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SEPTEMBER 29, 1858. 

■•*• 1 




Report of the Executive Committee, - - - - 5 

Kepokt of the Sub-Committee, - 8 

Conferences at New York with the President of the 
Illinois Central Railroad Company, - - - - g 

History and Geographical Position of Cairo, with its 
Commercial Advantages, 11 

Original Cost, and Probable Worth of Shares in the 
Cairo City Property, 18 

Present Condition of Cairo, 20 

Wants op Cairo, 33 

Course of Action to be Recommended, for Securing a 
Steady and Prosperous Growth to the City, with 
Corresponding Advantage to the Shareholders, the 
Land Proprietors, and the People of Cairo, - - 38 

Correspondence with the Springfield Proprietors, - - 43 

Correspondence with the President of the Illinois Cen- 
tral Railroad Company, 53 

Report from the General Agent, - - - , - - 58-59 

Declaration of Trust, 0(5 

Agreements with the Illinois Central Railroad Company, 85-91 

Balance Sheet, Sept. 29, 1858, 84 

Minutes of Meeting, July 15, 1858, 95 

Minutes of Annual Meeting, Sept. 29, 1858, ... 93 

Results — Meeting of Oct. 21, 1858, 102 





PMladelpMa, Sept. 39, 1858. 

To the Shareholders of the Cairo City Property, 

Gentlemen : 

The Executive Committee, consisting of Messrs. Harvey 
Baldwin of Syracuse, N. Y., Charles Macalister and Josiah 
Randall of Philadelphia, Pa., Luther C. Clark of New York 
City, Lyman Nichols of Boston, Mass,, and John Neal of 
Portland, Me., chosen under two resolutions, at a meeting of 
the Shareholders, held on the fifteenth day of July last, at 
the office of the Cairo City Property in Philadelphia, res- 
pectfully Report : 

That your committee, with the exception of Mr. Nichols, 
came together on the 22nd of July last, in the city of New 
York, and there held two conferences with William H. Os- 
born. Esquire, President of the Illinois Central Railroad 

That, during these conferences, all questions arising under 
the agreements between the Trustees of the Cairo City 
Property, and the 111. Central R. R. Co., bearing date res- 
pectively June 11th, 1851, and May 31st, 1855, were fully 
and freely discussed ; but especially those growing out of 
the late overflow and the insufficient embankments, thrown 


up for the protection of Cairo by that company, until the 
permanent levees should be completed, according to the 
stipulations contained in the above mentioned agreements. 

Your Committee urged the necessity of an immediate 
restoration and strengthening of the portions which had 
been carried away, or weakened, or lowered, by the late 
flood of June 12th; and called the attention of the Presi- 
dent to the liabilities of the Railroad Company under those 
agreements, and to the remonstrances of the General Agent, 
S. S. Taylor, and the Trustees, year after year, upon the 
subject ; and they have the pleasure of adding that their 
claims were acknowledged, and their suggestions dealt with 
fairly : the President pledging himself that immediate meas- 
ures should be taken for a thorough restoration and repair 
of the embankments referred to, and for enlarging and 
strengthening the levees, all which may be seen by the docu- 
ments and papers herewith submitted, and marked A, and 
by the correspondence annexed, between the Trustees of 
the Cairo City Property, through whom your committee 
deemed it proper to act, and the President of the 111. Cen- 
tral Railroad Company. 

These letters and answers bear date on the 13th, 15th 
and 22nd of July last. But your Committee would call your 
attention to an earlier letter on the same subject from Mr. 
S. Staats Taylor, dated Oct. 13, 1857, and marked B, 
showing the seasonable, and as it now appears, well-ground- 
ed apprehensions of your Agent at Cairo. 

During the interview with Mr. Osborn, which grew out of 
the foregoing correspondence, your committee suggested, in 
addition to the repairs, and general strengthening of the 
embankments, damaged and weakened, or wholly carried 
away, by the late flood of June 12th, that they should be 
raised two feet higher than the grade, before settling ; and 
that they should be twenty feet wide on the top, with a 
slope on each side of one foot perpendicular, to five or even 
four feet horizontal, giving a base of from one hundred, to 
one hundred and twenty feet, as recommended in the letter 

of July 22iid, from Mr. S. Staats Taylor to Charles Davis, 
Esquire, Trustee, hereunto annexed, and marked C. 

By the two ag;rcements above mentioned, it was provid- 
ed that the levees in question should be " of a stifficient 
height to exclude the waters of the Rivers at the highest 
stages then known " — May 31st, 1855 ; " and not less than 
sixty feet in tvidth upon the top, and eighty feet against 
the lots of all purchasers ; that cross levees or embank- 
ments should be made of adequate height and width, cross- 
ing f^om the levee or embankment on the Mississippi to 
that on the Ohio ; and that the levee upon the Ohio, should 
he completed to loio water marTc,^^ which was fixed by the 
Engineers of both parties, and a monument set up accord- 
ingly, at a point forty -two feet below the grade line of the 

The President agreed with your Committee in these views, 
which were offered in a liberal spirit of accommodation, for 
present purposes, that no delay might happen, so as to en- 
danger the City anew, if the defences were not greatly 
strengthened before the fall rains came on ; and not with 
any view of modifying or qualifying either of said agree- 
ments in any particular ; and pledged his best efforts to se- 
cure an immediate ratification of this provisional arrange- 
ment, by the Directors of the Illinois Central R. R. Com- 
pany ; not having in himself, he said, the power to bind them 
without their own consent. 

Believing that they could not properly, and thoroughly, 
discharge their duty, under the resolutions referred to, 
without a personal examination of Cairo ; and the General 
Agent, Mr. S. S. Taylor, being of opinion that a visit by 
the whole Executive Committee, or by a Sub-Committee ot 
their board, would greatly encourage the people of Cairo, 
tend to allay their apprehensions, and check, if it did not 
put a stop at once, and forever, to the mischievous false- 
hoods, and gross exaggerations, which, under a show of 
authority, and as admissions made by parties deeply inter- 
ested in the reputation and welfare of Cairo, were grad- 


ually taking possession of the public mind, both at home 
and abroad, your Committee delegated Mr. Baldwin, of 
Syracuse, N. Y., their Chairman, and Mr. Neal, of Port- 
land, Maine, to visit Cairo, and make such personal investi- 
gations upon the ground, as would enable them to report 
understandingly upon the present condition and wants of 
the City ; to recommend a course of action at the next an- 
nual meeting on the 29th of September following; and to 
take such immediate measures, as might in their judgment 
be needed for the safety of the City, before the whole Board 
could be brought together. 

Having discharged these duties, Messrs. Baldwin and 
Neal, at the suggestion of Messrs. Macalister and Randall, 
notified their associates on the Executive Committee, to 
assemble at Congress Hall, Saratoga Springs, on the 17th 
of August last, at eleven o'clock, A. M. ; and there reported 
the facts, opinions and recommendations hereinafter set 
forth, which being adopted, the Executive Committee desire 
to embody in their general report, and to have taken as a 
part thereof, to wit ; 

The Sub-Committee, Messrs. Baldwin and Neal, delegated 
from the Executive Committee, which were chosen by the 
shareholders of the Cairo City Property, at their meeting 
in Philadelphia on the 15th of July last, to visit Cairo 
forthwitJi, for the purposes hereinbefore mentioned, respect- 
fully Report: 

That in discharge of the duties prescribed by the Exec- 
utive Committee, Mr. Neal left Portland, Me., on the after- 
noon of Thursday, July 29th, and arriving at Syracuse, N. 
Y., on Saturday, the 31st, was there met by Mr. Baldwin: 
that on Monday morning, August 2nd, they left Syracuse to- 
gether, and after travelling night and day the whole dis- 
tance, with the exception of one night, reached Cairo on 

Thursday morning, August fifth, where they remained until 
the evening of the eighth, occupied in the examination of 
the levees and embankments, as far up as Cache River on 
the Mississippi, and Mound City on the Ohio, the general 
condition of the streets and buildings, the abrasions of the 
Mississippi, the river-banks, and the water-marks upon the 
trees between the rivers : 

That, accompanied by Mr. S. Staats Taylor, the General 
Agent, whose intelligence, faithfulness and courtesy, they 
\vould here acknowledge, they first went over the whole 
ground where tlie flood broke through, and carefully exam- 
ined the remains of the embankments, which had been sub- 
stituted for the permanent levee, provided for, in the two 
agreements with the Illinois Central Railroad Company. 
They found these embankments entirely carried away in 
three different places, as represented on the map, furnished 
by Mr. S. S. Taylor at the general meeting of the share- 
holders in July last. 

From this examination, they were satisfied that the pro- 
visional, or substituted embankment, over three hundred 
feet of which were carried away, all at once, and before the 
waters of the Mississippi had reached within tico feet of 
the top, had never been sufficient, nor properly constructed; 
that, in the first place, the ground had never been properly 
mucked, or grubbed, for the embankment; large stumps 
fragments of trees and other rubbish still remaining upon 
the natural surface of the ground, not only where the em- 
bankment had been wholly swept away, but in other places 
where it had only settled, or been washed into gullies by 
the passage of waters : and secondly, because they found 
conclusive reasons, in their judgment, for believing that logs 
from three to four feet in diameter, and from twenty-five to 
thirty feet in length, had been built into the embankment 
and covered up. These logs were found lying, not on the 
river-side, but within the embankments carried away, and 
appeared to have been long buried in the earth : and as the 
stumps from which they were cut, were not to be found in 


their neighborhood ; as the land lying between the embank- 
ment and the Mississippi was covered with a thick growth 
of young trees, which would not allow such logs to be float- 
ed in from the river, and as they now rest upon a growth 
of saplings borne down by their weight, and held fast by 
the tops, the conclusion to which "We, your Sub-Committee, 
arrived, after a thorough examination of the whole ground, 
where the waters first broke in, as well as of other portions 
that had settled, where we found stumps, fragments of 
wood and brush laid bare by the passage of water, was, 
that these large logs were built into the embankment, and 
buried up, at or near the base thereof; and that these, and 
other like improper materials employed, were beyond all 
question the true cause of that sudden giving way of three 
hundred feet, before the waters had reached the top, and 
within half an hour after the watchmen and laborers, under 
the personal superintendence of the General Agent himself, 
had been withdrawn from that very spot, under a belief 
that there was nothing to be apprehended even there — at 
the weakest portion of the whole embankment ; and the very 
point to which the whole attention of Mr. Taylor had been 
long directed, while in correspondence with the Trustees, 
and with the President of the Illinois Central R. R. Co. 

And we had reason to believe that the encroachments of 
the Mississippi in two other places, where the embankments, 
though not carried away, were somewhat lowered by the 
water, so as to lay bare an occasional stump ; and that cer- 
tain depressions to be found along the line, were all owing 
to the same cause j and for proof, we would call the atten- 
tion of the share-holders to the letter of Mr. S. S. Taylor, 
already referred to, and marked C ; and to a more detailed 
communication of Sept. 6th, 1858, to the Trustees, imme- 
diately following. 

By all which it appears plainly, that although the waters of 
last June were higher than had ever been known before ; 
and although it would be wise and proper to carry up all 
the embankments and levees at least two feet higher than 


the old established grade of eight feet, agreed upon with 
the III. Central R. R. Co., — still, if the levees and embank- 
ments had been up to the old grade, and properly built, 
Cairo loould not have been troubled, nor damaged, by the 
last flood. 

Having reached the foregoing conclusions, with regard to 
the causes of the late overflow. We, your Committee, propose 
to offer the result of our general investigation, as well as 
our suggestions, under four different heads ; hoping thereby 
to abridge the labor of future enquiry, and to furnish a body 
of unquestionable facts for the consideration of the sharehold- 
ers, in such a shape as may enable them hereafter to judge 
for themselveS; without going much out of their way. And 
with a view to this object, we propose to consider briefly : 

I. The history and geographical position of Cairo, with 
its com^mercial advantages. 

II. The present condition of Cairo. 

III. The wants of Cairo ; and — 

IV. The course of action to be recommended, for secur- 
ing a steady and prosperous growth to the City, and a cor- 
respondent advantage to the Shareholders, the Land-Pro- 
prietors and the People of Cairo. 

And I. The history and geographical position of Cairo, 
with its commercial advantages. 

The tongue of land upon which Cairo is laid out, and 
partly built over, lies in lat. 37'', at the confluence of the 
Mississippi and Ohio rivers ; at the head of large steamboat 
navigation, both summer and winter ; and just at the point 
where three of our largest states, Missouri, Kentucky and 
Illinois, come nearest together, while three others, Indiana, 
Tennessee and Arkansas, approach within a few miles above 
and below, as to a common centre. 


The climate is eminently favorable to health at all sea- 
sons; the winters mild, the summers moderate, and the 
atmosphere so dry, that in twenty four hours after the heav- 
iest rains " one may walk the streets in slippers," while 
the richest French goods, gloves and silks, which cannot 
bear the dampness of New Orleans, are wholly unaffected 
at Cairo. 

The Ohio, which is boatable 945 miles above Cairo, is 
closed to larger navigation by ice in winter, and by shoal wa- 
ter in summer, for nearly five months of the year, while the 
Mississippi, with its boatable navigation of thirty-five hun- 
dred miles, would be too hazardous and changeable above 
Cairo for large and safe business, even if it were not al- 
ways encumbered, or wholly obstructed, by ice in mid-winter, 
— so that the large and thriving city of St. Louis has been 
literally frozen up for six weeks at a time, and wholly inac- 
cessible; as in February, '56, y^XiQ^a. forty -five steamers of 
the largest class were receiving and discharging their car- 
goes at Cairo, while the shipping merchants of St. Louis, the 
underwriters, and owners of steamboats and other craft, 
were laboring to blow up the ice, not with a view to open 
their harbor, but to save the shipping ; yet no less than 
eleven large steamers, to say nothing of other craft, were 
instantly sunk, at the great " breaking up,'' which followed, 
Feb. 26th, with a loss of more than $100,000; and even at 
Cincinnati, ten large and heavily-laden steamers were ut- 
terly destroyed on the 24th. 

If other confirmation were needed, we might refer to a 
Report made by a committee of the U. S. Congress, where- 
in they say : " Vast losses and great delays are annually 
incurred by the farmers and merchants of Indiana, Ken- 
tucky, Illinois and Missouri, and by planters of Arkansas, 
Mississippi and Louisiana, and by the shipping in the port 
of New Orleans, from the obstructed and impeded naviga- 
tion in the Upper Mississippi ; and particularly, of the Ohio 
River, of an average period of not less than four or five 
months in the year. The obstructions in the Ohio, in the 


summer and fall, arise from low water and a succession of 
sandbars, commencing tlirce miles above its junction with 
the Mississippi, and extending the whole length of the 
river. Ice, in both rivers, in the winter season, effectually 
closes their navigation to the junction at Cairo City. Thus, 
the vast productions of the valley of the Mississippi and 
Ohio are kept back at a season when most needed in the 
market. At the breaking up of the ice, this mighty mass 
of produce is at one time thrown into the New Orleans 
market. Prices fall from the most extravagant height to 
nominal quotations. The planter and the farmer are alike 
injured by the glut. The speculator, who buys to send 
round, is alone benefited. A scarcity again takes place be- 
fore the next crop comes into the market. The amount of 
loss occasioned to the community by this state of uncertain 
commercial intercourse, can scarcely be estimated. It is 
sufficient for your committee to attest the fact, recorded by 
the united voice of the purchasing merchants of New Or- 
leans, and the producing farmers of the upper country." 

But the most conclusive testimony to these facts may be 
found in the high rates of insurance along the Upper Mis- 
sissippi. On a policy from New Orleans to St. Louis, for 
example, two thirds are charged for one hundred and eighty 
miles above Cairo, and one-third for the thousand miles 
below, — showing that in the estimation of insurance-brok- 
ers, a class of business-men proverbial for their shrewd- 
ness, the hazards above Cairo are ten times greater than 
helow, even for that short distance ; and in the summer at 
low water, risks above Cairo are refused. 

At Cairo, the whole up-trade of the lower Mississippi, 
from a region of six hundred thousand square miles, with 
thirty thousand miles of river navigation, draining the min- 
eral and agricultural wealth of at least another million 
square miles, on their way to New Orleans and the Gulf of 
Mexico, has long needed, and must and will have, a resting 
place for transhipment— a great commercial entrepot ; where 
every kind of business, growing out of such complicated 


and vast relations, may be encouraged to spring up of it- 

The drainage from the centre to both rivers is seven and 
a half feet to the half mile, and at all seasons, except for a 
few days, when both rivers are at the highest, sufficient for 
health and safety. 

The original Corporation limits of Cairo city were some- 
what larger than those of New York or Philadelphia, and 
about equal to those of London and Westminster ; and these 
limits, which included forty thousand lots of twenty-five by 
one hundred feet, are represented by less than forty thou- 
sand shares, and constitute less than one half of the lands 
actually belonging to the proprietorship of Cairo ; and the 
average sales of these lots up to last January, was but a lit- 
tle short of four hundred dollars apiece. The city contains 
3884 acres, a large part of which has been carefully survey- 
ed and allotted ; the additions, heavily timbered, contain 
5848 acres — and the whole territory of the Proprietorship 
9732 3-4 acres. 

This tongue, or peninsula, being from thirty, to thirty- 
five feet above low-water mark, and estimated for engineer- 
ing purposes at thirty-four feet, so as to make the top of 
the eight feet levees and embankments, under the compact 
with the 111. Central Railroad Co., forty-two feet above low- 
water mark, has been heretofore covered with a magnificent 
growth of timber, such as oak, mulberry, maple, box, poplar, 
cotton-wood, cypress, and sycamore, often measuring from 
five to eight feet through, as may now be seen by the stumps 
yet remaining within portions of the city limits, and by the 
aboriginal forest, round about those limits, and within the 

As early as 1817, the great business advantages of this 
remarkable spot began to attract the attention of leading 
statesmen, capitalists, and men of business. 

In 1818, a liberal charter was granted to an association, 
by the Territorial government of Illinois ; and the territory 


was laid ofif in conformity with the charter, for the "(7«7y of 
Cairo,'' with banking privileges. 

Owing to deaths, commercial paroxysms, and other hin- 
drances, nothing more was done toward carrying out the 
sagacious and magnificent enterprise, till 1837, when ar- 
rangements were entered into between the Proprietors 
holding under a charter for the " City and Bank of Cairo," 
and the State of Illinois ; and a new charter was granted to 
the " Illinois Central Rail Road Company " for the construc- 
tion of a Railroad, " to commence at or near the confluence of 
the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and terminating at Galena." 

After this company had organized, and secured a large 
portion of the land they wanted, the State of Illinois under- 
took a large and comprehensive system of internal improve- 
ments, making the Central Railroad the basis of the whole ; 
and the railroad company abandoned their privileges to the 
State upon the expressed condition, to be found in the law 
itself, that the Central Railroad should begin at the City 
of Cairo, at or near the confluence of the Ohio and Miss- 

Then followed the " Cairo City and Canal Company " 
incorporated March 4th, 1837, with power to purchase any 
part of township No. seventeen, and especially that portion 
thereof which was incorporated in 1818, as the " City of 
Cairo," and " to make all improvements for the protection, 
health and prosperity of the City." 

The stock of this new Company being all taken up, and 
the Company itself organized, arrangements were entered 
into for obtaining a loan of five hundred thousand dollars 
" to be applied to the payment and extinguishment of such 
mortgages and incumbrances as might exist on the lands 
" purchased by the Company, within Township, numbered 
seventeen " and for further investments in land and other 
property ; by conveying the whole proprietorship in Trust 
on the 16th of Dec. 1827, to the. New York Life Insurance 
and Trust Co., and by a supplemental deed, of June 13th, 
1839; to the same Company, for securing the bond-holders 


on further loans, to be employed in large improvements at 
Cairo ; in protecting the city from overflow, on both sides ; 
in building a Turnpike to the State road from Yincennes to 
St. Louis ; and in opening a canal through the city, to Cache 
river, a distance of six miles, which, by the help of a dam, 
would secure a slack-water navigation of twenty miles fur- 
ther, into a rich agricultural and timber region. 

Under this charter, the Company completed their purchases 
of land, amounting altogether to 9732 3-4 acres, of which 3884 
acres were appropriated to the City of Cairo. The titles 
were investigated by eminent lawyers, and after a careful 
enquiry, and a comparison of prices at Alton, Chicago, and 
other places, with fewer natural advantages, the valuation of 
lots under the Deed of Trust, instead of being $400, per 
front foot, for business lots, and from $50 to $100 per foot 
for house lots, the prices paid in 1837, at Alton, with a 
population of 2500 only, was fixed at $25 per front foot 
for lots of 25 by 120, on streets and squares, and $60 per 
front foot, for all such lots, on levees or landings. 

Of the former there were surveyed 22774 lots at $625, 
and of the latter 1180 at $1500— being 23954 lots, which, 
at the valuation agreed upon, yielded an aggregate of six- 
teen millions, thirty-seven hundred and fifty dollars. 

Other loans were obtained in the progress of improve- 
ment ; and after bonds had been registered under the deed of 
Trust to the amount of =£287,600 sterling, or nearly fourteen 
hundred thousand dollars, of which £155,800, or about seven 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars, had been sold, and while 
the company were negotiatingfor a further loan of £200,000, 
there came on that commercial crisis, which overthrew so 
many of the largest and wealthiest associations of both hem- 
ispheres, and completely paralyzed the business world. 
Thousands of merchant princes, bankers and capitalists were 
shipwrecked, both abroad and at home ; and it being found 
that many of the largest, wealthiest, best-informed and most 
willing of the share-holders, had gone into bankruptcy; that 
nothing could be done with their assignees; and that the 


large outlays upon the city of Cairo, the buildings, levees 
and embankments, amounting, with interest, to about three 
and a half millions of dollars, might become unproductire, 
and all the unfinished works be rendered worthless, if im- 
mediate measures were not taken to secure the zealous and 
hearty co-operation of all parties interested, whether as 
bondholders, mortgagees or share-holders , a proposition was 
made in the month of January, 1845, by the late Darius B. 
Holbrook, President of the Illinois Exporting Company, 
through whom a large proportion of these funds had been 
furnished, for all parties interested to unite in a sale of the 
whole Cairo property, unincumbered, to a new Company, for 
seven hundred thousand dollars, or about one fifth of the 
actual cost, including interest; to divide the whole stock 
into thirty-five thousand shares ; to subscribe for one-half, 
or seventeen thousand five hundred shares himself, as Pres- 
ident of the 111. Exporting Company, and to throw a like 
number of shares into the market, for sale at twenty dollars 
a share. 

This proposition being accepted, and the preliminary ar- 
rangements completed, on the twenty-ninth of September, A. 
D. one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, the whole Cai- 
ro City property was put into the hands of Messrs. Thomas 
S. Taylor, of Philadelphia, and Charles Davis, of New York, 
for the purposes mentioned in their Declaration of Trust, 
hereunto annexed, and marked D. 

Under this arrangement, the beneficial interest in the Cai- 
ro City lands and property, of every description, was divid- 
ed into thirty-five thousand shares, of the par value of one 
hundred dollars each. Certificates, representing twenty 
thousand shares were to be delivered by the Trustees, Tay- 
lor and Davis, to the order of the Illinois Exporting Com- 
pany; certificates representing seven thousand shares, to 
Charles Davis, attorney in fact for certain holders of bonds 
issued by the Cairo City and Canal Company; certificates 
representing three thousand shares to Messrs. Robertson, 
Newbold, Cope and Taylor, Assignees in Trust, for the Bank 


of the United States, and holders of the Cairo City and 
Canal Company's bonds, which were to be surrendered and 
cancelled ; the remaining five thousand shares to be sold by 
the said Taylor and Davis, and the proceeds applied to the 
expenses of the Trust, to the payment of five thousand dol- 
lars, advanced by Samuel Allinson, Esq., and to improve- 
ments of the Cairo City Property. 

It was further stipulated that whenever thereto author- 
ized in writing, by two-thirds of the share-holders in interest, 
the Trustees might enlarge the number of shares, and sell 
them, either at public or private sale, and apply the pro- 
ceeds to further improvements of the unsold Cairo Prop- 

On the 21st of Nov., 1850, ten thousand additional shares 
were authorized, making forty-five thousand in all, thirty 
thousand of which were received at par, to extinguish the lia- 
bilities of the Cairo City and Canal company, and to clear 
off all incumbrances ; while the remaining fifteen thousand 
shares were to be used for the benefit of the Trust, and for 
the improvement and protection of the property. 

Of the whole 10,000 shares authorised to be issued, for 
these purposes, and of the other 5000 shares appropriated 
under the Declaration of Trust, only 8311 are now out- 
standing, and the whole number of shares now entitled to 
representation is but 36,491. 

Under this last mentioned organization it is, that all the 
present share-holders in the C. C. P., now act, and while 
to the bondholders and original cash creditors of the Cairo 
City and Canal Co. the actual cost of a share, with simple 
interest, up to this time, is about 07ie himdred and eighty 
dollars, the cost, with simple interest to the share-holders, 
who bought in at one fifth of the original cost, is only about 
thirty six dollars. 

Yet, a single share actually represents about one lot and 
one-twentieth of a lot, within the City, as originally laid out, 
with a correspondent proportion of the outside territory, 
equal to one and one-half lots more, of 25 feet by 120. 

19 ^t)^" 

The sales within the city had averaged up to January 
last, reckoning from Dec. 23rd, 1853, when the first lot was 
sold, about $400 per lot ; and the assessed value of the lots 
within the city limits in 1857, based upon sales for cash, 
was $1,434,-679. 

Let it be remembered that Cairo is now a Port of entry, 
with a Custom House and a distributing Post-ofiice, for 
which $50,000 were appropriated by Congress at the ses- 
sion of 1856; that building-materials of every kind, and of 
the best quality, are abundant and cheap in the immediate 
neighborhood ; that timber, stone, sand, clay, for all pur- 
poses may be had for the cost of cutting, quarrying, digging 
and transportation ; that lead, iron, zinc, cinnabar and other 
minerals are " lying loose," over a large part of Southern 
Illinois ; and that coal is becoming so plentiful and so cheap, 
that, although in 1857 the 111. Central R. R. Co. only ven- 
tured to calculate on a yearly transportation of sixty-two 
thousand tons, yet they are now carrying nearly five hun- 
dred thousand tons a year ; that we have new roads open- 
ing, and steam-ferries to Missouri and Kentucky, already 
established by ourselves ; and finally, that new railways are 
to be finished and opened for business within the next fol- 
lowing two months at furthest, one of which, the Cairo and 
Fulton R. R., enters Missouri and Mississippi, while others 
to be completed by the first of November, loill bring New 
Orleans within two days of Cairo. 

With all this large property paid for — wholly unincum- 
hered — not liable to assessment, or charge, nor in any way, 
to embarrassment for any length of time by the action of 
Trustees or agents, or by unreasonable or unauthorized ex- 
penditures — or by long continued mismanagement ; with 
sales, under multiplied embarrassments, and continual mis- 
representations, amounting in January last to $670,832.13; 
with bonds and mortgages bearing interest, and rapidly ma- 
turing, to the amount of $342,247.18, just when the last 
great commercial paroxysm passed through the business 
world, there would seem to be little or no ground for ap- 


prehension hereafter ; but, on the contrary, much to hope, 
and more and more every year, if timely measures are taken 
to strengthen the levees and embankments, against the pos- 
sihility of any future overflow ; to secure a just accountabil- 
ity everywhere, and a wise and liberal administration of the 
large Property at stake. 

II. The Present Condition of Cairo. 

That the true condition of Cairo may be understood by 
those who have had no opportunity of judging for them- 
selves, upon the spot, and as eye-witnesses, it may be well 
to advert to the supposed condition of the City at the time 
of the overflow, and for nearly a month afterward. 

Although it has been for many years a common belief 
that Cairo lies ve)'y low, and was little better than a swamp 
or marsh, from the fir st, and not only newspapers, and mag- 
azines, and story books for the million, have been amusing 
themselves with Cairo, year after year, but works of repu- 
tation, such as Lippencott's large Gazetteer, have published 
to the world, upon the authority of these very newspapers, 
and story books " that the situation of Cairo is low and 
subject to frequent inundations, which have retarded the 
growth of the village ;" yet, as a matter of fact, the 
whole of these ten thousand acres lie from thirty, to thirty- 
five feet above low water mark, and the average assumed by 
the engineers engaged, for the basis of their calculations, in 
carrying a levee eight feet high all round the city, a distance 
of seven miles, including the cross levees and high ridge 
running from river to river, is thirty-four feet above low 
water iiiark for the natural surface, bringing the top of such 
eight foot levee, now established, forty-two feet above loiv 
water mark. 

And if this be not sufficient, we have the testimony of 
Mr. George Cloud, the surveyor of Illinois, that he had lived 


for nineteen years, that is, from 1817 to Dec, 1836, within 
twelve miles of Cairo, that he had a perfect knowledge of 
the whole reojion round about, and was well acquainted with 
Cairo and the neighborhood ; that there was no danger of 
overflow, except when the Mississippi and Ohio rose togeth- 
er — a very unfrequent occurrence ; and that even then, the 
water did not rise upon the average three feet above the 
natural hanks, while there were elevations and ridges that 
were never overflowed. 

Next we have the survey of 1837, by Judge Thompson, 
giving the high water mark, and the portions above high 
water mark, in figures, over the whole surface of the city 
plat, showing portions to be one and two feet above the 
highest floods ever known; and others to be from a dead 
level, to six feet below, with here and there depressions, 
most of which have been filled up, or otherwise protected 
since, varying from six to ten feet below. 

In 1838, we have the published opinions of Maj. William 
Strickland and Richard C. Taylor, two Engineers employed 
upon the survey of Cairo, and the Proprietorship, for par- 
ties abroad and at home, in the following words : "From 
the marks on the trees, it is very evident that the highest 
overflow of the waters above the top-surface of the peninsu- 
la, averages from four to five feet, and that some of the 
highest points of the ridges of lands are above the greatest 

This opinion was prepared and published to the world, at 
the time when these gentlemen were laying the foundation 
for a system of defences and improvements, which, but for 
the convulsions that followed in the business world, which 
prevented their being carried out as recommended, would 
have long since made of Cairo, a large, prosperous and 
beautiful City. 

In 1840, when the rivers were higher than they had been 

for eight years before, we have the testimony of Mr. Septimus 

Worsley, who had been sent out by the English interest to 

examine and report upon the situation and defences of Cai- 



ro, that the waters did not reach within two feet of the top 
of the levee, which was unfinished, and though intended to 
enclose about a thousand acres, liad in no place been car- 
ried up to the proposed height : and that, while the waters 
above Cairo were rapidly increasing, the waters round the 
City, after they had attained a certain height, did not rise 
more than one inch a day. 

In 1844, notwithstanding the unfinished condition of the 
embankments, and the unexampled height of the combined 
waters of the Mississippi and Ohio, Cairo was almost the 
only town along the whole Upper Mississippi, not over- 

We have also the unqualified testimony of Judge Thomp- 
son, with that of Messrs. Strickland and Taylor, while they 
were acting together, as Engineers, and representing dif- 
ferent parties, tliat the proposed embankment of eight 
feet upon the level, or forty-two feet above low water mark, 
when finished, would be a sure protection, and might be 
reckoned upon with safety, because, in their judgment, after 
a long continued and laborious calculation, '• all the waters 
of the Western rivers could not raise the flood at Cairo, six 
inches, so long as that vast region round about Cairo, above 
and below, lies so much lower." 

That the late overflow appears to have been owing to 
the long continued and abundant rains through a vast region 
of the Mississippi, and along the sources of the Ohio, with- 
out example in the history of the past : to the insufiiciency, 
and incompleteness of the embankment, over three hundred 
feet of which were suddenly swept away, ivhile the waters 
were not within two feet of the top, which, be it remembered, 
was hardly anywhere np to grade on the Mississippi shore ; 
and not alone to the unexampled rise, and long continued 
pressure of the waters ; judging from the embankments them- 
selves, and from other evidence now to be had, from tradi- 
dition, from the marks on trees and buildings, and from the 
concurrent testimony of aged witnesses in the neighbor- 


Such being the facts of the case, in relation to the height 
of land upon which Cairo is built, and to the common, 
though groundless belief that it lies " loiv,'' and is "subject 
to frequent inundations,^^ let us now look into the history 
of the late overflow. 

On the twelfth of June last, the following paragraphs 
appeared in the St. Louis Republican, and were copied into 
all the leading papers of the day. "St. Louis, June 14. 
Despatches from Cairo state that on Saturday afternoon a 
crevasse opened on the Mississippi side of the town, tlirough 
which the waters poured at a fearful rate, filling up the 
whole space between, and it is now running over the em- 
bankment on the Ohio side about a thousand feet^ 

" The Illinois Central Railroad is washed away on the 
south wing ; a part of the new Hotel fell in on Sunday, 
and the balance is expected to fall during the night. 

" Nearly all the houses are tumbling down, or drifting 
away, or sinking. Scarcely a building in the city is ex- 
pected to withstand the flood. 

" The water is two feet and a half deep in the second 
story of the Taylor House, and is still rising rapidly.^'' 

On the same day the following corroboration appeared 
from Centralia, a station of the III. Central Railroad, about 
112 1-2 miles from Cairo, the head quarters of Mr. Ashley, 
the engineer referred to in the annexed paragraph : 

'•' Centralia, III. June 14. Reports from Cairo arc of a 
most alarming character. The water still is rising, and is 
now running over the Ohio levee in several places. 

" Mr. Ashley, Chief Engineer of the III. Railroad, gives 
the opinion that one foot more rise will sweep Cairo entirely 
away. The DepSt grounds in the highest part of the town 
are covered to the depth of four or five inches." 

The 111. Central R. R. Co. having millions at stake on tho 
reputation of Cairo, and Mr. Ashley being called their 
" chief engineer," though he had charge of a Division only, 
can it be wondered at, that such a declaration, published to 
the world on such authority, should have taken full posses- 


sion of the public mind, or that it should have made its own 
way through the leading newspapers of our country, filling 
the land with consternation, and the distant shareholders 
with dismay? 

On the substance of these paragraphs being communica- 
ted to Mr. Osborn at the interview in New York, as evi- 
dence of Mr. Ashley's unfriendly feeling toward Cairo, and 
his consequent unfitness for the office he held, we were as- 
sured by him, that he had good reason for believing that, in 
some way, another Mr. Ashley, who had been discharged by 
the Railroad Co. for such unfriendly manifestations upon 
complaint made as long ago as 1854, and who was in 
fact the chief engineer, had been mistaken for this Mr. 
Ashley, the Division engineer: and he mentioned among 
these reasons that the person we complained of, had 
manifested very different feelings, and expressed very dif- 
Jerent opinions, in his correspondence, at the very time 
of the overflow; and was so far from agreeing with his 
brother, who had been discharged, " that they were not on 
speaking terms.^^ 

Nevertheless, on arriving at Cairo we found that nothing 
was known or believed there, of the alleged misunderstand- 
ing between the two brothers ; that many good reasons 
were mentioned in justification of the common belief that 
both of the Ashleys were, and long had been, very ill-dis- 
posed toward Cairo, and the interests of Cairo ; and when 
it is added, that, although the present " chief engineer" of 
the III. Central Railroad, as he is called in the paragraph 
quoted, was publicly charged by one of your Sub-Committee, 
with having expressed the opinions therein attributed to 
.him, and with being unfriendly to the interests of Cairo, 
notwithstanding the large interest of his employers, the 111. 
'Central Railroad Co., no contradiction was offered by any of 
ibis friends at the time, nor has any appeared since in the 
newspapers of the day, so far as we know, or have reason 
Tto believe. 

Taking it for granted, that these alarming reports, on 

^ 25 

such authority, and others from St. Louis and Louisville, 
Cincinnati and Chicago, though somewhat exaggerated per- 
haps, were substantially true, we were prepared to find the 
city of Cairo, if not absolutely submerged, or swept away, 
at least in a deplorable condition, wet, unwholesome and 
full of rubbish and filth, and well nigh depopulated. It was 
but reasonable, after making every allowance for exaggera- 
tion, to look for deaths from exposure and sufi"cring; for 
signs of discouragement, for quarrelling and litigation, and 
for a troublesome epidemic following the heats of suinincr, 
if not for the " pestilence that wasteth at noon-day," and for 
clouds of musquitoes, even if the location were not other- 
wise, nor at other times, unhealthy. 

One of your Sub-Committee, Mr. Baldwin, was well ac- 
quainted with Cairo, having been there with Messrs. Strick- 
land and Taylor, of .Philadelphia, in 1838, and almost every 
year thereafter up to 1846; and from time to time, up to 
the spring of 1858, a few weeks before the flood ; yet even 
Mr. Baldwin, whose high opinion of Cairo has been of re- 
cord for twenty years, and long before he had any interest 
in the Proprietorship, as a site, " which would justify the 
raising of a town just there, by filling up in twenty feet of 
water," was not proof against this avalanche of newspaper 
testimony to the disadvantage of the drowned city ; and as 
for Mr. N'eal, who had never been at Cairo, though a share- 
holder from 184:6, perhaps it would be well to let him tell 
his own story, in his own way, that otliers may judge for 
themselves, as to what were the reasonable expectations of 
most persons in the month of July last ; after the city of 
Cairo " had been washed away." 

" I took leave of my family," says he, " on the 19th of July, 
with an idea that I was really undertaking a somewhat dan- 
gerous, and very troublesome duty. I had consulted Dr. Jas. 
M. Cummings, a resident of Cairo for three whole years, 
in 1839, '40, and '41, and through no less than three, of what 
were called " sickly seasons,'" a man of character and truth, 
whose favorable testimony to the uncommon healthiness of 


Cairo, is also of record in letters upon the subject, dated 
March 18, 1845, and December 15, 1846 : and other persons 
deeply interested in the reputation of Cairo, and well ac- 
quainted with the climate, by actual residence many years 
ago, all of whom concurred in urging upon me certain rules 
of diet which were never to be departed from, under any cir- 
cumstances. I was to avoid the night air — the evening air 
— the morning air and the noon day heats; never to go 
abroad in the sunshine, without carrying an umbrella; nor la 
the morning without a cup of good coffee at least, and a bis- 
cuit ; never to drink the waters of the Mississippi unadulera- 
ted — or undiluted — nor those of the Ohio, without qualifica- 
tion ; to have a brandy flask, and other medicines, always at 
hand in a travelling basket ; to carry my own tea and sugar, 
and claret, and raspberry vinegar, and if I would not engage a 
physician, nor a nurse, for the trip, not* to dream of going 
without my wife. I resisted as long as I could ; but yielded 
at last to the urgent solicitations of my friends and family, 
and consented that my wife who was getting frightened, and 
looking unhappy, should share the danger." 

So much for the testimony of others well acquainted 
with Cairo, in other days, and for the preparations of Mr. 
Neal, by their advice. The result will be given hereafter. 
Meanwhile, however, we feel bound to acknowledge here, 
that, although prepared in a measure, by conferences with 
Mr. S. Staats Taylor, at Philadelphia, and at New York, to 
find the city of Cairo in a much better condition, than we 
had been led to expect, from the newspaper paragraphs re- 
ferred to, we were by no means prepared for the simple 
truth, as we saw it for ourselves on reaching Cairo. 

Instead of finding the city damp or muddy, with whole 
acres of stagnant water throwing off pestilential miasmata, 
and covered with unwholesome deposit from the Mississip- 
pi overflow, filling the air with clouds of insects, and unpleas- 
ant smells, we found it, with a few exceptions, dry and clean, 
and absolutely freer from disagreeable effluvia, than any 
other town, city or village, along the way, after leaving Syr- 


Admitting the fact of the overflow, and the great length 
of time a large part of the City had been under water, we 
were astonished to find so little evidence of either fact, 
and so little of what we had otherwise expected to see, af- 
ter making a large allowance for unfriendly feeling, and 
malicious exaggeration. 

There were a few large logs to be found, which had drift- 
ed in from the Mississippi, and were now lying high and 
dry upon some of the back streets ; the fences were gone, 
and the shrubbery and kitchen gardens destroyed ; and 
there were perhaps half a dozen small sheds or out-houses, 
in different parts of the town, either out of place, or tipped 
over ; but within the settled parts of the city, we found in 
all, not more than three-fourths of an acre of ponds or pools ; 
which were not over six inches deep in any place, as might be 
seen by the cattle standing in them, and were fast drying 
away ; so that within three days, their superficial area had 
been diminished one-half. Horses and cows were seen walk- 
ing through them in every direction, without sinking above 
their fetlocks, and without any adhesion of the soil, when 
they lifted their hoofs, thereby showing the strength and 
solidity of the earth, after being softened for weeks ; even if 
the large trees, elm, and cotton wood, and sycamore still 
standing, and the prodigious remains of others, long since 
overthrown, with stumps from four to seven or eight feet 
through, did not clearly establish the fact, that for hundreds 
of years the whole site ot Cairo had been covered with a 
growth, which could not have come up in a shifting, chang- 
ing or unsafe soil. 

Instead of clouds of musquitoes, though there, as every 
where else along the rivers, they were somewhat plen- 
tiful after dark, they were not more troublesome, if more 
abundant, tlian they were found a full month before, in Phil- 
adelphia by Mr. Ncal, at the La Pierre House, one of 
the largest and best Hotels, in one of the broadest streets 
of that city; at the St. Nicholas, in New York, on the last 
day of September, and at the United States Hotel, Boston, 
in the first of October following. 


It may not be amiss to add, for the satisfaction of all in- 
terested, who have had no personal knowledge of Cairo, 
since the drainage and clearing of the outside portion, where 
the waters occupied an area of about four acres, at the time 
of our visit, and were found in some few places two and 
a-half feet deep, that only small portions were motionless, that 
none were stagnant or oftensive, and that all were fast dry- 
ing up, without throwing off any unpleasant or unwholesome 
exhalations, if we might judge by the evidence of our own 
senses, and by the acknowledged general health of the in- 
habitants 5 there being little or no sickness, beyond that 
which is always happening with laborers, after working in 
the hot sun Avithout proper care ; and not a case of inter- 
mittent fever (the common fever and ague,^ that had origin- 
ated within the City ; and by the concurrent assurances of 
people whose first apprehensions had all passed away. 
It has been long understood, upon evidence not to be ques- 
tioned that yellow fever and consumption are both unknown 
at Cairo, except where brought in from abroad ; and it is 
now acknowledged that the common fevers of that region 
are less frequent, and more manageable at Cairo, than at oth- 
er places along the rivers. And " as there is not a swamp 
within eight miles of the city, on the Illinois shore, and 
the rivers being a mile or more in width, Cairo has noth- 
ing to fear from the miasmata of the Kentucky or Missou- 
ri shores ; and as there is generally a refreshing breeze from 
one river to the other ; and a levee running three miles up 
the Mississippi, and about one on the Ohio, and a cross le- 
vee of nearly a mile to unite the two, which had satisfacto- 
rily stood the test of the great rise of both rivers in the 
spring of '44 " — to use the very language of Dr. J. M. Cum- 
mings in 1846, the location of Cairo cannot be unhealthy or 

Nor may it be improper to add, that Mr. Neal, who 
had been so cautioned, and so provided for, not only travel- 
led in the night and all night, on his way, but slept with all 
the windows open every night, while in Cairo — drank freely 


of the excellent Mississippi waters, and occasionally of the 
Ohio, "without adulteration ; refusing to carry an umbrella 
in tlie sun, to wear summer clothing, to go abroad with his 
coat unbuttoned, or to drink any other tea than that which 
was to be found all along on the road — and that neither he, 
nor his wife, had occasion to be sorry for living at Cairo 
just as they would have done at home, in Portland, Me. 

Are not such facts conclusive ? Do they not establish be- 
yond all question the purity of the atmosphere, the goodness 
of the water, the pleasantness of the temperature in midsum- 
mer, and the healthfulness of the location ? But if so — how 
are we to account for the apprehensions of a medical man, 
long a resident of Cairo, and having the highest opinion of 
its general character for health and comfort? Simply by 
remembering that Dr. Cummings lived there from 1839 
to 1841 in what were called three sickly seasons, and be- 
fore the City was fairly under way, since which time the chief 
cause of intermittent fever has been abated by clearing the 
back lands, from river to river, so that the people of Cairo 
are comparatively free from that worst plague of the great 
western world — the fever and ague — and, strangers coming 
to Cairo, after being visited year after year, and in one case 
for nine successive years at St. Louis, have had no return of 
it in Cairo. The particular case referred to here was com- 
municated by the sufferer himself, a member of Mr. S. S. 
Taylor's family. 

That considerable damage had been done to the beauty 
of Cairo, under the levee, is not to be denied. All the 
pretty flower-gardens were destroyed ; the kitchen gardens 
and the shrubbery were not much better off; and a few sheds 
and out-houses, of little or no value to any but the own- 
ers, had been floated, but were fast finding their way back, 
on the common ox-sled, while we were there, and might be 
made as good as new, or better, by the outlay of here and 
there a few dollars. 

In confirmation of this view, we have the declaration of 
Mr. Edwards himself, the agent of the Springfield Company, 


that one hundred dollars would indemnify liim for all his 
losses by the overflow, apart from his interest in the Cairo 
Hotel, though he was rather a large proprietor ; having two 
brick stores, three frame stores, a dwelling-house and other 
landed possessions within the City. 

But many of the comparatively poor, holding their little 
property on lease, or on terms of credit, fast expiring, were 
the greatest sufferers ; and we suggest for the consideration 
of the shareholders whether it would not be wise to make 
some abatement on leasehold property, for the time lost by 
the tenants, and to grant further time to land-holders who 
have not wholly paid for their purchases. 

Most of the gardens may be restored within the next 
following twelvemonth ; and the rest, within two or three 
years, when Cairo may be made, not only one of the busi- 
est, but one of the most attractive, as it is now one of the 
healthiest, and most picturesque, of our western cities. 

Before the overflow of June last, the population of Cairo 
was estimated by the Mayor, Mr. S. S. Taylor, at forty -five 
hundred ; and he reports now, that this number had been les- 
sened about one thousand ; most of whom, being laborers, or 
persons living from hand to mouth, were obliged to go away 
suddenly, and without preparation, to find work elsewhere, 
but will be sure to come back as soon as there is anything 
for them to do ; while others have withdrawn with their 
families, that their buildings might be more thoroughly 
dried and repaired, and others are visiting their friends in 
higher latitudes. A carefully prepared report and compu- 
tation, differing somewhat in the result, will be found of a 
later day in the Appendix. 

But the great body of substantial citizens, property-hold- 
ers and men of business, having a stake in the prosperity 
and reputation of Cairo, are left undiscouraged, and fully 
determined to stand by their possessions ; asking of their 
co-proprietors, the non-residents, and of the Illinois Central 
Railroad Company only this — that they would look to their 
own several interests where they are identical, as men of 


business, foresight and sagacity, and urging them to profit 
by their experience of the last three months ; and believ- 
ing that they, the People of Cairo are in a better condition 
at this moment, than they have ever been before ; since they 
know the worst that can happen, and with the long notice 
they had of the late coming overflow, and must always have 
hereafter, from the nature of things, and from their knowl- 
edge of the vast region round about lying lower than Cairo, 
which must be overwhelmed for hundreds of miles before 
that place can suffer, are abundantly able to protect them- 
selves hereafter, even if the embankments and levees, or 
dykes, constituting the defences of the City, should not be 
completed, and carried up still higher, and greatly strength- 
ened, before another flood, as hereinafter recommended; 
or if at any time hereafter, any portion should be weakened, 
or found untrustworthy. 

Had they not believed these entrenchments to be high 
enough, and perfectly safe, according to all past experience, 
except in the very part which was carried away so suddenly, 
for the reasons already mentioned, their loss would have 
been little more than the interruption of their business at 
the dullest season of the year, the spoiling of a few gardens, 
and the drifting away of perhaps half a dozen worthless 
outbuildings, with a few rods of common pale fencing ; for 
they knew of the long continued heavy rains above, and had 
watched the gradual rise of both rivers, day after day, for 
many weeks before the catastrophe, and had ample time and 
abundant means for self-preservation. 

But now, understanding as they do, from your sub-Com- 
mittee, that comprehensive and efficient measures will be tak- 
en for defending the City from any possible overflow here- 
after, so far as all past experience enables them to judge, 
with the help of geographical and engineering science, and a 
better knowledge of the great Mississippi valley above Cairo, 
which after the swamps and marshes, one hundred miles 
north of Cairo, are surcharged, empties the surplus waters 
through the St. Francis and Black rivers, into the Mississip- 


pi, three hundred miles below Cairo, instead of being dis- 
lieartcned, the people of Cairo are strong with a cheerful 
and hearty confidence in themselves, and in the C. C. Pro- 
prietors ; and propositions for the purchase, or lease, of lots 
for houses and stores were coming in every day after our 
arrival at Cairo, and it was understood that we had come on 
business, by a vote of the shareholders. 

Before leaving this part of our subject, we desire to say, 
moreover, that while the cleanliness of the City would be 
quite remarkable anywhere, the buildings have a neat, com- 
fortable, business air, showing the general habits of the 
population, and their character for intelligence, order and 
thrift ; that many of the stores and warehouses are hand- 
some and large ; that two of those lately built by Gov. Mat- 
tison have cost nearly forty thousand dollars ; and that one 
of them which is intended for a Banking house, would be a 
credit to Philadelphia or New York ; and that investments in 
buildings appear to be not only safe, but profitable. Three 
frame buildings of sixteen by thirty-two feet, built for Mr. 
Edwards, by contract, for $2400 upon two of the twen- 
ty-five foot lots, which cost the owner $1250 each, or $2500, 
the taxes and insurance on which are about sixty dol- 
lars, are under lease for 450 dollars each, or $1350 a year; 
being nearly twenty-nine per cent, upon the outlay. 

Others of the same cost, he says, might be built and let 
immediately upon the same terms, for he has had several 
applications, of late ; and has recently built two brick stores, 
which cost, with the land, $7250, and yield from $1000 to 
$1200 a year, with taxes, and might be rented for more, 
and are constantly increasing in value. 

The flour mill in Cairo, owned by Deshon & Standing 
is one of the best in our country. It is now turning out 
nearly two hundred bbls. a day, and with a small additional 
expense, might furnish three hundred bbls. a day. This flour 
commands the highest price everywhere, and in the New 
Orleans market yields fifty cents a bbl. over the good aver- 
age brands. The wheat which is grown in the neighborhood 


of Cairo, has taken the premium at several State Fairs ; and 
in the London grain market, as well as in our largest home 
market, stand at A No. 1. By a process of continual im- 
provement, and minute economy, Messrs. Deshon & Standing 
have managed to save ten bbls. a day of what has been 
heretofore wholly wasted, not only in other mills, but in 
their own, which at $3,50 per bbl. yields them a clear profit 
or saving, of about ten thousand dollars a year, apart from 
the profits of their regular business, upon the outlay of less 
than $40,000. 

We, your sub-committee, would now refer to the annex- 
ed Report of the Trustees, and of Mr. S. S. Taylor, for an es- 
timate of the value and earnings of the boats, of the build- 
ings and other property belonging to the shareholders, as 
well as for the yearly income and expenditures ; and proceed 
to the next division of our subject. 

III. The Wants of Cairo. 

To make of this new and thriving City all that the Share- 
holders, the Land Proprietors, or the Inhabitants, can rea- 
sonably desire, they need — 

1st, A safe and perpetual barrier against all future en- 
croachment, and overflow, on both sides ; but especially on the 
Mississippi side, where the waters are higher, and swifter, 
the current of the Mississippi being four miles an hour, and 
constantly changing, while that of the Ohio is only about 
one mile an hour, and exceedingly uniform. Already has 
the Mississippi made three different inroads, of small ex- 
tent in the whole, and easily stayed, if the matter be taken 
in hand properly, and at once, but otherwise alarming. No 
time should be lost, in securing the fulfilment of the contracts 
heretofore mentioned with the 111. Central Railroad Co., in 
carrying out a system of drainage long since agreed upon, and 
in providing against the further abrasions of the Mississippi, 


near a portion of the grounds granted to that Company up- 
on the conditions mentioned. 

But in providing for the future, and in reviewing the past, 
it should be constantly borne in mind that Cairo was not 
alone, as will be seen by the following paragraphs, when 
the accumulated waters of June last broke over the whole 
peninsula. The whole nci;^hboring country, above and be- 
low, was overwhelmed, and large portions of territory along 
the banks of the Mississippi were washed away, or obliter- 
ated forever. 

" Our oldest citizens, whose knowledge extends back to 
1815," says Mr. Taylor, the mayor of Cairo, in the New 
York Evening Post of June 17, '58, " agree that this is the 
highest flood ever known here, and I doubt if any ever saw 
it higher." 

" To Charleston, Missouri, twelve miles distant on the 
South, and to Burkville, nine miles north on the line of the 
III. Central Railroad, it is one unbroken sheet of water, in- 
cluding the site of Mound City, which is in about the same 
predicament as Cairo. Our levees, excepting the crevasse, 
about three hundred feet in length, are yet sound and unin- 
jured, and we have no fears that they will not continue so, 
although in some cases the water is running over them. 

From Columbus, a correspondent of the St. Louis Re- 
publican writes, June 12th, " The lines have been run for a 
levee, extending bptween the highlands, along the river from 
the chalk-bank to the iron-banks, which is to be two feet 
above the water of 1815 — the highest ever knoivn^ 

From Centralia, 111., June 14th, a correspondent writes : 
"Passengers are conveyed a quarter of a mile from Mound 
City, now under water, in boats and cars. 

Another correspondent, of June 22nd, writes: "The Cai- 
ro and Fulton Railroad, of Missouri, is afoot and a half 
under water, and is gullied out in several places. The chief 
engineer estimates it will take two months to repair the 


" On the Kentucky side, the bottoms are entirely over- 
Jlowed, and the crops are all destroyed^ 

Ainuidant corroboration of all these facts may be found 
in the leading papers of the day; but these arc enough to 
show that the shareholders of the Cairo City Property, have 
much to be thankful for, in their exemption from the worst 
consequences of the late wide-sweeping devastation. 

By advices just received, from the mouth of the Ohio to 
the Gulf of Mexico, it appears that the people bordering on 
the i\Jississippi, on both sides, are holding public meetings 
upon the great questions arising out of the last overflow. 
Heretofore, a large area of the richest lands in our whole 
country have been protected b}^ dykes or embankments, o\\- 
\j jive feet broad on the top, with a slope of one foot in four 
or five, and but little above supposed high water mark. 
These very slight protections are only about one- third the 
size of our Mississippi levees, and yet they have been suffi- 
cient for securing the rich bottom lands, and cotton and 
sugar plantations of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Ten- 
nessee and Kentucky, from inundation, so that they have 
been steadily advancing in value, year after year, from the 
day these water bulwarks and entrenchments were first 
thrown up. 

'' The levees round Cairo are all stronger and of greater 
magnitude than any others on the river: those opposite 
New Orleans, which had always been sufficient for the pro- 
tection of the Crescent City, being less than one-third 
the size of our Mississippi levee, which is fourteen wide on 
the top, and was only broken through, after the pressure of 
high water, not for days, nor weeks, but for whole months, 
and just when, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi, 
from highland to highland was thirty-seven miles, with 
only Cairo left as a habitation for man." Such is the testimo- 
ny of Mr. Taylor the Mayor, whose very language we have 
sometimes given, without abridgment, or change, in the 
foregoing paragraphs. 

2d. The establishment of a large, handsome Hotel, in 


addition to the Taylor House, calculated to give a reputa- 
tion to the City, and a large business to the railroad, to at- 
tract and retain travellers for pleasure, and men of business, 
who must and will have the best possible accommodations, 
along the whole line of their travel, cost what they may. 
At this moment (August 2nd) there is not a public house in 
Cairo where a traveller can be well accommodated : the Tay- 
lor House being under repair, and the large Brick Hotel, to 
which the Trustees agreed to give sixteen lots of land, worth 
$32,000, when it should be completed and ready for occupa- 
tion, is yet unfinished, about one fourth of the whole front 
having tumbled down, after the earthquake and flood of June 
11th and 12th, and being now but a heap of rubbish. 

By written agreement, this Hotel was to be finished with 
" reasonable diligence ; " and the proprietors bound their 
contractor to have it finished, and the keys put into their 
hands on the first day of November last — thereby giving 
their own interpretation of the words " reasonable dili- 
gence f^ yet seven months after the time fixed by themselves 
for taking possession, the walls were not up ; and now the 
work is abandoned, and all the workmen discharged, leaving 
the unsightly ruins in full view of both rivers, and of all 
the passengers up and down the Mississippi — greatly to the 
disadvantage of the City, it may be supposed, for this dilap- 
idated building occupies a commanding and beautiful posi- 

We were assured by Mr. Edwards himself, the agent of the 
Cairo Hotel Company, that he was offered seven thousand 
dollars a year, on a lease, with abundant security, for the 
building when completed, and that he could have that sum 
or a larger, even now, or at any time hereafter. 

Without such a building, a large part of the advantages, 
belonging to the legitimate business of the Illinois Central 
Railroad Co. will be lost ; and as the President declared in 
July, at the time of the interview with him, that the losses 
of their Company by the interruption of business at Cairo, 
were fifteen hundred dollars a day ; and that their receipts 


from Cairo last year were one hundred and seventy-seven 
thousand dollars, it will be seen at once how large a stake 
that wealthy, and heretofore thriving Association have in the 
welfare, and comforts, and reputation of Cairo. 

Instead of avoiding Cairo, or hurrying through at all 
hours, by night and by day, or sending their freight by oth- 
er channels, where they may not be willing to go themselves, 
the men of business, and the men of leisure, would undoubt- 
edly prefer Cairo, to any other halting place between St. 
Louis and Chicago, or Detroit. 

3d. Arrangements are greatly needed for pumping out 
the waters that fall in the rainy season, twice a year, when 
the rivers are oftentimes too high for the natural drainage. 

4th. A large, handsome and safe D^p6t instead of a 
rough shed or the open air, for passengers and freight^ 
bearing a just proportion to the vast business heretofore 
done at Cairo, and capable of enlargement hereafter, as other 
roads now opening, become tributary to the 111. Central K. 
R. through Cairo ; freight being just now, and ever since the 
destruction of the large freight house, four hundred and fifty 
feet long, both unsheltered and unsafe, in a wretched frame 
building, infested with rats, and exposed to other depreda- 
tions, which business men will not readily put up witli, if it 
can be helped, or avoided, cost what it may to go elsewhere. 

5th. The paving provided for in the contracts between 
the Trustees of the C. C. P., and the 111. Central Railroad 
Co., ought to be finished in front of the lands granted to 
that company, whereby the largest abrasion, and by far the 
most dangerous on the Mississippi side, may be arrested at 
once, and forever, as the truest economy for them, and most 
advantageous for all parties. 

6th. The levees and embankments all round the city must 
be raised and strengthened, as promised by the 111. Central 
R. R., in consideration of the large grants of land, within 
and about the city — the vast privileges conceded, and the 
amount of Cairo City Stock transferred to the Directors, 


whatever may he the cost — and whoever may be justly an- 
swerable therefor, upon final adjudication. 

These improvements once entered upon, and carried for- 
ward with energy, and in good faith, cannot fail to show, that 
up to a certain point, the people of Cairo, the Property- 
holders of Cairo, the non-resident Proprietors, the Share- 
holders, and the 111. Central R. R. Co., have not only a com- 
munity of interest, but an identity of interest, to the amount 
of millions in the prosperity of Cairo ; and that even where 
these interests appear to diverge, so as to be no longer ab- 
solutely identical, they are never, and can never be adverse, 
nor to any serious amount, irreconcilable ; for whatever 
strengthens Cairo, strengthens all these different parties; 
whatever enhances the value of the lands, or lots of 
Cairo, adds to the value of all proprietorships round 
about, and by so much will enlarge the business of the Rail- 
road Co. ; and whatever increases the business of the Rail- 
road Co. adds to the value of the lands at Cairo, and of all 
the farming and settling lands along the road, or within 
striking distance, for hundreds of miles, and it seems clear 
to demonstration that no one of these parties could be 
profited in any way, by interfering with, or lessening the 
profits of his associates in their large and generous under- 
taking, or by abridging the rights of his fellows. And these 
considerations bring us to — 

lY. The course of action to he recommended, for secur- 
ing a steady and prosperous growth to the City, and a cor- 
respondent advantage to the Shareholders, the Land-Pro- 
jprietors and the People of Cairo. 


Arrangements having already been made with the Illinois 
Central R. R. Co., and gangs of men being now at work, 


repairing, enlarging and strengthening the levees and em- 
bankments, which surround the City, we have only to submit 
our views in relation to what must be done, as we believe, 
together with our reasons for such belief. 

At the suggestion of Mr. Nichols, one of the Executive 
committee, communicated to us by Dr. Wright, of Boston, 
Mr. Nichols, it seems having had great experience in the 
construction of canals, dykes and embankments, for the New 
England Factories, we, your sub-committee, having no time 
for consultation with our associates, took it upon ourselves 
to authorise Mr. S. S. Taylor, to furnish the contractor of 
the Illinois Central R. R. Co., Mr. Thrupp, with a sufficient 
quantity of oak plank, varying from ten to sixteen feet in 
length, ten inches wide, and three inches thick, for the sheet 
piling or boxing of such portions of the embankment, as 
had been greatly damaged, or wholly carried away — leaving 
the question of reimbursement to be settled hereafter. 

Mr. Nichols recommended two inch plank, ten feet long 
and twelve inches wide, to be tongued and grooved ; but, as 
we found Mr. Thrupp well acquainted Avith the business, 
and believing it would be a very laborious and costly job to 
trench the embankments, which needed only to be raised 
and strengthened : and that a two inch plank, tongued and 
grooved could not be driven, but must be set where the 
matching could be kept free all the way, before being cov- 
ered up, we consented to the changes above mention- 
ed, which enables the contractor to drive them to any 
required depth, and secure them by what is called a shoe ; 
each plank being cut away at the bottom from side to side, 
and aslant, so that by the very action of the driver it is forced 
upon the next plank, and there held fast, while the tops are 
kept in place by a heavy top rail spiked to the sheeting. 

Believing that this experiment, properly conducted, and 
approved by the contractor himself as the best, because the 
safest and cheapest of all defences, not only against the 
pressure of the waters, but against leakage, or " seapage,'' 
but against every form of malice or mischief, neglect, or 


oversight, -would secure the approbation of the 111. Central 
Railroad Co., through their President and Board of Direct- 
ors, we took upon ourselves the responsibility of directing 
the purchase of the plank needed for the crevasses, without 

Should the result be satisfactory and conclusive, the de- 
fences of Cairo may be completed within a short period, 
and maintained for hundreds of years perhaps, at a very 
moderate outlay, compared with what has been heretofore 
apprehended ; since a twenty feet embankment, or even 
less, with the pile sheeting above mentioned, and covered 
with two feet of earth, would be safer and stronger, than a 
forty feet embankment built in the usual way, without 
the planking, which may be regarded as well nigh imperish- 
able, when made water-tight, and covered up in the way 

We have the pleasure of adding a carefully prepared es- 
timate of the cost, so far as the sheet piling authorised by 
us along the crevasses, and the expenses of labor and ma- 
chinery are concerned. 

" The sheet piling of the embankment in the crevasses 
will require about 60,000 feet of oak timber costing about 
$960, and it will cost about $500 to drive it," says Mr. S. 
S. Taylor, in a letter of Aug. 13th., " and for the machine to 
drive it, and the nails," he adds, " about $500 more ; " the 
engineer himself, Mr. Thrupp, estimates the whole cost will 
not exceed $2000, and probably not $1800,- and this, be it 
observed, is the whole expense for the plank sheeting of all 
the crevasses. 

At the last interview between the President of the III. 
Central Railroad Co, and one of your sub-committee, Sept. 
9th, — Mr. Baldwin — the latter was assured by him, that the 
Engineer of the 111. R. R. Company had been directed by 
him to make a computation of the cost of raising the em- 
bankments two feet above the old level, which was forty- 
two feet above the point agreed upon, by the engineers of 
both parties, for low water mark, as appears by the monu- 


ment there established ; and if the expenses were not too 
Large, he would direct so much at least to be done forth- 

The President of that company also desired, that when 
the sheet piling, already undertaken, should be finished, an 
account of the expenses might be sent in to him, when he 
would lay it before the Board, and recommend that it be al- 
lowed and paid by their company as a just and proper claim. 

But, inasmuch as the estimate since obtained from ^/le/r En- 
gineer, Mr. Ashley, of the cost for enlarging and strength- 
ening all the embankments and levees, round the city, carries 
up the cost to $147,000 — which is far beyond their highest 
calculations, and nearly double that of our Engineer's, he 
would not venture to recommend this great measure, until 
the R. R. Co. are out of the hands of their Assignees. 


How the abrasions and encroachments of the Mississippi, 
upon small portions of the City land, are to be arrested, is 
a question to be well weighed. The waters are from thirty 
to forty feet in depth, at a little distance from the shore, 
and the banks, in many places, are washed away under- 
neath. Many different plans have been suggested, and are 
now under consideration. Loose cobble stones are used 
along the line of railways and canals in New- York, and 
upon the Rhine, with entire success : wicker-work and hedg- 
es of willow, the Osage-orange and thorn, elsewhere : but 
we need more information, and very careful estimates, which 
we have not yet been able to obtain, before we would ven- 
ture to recommend any other course, than that which has 
been tried as an experiment by Mr. S. S. Taylor, with large 
trees anchored by stones. All we can say further is, that 
something must be done without delay, or the cost may be 
largely increased, and a portion of the levee itself be en- 
dangered anew. 


As early as 1838, Messrs. Strickland and Taylor, Engin- 
eers, employed by a concurrence of Proprietors abroad and 
at home, foreseeing, and wishing to provide against, this 
gi'eat evil, which is becoming more and more serious, if not 
alarming, every year, united in declaring that " the Missis- 
sippi two and a half miles above the junction of the Ohio, 
jioios rapidly through a very deep channel in its loioest 
stages, and makes encroachments on its banks by under- 
washing the earth ; which, in many places for the extent of 
a mile, is in an overhanging and perpendicular position ; 
but this abrasion of the banks may be easily prevented, by 
removing the overhanging masses of earth, and the heavy 
forest trees growing near the margin of the river, and hy 
the construction of a wing dam projected at the turn of 
the stream above." 

"The greatest inroad of the Mississippi, on the bank 
where the levee is built," says Mr. S. Staats Taylor, Sept. 
16th, '58, " is about 1300 feet in width. Above the levees, 
the greatest abrasion is about 2500 feet. This," he adds, 
" is the whole abrasion, since the first surveys were made by 
government about the year 1807. At the point where the 
levee fell in last fall, two hundred and forty feet of the 
abrasion had occurred since 1851," being less than thirty- 
five feet a year. 

Mr. S. Staats Taylor, under date of August 13th, says, 
that " probably the expenditure of ten thousand dollars 
would now be required for the protection of the Mississip- 
pi bank ; and that the cost vrould be about the same, wheth- 
er it were done by wing dams, or by a sea wall, as it would 
require about the same amount of stone." 

Under the circumstances, therefore, we are disposed to 
recommend that a per centage on all the sales of land here- 
after in Cairo, be set aside as a perpetual fund for this par- 
ticular purpose, and for maintaining all the defensive works 
of the City. If this be done, and the fact be widely pub- 
lished, it would have a wholesome effect upon the reputa- 
tion of Cairo, both at home and abroad. 



The Proprietors of the New Hotel having met with a 
succession of disappointments, disasters and interruptions, 
which but for their uncommon self-reliance, might have put 
a stop, and forever, to their undertaking, are desirous of an 
arrangement with the Cairo City Proprietors. 

Instead of expending only $32,000, according to their 
first calculations, for a large, handsome, well finished Public 
House, they have expended over $54,000, including about 
$12,000, lost by their contractors, and the building they 
have begun, is not only unfinished, but so unsafe, that the 
walls began to give way soon after they were put up, and 
a portion of the front, measuring forty feet, and running 
back about one hundred feet, fell in ruins on the first day of 
the flood. 

By the correspondence hereunto annexed, and marked E., 
it will be seen that the Cairo City Hotel Proprietors claim 
of the C. C. Proprietors indeJinity, with what show of reason 
or propriety, it may be well to enquire. For ourselves, we 
must acknowledge that we can see no just grounds for the 
claim. Apart from the fact, that there is no warranty against 
flood or fire, in the deeds, and no privity between the parties ; 
that opinions are not representations, in judgment of law; 
that the parties complaining were acquainted with Cairo, and 
able to judge for themselves, upon every point raised in the 
papers referred to, having the whole past history of Cairo 
before them — the Deeds of Trust, and the Contracts with the 
111. Central R. R. Co., we are assured, and have good reas- 
on to believe, that the foundation walls were insufficient 
from the first, and openly declared so to be, by competent 
judges ; that soft bricks were used, and being overloaded, 
they settled with their own pressure ; that the brick walls 
were set on the outer edge of the foundation walls, instead 
of being set in the middle thereof, and were not properly 
interlocked, or bonded together, at the angles where they 
broke ofi"j that portions began to give way, crack and settle, 


and were out of line for months before the flood ; that they 
were propped and braced very soon after they were laid ; 
that an earthquake happened on Saturday morning before 
the flood of June 12th, and that a portion of the building, 
which afterwards fell, was seen to vibrate several inches at 
the top, during the earthquake. Most of these facts are 
not to be questioned : for the props, and walls, and soft 
bricks, and bad workmanship, are all in sight, and continue 
to tell their own story. 

Nevertheless, after much careful investigation, we are in- 
clined to believe that the danger is passed, and that the 
walls now standing are not unsafe ; and we are led to this 
conclusion from the fact, that no settling or cracking has 
appeared since the overflow ; and that the walls which were 
out of plumb, and shored up, soon after they were built, 
have not changed for the last four months, according to the 
admissions of Mr. Edwards, the agent of the Cairo City- 
Hotel Company. 

The Springfield Proprietors, represented by him, will do 
nothing more, he says, until they have a reply to certain 
communications made by them, to Mr. S. Staats Taylor, your 
agent at Cairo, and to the Trustees in June and July last, 
already referred to, and marked E. in the Appendix. 

It would appear from these letters, and from another 
written by Mr. N. Edwards, Agent for the Cairo City Pro- 
prietors, as well as for the Cairo City Hotel Proprietors, 
June 17th and Aug. 7th, '58, that the Springfield Associa- 
tion claim to have disbursed for land purchases and build- 
ings, over $318,000— of which from $150,000 to $200,000 
have been expended upon fifty-one houses, including the 
New Hotel, in Cairo ; and that the Springfield Proprietors, 
and their associates, pay about one tenth of the taxes lev- 
ied upon the whole city of Cairo. 

We would acknowledge therefore, that, under all the cir- 
cumstances, and without regard to the legal questions in- 
volved, these large Proprietors are entitled to great consid- 
eration, and should be liberally dealt with j and while we 


would urge as a matter of great importance, the earliest 
possible establishment of the Cairo City-Hotel, or of some 
other large, handsome and convenient public house, we can- 
not believe that any serious difficulty lies in the way of a 
satisfactory arrangement with the Springfield Proprietors, 
nor that, with a full understanding of their common interest, 
there need be any further delay, in carrying through their 

Since the above was prepared, arrangements have been 
entered into, under a vote of the Shareholders, which prom- 
ise to be altogether satisfactory, as will be seen by the 
minutes of their meeting July 29th, when this Report was 
read and all the recommendations adopted. 


A fall of about seven and a half feet to the half mile, 
each way, from the centre of the city to the river, was al- 
lowed by the Engineers in their joint calculations, though, 
by building culverts and sewers, it might hereafter be in- 
creased to ten feet each way, or twenty feet to the mile, and 
has proved sufficient so far, except when the rivers were 
very high, and above the mouths of the sewers, — being ten 
times greater than that of Chicago, and altogether more 
favorable than that of Detroit, and many other places now 
healthy and prosperous. 

We have had under consideration a plan proposed by the 
general Agent, Mr. S. S. Taylor, for ridding the City of the 
waters that are sometimes found, after heavy rains, in the 
lowest part of the grounds, when the rivers are too high 
for the natural drainage. He proposes to drain from one 
collection to another, and then to use a pump, with a steam- 
engine, which might be employed for other purposes, when 
no longer wanted for pumping. There being no necessity 
for immediate action, however, and your sub-committee not 
having been furnished with estimates for a proper decision, 
we must leave the subject open for further enquiry. 



The large Freight House and Passenger D^pSt of the HI. 
Central R. R. Co. destroyed by fire on the month of No- 
vember 1857, was four hundred and fifty feet long by one 
hundred in width, well timbered, and faithfully built, and 
cost over $60,000. But an offer has been made by a con- 
tractor well acquainted with the business, to put up another 
as good in every particular, for $36,000, materials and la- 
bor being much lower now, than they were when the first 
was built. 

Why the proposal was not accepted, we are not informed ; 
but a belief has gone abroad throughout the whole neigh- 
borhood, sanctioned, it is said, by some of the younger em- 
ployes of the III. Central R. R. Co., that no other Freight 
House or Passenger Ddp3t will ever be built at Cairo — 
neither being required, in the judgment of these young gen- 

It is for the President of that sagacious and wealthy As- 
sociation, to put a stop to these wicked, foolish and mis- 
chievous reports, and to the evil consequences likely to fol- 
low far and wide, wherever people are interested in the rep- 
utation or business of Cairo, lest the freight, produce and 
passengers of the great tributary region, which had but be- 
gun to pour into their treasure-house at Cairo, may find 
their way through other channels, to a market, where they 
will be better sheltered, and more generously welcomed. 
But nothing short of resolute and immediate action will 
satisfy the people interested ; or silence eaves-droppers and 


It has been even said by the St. Louis papers, and with 
a parade of authority — which is not to be wondered at, 
perhaps, — that the 111. Central R. R. Co. had serious 


thoughts of transferring the ter^ninus from Cairo to 
Mound City, and this, notwithstanding the plain language, 
and clear conditions of the Charter itself; the enormous 
outlay of that Company in and about Cairo ; the munificent 
consideration, and great advantages granted to them by the 
Cairo City Proprietors, and the utter impossibility of ever 
making Mound City, by any amount of outlay, what Cairo 
now is, and ever will be, for uninterrupted summer and win- 
ter navigation — the shifting bars at Cache river, and the 
accumulation of ice every winter, along that shore of the 
Ohio, being impassable barriers for a good part of the year, 
to the larger boats of both rivers. 

We do not believe that any serious difference of opinion 
could well exist upon these, and other kindred subjects, of 
common interest, between the Trustees and the 111. Central 
R. R. Co., if they had all the facts before them, and were 
fully assured of what is known to be true with regard to 
these malicious reports, and their industrious circulation by 
a rabble of newspaper writers, alike unprincipled and 
shameless ; and they hope to see them contradicted by that 
Company in a way not to be misunderstood. A short para- 
graph, with a word of admonition to their employes, may 
be sufficient. 


As to the paving mentioned among the wants of Cairo, 
we have reason to believe that from 15,000 to 20,000 dol- 
lars might be expended, with advantage, upon the slope along 
the Ohio levee, and judging by what has been lately done 
or promised, and by what is now doing by the Illinois C. 
R. R. Co., notwithstanding the heavy pressure they have 
had to bear up against, in common with many of the largest 
and wealthiest associations of our day, that what is need- 
ed, and acknowledged to be needed by both parties, for 
strengthening the position of Cairo, so far as that Compa- 
ny are interested, will be undertaken at once, or at no dis- 


tant day in a liberal temper, and carried out in good faith; 
and this we still hope, although intimations have lately 
reached us, while our Report was under consideration, that 
the President of that Company is taking new ground up- 
on the great questions involved, and either denying their li- 
ability, or greatly qualifying it, for reasons which do not ap- 


Perhaps, among the acknowledged, and deeply felt wants 
of Cairo, wc ought to have mentioned religious privileges, 
and medical aid. "With three different places of worship, 
Methodist, Catholic and Congregational, or Presbyterian, 
there were no services in two, at the time of our visit ; and 
the materials brought in, for building an Episcopal church, 
now greatly wanted, and for which land had been given by 
the Trustees, of the C. C. P., were lying near it unappro- 
priated. K a licentiate, or missionary, could be sent to 
Cairo, he might be assured of a hearty welcome, and in due 
time, " if he faint not," of a harvest, and perhaps an abund- 
ant harvest; and a young, intelligent, well trained physician, 
with reasonable desires, would find there pleasant compan- 
ionship — good social position — a profitable business, and a 
comfortable home. 


There yet remain three or four other subjects of interest, 
which it may be proper to mention, though it may not be in 
the power of this committee to recommend immediate ac- 
tion thereupon ; yet, inasmuch as they believe the time to 
be drawing near, when they must all be seriously considered, 
and promptly acted upon, they ought not to be wholly over- 
looked, under this commission. 

The first is, that of raising some of the streets to a level 


witli the embankments, building culverts, and paving, at a 
cost equalling, if not exceeding, ten dollars a foot for the 
frontage of lots benefitted, according to the plan proposed 
by Messrs. William Strickland and Richard C. Taylor, Esq. 
was in 1838 ; or in some cases only twenty, instead of eighty 
feet in width, as others have suggested ; all the earth re- 
quired being at hand on the banks of the Ohio and Mississ- 
ippi, which by being reduced from a slope of one to five feet 
a distance of forty-two feet, so that the outside edge of the 
levee should begin two hundred and ten feet from tlie river 
bank at low water — would not only furnish all the earth 
wanted for the embankments, but also for twelve principal 
streets, eighty feet wide, and eight feet above the natural 
surface of the ground, on each area of half a mile square. 
That such an improvement would be well received, and prof- 
itable, may be inferred from the fact that Mr. Edwards, 
the Springfield agent, proposes to give one-half of his lots, 
to have the other half so improved. 

One great advantage to be calculated upon with certain- 
ty, beyond that of raising the streets, and greatly enhancing 
perhaps of doubling, the value of building lots, thus furnish- 
ed with under ground, or cellar stories, according to the pro- 
posal of Mr. Edwards himself, would be, that by the adop- 
tion of the slope of one to five, or even a little less, if re- 
quired, a great body of earth now in a vertical position, 
would be cut off from the brow of the hill, and the disposi- 
tion to slip or slide would be entirely removed ; the great 
body of water would then lie on this slope or inclined bank ; 
and in times of freshets, the tendency of the waters would 
he to consolidate, instead of abrading the shores, as they 
now do through the wholecourse of the river. Such was 
the calculation, and such the reasoning, of these gentlemen 
in 1838, and all experience fromthat day to this, in carrying 
out their recommendation, has but strengtiiened the confi- 
dence of all who are acquainted with the subject. 



We would also recommend the establishment of a ma- 
rine railway, which, with five thousand steamboat arrivals 
in a year, would bring a large and profitable business to the 


And, that with the fifty thousand dollars already appropriat- 
ed by Congress, a building for the Custom House and Post of- 
fice, be immediately begun, and so built, that it may hereaf- 
ter be enlarged, as the wants of Cairo may require, without 
waiting for further appropriations : 


That measures be take a forthwith, to relieve Cairo from 
the County tax, already amounting to forty cents on a hun- 
dred dollars, or four dollars on a thousand, which other 
towns, having no better claims to exemption, are not sub- 
jected to : 


That application be made without further delay, for a 
session of the U. S. District Court, to be held at Cairo ; 
it being understood that the Judge of that Court himself, 
would be in favor of such an arrangement : 


And that a system of retrenchment, of liberal and wise 
economy, and above all, perhaps, of a just and sure account- 
ability, be adopted ; together with certain restrictions upon 
sales to non-residentS; and upon the kinds of building to be 


The expenses of the Cairo office, apart from the salary of 
the agent, Mr. S. S. Taylor, and other expenses, arc about 
$1600, for watchmen and clerk; "but the expenses of the 
Engineering Department," he says under date of August 13, 
will be very much reduced, after the 1st prox., by the dis- 
charge of the engineers, at three thousand two hundred and 
fifty dollars per year, and two law agents at Cairo, receiv- 
ing thirty-two hundred dollars a year. Other changes, it is 
thought may be made, with advantage to the Trust, by con- 
solidating the Philadelphia and New York offices, which they 
hereby recommend to be done without further delay. 

15. OP THE citizens' MEETING AT CAIRO, AUG. 6, 1858. 

And now the Committee have only to add, that, after con- 
sultation with Mr. S. Staats Taylor, it was thought proper 
to call a meeting of the inhabitants of Cairo, on Friday 
evening, August 6th, in front of the Mayor's office, with a 
view to the full understanding of the great questions at 

The meeting was large, for the population, and very qui- 
et ; and the addresses of your sub-committee, together with 
their explanations and assurances, in behalf of the Sliare- 
holders and Proprietors, were well received. 

It was stated that Shareholders to the amount of nearly 
two millions and a half, at the par value of the stock, were 
assembled in Philadelphia, on the 15th of July, where they 
chose an Executive Committee of six, who afterwards chose 
from their number two, as a Sub-Committee, to visit Cairo 
in person, look into the condition of the City, and tlie wants 
of the People, and report at the next yearly meeting, on 
on the 29th of September. 

The People of Cairo were encouraged to believe, that, it 
they were faithful to themselves, the Trustees, and Share- 
holders, and Proprietors, were determined to pursue a libc-^ 
ral course of action, and they might consider the C. C. P. 
pledged, toThefull amount of all their interest in Cairo, to 


carry out whatever they believed to be for the advantage 
of all parties ; and the meeting ended at last, with mutual 
congratulations, and assurances, that Cairo should not be 
left to the guardianship of treacherous friends, or unprinci- 
pled foes ; but to the watchful care of those who had some- 
thing at stake, in her reputation and welfare. 

All which is respectfully submitted, 


JOHN NEAL, > Sub-Commtttee. 

And also by — 

CHAS. MACALISTER, of Philadel'a, Pa., 
HARVEY BALDWIN, of Syracuse, N. Y., 
JOSIAH RANDALL, of Philadelphia, Pa., 
LUTHER C. CLARK, of New York City, 
LYMAN NICHOLS, of Boston, Mass., 
JOHN NEAL, of Portland, Me., 

C. C. P. Office, ) 

Philadelphia, Sept. 29, 1858. 5 

\ Committee. 



New York, July loth, 1858. 

To the President, Directors, and Company of the Illinois Central 
Railroad Company : 

The recent inundation at Cairo has particularly directed 
the attention of the Trustees of the Cairo City Property to their 
agreements with the Illinois Central Railroad Company, relative 
to the construction and maintenance of levees or protective em- 
bankments around the City of Cairo. 

At the time of making those agreements, the Trustees under- 
stood, and have ever since understood, and have uniformly and 
repeatedly been advised by various counsel, that those agreements 
were on the part of your Company, not only a legal undertaking 
to construct levees or protective embankments, to the extent and 
in the manner prescribed in said agreements, but were also a con- 
tinuing and perpetual legal undertaking, to maintain the same af- 
ter they had been constructed. 

The Trustees have received, both from their beneficiaries, and 
from purchasers of lands at Cairo, very many expressions of re- 
gret thut the levees and protective embankments have proved iu- 


sufficient for the purpose of tlieir construction, and very many 
statements of great actual and prospective loss and damage to 
such beneficiaries and purchasers, and very many inquiries wheth- 
er the Illinois Central Railroad Company had performed their 
agreements before mentioned. Their beneficiaries have communi- 
cated to the Trustees the opinion of said beneficiaries, that ihe 
duty of the Trustees to said beneficiaries required them to de- 
mand, and by all means in their power to enforce, a full and con- 
tinual performance of said agreements, and urgently requested 
the Trustees to give immediately, and in the future to continue to 
give their attention to this matter. 

Without now adverting to any omissions in the past, the recent 
inundation has done much damage to the levees and embankments, 
which under said agreements it is the duty of your Company to 
repair. The Trustees have a telegram from Mr. S. S. Taylor, 
dated at Cairo 6th inst. informing them that the sewers were all 
open and a portion of the city dry, so that work on the levees and 
embankments could be resumed. 

The Trustees do hereby, in conformity to the requests of 
their beneficiaries, and in assertion of their rights under said 
agreements, request the President and Directors of the Illinois 
Central Railroad Company to repair the damage which has been 
done, and also to perform at once whatever has been omitted that 
is required to be performed, under said agreements, for the con- 
struction and maintenance of levees and protective embankments 
around the City of Cairo. 

When the Trustees consider the importance of the performance 
of these agreements to the Company itself, but much more, when 
they consider the almost innumerable and the very heavy liabili- 
ties to which the Company is needlessly exposed, by every omis- 
sion to perform agreements of such general and public concern, 
the Trustees can scarcely believe that the President and Directors 
of the Company will delay unnecessarily, or even voluntarily ne- 
glect to do, all that the Company has by 'said [agreements under- 

Very Respectfully, 




Office of the Ill's Central R. R. Co., > 
New York, 15th July, 1856. / 

Charles Davis, Esq., 

Trustee Cairo City Property, 

Sir: — 

I have to acknowledge your letter of the 13th, and 
have advice that we have a large force at -work upon the embank- 
ment and trestle south of Cache River, and from the last advices 
from Cairo, confidently expect to hear of the trains reaching that 
point to-morrow. 

It is the intention of this Company to repair the damage occa- 
sioned by the late freshet to the works at Cairo, so far as is incum- 
bent upon it under the contracts with your Company. I am not 
aware of any omission in the performance of the contract, and do 
not understand that clause of your letter, which requests this 
Company to perform at once whatever has been omitted that is- 
required to be performed under said Agreement for the construc- 
tion and maintenance of Levees and protective embankments 
around the City of Cairo. 

Very respectfully, 




Office of the Ill's C. R. R. Co., 
New York, 22d July, 1858. 

Chas. Davis, Esq., Trustee, 

or S. S. Taylor, Esq., Agent Cairo City Property, 

Dear Sirs : — 

I am desirous to meet the views and wishes of your 
Shareholders, but the only difficulty is the ready money. Capt. 
McClellan has decided to accept, if not already done, the proposi- 
tion of Mr. Edwards, to whom the price of the unfinished work 
■was referred, payable $5,000 upon the first day of September, and 
the balance (about 86,000) on the 1st day of December. If you 
will be good enough to postpone these payments until the 15th of 
January, I will at once give directions to have a force make the 


repairs to the Levees and embankments -witli all practicable dis- 

Yours resp'y, 



Office of the C. C. P., 78 Merchants' Exchange, ) 
New York, July 22, 1858. \ 

During the conference to-day with Wm. H. Osborn, Esq., Pres- 
ident of Illinois Central Rail Road Company, Mr. S. S. Taylor 
suggested that the protective embankments at Cairo, should be 
twenty feet wide on the top, the slope on each side one foot in 
five and two feet higher than the present embankment, when Mr. 
Osborn promised to construct them in accordance with the sug- 



On a second interview with Mr. Osborn, he said that he did not 
intend these as conditions — he only meant to say that the Bank 
should be repaired with all possible dispatch, that in his opinion 
it should be done as proposed by Mr. Taylor, viz : 20 feet wide on 
the top, to slope 1 foot in 5, and to be raised 2 feet higher, and 
that he would so recommend it to the Board. 



Office of the Caiko City Pkofekty, ) 
N. Y., July 22, 1858. ) 

"Wm. H. Osbokn, Esq., 

President Illinois Central R. R. Co., 
Dear Sib : — 

I have received your favor of this date, addressed to 
myself and S. S. Taylor, Agent, containing certain proposals in 


relation to the reconstruction of the Levees at Cairo, which I 
hereby accept. 

Very resp'y yours, 





Cairo, Ill's., Oct. 13, 1857. 
"W. A. Osborne, Esq., 

Pres't Ills, a E. E. Co., Chicago, Ills, 

Dear Sir ; — 

We would call your attention to the 3d Section of the 2d 
agreement made May 31, 1855, between your Company and ourselves, 
and inform you that the protective embankment alluded to in that sec- 
tion will require extensive repairs at one point, or to be renewed in 
part, before another high stage of water occurs in the INIississippi 
River. I enclose a map exhibiting the present position of that em- 
bankment, and the point at which it is necessary that it should be 
maintained, and would remark that in its present condition, a consid- 
erable portion of the property wnthin our levees will be subject to 
inundation at the first high water. 

I would suggest that our present Engineer, Mr. Arnold Syberg, 
is highly accomplished and efficient, and that he will be happy at 
any time to advise with and assist your engineer, or any one else, 
you may designate to attend to the work. 

We are. Very Respectfully, Your Ob't S'v'ts, 

THOS. S. TAYLOR, \ Trustees of Cairo 
CHAS. DAVIS, \ City Property, 


AgH Sf Att'y, in fact. 



Office op the Cairo City Property, ) 
78 Merchants' Exchange, New York, July 22, 1858. ) 

Chas. Davis, Esq , 

Dea?' Sir : 

In reply to your inquiry as to the size the 
protective embankment at Cairo should be made, so as to fully sub- 
serve the purposes for which it is intended, I would state, that in my 
opinion, an embankment twenty (20) feet wide on the top, with a 
slope on each side of one foot perpendicular to five (or even four) 
feet horizontal, would be sufficiently strong to resist the pressure of 
any water that could be brought against it, provided it was properly 
constructed. The late high water at Cairo has demonstrated that 
the levees are not high enough, and to make them safe in this par- 
ticular they should be at least two (if not three) feet higher. — 
Where the levees were up to grade, the water in the Ohio was with- 
in one foot seven and a half inches of the top of the levee, and on 
the Mississippi side, it was still higher, bringing it within a very few 
inches of the grade. 

I remarked above that the embankment of the size specified would 
be sufficient, if properly constructed. I have reason to believe that 
the embankment at the place where it broke was rendered weak and 
insecure, by logs being buried in it or under it, and a considerable 
portion of the new protective embankment, both on the JNIississippi 
and Ohio Rivers, was constructed without the natural surface being 
properly prepared by grubbing and plowing, so as to allow the arti- 
ficial embankment to amalgamate and firmly combine with the nat- 
ural ground. From a neglect to do this, the water during the late 
high water percolated, and found a passage in many places in con- 
siderable quantities between the artificial embankment and natural 
ground, its passage being facilitated by the small stumps and roots 
remaining in the natural ground. This neglect to properly prepare 
the ground existed at the time of building the new levee on the Mis- 
sissippi last winter, and the ground was not only not grubbed or 
plowed, but large stumps were allowed to remain in that levee and 
are there now, notwithstanding my notification at the time to Capt. 
McClellan that they were so allowed to remain there. The con- 
tractor employed by the Railroad Company to construct that levee 


last winter, was detected by myself in burying large logs in that em- 
bankment, not merely allowing those to remain that had fallen, where 
the embankment was to be constructed, but actually rolling others 
in from other places. When detected those that were in view were 
removed, but as a portion of the embankment was constructed before 
his practices were known, the probability is that others are yet in 
that embankment, detracting of coui'se from its strength and security. 
In building future embankments, these defects ought of course to 
be avoided. 

Very Respectfully, Your Ob't Serv't, 


Cairo, III., Sept. 6th, 1858. 

To Messrs. Thomas S. Taylor, and Chas. Davis., Trustees of the 
C. C. P. : 

After the last annual meeting of the Stockholders in Sep- 
tember, 1857, our city continued to increase in population, and im- 
provements continued to be made ; the improvements, owing to 
the financial crisis, being however fewer in number than during 
the previous spring and winter. The increase in population was 
nevertheless greater than at any previous period, every house and 
structure capable of protecting population from the elements be- 
coming filled to repletion. This increase continued during the 
winter and spring, so that at the municipal election in February 
last, in which there was no such particular interest taken by the 
people as to bring out a full vote, there were over 400 votes poll- 
ed, and at the same time, it was known that there were about 
250 residents who did not vote, soma by reason of not being en- 
titled, and others from want of interest. 

It was thus ascertained with a considerable degree of accuracy, 
that at the time of the election in February last, we had at least 
650 men residents here. It is generally conceded that 1 in 7 of 
a population is a large allowance of voters, in many places it not 


being more than 1 in 10. But giving us the largest allowance, 
and that may be proper inasmuch as in a new place, there is al- 
ways a preponderance of men, this calculation will afford us a 
population of 4,500, and from my own observation I am satisfied 
the population at the time alluded to, was not much below that 
number, certainly not less than 4,000. Shortly after this time, 
some inconvenience from the accumulation of water within our le- 
vees began to be felt. This accumulation arose from incessant rains. 
These rains interfered somewhat with the filling in and grading of 
the Ohio levee, and in the early part of December, we were obliged 
to close our sewers, from the water in the rivers having risen to a 
level Avith their outside mouths, and with the exception of a few 
days in the early spring, they remained closed, until they were 
re-opened after the overflow. 

This state of things continued until, and was in existence at, 
the time the breach in our levees occurred on the 12th of June 

As you are aware this breach whereby the Avater Avas first let 
into the town, occurred on the Mississippi, at the point Avhere the 
levee on that river leaves the river bank, on the curve toward the 
Ohio river, and about half a mile from the junction of the tAVO 

At the point Avhere the crevasse first occurred, the levee Avas 
very high, the filling of earth being not less than tAvelve feet high. 
In the neighborhood of the crevasse the soil appears to be 
sandy, and an undue quantity of that kind of soil may have en- 
tered into the composition of the levee at that point. An in- 
spection of the crevasse also shoAvs, that the gi'ound Avas not prop- 
erly prepared for the reception of the embankment, it not having 
been properly grubbod, as appears by the roots and stumps still 
standing in it, in the ground tvhere the einhankment is washed off. 
When the levee broke, no one Avas in sight of it, that I can as- 
certain. Capt. McClellan, the Vice President and Chief Engineer 
of the 111. Central Railroad, and myself, had passed over it on 
foot within tAvo hours before it occurred, and a Avatchman, Avhose 
duty it AA'as to look after it, Avas over it about twenty minutes be- 
fore, but to none of us Avas there any appearance of Aveakness. 
After leaving the location about twenty minutes, and being dis- 
tant less than one-fourth of a mile, the Avatchman heard the roar- 
ing of the Avaters running through the crevasse, and when I reach- 


ed it, three-fourths of an hour afterward, the water was running 
through to the full width of three hundred feet, and in an un- 
broken stream, as if it was to the full depth of the embankment. 
The probability is, I think, that aided by the stumps and roots in 
the embankment, and it is possible some other extraneous sub- 
stances, the water had found its way through the base of the em- 
bankment, and had so far saturated it as to destroy its cohesion 
■with the natural ground below, and then the weight of the water 
on the outside pushed it away. 

As you are aware, when the contracts for building the different 
divisions of the 111. Central Railroad were originally let in June, 
1852, that for the construction of the lower cross levee and the 
levees below it, on both the Ohio and Mississippi rivers was in- 
cluded in the letting, and was given out to Mr. Richard Ellis. 
Under this contract, work was commenced and prosecvited at vari- 
ous points, on both the Ohio and Mississippi rivers from t'cpt. to 
Dec. 1852, when the contractor failed, and the work was aban- 
doned until Dec. 1853, except on that portion along the Ohio 
river above the freight depot. On that section it was continued, 
with a view apparently of constructing an embankment for the 
accommodation of their Railroad Track rather than for the pur- 
pose of protecting the town from inundation, the embankment hav- 
ing been built in the same manner as their ordinary railroad em- 
bankments. The instructions given by the Engineer in charge 
were the same as those issued in other cases for the construction 
of railroad embankments, viz : that where the filling was over 
four feet, the stumps were not to be removed, and no grubbing 
done ; and I am told by the Engineer in charge of the work at 
the time it was done, that these instructions were followed, and 
that the embankment along the Ohio river above the Freight 
Depot was thus built without the stumps being removed or any 
grubbing done. A portion of this bank at and near the curve on 
the Ohio, near the junction of the levees is quite narrow, and af- 
ter our late experience I should think it was far from being 

At the time of the overflow, a very large portion of our popu- 
lation were obliged to go away from inability to procure accom- 
modations here. Some, who had two-storied houses, remained 
in the upper story, but most were obliged to desert their dwell- 
ings. The population thus mostly scattered into the neighboring 


towns and country, with the exception of those who procured 
accommodations on the wharf, and flat-boats and barges at the 
levee, and in the railroad cars placed on the levee. A large por- 
tion of those who thus went away have already returned ; others 
are coming back daily, and if employment to justify their return 
can be found, I am satisfied the great bulk of our population will 
shortly be back here again. I think our population now is at 
least three thousand, if not more. 

Early in the last spring, the Foundry buildings took fire and 
were entirely consumed. The establishment was just beginning 
to transact a very successful and profitable business. 

During the last spring, a good ferry was established between 
Cairo and the adjoining States of Missouri and Kentucky by the 
Cairo City Ferry Company, and a good steam ferry boat furnish- 
ed, which makes regular trips between those States and our City, 
bringing trade and produce to it. Before the destruction by the 
late high water of the produce of the farms along the rivers a 
very perceptible increase in the business of the City, took place 
from this cause, and a resuscitation of the business of the adjoin- 
ing country on the opposite sides of the river, will, by the aid of 
the ferry, be attended with a corresponding effect here. 

Portions of the roads in the adjoining southern States are so 
far finished, that by, the 1st of November we shall have a continu' 
ous railroad from here to New Orleans, Avith the exception of the 
river travel between here and Columbus City, sixteen miles from 
here. This road is now finished with the exception of two gaps 
of eighteen and six miles respectively, and these are being rapid- 
ly filled. A steam ferry boat will commence running from here 
to Columbus on the 1st of the next month, in connection with 
this road, and when the road is completed, as it will be, by Nov. 
1st, we shall he within two days' travel of New Orleans. 

The first section of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad in Missouri 
is now pushed forward with energy, and that portion between 
Bird's Landing opposite here and Charleston, a village about four- 
teen miles from the River ( Mississippi) will be in operation by 
the 1st of December next. Charleston is a thriving village in a 
well-settled, well-cultivated and flourishing section of Missouri, 
and our connection with it by railroad will tend to increase consid- 
erably the business and trade of our town. As you are aware, a 
road was cut out along the bank of the Ohio river to Mound City 


last fall, and a bridge across Cache river was commenced then, 
but has been delayed since by the high water. The construction 
of this bridge has been recommenced, and the contractor informs 
me that it will be ready for use one week from next Saturday. 
This will give us a good road to Mound City, and by connections 
with roads there, will furnish us a free communication with the 
country and villages beyond, and thus give us a good deal of 
trade from those quarters. 

In consequence of the great destruction of property by high 
water in the country about us, the farmers have but little to 
sell, and this, connected with the general depression of trade, 
has made it rather dull here. Notwithstanding which, some im- 
provements are still going on in our city. The distillery, which 
was commenced last spring, is being pushed on to completion, 
and will be ready for operations by the first of ne.\t month. Two 
houses, one a dwelling twenty-five by forty, two stories high, the 
other for a German tavern twenty-five by seventy and three stor- 
ies high, both commenced before the overflow, are in process of 
completion. Two others, one twenty-five by seventy and three 
stories high, have been contracted for, and begun since the over- 
flow and are nearly finished ; and one other, a dwelling house, 
contracted for since the overflow, but not yet begun. 

The work of macadamizing the Ohio levee, and building the 
protection wall at the base, has so far advanced, that about one 
thousand feet of the wall, extending from the lower side of 
Fourth Street to the lower side of Eighth Street, has been com- 
pleted, and a portion of it made twelve feet high. Of the ma- 
cadamized work, about four hundred feet in length of the levee, 
extending from the Passenger Depot lot on the lower side of 
Fourth Street upward, and from the top down to low water mark, 
has been completed, and for about six hundred feet in length addi- 
tional, the broken rock is placed for about one hundred and twen- 
ty-five feet from the top of the levee. The grading of the levee 
with earth within the same limits has also been prosecuted, as the 
waters in the rivers would permit. A few weeks of favorable 
weather, and a favorable stage of water would enable us to com- 
plete the whole of the grading and macadamizing of the whole of 
the one thousand feet above the Passenger Depot. 

Most of this rock work was done previously to January 1st, 
1858, when the communication with the quarries was interrupted 


by ice in the Mississippi ; after this difficulty wae removed, the 
water was so high as to cover the quarries, and has continued so 
until the last Aveek, with a brief interval, during which we were 
enabled to get down two barge loads of stone, and last week, the 
water had so far receded at the quarry, as enabled us to make 
regular trips with the steamboat and barges. 

During the spring and summer, the water has been too high 
*or most of the time, to admit of much work on the filling and 
grading of the Ohio levee, between the depots, according to our 
arrangements with the Rail Road Co., to complete for them their 
unfinished work. But at intervals we were enabled to do some- 
thing, and worked moderately, as the weather and water would 
permit, until within the last four weeks, when we have pushed the 
work vigorously. 

The Bank building belonging to Gov. Matteson has been com- 
pleted for several weeks, but there do not appear to be any indi- 
cations of an early opening of the establishment, although I am 
told the note-plates have all been prepared, the officers engaged, 
and all other arrangements completed months ago for the opening. 
This delay is to be regretted ; especially as, if the ground had not 
been occupied by Gov. Matteson, or rather, if his declared inten- 
tions had not gone abroad through the whole country roundabout, 
a good Bank would have been established here last fall, by Mr. E, 
Norton, one of our old citizens, in connexion with his brother, the 
Cashier of the Southern Bank of Kentucky, established at Russell- 
ville, Ky. 

In conclusion, it is very evident that, had the Illinois Central 
Railroad Company constructed the Levees, as they should be con- 
structed, and not have substitued for them the common Railroad 
Embankments, that this interruption to the onward progress of 
Cairo would not have taken place. 

Viewing all the facts connected with this overflow of Cairo, and 
the giving way of the Illinois Central Railroad Levee, I feel that 
I may conscientiously endorse the following views taken by the 
Trustees in their Report of 1857, on the embankments of Cairo 
and its drainage : 

" The site of the City is not only fully protected by the con- 
struction of ordinary levees, and embankments along the banks, 
and by sectional levees across the base of the triangle made by the 
two rivers, but a new and substantial levee, or embankment is in 


the course of const/auction, and a portion already finished, which 
will be eighty feet wide at the top, with an average height of about 
ten feet, and fioefett higher than the highest water ever known at 
that locality. This levee or embankment will entirely Excompjlss 
THE City, forming on the top, the front street on the banks of 
both the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and from its size and sub- 
stantial character, will afford a complete protection from overflow 
at any stage of water, however high ; and which, when complete- 
ly paved, will not only render it a walled city, but actually the 
cleanest city in the world. 

" This Levee loill be of the most enduring character, and is to be 
the loork of the Illinois Central Railroad Company. It has been 
completed sufficiently to protect the town, and for a mile is finish- 
ed for the accommodation of business. The railroad buildings 
are only partly erected, and but temporary ; but both levee and 
buildings will be finished, as fast as the business of the road and 
the growth of Cairo and other large considerations demand. For 
this service the Railway Company receives from the Trustees ample 
land for depot purposes on both rivers ; and when all the arrange- 
ments are perfected, the railroad will surround the town, leaving 
it on the north side, at a point about equi-distant from each river. 

" The centre of the city being equi-distant from the Ohio and 
Mississippi rivers, a fall of about seven feet to the half mile each 
way has been allowed by the Engineers, which added to the nat- 
ural drainage of the place, combined with the artificial means pos- 
sessed for carrying oflf the superfluous water, has rendered the 
drainage in all seasons efficient and complete. In fact, the drain- 
age of Cairo is so simple, so inexpensive, and so free from any ten- 
dency to injury, that we assert there is no other town in America, 
we may say in the world, where the drainage, internal and superfi- 
cial, will be so perfect as in Cairo." 

■ Every Report issued by the Trustees, and every advertisement 
and document bearing their signatures, have been issued in good 
faith grounded on the continued belief of the Trustees that the 
Illinois Central Railroad Company would perform with due dili- 
gence their solemn contracts (which are of record and patent to 
all the world) and that the said Company would literally and scru- 
pulously fulfil their obligations, to construct and forever maintain 
adequate and sufficient levees and embankments, and it is my belief 
that the neglect of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, to com- 

plete the Levees, Depots and Embankments according to the true 
intention and meaning of the contract entered into with the Trus- 
tees in '.')l and '55, is the sole and only cause of the late overflow 
of this City. 

Very resp'y, your ob't servant, 



SHALL COME, Thomas S. Taylor, of the City of Philadelphia, 
Esquire, and Charles Davis, of the City of New York, Merchant, 
Send Greeting. 

Whereas, By several Indentures heretofore executed, the fol- 
lowino- described tracts and parcels of land, all lying in townships 
numbered sixteen and seventeen, south of range one, west of the 
third principal meridian, at or near the confluence of the Ohio and 
Mississippi rivers, in the counties of Alexander and Pulaski, and 
State of Illinois, known as The Cairo City Property, have 
been conveyed and assured to the said Thomas S. Taylor and Chas. 
Davis, and to the survivor of them, and the heirs and assigns of such 
survivor, viz : The east half of the south-east quai'ter section four ; 
the southeast fractional quarter of section five ; the fractional section 
nine ; the west half and north-east quarter of section ten ; the west 
half and the east fractional half of section eleven ; the fractional section 
fourteen ; the south half and north-west quarter of fractional section 
fifteen ; the fractional section twenty-two ; the fractional section 
twenty-three ; the fractional section twenty-four ; the fractional sec- 
tion twenty-five ; the fractional section twenty-six ; the fractional 
section twenty-seven; the fractional section thirty-five; the fraction- 
al section thirty-six ; all lying in township number seventeen, in 
Alexander county aforesaid ; containing together, three thousand 
nine hundred and eighty-two acres more or less. [Excepting and 
reserving thereout, the following described piece or parcel of land, 
conveyed by deed poll, bearing date the 27th day of August, 1838, 
executed by William Day, by his attorney in fiict Ethan A. Hitch- 
cock, to Elijah Willard, Commissioner of the Board of Public Works, 


for the use of the State of Illinois, for a Rail Road Depot, to wit : 
beginning at a certain point designated by a permanent .-ind substan- 
tial stake, marked 0, on the bank of tlie Ohio river, and being the 
point at which the Central Rail Road line strikes the bank of the 
said river, being seven hundred and one feet due north of the line 
between the north half and south half of section twenty-five, and run- 
ning from said point in a south-westerly direction along the bank of 
said river to a certain station designated by a like stake marked A ; 
running thence, from said last mentioned stake due we^t, parallel 
with the Central Rail Road line to a certain station designated by a 
like stake marked B ; thence running from said stake marked B, due 
north to the Central Rail Road line, three liundred and thirty feet ; 
said point being distant six hundred and sixty feet from the point of 
starting ; thence continuing in the same direction due north three 
hundred and thirty feet to a certain station, designated by a like 
stake marked C ; thence running east to said Ohio river to a certain 
stake on the bank marked D ; thence running from said last mention- 
ed point along the bank of the Ohio river to the point of starting ; 
containing about ten acres, be the same more or less. — 
And excepting and reserving thereout, also, the following desci'ibed 
lot or piece of land heretofore conveyed by the New York Life Insur- 
ance and Trust Company to the Insui'ance and Trust Company of 
Illinois ; to wit : Fronting on the Ohio river or levee seventy-five 
feet, and running back in depth one hundred and fifty feet, the 
south-east corner of said lot, or piece of land being distant two hund- 
red and eighty-eight feet from a black walnut post sunk six feet in 
the ground, and based upon a lime-stone rock, at the intersection of 
the Ohio and Mississippi rivers ; running from said post north thirty- 
eight degrees west, and the north-east corner of said lot being six hund- 
red and thirty feet from the south-east corner of a stone wall upon 
said Ohio levee ; running from said corner of said wall south thirty- 
eight degrees east.] 

Also, the following tracts or pieces of land situate in town- 
ships sixteen and seventeen, south of range No. 1 west, formerly in 
Alexander County, but now partly in Alexander County and partly 
in Pulaski County, and state of Elinois aforesaid : No. 2488, north 
half and south-west quarter of section number twenty-five, contain- 
ing four hundred and eighty acres ; No. 2489, section number twen- 
ty-six, containing six hundred and forty acres ; No. 2490, section 
number twenty-seven, containing six hundred and forty acres ; No. 


2491, section number twenty-eight, containing six hundred and forty 
acres; No, 2492, section number thirty-two, containing six hundred 
and thirty-eight acres, and forty-eight hundredths of an acre ; No. 
2493, section number thirty-three, containing six hundred and forty 
acres, and seven hundredths of an acre; No. 2494, section number 
thirty -four, containing six hundred and forty acres, and eighty-eight 
hundredths of an acre ; No. 2495, section number thirty-five, con- 
taining six hundred and forty-one acres, and fifty-eight liundredths 
of an acre ; the above being situate in township numbered sixteen ; 
also. No. 2496, west half of section number two, containing three 
hundred and twenty acres ; No. 2497, the north half and south-cast 
quarter of section number three, containing four hundred and eighty 
acres ; the two last being situate in township numbered seventeen ; . 
containing in the ten last described tracts five thousand seven hund- 
red and sixty acres, more or less. 

Together with all and singular the buildings and im- 
provements, rights, liberties, privileges, hereditaments, and appur- 
tenances whatsoever thereunto belonging, or in any wise apper- 
taining, and the reversions and remainders, rents, issues and profits 

Now KNOW YE, that the said Thomas S. Taylor and Charles 
Davis, do hereby acknowledge, testify and declare, that the said 
lands and premises, were conveyed to, and are now held by them, 
(pursuant to the agreement of the parties interested, testified by 
their signing and sealing these presents) to, for and upon the fol- 
lowing terms, conditions, uses, intents and purposes, and to, for 
and upon no other terms, conditions, uses, intents and purposes, 
whatsoever, THAT IS TO SAY : — 

First. The beneficial interest in said lands and premises, ahall 
be divided into thirty-five thousand shares, of the par value of 
one hundred dollars each, for which certificates shall be created 
and issued by the said Taylor and Davis, agreeably to the form 
hereto annexed, marked A. 

Certificates representing twenty thousand of said shares, 
shall be delivered to the Illinois Exporting Company, or to their 
order : certificates representing seven thousand of said shares, 
shall be delivered to Charles Davis, Attorney in fact for certain 
holders of bonds of the Cairo City and Canal Company ; certifi- 
cates representing three thousand of said shares shall be delivered 
to James Robertson, Richard H. Bayard, James S. Newbold, Her- 


man Cope and Thomas S. Taylor, assignees in Trust of tte Pres- 
ident, Directors and Company of the bank of the United States, 
also holders of bonds of the Cairo City and Canal Company ; pro- 
vided said bonds shall have been previously surrendered to the 
New York Life Insurance and Trust Company, to be by them can- 
celled : and certificates representing the remaining five thousand 
shares shall be sold by the said Taylor and Davis, at public or 
private sale, for the best price that can be obtained for the same, 
the proceeds thereof to be received by the said Taylor and Davis, 
and conititute a fund in their hands, to be applied to defraying 
the expenses of the present trust, to pay Samuel Allinson, Esq., 
the sum of five thousand dollars advanced by him, and to the im- 
provements of the property herein mentioned. But the party en- 
titled to receive the certificates for the twenty thousand shares 
aforesaid, shall before the same are delivered to them, satisfy the 
said Taylor and Davis, that the title to the real estate above de- 
scribed is clear and free from encumbrances ; or the said Taylor 
and Davis may retain such number of said certificates, as in their 
opinion will be full indemnification against encumbrances. 

Second. The said shares shall be regarded as personal proper- 
ty, and on the death of any shareholder, his share and interest 
shall go to his personal representatives, and shall not descend as 
real estate. 

Third. Transfers of said shares may be made by any share- 
holder, or by his agent or attorney, duly authorized, in a transfer 
book or books, to be kept by the said Taylor and Davis, in the 
city of Philadelphia, or New York, or both. No other transfer or 
assignment shall be valid. No transfer of shares shall be permit- 
ted, but upon a surrender of the certificate or certificates issued 
therefor, and no second duplicate certificate shall be issued, but 
upon such surrender, or proof of the loss or destruction of the 
original certificate. 

ForETH. The said Taylor and Davis, and their successors, 
shall have the general management and control of all the proper- 
ty aforesaid, and of the proceeds thereof, pay the taxes thereon 
when in funds, and all the expenses incident to the creation and 
execution of the trust hereby declared. They may make such con- 
tracts, execute such instruments and obligations, employ such 
agents and laborers, make such erections and improvements on 
said lands, and such purchases and sales of real and personal es- 


tate, leases, donations and investments, as may be necessary and 
expedient to promote the interests of the shareholders : but they 
shall not have power to bind the shareholders, either individually 
or collectively, to pay any debts or assessments on his or their 
shares, to perform any contracts for the payment of money, or for 
any other matter beyond the amount of funds which may come into 
the hands of the said Taylor and Davis. 

They may from time to time declare and pay out dividends of 
profits and proceeds of sales to the several shareholders. 

They shall exhibit annually to the shareholders at the city of 
Philadelphia, accounts showing in detail the situation of the prop- 
erty, and the amount of receipts and expenditures ; and shall also 
exhibit a similar account whenever required by a majority in in- 
terest of the shareholders. 

In making erections and improvements, leases, donations and 
investments, in the purchase and sale of property, and in laying 
out the plans of the same for a city, they shall receive such direc- 
tions as may from time to time be given to them by three-fourths 
in interest of the shareholders ; such directions, however, to be 
subject to the ratification and approval of the said Taylor and 

They shall not be answerable for the acts, omissions, or defaults 
of each other, but only each for his own acts, omissions, or de- 

They shall not be answerable for the misconduct, omission, or 
default of any agent or agents they may find it necessary to em- 
ploy ; but they shall be accountable only, for the exercise of fair 
and reasonable skill and judgment, as well in the appointment of 
such agent or agents, as in the general management of the trust 
hereby declared. 

They shall receive such compensation for their services as may 
from time to time be agreed upon by them and a majority in inter- 
est of the shareholders, and in case the said parties shall be una- 
ble to agree, then the said compensation shall be fixed by the 
Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the City and County of 

Fifth. At any time after the expiration of five years from the 
date of these presents, the said Taylor and Davis, or either of 
them, may be removed, and a substitute or substitutes appointed, 


by a vote of threc-fourtlis in interest of tlie shareholders : or in 
case of the death or resignation of the said Taylor and Davis, or 
either of them, at any time, the said shareholders, by a similar 
vote, shall designate a successor or successors ; and upon such re- 
moval, or upon the death or resignation of the said Taylor and 
Davis, or either of them, he or they shall, on request, execute and 
deliver such conveyances as may be necessary to transfer to the re- 
maining trustee, and successor, or to the successors, so much of the 
said trust estate and property as shall remain in his or their hands, 
after payment of all expenses and liabilities. 

Sixth. The said Taylor and Davis, or their successors, may 
hereafter increase the number of shares before mentioned, when- 
ever they may be thereunto authorized in writing, by two-thirds 
in interest of the shareholders, for the time being ; and may sell 
the additional shares so created either at public or private sale, the 
proceeds thereof to be expended in the improvement of the unsold 
portion of the property herein described, or hereafter to be acquir- 
ed by the said Trustees. 

Setexth. No action of the shareholders shall be valid for any 
of the purposes aforesaid, unless the same shall take place at a 
meeting convened upon notice to all the shareholders, published 
in one or more newspapers in the City of Philadelphia, for four 
successive weeks ; which notice shall be given by the said Taylor 
and Davis, or their successors, at any time when they may think 
proper, or whenever requested by the holder or holders of not less 
than one hundred shares — or at a meeting held in pursuance of an 
adjournment from a meeting convened upon such notice. But no- 
tice may be dispensed with, in case of any meeting of all the share- 
holders, or their duly authorized representatives. 

Eighth. The said Taylor and Davis may, when requested by 
the President of the Illinois Exporting Company, issue and deliver 
to the order of said Company, certificates in the form hereto an- 
nexed marked B, to the amount of forty thousand dollars, the 
trustees retaining in their hands certificates representing two thou, 
sand shares of the twenty thousand, to which the said Company 
are entitled as aforesaid, with liberty to sell the shares so retained^ 
or any part thereof, at any time, and apply the proceeds towards 
the payment of the certificates aforesaid marked B. 

Witness the hands and seals of the said parties, this twenty- 


ninth day of September, in the year one thousand eight hundred 

and forty-six. 

THOS. S. TAYLOR, [seal.] 


and others. 

Sealed and delivered in ) James S. Farmer, 
the presence of us, ) John Rumsey. 


At the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers : State of 


This Property embraces the whole of the City of Cairo, with 
all improvements thereon, and upwards of Five Thousand Eight 
Hundred Acres of land adjoining. Par value of each share, One 
Hundred Dollars. 

No. 287 : 15 shares : 81500 

This certifies that , the proprietor of shares of the 

beneficial interest of the real and personal estate, in whatever the 
same now or hereafter may exist, held by the Trustees of the 
Cairo City Property, agreeably to indenture, dated Sept. 29th, 
1846, which shares are transferable in person or by Attorney only 
on the books kept by the said Trustees at New York or Philadel- 
phia, upon surrender of this Certificate. 

These shares are not subject to assessment, nor is there any 
personal responsibility incurred by the holder thereof. 

In testimony whereof, the Trustees of the Cairo City Pro^oerty 

have hereunto affixed their respective signatures, this day 


T. S. Taylor, of Philadelphia, ) ^ 
Chas. Davis, of New York, '/ ^^«^^^^*' 

■Recorded at 




These letters are published, with a view to prevent all future 
misunderstandings of a similar character, upon the legal points 
involved, as well as upon the facts of the case. 

Sprixgfield, June 17th, 1858. 
S. Staats Taylob, Esq., 

Resident Agent, Cairo, 
Dear Sir : — 

We are apprised most fully of the great calamity which 
has befallen Cairo. Had we supposed such ruin possible, we 
could never have been induced to expend the large amounts of mo- 
ney which we have, nor could we have used our influence as an 
inducement for others to do so. 

The large sum of $318,000 has been expended by ourselves, 
and others of Springfield, in the purchase of property, and its 
improvement, at Cairo ; and the people of Springfield themselves, 
under the strong assurances made to them by the Cairo City 
Company, have invested, and induced others to invest, no less 
than from 8150,000 to 8200,000 in buildings alone. 

By this calamity, which might have been prevented, if the 
Company had thrown around the City such complete protection, 
as they were bound, by interest, and hy legal contract with pur- 
chasers, to do, (1), this property has been rendered comparatively 
valueless. Nothing but prompt action and judicious plans, on 
your part, can save your city and our property alike, with that of 
others, from utter ruin, or at least from such a set-back as will 
require the work of years to regain. 

Already is the sentiment fast gaining ground upon the publie 
mind, that Cairo is hopelessly ruined. This sentiment must be 
met at once, and contradicted, at whatever cost. (2) 

Let this conviction once get permanent hold, and the expendi- 
ture of millions, and the lapse of much time, will be needed to 


change the current of mind, and give it permanent direction to- 
ward Cairo again. On the contrary, if decisive measures, such 
as it is in your power now to adopt, should be put into immediate 
execution, the effect of the calamity, great as it is, will soon pass 
away. (3) 

"We feel that the company are both legally and morally hound to 
fully restore those who have sustained this damage, to their former 
position before the flood. (4) Independent of their legal obliga- 
tion, we deem it to be the highest interest of the Company, to 
institute the most prompt and vigorous measures, not only to re- 
store to those who have suffered loss, but to so act, as to satisfy 
the public mind, at once, that the Company themselves are not 
disheartened, but that they are ready, promptly, to do justice to 
every one, who has sustained damage by the overflow of water. 
Such a course, we feel assured, will inspire immediate confidence, 
and the public mind will again settle down in favor of Cairo's be- 
ing a great City, even before the present high waters subside. (4) 

AVe think, also, that the Company should give stronger evi- 
dence now, than ever before, that they intend, at once, to proceed 
with the building of a permanent embankment ; such a one as the 
present experience shows to be necessary. Thus can they satisfy 
the most skeptical, that another calamity of this nature would 
be absolutely impossible. 

In our judgment, the Company should seek to inspire all those 
who had made Cairo their home, and who had made improve- 
ments there, however trivial in amount, that they will be immedi- 
ately aided, and fully restored to their property. This would es- 
tablish confidence, against which no tide could successfully flow. 
But this must be done promptly ; must he done at once. The peo- 
ple who have settled there should not be suffered to scatter, if 
possible to prevent it. They should be aided and encouraged at 
once, with the idea that as the storm is over, and the floods are 
past, they shall be made good again, and their future secured be- 
yond a contingency. (5) 

Many of the subscribers to this letter own stock in the Cairo 
Hotel Company, and we think that, as soon as the waters subside, 
you ought to rebuild the fallen building, at least to a point where 
the Company had carried it, before the levee gave way. 

Should you think the policy, which we have thus briefly stated, 
the best one to adopt, it seems to us that not one moment of time 


should be lost, in making it known, by proclamation far and wide. 
This coxirse would effectually counteract any permanently bad 
effect, and might give new impetus to the growth of Cairo. The 
deposit, which has been carried into the City, will be of advantage, 
rather than any permanent injury. 

Through the medium of the public press, all eyes arc turned, 
just now, in the direction of Cairo ; and while attention is riveted 
in that quarter, no time is so favorable as now, and no means is so 
available as the press of the country, to set the mind at rest, in 
favor of Cairo. There are various ways of employing such a me- 
dium as the public press, wdiich your own mind will suggest ; but 
we cannot too strongly urge its prompt and immediate use. (6) 

Public sympathy might now be relied upon, to a large extent. 
Cairo, though worse afflicted, has been overtaken by a calamity 
which has befallen almost every city and town in the Mississippi 
valley, to a greater or less extent. This superior affliction may, 
by timely action, be made to bear rather favorably than oth- 
erwise ; and the -waters of public opinion, which now inundate 
the prospects of Cairo, may be made to subside as rapidly, as 
those of the Mississippi will retire, now that the storms are past. 













1. There was no such contract ever made. Honest opinions and con- 
scientious representations only, were made, of which the parties purchasing 
were always able to judge; having the City of Cairo, with all its defences 
before thein, and all the agreements with the 111. Central R. R. Co.. lying 
open for their inspection. 


2. Ample confirmation is found here, as to the mischievous character of 
the newspaper reports complained of. 

3. All that is here recommended, and more, will be done. See the res- 
olutions adopted at the meeting of Sept. 2!)th, 1858. 

4. The gentlemen whose names are affixed to the foregoing letter will 
find their leading views corroborated by the proceedings referred to above, 
though the facts relied upon, the points urged, and the legal questions in- 
volved, are very differently understood by the Trustees and their Counsel. 

5. The population have not been suffered to scatter, as will be seen by 
the report of the General Agent, and the most liberal course of action has 
been recommended by the Executive Committee, and authorized by thirty- 
four thousand votes. 

6. Notwithstanding these urgent recommendations to " employ the pub- 
lic press," the Trustees have preferred to vindicate the reputation of Cairo 
by deeds rather than by words, and not to forestal public opinion. All they 
ask is " a fair Jield^ and no favor.'' 


Speingfield, III, June 17tli, 1858. 
Mr. S. S. Taylor : 

Dear Sir : 

Owing to my official connection witli the 
Cairo City Company, I declined signing a letter addressed to 
you by those of the citizens of Springfield who have purchased 
property in Cairo. As the most of them are men of very 
great influence, and have been induced to expend a very large 
amount of money in the improvement of Cairo, I think their sug- 
gestions should be duly considered, and if you have not the au- 
thority to act, it is their request that you should forward as early 
as possible a copy of their communication to the Trustees. 

It was the unanimous opinion of the meeting that a proclama- 
tion of the character alluded to in their letter should be immedi- 
ately published. On the lots purchased by the citizens of Spring- 
field, and those who purchased in partnership with me, there have 
been erected fifty-one houses, eleven of which, including the 
Hotel building, have cost one hundred and forty-five thousand 


dollars, and the remainder could not have cost less than thirty- 
two thousand. 

At the same meeting it was also unanimously requested, that a 
letter submitted by Mr. Conkling should be signed by him in his 
official capacity as Treasurer of the Cairo City Hotel Co., and for- 
warded to you in connection with the one signed by the citizens 

of Springfield. 

Very truly yours, 



Springfield, III., June 17th, 1858. 
S. S. Tayxoe, Esq. : 

Dear Sir : 
A number of the citizens of Springfield, who are interested 
in the success of Cairo, and who have liberally invested their 
means for the purpose of promoting its prosperity, as well as of 
benefiting their own fortunes, assembled together this afternoon to 
consult upon its condition and prospects, and to devise some means, 
if possible, by which it may be relieved from the difficulties in 
which it is now involved by a disastrous flood, and to re-establish 
it upon a firm and enduring basis. When it is remembered that 
the citizens of this place have expended upwards of 8300,000 in 
purchasing lots and erecting buildings, many of them elegant in 
their appearance, and substantial in their character, under all or- 
dinary circumstances, you will readily admit that they are suffi- 
ciently interested to justify them in making some suggestions, by 
which they hope they may not only be able to save themselves 
from heavy loss, but also benefit a portion of the residents of 
Cairo who have been deprived of a home by a sudden and over- 
whelming calamity, and especially by which they trust the confi- 
dence of the country may be sustained in the ultimate success of 
that City, and the reputation of its owners for a sagacious liberal- 
ity, undeviating justice and untiring energy, maybe sustained. 

They believe that by the immediate adoption of a prudent policy 
and liberal measures, the disastrous consequence, which may other- 
wise be apprehended, will be averted, and Cairo, instead of being 


destroyed by her present misfortune, will speedily recover her 
former position, and rapidly increase in population and wealth. — 
But this will depend almost entirely upon the prompt decision, 
and wise determination of its stockholders, before public confidence 
in its restoration shall be lost, and before the sentiment shall be- 
gin to be entertained that Cairo is to be abandoned to its fate. 

In view of the immense wealth of its owners, and of the mil- 
lions of dollars involved in the success or abandonment of the en- 
terprise ; in view of the many inducements held out to capitalists 
by the agents of the Cairo Company, to invest their means in that 
locality, and of their sincere, hut unfortunately, ill-grounded repre- 
sentations, concerning the enduring character of its embankments ; 
in view of the pecuniary loss and hardships sustained by those who 
have suffered by this irruption of the flood through those embank- 
ments, which they were induced to believe were firm and substan- 
tial, and sufficient to meet any emergency, they believe that a sa- 
gacious and discerning generosity, if not the most strict and im- 
partial justice, requires that the buildings and improvements which 
have been injured and destroyed, shall be restored by the Cairo 
Company, to the condition in which they stood at the time when 
they were overwhelmed by this disastrous calamity. 

In comparison with the immense benefits to be derived by the 
Company from the immediate adoption of this policy, the citizens 
of Springfield above alluded to, believe the expense will be trifling 
and unimportant. The whole country will perceive in it a guar- 
antee that those who are, in good faith, endeavoring to build up 
the City, will be protected to the fullest extent, in the investment, 
from all loss resulting from the acts of the Company, (1) and a de- 
termination on the part of its stockholders to do the most ample 
justice to all parties concerned, and especially it will afford the 
most conclusive evidence that they themselves have an abiding 
confidence in the triumph of their enterprise, and that they have 
the ability to bring it to a successful termination. 

President of the Cairo City Hotel Company. 

Secretary and Treasurer of the Cairo City Hotel Company ^ 

1 most fully and cordially concur in the sentiments contained in 
the above, and earnestly recommend them to the favorable consid- 
eration of the Company. 




1. However unreasonable these expectations, and however ill-founded, 
in law, upon the facts of the case, it will be seen by the foregoinif Report, 
and by the proceedings thereon, that a course of action has been adopted, 
which will be likely to satisfy all the sufferers, though with a distinct under- 
standing that the Trustees deny their liability, both at law, and in equity, 
for the damages done by the flood, at Cairo, whether little or much ; and 
insist that their action, here and now, shall not be considered a precedent 


Cairo, III., June 20th, 1858. 

Messrs. Thomas S. Tatlor, 

Chas. Dayis, Trustees ^-c. : 

Gentlemen, — 

I enclose some documents addressed to me by Gov. Mat- 
teson and his associates. *- * # The paragraph in 
the letter from Springfield about your paying the cost of the 
Hotel is decidedly rich, when it is known that the fall of the Ho- 
tel has been looked for by good mechanics here since last fall, from 
the insufficiency of the foimdations. 

I inclose some newspaper slips. I have addressed short com- 
munications and telegrams to Chicago and Cincinnati papers, as 
well as St. Louis. 

The old logs and rubbish are now running out of the town at 
a point through the Mississippi levee, about half a mile from the 
point of the rivers, and I have been engaged all day with the ferry 
boat in keeping that crevasse clear to let the logs get out. It af. 
fords a fine opportunity of clearing out the old logs and trunks of 

From an examination I made of the levees yesterday, I find 
that at the original crevasse, besides the space where the water 
goes through the levee about three hundred feet, it runs over the 
top of the levee immediately adjoining about an additional three 
hundred feet. The water also runs over the top of about 2-3 rod 
of the new levee constructed this last winter from the river into 
the space within the levees. Also over the top of the small levee 
built by Capt. Long in 1852, from the inside outwards also 


through the Mississippi levee, as I mentioned above, about half a 
mile above the confluence of the rivers. This last named cre- 
vasse is about one hundred feet wide, and I do not think it will 
increase in width. The water in the rivers continues to rise, and 
is to-day forty feet six inches above low water mark. Where it 
is over the levees, they are below grade. If the levees had been 
up to grade, and of sufficiently ^solid construction, the disaster 
would not have occurred. 

Mr. Edwards sent me from Springfield the enclosed telegram, 
to which by direction of the relief committee I replied that we 
had no suff"erers, and did not wish any collections made for our 

A letter written in the St. Louis Republican puts words into 
my mouth about building the levee eighty feet wide all about the 
city, for which I am not responsible. What I do say to all is, 
that in my estimation, the levees will be renewed without delay, 
and constructed of such height and width as to afl'ord protection 
against even such a Aood as the present, and inspire renewed con- 
fidence in the place. 

Mound City has about four feet of water over her, and has not 
as much dry ground as we have. 

I inclose a note received to-day from Mr. Edwards. 

Be good enough to send me a copy of this letter. 

The telegraph line is continually down. I write in haste for 
the mail. 

Very respectfully, 

Your ob't serv't, 



Springfield, III., July 8th, 1858. 
S. S. Taylor, Esq. : 

Dear Sir : 
We notice that the Stockholders of Cairo City are request- 
ed to meet at Philadelphia on the 15th inst. We presume one of 
their objects is to take into consideration the course of action to 


be adopted by them concerning the damages which resulted from 
the recent flood. In behalf of the Cairo Hotel Company, we de- 
sire they should not only consider the communication heretofore 
transmitted by us to you, which was general in its character, and 
had reference more particularly to what might be deemed politic on 
the part of the Cairo City Company, but we wish to propose now, 
more distinctly for their consideration, the position of the Cairo 
Hotel Company. 

In the publications made by the Cairo City Company, under 
date of January 15th, 1855, and in their pamphlet issued in 1856, 
various inducements were held out to capitalists to invest at Cairo 
City; and the strongest language was used in regard to the stabil- 
ity and permanency of its levees. (1) It was said that they would 
afford a complete protection from overflow at any stage of water, 
however high. (2) That the expense of the levee was provided 
for by the Trustees of the City property. That it would entirely 
encompass the City, and was to be 80 feet wide on the top, and 
that an inundation was an impossibility, and that " human inge- 
nuity had successfully opposed a barrier, even to the chance of an 
overflow" and that " gigantic works had marked the Rubicon which 
even the mighty Father of Waters could not overstep." 

These works, it was represented, had been commenced, and 
progress had been made in their construction " for the interests of 
property-holders," (3) 

The Cairo Hotel Company then, as well as other property-hold- 
ers, had a right to expect that their property would not only be 
fully protected by the ordinary levees as was represented, but that 
the new levee would have been finished within a reasonable time, 
and that prompt and energetic measures would have been taken 
to secure them against any loss that might arise from weak and 
imperfect levees. (4) 

These representations were published to the world, and extraor- 
dinary efl"orts were made to impress the minds of the community 
that Cairo City was beyond the reach of any contingency arising 
from floods, until the conviction was well established, and it was 
generally believed that the Cairo City Company had effectually 
provided against any danger that might be apprehended from this 
source. (5) 

The events of the last few weeks, however, abundantly testify 
that said embankments were not secure, that the Company had not 


fully protected the interests of property-holders in said City ; that 
those who had been induced to invest there, upon said representa- 
tions, have sustained great loss, and that although the " purchasers 
of lots may not be taxed or charged for the construction of said 
levees," they will be heavily charged for the want of their con- 
struction, unless the Cairo City Company relieve them in some Avay 
from their loss. 

In consideration of the premises, the undersigned in behalf of 
the Hotel Company, would respectfully represent to the Stock- 
holders of Cairo City, that said Stockholders ought to assume the 
responsibility of said loss and damage, that this is the just and 
reasonable view of the case, and that the claim of the Hotel Com- 
pany is not only founded upon sound reason and good faith, but 
that by the established rules of law, the Cairo City Company and 
their Trustees are bound to indemnify the Hotel Company for all 
the losses sustained, by reason of the insufficiency of the levee to 
protect the City. (6) 

The undersigned therefore hope that said Stockholders will 
promptly make such arrangement as will justify said Hotel Com- 
pany in prosecuting their work without delay, in which, prior te 
the flood, they had met with severe losses and discouragements ; 
and that said Hotel Company may be enabled by said arrangement 
to complete a building, which they designed should not only be 
calculated to promote the comfort and convenience of the travel- 
ling community, but Avhich should be an ornament to the City of 


Very Respectfully, Your O'bt S'v'ts, 


President of Cairo City Hotel Company. 


Secretary and Treasurer of said Hotel Company. 


1 . The " strongest language" referred to here will be found repeated in 
the communication from the General Agent, to the Trustees, at the meet- 
ing of Sept. 29th ; and by every word of it they feel bound, and are wil- 
ling to abide now and hereafter. All the promises were prospective, and 
founded upon a justifiable belief. 

2. And this, their belief, was founded upon all past experience, upon 
careful surveys, many times repeated by eminent engineers, and upon the 
testimony of unimpeachable witnesses. Their expectations were well 


founded, and not unreasonable, as the adverse parlies knew, and acknowl- 
edged by their acts, for they were able to judge for themselves, and asked 
for no other deed than that wliich had always been given. And what, af- 
ter all, do the Trustees promise, in the publication cited ? Only that cer- 
tain things " wo uW Je rfone" thereafter; and that when done, there would 
be no possible danger from overflow. And they say the same thing now. 
They expected the levee to be completed by the HI. Central R. R. Co., as 
promised, a.i\d paid for ; and they tried in every way to have it done, short 
of bringing them into a Court of law, while under overwhelming embar- 
rassment ; and If they had fulfilled their undertaking, it is clear beyond all 
question, as the foregoing documents prove, that Cairo would not have been 
flooded in June last, notwithstanding the unexampled rise of both rivers. 

3. Were not these representations true to the very letter ? 

4. Under all the circumstances, the fault being that of the HI. Central 
R. R. Co., and not of the C. C. Proprietors, or their Trnstees, would this 
be a just or reasonable expectation ? 

5. Undoubtedly the belief here mentioned was very general, and not 
only very general, but ivell founded. 

6. So far as the claims of the Hotel Company are concerned, or what 
are denominated the " established rules of law," we have to refer all par- 
ties Interested, to the foregoing Reports. 

In corroboration of all that is above said, of the forbearance of 
the Trustees, toward the Illinois Central R. R. Company, and of 
their reasons, we subjoin the following — 


Office of the Trustees of the C. C P., ) 
October 16, 1857. / 

S. Staats Taylor, Esq., Agent, Sfc.^ 

Cairo, III. 
Dear Sir : 

" The abrasion on the Mississippi side, to which you refer, 
required the immediate attention which you are giving to it, and 
we entirely approve of the course you have adopted in pushing on 
the worit of protection. I very much fear that the suspension and 
assignment of the 111. C. R. R. Co, will cause us trouble and perhaps, 
some difficulty in our reclamation on them for the cost of Avork 
which we may do for them in consequence of their default, but it 


will not do to let the property be injured by tbis abrasion for want 
of the disposition or ability at present, of the 111. C. R. R. Co. to 
perform tbeir contract with us, and if they cannot do it now, I 
have confidence in their ability ere long to respond to our just de- 
mands, and that their sense of what is right will induce their dis- 
position to do it." 


SEPTEMBER 29, 1858. 

DR. CR. 

1 Illinois Exporting Co., for Certificates B, _845,10-i 17 

7 Certificates B, $500 

19 Charles Davis, 2,498 38 

32 Improvements and Expenditures, 47,137 

43 Thomas S. Taylor, 4,826 17 

50 Cairo City Property, 4,186,583 30 

57 Loan on Convertible Shares (100,) 2,000 

68 Shareholders, 4,000,000 

71 Ilhnois Exporting Co., by D. B. H., Pres't., 5,325 89 

73 Interest, 9,914 75 

75 Elihu Townsend, 6,128 18 

82 Bonds for Loan of $100,000, 6,000 

87 Henry C. Long, 275 51 

91 Sales of Cairo^City Property, 664,982 18 

95 Edward McCarthy, 35 

116 S. Staats Taylor, Agent, 11,364 04 

120 Rent, 412 50 

121 Rent of Hotel, 1,785 
180 Charles Davis, Cash ac, 3,652 23 

140 Hotel, 20,460 05 

146 Bonds and Mortgages, 289,356 26 ' 

150 Cemetery of the Lotus, 741 52 

156 Steamboat, Dan. Pollard, 11,442 77 

158 Levee, 50,635 17 

160 lUinois Central R. R. Co., 1,645 84 

164 Cairo City Bonds, 5,800 

166 Cairo Weekly Gazette, 4,057 09 

168 Property bought in under Tax Sales, 118 16 

170 Cairo Journal, 100 

172 Cairo City Ferry Company, 2,956 75 

$4,692,918 93 $4,692,918 9J 

E. & O. E. 

T. S. TAYLOR, Trustee of C. C. P. 



Memoraxduji of An Agreement made provisionally, this 
eleventh day of June, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one, 
between Thomas S. Taylor and Charles Davis, Trustees of 
the Cairo City Property, of the first part, and the Illinois 
Central Railroad Company, of the second part. 

1. It is hereby mutually agreed, that proper deeds, conveyances 
and instruments necessary to secure the performance of this agree- 
ment, shall be executed by the respective parties hereto, when 
prepared in due form of law and with accurate descriptions. 

2. It is also agreed, that the site of Cairo City, substantially 
as shown on a map thereof made by H. C. Long, dated June, 
1851, and annexed hereto, shall be established by the parties of 
the first part, and maintained by them against the abrasion and 
wear of the waters of the rivers ; and that all the constructions, 
of whatever nature, for the purposes of forming, maintaining and 
protecting the site of the city, shall be made by and at the cost of 
the parties of the first part. 

3. It is agreed, that this site shall be encompassed entirely by 
a levee or embankment of adequate height to exclude the waters 
of the rivers at any stage or rise of the same now known, to be 
established for the purpose of this agreement by the engineers of 
both parties, which shall be so formed and graded as to furnish a 
street or roadway as nearly level, transversely, as may be deemed 
proper, of not less than eighty feet in width, and beyond the width 
adopted for the level street or roadway, to slope toward the rivers, 
on a descent of one foot in five, to the natural surface of the land 
— which slope is to be continued towards the river, to a point to 
be selected by the engineers at low water mark ; but a level sur- 
face (traversely) may be introduced between the slope of the levee 
or embankment, and the slope down to low water mark, in case 
the width of the bank between the water and the levee should make 
it necessary or expedient, and it should be so arranged by the en- 
gineers of both parties. All of which embankment or levee or 
slopes, and intermediate level, if any there be, shall be made, form- 
ed and graded by and at the cost of the parties of the second part. 



4. It is agreed, that the location of the levee or embankment 
shjftU be such as will supply from the excavation and removal of 
the earth forming the slope to the low water mark, all the earth 
necessary for the formation, grading and construction of the levee 
or embankment, with only such variations in the plan as the engi- 
news of both parties may agree upon as absolutely necessary. 

5. It is agreed, that when the levee street is formed and grad- 
ed of a width not less than eighty feet on the top, and the slope 
of the levee wharf formed and graded, that the same shall be con- 
sitiered as completed under this agreement, and that no further 
protection or construction, such as paving, planking, &c., shall be 
required of the parties of the second part ; but all repairs, works 
or constructions which may thereafter become essential and neces- 
sary for the preservation, maintenance and repair of the levee or 
erabankment shall be made by and at the cost of the parties of the 
second part ; and such as may be essential and necessary for the 
preservation, maintenance and repair of the level in front of the 
levee or embankment, and of the slopes or levee wharf, shall be 
made by and at the cost of the parties of the first part, except in 
front of those parcels of land to be appropriated to the parties of 
the second part, extending to and into the waters of the rivers, 
where the level, slopes or levee wharf shall be maintained and re- 
paired by and at the cost of the parties of the second part, but not 
so far as to discharge the parties of the first part from the agree- 
ment to establish and maintain the site of the city No. 2. 

6. It is agreed, that the parties of the second part may, when- 
ever they may see fit, lay down, construct and operate a single or 
double line of rails, of such form or rail, gauge, and manner of 
construction, as they deem judicious, upon or along the levee or 
embankment, or any part thereof; and may ^se the same for the 
transportation of passengers, goods and merchandise, by steam or 
other power — subject only to such reasonable and just rules and 
regulations as to the use of their tracts, as may be made and impos- 
ed by the proper authorities of Cairo City for the time being ; but 
no rules or regulations shall be imposed, or if imposed need be re- 
spected, which in effect would essentially impair or entirely de- 
stroy the right of constructing and operating the tracks on the 
levee or embankment. 

7. It is agreed, that cross levees or embankments shall be made 
and maintained by and at the cost of the parties of the second part, 


of adequate lieiglit and width for the purposes proposed for them, 
which shall cross from the levee or embankment on the Mississip- 
pi, to that on the Ohio, one of them on and upon the strip of land 
colored blue on the annexed map, and marked A, and the other 
upon the strip of land at the northern boundary of the city, also 
colored blue on the annexed map, and marked B ; but no public 
streets or highways are to be laid out upon these levees or em- 
bankments, except to cross the same nearly or exactly at right an- 
gles ; and the tracks and rails laid thereon are not to be subject 
to any rules or regulations other than those which are imposed 
upon the parties of the second part by their act of incorporation 
and the laws of the land. 

8. It is agreed, that the parties of the second part shall proceed 
with due diligence in the construction of the cross levee or em- 
bankment on the lower strip marked A, and of the levee or em- 
bankment below the same, and entirely around the point of the 
city, at the confluence of the rivers, as shown on the map, but that 
they may postpone to such time as they may deem reasonable and 
proper, the construction of the cross levee or embankment on the 
upper strip of land, marked B, and the levees or embankments to 
connect with those previously constructed on the lower portion of 
the city. 

9. It is agreed, that the parties of the second part may locate 
their railroad from the northern line of Cairo City, upon the line 
of the width of roadway shown on the annexed map, being 
100 feet, to a point to be established and fixed by the engineers 
of the two parties, in the northern line of the cross strip of land 
colored blue, and marked A, on the annexed map, and below and 
south of that point on and over all the land colored blue, on said 
map, to be surveyed and described by metes and bounds ; and also 
on and over all the lands also colored blue on the annexed map, 
above the northerly line of the strip marked A, on each river, to 
the northerly line of the city ; and also on and over the strip of 
land marked B, including in the preceding description the station 
lots, depot grounds and levee wharves shown on the said map, and 
colored blue. 

10. It is agreed, that when the above location shall have beea 
made according to law, that deeds of release and cession shall be 
made, executed and delivered by the parties of the first part, to 
the parties of the second part, in consideration of the agreement 


on their part, for the construction and maintenance of the levees, 
embankments and slopes above described, of all the lands and 
premises to which reference has heretofore been made, and which on 
the annexed map are colored blue, and which are to be particular- 
ly surveyed, and accurately located and described, to hold the same 
absolutely and in fee simple, for the uses and purposes of the said 
railroad, and its business, and for the tttmsportation of passengers, 
goods and merchandize, and the station accommodations, storage, 
receipt, delivery and safe keeping of the same, and for the machine 
and repair shops, engine and car houses, turn tables, water tanks, 
and generally for all the wants and requirements of the railroad 
service, so long as the said parties of the second part, shall con- 
tinue to use, occupy and operate the same for the purposes above 

11. It is agreed, that the parties of the second part, may lay 
down, maintain and operate their lines of tracks and rails, upon 
the above described lands, in such manner and form as they may 
deem proper ; and may use thereon steam, or other power of any 
kind, subject only to the general liabilities of land owners, as to 
the use of their property, but exempt from any special rules or ob- 
ligations imposed or attempted to be imposed by the parties of the 
first part, or any and every grantees or grantee of the Cairo City 

12. It is agreed, that the tracks or lines of rails of the parties 
of the second part, to be laid down on the strip of land, of one 
hundred feet in width, running entirely round the city, shall be 
laid as nearly as may be, at and under each street crossing, upon 
the natural level or grade of the land, in order to gain as much 
elevation as possible under the bridges, to be erected by the par- 
ties of the first part, and each and every street crossing, but the 
grade may vary from the natural surface at all other points, as the 
parties of the second part may see fit. 

13. It is agreed, that the cross streets are to be located by the 
parties of the first part, across and over the strip of land mention- 
ed in the preceding article, Avith a space of at least four hundred 
feet between them ; and are to be graduated so as to cross the 
strip of land on bridges, with at least sixteen feet of space above 
the rails of the parties of the second part, for the passage of en- 
gines, and that no crossing shall be laid out to cross the tracks in 
any other way, than with sufficient space below it for the passage 


of engines, and that no crossing shall be laid through or upon any 
of the station or depot lands, 

14. It is agreed, that tha parties of the first part, arc to build 
and maintain all the bridges or street crossings, at their expense 
and cost, and that the parties of the second part, are to drain and 
protect the strip of land above mentioned, by sewers, drains, cul- 
verts and fences, at their expense and cost. 

15. It is agreed, that the parties of the second part, shall re- 
lease and convey to the parties of the first part, all their right, title 
and interest of, in, and to a certain depot lot in the city of Cairo 
containing ten acres of land, conveyed to them by the State of Illi- 
nois, by deed dated the twenty-fourth day of March, one thousand 
eight hundred and fifty-one, recorded on the day of 

one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one, and also of, in, and to 
all the roadway of the railroad heretofore located in the city of 
Cairo, and also conveyed to them by the above mentioned inden- 
ture, so far as the same may not be included within the bounda- 
ries of the lands and premises, which are intended to be conveyed 
to the parties of the second part, under this agreement. 

16. Finally, it is agreed, that in case of the necessity of any 
further covenants or arrangements to carry out the purposes of this 
agreement, or explanatory of the same, but not to essentially modify 
or impair the same, that both parties will proceed to adjust and 
execute the same, in the full spirit of mutual confidence in which 
this agreement has been negotiated and settled, and that in the 
event of any misunderstanding or disagreement of any kind, or in 
any way connected with this agreement, its purposes and object, 
that the points of disagreement or dispute shall be reduced to 
writing, and in that form submitted to the arbitrament and decision 
of three referees, to be chosen in the usual manner. 

In Witness whereof, the said parties of the first part, have 
hereunto set their hands and seals, and the said parties of the sec- 
ond part have caused their corporate seal to be hereunto affixed, 
and these presents to be signed by Robert Schuyler, their Presi- 
dent, the day and year first above written. 


Sealed and delivered in presence oj kailroad company, by 

W.M. Tallage, ROBT. SCHUYLER, [5eaZ.] 

S. Alofsen. Pres't, &c. 

T. S. TAYLOR, [Sea?.] 

CHS. DAVIS, [SeaZ.] 



State of New York, 
City axd County of New York 

Be it remembered, that on the fourth day of August, one thousand 
eight hundred and fifty-one, before me, the subscriber, a commissioner in 
said city of New York, appointed by the .Governor of the State of Illinois 
to take the proof and acknowledgement of deeds and other instruments in 
writing, to be used or recorded in said State of Illinois, appeared Thomas 
S. Taylor and Charles Davis, personally known to me to be the individuals 
described and who executed the within deed, and severally acknowledged 
to me that they had executed the same. And on the same day also per- 
sonally appeared before me Robert Schuyler, known to me to be the Presi- 
dent of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, described in and also exe- 
cuted said deed, and being by me duly sworn, deposed that he was the 
President of the Illinois Central Railroad Company aforesaid, that the seal 
affixed was the corporate seal of said Company, and was thereto affixed 
by the authority of the Board of Directors of said Company, and that he 
resided in the Fifth Ward of the city of New York. Witness my hand 
and seal. 


Illinois Commissioner in the city of New York. 

State of New York, > 
New York City and County, j 

Be it remembered, that on this twelfth day of March, in the year 
one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three, in the city and county afore- 
said, before me, Joseph C. Lawrence, residing in said county, duly appoint- 
ed and commissioned by the Governor of the State of Illinois, to take the 
acknowledgement and proof of the execution of deeds, and other instru- 
ments of writing, to be used or recorded in said State of Illinois, personal- 
ly appeared Charles Davis, who is personally known to me to be the indi- 
vidual described in, and who executed the said deed, and on the same day 
personally appeared Robert Schuyler, who is personally known to me to 
be the President of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, who being by 
me duly sworn, says that he knows the corporate seal of the said Company, 
that the seal afiixed to the foregoing deed is the corporate seal of said cor- 
poration, and was so affixed by the order of the Board of Directors of 
said Company, and that he signed his name thereto by the like order, as 
President of the said Company. 

In Witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my 
official seal as Commissioner of the said State of Illinois, at my office in 
the county of New York, this twelflh day of March, A. D. 1853. 


Commissioner of the State of Illinois 



for the County of New York. 
65 Wall street, New York. 


In addition to the foregoing vast consideration of land and priv- 
ileges, granted to the Illinois Central Railroad Company, Fire 
Thousand Shares of the Cairo City Stock Avere conveyed to the 
order of the Directors of that Company, by the Trustees of the 
Cairo City Property, as appears by the following extract from a 
circular published by them in November, 1854, for the informa- 
tion of the Shareholders, and of all others interested, or wishing 
to become interested therein. 

"In the year 1851, the Trustees made the most advantageous 
arrangements for the property, by which they secured the construc- 
tion of the Illinois Central Railroad from Cairo, as its southern 
terminus, to Chicago and Galena ; and by which they also secured 
the completion of the levees of the most permanent character, and 
enclosing the whole site of Cairo by the said Illinois Central Rail- 
road Company, and at its expense. These arrangements were per- 
fected by the Trustees, by an authorized expenditure or issue of 
jive thousand new shares in the " Cairo City Property," and by 
donations of the land at Cairo needed for railroad and other pur- 



Memorandum of an Agreement made and entered into this 
the thirty-first day of May, 1855, between Thomas S. Tatlok, 
of the city of Philadelphia, and Charles Davis, of the city of 
New York, Trustees of the Cairo City Property, in the State 
of Illinois, of the first part, and the Illinois Central Rail- 
road Company, of the second part. 

Whereas, the said parties did on the 11th day of June, A. D. 
1851, make and enter into a certain agreement with each other, 
relative to the deeding and conveying certain property at Cairo, 
by the said first, to the said second party, and in consideration 
thereof for the construction of certain levees and works, for the 
protection of the said city of Cairo from the waters of the Ohio 
and Mississippi rivers, by the said party of the second part ; and, 


Whereas, the said deed and conveyances have been executed, 
delivered and accepted, and a part of the levee to be constructed 
on the Ohio river, had been begun and partly completed, and in 
other respects said contract remains to be executed ; and, 

Whereas, for the purpose of obviating misunderstanding, as 
well as because remonstrances seem to render it expedient, it has 
been deemed best to modify the said contract in one or two par- 
ticulars, as well as to render more clear its meaning in others ; 
now, therefore, 

This Indenture Witncsseth, That for the consideration named 
in said agreement, and in consideration of the premises, and of 
one dollar by each of the parties hereto paid to the others, the 
receipt whereof is mutually confessed, it is agreed by the said 
parties as follows, to wit : 

First. The said second party agrees that the levee upon the 
Ohio river, now under construction, shall be completed to low 
water mark, which has been designated and fixed by the engin- 
eers of both parties, at a point forty-two feet below the grade line 
of the levees, as soon as the condition of the river will permit , 
and the paving in front of the lots of land conveyed by the said 
first parties to the said second parties, under the agreement of the 
eleventh of June, required to be done by the parties of the second 
part before mentioned, shall be prosecuted and completed by the 
second parties with all convenient dispatch ; and the first parties 
shall in like manner prosecute and complete the pavement in front 
of the remainder of the said levee, when completed as above. 

Second. The said first party agrees, that the completion of the 
remaining parts of the levee agreed upon and described in the said 
agreement of June eleventh, and the construction of which was 
therein undertaken by the said second parties, may be postponed 
and shall be constructed by the said second parties, as is herein 
agreed, but in no way modifying the said original agreement in 
this respect, except as to the time of constructing and completing 
said levees, and that upon the condition of the construction of 
protective embankments, as herninafter agreed. 

Third. The said party of the second part agree to maintain 
in good repair the protective embankment, now existing, from the 
point of confluence of the rivers Ohio and Mississippi, to the old 
cross embankment, to the height of the newly constructed levee 
on the Ohio river except so far as the engineers of both parties 


shall deem it advisable to deviate from the present course of the 
same ; and in case it shall be deemed advisable to deviate from it 
at any point, then new embankment required to be constructed by 
the said direction, shall be constructed and maintained by the 
said party of the second part, to the same height and in the same 
manner as they are required to maintain the present embankment. 
The said second party shall and will also construct and main- 
tain a new protective embankment upon the Mississippi river, from 
a point at the westerly end of the old cross embankment, to be 
fixed by the engineers of both parties, upon a location to be de- 
termined by said engineers of both parties, to connect with the 
track of the Illinois Central Railroad, and at or near the strip of 
land marked "A" upon the map or plan fixed to said agreement 
of the eleventh of June, A. D. 1851 ; and the work to be requir- 
ed for the construction and repair of the embankments herein 
mentioned, shall be completed before the first day of December 

Fourth. The embankments above provided, but which are on- 
ly provisional and temporary, substituted for the levees agreed 
to be constructed by the said second parties, shall be maintained 
and kept in repair by the said party of the second part, until the 
levees by them agreed to be constructed, shall be built in the 
manner and form as prefaced in the said agreement of 11th June, 
A. D. 1851. And the said second parties agree to construct and 
complete the said levees as fast as the business of the Illinois 
Central Railroad requires the extension of the track over and up- 
on any portion of the bank of the Mississippi river which is to be 
protected by such embankment, whether upon the leveo or on the 
inner track ; and shall in like manner construct a similar levee or 
levees, upon the banks of the Ohio, between the land by the strip 
marked " A " upon the said map or plan, and the levee already 
constructed upon the bank of said river, as the business of the 
city of Cairo shall require it, and the parties of the first part or 
their successors shall require it to be done. 

Fifth. All repair, work, or reconstruction which may be nec- 
essary after the said levees or any part thereof shall be ever com- 
pleted according to agreement, to preserve and maintain in good 
order and condition, so much thereof as is above the natural sur- 
face of the ground, shall be made by and at the expense of the 
parties of the second part ; but it is understood that this stipula- 


tion does not include paving, planking, &c., but simply, only the 
grading and embankment, of the required height and width, and 
that paving, planking, &c., is to be kept in repair by the said first 

Sixth. All repairs, work, or construction which may become 
necessary for the preservation and maintenance in good order of the 
remainder of the levee, or the parts thereof completed, including the 
levels in front, and the slopes, shall be done and made by, and at the 
cost of the first party, except as to so much thereof as is in front 
of the parcels of land conveyed to the said parties for railroad 
purposes, which shall be done by said second parties. 

Seventh, It is farther agreed, that the levees herein provided 
for, and agreed to be built in the said agreement of June eleventh, 
shall be of a sufficient height to exclude the waters of the rivers 
at their highest stages now known, as provided in said agreement, 
and not lower than the point already established by the engineers 
of both parties, which has been fixed and agreed upon, not less 
than sixty feet in width upon the top, but to be extended to the 
width of eighty feet against the lots of all purchasers, from the 
parties of the first part, and their grantees when thereto required 
by such purchasers or grantees, after the construction of a bank 
wall upon such lot or lots, to the height of the levee, which shall 
be constructed exterjaally towards the rivers, in the manner pro- 
vided by said agreement, and the construction of said levee, as 
herein agreed, shall be deemed and taken as a full compliance with 
the terms of said agreement. 

Eighth. The parties of the second part shall examine the 
Mississippi bank on the track of land conveyed to them for a sta- 
tion, and take all steps necessary to protect the same from further 
abrasion, until the construction of the permanent levees, accord- 
ing to the said agreement of the 11th June, 1851, at their own 

They shall in like manner, examine and protect the point of the 
Mississippi river, where the abrasion has aff'ected the old embank- 
ment, and do what is necessary to protect it for the same period, 
at their own expense. 

They shall also survey the Mississippi river banks opposite the 
point nearest to the Cache river, and shall do at their own ex- 
pense, what is in the report of the surveyors, necessary to protect 
the same from further abrasion or inroads ; provided such work 
shall not exceed in expense the sum of 820,000; and provided 


also, all the work herein provided for, as well as the said provis- 
ional temporary embankment shall be constructed under the joint 
superintendence of the engineers of the two parties, and be pro- 
ceeded with as early as practicable. 

Ninth. Except as modified by this agreement, the original 
agreement herein mentioned shall continue in full force and effect. 
In Witness -whereof, the said parties have hereto set their 
hands and seals, the day and year above named. 

W. H. OSBORN, [seal.] 

For m. Cent. R. R. Co., 
by authority of Board Directors. 
Sif/ned, sealed and interchanged in presence of 
(Signed) James P. Whitfield, 
(Signed) Chas. C. Johnson. 

State, City and County of New York, ss. 

On this 9th day of July, 1855, before me personally appeared William 
H. Osborn, to me personally known to be the same person described in 
and also executed the foregoing instrument, and made oath before me that 
he resides in said city; that he is Vice President of the Illinois Central 
Railroad Company ; that the seal affixed to said instrument is the com- 
mon and corporate seal of said Company, and was affixed thereto by au- 
thority of said Company, and that he, as President of said Company, sub- 
scribed his name to said instrument by like authority. 
It is executed and proved in due form of law. 
Witness my hand and official seal. 

Commissioner of Deeds, and 
Notary Public. 


15, 1858. 

The Shareholders of the Cairo City Property having convened, 
pursuant to an advertisement on the loth July, 1858, at the office 
of the Trustees of Cairo City Property, Washington Building No. 
274 South Third Street, Philadelphia — and also pursuant to the 
authority of the Committee, consisting of Charles Macalcster, L. 
C. Clark, and Lyman Nichols, appointed by the Chair under the 
Eleventh resolution of the meeting on the I'Jth January, 1858, 
there were 

Present — Messrs. Eben Wright, John Neal, Sam'l Allison, 



Henry Munk, Harvey Baldwin, Lyman Nichols, Alfred Taylor, 
Thomas S. Taylor, Samuel Jaudon, Robert E. Randall, Isaiah 
Randall, John Rumsey, S. Staats Taylor, William Henry Rawle 
(for Wm. Rawle), and John A. Rockwell. 

On motion of Mr. J. Randall, 

Harvey Baldwin was appointed Chairman. 

John Rumsey do Secretary. 

On motion, 

The minutes of the meeting on the 19th Jan. 1858 were read 
and approved. 

Henry Munk desires that his protest be entered upon the pro- 
ceedings of this meeting, against the approval of the minutes of 
the Shareholders convened on the 19th of January, 1858, until 
further examination of them. 

On motion, 

Resolved, That when this meeting adjourn, it adjourn tb 
meet on the 29th of September, 1858, at 12 M., at this said 
office of the Trustees of the C. C. P. 

On motion, 

Resolved, That Alfred Taylor and Robert E. Randall be ap- 
pointed a committee to ascertain the number of Shares represent- 
ed at this meeting. 

They presented the following report. 

Total number of Shares represented, 24,383, which was, 

On motion, adopted by the Shareholders. 

On motion. 

Resolved, That Alfred Taylor be requested to prepare a list of 
the Shareholders, not represented at this meeting. 

A copy of a letter from C. Davis, Trustee, dated New York, 
13th of July, 1858, addressed to the President, Directors and 
Company of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, was read for 

Lyman Nichols, of the Committee appointed on the 19th Jan. 
1858, presented the following Report. 

A meeting of the Committee appointed by the Stockholders of 
the Cairo City Property, at their meeting held in Philadelphia on 
the 19th Jan. 1858, was held in New York, on Thursday, June 
10th. Present, Messrs. Nichols, Clark, and Macalester. 

The Committee, after a full conference among themselves, and 


with ^Ir. Charles Davis, Trustee, have concluded to recommend 
to the Stockholders, 

The discontinuance of the office at Philadelphia, and the remov- 
al of the hooks and papers to the office at New York. See p. 51. 

A change of one of the Trustees who has signified a willing- 
ness to resign on certain conditions. 

They also recommend that these measures he recommended to 
the Stockholders, at a meeting to be convened at the Company's 
office on Thursday the loth July, at Philadelphia, at 12 M. ] 

{Lyman Nichols, 
L. C. Clark, 
C. Macalester. 

On motion, 

Resolved, That the consideration of this report be laid upon 
the table. 

On motion of Eben Wright, 

Resolved, That an Executive Committee be appointed to con- 
sider the affairs of the Cairo City property, and to recommend a 
suitable course of action for the Shareholders, at the next meet- 

On motion of Josiah Randall, 

Resolved, That six constitute that Committee, of which the 
chairman form one, and that he appoint the remaining five mem- 

Under which resolution the chairman appointed the following 
gentlemen, viz : 

Charles Macalester, of Philad'a, S. C. Clark, of New York, 

Josiah Randall, " " Harvey Baldwin, Syracuse, 

John Neal, Portland, Me. Lyman Nichols, Boston. 

Any four members to act. 

On motion, 

Resolved, That the Executive Committee be requested to confer 
Avith the President and Directors of the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company, to ascertain if some arrangement cannot be made, to 
repair the damage to Cairo, and if that cannot be accomplished, 
then to request the Trustees of Cairo City property to authorize 
the Agent, S. Staats Taylor, to cause the proper repairs to be made, 
and to institute legal proceedings against the Railroad Company, 
for the amount expended, and for all damages sustained by the 
overflow, caused by the neglect of the said Railroad Company. 

On motion, 

Resolved, That the resident agent, S. Staats Taylor, be re- 


quested to make an oral explanation of the present condition of 

Cairo together with a statement of salaries paid by him yearly, 
which latter he represents to be as follows, viz : 

S. Staats Taylor, Agent, - - . $5,000 

N. W. Edwards, 2,500 

Engineer, 2,000 

Chainmen, ------ 430 

Lawyer, ------ 750 

Chainman, ------ 430 

Capt. of Dan Pollard, - - - 2,000 

Engineer, ------ 1,200 

Firemen and deckhands, - - - - 860 

H. H. Candee, Clerk, - - - . 1,200 

Yearly sum paid, from recollection, $16,370 

On motion, 
The Shareholders adjourned, 

H. BALDWIN, Chairman. 
John Rumery, Secretary. 

SEPT. 29, 1858. 

At the Annual Meeting of the Stockholders of the " The Cairo 
City Property," held in accordance Avith the provisions of the 
Trust Deed, on the 29th September, 1858, at the Office of the 
Trustees of the Cairo City Property, Washington Building, No. 
274 South Third Street, Philadelphia; 

Present — Messrs. Harvey Baldwin, Eben. Wright, Samuel 
Jaudon, Charles Macalester, John Neal, S. Staats Taylor, Hiram 
Ketchum, Josiah Randall, W. R. Holbrook, Thos. S. Taylor, 
Charles Davis, Alfred Taylor, John Rumsey, Henry Munk, Ly- 
man Nichols, Robt. E. Randall, Miles A. Gilbert, Wm. H. Rawle, 
and Alexander Bacon. 

On motion of Mr. J. Randall, 

Hon. Harvey Baldwin, of Syracuse, N. Y., was called to the 


On motion of Mr. S. Jaudon, 

Mr. R. E. Randall, of Philadelphia, was appointed Secretary. 
The minutes of the last meeting (viz : 15th July, 1858,) were 
read and adopted. 

On motion of Mr. J, Randall, 

Messrs. W. R. Holbrook and Alfred Taylor were appointed a 
Committee to ascertain the number of shares present. 


Charles Macalester, .... 4,767 
Josiah Randall, ----- 1,524 

Robt. E. Randall, 3 

John Rumsey, ----- 2 

Samuel Jaudon, ----- 3,000 

Miles A. Gilbert, 50 

S. Staats Taylor, 300 

John Neal, 7,422 

Alexander Bacon, - . - . _ 639 
Lyman Nichols, ----- 3,456 

Wm. H. Rawle, 50 

Hiram Ketchum, ----- 867 

Henry Munk, 105 

Harvey Baldwin, 200 

Thos. S. Taylor, - - - - 58 

Alfred Taylor, 88 

Eben Wright, 5,090 

W. R. Holbrook, . - . - 955 

Charles Davis, - - - - 7,067 

Total number of shares present, 35,643 

The report, on motion, was adopted. 

Mr. Charles Davis read the Annual Report of the Trustees on 
the condition and present position of Cairo and the Trust Estate, 
which was. 

On motion of Mr, J. Randall, placed on file. 

Mr. Thos. S. Taylor, on the part of the Trustees, presented the 
Annual Statement of the Accounts of the Trust, together with 
the Balance Sheet for the last year, which were read. See p. 84. 


On motion of Mr. Hiram Ketchum, the same were referred to 
a Committee for examination, and to report thereon at the next 
meeting. Whereupon 

The Chair appointed Messrs. H. Ketchum and C. Macalester 
the Committee. 

Mr. John Neal, on behalf of the Executive Committee appoint- 
ed at the meeting of July 15th, 1858, " to consider the affairs of 
the Cairo City Property, and to recommend a suitable course of 
action for the shareholders," presented an interesting and elabo- 
rate report, Avhich was read. Whereupon — 

On motion of Mr. J. Randall, the same was unanimously 

On motion of Mr. J. Randall, a vote of thanks of the meeting 
was tendered to the Sub-Committee, Messrs. John Neal and Har- 
vey Baldwin, for the assiduity and fidelity with which they have 
performed the duties entrusted to them, and 1000 copies of the 
report were ordered to be printed. 

On motion, it was agreed that when this meeting adjourn, it 
adjourn to meet on Friday, the 15th October, at the office of the 
Trustees, in the city of Philadelphia, at 12 o'clock, noon. 

Mr. Hiram Ketchum offered the following resolutions : 

Resolved, That it shall be the duty of the Trustees to employ 
promptly all the means in their power to put the protective em- 
bankments about Cairo in such condition, by widening, raising, 
and otherwise strengthening, as will command, and thus restore 
the confidence of the public in their sufficiency and permanency ; 
provided, "The Illinois Central Railroad Company" does not at 
once proceed to do the same, and thus carry out, in part, the 
obligations solemnly entered into by them with the Trustees. 
See p. 41, &c. 

Resolved, That out of the money received from the Lands 
hereafter sold, Ten per cent, thereof shall be set apart as a fund 
to be applied exclusively to the protection of the Deed Property 
and improvement thereof. See p. 42. 

Resolved, That the Trustees shall, in making sales of land 
hereafter to be sold, be restricted to the sale of every alternate 
lot or block, or part of blocks, so that the Shareholders shall 
own after all sales by Trustees, one-half, or as nearly as practica- 
ble one-half of the land in each division. See p. 50. 


Resolved, That tlio Trustcos sliall make a Report on tlic Sec- 
ond Tuesday of each calendar month, commencing on the Second 
Tuesday in November next, of all their proceedings in the month 
preceding, and especially of the Lands sold, the moneys received 
and paid, and the improvements and contracts made ; and record 
the same in a book to be kept at the Office of the Trustees, in 
the city of New York, to be subject to the inspection of every 
Shareholder who may desire to see the same, between the hours 
of ten and three o'clock of each day except Sundays and the usu- 
al holidays. See p. 50. 

Resolved, That the funds of the said company, whenever the 
same shall be received, or as soon thereafter as practicable , be de- 
posited in " the Life and Trust Company," in the city of New 
York, on interest, or in some other safe institution, subject to be 
drawn out on the orders or checks signed by both of said Trus- 
tees, whenever and as often as the same may be required to dis- 
charge the obligations of the said company, or to pay dividends 
to the Shareholders. See p. 50. 

Mr. Randall moved that the above Resolutions be adopted, 
which motion being seconded, and the question was ordered to 
be taken by a viva voce vote of aye and no, v/hen they were 
unanimously adopted by the following vote : 

34,904 shares voted in the affirmative. 

(Mr. Alexander Bacon, holding Proxies amounting to 639 shares, 
left the meeting before the Resolutions were offered, and did not 

The Trustees, Thomas S. Taylor and Charles Davis, respect- 
ively gave their ratification and approval of the directions con- 
tained in Mr. Ketchum's Resolutions. 

Mr. Charles Davis read a correspondence between the Trustees 
and the Hotel Company of Cairo, asking for a further appropria- 
tion of lots in settlement and full satisfaction of all claims and 
demands upon the Trust. Sec p. 43, and App. E. 

Whereupon, on motion of Mr. Charles Macalester, the whole 
subject was referred to the Trustees and the Sub-Executive Com- 
mittee, with instructions to adjust the samein such manner as they 
may think expedient. 

Mr. Ketchum offered the following resolution, and gave no- 


ticc that he would call it up at the next Meeting for considera- 

Resolved, That a Board of Directors, to consist of five Share- 
holders of the Cairo City Property, to hold their office for one 
year, or until new Directors shall be appointed, be and the same 
are hereby appointed, whose duty it shall be to meet on the sec- 
ond Tuesday of each month, at the office of the Trustees, in the 
city of New York, at 12 o'clock meridian, and all the power to 
give directions to said Trustees by the three-fourths in interest of 
the Shareholders, be vested in the said Board of Directors. See 
p. 50. 

On motion of Mr. Charles Davis, the Executive Committee 
were continued with power to negotiate with and to adjust the 
differences between the Illinois Central Railroad Company and 
this Trust. See p. 6, 9, 37, 41, and App. A. 

On motion, 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be printed for 
distribution among the Shareholders, under the superintendence 
of the Secretary. 



KoBT. E. Randall, Secretary. 

Since the above proceedings were in type, a letter from one of 
the Stockholders, giving an account of -the final action of the 
meeting at Philadelphia, has been received ; and without waiting 
for the official minutes, is herewith submitted. J. N. 

Office of the C. C. P., 78 Merchants' Exchange, ) 
New York, Oct. 21, 1858. ] 

John Neax, Esq., Portland, 

Dear Sir : 

At the meeting in Philadelphia yesterday, it was 

unanimously resolved (about 35,000 shares being represented,) 

1. That John II. Wright be elected Trustee in place of T. S. 



2. That future meetings be licld in N. Y. 

3. That C. Macalestcr, J. S. Wright, and W. C. Wctmore, be a 
Committee with power to settle and adjust the accts. of the for- 
mer Trustee — T. S. Taylor — and that the deeds of conveyance &c., 
from Taylor to Davis and Wright, be approved by Macalester and 
W. C. Wetmore. 

4. That all proxies 6sc. be filed with the Trustees for safe 

5. That the salaries of the Trustees be $2,500 each, commenc- 
ing from Oct. 20, 1858. 

6. That we adjourn sine die. 

Yours Truly, 


Errok.— Page 19, for 1857, read 1851. 

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