Franklin Ellis.

History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

. (page 61 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 61 of 193)
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intercourse between the citizens of Pennsylvania and
the citizens of her sister .States, and no doubt is en-
tertained but the same motives ol policy will iiovcin
the State of Maryland, should an application at any
time hereafter be made by the government of this
State for leave to intersect the said railroad in the
State of Maryland by the construction of a railroad
by the State of I'cnnsylvania, or any company which
may by law be incrporated lor such pur|iosc." The
company was re^iuired to complete its road in Penn-
sylvania within fifteen years from the passage of the
act, otherwise the act to be void and of no effect.

The time when the company commenced making
surveys in Pennsvlvania under authoritv of this act

is not known, but the fact that the engineers of the
Baltimore and Ohio Company were engaged in pre-
liminary surveys in this region as early as 1835, for
the purpose of securing a line of communication
' through to Pittsburgh or other point on the Ohio, is
noticed in the report (found in the newspapers of that
time) of a " Great Railroad Meeting," held at Browns-
ville on the 3d o^ November in the year named, " to
promote the immediate construction of a railroad be-
tween Cumberland and Brownsville, and thence to
Wheeling and Pittsburgh," at which it was announced
that the chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio
Company had made an examination of this section
of country, and had made his report to the effect that
a railroad could be constructed between the places
mentioned " without the use of any inclined plane."

The chairman of the meeting referred to, was George
Hogg ; Vice-Presidents, David Binns and Michael
Lewis ; Se<.Tetaries, G. H. Bowman and John L. Daw-
son ; Committee to Draft Resolutions, James L, Bow-
man, George Dawson, Robert Clarke, Jonathan Binns,
Jr., and John Snowdon, Jr. The meeting resolved
that it was expedient to hold a railroad convention at
Brownsville on Thursday, the 25th of the same month,
to be composed of delegates from the District of Co-
lumbia, and from towns, cities, and counties feeling
an interest in the enterprise. No report of such a
convention has been found, nor does it appear that
any further public action was taken in the premises
It is evident that the Brownsville meeting of Novem-
ber 3d did not convene for the purpose of adopting or
considering any definite plan of action, but merely to
express in general terms approval of the project of a
railroad line from the Potomac to the Ohio by way of

The examination of this section of country by the
chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Company (Jonathan Knight, Esq., of Washington
County, Pa.) was quickly followed by preliminary
surveys, made with a view to find and determine on
a practicable route for a railroad from Cumberland to
the Ohio, These surveys were made in 1836 to 1838,
and in tliat jiarlof the projected route passing through
Fayette County were located on the southwest side
of the Youghiogheny River, the route along the op-
posite side, where the present railroad runs, appa-
rently being at that time regarded as impracticable.
Crossing Fayette County and the Monongahela River
at Brownsville, the route was surveyed thence into the
valley of Ten-Mile Creek, and up that valley to its
head ; from that point, crossing the dividing ridge to-
Templeton Run, it passed down the valleys of that
stream and Wheeling Creek to the Ohio at Wheeling.*
Leaving the proposed main line near the crossing of
the Monongahela, a branch road wassurveyedto Pitts-
burgh, in accordance with the requirement of the

coMsi.lered the most liractirable, iiii.l which was adopti-il l.y Cliief Engi-
neer Kniglit.



ninth section of the act of Feb. 27, 1828, viz. : " That,
as a condition on which this act is granted, it shall be
the duty of the said company, in case the railroad
aforesaid, made in this commonwealth in pursuance
of this act, shall not terminate at the Ohio Kiver in
the vicinity of Pittsburgh, to construct a lateral rail-
road simultaneously, on the same principles and plans
of the main railroad, and which shall connect the city
of Pittsburgh with the main railroad."

The preparations of the Baltimore and Ohio Com-
pany for the construction of a railroad through Som-
erset, Fayette, and Washington Counties embraced
not only the making of elaborate surveys, but also
the purchase of the right of way from a great number
of land-owners, no less than one hundred and nine-
teen such deeds being recorded by them in Fayette
County in the year 1838. But at that time the atten-
tion of the company was engrossed and their funds
absorbed in the construction of their road between
Baltimore and Cumberland, and as it had become ap-
parent that they could not complete the Pennsylvania
part of the road within the required time of fifteen
years from the passage of the act of 1828, they asked
an extension, which was granted by the General As-
sembly of Pennsylvania in a supplemental act, ap-
proved June 20, 1839, by the provisions of which
the time in which the company were required to
finish their road or roads in Pennsylvania was ex-
tended four years, or to the 27th of February, 1847.

When the company had completed their road west-
ward from Baltimore to Cumberland (in 18-44) there
remained less than three years in which to con-
struct the part lying in Pennsylvania, under the re-
quirement of the supplemental act of 1839. A fur-
ther extension of time was necessary, and was applied
for to the Pennsylvania Assembly ; but in the mean
time the Pennsylvania Railroad was being pushed
westward to cross the Alleghenies and make Pitts-
burgh its western terminus, and now the business men,
manufacturers, and people of influence in that city,
who in 1828 and 1839 were ready to do all in their
power to secure a railroad, even if it were but a branch
from a main line, from the seaboard to Wheeling,
were now, in view of the prospective direct connection
with Philadelphia by the main line of the Pennsyl-
vania Railroad (in which many of them were also
stockholders), entirely favorable to that road, and as
wholly opposed to the support of a competing line
commencing at the Maryland metropolis, and to have
its western terminus not at Pittsburgh but at the
rival city of Wheeling.

Besides the opposition of the people of Pittsburgh,
the Baltimore and Ohio Company had to encounter
the determined opposition of the inhabitants of the
country through which their railroad was to pass.
This strong opposition arose principally from the
belief that the proposed railway would supersede and
ruin the National road, and consequently ruin them-
selves and the countrv. Among those who took this

superficial view of the matter was Gen. Henry W.
Beeson, of Uniontown. He stoutly opposed the ex-
tension of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad west of
Cumberland through Pennsylvania, and was thor-
oughly sustained by nearly all his neighbors. On
one occasion he made a public speech, in which he
furnished a careful calculation of the number of
horseshoes made by the blacksmiths, the number of
nails required to fasten them to the feet of the
horses used on the road, besides a great amount of
other statistical information, intended to show that
the National road was better adapted to promote!
the public welfare than railroads. Such arguments
and others equally short-sighted and ridiculous, had
the effect to create and keep alive a determined and
almost universal opposition to the railroad among the
I inhabitants of the section through which it was pro-
! posed to be built. This opposition, added to the
combined influence of the city of Pittsburgh and of
the Pennsylvania Railroad, proved too powerful for
j the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company to over-
j come in the Assembly of this State ; and so that com-
i pany, after repeated ineffectual attempts to obtain a
further extension of time for building their road
through the State of Pennsylvania, found themselves
compelled to abandon the enterprise and complete
their road from Cumberland to Wheeling through
the State of Virginia. Years afterwards, however,
I they accomplished one of the ]irincipal objects they

then had in view (the cxtmsic f their line to the

city of Pittsburgh) h\ Icusiiii; roads already built by
companies holding charters fnini I'i'iinsylvania.

j The Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad Company
was the first to open a line of railway within any
j part of the county of Fayette. This company was
1 iucorpnrated by an act of the General Assembly, ap-
I proved April 3, 1837, which conferred on the com-
pany authority "to construct a railroad of single or
double tracks from the city of Pittsburgh, by the
I course of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers,
to some suitable point at or near Connellsville." By
! the provisions of the act, a large number of commis-
j sioners werr ai'imiiited to receive subscriptions to the
I stock of the ioiii|iaiiy, those belonging to Fayette
I County lieiiiL' tlic roUowing-named gentlemen, viz.:
I .Tohn Fuller, James C. Cummings, Samuel Marshall,
Joseph Torrance, William L. Miller, Thomas G. Ew-
ing, John Doogan, Thomas Foster, Daniel Rogers,
1 Joseph Rogers, Alexander Johnston, Samuel Evans,
j William Davidson, Henry Blackston, Henry Geb-
: hart, William Espy, William Andrews, David B.
Long, Joli,] M. lUiniry, Hubert Smilic, Robert Bleak-
I ley, Robert L.hil', .Fnlm W. Pliilli|.-. John P. Gibson,
j Jacob Weaver, .lamc/s I'aull, Jr., David A. C. Sher-
I rard. Col. John Bute, John M. Austin, Nathaniel
I Ewing, Henry W. Beeson, William B. Roberts, John
Dawson, Joseph Paull, James Piper, Uriah Springer,
Isaac Wood, William Crawford, Andrew Stewart,



James Fuller, Pierson Cope, Daniel Gallantine,
Philip Lucas, Joseph H. Cunningham, Joseph Pen-
nock, William Murphy, George McCray, Henry
Smith, William Bryson, aiicl Tliomns Rankin.

The charter of the company pi-nviiled and declared
that "If the said company shall not commence the
constriictiiin of tin- said railroad within the term of
five yL'ar> linm the passing of this act, or if after the
compleliiDi III' the said railroad the said corporation
shiill siiMi'i- ihe same to go to decay and be impassa-
lilc lor the irnn of two years, then this charter shall
beciinie null and void, except so far as compels said
company to make reparation for damages."

The company was duly organized, but did not com-
ply with tlio above-named requirement by commenc-
ing the ciiii-ti nitioii iif the road at the specified time,
and their lVaiirlii>cs were therefore forfeited; but on
the 18th of .Alarch, 1843, an act was passed renewing, I
extending, and continuing in force the charter of |
1837 upon the same terms, conditions, and limitations I
as were einlnacc-d in the original act, and also making
the additiiinal pruvi>iiin " that the said company shall
have power .irnl discretion to select any route from
Pittsburgh to Turtle Creek which may be deemed
most eligible and advantageous, and may extend said
road beyond Connellsville to Smithfield, or any other
point on the waters of the Youghiogheny and within
the limits of this Commonwealth." Tlie ilanse au-
thorizing the extension of the road from Connellsville
to the Maryland line was repealed the next day after
its jjassage, but was re-enacted on the 3d of April,

By an act of the Legislature of Maryland, passed
April 21, 1853, that State granted to the Pittsburgh
ami Connellsville Company authority to extend their
roid from tli.' S:atc line to Cunmerland. In 1854
(April Cth) an art wa> pa-sril authorizing the Union-
town and Waynesburg Railroad Company (chartered
April 18, 1853) to transfer all its rights and franchises
to this company, and they were accordingly so trans-

On the 22d of February, 1854, the chief engineer
of the road, Oliver W. Barnes, submitted to the presi-

dent and direi


pying the nor ank oi tlic

from a iioint at or near the bor.

borough of Ciinni'llsville, in 1"
final location for the construct
the road." Southward from C

the several proposed
adopted the line occu-
Youghiogheny River,
lusli of West Newton,

point at or near the
ayette County, as the
ion of that portion of
onnellsville the route

to Turke

The line of road was divided
struction into five divisions, viz. :
No. 1.— Pittsburgh to West Newton .
" 2.— West Newton to Connellsville

the same side of the Youghiogheny
and tlicnee through Somerset County
unil at Sand Patch) to the Maryland

urposes of con-
. 32 miles.

No. 3.— Connellsville to Turkey Foot . 30 miles.
" 4.— Turkey Foot to Summit . . 29 "
" 5. — Summit to Cumberland . . 31 "

From the report of the board of directors to the
stockholders for 1854, the following information is
gained in reference to the construction of the road.
Contracts for construction were first let on division
No. 2, West Newton to Connellsville, and on that
division the work was begun.

This portion of the line was selected for the com-
mencement " as presenting the advantage of a lo-
cality which could most economically be brought into
earliest profitable use, and when finished greatly
promote the convenience of the company in the fur-
ther prosecution of the work both eastwardly and
westwardly. As a starting-point, it was easy of ac-
cess by river in furnishing men and material, provis-
ions, etc., from this city [Pittsburgh], and when com-
pleted it was believed would materially accelerate
the extension of the work to its western terminus,
thus promising earlier communication between the
markets of Pittsburgh and the rich mineral and agri-
cultural valleys of the Youghiogheny and Mononga-
hela than could have been accomplished by a com-
mencement at this city. The heavy character of the
work on the sections embracing the Sand Patch tun-
nel demanded that it should be put under contract
siniultanninsly with the first work, as it was the
iipiniiin of the chief engineer that its vigorous prosecu-
tion wiimIiI be required contemporaneously with the
remainder to secure its completion within the period
of his estimate for the entire line."

With reference to the progress which had been
made on the road up to the 1st of December, 1854,
the date of the directors' report, that docujnent sa)'s,
" On the division between West Newton and Con-
nellsville the graduation, masonry, and ballasting of
about twenty sections [of one mile each] are fully
completed, and the remainder will be ready to re-
ceive the superstructure in the course of the present
winter. The trails-layini;- has been commenced, and
will be vigorousl\ |iii - i d I'mward. The first locomo-
tive, the 'Geort;r \Vasliini;loii,' will be immediately
placed n])on the road, and will greatly promote the
priii:re<s of the work on the superstructure in the
trans]iortation of the heavy material required."

Contracts had previously been made for 2600 tons
of rails, to be paid ibr in Allegheny County bonds,
and to be delivered by boats at West Newton. Some
of the iron had arrived at that point, and large
quantities of ties were already delivered along the
line. A contract had been made, several months
before, with Messrs. Baldwin, of Philadelphia, for
two first class coal-burning locomotives, one of which
had already been received (the "George Washing-
ton" above mentioned), and the other would be ready
for shipment during the month (December, 1854).
•Arrangements had been made for a moderate equip-
ment of passenger, freight, and construction cars.



Depot grounds had been secured at West Newton
and Connellsville, and thirteen acres, of coal lands
hud been purchased contiguous to the line at the
latter borough. Amicable settlements for the right
of way had been made in all cases but two within
the limits of Fayette County, and land for stations
(usually two acres at each place) had been tendered
to the company at Port Eoyal, Smith's Mill, Jacob's
Creek, Layton (foot of Big Falls), Old Franklin Iron-
Works, Sniilie's Run (Dawson), and at Rist's Run,
below Connellsville. The total expenditure on divis-
ion No. 2 (Connellsville to West Newton) up to
Dec. 1, 1854, had been $318,663.18.

The road was opened to Connellsville in 1855.
Beyond that place the amount of work done was small,
only $9674.22 having been expended on the division
extending from Connellsville to Turkey Foot prior
to Dec. 1, 1854, and for a number of years after the
opening of the road to Connellsville very little was
done on the line southward and eastward from that
point. A very strong opposition to the road was
developed among the people living along that part of
the route, their principal argument against it being
that the opening of a railroad through that section
Would ruin the traffic on the old National road,
wiiiuh latter appeared to be regarded by them as
paramount in importance to the securing of railroad

Finally, on the 29th of April, 1864, the General
Assembly of Pennsylvania passed an act, which pro-
vided and declared " That all the rights, powers, I
privileges, and franchises of every nature and kind |
whatsoever authorized or created by the act of As- ,
sembly approved April 3, 1837, authorizing the in-
corporation of the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Rail-
road Company, and all supplements thereto, so far as
the same or any of them authorize the construction
of any line or lines of railway southwardly or east-
wardly from Connellsville, be and they are hereby ]
reviikedand resumed by the Commonwealth of Penn-
sylvania; and all the rights, powers, franchises, and
privileges by the said act and its supplements con- ]
ferred upon the said corporation, for and in respect
to all that portion of the lines southwardly and east-
wardly from Connellsville, be and the same are, by
all and every authority in the Legislature for that
purpose vested, resumed, revoked, repealed, and put
an end to ; " but it was also provided that all the out-
lay and expenditure already made by the company
on the line south and east of Connellsville should
be reimbursed by any other company wliirli iiiiL;ht
be empowered to complete the construction ol' that
portion of the line.

Among the reasons for this repeal of the charter,
as set forth in the preamble of the act by which it
was accomplished, were that "The coin|)!iiiy, by suiil
act [of 1837] and supplements created, have lailcd to
complete the road therein provided (or, and have so
long delayed the construction of said road that now.

after the lapse of years from the granting of full au-
thority by the State, less than one-half of said line of
railroad has been constructed, and the line or lines
east of Connellsville authorized by the supplements
to said act not having been completed or prepared
for public use," and that " In the opinion of the Legis-
lature said corporation, by the delay referred to and
by the embarrassments, financial and otherwise, in
which said corporation has come to be involved,
have misused and abused the powers by said act con-
ferred," and that " In the opinion of the legislature
it is injurious to the citizens of this Commonwealth
that the said company should any longer have or en-
joy any right, franchise, or privilege to build or con-
struct any railroad, branch, or extension of their
existing railroad southwardly or eastwardly from

On the same day on which this repeal was passed, the
General Assembly also passed an act incorporating the
" Connellsville and Southern Pennsylvania Railway
Company," with power and authority " to construct a
railroad from Connellsville to the Maryland State
line, at such point and by such route as to the direc-
tors may seem advisable, and to connect the same with
any road or roads authorized by the State of Mary-
land, and to connect the same with the Pittsburgh
and Connellsville Railroad, or any other road at or
near Connellsville now constructed or that may here-
after be constructed ;" also to construct a road or roads
from any point on the line named to the Susquehanna
Valley. In the list of corporators there were named
a large number of gentlemen of Pennsylvania, and
William B. Ogden, J. D. T. Lanier, L. H. Meyer,
and Samuel J. Tilden of New York. The capital
stock authorized was ten millions of dollars, and the
company was required to perfect its organization
within three months from the passage of the act, and
to " proceed immediately to locate and construct said
road, and to complete tlicir main line within three

But the company thus incorporated did not comply
with the requirements of the act as to the commence-
ment and completion of the line. Meanwhile, legal
measures were taken on behalf of the Pittsburgh and
Connellsville Railroad Company to secure a restora-
tion of their charter for the line south and east of
Connellsville, and this was finally accomplished by
the passage (.Tan. 31, 1868) of an act repealing the
act of April 29, 1864, and thus reinstating the coni-
]Kiny in the possession of their original powers and
tVaiirhiscs as to the line between Connellsville and
the ^Maryland boundary, but requiring them to com-
mence the construction of the road within six months,
and to complete it within three years from the pas-
sage of the act. Another act was passed April 1st in
the same year, autliorizing the Pittsburgh and Con-
nellsville Railroad Company to construct branch roads,
for the development of contiguous regions of country,
from any point or points on their main line.



Operations were now resumed, and the construction
of tlie road was pushed vigorously to completion. In
February, 1871, the road from Connellsville to Falls
City was finished, and trains ran regularly between
those points on and after the 20th of that month. As
early as the 23d of the same month trains were an-
inunced to be running on schedule time from Sand '
Patch to Cumberland. At about three o'clock in the
a'ternoon of Monday, the 10th of April, 1871, the 1
tiack was finished between Pittsburgh and Cumber-
land, by the laying of the last rail, at a point where
the track-layers from both directions met, near Forge
Bridge, three miles west of Mineral Point. "Imme-
diately upon completion of the track a passenger
train from Pittsburgh (the first one passing over the
road east of Confluence) took aboard all present,
— Messrs. Latrobe and Blanchard, of the Baltimore
and Ohio Railroad, and Messrs. Hughart, Page, Pen-
dleton, Stout, and Turner, of the Pittsburgh and Con-
nellsville road, and others, — and started directly to
Cumberland, which was reached about dusk."' When
this first train left Connellsville to proceed to the
point where the track-laying parties were approaching
each other to complete the connection, nine car-loads
of rails were taken with it, drawn by locomotive No.
7, in charge of Mr. Sampsel. At Confluence these
iron-laden cars were detached, and taken thence to a
point near Brooke tunnel by locomotive No. 719, of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, while Mr. Sampsel,
the engineer of No. 7, who had previously declared
he would run the first engine over the completed
road, made good his promise on this occasion by taking
the excursion train through to Cumberland, pa.ssing
by a zig-zag track around the Brooke tunnel, which
was not then entirely completed. Among the speeches
made in the i>|irniii^' ciii-iiiunii-s liy iikii ]irotniMriit
in the aff'airs of tiie ritt^lmi-li and Cdnnell.-vilJe and
Baltimore and Ohio roads was that of B. H. Latmlie,
Esq., who said that the road which he (Latrobe) had
commenced in 18.37 was now completed by the presi-
dent, that the road had now allied itself with the llal-
iimorc and Ohi.i, and that he predicted a l)rilliaiit
luture I'or tlie line and the connection, — a ]ire(lietiiiii
which has been completely verified during the ten
years which have succeeded it. The road is now
operated as a part of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail-
road, having been leased bv that companv in Decem-
ber, 1875.

The Fayette County Railroad Company was incor- I
porated by act of General Assembly, passed May 1, I
1857, "with power and authority to construct a single '
or double railroad track from a]iy ]ioint at ur near the
borough of Uniontowi* to any point at ur near the 1
borough of Connellsville, in Fayette County, and
across the Youghiogheny River, with the right to ',

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 61 of 193)