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its valley stretches away in almost a direct west
line to the South Pass.

We need not enlarge upon the character of the
country through which the road is expected to-
pass. Iowa is one of the finest States in the Mis-
sissippi Valley, and roads built across the State
from east to west cannot fail to yield at once fail-
dividends, and in a very few years, as the coun-
try fills up with population,, will be among the
best-paying roads in the Union. Eighty-five miles
of the road, directly west of the Mississidpi, has
been let to Messrs.. Serrill, BagLey & Co.,,. of New
York, and is to be done by the first of January,.
1856,. at the same time that the St. Charles Air
Line reaches the Mississippi.. The contractors-
are said to be gentlemen of great energy, and.
abundant means to fulfil all their obligations. The
distance to the Missouri is about 325 miles.

The next trunk road south of the St. Charlee-
Air Lino, is the


JAS> F. JOT, Esq., Detroit, President.

ALLAN ROBBINS, Secretary..

I.. H. BURCH, Treasurer.

WALTER S. JOHNSON,. Superintendent..

This road at present enters the city on the
track of the Galena Railroad. As a line is sooa
to be built from Aurora to Chicago, it may very
properly be regarded as a distinct road. The
cars of the Aurora road leave the Galena at
Junction, thirty miles west of the city, and follow
down the beautiful valley of Fox river, through
the flourishing viHage of Batavia to Aurora, thir-
teen mite? ; thence to JMcndota, at the Junction
of the Illinois Central, sixteen miles northwest of
Lasalte. The distance is forty-six miles. The
road was afl completed early last fall, and with
the sixteen miles of the Illinois Central, also,
completed, form? a direct railroad communication
with Lasalle. The road is built in the most sub-
stantial manner, and opens one of the richest
portions of this State to the trade of Chicago.
On the first of May next there will be two pas-
senger trains out of the city on this road, and
one accommodation and freight and one freight.


train. It is already doing a large business.
When its connections and extensions south and
west are completed, its trade will astonish its
most sanguine friends.
The first of these is the


J. W. BROOKS, Esq., Detroit, President.
D. SANBORN, Galesburgh, Secretary.
JAMES PEARSOX, Princeton, Treasurer.
COL. J. M. BERRIEN, Chief Engineer.

This road extends from Mendota, the south-
western terminus of the Aurora Railroad, to
Galesburgh, Knox county. Its length is eighty-
four miles. The road is all graded, and the iron
will be put down as soon as it can be, after the
frost is out of the ground. The iron is all pur-
chased, and the road is to be finished and in
complete running order on or before the first of
Jnly next. This road runs through the centre cf
what is generally known as the Military Tract,
lying between the Illinois and the Mississippi
rivers, and if there is any finer country on the
face of the earth, it has not been our good for-
tune to see it.

From Galesburgh passengers will reach the
Mississippi at Burlington, a distance of forty
miles, by the


R. ROUSE, Peoria, President.

WASHINGTON COCKLE, Peoria, Secretary.

J. H. HOTCHKISS, Peona, Treasurer.

This part of the road is all graded, and several
miles of the iron are already laid. All the iron
is purchased, and most of it, we believe, is at
Burlington, ready to be laid down as soon as the
weather wiil permit The road is to be com-
pleted by the first of June next. This will open
to us the rich trade of Southern Iowa, causing
such an increase to our business as few would
have the courage to state, even were the exact
figures in their possession.

But this is by no means the limit to the aspira-
tions of the friends of tin's road. They, too, not
having the fear of our St. Louis neighbors before
their eyes, are reaching forward to the trade of
the Missouri. Surveys are now being made
through Southern Iowa for a road to the mouth
of the Platte river. It is called the


The distance across the State is about 220
miles. When it is remembered that roads built
anywhere in the West forty miles from each

other, will find ample business to make them
pay, it must not be wondered at if this road is
completed in three, or at most four years.

To complete our list of connections with the
Aurora Road, we must go back to Galesburgh,
and notice the


N. BUSHJWXL, Esq., Quincy, President.
JOHN FIELD, Quincy, Secretary-,
CHAS. A. SAVAGE, Treasurer.
WM. H. SIDKLL, Chief Engineer.

This road is to run from Galesburgh to Quincy r
120 miles. It is all under contract, the iron is
purchased, and the money is all provided to com-
plete it. It is to be finished and in running or-
der by the first of January, 1855.

At Quincy it will need but a few miles of road
to connect with the


R. M. STEWART, Esq., St. Josephs, Mo-., Presi-

Z G. DRAPBR, Hannibal, Mo., Vice President.

J. E. DOWLIKG, " Treasurer.

R. BFCKLAND, " Chief Engineer.

Since the first edition of this article was pub-
lished, we have had a full conversation with W.
J. McAlpine, Esq., who had just returned from
a tour over the entire line of this road. From
him we obtained the following facts in reference
to its prospects, and to the country through which
it passes.

The company is composed of some of the
largest capitalists and most energetic railroad
men in the country. The State of Missouri has
loaned its credit to the amount of one million and
a half of dollars ; the counties along the line have
taken about half a million of the stock, and the
Eastern capitalists to whom we referred have
taken one and a half millions more. Congress
has also granted eight hundred thousand acres
of land to the Company to aid in the construc-
tion of the road.

The distance from Hannibal, on the Mississippi,
to Saint Joseph, on the Missouri, is 205 miles.
Mr. McAlpine describes the country through
which it passes as surpassingly rich and beau-
tiful. Though there is nothing like a mountain
in the whole distance, there is scarcely level
ground enough for the stations along the road.
So " rolling" is the country, that for one fourth
of the distance the grade of the road is fifty feet
per mile. This is,, we bolieve, the maximum


The whole country between the two rivers is
not only all susceptible of cultivation, but a large
portion of it is too rich to grow wheat success-
fully. Corn, hemp and tobacco are the principal
staples. Mr. McAlpine says it is one of the best
timbered portions of the Mississippi Valley. At
no place is the road more than four miles from
fine groves, which, with the fertile lands and
delightful climate, make it peculiarly inviting to
.settlers. The soil is a rich loam, resting on a
substratum of clay. The prevailing rock is lime-

The road is all under contract, and is to be
finished by two years from the first of May.
Messrs. Duff & Larned are the contractors. They
.are gentlemen of large experience, and are in all
respects able to fill their contracts by the time
specified. Twenty-five miles at each end of the
road is to be completed and in operation during
the present season; and the entire line is to be
completed by the first of July, 1865.

Chicago has a large interest in the construc-
tion of this road. We shall have two lines con-
necting with it either at Hannibal or Quincy, and
perhaps at both of these points. The Aurora
and Central Military Tract, and the Peoria and
Hannibal Railroads will both be finished by the
tune the Hannibal and St. Joseph's road is in
operation. We shall receive a large trade from
Northern Missouri as soon as we have a direct
railroad connection with that fertile region. Al-
though this road lies at a considerable distance
south of this city, the result will show that it may
justly be regarded as a part of that great system
which has its centre here.

Again we return to Chicago, and commence
with one of her most important main lines the


J. B. JERVIS, Esq., New York, President.
N. D. ELWOOD, Joliet, Secretary.
Hon. A. C. FLAGG, New York, Treasurer.
JNO. E. HENRY. Superintendent.
WILLIAM JERVIS, Chief Engineer.

No better example can be given of the rapidity
and energy with which great enterprises are
pushed forward to completion at the West, than
the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad. Its pro
gress seems more like the wonders of magic than
a plain matter of fact reality. It was commencet
on the 10th of April, 1852, and opened to Joliet
forty miles, on the 18th of October, in the sam
year; to Morris, sixty-one miles, Jan. 5th, 1853
to Ottawa, eighty-three miles, Feb. 14th ; to La
Salle, ninety-eight miles, March 10th; to Peru

u'nety-nine miles, March 21st ; to Tiskilwa, one
.undred and twenty-two miles, Sept. 12th; to
Sheffield, one hundred and thirty-six miles, Oct.
,2th; to Geneseo, one hundred and fifty-eight
miles, Dec. 19th ah 1 during the last year. It
was completed and opened to Rock Island, one
lundred and eighty-one miles, on the 22d of
February, 1854; being the first continuous line
of railroad to reach the Mississippi from Lake

The city of Alton was reached about the first
of October last ; but three different roads had to
DC passed over in order that the iron horse might
renew his strength from the great artery of the
Western Continent. Think of this, ye ancient
worthies, who, some fifteen years ago, would
bave required as many years to build the same
number of miles of railroad ! One hundred miles
of the line was built, stocked, and in running
order in less than a year ; and the whole distance
to the Mississippi, one hundred and eighty-one
miles, was finished, and the road was in opera-
tion, in twenty-two and a half months! This
simple statement speaks volumes for the intelli-
gence, energy and business capacity of the con-
tractors, Messrs. SHEFFIELD & FARNAM. It is one
of the proudest monuments they could possibly
have to their memory ; and it will confer bless-
ings innumerable upon the people of this city and
those whose fertile fields lie along the line of the
road for all time to come. We almost envy
them the satisfaction which the accomplishment
of so great a work in so short a period must
afford them.

The location of the road is peculiarly favorable
for business. For the first hundred miles, it fol-
lows down the valley of the Illinois and its tribu-
taries, through the flourishing towns and cities of
Joliet, Morris and Ottawa, drawing the trade of
a rich and very fertile region. At Lasalle it is at
the head of ordinary steamboat navigation on the
Illinois, and of course will always secure a large
and lucrative trade from that artery of commerce.
From Peru to Rock Island it crosses the Military
Tract, of whose agricultural capacities we gave
our views when speaking of the Aurora Railroad.
A section richer in all the elements of wealth and
prosperity cannot be found anywhere upon the
Western Continent. Added to this, it crosses an
immense coal field, and will furnish to our city
without stint an abundant supply of the best of
fuel. We might here speak of the importance
of this fact in reference to the iron and other
manufactories that will be established here as
soon as the Saut Ste Marie Canal is opened, and
we have a direct steamboat connection with the


iron and copper mines of Lake Superior; but
it does not fall within the proper design of this

The receipts of the road are already very
satisfactory. In October last they amounted to
$67, 097.77 ; and they would have averaged more
than $60,000 through the Whiter had the con-
tractors been able to procure locomotives and
cars fast enough to do the business. For the
month of April, 1854, the receipts were:

From passengers,
From freight and mails,

Total, .
Total in March,

$57,9tl 98
29,000 00

$86,941 98
74,684 70

Increase, , . . $12,257 28

Number of passengers carried in April, 22,449.

The contractors now have all the revenues of
the road ; but they are to deh'ver it over to the
Company on the 10th of July next one year
and a half before the time specified in the con-
tract. On the first of May there were three pas-
senger and two freight trams leaving the city
every day.

The western extension of this road in Iowa is
called the


Hon. JOHN A. Dix, New York, President.
J. E. HENRY. Secretary.
Hon. A. C. F'-iGG, New York, Treasurer.
HENRY FARNAM, Esq., Chief Engineer.

It is proper here to speak of the bridge which
is to connect this road with the Rock Island Rail-
road. It is to be one of the finest structures in
the country. We believe it is owned equally by
these Companies. Rock Island for a time was
thought to be the only place where the Missis-
sippi could be bridged; but it is now claimed
that it can be done at Fulton City, Savanna, or
any other place where the wants of 'commerce
require it. Such of course would be the opinion
of any one who had witnessed the wonderful
triumphs of modern engineering. It cannot be
doubted, however, that a variety of circumstances
conspire to render Rock Island one of the most
favorable locations for a bridge between St. Paul
and St. Louis.

The bridge is under contract, and is to be com-
pleted by the first of December next. The east-
ern end of it over the slough, between the main
shore and the Island, has three spans of 150 feet
each in the clear The total length of this part

of it is 4Y4 feet The foundation of one of the
piers is already in, and this part of the work will
be finished by the first of June. The main stream
west of the Island is crossed by five spans, each
250 feet in the clear, and the total length of this
part of the bridge is 1,582 feet making, in ah 1 ,
2,056 feet. The draw is to turn upon the cen-
tral pier, and is always to stand open, free for the
passage of boats on each side of the pier, except
when a tram is passing. All trains on each side
of the river are to come to a full stop, and to
remain till a signal is given that the bridge ia
ready. Of course the draw, or if you please,
"turn table," will not be closed if there is a
steamer near at hand likely to pass up or down
the river. It is to be twenty-one feet above high-
water mark, and will be a substantial and elegant
structure. The bridge is to be built with Howe's
truss, with the addition of arch beams. J. War-
ner & Co. have the contract for the stone work,
and Messrs. Stone & Boomer that for the super-
structure. The total cost of both divisons of the
bridge will be $250,000.

The Mississippi and Missouri Railroad haa
three divisions ; amounting, in fact, to three dis-
tinct yoads. The first division extends from
Davenport, opposite Rock Island, one of the
most beautiful and enterprising towns on the
Mississippi, by the way of Iowa City and Fort
Des Moines, to Council Bluffs. The distance is
three hundred miles. The road is under con-
tract fifty -seven miles to Iowa City, and is to be
completed to that point by the first of December
next. At that time the bridge over the Missis-
sippi is to be finished, and we shall be in un-
broken railroad connection with the capital
of Iowa. The entire line is to be finished to
Council Bluffs by the first of January, 1857. It
needs but to be added that Messrs. Sheffield &
Farnam have the contract, to assure the public
that the work will be done at the time specified.
The country through which it passes is remark-
ably fine, and we look forward to the time when
we shall have a direct railroad communication
with the Missouri river as one of the most im-
portant events in the history of Chicago.

The second division of the road extends from
Davenport, by the way of Muscatine, Washington
and Oskaloosa, to the mouth of the Platte river.
The length of the road will be three hundred
miles. Thirty miles of the road to Muscatine is
to be finished by the first of December next, giv-
ing us the trade of another large and flourishing
city in Iowa, and the region to which it owes its
growth and importance. Ninety miles more of
the road to Oskaloosa will be put under contract


in the Spring, and will be probably completed
within the next year or eighteen months.

The third division of the road is to rnn in a
northwestern direction from Muscatine to Cedar
Rapids a distance of fifty miles. It is the in-
tention of the Company to put it under contract
early in the Spring, and the entire line is to be
finished by the first of April, 1855. This road
may be ultimately extended to Minnesota as
fast as the settling of the countiy along the
route will require. That will be at no distant

We now have done with railroad extensions in
Iowa. It will be noticed that we have traced
five different lines across the State to the Mis-
souri river. The facts have been stated just as
we received them from the agents of the different
Companies and railroad men in this city. This
was the task we imposed upon ourselves, and we
do not propose to go beyond the record, and
give an opinion as to the merits of this or that
route. The western portions of Iowa are sparsely
populated, and the through travel is at present
almost the only prize at stake, for the last hun-
dred miles on either of the lines. That is a prize
worth having ; and after canvassing the facts we
have stated, the public and ourselves also would
be safe in waiting to see which great interest will
secure it.

We now return to Illinois, to trace the connec-
tions and extensions of the Rock Island Railroad
in our own State. We begin with the


ISAAC UNDERBILL, Esq., Peoria, President.

N. B. CCRTIS, " Treasurer.

WM. JERVIS, Chief Engineer.

This road branches from the Rock Island, four-
teen miles west ef Peru. The distance thence to
Peoria is forty-seven miles. Sheffield & Farnam
have the contract for building the road, and it is
to be finished and in operation by the first of
June next. In only four months we shall join
hands with our beautiful sister, Peoria; and,
though oppressed with the cares and covered
with the dust of business, Chicago will find time
to take her by the hand and give her a right ;
hearty welcome.

Arrangements have been made to run, in con-
nection with this road, two daily lines of steam- j
ers between Peoria and St. Louis, and as most of I
the obstructions to ravigation on the Illinois lie I

above Peoria, this will be a comfortable and
popular route to that city.

Beyond Peoria there are three roads proposed
to be built one through Canton to Warsaw,
nearly opposite Keokuk, on the Mississippi.
Westward from Keokuk, an important city in
the southeastern corner of Iowa, several roads
are projected, all of which would swell the busi-
ness of this line. The distance is some eighty or
ninety miles.

The second road, which has been fujly organ-
ized since the first edition of this article, is the


MYRON PIIELPS, Lewiston, Presf.dent.
L. D. ERWIN, Rushville, Vice President.
THOS. HANNA, Vermont, Secretary.
GEORGE PHELPS, Lewiston, Treasurer.

There is much interest felt along the line of
this road, and the right feeling exists among the
people in that part of th State with reference to
it Schuyler county has recently voted, by a
large majority, to take $75,000 of the stock, and
the citizens have subscribed $25,000 more.
Other counties will assist, to the extent of their
means. It passes through a magnificent country,
and will be an important road to this city and the
country through which it passes. It will of course
furnish a second outlet to the Hannibal and St.
Joseph's Railroad, described above, in connec-
tion with the Aarora Road. It will doubtless be
finished by the time the Hannibal Road is com-
pleted. Its length will be about one hundred
and twenty miles.

The third proposed route runs south from
Peoria, and crosses the Illinois river at Pekin,
thence in nearly a direct line to Illinoistown, op-
posite St. Louis.

We must not forget to mention, as a feeder of
the Peoria and Rock Island Railroads, a part of


The western division of this road, from Gales-
burgh to Burlington, has already been noticed in
speaking of the connections of the Aurora Rail-
road. The distance from Peoria to Galesburgh
is about fifty miles. Seven miles of the road west
of Peoria are nearly completed, and the remainder
will be finished as fast as the business along the
route will warrant.

The next main line that our order requires us
to notice, fe the



GEO. BLISS, Springfieid (Mass:), President.

E. KEATING, Alton, Superintendent.

H. A. GARDNER, Joliet, Chief Engineer.

This should have been called the Alton and
Chicago Railroad, and then its name would have
conveyed a definite idea of its location. It would
now have been finished, or nearly so, had not
the contractor, Henry Dwight, jr., become in-
volved in financial difficulties last summer. Ho
was finally forced to suspend, and the road has
now passed into other hands. Those who have
it in charge have abundant means to complete it
as fast as money can do it.

The road is now finished, and in operation
from Alton to Bloomington, and with the Rock
Island and Aurora Railroad to Lasalla, and the
Illinois Central thence to Bloomington, enables
us to reach the city of Alton, twenty-five miles
above St. Louis, by railroad. At Joliet, forty
miles from this city, this road unites with the
Rock Island, and will run its cars into the city


WM. P. BURRALL, Esq , New York, President.
D. A. NEAL, " Vice Preset.

M. B. EDGAR, " Treasurer.

R. B. MASON, Chief Engineer and Superin-

J. B. WYMAN, Assistant Superintendent.

This is one of the most magnificent public im-
provements of its kind, in this or any other
country. The connecting of the great Lakes
with the Mississippi at Cairo, where steamers of
the largest class can always come up from the
Gulf of Mexico, was a sublime idea, and all the
arrangements for carrying it out have been on a
scale equally grand and extensive. On the 20th
of September, 1850, an act was passed by Con-
gress granting to the State of Illinois every alter-
nate section of land for six miles on each side of
the road, to aid in its construction. At the same
time the minimum price of the lauds within the
same distance of the road was fixed at $2.50 per
acre. By this arrangement the Government lost

on that track, till a separate road can be con-
structed. That, perhaps, will be deferred for a
few years.

The line between Joliet and Bloomington,
ninety-three miles, is nearly all graded, and the
iron is laid some fourteen miles south to Wil-
mington. The remainder of the iron is in this
city and Buffalo, and it is intended to have the
whole road completed and in operation by the
first of June next. At that time there will be
two passenger and two freight trains leaving
daily. The total length of the road from this city
to Alton is 265 miles.

Chicago is mainly indebted, to. the enterprise
and energy of the cities of Alton and Springfield |
for the building of this road ; but there can be no
doubt that it will add immensely to our business
and commercial resources. It passes through a
rich and most beautiful country, and will bring
us into direct communication with the cities of
Bloomington, Springfield and Alton, and a host
of nourishing towns with which we have hitherto
had very little business acquaintance.

This road proposes also to furnish an outlet to
the Lower Mississippi, and thence to the Gulf of
Mexico, through the Alton and Ulinoistown,
Belleville and Murphysboro', and the Illinois
Central to Cairo.

The next road in order is. the.

not a shilling on the price of the land, and at the
same time secured the advantage of bringing it
almost immediately into the market.

On the 10th of February, 1851, the Illinois
Legislature chartered the present company, and
transferred the lands to them on condition that
the road should be built within a specified tune,
and that after it was finished seven per cent, of its
gross receipts should annually be paid into the
treasury of the State. By this grant the com-
pany became possessed of about 2,650,000 acres

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Online LibraryDaily Democratic PressThe Rail-roads, history and commerce of Chicago → online text (page 2 of 15)