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The Little Road 


The Story of the 
Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway 

Frank G. Hicks 

The Little Road 

The Story of the 
Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway 

By Frank G. Hicks 

Western Illinois University 
Macomb, Illinois 

Copyright © 2006 by Western Illinois University 

This book is printed on acid-free paper. 

Western Illinois University Libraries 

Western Illinois University College of Arts and Sciences 

Macomb, Illinois 61455 

Printed and bound in the United States of America 

ISBN: 0-97771 16-0-9 

Front cover photo: Macomb & Western Illinois locomotive number 2 is "on the point" 

of a southboiiiui mixed train consisting ofa C'B&Q boxcar and M&Wl coach number 2 

at Industry sometime during 1405 or l^Od. 

Title page: This early view of the M&WI Industry depot faces northwest and shows the 

siding just north of the depot. 

Back cover photo: One of the original M&WI stock certificates, this is #19. The blank 

lines denoting ownership and transfer date indicate that, like the rest of the M&WTs 

stock, the Bank of Macomb was ne\er able to sell this share. 

All three images are from Western lllint>is University (WIU) Archives and Special 
Collections Unit. 

I he editors wish to thank the Haines Family lund for Regional Studies for assisting 
with the publication of this inaugural volume of the New Western Illinois University 
Monograph Series. 

Till Lin 1 1 Road 

Jeffrey Hancks and Susan Martinelli-Femandez, Series Editors 

Series Editorial Board: 

Martin Dupuis 

Raymond Greene 

Greg Hall 

John E. Hallwas 

Inessa Levi (Ex-officio) 

Jeffrey Matlak 

Polly F. Radosh 

David Stevenson 


Susan Glaspell: Voice From the Heartland (1983) 
Marcia Noe 

Thomas Gregg: Early Illinois Journalist (1983) 
John E. Hallwas 

John Hay's Pike County: Two Tales and Seven Ballads (1984) 
Edited with an Introduction by George Monteiro 

Robert G. Ingersoll: Peoria 's Pagan Politician (1984) 
Mark A. Plummer 

Joseph Smith, Jr. 's Red Brick Store (1985) 
Roger D. Launius and F. Mark McKieman 

We Are Sherman 's Men: The Civil War Letters of Henry Orendorjf (1986) 
William M. Anderson 

Adelaide Johnson: To Make Immortal Their Adventurous Will (1986) 
Shirley J. Burton 

Lincoln 's Springfield in the Civil War (1991) 
Camilla A. Quinn 

The New Western Illinois Monograph Series is pubHshed by the University Libraries and 
the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Illinois University. The series supports 
studies in the biography, history, geography, ethnography, literature, politics, and culture 
of the western Illinois region. Correspondence about the original Western Illinois 
Monograph Series or manuscripts for the new series should be sent to 
Professor Susan Martinelli-Femandez, College of Arts and Sciences, Western Illinois 
University, Macomb, Illinois 61455. 

Series Acknowledgements 

This is the first volume of the New Western Illinois Monograph Se- 
ries. The original monograph series produced eight outstanding volumes in the 
l9X0s and the early 1990s, but unfortunately it did not survive a previous 
budget cut. It was not the original intent of WIU to reinstate the series, but 
alter discussions with Distinguished Professor Emeritus John Hallwas and for- 
mer Dean of Libraries James Huesmann. the timing seemed right to pursue it. 
My position of Endowed Professor of Icarian and Regional Studies w as created 
in July 2005, and one of my primary duties is to promote the region's history 
and culture. Furthermore, the University Libraries has been successful in rais- 
ing external funds to promote regional studies, establishing a budget from 
which this book was partially produced. With the help of College of Arts and 
Sciences Dean Inessa Levi, a new series editorial board has been formed, 
drawing from the extraordinary faculty of the Western Illinois University 
Libraries and the College of Arts and Sciences. We envision publishing one 
book each year on topics related to western Illinois regional studies. As this 
book was already well underway before the new editorial board was created, 
this volume did not pass through the members' hands. Thus, any mistakes in 
the editorial process rest solely w ith me. 

Most of the thanks for this volume go to 2005 WIU graduate Frank 
Hicks. Frank worked tirelessly on this manuscript on his own time for several 
years. His goal was to simply donate his research notes and papers to the 
Archives. However, it was immediately apparent to us in the Archives that his 
tremendous work needed to be shared with a w ider audience. Frank's passion 
for railroads brought him to the WIU Archives; the outstanding service he re- 
ceived from the staff and his dedication to the project kept him coming back. 
The end result is a phenomenal contribution to western Illinois regional stud- 
ies. .ArchiNcs staff members William Cook and Kathy Nichols provided in- 
valuable assistance throughout the research process. Maria Vizdal volunteered 
graciously to edit the manuscript, and she worked diligently with several cam- 
pus offices to get the book printed. Countless other persons on the WIU cam- 
pus pr()\ ided support to create this book. They remain aiioinnious. but their 
\N()rk is greatly appreciated. 

On behalf of the series editorial board. \\c look forward to producing 
additional monographs and sharing our interest in western Illinois regional 

JelfrcN llancks 

I ndowed Professor of Icarian and Regional Studies 

\\csi(.Tn Illinois University 


Macomb, Illinois was very different at the dawn of the 20* century 
than it is now. Like all of the cities in McDonough County it was a farm town, 
just another county seat along the line of the Chicago Burlington & Quincy 
Railroad. But early in the new century the city began to change. Ultimately 
the most significant change would be the establishment of the Western Illinois 
State Normal School. But there was another change at the dawn of the century 
that signaled the advancement of Macomb: it got its own railroad. 

The Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway, or MI&L, ran south out 
of Macomb twenty miles, serving the communities of Industry and Littleton 
and the farmers in between. Its trains ran through McDonough and Schuyler 
Counties for more than a quarter of a century, carrying people and products 
affordably, and generally reliably, to what had only fifty years before been the 
frontier of the United States. Farmers shipped out livestock and grain destined 
for the Chicago markets; merchants shipped in goods to sell in their stores; 
customers shipped in products ordered from remote locations; and everyone 
rode the train. The MI&L was affectionately nicknamed the "Little Road" by 
the local newspapers. Unlike the massive, impersonal Burlington system that 
ran through Macomb, the MI&L was owned and operated by locals. The train 
would stop at any house or comer along its route to pick someone up or let 
someone off. All that was required for front door delivery was a quick request 
of the engineer, and when the train arrived, the crew would obligingly unload 
the merchandise before continuing on their way. The conductors and engineers 
knew everyone who lived along the route, and everyone knew them. Personal 
service was a way of doing business. 

The story of the MI&L is a twisting, tortured one, for from a purely 
financial perspective the railroad probably should never have been built. It 
was the product of the optimistic interurban boom of the early 20'^ century and 
the determination of its owners to benefit their communities even if it meant 
running a money losing operation. Though never very profitable, in the end it 
did benefit the people and towns it served and for decades was an accepted and 
important part of life for thousands of people. This is the story of the Macomb 
Industry & Littleton Railway - "The Little Road." 


First and foremost. I would like to thank Bill Cook. Kathy Nichols 
and Maria Vizdal of Western Illinois University's Archives and Special Col- 
lections Unit. For a year and a half they put up with my incessant demands on 
their time and patience, and without their help not a single page of this history 
would have been possible. Thanks go to Joe Piersen of the Chicago & North 
Western Historical Society. Fred Ash. Bob Watson, and Dr. Harold Cox for 
their help in tracing roster information. 1 would also like to thank the volun- 
teers of the Schuyler County Jail Museum for their assistance and Viletta 
Hilarv' for her time and reminiscences. Randall Hicks and Dave Swanson were 
kind enough to proofread draft copies of this work and provided valuable in- 
sight. Jeff Hancks provided valuable assistance with publication work. 

This book is dedicated to my father, to whom 1 owe my lifelong 
interest in trains. 

Table of Contents 

Series Description Hi 

Series Acknowledgements iv 

Foreword v 

Acknowledgements vi 

Map of The Little Road's Stations viii 

1. The Coming of the Railroad 1 

2. The Electric Road 11 

3. In the Balance 25 

4. Men of Industry 35 

5. Strides of Progress 45 
Afterword 57 
Appendix A - Trackage and Structures 59 
Appendix B - Rolling Stock 67 
Appendix C - MI&L Annual Reports 73 
End Notes 77 
Bibliography 85 


Henderson Switch 

Andrews Switch 



\J Industry 

Kirkpatrick Switch 

Q Runkle Switch 

O Little 


A simple iliasiiam oj the MI&L route showing tmtetahle locations. Detailed track maps 
can he found in Appendix A. 

Till I I ITU- Road 

The Coming of the Railroad 

The history of the Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway runs hand- 
in-hand with the history of Macomb and the areas surrounding it, and that story 
begins long before the first white settlers even arrived in modem McDonough 
County. The earliest French explorers first saw Illinois when they traversed 
the Mississippi and Illinois rivers in the late 1600s; a few settlements followed 
and in 1717 the region was made part of the Louisiana Territory. It became 
British land in 1763 after the French and Indian War, and fifteen years later 
George Rogers Clark captured Kaskaskia and Cahokia and claimed the land for 
the state of Virginia. In 1784 Virginia ceded Illinois County, as it was called, 
to the United States federal government. At first it was part of the Northwest 
Territory, then in 1800 the Indiana Territory was formed with boundaries en- 
compassing modem Illinois. In 1809 the Illinois Territory was created, and 
nine years later Illinois became a state and its modem boundaries were estab- 

When Illinois became a state, there were about 40,000 whites living 
within its borders, though not a single one of them in modem McDonough 
County. Much of west-central Illinois, including the area around Macomb, 
was part of the Military Tract. This was land that had been set aside for sol- 
diers who had served in the War of 1812, in increments of 160-320 acres per 

The above drawing shows the original courthouse in Macomb as it appeared during the 
1830s, soon after it was built. Bateman & Shelby, The Historical Encyclopedia of Illi- 
nois and McDonough County . 

1 - The Coming of the Railroad 


man. Many soldiers never claimed their land, and only a handful ever moved 
to western Illinois. The first white settlers in McDonough County arrived in 
1K26, around the time the county was separated from Pike County, its borders 
fi.xed, and its governance put under the control of Schuyler County. The first 
settlement was about a mile southeast of where Industry was later founded, and 
over the ne.xt four years more settlements sprang up near the current locations 
of Blandinsville and Macomb. In 1830 McDonough County was officially 
founded and the settlement of Washington, changed to Macomb later in the 
year, at its center, was made the county seat. The county was named for Com- 
modore Thomas MacDonough, who had commanded the victorious American 
fleet against the British in the Battle of Lake Champlain in 1814. while the 
county seat was named for General Alexander Macomb, commander of the 
American land forces at Plattsburg in that same battle.' 

Macomb expanded steadily in the years after the county was created. 
In 1 84 1 it was incorporated as a village; fifteen years later it was incorporated 
as a city. McDonough County grew up around it as well, with settlements in 
the south, closer to Schuyler County and the Illinois River, being established 
earlier than in the north. One of the first of these was Industry. 

The first settler on the current site of Industry was a blacksmith who 
set up shop in 1846. At the time there were virtually no real towns in the sur- 
rounding countryside; even the nearest post office was fairly isolated. Not 
until 1850 did other businesses begin to cluster around the lone blacksmith 
shop, but the settlement began growing, and in 1855 the town, by now known 
as Industry, was laid out and sur\eyed. It wasn't until two years later that the 
current political townships in McDonough County were established, with In- 
dustry Township encompassing the area around the new settlement. In 1867 
the town of Industry was officially incorporated, and in the follow ing years 
liuiustrv prospered as the largest town for ten miles in any direction.^ 

Six miles south of Industry lay the town of Littleton, over the border 
in Schuyler County. The first white settlers in Schuyler County arrived in the 
Rushville area in 1823, and only two years later the county was otTicially cre- 
ated. What was later known as Littleton Township was originall\ Oregon 
Township, fhe first settlers in the area arri\ed in the northern part of the town- 
ship in 1836 and laid out the town of Doddsville, right on the border with 
McDonough County. Thirteen years later James Little settled in the exact cen- 
ter of the township and laid out a new town, Littleton. The \illage expanded 
quickly, surviving a tornado that destroyed much of the town in 1856. and 
growing to a si/e of more than 1 .000 by the end of the century.^ 

The most important development in Macomb's first century of exis- 
tence was the coming of the railroad. The first successful steam locomoti\es 
had been developed in I nglaiui in the late 1820s and the technology had 
quickly spread across the Atlantic. A few short railroads were built on the east 
coast in the early 1830s. and by the 1840s they had been greatly extended and 
expanded. By 1840 it was becoming clear that railroads were the best way to 
connect the far corners of the United States, and railroad lines began to be built 

2 Till Lmi I Road 

as far west as the Mississippi Valley. A network of railroads criss-crossing the 
state of Illinois was conceived as early as the late 1830s. By 1850 the first 
railroads were built west out of Chicago as far as Elgin and Aurora. Within the 
next year or so canvassers, or fundraisers, spread out across the state to raise 
interest in, and money for, the railroads that would be built to the Mississippi 
and beyond.^ 

One of these planned railroad lines was the Northern Cross Railroad, 
renamed the Quincy & Chicago Railroad in 1857. The Northern Cross would 
be built between Quincy in the south and Galesburg in the north. It would con- 
nect with the Central Military Tract Railroad and the Aurora Branch Railroad 
being constructed between Galesburg and Chicago, thereby linking western 
Illinois with the largest city in the state, as well as with Lake Michigan. The 
intended route went straight through McDonough County and, of course, 
through Macomb.' 

The Northern Cross, the second railroad in Illinois to bear the name, 
was originally conceived in early 1 85 1 as a link between the Mississippi River 
at Quincy, and the Illinois & Michigan Canal. At the same time, though, there 
were two other railroads extending toward each other from Galesburg and Chi- 
cago: the Aurora Branch Railroad, renamed the Chicago & Aurora Railroad in 
1852, building southwest from Chicago, and the Central Military Tract Rail- 
road, building northeast from Galesburg. The Chicago & Aurora Railroad and 
the Central Military Tract Railroad managements were able to persuade the 
Northern Cross to change its northern terminus to Galesburg, thereby paving 
the way for the creation of a through route from Chicago to Quincy.^ 

The first railroad meeting in Macomb was on November 5, 1851. It 
was then that the Northern Cross' management presented their proposal for the 
railroad fi"om Quincy to Galesburg, and asked for McDonough County to pur- 
chase $50,000 worth of stock in the railroad company. A vote on this matter 
was scheduled for March 1852, and the battle began. There was significant 
opposition to the railroad. Many in the county claimed that it was unnecessary, 
as goods produced locally could be taken beyond the county borders by carts. 
The arguments were fierce, and the vote was actually delayed until May to 
allow for more campaigning. In the end, the citizens of McDonough County 
voted to approve the stock purchase by a margin of 817 to 644. 

Even after the stock purchase was approved, though, there was no 
railroad. The Northern Cross' president. Judge Nehemiah Bushnell of Quincy, 
was unable to secure enough money from the eastern capitalists on whom he 
had relied, and in June 1853 it was decided that McDonough County would 
have to contribute an additional $25,000 to the railroad. This, and other fund- 
raising efforts up and down the line, finally made construction of the railroad 
possible, which took place between 1853 and 1856. In October 1855 the first 
train ever to enter Macomb, the Northern Cross Railroad's locomotive Fulton, 
arrived from Quincy on the newly-built track. The line to Galesburg was com- 
pleted in January 1856, and operations on the Northern Cross were merged 
with those on the Chicago & Aurora, after 1855 known as the Chicago 

1 - The Coming of the Railroad 3 

Burlington & Quincy. or CB&Q. and the Central Military Tract railroads. 
Finally. Macomb had a permanent link to the outside world. 

In the latter half of the \9^ century, a railroad was often the deciding 
factor in whether a frontier town lived or died. The Northern Cross Railroad 
(which was foreclosed on in 1864 and sold to the CB&Q a year later) brought a 
tremendous amount of wealth and prosperity to the small village of Macomb. 
The population of McDonough County more than doubled in the ten years be- 
tueen 1850 and 1860, from 7,600 to 20,000, and a number of new towns grew 
up along the railroad tracks. Bardolph, Bushnell. Colchester. Tennessee, and 
Prairie City were all founded in the years that the railroad was being built. The 
promises that the railroad's promoters had made in the early 1850s all came 
true. Land prices in Macomb rose, the population increased, business for the 
town's merchants grew, and ease of shipment of materials dramatically mod- 
ernized the way the townspeople did business. 

The construction of the railroad from Chicago to Quincy was part of a 
much larger trend. By the start of the Civil War there were over 3,500 miles of 
railroads in Illinois, and virtually every major population center was connected 
to a growing network of steel ribbons stretching across the state. After the end 
of the war the expansion continued. The Toledo Peoria & Western, 
McDonough County's second railroad, was constructed across the northern 
part of the county in the late 1860s. New railroads were being built all over, 

and ^ by 1872 the 
railroad mileage in 
the state had in- 
creased to over 
6,300 miles,'- but 
for every new ven- 
ture that was con- 
structed it seemed 
that there were 
three that foun- 
dered before the 
Irst shoNclfuI of 
earth was turned. 

By the late 
9"' century the 
region south oi' 
Macomb which 
included Industry, 
Doddsville, and 
Littleton was one 
o\' tlie largest areas 
in western Illinois 
devoid of a railroad 
link. Within an 

rhi\ ISdl railnuuhthip of western Illinois shows the few rail- 
waw ihroujih the Illinois Military Tract at the start of the Civil 
ii\ir. Cr H'ooJworlh Collnn. "Railroad Map of Illinois." 

Till Lini I R(),.\n 


area of about 500 square j^^jj ^^^^^ Excursion Traius"! 

miles bordered by 
Macomb and Table Grove 
in the north, Plymouth 
and La Prairie in the west, 
Clayton and Mt. Sterling 
in the south, and Rush- 
ville and Vermont in the FROI?! ]^IA€0:ilB TO ClUIIlCY! 

east, there was no way to <=»Kr t:eces a-airs: <ss asTii iktst-SlUTT 8s: 

get to the outside world '*-'^° ™^ ^^'""^^ county^ 

except by horse. Perhaps AGRICULTURAL FAIR I 

because of this, numerous ._^.,,.. ... — l_ ■■ i 

schemes for constructine A^i advertisement from the 1850s picturing a Northern 

-, J ,, u T J Cross train. WIU Special Collections. 

a railroad through Indus- ^ 

try and Littleton, the two largest towns in the gap, were brought before the 

people of this area in the 1880s and 1890s. They all failed. 

One of the last of these plans, and likely the one that got the farthest 
before the turn of the century, was the line known as "Colonel Piper's Rail- 
road." Colonel J.M. Piper was an entrepreneur from St. Louis who, in early 
1895, proposed constructing a railroad that would extend from Macomb in the 
north, south to Grafton on the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Illinois River. 
From there it would connect with the already-existing Bluff Line and proceed 
directly into downtown St. Louis. The railroad would go through Industry, 
Camden, Mt. Sterling, Perry, Griggsville, Detroit, and Pearl, and at its southern 
end would traverse the length of Calhoun County, which, though bordered by 
the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, lacked any rail link at all.'^ 

Colonel Piper revealed his plans for the new railroad, which was offi- 
cially called the St. Louis Perry & Chicago, at a meeting in Macomb on March 
1, 1895. Three months later, the first major canvassing meeting was held to 
raise money for the venture. Forty thousand dollars in subscriptions would be 
required of the people of Macomb. A good number of civic-minded business- 
men, including Albert Eads, Van L. Hampton, and J.M. Keefer of Macomb, 
and Amos S. Ellis and Joseph Lawyer of Industry, joined in the canvassing 
efforts that took place during the summer of 1895. But the man leading the 
drive for local support of the railroad was a man from Macomb named Charles 
Vilasco Chandler.'"* 

Bom in Macomb on January 25, 1843, C.V. Chandler was one of 
Colonel Charles and Sara C. Chandler's seven children. The Colonel was the 
owner and president of the First National Bank of Macomb, which brought in 
enough money for C.V. to get a good education. After his mother died in 
1855, he attended boarding schools near Chicago and in Danbury, Connecticut. 
Instead of going off to college, in mid- 1862 he returned to Illinois and enlisted 
in Company I of the 78"^ Illinois Volunteer Infantry to serve in the Civil War. 
He quickly ascended the ranks to Sergeant-Major and after nine months of 
service was already a Second Lieutenant.'" 

I - The Coming of the Railroad 5 

During September 1863 the 78'*' Illinois was part of Colonel John 
Mitchell's Brigade in the Army of the Cumberland, under General Thomas 
Rosecrans. They were marching in the vicinity of Rossville, Georgia, when, 
on September 19. the Battle of Chickamauga began. The bulk of both the Un- 
ion and Confederate armies, including the 78"' Illinois, were brought into the 
battle the next day. The Confederate armies under James Longstreet attacked 
in the morning, shattering the Union flank and driving back part of the army, 
but Union (ieneral George Thomas was able to rally his troops and stall the 
Confederate advance. With Thomas" outnumbered troops facing the high tide 
of the Rebel assault, two reserve brigades, one of which was Mitchell's brigade 
with the 78"^ Illinois, arrived at the moment of greatest need from the rear to 
support the Union line."' 

This action of these two brigades saved the Army of the Cumberland 
from rout, helped to cement Thomas' reputation as the "Rock of Chicka- 
mauga," and resulted in forty percent of the men of the 78"^ Illinois being 
killed, wounded, or captured. Of the regiment's twenty officers, eight were 
casualties. C.V. Chandler was among them. At the height of the battle he was 
hit b> a bullet which passed through one leg and into the other. After the battle 
he was promoted to Adjutant, but though he went through a period of recovery 
and briefly returned to duty, his wounds eventually forced him to resign on 
April 3. 1864.'^ 

After the war Chandler went 
to work for his father at the 
First National Bank. In 1866 
he married Clara Baker, w ith 
whom he had six children. 
By 1870 he was elected city 
treasurer, beginning over 
four decades of public ser- 
\ice in Macomb. Chandler's 
father died in 1878. making 
C.V. the bank's president, 
lie continued to successfully 
i>pcralc the bank, reorganiz- 
ing it in 1886 as the Bank of 
Macomb. Chandler was civi- 
calK-mindcd. and he spear- 
headed several projects to 
improve the City of 
Macomb. By 1879. he had 
purchased all of the busi- 
nesses in the block just south 
of the CB&Q freight house, 
demolished them, and created 

C.l C'hiinJhr in a IVIO-cru porlrail. liulcnuin A 
Shclhv. The Unl orual iincvclopi'dia of Illinois ami 
iS kDtiftimijh i'ouniv . 

Till l.ini I Road 

Chandler Park for the enjoyment of the people of Macomb. Twenty years 
later, in 1899, he paid to build a monument to McDonough County's Civil War 
soldiers in Chandler Park.'^ 

C.V. Chandler was one of the richest and most influential business- 
men in Macomb, and his support for Colonel Piper's railroad was of tremen- 
dous importance. He initially subscribed for $1,000 worth of stock in the rail- 
road (worth about $21,000 in inflation-adjusted 2005 money) and later added 
more to that amount. He served as Piper's primary contact person in 
McDonough County, the leader of the local efforts to support the railroad.'^ 

The early signs seemed ominous to those in the Macomb area who 
were weary of empty promises made by railroad promoters. There was no 
construction work during the summer of 1895 until late August, when a hand- 
fiil of surveyors began laying out the locations of crossings for several east- 
west railroads. After this initial work was completed, there was again a lull in 
construction. Support for the project in McDonough County waned, and ef- 
forts by Piper to secure right-of-way from residents of Scotland Township in 
August and September met with resistance from wary farmers.^" 

Colonel Piper soldiered on and the St. Louis Perry & Chicago seemed 
to inch toward reality, but he 
was running out of time. In 
December the national econ- 
omy entered a two-year reces- 
sion that was something of an 
aftershock to the Panic of 1893. 
Prices fluctuated wildly, and the 
construction contractor in- 
formed Piper that another 1 
$500,000 was needed to build 
the railroad.^' 

Piper was desperate. 
In an apparent effort to raise 
more money, extensions to the 
railroad were promised includ- 
ing an east-west line through 
Bluffs and Barry and a northern 
extension all the way to Rock 
Island and Des Moines, Iowa. 
But it was all for naught. 
Though construction work be- 
gan in a few random locations 
along the line in April 1896, by ] 
June it was evident that Piper's 
effort was foundering. In mid- Macomb 's Civil War monument, which was spon- 
June, Piper sold the railroad for sored and paid for by C.V. Chandler. WIU Spe- 
$14,000 to the CB&Q, with cial Collections. 

1 - The Coming of the Railroad 

Industry Enterprise: "Piper's Railroad. 
Our poetical editor, who has been in the 
cupola lor the last eight months looking 
for the coming of Piper's new railroad, 
craw led dow n from his perch this week 
and penned the following: 

Come and stand around us. 
Although it hurts your head. 
And we will try and tell you 
Some things that Piper said. 

They stood and looked upon him 
With w istful, eager eyes. 
And said to one another 
I'm afraid he's telling lies. 

Yes, Piper came to Industry 
And said it was all so 
That we would have a railroad. 
But we guess it is no go. 

Now Piper, he was with us 
On the Fourth day of July 
And said he'd come next year 
On the early mom "Eli." 

Me said unto our fanners- 
"Its the very thing you need: 
Then you can ship your grain 
And everything you feed." 

Me said unto our merchants. 
Which sounded good and great: 
"You can sell much cheaper then 
On account of reduced freight." 

He said unto our druggists 
Words we didn't get to hear. 
But we're of the opinion 
That he asked if they kept beer. 

Me said unto our painters. 

Although 'twas very faint: 

"You must remember, boys. 

The depot and round-house is to paint." 

Mc said to "lather Raybum." 
And It sounded like a chann, 
"That he'd be worth a million 
If he'd only plat his farm." 

He said unto our landlord. 

And wc feared 'twould cause a muss: 

"Now Joel, save the dollars. 

For you will need a 'bus." 

He said unto the doctor. 
And it sounded rather funny- 
"Doc. I w ish you'd keep them well 
Until 1 get their money." 

He said unto the dead beats 
That loaf the whole year round, 
"Remember, there'll be work to do 
WTien the railroad comes to town." 

He said unto our carpenters- 
Creel, Laughlin and Bill West- 
"There will be many bridges to build 
And you want to do your best." 

He said to our cigarmaker 

To live in faith and hope. 

For when the engines came to town 

That everyone will smoke. 

He said unto John Lickey, 
Although we think it thin. 
"The cars will kill a dozen a year 
And that will make 'biz' for him." 

He said to the committee. 
Which numbered five or si.x. 
"Remember, boys, to tell them 
'Twill be here in ninety-six." 

He said unto the printer. 

But here our face we hide. 

"If we would help to boom the road 

'Twould cost nothing for us to ride." 

Me said to unbelievers 
Whom he tenned as arrant fools. 
That the contract was already let 
To those six hundred mules. 

He said to a confidential. 
But here we hate to tell. 
"If I get the twenty thousand 
I'll bust them sure as h-l." [sic] 

And now my story is ended. 
We hope in peace to abide. 
But if Piper builds the railroad 
We will all take a ride." 

Fmm the November 8, 1895. Macomb Daily 


liii I II 11 I Road 

which it would have competed directly for traffic headed north out of 
St. Louis. Predictably, by the end of 1896, the Burlington had quashed the 
entire project. Residents of Macomb, Industry, and the other towns to the 
south would have to wait for their railroad." 





>fWA»rJ fe«Tin^ 5| jJikJX" 


5v /59S, western Illinois was served by a vast network of railway lines almost incon- 
ceivable fifty years earlier. Rock Island is at top center, Macomb just left of center. 
Rand. McNally cS: Company, ■' Railroad Map of Illinois. " 

1 - The Coming of the Railroad 

The Electric Road 

The final push to build a railroad south from Macomb originated in 
late 1901 with William Alexander Compton, a Macomb resident. Compton 
was bom on March 5, 1864, south of Macomb in Scotland Township. Edu- 
cated at the Macomb Normal College, he graduated in 1885, and after studying 
law, was admitted to the bar in 1888. He later founded a successful and profit- 
able real estate business and was elected to the Illinois state legislature as the 
28"^ District Representative in 1896." In November 1901 Compton enlisted the 
support of H.G. Tunstall, a man from New York City who represented a group 
of venture capitalists interested in seeing a railroad built from Macomb to In- 
dustry, Rushville, and Beardstown. What made this proposal different from all 
that had come before it was electricity. The New Yorkers were unwilling to 
consider a steam railroad, but rather insisted that the new line be an electric 
interurban road.^ Electric traction was just entering maturity at the turn of the 
century, and most major cities had rapidly expanding networks of streetcar 
lines within their borders. The interurban, or inter-city electric railway, was a 
newer phenomenon developed in the last years of the 1 9* century. More pow- 
erful electric motors and controls made it possible to run high-speed electric 
trains over long distances, creating the possibility for a nationwide network of 

The M&WI's gas-electric box-cab motor is seen here in 1904 at the north end of the 
railroad, at the corner of Jackson and Johnson streets in Macomb. The Catholic school 
is in the background. Lumber is being loaded onto a boxcar right in the street. WIU 
Special Collections. 

2 - The Electric Road 


inteairbans to rival the steam rail- 

The people of 

McDonough and Schuyler coun- 
ties were enthusiastic about the 
uica of such a modem railroad 
being constructed locally. Pro- 
railroad efforts centered around 
Industry, where civic boosters 
like Philander Avery and Amos S. 
Ellis joined the effort to canvass 
the area for money, and gather 
support for the project. On No- 
vember 13. 1901, the Macomb & 
Western Illinois Railway 
(M&Wl) was incorporated and 
directors William Compton 
(President), J.M. Keefer (Vice 
President), Ralph S. Chandler 
(Secretary and Treasurer). Isaac 
M. Fellheimer. Albert Eads. and 
Willis 1. Hitt were appointed to 
the Board of Directors. The next 
day a large meeting was held at 
Industrv' to announce the plan for 
the railroad. Though the line 
would eventually run to Beards- 
town, the segment from Macomb to lndustr\ would be built first and put into 
operation before construction would continue south. Most of the M&Wl direc- 
tors were present at the meeting. C.V. Chandler, however, was in Quincy 
chairing the annual reunion of the 78"' Illinois, but he sent a letter expressing 
his support for the project. It was decided that the residents of the Industry 
area would have to raise S.^O.OOO toward the cost of the railroad. At a similar 
meeting in Scotland lownship two weeks later, it was announced that the resi- 
dents living in the areas south of Macomb would have to raise an additional 

It wasn't easy to raise that much mone\ in an area with a total popula- 
tion of fewer than I. ()()() people (adjusted for intlation. $42. (KM) in 1902 was 
the equivalent of about S930.()()() in 2005 money). By late January 1902 it was 
apparent that the canva.ssing committees in lndustr> and Scotland Township 
weren't going to be able to raise (hat large an amount of mone\. so the require- 
ment was changed. irS50.0()(> could he raised aU>iig the entire route, including 
from Macomb it.self, the railroad would still be built. In a meeting at Industry 
on January 2S. it was agreed to increase Macomb's share to S25.000, reducing 
the amount of money Industry and Scotland fownship would have to raise by 

William Alexander Compton in a I91i-era 
portrait. Bate man & Shelby. The Historical 
Encyclopedia of Illinois and McDonounh 
County . 

Tm Lirn.i Road 

one- third.'* 

By May 1902, the $25,000 expected of the southern part of the county 
had been raised, and Chandler, Compton, and others were hard at work can- 
vassing within Macomb. On June 27, S.B. Downer, a civil engineer from 
Michigan who had previous experience laying out electric lines in Michigan 
and Illinois, arrived in Macomb and began work on surveying the route from 
Macomb to Industry. Two different routes were surveyed. The east route left 
downtown Macomb headed straight east along Jackson Street and turned south 
to follow the approximate current alignment of Route 67. The west route left 
the city near the county fairgrounds at Johnson and Grant streets and went 
south from there, turning east toward Industry about eight miles south of 
Macomb. A streetcar line to the Western Illinois State Normal School on the 
northwest side of town was also planned. Surveying and cost estimates were 
completed by mid-July without much trouble, though the location of the depot 
in Industry couldn't be agreed on. By September construction still had not 
begun, and it wasn't until the first week of October that the company formally 
announced that it had settled on the western route, and had secured most of the 
right-of-way it needed.^ 

At 8:20 a.m. on October 16, 1902, the wife of M«feWI Vice President 
W.H. Raybum turned the first shovelftil of dirt on the new electric railway in a 
ceremony held on a part of the right-of-way located on James Scudder's farm 
two miles west of Industry. Of the one hundred people in attendance, William 
Compton was one of only a handfiil not from Industry. As soon as the cere- 
mony was done, grading work was begun by ten teams with plows and 
wheeled scrapers.^ 

The next two months saw slow progress in grading while the rail- 
road's officers were involved in land condemnation proceedings in the courts. 
As a railroad, the M&WI had the right of eminent domain, and could seize any 
land it needed for its right-of-way. Unfortunately, in cases where a fair price 
for the land could not be agreed upon, the courts had to set the price them- 
selves. While the vast majority of the farmers along the railroad were happy to 
donate or sell the land the railroad would need at a nominal price, there were a 
few who insisted on a higher price. 

President Compton purchased more wheeled scrapers in late Novem- 
ber, and by mid-December there were two grading gangs at work. Web Kirk- 
bride's gang, with twelve scrapers, was working north of Camp Creek while a 
second gang of fifteen scrapers under Philander Avery was working on the 
northwest side of Industry. It was tough work in spots as the grade heading out 
of Industry was eighteen feet high and over thirty feet wide at the base. 

At the same time, citizens south of Industry were taking notice of the 
work being done to the north. After consulting with Compton, they got a 
promise from the M&WI that if they could raise $20,000, the initial segment of 
the railroad would be extended from Industry to Littleton. At a meeting in 
November chaired by James Little, a canvassing committee in Littleton was 
appointed to raise the money.^ 

2 - The Electric Road 13 

In Januar\' 1903. work came to a standstill as the frozen ground could 
not be effectively moved. Despite the cold, pile-driving began on the bridges 
over Grindstone and Camp Creeks in February. In late March the railroad's 
first injury occurred when Lowrey Avery received a scalp wound, when a pil- 
ing he was working on sprung back and hit him in the head. 

Grading began again in March at several points along the line. By 
May there were 30 scrapers in operation, and work began at the northern end 
of the line, with the workers quartered at the fairgrounds in Macomb. Progress 
was still slow, and concerns began to rise about the timetable for completion. 
The railroad's estimates for the time it would take the construction force to 
complete a section of the grade were repeatedly shown to be overly optimistic, 
and it appeared possible that the railroad might not be in operation by January 
1. 1904. as promised. The danger in this was that the $50,000 that had been 
raised from the local citizens was contingent on the railroad being in operation 
between Macomb and Industry by this date, if it was not running by then, the 
people who had subscribed money would no longer be contractually bound to 
pay up. It was also pointed out that construction had not begun on the power 
house, which would be needed to pro\ ide clectricit\ for the line's interurban 

Chandler and Compton continued undaunted, though. In June they 
met with the canvassing committee in Littleton, which had been unable to raise 
the $20,000 asked of it. and discussed proposals for extending the M&Wl re- 
gardless. Surveyors were already laying out a route between Industry and 
Littleton, and the railroad agreed to extend south to Littleton as long as the 
scheduled completion date was extended from Januar> 1904. to September 
1904. Just days later, on June 27. the Macomb Mt. Sterling & Beardstown 
Railway was incorporated for the purpose of extending the M&Wl from Little- 
ton to Mt. Sterling and 

Grading work con- 
tinued through the summer 
with a force of about forty 
scrapers. Most of the work 
ciMicciitrated on a few areas 
thai required large fills, par- 
ticularly the approaches to 
Camp Creek, and on the 
northwest side of Industrv. 
Unfi>rtunately the bridge 
work was going verv slowly, 
so the M&WI hired a man 
from New York to run the 
pile-driver, and brought on 
Jack (). Moon ol' Colchester 
lo head up the gang of car- 


Xfosl of the iiithiHtil ni;lil-ii(-\\ii\ na\ ,i.vvi</<'</ ii.sins; 
hnrsc-JniHn HisUni H'hcclcJ Scrapers like this 
line ( OiirUw i>t the .tiinird llistnneal Society 


fill 1 nil I Road 

penters building the bridges. In August, with concerns about the slow progress 
mounting, Compton purchased more wheeled scrapers, bringing the number of 
wheeled scrapers in use by the M&Wl to sixty-three. By the end of August, at 
the height of the grading work, the company had 160 horses and 125 men 
working on the grading and bridge work at several sites up and down the line 
from Macomb to Industry.'" 

At the beginning of September, the grading gangs began to be moved 
south of Industry to begin work on the Industry-Littleton segment of the rail- 
road. The last gang at work north of Industry was a large group working on 
grading the approaches to Camp Creek, work that had begun back in late 1902, 
and still hadn't been completed. In mid-September one of the workers, a Bo- 
hemian immigrant, disappeared during a period of heavy flooding and was 
presumed drowned in Camp Creek. The work continued, and the job was fi- 
nally finished and the work force moved south of Industry near the end of the 
month. '^ 

The grading work south of Industry was not any easier, but the com- 
pany now had all sixty-three scrapers and a force of experienced men concen- 
trated together. It took a month to hack through a large stand of timber south 
of Industry and more time to create a twenty-seven foot deep cut, the deepest 
on the entire route. An additional two weeks was needed for the workforce 
under Dave Justus to grade a cut through the timber stand that was nicknamed 
"Blue Cut," because it took so long to grade that it gave the workers the blues. 
By the end of October, major grading work south of Industry was completed 
after only two months. Most of the grading crews were laid off, and the re- 
maining workers moved back to the northern end of the route to finish leveling 
the grade, and to do the grading needed within the Macomb city limits.''^ 

It was at this point, in mid-November, that arrangements for the rail- 
road's financing were finalized. A $300,000 mortgage was filed for the rail- 
road's property with the county circuit clerk, with a bond issue by the railroad 
to the American Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago. The 300 bonds were 
each $ 1 ,000 40-year bonds with 5% annual interest. The amount of money it 
had cost to build the railroad, $300,000, was the equivalent of approximately 
$6.4 million in inflation-adjusted 2005 money. The problem with the bond 
issue was that buyers for most of the bonds could not be found, so the majority 
of them ended up in the hands of the Bank of Macomb, owned by C.V. Chan- 

Once major grading was done, work moved quickly. A ditch wide 
enough for the crossties and deep enough that the track could be laid with the 
railhead at street level was cut down the length of Johnson Street from Jackson 
Street to a point just south of St. Francis Hospital, where the railroad entered 
private right-of-way on the west side of the road. It was planned to lay tracks 
from the comer of Jackson and Johnson Streets east down Jackson Street to the 
square, from there north on Lafayette Street to Calhoun Street, and thence east 
on Calhoun Street to the old CB&Q depot near Randolph Street. No grading 
was ever done on this route, though, and the rails never got east of Johnson 

2 - The Electric Road 15 

Street. On November 2. 1903, 
the first of what would eventu- 
ally be over 100 carloads of 
construction supplies arrived. 
Cars of cedar ties from Michi- 
gan and 30-foot rails of 60 lb. 
weight (per yard) started to 
arrive on the Burlington along 
with cars of spikes, bolts, angle 
bars, and switch components. 
On November 1 7, the Reverend 
.lames H. Morgan of the Pres- 
byterian Church drove the first 
spike in Macomb, and the con- 
struction contractor's crew got 
to work. On November 22, the 
railroad's first piece of rolling 
slock, a small 0-4-4T Forney 
steam locomotive originally 
built for the Chicago elevated, 
arri\cd on the Burlington and 
uas swiftly put into ser\ice 
hauling supplies from the tem- 
porary interchange with the 
CB&Q that had been built on 
North .lohnson Street, to the 
steel gangs laying rail at the 
south end tifioun. By November 23. track had been laid past the city limits, 
and a week later the steel gangs were nearing Camp Creek."' 

Opinions dilTcred on whether the railroad would be completed to 
IndustrN on schedule. December h>()3, and wmild be able to collect the money 
that had been raised. The Macomb Daily JoiirnaL a supporter of the railroad, 
predicted that the railroad wmild not be completed to Industr\' until early .lanu- 
ar\. but that most people who had signed pronnssor\ notes would o\erlook the 
technical discrepancy and pay the money anyway. "The Journal makes this 
counter forecast to croakers' predictions, because it does not believe that the 
note-signers arc a set of Shylocks. who claim the 'e.xact execution of the bond.' 
or else 'a pound of fiesh nearest the heart.'" fhe hn/nsirv Enterprise took a 
more optnnistic tack, predicting that the railroad nnght. with a burst of effort, 
be able to complete track all the way to l.ittleton by the end of the year.' 

\\\ the Iburth week in I^ecember it became obvious that the railroad 
woukl be \n Industry on time. Ihe railroad's first passenger car arrived from 
the St. Louis Car Compain on December 17. It had to be pulled b\ a locomo- 
ii\e. but was constructed so that electrical equipment could be easily fitted to it 
later to make it self-propelled. On December 23. the rails reached their goal at 

This road will surely go, and if it only goes to 
Littleton and we do not get it here, it will cripple 
Rushville quite badly. Macomb merchants are 
making good in the north part of the county. Al- 
ready are Macomb papers being circulated in that 
part of the county, from Ray to Camden, and in 
these papers are big advertisements of Macomb 
merchants. People of the north part of the county 
are tuming to Macomb, for they will have easier 
access to that city and the railroad is rapidly pull- 
ing everything toward Macomb. To be sure 
Macomb is a good town and has hustling, up-to- 
date merchants and business men who are looking 
for a graft like this, which is all good and proper, 
but don't we want this trade worse than they? But 
how are you going to keep it? By seeing that this 
railroad is graded to Rushville before a tie or rail 
is laid along the route. Great stacks of ties are 
strewn along the line now, and as fast as surfacing 
is done these will be put down. No it is up to 
Rushville, and if the business men want to hold 
their own let them be up and doing. Hold a mass 
meeting and devise a means of securing this rail- 
road, in looking at this work going on one can 
see the great strides Macomb is making for 
Schuyler patronage, and their elTorts are bound to 
win if Rushville don't wake up and take a hand. 
From the Sehuylcr Citizen, as reprinted in the 3 
Oetoher 1 90 J. Maeomb Daily Journal. 


Till liiii I Road 

last: the residents of I 
Industry finally had 
a railroad. Later that 
day the Industry 
depot, which had 
been framed in , 
Macomb, was 

loaded on one of the 
construction trains 
and taken to Indus- 
try to be set up and 
finished. The rail- 
road got a Christmas 
present early, when 
on December 24, a 
small gasoline- 

powered locomotive 
was switched onto Clarence Vial (in cab), James Ira Hodges and Roy Sullivan 
M&WI rails from P^^^^ "^'^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ S'^^-^l^'^tric motor at the corner of Jack- 
thp TRA^O Th" son & Johnson in Macomb in 1904. WIU Special Collections. 

diminutive engine, which was one of the very first internal-combustion railway 
locomotives ever put into use, was called the "electric motor" or simply "the 
motor" by the M&WI, and was intended to be its ticket to fulfilling the require- 
ment in its franchise that it not operate steam locomotives on a permanent ba- 
sis.'^ The railroad didn't have enough money to string electric wire along its 
route, but hauling trains with this gas-electric motor would make it possible to 
do away with steam. Because of this, the railroad would still be popularly 
known as the "electric road." 

The days after Christmas saw a virtual halt to construction operations. 
As of December 23, the construction crews had been "striking a 'bee-line' for 
Littleton like the very Old Scratch was at the heels of every tie-man and rail- 
man on the job," as the Macomb Daily Journal put it, but when the steam en- 
gine went dead on Christmas Day, construction at the south end of the line was 
temporarily halted. On December 29, the directors and officers of the M&WI 
were taken on an inspection trip to Industry by the motor hauling the passenger 
car. The next day, December 30, 1903, the Macomb & Western Illinois 
opened for business. The first train left for Industry at 8:30 in the morning. 
The years of work, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars that had gone into 
constructing a railroad south from Macomb, had not been in vain. The railroad 
had finally arrived.'^ 

Operations in the first few months were spotty. The motor, though 
brand new, was terribly unreliable and was continually breaking down. The 
only other locomotive was the 0-4-4T Forney, which often had to abandon the 
task of pulling construction trains to the south end of the line and instead per- 
form yeoman duty on passenger runs to Industry. Track construction contin- 

2 - The Electric Road 


ued south from Industry and reached Littleton on January 31. 1903. By the 
end of Februarv passenger service was extended to the south end of the line 
and stockyards were erected in Littleton. On February 26, the M&Wl acquired 
its second passenger car. a coach designed as a streetcar but without electrical 
motors and equipment. With the arri\al of the second car. a standard schedule 
was established in which car number 1 was used north of Industry, and car 
number 2 was used between Industry and Littleton. The electric motor was 
being used, between mechanical failures at least, for all passenger service.^" 

The railroad almost immediately began to encounter serious operating 
problems. Derailments were frequent owing to the poor and lightweight rails 
and crossties and lack of track ballast, and with the spring thaw the railroad 
experienced numerous washouts of the roadbed. In late March, there was a 
suspension of service due to poor roadbed conditions. So much of the em- 
bankment at Camp Creek had washed away that the ties were projecting out 
past the grade thirty feet above the water. On March 29. the steam engine de- 
railed just south of Camp Creek, damaging its air brake and putting it out of 
service. The next week, service was suspended indefinitely until the track 
gangs could repair the right-of-way sufficiently to allow safe passage of 

After three months of service, the M&WI was already experiencing 
serious setbacks. The electric motor it had purchased had proven to be an al- 
most complete failure, although the general consensus was that internal- 
combustion engines of its type would "eventually do away with the trolley 

The iiiilnuiil's first pcisscn^icr car. tomhinc I. seen here in IW4 hcin^ pulled north on 
Johnson Street hy the ^as-electric motor. WW Special Collections. 

Till I.ITTI 1 R()\l) 

A story has just come to light on W.A. Compton, the president of the Macomb and 
Western Illinois railroad, which proves that the company is accommodating and oblig- 
ing to the public. In addition to stopping along the way and allowing people to get on 
or off the train as they desire, a new courtesy has just been related. The incident hap- 
pened one day while Mr. Compton was acting as conductor. He was just ready to pull 
out with his train for Industry, and had, in a dignified manner that would make old 
railroad conductors blush, exclaimed, "all aboard," when his attention was called to a 
young lady running toward the train and making wild jestures [sic] with her hands, as if 
she wanted to board the train. By this time the motor had begun to move and Mr. 
Compton signaled it to stop. The young lady kept up her pace, running toward the train 
like a fire department and Mr. Compton had stepped down on the platform to assist her 
into the car, when to his surprise she rushed by him and made for a car window, that 
had just been raised and planted a kiss on the cheek of a young man, who had been a 
silent spectator, and bade him goodbye, asking him to "come up again next Sunday." 
This started the laugh on the conductor and had all the occupants of the car been men 
he might have "cussed," but instead he remarked that was the first time he ever saw an 
entire railroad system held up until a girl could run two blocks to kiss her fellow good- 
bye. As we have no desire to incur the ill will of the young man, and at the same time 
cause trouble between him and his Industry girl, we refrain from giving his name. 
From the Januaiy 22, 1904, Macomb Daily Journal. 

wire or third rail." The problem was simply that it was too underpowered to be 
of much use even on the moderate grades of the M&WI. The motor could not 
manage to pull more than a single coach or freight car and, even with one 
coach, could not make good enough time to keep to the passenger schedule. 
As late as early April 1904, the motor was still being shown off, when a group 
of CB&Q officials took it on a test run to Bardolph, but in May the M&WI 
constructed a permanent water tower in Industry and confirmed that it planned 
to use its diminutive steam engine for all future passenger trains. The motor 
would be retained for use primarily within the Macomb city limits, since the 
railroad's municipal ordinance did not allow the use of steam engines in town. 
Every passenger train would undergo a "power change" at St. Francis Hospital 
south of town where the steam engine would be exchanged for the motor, and 
the motor would take the trains from the edge of town up to Jackson Street.^^ 

Operations continued between Macomb and Littleton, beginning at 
the end of April, when service was restored over the repaired right-of-way. On 
May 1, the connection between the M&WI and the Burlington was removed 
from North Johnson Street, as it had been a temporary connection only and the 
company was not allowed to keep its tracks laid on North Johnson. The rail- 
road was cut back on Johnson Street to Jackson Street, where on the southeast 
comer of the intersection a modest waiting room had been created in the front 
room of a blacksmith shop. This severed the railroad's connection with the 
national rail network and made it impossible to interchange freight cars. In 
other words, any freight carried along the M&WI had to be unloaded at 
Macomb and loaded back into CB&Q freight cars a few hundred feet away.^^ 

The railroad considered this situation intolerable, but the property 
owners along the block and a half of North Johnson Street would not permit 

2 - The Electric Road 19 

the railroad to be rebuilt along that stretch of the street. The result was that in 
late July, the M&WI developed plans to build a belt line around the west side 
of Macomb. The new branch, whose sole purpose was to make it possible to 
interchange freight cars with the CB&Q, let\ the M&WI main line just south of 
St. Francis Hospital south of Macomb, it angled off in a northwesterly direc- 
tion to the West Sewerpipe Works, which was located about two blocks west 
of Ward Street on the south side of the CB&Q, and already had an interchange 
with the Burlington. ■■* 

The problem was that the M&WI was virtually incapable of continu- 
ing normal operations until the west side belt line was completed. In early 
August the steam engine failed. lea\ing the M&WI with only the unreliable 
motor to haul trains, and with a tough decision. The decision it made became 
the first shot fired in what would later be called by the Macomb Daily Journal 
the "railroad war." On August 9. when several of the railroad's most vocifer- 
ous critics li\ing along North Johnson Street were out of town at a Republican 
convention in Bushnell, the railroad laid a temporary track along North 
Johnson Street to connect its rails to the Burlington. The impetus was the need 
to send the Forney steam engine out for repairs and to bring onto the M&WI a 
leased Burlington steam engine to replace it. but the connection was not re- 
ino\ ed after this exchange was complete. Freight cars and trains of construc- 
tion materials for the west side belt line, on which construction was just begin- 
ning, regularly traversed the new trackage on North Johnson Street in clear 
defiance i)f the railroad's original ordinance.'^ 

The property owners who had opposed the railroad's presence on the 
streets of Macomb were not happy. They tried to swear out arrest warrants 
against the railroad's managers, but soon realized that it was technically a mu- 

AW 11 / liH iinuittw I /}i)\c.s Willi ii niirk Iruiii at lilllcfon iiiniiihl l^ll-i. .A am lloJ^es 
(ihinl fitini left) IS crew foreman, willi Janus ha Utnliics (scam J from right) engineer 
anJ ( liarlie lilting (far right) fireman H tl SfH-cial ( olleetitms. 



M&WI engine 1 poses with coach 2 and crew at Macomb Yards around 1904 (the 
grandstands at the county fairgrounds are in the right background). L-R: Conductor 
James Ira Hodges, Fireman Ed Smithers, Engineer Tom Hendrickson and son, and Roy 
"Happy Hooligan " Ransom. WIU Special Collections. 

nicipal issue. Therefore, on October 11, Superintendent of Streets S.P. Danley 
served notice on the officers of the M&WI to remove their tracks from North 
Johnson Street immediately. Two days later they received President Comp- 
ton's response. The M&WI was not going to remove its tracks, and any effort 
on the part of the city to remove them would be viewed as unlawful. The rea- 
son was that the M&WI was engaged in hauling mail from Macomb to Little- 
ton, which meant that removal of any railroad trackage was impeding the car- 
riage of mail and was a violation of federal law. That same day Compton sent 
workers out to double-spike the tracks on North Johnson Street, making it vir- 
tually impossible for city workers to tear up the tracks without heavy special- 
ized equipment. For the moment, the railroad had won. Its connection with 
the Burlington on North Johnson Street was secure."^ 

Improvements were being made on the M&WI at a rapid pace during 
the summer and fall of 1904. The water tower at Industry was completed in 
late May and was soon followed by a small house for a handcar. In September 
stockyards were built just north of the depot there. In October a permanent 
depot was finally built in Littleton, following the grain elevator which had just 

2 - The Electric Road 


recently been constructed there. Condemnation proceedings to seize land for 
the west side belt line in Macomb continued in court until early October, by 
which time construction was already well underway. Most of the belt line trav- 
ersed level ground, but a 400-foot-long trestle had to be built through low- 

Since the new railroad has been put in operation a debt of gratitude has been paid by 
the president of the road which will make both friends and enemies think more of Mr. 
Compton than though he had done nothing to prove his gratitude to the young man who 
saved the Compton household from the loss of their only child in a watery grave in 
Kiljordan. Most of our readers are aware of the accident which befell the little fellow, 
some four years ago next February, when he fell into the water and would have been 
drow ncd had it not been for the prompt and heroic act of Jas. Hodges. The creek was 
bank full and much ice was Hoating down. The child was standing on a bridge, and 
becoming dizzy fell in. The mother, who was close by. tried in vain to rescue her child 
and she ran down the bank screaming for help. At the critical moment Hodges, who 
has made his way in the world as a hired hand, having worked for some time near in- 
dustry, came driving at a rapid rate, being attracted by the heartrending screams of the 
mother. He did not hesitate, but left his team standing and ran to the water's edge and 
plunged in about ten feet in front of the child and thus took him from what would have 
been a watery grave. He worked for some little time with the boy to bring him to con- 
sciousness and then carried him to the Compton home, leaving for his home before Mr. 
Compton arrived from his otTice. When Mr. Compton met Mr. Hodges he thanked him 
for his kindness and on parting assured him that he would remember him in the future. 
Nothing more was said of the matter between the two men until the company was ready 
to start the passenger train on the new road when Mr. Compton sent for his benefactor 
and informed him that he now had a chance to partly remunerate him for the act he did 
in saving the life of his child and gave him a job as porter and brakeman on the new 
coach. Mr. Hodges was surprised and glad to know that he had been remembered. It 
was indeed a glad time for both. Mr. Compton seemed to be as glad of the chance to 
repay his debt of gratitude as Mr. Hodges was glad to know that he was to have a good 
job. Everybody who has leamed the above facts applauded Mr. Compton for giving the 
job to the right man. Thus two men are made happy, each because he did his duty to 
his fellow man. one with nc* thought of reward or any other thing except saving the life 
that was in peril and the other to show his appreciation. The Enterprise hopes to see 
Mr. Hodges make an elTicient employee and remain with the road for years. 
From the Industry Enterprise, reprinted in the Januiiry l\ 1904. Maeomh Dailv Journal. 

Comhietor James Ira UoJ^e\ (left} i\ surrounded hy well-dressed youn\i ladies in this 
inhrior view ofM&WI cmuh 2 taken around 1904. WIU Speeial Colleetions. 

Till IJITI I Road 

lying ground just north of Grant Street, in what is now Patton Park. The rail- 
road was also building a small yard and a 128 foot long engine house at the 
junction of the two lines just south of St. Francis Hospital, a location which 
would come to be known as the Macomb Yards. "^ 

On October 19, C.V. Chandler told the Macomb Daily Journal that 
the railroad "would be willing to give any reasonable guarantee to the city or 
individuals that we will remove the track [on North Johnson Street] by Jan. 1 
[1905]," saying the connection to the CB&Q was "indispensable." The city 
council held him to it. By early December, Chandler had been persuaded to 
give the city a $10,000 bond guaranteeing the tracks would be gone from North 
Johnson Street by January 1. Chandler kept his word. The 400-foot trestle 
was completed by the first week of December, and by the end of the month 
work had been completed on the belt line. The M&WI removed the tracks 
from North Johnson Street on December 30, 1904. From then on, the tracks 
along Johnson Street from the Macomb Yards north to Jackson Street would be 
used solely by passenger trains hauled by the motor, and freight trains would 
use the west side belt line to interchange with the CB&Q.'^ 

The next day. New Year's Eve 1904, was one of the worst days in the 
railroad's short but tortured history. Around 6 p.m. that evening, the engine 
house at the Macomb Yards caught fire and burned to the ground. The engine 
house contained the motor, and it was completely destroyed. Furthermore, the 
leased Burlington steam engine was severely damaged, and it had to be towed 
to Galesburg to be rebuilt. The cause of the fire was never definitively deter- 
mined. There was no insurance and the cost of the damage was estimated to be 
about $4,000. The motor was not replaced, though a secondhand 4-4-0 steam 
engine had coincidentally been purchased earlier that same day in Chicago to 
supplement the railroad's small Forney."^ 

Two days after the fire, the "railroad war" continued at the Macomb 
city council meeting when several aldermen tried unsuccessfully to repeal en- 
tirely the ordinance granting the M&WI the right to run trains within the city 
limits. The effort failed, but two weeks later St. Paul's Catholic Church, which 
owned the property on the southwest comer of Jackson and Johnson Streets, 
brought suit against the M&WI for $100,000 in damages. The church argued 
that the railroad interfered with access to the church and was an "annoyance" 
and "great inconvenience." The barrage of opposition to the railroad continued 
when in late April, before the Catholic church's suit against the railroad could 
even be tried in court, another suit was brought against the M&WI. Property 
owners living along South Johnson Street, led by James W. Stuart, filed a law- 
suit which asked for $7,500 in monetary damages. It was also a mandamus 
suit that aimed to compel the removal of the M&WI entirely from within the 
city limits of Macomb. "^*' 

Operations condnued on the M&WI while the pending lawsuits 
waited for their day in court. Business was fair and growing. In 1905, a coal 
mine was built on the south side of Littleton adjacent to the M&WI which, at 
its peak, produced about 1,500 bushels of coal each day. Most of the coal was 

2 - The Electric Road 23 

sold locally, the rest was taken north on the railroad. Passenger service was 
booming and the railroad was making a protlt of as much as S2,000-$3.000 per 
month. The $30,000 cost of constructing the west side belt line had added to 
the road's debt, but the condition of the roadbed had been largely stabilized 
and trains uere running on time. Management was still publicly advertising 
plans to extend southward toward Mt. Sterling or Beardstown. It seemed that 
the railroad's biggest problems on the horizon were the two cases pending in 
court, of which the first, the mandamus suit brought by James W. Stuart, was 
considered in June \W6. Judge Grier refused to dismiss the case, saying that if 
the plaintiffs could prove their claims that the petition to allow the construction 
of the M«&W1 along Johnson Street didn't have enough signatures for the city 
council to legally issue the ordinance, then the tracks would have to be torn up. 
In September 1906. the court denied an application by St. Paul's Catholic 
Church for an injunction that would prevent the M&Wl from operating steam 
engines within the city limits, which it had been doing on its passenger trains 
since the destruction of the motor in the December 1904 engine house fire.'' 

Despite its legal victory, the beleaguered M&WI had not seen the last 
of its troubles. Although it had been making an operating profit, it was still 
S300.000 in debt due to its construction costs. This debt was supported by 
C.V. Chandler through his Bank of Macomb, which held nearly all of the rail- 
road's stock. Chandler was one of the richest men in town, and he was the 
financial backer to a number of local ventures. Of these the M«feW! was para- 
mount. However, by constructing the railroad to Littleton, he had overextended 
himself On the last day of November 1906, completely without warning, the 
Bank of Macomb did not open its doors. Chandler didn't ha\e enough cash 
w ith which to do business, and he closed the bank until assets could be sold to 
raise the money needed. Suddenl\ the future oi' Macomb's "Electric Road" 
seemed in doubt. ' 

\M HI cnfiinc I is haulma the road's cnlire passenger roster of two cars in this shot 
taken at hulmtry arounJ I W4 Wll ' Special ( 'ollections. 


Till LriTi I Road 

In The Balance 

Over the course of the next week, the finances of the Bank of 
Macomb were made pubUc. C.V. Chandler made it apparent that the bank's 
cash shortfall was due almost entirely to the fact that it had been forced to sin- 
gle-handedly finance most of the construction of the M&WI, and that it had 
been unable to resell the railroad's bonds due to the barrage of litigation 
against the road. Of the bank's financial resources, which totaled $566,000, 
$239,000 were tied up in the M&WI. The bank's liabilities amounted to some 
$455,000. The fact that the bank would be entirely unable to pay its debts 
unless it could realize at least $100,000 from the sale of M&WI bonds or prop- 
erty must not have been lost on Chandler, but he made reassuring promises to 
the depositors of his bank and there was little sense of panic that the bank 
would actually become insolvent. The Bank of Macomb was actually owned 
by C.V. Chandler & Company, a banking firm comprised of C.V. Chandler 
and his wife Clara, which also owned the Bank of Bardolph and was co-owner 
of the Bank of Colchester. On December 19, 1906, Chandler sold the Bank of 
Bardolph to a group of locals, ridding himself of that burden, but already there 
were concerns that the M&WI might be in danger. In December, President 
Compton of the M&WI made a statement that unless $50,000 worth of the 
railroad's bonds were bought by the citizens of Macomb, Industry, and Little- 

The above photo, taken at Industry around 1910. shows engine 4 hauling a single com- 
bine northbound. WIU Special Collections. 

3 - In the Balance 


The three phoios on ihi\ ciiui nu ■.:. ,,; i\iij_c wctc itikcn ^ >■ ,',. - ' , . a iii lnJii\irv in 
1907. A hove, engine 2 lies on its side with the ho.xearJuekknifeJ across the track in 
front of it. Below, the tender is shown derailed and partly overturned behind the loco- 
motive. Note the curious townspeople of Industry surrounding the wreck in these pic- 
tures, and the steam apparently still escaping from the wrecked locomotive. Both pho- 
tographs were taken on .Januaiy 25. from the east side of the tracks. Opposite, the 
C'H<^{) wrecker (background) hauls the locomotive hack onto the tracks on January 26. 
This photo looks northeast. HI I .Special Collections. 

Till I. mi 1 Road 




ton, the current management might not be able to retain control of the railroad. 
This call was ignored.' 

The year 1907 was not a good one for the M&WI. The bad luck be- 
gan on January 25, when the only serious wreck in the railroad's history oc- 
curred at Industry. Engineer Edward Harvey and fireman James Ira Hodges 
were running locomotive number 2 northbound, and they were about a quarter 
mile south of the Industry depot when the boxcar they were pushing derailed 
and was thrown sideways across the tracks. The locomotive collided with it 
and overturned, injuring Hodges and badly damaging the engine. There were 
no other serious injuries, but it took two days for a crane rented from the 
CB&Q to clear the wreck, and the loss of one of the railroad's only two steam 
engines was no small problem." 

Less than a month later one of the pending court cases, the suit 
brought by St. Paul's Catholic Church to prevent the M&WI from using steam 
engines on the streets of Macomb, came before the Illinois State Supreme 
Court in Springfield. In this matter the railroad was successful. The court 
found that the railroad was subject to the will of the property owners along its 
route, but not to the church alone. 

But the second lawsuit, the mandamus action brought by James W. 
Stuart that aimed to force the removal of the railroad from the streets of 
Macomb entirely, came before the county circuit court at the end of May, and 
this time the railroad lost. Judge Gray found that the railroad had not con- 
formed to its franchise, not by operating steam engines within Macomb, an 
action specifically prohibited by the municipal franchise, but rather by ending 
the tracks at Jackson and Johnson Streets and not extending them all the way to 

3 - In the Balance 


Lafayette Street as had been origi- 
nally stipulated. The railroad was 
given one year to remove its tracks 
from within the city of Macomb. 
The etTect on the railroad was po- 
tentially disastrous. Without its 
line into the city, it would be im- 
possible to pick up or drop off 
passengers closer than one mile 
• -^ ^^^P^^^^ from the center of the city, a se- 

^g^^l \^^^^^^^^^^^ ^ ^'rc inconvenience that would be 

^■^^H )^^^^^^^^^^^ '^^'i'^ ^o harm the passen- 

^Pim|r^^l|^|^|^^^^^ markedly. But 

^T * -^^ sP^^P ''^^^ ^^ come. On June 8, 1907, a 

* j^^ week after the court ruling came 

down. involuntar>- bankruptcy 
proceedings against C.V. Chandler 
& Company were initiated in fed- 
eral court in Peoria. 

The bankruptcy proceed- 
ings had been initiated by a group 
of three of the Bank of Macomb's 
creditors who claimed that Chan- 
dler had shown preference to other 
creditors in the partial pa>ments 
he had made on his debts thus far. Over the next two weeks attorneys on both 
sides met and were able to hammer out a deal which would avoid bankruptcy 
court. The Bank of Macomb and the Chandlers individually would put all of 
their property, business and personal, under the control of a committee of the 
bank's creditors which would then determine the quickest and best way to con- 
vert the assets into cash. Included in the arrangement were the bank's M«S:WI 
stocks and bonds, consisting of all of the railroad's stock and most of its bonds. 
This arrangement initially seemed to work out. but in late .August se\en sepa- 
rate lawsuits were filed in circuit court by creditors of the Bank of Macomb 
and the Bank of Colchester against the Chandlers and against Charles I. Imes, 
co-owner of the latter institution. On September 10. the creditor's committee 
met and agreed that an out-tW'-court settlement was no longer possible. The 
next day the U.S. District Court in Peoria appointed Blandinsville's Frank W. 
Brooks as receiver of the Chandler and Imes properties.^ 

The railroad was encountering its own problems while the fate of 
C.V. Chandler's financial empire was being wrangled o\er. In .lune sei\ice 
was suspeiuleil again due {o rebuilding wurk on the perennially problematic 
Camp Creek Bridge. Just days later, on June 2K, an injunction suit was filed in 
circuit court to prevent the M«S:WI from operating steam engines within the 
city of Macomb, or more speciUcally. near the residence of Maria Gamage. 

Charles J. hues. co-Je/eiuhinl in the civil suits 
against C. V. Chandler. Bate man & Shelby. 
The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and 
McDonou^h County . 


Till Lirii I Road 

The suit was filed by James W. Stuart, the same man who had successfully 
campaigned in court for the removal of the M&WI from Macomb, and in- 
cluded as co-sponsors five other members of the Gamage family, though they 
all later testified that they had not been involved with, or even been told about, 
the suit. The reason given was that Maria Gamage was in poor health, and the 
noise and smoke from the railroad's steam engines aggravated her condition. 
Master in Chancery Hampton heard the case on July 1 , but before his decision 
came down Maria Gamage died and the case was dismissed.^ 

The railroad's problems continued. A Prairie City man sued the 
M&WI in August for $5,000 for injuries sustained in a horse runaway which 
he claimed was caused by the railroad's steam engine; this was settled out of 
court. St. Paul's Catholic Church's suit to have the tracks on Johnson Street 
fronting its property removed was settled in October; the railroad removed that 
half block's worth of tracks and paid the church $1 in damages.^ 

The saga of the Chandler bankruptcy continued through 1 907 and into 
1908. C.V. Chandler announced in late 1907 that he would not resist the bank- 
ruptcy, as he was sure he would be able to cover all of his debts in full. 
Frank W. Brooks was elected permanent receiver by Chandler's creditors the 
next month, and in January 1908, the first parcels of Chandler's properties, 
including the Hotel Chandler, the post office block, and the Macomb elevator, 
were put up for public auction.^ 

June 1, 1908, was the deadline set by the county court for the city of 
Macomb to force the removal of the M&WI's tracks within the city limits, and 
on that date, notice was served on the city council. A month later, on July 3, 
the railroad stopped operating its passenger trains up to Jackson Street, and 
instead terminated them at the Macomb Yards, just south of town. This pro- 
voked an uproar from the citizens living south of Macomb along the railroad, 
who were infuriated that a small group of people unhappy with the railroad had 
managed to go to court and force it off the streets of Macomb. Passenger traf- 
fic from the south fell off by two thirds due to the inconvenience of the new 
northern terminus.^ 

The Macomb business community, alarmed by the serious problems 
the M&WI was experiencing, was galvanized into action. Throughout June 
and July, the Macomb Commercial Association headed up efforts to find a new 
route for the railroad to use to get its passenger trains to downtown Macomb. 
C.V. Chandler, who no longer controlled the railroad but was still an expert on 
its operations, was a contributor to these meetings. Efforts focused on two 
options, both of which would result in a terminal being built about half a mile 
from the center of town. The first option was to build north starting from the 
fairgrounds on private right-of-way located between Johnson and McArthur 
Streets as far north as Chase Street, where a depot would be built. The second 
option was to build a branch from the railroad's current northern terminus at 
the West Sewerpipe Works along the south side of the Burlington as far east as 
either the Jackson Street or CaiToll Street crossings. Chandler served as an 
unofficial representative of the railroad and also helped to temper the sugges- 

3 - In the Balance 29 

lions made. Some of the plans, including those to finally electrify the railroad, 
and others to extend it southward were extremely unrealistic considering the 
precarious nature of the railroad's finances. The first option, to build the rail- 
road north to Chase Street, was soon abandoned as impossible. The second 
option, to construct tracks paralleling the CB&Q to the immediate south of that 
railroad's right-of-way. seemed practical but soon came up against insurmount- 
able difficulties. In order to establish a swath of land wide enough to build its 
tracks, the M«S:WI would either have to condemn and tear down houses located 
along the south side of the CB&Q, which it could not afford to do, or buy a 
strip of land from the Burlington itself The CB&Q flatly refused this pro- 
posal, and a counter-proposal it made to charge the M&WI for the right to have 
its trains hauled into downtown Macomb \ ia the Burlington was turned down 
due to a \ariety of operational problems and concerns. The M&WI's trains 
would continue to terminate at the Macomb yards.'" 

C.V. Chandler's financial woes continued. Public sale of his proper- 
ties in mid- 1 90S didn't raise nearly as much money as expected, and the sales 
of property owned by Chandler and the Bank of Macomb continued sporadi- 
cally through 1908 and 1909. In late 1908 the question of whether the M&WI 
could be considered an asset of the Bank of Macomb came up. The railroad 
itself was not in bankmptcy, but the hank owned \ irtually all of the road's 
stock, and therefore it was determined that the railroad was indeed an asset of 

I'liis i\ the only sunnin\ipluiUt of ihc m'ioh,/ \/.V II / \kiim cni:inc tnimlHnd I. a -^-4-0. 
Il i\ pnscJ. pnihahlv in the IVO.'i-IVO.S period, with <; mixcJ train consistinsi of u i^on- 
t/ola. houiir iinJ i onihinr I souihhouml at the nanus Rtinkic house just north of Little- 
ton This lar\;e hou\e. huilt in /.Vrtrt. nas still si,nufin\: '" 2(l().'i. Inuiiie eourtesv of the 
Schuyler Counl\ Jail Museum 


fill 1 II II I KoAi) 

the bank. With this being the case, 
it was the job of Frank W. Brooks, 
as receiver, to convert the railroad 
into cash. That meant the M&WI 
was going to be sold." 

The first proposal to buy 
the railroad was made by its presi- 
dent, William A. Compton. He 
had been president of the railroad 
since its inception and was better 
acquainted with its operations than 
just about anyone. In October 
1908, he submitted a contract to 
Brooks for an option, viable until 
February 1, 1909, to buy all of the 
stock and bonds of the M&WI 
owned by the bank for $125,000 
(about $2.4 million in inflation- 
adjusted 2005 money). He also 
submitted his resignation as presi- 
dent of the M&WI, effective on Charles W. Flack, who became the second 
February 1, 1909. Compton's president of the M&WI in early 1909. Bate- 
proposal was regarded by the sup- '"^" * ^^^J^-^' The Historical Encvclopedia of 

r. ^, -1 J .tu u * Illinois and McDonoush County . 
porters or the railroad as the best ^ 

hope for its continued survival, but they were to be disappointed. Compton 

was unable to raise the money he needed, and his effort collapsed. In early 

1909 he was replaced as president of the railroad by Charles W. Flack. " 

In February 1909, the Com Exchange Bank of Chicago began pres- 
suring Frank Brooks to find a buyer for the M&WI. The Bank of Macomb 
owned all of the stock of the railroad, but the Com Exchange Bank owned 
$70,000 worth of the road's bonds and was considering foreclosing on the 
M&WI. It brought in a wrecking company to evaluate the railroad and deter- 
mined that the scrap value of the property was about $70,000. Brooks, in an 
effort to gain complete control over the railroad, which was still mostly owned 
by the Bank of Macomb, began negotiating with the Com Exchange Bank to 
buy out its stake in the M&WI. In April he was able to make a deal whereby 
he would acquire, as receiver of the Bank of Macomb, the remainder of the 
railroad's bonds in exchange for $20,000 and a piece of property in downtown 
Chicago owned by Chandler. The railroad was now firmly in the hands of 
Receiver Brooks and was still operating regularly. In fact, in December 1909 
an agreement was finalized with the CB&Q which allowed M&WI trains to 
enter downtown Macomb over the Burlington's tracks, and for use of the 
Burlington's depot in retum for regular fees. Now, once again, the M&WI had 
access to downtown Macomb. 

The Chandler bankmptcy was finally being wrapped up. The early 

3 - In the Balance 



PR. cityJ 

predictions that C.V. Chandler would be able to cover his debts had turned out 
to be false. His last gesture, an effort to save his railroad by trying to persuade 
the creditors of the Bank of Macomb to take over ownership of the M&WI and 
operate it for profit, was unsuccessful. Property formerly belonging to Chan- 
dler was sold throughout 1^09. and in January 1910. Chandler's homestead at 

the comer of Carroll and 
McArthur Streets in 
Macomb, his last piece of 
property except for the 
railroad, was sold at public 
auction. C.V. Chandler, 
once one of the richest 
men in town and a leading 
citizen of Macomb, now 
owned nothing but a burial 
plot in Macomb's Oak- 
wood Cemetery. He 
moved to Indianapolis to 
live with his son, no longer 
to have any influence on 
the railroad, whose exis- 
tence he had made possi- 
hie. '^ 

In August 1910, 
pursuant to an order by the 
special referee of the 
Chandler bankruptcy, 

Frank W. Brooks put up 
for sale all of the capital 
stock and bonds of the 
M&Wl. During the initial 
bid period, which extended 
1(1 September, the only bid 
submitted was rejected for 
lack of financing. In early 
191 1. se\eral parties began 
to express interest in pur- 
chasing the railroad. Colo- 
nel J.M. Myers, who had 
made the 1910 bid, intro- 
duced a proposal in Febru- 
ary to sell stock in a com- 
pany which would pur- the M«&W1 and pos- 
sibly extend it to Rushville 

Tln\ ni(i/y \h()\\\ Hi' liHliniisUy's proposcJ expansion 
(>/ the AM HI (JotlcJ line). It would have made Rush- 
ville the junelion of four railroad lines instead of (he 
terminus of a minor branch of the C 'lh^{^> Frank (1 
lluks map 


Till In II I Road 

and Mt. Sterling. This proposal soon collapsed. A more realistic, if undesir- 
able, option was brought up in May, when a large scrapping company called 
Chicago House Wrecking (CHW) expressed a willingness to buy the M&WI 
for $25,000. At the end of May another auction date for the railroad was set by 
the special referee, this time in June. Again, no bids were accepted. 

The possibility that the railroad might be sold for scrap prompted a 
number of people interested in saving the railroad to begin raising funds to buy 
the road. A man from Chicago, H.C. Billingsley, proposed in June that he 
would buy the M&WI for $100,000, raise $2 million from capitalists on the 
east coast, and use the new capital to electrify the railroad and extend it to 
Rushville, Beardstown, and Mt. Sterling. Few were willing to support such 
extravagant plans and his proposal was soon abandoned. A group of business- 
men in Macomb led by Charles W. Flack and Isaac M. Fellheimer began rais- 
ing money to buy the railroad, while a separate group of farmers and business- 
men from Industry and Littleton, led by George N. Runkle and Thomas D. 
Sullivan, began canvassing for money for their own effort to purchase the road. 
As the Macomb Daily Journal put it, "There are so many propositions that one 
who aspires to become a magnate would be puzzled as to which proposition he 
should affiliate. There seems to be only one sure thing and that is that the fu- 
ture of the Macomb & Western Illinois railroad hangs in the balance."'^ 

In late August 1911 the railroad was put on the auction block again, 
and this time there were two bidders. Chicago House Wrecking bid $30,000 
for the entire property, while the group of Macomb businessmen bid $40,000. 
The bid by the Macomb businessmen undoubtedly saved the railroad from be- 
ing sold for scrap at the time, but the bid was not actually accepted. Attorneys 
for the Bank of Macomb's creditors objected to the sale and asked for a thirty 
day extension on the bid period. 

On September 21, bids for the M&WI were due and no fewer than 
five bids were submitted for the railroad. Among these were bids for $40,000, 
submitted by the group of Macomb businessmen, a bid for $45,000 made by 
Fred Fitch, a capitalist from Kansas City, and another bid for $50,000 submit- 
ted by Chicago House Wrecking. What CHW did differently, though, was 
actually hand Frank W. Brooks a check for the sale amount on the day the bids 
were due, removing any doubt about its financial backing. That was all Brooks 
needed. He announced that the railroad had been sold to the wrecking com- 
pany. Fitch appealed the sale in court, saying that CHW had acted improperly 
by submitting the purchase money along with its bid, and the case was heard in 
the U.S. Appeals Court in Chicago on January 4, 1912. Three weeks later, on 
January 23, the court found in favor of Frank Brooks. The sale to Chicago 
House Wrecking stood. 

3 - In the Balance 33 


m ! ?.^ i Kv/.\-Mttii.: i 'J.\JSW 

{ HlOOO} i 


/. — 



■^ Ar,.,^ 



— r^y^it 

A^j4t ^tf^T^-rr r/.f 


rAi.v M oMc f'/ //»<■ (irijiinal M&WI f(old hands, issued in 1^0.^. iiiul sii;ih\i hy H'.A. 
Cnmplttn and Ralph i handli-r Wiillcn over it in red ink i.\ "C anccllcd hy deed of U.S. 
Ciniri. Dee. M. I VI J " - the A/it H7 eea.\ed la e.visl. Hli Speeial Colleefians 

Men of Industry 

With the sale of the M&WI, the bankruptcy of C.V. Chandler and 
Charles Imes was finally over. President Abe Harris of Chicago House Wreck- 
ing (CHW) paid Frank Brooks $50,000 for the railroad, as agreed upon, which 
enabled the creditors of the Chandler estate to see about sixty cents on the dol- 
lar for their initial investments. As for the railroad, its fate was not left to con- 
jecture for long. Earlier vague claims by M&WI co-owners CHW and Chi- 
cago Assets Realization Company that they might extend, improve, or rebuild 
the M&WI were forgotten when on February 1, 1912, only a day after the sale, 
it was announced that the local managers of the "Little Road" had received 
instructions from Chicago that passenger service was to be suspended at once 
and that freight service was to last only one week longer. This was amended 
the same day on the advice of CHW attorneys, whose recommendation was 
that service continue one more week until CHW and M&WI officials had a 
chance to meet. Their advice was taken. 

Time was running out quickly for the railroad. On February 3, the 
state boiler inspector condemned the only operational steam engine, number 4, 
as unsafe. M&WI manager E.L. Tobie had a boiler inspector from Galesburg 
come the next day and reverse this judgment so that the railroad could continue 

The intriguing photo above, of five men standing on the pilot beam of M&WI engine 4, 
is of uncertain vintage but may be a 1914 photo of some of the founders of the Macomb 
Industry & Littleton Railway. WIU Special Collections. 

4 - Men of Industry 


operating. On February 5, the CB&Q announced that its contract to inter- 
change freight and passenger cars with the "Little Road" had expired with the 
transfer of ownership of the M&Wl. and that it would no longer accept any 
M«S:W1 cars on its rails. Tobie again came to the rescue, persuading the Bur- 
lington to allow freight cars to be switched between the two railroads, but pas- 
senger service had to be cut back to the Macomb Yards once again. A testy 
exchange between Macomb businessmen and the Burlington ensued, with the 
locals suggesting that the city government compel the CB&Q to accept M&Wl 

On February 13. it became a moot point. The axe fell when CHW 
suspended all freight and passenger ser\'ice on the "Little Road" permanently. 
Passenger service ended with the last train that day. and within four days all 
interchange freight cars had been taken to the Burlington for transfer off the 
M&WL CHW officials began work on closing the mail contract. In the mean- 
time, they made other arrangements for hauling mail to Industry and Littleton. 

The reaction to the closure of rail service was an outpouring of sup- 
port for continuation of operations. The same railroad, which for years had 
suffered through the complaints and lawsuits of a minority of the people it 
served, was now the subject of others' most strenuous efforts to keep it alive. 
On March 19. a month after service ended, the largest businessmen's meeting 
in years was held in Macomb. The purpose was to come up with a plan to not 
only save the M&WI by buying it back from the wrecking company, but to 
improve and expand it into a north-south connector like that which had been 
envisioned ten years earlier. E.L. Tobie was the primary force behind the 
movement to buy and extend the M&WI. His plan was to create a company 
called the St. Louis Macomb & Northern (SLM&N) which would be extended 
south to Rushville and north to a connection with the Atchison Topeka & Santa 
Fe. probably at Stronghurst. The amount of money necessar>' to build the rail- 
road ti> modern standards, SI. 2 million, was staggering, but Tobie believed 
$684,000 could be raised by a bond issue and $600,000 by selling capital 

Reaction to this plan was enthusiastic. Tobie managed to convince 
many of the businessmen of Macomb. Raritan. Rushville. and Sciota of the 
merits of his plan. Ihe people of Industry and Littleton, of course, were in sup- 
port of anything that would save the railroad, which was their link to the rest of 
the countrv'. On April I. 1912. Maynr Keefer of Macomb hecanic the first sub- 
scriber [o the SLM&N bond issue with a purchase of Sl.OOO. and by the end of 
the meeting that night at the Macomb Club, over $25,000 worth of bonds had 
been sold. Within two weeks, committees had been fomied for each of the 
towns along the intended right-of-way to canvass the area for funding.' 

The lundraising went slowly, hut by late May 1912, Tobie was close 
to his goal of raising SN)().(H)() for the bond issue. It took two extensions of the 
original May I deadline set by Chicago House Wrecking, but by June IS, the 
entire amount had been raised. S.'^.'> .()()() of it in the last two weeks of canvass- 
ing aUine. lobie went to Chicago to meet with the CHW representatives and 

36 Iiii Lii ill Road 

on May 24, an agreement was at&sf to chicaqo 

signed with CHW to sell the .>Cstronghurst 
"Little Road" to the SLM&N 
pending the securing of the en- 
tire right-of-way.^ 

The future of the 
M&WI remained uncertain. 
Ownership was still in the hands 
of Chicago House Wrecking, 
and it was now up to Tobie to 
accomplish two tasks. First, he 
needed to survey and purchase 
the land that would be needed to 
extend the M&WI north and 
south. Second, he had to secure 
the ftinds necessary to cover the 
remaining $600,000 needed to 
actually construct the exten- 
sions. Tobie first turned his 
attention to the surveying, 
which began in early July 1912. 
The route was easy for most of 
the distance, but on the north 
side of Macomb, Crooked 
Creek, later renamed the 
Lamoine River, created a diffi- 
cult obstacle. Several proposals of where the railroad should cross Crooked 
Creek were made in July and August, but by September, surveying work north 
of Macomb was essendally done.^ 

Tobie next turned his attention to raising the additional $600,000. 
The communities around Macomb had been tapped for all of the money they 
could spare for the railroad, and it was obvious that outside investors would 
have to be brought in to construct the line to Stronghurst. For the first four 
months of 1913 Tobie spent his fime trying to persuade financiers from Chi- 
cago to invest in the railroad, but by mid-May the wrecking company was get- 
ting impatient. With no evidence from Tobie that he would ever really be able 
to raise the additional funds that would be needed to build the SLM&N, the 
scrappers decided on May 17, 1913, to withdraw their offer to sell the railroad 
to Tobie and put its assets up for public sale. The grand effort to extend the 
M&WI had failed, and it was now up to the locals to save their railroad.^ 

Charles E. Nathan, a CHW representative, met with local leaders and 
agreed to give them some time to try and raise money to buy the railroad. A 
price of $90,000 was set. On May 22, 1913, Amos Ellis of Industry, and Van 
L. Hampton and Isaac M. Fellheimer of Macomb organized a meeting at the 
Macomb Club to formulate a plan to raise money among the local populace to 

A diagram of the 
planned route ofE.L. 
Tobie 's St. Louis 
Macomb & Northern. 
Frank G. Hicks map. 


4 - Men of Industry 


buy. repair, and operate the M&WI. 
A two-part proposal was forwarded 
to Chicago House Wrecking with a 
thirty day option. The committee 
offered to either purchase the M&WI 
for $55,000. or pay S25.000 for the 
right to lease and operate the railroad 
for a period of years to be agreed 
upon. This offer was swiftly rejected 
by CHW. which claimed it could get 
more than $55,000 by junking the 
railroad and $90,000 by selling its 
assets piecemeal." 

On May 27. there was an- 
other meeting to organize a move- 
ment to buy the "Little Road." More 
rCyjL^-y;. representatives from Littleton and 
"JaT'. Industry were present, with Frank 
Burnham. O.C. Gantz, and Robert 
and William Runkle offering 
reserved support. The ne.xt day l.M. 
Fellheimer and V.L. Hampton left for 
Chicago to meet with the owners of 
Chicago House Wrecking and Chi- 
cago Assets Realization Company. 
Their report, made in Macomb on 
June 2. was that they had secured an 
option to bu\ the railroad during the 
next forty-five days for $80,000. It was also said that lobie still claimed that 
his financiers might yet pull through, and apparently this was regarded as the 
best hope for the project. By early August, though, it was clear that even an 
extension of the option was not going to be enough. The financiers from Chi- 
cago. Lansing, and Detroit who had been consulted had refused to contribute to 
the project, and the contract that had been drawn up was left unsigned. It was 
back to the drawing board.'" 

The real beginning of what wi>uld become the Macomb Industry & 
Littleton Railway took place during a meeting on August 7. 1913, at the 
M&WI office in Macomb. Isaac Fellheimer chaired the meeting. In atten- 
dance were James Little and Thomas Williams of Littleton. Frank Burnham. 
Oscar (iant/. John S. McCiaughey. and William Kittering of the Doddsville 
area, and .Amos and forrest I His. Irank llussey, and Cieorge W. Clarrison rep- 
resenting Industry. I'he decision was made to finally cast aside any otTers of 
financing from outside. This time the railroad would be bought and owned by 
the people of Macomb. Industry . and I ittleton. not b\ a bank, and not b\ in- 
vestors from Chicago. On August 12. there was another meeting, this time in 

The two possible roiilis llic SI \/A \ woiihl 
have taken to ero\.\ C rooked C reek. Based 
on a 1^12 U.S. (ieolofiieal Survey map. 


Iiii Lin 1. 1 Ro.-M) 

Industry, where a contract for a $100,000 stock subscription to purchase and 
rebuild the M&WI was presented. Thomas D. Sullivan of Industry moved to 
create an executive committee which would have charge of executing the con- 
tract and selling the stock. This committee consisted of James Little and J.D. 
Horton representing Littleton, Frank Bumham and John McGaughey of 
Doddsville, Tom Sullivan and Horace A. Hoffman of Industry, and Isaac Fell- 
heimer and Van L. Hampton of Macomb." 

At first it appeared that this new movement presented a real hope to 
save the M&WI, but within a month it seemed that the end was at hand. "It 
looks as though the last move has been made and the 'Little Road'... is doomed 
to be wrecked, and that at once," reported the Macomb Daily Journal on Sep- 
tember 15, 1913. Representatives from the wrecking company had arrived in 
Macomb to survey the M&WI, and arrange the repairs to the bridges and right- 
of-way that would be necessary to haul scrap metal over the railroad. A week 
later, on September 23, scrapping began at Littleton. Wrecking crews began 
tearing up the rails and loading them onto flatcars for transport to Chicago, 
while other crews repaired bridges to allow the locomotive to haul work trains 
from the Macomb Yards to the south end of the railroad where the scrapping 
work was going on. By the end of the month the water tower equipment in 
Littleton was pulled out and sold for scrap, the old wheeled scrapers still sitting 
in the Macomb Yards were sold for scrap, and the track wye at Littleton was 
removed. An appeal from Fellheimer and Hampton on behalf of the executive 
committee to delay the wrecking went unheeded by CHW. There was only one 
option left for the railroad's supporters, who were short on time and money. 
They had to go to court.'" 

The farmers who owned land along the railroad intended to fight the 
wrecking company using the Criminal Trespass Act. When the M&WI had 
been built by Chandler, much of the land for the railroad had essentially been 
given to the railroad on permanent loan, but it was to be used only for opera- 
tion of the railroad. In the case the railroad was abandoned, title to the land 
would revert back to the original owner. Since CHW was not operating the 
railroad, but rather removing it for the purpose of scrap, the landowners argued 
that the reversion clause had been activated and the land, including the railroad 
tracks on it, was now theirs. J.D. Horton, a farmer living near Littleton, swore 
out arrest warrants against the scrapping company workers on October 1 . A 
week later George Runkle followed suit.'^ 

There was a also backup plan, in case the courts ruled that the wreck- 
ing company could use the railroad as long as the tracks were in place. George 
E. "Elsie" Garrison, a farmer living south of Macomb, owned a parcel of land 
which had been given over for use by the M&WI under a different arrange- 
ment. Rather than this parcel being promised to the M&WI for as long as the 
railroad was operating, then-landowner George Garrison (apparently "Elsie's" 
father) had given the land to the railroad only for the duration of his lifetime. 
He had since died, and although the railroad could have condemned his land 
through the usual eminent domain proceedings while it was operating, it 

4 - Men of Industry 39 

hadn't, and it was no longer capable of doing so since it wasn't operating any 
more. On October 10, while CHW continued sending its workers south to 
Littleton to continue tearing up the railroad, "Elsie" Garrison swore out a war- 
rant against the wrecking crew for trespassing. 

Efforts by CHW lawyers were unsuccessful in deterring Garrison. On 
October 13. Garrison had Engineer Thomas Williams. Foreman Lawrence 
Burke and Superintendent W.G. Bennett of the wrecking crew arrested and put 
in the Industry jail. A week later a jury of six men in Industry heard the case, 
and they found in favor of Garrison. Bennett was fined five dollars and the 
other two were fined two dollars and fifty cents each. With the court confirm- 
ing that Garrison's land was indeed his, and that CHW could not move its 
workers across it at will. Garrison swore out warrants against ten other men 
w ho had also been on the scrapping crew. ^ 

It worked. The scrapping halted while the CHW lawyers in Chicago 
decided how to handle the case. At the same time the movement to buy the 
railroad gained steam, and others, including William R. Clawson. Amos S. 
Ellis. George W. Garrison. John F. Lawyer. Charles W. Runkle. and Andrew 

E. Rush joined the effort. A meeting was held in the Women's Christian Tem- 
perance Union hall in Industry to bolster support for those fighting the wreck- 
ing company in court and to take further steps toward buying the railroad. It 
was decided to form a company to do this. The money collected by the com- 
mittee thus far to buy the railroad would be transferred to the new company. A 
new executive committee of Frank Bumham, George Runkle. and A.E. Rush 
was formed.'^ 

At the end of October the owners of the wrecking company threw the 
locals a curveball. Through a complex series of legal maneu\ers they arranged 
to have a New Yorker named John W. McKinnon appointed the new trustee of 
the M&WI, replacing Continental Bank of Chicago, the old trustee. What this 
did was to throw the issue of ownership of the railroad into federal court rather 
than local court. Two days later Sangamon Loan & Trust, the receiver for the 
M&WI, asked that the U.S. District Court in Peoria order the rails, ties, and 
other railroad materials be torn up. and confimi that any interference be con- 
sidered in contempt of court. Judge Humphreys gave this order, and scrapping 
resumed. The farmers did not give up so easily, however. "Elsie" Garrison 
swore out more warrants against the wrecking crew workers, and se\ eral fann- 
ers along the railroad built fences across the tracks to impede the southbound 
wrecking trains. The fences were unceremoniously run over, but by each eve- 
ning most had been rebuilt and had to be run over again on the trip back north, 
(ieorgc Runkle uenl so far as to build, and rebuild, this fencwig hniiself so that 
none of his farmhands could be charged with contempt of court.' 

"I Isie" Garrison's arrest warrants were executed on Halloween. 1^13 
by Constable John Lawyer of Industry, not to be confused w ith attorney John 

F. Lawyer, and the next day Industry's Justice of the Peace Mils ruled that the 
U.S. District Court order did not give the scrapping company the right to de- 
stroy the farmers' property. That same day the scrapping company, through 

40 Till I nil I Road 

Sangamon Loan & Trust, charged attor- 
neys Charles Flack, John F. Lawyer, and 
T.B. Switzer, States Attorney Falder, 
Justice of the Peace Ellis, Constable 
Lawyer, and George "Elsie" Garrison 
with contempt of court. '^ 

Judge Humphrey heard the case 
in Peoria on November 6, 1913. He 
ruled for the defendants, saying no con- 
tempt of court had occurred. However, 
he gave an opinion that if the question of 
reversion of property were to come be- 
fore him, he would rule in favor of the 
wrecking company. Though he gave no 
official decision, it was his opinion that 
the scrapper had the right to tear up the 
railroad. The Macomb Daily Journal 
wrote that the railroad's supporters "see 
no reason for continuing the fight any 
longer. The price asked by the owners John F. Lawyer cl 91 3. Bateman & 
of the road is prohibitive, and there Shelby, The Historical Encyclopedia of 
seems to be nothing left but to let it Illinois and McDonoiish County . 

Four days later, however, their hopes were alive again. The three- 
man committee formed in October had been in negotiations with W.G. Bennett 
of Chicago House Wrecking and came to an agreement to purchase the railroad 
for $68,000, with a nonrefundable $1,000 down payment to be made within a 
week. But miscommunications between the owners of the railroad sank the 
deal. Edward Ridgley, who was owner of Chicago Assets Realization Com- 
pany and co-owner of the railroad along with CHW, refused to give his permis- 
sion to accept the offer for $68,000. Negotiations continued in an on-again, 
off-again manner during much of November. The Macomb Daily Journal 
wrote "Like Banquo's ghost, the Macomb and Western Illinois railroad will not 
down [sic], but rises in some form or another continuously." And so it was that 
on November 25, 1913, an agreement acceptable to all parties was reached 
between the local committee and the wrecking company. The committee 
bought the M&WI for $70,000 (adjusted for inflation, about $1.3 million in 
2005 dollars), with the option extending until December 28, and guaranteed by 
a $1,000 forfeit paid every ten days until then. Half of the purchase price 
would be made in cash, half in "acceptable notes." Subscriptions made previ- 
ously to Tobie's St. Louis Macomb «fe Northern would be returned immedi- 
ately to avoid claims of misuse, and a new company would be organized to 
acquire the railroad with $100,000 of capital stock."*^ 

On November 26, 1913, a meeting was held at Industry to consider 
the financial aspects of the venture. Two days later the contract was signed 

4 - Men of Industry 


We had a railroad. Remember the M. I. & L.? It 
had its troubles and plenty of them. I was secretary 
of this road for seven years and am very familiar 
with its ups and downs, mostly down. This road 
was first operated in 1904, went into bankruptcy in 
1911, and taken over by local farmers and busi- 
nessmen in 1913, and died very dead in 1928. 1 
could tell a lot of stories about this railroad, so 
many they would make a book. One I will relate is 
how near some of us came to getting in jail for 
contempt of the U.S. court. The road was in bank- 
ruptcy and was sold to the Chicago Wrecking 
Company. At the same time local men were work- 
ing frantically to raise money to buy the road and 
get it going again. The wrecking company was 
going to start tearing up the road, in order to gain 
time in raising funds, some of the less timid would 
take up a rail or two. pile obstructions on the track 
so as to slow up the wrecking. This didn't set well 
with the wrecking company so they complained to 
the Federal judge in Peoria who called the obstruc- 
tionists before him and threatened to jail every man 
that interfered. Some said he had a tw inkle in his 
eye and was not very severe. Soon after the money 
was raised and the new company was organized. 
Recollections of Horace Hoffman, from notes for a 
1948 speech to the Kiwanis Club. 

and the work of canvassing the 
countrv'side for funds began. 
It wouldn't be easy. Although 
Tobie had been able to raise 
o\er half a million dollars for 
his railroad, there was a 
marked difference between the 
well-built connecting railroad 
he had proposed and the run- 
down stub short line that the 
new committee planned to 
acquire and put into operation 
again. The M&Wl would 
need extensive rebuilding. 
The scrapping crews had re- 
mo\ed the rails as far north as 
the county line, and the rail- 
road's locomotives and rolling 
stock were in abysmal condi- 
tion. Fundraising was very 
successful toward the south 
end of the line, where the 
M&WI had been the primary 
link between the communities 

of Littleton and Industry and 
the outside world, but interest in Macomb was \irtually nonexistent. By the 
second week of December. Macomb, with a population about twice that of the 
Industry and Littleton areas combined, had contributed only SIS. 000 of the 
$67,000 raised thus far. By mid-December, with a majority of the capital stock 
subscribed to, an organizing meeting was called. On December 18, a notice 
appeared in the newspaper calling for all subscribers to the capital stock of the 
MaccMiib Industry & Littleton Railway to attend the organizing meeting at the 
Industry Opera House on December 23. The notice was signed by George N. 
Runkle, Frank Burnham, Andrew H. Rush. Thomas D. Sulli\an. and .lames 
Little. Directors and Incorporators."' 

rhe meeting on December 2.^ was the culmination iWiiearK two \ears 
of strenuous effort on the part of hundreds of people to sa\e the little railroad 
that C.V. Chandler had built. Beleaguered during its operating lifetime of only 
nine years, the M&WI had still been a tremendous boon to the communities 
and the people it served. Fhey had stood h\ while its future was determined 
during the Chandler bankruptcy, but once its fate seemed scaled. the\ had been 
galvanized into actitm. These men of Industry and Littleton had displayed a 
determination, enterprise, and industriousness in the face of unlikely odds and 
rcgrellahle misfortunes that luul tlnally paid o\'\'. Ihe hultisiry Mews described 
what happened at the orgaiu/nig meeting when it became obvious that the 


Till Lii ifi Road 

One of the shares of capital stock in MI&L, this gold-toned certificate for share number 
153 was owned by Eva Colby. WIU Special Collections. 

committee was $8,000 short of the funds needed to buy the M&WI: "At the 
meeting Tuesday G.N. Runkle and W.R. Clawson rose and stated they would 
add $2,000 each to their subscriptions providing they could raise $4,000 more 
in the crowd. Calvin Wilson responded by raising the subscription of his fa- 
ther, J. Wilson, $1,000, and was quickly followed by others, $5,000 being 
raised inside of five minutes' time." The next day, collection began on the sub- 
scription money, and on December 28, the new company's directors left for 
Chicago along with Attorneys Flack and Lawyer to finalize the purchase. On 
December 30, 1913 the deal was struck. The "Little Road" now belonged to 
the Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway Company.'" 

4 - Men of Industry 


Strides of Progress 

They had done it. The men to whom the "Little Road" meant the 
most, the farmers and businessmen of southern McDonough and northern 
Schuyler counties, had saved the railroad themselves. No longer would the 
line's patrons have to sit by and watch while the fate of the railroad was de- 
cided in the courts of Macomb and Peoria. Now the customers became the 

The euphoria of those who had worked so hard and so long to save the 
Macomb Industry & Littleton (MI&L), as it would now be known, was likely 
short lived. The railroad they had bought was a shambles. With the loss of the 
trackage rights agreement that had allowed M&WI trains to enter downtown 
Macomb along the Burlington, the line had lost its northern passenger terminal, 
and the scrapping crews of Chicago House Wrecking had torn up the southern 
three miles of the railroad entirely, cutting it back to about the McDonough- 
Schuyler county line. The condition of the track that was still in place was 
abysmal in many spots. Some of the bridges had been only temporarily fixed 
by the scrapping company to allow for the wrecking trains, and the overall 
condition of the roadbed was not safe enough to attempt passenger service. 
The rolling stock of the railroad was also little better than junk, having gone 
through months or years of deferred maintenance and disuse.' 

The initial meeting of the MI&L directors following the sale of the 
railroad was on January 1, 1914, in Industry. Those officials who came from 
Macomb took the train, naturally, using the occasion to inspect the northern 
half of the railroad. They were accompanied by William Hendrickson and 
Jack O. Moon, both of whom had experience in railroad construction. The line 
was judged to be in reasonable shape considering its history, and the railroad 

The only steam engine the railroad ever bought new was the attractive 2-6-0 Mogul 
shown above, built by Davenport Locomotive Works in 1914. WIU Special Collections. 

5 - Strides of Progress 


officials coming from the north made it to the Industry meeting to participate 
in the discussions of how to conduct repairs of the railroad. The trip back, 
though, was a different matter. Badly leaking flues on the line's only opera- 
tional steam engine, number 4. meant it kept losing steam pressure, and there- 
fore, traction. After a series of starts and stops to build up pressure it failed 
utterly to push the combine, in which the railroad officials were riding, up the 
north side of the Troublesome Creek depression. An effort was made to get 
the combine across the shallow valley by uncoupling it on the south rise and 
letting it coast up the other side, but the brakes on the car didn't work and 
Charles Runkle managed to tumble down the railroad's embankment during an 
attempt to arrest the free-rolling combine. The dead steam engine and combine 
were left at the bridge and the directors had to walk the last three miles back to 
Macomb in a blinding snow storm, not arriving home until 9:00 at night. It 
wasn't until the next day that water could be carried out to the steam engine to 
raise steam, and bring it back to the Macomb Yards under its own power." 

No sooner had the MI&L been saved from an untimely death than 
E.L. Tobie. the author of the ill-fated 1912 plan to buy and extend the railroad, 
approached the directors with yet another scheme. This time he proposed 
bringing in a railroad construction manager from Lansing. Michigan, named 
W.T. McCaskey to help rebuild the line. The arrangement would involve 
McCaskey being paid $25,000. half in cash and half in stock, to rebuild the 
Ml&L. The catch was that McCaskey would also be represented on the board 
of directors and would have a say in who managed the road, most likely to be 
Mr. Tobie. The MI&L directors, having just managed to secure the railroad's 
future in the hands of interested locals, were wary of someone from outside of 
Illinois, someone motivated more by profit than by any interest in prov iding 
service to McDonough and Schuyler counties, hav ing a say in the development 
of the MI&L. and they refused the offer. 

That did not prevent the rebuilding of the Ml&L. but it took a little 
longer to raise additional funds to pay for the construction. Jack Moon was 
placed in charge of the track and bridge work that commenced the second 
week of January after the steam engine's flues were replaced, and work soon 
commenced on the biggest headache on the line, the Camp Creek Bridge. 
(i.W. Rollctt, a BurlingtcMi manager who had supcrv iscd the construction of the 
CB&Q depot in Macomb the previous year, was employed as General Manager 
in late January and he brought in an experienced bridge repair engineer from 
the Burlington to help direct operations at Camp Creek. By the end of the 
month, repairs io the railrtiad had been completed as far south as Camp Creek, 
and during a directors' meeting on February 3, station agents were hired. 
O. Sweazy regained his agency in Macomb. Fred Duncan became the lndustr>' 
agent, and Kohn Little was hired to stalf the Littleton depot. ^ 

Freight service on the Ml&L commenced for tiic first time on 
February K, 1914, with the opening of the Camp Creek Bridge, and reestablish- 
ment of rail service between Macomb and Industry. The railroad was still hav- 
ing problems with engine 4. and it needcil a running start to make it up the 

46 I'MI- Lll II I RoM) 

MI&L 4-4-0 locomotive 6, formerly of the Vandalia Railroad, shown hauling a mixed 
train southbound at Industry. WIU Special Collections. 

grade on the south side of Camp Creek. Although the motive power problem 
would remain for the time being, other improvements were being made. The 
Industry depot opened with rebuilt stockyards, new freight rates had been es- 
tablished, and a movement was underway to relocate the Kirkpatrick switch to 
a point half a mile north of its former location.'' 

Freight service was lively during the first few weeks of renewed op- 
eration, but the acid test for the MI&L would be passenger service. It would 
not be easy to maintain a consistent schedule. With only one working steam 
engine, number 4, operation of all trains depended on the ability of that single 
locomotive to remain operational all of the time. Service would also be trun- 
cated: the northern end of the line terminated at the fairgrounds south of 
Macomb, and the southernmost stop was at the Runkle Switch, as the track 
south of there had been torn up by the wrecking crews. By the last week of 
February, impatient people eager to take the train had resorted to riding in box- 
cars, but on February 27, the MI&L finally instituted passenger service. It was 
"once more a full-fledged railroad with a passenger and Ireight service, and 
will run just as near on time as the average road," trumpeted the Macomb Daily 
Journal. Initially there were two round-trips daily. The southbound trains 
left Macomb at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and the northbound trains left Runkle 
at 10:45 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. The morning trains, likely scheduled mixed trains 
hauling both passengers and freight cars, had running times of about one hour 
forty-five minutes each way, but the afternoon trains cut that time down to 
about an hour.^ 

The arrival of a new steam engine, number 5, on April 22, 1914 her- 
alded a new, more stable, more prosperous era for the MI&L. It was the first. 

5 - Strides of Progress 


and last, steam engine ever bought new by the "Little Road" and was built spe- 
cially for short line passenger and freight service by the Davenport Locomotive 
Works located just seventy-five miles to the north. Only a week later, the 
Ml«fcL tlnally returned to Littleton. Manager Rollett's crews hadn't stopped 
working after completion of the Camp Creek Bridge but had continued south- 
ward, laying down rails on the roadbed in Schuyler Count>' to replace track that 
had been torn up by Chicago House Wrecking just six months before. The 
work was hard and not always safe. In late March, a handcar traveling toward 
Macomb was derailed at the edge of town by a brick wedged in the tlangeway 
at a crossing, probably by a mischievous youngster. One of the section men 
was thrown from the handcar and injured. The work continued, however, and 
within two days after the railroad was completed to Littleton the track crews 
were at work widening the Kirkpatrick curve west of Industry, from fourteen to 
eight degrees, to allow for higher speeds and safer operation. Passenger opera- 
tion into Littleton commenced as soon as the track was laid, and on April 29. 
1914. a timetable was issued that would remain in effect for the next five years. 
Northbound trains left Littleton at 6:50 a.m. and 1 1 :45 a.m. and arrived at the 
Macomb Yards, south of town, at 8:10 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. respectively. 
Southbound trains left Macomb at 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.. arriving at Littleton 
at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The trains were numbered, with trains 1 and 3 
completing northbound passenger ains. and trains 2 and 4 making southbound 

In March 1915. an agreement was finalized with the CBifeQ that al- 
lowed the passenger trains of the Ml&L to access downtown Macomb. It was 
similar to the old 1 90S agreement. The Ml&L would use the Burlington's de- 
pot and ticket agent for an annual fee of $324. it would pa\ the Burlington two 
dollars per car for each round trip between the Ml&L interchange and the de- 
pot, or two dollars in each direction for each loaded freight car (empty freight 
cars were to be handled free), and it would pay the Burlington twenty cents per 
ton for all freight that passed through the Macomb depot.*" 

A week after the trackage rights agreement with the Burlington was 
re-established. MI&L engineer Alphonse Woerly left for Terre Haute. Indiana, 
to pick up a newly-purchased steam engine. Vandalia Railroad 302. soon to 
become Ml&L (^. was another 4-4-0 American t\pe engine, similar to. but lar- 
ger and newer than the worn out and unserviceable number 4. While Woerly 
was on his trip, the need for another reliable engine was made obvious. The 
specter of suspension of service rose again as engine 5 broke two staybolts. 
sidelining it. and halting passenger and freight for a day. Traffic resumed 
when the Vandalia Railroad loconuniNc arrixed and was immediately put into 

With terminals in Liitlett>n and in douiiiown Macomb established, 
and with sufficient motive pi>uer to efrcclively maintain service, the Ml&L 
had finally reacheil a point of equilibrium. Ihe successful and relati\ely pros- 
perous times which the Ml&L experienced in the late teens saw relatively little 
change in the operations of the company. The company suffered a blow on 

48 Ini-. Lull I Road 

A Ride on the MI«&L 

Well Grandpa got acquainted with the people that were on the MI&L and so one day he 
said "I'd like to take a trip with you." And they said "Well, bring your lunch and come 
ahead." Now they had two or three freight cars and one or two passenger cars - de- 
pending on what they were expecting - and it started there on the west side of Lafayette 
Square, there was the little depot. Now sometimes they made just one trip down and 
back, sometimes they made two trips in a day, depending upon what was happening - 
sometimes according to crops and things like that. Well we had these children that 
lived in our neighborhood whose father worked at the factory - we knew they didn't 
have much. And then we had lemonade stands, and we'd make money and we'd buy 
clothes for those kids for the next year. If the circus came to town, we always bought 
the circus tickets for all of us. Well, then we decided one year we wanted to go on a 
picnic, and Grandpa suggested that he would go with us and he would make arrange- 
ments that we could all go on the MI&L to Littleton. And we got on the train that 
morning and the conductor shook hands with everyone very graciously and did every- 
thing he could to make us feel happy and told us he would come back and get us at 
different times and take us up to the engine so that everyone would be certain to be in 
the engine. By the time we got back and he suggested if we could have a boy and a girl 
at a time that was better, well we all got up there and Grandpa, of course, was with us 
supervising. We stopped at, always, someplace before we got to Industry for 15, 20 
minutes and we'd get off the train and run around a little bit and get back on. And 
when we got to Industry they'd say "Now we have a half hour here, you can walk 
downtown and back, but don't take your lunches off the train - you're not going to eat 
here." And we would go downtown, maybe we'd get a stick of gum or something, or if 
people knew someone there we might stop to see someone. And we'd come back to the 
train - they'd blow the whistle two or three times to tell us to start back. When we got 
down to Littleton there was a little park, just real close. Well the conductor and the 
brakeman and fireman would all take their lunches and go over; there was a well there 
that had real cold, good water, and they'd go over and eat with us and we'd play games. 
Then they'd load up, and if they had things we could help them load, they would let us 
help load, you know - they made you a part of it, so that the kids felt like they really 
had done something. And we came back to Industry, and had a period of time there, 
and then came on to Macomb. 
Recollections ofViletta Hilleiy, excerpted from a November 16, 2004, interview. 

August 8, 1918, when fire engulfed a sizeable portion of downtown Industry. 
Six commercial buildings on the north side of Main Street, including the new 
Lindsey Theater and the building in which the MI&L offices were located, 
caught fire in the early hours of the morning, and burned to the ground despite 
the efforts of the town's population to extinguish the blaze. The MI&L offices, 
on the second floor of the Conger Building, were completely destroyed. The 
only salvageable documents were those inside the safe, which was found bur- 
ied in smoldering rubble in the building's basement after the fire."^ 

The railroad did not stagnate, though. Improvements were being 
made and others contemplated. A secondhand combine was purchased in April 
1920 from the Beaver Penrose & Northern Railroad in Colorado. It arrived late 
in May, and went into service after being repainted and refurbished. In Sep- 
tember and October of 1 920, a series of letters was exchanged between repre- 

5 - Strides of Progress 49 




GCNCRAL orricts: 

Tel«phor<«5 Ranool^ 5*57-5456 


T«l«phone Msminoxd*^ 



E. li 

.Ve dc r.cL care to neaotlete an^' fert'ier If 1' Is t^e 
habit of ihe ccrwunlty to 'e auspicious cf -a Company 
of our standing. Unless there Is n spirit of cooperetlon 
end 8 dfslre on t'-e pnrt of the citizens It rrculd not 
be a prrfltabl? place for us tc be ard certs a poor 
place for us tc Invest. 

An excerpt from a 1920 letter from the Railway Motor Car Company of America to A.E. 
Rush. President of the MI&L. WIU Special Collections. 

sentatives from the MI&L and the Railway Motor Car Company of America, a 
fledgling builder of gasoline-powered locomotives and motorcars from 
Hammond. Indiana, regarding the possibility of RMCCA moving its plant to 
Macomb. Had an agreement been made, Ml&L operations might have been 
revolutionized. RMCCA was willing to allow the Ml&L to use its motorcars 
to hold down passenger service in exchange for permission to test its products 
on the line to Littleton prior to delivery. Both sides were justifiably suspicious 
of the others" stability. RMCCA is not thought to have ever actually gone into 
production of any full-size railway equipment. Needless to say, the deal fell 
through. Three years later, in January 1924, the possibility of using internal 
ctimbustion came up again. Internal combustion locomotives had come a long 
way since the dubiously useful boxcab that the M&WI had bought in 1903. 
General Llectric had already built a few prototype switching engines, and later 
in 1924, GE and Ingersoll-Rand debuted their successful line of 300 horse- 
power diesel-clcctric su itchcrs. The Shiconih Daily Joitnial reported that the 
Ml&L officials prophetically believed that internal combustion "will eventu- 
ally displace steam power;" but the finances of the railroad didn't allow for 
large capital in\ estments in such modem equipment, and the purchase of an 
internal combustion kKHMiioti\e was put o\T iiulcllnitcl\. Thought was still 
being given to extending the Ml&L, even at this late date. In 1922 an effort 
was made to raise interest in building an extension from Littleton to Camden, a 
distance of about twelve miles, but this came to naught." 

rhc busy and stable, if not particularK prosperous, years that the 
Ml&L had cnjo\ed in the late teens and earl\ 1920s were coming to an end. 
Times were changing, and with the coming of the automobile, the role of short 
lines like the Ml&L was fast disappearing. During the early 1920s, freight and 


liii Lii II I Road 

traffic levels on the railroad declined, and by the end of 1924, the MI&L was 
operating in the red. The hope appeared to lie in, ironically, the construction of 
hard roads. The State of Illinois was constructing several north-south main 
arteries, all of them paved and designed for automobile use. Illinois Route 3 
(later US Route 67) would pass through Macomb and Industry and just to the 
east of Littleton, approximately paralleling the MI&L, and the construction 
companies bidding on the sections of the hard road south of Macomb promised 
large contracts to the "Little Road" in hauling gravel, cement, and other con- 
struction materials.'^ 

But the year 1925, during which most of the construction of the Illi- 
nois Route 3 hard road between Macomb and Rushville took place, would not 
turn out to be the boon that the MI&L had hoped for. Over the course of the 
summer the railroad hauled train after train of construction materials south to 
Industry and Littleton, but for as much money as was coming in, more still was 
going out to keep the railroad running. The railroad to Littleton had been 
lightly built in 1903, and had never been significantly upgraded. Ballasting in 
most areas was poor or nonexistent, ties were of low quality, and the weight of 
the rail was mostly 56# (fifty-six pounds per yard), far lighter than the 80# or 
90# rail used on larger railroads like the Burlington. The lighter rail fared well 
only when lightweight passenger cars or grain cars traversed the track. Con- 
versely, when larger, modem freight cars loaded with gravel and other heavy 
materials traveled over the railroad repeatedly, they severely damaged the 
track. Reconstruction of the right of way ate up the profits from the haulage of 
hard road materials in 1925, and the general decline in traffic, both freight and 
passenger, combined with that loss to throw the MI&L $20,000 into debt by 

The crisis was serious. Operations continued normally through the 
fall, but expenses were cut to the bone to eliminate the operating deficit. The 
matter of how to erase the debt, though, was a difficult question. Some had 
argued earlier in the year that the downturn in business was only temporary, 
but whether temporary or permanent, the railroad's poor financial condition 
made it impossible for the 
MI&L to raise $20,000 

through operating profit. ii^ 

At a meeting of the stock- 
holders in November, a 
bond issue was debated 
and voted down. When 
that failed, A.E. Rush was 
appointed to chair a com- 
mittee to investigate ways 
to pay down the debt. 

Frank B. Bumham, W.C. Scenes like this, of Route 41 construction in Bushnell, 
Butcher, J.W. Campbell, were common along the MI&L in the 1920s as hard 
Charles O. Foulke, roads were built. WIU Special Collections. 

5 - Strides of Progress 


I lorace Hoffman, and Thomas D. Sullivan made up the committee. Their deci- 
sion, presented at the annual meeting in January 1926, was to sell several par- 
cels of land owned by the MI&L to pay off the debt. This land, which made up 
about seventy acres near Industry and Macomb plus several lots in Macomb 
itself, was sold in June 1926, and raised about $15,000. Other steps were also 
being taken to cut costs. In mid-November 1925. the MI&L petitioned the 
Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon two of its runs. Now, instead of 
two daily round trips between Macomb and Littleton, there would be only one; 
a morning run from Littleton to Macomb, and a return trip in the late after- 

The relief afforded by the sale of land in 1926 was only temporary. 
The debt remained at about S5,000 after the sale, and during the year and a half 
following the property sale, the MI&L lost yet more money. Operation of 
trains became irregular, the contract to carry mail was given to a bus company, 
the company was unable to pay its taxes, and new stockyards in Bushnell 
hahed the amount of stock the road carried. The year 1928 would prove to be 
a pivotal one for the "Little Road." At the beginning of the year, plans were 
unveiled to issue S25.000 worth of bonds to eliminate the debt and repair the 
right-of-way and equipment. The need for these bonds became apparent in late 
spring, at the same time the ICC approved the bond issue. A.C. Anders, the 
railroad's general manager since 1919. resigned in early May. and a Chicagoan 
named P.L. LIder was hired to replace him. Coincident with this was the ces- 
sation on May 10, 1928, of all operations. The reason was the need to over- 
haul the railroad's remaining operational steam engine, and the lack of the 
S3,000 needed to do it. In early June etTorts to sell the bonds commenced, led 
by O.G. Gant/ of Industry and A.J. Fish of Macomb. Time was short, as the 
contract to build the hard road from Littleton west to Brooklyn was to be let in 
June, and the MI&L was pinning its hopes for operational profits on haulage of 
materials for that project. But public reaction to the bond issue was discourag- 
ing. The people living along the railroad grew tired of the railroad's perennial 
problems, and they were unimpressed by projections of $40,000 projected 
gross income from the Littleton hard road business and of the railroad being 
self-sustaining within the year. On June 22. 1928, the Board of Directors of 
the MI&L voted to abandtm the railroad and sell it for scrap.' 

The announcement's elTect was electrifying. The apparent impending 
death of the "Little Road" merited a full-width front page headline in the 
Miicomh Daily JoiinniL and it impressed the people living along the line like 
nothing the canvassers had said. I'he justification for this drastic step was dif- 

I>ireciors V'^^Wly o Wreck M. I. & L. R. 

lU'uJlinc from llic Jiiih' 2.i. /V^.V. issue nf the Macnmh Daily Joiinuil. 

52 Thk LiTTLt Road 


ficult to controvert. The railroad was $15,000 in debt, and its assets were 
unlikely to be worth much more than $20,000. No trains had operated in over 
six weeks, and unless $3,000 could be raised to repair one of the steam en- 
gines, operations could not be resumed. That was money the MI&L simply did 
not have. It had been depending on the citizens living along the line to put 
$25,000 toward the railroad to keep it operating, but they had declined. The 
railroad had run out of options.'^ 

Whether the Ml&L directors actually intended to scrap the railroad or 
not is conjecture. In all likelihood they were perfectly willing to, considering 
the business outlook. But it did not come to pass. Following the announce- 
ment of the decision to abandon the railroad, money began coming in to buy 
the bonds the MI&L had issued. The railroad was still extremely important to 
the farmers living along the line, who used it regularly to ship livestock and 
grain, and it was vital to the contractors building the hard road out of Littleton, 
who had set their bid price on the project with the ability to haul materials from 
the CB&Q to Littleton via the MI&L in mind. Within six weeks the entire 
$25,000 bond issue had been subscribed to, repairs were underway, and opera- 
tions were set to begin. General Manager Elder was fired and replaced by F.B. 
McPeek, who would later be succeeded by the same A.C. Anders who had 
resigned the previous May. Freight and passenger operations finally resumed 
in August, and starting in September the MI&L was back hauling hard road 
materials to Littleton.'^ 

The temporary infiision of cash did not save the railroad as promised. 
The decline in the railroad's fortunes was not a temporary blip, it was a trend 
reflected in the fortunes of interurbans and short line railroads across the coun- 
try in the late 1920s. As the nation's network of paved roads spread and auto- 
mobile ownership exploded, the need for short-haul railroads like the MI&L 
declined dramatically. Within six months of the bond sale, it became apparent 
that the railroad's fortunes were not improving. Operation of the elevator in 
Littleton ceased in June in anticipation of the MI&L shutting down. In July, 
the elevator was leased to H.L. Mummert, manager of the Industry elevator 
and an MI&L director, and reopened. Hauling of hard road materials to Little- 
ton continued into the summer until that project ended, and during the late 
summer harvest season, the MI&L was kept busy hauling bumper crops of oats 
and wheat. '^ 

The final straw came in September 1929. On September 23, the Great 
Lakes Coal & Coke Company, which supplied the coal to keep the "Little 
Road's" steam engine running, filed suit against the MI&L for $528.70 in un- 
paid coal bills. The line's locomotive was attached, or seized, and towed to a 
Burlington siding under the observation of Sheriff Paul Eakle. About two 
weeks later the Union National Bank, acting on behalf of the MI&L as a trus- 
tee, settled with Great Lakes Coal & Coke and the engine was returned, but the 
lesson was clear. The railroad was in a shambles. The locomotive was on its 
last legs, most of the rolling stock was barely operational, and some bridges 
and portions of the right-of-way had been condemned by railroad safety in- 

5 - Strides of Progress 53 

spectors. On October 8, 1929, a delegation consisting of MI&L directors Wil- 
liam R. Clawson, V.A. Homey, H.L. Mummert, and Eli Willey, and attorney 
Myron Mills went to Springfield to ask permission to petition the Illinois Com- 
merce Commission to authorize abandonment of the Ml&L. Homey summed 
it up. stating "While the railroad will be greatly missed by Littleton and Indus- 
tr\'. the need for this ser\ice has diminished considerably in the past few years 
with the building of hard roads through this territory."''' 

Just days after the petition was filed, the Moline Construction Com- 
pany filed suit against the Ml&L for foreclosure. Charles E. Flack, a Macomb 
attomey, was appointed receiver in late 1929. Another nail in the MI&L's 
coffin came on January 17, 1930, when the Union National Bank of Macomb 
filed a foreclosure suit of its own. On Febmary 5. after hearing Charles 
Flack's argument advocating abandonment of the Ml&L. Circuit Court Judge 
George C. Hillyer signed the order authorizing the railroad to petition the ICC 
for permission to abandon and scrap the railroad. The railroad was still run- 
ning trains sporadically, but operations ended at the end of March when the 
decision of the ICC came down. Permission to abandon the Macomb Industn, 
& Littleton was granted. The life of the railroad that had been built by C.V. 
Chandler, that had been saved by farmers and businessmen, that had been 
owned its entire operating life by the people of McDonough and Schuyler 
counties, was over.'" 

Disposition of the railroad did not take long. The entire property of 
the railroad, including all of the track, rolling stock, buildings, and land, was 
put up for auction on May I. 1930 and sold to the highest bidder. The sale of 
ihc railroad and the various parcels of land totaled $20,370.50. The largest 
parcel, consisting of all of the rails. locomoti\es. and rolling stock, was bought 
by D.A. Harper of Galesburg for $17,550. The railroad's obituary was printed 
in the May 5, 1930 Macomb Daily Journal under the headline "Ml&L Railroad 

MiAL .5 i.\ shown hack ai lis htrihpUicc in I >avcnport Jor scheduled heavy maintenance 
and inspecUiin work m I'Jl*.^ \\'l[ Special Calleclions. 


Till I ini r Road 

The only known photo of engine 5 in aetiial use is ihis one, taken near the end of service 
on the MI&L. Otis Gunning is the engineer and Joseph Johnson the fireman. Schuyler 
County Jail Museum, Schuyler County^: Illinois Histoiy. 

Crowded Out by the Strides of Progress, Once the Hope of Entire Country- 
side." It was a fitting tribute to a venture which had formerly been so impor- 
tant in the lives of the people and communities it served, yet which had been 
rendered obsolete and unnecessary. The work of scrapping the MI&L began in 
Littleton on May 20, and by the end of the month the Briggs-Turving Wreck- 
ing Company had progressed past the point at which Chicago House Wrecking 
had halted its demolition in 1913. The railroad was torn up as far north as In- 
dustry by the second week of June. By June 19, the railroad had been removed 
as far as the Macomb Yards, and the fleet of freight cars had been burned, with 
the metal parts hauled away for scrap. On June 23, 1930, it was all over. The 
last rails were taken up on the west side of town, the two passenger cars sold 
for use as hog sheds, and the steam engine hauled dead to Galesburg for re- 
building and resale. The Macomb Daily Journal's account concluded, "Thus 
ends the history of the 'Little Road.'"'' 

5 - Strides of Progress 



On September 17, 1929, a quarter of Macomb's population of 10,000 
gathered in Chandler Park to dedicate a memorial to the man who had worked 
harder for the good of Macomb than any other. C.V. Chandler, who for nearly 
two decades had been living in Indianapolis, came back to his hometown to 
attend the unveiling of a memorial arch in the park he had created. At 87 years 
of age, the old man was treated to an emotional day of receptions, dinners, and 
reminiscences with the gratefiil citizens of Macomb. 

Only a few short miles away, on the southern edge of town, the rail- 
road that Chandler had made possible, the railroad that had been of so much 
benefit to Macomb and the territories south of the city, the railroad that had 
been the ultimate cause of Chandler's bankruptcy and disgrace back in 1910, 
was in the last stages of its slow, terminal decline. Its last decrepit engine still 
made occasional forays to Littleton and Industry over rollercoaster track and 
condemned bridges, but it was obvious to all involved that the Ml&L was at 
the precipice of extinction. Within six months of the dedication of the memo- 
rial arch to C.V. Chandler, the railroad so closely associated with that man, 
would be abandoned. Within twelve it would be gone. 

There are not many traces of the Macomb Industry & Littleton left 
today. The men who built and ran the railroad died off gradually. George N. 
Runkle died in 1928, Frank Brooks survived the line by only months, dying in 
May 1930. C.V. Chandler died in 1934, Charles Flack in 1950, and William 
A. Compton in 1955. James Ira Hodges, the engineer who had been injured in 
the Industry wreck in 1 907, survived into the 1 970s. The tracks were all torn 
up and most of the buildings razed soon after the railroad stopped operating. 
The elevators in Littleton and Industry were torn down, replaced by newer 
structures, while the elevators built between towns disappeared. The Littleton 
depot survived until it was destroyed by a tornado in 1981. There are no other 
buildings from the railroad known for certain to survive. Structures exist on 
Lafayette Street in Macomb and at the Runkle Switch site that resemble rail- 
road buildings, but their heritage cannot be definitely determined. Grading for 
the railroad is still evident in several places, particularly on the northwest side 
of Industry where the grade over Grindstone Creek is quite obvious. It's also 
apparent on the north side of Littleton, where the large concrete culvert that 
carried the MI&L over Sugar Creek still stands and the right of way at that 
point is used for an access road. 

The effects that the railroad had on the towns and people it served 
were, perhaps, longer lasting. It is impossible to determine how much wealth 
the railroad brought the merchants of Macomb by carrying in shoppers from 
the south, how much money the farmers between Macomb and Littleton were 
able to save by having a convenient means of transporting goods close at hand, 
or how much the communities of Industry and Littleton benefited from being 
connected to the national railroad network. The MI&L served an important 

Afterword 57 

purpose during the years it existed, and it was eventually cast aside for a more 
modem means of accomplishing the same. The railroad was never directly 
replaced, though, and lndustr> and Littleton ne\er truly regained their unusual 
status as focal points for local trade and traffic. Route 67 may carry far more 
people and freight than the MI&L ever did, but no one driving at 40 miles per 
hour through lndustr\' spends a few minutes running over to the comer dmg 
store to buy a stick of gum. No one speeding by a mile east of Littleton takes 
an hour to have a picnic in the park or ponders staying the night in town. 

The "Little Road" that was once so important to the towns of 
Macomb. Industry', and Littleton vanished along with a way of life, but it is 
worth remembering how much the railroad meant to the people and communi- 
ties that thrived along its tracks. 

The /hiII'lIIv .slave Jroin the .\tl<XI. Little 
Ion depot ts Ji\playeJ at the Sehuyler 
C 'oitntv Jail Museum. 

This eonerete eulverl remains on the north 
sick' of Littleton, eanyini; the .\//c\c/. rii;ht- 
of-way over Sui^ar Creek. Frank HieLs 


The Little Road 

Appendix A 
Trackage and Structures 

The route of the MI&L remained fairly constant for its entire Hfe with 
the exception of trackage north of the Macomb Yards; unfortunately documen- 
tation is still not entirely complete. Questions remain about specifics regarding 
the track and structures owned by the railroad, but these will be addressed in 
this account. 

Trackage In and Around Macomb 

The MI&L operated trains into Macomb in four different manners 
during its history. In addition, there was the original design for how the rail- 
road was going to go through town, but which was never built. The original 
concept was for the railroad to come into town from the south up Johnson 
Street, turn east onto Jackson Street for two blocks until it reached Courthouse 
Square, turn north onto Lafayette Street for another two blocks, then turn east 
again and terminate along the CB&Q near Randolph Street at that railroad's 
depot. None of the trackage east of Johnson Street was ever built. What was 
built was a straight north-south line along Johnson which interchanged with the 
Burlington just south of the comer of Johnson and Calhoun Streets. This was 
the first operating arrangement for the railroad, and it lasted only a year, until 
December 30, 1904. At that time, homeowners along North Johnson Street 
were able to force the removal of the tracks on Johnson Street north of Jackson 
Street, and the railroad was cut back to the south side of the intersection of 
Johnson and Jackson Streets. During late 1904, the west side belt line was 
built as a means of restoring the railroad's interchange with the Burlington. 
This line began at the Macomb Yards, south of Grant and Johnson Streets, and 
across the street from the fairgrounds grandstands, and angled northwest to a 
meeting with the CB&Q at the West Sewerpipe Works on West Piper Street. 
This belt line was completed at the end of 1904, at the same time as the sever- 
ing of the connection at North Johnson Street.' 

This inaugurated the second operating arrangement for the line, which 
lasted until June 1908. Freight trains used the belt line on the west side, while 
passenger trains proceeded up Johnson Street to the depot at Johnson and 
Jackson Streets. When all M&WI trackage within the Macomb city limits was 
ordered removed in 1908, the third operating arrangement was temporarily put 
in place. Freight trains continued using the west side belt line, but passenger 
runs were cut short at the Macomb Yards, where passengers had to disembark 
and walk or take drays into downtown. This did not last too long, though, as in 
December 1909, an agreement was reached with the CB&Q, allowing M&WI 
passenger trains to proceed up the belt line and along the Burlington from the 
West Sewerpipe Works interchange into downtown Macomb. This fourth op- 
erating arrangement lasted until the sale to the wrecking company occurred in 

Track and Structures 59 

January 1912. After the MI&L restarted operations in 1914. it again termi- 
nated passenger runs at the Macomb yards for a time, but by March 1915. it 
had again signed an agreement with the CB&Q to allow passenger trains to 
enter town from the west along the Burlington's tracks. This arrangement 
lasted until the service suspension in May 1928. After service resumed in 





1 ^'^^^'^l 







I \ \ 




;r ST 




♦+♦♦♦♦♦▼ c 

□ I 1 Huusfcj 
I \^Z\ 



o I- 


•UILT 11 1901 HCMOVCD 12 1WM 

■ UILT 11 l»0> IKMOVtO 7 ISO* 

■ UILT 11 IM) nfMOVIOft^ltJO 

■ UILT 12 1904 RIMOVtO a 1930 






This map shows ihc nmliny's of the raihoaJ throu\ih Stacomh. Trackage on Johnson 
Siri'cl \\a\ cm hack to Jackson Street in IW4 anJ hack to the I'Jiff of town in / W.V. 
The W't-.v/ Side tteh Line wa\ huill in late IW4 /'rank (1 Hick.<i map. 


Tmi Lini I Ko..\u 



August 1928, the railroad reverted to ending passenger service at the Macomb 

Trackage Between Macomb and Industry 

The Macomb Yards, just south of St. Francis Hospital on Macomb's 
south side, were the primary storage and maintenance facilities for the railroad 
after they were built in late 1904. There was a wye, for turning engines, at the 
location surrounding the Yards. (The facilities will be described in the struc- 
tures section.) From there, the railroad 
proceeded south along Rural Route 6, 
later the St. Francis Blacktop, running 
right along the west side of the road until 
it crossed the road a mile south of 500N 
and headed straight east into Industry 
along the north side of 400N. There were 
three major bridges between Macomb and 
Industry: at Troublesome Creek, at Camp 
Creek, and at Grindstone Creek. There 
were also three sidings, better known as 
switches, all of which were stops on the 
timetable. Not much is known about 
these switches. It is thought that all of 
them featured stockyards, but it is not 
known what other facilities, like waiting 
shelters or elevators, they included. It is 
not even known which side of the railroad main they were on, 
though the west side is most likely. Henderson Switch was the 
northernmost, located just north of Troublesome Creek at about 
950N. Andrews Switch was located at about 600N. Kirkpatrick 
Switch was originally located at the curve 
south of Beaumont Road, but it was moved 
about half a mile north, to a point just north 
of Beaumont Road in May 1914.-^ 

Trackage in Industry 

The railroad entered Industry from 
the northwest along a curving alignment 
south of the current Route 67. The trackage 
around the Industry depot changed over 
time. Originally there was a short side 
track north of the depot leading to a stock- 
yard, while later a longer passing siding 
was buih that stretched nearly to First 
Street. The railroad continued south- 
southeast, crossing through the intersection 
of First and Hickory Streets before curving 



See Map 2 '. 



1000' 2000' 




See Map 3 






Map 4 

Track and Structures 



1000' 2000 



I I I I I I I I t 




back to a south-southwest ahgnment near Sherman Street. 
South of town it assumed a direct north-south alignment in 
line with First Street."* 

Trackage Between 
Industry and Littleton 

The railroad headed straight south from Industry, 
jogging slightly to the west at about 200N and then curving 
gently to the west beginning south of the Carters Creek 
crossing. This was the only major bridge between Industry 
and Littleton, though there were a number of small bridges 
over minor streams. The railroad track crossed Ina Road 
heading southwest/northeast and turned to parallel that road 
along its southern edge. Runkle 
Switch, the only intermediate time- 
table location between Industry and 
Littleton, was located here. As with 
the other three switches, nothing 
concrete is known about the track 
layout at this location. This was the 
southern terminus of Ml&L opera- 
tions from Februar\' <S to April 29. 
1914. when the rails torn up by 
Chicago House Wrecking were re- 
laid all the way into Littleton. The 
railroad turned straight south from 
Ina Road after about a thousand 
feet, assuming a north-south direc- 
tion aligned with Main Street north i>f Littleton.^ 

Trackage in Littleton 

The railroad proceeded through Littleton on a straight north-south 
alignment, except for a slight bow to the east to accommodate the grade and 
cuKert (uer Sugar Creek just north of downtown. Ihe railroad extended south 
of liroadway for about 2.()()() feet before terminating, and at this location there 
was a wye track uhich extended out to the west side of the main line. There 
were also one or two sidings just south of the depot, which was located on the 
southeast corner of the railroad's Broadway crossing. ** 


III! Lll II I KoAl) 

This series of maps of the railroad was drawn by the author using original US 
Geological Survey maps as a guide. These are route maps only and omit 
some detail such as sidings (switches), depots and wayside structures. 

Structures in Macomb 

The original depot for the M&WI was located in the front room of a 
blacksmith shop on the southeast comer of Jackson and Johnson Streets in 
Macomb. This depot was used until trackage within the city was removed in 
June 1908. During the period passenger service was cut back to Macomb 
Yards, no depot was used and tickets were sold only on the train. When the 
arrangement with the Burlington was first made, M&WI trains came into 
Macomb over the Burlington but did not use that railroad's station. Later, 
when the MI&L negotiated a new contract, the CB&Q depot was utilized as 
the Macomb depot and the Burlington station agent was paid partially by the 
MI&L. Sometime after the MI&L restored service into downtown Macomb 
over the CB&Q, it purchased a small brick building formerly used as a monu- 
ment company for use as its depot. This building was located just northwest of 
the Burlington's Lafayette Street crossing. There were a couple of buildings at 
the Macomb Yards site along Johnson Street south of Grant Street. There was 
a two-stall engine house that was built in late 1 904 and then burned down on 
December 3 1 of that year. It was rebuilt soon afterwards. There was also a 
water tower and a handcar storage house on this site. There was only one 
bridge in the Macomb area, a 400 foot long trestle built as part of the west belt 
line construction project in 1904 that crossed Killjordan Creek, and the low 
ground flanking Grant Street in the area of what is now Patton Park. 

Structures in Industry 

The best-documented of any of the MI&L structures is the Industry 

Track and Structures 


depot, of which a number of photos exist. It was a small wooden frame struc- 
ture located east of the tracks on the west side of town, 650 feet northwest of 
the elevator. Just south of the depot on the west side of the tracks was a water 
tower, with a small handcar shed located just south of the water tower. These 
structures were all built in 1904. The elevator, which was located further 
south, near First Street, was built in 1908, but was not actually owned by the 
railroad. There was also a small bridge on the northwest side of Industry 
which crossed Grindstone Creek. 

Structures in Littleton 

Documentation of railroad structures in Littleton is somewhat 
sketchy. Located on the east side of the tracks on the south side of Broadway 
was a twenty-six by forty-foot depot built in the Pagoda style. This was either 
torn down or sold by the scrapping company in 1913, and company expense 
reports for 1914 include about S300 to either build a new depot or buy back the 
old one. The depot survived the railroad by half a century, but was destroyed 
by the 1981 tornado that devastated Littleton. The Littleton elevator is thought 
to have been located on the west side of the tracks north of Broadway Street on 
the approximate site of the current elevator. There was also a water tower lo- 
cated on the west side of the tracks just south of the depot. Further south, lo- 
cated alongside the wye near the southern terminus of the railroad, was the 
Littleton mine superstructure. This extended over the tracks and included an 

7/wN phohi. pniluihh lakcn around IVlf). looks southeast at huhistiy. The depot is in 
the kit /oreiiidunJ with the elevator (straii^ht down the traeks) and water tower (to the 
ri^ht) beyond it. HIL Speeud C 'olleetions 


llll III II I KOAI) 

elevator apparatus which was designed to dump ore directly into railroad hop- 
per cars. This structure was built in 1905, but it is unknown how long it lasted. 
The sale of mine property in 1918 may have included this site. Littleton facili- 
ties also included a stockyard, and in later years, a lumber yard, but their loca- 
tions are uncertain. There was also a bridge on the near north side of Littleton 
which crossed Sugar Creek. In 1921 the bridge was replaced by a large cul- 
vert, which still exists.^ 



Structures Between the 

Except for bridges, 
little is known of the railroad 
structures located between 
the towns, other than that 
they were few and far be- 
tween. Latter-day anecdotal 
evidence suggests that the 
facilities at Kirkpatrick 
Switch in the MI&L years 
included an elevator, stock- 
yards, and a waiting shelter, 
built out of the body of an old 
passenger car, most likely car number 1 or car number 2 

■ 30fi -r^-x ^ :-. m^--^,r9>'-: 

The only siin'iving photo of the Littleton depot is this 
shot, taken looking south with Broadway in the fore- 
ground. WIU Special Collections. 

There may have also 
been an elevator and a stockyard located at Runkle Switch near the county line. 
Bridges included those over Troublesome Creek, at about 900N, Camp Creek, 
near 600N, Carters Creek, near Ina Road, and a few small bridges, culverts and 
overpasses. The Camp Creek bridge was the largest on the line. Thirty feet 
high and originally 340 feet long, though later shortened in length, it was a 
never-ending headache for the M&WI. It constantly needed repairs and the 
bridge and its approaches were especially susceptible to erosion from high wa- 
ter and rain. After the MI&L took over, the bridge was improved and was evi- 
dently less of a problem in later years. '^ 

Track and Structures 


Appendix B 
Rolling Stock 



















Acquired Former owner Note* 

11/1903 Chic. Union Transfer 51 A 

c 1904-5? ? B 

c 1905-6 ? C 

cl907? ? D 

4/1914 (new) E 

3/1915 Vandalia RR 302 F 


No. Type Builder Acquired 

(none) 6-wheel boxcab ? 1903 



No. Type Builder 

1 interurban/combine St. Louis 

2 streetcar/coach St. Louis 
4 combine ? 

? combine ? 












Type Quantity 

Boxcars 3 

Flatcars 5 

Coal cars 1 

Known Nos. 
9, 101 






Type Quantity Note* 

Handcars 3 P 

Push cars 2 P 

Iron cars 1 P 


A. The first locomotiye 1 was built by Baldwin (serial #12990) as Chicago & 
South Side Rapid Transit 26 in October 1892. It was a Vauclain compound 
Forney type designed for rapid transit service. It ran on the Chicago ele- 
vated until it was sold in 1898 to Chicago Union Transfer, where it became 
their 5 1 and was assigned to Clearing Yard. It arrived in Macomb on No- 
vember 22, 1903. The M&Wl rebuiU it somewhat and used it in freight and 
passenger service during 1904.' It was sold off at some point, but exactly 

Rolling Stock 


lini^iiii. I il) ciihl coiuh - ill Littleton Junnsi l^d-J. lu-forc the ciif^nw Ihhicven been 
painlcJ for AM li 1. This photo revealed the locomolive s former owner. C. U. T.Ry. L- 
R: Fireman James Ira Hodges, Engineer Tom Hendrickson. Conduetor Roy Sullivan 
and Wheeler Wells. WIU Special Collections. 

when and to whom is not known. 

B. Little is known of the second locomotive 1. The only solid evidence of its 
existence is a photo of it in front of the Darius Runkle house, probably 
around 1905 (see photo on page 30). The M&Wl purchased a 4-4-0 type 
locomotive on December 31, 1904, from the Chicago & North Western. 
The engine purchased. C«&NW 467, was a Class E-4 engine built by Grant 
in 1S82.' This was apparently the first large steam engine bought by the 
M«feWl, and it is possible, hut not certain, that this was M&Wl 1. This may 
have been the engine listed in a 1913 \ahiation report as being stored un- 

C. F^ngine 2 was used in passenger ser\ice around 1905 and 1906. The exact 
date it was acquired is unknown, and nothing is known of its past. It's pos- 
sible, but unlikely, that this was e\-C&NW 467. This was the engine in- 
volved in the January 26, 1907, wreck in Industry. It was apparently not 
rebuilt after this derailment but rather was scrapped." (See photo on front 
cover. ) 

D. Ingine 4 was another 4-4-0 bought used from an unknown source at an un- 
known dale. It is known that as of 1912, this was the onl\ operational en- 
gine (another one. possibly engine number I, was stored unser\iceable at 
that time), and that it was the only moti\e power in use on the M&Wl until 
the Ml&l. purchased engine 5 in April 1914. At that time, engine 4 was 


Tm- LiriLi Ro.m) 

already badly worn out, and when engine 6 was bought in March 1915, this 
locomotive was scrapped."* (See photo on page 25.) 

This locomotive was the only steam engine ever bought new by the "Little 
Road." It was a 2-6-0 "Mogul" designed for light branch or short line ser- 
vice. It was built by Davenport Locomotive Works, serial number 1478. It 
went through overhauls in 1920 at the CB&Q Aurora Shops, and in 1925 at 
Davenport. It is thought to have been in use from its date of construction 
until the last operation of the MI&L in early 1930. This was likely the last 
engine to operate on the line.^ (See photo on page 45.) 
The last locomotive ever bought by the MI&L was this one, a heavy 4-4-0 
built by Pittsburgh Locomotive Works, serial number 694, in January 1884. 
It was classified a D-22 type by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Originally St. 
Louis Vandalia & Terre Haute 182, in June 1899, it became Terre Haute & 
Logansport 302, and later in 1905 it became Vandalia Railroad 302. The 
MI&L fitted it with a new boiler in 1917 and it was overhauled by Daven- 
port Locomotive Works in 1922. It is believed that this locomotive was 
sold for scrap in 1928.*' (See photo on page 47.) 
. The most unique piece of equipment to run on the railroad was this six- 
wheel box-cab gas-electric locomotive, delivered in late December 1903. 
Among the earliest internal combustion engines ever to have been put into 
service, its builder is unknown. Too far ahead of its time, it was severely 

Combine 1 was brand new when this picture was taken in December 1903. Posing in 
front of it, left to right, are Roy Sullivan, "Happy Hooligan " Roy Ransom, James Ira 
Hodges, and Clarence Vial. WIU Special Collections. 

Rolling Stock 


underpowered and was of limited use. It was destroyed in the engine house 
fire on December 3 1 . 1904. (See photo on page 11.) 

H. This car is well documented. It was built by the St. Louis Car Company, 
apparently on stock order 410A (the "A" meaning it was constructed in the 
old Laclede shops), and delivered new to the M&Wl on December 16, 
1903. Its design was that of a lightweight interurban. The vestibules were 
enclosed and the car was designed to be electrified. It even came with roof 
boards for supporting the trolley poles. It was painted Tuscan red. like all 
M&WI passenger equipment, and seated forty-four people. It apparently 
had no air brake equipment whatsoever. It was used for several years be- 
fore being superseded by combine 4. but may have survived until 1913.*' 

I. The second passenger car bought by the M&WI was also built by St. Louis, 
this time on order 427. Ordered on November 13. 1903. it was delivered on 
February 25. 1904. It was a "Robertson" style semi-convertible car. de- 
signed as an electric streetcar, but fitted with couplers. The body was 
thirty-four feet long, the car seated forty-eight and it had St. Louis 23A 
trucks. Like car number 1, it was designed to be electrified later. Its body 
was not built for buffering forces associated with train operation, and it may 
not have lasted more than a tew years before being retired. Either this car 
or car 1 was likely scrapped and placed at Kirkpatrick Switch for use as a 
waiting shelter sometime during the early Ml&L years.'' (See photo on 
page 21.) 

J. Photographic evidence of the passenger cars used later in the railroad's life is 
sketchy, but documentary evidence is better. Sales receipts prove that a 
combine, almost certainly secondhand, was bought in late 1908 from the 
Georgia Car Company of Atlanta for SI. 500 and lettered M&Wl 4. It is 
thought that this may be the batten-board-sided car shown in the photo of 
engine 4 at Industry (see page 25) but that is not absolutely certain. This 
car apparently survived through the Ml&L years, and was likely one of the 
two sold to Frank Haines for use as hog sheds when the railroad was 
scrapped in 1930.'" 

K. No photos exist of the last passenger car acquired by the Ml&L. and its 
number on the "Little Road" is not even known. Documentary and newspa- 
per c\ iilcncc proves that in April 1920, a used fifty-fcnir foot lone coinbiiic 

The IVO.i fiiix-eU'clric locomoliw. "thv molar. " is shown here pulling coach 2 
southhounil at Iruhistn- ihirin^ I W4. Wll I Special Collecfions. 

70 Tin; Lirat Road 

was bought for $2,700. It had formerly been Beaver Penrose & Northern 
50. It is almost certain that this was one of the two cars sold to Frank 
Haines in 1930 for use as hog sheds." 

L. Little is known of the freight cars used by the railroad. The only available 
evidence comes from photographs and from valuations made at various 
times, which only list car totals. The 1913 valuations list three boxcars on 
the roster; by 1930 there were only two. A boxcar numbered 101 is shown 
in a 1904 photo in Macomb (see page 11), while a boxcar number 9 was 
among the equipment damaged in the 1 907 wreck in Industry. 

M. As with boxcars, little is known of the railroad's flatcar fleet. A photo dat- 
ing to about 1904 shows a flatcar numbered 102 (see page 20). The 1913 
valuations list four flatcars on the roster, and by the time the freight cars 
were all scrapped in 1930 there were five. 

N. The definition of a "coal car" is uncertain. It may refer to the wood-sided 
gondola loaded with coal or ore which is shown in the photos of the 1 907 
wreck at Industry. The 1913 valuation lists this car, but it is missing from 
the 1930 list of scrapped freight cars. 

P. Handcars, push cars, and iron cars were all lightweight equipment used in 
track maintenance that could be lifted on or off the tracks by a small group 
of men. Handcars were propelled by manpower, while push cars had no 
means of propulsion, but could be pushed by hand or pulled by a handcar. 
The purpose of iron cars was apparently to haul rail.'^ 


Several major questions about the rolling stock roster of the MI&L remain 


Where did the gas-electric locomotive come from? While ultimately unsuc- 
cessful, this engine was revolutionary for its time, yet there is virtually no 
record of who might have built it, nor was there any serious media coverage 
at the time of its construction. 

What happened to the number "3"? Strangely enough, it appears that the 
M&WI skipped the number "3" in its numbering of both locomotives and 
passenger cars. It is possible that evidence of locomotive number 3 and 
passenger car number 3 simply hasn't been uncovered yet, but documentary 
evidence suggests these numbers simply weren't used. But why not? 

Where did the M&WI get its 4-4-Os? There are records indicating that the 
M&WI bought its first 4-4-0 steam locomotive from the Chicago & North 
Western in 1904, but the origins of the other two engines of the same type 
which it bought secondhand are a mystery. 

How did the railroad number its freight cars? Very early photos show 
freight cars numbered in the low 100 series, but a picture of the 1907 Indus- 
try wreck clearly shows a boxcar numbered 9. Did the freight car number- 
ing scheme change at some point? Why? 

Rolling Stock 71 

Appendix C 
MI&L Annual Reports 

A number of annual reports from the MI&L during the 1910s and 
1920s have survived and provide a clue to how precarious the railroad's opera- 
tion was during that time. As the last annual report known to survive is from 
1924, the real decline of the road from 1925 to 1930 is not well documented. 









































































1. This includes real estate rent, war tax (1917-1921 only), in 1918 includes the 
sale of mine property, and from 1918 on, includes advances (payments for 
the CB&Q), bills received and bills payable. 

2. In 1918 the end of the fiscal year was changed from September 30 to De- 
cember 31. The first 1917 line shows figures for the year ending September 
30; the second line for the year ending December 31^'. Also, prior to the 
1918 (and the latter 1917) accounting, advances (CB&Q fees collected by 
the MI&L and forwarded), bills received and bills payable are not included. 

3. This figure includes $6,000 of borrowed money. 

Annual Reports 73 


Operations Maint. "* Terminaf Miscel. ^ Total 






























































4. Until 1919 this includes only road maintenance, while equipment and struc- 
tures maintenance is included under "miscel" [sic]. From 1920 on, struc- 
tures maintenance is lumped in with road maintenance. 

5. Terminal fees, charged by the CB&Q for interchanging equipment, are bro- 
ken out through 1919. After 1920. they are folded into one of the other cate- 
gories, but that category is not specified in the reports. 

6. This includes "miscellaneous operating charges," taxes, notes, and interest, 
war tax (1918-1921 only), and after 1917. includes advances (payments to 

7. Includes a S3. 500 deposit made to the CB«S:Q for engine repairs and $2,700 
for the purchase of new equipment, a combine. 

Profit/Loss Figures 

Balance at end of fiscal year 

Net Profit 


































74 Tin- Lin I \ Road 

Freight Carriage Figures (in cars) ' 

Grain cars 

Stock cars 






































































8. Figures for number of passengers carried are only available for 1916 
(23,400) and 1917 (21,094). 

9. Numbers in parentheses indicate total tons of less-than-carload merchandise 

10. Does not include cars of merchandise. 

11. This figure is from the original report but doesn't come close to balancing; 
the source of the discrepancy is unknown. 

Capital projects highlighted in surviving annual reports 

Paraphrased from the original documents 


Placement of 7,718 cedar ties; ballasting and raising of 20,000 feet of track 
with cinders and heavy refuse from the Macomb Sewer Pipe Company and 
West Pottery; repairs to bridges over Troublesome, Grindstone, Carter, Saw 
Mill, Payne, and Camp Creeks; filling in sixty-nine feet of the south end of 
Camp Creek bridge and timbers removed; establishment of a lumber yard at 


Placement of 5,434 cedar and 1,435 oak ties; purchase of a new boiler for en- 
gine 6 at a cost of $5,600. 


Placement of 2,555 cedar and 170 oak ties; replacement of several broken cul- 
verts and box culverts with boiler shells bought from their original owners. 


Placement of 3,953 ties; engine 5 will have to go through a general overhaul in 
spring 1920; a new coach is badly needed. 


Placement of 3,219 ties; new engine pit installed at the Macomb shop; boiler- 

Annual Reports 75 

iron culvert installed at Finch crossing in Industry; new eight by nine fifty- 
foot culvert constructed at Winter Creek to replace former pile bridge; re- 
placement of Gamage underpass with grade crossing. 


Placement of 4.177 ties; engine 6 put through Da\enport Locomotive Works: 
engine tripped and dismantled. Hues removed and overhauled, and new and 
larger tank cistern made, with a total cost, including new tender, of $4,300. 


Placement of 4.566 ties; repairs made to the Payne bridge; concrete box put in 
at Gamage cattle pass in Macomb; new stock chutes at Kirkpatrick switch 
and at Littleton; Littleton stock yard fences repaired. 

76 Tiij; LiiTi 1 Road 

End Notes 

Chapter 1 

1. Dr. Newton Bateman and Paul Shelby, The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois 

and History of McDonough County (Chicago: Munsell Publishing, 1907): 
617-618. The land encompassing Illinois County was known in its French 
days as Illinois Country. 

2. James A. Edstrom, "Maps of Illinois Population and Newspaper History," 

Harper College, < 
maptableofcontents.htm> (10 May, 2005); Bateman and Shelby, 622-624; 
Macomb Daily Journal, 18 September 1914 

3. BatemanandShelby, 671-672, 678. 

4. Ibid, 658, 678. 

5. Schuyler County Jail Museum, Schuyler County: Illinois History (Dallas: Tay- 

lor Publishing, 1983): 6-7, 126 

6. Albert J. Perry, History^ of Knox County: Its Cities, Towns and People, Vol. I 

(Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing, 1912): 591-592, 594 

7. Ibid, 594-596, 598. 

8. Ibid, 593-596, 598. 

9. Bateman and Shelby, 68 1 -682. 

10. Ibid, 682-683; Alex Holmes, History and Reminiscences of Alex Holmes 
(Decorah, Iowa: Anundsen Publishing, 1987): 87-88. 

11. Perry, 598; Edstrom; Bateman and Shelby, 676-679, 683. 

12. G. Woodworth Colton, Railroad Map of Illinois (New York: G. Woodworth 

Colton, 1861), map; Bateman and Shelby, 683; Illinois Railroad and Ware- 
house Commission, Annual Report for the Year Ending Nov. 30, 1872 
(Springfield: State Journal Steam Print, 1873), 442-443. 

13. Macomb Daily Journal, 1 March 1895, 23 November 1895 

14. Ibid, I March 1895, 1 June 1895, 10 June 1895, 7 August 1895 

15. Bateman and Shelby, 844-845. 

16. 78"^ Illinois Infantry, Regimental History: Adjutant General's Report, quoted in 

Linda Lee, 78''' Illinois Regimental History: Adjutant General's Report 
<> (10 May 2005); Mark 
M. Boatner III, The Civil War Dictionary (New York: McKay Books, 1988): 

17. 78**^ Illinois Infantry, Regimental History: Adjutant General's Report; Bateman 

and Shelby, 845-846. 

18. Bateman and Shelby, 846; John E. Hallwas, Macomb: A Pictorial History (G. 

Bradley Publishing, 1990): 80, 101. 

19. Macomb Daily Journal, 1 June 1895, 10 June 1895, 7 August 1895 

20. Ibid, 7 August 1895, 27 August 1895, 30 August 1895, 9 September 1895 
(reprinted from the St. Louis Chronicle) 

21. Ibid, 23 November 1895, 20 December 1895 

22. Ibid, 20 December 1895, 1 April 1896, 27 April 1896, 16 June 1896, 16 June 

1896 (reprinted from the Lewistown News), 17 November 1896 

End Notes 77 

Chapter 2 

1. Dr. Newton Bateman and Paul Shelby, The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois 

and History of McDonough County (Chicago: Munsell Publishing, 1907): 

2. Macomb Daily Journal, II November 1901, 15 November 1901. 13 December 


3. Ibid, 12 November 1901, 13 November 1901, 15 November 1 90 1 , 26 November 


4. Ibid, 1 1 January 1902, 28 January 1902 

5. Ibid, 16 May 1902, 28 June 1902, 12 July 1902, 22 August 1902, 1 October 

1902, 3 October 1902 

6. Ibid. 16 October 1902 

7. Ibid. 24 October 1902. 13 November 1902. 20 November 1902. 15 December 


8. Ibid, 20 November 1902, 24 November 1902 

9. Ibid, 30 January 1903. 13 February 1903, 28 March 1903 

10. Ibid, 13 March 1903, 1 May 1903, 8 May 1903, 6 July 1903 (reprinted from the 

hnhisDy Enterprise ) 

11. Ibid. 22 June 1903. 29 June 1903 

12. Ibid. 14 August 1903. 15 August 1903, 17 August 1903, 28 August 1903, 25 

September 1903. Most of the workers were locals and were paid wages of 
about $1.50 to $2.00 per day. 

13. Ibid. 28 August 1903. 4 September 1903. 11 September 1903. 18 September 

1903. 25 September 1903 

14. Ibid. 2 October 1903, 16 October 1903, 28 October 1903 (reprinted trom the 
Rushville Citizen) 

15. Ibid, 1 1 November 1903, 1 December 1906 

16. Ibid. 2 November 1903. 1 1 November 1903, 12 November 1903. 16 November 

1903. 19 November 1903. 23 November 1903. 25 November 1903. 4 Decem- 
ber 1 903 

17. Ibid, 2 December 1903, 18 December 1903 (reprinted from the Industry Enter- 

18. Ibid, 17 December 1903, 23 December 1903. 26 December 1903; Decision on 

Petition of Macomh and Western Illinois Rail Road Company, McDonough 
County Board of Super\isors. 2 December 1901 Term. 

19. Macomh Daily Journal. 23 December 1903. 26 December 1903. 29 December 

1903. 30 December 1903 

20. Ibid. 5 January 1904. 22 January 1904, 4 February 1904 (reprinted from the 
Schuyler County Citizen), 22 February 1904. 26 February 1904 

21. Ibid. 18 March 1904. 1 April 1904. S April 1904 

22. Ibid. 9 April 1904. 6 May \WA, 21 May 1904. 27 May 1904. 4 June 1904 (last 

four reprinted Irom the Industrv Enterprise), 1 August 1904. The railroad 
u.sed 60^/ rail and, according to the Illinois Railroad & Warehouse Commis- 
sion's annual report for 1904. about two thirds of the route was earthen ballast 
while the remainder was either slag or cinder ballast. 

23. Ibid. 5 January 1904, 22 April 1904. 29 April 1904 (last two reprinted from the 

78 1 HL LiiTLL Road 

Industry Enterprise), 2 May 1 904 

24. Ibid, 2 May 1904, 1 August 1904 

25. Ibid, 9 August 1904, 1 1 October 1904 

26. Ibid, 9 August 1904, 1 1 October 1904, 13 October 1904 

27. Ibid, 21 May 1904, 1 August 1904 (reprinted from the Industry Enterprise), 24 

August 1904, 25 August 1904, 23 September 1904, 7 October 1904 (last two 
reprinted from the Industry Enterprise) 

28. Ibid, 19 October 1904, 3 December 1904, 17 December 1904, 26 December 

1904, 30 December 1904 

29. Ibid, 2 January 1905; Joe Piersen, e-mail to the author, 26 August 2004 

30. Macomb Daily Journal, 3 January 1905, 18 January 1905, 27 April 1905, 23 

June 1906 

31. Ibid, 2 September 1905, 2 January 1906, 23 June 1906, 28 September 1906, 30 

November 1906 

32. Ibid, 30 November 1906, 1 December 1906 

Chapter 3 

1. Macomb Daily Journal, 30 November 1906, 1 December 1906, 3 December 

1906, 5 December 1906, 14 December 1906 (reprinted from the Industry En- 
terprise), 1 9 December 1 906 

2. Ibid, 26 January 1907, 28 January 1907 

3. Ibid, 22 February 1907 

4. Ibid, 31 May 1907, 1 June 1907, 10 June 1907, 2 June 1908. The original in- 

tended route to Lafayette Street (see map on page 60) would have been impos- 
sible for the M&WI's steam engines to traverse due to the sharp curves. 

5. Ibid, 10 June 1907, 21 June 1907, 21 August 1907, 11 September 1907, 20 June 


6. Ibid, 18 June 1907, 27 June 1907, 28 June 1907, 1 July 1907, 2 July 1907, 3 July 


7. Ibid, 30 August 1907, 17 October 1907. It would appear the church had ap- 

pealed the February ruling against it and the M&WI had decided to settle fol- 
lowing the unfavorable judgment in Stuart's mandamus suit. 

8. Ibid, 21 October 1907, 20 November 1907, 3 January 1908 

9. Ibid, 2 June 1908, 8 June 1908, 25 June 1908 (reprinted from the Blandinsville 

Star-Gazette), 2 July 1908, 7 October 1908 

10. Ibid, 16 June 1908, 18 June 1908, 2 July 1908, 6 July 1908, 14 July 1908, 5 

August 1908, 7 October 1908 

11. Ibid, 20 June 1908, 12 September 1908, 5 February 1909 

12. Ibid, 20 June 1908, 7 October 1908, 27 October 1908, 28 October 1908, 5 Feb- 

ruary 1909 

13. Ibid, 5 February 1909, 26 April 1909, 18 December 1909 

14. Ibid, 6 January 1910, 4 October 1911, 18 September 1929; Macomb Journal, 

27 February 1994 

15. Macomb Daily Journal, 24 August 1910, 24 February 1911 (reprinted from the 

Industry News), 9 May 1911, 1 June 1911, 6 June 1911, 18 August 1911 
(reprinted from the Industry News) 

End Notes 79 

16. Ibid. 22 August 1911.2 September 1911 

17. Ibid. 21 September 191 1, 4 October 1 9 1 1 . 3 January 1912. 23 January 1912 

Chapter 4 

1. Macomb Daily Journal, 3\ January 1912, 1 February 1912 

2. Ibid, 3 February 1912. 6 February 1912. 8 February 1912. 13 February 1912 

3. Ibid, BFebaiary 1912 

4. Ibid. 20 March 1912. 11 April 1912. SI. 2 million in 1912 is equal to about 

S23.8 million in inflation-adjusted 2005 dollars. 

5. Ibid, 20 March 1912, 22 March 1912, 23 March 1912, 25 March 1912, 26 March 

1912, 2 April 1912. 11 April 1912 

6. Ibid, 27 May 1912. 8 June 1912, 18 June 1912. 20 June 1912. 24 June 1912 

7. Ibid, 26 June 1912, 26 July 1912. 13 August 1912, 28 August 1912, 16 Septem- 

ber 1912 

8. Ibid, 22 January 1913, 22 April 1913. 1 May 1913, 6 May 1913. 17 May 1913. 

19 May 1913' 

9. Ibid, 19 May 1913. 20 May 1913. 23 May 1913, 26 May 1913 

10. Ibid, 28 May 1913,31 May 1913.3 June 1913. 8 July 1913,2 August 1913 

11. Ibid, 8 August 1913, 13 August 1913, 15 August 1913 

12. Ibid, 15 September 1913, 24 September 1913 (reprinted from the Roseville 
Times-Citizen), 24 September 1913, 26 September 1913. I October 1913 

13. Ibid, I October 1913, 9 October 1913, 10 October 1913 

14. Ibid. 9 October 1913, II October 1913. 13 October 1913. 20 October 1913 

15. Ibid. 13 October 1913. 1 8 October 1913. 20 October 1913 

16. Ibid. 25 October 1913 

17. Ibid, 27 October 1913, 29 October 1913, 30 October 1913,31 October 1913 

18. Ibid, 31 October 1913, 1 November 1913, 3 November 1913 

19. Ibid, 5 November 1913, 7 November 1913 

20. Ibid, 1 1 November 1913, 14 November 1913. 22 November 1913, 25 Novem- 

ber 1913 

21. Ibid, 26 November 1913, 28 November 1913. 29 November 1913, 1 December 

1913, 3 December 1913, 8 December 1913. 17 December 1913, 18 December 
1913, 23 January 1914 

22. Ibid, 23 December 1913, 24 December 1913. 27 December 1913 (reprmicd 
from the hnlustry Aov.v). 27 December 1913. 30 December 1913. 31 Decem- 
ber 1913. The S2.()00 that Runkle and Clawson each pledged would translate 
to about $37,000 each in inflation-adjusted 2005 dollars. 

Chapter 5 

1. Mcnomh Daih Jnuniiit. 1 January 1914, 2 January 1914, 23 January 1914 

2. Ibid. 1 January' 1914, 2 January 1914 

3. Ibid, 12 January 1914 

4. Ibid, 13 January I9I4. 14 January 1914. 20 January 1914. 23 January 1914 

(reprinted from the huluslrv .Vfn.v), 24 January 1914. 30 January 1914. 3 I eb- 
ruary 1914.4 lebruary 1914 

80 Till Liiii I Road 

5. Ibid, 6 February 1914, 10 February 1914 

6. Ibid, 23 January 1914, 10 February 1914, 26 February 1914, 27 February 1914 

7. Ibid, 25 March 1914, 22 April 1914, 29 April 1914, 1 May 1914; Davenport 

Locomotive Company builder's photograph, Macomb Industry & Littleton 
Railway Company Papers 1901-1929, Western Illinois University Archives & 
Special Collections Department, Macomb, Illinois. 

8. Macomb Daily Journal, 2 March 1915 

9. Ibid, 11 March 1915, 12 March 1915, 17 March 1915, 18 March 1915; Bob Wat- 

son, e-mail to Les Beckman, 1 8 October 2004 

10. Industry Press, 8 August 1918 

11. Sales receipt, 23 April 1920, MI&L Papers; Industry Press, 28 May 1920; Cor- 

respondence between Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway and Railway 
Motor Car Company of America, 1 920, MI&L Papers; Macomb Daily Jour- 
nal, 1 1 January 1922, 10 January 1924, 23 January 1924 

12. Macomb Daily Journal, 11 January 1922, 12 January 1923, 23 January 1924, 

28 February 1925 

13. Ibid, 28 February 1925, 3 September 1925 

14. Ibid, 9 November 1925, 13 November 1925, 14 November 1925, 16 November 

1925, 27 January 1926, 10 June 1926 

15. Ibid, 10 June 1926, 25 January 1928, 10 May 1928, 21 May 1928, 8 June 1928, 

9 June 1928, 23 June 1928, 5 February 1930; Peoria Journal-Star, 8 February 

16. Macomb Daily Journal, 23 June 1928 

17. Ibid, 9 August 1928, 1 1 August 1928, 22 August 1928, 14 September 1928, 26 

July 1929 

18. Ibid, 10 July 1929, 26 July 1929, 1 August 1929 

19. Ibid, 24 September 1929, 3 October 1929, 10 October 1929; McDonough 
County News, 24 October 1929 (reprinted from the Rushville Times) 

20. Macomb Daily Journal, 25 October 1929, 17 January 1930, 5 February 1930, 

31 March 1930 

21. Ibid, 22 April 1930, 1 May 1930, 3 May 1930, 5 May 1930, 21 May 1930, 29 

May 1930, 12 June 1930, 19 June 1930, 24 June 1930 

Appendix A 

1. Macomb Daily Journal, 15 April 1903, 1 1 November 1903, 12 November 1903, 

2 May 1904, 1 August 1904, 9 August 1904, 3 December 1904, 6 December 
1904, 30 December 1904; United States Geological Survey, Illinois: Macomb 
Quadrangle (Washington: United States Geological Survey, 1912), map. 

2. Macomb Daily Journal, 1 August 1904, 2 June 1908, 3 June 1908, 8 June 1908, 

18 December 1909, 6 February 1912, 27 February 1914, 29 April 1914, 2 
March 1915, 2 August 1928 

3. Ibid, 13 February 1903, 13 May 1903, 22 June 1903, 11 July 1903, 24 July 1903, 

1 April 1904, 1 August 1904, 6 January 1912, 1 May 1914; Sanborn Map 
Company, Macomb, Illinois (New York: Sanborn Map Company, 1924), map, 
sheet 10; United States Geological Survey (1912), map; George A. Ogle & 
Company, Standard Atlas of McDonough County, Illinois (Chicago: George 

End Notes 81 

A. Ogle & Company, 1913): 14. 

4. United States Geological Survey (1912). map; Sanborn Map Company, Indus fiy. 

Illinois (New York: Sanborn Map Company, 1928), map, sheet 1; Photograph 
of Industry depot, Ml&L Papers. 

5. United States Geological Survey (1912), map; Macomb Daily Journal, 23 Janu- 

ary 1914, 27 February 1914, 29 April 1914. It should be pointed out that the 
location of Runkle Switch is not absolutely certain: the Runkle family owned 
vast tracts of land along both sides of the MI&L between Industry and Little- 
ton. The 1912 USGS map shows several buildings adjoining the Ml&L at Ina 
Road, and other circumstantial evidence suggests this was the location of Run- 
kle Switch. 

6. United States Geological Survey, Illinois: Rushville Quadrangle (Washington: 

United States Geological Survey, 1923), map; Photograph of Littleton depot, 
MI&L Papers; Microsoft Corporation, Terrasen'er USA, 11 April 1998, 
<http://terraser\'> (4 October 2005). 

7. Macomb Daily JounuiL 5 January 1904, 19 October 1904, 3 June 1908, 18 De- 

cember 1909, 2 March 1915; Sanborn, Macomb, sheet 5. It is not known for 
certain that the depot at Jackson and Johnson Streets was used until 1908 but it 
is unlikely another one was built on the same site. There is also mention in the 
records of a bridge over Killjordan being built in July 1903. which may refer 
to the rebuilding of the Johnson Street bridge. The small brick building just 
north of the CB&Q on the east side of Lafayette Street in Macomb resembles 
the Ml&L 1920s office and may in fact be that building, but at the time of this 
writing its heritage could not be definitively determined. 

8. Photograph of Industry depot area. MI&L Papers; Macomb Daily Journal, 13 

February' 1903. 23 December 1903, 6 May 1904, 21 May 1904. 18 June 1904; 
Sanborn, Industry, sheet 2 

9. Macomb Daily Journal, 22 February 1904. 24 October 1904. 2 September 1905. 

2 January 1906, 26 September 1913; Photograph of Littleton depot. MI&L 
Papers; G.S. Rollett. "Stockholders Report for Year Ending Sept. 30'\ 
1916" (Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway Company. Industrs. Illinois. 
1916. mimeographed); Audit. Business Services & Audit Company. 22 Janu- 
ary 1919. MI&L Papers. There is some confusion as to the name of what is 
nowadays Sugar Creek. Company records never mention Sugar Creek but the 
1921 MI&L annual report does record construction of a "concrete culvert, size 
8x9, 50 feet" to replace the bridge over "Winters Creek." It is thought that 
this sizeable culvert may in fact be the one currently still intact at Sugar Creek 
on the north side of Littleton, however it is just an assumption that Winters 
Creek and Sugar Creek are the same. 

10. Macomb Daily .Journal, 24 July 1903, I April 1904. 2 January 1914. 23 Janu- 

ary 1914; Rollett (1916); United States Geological Survey (1912), map; 
Macomb Sunday .Journal, 1986/10/12; information on the structures at 
Kirkpalrick Switch is from the reminiscences of Nellie Kirkpatrick Pollock, 
uliilc the ulentitv ol the passenger car is ci>niecture. A stnicturc apparently 
resembling a railroad waiting shelter remains (in 2005) near the site of the 
Runkle Switch but its heritage cannot be definitively determined. 

82 liii Lin 1 1 Ro.M) 

Appendix B 

1. Central Electric Railfans Association, Chicago's Rapid Transit: Volume I 

(Chicago: Central Electric Railfans Association, 1973): 2, 6; Photographs of 
M&WI locomotive 1 at Littleton and Industry, Ml&L Papers; Macomb Daily 
Journal, 23 November 1903, 1 April 1904, 22 April 1904, 27 May 1904. 

2. Joe Piersen, e-mail to the author, 26 August 2004 

3. Photographs of 1907 Industry wreck, MI«feL Papers; Macomb Daily Journal, 21 

February 1907 

4. Macomb Daily Journal, 2 January 1914, 12 March 1915; Audit, 22 January 

1919, MI&L Papers. According to the newspaper article engine 4 was to be 
rebuilt, but the MI&L didn't really need it, and the audit report from four years 
later makes it clear the locomotive had been retired. 

5. Davenport Locomotive Company builder's photograph, MI&L Papers; Invoice, 

Chicago Burlington & Quincy - Aurora Locomotive Shop, 22 November 

1920, MI&L Papers. The assumption that this was the last operational loco- 
motive is conjecture. On 11 August 1928 the Macomb Daily Journal claims 
that both of the railroad's engines (5 and 6) had been traded away for a better 
locomotive, but on 5 February 1930 Charles Flack released a statement men- 
tioning, among other things, that the railroad was still using a locomotive 
bought in 1914. It seems likely that the newspaper was simply in error in its 
1928 report, though aged engine 6 was quite possibly sold for scrap at that 
time. After the railroad was abandoned, its engine, almost certainly 5, was 
towed to Galesburg for rebuilding. What became of it after that is not known. 

6. Bob Watson, e-mail to Les Beckman, 18 October 2004; A.C. Anders. "Annual 

Report of Receipts and Expenditures" (Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway 
Company, Industry, Illinois, 1922, mimeographed); G.S. Rollett. "Annual 
Report of the Macomb, Industry & Littleton Ry. Co." (Macomb Industry & 
Littleton Railway Company, Industry, Illinois, 1917, mimeographed); see the 
note above concerning engine number 5 for details on its disposition. 

7. Macomb Daily Journal, 26 December 1903, 27 May 1904, 2 January 1905; Pho- 

tographs of the M&WI box cab locomotive at Macomb, MI&L Papers. 

8. Alan Lind, From Horsecars to Streamliners: An Illustrated History of the St. 

Louis Car Company (Park Forest: Transport History Press, 1978): 328; Dr. 
Harold Cox, e-mail to the author, 2 September 2004; Macomb Daily Journal, 
17 December 1903; Photograph of M&WI combine 1 upon delivery, MI&L 
Papers. Information about this car's service life after about 1907 is conjec- 
ture; the only photo of combine #1 after 1904 is the picture of it with engine 
#1 in front of the Darius Runkle house north of Littleton. The 1913 valuation 
report {Macomb Daily Journal, 20 May 1913) lists three passenger cars, one 
of which must surely be the combine bought in 1908; one of the others is 
probably this car. 

9. Lind, 330; Photograph of M&WI coach 2, MI&L Papers; Macomb Daily Jour- 

nal, 26 February 1904. Speculation about the car's resistance to buffering 
forces is taken from photographic evidence and from the author's own experi- 
ence with railway car construction. A Macomb Sunday Journal article from 
12 October 1986 mentions a railway car body being used as a shelter at 

End Notes 83 

Kirkpatrick switch; this may or may not have been this car. 

10. Sale contract between Ml&L and Georgia Car Company. 9 October 1908, 
Ml&L Papers; Afacomh Daily Journal, 24 June 1930. It's not certain that this 
car was one of the last two passenger cars owned by the railroad but it seems 

11. Indusny Press, 28 May 1920; Sales receipt, 23 April 1920, MI&L Papers; 
Macomb Daily Journal, 24 June 1930. It's not certain this was one of the two 
cars sold in 1930 but since this was the line's newest car, it's quite likely. 

12. Macomb Daily Journal. 20 May 1913, 19 June 1930, 24 June 1930; Audit, 22 

January 1919, Ml&L Papers. 

S4 llM l.ii II I Ro.'M) 


Bateman, Dr. Newton and Paul Shelby. The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois 

and History of McDonough County. Chicago: Munsell Publishing, 1907. 
Boatner, Mark M. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: McKay Books, 1988. 
Central Electric Railfans Association. Chicago's Rapid Transit: Volume I. 

Chicago: Central Electric Railfans Association, 1973. 
Chrisinger, J.W. Map of Macomb, Illinois. Macomb: Macomb By-Stander, 

1906, map. 
Colton, G. Woodworth. Railroad Map of Illinois. New York: G. Woodworth 

Colton, 1861, map. 
Decision on Petition of Macomb and Western Illinois Rail Road Company. 

McDonough County Board of Supervisors, 2 December 1901 Term. 
Edstrom, James A., "Maps of Illinois Population and Newspaper History," 

Harper College, < 

maptableofcontents.htm > (10 May 2005). 
George A. Ogle & Company. Standard Atlas of McDonough County, Illinois. 

Chicago: George A. Ogle & Company, 1913. 
Hallwas, John E. Macomb: A Pictorial History. St. Louis: G. Bradley Publish- 
ing, 1990. 
Hillery, Viletta, interview by the author, tape recording, Macomb, Illinois, 16 

November 2004. 
Holmes, Alex. History and Reminiscences of Alex Holmes. Macomb: By- 
Stander Press, 1923. 
Illinois Railroad and Warehouse Commission. Annual Report for the Year 

Ending Nov. 30, J 872. Springfield: State Journal Steam Print, 1873. 
. Thirty-Fourth Annual Report. 

Springfield: Illinois State Journal Company, 1905. 
Industry Press, 8 August 1918, 28 May 1920. 
Lind, Alan. From Horsecars to Streamliners: An Illustrated History of the St. 

Louis Car Company. Park Forest: Transport History Press, 1978. 
Macomb Daily Journal, 1 March 1895-24 June 1930. 
Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway Company Papers 1901-1929, Western 

Illinois University Archives & Special Collections Department, Macomb, 

Macomb Journal, 27 February 1994. 
Macomb Sunday Journal, 12 October 1986. 
McDonough County News, 24 October 1929. 
Microsoft Corporation. Terraserver USA. 11 April 1998. <http://> (4 October 2005). 
Peoria Journal-Star, 8 February 1930. 
Perry, Albert J. History of Knox County: Its Cities, Towns and People, Volume 

I. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing, 1912. 
Rand, McNally & Company. Railroad Map of Illinois. Chicago: Rand, 

Bibliography 85 

McNally & Company, 1898, map. 

Sanborn Map Company. Industry; Illinois. New York: Sanborn Map Company, 
1928, map. 

. Macomb, Illinois. New York: Sanborn Map Com- 
pany. 1924. map. 

Schuyler County Jail Museum. Schuyler County: Illinois History. Dallas: Tay- 
lor Publishing, 1983. 

Shadwick, G.W. The History of McDonough County. Moline. Illinois: Desaul- 
niers, 1968. 

United States Geological Survey. Illinois: Macomb Quadrangle. Washington: 
United States Geological Survey, 1912, map. 

. Illinois: Rushville Quadrangle. Washing- 
ton: United States Geological Survey, 1923, map. 

86 Tin; Lii ii.i Ro.MJ 


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The Little Road 

The Story of the Macomb Industry & Littleton Railway 

A century ago, Macomb, Illinois had its own railroad. The Ml&L 
was a twenty-mile-long short line railroad connecting the people 
of southern McDonough and northern Schuyler counties with 
Macomb, and thus, with the national rail network and the rest of 
the country. The MI&L lasted for a quarter of a century carrying 
livestock, grain, goods, and passengers. Its history is a complex 
tale of successes and failures, of triumphs and misfoHunes, and of 
the people who worked so hard to make the MI&L a reality and a 
success. This is the story of the Macomb Industry & Littleton 
Railwnv - 'The Little Road." 

ISBN 0-97771 16-0-9