327 9,354 46,440 87,235 124,800

The grant lands were located in counties along the route of the road, going west, as below stated:

Twenty miles on either side: Morris, south of Council Grove; Chase, nearly entire; Marion, nearly entire; Butler, northwest corner; Harvey, entire; McPherson, south half; Reno, all, except southwest corner; Rice, all, except northeast corner; Stafford, north three-fourths; Barton, south seven-eighths; Pawnee, nearly entire; and southeast corner of Rush.

Ten miles, on either side: Edwards, north half; Ford, north half; Hodgeman, south quarter; Gray, middle half; Sequoyah, middle half; Kearney, south two-thirds; Hamilton, north two-thirds.

Up to the close of 1882, nearly one half of these lands have been disposed of to actual settlers.

Whatever opinion may be entertained as to the Governmental policy of granting aid to railroads, either in land or otherwise, it is certain that in this case it has proved one of the prime factors in populating the State and developing its resources and industries to a point otherwise impossible. Without the grant, which placed the region under the animating spell of individual enterprise, it is hardly probable that the road would have been built, and quite certain that the region thus opened up to settlement would yet remain as an undeveloped, inaccessible and uninhabited part of the public domain.


In addition to the land grant along the line of the road, the company purchased under the provisions of a treaty with the Pottawatomie tribe a large tract of their reservation in August, 1868. It comprised a tract of nearly twenty-three miles square, and embraced 338,776 acres. The Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railway Company, in whom the right of purchase was first vested, having declined to purchase it, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Company bought the tract in August, 1868, for the price of $1 per acre, payable in gold. It was located in the counties of Pottawatomie, Jackson, Shawnee and Jackson; the southeast corner of the tract being contiguous to the road at Pauline Station, a few miles south of Topeka. It was hypothecated for $800,00, and thus aided in the early construction of the road. It was afterward sold to actual settlers.

The following table shows the annual increase of business and the extension of the lines operated for eight years:

                        1874.      1875.      1876.
Average Miles Operated    509        540        711
Freight Tonnage       816,312    252,383    325,629
Gross Earnings     $1,250,805 $1,520,358 $2,486,582
Net Earnings          693,164    821,608  1,311,093
Net Do. per Mile     1,361.82   1,421.49   1,844.01

                        1877.      1878.      1879.
Average Miles Operated 738.50     807.50     996.95
Freight Tonnage       372,084    611,086    x02,121
Gross Earnings     $2,679.106 $3,950,868 $6,381,443
Net Earnings        1,356,421  1,909,396  3,454.968
Net Do. per Mile     1,836.72   2,520.97   2,935.41

                          1880.       1881.       1882.
Average Miles Operated 1,371.91    1,695.43    1,815.40
Freight Tonnage         953,701   1,166,483   1,359,805
Gross Earnings       $8,556,976 $12,584,509 $14,773,305
Net Earnings          4,213.771   4,546,783   6,136,048
Net Do. per Mile       3,071.46    2,681.73    3,380.00


In the summer of 1855, the Territorial Legislature of Kansas chartered the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railroad Company, for the construction of a railroad from the west bank of the Missouri River, in the town of Leavenworth, Kan., to the western boundary of the Territory, via Pawnee, near Fort Riley. The western boundary of the Territory was then in the Rocky Mountains. The directors as provided by the charter, were as follows: W. H. Russell, J. Marion Alexander, S. D. Lecompte, Amos Rees, James Davies, W. F. Dyer, Robert Wilson, James Findlay, E. S. Wilhoit, Edward H. Dennis, C. H. Grover, Wilburn Christison, M. P. Rively, Charles Hayes and Cornelius M. Burgess. The company was organized in January, 1857, at Leavenworth, by a subscription of $156,700 of stock. The construction of the road was commenced in May, 1857, and in that year surveys and profiles of the main line were made, and the location completed from Leavenworth to Fort Riley.

On the 5th of November, 1861, a treaty was concluded at the Pottawatomie Agency in Kansas, between William W. Ross, commissioner on the part of the United States, and the chiefs, braves and head men of the Pottawatomie Nation, which provided for a disposal of a portion of the reservation of that tribe to the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railway Company, and the granting of the right of way through the reservation of the railroad of said company. The reservation consisted of five hundred and seventy-six thousand acres. According to that treaty the whole tract was to be surveyed in the same manner as the public lands were surveyed, and all those members of the tribe who desired to hold lands in severalty, were to be assigned, under the direction of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, lands as follows: To each chief, one section; to each head man, one half section; to each other head of a family, one quarter section; and to each other person, eighty acres. To those members of the tribe who desired to hold their lands in common, there was set apart an undivided quantity sufficient to allow one section to each chief, one half section to each head man, one quarter section to each other head of a family, and eighty acres to each other person. After the assignments of the lands thus provided, the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railroad Company had the privilege of purchasing the remainder at the rate of $1.25 per acre. This treaty was confirmed by President Lincoln, April 19, 1862.

On the 1st of July, 1862, President Lincoln approved the act of Congress "to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean." Section 3 of said act provided "that there be, and is hereby granted to the said company * * * * every alternate section of public land, designated by odd numbers, to the amount of five alternate sections per mile on each side of said railroad, on the line thereof, and within the limits of ten miles of each side of said road, not sold, reserved, or otherwise disposed of by the United State, and to which a pre-emption or homestead claim may not have attached, at the time the line of said road is definitely fixed." Mineral lands were exempted, and all lands not sold or disposed of by said company within three years after the completion of the entire road were to be subject to settlement and pre-emption, like other lands at a price not exceeding $1,25 per acre, to be paid to said company.

Section 4 provided that whenever said company completed forty consecutive miles of any portion of said railroad, the President of the United States should appoint three commissioners to examine the same, and report to him in relation thereto; and upon satisfactory information to him of the completion of forty miles, patents should be issued conveying the right and title to said lands to said company, on each side of the road, as far as the same was completed, to the amount aforementioned; and patents were in like manner to be issued on the completion of each forty miles. Section 5 provided that in addition to the issuance of patents to lands to the company upon the completion of each forty miles, the Secretary of the Treasury was also to issue to said company, bonds of the United States of $1,000 each, payable in thirty years after date, bearing six per cent per annum interest, to the amount of sixteen of said bonds per mile for such section of forty miles; and to secure the repayment to the United States of the amount of said bonds, together with all interest thereon which may have been paid by the United States, the issue of said bonds and delivery to the company were to constitute a first mortgage on the whole line of the railroad, together with the rolling stock, fixtures and property of every kind and description. Section 9 provided "That the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railroad Company of Kansas, are hereby authorized to construct a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri River, at the mouth of the Kansas River, on the south side thereof, so as to connect with the Pacific Railroad of Missouri, to the aforesaid point, on the one-hundredth meridian of longitude, west from Greenwich, as herein provided, upon the same terms and conditions in all respects as are provided in this act for the construction of the railroad and telegraph line first mentioned, and to meet and connect with the same at the meridian of longitude aforesaid; and in case the general route or line of road from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains should be so located as to required a departure northwardly from the proposed line of said Kansas Railroad before it reaches the meridian of longitude aforesaid, the location of said Kansas road shall be made so as to conform thereto; and said railroad through Kansas shall be so located between the mouth of the Kansas River, as aforesaid, and the aforesaid point, on the one-hundredth meridian of longitude, that the several roads from Missouri and Iowa, herein authorized to connect with the same, can make connection within the limits prescribed by this act, provided the same can be done without deviating from the general direction of the whole line to the Pacific coast. The route in Kansas, west of the meridian of Fort Riley, to the aforesaid point, on the one-hundredth meridian of longitude, to be subject to the approval of the President of the United States, and to be determined by him on actual survey. And said Kansas company may proceed to build said railroad to the aforesaid point, on the one-hundredth meridian of longitude, west from Greenwich, in the Territory of Nebraska."

In 1863, the Union Pacific Railway Company, Eastern Division, was organized. It purchased the franchises of the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railroad Company when the latter retired. Among the prominent men connected with the new company were Thomas C. Durant and John D. Perry. Samuel Hallett, of Steuben County, N. Y., was the contractor. Work on the road was commenced in November, 1863. The first shovelful of dirt was thrown at the State line, between Kansas and Missouri, near Wyandotte. The locality was then a dense forest. During the summer of 1864, the visitor to the work found a graded road bed beginning at the State line and stretching westward up the valley of the Kansas River. There was no railway connecting it with the east. It had practically, neither beginning nor end. Missouri was still a Slave State. A large stake was planted on the line between the two States, having on its eastern face, toward Missouri, the inscription, "Slave State," and on its western face toward Kansas, and the line to the new path of Empire, the words, "Free State." To Mr. Hallett belongs the credit of doing the first substantial work in the construction of a railroad from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. The line from Omaha westward was not commenced until some time after. Mr. Hallett was cruelly assassinated in the streets of Wyandotte, July 27, 1884. The construction of the road then passed into the hands of its owners, with John D. Perry (President), Robert E. Carr, Carlos S. Greeley, S. M. Edgerton, Giles F. Filley, Adolphus Meier, Thomas L. Price, O. D. Filley and James Archer. This company was relieved from the obligation to connect at the one hundredth meridian. They were authorized to construct the route by the Smoky Hill River Valley, to any point west within a meridian of fifty miles west of Denver, where, at the farthest, they were compelled to unite with the Union Pacific. By this change the company saved one hundred and thirty-five miles in the distance from Fort Riley to Denver. An amendatory act of Congress doubled the land grant, which entitled the company to receive, for every mile of road, 12,800 acres of land. In addition to the $16,000 per mile of United States six per cent thirty-year bonds, which it was to received from the Government, the company was also authorized to issue its own bonds, similar in amount and considerations with those of the Government, which, however, should be a first lien, prior even to that of the Government on the road. The Delaware Indians ceded to this company 233,966 acres of their reserve, at $1.25 acre, and 425,000 acres were obtained, at the same price, of the Pottawatomie Indians, in pursuance of the treaty made in 1861 between the Pottawatomies and the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railroad Company.

The work, as it progressed on this road, was examined in sections by Commissioners appointed by the Government, and, upon its acceptance by the President, bonds were issued and lands ordered to be approved to the company. The following table; showing the dates of the acceptance of sections by the President, will also show the progress of the work, from the date of its commencement, in November, 1863:

SECTION        Miles  Date of Acceptance
                      by the President   
Section 1.....    40  October 28, 1865.
        2.....    22  December 20, 1865.
        3.....    23  May 8, 1866.
        4.....    20  July 7, 1866.
        5.....    25  October 15, 1866.
        6.....    25  January 22, 1867.
        7.....    30  May 4, 1867.
        8.....    25  June 10, 1867.
        9.....    24  August 12, 1867.
       10.....    25  September 19, 1867.
       11.....    26  October 25, 1867.
       12.....    20  December 2, 1867.
       13.....    30  January 9, 1868.
       14.....    25  April 27, 1868.
       15.....    20  May 30, 1868.
       16.....    20  October 31, 1868
       Last part 244  October 19, 1872

Whole number of miles, 644. No Government bonds were issued or lands given for the construction of the Leavenworth branch.

The total cost of the main line of the road, from Kansas City to Denver, was about $34,000,000. The grant of public lands to the extent of 12,800 acres per mile, and the subsidy bonds of the Government to the amount of $16,000 per mile was only for a distance of 394 miles west from the Missouri River. The amount of Government lands received was 6,000,000 acres, and the amount of Government bonds issued was $6,303,000. The road was completed to Denver September 1, 1870. In 1873, the company made default in the payment of interest on its bonds and it was placed in the hands of a receiver. Its affairs were re-organized in 1879, and the receiver discharged. As a part of the proceedings of re-organization, the company created a mortgage to receive bonds to the amount of $30,000,000, a portion of them being used to discharge the matured indebtedness of the company, an amount being reserved sufficient to discharge all its unmatured indebtedness. May 31, 1868, the name of the road was changed to Kansas Pacific. The Denver Pacific, connected the Kansas with the Union Pacific, was constructed by the Kansas Pacific, under a charter dated November 19, 1867, and was open to Cheyenne January 1,1871.

January 24, 1880, the Union Pacific, Kansas Pacific and Denver Pacific Railroad companies were consolidated, under the name of the Union Pacific Railroad Company. By the terms of consolidation, the shareholders in each company were to receive shares in the new company corresponding in number to those held in the old, the number of shares in the Union Pacific being 367,623, of the Kansas Pacific, 100,000, and the Denver Pacific, 40,000; the stock of the consolidated company being 507,623 shares, or $50,762,300.

The General Superintendents of the Kansas Division of the Union Pacific Railway have been as follows, in the order named: John Hallett, E. M. Bartholow, R. H. Shoemaker, W. W. Wright, A. Anderson, E. S. Bowen, O. S. Lyford, T. F. Oakes, S. T. Smith.

[TOC] [part 4] [part 2] [Cutler's History]