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


[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]


Lawrence & Southwestern. - Lawrence, Kan., to Carbondale, Kan., 31 miles. This was a portion of the former St. Louis, Lawrence & Western Railroad, which was bought on sale of the latter company by the Union Pacific Company, who wholly own it.

Manhattan, Alma & Burlingame. - Manhattan, Riley County, via Alma, Wabaunsee County, to Burlingame, Osage County, 57 miles. Owned jointly by the Union Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Companies. Completed in 1879.

Junction City & Fort Kearney. - Junction City, Davis County, to Concordia, Cloud County, through the counties of Davis, Clay, Washington (southeast corner) and Cloud, 70 miles. Opened to Clay Center, February 13, 1873; to Clifton, February 1, 1878; to Clyde, August 31, 1878; to Concordia, 1879. Controlled by the Union Pacific Company, Lew T. Smith, President; P. E. Havens, Treasurer.

Salina & Southwestern. - Salina, Saline County, to McPherson, McPherson County, 36 miles. Built in 1879. Operated by the Union Pacific Company.

Solomon Railroad. - Solomon, Dickinson County, to Beloit, Mitchell, through the counties of Saline (northeast corner), Ottawa, Cloud (southwest corner), and partially through Mitchell, 57.3 miles. Organized August 13, 1877. Opened July 1, 1879. Operated by the Union Pacific Company, which owns $2,001,000 of the capital stock of the company, and $575,000 the whole of the funded debt. D. M. Edgerton, President, St. Louis, Mo.


This is a narrow-gauge (3 feet) road. The company was chartered as the Kansas Central Railway, April 14, 1871. The first directors were as follows: L. T. Smith, Levi Wilson, H. W. Gillett, J. C. Stone, Alex. Caldwell, Lucien Scott, Paul E. Havens, Thomas A. Scott, Matthew Baird and John McManus. President, L. T. Smith; Vice President, Lucien Scott; Secretary and Treasurer, Paul E. Havens; General Superintendent, A. E. Buchanan; Chief Engineer, George W. Vaughan. The work was commenced at Leavenworth in the fall of 1871 and completed to Holton, Jackson County, 56 miles, in October, 1872; to Onaga, Pottawatomie County, 28 miles, in 1877; to Garrison, Pottawatomie County, 35 miles, April 1, 18880; to Clay Center, Clay County, 81 miles, December 25, 1881; to Miltonvale, Cloud County, 18.5 miles, April 1, 1882. The road received municipal aid as follows: Five thousand shares of stock in the Kansas Pacific Railway Company, voted to the Kansas Central Railway Company by Leavenworth County; bonds of Jefferson Township, Jefferson County, $20,000; bonds of Grasshopper Township, Jefferson County, $20,000; bonds of Jackson County, $60,000; bonds of Jefferson Township, Jackson County, $18,000; bonds of Soldier Township, Jackson County, $18,000; Mill Creek Township, Pottawatomie County, $13,000. April 14, 1879, the road was sold under foreclosure for $252,000, and the company was re-organized April 15, 1879, as the Kansas Central Railway. January 1, 1881, the road was absorbed by the Union Pacific Company, which is now operating it.


The charter for this road, as originally granted by the Legislature of the Territory of Kansas, was approved, February 17, 1857. It created a corporation by the name of the Marysville or Palmetto & Roseport Railroad Company, with power to construct a railroad from Marysville or Palmetto City to Roseport, in the Territory of Kansas, so as to connect with the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. March 20, 1860, the first rail was laid on this road, and the track was completed to Wathena, five miles. On the 28th of April following, the pioneer locomotive, "Albany" was placed upon the trace, and the next day a grand celebration was held in honor of the first appearance of the iron horse west of the Missouri River. No more work was done on this road for the next six years.

The corporate name of this company was changed April 17, 1862, by a vote of the stockholders, to the "St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad Company." Under the general railroad law of the State of Nebraska, the company obtained authority to construct and maintain a railroad running from the border line of Kansas to Fort Kearney, in Nebraska, the then proposed western terminus of the line. By the terms of an agreement duly signed and executed on the 11th of August, 1866, a corporation organized under the name of the "Northern Kansas Railroad Company," was consolidated with the St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad Company, and by virtue of such an agreement vested in the latter company, the right to certain lands granted by the United States, under an act of Congress, approved July 23, 1866, and under the authority of an act of the Legislature of the State of Kansas, approved February 13, 1865. These acts gave the Company 373,162 acres of land in Nebraska, and 64,672 acres in Kansas, and also the proceeds of the sale of 125,000 acres of land in Kansas granted to the State for purposes of internal improvement, which amounted to $164,528.05, and for which there was issued full paid capital stock to the amount of $127,500, to the counties of Doniphan, Brown and Marshall. Further, by the terms of this agreement the capital stock of the St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad Company was increased to $10,000,000 in shares of $100 each.

After the organization, the individuals controlling the company subscribed and paid in cash for capital stock to the amount of $1,400, and obtained corporate subscriptions to the capital stock for $1,025,000, payable in corporate bonds, these subscriptions being as follows: City of St. Joseph, Mo., $500,000; Doniphan County, Kan., $200,000; Brown County, Kan., $100,000; Nemaha County, Kan., $125,000; Marshall County, Kan., $100,000. Nemaha County never paid its subscription, and an attempt to collect it by legal measures failed.

The construction commenced in 1867. In 1870, the company were operating eighty miles of road westerly from Elwood, which had cost about $1,500,000. During the year ending October, 1871, fifty-two miles of new road was laid, making 182 miles of completed road westward from Elwood, and the company were operating the same to Hanover, Washington County, a distance of 128 miles. In 1872, it was completed to Hastings, Neb., 227 miles from the Missouri River.

The cost of constructing the road from Elwood to Marysville, first division, 113.5 miles, $2,471,231.85, being at the rate of $21,772.96 per mile. The cost of the construction of the western division, from Marysville to Hastings, 113 miles, was $2,693,512.02, being at the rate of $23,731.44.

The road was placed in the hands of a receiver in 1874, and sold on foreclosure in November, 1875. Of the land grant, 300,000 acres were placed in the hands of trustees for the benefit of the holders of land scrip issued to the extent of $2,250,000. In 1879, the road came under control of the Union Pacific Railway Company, and it is now operated as the St. Joseph & Western Division of the Union Pacific Railway.

Marysville & Blue Valley. - From Marysville, Marshall Co., Kan., to Beatrice, Neb., thirty-eight miles. This is a branch of the St. Joseph & Western Railroad. It is owned wholly by the Union Pacific Railway Company.


The main line of this road extends from Atchison to Waterville, Kan., 100 miles. The Atchison, Colorado & Pacific Branch runs from Waterville to Lenora, 191.9 miles; Greenleaf to Washington, 7 miles; Downs to Bull's City, 23.6 miles; Yuma to Talmage, 29.8 miles; total 252.3 miles. The Atchison, Jewell County & Western road extends from Jamestown to Burr Oak, 38.8 miles. The total length of lines operated by the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad, June 1, 1882, amounted to 386.1 miles.

The original company was organized as the Atchison & Pike's Peak Railroad Company, February 11, 1859; opened to Waterville January 20, 1868. It was provided for as one of the branches in the acts incorporating the Union Pacific Railway Company, and received from the Government 187,608 acres of land, and bonds at the rate of $16,000 per mile for the 100 miles. The road practically belongs to the Union Pacific Railway Company. It is operated by the Missouri Pacific Railway Company, which accounts to the Union Pacific Company for the earnings of the road.

Atchison, Colorado & Pacific. - This company was formed by the consolidation, in 1879, of the Waterville & Washington Railroad, Atchison, Republican Valley & Pacific Railroad, Atchison, Solomon Valley & Denver Railroad, and Republican Valley Railroad. It was leased to the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad Company for interest on its funded debt.

Atchison, Jewell County & Western Railroad. - Leased to the Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad Company, the rental being the interest on the funded debt.

The general officers of the Union Pacific Railroad Company are Sidney Dillon, President, of New York City; Elisha Atkins, Vice President, Boston, Mass.; Henry McFarland, Secretary and Treasurer, Boston, Mass.; S. H. H. Clark, General Manager, Omaha, Neb.; Thomas L. Kimball, Assistant General Manager, Omaha, Neb.; S. T. Smith, Superintendent, Kansas Division, Kansas City, Mo.; W. T. Kelley, Superintendent Kansas Central Division, Leavenworth, Kan.; L. D. Tuthill, Superintendent St. Joseph & Western Division, St. Joseph, Mo.; J. W. Morse, General Passenger Agent, Omaha, Neb.; C. S. Stebbins, General Ticket Agent, Omaha, Neb.; E. P. Vining, General Freight Agent, Omaha, Neb.; Joseph W. Gannett, Auditor, Omaha, Neb.; D. E. Cornell, General Agent Passenger and Ticket Department, Kansas City, Mo.


This company was incorporated under a general incorporation law of the State of Kansas, March 8, 1865, under the name of the "Kansas & Neosho Valley Railroad Company," which name was changed to "Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad Company," August 10, 1868, and subsequently to "Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad Company." The corporators were as follows: John A. J. Chapman, Charles G. Keeler, and Samuel Beattie, of Wyandotte County, Kan.; William Holmes, B. L. Riggins, Alfred J. Lloyd and Milton J. Payne, of Kansas City, Mo., and John T. Weaver, J. B. Mahafie and A. L. Williamson, of Johnson County, Kan.

The company was organized by the election of eleven directors, August 28, 1865. Among the directors were Kersey Coates, of Kansas City, President; William Roy, of Olathe, Secretary; Benjamin L. Riggins, Treasurer; William Holmes, Attorney; Hiero T. Wilson, B. P. McDonald and John R. Balis.

In the spring of 1866, work was commenced on the road at Kansas City, and during that year the grading and bridging was completed to Olathe, 21 miles. On the 25th of July, 1866, President Johnson approved an act of Congress, entitled "An act granting lands to the State of Kansas to aid in the construction of the Kansas & Neosho Valley Railroad and its extension to Red River," which provided for the extension of the road through the Indian Territory to the northern line of Texas, with the right of way through said territory, together with a grant of ten sections of land per mile through the State of Kansas, and also through the Indian Territory, so soon as the Indian titles in the same shall become extinguished, with also the right to negotiate with the Indian tribes for the purchase of additional lands." The State of Kansas also granted to the company the proceeds of the sale of 125,000 acres of land. The endowment of the company was as follows: In seven per cent coupon bonds, with thirty years to run from date of maturity; Kansas City, Mo., $200,000; Johnson County, Kan., $100,000; Miami County, Kan., $150,000; Bourbon County, Kan., $150,000; Baxter Springs, Kan., $150,000; Cherokee Neutral Lands, 639,000 acres; lands granted by the State of Kansas, 125,000 acres; other lands given by town companies and private individuals, 1,500 acres; lands obtained under the Congressional grant, 17,500 acres.

The principal endowment was the Cherokee Neutral Lands, acquired by purchase from the Secretary of the Interior, under authority vested in him by a treaty between the United States and the Cherokee Nation, proclaimed August 11, 1866, and by a treaty supplemental, thereto, ratified June 6, 1868. The history of this neutral land transaction is interesting. During the administration of General Jackson, the Cherokee Indian Nation was removed from Georgia to what is now known as the Indian Territory. Treaties had been made with that nation by which they sold their possessions in Georgia to the Government, and though a large portion of the nation alleged that they were not fairly made, a treaty at that time was binding enough upon the Indians to be enforced by the Government, and the whole nation was compelled, in accordance with the stipulations in the treaties, to exchange their possessions in Georgia for the lands ceded them by the same treaties, in the Indian Territory, and which, by the terms of the treaties, were to be deeded to the nation by patent, in fee simple. Finding that there was not alternative, and fearing that the land provided in the first treaties might not be enough for the whole nation, a new treaty was made in 1835, by which additional safeguards were provided for the protection of the Indians, and by which also, they agreed to buy, and the government agreed to sell and convey to the nation, by patent, in fee simple, 800,000 acres of land in addition, for the sum of $500,000 in money, to be paid by them. This tract of land was described by metes and bounds, and was afterward known as the Cherokee Neutral Lands, and constituted what are now Crawford and Cherokee Counties and a strip six miles in width off of the south end of Bourbon County, in Kansas. This sale, by treaty and patent, by the Government to the Cherokees, was approved by Congress, and the money was paid by the Cherokees to the Government, as is stated in the acts of Congress in the next year, 1836, recognizing both the sale and the payment of the money. Subsequently there were many acts of Congress approving and appropriating money to carry out these treaties, and they were recognized as binding, both upon the Cherokees and the United States, by all the branches of the Government, courts included, in every possible form.

These lands being thus the recognized and undoubted property of the Cherokees, in fee simple, and settlements having come into the vicinity, and sometimes having overreached upon them, they were several times reminded by orders of the Government, by the military forces stationed upon the Indian Territory, to enforce the provisions of these treaties, and prevent the encroachment of the whites upon their lands. During the late civil war, however, the Government was unable to give care to this matter, and some settlers encroached upon the Neutral Lands. This fact, was thought to be the moving cause of their sale by the Cherokees, and in 1866 the treaty was made by which they ceded this tract of land to the United States in trust, to be sold for their benefit, after being surveyed and appraised at their expense; provided, however, that the settlers, at the date of the treaty, should have the lands occupied by them at the appraised value, and the rest should be sold in a body, at not less than $1 an acre, the money realized from the sale to be vested for the benefit of the Cherokees. It was by virtue of these treaties, recognized and approved in many ways for nearly forty years by the Government, on payment of $500,000, that the title passed to the Cherokees, and by both the authority of the Cherokees and their guardian, the United States, that the title passed by patent, to the railroad company.

Under the reservation in the treaty, there was awarded by the Secretary of the Interior to settlers, 154,474.21 acres, and to resident Indians, 6,058.73 acres; in all, 160,532.94 acres. After the session by the Cherokees, and before the purchase by the railroad company, a large number of persons had settled upon these lands, and many of them had made valuable improvements, in the expectation that they would be allowed to purchase from the Government at the minimum price of the public lands, or secure the lands as homesteads. To meet the expectations of this class of persons the railroad company proposed, in a published letter dated November 17, 1868, that upon making proof of their settlement and occupancy prior to June 10, 1868, they should each be permitted to purchase 160 acres at from $2 to $5 per acre and upon credit satisfactory to them. To enable the settlers, with little expense to make this proof, the railroad company caused an office to be opened in Fort Scott on the 28th of November, 1868, and a notice published in the local papers inviting them to make the proof as above, and to purchase the lands occupied upon the terms proposed. The office was kept open at considerable expense until the following June, and the greater part of those entitled accepted the proposition and filed the proofs required. A large number, however, refused to accept the terms of the railroad company, and they formed a "land league" to resist the company's title. They maintained that the sale of the neutral lands of the railroad company was invalid; that the lands belonged to the Government and were subject to settlement the same as any public land. They bitterly denounced those settlers who accepted the terms of the railroad company, and for months, and even years, a state of anarchy prevailed on these lands. The land office of the railroad company was mobbed, the railroad engineers and contractors were driven off and the office of the Girard Press was destroyed by fire by the leaguers, because the paper opposed their organization and policy. Order was only restored there by the stationing of United States troops upon the lands, by request of Gov. Harvey. These neutral land troubles assumed a State, and even a national character. A resolution censuring Gov. Harvey for requesting the presence of troops upon these lands was defeated in the Kansas House of Representatives only by a small majority. Order was finally restored there, by a decision of the United States Supreme Court, recognizing the validity of the sale of the lands to the railroad company. The price paid by the railroad company for these lands was $1 per acre, and the number of acres received after providing for the reservation in the treaty were 639,000.

In 1868, the railroad company, which had previously been of a local character, became the property of some Boston capitalist, prominent among whom were Nathaniel Thayer, William F. Wells and Sidney Bartlett. They were represented by James F. Joy, of Detroit. The work was then pushed vigorously and did not cease until the road was completed to the Indian Territory, in 1870. The road opened for business to Olathe, 21 miles, December 16, 1868; to Fort Scott, 100 miles, December 6, 1869; to the south State line, 3 miles south of Baxter Springs, 162 miles, May 2, 1870. The total cost of the road from Kansas City to the south State line, was $5,249,716.68. The reason why this road did not enter the Indian Territory and proceed to Texas, in accordance with a certain privilege granted by Congress, referred to previously in this sketch, is explained in the history of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway.

[TOC] [part 5] [part 3] [Cutler's History]