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cop. 3 

I .H.S. 

iJ^io?ieer i^yiai/roaa 


he QjtoriJ of t/ie L^/iicaao 
a Q^iort/i Jj'^'^estern QjustcTii 

and W. A. S. DOUGLAS 

t/eseu ^jyXOoi 

hittleseii f^jy LJoiise 



Copyright, 19+8, by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 
All rifflits reserved. Thi.s book, or parts thereof, may not be 
reproduced in any form without permission of the jiublisher. 


A DIVISION OF THE McGraw-Hill Book Compaxy, Inc. 

Printed in the United States of America 



(some of whom have passed on) 






For their patience, cooperation, and counsel, the authors are 
deeply indebted to these gentlemen : 

Rowland L. Williams, President, Chicago and North Western 
Railway System 

Barret Conway, Vice President and Secretary 

Major General Carl R. Gray, Jr., Administrator, Veterans' Af- 
fairs, former Vice-president 

Lowell Hastings, General Solicitor 

Bradford W. Carlton, Assistant to President 

Francis V. Koval, Assistant to President 

William F. White, Assistant Secretary 

Quentin M. Lambert, Publicity Manager 

We are also grateful to our old-time colleague of Chicago news- 
paper days, John Drury, who dug deep into the archives of the 
railroad and into the material loaned by the Newberry Librarj', 
the Chicago Historical Association, and the Chicago Public Li- 
brary ; nor should we forget Sally ]\Iorgan, who typed and retyped 
the manuscript again and again and again — until it finally passed 





1. The Gentleman from Delaware County ..... 3 

2. Charles Butler's Proposal 11 

3. Go West, Young Man 18 

4. His Honor the Mayor 27 

5. Galena — Prairie Capital ........ 38 


6. The Birth of a Railroad 47 

7. The Pioneer 57 

8. North Western Dream ......... 68 

9. Laying the Foundation ........ 77 


10. Territory in Need of a Railroad ....... 85 

11. Twin Cities in the Wilderness ....... 95 

12. The Rails Come to Minnesota 100 


13. Civil War 113 

14. Consolidation 121 

15. Ogden Retires 129 

16. Marvin Hughitt 135 

17. Rural Opposition 140 


18. The Omaha Climbs Aboard 149 

19. Empty Horizons . . . . . . . . . .155 

x contents 


20. Advance on tlie Dakotas 159 

21. The Great Capital Fight 172 

22. Picnics and Excursions . . . . . . . . .177 


23. Luxurious Travel 187 

24. "Ah, Noble Kate Shelley" 191 

25. The Great Blizzard 199 

26. Casey at the Throttle 208 

Part Seven. THE LAST LAP 

27. Entrance to the New Century . 215 

28. Yesterday's Frontier 226 

29. Again a Farmer's Railroad 234 

30. Tourists, Sculpture, and Cattle 243 

31. Progress — and Setback 248 

32. Trusteeship and Reorganization ....... 253 

33. "Bud" Williams Takes Over 261 


34. Notes on a Southpaw Railroad ....... 269 

35. Locals and Streamliners ........ 276 

36. The First Hundred Years Are the Hardest .... 282 

Appendi.x 289 

Bibliography 321 

Index 323 

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lapter / 


To THE Citizens of Chicago and to the People of the Northwest: 
Would you behold William Butler Ogden's monument, look around you ! 
— History of Chicago, by A. T. Andreas; 188i. 

The big man gently patted the big bay gelding, and the liorse, 
responsive as always to his master's gestures, halted his easy, power- 
ful stride. 

Tile trail they had been following had risen somewhat from the 
Delaware River bank, so that the pair of them — man and beast — 
were looking over the countr^'side. This trail began at Stamford in 
the northeastern corner of Delaware County, where it joined a 
slightly more imposing roadway that ran west for sixty-odd miles 
to meet the Hudson River at Ravena — whence it was an easy ride 
to Albany, then in 1835, as now, the capital of New York State. 

The gentleman from Delaware County let the reins hang on his 
horse's neck, shook the stirrups from his feet, stretched his long 
legs, and wliile his mount cropped green mulberry leaves, stared 
ahead of him. This was the spread of country that had a peculiar 
attraction for him. Riding from his near-by home in Walton on his 
way to the sessions of the State Legislature, he was wont to halt at 
this particular rise, kick off his stirrups, swing around in the saddle, 
and look backward ; coming home to Walton from Albany, as now, 
he would halt here, and stare ahead. 

William Butler Ogden threw one leg over his saddle, hooked his 
reins to the pummel, and slid easily to the ground. He walked for- 


4 M A N O F V I S I O N 

ward a dozen paces and looked down. Ahead of him was cleared land 
which, not so long ago, had been a mighty forest ; the path meandered 
through tree stumps. As he stood there, the ring of axes came to him 
sharply on the clear April air ; there came also the echo of a crash 
as an oaken giant tumbled to earth. Ogdcn's tree-fellers had been 
busy during his last sojourn in Albany. The view was unobstructed 
now, all the way to the little white town of Walton. Philadcli)hia was 
growing fast, and orders for lumber from the Ogden sawmill — to be 
floated down the Delaware — overtaxed the mill, though the raw 
supply along the river had been barely touched. 

Let us take a look at Will Ogden as he stands staring past the 
tree stumjjs, getting from his favorite post of vantage his first clear 
look at his home. The little white houses were clustered around the 
lazy river. The big white house some two hundred yards from the 
river's edge had been built by his father ; so had the sawmill by the 
river. The mill wheel rotating slowly under the gentle urge of the 
river had been erected by Will himself twelve years before, when, 
in his seventeenth year, his father had been stricken by paralysis, 
and the eldest son had dropped the study of law to become a lumber- 

"We must move with the times, Dad," the boy had explained to 
his father. The sick man, unable to do more, understanding but voice- 
less, had nodded in acquiescence. Will knew he would have smiled as 
he agreed, had not his features been frozen into immobility by the 
scourge that had come upon him. 

So there was the sawmill wheel. 

A tall man — just over six feet — Will Ogden was broad-shouldered 
and slim-waisted. His hands were large and capable. He had brown 
hair, a clean-shaven face, a high forehead; his mouth was firm and 
determined, his eyes clear gray. All in all, a remarkably handsome 
man of twenty-nine, clad in the fashion of a gentleman of his day 
on horseback: long, high-split, brown riding coat; neckcloth; tight 
soft-leather breeches ; booted but unspurrud. AVill Ogden loved his 
horses, as his horses loved him, and had no use even for a riding whip. 

Across the lazy river, opposite the sawmill wheel was the flour 
mill wheel, rotating under the gentle urge of the Delaware as slowly 
and majestically as its neighbor. Behind it was the low flat-roofed 
mill, white as its finished product — the flour mill as busy as the 


sawmill, for Philadelphia needed bread as well as lumber. Beyond 
the little white mill, beyond a green garden showing flashes of other 
bright spring colors, was a low white-timbered house with ivy cling- 
ing to its walls. 

Strange that a young man should be made unhappy by looking 
at such beauty as a gentle river, a flour mill wheel, a pretty garden, 
an ivy-covered, timbered house — that a man should be made suddenly 
miserable, restless. One side of the river stood for all that he was 
himself, all that he had gained, all that he had built of himself — 
postmaster of Walton, member of the State Assembly from Dela- 
ware County, major and brigade inspector in the state militia, friend 
of that fellow Democrat, President "Andy" Jackson, friend and 
confidant of Governor "Bill" Marcy of New York ; one of the lead- 
ing lumber merchants of the state. Young, handsome, well to do, 
popular — and unmarried! 

The Ogdens had been "people" since the early settlement of North 
America. The first American Ogden had been the younger son of a 
Yorkshire squire, a wild, hard-riding youth without prospects and 
with a facility for picking wrong numbers and wrong cards at the 
gaming tables. His father, beating Horace Greeley to the punch line 
by more than a hundred years, had said in eff'ect, "Go West, young 
man!" — the West in those days being the shore line of His Majesty's 
American Colonies. To his advice he added five hundred pounds — 
no mean sum in those days. 

This first William Ogden straightened out quickly, secured a 
grant of land in New Jersey through the influence of his family, 
gathered to him portions of several shiploads of bond servants, and 
built a house. He farmed land to a sufficient extent to provide for 
him a livelihood plus about as many comforts as were being enjoyed 
by his brother, the now-reigning Yorkshire squire. He lived in a 
cleared and productive section near Morristown. His immediate 
neighbors were the Weeds and the Butlers. William Ogden married 
a Butler and raised a brood of children. Four of his sons served in 
the Revolutionary War. One of these, Abraham Ogden, a lawyer, 
bought the present site of Ogdensburg in St. Lawrence County, 
New York, on the St. Lawrence River. He had built a sort of fort 
there, as protection against the Indians, which was ignored by the 


British during the Revolutionary War. In tlic War of 1812, Abra- 
}iain Ogdon's fort and trading village were destroyed by the enemy 
— but the city of Ogdensburg rose on the ashes — and still thrives. 

William Ogden's first cousin, Peter Skene Ogden, wandered into 
the Far West years before wandering into the Far West became 
known as a hazardous occupation. Peter Skene Ogden was a trapper, 
selling his furs to the first of the Chouteaus in the village of St. 
Louis. He discovered Ogden's Hole in what is now the state of Utah, 
where he had fresh water, and where furred animals came to drink 
and to die and to have their hides forwarded to old Auguste Chou- 
teau. When Brigham Young decided that a town should be built 
around Ogden's Hole, he called it Ogden, and it became a great city. 
Grateful that Peter Skene Ogden had laid a trail to fresh water, the 
Mormon leader also picked a mountain and named it after the 

William Butler Ogden's grandfather served as an officer in the 
Revolutionary War ; when that trouble was over, he retired to his 
estate, refusing repeated demands that he enter politics by serving 
in the New Jersey Legislature. His son Abraham, who had engaged 
in the lumber business, became intrigued over the stories of the im- 
mense timber forests in the "upper Delaware country." A patent to 
lumbering stretches of forest could be secured through family influ- 
ence; the Delaware River rolled down from the forest to Philadelphia 
— and was not Philadelphia the new country's greatest, fastest grow- 
ing city.'' 

Abraham Ogden was a great persuader; he talked his clan into 
moving into the state of New York, into securing patents to the 
great pine, elm, and oak forests. His wife was a Weed, his aunt had 
married a Butler, a cousin had wed a Wheeling. Weeds, Butlers, 
Wheelings and Ogdens moved to the banks of the lazy Delaware, and 
all of them prospered. Some of them are still there. 

Abraham Ogden, with the help of Weeds, Butlers, and Wheel- 
ings, built the little white town of Walton on the banks of the river. 
The families had come to primitive forest, west of the Catskills, 8 
miles from Albany, 60 miles from what — in courteous terms — was 
then called "a carriage road." 

The clans cleared the land, the}' built their homes — crude at first, 
gradually iinjiroved — broke the forest, sowed and reaped, con- 


structed their rafts and then their flatboats. Within two decades they 
had established their trade with the New World metropolis, Philadel- 
phia. Governor De Witt Clinton, visiting Abraham Ogden on the 
matter of his support of the Erie Canal project, was so entranced 
with the beauty of Walton and the surrounding country that he 
made it the subject of one of his powerful orations in support of the 
man-made waterway. He thundered : 

In this sequestered section of our State, where courageous families 
arrived in wilderness on pack horses within my own memory, patriotism 
has found a home amid dignified courtesy and genuine hospitality. The 
society so formed and developed through the influence of these pioneers 
is distinguished through all the surrounding country no less for its general 
intelligence and intellectual cultivation than for its moral and religious 
character. The marts of commerce are open to these gallent people be- 
cause nature provided them with a waterway. And where nature has 
faded, mj' friends, then man must find a way. . . . 

Abraham Ogden built his white-timbered house and his sawmill, 
raised his family from harsh living to comfort, and fell victim to a 
stroke of paralysis at the early age of forty-two. Inside of seconds 
he was changed from a strong and hearty man to something breath- 
ing — but otherwise inanimate; his brain apparently functioned for 
he could move his head slightly in gestures of assent and dissent. For 
five years he so lived and then passed on. This was in 1820, when he 
was forty-seven years of age. William Butler Ogden was within a 
month of being seventeen when his father became helpless. For three 
years after that, he ran the sawmill with the help of a scholarly Weed 
uncle, who could keep books but who didn't know the difference be- 
tween a pine tree and an elm. But the business moved almost of its 
own momentum ; Philadelphia needed lumber, and all that the Ogdens 
had to do was to hew timber, shape it, and slide it down the river. 
Will Ogden, hoping against hope for his father's recovery, had 
studied law. With Abraham's death, he became the actual instead of 
the virtual head of the business. There was his mother, a gentle, well- 
bred, fragile person ; most certainly she had to be taken care of — no 
fiddling with the law when the lumber business could ensure comfort 
and moneyed ease for this little ladv. 


Then there was Mahlon — young Mahlon, as keen on being a law- 
yer as his eltler brother had ever been — and the three girls, lovely 
girls, who would have no trouble finding husbands. Off they would 
flit in a few years, so ver^' few years- — and, as assuredly, off would 
flit young Mahlon to practice law in Philadelphia or Washington 
or New York. And Will Ogden would be alone with his adored and 
adoring mother. But just a moment! Not so alone, after all — for 
there was Mary, whose father, John Wheeling, operated the flour 
mill across the river from the Ogden sawmill. Mary had not always 
been important to ^Vill Ogden — once she had been just a grubby 
little girl in pigtails, a nuisance to himself and to other little boys. 
Then, all of a sudden, she had grown uj) — a honey-haired, slim, jiink 
and white girl of seventeen. 

This realization of Mary and her physical assets came to AVill 
Ogden strangely enough as he was leaving his father's grave. Friends 
and relatives had gathered round the grief-stricken widow, her 
daughters, and second son. Will found himself alone — and then felt 
a touch on his arm. 

"Cousin Will, I'm so sorry." 

(Most everybody in Walton — that is the Ogdens, tlie Weeds, the 
Wlieelings — called each other "cousin.") 

The voice was soft, melodious. Will Ogden turned to look at IVIary 
Wheeling. What a pretty girl ! And yesterday she was a child ; today 
slim and lovely even in unrevealing, voluminous black. 

"Thank you. Cousin Mary." 

Cousin? He repeated the word to himself, made a swift calcula- 
tion as to the sort of cousins they were. Oh, yes ; Granduncle Weed 
had married a ^\niccling back in Morristown before the War of In- 
dependence. And that Wheeling lady had been a cousin of Mary 
W'hceling's grandfather. Far enough away, by any standard. Pecu- 
liarly, he thought, his brief mental genealogical study left him deeply 

They walked on together behind the rest of the funeral party. 

"Mary," said Will — he was always a direct sort of person — "I 
was thinking that some of these evenings I ouglit to row across and 
pay your folks a visit." 

"I know they'll be glad to see you, Will," Mury replied demurely. 


There had been, from the very beginning, a perfect understanding. 
It came to Will Ogden as he jogged easily along, his C3'es on the flour 
mill wheel and not on his own sawmill wheel, that he had never actu- 
ally proposed to Mary Wheeling. 

They had been sitting one summer evening on the porch of Jolin 
Wheeling's house. This faced the long garden, the mill wheel, and 
the river; you came to it either from the water and up the garden 
path or you came around to it by a circular driveway off the rutted 
roadway. ]\Iostly forest behind the Wheeling house, for the highway 
(so-called) to Philadelphia and to Albany ran on the sawmill side 
of the river. 

"When we're married — " Will had begun. He was always one for 
expressing his thoughts and his plans well ahead. 

"Yes, Will," she said quietly — a smile on her face at the sudden 
rush of color to his — "what is it you have in mind when we're mar- 
ried ?" 

She was holding in her hand a daisy, from which she had been 
picking the petals one by one; she would often do this when they 
were sitting together. 

"Then — then — it's all right?" he managed to stammer. 

"Of course it's all right. Will," whispered Mary. "It's always been 
all right ever since I started pulling daisy petals on you when I was 
nine years old. You know, 'He loves me, he loves me not.' Hundreds 
and hundreds of times, Will, and it has always come out right. You 
do love me, don't you?" 

Will Ogden took from her fingers the recently unpetaled daisy. 
Carefully and methodically he placed it between the leaves of the 
notebook that he always carried in an inner coat pocket. Then, de- 
liberate as always, he took his Mary in his arms and, for the first 
time, kissed her. 

That had been nine years ago, back in 1826, about a year after 
Abraham Ogden had been relieved from all pain and laid to rest. Two 
years of sweet courtship; and the wedding had been set for a June 
day of 1828. 

He was in Philadelphia the previous March — busy for a week on 
an important lumber deal. On a blustery night, his brother Mahlon 
galloped, mudstaincd, to the door of his inn, rushed Will to liis room, 


!Uid broke tlic news; Mary had passed away after two days of mys- 
terious illness, diaf^nosed by the doctor as "heart trouble." 

On the evening of December 20, 1881, the members of the Chicago 
Historical Society and more than fourscore distinguished guests 
gathered together to listen to an address by the Honorable Isaac 
Arnold, president of the society and a former associate of the Hon- 
orable William Butler Ogden, first mayor of the city of Chicago, first 
president of the Chicago and North Western Railway. At the same 
time, a portrait of Ogden, painted by George P. A. Healy, was pre- 
sented to the society. Ogden had died in 1877. 

"I recall a dark stormy night in December, 181'3," said Arnold, 
"when we were living together at his house on Ontario Street. The 
wild winter wind was moaning through the trees which stood close to 
the building. A great wood fire was burning on old-fashioned and- 
irons. It was late ; we were alone, and had been narrating to each 
other incidents of boyhood — on the Delaware and the Susquehanna. 
We had been speaking of schoolmates and early friends. 

"He had been humming old, half-forgotten ballads; he seemed 
wholly absorbed in his memories. The fire burned low, but he still 
kept on talking. Finally, he went to his room. He returned with a 
package of carefully preserved, long-ago-faded flowers — roses, pan- 
sies, some old garden flowers, daisies — a ribbon, a glove, some notes 
and a poem. All tenderly cherished relics of one from whom, many 
and long years before, he had been separated by death and around 
whose grave, amid all the active and absorbing scenes in which he 
was living, his memory still lingered fondly and faithfully. He never 
forgot the Sabbath chimes with which her voice had mingled. Half 
a century after her death and in his last will and testament he made 
provision for all those near to her who were still alive." 


banter 2 


Charles Butler, an alert, impatient, clever little man, was pacing 
back and forth on the long, wide verandalike front porch of the 
Ogden home as Will Ogden- — and Jonathan, his horse — slowly jogged 
into view on the Delaware road. Will recognized his brother-in-law 
and waved a salutation ; Charles returned it, at the same time yank- 
ing a huge timepiece from his fob, glancing at it, and returning it ; 
he then resumed his pacing. 

"Poor Charles," murmured Will to himself. "I thought he was 
out West some place. To look at him, you'd think I was hours late 
for an important conference. He never forgets he is descended from 
a Duke of Ormonde and sometimes he acts more like a duke than, I 
would suppose, does his noble cousin, the head of the clan." 

At the steps of his home. Will Ogden slid to the ground from his 
saddle and smacked Jonathan's rump. The understanding horse 
paced majestically on and disappeared round the corner of the house 
in the direction of the stables. 

"What good breeze brings you to Walton, Charles?" asked Will 
as the two men shook hands. The door opened, and a dainty, pretty 
little woman, looking a full decade less than her fifty years, fairly 
ran into her son's arms. 

"Back again, Will !" cried Abigail Ogden. "I was beginning to 
wonder — " 

"My usual three days' journey from Albany, Mother dear," her 
son replied with a laugh. "I'm not a hard rider, you know. You 
wouldn't be worrying or wondering if Charles were not here. He 
ought to know we haven't train service as yet between the capital 
and Walton." 

"I've been waiting a day, a whole day," complained Charles, again 


mechanically' j-anking out his huge watch — which he returned to his 
pocket without even looking at its face. "Important matters, Will, 
important mutters for j'ou and for me." 

"He hasn't told me a thing about them, ^Vill," said Mrs. Ogden. 
"They must really be something of moment for him to hang onto 
them up till j'ou get here ; but he's been fizzing like a leaky ginger 
beer bottle for twenty-four hours." 

Even Charles Butler laughed, made another gesture to his watch 
pocket, remembered in time, slapped his hands together. 

"A splendid speech, Will," he went on. "I might say a remarkable 
speech. Your prophetic words alone put over the New York and Erie 
Railroad Bill." Charles Butler funibltd in u ])ocket, drew forth a 
sheaf of papers. 

"How in God's name did you get hold of my speech.'"' asked Will 
Ogden. "You weren't in Albany, and the newspapers haven't had 

"Special dispatch rider to Washington," replied Charles gleefully 
as he slapped the folded papers against his hip. "Old Hickory is in- 
terested in railroads. Our first western President, Will, and it will 
be railroads which will open up the West. I might say he's damnably 
interested, if Mother" — with a bow in his mother-in-law's direction — 
"if Mother will excuse the language." 

"Did the President give you tliat copj- of ni}- speech?" asked Will 

"Well, not exactly," answered his brother-in-law. "He passed it 
along to my brother, the attorney' general. Ben knew I was coming 
here to talk to you about matters akin and so he gave it to me." 

"Matters akin.'" asked Will Ogden. "Well, Charles, your matters 
akin will have to wait till I bathe and sliave, change my clothes, and 
have done justice to the splendid supjier I know Mother is liaving 
prepared for us." 

Charles Butler, impatient as always, held up a hand. 

"Just a minute," he cried. "Just a minute. Mother. I want to read 
you what the President underlined." Without waiting for approval 
from his audience, he proceeded : " 'The state-pride alone of the Em- 
pire State, gentlemen, calls for the construction at once of the Erie 
road. Otherwise, the scepter will depart from Judah — ' " 

"How's that. Mother.'' The scepter from Judah.'"' 


"Wonderful." Mrs. Ogden laughed. "Please continue, Charles." 

Will Ogden chewed his lower lip, while his cheeks colored. He was 
never a vain man ; in fact, he was shy and always had to nerve him- 
self to public speaking and public appearance. 

" 'Philadelphia,' " intoned Charles Butler, thoroughly enjoying 
himself, " 'is your great rival and, if New York is idle, will gather in 
the trade of the great West. Look at what our sister state, Mary- 
land, has already accomplished with the Baltimore and Ohio Rail- 

" 'Continuous railways from New York to Lake Erie, and south 
of Lake Erie, through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, to the waters of 
the Mississippi, and connecting with railroads running to Cincinnati 
and Louisville in Kentucky, and Nashville in Tennessee, and to New 
Orleans will present the most splendid system of internal communi- 
cation ever devised by man. To look forward to the completion of 
such a system in my day may be considered visionary. But, gentle- 
men, I pray that at least some of us will live to see it realized.' " 

Charles Butler folded the papers, placed them in his inside pocket, 
and grinned impishly at his embarrassed brother-in-law. 

"Son," whispered Mrs. Ogden, her eyes glowing, "I'm proud of 
you. I wish your father were here." 

The Widow Ogden watched her eldest son and her son-in-law, a 
decanter of old port between them. Charles Butler, nervous, impa- 
tient, his words tumbling on each other; Will Ogden, listening in- 
tently, his churchwarden pipe cold and unheeded in one hand while 
the fingers of the other drummed on the little wine table. 

He has never been happy, thought the widow to herself, never a 
day since Mary went away. I think he would have gone from me long 
since but for the children. Now Mahlon is a lawyer, and the girls are 
finishing school in Philadelphia. For years I feel he has been training 
Cousin George Weed to run the mill. He wants to get away from this 
place of sadness as far as he is concerned. The years have made no 
difference. And here's Charles Butler with the biggest of his big 

The Widow Ogden sighed, blinked back tears as her crochet needle 
moved in and out — listened. 


"There's just one tiling vou left out of tiiat speech, Will," Charles 
Butler was saying. 

"And what was that, Charles?" 

"Well, you talked of the East and the South .uul what we call the 
West. You're going to crisscross it with railroad lines. Andy Jack- 
son calls liiniself a Westerner but, my goodness. Will, inside of a 
very few years Tennessee won't even qualify as the Middle West. 
And then, after the Middle West, comes the West and the North- 

"Unsettled land, wild land, desert hind," said Will Ogdcn shortly. 

"I know, I know," continued Butler. "It has just taken you three 
days to come from Albany here. Eighty miles in three days. Inside 
of a very short time when the railroads cover the territory you men- 
tioned in your speech, you'll make that sort of journey in three 
hours. Three hours instead of three days, W^ill. Think of that." 

Charles paused to sip his port. 

"I am not primarily concerned with the Erie road or the Balti- 
more and Ohio road or even the Erie Canal. New York wants the 
trade from the West or what j'ou now call the West; so does Phila- 
delphia. You and I can get the jump on both those places. Will." 

"How.'"' asked Will Ogden. He rose to stick a quill into the flames 
of the log fire, lit his churchwarden, returned to his seat. But his 
mother noticed that he let his pipe go out again as he listened to her 
effervescent son-in-law. 

"We'll build a city by the Great Lakes," said Butler. "It will be 
an outpost of trade at first, then it will gather to itself the trade of 
the surrounding region as the immigrants flock to the rich land. And 
then, in the race for the trade and the commerce of what you call the 
West, we'll be a thousand miles ahead of New York and Philadel- 

"I presume, Charles," said Will Ogden slowly, "that you are re- 
ferring as 3'our base of operation to that sometime onion patch they 
call Chicago." 

"Onion patch !" snapped Butler. "Why, I'll have you know Chi- 
cago was incorporated as a town two years ago — " 

"How many people do you have to have to incorporate as a 
town?" asked Will, with a grin. 

"Wiv, I believe it's a hundred and fiftv — but there were more 


than a tliousand people in Chicago then. Listen, Will, I've just left 
there — well, a month ago. I bet there's more than three thousand 
there now, and the number is growing daily. Why, riding from De- 
troit to Chicago, it was lucky George Bronson and I were not using 
a wagon. The trail was so cluttered with immigrants heading for 
what you call an onion patch that we had to push our horses through 
the forest to get round them." 

"What about the Indians?" asked Will. "Has that difficulty really 
been all cleared up .'"' 

"Absolutely. The Black Hawk War ended that. The treaty was 
signed almost a year ago — ^last May in fact. Sacs, Foxes, Chippewas, 
Winnebagoes, Pottawattomies, they've all gone. The Fort Dearborn 
massacre is just an unpleasant memory which can never recur. Chi- 
cago in a few short j'ears, the way things are going. Will, will be the 
great metropolis of the Middle West. Serving people all around and 
in front and not giving a damn for Philadelphia or New York — or 
Baltimore." , {l/iijuu'\ 

"And how is all this supposed to interest me.'"' asked Will Ogden. 

Charles Butler leaned/forward in his chair; here was the big mo- 
ment. "This trip George Bronson and I made to Chicago was his 
second. He has been deeply interested since he met Robert Kinzie in 
New York. This Kinzie is a son of the original settler at the mouth 
of the Chicago River where it flows into Lake Michigan. He was the 
Indian agent at the time of the massacre, and his family has title 
to a lot of property on both sides of the river. George was in Chicago 
a year ago and he bought one hundred thirty acres of Kinzie land 
on the north side of the river. On this last trijj of ours, I bought 
those acres from Bronson." 

"You bought them.'"' queried Will. 

"Yes, I bought them, and a damn good buy, too. Now the govern- 
ment is holding an auction of public lands in Chicago in May — next 
month. I have secured permission to follow immediately with an auc- 
tion on my acreage. I figure, at what we think prices are going to 
be, that I shall get back my purchase money on a sale of only a 
third of my lots." 

" Wiat did you pay for this property ?" 

"A hundred tliousand dollars," answered Charles Butler. 


For the first time that evening the Widow Ogden felt impelled to 
enter into the conversation. 

"Where did you get a hundred thousand dollars, Charles?" she 
asked. "When you came to me for permission to propose to my 
daughter you told me you were worth about half that, all told." 

"Truth to tell, Mother" — Butler's reply had a faint trace of 
embarrassment — "I'm not worth much more than that today — " 

" — and part of that is your property in Geneva," observed Mrs. 
Ogden. "Your wife's home and your children's jionie — not to say 
your own home." 

"What did you do, mortgage.'"' asked Will. 

Charles Butler saw he had to lay his cards on the table. 

"Up to the hilt," he replied, "and then some. But don't worry ; 
my investment is good as gold — -" 

"What do j'ou owe on this onion patch by the lake's edge.'" asked 
Will, but his quiet smile encouraged his brother-in-law. 

"I put a thirty-thousand mortgage on the Geneva place. Don't 
worry, Mother, I had your sweet daughter's permission. I had about 
twenty-five thousand in liquid assets. I borrowed fifteen thousand 
from Brother Ben; and you know, both of you, Ben is a canny soul. 
And as for the rest of it, I gave Arthur Bronson my note." 

Will Ogden considered. Charles was evidently, to his mind, leading 
up to a loan. 

"I could let 3'ou have fifteen thousand if that would help. Maybe 
more later — " 

"To hell with your fifteen thousand!" shouted Butler, jumping 
from his chair. He stood in front of Will Ogden — then remembered 
himself. "My apologies, jNIother, my deepest apologies. But, God 
Almighty, I didn't come to either of 3'ou for money ! If I could raise 
another hundred thousand dollars I'd slap it into Chicago real es- 
tate. Yes, every penny I could get my hands on. I can't lose." 

"You interest me, Charles," said Will Ogden calmly. "But if you 
don't want money from Mother and me, what is it you do want.-"' 
Butler resumed his seat, swallowed half a glass of port. 
"I want you to go to Chicago as the representative of the Ameri- 
can Land Company, which is the name I have given the enterprise. 
I want you to go as soon as possible, lay out the streets, plot the 
subdivision. The government hasn't sense enough to do that ; they're 


just selling staked pieces of prairie. You studied survej'ing, along 
with other things. You're my man, and I'll make it damn attractive 
to you — " 

"What about the sawmill?" asked the Widow Ogdcn in a strained, 
small voice. 

"Oh, the sawmill," answered Butler with a wave of his hand. 
"Why, George Weed can handle the mill and the trees just as well 
as Will here. It would do Will good to get out and look at this new 
country. If he does, I'll wager him half a dozen of my Chicago lots 
against a case of this port he stays there." 

"Oh, I hope not," breathed Mrs. Ogden. 

"What do I get out of it?" asked practical Will. 

"I have that all figured out," replied Butler jubilantly. "If you 
just handle this sale, I'll give you twenty-five per cent of the gross 
proceeds. If you'll stay in Chicago and handle the whole development, 
I'll take you in as a fifty-fifty partner in everything after I have 
recovered fifty thousand dollars-^or half of my present investment." 

"You intrigue me, Charles," said Will Ogden as he rose and 
stretched. "You and your onion patch. Don't mind my jokes, 
brother-in-law; I'm of a mind to try things out. It isn't the selling 
of lots, but something else 30U said that stirs me." 

He wants to get away, whispered the Widow Ogden to herself. 

"What does interest you, then. Will?" laughed Charles Butler, 
happy now that he seemed to have the battle won. 

"Railroads ! Charles, railroads !" replied Ogden. "That bit where 
you chided me over my speech to the Assembly. Not railroads run- 
ning into Chicago, but railroads running out of Chicago. Away off 
into the wilds, Charles, my boy." 

"WeU then, you accept ?" asked Butler. 

"Let's sleep on it," said Ogden, stretching again. "But if I feel 
in the morning as I do now, I'll promise at any rate to take care of 
your first big sale. The rest will be up to what I think of Chicago — 
and what Chicago thinks of me. Get to bed. Mother" — kissing her — 
"and you, Charles." 

L^// (7 /)/('/' 3 

(i O \V E S T , YOUNG MAN 

Will Ogden elected to make his journey — ^he still called it his "jour- 
ney of inspection" — to Chicago by water from Buffalo. Since his 
talk with Charles Butler and his agreement to enter into the sales 
arrangement proposed by his brother-in-law, the newspapers had 
been lavish in their news stories of the flow of settlers into northern 
Illinois and Chicago. The New York Evening Star had considered 
the migration worth a scries of articles by a special correspondent 
who accompanied an emigrant train made up of "twenty-two wagons 
and one hundred and fifty hardy sons and daughters of Pennsyl- 
vania." The Indian tribes had been pushed across the Mississippi for 
all time, and the American people were convinced that it was "safe 
to go West." Wagon trains came from New York and Virginia as 
well as Pennsylvania ; the people of the South moved to this promised 
land mostly over the Father of the Waters. Times were "hard" along 
the seaboard, and cheap land, maybe free land, had a great appeal. 
The news had filtered through to the Old World, too. The vehicles 
of the immigrants were of every kind ; sometimes no vehicle was used, 
for many a man traveled the whole way from the East on foot. Some- 
times the light wagons containing the possessions of the movers were 
drawn by the people themselves, the head of the family between the 
shafts of the wagon, harnessed with a collar and traces, while the 
rest of the family according to their strength pulled with ropes at- 
tached to various parts of the vehicle. 

The pioneers from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the southern states 
betrayed their nativity and prejudice in the schooner-shaped wagon 
box, the stiff tongue, the hind wheels double the size of the forward 
ones and closely coupled together, the whole drawn by a team of 
four or six horses guided by a single line in the hands of the teamster 



riding the high-wheeler. The harness was of gigantic proportions ; 
the massive leather breeching, the heavy collar, the immense housing 
of bearskin, the iron trace chains, and the ponderous doubletree 
and whiffletrees all made a striking picture. 

The New Yorker and immigrant from farther east was marked as 
far as his caravan could be seen by a long coupled, low-boxed, two- 
horse wagon provided with a scat, from which with double lines the 
driver guided his lightly harnessed pair of horses. Occasionally the 
old "steamboat" wagons were seen, bearing some resemblance to 
the crooked, heavy wagons used by the peoj^le from the southern 

The contents of the immigrant wagons wei'e astonishing indeed in 
amount as well as variety of articles. A glance under the canvas cov- 
ering disclosed a startling array of baggage — if "women, guns, 
rifles, boys, girls, babies, and other knickknacks" may be called bag- 
gage. Below, on the axles of tlie wagons, dangled pots and kettles 
of all forms and sizes. Sometimes dogs and even cats were included 
among the movables of the immigrating families. To the Yankee 
mover, a plow, a bed, a barrel of salt meat, a suj)ply of tea and 
molasses, a Bible, and a wife were the indispensable articles. 

In front of these westward-moving caravans rode the older, sons 
and sometimes tiie daugliters. Their duties were chiefly to attend to 
the driving of such domestic animals as had been brought along. 
Sometimes a considerable amount of livestock was driven along by 
the movers — one family came with 500 sheep, another man drove 
150 hogs — but as a general rule a few horses and cows, several sheep, 
and hogs made up the wealth of the Illinois pioneer. 

Ogden had booked passage on the brand new 500-ton steamer 
James Madison, advertised as "the last word, the final achievement 
in luxurious lake traffic." He had had to use the influence of Attor- 
ney General Benjamin Butler to secure cabin space; the James Madi- 
son, according to her owner, Charles M. Reed of Erie, was booked 
"to the gunwales" for months to come. Ogden was to share his sleep- 
ing space with one George W. Dole, described to him as "a big Chi- 
cago merchant." 

He rode first to Albany where he tarried a couple of days clearing 
up his legislative business, sent his horse Jonatlian back to Walton 


in charge of a groom, and then went aboard the New York, Albany, 
Bull'alo boat, Monarch of the Hudson, with his gear. On May 11, 
1835, bright and early, he stood on Reed's wharf and gazed up quiz- 
zically at the "Pride of the Lakes" — yet another flowery name added 
on by the James Madison's proud owner. 

"Why," said Will Ogden to himself, "I can't see the boat for the 

The James Madison was indeed loading "to the gunwales" ; the 
regular passenger list for this haul was 865 — never mind stowaways 
and crew. On the two passenger gangplanks men, women, and chil- 
dren were shouting, squealing, weeping, laughing, and — the men 
anyhow — cursing. They carried beds, blankets, pots, and pans ; they 
carried hens, cocks, chickens, geese, turkeys, dogs, and cats ; they 
toted buckets, shovels, spades, and scythes ; they staggered under 
the weight of huge wooden trunks, and not a few of the male immi- 
grants staggered also under the influence of an inside cargo of liard 

Aboard the James Madison it seemed impossible that any more 
people could be accommodated but still they kept on coming over 
the gangplanks, prodded by sailors, rammed ahead by the crowd 

"A modern Noah's Ark," remarked AVill Ogden aloud, without 

"Yes, sir," chuckled a voice close b^', "and by gad, sir, like Noah, 
they have found land — or, rather, they will when they get to Chi- 

Will Ogden turned to look at a stout, pleasant-appearing little 
man of middle age. Before he could respond to the quip, the stranger 
went on. 

"Mr. Ogden, I believe? Charles Butler told nic what you looked 
like. As your traveling companion, allow me to present myself. 
George Dole of Newberry and Dole, Chicago. At your service, sir." 

Will grasped the outstretched hand. "My pleasure, Mr. Dole." 

"Just follow me," counseled the Chicagoan. 

They pushed through the crowded wharf to the prow of the 
steamer. Here was a third, narrow gangjilank guarded by four husky 
sailors. Their leader recognized Dole, touched his cap, and made 
way. The pair ascended, climbed a jjerjiendicular stair, and arrived 


in the wheelhouse. Here sat two big grizzled men who were introduced 
by Dole as Reed, the owner, and Captain Slocombe, master of the 
James Madison. On the table were jugs of whisky, rum, and gin, sur- 
rounded b}' glasses. Reed poured out generous drinks. 

"We'll toast Chicago, the coming metropolis of the lakes," ob- 
served Dole. 

"Right," said Reed. 

They drank. 

"However," went on the shipowner, "if Chicago passes Buffalo 
it will be mainly my fault — at the rate I'm running folks out there. 
Mr. Ogden, I presume you're the gentleman who persuaded our State 
Assembly into warming up progress for the Erie Railroad?" 

"They give me some credit," admitted Will. 

"I guess 3'ou're railroad-minded," observed Captain Slocombe. 
"Well, so long as you don't put us boatmen out of business entirely." 

"There'll be trade enough for both methods of transportation," 
said Dole. "And that time is almost upon us. But west of Chicago, 
gentlemen, it has to be land transportation — and that means rail- 

"Humph" — from Reed — "what about canals .'* Cheaper hauling, 

"You can't crisscross the nation with ditches," Will Ogden found 
himself saying, somewhat to his own amazement. "Cost too much, 
too slow. You can do it with railroad tracks." 

"Mr. Ogden," cried George Dole. "You're a man after my own 
heart! Fill up the glasses, Captain, and let's drink another toast. 
To the railroads of the West ! And they can't come too quickly !" 

The two boatmen grinned as they tossed down their liquor. 

"I am one of the original incorporators of the town of Chicago," 
observed George Dole proudly as he sat on the edge of his bunk pull- 
ing off his heavy boots. "That was just two years ago come July. 
I suggest you sleep in your shirt and breeches. The Jaines Madison 
is a fine boat, but you never can tell with steam. Prefer sail myself, 
but speed is the thing today, and I march with the times. As I was 
saying, we incorporated." 

"How many of you?" asked Ogden. 

"There were only twenty-eight of us who claimed the right to 


vote, and thirtoin of those were niniiiiiy for office, including nij'self. 
I'll give you their names, first because you're going to meet them 
all personally, and secondly because if you stay in Chicago, these 
folks are going down in history." 

George Dole checked off his list on stubb^^ fingers. 
"E. S. Kiniberly, J. B. Beaubien, Mark Beaubien, T. J. V. Owen, 
William Ninson, Hiram Pearsons, Philo Cai'pentcr, George Ciiap- 
man, John Wright, John Temple, Mathias Smith, David Carver, 
James Kinzic, Charles Taylor, John Hogan, Eli Rider, Dexter Hap- 
good, George Snow, Madore Beaubien, Gholson Kercheval, George 
Dole — that's me — II. J. Hamilton, Stephen Gale, Enoch Darling, 
W. H. Adams, C. A. Ballard, John Watkins, and James Gilbert." 
Down to his shirt and breeches, Dole stretched himself in the lower 

"Who won?" asked Will Ogden. He was sitting on the floor of the 
cabin, puffing at his churchwarden. 

"I tied John Owen for the number one spot," replied Dole. "My 
partners, Oliver and Walter Newberry, didn't qualify themselves. 
Walter had been in Galena for several months drumming up trade. 
We're wharfers, shippers, connnission merchants, if j'ou don't know, 
and when we get to Chicago this boat will tie up at the Newberry 
and Dole dock off Rush Street. Oliver was down along the Mississippi 
somewhere. He's planning to build flatboats for the Illinois and 
Michigan canal trade to the big river, once they get it cut." 
"You think Chicago has a future.?" asked Will. 
"Son," replied George Dole, swinging his short legs over the bunk 
to face his questioner, "if I didn't, what in hell would I be doing 
there? I'm no rugged plainsman, Mr. Ogden. I can take a certain 
amount of hardship, but, looking at me, you probably say to your- 
self, this is no pioneer in the accepted tough American mold. I'm 
not, and neither are Oliver or Walter Newberry. We come of the 
same type. New England merchants who could have stayed back 
there and prospered. We belong to a breed which has to push for- 
ward to accomplish its destiny — let me say, rather, the destiny of 
these United States. What's the shore line, settled by my ancestors? 
What is the middle country, settled by yours? Just scratchings on 
the surface of what is destined to be the greatest nation in the world. 
"You're headinjr into a rougli land, Mr. Ogden. You could stay 


in the great state of New York, and opportunity would bo ever 
pounding on your door. I know all about you. You're a well-to-do 
businessman, you're a member of the Legislature, you're a friend of 
the President, among 3'our kinfolk is one of Mr. Jackson's chief 
advisors. Let me ask you a question, Mr. Ogden. You look too sound 
a man on your feet and in your head to be swayed entirely bj' Char- 
ley Butler's oratory. You're giving up security and comfort to gam- 
ble. Wh}', I have been told that you're likely to be governor of New 
York some day — maybe more than that. W[\y are j'ou coming to 

Will Ogden sat, silent. George Dole waited, his stockinged feet 
dangling over his bunk. 

"Well, Will," he said at long last — this was the first time he had 
called his companion by his first name — "well, what about it.'"' 

"It's this way, George," replied Ogden slowly. "I'm running away 
from something. I'm running into something. As you say, I was set- 
tled at home, but — " he hesitated — "but, if I can put it this way, 
George, the Lord gave and the Lord saw fit to take away. There will 
always be a loneliness, back there, and maybe where I'm going, I can 
shake it off." Will Ogden stopped, abashed. He had as good as let 
out his secret — and to a comparative stranger. 

"The Lord gave," said George Dole slowly, "and, as you say, the 
Lord saw fit to take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord, Will. 
Maybe He planned it that way." 

The little man rose from his bunk, stretched out his hand. Will 
returned his grasp. 

"You're going to do big things in Chicago," said George Dole, 
"for sure. Captain Slocombe's rum has me slightly dizzy. I'm going 
to bed." 

"I'll take a turn outside first. I need a breath of good night air," 
said Will Ogden. 

Below him, in the belly of the James Madison, the close-packed 
throng seemed at first to be just a sea of heads. The night was star- 
lit, with a clear new moon. Lake Erie was smooth ; the ship rose and 
fell gently. When he had stepped out of his candle-lit cabin, things 
had seemed at first a sort of blur. But above the murmur of voices 
there was music, singing. The people below him were on their way 


to a far place, an unknown place — but thoy acted as though they 
were mighty happy about it. 

There was a tangle of tongues below him; there was talk in Ger- 
man, and ho caught a flow of words in French. A big man — a full 
six inches taller than I am, thought Will — was talking to a com- 
panion. His words were English, but his accent was definitely foreign. 
He had his broad back to the wiicclhouse structure, and his head was 
in line with Will Ogdcn's boots. His companion, definitely a New 
Englander by his talk, seemed as puzzled as Will over the giant's 

"Where you come from.?" asked New England. 

"I be Cornishhhhh," hissed the big man. 

"Cornish? Where's that?" 

"I be from Cornwall," the giant answered, "in Britain. You call 
it England. We call it Britain. We was there firstttt. I be lead 

"Where are you heading for?" asked the New Englander. 

"Galena," answered the Briton. "Plenty lead, plenty work in 
Galena. Lead, she all dug up in Cornwall. Galena, I fix up good." 

"Big city. Galena," observed the New Englander. "Me, I'm from 
Massachusetts. But my folks came from England and this is the first 
time I knew there was any others but English living there." 

"It be long story," said the giant. "What be you?" 

"I'm a road builder. Been working on the National up by Cumber- 
land. I figure there's going to be lots of road building and street 
making around Chicago." 

Will Ogden leaned over, tapped the New Englaiider's shoulder. 

"Pardon my listening," he said as both men turned around. "But 
if you're a road builder I'll be able to use you in Chicago. Surveyor?" 

"Yes, sirree." 

"I don't know where I'll be stopping as yd," said Will. "But you'll 
be able to get me through Newberry and Dole. My name is William 
Butler Ogden. We'll dock at their wharf, Mr. — ?" 

"Hale, William Hale," answered the road builder. "Born in Bos- 
ton. My dad fought under Washington all over the place. As to 
where you can find me, mister, I'll be sleeping under the stars, 
wrapped in my blanket, and I'll be eating as long as five dollars 
lasts. Then ril sell niv blanket — " 


" — you'll be working for me the day after we land," promised 
Will. "If you need an advance — " 

William Hale raised his hand as though brushing something away. 

"Maybe I'll need it, Mr. Ogden — when I go to work. Thanks, but 
I'll manage." 

The lead miner had been listening intently. 

"You rich man. Mister Hale," he said with a grin. "Me, when I 
pay my boat fare, I got two dollars." 

"And you're going to Galena!" exclaimed Ogden. "Why, that's 
nigh onto two hundred miles from Chicago. How are you going to 
make it?" 

"I walk, I work, I eat, I get there," replied the miner, laughing. 

Why, you couldn't dare offer money to a man like that ! Tramping 
to Galena through the forests, over the rough trails, with settlers' 
cabins maybe a day's tramp apart, maybe more. Here he was, 
thought Will, -with two thousand dollars on his person, a draft for 
five thousand on Robert Kinzie. More could be had as he needed it. 
The miner had come 3,000 miles, the roughest part of his long jour- 
ney still ahead of him; the road builder had thrown up his job, was 
going to Chicago with but very little more. They had no fear, either 
of them; complete faith in themselves, complete faith in the future. 

"I'm proud to have met you, gentlemen," said Will Ogden. 

A hush had descended on the ship ; the babel of many tongues had 
ceased. A tall, thin, bareheaded man wearing the cassock of a priest 
stood on a packing case at the far end of the deck. He had clapped 
his hands together to bring silence. Now he stood with one arm still 
raised to hold attention. 

"Friends," he said in a clear resonant voice which carried back 
easily to Will Ogden. "I'm Father O'Meara. But don't be alarmed. 
I am not going to preach to you. There are too many faiths repre- 
sented among you for me to so presume. We are embarked on a 
great adventure. We have come from many lands ; some of you 
speak strange tongues. But that won't last long. Very soon you will 
be talking the language of the country you are adopting as your 
own. Those of you who have been born in America have an advan- 
tage, as have those like myself who have used the same tongue in 
other countries. But all in all, we start fairly equal. 


"We are poor pt'ojjle, all of us. ..." A>'i]I Ogden caught a brief 
smile on the priest's face as his eyes seemed to pass over the well- 
dressed figure standing by the wheelhouse; later they were to be- 
come great friends. Father O'Meara in 1837 became pastor of the 
Church of St. Mary's of the Lake at the southwest corner of 
what is now State and Lake streets. 

"Yes, 3^ou are poor in the things of this world," went on Father 
O'Meara. "But that does not bother you. You are rich in blessings, 
rich in opportunity. You cannot fail. The courage that embarked 
you on this journey is J'our bulwark. And now, if you will permit 
me, I shall sing to you a song of remembrance recently written by 
my fellow Irishman, that brilliant composer, Tom Moore." 

A glorious voice swept over the ship. 

Oft in the stilly night. 

Ere slumber's chain has bound me. 

Fond memory brings tlie light 

Of other daj's around me ; 

The smiles, the tears, 

Of boyhood's years. 

The words of love then spoken. . . . 

As the singer ended on the third verse there came seconds of si- 
lence before applause broke out. Father O'Meara was helping a small 
wizened man up onto the packing case ; one hand clasped a bow, the 
other an ancient fiddle. The little man arranged himself, snapped 
the bow across the strings of his instrument, broke into gay music, 
as Father O'Meara sang: 

Fly on the sugar bowl ! 
Shoo, Fly ! Shoo ! 

Earlier, Thomas Moore's new song would have made Will Ogden 
profoundly miserable. Now, though it hud stirred him, his thoughts 
were pleasant. 

A girl and a boy were jigging down there on the deck wliile the 
throng, led by Father O'Meara, was clapping hands in time to tiie 
fiddler's rendition of Pop Goes the Weasel! 


lapter 4 


The steamer James Madison made the trip from Buffalo in four 
days. The vessel was overloaded, and Captain Slocombe proceeded 
slowly. Calls had been made at Cleveland and at Detroit, but these 
stops did not lessen the human cargo by very much. About sixty 
persons disembarked at Cleveland, less than forty at Detroit. The 
Chicago area was the main goal — the city for those who planned 
to enter business or industry, the farm lands to the west and north- 
west for those who intended to live by the soil. 

On the morning of May 15, 1835, Will Ogden caught tlie first 
glimpse of the village that he was to help build into a metropolis. 
There had been a heavy rain the night before, but the sun was bright 
an'd Lake Michigan sparkled. The shore line was divided about 
equally between grassy meadow and fine waterside growths of maple, 
Cottonwood, oak, ash, cherry, elm, birch, and hickory. 

The steamer passed through the habor basin — recently deepened, 
as George Dole pointed out, by the Federal government at a cost of 
five thousand dollars — and entered the river. On his left were the 
neatly kept, whitewashed stockade and buildings of Fort Dearborn. 
At the base of the slight promontory on which stood the military 
reservation, straggled a street of houses, stores, and inns. At the 
water's edge were a series of wharves at most of which vessels were 
either loading or unloading. On Ogden's right was a large brick 
structure, the only imposing building in sight ; behind were green 
fields and patches of forest. 

"That's where j'ou'll put up," said George Dole. "The Lake 
House, best of its kind between here and New York. Business, of 
course, is on Water Street, but A'ou can get back and forth across 



the river easy enough, what witli tlio ferries and the rope bridge." 

"Where's my property?" asked Of^den. 

"Right along there back of the Lake House," replied Dole. "From 
the hotel to the lake is all Kinzie land. There's the old Kinzie house, 
the one with the Lombardy poplars around it." 

The river was clear and transparent. The mud and filth of Water 
Street were not visible from the deck of the Jajiws Madison. The 
low wooden buildings seemed to hold out a promise ; and on the other 
bank of the river was beauty. The bright colors of the flag of his 
country waved in the breeze over the fort. 

Captain Slocombe's private gangplank was lowered ahead of those 
for the use of the ordinary passengers and, except for two sailors. 
Will Ogden, closely followed by George Dole, was first to jjut his 
foot on terra firma — if it could be termed terra firma ! 

He stepped on a board, and it flapped upwards, the portion where 
he had planted his foot sinking into a hole. The plank jumped about 
four feet at its farther end, bringing with it a rain of mud which 
splashed the carefully dressed Ogden from head to toe. 

"Got to be careful in the rainy season," Dole laughingly observed 
as Will wiped mud from his face and vest. "But, as I always say, 
remember Rome." 

"What about Rome?" asked Ogden taking out a second handker- 
chief and still rubbing away. 

"It wasn't built in a day," laughed Dole. "Come on, don't be down- 
hearted; that's good Chicago land you're wiping off your face and 
clothes, and it will do right by you in the end even if it was a bit 
rough on first acquaintance. My men will take your things to your 
hotel, and now we'll walk over to ]\Iark Beaubien's Sauganash House. 
We'll be just in time to meet the bigwigs of the town ; sort of weekly 
get-together, this is." 

Avoiding mudholcs, sometimes skipping from plank to plank — he 
had learned to hit these things in the middle or not at all — ^^Vill 
Ogden followed his rotund little guide, wondering as he walked. 

The little town was jammed full of people, all sorts and conditions 
of people: trappers, farmers, merchants, sailors, soldiers, adven- 
turers ; they pushed and shoved, fought for firm footing, floundered 
in the mud, staggered against stalled wagons, dodged the hoofs of 
tired horses. The stores were makeshift affairs out of which and 


into which people were forcing theii- way. On raised boards, barely 
out of reach of the sticky mud, other merchants were displaying 
wares on the open street. 

"Fifteen thousand people here if there's a single soul," cried 
George Dole as he himself slid in the mud and grabbed at his com- 
panion to keep on his feet. "That's because of the public lands auc- 
tion. You haven't much time to get your lots ready." 

Together they pushed their way through the doors of a large 
frame building which opened directly into a huge, raftered, smoke- 
filled room witli a crowded bar at the far end. To their right was a 
large alcove furnisjied with several long tables at which men were 
noisily eating and drinking. 

"There are our friends over by the windows," said George Dole 
as they pushed forward. A dozen diners arose from their chairs and 
greeted the little merchant vociferously. They remained standing as 
Dole introduced Ogden. 

"Friends," he cried, "a new Chicago citizen, the Honorable Wil- 
liam Butler Ogden, member of the New York State Assembly, a 
friend of Andy Jackson and a friend of the common man ! Mr. Ogden 
is giving up his chances of becoming governor of New York in the 
not-so-far-distant future to cast in his lot with us. He is interested 
in land and also, I think, even more interested in transportation. 
Come along now, Will, and shake hands." 

Grasping his friend by the elbow, George Dole marched around 
the table shouting each name as its owner shook hands heartily with 
the new arrival. 

"Elijah W^entworth; Grayson Hubbard; John Calhoun, wJio edits 
our newspaper, the Chicago Democrat ; Mark Beaubien, who runs 
this hotel and plays the fiddle ; Doc Pete Pru3'ne, who doses us ; Tom 
Owen ; Archie Clybourne ; my partner, Walter Newberry ; Gholson 
Kercheval, who represents Uncle Sam hereabouts ; Captain Wilcox 
from the garrison ; John Hogan, our postmaster. That's all for the 
time being, Will. Now sit you down. AVait, here's Bob Kinzie just 
coming in. You've got a draft on Bob if I remember right." 

Will had forgotten his mud bath; these were pleasant, hearty 
men, urging him to eat and drink, asking for news, listening with 
deepest interest. Keen-minded, daring men. 

They've got something to live for, thought Will. 

30 M A N O F V I 8 I O N 

Witli the lulp of the Cunibcrlimd roiul buildir, William Hale, 
Ogdcn quickly got his lots into selling order. There was labor aplenty 
available in Chicago in the early summer of 1835 — not because of 
any depression, but because of the huge influx of men intent on buy- 
ing lots or looking to establishment of business after the tumult of 
governmental and personally conducted auctions had died down. 
These people were not the tyj)e to sit and wait for things to happen. 
They were glad to do a day's work for a day's pay. 

Within three weeks Ogden and Hale with their helpers had cleared 
the fields of undergrowth, marked off the streets and lots, and were 
ready for their customers. Will staked off the land for his own house 
— he was no longer on "a journey of inspection" but had determined, 
this early, come weal or woe, to be a Chicagoan. 

The site of this mansion, a landmark until the Great Fire, was 
bounded on the east by Rush Street, on the south by Ontario, on 
the west by Cass, and on the north by Erie. Walter Newberry was 
to build his home across the street on Rush, and St. James's Church 
was soon to go up at Erie and Huron. Ogden, a genial understand- 
ing mixer but never a boisterous glad-handcr, had in his first few 
days of residence made friends of all the influential early Chi- 
cagoans. Back in New York and Pennsylvania, men still had the 
coolness and stand-ofiislincss of their English ancestors and cousins. 
Ogdcn, thinking the matter over, could not recall a single fellow 
member of the Legislature who had ever addressed him as "Will"; 
here in Chicago, barely settled down, he was so addressed by men 
who ten days ago had been unaware of his existence; and they ex- 
pected him to so address them. First names and their abbreviations 
were the badges of camaraderie among the argonauts who were pull- 
ing this muddy village into a great outpost of empire. 

On June 15, 1835, the government public auction sale of "canal 
lands" began, the most important sections of which lay between 
State Street and the lake, bounded on the north by Madison Street 
and on the south by what appeared on the maps as Thirty-fifth 
Street ; another important section of these public lands lay in the 
bend of the Chicago River where the North Branch separated from 
the South Branch, bounded on the south by Kinzie Street and on 
the north by Chicago Avenue. The American Land Company's lots, 
managed by Ogden, lav directly south of the above-mentioned "canal 


land" bounded by Kinzie, Rush, Chicago Avenue, and State Street. 
A further stretch of "canal land" adjoined Ogden's lots to the north, 
bounded by Chicago Avenue, State Street, the lake, and North 

The governmental auction sale, conducted by John Bates at his 
place of business on the west side of Dearborn Street near Water, 
brought in during the two weeks' sale a total of $354,278.57. Other 
governmental sales made during this period through preemption laws 
and private entry totaled $105,680.19. The average price of lots 
was $100 as compared with $50 for the previous year. A good au- 
gury for Will Ogden's enterprise. At his own sale, immediately fol- 
lowing that of the government, he disposed of slightly more than a 
third of the property for $78,000. That meant that Charles Butler 
and he had cleared within $22,000 of the original investment and 
commitment of $100,000 and still owned two-thirds of their acreage. 
In a real-estate brokerage venture of his own, Will Ogden later took 
into partnership a bright, aggressive, Pennsylvania youth, William 
E. Jones. The firai called itself Ogden, Jones and Company, han- 
dling the Butler land and further propert}^ investments of George 
Bronson, who had originally sold the acreage to Charles Butler. 
Bronson moved permanently to Chicago in the summer of 18.35 as 
did Mahlon Ogden, Will's younger brother, who entered into a law 
partnership with Isaac N. Arnold. Ogden, Jones and Compan}' later 
became Ogden, Fleetwood and Company, then Ogden, Sheldon and 
Companj', under which name it stiU operates In Chicago — the oldest 
real-estate firm in the city, possibly the oldest in the country. 

Eighteen thirtA'-five had been a boom year for Chicago, and 1836 
seemed to be going even better. Excavation had been begun on the 
state-financed Illinois and Michigan Canal, and Will Ogden, through 
his now-trusted lieutenant, William Hale, had taken a contract for 
a portion of the "ditch" which was to connect the lakes with the 
Mississippi through the Illinois River and so, it was planned, make 
Chicago the greatest supply and receiving mart in the country — 
reachable wholly by water. 

The most important event concerning the subsequent career of 
William Butler Ogden — though he was quite unaware of it at the 
time — occurred on January 16, 1836, when the Illinois Legislature 


ffrantcd a special cliartcr for the incorporation of the Galena and 
Chicago Union Railroad to build a line out into the prairie country 
toward the Mississippi "near the lead mines of Galena, Illinois and 
Dubuque, Iowa." Thus the parent "germ" of the Chicago and North 
Western Railway System. 

At the first meeting of the incorporators, Theophilus W. Smith 
was chosen president with the following Board of Directors: Ed- 
mund D. Taylor, Josiah C. Goodhue, John T. Temple, Gregory 
Smith, Ebcnezer Peck, and James H. Collins. The charter provided 
for a railroad "from Galena in Jo Daviess County to the Town of 
Chicago." The capital stock was fixed at one hundred thousand dol- 
lars, and Section 7 provided that "if at any time after the passage 
of this act it shall be deemed advisable by the directors of the said 
corporation to make and construct a good and permanent turnpike 
road upon any portion of the route of the railroad, then said direc- 
tors are authorized and empowered to construct a turnpike . . . 
and as many toll gates as shall be deemed necessary thereon." After 
fixing the tolls for people, horses, oxen, and wagons, the directors 
agreed that "sleighs used in summertime should be charged one-half 
of the •winter price." 

The directors, somewhat railroad-minded, were not as yet entirely 
un-higliway-mindcd ! 

In March, 1837, the town of Chicago, by act of the State Legisla- 
ture, became a city, and its people looked around for their first 
mayor. There were two candidates — John H. Kinzie, a son of the 
original settler and first Indian agent — and William Butler Ogden. 
The election was held May 2 in the then six wards of the new munici- 
pality — and Ogden won easily. 

He had accomplished tremendous things between the date of his 
arrival in Chicago and his election as its first chief executive — two 
brief, busy years. Looking back at the record it seems almost in- 
credible that one man could crowd so much constructive activity into 
such a short space of time. 

He had succeeded in selling all the lots on the property he shared 
•with Charles Butler; he was interested financially, as owner or as 
partner, in other parcels of real estate to the north, south, east, and 
west of the city; his firm represented many eastern holders of Chi- 


cago property. He had developed the construction portion of his busi- 
ness so that he was laying out, paving, lengthening, and repairing 
all of the streets that lay north of the Chicago River ; he built homes 
through the length and breadth of the near North Side ; he was one 
of the major contractors on the work of digging the Illinois and 
Michigan Canal; he had, himself, designed and built the first floating 
swing bridge over the river and he was to plan and construct many 
more of these necessary aids to city traffic and enlargement ; he was 
building Chicago's first large-size factory for Cyrus McCormick's 
reaping and mowing machines ; he held the sales agency for McCor- 
mick's inventions in the rapidly increasing farming communities to 
the immediate west of the new city's limits. 

An extremely busy man, you might say — aside from assuming the 
duties of chief executive — and almost on the dot as he took his seat 
the bubble burst ; the land boom of the Middle West crashed ! Up to 
this time everything had been prosperous in the lake city ; all things 
had seemed to point to even more prosperity. But a financial revul- 
sion swept down with almost lightninglike speed upon the entii'e 
country — on the heels of a four-year craze of speculation. Immigra- 
tion to the West stopped overnight ; business stagnated ; city prop- 
erty became almost worthless ; nobody wanted to buy, everybody 
wanted to sell. 

If Chicago awoke to find itself in a bad way, the state of Illinois 
was in much worse shape — almost hopelessly in debt. The biggest 
headache was the canal which was to provide the much vaunted 
waterway from the lake, to the river, to the sea. Other state moneys 
had been poured into disconnected and uncompleted portions of 
railroads. Private insolvency was the rule rather than the exception. 
Many farmers deserted their farms ; the state's debts pointed to 
heavy taxation, the eventual loss of their property if they remained. 
Shutters went up on scores of Chicago stores ; the operators of 
others took what they could lay their hands on and departed. The 
state of Mississippi repudiated her debts, and in the Illinois Legisla- 
ture there was a strong bloc that sought to solve the Illinois problem 
in the same fashion. The cry "repudiation" spread through the coun- 
try, got its hold on Chicago. A crowd stormed into the office of 
Mayor Ogden demanding that he urge "relief laws" on the Lcgisla- 

Ji M A N O !■■ V I S I O N 

turo, tliat tla- local courts .susjjcnd compulsory fulfillment of cuf^agu- 
ments, tliat a moratorium be declared on delinquent taxes. 

"Citizens of Chicago," said the mayor after his raised arms and 
his commanding presence had brought silence to the angry throng, 
"do not commit the folly of proclaiming your own dishonor. Many 
a fortress has been saved by the courage of its inmates and their 
determination to conceal its weakened condition. Let our real state 
be known, and destruction will be inevitable and immediate. Above 
all things, do not tarnish the honor of this infant city." 

Somebody cheered; the crowd departed, a few of them repeating 
his words, "The honor of this city !" 

And Mayor Ogden, at the time he spoke Ills brave words, was 
hardly more solvent than the most harassed debtor in his audience! 

He had laid streets — and had not been paid for his work; but his 
workmen had been paid. He had dug part of the uncompleted canal, 
and the state had no money to give him ; but he had paid his diggers. 
He had built McCormick's factory, and the farmers who bought the 
machines had been unable to make their payments ; but the carpen- 
ters and the bricklayers had got their money from him, day and date. 
He had houses a-building — and those who had commissioned him to 
erect them had no money with which to pay him. Charles Butler, 
his faitli in Chicago's future still unswerving, had denuded himself 
of all liis profits, tossed them back into the tottering venture. 

As the last of the crowd disappeared through the doors of his 
office, the mayor of Chicago wearily picked up a sheet of figures. He 
could quit his adopted city, penniless. He could go back to his saw- 
mill by the Delaware River, still efficiently operated by Cousin 
George Weed. Business was not as good as it had been in Walton, 
but the eastern lumber market had not been hit as had other markets. 

Go back and take it easy and stare across the river — at what 
might have been ! 

The mayor walked to a window of his office — a window which gave 
him a view of the four corners of Clark and Lake streets. What he 
could see of the river was almost empty of vessels. Yesterday a ship 
from Buff'alo carrying 700 barrels of flour had come into port. This 
morning it had gone back East, still loaded. Nobody in Chicago had 
the price of a shipload of flour. Below him the streets were deserted. 


The angry debtors had dispersed to their homes — to worry over the 
future, to thinii over what he had told them. 

"I told them to have faith" — Will Ogden was talking to himself — 
"how do I dare let other thoughts enter my head !" 

He stepped to an outer office where William Hale was poring over 
his canal contract accounts. 

"William," said the mayor, "the James Madison will be pulling 
out of here for Buffalo this evening; I want you to go to Walton with 
all speed with a letter to ray cousin, which I shall now write. I want 
him to raise every penny he can on my properties there — and as 
quickly as he can. Stay there till he gets it. He has my power of 
attorney. Then rush back here with a letter of credit for the full 

"Why, Mr. Mayor," said Hale, "that's your nest egg, isn't it? 
Are you going to toss it all into the pot.'"' 

"My nest egg is here in Chicago, William," said the maj-or with a 
smile. "But right now it needs some mothering, if it is going to hatch." 

Depressions come and go in this land of ours ; always we man- 
age in some fashion to rise superior to them; and it was so with the 
panic and ensuing depression of 1837. Seventy-eight bushels of wheat 
went out of Chicago in the year of 1838; but there were more than 
3,700 bushels shipped out in 1839. In 18-15 more than a million 
bushels were exported from the city, and that amount was doubled 
in the following year. In 1837 the harbor of Chicago exported to 
the value of but eleven hundred dollars. In 1846, 2,790 vessels ar- 
rived in port carrying merchandise valued at $4,938,000. 

As the depression receded and as Will Ogden cleared the mortgage 
on his loved eastern home, the products of the richest agricultural 
portion of the Middle West poured into Chicago, bound for the 
hungry markets to the East — wheat, flour, corn, oats, and meat. 
Not a bushel of wheat went out of Chicago in 1836 ; but ten years 
later the amount exported was 2,160,000 bushels, one-quarter of 
which went directly to Europe. Four years later Chicago became 
the country's foremost market in the handling of meat and lumber. 

Jonathan Young Scammon, known to his intimates as "J. Young," 
a big, jovial, bearded "down-Easterner" — he was born in Maine — 


tiinifd in at Hil- jrato of William Butler O/jfk'ii'.s home on Ontario 
Street one bright November morning of 18-i5 and caught Ogden as 
he was coming through the front door on his way to his offices at 
Clark and Madison streets. They walked along together, crossing 
the river on Mr. Ogden's Clark Street bridge. 

J. Young Scammon was a man after Will Ogden's heart ; they 
were cast, you might say, in something of the same mold. The Scam- 
mons were early Irish settlers. J. Young's father, a fanner, was 
also a member of the Maine State Legislature and planned to have 
his son follow in his steps. But at the age of fourteen the boy lost 
two fingers of his left hand in an accident. 

"You'll be no use for farming, son," said Eliakim Scammon. 
"Guess you'll have to make a lawyer out of yourself." 

So J. Young attended college at Waterville, Maine, but failed to 
graduate because of lack of means, his father's ambitions for him 
being slightly ahead of the capacity of his purse. In 1832, when he 
was twenty years of age, he apprenticed himself to Lawyer John Otis 
of Hallowell, taught school as a means of subsistence, and was ad- 
mitted to the bar in 1835. 

He had heard of Chicago and there he planned to go — to the fan- 
tasticalh' sprouting village by the shores of Lake Michigan. In Sep- 
tember, 1835 — six months after W'ill Ogden had made a similar 
journey with far brighter prospects — Scammon arrived at Newberry 
and Dole's wharf aboard the good ship Erie Canal with his lawyer's 
certificate and ten dollars. Chicago needed about everything — and 
among its most pressing needs were bright young lawyers, A week 
after his arrival, with his bill at Mark Bcaubien's Sauganash House 
his chief worry, he was appointed deputy clerk of the Circuit Court. 

Inside of a year Scammon had entered practice in partnership 
with Morris Buckner. Branching out of his profession, while still 
retaining an active interest in it, he went into real estate on a shoe- 
string, reaped a fortune, and lost it. He regained it, lost it in a 
series of newspaper ventures ; regained it in railroad investment, man- 
agement, and organization; lost it again in the Chicago Fire. A 
third time he regained it in real estate, lost it for the last time in 
bank failures. He died in 1890 at the age of seventy-eight — broke. 

J. Young Scammon was one of the most popular of the early Chi- 
cago pioneers, whether luck was with him or against him. A genial, 


hearty man, deeply religious, his mistakes were his own, and he shoul- 
dered them ; they were largely due to his intense enthusiasm over the 
city of his adoption. He made several fortunes easily and seemed 
to lose them just as easily. He was the earliest advocate of free 
schools, a founder of the Chicago Historical Society, an organizer 
of — and generous donor to, when he had it — the University of Chi- 

As Ogden and liis ebullient friend strolled over the Clark Street 
bridge, Scammon observed, "Those farmers out Kockford way want 
that railroad plan revived." 

"You mean the Galena and Chicago Union," said Ogden. "I've 
been giving that matter some thought myself. Been interested in it 
ever since it was started and ever since it flopped." 

"Sort of figured you were," said Scammon. "They're calling a 
meeting in Rockford for the twenty-eighth. They've asked me to go 
along and they also asked me to find out if you would come with me." 

"I certainly will," replied Ogden, "That link with Chicago is long 


2(7 pier 6 


Let's talk of Galena, with whicli William Butler Of^den had de- 
cided Chicaijo should be linked in the first railroad of the city of his 

Years before the first settlers trickled into nortliern Illinois, the 
district around Galena had been explored. Hennepin's map of 1687 
locates a lead mine on the present site of the city, and French trad- 
ers were reported buying lead in quantity from the Indians in 1690.* 

In 1819 an expedition of eight boats carrying a hundred slaves, 
in charge of Colonel R. M. Johnson, left St. Louis and after a voy- 
age of twenty days reached the site of Galena. Colonel Johnson made 
a permanent treaty with the Indians for permission to mine the lead. 
It took him about two years to get started, but by 1821 he was mov- 
ing lead in quantity. Between 1821 and 1823 he shipped an aggre- 
gate of 335,000 pounds a year; this went to 5,000,000 pounds in 
1827 and in 1829 to 13,34-i,150 pounds.f 

In 1824) a store was opened in the village, and the first colony of 
white settlers arrived. This colony was under the command of Dr. 
Meeker and hailed from Cincinnati. They came on a keelboat, and 
the journey took sixty days. The opening of the store made Galena 
in a way independent of Peoria, to which one had had to go previ- 
ously to purchase necessities. 

Immigration now flowed in rapidly, and mining camps were opened 
at Shullsburg, East Fork, and New Diggings. In April of 1826 more 
than two hundred men were digging in the vicinity of Galena. That 
number had increased to more than four hundred by June. In the 

* Thwaites, R. G., Notes on Early Lead ^finiiu). Pujiers Collected by Wisconsin 
State Historienl Society. 

t "Illinois nnd Her Restnirces," Iliiiifs ^Terrhaiits' Mar/atlnc, 1888. 


entire adjacent mining teri-itory it was estimated that 1,600 men 
were at work. 

The fame of the lead mines spread abroad, and immigrants poured 
in, mostly from southwestern England, where the famed lead mines 
were beginning to show signs of petering out. In 1826 the maj'or of 
Galena reported that the town had "twenty cabins and 550 inhabi- 
tants." In 1827 his report showed 100 houses and stores and "be- 
tween six and seven thousand people residing in the district." The 
immigrants were in the majorit}' Cornishmen, and the balance was 
about equally divided between native-born Americans, Frenchmen, 
and Irishmen. The Winnebago War of 1827 sent the miners in the 
outlying regions scurrying to the shelter of Galena where they were 
bottled up for three months ; with peace they scattered again to the 

That same 3'ear Jo Daviess Count}' was organized, the town of 
Galena was surveyed and divided into lots. Though organized as a 
county of Illinois, the settlers were not enthusiastic about this al- 
legiance; they wanted to form a state of their own and in 1828 peti- 
tioned Congress that a section noii:h of the line of 1787 be organized 
into a territory, with Galena as the seat of government. Nothing was 
done, but in the forties the northern counties of Illinois tried again 
to separate. The boundary question was thereupon settled on the 
present line. 

The lead-region population increased amazingly, and with this out- 
side impetus Galena grew as the market place and the base of supplies. 
In 1830, when the Illinois and Michigan Canal Commission, empow- 
ered by the Legislature to proceed, employed James Thompson to 
"plat a town to be called Chicago" Galena was already incorporated 
and boasted some 900 residents, "a most singular and mysterious 
medley of people from all quarters of the eai'th seeking wealth." * 

In 1832 the special correspondent of the Baltimore American esti- 
mated the populace at "from five to seven thousand inhabitants." At 
this time the most optimistic of Chicagoans figured their strength at 
250 people. Galena grew, a prosperous mercantile headquarters in 
the middle of a far-flung mining region. "For miles around," stated 

' Reynolds, IlUtory of Illinois, 1871. 


Nilcs's licgistcr, "tho region wiis dotted with :uining camps and trad- 
ing posts." 

In 1832 came the Black Hawk War, and the out-of-town miners 
were scurrying once again to the shelter of the city. But the Battle 
of Bad Axe forever broke the power of the Sac and Fox Indians, and 
when, by the ensuing treaty, the Indians were removed beyond the 
Mississippi, the miners returned to their camps, as assured as were 
the already advancing hordes of innnigrants on Chicago that "the 
West was safe." 

From this time on, Galena was slowly to lose the characteristics 
of a frontier town. It began to dabble in varied industries, to acquire 
a degree of culture. In 1830 it had five churches and a chapel, a 
temperance society, a library association, a fire department, a 
branch of the State Bank of Illinois ; there was an annual ball, han- 
dled by the elite of lead-mining society; there was a sound, re- 
spected newspaper, the Northwestern Gazette and Galena Advertiser. 

In 1839, when William Butler Ogden was completing the last lap 
of his term of office as Chicago's first mayor, the city of Galena 
proper boasted 550 buildings, a population of 3,000, and an assessed 
value of $1,700,000. Around the city, and dependent upon it for 
trade and the necessaries for existence, were between eight and ten 
thousand miners and their families. The Madison (Wisconsin) Ex- 
press referred to Galena at this time as "the largest and most 
flourishing city of the W^est, north of St. Louis." Its location was 
peculiar, crowded together as were its houses on the edge of the 
river bluffs. With a permanent resident list of around three thousand 
the population always shifted with mine layoffs, new discoveries, and 
the arrival and departure of immigrants ; idle miners, whether idle 
by choice or otherwise, crowded into the town. The election officials 
were always in a dither. As Niles's Register put it, "The inhabitants 
shift about so from place to place, and so many of them live in the 
holes and clefts of the rocks that it is difficult to say where they 

As already told, the original charter of the Galena and Chicago 
Union Railroad had been granted by the Illinois Legislature on 
January 16, 1836. Work had been suspended in 1838 because of the 
depression of the previous year. Eight more years were to elapse — 
while the piles and stringers rotted on Chicago's Madison Street — 


before Ogden and his associates prodded the dream once more into 

Meantime Galena changed mightily. The Rock River Valley had 
filled up with farmers; tariff regulations as well as thinning veins of 
lead closed down the furnaces. Almost overnight, one might say, the 
exportation of wheat took the place of the exportation of lead. Here, 
too, was the most convenient trading post of the region. The amount 
of exports in the forties was greater than that of any town adjacent 
to the Mississippi above St. Louis, Thirty thousand families were 
dependent upon Galena for their supplies of merchandise. Despite 
the drop in lead and because of the increase in loads of wheat, 
Galena's population practically doubled between 1839 and 1846, at 
which latter date the railroad plan had again come to life. 

In the period of its transition from frontier town to supply and 
shipping headquarters for a rapidly growing agricultural com- 
munity, Galena owed its good fortune to lack of any railroad com- 
munication anywhere in the state and to the fact that it was perched 
most strategically as regarded Its clientele, close to the greatest of 
all waterways, in direct communication with the southern and for- 
eign markets — for which it served as collector. Galena was also 
the distributing point for supplies to the people of the Rock River 
Valley brought up the river and so it remained until the Illinois Cen- 
tral Railroad penetrated its sphere of influence and drained the 
trade of the farming districts to the Great Lake port of Chicago. 
Through a chain of circumstances, Ogden's Galena and Chicago 
Union road was many years getting to Galena. 

The Rock River Valley as of today is a question-mark-shaped 
piece of land in northern Elinois, traversed north and south through 
its center by the Rock River. The soldiers serving in the Black Hawk 
War, the great majority of them from the eastern states, liked the 
Rock River Valley. When they returned home they spread word of 
the beauty of the country and the fertility of the soil; these sales 
talks, combined with the signing of the peace and the expulsion of 
the Indians, brought the vanguard of the New England and Middle 
States pioneers to northern Illinois. 

The northern portion of the valley, however, did not, during the 
very early years, make as much headway as did the southern section 


wlicre towns sucli as Fulton, Prophctstown, Sterling, Dixon, and 
Oregon were founded. Rockford began its growth in 1835 and 
moved quickly; inside of a jxar log cabins had been supplanted by 
frame houses. During the same period many settlers came to Stephen- 
son County, a majority of them lead miners from Galena who, be- 
cause of the slump in lead production, had decided to become farm- 
ers while good land was still available. The most important settle- 
ment was Frecport, where fifty families established themselves in 

This early period of settlement in the valley may be taken as 
typical of the progress of settlement into a new country. The river 
served as the highway of communication with the outer world ; the 
two great roads through the valley, the one crossing the river at 
Dixon, the other at Rockford, also played their part. Gradually the 
filling-in process took place, and numerous smaller towns dotted 
the banks of the river. Along the two great wagon roads, settlements 
were also found, but these were not to develop even into villages until 
the railroads came. 

The towns, so far, had shown no signs of becoming cities and were 
not to make rapid strides for another decade. The reason was simple. 
Lines of transportation were not developed, save a poor one on the 
Rock River. Lack of transportation facilities cause a lack of mar- 
kets, and since good markets help in the development of an agricul- 
tural district and are dependent upon this development for support, 
it seems that the jjroblem of transportation was to be the key to the 
situation. In the interacting influences of agriculture and steam 
was to be found the solution of the prairie problem. 

Other conditions unfavorable to the rapid settling of the country 
also prevailed. Markets were scarce. The Rock River man was com- 
pelled to cart his produce to Galena or Savanna, on the Mississippi 
River, or to Chicago if he had a great quantity to sell. The expense 
of transportation taken in connection with the value of his time left 
little or no reward for the farmer who journeyed to market. To 
Galena was a trip of a week or more; to Chicago, anywhere from 
fourteen to twenty days; and after arriving, his wheat was worth 
but forty or fifty cents a bushel. 

In spite of these drawbacks there was a Rock River immigration 
fever prevalent in many parts of the country, and settlers poured in 


and scattered themselves along the timbered portions until in 1840 
the population of the valley had reached 21,500. After 18-i3 the 
country filled up with amazing rapidity and by 18-18 had in it over 
66,000 settlers. 

This great increase may be attributed to several causes. The Rock 
River country was known as a place of extraordinary facilities for 
agriculture. Those coming during the period previous to 184i3 had 
sent extremely favorable reports to the East, and naturally others 
followed the lead of the pioneers. The financial chaos was over, and 
money was again becoming plentiful. Illinois began to regain her 
good name, lost with the breaking down of her internal improvement 
scheme, and her half-notion of repudiation of her debts. Heavy taxes, 
too, had kept many away, but with the reestablishment of the state 
finances upon a firm and honorable basis, immigration began anew. 
Finally the railroad through from Chicago to Galena was promised 
and before the close of the decade seemed an assured fact. Many 
flocked to the neighborhood of its route, seeing its value as a market 

Rockford was the metropolis of the northern prairies and enjoyed 
the most rapid and steady growth of any of the towns along the 
river. The Winnebago farmers were acquiring wealth and were abun- 
dantly satisfied with their circumstances. They possessed livestock 
valued at almost $270,000 in 18-18 and during the preceding year 
had produced 786,000 bushels of small grain, a remarkable develop- 
ment when one stops to think that fifteen years before there were no 
farms under cultivation in the county. 

Stephenson County more than kept pace with Winnebago during 
the decade, receiving about 1,700 more settlers than did the latter 
county and reaching a total population of 11,666. As Rockford was 
the center of the agricultural district of W'innebago County, so was 
Freeport of Stephenson County. It was situated on the Galena-Chi- 
cago state road along which the proposed railroad was to be built. 
Its growth was as yet retarded by the fact that supplies were car- 
ried from Galena to stock its stores, but the energy and hopefulness 
of the settlers helped to build it up and give it a prominence in the 
district which was to be increased when steam traffic was finally a 
reality. Scattered along the line of the proposed railroad were small 
settlements patiently awaiting the time when they, too, by the aid 


of steam, would become markets for agricultural produce and derive 
benefit from the products of the country'. 

To tlie north and south of the railroad line, wherever a patch of 
timber gave shelter from the heat of summer and the cold winds of 
winter, there could be found a settler's cabin, and before the end of 
the period every available bit of timber had been claimed. The farm- 
ers owned $32(5,000 worth of livestock, and produced 759,000 bushels 
of small grain in 1850. The prairies were, however, still unsubdued 
if we may judge from the amount of unimproved land at this date, 
there being 123,300 acres not yet under cultivation and only 76,300 
cultivated. Low prices alone worked to destroy the prosperity of the 
farmer, and when not long afterwards a remedy was applied, the 
advance made by the district was a rapid one. 

All this, past, present, and expected future, was crystal-clear to 
William Butler Ogden when he and his associates decided in the fall 
of IS-IS to try to make the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad 
dream a reality and so run the first railroad train out of Chicago. 

At the expiration of his term as mayor in 1839 he had again 
picked up his contracting and real-estate business, delegated to 
associates during the period of his civic duties. He began building 
the town of Peshtigo on Green Bay as the center of his rapidly ex- 
tending Wisconsin lumber interests. He took on contracts for the 
building of West Side streets in addition to his North Side activities 
of a similar nature. He was appointed president of the Board of 
Sewerage Commissioners, was extremely active in the advocacy of 
public parks and recreation centers, and served two terms as a mem- 
ber of the State Legislature. 

Despite his varied interests, Ogden during this period — from 1839 
to 184'5 — found time to gather together the finest library in Chicago, 
housed in his home ; he also collected statuarj' and paintings. In the 
milder seasons he devoted himself to his immense flower garden. His 
was a familiar figure during planting time when, driving a horse and 
wagon, he would jog into the country to spend hours digging up wild 
flowering shrubs and vines which he transplanted personally to his 
own garden. His collection of books, paintings, and statuary was 
completely destroyed in the Great Fire. 

..^^r- -'"'-■ ■ '.i^^-^^' 

J/ art f^u 




lapter 6 


William Butler Ogdex was sick abed — the doctor diagnosed his 
trouble as a fever-cold with pneumonic possibilities — when the first 
public meeting looking to the resuscitation of the Galena and Chi- 
cago Union Railroad was held at Rockford on November 28, 1845. 
His friend, J. Young Scammon, was there, however, and pledged on 
Ogden's behalf his fullest support for the plan. At this meeting 
delegates were selected from Winnebago County, and a similar pro- 
cedure was later carried out in those other northern Illinois counties 
through which the road would pass. The delegates from Cliicago 
(Cook County) were chosen December 5 at a meeting in the Saloon 
Building, presided over by Mayor Garrett. These were William But- 
ler Ogden, J. B. Russell, John B. Turner, J. Young Scammon, B. W. 
Raymond, Isaac N. Arnold, Walter L. Newberry, and General Hart 
L. Stewart. A convention date was set for January 7, 1846, at Rock- 

The Cook County delegates made their journey in Scammon's 
commodious coach over the Galena-Chicago state road, which was 
considered quite a highway despite its enormous ruts and occasional 
planking. It was a mild winter, and the party made good progress 
completing the journey in two days, stopping overnight at Elgin 
where practically the entire populace of the hamlet crowded into 
the common room seeking news of the projected railroad and to stare 
at the men from Chicago, which city someone present referred to 
as "an octopus" — probably the very first of the numerous occasions 
on which the epithet has been hurled at the Lady of the Lakes. 

The landlord set the table for his guests (Scammon, in his delight- 
ful notes on the occasion, has failed to pass along the name of this 
boniface or even the name of his inn). As he slapped down food and 



(Iriiik, tlio hiii(iIoi-d told the delegates what he thouglit of their plans. 

"I'm agin all railroads. There's your roast beef rare, IMr. Ogden. 
Help yourself to the cabbage and potatoes. Railroads is bad for 
hotelkeepers and bad for farmers, only farmers ain't got the sense 
to know it — yet. They'll find out, Mr. Scainmon. There's your roast 
beef well done; that's the way we'll all be when you gentlemen get 
through — well done. Oh, it's fine for the big fellows at both ends — 
in Galena and in Chicago. But what you're going to do is dry up all 
the little places in between, like Elgin. Just whiz by, pay us no at- 
tention, and let us rot." 

"Your farm produce has got to be sent to market," observed 
Ogden, "and they need some of this fine beef in Chicago. You can't 
cat it all yourselves now." 

"Them's fine words," continued the landlord as the people of Elgin 
listened and signified approval of their champion. "There's your 
steak. General, cooked to a cinder like you asked for it. Reach for 
the vegetables. What I say is these farming folks pass through here 
on their way to market, be it Galena or Chicago ; and they stop and 
eat and drink. Sometimes they need beds." 

"Instead of just passing through, tired and, I admit, hungry," 
observed Scammon, "they'll come here and stop to load their produce 
on the cars. They'll get their money here in Elgin instead of having 
to jog miles on miles to the market. They'll be happy instead of worn 
out ; they'll have money in their pockets and instead of spending it 
in Galena or Chicago, they will spend it or invest it right here in 
Elgin. The cities will benefit through redistribution of the products. 
Elgin, and places like Elgin, will benefit from speedy distribution 
from the wholesale to the retail market." 

"He's talking sense," observed someone at the back of the throng. 
"I wasted all of two months last year getting my oats to Chicago." 

"That's right," agreed Scammon, "and when the road comes 
through, you just stay around here on your farm." 

"That's as may be," said the landlord, still surly. "You folks will 
make money while the road is a-building and then you'll sell out to 
those big bugs in New York and Philadelphia." 

Ogden stood up. 

"Friends," he said, "we might just as well make one point clear 
right now. We are on our way to the Rockford convention where I 


hope to find a broader outlook than that mistakenly held by this 
gentleman. If this plan goes ahead the money for it will come from 
your pockets — " 

"That's just as I was sayin' — " interrupted the landlord. 

" — just a minute till I finish," Ogden cut in. "When I say j'ou will 
furnish the money, I mean of course that you will not furnish it until 
you are convinced of the soundness of our plans. And when you 
furnish the money, you will own the railroad ; you, the farmers and 
the businessmen of the section of country through which it will be 
run. I pledge you my word of honor and the word of honor of these 
gentlemen from Cook County with me that no eastern capitalists or 
foreign money will be gathered for the purpose of the road so long 
as I and these associates of mine have anything to do with the ven- 
ture. It will either be your road and Chicago's and Galena's road or, 
for me, there will be no road." 

"That's talking, Mr. Ogden," shouted the farmer who had had 
trouble with his oats. "Put me down for a share." 

Other voices joined his. 

"I'll come in, too." 

"We know Mr. Ogden around here." 

"Anything's better than that state road." 

"Take 3'our time," laughed Ogden. "Wait till the convention is 
over and you see the new prospectus. Keep your money till we come 
round to call on you." 

"Pie, gentlemen?" the landlord asked placatingly. "Cherry pie.-"' 

Three hundred and nineteen delegates from the counties of north- 
ern Illinois along the proposed route of the Galena and Chicago 
Union Railroad attended the Rockford convention which was pre- 
sided over by Thomas Drummond, a Galena lawyer. It was an enthu- 
siastic meeting, for missionary work similar to that done by Ogden 
in Elgin had apparently swung the farmers to the idea of a railroad 
of their own connecting their two great marts, Chicago and Galena. 

J. Young Scammon made a report on the present condition of the 
road as begun by a survey in February, 1837, by engineer James 
Seymour. This survey had covered the proposed line from the foot 
of Dearborn Street in Chicago to a point on the Des Plaines River 


now occupied l)v the town of Maywooil. In .rune, after only four 
months of work, ull Imnds were laid off as a result of the panic. 

In Xoveniber, 1837, President Theophilus W. Smith was succeeded 
hy youthful Elijah Kent Hubbard; piles were laid along Madison 
Sti'eet as far as Halsted, and stringers placed on top of them. By 
fall of that year, with business and financial conditions still bad, 
Hubbard halted work again. However, he carried out the provisions 
of the charter and kept the company alive by holding yearly meet- 
ings until IS-t-t, at each of which he was elected president. He passed 
on at the early age of twenty-six. 

In 1845 the charter of the road "and all property owned by the 
corporation" was purchased by Elisha Townsend of New York and 
Tiiomas Mather of Springfield. Diligent search fails to show exactly 
how these two gentlemen secured the rights to the road and its physi- 
cal assets. W. H. Stennett, in his history of the Chicago and North 
Western Railway system called Yesterday and Today, says the sale 
was accomplished "in some now unknown way." The probabilities 
arc that Mather in Springfield had wind of interest in Chicago re- 
garding revival of the project, got in touch with Townsend, a mon- 
eyed man, and — between them and for a consideration — they were 
enabled to jump the gun. However, Mather and Townsend wei'e not 
unfair in the proposal they authorized Mr. Scammon to make to the 
Rockford convention. They were willing to turn over the charter 
and all the property for 200 shares in the revived corporation — 
100 down on completion of the bargain and 100 if and when the 
railroad reached the Fox River. The original capitalization had 
been one hundred thousand dollars, divided into 1,000 shares of one 
hundred dollars each. 

All that the company had to show for this, at the time of the con- 
vention, was the offer of sale for the equivalent of twenty thousand 
dollars in stock, the rotting construction along Madison Street, and 
940 acres of timbered land along the Des Plaines River near Ma}'- 
wood. Of course nobody present at the convention could peer far 
enough and clearly enough into the future to know that these 940 
acres were eventually going to be worth far, far more than the old 
capitalization of the road plus the recapitalization. Referring to 
these wooded acres, ]Mr. Scammon merely observed that they would 


supply fuel foi- the engines "for many years to come" as well as ties 
and timber for construction. 

At the conclusion of Scammon's address, Walter Newberry offered 
this resolution : 

If a satisfactory arrangement, as stated, can be made with the present 
holders of the stock of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad Company, 
the members of this convention will use all honorable measures to obtain 
subscriptions to the stock of said company. 

The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming vote as was the 
succeeding resolution, proposed by Scammon : 

Resolved: That the wants of the farmers and businessmen of northern 
Illinois require the immediate construction of a railroad from Galena 
to Chicago. That the value of farms along the route would be doubled 
by the construction of the road and the convenience of the inhabitants 
immeasurably profited thereby. 

Resolved: That in order to accomplish the object of this convention, 
it is indispensably necessary that the inhabitants and owners of property 
between Galena and Chicago should come forward and subscribe to the 
stock of the proposed railroad to the extent of their ability; and that 
if each farmer upon the route shall take at least one share of the stock 
(one hundred dollars) the completion of the road would be placed beyond 

This resolution too was vociferously and overwhelmingly passed. 
The convention gave authority for making the necessary arrange- 
ments with Townsend and Mather and for the opening of subscrip- 
tion books at Chicago and Galena. The lowest down payment on a 
share of stock was set at $2.50. Will Ogden volunteered to person- 
ally canvass the residents of all the settlements through which the 
road would pass. Temporary Chairman Drummond announced that 
he would be stock salesman for Galena; J. Young Scammon took 
over the job for Chicago ; all three stated that they would serve with- 
out salary or commission, and pay their own expenses. 

At a meeting held in Chicago on February 17, William Butler 
Ogden was elected president of the reorganized Galena and Chicago 
Union Railroad Company, Francis Howe was appointed secretary, 
and the following elected directors : William H. Brown, AV alter L. 


Newberry, Thomas Dyer, J. Young Scanimon, Clmrlcs Walker, and 
James H. Collins. All these six men were Chicago pioneers, and to 
their number was added, in the following September, John B. Turner 
of Cliicago, Benjamin W. Raymond of Chicago, C. S. Hempstead of 
Galena, Thomas Drummond of Galena, Elihu Washburne of Galena, 
W. N. Davis of Au Sable Grove, Allen Robbins of New York. (Al- 
though there is no documentary evidence to this effect, Robbins is 
believed to have represented the interests of Townsend and Mather 
on the Board.) 

"All that we have to do now. Will, before we get started laying 
track," observed Scammon as he and Ogdcn were leaving the Saloon 
Building after the election, "is to gather in the money. Between the 
three of us — Drummond, you and me — you've got the toughest 

Scammon was wrong — as concerned both Chicago and Galena. 
Canvassing his own city steadily for a year he succeeded in selling 
only twenty thousand dollars' worth of stock, or 200 shares, outside 
of what had been taken up by the local directors. Isaac N. Arnold, 
in one of the numerous papers that he read to the Chicago Histori- 
cal Society after he had retired from law practice and politics to 
devote himself to writing of the early days, had this to say of Scam- 
mon's failure : 

Chicago was a small and ambitious city. It had three divisions occa- 
sioned by the river and its north and south branches which run almost at 
right angles with the main river leaving, east of them, the north and 
south divisions and, west of them, the west division extending the whole 
length of the city. Such divisions always create local jealousies and the 
selfish interests excited are often difficult to manage or control. 

Mr. Ogden resided on the north side of the river, as did three other 
directors, Walter Newberry, Thomas Dyer, and John B. Turner. Mr. 
Ogdcn was especially identified with the north side and he was accused 
by those who never suppose other than solely selfish motives can influence 
action of "wanting to build a railroad that would never pay, to help 
him sell his lots." Naturally the gentlemen of the north side desired the 
road to cross the north branch and locate its depots or stations in the 
north division; while the west-sidcrs could see no necessity of expending 
money to cross the river because the west side was the largest division 
of the city and the nearest to the country. 


But if Scammon fell short of his objective in Chicago, he made 
good a^ an assistant to Ogden in sale of stock to farmers, to which 
job he turned when he found his own field almost arid. Outside of his 
own purchases and those of his fellow Galena directors — C. M. 
Hempstead and Elihu Washburne — Drummond disposed of barely 
fifteen thousand dollars' worth of stock to the people of his city. 
Scammon comes forward with an explanation :* 

At Galena businessmen and bankers were fearful of the effect of the 
railroad on their town. It had long been prosperous at the head of navi- 
gation on Fever River (which ran from the Mississippi) and as the great 
lead-mining center and mercantile distributor for northwest Illinois and 
southwest Wisconsin and the country north of the mines. 

The great obstacles met there were two: one, the local effect upon the 
town, and the other, the fear that before the road should be completed 
the enterprise would break down, the small stockholders would be sacri- 
ficed and the road would pass into the hands of the large capitalists. 

So it was to the farmers and the villagers of the region that the 
organizers of the road had to turn for the money with which to start 
their enterprise, and their ambassador was William Butler Ogden. 

He had gone back to horseback riding on this new mission of his — 
the selling of a railroad to the farmers and to the people of the 
little places that were cropping up over a far-flung, widely scattered 
territory. He knew riding was good for the figure, and so Will Ogden 
would jog along. He was forty-two years of age now and getting a 
trifle heavy of late ; still he was an imposing, handsome man — trim, 
clear-eyed, with few gray hairs. He was still a bachelor, though many 
a pretty woman had set her cap at him, only to give it up at long 
last while wondering what could be the matter. Isaac Arnold could 
have told them, so could Arthur Bronson or Charles Butler or Mah- 
lon Ogden ; but men had not the habit of gossiping of such things in 
those daj's. 

Through the summer and fall of 1846, through spring and sum- 
mer of 1847, he rode the length and breadth of the ten counties. In 
the second period of his missions, Young Scammon had picked up a 
portion of the burden ; the going had become a little easier then, and 

• Andreas, A. T., Hintory of Chicago, R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company, Chi- 
cago, 1885. 

r>i I' I O N E li K n A 1 L li O A D 

tlic responses perked up tlie Ijeardid lawyer whose Cliicafro moncv- 
raisiiig experiences had left him a bit downhearted. But all in all it 
had been quite a job; in his wildest dreams AVill Ogden had never 
visioned himself as a stock salesman. But he had made a record, the 
story of which had filtered through to the great money marts of 
the East. Erastus Corning, president of the New York Central, con- 
trolling spirit in the Michigan Central, the only railroad in con- 
struction west of Lake Erie, had written Ogden asking him to become 
associated with his interests. 

"A man who can gather up more than three hundred thousand 
dollars from a bunch of backwoodsmen!" exclaimed Corning when he 
heard about it. "I need him !" 

And William F. Weld, the Boston "Railroad King," who grabbed 
chunks of roads wherever he caught the glinmier of a bright future, 
had written : "If you need money I'm ready to come in." 

But Will Ogden didn't need an eastern stock-selling job and he 
didn't need any eastern capital — not now. He had sold the farmers 
a farmer's railroad — a farm-to-market road. He had told them it 
would be slow going, but that it would be built with their money and 
the money of no other people; of course Chicago and Galena could 
still come in with more money if they felt better about things, a little 
more optimistic. Will Ogden wanted to build as the money came in, 
in driblets; ten miles at a time, maybe twenty, maybe thirty. All 
right, pay as you go and build as the money comes ; no debts, no bor- 
rowings, and if there are profits over and above a trifle of a dividend 
then toss them back into the road. 

He had slept in rude cabins, in lowly farmhouses, in tents, and 
more than once of a summer night, by the roadside, wrapped in a 
blanket, his horse hobbled near by. The job on the whole had been 
much easier than he had thought at first, particularly after the bad 
news from Chicago and Galena. These farmers, these villagers had 
met him more than halfway ; they wanted this road once they got 
the idea — and they grasped it with surprising mental agility. There 
was, in many cases, the question of monej' down; some of them had 
it, many had not. The way they lived they could get along for quite 
a spell without cash, and when they got it they were in the habit of 
slapping it right back into stock and seed and suchlike. Many times 
Ogden loaned a first payment on crop prospects. 


During his campaign over those two years lie liad a big liand in 
the taming of the prairies. He found his farmer clients were in great 
measure using wooden plows, and they clustered around bottom land 
because, as they told Ogden, their instruments of tillage could not 
break through the tough buffalo grass to get to the good earth below. 
John Deere, inventor of the steel plow, had recently settled in Moline, 
where he opened a small factory. Apparently operating on the prin- 
ciple of the old adage about the better mousetrap, Deere waited for 
his customers instead of going to them. While selling railroad stock. 
Will Ogden also sold — without remuneration — the Deere steel plow. 
In the Chicago area he still held a selling franchise for the McCor- 
mick mowers and reapers. He showed the farmers how they could 
take on more acreage, make more money, buy more "Galena" stock, 
by personally demonstrating the superiority of steel over wood on 
presumably unbreakable land. On the heels of the spread in popu- 
larity of the Deere plow, a new flood of hard-land farmers swept into 
northern Illinois. 

At the first annual meeting of the reorganized Galena and Chicago 
Union Railroad Company, held at its offices in the Merchants' Ex- 
change Building in Chicago on April 5, 1848, the president was able 
to report that .$351,800 worth of stock had been sold. It had been 
decided that there were sufficient funds in the treasury to make a 

Surveyor Richard P. Morgan, who had been lured away from the 
Hudson River Railroad the previous September — at the munificent 
salary of .$2.50 per day — informed the directors that he had mapped 
out the course of the road "on the half-section line corresponding 
with the center of Kinzie Street, on which course it continues for 
thirteen miles, crossing the Des Plaines River a little south of the 
St. Charles Road." (This St. Charles Road was the eastern part of 
the stage road from Chicago to Galena, and its eastern portion was 
also the stage road from Chicago to Dixon and Rock Island — over 
which Frink and Wagner ran coaches for many years — until the 
coming of "the Galena" put them out of business.) 

IMorgan planned to parallel the state road to Galena, a distance 
of 182 miles, and had at first estimated the cost at .$14,553 per mile. 
Obviously, despite the response of the farmers and villagers to the 


picas of ^Vill 0<i(U'n, contracts could not be cntcreil into for tlic 
completion of the line. The Board of Directors therefore had ap- 
proved contract for the first 8 miles of track from Chicago to the 
Dcs Plaines River and at this first annual meeting had secured ap- 
proval to contract for construction of 31 miles more — as far as 

President Ogden asked Survej'or Morgan if his estimate of $l-i,- 
553 per mile meant that he would use T rail or strap rail. Morgan 
said he had figured on T rail but that if strap rail were to be used 
he would be able to cut his cost to $8,500 per mile. 

"Ruinous financial difficulties in Great Britain [where T rail then 
came from] have prevented the company from getting iron," re- 
ported Ogden, "so it has been decided that strap rail will have to 
be used." (The superstructure of a railroad in those days was com- 
posed of crossties 9 feet long and 6 inches thick which were laid 30 
inches from center to center; on these were placed longitudinal rails 
of Norway or yellow pine, a portion 6 inches square and a portion 
7 inches square secured in place by triangular blocks or knees of 
scantling, firmly spiked to the ties on each side. Upon the longitudi- 
nal rails was an oak ribbon iM by 3 inches square, and on this ribbon 
an iron plate rail, 2% by % or % inches and weighing about 30 tons 
to the mile.) 

So it was decided, at the 18-i8 meeting to close the first fiscal year, 
that "the Galena," as it had come to be called, should start off as a 
strap-rail railroad ; that on completion of the track to the Dcs 
Plaines River work should be continued — the money was on hand — 
to Elgin; that construction should be begun on a depot in Chicago 
at the southwest corner of Kinzie and Canal streets. There was no 
mention of other depots along the line — they were still in the offing — 
either on the left- or the right-hand side of the tracks. 

At this first annual meeting the directors were authorized to pur- 
chase a locomotive — preferably secondhand — and, if possible, to 
pay for it with stock; authorization was also given for the purchase, 
under the same conditions, of three passenger cars and thirteen 
freight cars. 

Apparently the directors were devoid of any silly superstitions 
regarding the future of the Galena's freight trade. 


lapter 7 


The ptjkchase of passenger cars and freight cars, as authorized by 
the Galena's Board of Directors, was a comparatively simple mat- 
ter; not so the securing of a locomotive with which to haul them. In 
the summer of 1848 Surveyor Richard P. Morgan and Chief Engi- 
neer John Van Nortwick were busy laying strap rail between Chi- 
cago's first railroad depot at Canal and Kinzie streets (also in 
course of constiniction) and the Des Plaines River; Van Nortwick 
was notified by President Ogden to go look for a locomotive — a sec- 
ondhand locomotive, to be paid for with stock. 

"That's a difficult order to carry out," the Galena's chief engineer 
told its president. "Railroads, as you know, Mr. Ogden, are sprout- 
ing up all over the Middle West. A good many of them seem to have 
more money than we have; possibly because they are projects fos- 
tered by eastern bankers and not, as in our case, by the people along 
what is to be our right of way. Cars I can get you. Locomotives, 
that's something else again. But I'm on my way." 

Van Nortwick lunched at the Tremont House that day and by 
lucky chance ran into an acquaintance, Robert Mahan, paymaster 
for the Michigan Central Railroad. The Michigan Central, coming 
out of Detroit, had just reached its then Lake Michigan terminus 
at New Buffalo and was of three minds as to its plans for the future 
- — whether to put in a line of market-ferries between New Buffalo and 
Chicago, to build on around the edge of the lake to the already 
sprawling city, or, as Will Ogden had suggested, to let the Galena 
build out of Chicago round the tip of the lake to meet the Michigan 
Central in New Buffalo. The estimated cost of this last plan, $328,- 
000, knocked it on the head for Ogden. Later the Michigan Central 
did build around the lake, but when Van Nortwick ran into Pay- 



master Mahan in tlie Trcmont House the lattcr's road was resting 
easy on its laurels ; it had done a record job of tracklayinf? with light 
engines as haulers; Ogden was building the first leg of the Galena 
with horses as traction. 

"Yes, we've got some light engines," said Mahan in reply to Van 
Nortwick's query. "Good enough for those ten miles of strap rail 
you're starting off with. We're getting new stuff from Baldwin any 
day now. How many of these hugger-muggers do you want? Four be 

"One will be quite enough," replied Xnn Xortwick modestly. 
"You've got to crawl before you walk, leap, or run. Just a little 
farm-to-market railroad, Mahan." 

"Well, if it's crawling you want," replied the Michigan Central 
pa^'master, "we've got it. Cash on the barrelhead, I suppose." 

"We'll pay you in stock," replied Van Nortwick firmly. 

Mahan's ardor cooled slightly, and he said the matter would have 
to go to higher quarters. In the meantime, would the Galena engineer 
come out to New Buffalo and look over an engine or two? Van Nort- 
wick was agreeable. In the Michigan Central yard he found what he 
was looking for — the first locomotive of the Chicago and North 
Western Railway System ! 

All engines had names in those days and this humble hauler of 
ties and rails and working men was no exception; it was called Alerf; 
]\Iahan had neglected to mention that Alert was a used engine when 
the ]\Iichigan Central had bought it from the Utica and Schenectady 
Railroad two years before. As a matter of fact, when Van Nortwick 
first looked it over. Alert had already put in eleven years of grueling 
service ; when its purchase was finally approved by President Ogden 
it became not a secondhand engine but a third-hand engine — which 
was nothing to its discredit. Alert had been built to last ; it still lasts, 
as this is being written, at the ripe old age of one hundred and 
twelve ! 

The Galena's engineer went carefully over every bolt and plate. 
The tiny locomotive bore the name of its maker, the Baldwin I>oco- 
niotive Company of Philadelphia. Its cylinders were 10 inches in 
diameter with an 18-inch stroke ; it had but one pair of driving wheels 
4/4 feet in diameter and weighed 10 tons. Naturally, as of its vin- 
tage, it was wood-burning; it had iron tires, weighed 24',000 pounds. 


and its original water container was a barrel in the cab; later its 
tender capacity was 1,015 gallons. The first engineer of the Galena's 
first locomotive was John Ebbert ; its first fireman, Daniel Sheehan. 
Ebbert lived to exhibit his engine at the Chicago World's Fair of 
1893, passing on six years later. But his iron horse, the first loco- 
motive to pull a train out of Chicago, showed up again at the St. 
Louis Fair of 1903 and at tiie second Chicago World's Fair, in 19.33. 
In 1948 it made its bow to the public again at the Chicago Railroad 

Van Nortwick did some scurrying back and forth between Chicago 
and New Buffalo. The purcliase price was finally settled at 40 shares 
of Galena stock, par value per share one hundred dollars ; the chief 
engineer had a new name plate made, and Alert became Pioneer. On 
the afternoon of October 22, 1848, Chicago's first railroad engine 
was lowered from the boat that had carried it from New Buffalo onto 
the planking of the Clark Street dock on the north side of the river. 
Its fresh black paint gleamed ; its brass and copper facings had been 
polished to mirrorlike reflection ; its wheels and smokestack had been 
sandpapered till they resembled steel. From the dock it was horse- 
hauled to the Galena depot at Canal and Kinzie streets where, next 
daj', it was jacked onto the tracks. No official holiday was declared, 
but apparently all Chicago took time off to watch the unloading of 
its first railroad locomotive. Reporting the Pioneer^s arrival in the 
depot in its issue of October 24, the Chicago Daily Journal stated: 
"The Iron Horse is at length on the track and will 'fire up' in a day 
or two over that part of the road which has been completed." 

Moving around among the throng on the afternoon of arrival, 
William Butler Ogden, subscription book in hand, sold over twenty 
thousand dollars' worth of stock in the Galena. Chicago had wanted 
to be shown ! Well, he was showing Chicago ! 

On the afternoon of October 25, the Galena directors and some 
few friends rode out as far as the tracks had been completed, to what 
is now Oak Park. Nothing untoward happened, the Pioneer behaved 
well, farmers and merchants lined the single track, cheering the 
progress of the train, which consisted of one passenger car and one 
open freight car — the latter empty on the westward journey. 

At Oak Ridge (now Oak Park) the directors and their guests 
descended for refreshments which were served in the shack doing 


duty ns tlic road's first sul)urban station. Followiiifr an enjoyable 
liour and just as the I'ioncer was about to knuckle down to a home- 
going demonstration of its pusliing as well as its pulling abilities — 
the Galena had not as yet got round to a turntable — Director J. 
Young Scanimon noticed a farmer on the outskirts of the crowd, 
perched on a wagonload of wheat. 

"Where you taking that, friend.''" asked Mr. Scammon. 

"Newberry and Dole," answered the farmer. 

"How would j'ou like your wheat to be the first hauled into Chi- 
cago by train.'"' asked Scammon. "Free," he added. 

The farmer, whose name unhappily has not been passed on to 
posterity, wasn't any too sure about his likes or dislikes, but when 
he understood that he, too, would ride the train with his produce, 
he gave consent. AVilling hands transferred the bags to the open 
freight car — and so came the first train-hauled wheat to the city 
that was to become the world's leading wheat market. 

From that October day of 1848 the Galena never looked back — 
always forward. Work did not progress as fast as it did on other 
railroads which were springing up all over the country, with a spe- 
cial rash of them in the Middle West; where the Federal government 
was being goaded on by Senator Stephen A. Douglas who had secured 
the first railroad land grant for the Illinois Central. Washington, 
from aloof stinginess, had suddenly become almost overgenerous in 
its concessions to promoters wishing to lay track in the "new lands." 
Iowa had been admitted to statehood in 1846, Wisconsin in 1848; 
the tide of immigration was in full flood into both new common- 
wealths, and an agricultural and town building boom was on. 

But the Galena proceeded slowly, making money as it went along 
but never borrowing for expansion, putting only profits back into 
extension of track and purchase of equipment. By 1850 the Chicago, 
the Elgin, the Illinois, the Belvidere, and the Rockford had been 
added to the engine roster still headed by that third-hand old stal- 
wart, the Pioneer. Wood was used for fuel, and the average cost per 
cord was .$2.13; there was timber aplenty all along the right of way. 

The Galena reached the Des Plaines River (May wood) on De- 
cember 15, 1848. The track was opened to Turner Junction (West 



Chicago) 30 miles west of Chicago in the spring of 1849. Here the 
road swung almost due north to Elgin, a distance of 12 miles. From 
Turner Junction another line was later extended westward through 
Dixon to Fulton on the Mississippi River, a distance of 105 miles. 
Turner Junction (named for John B. Turner) served as the north- 

In 1850 Chicago's first railroad, while only 43 miles long, was already well estab- 
lished and prospering as it moved on to its initial goal in northwestern IllLnois. 

ern temiinus of the Aurora Branch Railroad, and for a number of 
years the trains of that road and its successor, the Chicago, Burling- 
ton and Quincy, ran from this point over the line of the Galena into 

Elgin and the countryside staged an enormous celebration when 
the Pioneer puffed into that city on January 22, 1850. Belvidere 
was reached on December 3, 1851. Track reached Cherry Valley 
March 10, 1852, and "amid cannon and the ringing of bells" the 
Pioneer proudly snorted into Rockford on August 2, 1852. The 

* Petersen, W. J., The Northwestern Comes, The Palimpsest, Journal of the 
Iowa Historical Society, 1924. 


Galena's arrival in Rockford put stagecoaches out of business to 
the East, and the Galena advertised connections with stages from 
Rockford to Galena and Dubuque; to Beloit, Janesville, aiid Madi- 
son ; to Dixon and to Rock Island. 

Meantime there had been dissension on the board of the railroad 
■which had blossomed into open quarrel and accusation. President 
Will Ogden, in addition to his investments in Chicago real estate, 
had also gone in heavily for timberland purchase along the southern 
Wisconsin border and along the Galena's right of way. He was back 
in the lumber business in a big way just as he had been in Walton, 
New York, as a young man operating the family sawmill. He had a 
ready market for his inidwestern lumber in Chicago both as fuel and 
for construction purposes. He was also selling cordwood and railroad 
ties by the trackside for use in the engines and on the right of way 
of the Galena — something which, seemingly, he had a perfect right 
to do. 

The charge was made that Ogden was using his position as 
president of the Galena to increase his railroad tie and cordwood 
sales and shut off competition. The accusation was never made to 
his face, but upon hearing of it he immediately submitted his resig- 
nation both as president and director — which the majority of the 
directors refused to accept. Ogden withdrew the resignation, but at 
subsequent meetings refused to take his seat when those directors 
who had accused him of profiteering were present. This was in the 
summer of 1848, and until June, 1851, J. Young Scammon presided 
over meetings whenever Ogden absented himself. On June 5, 1851, 
when Ogden insisted on resigning over the protests of the majority 
of the Board, John Bice Turner was elected president of the Galena. 

But Ogden was by no means through with his favorite railroad. 

John Bice Turner was the fifth president of the Galena and Chi- 
cago Union Railroad Company, his predecessors being Theophilus 
W. Smith, Elijah K. Hubbard, James H. Collins, and William Butler 
Ogden. Smith, Collins, and Hubbard were merely presidents of a 
])aper railroad for purposes of keeping the charter alive. Ogden was 
the first president of the functioning railroad. 

A stocky man of medium height, Turner was one of the ablest 


citizens of the Chicago of his day. He came to tiie Galena with a 
background of railroad building and administration experience 
which was to stand the budding little line and the great carrier into 
which it developed in good stead. 

Like his friend Will Ogden, John Turner was a native of New- 
York State. Little is known of his early struggles, but unlike Ogden, 
he was certainly not bom to affluence or in all probability even to 
comfort. He first came to notice as a railroad builder when, in 1835, 
at the age of thirty-four he was awarded a contract to build 7 miles 
of the Ransom and Saratoga Railroad. Previous to this good for- 
tune, Turner is believed to have worked up from tanner's apprentice 
to tracklayer to section foreman. He did such a good job of his 
7-mile strip that he was made general manager of the entire line — 
only 40 miles long. The Ransom and Saratoga trains were hauled 
by horses, and Turner built barns and stables for their accommoda- 
tion at intervals of 10 miles. In the same year, in partnership with 
his brother, he took a contract for the construction of the Delaware 
division of the New York and Erie Railroad Company. The crash 
of 1837 wiped out his construction company. Three years later he 
had somewhat recouped himself through a contract to dig a portion 
of the Genesee Valley Canal. A completed contract for construction 
of a portion of the Troy and Schenectady Railroad put Turner for 
the first time in his life a few thousand dollars ahead, and he was 
able to achieve a boyhood ambition — to go West with some capital 
in his pocket. With his wife and two younger children — his eldest 
boy was a student at Williamstown College — he arrived in Chicago 
on October 15, 1843, with letters of introduction to William Butler 
Ogden, Charles Butler, AValter Newberry, George Dole, and J. 
Young Scammon. His first venture was the purchase of a thousand 
acres of prairie land south of Blue Island which he stocked with 
sheep driven in from Ohio. 

This practical railroad-man-turned-sheep-farmer amazed Will 
Ogden ; he and J. Young Scammon had been dreaming about resusci- 
tating the Galena for several years ; but there were lots of things 
about railroads concerning which the pair knew nothing; the ar- 
rival of John Bice Turner seemed something like a gift from on high. 
Ogden and Scammon came to visit the sheep farmer at his rooms in 


tlie TrLiiiont House. Yes, he told his visitors, he was interested in 
railroad biiildinfj and particularly interested in the Galena; it 
seemed he had all the facts and all the difficulties at his finger tips. 

"Then why," asked Scammon, "do you start up a sheep farm when 
railroads are the coming things and you are a practical railroad 
man ?" 

"I wasn't going to push in until I knew I was wanted," replied 
'I'urner with characteristic modesty. "Back East you Chicago gen- 
tlemen are getting the name of being a rather close corporation." 

"Close or not," chorused his visitors, "we need you." 

As managing director of the reorganized Galena, Turner proved 
himself an able lieutenant to President Ogden ; when the latter in- 
sisted on the acceptance of his resignation, both pro-Ogden and 
anti-Ogden directors were agreed that Turner was their logical 

The Galena entered Freeport on September 1, 1853, thus ending 
the march westward over that particular line by the progenitor of 
the North Western system. Two routes lay open if the original plan 
was to be carried out and entrance made into the city whose name 
was borne by the railroad line. One of these would be to the north- 
west by way of Warren and Scales Mound ; the other to the south- 
west by way of Savanna. But the Illinois Central was already build- 
ing to Galena, and President Turner was of the opinion that the 
countryside, rich and prosperous as it was becoming, could not sup- 
port two railroad lines running almost parallel. Chief Engineer Van 
Nortwick of the Galena reported: 

Thorc can be no doubt that the true policy of both companies is to 
form a connection at such a point as shall be found most practical, east 
of Galena, and construct but one road to that place. It is understood that 
both companies favor and contemplate such an arrangement.* 

Freeport was agreed upon by the two roads as the point of junc- 
tion, and on the Galena's arrival there the Illinois Central took up 
construction of its Frccport-Galena division. The iron horse — 
though it was not the Galena's iron horse — reached Galena and the 
heights above the Mississippi River on October 30, 1854. 

* Petersen, \V. J., The Northwestern Comes, The Palimpsest, Journal of the 
Iowa Historical Society, 1924. 



The Galena's first railroad depot, as has been told, stood on a 
triangular piece of ground west of Canal Street and south of Kinzie 
Street. It was at first a one-story wooden shack running east and 
west, entered from what was then called West Water Street, which 
ran along the north branch of the Chicago River. The depot faced 
the railroad tracks which were south of the building. In 1849 this 
depot was enlarged, and provision made for freight handling as well 
as for passengers. A second story was added which was used as a 
general office, and on top of this was a glass enclosure looking like 
some sort of observatory. This was for years President Turner's 
post of observation. Armed with a telescope, he would engage in his 
favorite relaxation — if you could call it that — the detection of 
approaching trains through his glass and reports of their progress 
or lack of it, shouted down through the flimsy building to employes 
and patrons alike. He could see on a clear day his engines puffing 
away as far off as Austin — six miles. Samuel Morse had already 
invented the telegraph, some six years before, but the railroads had 
not as yet got around to using it. 

In 1852 the Galena substituted T rail for its archaic strap rail and 
in the same year placed a floating bridge on the Chicago River at 
practically the same place where now stands the Chicago and North 
Western Railway bridge. In 1853 the road completed its second de- 
pot, standing east and west along North Water Street with its 
east end on Wells Street. Sometime after this depot was occupied, 
Wells Street was filled in and raised about 8 feet; this caused the 
Galena company to add 30 feet to the length of the building and 
put on another story, making it three stories high with a frontage 
of 45 feet on Wells Street and 75 feet on North Water Street. This 
building remained in use until the Great Fire of 1871 when, like most 
of Chicago, it went up in smoke. 

The Galena had a third depot in Chicago for the use of passen- 
gers. Owning land on the east side of North Dearborn Street and 
south of Kinzie Street, the company in 1851 erected here a two-story 
building, the lower portion of which was used originally for freight 
purposes and the upper for offices. For some time during the middle 
fifties the passenger trains of the Galena road ran to and from this 
building, and while this was being done neither the first nor the sec- 
ond depots were in use. Nobody knows the reason, and if there had 



been liny ix])laiuition in the records these were unavaihible because 
of hiivinfT been destroyed in the Chicago Fire.* 

The directors of the Galena apparently felt somewhat chagrined 
over the failure to gain a railroad monopoly from P'reeport to the 
Mississippi. On the heels of the Illinois Central's triumphant entry 
into the city of Galena, Chief Engineer Van Nortwick was ordered 
to locate a line from Turner Junction to a suitable point of con- 
nection with the Rockford and Rock Island Railroad, from which 
point it would continue through Dixon to Fulton on the Missis- 

The Galena's chief engineer, somewhat disheartened by events, 
perked up over this order. His report was : 

There can be no doubt that this route must form the great trunk line 
west from Chicago to Council BlutTs and even west of tliat point, and 
that this is the one upon which Chicago must rely to secure the business 
of central and western Iowa rather than upon other western lines having 
eastern connections south of that city. 

Van Nortwick sold the idea to his directors, who authorized an 
increase in the capital stock of the Galena to a sum "not exceeding 
five million dollars" with which "to extend the Dixon and Central 
Iowa route to Dixon and, if they should deem it expedient, to the 
Mississippi River; or to unite or consolidate with any other road 
on that route." 

President Turner got busy on this latter phase and secured from 
the Mississippi and Rock River Junction Railroad Company a lease 
by which a continuous and complete line of railroad would be made 
and operated from Chicago to Fulton under the control and man- 
agement of the Galena. This lease provided that the Mississippi and 
Rock River Junction should "prepare the roadway for the super- 
structure" and that the Galena should "complete, stock, and oper- 
ate it in perpetuity." For its work the IMississippi and Rock River 
Junction was to receive 7 per cent annually on its expenditures. For 
this splendid piece of work Engineer Van Nortwick was made "presi- 
dent and engineer" of the Mississippi and Rock River Junction Rail- 

The work went ahead rapidly. Stock had sold readily, and for the 
• See Appendix for detailed history of the Nortli Western's Chicago depots. 


first time in its existence the Galena did not liave to count tlie pen- 
nies. By January 10, 1854, track was open as far as Lane, 45 miles 
from Junction. Despite heavy snowfalls that late w'inter, the road 
was completed to Dixon by December 4 of the same year. 

On January' 9, 1855, as had been expected, the Mississippi and 
Rock River Junction consolidated with the Galena, and Van Nort- 
wick set speedily about forging the last links of his chain from 
Chicago. On July 22 the first Galena train rolled into Sterling. 
On September 23 the iron horse puffed into Morrison, and on De- 
cember 16, the old Pioneer, given — as always — the place of honor, 
snorted proudly into Fulton and graciously deigned to take a drink 
from Old Man River. 


I a pier S 

N O R T II \V E S T E R N D R E A M 

From 1851 until 1855, William Butler Ogden was not officially in- 
terested in railroading. He had a large and ever growing real-estate 
business in Chicago ; as a contractor he was laying most of what 
are now the downtown streets of the city of his adoj^tion ; facing 
these streets he built stores, offices, and homes. 

He was a busy man — and if he was not, during those j'ears, a prac- 
ticing railroad man he was nevertheless a very active theoretical 
railroad man. He was lumbering in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michi- 
gan. And the Galena was still his baby — though there were still on 
its directorate men who had hurt him to the quick. But his friends 
on the Board, such as John Bice Turner, J. Young Scammon, and 
others, came to him frequently for unofficial consultation and ad- 
vice; he never failed them, passed along his constructive thoughts of 
today, his dreams of tomorrow. These dreams were to develop into 
reality — the strategy of that enterprise that was to become the 
Chicago and North Western Railway System. 

Approaching his fifties he was still an extraordinarily active man, 
an ardent horseback rider. In his journej's out of Chicago into what 
was then considered the Northwest — Wisconsin, northern Michigan, 
and IMinncsota — he preferred his horses even where he found rail- 
road lines, though he did not neglect to use these to test their effi- 
cacy and their ultimate purpose in these plans of his for the future 
of the territory. 

We have told the story of J. Young Scammon accosting the farmer 
on that first triumphal run of the Galena to Oak Park (then Oak 
Ridge) and the switching of the bags of grain from the horse-drawn 
wagon to the two-car train hauled by the Pioneer on its first run 
back to Chicago. That wagonload of grain made a profound im- 



pression on Will Ogden ; it indicated to him in no uncertain terms 
the basis of prosperity for railroad lines running out of Chicago 
west and northwest — as indeed it indicated the basis of prosperity 
for all the "Granger" lines that were to come. 

Years have passed since Will Ogden rode the trails and dreamed 
of a vast railroad s^'stem that would tap as yet unpeopled regions 
and conjure forth farms and villages, furnaces and cities, factories 
and ports, that would provide life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi- 
ness for millions yet unborn. It all came true — and looking at the 
vast, fertile, peopled domain as it is today, the whole development 
seems simple, natural ; it was, and it is — but where would the auto- 
mobile be without the spark plug? There is no question but that 
Ogden was the spark plug of the Chicago and North Western Rail- 
wav System; it is just as certain that he was the spark j^lug that 
brought civilization and prosperity to the area from which his 
"baby" most rightly took its name. 

The whole thing is as simple and direct — again looking back at 
it today — as those first 10 miles of strap railroad that he laid down 
out of Chicago, due west. Ogden's strategy shows clear in a railroad 
map made just before the advent of the Civil War — -a line across 
the Mississippi with the system in embrj'o shown in additional lines 
of 80 and 100 miles running north into Wisconsin. The essential 
beginning of the dream was assuming reality — a trunk line north and 
a trunk line west; Cedar Rapids the western terminus, Green Bay 
the northern. 

Ogden, in his studies and dreams, had ridden far into upper IMichi- 
gan. He had sat on his horse- — man and steed both weary, both de- 
termined^and stared at the muddy waters of the ^Missouri, and out 
into Nebraska. These journeys developed the major objectives that 
were to become the accomplishment of the North Western — the 
western offensive with the Missouri and the farmlands-to-be as the 
goal; the northern offensive, aimed at the grain lands and the iron 
and copper country. 

Three hundred years ago Jesuit missionaries found copper on 
Lake Superior, the richest beds of native copper in all the world. In 
1850, Jean Louis Agassiz, the great Swiss-American naturalist and 
geologist, wrote his book Lake Superior, in which he pointed out the 


richni'ss of the region in copper and iron deposits. 'J'lie first bar of 
Lake Superior iron liad been drawn tlirough a blacksmith's forge 
in 184G. When Will Ogden rode into the copper and iron lands he 
carried Agassiz' Lake Superior in one of his saddlebags. He had 
read all about the riches that lay underground, had made a trip to 
the Lowell Listitute in Boston to interview Agassiz and had returned 
to Chicago and his process of making dreams realities — with this 
advice : "You can study nature in my book, IMr. Ogden. But unless 
you go out of doors yourself you cannot find her. This new country 
needs students far more than it needs textbooks. The book of nature 
is always open." 

In the Lake Superior iron and copper region, Will Ogden sensed 
that this portion of his dream would be easy to realize; here was a 
traffic goal that, instead of being attained over desert wastes, was 
reachable across terrain perhaps as profit-bearing as the treasure 
that unworldly men of God had merely recorded and then left for 
the enrichment of crass men of business. As a practical lumberman. 
Will Ogden viewed with great satisfaction the forests of pine, the 
seemingly inexhaustible stores of hardwoods; well, suppose the tim- 
ber was exhaustible? W^hat then? Ogden was a builder, a lumberman, 
a railroad man — and he was also a farmer. In his rare days of leisure 
he was a hunter and a fisherman. He dreamed on, but his dream was 
as soundly practical as the dreams of Stevenson, Whitney, Ford, 
Columbus, or the Pilgrim Fathers. 

Will Ogden saw trains hauling copper and iron through a land 
of barley, small grains, and dairies. Where the pine stood as he rode 
the edge of the forests he saw the farmer moving in with the clearing 
of the land. He saw the tamarack swamps drained, cattle turned into 
the brush and the clearings, to the most nutritious of grasses, the 
coolest of waters. 

It was on a September afternoon of 185-t that Ogden and his horse 
halted on the heights above the Missouri River where Lewis and 
Clark had held their council with the Indians just fifty years be- 
fore. Across the brown water was a village thriving by leaps and 
bounds — Omaha ! Nebraska had been a territory for four months. 
Already there was talk of a transcontinental railroad to cross the 
Missouri at this point; it was not even to begin construction for 

N O U T H \V E S T E R N D R E A M 71 

another eight years. What could be easier tliaii to meet sucli a rail- 
road from the coast here on the river and form a junction? Jump 
the gxin ! Will Ogden dreamed on, dreams that were to come to pass, 
all of them. 

This Nebraska Territory was extraordinary, definitely a neces- 
sary link in the chain. Will Ogden crossed the Missouri, rode deep 
into the new lands. Grasses that cured on the ground ! Great for 
stock raising. Hay country, wheat country, small-grain country. 
Too young for dairying, but that would come, as it would come to 
the Wisconsin timberlands. Ogden rode back to Chicago, heartened. 
He had given two years to studying the potentialities of his railroad 
dream. He celebrated his fiftieth birthday a few daj's after his return, 
and his close friends gathered at his Rush Street mansion to con- 
gratulate him — John Turner, J. Young Scammon, George Dole, 
Cyrus McCormick, Perry Smith, Charles Butler, Mahlon Ogden, 
William H. Brown, Judge Henry AV. Blodgett, and a rising _young 
New York lawyer named Samuel J. Tilden who was later to win 
the presidency of the United States on the popular vote of the elec- 
torate of the country, only to lose it in the electoral college. 

To these friends on his fiftieth birthday William Butler Ogden 
outlined his plans for a "northwestern railway." His picture did not 
take in South Dakota and Wyoming — he was a little early for that, 
even in a dream — but in all else the plan which came through was 
his. He spread a map on a table and traced his system through traf- 
fic mines of the future, some of which even then had hardly the status 
of villages — Chicago (the fountainhead, the mainspring), Milwau- 
kee, Duluth, Superior, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Sioux City, Des 
Moines, Omaha, Lincoln. 

In the summer of 1855 a telegraph line was laid alongside the 
Galena tracks from Chicago to Freeport, and for the first time on 
any western railroad trains were operated by means of Morse's 
invention. In 1855 President Turner also tried out two soft-coal- 
burning engines in place of his old wood-burners. His agreement 
with the builders was that he need not buy if the locomotives were 
not a success ; they were not. 

Turner and his Board of Directors laid down ambitious plans in 


185G. Tlicy niajipcd out an extension of tlie Galena westward from 
Clinton, Iowa, talking over 40 miles of track that had been laid down 
by the Chicaf^o, Iowa and Nebraska Railroad before it ran out of 
money. The complete plan had been to run to an as yet unselected 
point in Iowa and from thence north "to connect with a road extend- 
ing northwesterly to St. Paul." The Galena stockholders were warned 
that these were defensive measures ; the Middle West had gone rail- 
road mad, and lines were being projected everywhere, some on paper, 
some in the begging stage, some gathering finances, some actually 
laying track. 

Turner had still another headache. It had been decided that Chi- 
cago needed jacking up if parts of it were not to sink into the swamp. 
George Pullman, later inventor of the Pullman car, was the man 
who put most of what was later the Loop on stilts. And the Galena 
had to go along and hoist its depots, engine house, and tracks an 
average of two and a half feet over about sixteen acres of land. The 
soil had to be hauled from Babcock's Grove (now Lombard), and 
though the Galena did its own hauling, the job ran into real monev. 

The little railroad, the most prosperous and best-managed busi- 
ness of its kind in the IMiddle West despite the hoisting job and de- 
spite competition, entered the panic year of 1857 in good financial 
shape and had already laid second track as far as Turner Junction. 
It boasted 56 locomotive engines and 1,200 freight and passenger 
cars. It owned 260 miles of finished road at a cost, to date, of 
$8,293,294.62; had a bonded debt of $2,958,015.28; during the 
A'ear over 613,000 passengers had been carried. 

"All our original plans have been carried out," announced Presi- 
dent Turner, "with the exception of the completion of the second 
track. The gross earnings for the year were $2,800,053." 

The financial panic of 1857, brought about primarily by railroad 
promotion and railroad stock speculation, crippled all western rail- 
roads. The Galena, built solidly, its stock in the great majority held 
by men and women who believed in its future on the record of its 
successful past and who were not in any sense of the word specu- 
lators, dug in and held on. But passenger and freight earnings fell 
off more than 25 per cent, and between August, 1857, and the fol- 
lowing January its working force had to be cut from 1,904 to 722. 



Bankruptcy was the rule among the majority' of the western roads. 
But while the panic ran its course, the Galena kept on laying its 
second track. 

What had been accomplished up to this time is best shown in the 
Galena report for the fiscal year, 1857, as taken from W. H. Sten- 
nett's history of the Chicago and North Western Railway System, 
entitled Yesterday and Today. 


The road was opened to Elgin, 42 miles from Chicago, January 
22, 1850. This portion of the road was originally laid with strap- 
rail iron, resting upon longitudinal stringers, but during 1852-1853 
this track was replaced with iron T rail. 

Distance, Point of 

Main Line Opened To: miles Origin Date 

Huntley 55 Chicago September 15, 1851 

Marengo 66 Chicago October 18, 1851 

Belv'idere 78 Chicago December 3, 1851 

Cherry Valley 84 Chicago March 10, 185^2 

Rockford M Chicago August 2, 1852 

Freeport 121 Chicago September 1, 1853 

Beloit 21 Beh-idere November 14, 1853 

Chicago, Fulton a:sd Iowa Line 

Distance, miles, from 

Trad: Opened To: Turner Junction * Date 

Lane 45 January 10, 1854 

Dixon 68 December 4, 1854 

Sterling 80 July 22, 1855 

Morrison 94 September 23, 1855 

Fulton 105J^ December 16, 1855 

* This year the name Turner Junction was changed to Turner in honor of the Galena 


To cit}' limits, 2 miles from Chicago, September 1, 1855. 
To Harlem, 9 miles from Chicago, December 15, 1855. 
To Cottage Hill, 17 miles from Chicago, October 19, 1856. 


To Babcock's Grove, 20 miles from Chicago, June 7, 1857. 
From Danby to Whcaton, 2/4 miles, June 7, 1857. 
From Wheaton to Winfield, 2^4 miles, November 1, 1857. 
To Turner Junction, 30 miles from Chicago, December G, 1857. 


0])cncd from South Branch station to Harlem, 10/4 miles, Janu- 
ary 1, 1856. 


The general average of the number of miles of T-rail track in 
use in the main track, from September 15, 1851, to May 1, 1852, 
seven and one-half months, was 31/^4 miles, equal to 19^,4 miles for 
one year. 

Date General Average, miles 

May 1, 1852, to May 1, 1853 48 

May 1, 1853, to May 1, 1854 131 

May 1, 1854, to May 1, 1855 1961-^ 

May 1, 1855, to May 1, 1856 240 

May 1, 1856, to May 1, 1857 272}^ 

May 1, 1857, to May 1. 1858 282 % 

Equal to 188Va for one year. 

The total length of track, in miles. In use January 1, 1858, is as 
follows : 

Main line, from Chicago to Frceporl 121 

Beloil branch, from Belvidere to Beloit 21 

East Elgin branch 1 J^^ 

Chicago, Fulton and Iowa line, from Junction to Fulton. . 1053^ 

St. Charles Air Line, from Chicago to Harlem 10}^ 

Total 259y2 

Second track 30 

Sidings and gravel pit tracks 42 Ji 

Total S32}4, 

•This is the little road that was liouRht In 1S54. 


The company owns the following acreage of real estate: 

Right of way 3,300 

Laud at and near Harlem Station, 9 miles west of Cliicago . 9-10 

Depot Grounds 

Main line and Beloit branch, mcluding 6'2 acres in Chicago 165 
Chicago, Fulton and Iowa line 116 

Total 281 

Gravel pits 68 

Miscellaneous lauds 3 , 491 

Total real estate 8,080 

(Of the land described in this statement as miscellaneous, a large 
portion was bought on account of the wood growing thereon. When 
the wood is removed the land is resold by the company. These lands 
are scattered along the line of the railroad, and are generally con- 
tiguous thereto. The company owns about 1,200 acres [included in 
the above list] located on densely wooded islands in the Mississippi 
River, a few miles above Fulton.) 

During 1858 the Galena was beginning to feel its own oats — aside 
from those oats it was hauling ; it had become a force to be recog- 
nized among other roads, to be deferred to, powerful enough to ex- 
tend a helping hand — for considerations, of course. A contract with 
the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad required that the 
latter use the Galena tracks, and pay for the privilege — to and from 
Chicago east of Turner Junction. A contract with the Mineral Point 
and the Illinois Central companies provided that, on a percentage 
basis, the former should send all the business the destination of 
which it could control over the Galena for a period of twenty years. 
In November of this year the Fox River Valley Railroad was sold 
under court decree to Benjamin W. Raymond and by him conveyed 
to the Elgin and State Line Railroad Company, whereupon the 
Galena entered into a contract to operate. 

At the very moment President Turner, on behalf of the Galena, 
was signing the contract with the Elgin and State Line Railroad, 


Williiun Butler Ogdcn was sitting in the offices of his New York at- 
torney, Samuel J. Tilden. The Ciilca^o, St. Paul and Fond du Lac 
Railroad Comi)any had failed to meet the interest on its bonds. The 
Illinois State Legislature would meet for its biennial session inside 
of the next six weeks when, in all probability — Ogden told Tilden — 
acts would be passed authorizing the sale of the road and approving 
the formation of a new corporation to acquire it. 

William Butler Ogden wanted control of the Fond du Lac; he 
classed it as one of the foundation stones that would turn his dreams 
of a great northwestern railway system into reality. Tilden, a realist 
if ever there was one, found himself in complete agreement with the 


lapier 9 


The teakspoetation histoey of the United States has proved that 
waves of railroad consolidation have always followed on the heels of 
major industrial depressions. The sequence is natural. Hard times 
came along, and weak railroads, newly constructed and partly con- 
structed lines tumbled into the hands of bondholders and receivers. 
These latter have but two lines of thought — unless a war comes along 
and provides a shot in the arm in the form of troop, equipment, ar- 
mament, and supply hauls — and these lines of thought are "sell for 
what 3'ou can get and cut the loss ; that — or consolidation." 

Consolidation is the recipe of the men with vision acting on the 
old adage "if you can't fight 'em, join 'em." Out of the financial 
crash of 1857 there peered — in so far as the Middle West of that 
day was concerned — a weird collection of bankrupt railroad lines, 
some of them dragging along by grace of optimistic pump-primers 
from the j'oung cities of the New World and from the hoary cities 
of the Old World ; others had quit cold, their strap rail, their T rail, 
their wood-burning engines rusting by the right of way. 

The territory was overrailroadcd for the populace, what with 
paper plans, stock market promotions, parallel lines, competing 
lines. A great proportion of the roads actually laid down had been 
based by their promoters, for profit, on sweeps of immigration to 
the new lands and the clearing of these into productive farms and, 
after that, the advent of business and industrial centers, villages, 
then towns, then cities. It didn't work out that way at that time ; the 
railroads in many cases were built, and then whistled for pioneers ; 
these pioneers, whose toil and production were to justify the rail- 
roads, were unable to get into action fast enough ; the roads, wait- 
ing for profits or even enough returns to justify operation, ran out 


78 !• I O N K i: It II A I I, It O A D 

of money; tlic panic halted liopcs of getting furtlicr sinews of war. 
Witli few exceptit)ns the railroads went bankrupt, remained isolated 
and fragmentary, passed into the hands of receivers, were sold under 
foreclosure, or were abandoned. 

Out of such confusion, through the organizing genius of one man, 
grew the Chicago and North Western Railway Sj'stem. 

In 1847, before resuscitation of the Galena and Chicago Union 
Railroad, William Butler Ogden and J. Young Scammon had visited 
various Wisconsin settlements with the idea of sounding out senti- 
ment on connecting railroad lines in the vicinity. They put an idea 
in the heads of a group of Janesville and Bcloit citizens who in the 
following year "created a body corporate by the name of the Madi- 
son and Beloit Raih-oad Company." (The temporary title for this 
venture must not be confused with the Bcloit and jMadison division 
of the Galena, already referred to.) 

Apparently realizing that a gross error in timing — and in nam- 
ing — had been made, the Wisconsin company, in 'February, 1850, 
secured legislative permission to change the name of the Madison 
and Beloit and also to change the location "at any point on the south 
line of the state of Wisconsin" and to "extend said road to an}' point 
on the Wisconsin River that to them may seem proper." An amend- 
ment, approved five days later, authorized the company to "extend 
their road from Janesville to Lake Winnebago by way of Fort At- 
kinson, Jefferson, and Watertown." The incorporators were further 
authorized to change the name of the organization to the Rock 
River Valley Union Railroad Compan}'. The act of February, 1850, 
was further amended in March, 1851, to give the company authori- 
zation "to extend its road to Lake Superior." Another amendment 
authorized extension "from the point of intersection on the Wiscon- 
sin River to the village of La Crosse in the County of La Crosse 
and thence to Willow River and St. Croix Falls." 

On February 12, 1851, the Illinois Legislature had approved a 
charter for the formation of the Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad. 
The charter granted authority to build from "the north line of 
McIIenry County, Illinois, to Woodstock in the same county and 
thence to a point on the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad in 
Cook, Kane, and IMcHenry counties aiul within fifty years to build 


into Chicago and to connect with any railroad south of Cliicago and 
through Indiana." 

In March, 1855, the Rock River Valley Railroad Company was 
granted permission by the Legislature of Wisconsin to consolidate 
with the Illinois and Wisconsin. The former road had at this time 
laid track between Minnesota Junction and Fond du Lac, a dis- 
tance of about twenty-nine miles ; meanwhile the Illinois and Wis- 
consin had built from Chicago northwesterly to Cary, Illinois, a 
distance of about thirty-nine miles. 

On March 30, 1855, the consolidation became official, and a new 
corporation was formed which took the name of the Chicago, St. 
Paul and Fond du Lac Railroad Company. During 1855 it extended 
its line from Cary to Janesville — 52 miles. 

Between June, 1856, and January, 1857, the Ontonagon and State 
Line Railroad Company of Michigan, the Wisconsin and Superior 
Railroad Company of Wisconsin, and the Marquette and State Line 
Railroad Company of Michigan were all organized and given author- 
ity to build beyond the northern end of the Chicago, St. Paul and 
Fond du Lac. In March, 1857, according to plan, all three of these 
lines were consolidated with the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du 
Lac. Putting their cards on the table along with the announcement, 
the directors of the acquiring road stated: 

The object and desire of the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Rail- 
road Company was the extension of their line from Janesville northwest 
via ^Madison and La Crosse to St. Paul and from Janesville north along 
the valley of Rock River to Fond du Lac and to the great iron and copper 
regions of Lake Superior. 

Thus we see the dream emerging into reality. William Butler Og- 
den had accepted the presidency of the Illinois and Wisconsin 
shortly before its merger with the Rock River Valley Union; at the 
time of the merger, his brother-in-law, Charles Butler, was president 
of the Rock River Valley Union. The Fond du Lac's Chicago depot, 
taken over from the Illinois and Wisconsin, was between Kinzie 
Street and Grand Avenue, close to the present location of Canal 
Street. In May, 1857, the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad had 
been finished as far as Prairie du Chien, and the Fond du Lac made 
a deal with the Milwaukee and Mississippi so that it could run its 


trains from Cliicago to Prairie du Chien, a distance of 227 miles, 
without change. 

Tlic consolidation with the Ontonaffon, the Wisconsin and Supe- 
rior and the Marquette and State I^ine broufjht a spurt to close the 
gap between Minnesota Junction, Wisconsin, and Gary, Illinois, this 
being completed in '59 despite the panic and ensuing depression. 
Thus, a continuous line from Chicago via Janesville to Fond du Lac 
— 176 miles. The drive, financed in large measure by loans from 
Ogden and his associates, had for its primary purpose the securing 
of a land grant along this track approved by Congress for the de- 
velopment of AVisconsin lines. However, a contest ensued in the State 
Legislature, with the result that the Wisconsin solons moved the 
location of the land grant so that it perched along the rights of 
way of the newly constructed La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad 
Company and the as-yet-to-be-constructed Wisconsin and Superior 
Railroad Company. The Wisconsinites evidently considered the 
Chicago and Fond du Lac an Illinois venture although it had been 
chartered in both states. However, between the date of the Legisla- 
ture's edict, October, 1856, and January, 1857, the Fond du Lac 
took over the Wisconsin and Superior, thus retrieving a portion of 
the land grant — six sections, or 3,8-10 acres, per mile. Thus partial 
justice was done, for Ogden and his associates had spent many weary 
months in Washington getting Congress into the proper frame of 
mind for approving the public lands grant before it came to the 
State Legislature. 

But the Fond du Lac had been traveling too fast for the country 
— or more rightly, the country had not been traveling fast enough 
for the Fond du Lac. It struggled valiantly through the first eight- 
een months of the 1857 panic but defaulted on the interest on its 
bonds and was finally forced into a bankruptcy petition. In Febru- 
ary, 1859, the Illinois Legislature authorized sale, reorganization, 
or both, and was followed by the Wisconsin Legislature a few weeks 
later. At a meeting of the stockholders and bondholders, Samuel J. 
Tilden and Ossian D. Ashley were appointed the road's agents. 

Acting for the bondholders, James AVinslow, William A. Booth, 
and James F. D. Lanier, as trustees, sold the road under foreclosure 
at an auction held in Janesville, Wisconsin, June 2, 1859, to Tilden 
and Ashley as agents. The latter, in turn, conveyed it a few days 


later to the Chicago and North Western Railway Company, which 
was organized June 7, 1859, under concurrent special acts of the 
legislatures of Illinois and Wisconsin, approved February 19 and 
March 14, 1859, respectively. The price was $10,849,938 in the 
stocks and bonds of the new purchasing comj^any. Ogden was elected 
first president of the North Western with the following, besides him- 
self, as members of the Board of Directors : Perry H. Smith. E. W. 
Hutchins, G. M. Bartholomew, Charles Butler, Thomas H. Perkins, 
Mahlon D. Ogden, A. C. Courtney, Henry Smith, J. R. Young, 
J. J. R. Pease, M. C. Darling, and Albert Winslow. 

By act, approved by the Wisconsin State Legislature in April, 
1861, the Chicago and North Western Railway Company was au- 
thorized to locate a line of its road, or a branch, by way of Fort 
Howard (Green Bay), Wisconsin, to the north line of the state, at 
the Menominee River. It was not built to Fort Howard until the fall 
of 1862, as at that time (the spring of 1861) the road was unable to 
meet the interest on its first mortgage bonds, and on April 11, 1861, 
the bondholders held a meeting in New York City. The committee 
then aj^pointed visited Chicago, to look over the valuable grounds 
of the company, to report upon the best way out of the financial 
embarrassment, and to ascertain whether it was expedient to ex- 
tend the road from Appleton to Green Bay and west from Neenah 
to Waupaca, Wisconsin. As was to be expected, although the ex- 
tension was looked upon as important and as a necessary develop- 
ment of the system soon to be made, the committee, after visiting 
the towns and attending enthusiastic meetings, "withheld the recom- 

President Ogden decided on frontal attack ; he went direct to the 
people of Brown County and at a meeting in Green Bay requested 
a right of way to the town and offered $49,500 worth of North West- 
ern stock — not easily negotiable — for an equivalent in county bonds 
which were readily cashable. His principal argument was faith in 
the future, but for the first time — and, in so far as we know, the last 
— glamour girls were used to promote the construction of a railroad. 

Ogden was accompanied on this journey by Perry H. Smith, vice- 
president of the North Western and a former resident of Appleton. 
Smith was acquainted with the Grignons of Kaukauna, an influ- 
ential French family — at tliis time many of the residents of this sec- 

82 r I O N K K 11 U A 1 L H O A I) 

tion were of Frcncli birth or French extraction, and the language 
was even more in use in tlie region than English. Smith took Ogdcn 
to visit the Grignons and also brought along a personable young 
man of his actjuaintancc by the name of Vassar, whose first name 
has not been passed on but who was described as a nephew of that 
Vassar who founded the famous girls' college of the same name. Vas- 
sar was a fluent French conversationalist. At the Grignon mansion, 
the railroad men were hospitably entertained and introduced to the 
three daughters of the house — a trio of "incomparable beauties," 
Neither Ogden nor Smith was of an age and an appearance for the 
stirring of girlish hearts — but not so Vassar; he came, he saw, and 
he conquered. Nothing came of it in the romantic sense beyond flir- 
tations on the part of Vassar and the three girls, but in the business 
sense — which was what mattered to Ogden and Smith — the hard-to- 
sell bonds of the North Western were finally exchanged for easily 
negotiable Brown County bonds, the cash was secured — and the road 
was completed to Green Bay. 

It was Smith who suggested a campaign for the bond issue along 
the banks of the Fox River. A steamboat was hired, a piano placed 
on deck, and as the vessel proceeded leisurely' along the stream and 
through the locks, the three lovely Grignon girls, "beautifully 
dressed" — according to Mr. Smith — sang and danced for the en- 
tertainment of visiting Brown County folks who loaded the boat 
from stem to stern at every halt, while Vassar thrummed the piano. 
The bond issue was oversubscribed. 

The road as far as Green Bay was formally opened November I'.i, 
1862. Congress had granted the North Western 80 acres from the 
military reservation for depot purposes. Two large grain elevators 
were constructed at the same time, one at Green Bay and the other 
on the depot land in Chicago. 

J/ art ^/iree 



lapier ^0 


Thus the stage was set. Eventually, the pioneer Galena and the 
North Western would become one great system spanning the farm- 
lands, the forests, and the empty plains of the Northwest. But first 
a war was to intervene, and other railroads were to be built. They 
had to be, but sometimes they were mighty slow in coming. 

For instance, look at Minnesota. 

Altliough there was a tremendous surge of railroad building in 
the years between the start of the Galena and Chicago Union and 
the advent of the Civil War, the Middle West had not come fully 
into its own in railroad transportation. Wisconsin was developing, 
but more as a lumber region than as an agrarian settler's goal, be- 
cause of AVill Ogden's knowledge and appreciation of the value of 
timber as an adjunct to conquest by civilization. In the Northwest, 
however, up Minnesota way, the settlers were still trudging in pure 
pioneer austerity when Lincoln made his first call for troops. 

In Minnesota there were few people, no money, and little of anj'- 
thing else save a mass courage — not cashable at the moment. Accord- 
ing to the census taken when this bit of wilderness was given terri- 
torial status, the population was 4,680 and assessable property 
totaled $-il'i,936. All that saved the region from complete isolation 
from the rest of the world was a system of broad and placid rivers 
by which produce — if there should ever be any — might be freighted 
down to the Mississippi. The only mart towns were a few sprawling 
settlements on the great river, one of which was St. Paul. 

The vast lands west of the Mississipjji were for the most part 
unsettled and unsurveyed. 


8C N O It T U « K S T T K n R I T O tl Y 

The early comers to the territory arc now classed as people of 
fjreat coiiraj^e and endurance, as no doubt they were. In the hamlets 
of civilization, where they had listened to tales of great riches in the 
promised lands of the North Star country, they seem generally to 
have been looked upon as simple crackpots — not a bad diagnosis on 
the face of available evidence. But, whatever j'ou may say of the 
melange of hopeful Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, and Irish who 
began to pour into the tributary valleys of the upper Mississippi, 
you can't deny that they dreamed great dreams. 

When the first legislative Assembly convened, in 18-i9, Governor 
Ramsey addressed it with evangelical optimism. He looked out from 
the windows of a makeshift capitol at the sprawling shacks of a 
makeshift river town better acquainted with canoes and rafts than 
with the steamboats that elsewhere were making the Mississippi the 
most important axis of commerce in the Middle West. Behind him, 
had he bothered to look, stretched the blue-green barriers of a forest, 
only partly explored and inhabited only by Indians and wild fauna. 
He took a deep breath and said convincingly : 

• Perhaps no portion of the earth's surface combines so many favorable 
features for the settler as this territory. The immigrant and the capitalist 
need but perceive these sources of prosperity and wealth to seize upon 
tliem by settling among us. It should not be long ere we may with truth 
be recognized throughout the political and moral world as the "polar 
star" of the great republican galaxy. . . . 

Brave words and truly prophetic, but only by crediting the gov- 
ernor with a phenomenal gift of second sight can they be justified. 
No matter what its friends might have said about it, the territory of 
Minnesota all the way from what is now Duluth to the mouth of the 
Big Sioux River over on the southeast corner of Dakota was still 
Indian country. It might have remained so for many a year had it 
not been for the success of men like Will Ogden and his belief that 
rail transport had come to stay. 

There was virtually no communication between the inland settle- 
ments of the territory, such as they were. Mail came to St. Paul via 
Prairie du Chien once a week during the season when the river was 
free of ice. It was hauled overland twice a month during the winter. 
Its progress into the hinterlands thereafter was dependent upon the 


whims of passing horsemen. The need for post roads was recognized 
almost at once. Nine messages were sent on this subject to Congress 
by the Territorial Assembly in 1849, and nine appropriations were 
granted for the construction of what were euphemistically called 
highways through the wilderness. 

Over the Mississippi in Wisconsin Territory, of which Minnesota 
had been a part, considerable work had been done to make the rivers 
suitable for the distribution of goods. But by 1853 the hope that all 
the bounty of the fabulous farmlands would go down to the sea in 
sliips had begun to peter out. Even by that time and despite limited 
production of grain in the few settlements there were increasing dif- 
ficulties in water transportation. Few channels were deep enough 
for navigation by steamboats ; canoes didn't hold much, and rafts 
were difficult to manage. 

The river communities continued to petition Congress that some- 
thing be done about this situation. It was pointed out that even the 
Mississippi — at least the upper end of it — could stand a lot of 
dredging. But the Federal government wasn't interested in rivers. 
Minnesota, still firm in the faith as expounded by Governor Ramsey, 
began to look for its manifest destiny elsewhere. 

Ogden's little Galena and Chicago Union Railway was pushing 
out across the Illinois prairies from Chicago. Congress, thanks to 
the arguments of Stephen A. Douglas, had voted aid for new rail- 
roads in the shape of land grants. Governor Ramsey, eager to share 
in similar largesse, asked the Assembly to memorialize Congress. The 
Assembly took its time, but eventually complied. 

Ramse3''s status as a prophet was being proved much more rap- 
idly than is customary in such cases. It is still difficult to say whether 
he was the most farseeing visionary or the most practical business 
man of his time. He had a bit of luck when a peace treaty with the 
Sioux was signed in February of 1853. But whatever the cause, the 
world began to rush to his promising wilderness as he had so amaz- 
ingly predicted. 

By boat, prairie schooner, oxcart, and afoot, the starry-eyed pil- 
grims began to pour into the promised land. They came at first from 
as far as the eastern seaboard, by various water routes through the 
Great Lakes and Chicago, by the venturous Galena to Frecport 
and Dixon in Illinois, and then on to the Mississippi and deck 


passafje nortliward on a river steamer. Or they struggled overland 
by stage across Wisconsin, 

Wagons came over the newly constructed government roads to 
meet the incoming horde at the steamboat landings or at the little 
outfitting posts along the Mississippi, St. Croix, and Minnesota 
rivers. These few contact points between the thinly spread civiliza- 
tion of the Mississippi Valley and the dread isolation of the back 
country continued to roar for many a j'ear. 

One has come to think of the great westward trek In the years pre- 
ceding the Civil War as something peculiarly linked with the gold 
rush and the promised comforts of California. So It brings a shock 
to discover how many of these travelers broke awaj' from the main 
tide and spread northward. By 1857 the population had Increased 
to 150,000, and taxable property totaled nearly fifty million dollars. 

There was high hope In the land. It was hard to break the sod for 
tillage, but the soil was good, and crops seemed easy to raise. The 
East — and for that matter the gluttonous colossus, Chicago — 
would pay a high price for Minnesota wheat and corn, provided a 
way could be found to get the stuff to market. 

So In St. Paul, which was presently to be the capital of a new 
state, there was much talk about the fortunes that were waiting to 
be wrested from the land as soon as producers and buyers could be 
brought together, and even more conversation about the miracle 
presently to be wrought by the railroads — all of which led to the 
now classic remark of one Olaf Jensen, a cabinetmaker. 

"There Is good money In coffins," he said, "If you can sell them." 

Unlike many hegiras In human history, the movement Into the 
Northwest turned directly to the farms. There were a few doctors, 
lawyers, merchants, and engineers with the new citizenry. But only 
a few. Ninety-nine per cent of the Incoming thousands moved on 
the land offices where government tracts were being sold at $1.25 an 
acre to homesteaders who would agree to establish residence and 
cultivate the tracts they bought. 

At the end of 1854, 500,000 acres of Minnesota land had been sold 
that way. During the next year settlers took up 1,000,000 more. In 
1858, 2,500,000 acres were similarly transferred. 

Dwellings of one sort or another began to spring up In numbers 
In the hardwood regions along the watercourses. Numerous villages 


blossomed bravely, sometimes in the most inaccessible places. The 
woods began to echo to the whine of sawmills and the creak of water 
wheels turning out grist. There was a fine demand for lumber as 
new waves of populace came in from the East, a demand for flour 
that increased as the frontier became aware of the panic of 1857 — 
still the railroads didn't come. 

Reading the stirring speeches over the proposition of Minnesota's 
statehood, one is likely to forget that things were still fairly primi- 
tive back in the tall timber even then. One of the arguments for ad- 
mission to the Union was based on a prophecy : A great transcon- 
tinental railroad was to be built from the Mississippi Valley to the 
Pacific Northwest, and Minnesota had to be made a state and given 
proper representation in Washington to protect her own interests. 
Minnesota had to have the self-determination by which she could 
make herself the wealthiest state in the Union. But the sturdy elec- 
tors who were willing to fight for their right to become wealthy didn't 
look very wealthy. The plush ease of transcontinental rail travel may 
have been close at hand, but it must have been difficult to envision 
when one considered it from the seat of a jolting wagon or the damp 
bottom of a canoe. 

The first settlers in Minnesota Territory built and lived in log 
cabins. So did the greater number of those who followed them. In 
time settlers around Stillwater built frame houses — for sawmills 
were plentiful in the region, and lumber easy to get. But there weren't 
too many of these modern and, one fears, ostentatious dwellings. 
The better-favored settlers, until the time of the Civil War, lived in 
log houses. The less fortunate — the lads who found their homestead 
acreage on prairie land far from a supply of wood — lived in sod 
shanties of the sort you have heard about in the lyrics of the period : 

Oh, the hinges were of leather 
And the windows had not glass 

And the cracks they let the howling blizzards in. 

You could hear the hungry coyotes 
As they snuck up through the grass 
In my little old sod shanty on the plain. 


They weren't luxurious — these sod houses — but as an example of 
pioneer resourcefulness they deserve a rating by the architectural 
societies. To build one you took a hatchet or some similar tool and 
cut out of the prairie pieces of sod a foot wide, a foot and a half 
long, and some four inches thick. These were laid like brick and held 
in position by a mortar made of white clay mixed with buffalo grass. 
The roof consisted of poles held close together with willow twigs and 
covered with sod. Windows and door frames were cut into the walls 
with an ax. Floors were generally made of dirt tamped down with a 
flat rock, though sometimes they were covered with boards or squares 
of bark. 

Such dwellings were heated by a sheet-iron stove known to the 
trade as an "airtight." It produced pretty good results with a small 
amount of fuel. Inasmuch as it was designed, for purposes of econ- 
omy, to prevent quick combustion, it probably generated a lot of 
carbon monoxide. But the normal leakage of the house made monox- 
ide a matter of no moment. And the tall stovepij^e sticking up eight 
or ten feet above the roof made a fair ventilator when the premises 
were completely snowed in. 

The fuel, one should add, was just as novel as the stove. It con- 
sisted of dry prairie hay twisted into hard knots — as well as buffalo 
chips — and is said to have lasted quite well in hay-burning equipment 
— and maybe it did. 

Stables outside the wooded areas were even more elementary than 
houses. To build one of these you set out four corner posts and out- 
lined the walls with a sort of latticework of rails and poles. Over this 
latticework, at threshing time, you piled wheat straw. In the same 
fashion you contrived a roof. The keeping of grain was a consider- 
able problem. What couldn't be marketed had to be stored, and there 
were few granaries in the territory. Most farmers made bins out of 
rails and lined them with hay or straw to keep the grain from run- 
ning out. 

Minnesota, after the Civil War, had begun to sjiow signs of living 
up to the advance notices of tiie orators of tiie late fifties, but it was 
not until the seventies that barns, granaries, frame houses, and 
drilled wells could be had in many parts of the state. 

Living began by being hard. It continued to be uncomfortable. 


Pioneers off the paths of transportation remained pioneers long 
after they had served their apprenticeship. 

Settlers coming into the state as late as 1880 still had to face the 
job of breaking the sod. In the eighties some of them had steel plows. 
Their predecessors for the most part — and that includes 90 per cent 
of those who were demanding statehood and a transcontinental rail- 
road in 1858 — had been forced to get along with wooden implements. 

Out of sheer necessity, neighbors formed little associations to help 
one another in such jobs. Sometimes it took ten yoke of oxen to pull 
a plow through the tough mat of weather-packed earth and grass 
roots. Before the sod was broken the prairie hay was cut off with a 
scythe — sometimes as much as three or four tons to the acre — and 
carried to stacks on peeled poles. Professionals toured the farm belts 
offering to do both these jobs for from eight to twelve dollars an 

Considering that the original price of the land had been $1.25 an 
acre, there were some Minnesota economists who thought the cost of 
preparation a little too high. 

After the broken land had been allowed to lie fallow a year, it was 
sown by hand. It was harvested with a scythe and threshed — gener- 
ally — with a flail or under the hoofs of horses. 

Community life had developed considerably during the late fifties 
— at least a farmer was usually fairly close to his own kind. Circuit 
riding doctors provided him with medical care of a sort or at any 
rate gave him the feeling that he could get help if he needed it. 
School buildings were to be found in ever}' settlement and had become 
the center of social activities. Itinerant preachers used them for 
religious services ; amateur theatrical groups used them for theaters ; 
farmers visited in them on wintry evenings. A man no longer had to 
be lonely. And the old lads who walked from their sod shanties to the 
log schoolhouse on nights when it was thirty below, and sat around 
the stove discussing how much they'd get for their wheat if they 
could sell it anywhere, probably thought they were getting soft with 
too much prosperity. 

But were they? They went to bed early at night because they 
had nothing much else to do. House lighting was a problem. Tallow 
dips sold for thirty cents a dozen — sperm candles for fifty cents a 


dozen — and inasmuch as a man might go a month in the hitc fifties 
without seeing a dollar — well, few people invested in candles. 

Beds were made with rope nets serving as springs. You slept on a 
straw tick stuffed with straw and covered yourself with a mattress 
stuffed with wild-goose feathers. There was nothing sybaritic about 
the feather bed. Its chief function was to keep the occupant from 
freezing to death when the fire died out in the night. 

For months on end you lived on your own products which, in 
those days of undivcrsified farming and simple dietetics, consisted 
of dried beef, smoked pork, potatoes, and grits. You got wool for 
clothing by shearing your own sheep. Your wife carded it, spun it 
into yarn, and made it up into homespun. She likewise made soap by 
leaching wood ashes for lye, which she boiled with grease. 

You toiled in the stifling days of valley summers in the fields. At 
dawn you were up and about caring for your cattle — good weather 
or bad. You looked to your own comfort, if an}', after the last ani- 
mal had been fed — but why go on with it.'' 

This is the old story of the pioneer unaltered and unimproved in 
the telling since the days of the worthy Pilgrims. It is the story of 
the Colonies and the Cumberlands and the Western Reserve and Chi- 
cago and Salt Lake City. But there's a difference. This time it is 
the story not of a savage waste beyond the pale of settlement, but 
of a great and prosperous state in fairly recent times. It is the 
story of able men who spun their own wool almost in the shadow of 
active cloth mills, who harvested their grain by hand within a possi- 
ble day's journey of the IMcCormick reaper works; who, in an area 
profusely wooded and well provided with sawmills, eked out their 
dreary days in sod shanties. In other words, it is the picture of the 
winning of the West before the coming of the railroad. 

One notes in the diary of Mitchell Y. Jackson * that because of the 
sudden influx of prospective wheat farmers in the middle fifties, the 
territory suddenly found itself facing a demand greater than the 
available supply of grain. Food was hauled up to St. Paul, La Cres- 
cent, and Winona from older settlements far down the river, and 
flour was an article of import until the end of 1857. 

The cost of transportation continued to be an unpredictable dif- 

• Jackson, Mitchell Y., Minnesota Farmer's Diaries, Minnesota Historical Soci- 
ety, 1939. 


ferential between what a farmer earned and what he was going to 
have left to spend. 

Farm products brought high prices for a while during the pre- 
war boom, but fell so low during the 1857 depression that it seemed 
profitless to try to market them. Army demands brought better — 
theoretical — prices. Issuance of paper money by the Federal govern- 
ment ended a couple of j'ears of what had become primitive barter. 
But Jackson observed that the prices of crops and the prices of farm 
necessities never quite leveled off. 

Transportation costs, of course, worked against the resident of 
the upper Mississippi area both ways. They had to be deducted from 
whatever he might receive at a terminal market. Tliey had to be 
added to anything he might buy for his farm or his family. 

In 1860 there was a spread of as much as 22 cents a bushel in the 
price of wheat between Stillwater and Milwaukee. A cost sheet of 
the period shows why. (The figures are the cost in cents per bushel.) 

Commission for buying, sacking, aud shipping . 04 

Insurance and wastage . 005 

Depreciation on sacks 0.01 

Sale expense, Milwaukee . 015 

Freight, Stillwater-Milwaukee 0. 15 

Total 0.23 

In that year there were some fantastic transactions in food. Some- 
thing more than a quarter million pounds of pork were packed and 
sold at St. Peter for an average price of 3% cents a pound. Chickens 
were scarce, and there is the record of one man who paid five dollars 
in gold for a hen, raised fifteen chickens, and sold them for twenty 
dollars. He incurred one exceptional bit of expense, however. He paid 
another five dollars for a cat to protect his growing flock from field 

A few months later, Jackson noted in his diary : 

January, Saturday 31st — Drive to St. Paul with load of meal, etc. 
Chilly. I sold flour today at $5.00 per bbl. which is higher than it has been 
for two years or more. Whilst most kinds of goods have been steadily 
advancing for a year, produce has kept low, but now both flour and pork 
begin to feel the effects of the more abundant supply of money or the 
paper currency that is taking the place of money. Heavy brown sheeting 


one yard wide is held at 40 cents a yard wliich is an advance of 300 per 
cent in less tlian two years. Sugar that we have been buying at 8 cents 
a pound now is bringing fifteen cents. Crushed sugar now costs I673 
cents per pound. Tliese are war times. . . , 

Those were war times, thou/rh how an average farmer working 
average soil in the backwoods could determine their difference from 
peace times is difficult to say. 

Anthony Trollope, in a report on travel in the])pi Valley 
in the early sixties, tells of watching the IMinnesota troops on their 
way to war. He rightly judges them to be the tough fighting men 
they actually were. He speaks admiringly of their casual but effec- 
tive discipline, their excellent behavior, and their innate intelligence. 
But he overlooks one point, because nobody has bothered to tell him 
what he is looking at, and the woods are too wide and too thick for 
him to see for himself. He is witnessing what may well rate as the 
Civil War's biggest troop movement west of the Mississippi River. 
He watches it spread over the landing stages and up the planks to 
the decks of the waiting river steamboats. It is an impressive mobili- 
zation without undue haste, but also without confusion or delay. 
But what the distinguished visitor doesn't know is that this fine 
concentration of arms is the end product of a series of long route 
marches, individual horseback rides, canoe trips, and cross-country 
treks through what he, or any other Englishman of his time, would 
class as a jungled desolation. A squad or two at a time, they had 
straggled into the river settlements. Hundreds — thousands — of them 
had answered the call unquestioningly. 

And now, as Trollope saw them, they were getting aboard the 
steamboats headed south. They were, as he described them, fine brave 
men of great resourcefulness and spirit. They carried new rifles. 
They looked like other bodies of soldiery he had seen before, only 
much more striking. And yet, he might have been told, if they were 
to be consistent in their defense of the type of civilization from which 
they had just come down to the river, they might have been better 
armed with bows and arrows. 

A few miles of strap rail had been laid in Minnesota before Lin- 
coln's call for volunteers, but not yet enough to make any difference 
in the region's primitive economy or social discomfort. 


'lapter // 


Without railroads it seemed foreordained from the beginning that 
the large settlements in Minnesota must lie along the Mississippi. 
The Minnesota River was trickily navigable during part of the year, 
but then only with small craft and at high prices. The rise of such 
towns as Mankato, New Ulm, Le Sueur, and Rochester was due to 
the settlers' courage in almost constant defeat. The state was no 
more able to dig channels than it was able to finance rail lines, and 
bumper wheat crops frequently lay immovable in granaries of the 
Minnesota Valley for two years on end at no profit to anybody. Only 
if you could move the grain to landings on the big river could you 
trade it for tools and clothing and other tokens of domestic com- 
fort. Which accounts for the strange metropolitan conceit known 
as the Twin Cities. 

Somebody has said that Minneapolis came into being because sol- 
diers needed sour dough, and that St. Paul was founded in a river 
front grogshop — which probably gives one the wrong impression. 
The bored Indian fighters, turned millers, had abandoned their 
project at St. Anthony's Falls long before Minneapolis got its odd 
name on the early maps. And to classify Pierre Parrant's whisky 
shanty as St. Paul, even briefly, comes under the head of careless 
diagnosis. Admitted that Pierre Parrant was the first settler within 
what are now St. Paul's city limits ; that he sold alcoholic corrosives 
to soldiers from the near-by fort ; that he put up a shack that might 
be identified as a dwelling as well as a business house — still nobody 
looked upon the place as a city even in embryo. And whatever else 



Pierre Parrant niiglit liave been, he was definitely not a settlement. 

The land he held in trust for the future St. Paul was given a dif- 
ferent name by the soldiery. They called it "Pig's Eye" — a descrip- 
tive place name having to do with the proprietor's face. 

Mendota, a trading post at the junction of the Minnesota and 
Mississippi rivers, was the center of the Red River fur trade in the 
early thirties. It might well have prospered and gathered in the com- 
munities that made up St. Paul and Minneapolis. But it was laid out 
on government land to which nobody had bothered to obtain title. 
So it died, or at any rate settled down into an unbroken coma. 

The French had gone, or most of them, at the time of the Louisi- 
ana Purchase, leaving names to be perpetuated in a whole series of 
parks and public buildings and statues and streets in cities they 
could never have dreamed of. 

The Treaty of Ghent in ISl-t ended British authority over the 
Mississippi Vallej'. His JMajesty's troops moved out of Prairie du 
Chien and up into Canada. John Jacob Astor's American Fur Com- 
pany moved in two years later. The Army, as usual, followed the fur 
trade, and in 1820 Colonel Josiah Snelling established the fort which 
has since borne his name. 

Colonel Snelling ordered the construction of two mills on the west 
side of St. Anthony's Falls, upriver from Pig's Eye's groggery. One 
was put to immediate use cutting lumber for the buildings of the fort. 
The other was a grist mill which was to see intermittent service mak- 
ing flour out of such wheat as the military could be induced to grow. 
Settlers moved in and took claims adjoining the falls. Pierre Botti- 
neau, who fills a place in local legend second only to that of Paul 
Bun3'an, joined forces with Franklin Steele and built a dam and saw- 
mill on the east side of the falls. More settlers, mostly of French and 
Indian extraction, came to look into the possibilities of this unusual 
industrial venture. The fact that Steele and Bottineau turned out 
to be the owners of all the land along the east bank apparently made 
no difference. Some 250 persons stayed, and the village of St. 
Anthony was on its way to become East ]\Iinncapolis. 

In 1838 a few families of Franco-Swiss refugees from a colony 
on the Red River were ordered off the military reservation where 
they had haphazardly settled. They moved across the river and there 
discovered the shack of Pierre Parrant. Despite lack of any encour- 


agement from Parrant, they built shacks of their own and sat down 
to stay. Friends of the newcomers came to join them, and the little 
community grew and, as far as possible, prospered. 

The name of the place remained Pig's Eye until the coming of 
Father Lucian Galtier in October of 1841. With the aid of the popu- 
lace he built a chapel which he consecrated on November 1 to St. 
Paul, whose name he also gave to his newly organized parish. His 
congregation seemed pleased at the change. But Pierre Parrant 
wasn't. He moved a couple of miles down river and founded another 
one-man settlement named Pig's Eye whose title sui-vives on maps 
if nowhere else. 

Pig's Eye or St. Paul, St. Anthony or Minneapolis, nothing much 
happened to these settlements for another ten years or until some- 
body got around to making a working agreement with the Indians. 
Treaties with the Sioux in 1851 and the Chippewa in 1854 produced 
some business for the mills at St. Anthony's Falls. Wheat began to 
come down the rivers in flatboats and canoes. The world of civiliza- 
tion—which is to say St. Louis, or maybe Prairie du Chien — began 
to hear about Minnesota flour, and not until then could anybody 
have predicted that these communities would ever be more than a 
Mississippi River landing place. 

The population of St. Paul in 1849, when Minnesota was made a 
territory, was 840; that of St. Anthony, 10 miles away, about 250. 
St. Paul had a school, chapel, hotel, post office, warehouses, stores, 
and about 125 homes. St. Anthony had two mills, a store, post office, 
school, and a few dwellings. But St. Anthony also had an undeclared 
asset in the person of Colonel John H. Stevens, a Mexican War hero. 

The government had given the colonel permission to build a house 
on the military reservation on the west side of the falls, and there he 
had settled, causing no trouble to anj'body until some of his friends 
moved in alongside him without consulting the authorities. Wliile 
argument over their right to remain was still going on, other people 
moved in — Yankee settlers who declared they had as good a right to 
stay on government land as anybody else. 

The soldiery came repeatedly to tear down their cabins and drive 
them away. But always they came back to start the debate all over 
again. In the end they won. W^ashington got word of the turmoil and 


solved tlie problem by reducing the size of the Fort Snelling reser- 
vation and giving the squatters title to their disputed land. 

By that time quite a hamlet had grown up around the Falls, in 
what is now tlie Minneapolis downtown district. Somebody suggested 
that thev call the place Watertown. But that didn't sound grand 
enough for Colonel Stevens' close advisors ; learnedly, they prepared 
a translation — rmnnie (Sioux for "water") and polls (Greek for 
"city"). An "a" was furnished for euphony by the St. Anthony 
Express editor who reported the meeting — and there you have Min- 

The towns, despite all that historians and writers have written 
about them, were never really twins. 

St. Paul became the territorial capital because it was not only 
the biggest town in Minnesota in 18-19 but virtually the only one. 
Despite the ambitions of other cities after the signing of the Sioux 
treaties it remained the capital because for years no other locality 
in the region had its facilities as a trading post. It became, natu- 
rally, a jobbing and distribution center. 

Minneapolis, thanks to its water power, became a milling town, 
a manufacturing town ; and though these differences were no longer 
pronounced, the variation in civic outlook that they produced re- 
mains today. 

St. Paul, during the middle fifties and war j-ears, was a roaring 
place with a large transient population. Minneapolis seemed to have 
more permanence. But always when the rival populations sat down 
to consider their prospects they arrived at the same troubling fac- 
tor. Whether to haul grain to the mills at St. Anthony's Falls or to 
bring back trade goods from civilization to the wilderness by way 
of St. Paul, the rivers were hopelessly inadequate. So the two most 
important river towns in the Northwest became the state's loudest 
and most active proponents of the railroads. 

The rise of the cities through circumstances of environment, natu- 
ral resources, and changing conditions in transportation is a story 
that has been duplicated elsewhere. But nowhere has the interrela- 
tion of commerce and transportation been given so magnificent and 
visible a form. Here, where the mills have been built and the rails 
have been laid, great masses of white C3'linders rise against the sky, 


a breathtaking phalanx of incredible pillars. Here, but for geog- 
raphy, is a more majestic projection of the palace of the popes at 
Avignon, a vaster conception of Toussaint L'Ouverture's hilltop 
fortress. These are the mills, the grain elevators, the architecture of 
wheat, more striking temples to Ceres than ever came out of classic 

Alongside them rolls the railroad that made them possible because 
it made them necessary. One need look no farther to see the miracle 
wrought by the men who brought the rails into the wilderness. 


'lanler ^2 


Finally the railroads came to ]\Iinnesota, but not witlioiit trials 
and tribulations that would have discouraged a less hardy people. 
Still, the result was worth waiting for ; for out of the tangle of rail- 
road projects and financial difficulties was to be born another great 
link in the North Western system — the Chicago, Saint Paul, Min- 
neapolis and Omaha. It was not to make its debut until the roaring 
seventies and eighties, but this is the way it began. 

The spread of civilization through the West seems to have been 
encouraged in a variety of wa3's during the years immediately pre- 
ceding the Civil War — gold in California, a promised land in Utah, 
roaring markets in Chicago, steamboats on the southern rivers. But 
the old Northwest Territory was too original for any such tech- 
niques. In this region — last stamping ground of the harried pioneer 
— the advent of the railroad — and de facto the advent of culture 
and comfort — came about through a legislative act to exterminate 
gophers, blackbirds, and Sioux Indians. 

Nobody engaged in the railroad business anj'where in the United 
States in the early fifties seems to have been willing to let his right 
hand know what his left hand was doing. Across northern Illinois, 
William Ogden's railway had pushed on toward the ]Mississippi. 
Tentacles were reaching out from the parent line toward iMilwaukee 
and up into Wisconsin's timberlands. The Chicago prophets of steam 
were still beholding grand visions. . . . Presently there would be 
lines extending northwest into the last great wilderness — lines cross- 
ing the continent — lines binding together a million scattered, iso- 
lated settlements into a compact national unity. Everybody in the 
Middle West was able to recognize the glorious inevitable when he 
saw it. But few of these seers would have been likely to identify des- 
tiny with a plague of gophers in tlie Minnesota Valley. 



Despite the fact that the Minnesota Territory's way of life was 
outwardly more primitive than that of any other district east of 
the Rockies, the natives somehow had contrived to find out what was 
going on in the world. The story of the railroads and the relation- 
ships between cheap transportation and a community's physical 
well-being was in continuous circulation. And by 1855 the territorial 
Legislature was constantly listening to the harangues of young men 
trying to go somewhere. 

Seven lines had already been chartered by special legislation. 
Another eight were under discussion, and every sizable community 
had its promoters anxious to share in prospective Federal grants. 

Governor Willis A. Gorman was somewhat distressed by these 
proceedings. What he wanted and argued for in the Legislature and 
with visiting committees was a single road that would connect the 
territory with the outside world. The local enthusiasts on the other 
hand wanted a gridwork of steel across the back areas so that they 
would be able to get their grain as far as the Mississippi and bring a 
few conveniences into the wilderness. Early in 1857 Congress passed 
an act making land grants to four Minnesota railroads whose routes 
were designated in a general way. And that ended a lot of amateur 
enthusiasm for railroading, although it did not immediately bring 
about the laying of many miles of rail. 

The system that came under the land grants wasn't too bad. First 
there was the present line of the Great Northern Railway westward 
across the territory; second, a line from St. Paul along the valley 
of the Minnesota and southwest to the Missouri River; third, a 
route from Winona to St. Peter on the Minnesota River ; and fourth, 
the Root River and Southern Minnesota to build through the Root 
River Valley to Rochester. None of these developments was likely 
to bring a bush farmer in, say. Lake Benton, any closer to Madison, 
Wisconsin. But at least they would enable him to get a look at other 
settlements that were said to lie somewhere on the other side of the 
hills. There would be sales depots at junction points on the lines 
where he could dispose of his potatoes and wheat without having 
to haul them all the way to the big river. And, no matter where 
or why he might want to go, travel was going to be a lot easier 
in a railroad coach than on the back of a horse. 


Tile leader of tlie coalition that had worked out the four-company 
railroad system favored by Congress was Edmund Rice of St. Paul, 
brother of the Minnesota delegate to Congress. The incorporators 
were Minncsotans, leaders in both great political parties and men 
of substance and influence in their own communities. 

These men had no difficulty overcoming scattered and inept oppo- 
sition in Washington. The government aid bill, passed on March 3, 
1857, conveyed to them nearly 6,000,000 acres of public lands. The 
people of the territory were highly pleased as they began to have 
hopes for a new and better life. The railroads had been long in com- 
ing, they said. But they would be free from the domination of finan- 
cial cliques in Chicago or the East. They would be owned at home 
and controlled at home. And they'd make a paradise out of the 

An extra session of the Legislature was called in April, 1857, to 
pass railroad bills specifying territories and conditions affecting 
the land grants. An early proposal to deal with the whole matter 
in a consolidated bill was defeated in the House. The separate bills 
then were carried through to third reading when, once more, senti- 
ment was developed in favor of merging the three as an omnibus. We 
come now to the interesting matter of the gophers, blackbirds, and 
other fauna of tiie Northwest Territory. 

While sundry committees and subcommittees had been sweating 
over the transportation business, the House, just to occupy its 
time, had passed a bill encouraging the destruction of gophers and 
blackbirds. In due course the bill was sent to the Council, the upper 
house, for concurrence.* 

The Council, in a similarly playful mood, amended the bill to 
encourage, also, the destruction of Sioux Indians. On May 20, how- 
ever, the Council called up the gopher matter for further considera- 
tion, amended it, and sent it back to the House. 

The next day the House, after some argument, approved the 
amended form of its "Bill to Encourage the Destruction of Gophers 
and Blackbirds." Everything after the enacting clause of the origi- 
nal measure had been stricken out, and in its place was an omnibus 
railroad bill vesting the land grant in four corporations. 

This, you might say, was an odd beginning for such an institution 

* Folwell, W. W., Mlntifxola HUtorical Socictn Collections, vol. 15. 


as the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway', though 
it undoubtedly was. 

The transportation act had a double effect on the destinies of 
the Root River Valley road. For, aside from conferring the Federal 
land grant in aid of the line, it also specified the course it was to 
follow. One road was to be built through the Root River Valley to 
a junction with the line from Winona at Rochester. Another, which 
turned out to be the nucleus of a great system, was authorized to 
run from St. Paul and St. Anthony through Minneapolis and up 
the Minnesota Valley to IMankato, and thence to the territorial 
boundary in the direction of the mouth of the Big Sioux River. 

The name of the road was changed from the Root River and 
Southern Minnesota Railroad Company to the Southern IVIinnesota 
Railroad Company, after which formality everybody sat back and 
waited for the first train whistle. They were a long time waiting. 
There was plenty of trouble in store for the railroads, although 
nothing untoward seems to have happened to the gophers. Hardly 
a railroad man is now alive who remembers anything about them at 

Great upsurges in human progress seem to follow a definite pat- 
tern — at least in so far as they have anything to do with the housing 
problem. Once the four favored corporations had been endowed, the 
boom was on. Nobody bothered to wait for the laying of any rails. 
As far as the public attitude was concerned the roads were presumed 
to have gone miraculously into the running of trains as soon as they 
got a legal permit. 

New villages sprang up here and there more or less in the path 
of the projected lines. New sawmills began to promote an unprece- 
dented traffic on the rivers. They ran night and day, no matter how 
far they might be from settlements. 

So of course there was land speculation. There always is. In the 
winter of 1856 thousands of acres of unimproved land — some of it 
near human habitation, most of it not — changed hands at a dollar 
and a quarter an acre. The spring of 1857 saw these tracts surveyed 
and recorded as city lots. By the end of June they were selling for 
as much as fifty dollars an acre even when there wasn't a single cabin 
in sight of the new "city," and despite the fact that there might be 
another paper town barely a mile distant. 


In a few of the older communities,* wiiich seemed iii<ely to be 
favored by the railroad constructors when they got around to it, 
the boom got off to a better start. It was not unusual for a well-lo- 
cated lot — the value of the location determined by guess and hope — 
to be bought for five hundred dollars in the morning and sold for one 
thousand dollars the same night. Such haphazard judgment has 
been part of the process of getting rich quick since long before 1857. 

In bits of mud flat that imaginative traders pointed out as corner 
lots, water-power sites, or factory property, the hope for quick 
profit was greater and the margin of risk correspondingly higher. 
Business locations on the near North Side of Chicago could have 
been bought in 1857 for less than a backlot in Sleepy Eye of the same 

Ordinary land was up almost 300 per cent, no matter where found, 
and iMitchell Y. Jackson, the diarist elsewhere quoted, mentions that 
he grew wealthy in Minnesota, but not through farming. Rising land 
values would have made him rich if he had never turned a sod. 

The end of the boom came quickly. The Minnesota constitutional 
convention was stiU in session when the Ohio Life Insurance and 
Trust Company of New York collapsed. Other banking and invest- 
ment houses in the east went into bankruptcy and the panic was on. 

The bad news reached Minnesota quickly enough despite inade- 
quate communications. Several thousand speculators started back 
to the outside world as they had come, over the dim trails downriver 
in boats, in carts, on horseback, or afoot. In three years, according 
to the report of the State Commissioner of Statistics, the urban 
population decreased 20 per cent."!" 

St. Paul, the capital that in the preceding ten years had become 
a flourishing city, lost half its population between the collapse of 
the land boom and the beginning of the Civil War. Prospects for 
the new railroads began to look very bad indeed. Not one of the four 
seemed to be in a position at the end of 1857 to start laying track. 
There was every likelihood that the Federal land grants would re- 
vert to the government because of the companies' inability to meet 
the specified time limits on construction. 

In this emergency the Legislature, aware of the extent to which 

* Red Wing is cited in Parker, Minnesota Handbook for 1856. 
+ Comm. of Statistics, State of Minnesota, Report of Jan. 1, 1860. 


lack of transportation was affecting the state's internal economy', 
decided to bring help. A constitutional amendment was proposed 
(and a year later adopted) providing for what is generally called 
"the five-million-doUar loan." 

Under the terms of the amendment the state was authorized to 
issue bonds to the value of $1,250,000 to each of the four land-grant 
railroad corporations. The rate of delivery was to be $100,000 for 
every 10 miles of graded road and another $100,000 for every 10 
miles "actually completed and cars running thereon." 

It was provided that the railroads were to bear the expenses con- 
nected with the issue and to pay interest for which they pledged 
their net profits. Each company was to deed to the governor and 
Secretary of State the first 140 sections accruing to it under the 
land grant. Each was to post as security first-mortgage bonds on 
its road's lands and franchises. And, finally, it was provided that 
each was to complete 50 miles of railroad by the end of 1861, 100 
miles before 1865, and four-fifths of its projected line by 1866. 

Some odd financial theory went along with all this. Proponents 
of the railroad relief program argued that the state was not incur- 
ring any debt. In issuing bonds to aid such necessary utilities, Min- 
nesota was merely lending its credit (against adequate collateral), 
so they said. And as assurance that there should be no future claims 
against the state, the act provided that the favored companies should 
make provision for the payment of the bonds, principal and interest, 
when due.* 

Under this arrangement, it was believed, nobody in the state ad- 
ministration need have any further concern about the bonds except 
to see that they were delivered promptly as the construction of rail- 
road grades progressed. In token of this faith, sixty-seven legislators 
who had voted for the act pledged themselves never to support taxes 
to redeem the bonds. f 

The governor approved the amendment on March 9, 1858, and the 
people voted for it by "an overwhelming majority" six weeks later. 

The Southern Minnesota accepted the conditions of the relief 
program and in the late summer of 1858 began work on a grade be- 

* Minnesota Historical Society Collections, vol. 15, p. 196. 

t Ultimately redeemed by Minnesota Railway Adjusting Bonds, 1881, and Min- 
nesota Refunding Bonds, 1910. Ibid., p. 214. 

106 N o n T H W E S T T K It n I T o n Y 

twccn Mendota and Shakopce. Construction was resumed in Janu- 
ary, 1859, but b_v that time trouble was already close at hand. 

Sonic of the railroads refused to give an exclusive first mortgage 
to tlic state and defeated the governor in the courts. Outside the 
courts nobody seemed to regard the bonds as state obligations. So 
the collapse of the plan came quickly. Bonds that at first had found 
eager buyers at par were presently unsalable at any reasonable 

By July 1, 1859, they were so low that they could no longer be 
used as collateral. On that date the Southern Minnesota had com- 
pleted 37/^2 miles of preliminary construction for which contractors 
were loudly demanding pay. 

The state had issued .$2,275,000 in bonds. And as the Committee 
on Railroad Grants and Bonds re])orted in the House journal for 
1859-1860 (p. 390): "All that could be shown for this large sum 
was 21'0 miles of incomplete, fragmentary, and disjointed portions 
of grading." Only about 50 miles of grade in the whole state was 
ready for the laying of rails. 

By act of Legislature, Governor Ramsey, in 1860, was directed to 
foreclose the state-held mortgages on the land-grant railroads and 
to bid in the roads for the state at one thousand dollars each. Almost 
at once, further effort was made to salvage the operating companies. 
In 1861, four separate acts were passed restoring to them all their 
foreclosed property "free from all claims and liens." But that plan 
brought no rails to Minnesota, either. 

Before the technicalities of the transfer had been completed the 
country was in the middle of a civil war, and the eastern bankers 
weren't interested in the investment possibilities of railroads in Min- 
nesota. The Southern Minnesota Railroad Company wasn't able to 
raise enough money even to start construction and once more turned 
back its charter and its assets to the state. 

In 1862, at the suggestion of Governor Ramsey, the Legislature 
reenacted the relief measures of 1861. The Southern Minnesota, still 
unable to lay track, reorganized. The new coi-poration was given 
all the old one's concessions by the Legislature of 1863. And not a 
length of rail was put down that year, either. It is interesting to 
note that at the end of 1862 there wasn't a single mile of completed 


railroad in the state. By that time the farmers of tlie fertile valley 
of the Minnesota were being engulfed in a tide of wheat. 

In another year their situation had become dire as well as fan- 
tastic. The St. Paul Ptomer on January 1, 1864, gave the startled 
capitol a few details. In 1863 the Minnesota River had been open to 
navigation by light craft for only 20 days. Half the grain crop of 
1862 and virtually all of the crop of 1863 had been put in storage 
on farms and in warehouses — 80,000 bushels in Mankato, 27,500 
in Henderson, 12,725 in Le Sueur, and 64',000 in St. Peter. 

Meanwhile, with the end of the war in sight, the financial situation 
was improving. Property values were rising again, and the land 
grants that would accrue to the roads as fast as tracks were laid 
down took on the proportions of a tremendous subsidy. But still the 
state declined to go into the constiniction business. 

Property and franchises moved to and fro between the parent cor- 
porations and the commonwealth of Minnesota without much inci- 
dent worth recording save the reorganization of the Transit Com- 
pany as the Winona and St. Peter Railroad Company. Then a group 
of St. Paul businessmen, fully aware of the opportunity that lay in 
the valley of the Minnesota River, got some eastern backing and pro- 
moted the Minnesota Valley Railroad Company. This company, 
capitalized at $-iOO,000 and incorporated by the Legislature of 
1864, took over the "rights, privileges, property, franchise and 
interests" of the Southern Minnesota Railroad Company. 

The Minnesota Valley Company, upsetting all precedent, began 
to lay track. In five years it had completed a railroad to St. James, 
a hundred and twenty-two miles from St. Paul. 

The men who took over the direction of the new corporation had 
no more experience with railways than anybody else in Minnesota, 
but they had ideas and energy.* They started work at once and for 
the first year had hard going. 

* At the first meeting of the Board of Directors held in St. Paul, March 16, 
1864, Horace Thompson was elected president; John J. Porter, vice-president; 
D. W. Ingersoll, treasurer; Alexander Johnston (not to he confused with Alex 
Johnson), secretary. At a subsequent meeting that year Ellas F. Drake became 
president; John L. Merriam, vice-president; Horace Thompson, treasurer; and 
Alexander Johnston, secretary. 


Wooden bridges and culverts built in the days of long hopes and 
short money had to be replaced. Grades had to be reduced, and long 
stretches of the right of way had to be relocated. 

Materials and equipment were brought by barge to Credit Land- 
ing (now Savage) on the IMinnesota River, and tracklaying was 
started in the direction of Shakopce. Despite handicaps, 6 miles of 
steel had been put down by the middle of 1865. This was 6 miles 
more than most folks in that end of the world had ever lioped for. 

The old menace of tight money stalked the Minnesota Valley Rail- 
road as it had the Southern Minnesota, although perhaps not so 
energetically. When track laying progressed ahead of schedule, and 
the end of the rail moved farther and farther away from the base 
at Credit Landing, the engineers demanded a locomotive and cars 
to liaul supplies. 

Rut there wasn't enough money in the company treasury to buy 
a locomotive. This was probably the first time in the history of trans- 
portation in iVIinnesota when a railroad company had ever needed 
a locomotive. 

In the emergency, J. E. and Horace Thompson, H. H. Siblej-, 
and A. H. Wilder loaned the money for the purchase. E. F. Drake 
toured the growing junkyards of eastern railroads and sent back a 
badly worn engine, two boxcars, and five flatcars from Ohio. This 
assortment arrived at Credit Landing by barge in 1865.* The en- 
gine, which may or may not have been the first to go into active 
service in the state, was called the Mankato. 

The Mankato saved a lot of time in the construction work, but it 
doesn't seem to have been an unmixed blessing. It had a habit of 
climbing the rails and was hard to keep on the track. Once off, it had 
to be levered back with tree trunks in the hands of thirty or forty 
gandy dancers (track levelers). Getting water into it was a problem 
that required ingenuity. A wooden trough was rigged out over the 
track from a spring in the sidehills near the landing, and here each 
night the engine was brought for a filling. 

If it ran out of water during the day, it had to be hauled back to 
the spring by horsepower for enough of a filling for its immediate 
job. However, its unsung engineer and firemen learned all about its 

* Messer, Alanson, An Account, of Railroading in the Minnesota Valley, C St 
P M & O Railroad Museum, St. Paul, Minnesota. 


idiosyncrasies and contrived to keep it in service till the rails reached 
Shakopee and it was retired. 

With the aid of another odd engine (a combination locomotive 
and baggage car) bought by Drake during the construction period, 
interurban service was established between the Twin Cities in the 
winter of 1866. The fare was fifty cents one way. 

That same year the tracks were extended to Belle Plaine, and the 
old Mankato was put back into service between that point and West 
St. Paul. 

In the first year of its operation the Belle Plaine section of the 
road did an amazing business. Shipping tickets preserved in the 
C St P M & O Railroad Museum in St. Paul show that it hauled 222,- 
575 barrels of flour, 220,180 bushels of wheat, 5,T01.,900 feet of 
lumber, 900 cords of wood, 96,000 hoop poles and staves, 312 tons 
of farm products, 951 tons of lime, 7,743 tons of general merchan- 
dise, 3,500 tons construction materials, 45 tons of coal, 150 tons 
of hides, 140 tons of livestock, 150 tons of bran and shorts, 6 tons 
of brick, 1 ton of game, and 83,315 passengers. 

In 1867 General J. W. Bishop was apjDointed chief engineer, and 
under his direction the road was pushed into Mankato in 1868. A 
year later, renamed the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad, it was 
pushing on toward the junction of the Big Sioux and Missouri 

So finally the railroad came to the great Northwest Territory, 
and the last populous wilderness in the United States began to break 
up. The metamorphosis somehow has failed to attract the attention 
of historians who lived through it, yet it was one of the most amaz- 
ing episodes in the making of the West. 

When the first teapot locomotive came chugging into the Minne- 
sota Valley it wasn't yesterday that this region had been Indian 
country, the bitter adversary of the pioneer — it was today — right 
now. Along the right of way in the areas where there were no forests, 
men and women still lived as they had lived when they groped their 
way up the creeks in the forties. They stood in the doorways of sod 
shanties to watch the passing of the train. 

Tomorrow, and literally tomorrow, all that began to change. For 
civilization had long ago come to these hinterlands in hope if not in 
outward signs. These people of the backwoods and prairies liad 


sulTurL'tl liardsliip in tlie midst of great potential wealth and comfort 
merely because they knew that one day a locomotive with a pot stack 
would come alonj^ and reverse their luck. 

Presently finished boards began to conic into the western com- 
munities from mills actually no great distance away. What is more 
worthy of note, there came also iron nails — kegs of them. And it is 
a commentary on the business of living in a great state without a 
railroad that nails in many districts rated not onlj' as a luxury but 
as a great novelty. Most of the houses — where there were houses 
not made of sod — and half the mills had been put together with 
wooden pegs. 

Nails and boards came in, and frame houses went up — and barns 
and granaries. In a matter of weeks, harvesting machines and auto- 
matic threshers began to roll down the ramps from the station plat- 
forms. The sewing machine came into the farm kitchen. So did fairly 
efficient wood and coal ranges and lightweight pots and pans. Even 
more miraculously came artificial light in the form of kerosene lan- 
terns and lamps with a fuel no longer considered dangerously ex- 

Books came in, and toys for the children, and odds and ends of 
finery for the women of the house. You still had to put in a lot of 
time looking after the stock and plowing and harrowing and reap- 
ing and threshing. But it no longer took so much effort. There was 
comfortable furniture in the house. It was a pleasure at night just 
to come in from the field and sit down and relax. But if you wanted 
to travel around — well, there was opportunity for that, too. The 
world was right at your door. You could catch a train in the morn- 
ing, take a look at the sights in St. Paul, and be home again in time 
for supper. 

Life was getting just too easy and luxurious — and all because 
they'd opened a gate and let you get back in touch with the outside 
world you'd always been hearing so much about. 

This railroad thing had certainly been worth waiting for. 

J/ art 







On the evening of Saturday, April 13, 1861, Morse's telegraph 
announced to the nation that Fort Sumter had been bombarded ; the 
first shot of the Civil War had been fired! The war clouds had been 
gathering for years, and had turned black and threatening with the 
secession of South Carolina on December 20, 1860. As far back as 
the evening of January 5, 1861, Chicago citizens had affirmed their 
faith in their fellow Illinoisan, President-elect Abraham Lincoln, at 
a mass meeting held in Bryan Hall and attended by men of all creeds, 
political faiths, and national origins. The presiding officer was Sam- 
uel S. Hayes, a Democrat. Among the patriotic resolutions offered 
and accepted was this : 

Resolved : That in view of what is now transpiring in South Carolina 
and other of the Southern States and of the threats to prevent the inaugu- 
ration of a President constitutionally elected, it is incumbent upon the 
loyal people of the United States to be prepared to render all the aid, 
military and otherwise, to the enforcement of the Federal laws which 
may be necessary when thereunto constitutionally required. 

We have neither compromise nor concession to offer disunionists ar- 
rayed in open rebellion to the Government, or their aids and abettors. 

The story of Sunday, April 14 — after the news of Fort Sumter 
had become known to all — is feelingly told by A. T. Andreas in his 
History of Chicago. 

It was one of those beautiful, cloudless spring days. In the sweet 
April air floated the old flag from spire and balcony, office and warehouse, 
ship's mast and dwelling. From early morning till late at night the streets 
were thronged with an eager, indignant, troubled people — all swayed 
by a common feeling. The talk was only of the indignity done the flag 



of the country, tiie mctssity of jircscrving its honor as a priceless heri- 
tage. Governor Yates was in the city with Iicadquarters at the Tremont 
House. Even thus early he liad been tendered the services of the Chicago 
military companies. The Germans, the Irish, the Hungarians and tlic 
Bohemians had congregated in their halls and given full expression to 
that patriotism and zeal for their adopted country which they later 
proved by heroic conduct on the battlefield. Dr. Patton, at the first Con- 
gregational Church, told his people that the crisis had arrived "in which 
every Christian might rise from his knees and shoulder his rifle." On 
Monday, the sixteenth. Governor Yates called out the state militia. 

On that same epochal Sunday morning a round-shouldered, 
bearded, shabby, medium-sized man approaching forty — most un- 
military in appearance — stood in a field just outside the city of 
Galena barking commands at a hundred men and boys. The Galena 
company had been raised a month before and had elected its officers 
— but tlie man who was teaching them drill was not of their number. 

He had made application for a commission as far back as the day 
after tjie South Carolina rebel convention — both to the War De- 
partment in Washington and to the Illinois State jMilitia Board. 
He had received no replies to his letters and he didn't know whether 
to blame this silence on iiis record or on stress of business ; within 
himself he thought it was the record — but he hoped against hope. 
Meantime, he clerked in his father's leather store, drilled his fellow 
citizens in the evenings, on Saturday afternoons, and on Sundays. 
He was turning them into good soldiers because, although Ulysses 
Grant never looked like a soldier, he was to become one of the great- 
est of all time. 

That previous record I Graduation from West Point ; awards and 
promotion for heroism in the Mexican War; then lonely military 
posts and an inclination to the bottle; finally, a request that he re- 
sign. Now, with war looming, surely thej' needed West Pointers, 
officers with active service records. Grant, a civilian, drilled soldiers, 
and the bitterness within him grew and gi'ew. Finally the Galena 
company was called to camp — without its drillmaster. An inspecting 
officer, remarking on its excellence, wanted to know who had trained 
it, was told, made some inquiries, and reported to the governor. 
Yates sent for the West Pointer only to be told that he had been 
hanging around for days seeking an audience. 


The Twenty-first Illinois Infantry had gathered to itself a repu- 
tation for roughness, toughness, and insubordination — even this 
early in the great game. Its colonel had resigned ; he couldn't handle 
his men and said so. Ulysses Grant was offered the job, took it, and 
went on and up from there. Illinois sent 2-l<4,496 of her sons into the 
Union Army; of these 34,834 made the supreme sacrifice — 5,874 
being killed in battle, 4,020 dying of wounds, 22,786 succumbing to 
disease, and 2,154 passing on from other causes. 

In the cash shortage sense the panic of 1857 still had its brand on 
the railroads of the country when the Civil War broke out. The 
conflict itself put some of the carriers back on their feet — perhaps 
back on their tracks would be a better expression — while others sank 
further into the slough of despond, and still others went into com- 
plete eclipse. 

The railroad setup in the eastern tier of the Southern states was 
fragmentary at the start of hostilities, and there was neither time, 
money, nor labor with which to patch it together. In the southwest- 
ern battles for control of the Mississippi, what railroad systems 
there were in Texas, Arkansas, and southern Missouri were com- 
pletely wrecked by both armies ; track and equipment was either 
carried away by the opposing armies for use elsewhere or was de- 
stroyed when it was seen that it could no longer be held. 

The Northern forces had better raih'oad men than had those of 
the South. Also, the former were in better position to use their 
facilities. With the Gulf route closed it became necessary to ship all 
food products by rail. Chicago became the great grain and meat 
depot — anticipating its ultimate destiny by several years ; and the 
Galena and Chicago Union and the Chicago and North Western 
came into their own. Most of the railroads west of the Mississippi 
were still fragmentary and of little help. The closing of the river 
made the functioning roads an absolute necessity ; war prices made 
the farmers in the favored territories more anxious than ever to 
sow and to reap. Along the tracks of the Galena and the Chicago 
and North Western there was little fear of military obstruction. 

In the presidential campaign of 1856 the building of a Pacific 
railroad had been a plank in the platform of both Democrats and 
Republicans. In his first message to Congress, the Democratic vie- 


tor, JiiiiKs Bucliiuian, rccoiiiniLnded the project. Tlie Senate was 
willing, but the House, dominated by eastern financial interests, 
acted slowly; the right word is "stalled." This inaction lasted 
through the Buchanan term. In the first session after Lincoln's elec- 
tion — his message had also approved the measure — the necessary 
legislation seemed about to pass when the South seceded from the 
Union. All opposition disappeared, and as soon as pressing military 
needs had been taken care of the Homestead Act was passed, giving 
the basis for the final partitioning of the public domain. With the 
encouragement given to the building of the transcontinental rail- 
roads the stage was set for the final conquest of the West.* 

The Union Pacific was chartered July 1, 1862 — the first Ameri- 
can railroad begun with the aid of Federal cash. It was to build from 
the center of Nebraska to the eastern boundary of Nevada. The Cen- 
tral Pacific, similarly endowed, was to complete the line from the 
Pacific coast. Government bonds were to be loaned at the rate of 
sixteen thousand dollars per mile in the plains country, thirty-two 
thousand in the foothills, and forty-eight thousand in the mountains. 
The stock was to be issued in thousand-dollar shares, of which there 
were to be 100,000. No person was to hold more than 200 shares; 
the organization of the company and the composition of the Board 
of Directors was to have governmental approval. In view of these 
conditions, it is significant that at the first meeting in September, 
1862, William Butler Ogden was elected president; he was also, as 
has been told, president of the Chicago and North Western. 

Subscriptions were slow in coming in ; thousand-dollar bonds were 
a trifle large for the average investor of that day, and it was plain 
that such a huge undertaking would be years in getting round to 
dividends. Ogden worked hard on the project, but at the end of eight 
months he was compelled to resign in order to give his full time to 
the approaching merger of the North Western with the Galena. 
It was well he did so, for it took seven weary years and major scan- 
dals (maybe he smellcd these from afar) reaching into the halls of 
Congress before the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific joined 
their rails at Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869. But Will 

* Riopel, Robert F,., The Story of the Western Railroads, The Macmillan Com- 
pany, New York, 192G. 


Ogden served the Union Pacific well, for much of the equipment, 
ties, and rails were hauled by his North Western to Council Bluffs 
and thence by rail ferry across the river to the Union Pacific termi- 
nus in Omaha. 

The North Western performed another pioneer service at this 
time in carrying the first railway post-office car. 

A few weeks after he assumed office. President Lincoln appointed 
John L. Scripps, one of the proprietors of the Chicago Tribune, 
postmaster at Chicago. Scripps knew no more about the duties of 
a postmaster than do many postmasters of today. He had, however, 
an assistant postmaster, George B. Armstrong, who had held that 
position for several years and who really understood the business. 

The new officials of the department had hardly become settled in 
their positions when the Civil War came. In the glamour of raising 
and equipping armies and sending them to the field, many achieve- 
ments as necessary and essential as arms and ammunition and drill 
do not appear. Without food, shelter, clothing, and transportation, 
an army, like an individual, must succumb. But one of the most im- 
portant elements in keeping up the morale of an army made up of 
Americans has always been and will always be in the mails. Letters 
from home, from parents, from brothers and sisters, wives and 
sweethearts are a constant means of encouragement to the soldier, 
and nerve him to heroic deeds ; while writing letters home is the great- 
est of consolations. 

As a recognition of his services in the recent election. President 
Lincoln had made David T. Linnegar postmaster at Cairo, his home 
city. He knew no more of the duties of the office than did Scripps and 
he had no Armstrong to teach him. But the office was small, and the 
business light. Suddenly, within forty-eight hours, the Cairo post 
office, one of the smallest in the United States, became one of the 
greatest. Mailbags were thrown in by the thousand, filling up the 
rooms, projecting out of the windows, and piling up on the plat- 
forms. The western army of the LTnion had come to occupy Cairo and 
the region round about. This was in the spring of 1862. 

Linnegar, entirely bewildered, telegraphed the postmaster general 
at Washington for help. George B. Armstrong was sent down. The 


first thing to do was to provide room in wlildi to work, and then to 
improvise sorting and distributing tables, racks, and cases, so that 
men could work efficiently. This was done in an incredibly short time. 
The bags were opened, the mail carefully sorted, the bags refilled 
and tagged for the command, the divisions, the brigades, or regi- 
ments, or the post office at home. These bags were sent out to the 
army and away upon the railways until the congestion was relieved. 
The great piles of mailbags grew less and less until they disappeared 
altogether, and the clerks had tlien only to take care of the mail as 
it came in upon the trains and from the army. Soon, w^ith the extra 
number of clerks allowed him, Postmaster Linnegar was able to con- 
duct the business satisfactorily, and Armstrong returned to his 
duties in Chicago. 

Ill the summer of 1864, Armstrong, having pored for two years 
ovvv his plan for "a post office on wheels" wrote the postmaster 
general : 

Letters deposited in a post office at tlie latest moment of the departure 
of the mail from the office for near or distant places should travel with 
the same uninterru))ted speed and certainty as passengers to their places 
of destination. . . . Passengers travelling over railroad routes generally 
reach a given point in advance of letters, when to that given point letters 
must pass, under the present system, through a distributing office, and 
when letters are subject to a distributing process in more than one dis- 
tributing office as is largely the case now, the tardiness of a letter's prog- 
ress toward its place of destination is proportionately increased. But a 
general system of railway distribution obviates this difficulty. The work 
being done while the cars are in motion and transfers of mails from route 
to route and for local delivery on the way, as they are reached, letters 
attain the same celerity in transit as persons making direct connections. 

Postmaster General Montgomery Blair replied: 

Post Office Department 
July 1st, 1864. 
Sir: You are authorized to test by actual experiment, upon such rail- 
road route, or routes, as you may select at Chicago, the plans proposed 
by you for simplifying the mail service. You will arrange with railroad 
companies to furnish suitable cars for travelling post offices ; designate 
head offices with their dependent offices; prepare forms of blanks and 


instructions for all such offices, and those on the railroad not head offices, 
also for clerks of travelling post offices. 

To aid you in this work, you may select some suitable route agent whose 
place can be supplied with a substitute, at the expense of the department. 

When your arrangements are complete, you will report them in full. 

The first railway post office in the United States was established 
by Armstrong under the above instructions on August 28, 1864, on 
the Chicago and North Western Railway. It ran between Chicago, 
Illinois, and Clinton, Iowa, in a compartment car. The first com- 
plete railway post-office cars were built by the same railway from 
plans furnished bj' Armstrong in 1867, and placed in service between 
Boone and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The overland mail to the Pacific 
coast then went by the Chicago and North Western Railway, upon 
which those towns were situated, and these cars were run to pro- 
vide for that mail to be immediately despatched westward upon its 
arrival at the Missouri River, instead of lying over at a distributing 
post office as had been necessary up to that time. By this arrange- 
ment mails were ascending the Rocky Mountains, 500 miles west, at 
a time when they otherwise would have been leaving Omaha. 

Under tlie old route agent system one agent in a narrow compart- 
ment of a car received and distributed the mail from town to town, 
delivering such as he received for local offices and pouching the re- 
mainder on his terminal office. If a distributing office intervened, the 
locked pouches were despatched, like so much dead freight, by star 
routes and passenger trains, sometimes to be delayed a day and 
sometimes several days, to be sorted or redistributed and pouched 
for a further journey. 

Under the new system created by Armstrong, important trains 
on trunk lines were equipped with full postal cars manned by crews 
of clerks, who opened the locked pouches and tie sacks and distrib- 
uted all the mail while the train was speeding on its way, besides 
receiving and delivering mail at the towns through which the train 
passed. Upon its arrival at the end of the run, the mail, properly 
sorted and pouched, was delivered without delay to a connecting 
line or lines equipped with similar cars, provided with their comple- 
ment of clerks, to be again distributed, with other mail received, 
while the train thundered on to its destination. 


This was actually- accomplisliLcl witliin five years from the time 
the postmaster general authorized Armstrong to "test by actual 
experiment" the plans he had proposed. A year after their inception 
he was brought to Washington and placed in charge of a new de- 
partment, the Railway Mail Service.* 

* Carr, Clark E., The Railwai/ Mail Service, A. C. McClurg & Company, Chi- 
cago, 1902. 


lapter ^4- 


On June 2, 1864, the Galena and Chicago Union and the Chicago 
and North AYcstern were consohdated. William H. Brown was presi- 
dent of the Galena, although in the several days of final negotiation, 
John Bice Turner actually functioned as head of the Galena with 
the title of chairman of the managing committee. Turner had been 
president of the Galena from 1851 — when Ogden resigned — until 
1859, when he was succeeded by Walter Newberry who, in 1862, was 
followed by William H. Brown. But Turner remained on the Board 
of Directors and took his seat on the North Western Board at the 
consolidation. The first president of the expanded North Western 
was Will Ogden. The consolidation stirred the people of the country, 
as Historian W. H. Stennett put it, "from the Atlantic to the slopes 
of the Missouri." It was the first important consolidation in the 
country's railroad history. Opinions were varied, but the majority 
thought seemed to agree with the explanatory statement of the new 
Board of Directors headed by President Ogden : 

Among the reasons which influenced those who, on account of their 
large interests in these roads, have given more particular attention to the 
subject and advised this course, are the following: Much of the territory 
traversed by these roads was so situated as to induce injurious competi- 
tion between them. The union of both gives greater strength and power, 
favoring more advantageous and extended connections, and better relations 
with other railroads built and to be built, and will aid to prevent the con- 
struction of such roads as would only serve to create injurious competi- 
tion, without any adequate increase of the aggregate earnings of the roads 
competing. Decided economj', material reduction of expenses, and in- 
creased and more profitable service of engines and cars will also be the 
result of cooperation in the place of competition, and of one management 



of botli roads. TIic basis and terms of tliis consolidation are substantially 
as follows: For each share of Galena and Chicago Union Railroad Com- 
pany's stock the holder will receive one share of the preferred and one 
share of the common stock of the consolidated Chicago and North West- 
ern Railway Company, and $3 in money. The preferred stock of this 
companj' to be issued in exchange for the stock of the Galena company 
is entitled to preferences to the aggregate extent of 10 per cent in the 
dividends which may be declared in any one year, out of the net earnings 
in such year, in the manner following, to wit: First, to a preference of 7 
per cent; and after, dividends of 7 per cent on the common stock; then, 
secondly, to a further preference of 3 per cent; after, a further dividend 
of 3 per cent on the common stock; both classes of stock shall be entitled 
to equal rates per share in any further dividends. 

The principal reason for dropping the pioneer name of Galena and 
Chicago Union Railroad Company in the consolidation will be apparent 
when it is observed that no portion of either of the consolidated roads 
touches Galena ; and to retain the name of the Chicago and North Western 
Railway Company involves no change of books or blanks, and is suffi- 
ciently comprehensive to include the large territory penetrated by the 
united roads. 

Tlie contributions by eacli railroad to the consolidation were as 

follows : 

As TO THE Galena Company 


1. The original Galena and Chicago line, extending from Chicago to Free- 
port ^ -1 

2. The Dixon Air Line, extending from the Junction, 30 miles west of 
Chicago, due west, through Geneva to Dixon, and to Fulton on the 
Mississippi River; and to east end of bridge over the Mississippi, nearly 
two miles below Fulton 1"8 

3. The Beloit branch, from Belvidere to Beloit, about 21 

i. The St. Charles Air Line, extending to Harlem, about 9 

5. The Elgin and State Line Railroad, extending from Elgin north to 

Richmond, about "^^ 

The branch from the old line to Elgin, more than 2 

Making in all -"■* 

The double track from Chicago to Turner Junction (30 miles) 
is counted as only 30 miles in the preceding statement, the second 
track not being taken into account. 


In addition it also contributed to the consolidated corporation the per- 
petual lease of the Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska Railroad, about (now 

built) S2 

Also, of the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad Hi 

Also, perpetual lease of tlie Beloit and Madison Railroad 47 

Making a total of leajsed roads operated by tlie said Galena Company 
at the time of consolidation equal to Hoi 

Total number of miles owned by the Galena Company at the time of con- 
solidation '29-1 

Total number of mUes of leased roads operated by the Galena Company 
at the time of the consolidation ^'27 

Add to this the extension of Hi miles of leased road from Nevaila to Boones- 
boro, since consolidation 24 

Total 545 

As TO THE North Westehx Compaxt 


1. Its main line, extending from Chicago, via Janesville, to Green Bay. . . . 242 

2. Its "Kenosha division" extendmg from the town of Kenosha to its 
junction at Rockford with the old Galena road 73 

Makmg a total length of railroad owned by Chicago and North West- 
ern Railway at the time of consolidation 315 

Making a total length of roads owned and leased by both companies 
at the time of consolidation 8G0 

As a footnote to consolidation, we have Joliii I. Blair of Blairs- 
town, New JerseVj whose manipulation of railroads west of the Mis- 
sissippi brought a number of connecting lines into the North West- 
ern system. 

Blair was a planner of railroads, a railroad stock speculator, a 
railroad bridgebuilder. Though appearing to act independently, he 
was seemingly high in the confidence of Will Ogden and the latter's 
various associates in railrGad ventures. In his own fashion he was as 
amazing a railroad character as was Jay Gould, the difference being 
that Blair was a servitor — ruthless as Gould but employed by men 
who were acquiring track for the purpose of building up a system 
or systems so that these could be of service to the communities, in- 


stead of fretting hold of railroads onlj for the purpose of gambling 
on tlie market with the properties. 

As has been told, the first railroad to cross the state of Iowa was 
the Galena — via its leased lines. It had reached the Mississippi, op- 
posite Clinton, in 1855. Blair saw the immediate need of a western 
connecting line. He had his cA'e on the Lyons and Iowa Central, 

The Galena and Chicago Union Railroad as it appeared in 1864 just before it 
consolidated with the Chicago and North Western Railway Company (see 
illustration opposite). 

organized in 1853, and planned to run from Lyons, near Clinton, 
through Des Aloines to Council Bluffs. This plan was later changed 
to send the line through Cedar Rapids. 

The Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska Railroad Company was incor- 
porated in January, 1856. That company consti-ucted 81 miles of 
railroad between Clinton and Cedar Rapids, which it reached in 
1859. In July, 1862, Blair leased the trackage between Clinton and 
Cedar Rapids to the Galena, thus giving the latter an all-rail route 
from Chicago to Cedar Rapids. 

The Iowa Central Air-Line, organized in 1853, seemed to have a 
brilliant future — that is, on its own — until Blair caught up with it. 
Financed at the start with local cajiital, it was going to run between 



Cedar Rapids and Council Bluffs. Its local promoters had "pull" 
in Congress and had reason to believe they could get a land grant. 
Their conclusions as to help in Washington were soundly based. A 
delegation, sent there in 1856, 

returned in triumph with a land 
grant from the Mississippi 
River to Council Bluffs, which 
was approved by the State Leg- 
islature. The local backers gave 
the delegation a dinner on its 
return — a thoroughly well-de- 
served honor. And work started 
at once. Good land — and the 
settlers coming in ; one could 
hardly see where they could 
lose. But along came the panic 
of 1857 — and the settlers failed 
to come along. Little had been 
done on the road, and Blair, 
who had unsuccessfully tried to 
buy in at the start, went into 
action. He did not make any 
offer to the Iowa Central Air- 
Line but he organized the Cedar 
Rapids and IMissouri River 
Railroad and started laying 
track west out of Cedar Rapids. 
After he had 5 miles of rail 
laid down, Blair appeared be- 
fore the Iowa Legislature and 
stated his case. He was associ- 
ated with a line running from 
Chicago to Cedar Rapids. He 

Lines of the Chicago and North Western 
Railway in 1864 at the time of consoli- 
dation with the Galena Road. The imion 
resulted in a true "north" and "west" 

had plenty of money, more than enough to build on to Council Bluffs, 
while the Iowa Central was bankrupt, and if railroad progress in 
Iowa had to wait on its improbable return to solvency, it might be 
years before the state was bridged across with track. He wanted the 
transfer of the land grant — and he got it. 


Blair leased the Cedar llapids and ]\Iis.souri to tlie Galena in Jul}', 
1862, while it was still in course of construction — which lease was 
taken over by the North Western two years later at the time of the 
consolidation. The bridge across the Mississippi that was being built 
at the same time was completed by the North Western in 1865. The 
road entered Council Bluffs in 1867 — in time to secure the contract 
for the hauling of the majority of the supplies for the Union Pacific. 
In July, 1884, the North Western purchased Blair's Chicago, Iowa 
and Nebraska and his Cedar Rapids and jNIissouri Kivcr lines out- 

Blair's tactics in buying into weak railroads gradually increased 
his holdings, and ho did not call a halt at Council Bluii's. He entered 
Des Moines on behalf of the Noi'th Western by purchase of the ma- 
jority stock of the Des Moines and Minnesota (later the Des Moines 
and Minneapolis). He built extensions north and west from Mis- 
souri Valley (near Council Bluffs) under a charter granted to the 
Sioux City and Pacific Railroad Company. It took Blair until 1868 
to reach Sioux City, and from there he built on to Fremont, Ne- 
braska. This line was to provide a connection with the Union Pacific 
and had the help of a land grant. Later on Blair was to build the 
Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley road (a part of which was 
operated for a time by the Sioux City and Pacific) from Fremont, 
Nebraska, to the Wyoming state line, with extensions into the Black 
Hills of South Dakota and to Casper, Wyoming, and ultimately into 
Omaha. All these Blair properties were eventually leased to and 
finally purchased by the North Western, the Sioux City and Pacific 
property being taken over in 1901, and the Fremont, Elkhorn and 
Missouri Valley in 1903. 

Two years after the consolidation of the Galena and the North 
Western, the line obtained control of Lake Shore service between 
Chicago and Milwaukee. 

After the war there came a flood of immigration to the Middle 
West and to the Northwest from Europe and from Great Britain. 
A large portion of the Northern armies were made up of single men 
from Ireland, Scotland, and Germany, and in lesser numbers — but 
still impressive — from England, Wales, and France. Very few of 
the survivors returned to their native land; many of them sent for 


sweethearts and other members of their families ; the response was 
tremendous not only among those selected by the veterans but by 
friends and neighbors. 

The Irish poured into Chicago in even larger numbers than they 
poured into New York; an avalanche of Germans swept into Mil- 
waukee and the surrounding portions of Wisconsin. The Scandi- 
navian peoples were selecting Minnesota as their happy hunting 
ground. As time went on many Southerners, sore at heart, penniless, 
came to seek a more pleasant and remunerative life on the almost 
virgin acres of the great territory and in the trade and business 
marts of the two great cities, Chicago and Milwaukee. Small wonder 
that the prophetic vision of the Chicago and North Western direc- 
torate made necessary the acquisition of a railroad directly connect- 
ing the two great supply and distribution depots of the newer and 
wider expansion. 

Out of the Illinois Parallel Railroad sprang the North Western's 
present Lake Shore suburban service. This road was chartered by 
the state of Illinois in 1851 to run from Chicago to the Wisconsin 
state line. In 1853 the name was changed to the Chicago and Mil- 
waukee Railroad, and tracklaying was completed as far as the Wis- 
consin state line in 1855. But in 1851 the people of Milwaukee had 
a somewhat similar idea — that of running a railroad from Milwaukee 
to Chicago. The Green Bay, jMilwaukee and Chicago Railroad was 
chartered by the state of Wisconsin in 1851 and in 1855 was built 
south to the Wisconsin state line. In 1857 the name was changed to 
the Milwaukee and Chicago Railroad Company. Thus, rail trans- 
portation was established between Chicago and Milwaukee, but until 
1863, when the two roads consolidated as the Chicago and Milwaukee 
Railway, freight and passengers alike changed cars at the state line. 

The first regular train service was inaugurated December 19, 
1854, between Chicago and Waukegan, and on January 20, 1855, a 
"grand inaugural luncheon" was held at the Dickinson Hotel in 
Waukegan, attended by 300 people from the three cities. Captain 
Hiram Hugunin was toastmaster. Dr. Volmy Dyer, described bv 
the Milwaukee Sentinel as "that prince of wits," delivered an ad- 
dress on "Western Railroads" for which he declared himself as 
peculiarly fitted, for was he not "the underground railroad director 
for the region." (Dr. Dyer headed the organization that cared for 


those slaves who, escaping from the South, managed to make their 
waj' to Chicago or Milwaukee.) The Honorable Isaac Arnold, Og- 
den's personal attorney, responded to the toast, "the Ladies, God 
bless them." A smattering of the guests took the five o'clock back to 
Chicago, arriving tliere at seven, but the majority stayed for the 
grand ball, catching the morning train. 

Judge Henry W. Klodgctt, who handled the details of the char- 
tering of the Chicago and Milwaukee and lobbied the bill through the 
State Legislature, had the major part in bringing about the consoli- 
dation of the Chicago and Milwaukee with the Milwaukee and Chi- 
cago in 1863, just as he had the major part in the negotiations that 
brought about the road's lease by the North Western, signed May 2, 
1806. The North Western acquired the Chicago and Milwaukee 
through consolidation in 1883 and in recognition of Judge Blodgett's 
toil and perseverance named a locomotive after him ; it is to be pre- 
sumed also that his fee — which should have been large if it was not 
— was paid without question. 


lanfer -fo 


At the annual meeting of the Chicago and North Western Rail- 
way held June 4, 1868, AVilliam Butler Ogden tendered the Board 
his resignation as president, an office he had held with great honor 
for nine years, the last four of which had been as president of the 
company after consolidation with the Galena. He was, as he told 
his pi'otesting colleagues, sixty-three years old — and tired. He had 
seen his dream of a great northwestern traffic system emanating out 
of Chicago become something more than a framework ; the filling in, 
he declared, was the duty of young men — but he promised to be in 
close touch and always available for advice and consultation. 

Some years before, he had purchased a country estate on Ford- 
ham Heights — then just outside the city of New York — which he 
had named Boscobel. He planned to sort of divide his time between 
the two cities. New York and Chicago ; in this suburb of the former 
metropolis he contemplated leisure with an interest in art and music ; 
in the latter city, where he retained a full staff at his near-North 
Side mansion, he planned to be somewhat more active; he was still 
a member of the boards of several large corporations and he had 
a finger on the pulse of his great lumber interests in Wisconsin, 
his smelters near Pittsburgh. 

On the night of October 8, 1871, Ogden was awakened from sleep 
in his New York home by the arrival of a telegram which informed 
him that Chicago seemed about to be wholly destroyed by fire. Utiliz- 
ing all the speed of which transportation was master in those days, 
he arrived early on the morning of the tenth in the still blazing city 
which owed him so much — and to which, as he always admitted, he 
owed aU that he had and all that he was. 



Even today, after the lapse of more than tlircc-tjuartcrs of a cen- 
tury, you can always get an argument out of a dyed-in-the-wool 
"ancestral-minded" Chicagoan as to the origin of the Great Fire 
which destroyed property valued, in those days of reasonable prices, 
at more than $190,000,000 and which Inirncd at the rate of $110,000 
per minute ! 

As it was after the ashes finally quit smoldering, so it is today ; 
there are four distinct schools of thought on the origin of the Chi- 
cago Fire. These are: one, that Mrs. O'Leary, visiting her cows 
after dark, put a lighted kerosene lamp on the floor of the shed, 
wliifh lamp was kicked over by a noncooperative cow; two, that 
O'Leary neighbors, celebrating the arrival of a relative from the 
Old Sod, had entered the O'Leary barn intent on stealing enough 
milk to make a gargantuan oyster stew and an even larger milk 
punch. These bandits had also carried a kerosene lamp which was 
kicked over by a cow, bitterly indignant at being robbed of a com- 
modity that she was holding in trust for Mrs. O'Leary; three, that 
a group of growing boys, learning to smoke tobacco and barred from 
such practices by their parents, had gathered for a session with their 
pipes in the recesses of the O'Leary barn and had let live ashes fall 
on a pile of hay ; four, that the fire was the deliberate work of a 
pyromaniac or an enemy of the O'Learys. 

All the rash of subsequent inquiries and investigations brought 
out but one incontestable fact — that the fire originated in the 
O'Leary barn and cowshed at 137 De Koven Street on the near West 
Side a few doors from Jefferson Street, some fifteen minutes after 
nine o'clock on the evening of Sunday, October 8, 1871. The 
O'Learys claimed to have all been in bed at the time; Mrs. O'Leary 
insisted she had not been near the barn since early evening milking 
time. At nine-thirty, Dennis Sullivan, a passing drayman and neigh- 
bor of the O'Learys, saw flames in the barn ; he notified the O'Learys 
and endeavored unsuccessfully to save the livestock; the fire was 
too fast for him. Mrs. Catherine McLaughlin, who was giving the 
party for the newly arrived Irish immigrant, swore that no person 
present at the celebration had gone "to steal milk from the O'Leary 
cows." No small boys admitted ever having smoked tobacco — to say 
nothing of having smoked that night in the barn. In the circum- 
stances, and down the vt'ars, the several schools of thought insist 


that in view of the fearful sequel, ]\Irs. O'Leary, Mrs. McLaughlin 
and her guests, and the suspected small boj's — that none of these 
had the nerve to admit culpability; as to the pyromaniac or anti- 
O'Leary theory nobody was ever brought forward — or came for- 
ward. The charred remnants of a lamp were found in the barn — but 
nobody admitted ownership. 

Like most communities of that period, Chicago was largely built 
of lumber. The preceding summer had been an exceptionally dry one ; 
thus far the fall had been rainless ; the fire apparatus, entirely in- 
adequate for such a conflagration, had been overtaxed but a few 
hours before by the destruction of four blocks lying between the 
river. Van Buren, Clinton, and Adams streets — during which a 
large quantity of hose had been destroyed and much fire-fighting 
machinery incapacitated. Most of the fii-emen who had worked twen- 
ty-four hours on this blaze were taking much-needed rest at their 
homes when the alarm was belatedly sounded. On top of that, an 
exceptionally high wind was roaring due north. Ogden, in his notes 
gathered after his arrival in Chicago, makes particular reference 
to this storm : 

The reason that buildings, men, or anything did not withstand the 
torrents of flames is explained by the fact that the fire was accompanied 
by the fiercest tornado of wind ever known to blow here, and it acted like 
a perfect blowpipe, driving the brilliant blaze hundreds of feet with 
so perfect a combustion that it consumed the smoke, and the heat was so 
great that fireproof buildings sunk before it almost as readily as wood. 

Tiie Chicago Fire was brought under control and its progress 
halted on the afternoon of October 11, largely through the efficient 
methods of Lieutenant General Philip Sheridan, hero of the Civil 
War, then in command of the Department of the Missouri of which 
Chicago was part. Sheridan's troops laid mines and blasted out sec- 
tions of the city in the path of the flames. On the South Side the 
southern limit of the fire on Michigan Avenue was Congress Street ; 
on Clark, Harrison, and on Wells a point a little below Polk. The 
area of this burned district was 450 acres. Three thousand six hun- 
dred buildings were destroj'ed, including 1,600 stores, 28 hotels, 
and 60 manufacturing establishments. Twenty-one thousand six 
hundred people were turned out of their homes. 


On tlie North Sitic 1,300 acres were burned over; the total num- 
ber of buildings destroyed in this section was over ten thousand; 
about 70,000 people lost their homes. On the West Side, 194 acres 
were burned over, about 600 buildings were destroyed, and more 
than 2,500 people rendered homeless. The value of property in Chi- 
cago at this time has been estimated at $575,000,000; the fire de- 
stroyed approximately one-third of this. That only about 300 lives 
were lost seems improbable. But people had time to flee, though none 
in which to gather their possessions.* The losses of the Chicago and 
North Western amounted to more than a million dollars. 

A harried employee nut Will Ogdcn on his arrival in the burning 
city and informed him that his Rush Street mansion was still stand- 
ing; but this man, who had not dared venture north of the Chicago 
River, had obtained his information from one who had confused Will 
Ogden's home with that of his brother Mahlon whose house, at Wal- 
ton Place and Clark Street (the present site of the Newberry Li- 
brary), was the only dwelling place spared on the near North Side, 
south of Chicago Avenue. Will Ogden's beautiful home and all his 
treasures were but a pile of ashes inside four broken main walls when 
he finally got there. 

He volunteered immediately for any duty and was appointed a 
member of the mayor's committee; but before he had even begun to 
serve, more bad news came his way. His Peshtigo village in Wisconsin 
and the adjoining lumber mills and timber regions by cruel coin- 
cidence had caught fire just as he arrived in Chicago. He raced there 
as fast as disorganized traffic could move him, to find mills, village, 
and a great stretch of timber destroyed. More than a thousand per- 
sons, in contrast to the loss of life in Chicago, are said to have 

"This is an act of God," Ogdcn said as he stared at the ruins, 
"and we must not complain. Both here and in Chicago we shall bend 
our backs and build again." 

Ogden's losses in both fires were over two million dollars. He re- 
mained in the region until the rebuilding of both Peshtigo and Chi- 
cago was well on the way; then he returned to Boscobcl. In 1872, a 

• Angle, Paul, The Orcat Chicago Fire, Valentinc-N'cwman, Chicago, 194C. 



lonely old man, he married for the first time. His bride, Miss Mari- 
anna Arnot, a charming lady of mature years, proved a delightful 
and sympathetic companion for the remaining five years of Will 
Ogden's life. He passed away in his sleep on August 3, 1877. 

By 1870 the railroad was across the Missouri River into Nebraska while the 
"Omaha Line" (dotted lines) was going through growing pains in Minnesota 
and Wisconsin. 

Following Ogden's resignation from the presidency of the North 
Western, Henry Keep was elected to succeed him and held the office 
until his death, July 11, 1869. For several years there had been a 
keen, sometimes vicious competition for supremacy — and expansion 
— between the North Western and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. 
Paul Railwaj^ the North Western's most potent rival in the terri- 
tory already covered in great part by both roads and in the terri- 
tory that each concern eventually hoped to cover. There were pro- 

131 T II E W A R Y E A n S 

posals of amalgamation, of pro-rating, of by one road of 
the other. Soinetiincs there was exceeding friendship and cooperation 
between the two boards ; at other times accusations of varying na- 
ture were hurled back and forth and a director of the Milwaukee, 
passing a director of the North Western, would look the other way 
— and vice versa. 

But at the time of Henry Keep's death, a lengthy truce had ex- 
isted, and Milwaukee directors were serving on the Board of the 
North Western, and North Western directors were serving on the 
Board of the Milwaukee. And among the Milwaukeeans doing duty 
on the other side of the fence when President Keep passed away w-as 
Alexander jMitchcll, the hardheaded Glasgow Scot who had climbed 
from penniless emigrant boy to president of the Milwaukee. 

Mitchell, grandfather of the famous flying general, "Billy" INIitch- 
ell, managed to get himself elected president of the North Western 
at the first directors' meeting following Keep's death — September 1, 
1869. He was now president of two great competing lines and 
easily the most formidable figure in middle western railroad circles. 
The North Western stockholders didn't like it; the Milwaukee 
.stockholders probably did. But enough hell was raised between the 
date of Mitchell's election and the next annual meeting to unseat 
him and send him back to the Milwaukee. John F. Tracy was elected 
president in his place. 

On the morning of March 1, 1872, a tall, good-looking, broad- 
shouldered young man entered Tracy's outer office and was immedi- 
ately ushered in to the president. Half an hour later an office memo 
advised all employees that Marvin Hughitt, thirty-four-year-old 
general manager of the Pullman Palace Car Company, had been 
appointed general superintendent of the system. 

The curtain had risen on the North Western's second "^lan of 


lapter^ ^6 


What james j. hill was to the Northern Pacific, what Collis P. Hunting- 
ton was to the Southern Pacific, what Sir William Van Home was to the 
Canadian Pacific, and what Henry B. Plant was to the Atlantic Coast 
Line, Marvin Hughitt was to the Chicago and North Western. Though 
the Illinois Central claims him ... as one of its products, the name of 
Hughitt is and ever will be inseparably linked with the development of 
the great Chicago and North Western System with which he had been 
continuously identified for the last fifty-five years of his life and which 
was under his unchallenged direction for thirty-eight years.* 

Marvin Hughitt was destined for success under any circum- 
stances. He had made rapid strides in railroading while still in his 
early twenties, but strangely enough it was a crucial battle of the 
Civil War that thrust him into greatness. 

The identity of the ultimate victor of tlie Civil War — in the 
spring of 1862 — was anybody's guess. Shiloh (April 5 to 7) was 
wholesale slaughter on both sides with no benefit ; possibly a Con- 
federate failure but certainly no complete Union victory, because 
it was not followed up. ^Miat accomplishment there was for the lat- 
ter belonged to Don Carlos Buell, who rolled up to the battle line 
on the morning of April 7 with 20,000 fresh troops and enabled 
Halleck to take the offensive, forcing Beauregard and Johnston 
(A. S.) to retire on Corinth. 

The Federal high command was well aware that Buell's troops 
would be needed from the time battle was joined. The reinforce- 
ments — infantry, cavalry, artillery, munitions, and supplies — had 

* From "The Story of Marvin Hughitt," written for the Illinois Central Maga- 
zine by Associate Editor Carlton J. Corliss and published in its issue of September, 



to be rushed through Ccntrah'a, Tllinois to Cairo over a single track 
of the Illinois Central. Could it bo done in time for Hallcck, Grant, 
and Pope — thus aided — to throw back the Southerners? 

The answer was up to a youthful trainmaster headquartered at 
Centralia — twenty-five-year-old Marvin Hughitt, a New York State 
farniboy who, at the age of fourteen, had persuaded his parents to 
permit him to go to Auburn, the county seat, and there learn to 
operate the invention of Professor Morse for the transmission of 
messages over strung wires. While he learned, he followed the pro- 
cedure for both existence and education taken by so many telegraph 
operators who became great executives — he delivered messages. At 
the age of seventeen, while he was operating a key at Albany, his 
speed was noticed b}' Judge John D. Caton, organizer of the Illinois 
and Mississippi Telegraph Company. The judge hired j'oung Hugh- 
itt for his Chicago office, and he became one of the first two teleg- 
raphers employed in that city. He was a superintendent before his 
nineteenth birthday. 

A few months later Marvin Hughitt was appointed superintendent 
of telegraph and train despatcher for the St. Louis, Alton and Chi- 
cago Railroad, now the Chicago and Alton. He remained with the 
Chicago and Alton until January, 1862, when the Illinois Central, 
desperately in need of eflicient trainmasters and telegraphers be- 
cause of its heavy troop-train movements, engaged him for its 
southern division. Hughitt was in his office at Centralia when Gen- 
eral Halleck sent out his hurry call for reinforcements. The youth- 
ful trainmaster's job was to get an army to Cairo. 

He was the boss- — but he would not delegate the job to any sub- 
ordinate. For thirty-six straight hours he sat at the despatcher's 
table, glued to his instrument, keeping the trains moving far faster 
than the government or Halleck had hoped for. When he staggered 
out of his chair every designated soldier, horse, and gun, and every 
piece of equipment had been detrained at Cairo.* 

Keauregard retreated — and Johnston was killed; Halleck failed 
to follow up. Had he done so, the verdict of many military experts 
— from then up till now — has been that he would have cut the Con- 
federacy in two and immeasurably shortened the war. President Lin- 

* Corliss, The Story of Marvin Ilughitt. 


coin demanded relief for the Unionists in eastern Tennessee. Marvin 
Hughitt had hardly rested after accomplishing his despatching 
feat, when he was called upon to duplicate it ; he had to shoot an- 
other army east through Centralia, and time was again of the es- 
sence. He sat down to his key for another stretch of thirty-six hours 
and when he rose the job had been done. He received the thanks of 
President Lincoln and of the Secretary of War. He was made super- 
intendent of the southern division of the Illinois Central and three 
years later, at the age of twenty-eight, he was appointed general 
superintendent of the road — the youngest man ever to hold such a 
position on a major line. He remained with the Illinois Central for 
five years when the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul offered him 
the job of assistant general manager. 

Things were not to Marvin Hughitt's liking on the Milwaukee, 
and a year later he accepted the post of general manager of the 
Pullman Palace Car Company. It did not take him long to realize 
that he preferred building and developing railroad track to build- 
ing railroad cars — no matter how sumptuous — and after a year's 
service he parted company with George Pullman with the best of 
wishes on both sides. Hughitt then took over the general superintend- 
ency of the Chicago and North Western — a job that had been offered 
him twice before over the passage of four years. 

At the age of thirty-eight Hughitt became general manager of 
the road; four years later he was made a vice-president. In 1882 he 
was elected president of the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and 
Omaha at the time it became the principal subsidiary of the Chicago 
and North Western. Later, as they passed into control of the Chi- 
cago and North Western, he became president of the Fremont, Elk- 
horn and Missouri Valle}- ; the Sioux City and Pacific ; and the Mil- 
waukee, Lake Shore and Western. He was made president of the 
North Western in June, 1887. 

To Barret Conway, vice-president and secretary of the North 
Western, who was secretary to the president for thirteen years, from 
June, 1902, to August, 1915, we are indebted for the following inti- 
mate paragraphs regarding Hughitt : 

From 1887 until 1910, when Mr. Hughitt resigned the presidency and 
assumed the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors, he operated 


a one-man road. Even after he became Chairman of the Board, he still 
remained the very active head of tlie property, At the time it was pre- 
dicted that tlie change of title would mean little in the way of shelving 
of responsibility and active management by Mr. Hughitt, and so it turned 
out to be. The new president was obliged to continue to defer to Mr. 
Hughitt on questions of policy and details of management. Not until he 
reluctantly relinquished the helm in June 1925, at the age of nearly 88, 
and accepted the somewhat honorary title of Chairman of the Finance 
Committee (which he held until the day of his death), was anyone else 
the head of the North Western Railway save Marvin Hughitt. During his 
38 years of active, firm control, he shaped its policies and guided its 
course. Under him the railroad grew and expanded. The administration 
of its affairs and its well-being absorbed his ever)' thought and attention. 
It was often said of him that he had just two interests in life: one, his 
family, and the other, the North Western Railway. He seemed not to 
know how to play, and wasted no precious time in frivolous pursuits but 
devoted his spare time to good reading: history, biography and philoso- 
phy. Having had little formal schooling, through wide reading he became 
self-educated and highly cultured. Even so, he is said to have stated that 
he would have given his right arm for a college education. He was deeply 
religious and a regular church attendant; dignified, courtly, impressive, 
not easily approachable but withal kind, considerate, and a most inter- 
esting, well-informed conversationalist. 

Although he insisted at all times upon strict observance of all govern- 
mental laws and requirements, he was impatient of the restraints imposed 
by ever increasing governmental regulation. Anent his insistence on high 
ethics and conformity with all laws and regulations, one of his vice-presi- 
dents made the lugubrious comment: "Yes, we are highly moral, but mean- 
while the (naming a certain irritating competitor) is getting the 

business." As early as 1907, when new teeth were put into the Interstate 
Commerce Act and some of the states also enlarged and strengthened 
their railroad laws and regulations, Mr. Hughitt was heard to agree with 
a brother railroad president that the government was "fast taking all of 
the fun out of the railroad business." Federal Control of the Nation's 
railroads during World War I was a bitter pill. He chafed and fumed 
at governmental waste, woeful neglect of maintenance and operating in- 
efficiency. When that sad period was ended, he lost no time in resuming 
control and inaugurating measures to rehabilitate and restore the prop- 
erty. If Mr. Hughitt had lived to see the depression of the 1930s, which 
precipitated trusteeship and subsequent reorganization of the North 
Western Company, and the rash of federal controls and restrictions im- 


posed by alphabetical bureaus during the New Deal regime, that soul- 
trying period would have been another sad blow for him. On the other 
hand, he would have had enormous pride in the magnificent record which 
his beloved North Western, in common with all other railroads of the 
country, made in carrying the staggering transportation burden of World 
War II. 

It is not generally known that at an early time, before the establish- 
ment of friendly, agreeable arrangements with the Union Pacific Railroad 
for the exchange of traffic at Council Bluffs and Omaha and when the 
Union Pacific was being a bit difficult about interchange with the Sioux 
City and Pacific road at Fremont, Mr. Hughitt caused a reconnaissance 
to be made for an extension of the North Western line from its then 
Wj'oming terminus, through the Wind River ^Mountains of that state, 
pointing towards the Pacific coast. The subsequent traffic tie-up with 
the Union Pacific caused the reconnaissance report to be filed and for- 
gotten. The prospect of costly construction through rugged mountain 
terrain was doubtless also a factor in the shelving of the report. Some 
wiseacres have stated that ^Ir. Hughitt missed his chance to acquire the 
Union Pacific Railroad for the North Western when the former's finan- 
cial difficulties of the early 1890s threw the company into receivership 
which culminated in its reorganization in 1897, at which time E. H. Harri- 
man appeared on the scene and put the Union Pacific upon the way to 
its subsequent glory. It has been stated in explanation that Mr. Hughitt 
was a Director of the Union Pacific at the time and had some close con- 
nection with the Kuhn-Loeb reorganization committee, which prevented 
his taking advantage of the golden opportunity. It is not known certainly, 
however, that he or anyone else then connected with the North Western 
recognized the opportunity which, if seized, would undoubtedly have 
magnificently enlarged the road's fortunes and destiny. 

When the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Company was 
building its Pacific coast extension, Mr. Hughitt was taunted for letting 
the Milwaukee people get the jump on him. After intensive study of 
population, agricultural, industrial and topographical statistics of the 
northwestern region already served by two fine railroads — the Northern 
Pacific and Great Northern — Mr. Hughitt was confirmed in his resolve 
to, as he expressed it, "stick to our knitting, develop this railroad In its 
present territory and let the ^Milwaukee build to the coast if it wants to." 
He predicted that the Milwaukee's extension would prove to be a heavy 
financial burden and would very probably bring trouble in its wake, and 
so it turned out when the INIilwaukee went into receivership in 1925 and 
was reorganized in 1927. 


lapter / 7 


In spite of the fact that the Galena and Chicago Union had started 
out as a "farmers' railroad," the North Western was plagued in the 
seventies bj Granger legislation designed to control railroad profits. 
Railroads, by this time, were "big business"; and although the 
farmers still invested in railroad stocks, they felt they were not get- 
ting a fair deal. 

The Grange, as it came to be called, was the brain child of Oliver 
Hudson Kelly, a post-office clerk in the Federal capitol. Kelly came 
of farming folks and although he elected to become a pen-pusher his 
sympatliies were always for the plow-pushers ; he considered every 
railroad an octopus, fattening on the proceeds of agriculture with- 
out giving the producer his fair share. On top of that he opined, not 
without reason, that the farmer was the biggest individual investor 
in the construction of proposed roads and deserved a better deal. 
Farmers, concluded Kelly — again not without reason — were the 
eventual losers when receiverships and reorganizations came along, 
and he waxed particularly angry when he thought of the closing of 
farm mortgages when the owners of the land had pledged their 
property as security for railroad stock. 

Kelly talked another post-office clerk, William Ireland, into his 
way of thinking, and they gathered a third disciple in William Saun- 
ders, also a government clerk but employed in the Agricultural 
Bureau. The trio incorporated the "Patrons of Husbandry" and 
gathered into the fold a St. Paul spellbinder. Colonel D. A. Robert- 
son, who went off "to set the prairies afire with oratory." Robertson 
changed the name of the organization to the Grange. Shouting his 
way through the Northwest and the Middle West for four years, he 
built up a powerful organization composed entirely of farmers and 



managed by farmers. The main object — you might say the only 
object — of the Grange was regulation of the railroads by the people 
who had granted the charters through their duly elected representa- 
tives in the Legislatures. 

In the Wisconsin State Legislature of 1874, Senator R. L. D. 
Potter introduced the first Granger law. The preceding eighteen 
months had been sad ones for many farmers — nor had they been 
particularly bright months for the railroads. In Wisconsin alone, 
3,785 farm mortgages valued at over $-1,000,000 had been fore- 
closed ; many of these mortgages were railroad-owned. The Potter 
Act fixed arbitrary rates for freight transported in the state and 
cut passenger rates to three cents per mile, first class, and two cents 
second class.* 

The railroad attorneys attacked the bill on constitutional grounds, 
holding that nobody but the roads had the right to fix transporta- 
tion charges. The reply of the bill's supporters was that the roads 
were quasi-public industries and had accepted public land grants. 
The people of Wisconsin divided themselves into two camps — as is 
usual between those who have and those who have not. Northern 
Wisconsin, still to get its railroads, was for the railroads; southern 
Wisconsin, beginning to think in the light of lost farms and bank- 
rupt lines that it had too many roads, was for the Potter Act. Writ- 
ten into the bill was something that particularly infuriated the rail- 
roads : members of the Legislature, state officers, and judges were 
to be carried free; not only were the solons out to slice the fares of 
the common people, but they wanted free passes for doing so ! 

Despite the desperate lobbying and legal work of the railroads, 
the Potter Bill became law in the same session that had witnessed its 
presentation. The final draft, as enacted, put maximum first-class 
fare at four cents per mile. The measure was signed by Governor 
W. D. Taylor, who had been elected to office by the now powerful 
Grange on a promise along these lines. The North Western and 
the other roads concerned did not adjust their tariffs to conform 
until compelled, some six months later, to do so by injunction handed 
down by Chief Justice Edward G. Ryan of the Wisconsin Supreme 

* Derleth, August, The Milwaukee Road, Creative Age Press, Inc., New York, 


Court. Appeal was taken to tlie United States Supreme Court, but 
never reached that body. 

The railroads concerned, working together — for the menace to 
all was very clear throughout the land — let it be known far and wide 
that the Potter Law meant the cessation of railroad building not 
only in Wisconsin but in near-by states and to the West, the East, 
the North, and the South. The country was slowly recovering from 
the panic of 1873; people were beginning to move again; settlers 
wished to get out into the far places. True to their strategy, the 
roads cut down service. Wall Street and other eastern money centers 
expressed doubt as to the wisdom of investment in existing roads 
and projected roads ; the buttle between the Grange and the lines 
was on again full blast despite the fact that tlie latter had conformed 
to the tariff cuts. 

In 187(5 a Rejoublican governor, Harrison Ludington, was elected, 
and with him a Republican majority took over in both houses of the 
Wisconsin Legislature. The governor, in his first message, eloquently 
pleaded the financial plight into which the Potter Law had thrust 
the railroads ; he pointed out that the state was not even 25 per 
cent developed in the matter of this very necessary sort of trans- 
portation — and that he was talking of present population and not 
of population to come, which population assuredly would not come 
unless the railroads built on. Governor Ludington concluded his 
address with a plea for repeal of the Potter Law and passage of the 
Vance Bill — which provided for a supervising commissioner, re- 
pealed the legislation of 1874, and left rates as they liad been before 
the Grange's short-lived victory. 

The Vance Bill became law in double-quick time, halting state and 
even Federal railroad regulation for long years to come. 

The North Western's annual report for 1877 pointed with pride: 

The three main lines of the company's railway and their ramifications 
cover the quadrant of a circle whose radius of over 500 miles sweeps to 
the north, northwest and west from Chicago. Nearly every variety of 
production and industry incident to the vigorous activity of that country, 
from Lake Superior on the north to the transcontinental traffic via Oraalia 
on the west, is embraced witliin the limits of tliese enclosing lines. 


The iron ore, the copper, stone, minerals and timber of the Upper 
Peninsula of Michigan ; the manufactures, agriculture, commerce and 
immense lumber interests of Wisconsin ; the extensive wlieat-growing 
prairies of jNIinnesota and Dakota, and the great and diversified products 
of some of the fairest and most thriving portions of Illinois and Iowa, 
from the lakes to the Missouri River, all contribute in greater or less 
degree to the volume of traffic which supports our revenues. 

A fine recovery indeed from the slough of despond into which the 
road had admitted being plunged by the Potter Law ! 

In 1877, construction of an important branch commenced; this 
was the Menominee River Railroad from a connection southwest of 
Escanaba, IMichigan, and designed to furtlier open up the rich min- 
ing regions. Completed between Powers and Quinnesec, a distance 
of about twenty-five miles, it was extended between 1877 and 1882 
over the state line into Wisconsin and served various mining set- 
tlements at Florence, Wisconsin, and Crystal Falls, Iron River 
Junction, Stambaugh, Narenta, and Metropolitan — all in Michigan ; 
the latter two settlements linked up the Menominee with the Esca- 
naba and Lake Superior Railway. 

The results of the fiscal year ending May 31, 1878, were eminently 
satisfactory. The net earnings of the road, with its leased and pro- 
prietary lines, were $2,464,487.16 — more than twice as much as 
those of the previous year. Marvin Hughitt, now general manager 
of the road, was gradually replacing iron rails with steel, having by 
this time covered, two-thirds of the trackage; all newly built lines 
and extensions were steel-railed. By 1885, with a total mileage of 
3,843.31, steel rails were laid over 3,302.06 miles. 

Incidentally, while on the subject of steel rails, the Chicago and 
North Western was the first American road to test out the refine- 
ment for track purposes. We quote from Maintenance of Way and 
Structure by William C. Willard, assistant professor of railway 
engineering at McGill University : 

The first steel rails made in America, six in number, were rolled in 
May, 1865, at the North Chicago Rolling INIill from ingots of Bessemer 
steel cast at the Wyandotte mills, near Detroit. These rails were placed on 
the track of the Chicago and North Western and are known to have car- 


ried traffic for over ten years, but there is no record of when the_v were 
finally removed. The first rails rolled in America were patterned after 
those rolled in England and had a height of four to four and a half 
inches with a comparatively thin head and thick base. 

Witli a view of diminishing' the number of corporations and sepa- 
rate organizations included in the system controlled and operated by 
the company, an effort was made during 1881 to bring together, 
capitalize, and merge, under authority of law, the various properties 
situated in each state, so far as could be conveniently effected inde- 
pendently of the organization of the Chicago and North Western 

The Elgin and State Line Railroad Company', the St. Charles 
Railroad Company, and the State Line and Union Railroad Com- 
pany, in the states of Illinois and Wisconsin, were consolidated 
under the name of the Elgin and State Line Railroad Company'. 

The Chicago and Milwaukee Railway Company, the Northwestern 
Union Railway Company, the Milwaukee and Madison Railway Com- 
pany', the Chicago and Tomah Railroad Company (which had prcvi- 
ousl}' been merged with the Galena and Wisconsin Railroad Com- 
pany), and the Sheboygan and Western Railway Company were 
consolidated in the states of Illinois and Wisconsin, under the name 
of the Chicago, Milwaukee and North Western Railway Company. 

The Menominee River Railroad Company in Michigan, and the 
Menominee Railway Company in Wisconsin were consolidated under 
the name of the Menominee River Railroad Company in both states. 

The Winona and St. Peter Railroad Company, the Plainview 
Railroad Company, the Chatfield Railroad Company, the Rochester 
and Northern Minnesota Railway Company, the Minnesota Valley 
Railway Company, and the Chicago and Dakota Railway Company 
were united in Minnesota, and formed the Winona and St. Peter 
Railroad Company. 

In 1882, much was done in the way of construction. The Iowa 
Southwestern was completed, its length being 51.8 miles. The more 
important line of the Toledo and Northwestern Railway was pressed 
forward and practically the entire line was finished during 1883. 
An extension of 71 miles of the St. Peter road in Dakota was also 


commenced in 1SS2, and completed in 1883, as well as extensions of 
the Escanaba and Lake Superior and the Menominee River lines. In 
November, 1882, purchase was made of a majority of the capital 
stock of tlie Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway 
Company.* Delivery and payment were to be made during the sum- 
mer of 1883. The management of this corporation was reorganized 
and placed under the control of the Chicago and North Western 
Company on December 16, 1882. The so-called "Omaha Line" em- 
braced 1,147 miles of well-equipped railroad. 

In 1883, an extension of 78.22 miles was made of the Toledo and 
Northwestern Line, securing connection with the southeastern divi- 
sion of the Dakota Central. During the year, certain proprietary 
lines in Michigan became a part of the Chicago and North Western 
Railway. Two of the branch lines in Wisconsin were absorbed, and 
on June 8, 1883, was effected the consolidation of the Elgin and 
State Line and the Chicago, Milwaukee and North Western Rail- 
ways with the Chicago and North Western. 

During 1884, the following leased and tributary lines, operated 
by the company in Iowa, were purchased: Chicago, Iowa and Ne- 
braska Railroad, from the Mississippi River bridge at Clinton to 
Cedar Rapids ; Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad, from 
Cedar Rapids to Council Bluffs, these two constituting the main line 
across the state, and the Maple River Railroad, a valuable connec- 
tion running into northwestern Iowa — a total of 487.97 miles. Con- 
trol was acquired through purchase of the capital stock of the fol- 
lowing: the Sioux City and Pacific Railroad, from Sioux City to 
California Junction near Missouri Valley, thence across the Missouri 
River to a connection with the Fremont, Elkhorn, Missouri Valley 
at Fremont, Nebraska ; the Missouri Valley and Blair Railway and 
Bridge Company, owning the bridge and its approaches over the 
Missouri River at Blair; and the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri 
Valley Railroad, from Fremont to Valentine, near Fort Niobrara, 
Nebraska, with the Creighton branch, 311 miles; total, 418.42 miles 
of tributaries, and the Blair Bridge property. 

In pursuance of the company's policy to reduce the number of 
its minor corporations, the properties of the Iowa Midland Railway 

* See separate chapter on the Omaha. 

THE w A n V F. A n s 

Company; Stanwood and Tipton Railway Company; Dcs IVIoincs 
and Minneapolis Railroad Conii)any; Ottuinwa, Cedar Falls and 
St. Paul Railwaj' Company ; and Iowa Southwestern Railway Com- 
pany were acquired by purchase in October, 1884, by the Chicago 
and North Western Railway Company. 

CJ art Kjfu 




lanter /S 


While the North Western was justifiably taking pride in its 
increased business during the seventies and prudently consolidating 
many of its smaller lines, pioneer construction was still under way 
in Wisconsin and Minnesota. But now it had taken on a broader 
significance. The Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha was 
to emerge as an important railroad. And the North Western was 
to take a new interest in the Minnesota railroads as a jumping-off 
place for extension of its lines into the Dakotas. 

Nobody in the Middle West or along the route of rails toward 
the Pacific needed to be told any more about the speedy miracles of 
transportation. Minnesota had had a series of sad experiences and 
to a lesser degree so had Wisconsin and Iowa and Missouri. But 
when one would-be Ogden found bankruptcy at the end of his hastily 
built right of way, there were alwaj's a few score waiting to take up 
his burden. So, presently, hopeful little railways were extending out 
of undistinguished hamlets all over the Mississippi Valley. Where 
they were bound for only their promoters would have dared to say, 
but it was obvious that the bulk of them came of ambitious parent- 
age. They were all, a casual observer must have gathered, destined 
to run as far as dry land would let them. 

In one thing at least their imposing names were all alike : the Bird 
Center, Pig's Eye and Pacific ; the Corntown, Chicago, New Orleans, 
Minneapolis and Pacific ; the This, That or Other and Pacific. Few 
of them reached an adult stature of as much as thirty miles. 

In Minnesota the state had been compelled to take over the rail- 
road properties when the operating companies couldn't lay track or 
meet their obligations. In adjoining communities the state wasn't 
involved, but the process seems to have been just about the same 



and just as continuous. So the roster of the rails took on new con- 
fusion with the addition of new names for new companies and new 
aliases for old ones. 

In Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, the jumble of little railroads going 
nowhere was quite as purposeless and as extensive as in Minnesota 
until the 1857 panic that speculation had engendered wiped most 
of them out. The North Western, absorbing a line here and a line 
there and building suitable connecting links, had gone far afield 
from the little avenue of strap iron that Ogden and the Illinois 
farmers started to build in IS-iS. By 18G4' it had extended itself well 
up into northern Wisconsin and was over the Mississippi River at 
Clinton. But of even greater importance to the founder's jjlans for 
opening up the Northwest Territory was its arrival in the midst of 
the Minnesota chaos in 1867. 

The chaos, as has been mentioned, was straightening out a bit. 
After several false starts, the land grant railroads were moving 
north, south, and west from St. Paul. The Minnesota Valley was 
actually in operation as far as Lake Crystal below Mankato. The 
Winona and St. Peter Railroad Company, subsidized by a valuable 
state land grant in 1863, was able to get a quantity of cash out of 
D. N. Barney and Company and eventually to lay down 102 miles 
of road westward from Winona. This was the property acquired by 
the North Western on October 31, 18G7. 

The new owners immediately began to push the line westward 
toward the Dakota Territory. 

Old-timers must have stood amazed at the illogical brashness of 
this venture. It was one thing to take over a road in southern Min- 
nesota, traversing a lush farming area and linking dozens of vigor- 
ous and well-established communities. It was another to strike out 
into an expanse of prairie land in the Sioux country where there 
were no towns, no farms, no produce, and virtually no white inhabi- 
tants save trappers and soldiers and less easily identified adven- 
turers. The terminal objective was Fort Pierre on the Missouri. And 
the most enthusiastic of empire builders might have wondered at 
that, too. Fort Pierre was already in touch with the outer world by 
means of steamboats running north from Omaha. (Its business as 
late as 1870 was merely that of a military post.) Prairie lands 
stretched to the east of it for a couple of hundred miles to the Min- 


nesota settlements and west to the mysterious — almost mythical — 
Black Hills. North Western scouts, including William Butler Ogden 
himself, had ridden horseback over much of this area and had been 
able to report that the sod of the prairies along the Missouri looked 
much like the sod that had been broken to the plow in Wisconsin, 
Minnesota, and Iowa. AVhether the soil beneath would grow anything 
but buffalo grass they did not know. They could only hope. 

The rails went on past Mankato and New Ulm and Tracy toward 
Lake Benton and the state line and the great unknown. Those were 
the days when to run a railroad you had to have the sort of vision 
denied to people who didn't run railroads, and moreover you had to 
have a swashbuckler's daring. 

For a couple of years the drive toward Dakota was the North 
Western's only interest in Minnesota. But in retrospect, it appears 
that a number of uncorrelated influences were building up what was 
to become one of the most important parts of its network in the 
Mississippi Valley. 

For one thing, there was the Tomah and Lake St. Croix Railroad 
Company or the La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad Company or 
the W^estern Wisconsin Railroad Company, or whatever you choose 
to call it. 

Its principal mission under tlie charter granted by the state of 
Wisconsin was to build a line from Tomah to Lake St. Croix. As the 
Western Wisconsin in 1870 it was given a charter amendment au- 
thorizing the construction of a road to the south edge of the state. 
Two years later JNIinnesota granted permission for the building of a 
bridge across Lake St. Croix. In 1876 Wisconsin legalized an exten- 
sion of its line from Warren's Mills to Elroy. In 1878 it was virtu- 
ally bankrupt and sold out to a syndicate headed by H. H. Porter, 
David Dows, and Walston H. Brown. It was reorganized as the 
Chicago, St. Paul and Minneapolis Railway Company. 

Across the river in lower Minnesota was the St. Paul and Sioux 
City Railroad Company, formerly the Root River and Southern 
Minnesota and more recently the Minnesota Valley Railroad. By 
1878 it was approaching the southwest corner of the state. At Heron 
Lake it made a junction with the grandiosely titled Minnesota and 
Black Hills road which had crawled westward about forty miles. 

Somewhat farther south it encountered the Worthington and 


Sioux Falls Railroad (previously known by other names) which 
had been authorized by act of Congress to extend its road from 
Minnesota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and had done so. These 
lines, together with the St. Paul, Stillwater and Taylor Falls Rail- 
road (28 miles), the Hudson and River Falls Railroad (12 miles), 
and the Omaha and North Nebraska (63 miles) were all merged into 
the St. Paul and Sioux City system in 1879. 

And finally, or nearly so, there was the North Wisconsin Railway 
Company, incorporated by the state of Wisconsin in 1871, to build 
a road between St. Croix Lake and Lake Superior. It got on with its 
work until 1880 when it was consolidated with the Chicago, Saint 
Paul and Minneapolis Railway Company under the name of Chicago, 
Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway Company. In 1881 
this new organization took over the St. Paul and Sioux City road 
with all its newly acquired ramifications. And in 1882 the Chicago 
and North Western Railway Company got control of the majority 
stock in the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha System. 
The dream of William Butler Ogden was taking on a tangible pat- 

When the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway 
Company came into being in 1880, the citizens of St. Paul and Min- 
neapolis were predicting— on somewhat meager evidence — that the 
railroad had come to stay. Another road had been linked up with 
Chicago, but, more importantly, there was now a band of steel be- 
tween the Twin Cities and Lake Superior. 

The newspapers greeted the event as an occasion for great local 
rejoicing. Once more there were long discussions in print of how, 
with this new outlet to the sea, St. Paul was destined to become the 
great rail center of the United States. Other lines had brought civ- 
ilization to the outlands and increasing trade to the river settlements. 
But this big consolidation would bring Minnesota squarely into the 
world's markets. This line was truly what its name implied, IMinne- 
apolis's railroad and St. Paul's railroad. 

Only one small item in the structure of the Chicago, Saint Paul, 
Minneapolis and Omaha Railway Company seems to have been over- 
looked. As the result of having acquired, among other lines, the Hud- 
son and River Falls Railway Company, the headquarters of the 


Omaha system were not in St. Paul or Minneapolis or even in Minne- 
sota. They were over the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wisconsin, one 
of the original points of the line. 

So it was to Hudson, Wisconsin, that the directors of the Chicago, 
Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway traveled to their first 
board meeting. Nobody mentioned very loudly that there was some 
sort of trouble on their connecting link between the St. Croix bridge 
and St. Paul. Nor was it entered in the minutes that President H. H. 
Porter and directors Jacob Humbird, John A. Humbird, David 
Dows, Philetus Sawyer, Edgar P. Sawyer, R. P. Flower, R. R. Cable, 
and W^. H. Ferry had to ride to the meeting aboard a stagecoach 
from Stillwater. 

Just how far the little Galena and Chicago Union had come from 
its first stop in Oak Park was evidenced in Albert Keep's presiden- 
tial report for 1882: 

The system embraced by the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and 
Omaha Railway Company at the time of the purchase covered 1,147 
miles of well-equipped railroad, extending from ^Minneapolis and St. 
Paul southeast to a connection with the road of this company (the Chi- 
cago and North Western) at EIroy; northwestwardly to Bayfield and 
Superior City on Lake Superior; southwestwardly to Sioux City, Eastern 
Nebraska, Omaha, and the Union Pacific Railroad, and, by its southern 
connection at the Iowa state line, opened to the Toledo and North West- 
ern railway and all the Iowa roads of this company direct communication 
for the interchanging transportation of grain, cattle, coal, lumber and 
other products of Iowa and Minnesota. . . • The property of the Chi- 
cago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway Company was much 
improved and enlarged under its former management, and some of its 
lines had become indispensable and others greatly necessary to the in- 
tegrity and completeness of the Chicago and North Western System in 
the northwest. . . . 

Like many another railroad president before him and since. Keep 
seems a little formal about discussing the miracles he has seen — a 
little self-conscious and fearful lest somebody accuse him of brag- 
ging. But the point of the matter is that he actually saw the mira- 
cles and had his own part in their performance. The greatest and 
most expensive jigsaw puzzle from the beginning of such things until 
1882 had been completely and efficiently assembled. From the second- 


hand odds and ends of a couple of dozen little railroads designed to 
run only between brokerages offices and bankruptcy courts, the 
North Western's salvage crews had evolved one of the most remark- 
able transportation sj'stcms in the world. 

At last they had contrived a direct line between Ciiicago and Min- 
neapolis and St. Paul. Another direct line linked Omaha and the 
Twin Cities. And there were others : Chicago to Sioux City ; Winona 
to the Missouri River; Chicago to Lincoln, Nebraska; ]\Iinncapolis 
to Des Moines ; Ciiicago to Appleton ; Chicago to Duluth and the 
iron and copper country and tlie Upper Peninsula of Michigan; Chi- 
cago to Omaha and by througii sleeping cars to the Pacific coast. 

The Chicago and North Western and the Chicago, Saint Paul, 
Minneapolis and Omaha systems made a close-meshed grid across 
northwestern Wisconsin, southern Minnesota, and northern Iowa, 
crossing each other seventeen times. By a revolution in transport 
they had made over the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in 
the Middle West. And now they were moving out once more toward 
the emptiness of tiie great plains and the unknown hazards of the 
broad Miss-oo-rye. 


'lapter ^9 


When Minnesota was made a state in 1858, the white population 
in the Dakota Territory adjoining was purely theoretical. Pierre 
Chouteau, a trapper, had ventured into the Missouri Valley near the 
junction of the Sioux in 1856 and had brought some sort of entour- 
age with him. His camjj was probably the first civilian settlement 
in the region. 

The great land stampede that had outnumbered if not outdis- 
tanced the gold rushes of the forties and fifties had stopped some- 
what short of the Dakota Territory. Wisconsin and Minnesota may 
have been a wilderness, but they had been friendly lands of fertile 
promise. Broad river systems had given them an accessibility even 
through forest lands where roads would be long arriving. The scat- 
tering Indian tribes had been ajjathetic or peaceful or easily sub- 

The land of the Dakotas was different. It was harder to reach. 
True, the Missouri River led into it, and steamboats operated on the 
Missouri. But excejjt for the military, there were no scheduled opera- 
tions to jumping-off places up in Montana or intermediate sectors. 
There was no great network of rivers to give settlements a sense 
of being linked with other settlements and to provide some means 
of communication with markets. The Missouri's tributaries were 
twisting and shallow, turbulent or dry depending on the season, 
but rarely navigable. The mighty Red River on the east side of the 
territory ran north and south and flowed into Canada, and offered 
few advantages to pioneers inland hundreds of miles west. 

The Dakotas were vast, treeless plains surrounded by empty 
horizons. They seemed lonelier than the wooded hinterlands of the 
upper Mississippi because anyone standing in them could be in no 


1 66 T H E L A S T F It O N T I E R 

doubt about liis own isolation. In a forest one might live in the 
hope that tlie next turn of the trail would reveal a clearing and 
human habitation. On a Dakota prairie one experienced no such 
delusion. There weren't any trails. There wouldn't be any human 
habitations. If you walked fifty yards west of the Missouri's right 
bank you had the uncanny sense of entering into another world. No 
wliitc man had ever been here before you. Most likely no human foot 
had trod the soil on whicli you stood — not since the beginning of 

And this was truly Indian country. After the ]Minnesota Valley 
uprisings of 1862, the Sioux had been driven into Dakota to a 
sketchily defined reservation in what the natives now call the "west 
river country." Cavalry rode herd on them mostly to see that they 
did not venture back beyond the Minnesota pale of settlement. But 
generally they were allowed to roam about pretty much as they 
pleased, and few homeseekers craved their company. 

As has been said, nobody gave much thought to the natural re- 
sources of this weird land. The old cry was echoing once more : What 
price crops when you can't sell them to anybody? The boom that 
was one day to put the world's wheat center in the middle of Dakota 
Territory was a long time getting under way. 

It cannot be said, however, that the few settlers in this region 
were without initiative and resourcefulness. Witness their early 
political activities. 

Without wishing to detract from the stature of the western pio- 
neer as a person of courage and amazing durability, it is still 
possible to say that the picture of him in moving pictures, school 
histories, and patriotic speeches is somewhat distorted. He is repre- 
sented usually as a starry-e^'ed if not fanatical idealist. He has 
come from Sweden or Ireland or ]\Ionaco just to make a still more 
glorious country out of the United States which he has learned some- 
how to love. His is the mission to labor unselfishly, to suffer and 
fight, that the principles of freedom and democracy shall be estab- 
lished here in the wilderness for all time. Patiently he carries on, 
come hell or high water, not for himself but for the everlasting bless- 
ing of millions yui unborn. Anyway, that's how it reads in tlie 

As a matter of fact, j'our pioneer was a iiard-bittcn realist wiio 


wouldn't have survived if he had been anything else. His conception 
of a free country was one in which he could go around being a hard- 
bitten realist and make it pay. 

He came to America and spread out into the hinterlands with very 
little worry about the untold millions yet unborn — hardly any at 
all. His concern was for himself and his immediate family. Here was 
a chance to pick up the little piece of land that he never could have 
had in his homeland. He would have to pay for it with hard work 
and hard living. But what of that? He was used to work and dis- 
comfort at home. The land was fertile — so he had heard. It would 
raise fabulous crops and would bring wealth to him in his declining 
years. And, if farming bored him as it sometimes did, he was under 
no compulsion to stay behind a wooden plow. There were other op- 
portunities on the frontier. A man with ambition and intelligence 
could do well for himself in trade, in crafts, in politics. 

There is no doubt that the hardy pioneer was the greatest of our 
citizens, a man of high moral character, prodigious physical force, 
and unbelievable resilience. He had to be to protect himself against 
land agents, Indians, and other pioneers. But somewhere, somehow, 
he saw a practical side to the ideal of democracy. He loved freedom 
well enough to fight for it — as he did heroically and in great num- 
bers in the Civil War. But it is hardly right to say that he loved 
it as a noble theory. Rather he loved it as an institution that in 
one way or another paid a dividend. 

When argument over the admission of Minnesota to the Union 
began in Washington in 1857, the echoes of the debate came eventu- 
ally to the land of the Dakotas. The boundary lines of the projected 
state had been pretty well established in previous discussions, and 
it was obvious that the prairie land west of the Red River and Big 
Sioux River, even then loosely called Dakota, would be given identity 
as an administrative unit. The prospect was given a lot of serious 
discussion in the bars of St. Paul and the cavalry posts along the 
Missouri. But it caused no waving of flags or dancing in the streets 
among the worthy citizens of Dakota. The white population of the 
new territory totaled exactly 30 souls. 

Most of these worthy pioneers, for some reason not yet clear, 
had settled in what is now Big Sioux County near Sioux Falls. In 
1858 they were pretty well out of the world, but that should not be 


taken as evidencu tluit tlicy were authfiitic yokt'ls. 'i'liey were not. 

It has been said that they received some instruction in territorial 
politics from men who had held fjovernuient contracts to supply 
military and Indian j)osts in IMinnesota. If so, they learned rapidly 
and well. 

On May 12, the day after Minnesota became a state, the populace 
of Dakota Territory met in caucus. With great solemnity they set 
out to elect a legislature and a governor pro tern. 

In groups of two and three they drove out over the prairie, stop- 
ping every few hundred yards to establish a voting precinct and 
hold an election. The organizers cast not only their own votes but, 
to save time, they voted also in behalf of absent relatives in Sweden 
or Chicago or Heaven. Then they carefully counted the votes, made 
note of the results, and moved on to establish and operate the next 
voting precinct. 

There was little variation in the process throughout the after- 
noon. ^^^len, eventually, the election commissioners reconvened, they 
discovered that they had established a territorial government, com- 
plete with a governor, lower house, and territorial council. They 
drew up a constitution, enacted laws, and arranged for tax levies — 
this time most assuredly for the "generations yet unborn." 

Then they memorialized Congress to recognize their de facto 
government and maintain them in the offices to which they had been 
so painstakingly elected by themselves. They also petitioned that 
Sioux Falls be given official designation as the territorial capital. 

They had more than a year to argue the point before Washington 
took any notice of Dakota Territory's existence and in the end 
nothing came of it — Congress said no. But one of the lesser known 
emoluments of pioneering had been brought out where everybody 
could see it. From then on your plainsman was first a politician and 
then a drawer of water (if any) and a hewer of wood. He has looked 
at public office with a sort of proprietory interest ever since. 



The rails came slowly out of Minnesota to feel their way across 
the Dakota prairies — a great faith behind them and an unreasoning 
hope ahead. 

Elsewhere — in the develojDment of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and 
Minnesota — the people had been first in the wilderness. Communities 
had appeared in the clearings and in the meadowlands at the bends 
of rivers, and crops had been harvested before the coming of the first 

Here in a newer and more lonesome world, everything was changed 
about. Surveyors and graders and gandy dancers were striking out 
into a vast emptiness as wide as the continent of Europe and as far 
from civilization as the plains of Mars. Over the endless carpet of 
grass they were laying out their fretwork of ties and iron. Behind 
them on the far horizon unfamiliar plumes of smoke marked the 
advent of the pot-stacked locomotive that tomorrow would be at 
today's end of the rail, rousing echoes never heard in this land since 
the creation of the world. Swarms of men would come out of nowhere, 
drop their odd loads of wood or stone or metal, and move on toward 
nowhere across the horizon. Presently the trains would be here and 
over the hill after them. And that would be the oddest feature of 
all this odd undertaking because there would be nobody here to 
ride on trains — not today or, some skeptics felt certain, tomorrow, 
or ever. 

The Dakota Southern Railroad Company, over which the redoubt- 
able John I. Blair was presently to trip himself up, was first into the 
territory with a line from Sioux Falls to Yankton which was com- 
pleted and in operation early in 1873. Promoted by Yankton busi- 
nessmen to meet a purely local situation, it could hardly be con- 


1 60 T H E L A S T F U O N TI E R 

sidcrcd a part of the great conquest of the West by steam, altliough 
it played its part. For one thing, it proved tiiat a railroad might 
be run with profit in the territory if people could survive there, and 
its construction was convincing proof to hesitant land-seekers that 
settlers were finally moving into southeastern Dakota's fertile val- 

As has been mentioned elsewhere, the white influx into the land 
of the Dakotas began somewhere near the junction of the Big 
Sioux and the Missouri rivers and extended in a leisurely fashion up 
the Missouri. This was not because land in that region was any 
more promising than elsewhere along the east side of the territory. 
But it was closer to transportation and therefore closer to the 
civilization that newcomers to these parts seemed reluctant to leave. 

The depression of 1873, which was to hamper railroad construc- 
tion in the prairie country for many years, seems to have had its 
midwestern debut in a North Western special train at Winona, Min- 
nesota. There had been considerable progress during the first part 
of the year. The Baraboo Air Line had been completed, connected 
with the La Crosse, Trcmpleau and Prescott road, and opened for 
business to Winona on September 1-i. The Winona and St. Peter 
road was finished to Lake Kampeska in the Dakota Territory and 
was opened by a gala excursion of bankers, merchants, grain brok- 
ers, industrialists, and other important citizens from Chicago, leav- 
ing on Monday, September 15. 

All was good cheer until the party arrived in Winona and got off 
the train for what was to have been a roaring local reception. They 
were met by a harried telegrapher with a message. Jay Cooke & 
Company had failed, and the panic was on. 

Probably no group of men with a more vital interest in the news 
could have been found anywhere in the Mississippi Valley. But de- 
spite anxiety and alarm, most of the traveling tycoons decided to 
go ahead and get what consolation they might out of the develop- 
ment of the West. At St. Peter that same evening they got another 
shock. Another telegram was handed aboard the train, this one stat- 
ing that Chicago was burning down for a second time and that the 
partly rebuilt business district had ah-eady been totally destroyed. 

This time the train was held. Quick telegrams to Chicago proved 
that there was no truth in the report, that it had not originated in 


Chicago, but possibly from Milwaukee, Madison, or St. Paul, and 
nothing more than that was ever learned about it. 

Relieved by one bit of good news to balance the bad, the excur- 
sionists went on to reach Lake Kampeska and what must have looked 
like them to be the ultimate in desolation, the next morning. 

There was little here in a rail end, 64:0 miles from Chicago, sur- 
rounded by Indians and roving herds of buffalo, to make them for- 
get that the financial structure of the whole country was falling 
down. There were virtually no settlers in South Dakota save the fur 
traders along the Missouri. Western Minnesota, through which they 
had just passed, was practically unknown. 

So they went home, to worry about the future of the country, 
through a territory that was to be in one generation one of the rich- 
est in the world. Where the buffaloes had grazed would be trim, fer- 
tile farms with comfortable homes and capacious barns. Land that 
might have been theirs as a gift was in the near future to sell for 
$1,000 an acre. And they had seen not so much the building of a 
railroad as the beginning of a miracle. 

From this point on, according to Doane Robinson,* for many 
years state historian of South Dakota, "railroad building in the 
larger sense was due to the forward vision of Marvin Hughitt, presi- 
dent of the Chicago and North Western line, who after a personal 
inspection of the Dakota prairies concluded that it was good busi- 
ness to extend railroads across them as an inducement to business. 
This had not previously been done except to hold grants of land." 
He continues : 

Following his vision he projected the Dakota Central division of the 
North Western road west from a connection with the Winona and St. 
Peter division at Tracy, Minnesota to Pierre in 1879-80. His theory was 
promptly confirmed by an influx of settlers, which justified the construc- 
tion of the other lines that make up the Chicago and North Western Sys- 
tem east of the Missouri River. 

When Mr. Hughitt announced his plans, the Chicago, Milwaukee and 
St. Paul Railroad, his chief competitor in the northwestern field, accepted 
it as a challenge and forthwith projected its own system into the state. 
In due course other lines followed. . . . 

• Robinson, Doane, Encyclopedia of South Dakota, published by the state of 
South Dakota at Pierre, S.D., 1895. 


It was at this point, in May, 1879, that John Blair came to Yank- 
ton to see about buying a railroad — and met defeat. He was an old 
man, and tlie competition proved to be too much for him. 

John Blair's party consisted of C. E. Vail of Blairstown, New 
Jersey; D. C. Blair, Belden, New Jersey; John Bain, Scranton, 
Pennsylvania; and sundry others who had been identified with him 
in the railroad business.* They had come from the East to meet 
C. G. Wicker and George E. Marchant of the Dakota Southern 
Railroad Company. These men had recently constructed a branch 
line called the Sioux City and Pembina which followed the Big Sioux 
Valley nortliwurd as far us Beloit, Iowa, opjjosite Canton, South 

The line had strategic value to the North Western system. Con- 
struction of a short spur would have connected it with the Omaha's 
east and west road at Sioux Falls. And Blair wanted it. He bought 
52 per cent of the Dakota Southern stock for cash after a brief 
negotiation and changed the title of the road to the Sioux City and 
Dakota Railway Company. After that he did nothing much for a 

Yankton, currently the capital of the territory, was without a 
railroad and possibly seemed a better prospect for exploitation than 
Sioux Falls. At any rate, Blair turned his attention to Yankton. 

At a meeting with the local businessmen and officials he pointed 
out that the Milwaukee road was just about to bring Sioux City 
and Sioux Falls closer to numerous points in the Missouri Valley 
than Yankton. He proposed to extend the Sioux City and Pembina 
branch up the James River to Yankton, providing the people of 
Yankton would build a depot and donate a right of way through 
the county. Yankton agreed. Surveyors came along to plot the 
right of way. But about that time Wicker became restive. He paid 
a visit to Blair. 

He had received an offer from the Milwaukee road, he said, for 
the remaining 48 per cent of his stock. The Milwaukee, he explained, 
was anxious to take over the whole road for which reason he sug- 
gested that Blair sell out to his competitors or buy the 48 per cent 
minority block himself. 

• Kingsbury, G. W., Tlistorii of Dakota Territory, privately printed by Mr. 
Kingsbury "at Yankton, S.D., IHBS. 


What Blair thought of this proposition is difficult to establish. 
Wicker says that he agreed to buy and resorted to evasive tactics 
when held to his promise. But Wicker may have been a little biased. 

For some months negotiations remained at a standstill. Then 
along about March 15, 1880, AVickcr got impatient and sold his 
stock to the Milwaukee. 

Up to that point the relationship between the Milwaukee officials 
and Blair had been considerably short of lethal. In the Sioux City 
terminal area the Milwaukee had been operating on a rental basis 
over Sioux City and Dakota railway tracks, and all had been sweet- 
ness and light. But four days after Wicker's defection there were 

Blair issued an order denying the Milwaukee the use of his tracks, 
sheds, roundhouses, and shops. 

Next day the Milwaukee came back vnih a writ restoring all 
former privileges and declaring itself the majority stockholder in 
Blair's railroad. Blair and his associates counted up the 52 per cent 
of stock they had bought from Wicker, found that it was still 52 per 
cent, scratched their heads, and called in the lawyers. It was all very 
confusing until March 20, when Wicker issued an explanatory state- 
ment : 

Mr. Blair had a 52 per cent interest as against my 48 per cent interest 
in the road with the Pembina branch completed to Detroit, Iowa. With 
the extension of the line from the latter place to Sioux Falls, the com- 
pany was entitled to issue additional stock and bonds. A meeting was 
called and this was done. 

The additional stock issued to me on the extension added to what I 
already had, just oversized Mr. Blair's interest. And this was transferred 
to the Milwaukee, leaving Mr. Blair in the minority. 

The Board of Directors then leased the Sioux City and Dakota line to 
the Milwaukee, and bonds issued on the extension from Beloit to Sioux 
Falls were also sold to the same company for 90 per cent par. 

The same night a letter was sent to Mr. Blair containing a draft for 
$198,276.47 to his order and representing his entire investment in these 
lines including interest to date. 

This indicates that there has been no intent to defraud Mr. Blair out 
of any money he may have put into these enterprises ; but as he would 
neither buy nor sell, he has just been forced to take his own and step out. 


Kingsbury, the Dakota historian, states that this was the first 
time John I. Blair had ever been outsmarted in a railroad deal — 
which is probably true. He seems to have known more about the 
higher mathematics of grants and subsidies and allowances per mile 
than anybody else in the country. But in this case, having lost the 
dice he never got them back again. 

A week after Wicker's coup he came to Yankton and laid the 
matter before the courts. 

He asked orders against the present management of the Sioux City 
and Dakota company restraining operations, extensions, and ex- 
penditures. He denied Wicker's contention that the extension of the 
Pembina branch to Sioux Falls had justified the issue of additional 
stock. He contended that he had built the extension himself at a 
cost of $200,000. 

He put up a good argument. But Judge Shannon decided against 
him in July. It was one of the few adverse decisions Blair had ever 

He took it calmly enough, thanked the court politely, and an- 
nounced that he would not appeal the case. A few days later he 
sold his stock in the Sioux City and Dakota lines and went back 

The financial world stood amazed, not that he had been tricked, 
but because he had been willing to accept a humiliating defeat with- 
out putting up some sign of a fight. 

Ferguson, who attended the Yankton hearings, sums it up in his 
own way. 

"Blair," he says, "had passed the age when ambition seeks ag- 
grandizement. . . . He was old and he was tired." 

Motivated by the land rush of the late seventies, the drive west- 
ward might have gone on without predictable limits save for one 
thing. Both the North Western and the Milwaukee roads reached 
the Missouri in 1880. But there they stopped. Between the river 
and the western boundary of the territory lay the great Sioux 
reservation. In exchange for lands in Minnesota and elsewhere, by 
virtue of a solemn pact with the Sioux, this was strictly Indian 
country into which, theoretically, the white man and his iron horses 
would never be allowed to penetrate. The government made a virtu- 



ous show of maintaining the treaty as it applied to the West River 
territory no matter what was happening to it elsewhere — which was 
quite a lot. So the railroads sat in Chamberlain and Pierre while 
their representatives harangued Washington, and their surveying 
crews studied the trans-Missouri flatlands with mixed emotions. 

In 1880 the pattern of the present railway system was well established as gaps 
between isolated lines disappeared. Gold in South Dakota's Black Hills was to 
be the magnet in the next decade. 

The land beyond the western bluffs was different from the prairies 
behind them, now greenly opulent with growing wheat and corn. 
Over there the wild little tributaries of the Missouri had carved 
a disheartening array of deep gullies. After the gullies came stretches 
of grassland whose fertility had never been tested. And in the dis- 
tance, as one approached the Magic Mountains, stretched the Bad 
Lands, a region that few men had seen and thousands had heard 
about with complete skepticism — an utterly fantastic place of fluted 
ravines and crenelated walls — a melange of glittering towers and 
spires and minarets and moated castles. 

I (56 T II E L A S T r n O N T I E R 

A mysterious and unpredictable area, this unpluiiibed land across 
the river. A few men had traversed it — trappers, adventurers, out- 
riders for the railroads. But their reports made little sense. Through 
them ran the vague influence of the unknown — Indian superstition ; 
black magic ; death in unexplainable forms ; charms, taboos, and 
deadly curses. The engineering parties, the land agents, the town- 
site promoters were agreed on one point : it would take a lot of argu- 
ment to induce peaceful settlers to follow the rails into a region so 
damned by legend. 

Good business sense might have caused loud rejoicing that the 
rails had come as far as they could and that the Dakota boom had 
finished in commonplace farms east of the river. But another factor 
had entered into the lives of the people of South Dakota and the 
men who governed them and the railroads that served them and the 
Indians who sat at their western fence line. Gold had been discovered 
in the Black Hills. 

The history of the Magic Mountains, awesome uplift at the south- 
west corner of South Dakota, is extremely meager until the middle 
seventies, when they were overrun with trouble. The Verendrye 
brothers visited the region in 1743 but weren't sufficiently impressed 
to leave a record of any value. Standing Buffalo, an Oglala, ven- 
tured into them in 1775. French traders and trappers, who wan- 
dered for a hundred years through adjacent territories, knew of 
them, probably had seen them closely enough to call them the "Black 
Hills," but apparently never had enough curiosity to explore them. 

The Black Hills, of course, are not hills at all, but mountains of 
impressive proportions, the oldest range in the United States if not 
in the world. AMien viewed from a few miles' distance they really are 
black, taking their color from the dense growth of pines on their 
flanks. Their sombre coloration and the frequent thunderstorms 
that echo through miles of rocky canyons caused the Sioux to 
stand in complete awe of them. They were hallowed ground, the home 
of the Great Manitou and, therefore, taboo to humans. 

They were obdurate in their treaty negotiations on the point 
that the region should be held sacred by the whites as well as Indians 
and they received solemn assurance that the Black Hills should 


remain theirs "as long as the grass shall grow or the waters shall 

The grass continued to grow until August, 1873, when a scout 
brought word to Fort Abraham Lincoln, near Bismarck, that he had 
seen indications of gold on the west slope of the Black Hills. On 
orders from above. General George Armstrong Custer, with 1,200 
cavalrymen, rode out to investigate. There had been a serious panic 
in the land, and the economic value of a new gold strike outweighed 
the worth of governmental promises. 

AVith the expedition went Horatio N. Ross, about whom little is 
known except his name. It is certain, however, that he was a prac- 
tical miner. He found gold in the sands of French Creek near the 
present site of Custer, South Dakota, on or about July 27, 1874. 

Some optimist directly responsible for the prospecting of the 
Hills felt that any discovery of gold could be kept secret. But inside 
of a month everybody in the United States had heard about it. And 
in frequently repeated conversation Ross's little show of dust had 
become a fabulous bonanza. 

The rush began immediately'. Hundreds of men who had never 
before heard of the Black Hills were on their way overnight. Wagon- 
train outfitters began to do a business in Sioux City, Norfolk, and 
Sidney. Before the winter of 1874 considerable camps of gold seekers 
had been set up around the foot of Harney Peak and loose-footed 
prospectors were wandering about the northern Hills. 

The government, belatedly conscious of the broken treaty, made 
some effort to stop this influx. Cavalrymen were sent out onto the 
trails from the south and east to drive back would-be settlers. White 
men already in the Hills were ordered to get out. But by the time 
the Army got around to carry out this agenda, the damage was 

By 1875 so many fortune hunters were headed for southwestern 
Dakota, and so many hundreds of them had eluded the cavalrymen, 
that the sanctity of the Hills could not have been maintained with- 
out a larger army and considerable violence. The quarantine order 
was rescinded. The Sioux, when they protested this flagrant viola- 
tion of their rights, were pushed out onto the plains beyond the 
Hills. In another few months, Custer and his command were to pay 
for official double talk in the battle of the Little Big Horn. 


In the fall of 1875, John Pearson, one of the venturesome pros- 
pectors who liad gone into the northern Hills instead of loitering 
around French Creek, picked his way into a fire-hlasted canyon 
strewn with dead timber. At the junction of two clear mountain 
streams, which were to run sluggisiily black for more than fifty 
years, he found color in the gravel. He knew he had made a strike, 
but he could not have foreseen its importance. For this was Dead- 
wood Gulch. 

When Pearson gave out word of his discover^' in the spring of 
1876, Custer City on French Creek was a community of 7,000 inhabi- 
tants. In a week all but a few hundred had moved out to try their 
luck in Deadwood. And j^rfsently the rush to the Hills had become a 

There were no railroads near this corner of Dakota Territory. 
There were no wagon roads leading into it — not even trails. There 
were no maps of the region, or experienced guides, for only the 
military had made a study of the Magic Mountains. And in 1876 
the soldiers, particularly the troopers of the Seventh Cavalry, were 
occupied with their own personal concerns. By the time the Dead- 
wood boom got under way, however, the Chicago and North Western 
Railway was selling transportation from Chicago to various points 
in the northern Hills. The most favored route was by North Western 
to Sioux City, Dakota Southern to Yankton, steamboat to Fort 
Pierre, and Concord coaches across the prairie to Rapid City and 
towns beyond. First-class fare for this journey was $41. 45. A sec- 
ond-class ticket sold for ,$34, but the holder got only deck passage 
on the river steamboat and had to ride with the bull teams from 
Pierre to the Hills. The North Western also quoted rates over other 
routes from Cheyenne, Wyoming; Sidney, Nebraska; Sioux City; 
Yankton; and Bismarck. Horse-coach and oxcart transportation 
was provided by an auxiliary service known as the North Western 
Stage Company. 

Reports of the massacre of the Little Big Horn appeared in the 
newspapers of the East almost alongside the advertisements for 
the Stage Company. But that made no difference. All through that 
year when the triumphant Sioux were slaughtering white prospec- 
tors within calling distance of the settlements, thousands of new- 
comers paid their $41.45 and were dumped into the roaring camps 


at Deadwood, Central City, and Lead. Some of them died. Some 
moved out again with the next bull train ; more stayed. And despite 
its isolation and its risks and its uncertain resources, the Black 
Hills country began to take on the appearance of a prosperous 

Up from Fremont, Nebraska, in the seventies, the Fremont, Elk- 
horn and Missouri Valley Railway, presently a division of the North 
Western, began to feel its way in the general direction of the Hills. 
It moved slowly at first when there was nothing ahead of it but the 
problematical yield of prairies not yet settled — 10 miles this year, 
17 next 3-ear. But despite financial panics, restrictive legislation, 
and no business, it was still pulling rails to the west when the gold 
rush reached its peak. In 1879 it got ahead 58 miles from Wisner 
to Oakdale. In 1881 it moved 98 miles from Neligh to Long Pine. 
In 188-i it was rolling over another 137 miles of track between Val- 
entine and Chadron, Nebraska. A year later it had come to Buffalo 
Gap, South Dakota, at the south end of the range. And on July 4, 
1886, the first railroad train beat the last stagecoach in a race for 
Rapid City. 

Rapid, then as now, was the gateway to tlie Hills. Over to the west 
of this one-time hay camp, gold-bearing quartz had been turned up 
at Keystone and Rockerville. Ore was being hauled by ox team to 
the Rapid City smelter. And local enthusiasts were forecasting the 
day when neighborhood mines would absorb such inefficient outfits 
as the Homestake, which was trying to pay dividends on rock that 
paid only four dollars a ton. One reads in the home-town newspapers 
of the period that the first train was greeted in a spirit of high car- 
nival as the harbinger of a new day. 

An elaborate program had been arranged for the entertainment 
of the passengers. Hundreds of cowboys had come in from the rap- 
idly growing ranches in the Bad Lands. A couple of local fire com- 
panies were scheduled to compete in a hose-laying contest. And as 
an added attraction to amuse the gullible strangers arriving by 
train, a group of local businessmen had completed plans for a stage- 
coach holdup. 

Not many men are now alive wlio remember that momentous day. 
You get something of the flavor of it from the diary of Robert H. 


Driscoll of Lead, who had been invited to ride on the train. Driscoll, 
who had come to the Hills to take charge of the Homestake schools 
and became president of the Lead City bank (later the First Na- 
tional Bank of Lead) was the sort of observer wlio missed few de- 
tails. Here is his story. 

Wednesday, June 30 — Warm. Left Lead 8 :30 a.m. — E. May, his wife 
and child. Miss Franks and I. Met others of the party in Deadwood at 
10:30 — A. E. Franks, Miss Barry and her friends. Had dinner below 
Sturgis under a tree. Reached Rapid at 8:30 p.m. Good supper. 

Thursday, July 1 — Left Rapid at 10 a.m. Drove 8 miles to train. . . . 

This entry might be difficult to understand unless one remembers 
that the arrival of tlie first train was not only an important event, 
but the biggest show that had come to the Black Hills since The 
Mikado played 1-iO performances in Deadwood in 1882. The tracks 
apparently had been completed right up to the depot site. But the 
train, star performer of the pageant, was waiting off stage — 8 miles 
off stage — to make an entrance at the proper dramatic moment 
amid a blasting fanfare of trumpets and a hullaballoo of drums. 

But the train, it seems, wasn't merely loitering. It had other 
things to do. Driscoll and his friends got onto the train and then — 

Arrived Buffalo Gap at 5 p.m.; Chadron 7:15. A number of friends and 
acquaintances were on the train including W. H. Parker and Ben Baer. 
At 8:30 saw the ladies off for Omaha in charge of Mr. West. 

Sunday, July 4. Took train at 7 a.m. for the Gap. Saw Billy Baird, 
Pete Lowrey and others on their way to Rapid. 

Arrived Rapid at noon on the first train that entered the city. . . . 
Hottest day ever experienced — 110° in shade at Rapid. Dinner at Park 
Hotel — its opening meal. 

Monday, July 5. About 75 people here from Lead for celebration which 
was badly managed. The hose race was a fizzle. 

Driscoll makes no mention of the mock holdup which was to have 
terrified the steam-propelled tenderfeet from the East. His diary 
makes the omission understandable. The first train arrived according 
to schedule amid the prearranged tumult and shouting. But the 
passengers weren't exactly gullible. Lor the most part they were 
people like Driscoll, denizens of Lead and Deadwood and Sturgis 
and Rapid who had ridden the train to Chadron so that they might 


come back on the so-called maiden voyage. ("About seventy-five 
people from Lead were here for the celebration.") 

The Sidney stage, with perfect timing, was in the lead when the 
locomotive swung into the curve at the east end of town. It was just 
about alongside as the train slowed down at the platform. The fun- 
loving bandits, who have never been properly identified, leaped out 
from behind a shed, covered the bored driver with shotguns, and cut 
the horses loose. They fired several shots in the air, unnoticed by 
anybody except three customers who scrambled out of the coach 
and ran away. The train passengers, busy shaking hands with 
friends on the reception committee and with each other, apparently 
saw none of this. The only official notice taken of the mock holdup 
came from a doctor who, that afternoon, cared for a hay dealer who 
had been cast as one of the masked bandits. A horse had stepped on 
his foot. 


lav/er 2^/ 


From its territorial days, South Dakota's development had gone 
along side by side with the extension and expansion of two great 
railway systems, the Chicago and North Western and the Chicago, 
Milwaukee and St. Paul. Pierre was the western terminus of the 
North Western's line through a region whose development had only 
just begun. Mitchell was the terminus of the Chicago, Saint Paul, 
Minneapolis and Omaha's road from Bigelow, Minnesota, through 
Sioux Falls, but it was also the crossing of two of the Milwaukee's 
important divisions. 

Whether they liked it or not, the railroads became involved in 
the long-drawn-out political squabble over a capital site, not only 
as interested contenders but as its principal causes. Although the 
conclusion of the capital fight takes us ahead into the early 1900's, 
the story is worth relating here for the light it throws on American 
politics, human nature, and certain aspects of railroad building. 

The bill that established the Dakota Territory was passed in 
March, 1861, and President Lincoln took over the work of appoint- 
ing officers and completing a territorial organization. Captain John 
Blair Smith Todd, a cousin of Mrs. Lincoln, owner of a series of 
trading posts through the Dakotas, freely tendered his advice to the 
President — and it is possible that the President, needing advice, 

Dr. William Jaync, who had been Lincoln's personal physician 
in Sjjringfield, Illinois, was appointed governor, with power to select 
the site for the territorial capital. Significantly he proceeded di- 
rectly to Yankton where, in the summer of 1861, he opened his office. 
In March, 1862, he convened the Legislature, which passed a bill 



establishing Yankton as the permanent seat of government. Yankton 
retained this distinction during fifteen sessions. 

Up in the north, so far away that the settlers trickling into the 
lower Missouri Valley had hardly heard of it, was the town Bis- 
marck, named for a German chancellor and brought to life in the 
early seventies by the arrival of the Northern Pacific railroad. With 
the railroad came one Alex McKenzie, erstwhile director of track- 
laying, presentl}' to get a rating as the first real political boss of 

McKenzie was a practical man. He had traded extensively in ter- 
ritorial lands and securities and he was anxious to maintain the 
value of his holdings. It seemed to him that the Dakota Territory 
might operate more efficiently and so enhance the worth of its lands 
and paper if it had a capital that could be reached in something less 
than a week's travel. He thought, although he didn't talk about it, 
that Bismarck might be a good spot — particularly now that Bis- 
marck had a railroad. 

McKenzie — handsome, affable, personable, convincing — easily got 
the respect and confidence of Nehemiah Ordway, territorial governor 
during this period. Ordway agreed to slip a bill through the Legis- 
lature authorizing a commission of nine members to name a capital 
site without putting the matter to a popular vote. And so it was 
done while the free electorate howled to high heaven. 

The boss from Bismarck was thoroughly unpopular at that mo- 
ment. But he had an abiding patience and an unruffled temper. He 
knew that a strong capital-removal party had been growing up in 
the Legislature for years before he broached his plan to Governor 
Ordway. Politicians from other towns in the territory were openly 
hostile toward what they called "the capital clique." Just as openly 
the natives of Yankton in public office combined forces against the 

So McKenzie wandered about with his capital commission stir- 
ring up Sioux Falls against Pierre, and Huron against Aberdeen. 
When he had built up enough rancor he finally introduced the name 
of Bismarck. The majority of the commissioners who voted with him 
did so because they disliked Bismarck less than Aberdeen, Huron, 
Pierre, Sioux Falls, Mitchell, or Chamberlain. 

Yankton did not accept the capital commission's findings without 

174 T II E L A S T K K O N T I E n 

a protest. There were sundry legal maneuvers, but nevertheless Bis- 
marck put up a capitol and began to transact the business of the 
territory in 1885. In 1889, when the Dakotas were admitted to the 
Union as two states, McKenzic's selection became the permanent 
seat of the government of North Dakota. 

In preparation for the elevation of Soutli Dakota to statehood, 
the territorial Legislature in 1885 provided for a constitutional 
convention to be held in "that portion of the territory south of the 
■leth parallel." The enabling act provided that the people were to 
choose a temporary capital. Alexandria, Huron, Pierre, Sioux Falls, 
and Cliambcrlain were candidates. Huron won. 

That didn't settle the matter. At the referendum provided by the 
constitution in 1889, Pierre competed with Huron, Sioux Falls, 
Watertown, Mitchell, and Chamberlain for permanent designation. 
The campaign turned into one of the noisiest wrangles ever heard in 
American politics. 

Pierre's proponents thought the capital should remain where it 
was, because, first, the town had 2 miles of street railway — horse- 
drawn but reasonably speedy and comfortable; second, it was the 
site of the Presbyterian University (which later moved away) ; third, 
it had a large brick packing house; and fourth, it was the geo- 
graphical center of the state. 

Into the argument came the Woonsocket Capital Investment Com- 
pany with an eye to town lot sales and a decided preference for 
Pierre. Agents of the company announced that they controlled 10,- 
000 votes — a statement that was never disproved. These partisans 
bought up land on the edge of the village, opened an office, and began 
an effective campaign to boom Pierre as a fine capital and also as a 
good real-estate investment. 

At this time tlie Locke Hotel — one of the largest buildings of its 
sort in western South Dakota — was under constniction. Presently 
festoons of electric lights were in the streets. The lights, the hotel, 
and other indications that somebody was willing to gamble on the 
town's future aroused the indignation of Huron and Mitchell. They 
started an immediate canvass of their districts and presently stored 
up enough cash for some fine experiments in corruption. In this they 
were aided by other towns in tiie James Valley which, realizing that 
they were being forced out of the running by lack of suitable slush 


funds, rallied round their neighbors as against little Pierre sitting 
complacently by its lonesome river and jingling the cash in its 

In July, 1890, one learns from the record of George Martin 
Smith,* both Pierre and Huron made preparations to entertain an 
editorial excursion from Pierre across the reservation to the Black 
Hills and return. Pierre was obviously anxious to get a favorable 
press for the West River country. Huron was just as anxious to 
give the tourists a lot of unforgettable discomfort in the wild Indian 
country. The Pierre enthusiasts sent down to St. Louis for twenty- 
five large tents to house the editors en route. They provided also a 
number of freight wagons to carry the tents, wire bedsprings, mat- 
tresses, and baggage. "A load of ice," says Smith, "was taken along 
to cool the lemonade, mineral water and other seasonable, refreshing 
and harmless drinks." The transportation committee also provided 
thirty carriages to carry four passengers each. A billeting detail 
traveled ahead of the caravan to pick out pleasant camping places 
en route. And everybody seemed well pleased with the arrange- 

The excursion ended at Rapid City, and the editors were allowed 
to wander about the hills as they pleased. In due time they were re- 
turned to the caravan and by easy stages drove across the prairie 
to Pierre and home. Pierre, according to the loudest commentators 
of the period, paid all expenses of the trip both ways. Other towns 
in the Missouri Valley were incensed and theoretically shocked. 

Pierre won the election. But that was only the beginning. Huron's 
political representatives began to work for the relocation of the 
capital at the first session of the State Legislature and continued 
their activity with increasing confidence year after year. 

How effective the propaganda had been became evident in 1897 
when a resolution was introduced in the Legislature amending the 
constitution to read, "The permanent seat of government shall be 
at Huron." 

It failed to carry but it started an agitation that continued 
through several sessions. By 1901 the proremoval faction had mus- 
tered enough strength to risk a vote. But once more there were diffi- 

* Smith, G. M., South Dakota, Its History and Its People, S. J. Clarke Publish- 
ing Company, Chicago, 1915. 


cultics. Huron's elocutionists were no longer alone. Mitchell had 
come forward with modest claims for recognition as a possible capi- 
tal. So had Redfieid, able victor in the Spink County wars. Just 
around the corner was Chamberlain with similar ambitions. 

The leaders of the revolt against Pierre realized that a split vote 
would ruin them. So they suggested that the supporters of the sev- 
eral prospective capitals hold a caucus and agree to support the 
town that showed the best prospects. To the surprise of the state's 
newspaper readers and the chagrin of Huron's weary workers, 
Mitchell won in the caucus. 

At the closing session of the Legislature, a resolution was intro- 
duced submitting an amendment to the constitution changing the 
capital from Pierre to Mitchell. It provoked a long filibuster but 
eventually passed the House. The Pierre faction was strong enough 
to defeat it in the Senate the next day. 

In 190.3 the capital transfer came up again, attended by such 
vociferous claques, pro and con, that it seemed to be the only issue 
of any importance in the state — as indeed it turned out to bo. The 
backers of the status quo decided there would be no peace in the 
Legislature until the matter was put to a popular vote and they 
offered little opposition as the removal bill swept througli both 

And thus the stage was set for one of the most fantastic perform- 
ances ever seen in American politics. 


'lapter 22 


Looking back at the "Great Capital Fight" as the South Dakota 
newspapers called it, you find it difficult to believe that the issues 
involved were really important enough to justify the high blood 
pressure they brought to an entire state. People who had never been 
in Pierre or Mitchell either and would have been hard put to de- 
scribe their whereabouts suddenly became avid partisans. Calm 
souls, who never had known what a capital was for or cared two 
hoots where it functioned, presently were arguing with the logic and 
finesse of Arabs embarked on a jihad. To unsmiling men haranguing 
the tense crowds in a couple of hundred Odd Fellows' Halls in a 
couple of hundred South Dakota towns, the whole business betokened 
a great public awakening. To tired observers who followed the popu- 
lace in its gyrations for six or seven months, it looked like a sort of 
millennial clambake — and that, one guesses, is what it most nearly 

For a year after the Legislature decided to submit the matter to 
a referendum, preparations for listening to the voice of the sovereign 
people went on with commendable calm and dignity. Maybe, after a 
while, the crusade was to turn into an all-clown circus. But in its 
early days at least it was previewed as a rite of great significance, 
like the freeing of the slaves or the crossing of the Red Sea. 

The pattern of propaganda disclosed in the preliminaries was re- 
maikably complete. As a matter of fact it has been used with little 
change in two more recent wars of greater magnitude. During 1903 
teams of "convincers" roamed about the state visiting editors and 
petitioning support. They scattered a blizzard of prepared editorials 
concerning the justice and urgency of their cause. They placed a 
little advertising — but not much — setting forth the advantages of 


178 T II E L A ST F It O N T I E n 

Pierre — or Mitcliell — over all the other cities in the world: Pierre, 
for exiiiiiple, was more serious-minded than Paris; Mitchell was easier 
to get about in than London. But, of course, these arguments were 
advanced only one at a time and b\' one side at a time. 

They ran little historical contests in the schools — a nice prize for 
the best essay on the relationship between truth or loyalty or beauty 
and the location of state capitals. The tenor of the essays might de- 
pend on which side was offering the prize, and though they were all 
printed in one or another of the local newspapers it seems doubtful 
that they influenced many votes. On the other hand they kept things 
fairly well stirred up and started family arguments that are not 
yet finished. 

The missionaries from Mitchell and Pierre were considerably 
handicapped by communication lacks. Moving-picture theaters where 
an orator with a message could always get permission to bore the 
audience for five minutes had not yet come into being. Radio hadn't 
yet been thought of even by Jules Verne. But the propaganda got 
around just the same. 

"A private talk with a good politician is worth half a dozen 
Fourth of July orations," old Pat Kclleher of Rapid City once ob- 
served on this subject. And there is reason to believe that he knew 
what he was talking about. Much of that restless year was spent in 
conferences between earnest workers and very important personages. 
It was thought, of course, that each good politician, once shown 
where his duty lay, would pass on the tidings to his constituents — 
that each important person could bring influence to bear on unde- 
cided voters in their own communities. These subagents took up their 
work quietly and for a long time avoided public disagreement with 
rival "influencers" similarly engaged. So intramural friction didn't 
become noticeable in South Dakota's urban areas until 190-i. By 
that time the orators were hiring halls and calling each other fight- 
ing names. The newspapers had quit printing little essays on patriot- 
ism and truth and beauty and were substituting invective about "The 
Capital Crime!" "The Shame of South Dakota!" "The Great Be- 
trayal !" Both factions presented virtually the same editorials with 
different names. 

For a time the two quietest towns in the state appear to have been 
Mitchell and Pierre. Everybody in those communities knew how he 


was going to vote, so there was no need for argument. But elsewhere 
the tension began to increase noticeably. Over in Sioux Falls two 
visitors from New York, who had come to South Dakota looking for 
quick divorces, got into a fist fight over the capital question in the 
Cataract Hotel bar. In Hot Springs a worried husband complained 
to the authorities that his wife, a native of Mitchell, had barred the 
door to him because he favored Pierre. And there was a lot of minor 
unpleasantness at Sunday-school picnics, school-board meetings, 
high school debates, and family reunions. Save for the business of 
locating the capital, there was little political activity in the state 
that year — there wasn't room for it. 

It occurred to somebody on one of the railroads that a cheer leader 
might be more efficient if he knew what he was cheering for. So a 
junket was arranged to carry a load of Very Important People to 
whatever capital site that railroad reached. There was no Federal 
law against the issuance of passes in those days — which turned out 
to be unfortunate for both contenders. If one line showed favors to 
important people, then obviously the other line had to be just as 
gracious. So another trainload of prominent citizens was hauled to 
another capital site. And then, of course, there were other trainloads, 
because the number of important citizens in any community is vir- 
tually unlimited. 

At first these proceedings were carried out with no fanfare. It 
is good business psychology to let a special customer feel that he is 
getting special attention. But the decorum didn't last long. V.I.P.'s 
are seldom reticent about the wonderful things that happen to them. 
So they went home and told their less favored neighbors where they 
had been. 

In great indignation the slighted ones stormed the railroad offices. 
\Miy should Mr. Box get a free ride to Pierre or Mitchell when Mr. 
Cox was overlooked? Wasn't Mr. Cox's voice in the capital site selec- 
tion just as important as his neighbor's? Was something going to be 
done to wipe out this deliberate insult? It was. More passes were 
poured into the hills. New regiments of the electorate were hauled 
hundreds of miles to look at whatever town they were supposed to 
vote for. Citizens who lived in communities served by both the North 
Western and the Milwaukee were singularly blessed — they got to 
visit both towns. 

1 80 T H E L A S T F U O N T I E R 

Word of all this travel got around. During the first fiw months 
of the free excursions only voters had been honored. The women 
and children who had no vote stayed at home. So presently there was 
a new wave of indication from a bloc whose influence with the free 
electors could not very well be denied. More passenger cars were 
deadheaded into South Dakota. More passes drifted over the Mis- 
souri Valley like leaves before a high wind. 

Everybody rode who could get to a railroad station — grand- 
fathers, grandmothers, wives, daughters, and babes in arms. They 
rode not only to Pierre and Mitchell and way points but to other 
possible capital sites such as St. Louis, Chicago, and Minneapolis. 
And, of a sudden, all bitterness vanished. As Kingsbury reported it: 

South Dakota simply suspended business and went on a grand sixty 
days' picnic. Threshers stood unfed in the fields among the grain shocks; 
plows rusted in the furrows and potatoes crowded undug in their hills. 
Merchants locked their doors and schools closed to permit all the people 
to visit the rival cities. It was a good-natured state-wide campaign with 
no feature of particular interest save the gay carnival of the people. 

\Miatever else you may say about it, the people certainly had a 
good time. 

What had started out as a free train ride became a series of all- 
expense toui's. The village of Pierre, with a population of less than 
2,000, had to find lodging and food for some 5,000 guests every day 
for weeks on end. Hotel personnel ran about frantically trying to 
indicate to the visitors that a 250 per cent increase in population 
was purely normal. Pierre took its nonpaying customers for rides 
on Missouri River steamboats. Mitchell, lacking steamboats, fur- 
nished some circus acts. At every way station in South Dakota, 
pretty girls distributed campaign badges made out of silk and satin 
ribbon. Enough of these gay streamers were made up to give the 
state thousands of patcliwork quilts and pillows, some of which still 
survive in the State Museum at Pierre. 

The United States had never before seen such a spectacle as the 
capital fight and probably never will again. Federal laws about the 
distribution of passes undoubtedly will prevent railroad rivalry from 
ever again approaching such a state of reckless exuberance. 

To this generation, brought up in the ways of the Interstate Com- 


merce Commission, it seems natural to pay one's fare in advance of 
a railroad ride. So universal is the acceptance of this idea that the 
entire West River country still laughs over the logic of Nels Larson 
who was a section hand in the gay days of 190-1. 

Larson, who had retired, came one day to his local station agent 
to ask for transportation to Chicago. The agent pointed out that 
Nels was no longer entitled to passes and tried to explain. 

"Suppose you were driving a wagon and somebody asked you to 
haul him free in your wagon, what would you think about that?" 

"Well," answered Larson, "I certainly wouldn't refuse him if he 
was going my way. . . ." 

Whether the yarn is old or new makes no difference. The point is 
that forty-odd years ago there would have been nothing unusual 
enough about it to make it funny. Of course, railroads were expected 
to give j'ou free passes in those days — and of course every train was 
going your way no matter what way you were going. 

Observers outside the state probably wondered if South Dakota's 
editors were ever going to speak to one another again. The argument 
had got so far out of hand that by the end of July, 1904, most every 
newspaper Moses was able to see the true promised land only in the 
capital site he favored himself. All the rest of the state, apparently, 
was a howling wilderness. 

The Rapid City Journal of July 6, 1904, was less excited than the 

Not one man in a hundred in this State ever has actual business at the 
State capital and the hundredth man usually goes on a pass. To judge 
from the statements of the iMitchell organs, you would think that every 
man, woman and child in South Dakota made a religious pilgrimage to 
the State capital every year, and that a dollar or two more in the expense 
of getting there would work a great hardship upon the people of our 

Other commentators came closer to apoplexy ; as, for example, the 
Sioua: Critic of July, 1904: 

If the South Dakotan is a fair man, he does not believe in deceit, hy- 
pocrisy and tall timber lying. He doesn't want the State settled up if 
to do it we must misrepresent and bamboozle poor settlers into squatting 
upon those alkali hills among those prairie dog towns. 


The Lcstervillc Ledger of July, 190t, coiiiiiiuiitod: 

Whenever you meet a man that favors Pierre for the capital, you will 
know that he has either seen the Pierre Boodle Board of Trade or he is 
from Yankton. If he is from Yankton, he is for Pierre because he is sore 
at Mitchell; and if he is not from Yankton and favors Pierre he has 
been told he is a good fellow and has been given a little coin to treat 
his friends and make votes for Pierre. 

The Lesterville piece was re])iiiite(l on July 16 by the Aberdeen 
News witli tliis comment : 

Such arguments as the above may cause the people of South Dakota 
to rush to the polls to endorse them by voting for Mitchell, but they are 
far more likely to arouse a just resentment against the men who thus 
vilify half of the State for purely selfish purposes. 

Tiiat same month the Fort Pierre Fair Play, aroused by the harsh 
criticism of the West River country, put out this information : 

Word has just been received from Professor Carpenter that the gumbo 
shale and clay near here are the finest material in the world for the manu- 
facture of Portland cement and that samples of the finished product will 
be delivered soon. 

The Mitchell RepiihJiran observed in answer : 

They must be a queer kind of agricultural ])roduets that will grow in 
soil best suited to the making of cement blocks. 

And so it went, a confusion of voices that got louder and more 
bitter every day. 

And the capital fight, as they called this weird exhibition — oli, 
yes, the capital figlit. 

Well, Pierre won by a large majority, put up a statehouse, and 
seems fairly well established as a permanent seat of government. 
Nobody has suggested any change since the votes were counted. 

And, in case you miglit like to know what happens when victory 
comes to the hard-working campaigner, well, here it is as reported 
by a delirious eyewitness : 

Finally the election was held. The capital stayed where it was. Pierre 
had wisely anticipated this victory and had prepared for an elaborate 
celebration. When the long train pulled into the station that evening, 500 

Grand-daddy of all the locomotive giants that make Chicago their home today 
is the Pioneer, doughty little engine that blazed the rail trail from the Windy 
Citv to the West in 184.8. 

Chicago's first r,iilici,iii sl^ilmii, l>iiill in ISIS by the Galena anil ('lilca^o rnioii, 
was a quaint wootlen structure with a tower from which the railroad president 
could watch for incoming trains. 

Fifth ill the .series of North AVestern's Chi<-af;o stations was this jirctiiil lous 
arch-roofed l)uil{ling of 1836, the Kiiizie Street Depot, through which passed 
thousands of settlers, traders, Indians, and fortune hunters into tlie booming 

Under the vaull 
of baggage, sty 

llcl sll 

•il of tlie Kinzie Street Depot at train time was a melange 
111 tongues — the great meeting place of civilization and 

"Wells Street station of 1881, mosi 
imposing of Chicago's railroa<l 
terminals of the past, was tin- 
great gateway to the jNIiddle 
AVest's agricultural wealth for a 
horde of European immigrants. 
(For history of stations see 



More than thirty nullion [iit-chis pass aimnally tliroui;h North Western's 
present Chicago terminal, a giant edifice of granite covering three city blocks. 
As many as 2C0 trains arrive and depart daily. 

.^i^ <%;; 

>^- ~ V- 

i'lif Thunder pauses on the river hriilj^e at llockl'onl, IlliMoi>. in Ihi^T. 'llii-. \\;i> 
a period of locomotives res|)lendeut in hrifjlit jtaiiit and highly polished brass. 
Almost all were known hv name. 

Supplanted in favor by more luoilrrn cnniiio, the I'luiinr in \Si,'.\ earned lier 
keep in a construction train. A few years later she was ])ermaneully retncd 
with a record of some forty years of service. 


The J. B. Turner of 18G7 proudly carried tlie name and portrait of an early 
president of the railroad through the wilderness to Wisconsin's towns and 
lumber camps. 

The famed Onrlaml Limited as it appeared in 190."). .\s early as 1895 it operated 
as an all-ruUman luxury train between Chicago and San Francisco. A modern 
counterpart still travels the same route. 

Railroiid music of ninety years 
afio. Title page of Xortli fi'etilrrn 
liailira!/ I'olka, tomijoseil in 18o!) 
and detiicaled to President Ogden 
and distinguislied gnests who 
made excursion over newly laid 
lines in Wisconsin. As catchy as 
modern jjolkas, it has no lyrics. 

North Western in the eighties 
already was busy ufivertising the 
attractions of the Middle West's 
famed North Wooils, where trav- 
elers came with jiarasols, deco- 
rum, and genteel manners of tlic 
times. Annual editions of "Sum- 
mer Outings" travel folders are 
still issued liv the railroad. 


lis T - IX-l^ci 

A fantastic selection of foofls and 
unheard-of luxury came to the 
West in 1877 when the railroad 
introduced the fabulous Pullman 
hotel cars. The menu included 
thirty main courses and twenty- 
fi\e desserts. Fine service ex- 
tended to highly polished cus- 
pidors in the aisles. 


IK ini>i;i<i \i. iii«;ii m:sh. 


Tin'«li<y ■""/ ri}iiis,i:,y. January Hd tiiul /r/i, tsTif, 

AMien the Grand Duke of Russia toured America in 187'2, the railroad prepared 
a private timetable to guide the nobleman as his special train took him through 
strange country. 


FARMS of Fertile Prairie Lands 
to be had Free of Cost 

rie«« Land* t^ 

30 Millions ^^ Acres 

Of dw MaM Praduethi* Grain 

World. Tha aiiachad Map thows tha LocaUon of i^aaa Landa. 

miciso k llortl);f estern R'r 


H*r* I* one vou c>n (el elmplv bv occupying It. It will be noticed that the 


N«» Tw« Lin** ol Ro*d that run through to these Lande. It is the on ly Rail Road that reaches them. 



AT craicAoo von can Birr tickets at 

tij CUKE ynUXT: 75 CANAL STREET, Corner of UiAma; at Ihe WELLS STREET DEPOT, on Kinzie Street, north 
of Wfib SiTrt Bn.lge: inH it KINZIE STREET DEPOT, on the Comer of Kinzie and Cuul Streets. 

^^B^^H^^V^k IF^aV ^^^V^F^HT^^^ "Voxi cm\ not sot to tlTo Z~,/«r>cls Vjy Unll 

€llil<Migo A Blortli* Western R^y. 

Free land for lioniestejulers was the clarion call sent out by the railroad ui the 
seventies and early eighties. I'osters were put up everj-where, even in Europe, 
for the laiid-hiiiiury to read and heed. 





?ss skid Fiimiie tlik Lise ^u::; 

It ia tlie Shortest, Quickest 

and Best. 
Zta Hotel Cirs are the best 

ever built. 
Zta road bed and bridges are 

Its rates of fare are as I017 as 

the lowest. 
Ib all improvements it leads 

its competitors. 
Zt riuis is an almost air line 

to the Misaonri River. 

h ihoali Pi!r::i:5 tik lias \v.m 

It aloae runs Hotel Cars 't^est 
of Chicago. 

It has the Best of Steel 

Its Passenger Coaches arc mod- 
ern and unsurpassed. 

By it you can be ticketed to 
all Western Points. 

It is by all odds the best 
Western Road. 

Its trains are always on time. 
and do not miss connections. 

n If- 

i'oi'TJi \ i^ wr 


■TMDnil/^IJ irtf*ieCrC vis thi> Route to all WESTERN POINTS, ran I 
I nnWUVarl ■ l\#nK I O coupon Ticket Office In the United States 

riiacc H<.!e! nf-! Slci. f --g Cars on this Line alone? 

». ». Mwn, V. M. MIK, 


Ill liS7!) the luilruiul's allveI•li.■^iug was a,^ agyre.N.>ivo a> cuuld lie luuml anywhere. 
It (lid not hesitate to give every possible reason why it, and it alone, provided 
the only proper transportation to the West. 

Kowlaml L. Williams, t(Ml:i\'> picsiilfiit of the 
North Western .system. 

Kidv Sliciicy, wiio was for licv licrnism l,y iM-iiii; appointed station 
agent at Moinf^ona, Iowa, was almost forgoLlen by \wv once adoring pnhlic 
when she posed for this picture in 1904. 

Greatest storm in North AVostern's history was in 1880-1881, when diamond- 
stackers worked all winter in sonthern Minnesota to break through a snowfall 
reported "14 feet deep on the leveL" 

over a new North Western roundli^ 
was operated by hand. 

it Waseca, Minnesota. The lurnt.ible 

A far cry from the scene on the opposite page is this modern North AVestem 
streamliner servicing yard in Chicago, where millions of dollars' worth of sleek, 
colorfvil passenger trains stop briefly each day for complete grooming before 
hitting the road again. In left foreground is a mechanical car washer, which 
washes cars at the rate of almost one a minute. 

^UMpt**** •fcA.TKaqWIWBI 



^^^^■^^^^ ' ^ '* 


IJinl s eye view of part of Proviso yard, largest freicht classificatioM yard of its 
kind in the world. A train of freight cars 7 miles long can fit in the huge freight 
house in center background. 

The streamliner era includes more than diesel locomotives on the Xortli Western, 
which has a fleet of these fast powerful "steamliners" pulling long trains over 
its main line to the West. 

The City of Los Angeles, one of the railway's fast luxury trains, as it glides out 
of Chicago in early evening for its dash to the west coast in less than forty hours. 





i ■ 

. A 

i"r_.. . .^^^^ 

^^H^^^IP ^^^^H 

1 -"^yH 

z^^ Ig 

■ '~4l^^^^^ 

^^^Essrr— ^ 



wSBr tfStWK?' 


EP^ r.M 

BQ^ISr jH^Hff' V^K^^Kw^^ 

^e .i.^m 

/^r %\vn; 

^ S!uSK§ ^^^v 

/ ^,t~' \ W \S.^ 

'"\ ■ VJ<'%StU^ 

^l&W M 1 

V t^I^ 

Pride of tlic Xortli Western toilav' is the Twin Cities },IH), one of u fleet of similar 
streamliners wliicli operate between Chicago and nuiny niidwestern cities on 
fast daytime seliedules. 

North ^\e.sleln as it starteil ont a century ago and as it is today is the story 
told in this meeting of tlie rioiwi'r of 18-18 and a jOO streamliner of 1948. 


people stepped off amid cheers and joyous acclamations, waving banners 
on which were emblazoned the words, "Pierre Is the Capital." At once 
the whole population turned out and bedlam for a season reigned. Bells 
were tolled, engine whistles were blown, guns were shot off, cannons were 
fired, and a genuine feast of delight swept the young city for thirty min- 
utes. The leading men were called out, both in the street and at the opera 
house and compelled to give voice to the joy that possessed the city. 

A large number of Two Kettle's Indian band was encamped on the 
river and they too soon joined in the revelry with an energy that dwarfed 
the transports of the whites. But their enthusiasm was forgiven and even 
applauded under the extraordinary circumstances. At night the revelry 
was continued with fireworks, torches, bonfires and dancing in the streets. 

People don't seem to care as much about where capitals are lo- 
cated as they once did and the cost of a state-wide fiesta nowadays 
would run to something like five cents the mile. 

■te'.rv^ y C^^^tfjK.' 

J/ art Qjix 


lapter 23 


The railway sleeper of the late fifties was not much better than 
the makeshifts of the tliirties and forties; just bunks and shelves 
with narrow mattresses, stuffed, in the opinion of most travelers, 
with granite rocks ; unaired blankets, unlaundered sheets — if any. 
Your carpetbag was your pillow. A stern warning was there for all 
to see: 

Passengers will remove their boots before getting into their berths. 

There were no curtains, no divisions — just no privacy whatso- 
ever. Then along came George M. Pullman ! 

The reader may remember Pullman as the young man who helped 
put what is now the Chicago Loop on stilts to halt its slow but sure 
descent into the lake. With the money he had made jacking up Chi- 
cago, he determined to build comfortable sleejiing cars for the rail- 
roads and to put them on the tracks on a sort of royalty basis. The 
first man approached on the matter was John B. Turner, president 
of the Galena, who was contacted by Benjamin Field, attorney for 
Pullman, and the latter's associate, Norman Field. This interview 
took place on April 6, 1858, and a contract was drawn up between 
the Galena and George M. Pullman, Norman Field, and Benjamin 
Field, whereby these three associates were to furnish the Galena 
with sleeping cars to run between Chicago and Freeport and Du- 
buque and "between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River." 
According to North Western Historian W. H. Stennett, these cars 
were placed in service as soon as the contract was executed.* But, 
according to the Pullman Company, the contract was signed and 

* Stennett, \V. H., Yesterday aiid Toclai/ (A History of the C & N W). 


sealed — but the cars were never delivered.* Later in the year Pull- 
man, in the shops of the Chicago and Alton Railroad at Blooniing- 
ton, remodeled a passenger car of that line into a sleeper. This was 
placed on the rails as the first Pullman car. It would appear, how- 
ever, that if the North Western — through the Galena — cannot claim 
the first Pullman, it can claim the first encouragement to the inven- 
tor through a contract. 

However, there can be no dispute over the fact that Pullman bor- 
rowed from the Galena wlieii lie actually launched his first "real" 
Pullman sleeper; this luxurious affair — as of those days — cost 
$21,178 and was constructed in the shops of the Chicago and Alton; 
but Pullman named it the Pioneer — already the name of the Galena's 
first locomotive. Begun in the summer of ISG-i, it was completed in 
]March, 1865, and was being readied for a triumphal debut when the 
news was flashed around the world that Abraham Lincoln had been 
assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. 

The Pullman Pioneer's first job was not as joyful and triumphant 
as that of the Galena's Pioneer. The luxury car was given the sad 
honor of carrying the martyred Emancipator on his last journey 
from Chicago to Springfield. 

W^ell, anyway, you could get almost anything you needed for a 
light snack in those days. Pullman hotel cars were put into service 
by the Chicago and North Western Railway in 1877. No other road 
ran them west of Chicago, which probably caused a great deal of 
hardship. They left Chicago at 10 :30 a.m. and arrived in Omaha at 
10 A.M. the next day. W. H. Stennett, in his early history of the 
North Western, says that they attracted travelers to the road from 
all over the world — and indeed they might. 

Herewith is a copy of the standard bih of fare: 

• From the records of the Pullman Company. 




Iced Milk 



Mock Turtle 


White Fish, Broiled 
Broiled Mackerel 
Boiled Trout, Cream 

Fish Balls 


Sirloin Steak 
Tenderloin Steak 
Tenderloin Steak with 

Porterhouse Steak 
Porterhouse Steak 

with Mushrooms 
Mutton Chops, Plain 
Mutton Chops, with 

Tomato Sauce 
Lamb Chops, Plain 
Lamb Chops, with 

Mint Sauce 
Venison Steak, with 

Veal Cutlets, Breaded 
Breakfast Bacon 


Sweetbreads with 

French Peas 
Sweetbreads with 

Spring Chicken, 

Spring Chicken, Half 


Sirloin Beef 
Turkey, Cranberry 

Saddle & Southdown 


Chicken, Brown Sauce 
Loin of Veal, Stuffed 


Leg of Mutton, Caper 

Ham, Champagne 



Prairie Chicken 
Snipe on Toast 
Quail on Toast 
Golden Plover on 

Blue Winged Teal 
Woodcock on Toast 
Broiled Pigeon 
Mallard Duck 


Canvas Back Duck 


Boiled Ham 

Boiled Tongue 


Pressed Corned Beef 

Roast Beef 


Pork and Beans 



Potted Game 

Pork and Beans, 

Yankee Style 
Beef Pot Pie, Family 

Chicken Croquettes 


Green Corn 
Stewed Tomatoes 
Stewed Potatoes 
Sweet Potatoes 
Lima Beans 
French Peas 
Stewed Mushrooms 
Fried Potatoes 
Lyonnaise Potatoes 
New Beets 


(In Season) 

Raw Oysters 
Stewed Oysters 
Broiled Oysters 
Fried Oysters 
Faney Roast Oysters 
Spiced Oj'sters 
Pickled Oysters 
Raw Clams on Shell 
Stewed Clams 
Roast Clams 
Fried Clams 







Omelet with Rum 

Omelet with Ham 

Omelet with Parsley 


palace cars, iikroes, and blizzard! 
Bread Dessert 

French Bread 
Boston Brown Bread 
Hot Biscuit 
Dry Toast 
Buttered Toast 
^lilk Toast 
Dipped Toast 
Albert Biscuit 
Corn Bread 


Apple Pie 
Peach Pie 
Custard Pie 
Lady Pudding 
Cocoanut Pie 
Blackberry Pie 
Cherry Pie 
Indian Pudding 
Rice Pudding 
Plum Pudding 

Assorted Cake 
Strawberry Short 

Blackberries & Cream 
California Grapes 

Strawberries & Cream 
Delaware Grapes 

Assorted Nuts 
Ice Cream 

Preserved Frtits 





Spiced Peaches 

Currant Jelly 


lapter 24^ 


American railroad history has many stories of its heroes. Trains 
have been saved from head-on collision, from being swept down a 
mountainside by an avalanche of rock, from plunging through a 
wrecked bridge. But the North Western has a heroine ; and there has 
been no greater act of courage than when Kate Shelley saved the 
Midnight Express. 

Number 15 clattered over the Kate Shelley Bridge and came into 
Ogden, Iowa, at 12:10 p.m. The conductor, beset by a large, wet 
man looking for his wife, seemed pained when we asked him why he 
hadn't stopped at Moingona. He made some answer, most of which 
was lost in a shriek of wind. He waved a highball to the engineer and 
swung aboard his train. 

A taxicab driver was more helpful. 

"Moingona," he said. "Sure. I can take you there. It's off the slab 
on the river just this side of Boone. In weather like this the hill out 
of Coal Valley's going to be plenty slippery. But I can get you 
there." So, in one of the worst tempests the region had experienced 
since the night of July 6, 1881, we set out to see for ourselves the 
treacherous crossing of the Des Moines River and reconstruct the 
tragedy of Honey Creek. 

It was a fine day for it. Rain was trailing across the valley in 
shredded streamers out of a corpse-colored sky. The creeks were 
high, and wide pools of water stretched out over the black corn- 
land. That was an incongruous note, you thought — not the water, 
the black earth. The corn had been fairly high and green that other 
day — but there had been just as much water, probably more. 

It's about four miles from Ogden to the river over a straight road. 

192 PALACE CAns, iinnoEs, and blizzards 

There seemed to be fairly precipitous hills on citlier side. You could 
barely see tlieni tlirough the streaming windshield but you could fig- 
ure out why helper engines liad been needed to haul the North West- 
ern trains up these grades. It was just the same over on the other 
side of the river, toward Boone. That's why there had been a loco- 
motive with steam up at Moingona that night — it was just the usual 

It didn't take much imagination to picture that engine starting 
out on the last trip to Honey Creek, one of those little tin teakettles 
with a pot stack and a hoarse whistle. All you had to do was stare 
hard enough into the storm you couldn't see through, and the whole 
thing was right there before your eyes — Ed Wood getting up into 
the cab; George Olmstead, the fireman, beside him; Adam Agar, the 
brakeman, and Pat Donohue, section boss, on the running board. 
It seemed, somehow, that the affair of the Honey Creek bridge was 
something very imminent and recent. I wondered if the taxi driver 
felt the same way about it. So I asked him if he remembered any local 
stories about Kate Shelley. 

"Kate Shelley," he repeated. "Who's she?" 

"Well," I said, "she was a girl who lived on a farm near Honey 
Creek. . . ." He was patient. 

"If you're goin' to Honey Creek we'd better go around by Boone," 
he said pontifically. "You don't get to it through Moingona. It's 
other side of the river — mile and a half or so. But maj'be you got 
business there.'"' 

"Yes," I said, "I've got to light a lantern 'to keep my spirit 
warm.' " 

We went the rest of the way in silence, up the slithery hill out of 
Coal Valley, left on a road that was virtually awash, to the edge 
of the Des Moines River bluffs. We passed an old and somewhat 
neglected cemetery, turned left on another mud-covered road, and 
slid half sidewise down toward a lifeless and sodden village. 

Kate Shellej', the greatest of the railroad heroines, was the daugh- 
ter of Michael J. Shelley, an Irish immigrant who, for thirteen years 
before his death in 1878, had been a section hand on the North 
Western. Mike's widow and five children lived in a mortgaged cottage 

"ah, noble KATE SHELLEY" 193 

on a farm plot near the Honey Creek bridge. On the night of July 6, 
1881, Kate, eldest of the children, was fifteen years old. 

She was a quiet child, bashful before strangers and somewhat 
dependent on her mother's direction. But she was lai-ge for her age, 
and strong. 

The tiling about her heroism that seemed most to astonish the 
world in which she lived was that it had been displayed by a woman, 
"a mere slip of a girl." Railroads, telegraph, and telephone had 
brought people probably closer to the realities of life than ever be- 
fore in the world's history, but the delusion seems to have persisted 
that females were fragile, helpless beings allergic to thought and 
incapable of action. True, everybody was still singing songs about 
Grace Darling who saved a lot of shipwrecked sailors near her 
father's lighthouse — but, of course, she was a foreigner and somehow 

How anybody could have associated frailt}' and inaction with a 
girl like Kate Shelley is difficult to see. Of all the family she was the 
only one big enough to look after the little farm. So she did. She 
hoed and plowed and fed the stock, and did all the odd chores from 
early morning till late at night. She had the self-assurance that 
comes of doing a hard job by one's self. She was competent to make 
a decision and able to carry it out. 

The day of July 6 had been dark and stormy, like many other 
days during the week before. In the waning light as she went to milk 
the cows that evening, Kate noticed that Honey Creek was out of its 
banks. When she came out of the barn she noticed a widening finger 
of water between the lower edge of the farm and the embankment 
that carried the rails up to the bridge. 

The 3'ounger Shelley children had their supper about half past 
six. The world outside was then perfectly dark. The rain was coming 
down harder and spattering against the north windows in a high 
wind. After they had eaten and washed and dried the dishes the chil- 
dren went to bed. Kate and her mother sat watching the clock by 
candlelight and listening to the noise of the storm. 

About ten o'clock the girl wrapped herself in a coat and started 
out to see how the livestock were faring. 

"On a night like this anything can happen," she explained. 

"And probably will," observed her mother with a Tyrone woman's 


gift of prophecy. (Eleven of the twenty-one bridges in the Des 
Moines valley were washed out that night.) 

Kate found herself walking in water before she had gone a hun- 
dred feet down the slope from the house. She opened the barn door 
so the cows could get to higher ground, and rescued some little pigs 
that had burrowed into a haymow on the edge of the rising tide. 
The light from her lantern as she bent her head against the tempest 
on the way back to the house showed no trace whatever of the familiar 
creek. On three sides of the little knoll on which the house stood was 
ii boiling lake. 

From the front window, when the lightning flashed, as it did fre- 
quently, she could see that the band of water between the farm and 
the embankment had come up several feet. White froth was churning 
up around the piers of Honey Creek bridge. 

About eleven o'clock, above the steady scream of the wind, the two 
women caught the low note of an engine whistle. They glanced appre- 
hensively at one another and went back to the window overlooking 
the bridge approach. No train was scheduled in either direction at 
this hour. Both of them knew that. They watched in puzzlement 
until the rain-pierced beam of a headlight picked out the bridge and 
they recognized the Moingona "helper" swaying from side to side 
on a mushy track and headed east. 

They judged correctly that the locomotive had been sent out to 
test the right of way along the 4-mile stretch to Boone. But they had 
no time to consider the matter. Ed Wood's engine ran out onto the 
bridge, then veered crazily, the headlight striking up through the 
trees on the bluffs ahead. Then it disappeared altogether. The crash 
of rending wood and an explosive hiss of steam came back out of 
the storm. 

The noise brought all the family out of bed. But then they all 
stood about in shocked helplessness. Kate lighted her father's old 
railroad lantern, wrapped herself in her wet coat, and went back 
into the storm. 

The water between the Shelley fence and the North Western right 
of way was now too deep for her to cross. But from the high ground 
behind the house she was able to cross a ridge to a stretch where 
the tracks skirted the bluffs. There was no water here. She ran along 
the roadbed past her own home to the bridge. 

"ah, noble KATE SHELLEY" 195 

Part of the structure was still intact, but beyond that two rails 
dipped down into emptiness. Far below the lightning revealed white 
water swirling through the wheels of an upside-down locomotive. 

Instinctively she called out to Wood, Olmstead, and Agar — the 
men she knew must have been aboard the engine. And presently she 
got a faint response. Wood and Agar had been thrown out of the 
wreck and were clinging to the branches of a submerged tree. The 
others were dead. 

The girl knew instantly that there was nothing she could do here. 
The most remarkable thing about her performance is that she cor- 
rectly estimated each phase of the situation, knew what ought to be 
done, and did it without wasting time in tears or hysteria. The so- 
called Midnight Limited from the west, due to pass through Moin- 
gona at 11 :27, would be along pretty soon — she did not know how 
soon, for she had no watch. She would have to get along toward the 
river where she could flag it down before it went crashing into Honey 
Creek after Wood and Olmstead and Agar. She turned around and 
started to run down the track toward the long trestle over the Des 

With the stinging rain in her face and the lantern mcrel}' a lumi- 
nous blur at her side, she couldn't see where she was going. At the 
first curve she tripped over a rail and fell, skinning her knees and 
hands and cracking the top of her lantern globe. After that she 
went more slowly but just as blindly. She was almost on the eastern 
approach to the trestle when she stumbled again. That time the 
lantern went out. 

The thought of crossing a couple of hundred yards of trestle and 
a long stretch of swamp-fill in a cloudburst had not occurred to her 
— not at first. The river was about a mile from Honey Creek bridge 
and she could have stopped the passenger train with her lantern in 
plenty of time to keep it from disaster. But now the lantern was 
broken, the flame had blown out, and she had no way of lighting it. 

Without hesitation she started out across the trestle. 

How she stayed on it in the half-gale that was blowing down- 
river was the thing that most puzzled trainmen who happened to be 
abroad that night. She was upright when she came off the approach 
but not for long. When a sudden swirling blast of wind threw her 
partly off balance, she dropped to her knees, then flattened herself 


on her stomach and snaked her way forward literally inch by inch. 

The river, as she could sec whenever the lightning flashed, had risen 
almost to the level of the tics and was roaring down toward the Mis- 
sissippi with a seventcen-mile-an-hour current. Piling up against the 
north side of the trestle was the usual loot of rivers gone berserk — • 
snags, posts, planks, sticks, and straws and even sizable trees. Where 
enough of these things collected to form a barrier the water broke 
over tiicni and over the ties. Half-drowned Kate fought her way 
through these cataracts clinging to the rails. Spikes and splinters 
tore her clothes to rags. 

The worst of her ordeal was tliat she speedily lost all conccjjtion 
of time. For all she knew as she pulled herself forward from one tie 
to another, the limited might even now be snaking its way down 
through the western bluffs. It might catch her out here on this bridge 
and — she said some prayers. She couldn't leave the trestle except 
to give herself up to the murderous river. It seemed to her that she 
must still be somewhere in midstream hours away from Moingona 
when suddenly the lightning showed mud instead of running water 
between the ties. 

She got to her feet once more and stumbled an interminable quar- 
ter mile to the Moingona station. The agent didn't recognize her 
when she reeled in out of the storm. He saw a wet, wild-eyed girl with 
straggly hair and clothes torn like a scarecrow's, clutching an un- 
lighted lantern in her rigid hand. 

"My God ! What's this !" he said. 

"Honey Creek bridge is out," reported Kate Shelley in a matter- 
of-fact tone. "You'd better stop the express. . . ." 

Everybody knows wliat happened then — how the agent ran out 
with his red lantern and stopped the express — how 300 grateful men 
and hysterical women spilled out onto the Moingona platform to 
fling their arms around the embarrassed girl and fight to kiss her 
cold hands, how they took up a collection for her. Kate presently 
rode home in the cab of the engine that was taking a rescue party 
out to Honey Creek. She was up early the next morning to look 
after liie cows and chickens. But her life was never to be the same 

"ah, noble KATE SHELLEY" 197 

Reporters, photographers, theatrical agents poured into Moin- 
gona. They found a little girl, who couldn't understand what all the 
excitement was about. In forty-eight hours she was the most talked- 
of person in the United States. 

In Chicago a newspaper took up a collection to pay off tlie mort- 
gage on the Shelley farm. Frances Willard, the temperance advo- 
cate, contributed twenty-five dollars toward a fund to provide the 
girl with a scholarship at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa. The 
school children of Dubuque gave licr a medal. The state of Iowa gave 
her another accompanied by an award of two hundred dollars. She 
got a gold watch and chain from the Order of Railway Conductors, 
and a half a barrel of flour, a load of coal, one hundred dollars, and 
a lifetime pass from the North Western Railway. 

She missed much of the strain of this notoriety because she col- 
lapsed on the afternoon of July 7, 1881, and was kept in bed for 
three months. But the turmoil was still going on when she got around 

She went to Simpson College for a year but didn't like it. She got 
a schoolteaching post near Moingona but found that the routine 
made her nervous. In 1903 the North Western gave her a place as 
station agent at Moingona, where she stayed until her death in 1912. 

Twice each day she walked from her home near Honey Creek to 
the railroad station following the same route she followed on the 
night of July 6, 1881, and stepping the ties on the same bridge. 
When she died the railroad provided a special train to carry mourn- 
ers to and from her funeral. In 1926 the old trestle was torn out, and 
a modem steel structure 184 feet high was built 4> miles upstream 
to carry the streamliners, red-ball freights, and lesser traffic be- 
tween Chicago and the Pacific coast. The top officials of the organi- 
zation were present at the dedication of the new trestle. They called 
it the Kate Shelley Bridge. 

The memory of Kate Shelley was green enough as the taxicab 
skidded down the slope into Moingona. The railroad had seen to 
that, and so had the balladists — never, so the story goes, were so 
many songs written in such great praise of a living American 


TIktc was of course Eugene J. Hall's striking lyric, still to be 
found in the elocution books: 

Ah, noble Kate Shelley, your mission is done; 

Your deed that dark night will not fade from our gaze. 

And endless renown you have worthily won; 

Let the nation be just and accord you its praise 

Let your name, let your fame and your courage declare 

What a woman can do and a woman can dare. 

You wonder, as the wind shifts a bit and you can see the river 
riding down through the mud flats, if the local enthusiasts are still 
singing the carol of the Reverend Francis Schreiber of Havana, 

Up to the station, her steps she bent 
To state the doleful incident; 
And when she'd done and knew no more. 
She swooned and reeled and hit the floor. 

Conjecture was interrupted by the voice of the taxi driver. 

"This is Moingona, brother," he said. "Where to now.'"' 

We stopped in front of a garage where a young man was trying 
to open a drain. I asked him the way to Honey Creek. 

"Gotta go around now," he said. "They took the trestle out." 

"\\Ticre's the railroad station?" I went on. 

"Right here," he said. "This is it. Or it was." 

"And whcre's the railroad?" 

"I couldn't rightly say. Over the hill someplace." 

"But where do the trains stop here?" He looked at me queerly. 

"They don't," he said. "There ain't any." And then I realized what 
the conductor on Number 15 had been trying to tell me about 

So we started back through the mud and wet to Ogden. ]\Ioingona, 
the shrine of an authentic heroine, had faded out in a veil of rain 
before we were halfway up the hill. 

"What was that you were saying about lighting a lantern?" in- 
quired the taxi driver. 


lapter 25 


It's been a long time, now, since blizzards have been able to tie up 
the railroads on the western prairies for longer than a few hours at 
a time. Only a few of the oldest inhabitants of such towns as Water- 
town and Huron, South Dakota, can recall the last time a man was 
frozen to death between his woodshed and his kitchen door. No one 
is over-worried if the children are a few minutes late getting home 
from school at Geneva or Cordova, Nebraska. Hardly anj-body in 
recent years has gone 20 miles out of his way on the 10-mile stretch 
of straight road between Atlantic and Lewis, Iowa. And yet such 
things happened regularly and almost unexplainably within the 
memory of living men and women. 

The Blizzard Club of Lincoln, Nebraska, has recently published 
a book setting forth the personal experiences of hundreds of people 
who survived the freak snowstorm that on January 12, 1888, swept 
down from Canada across the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Minne- 
sota, Iowa, Missouri, and parts of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, 
and Oklahoma. The volume is a stirring record of a little-known 
tragedy, but even nature doesn't seem to repeat herself any more, 
and no latter-da}' resident of the Middle AVcst can possibly imagine 
such a storm. 

Alex Johnson, who looked on these things first through the eyes 
of a homesteader and then as a railroad official, records what he saw 
in a detailed journal and comments that the physical world must be 
changing. On the surface there appears to be plenty of evidence to 
support his theory. 

The hardship of life in the prairie states during the first few years 
after the North Western came up to the Missouri River is barely 



credible. Johnson's record shows that he was continually getting lost 
not only on journeys of fifteen or twenty miles along a dim trail 
but in trying to get from his claim to town, three or four miles away. 
To travel the prairie on a starless night was alwaj's a perilous ad- 
venture. To travel the prairie on a starless night in winter was little 
short of suicide. 

One night, aecompaiiied by a cousin, he set out from Rcdfield, 
South Dakota, with a wagonload of household goods headed for 
Doland, 25 miles away. He writes : 

A snowstorm caught us after wc left Rcdfield. The ground became 
covered and we lost the trail. It was soon dark. We went on and after 
whUe got to the Jim River. 

There had been continuous spring rains before the snow, and the water 
was very high. We could hear it running and the roar was frightening. 
Not knowing whether it was safe or not, we were afraid to drive the 
horses into it. 

It was decided that we would unhitch the team and I would ride one 
of the horses across as a test. I couldn't see anything when I started, but 
as a matter of fact we were at the edge of a high bank and on a bend in 
the river where the water was very deep. 

The horse went under at the first plunge, then became frantic and 
started to swim. I hung on. He reached the high bank on the other side 
of the river and it was impossible to make a landing. He turned suddenly 
and I fell in the river. I tried to grab the harness and he kicked me pain- 
fully in the leg. I drifted downstream to a ford in shallow water and 
walked ashore. 

In time we got the horses together and crossed. We got lost again. I 
had to walk in my wet clothes to keep from freezing. We arrived in Frank- 
fort at 5 A.M. We had traveled all night. 

In the open saloon that served the public of Frankfort a card game 
was going on — even at that hour. We came in and the men at the table 
saw my condition and stopped the game. One was particularly kind to 
me. He gave me his bed and next morning fitted me out with a suit of 
dry clothes. . . . He was just about my size. He left the state afterward 
for cause. But he did me a service I have never forgotten. 

We reached the homestead eventually and I slept most of two days. 

That was the worst of his journeys between towns. But there were 
others almost ns bad. If the snow fell, one got lost. Tiien to stay alive 


he had to wander all night and get his bearings by daylight. Fortu- 
nately the terrain was such that he seldom got more than eight or 
ten miles out of his way. 

Johnson, who got a job at the grain elevator in Doland, picked 
up telegraphy practicing with D. A. Paulson, the North Western 
station agent, and eventually was himself appointed station agent at 
Raymond. He went up to the county seat at Old Ashton that year 
to prove up on his claim. He wrote in his diary : 

Got lost coming back. In the morning I found out that I had passed 
close to my home several times. 

He moved into town. On another date he wrote : 

We were snowbound many times that winter. 

Two young men named Cochrane and Parrott had opened a store. In 
the dead of the winter Mrs. Cochrane, Parrott's sister, died in childbirth 
— there were no doctors in the town. 

On that day, with the bright sun shining, the thermometer 30 degrees 
below zero, four feet of snow on the level and no trains operating, the 
sad news soon passed to the dozen men and fewer women in town. We got 
together to see what could be done. 

Mrs. Cochrane, before her marriage, had filed on a claim a mile from 
the village and it was decided to bury her there. Three of us walked 
over the frozen snow to dig the grave. 

The ground was frozen, and when it turned dark we came back with 
the work half finished. Others had begun to build a casket. 

The next day I was assigned to the grave work again. We took another 
man with us, but even so we couldn't finish the work projseidy before 
dark came again. 

On our return we found it necessary to dig some sort of roadway to 
the grave. We studied the matter and decided it would be best to dig 
down about halfway to the ground and in some fashion pack the rest of 
the snow down. The next morning we had a partly completed roadway 
and with the aid of section men from the railroad it was completed late 
in the day. 

We had to put the coffin on holding timbers because the road was too 
narrow for it with men ranged alongside. That night, with Walter Wilson, 
a hardware man, I was a watcher. Next to Cochrane and Parrott's store 
was a saloon, open all night. Wilson and I would take turns going to this 
place to get warm and then resume our watch. The next morning the 


thermometer registered tliirty-five below at the time wlien a dozen friends 
made tlicir way througli tlic tunnel trail to the grave. . . , 

And there seemed to be no end to such li.-irdsliij) and .suffering as 
tliis. A later entry in his journal reads: 

Till' cycle of drouth years from 1886 to 1892 caused many who could 
do so to leave the state, and on the roads covered wagons filled with fam- 
ilies and household goods were many. Those who remained found priva- 
tion, discouragement and in many eases acute suffering. 

Twisted prairie hay was used in this country for fuel. At first it was 
burned in ordinary cook stoves. Later a sheet-iron stove was designed for 
hay fuel and was quite generally used. I recall that a man in De Smet 
made one of these hay burners that sold for $2.50. It required time and 
work to keep from freezing. 

The following spring after the big exodus it was found that those who 
remained had disposed of their seed. ... It was all a one year crop then 
— all spring wheat. Counties like Brown brought seed in the market and 
loaned to farmers on chattel mortgages. . . . 

The rain makers were active in the district that year. The town 
of Doland built high platforms to aid these magicians, Johnson 
noted. But the rain, wiicthcr produced by them, or gratuitous, came 
too late to save the crop. 

In 1886 Johnson moved to Watcrtown as traveling auditor for 
both the North Western Railway and the Van Deusen grain com- 
pany. He was in Rcdfield making a routine examination of the sta- 
tion agent's accounts on the morning of January 12, 1888. 

In the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minne- 
sota and Nebraska, this was a memorable day. 

It had been a winter of deep snow and rail traffic wasn't dense at any 
time. But there had been repeated rail blocks and the snow had drifted 
to unusual depths in the small towns and along the countrj^side. Rail 
traffic was so much delayed that for long periods it was in a virtual state 
of blockage. Mail was delayed for many days and in some localities for 

The railroads at that time were not provided with rotary snowplows. 

I was in a rail-snow block that day at Clark, thirty-one miles west of 
Watertown and had been there two and a half days previously. The wires 
were down and it was about fifteen degrees below zero during the day. 
Before communication broke I had sent a message to my wife and chil- 


dren in Watertown that I was all right and had received an answer that 
all was well at home. 

At Clark there was a passenger train and a snowplow engine, and an 
engine with two cabooses and a box car. This outfit was the usual one 
where snow drifts made going difficult for trains. The last train with 
engine, cabooses and box car was usually called a "dragout." And in addi- 
tion to a regular crew it would carry an accumulation of section men 
from several adjoining sections, sometimes in charge of a roadmaster. 

The snowplow would make a run for a drift — always to be found in 
cuts with high banks on either side of the rails. The engine would back 
up from 100 to 1,000 feet in order to attack the drift at full speed. If 
it did not succeed in getting through, it generally became wedged. Then 
the dragout would move in to pull it out. 

The section men would shovel the snow out and over the banks, and the 
snowplow would make another run for it. This might go on for days be- 
fore the cuts were opened. On January 12, 1888, the work had been go- 
ing on for more than four days. A general tie-up was ordered. 

The banks were piled up high on either side of the track by repeated 
attacks of snowplow and shovel. Frequently after the cuts had been 
opened a night's snow and wind would fill them up again. In places along 
the road to Watertown the drifts were higher than the telegraph poles. 

The dragout train usually carried food for the crews. The passenger 
train was less well equipped. Frequently they were stalled between sta- 
tions with no supplies at all. The passengers would have to sleep in their 
seats and often the engine fires would be killed to provide fuel for stoves 
in the coaches. Many times passengers would strike out into the country 
to settlers' homes looking for food and warmth. 

Snow fences were erected at short distances from the cuts to divert 
the drifts around the end so that they would cross the track and be dis- 
tributed in the open prairie. But the snow, after two or three days of 
drifting, would generally pile up over the snow fence. Such days came 
frequently every winter, and looking back on them they seem to have 
been unendurable. Yet they were accepted as part of the price for the 
settlement of the prairie. 

Newcomers to the West sometimes wonder if weather conditions have 
changed. ... It is an arguable point. In the early days the snowplows 
were small and inadequate and heavy snows were expected every winter. 
Then came the rotary snowplow. It was most effective, getting the work 
done quicker and better than had been possible with the three train 
arrangement and forty -man shoveling teams. But it was seldom required. 
Some winters there was not a single call for it and for many winters it 


was of little use. ... A strange situation and I'd like somebody to offer 
an explanation for it. 

We were snowbound at Clark on January 12. . . . The day was bright 
and warm and we ex))eeted to got through with little or no delay until 
the word came through to stoj) all efforts to open tlie road until further 

At 3 P.M. I left the station to go to the hotel — a distance of not more 
than three blocks. For the first two blocks the sun was shining and there 
was no change in the weather. ]5ut in two minutes a mist came with the 
wind and in two more the sun was gone, the wind was whirling, and, as 
I crossed the street and approached the hotel, I could barely see the out- 
line of the building. 

When I entered the hotel a number of people were about, most of them 
traveling salesmen. They were visiting and playing cards, oblivious of 
the storm that had begun to rage outside. They asked me about the train. 
I told tliem the news and went to the window. I saw a sight that I had 
never seen before nor will ever see again, and one that I certainly wOl 
never forget. 

The snow, in fine flakes, was whirling in every direction and getting 
denser and denser. Nothing was visible except this spinning cloud. In 
just a few minutes the street outside the window was entirely dark. 

Some of the company stayed up all night. Many of us, knowing that 
we could not get away in the morning, retired. There was little sleep. The 
blizzard had a roaring sound — not the sound of a wind-storm but a howl 
unlike anything any of us had ever heard before. 

The next morning it was the same — indescribable. And while everyone 
was apprehensive none of us could know of the terrible conditions in 
the night when 112 men, women and children had lost their lives and 
scores had suffered crippling injuries. 

The effects of the storm were not realized until days afterward. Many 
people remained on the lists of missing until two months later when the 
snow melted and their bodies were found. 

Many of those who died were found near home or some shelter that 
they had been unable to locate. Many had fallen in an attitude of reach- 
ing. Some had been frozen in a standing position, propped against trees 
or fences. Obviously they had been wandering in circles until death over- 
took them. 

In the central and eastern part of the state the storm came during that 
part of the day when the children were in school — and many teachers be- 
came heroines of a high order. They told stories to the children, led them 
in singing, played games with them and kept the fires going. 


Scarves were tied together to make a rope one end of which was held 
by all the pupils in the schoolroom while the teacher, holding the other 
end, went out into the storm to get snow for water. Fuel was conserved. 
And while in a few instances youngsters wandered away and got lost, 
most of those who were still at their desks at three o'clock that after- 
noon were safely cared for until the blizzard passed. 

Parents were not so fortunate. INIany of them made attempts to locate 
the schoolhouses and missed. Some were saved by friends or the off 
chance that led them to run into a fence or a building. Many turned their 
wagons upside down and took shelter under the boxes. Some were saved. 
Others were smothered as the drifts piled high above the wagons. 

The suffering of families during the remainder of the winter or until 
the snow had gone, was horrible. 

Cattle caught in the storm wandered farther than humans. Stock losses 
were terrific. Such animals as were found generally could not be identi- 
fied and financial embarrassment and an exodus of population followed 
loss of life and ghastly suffering. 

There were clear skies and crisp calm air on January 15. Rail 
traffic was still tied up indefinitely. Food supplies were diminishing, 
and the traveling salesmen marooned in the hotel began to get restive. 
A large man, representing a Sioux City shoe dealer presided over a 
meeting in the dining-room to decide on a program of mutual assist- 
ance. Fourteen men, including A. C. Johnson, decided to walk the 
31 miles to Watertown. 

The chairman tried to exclude one William Cole from the walking 
tour because he was too old (fifty-five). Cole said that he would go 
in company or he would go by himself. So the fourteen started 
bravely out over the.drifts. En route the voyagers dropped off one 
after another, at settlers' homes or snowbound villages. 

Only Cole and Johnson got through. 

The 1888 blizzard is remembered by most survivors of early 
days on the prairies to the exclusion of all others. That is probably 
because in a few hours it caused greater loss of life and impoverished 
more people than the rest of the West's recorded storms put to- 
gether. But as a phenomenon of a roaring wind mixed with snow it 
was by no means unusual. Every year brought its blizzards to the 
great plains, and had it not been for the disastrous results of the 


one in 1888, the storm of 1880-1881 iniglit reasonably have been 
recorded as the worst in history. 

Dr. Stennett, mentioning it in Yesterday and Today, tells a story 
that might seem fantastic if one did not know that he had access to 
reports of construction in the ^lissouri Valley. 

The Dakota F'xtcnsion to the Missouri River at Pierre was finished in 
the early fall of 1880, and it was the intention of the management to he 
at Pierre on the day when the first through traffic train reached there 
from the east. The last bridge over the Yellow Medicine River was to 
be finished and the last rail laid October 16. 

In the night of October 15 it began to snow, and that storm scarcely 
ceased until May 5, 1881. 

Such a storm was nearly or quite unprecedented in the Northwest. 
Thousands of settlers had in the summer and fall of 1880 flocked to Min- 
nesota and Dakota and settled along the lines of this road ; and every 
one of them was dependent on the trains of this company for fuel and 
food and light, as all were pioneers, and had no accumulated stores to 
draw from. Hence it seemed incumbent on the company to open its lines 
and to keep them open. Its snowplows wers kept going daj- and night 
and thousands of men were hired to shovel snow. 

I^iterally hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent in shoveling 
snow in these six months ; and when spring came there was nothing to be 
seen as a return for it. The road that was cleared in the day would be 
covered again in the night, and where it was cleared at night the next 
day was sure to overwhelm it again; and so the fight teas kept up day 
and night for practically six months. Though many had to live on wheat 
or corn ground in coffee mills, none was allowed to starve. And when 
May came all were ready for the work that should have been begun in 
February or March. 

It is said, and probably truly, that over fourteen feet of snow fell that 
winter on a level in Central Minnesota and what is now South Dakota. 
... In many places the cuts made b_v the snowplows and shovelers were 
twenty to forty feet deep, so that there had to be six or seven ranks of 
shovelers, one above the other, on the slope of the bank to move the snow 
above the track and far enough back to keep it from rolling into the cut 
as fast as it was shoveled out. 

In March, 1881, one snowstorm brought a full four feet on a level of 
snow. The last snowstorm and blockade did not occur until May 5, 1881. 

During that period eastern South Dakota was virtually isolated. 
Mitchell, in the James Valley, was completely cut off from the rest 


of the world and didn't see a railroad train for almost sixteen weeks. 

As Alex Johnson observed in his diary, we don't see such' winters 
any more. We might almost convince ourselves that the climate of 
the Middle West is changing if it weren't for reminders of our own 
little snow-shoveling problems. The latest came with the story of 
T. N. Meyers of Alliance, Nebraska, who remembered about twenty- 
eight years late that he had been in a Class-A blizzard at Chadron, 
Nebraska, in April, 1920. 

Meyers, one learns, was running a race with the stork from In- 
terior, South Dakota, to his home in Alliance when the train buried 
itself in an old-fashioned snowdrift at Chadron and stopped. A 
section foreman came around offering to pay sixty cents an hour to 
anybody who would help excavate the train, and Meyers, anxious to 
get home, volunteered. 

It took eight hours to clear the cut and get the train on its way, 
but Mej'ers arrived home in time to welcome a baby daughter on 
April 22. Not until the same daughter's birthday this year did it 
occur to him that he had failed to pick up his pay. He thought it 
might be interesting to find out if the North Western Railway could 
remember blizzai-ds and snow-shovelers so long a time. He wrote a 
letter to the Chadron office, which referred it to Chicago, where the 
auditing department found that his check had been waiting for him 
twenty-eight years. It was for $4.80. 

He was delighted. By this time, he says, the drift probably would 
have melted anyway. 


lapler 26 


Along in the nineties the heroic figure of tliis country was no war- 
rior or man of violence. He was a paladin of peace — the man at the 
throttle, the brave engineer. And in the eyes of youth he rated just 
above the driver of the three white horses on the fire engine as the 
most glamorous exhibit that modem civilization had produced. 

Little boys gazed at him slack-jawed as he leaned from the cab 
of his panting locomotive at way stations. Station agents, mayors, 
and other potentates greeted him with deference and obvious high 
regard. Any bit of information about him and his mysterious life was 
a matter of intense public interest. It always merited first-page posi- 
tion in the newspapers and never failed in its dramatic effect merely 
because many of its details were familiar, not to say standardized. 
Here is "the brave engineer," alert, nerveless, godlike in his calm. 
His "steady hand" is "on the throttle," his keen, unwavering eyes 
are "fixed on twin ribbons of steel" ahead of him as he "plunges on- 
ward into the night." "The screaming wind" from out of the gloom 
is "a wild song of daring in his ears" as he "spurs his iron horse to 
greater bursts of speed." When suddenly "in the ghastly glare of 
the headlight" he is aware of a looming, horrible, deadly menace — 

At this point the motivation might vary — a bridge out, a broken 
rail, an obstruction on the track, an oncoming locomotive driven by 
another engineer just as alert, nerveless, and calm. But the climax 
was predictable. Whatever the other details of the crash, the engi- 
neer would be there at his post when it happened — his hand still on 
the throttle at the finish. 

Laymen, in those days, looked upon engineers as one of the finest 
developments of American society, and envied tlicir exalted status 
in public esteem, their freedom from the petty cares and concerns of 



ordinary men. Railroaders admitted that maybe they might be 
classed as a species of aristocracy a bit more elevated than the other 
aristocrats in a very upper-class business. The brave engineers, 
themselves, weren't so sure. 

One may consider the episode of John Casey,* a brave engineer, 
who ran a locomotive between Eyota and Chatfield, Minnesota, a 
spur on the Chicago and North Western Railway about ten miles 
long. There was never verj' much doing on this line — no Indians, 
burning bridges, hurricanes, washouts, or train robberies. Certainly 
there were never any runaway trains roaring toward one on the same 
track. For John's train, which consisted of a locomotive, two box- 
cars, and a caboose, was the only one on this bit of track. That it 
was called Number 108 southbound and Number 109 northbound 
did not alter this basic fact. 

John's duties weren't very exhausting. Twice each day he would 
haul his train from Eyota to Chatfield, pick up what shipments hap- 
pened to be waiting, and come back again. On his first round trip he 
was supjjosed to leave Eyota at 8:00 a.m. and Chatfield at 11:00 
A.M. And he had no trouble maintaining this schedule until one day 
when he had to delay the morning stai't for the transfer of an un- 
usual amount of farm equipment. It was after 11 a.m. when he finally 
got under way and he reached Planks's station with southbound train 
Number 108 just about the time he was normally due there with 
northbound train 109. 

Inasmuch as he had no fear of bumping into himself on a bright 
day with a clear track, he waved at the Planks's station agent cheer- 
ily and rattled along toward Chatfield which he reached in good 
order along about 11:40. 

There was some more delay as the freight was unloaded, but John 
got under way about his usual afternoon returning time and was in 
Eyota in time for supper. He thought no more about the episode 
until an inspector came to visit him about a week later. 

"It's about Number 109, on July fifteenth," the inspector told 
him. "They want to know what you did with it." 

"I didn't do anything with it," said John. "I suppose it was can- 
celed." His visitor shook his head sadly. 

* Uncle of author Robert J. Casey. 


"It wasn't canceled," he answered. "It must liave just disap- 
peared. And I think maybe you'll be hearing about it." 

So, two days later, John tjol down from his cab in Eyot.i af the 
end of the afternoon run and received an order to report at once to 
headquarters in St. Paul. The next day he was on the carpet be- 
fore a grim-faced superintendent. 

"As engineer of Number 108 out of Isyota on July fifteenth," 
stated this critic after reading from some notes, "you should have 
gone onto the siding at Planks to permit the passage of Number 109 
out of Chatfield. Instead of that, without waiting even to ask for 
instructions, you proceeded the rest of the way on Number 109's 
time. Such conduct is indefensible and inexcusable." 

"But," gasped John, "there wasn't any Number 10!). There 
couldn't be until I got to Chatfield and turned Number 108 around. 
I was running the only locomotive on that track." 

The superintendent listened to the explanation unmoved. 

"You have taken too much for granted," he said. "The rule on 
this point is plain. You had no right to proceed against the time 
of a train tliat theoretically had already left Chatfield." 

"But there was no other train." 

"You had no way to determine that. For all you knew to the con- 
trary, we might have hauled a locomotive and a couple of cars over- 
land on wagons from La Crosse." 

John studied him in some surprise. 

"Yes," he said finally, "you might have done just that. It's what 
they call operating logic. So now you can have your tin teapot and 
my overalls. I'm going out West and raise sheep." 

So he did go out West and he did raise sheep, with some success. 
But his name, from that time to this, was never mentioned by the 
lads who compiled the stories of the brave new engineers. 

In the history of nearly ever}' railroad is the poignant record of 
the relationship that sprang up between an engineer and some for- 
lorn child who stood each day at a desolate crossroads to wave a 
friendly hand. Some of these are the most beautiful stories in an 
amazing folklore. But every gold medal has its reverse. 

Plenty of people arc still alive who remember the erratic per- 


formance of the Slim Princess, the North Western narrow-gauge 
train that once ran between Deadwood and Lead. 

The course, if it could be measured horizontally, was about two 
and a half miles long. The vertical distance was about a thousand 
feet, much of which was covered over a series of shelves pasted 
against the mountainside. As one straightened out at the summit, 
however, the track ran briefly along a gentler slope. And in this 
stretch, every few trips, the train would come to a sudden halt while 
the engineer tooted his whistle and roared imprecations at some- 
thing hidden in the brushwood. 

There wasn't anything mysterious about this rite — not unless you 
happened to be a very recent arrival in the Hills. The engineer's 
explanation had been recorded in print the first time the startled 
passengers asked him about it. 

"That little kid comes down here and monkeys around the track," 
he said. "I'm scaring hell out of him." 

Almost of a piece with this is the story of Earl Gilette who had a 
run on the Omaha line with a terminus at Park Falls, Wisconsin. 
There is a rumor, which now, unfortunately, cannot be disproved, 
that in ten years of service on this route Gilette was never better 
than an hour late at his destination until the momentous Decora- 
tion Day when he came roaring past the town of Radisson a good 
twenty minutes ahead of schedule. Midway to the next town he slid 
to a grinding stop alongside somebody's farm, leaped from his cab, 
and dashed up an embankment. When the startled conductor caught 
up with him a few minutes later he was sitting on a stump, spank- 
ing a small boy. 

"He's been throwing things at me," explained Gilette. "He's been 
needing this spanking for nearly a year, but this is the first chance 
I had to give it to him without wasting the passengers' time." 

It wasn't only at the far ends of the rail that the brave engineers 
displayed their occupational whimsy. An engineer seems always to 
have been an engineer, even inside the city limits. And for that we 
have the testimony of Caroline Goldacker of Chicago. 

Some time before the turn of the century. Miss Goldacker's family 
lived on Belmont Avenue across from the suburban stop then known 
as Gross Park station. Belmont Avenue is now a business artery 
with factories pressing close to the North Western tracks. But in 


those days it was a dusty, quiut, almost empty trail throuf^h a (juiet 
community of homes. 

Living there, Miss Goldacker remembers, was much like living in 
the country, and like other people beyond the edge of urban excite- 
ment, her family developed a keen interest in passing trains. In time 
they came to know as much about the schedule — freight and pas- 
senger — as the dispatcher downtown. The morning milk train was 
a more reliable awakener than an alarm clock. There was a Wau- 
kcgan-bound passenger train that signaled their bedtime at 10:00 
P.M. And only on occasion were they awake to hear the "theater 
special" which was due to pass Gross Park, without stopping, at 

Back and forth shuttled the trains as regularly as the clock 
ticked, always interesting to the Goldackers but never what you 
might call intimately associated with their lives until a brave engi- 
neer found a job to do in 1898. 

That evening the familj' had retired as usual at 10:00 p.m. All 
of them were asleep before eleven and none stirred when the tracks 
began to rumble with the approach of the "theater special" from 
Deering. So presently they leaped from their beds in a state of shock 
into a world filled with the clanging of a locomotive bell and the 
rapid tooting of a whistle. 

"It's the theater train," observed Miss Goldacker in surprise. 
"It's stopped and it isn't supposed to stop here." 

She leaned from her window and found herself looking into the 
face of the brave engineer gazing up at her through a weird, flicker- 
ing light. 

"Your house is afire," he yelled at her. "Get everybody out." 

So evervbody got out. The whistle stopped blowing. The train 
proceeded on its way north. The house burned down. 

^art ofe 




lapter 27 


When Marvin Hughitt took over tlie presidency, the Chicago and 
North Western's trackage as of May 31, 1887, was 4,037.23 miles; 
its gross earnings were $26,321,315.15; its net income $6,056,- 
775.77. When he resigned that office on October 20, 1910, tlie road 
operated 7,629.45 miles of tracks; its gross earnings were $74,175,- 
684.69; its net income .$22,022,005.48. The line had progressed far 
from "the farmer's railroad" which William Butler Ogden had vi- 
sioned in the activation of the old Galena. Then its genesis had 
been a one-lmndred-thousand-dollar corporation ; authorized capital 
stock on the day Marvin Hughitt stepped down was $200,000,000. 
It should be of interest to those who appreciate railroad history 
to glance over the roster of directors and general officers of the 
North Western as of August 1, 1887 — the day Hughitt actually 
took over the presidency. Even after a lapse of sixty-one years, 
names legendary' in the big business of their day can be recognized — 
a far call from the farmers, country lawyers, and Chicago pioneers 
who had made up Ogden's first Board of Directors. The road had 
become, thus early, a national institution. 


Albert Keep Chicago Chauncey M. Depew New York 

Marvin Hughitl Chicago Samuel F. Barger New York 

N. K. Fairbank Chicago H. McK. Twombly New York 

Horace Williams Clinton, Iowa W. K. A'aiiderbilt New York 

David P. Kimball Boston F. W. Vanderbilt New York 

William L. Scott Erie D. O. Mills New York 

A. G. Dulman New York ]M. L. Sykes New York 

John M. Burke New York Percj' R. Pyne New York 

John I. Blair Blairstown, New Jersey 


216 the last i, a i' 

Executive Committee 

All)crl Keep, chairniaii of tlie Board 
Marvin Hiigliill William L. Scott 

C M. Depow A. G. Dulman 

Samuel F. IJarger H. MoK. Twomhly 

David P. Kimball 

General Officers 

IMarvin Ilugliitt President 

* M. L. Sykes Vice-president, treasurer, and secretary 

* S. O. Howe Assistant treasurer and assistant secretary 

M. M. Kirkman Comptroller 

J. B. Redfiekl Auditor, assistant secretary, and assistant treasurer 

W. H. Stennett Auditor of expenditures 

John M. AVhitnian General manager 

Sherburne Sanborn General superintendent 

Horace G. Burt Chief engineer 

William C. Goudy General counsel 

William B. Keep General attorney 

H. C. Wicker Traffic manager 

II. R. McCullough General freight agent 

W. A. Thrall General ticket agent 

Edward P. Wilson General passenger agent 

R. W. Hamer Purchasing agent 

Charles E. Simmons Land commissioner 

Frank P. Crandon Tax commissioner 

George W. Tilton Superintentient of motive power and machinery 

* Located in New York; all olliers were in Chicago. 

The Middle West and Northwest of President Hughitt's carlv 
days had no money. The frontier was always in debt — a gambler's 
risk in the short spells of prosperity in between panics and depres- 
sions. Hughitt, at the start, had to depend on his intestinal fortitude 
as a pioneer — which he certainly was in the industrial sense if not 
in the trapper, hunter, and ground-breaker sense — and he had to 
depend also on the gambling instincts of the big bugs of the eastern 
and foreign money marts. So, in the second phase of middle western 
and northw-cstcrn development j'ou see Chauncey Depew, two Van- 
dcrbilts, a Twombly, and a INIills seated on the Board of Directors 
of the North Western. Jay Gould tried long and hard to get on that 
board and managed to serve one term; had he succeeded in digging 


in, he might have contrived to bleed the North Western as white as 
he bled so many other roads. But the line had a bulldog of a watch- 
man for president. A rarity among the great railroads of the 
eighties, the nineties, and the turn of the century, Hughitt's road 
was untouched by the scandals of stock-jobbing, stock- ribbing, treas- 
ury bleeding. Possibly there may have been attempts along these 
lines — but they got nowhere. 

His task was to construct or otherwise to bring together an iron- 
clad sj'stem radiating out of Chicago, tapping a new and growing 
spread of producing and consuming country the future vastness of 
which, in terms of people and cities, forest and farms, lumber, iron, 
gold, lead, and manufactured products, was realized by compara- 
tively few men of his day. When he stepped down from the presi- 
dency of the North Western he could truthfully have said — though 
he probably never said it — that he had taken a major part in the 
social, economic, and industrial development of his country. He had 
practically doubled the trackage of his railroad ; he had more than 
trebled its net income. He must have been very tired, but he must 
also have been very, verj' pleased. 

Hughitt's first report to the stockholders of the Chicago and 
North Western was that ending the fiscal year of 1888. (Elected 
president in June, he signed the 1887 report in August because of 
the illness of Keep, the retiring president.) He showed a total of 
4,210.75 miles composed as follows: 

Chicago and North Western 2,521 .51 

Winona and St. Peter 448.48 

Dakota Central 723.93 

Toledo and North Western 385 . 19 

Northern Illinois 75.78 

Princeton and Western 16.06 

Sycamore, Courtland and Chicago 4 .64 

Iron River 35 . 16 

Total mileage 4,210.75 

Hughitt also reported on the leased Trans-Missouri River lines — 
the Sioux City and Pacific, the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Val- 
ley, and the Wyoming Central, the latter short line under construe- 


tioii l)_v the Fremont, Klkhorn and Missouri Valley. As has been 
stated, he was president of these leased lines. The Sioux City and 
Pacific had 107.42 miles, the Fremont, Klkhorn and Missouri Valley 
l,15-t.45 miles. The Wyoming liad built 26 miles during the year. 
Adding these three subsidiaries to the North Western system mile- 
age, Hughitt was operating 5,497.62 miles of railroad. 

His second year of office was a bad one financially — through no 
fault of his ; gross earnings took a dive to the extent of $1,005,299.82 
— more than 90 per cent of which was decrease in freight revenue, 
due partly to the failure of the crops in Iowa and western Illinois 
and in much greater measure to regulatory laws — the new Inter- 
state ConuTicrce Law and the actions of state legislatures in giving 
rate-making powers to commissioners. In Minnesota the state com- 
mission had fixed prices for service at less than the actual cash cost 
of performing it. The commissioners in the state of Iowa had estab- 
lished rates for the business of interstate lines which seemed to halt 
any chance of return on capital stock investments. 

In the belief that "in union there is strength" the North Western, 
in company with the other railroads concerned, had during the year 
become a party to the "presidents' agreement," which was launched 
because of complications which had arisen due to the intrusion of 
lines which, because of their position on foreign soil (Canada), were 
not responsible to the Interstate Commerce Law under which the 
American lines had to contend for traffic. Hughitt, in his report, 
observed that "there were other elements of disturbance between im- 
portant lines running out of Chicago." 

In brief, there was a rate war on. 

1889 was a good year despite the Interstate Commerce Law and 
the various state railroad commissions. Although the average rate 
for each ton of freight had been pushed down from $1.63 to $1.50 
these earnings were $19,651',21 13.21' — or more than 8 per cent over 
the previous year. The regulatory lawmakers probably patted them- 
selves on their backs and said, "We told you so." Business was so 
good that the railroads forgave the commissioners — for the time 
being; after all, the more you haul the less you can charge — and 
still do well. 

During 1890 the North Western absorbed one of the largest of 


its proprietary lines — the Toledo and North Western Railway, con- 
sisting of 285.19 miles of track in Iowa. It also completed the Junc- 
tion Railway in Cook County, Illinois, completing the system of out- 
side connections between the three main lines of the company enter- 
ing Chicago- — enabling the transfer of freight without bringing it 
into the crowded city yards. The Paint River Railway was built 
as an extension to the Crystal Falls branch of the North Western 
to afford transportation facilities to the tremendously productive 
Hemlock mine as well as to the other iron ore mines being developed 
in the locality. Land grants to the extent of 53,639 acres in Michi- 
gan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota were sold ; Minnesota acres averaged 
$6.63 ; Wisconsin, $2.87 ; Michigan, $3.08. The net surplus from all 
sources for the year was as follows: from the Chicago and North 
Western, $234,758.60; from the Trans-Missouri River lines, $51,- 
951.87; from the Land Department, $433,126.97. Total $719,- 

The report for the fiscal year ending May 31, 1892, covers the 
operation of 4,273.07 miles in so far as the Chicago and North 
Western Railway proper and its proprietary lines were concerned. 
The proprietary lines contributed 1,188.47 miles of this total, these 
being the Dakota Central, the Winona and St. Peter, and the 
Princeton and W^estern. The Trans-Missouri River lines — the Sioux 
City and Pacific and the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley (not 
yet included in the accounts of the Chicago and North Western) 
had 1,401.96 miles — bringing a total of 5,675.03 miles of track 
under President Hughitt's supervision. Hughitt announced : 

The great extent of the Company's lines, its variety of agricultural, 
mineral and manufacturing traffic, its movement of livestock, forest prod- 
ucts, merchandise and many other commodities, together with the growth 
of passenger traffic in all the growing cities, towns and country served 
by the railroad, compel large outlays for increased terminal facilities, 
side and store tracks, depot enlargements, station accommodations, addi- 
tional real estate, equipment of engines and cars, and double track con- 
struction on many crowded parts of the system, to keep pace with the 
business. In these respects the Company has the past year provided for 
current requirements with prudent regard to future needs, and has ex- 
pended the net sum of $3,911,711.17. This includes $1,821,147.86 for 
new and additional equipment of engines and cars, $110,826.45 for sec- 


ond track, $22C,C50.01 for balance of cost of completed roads, $771,- 
020.18 for 8C.53 miles new road laid as side tracks, $218,756.17 for real 
estate and rij;lit-of-way, and $160,310.47 for other items of miscellaneous 
construction and improvements on the various lines. 

r'reight terminals at West Chicago Shop grounds, with track capacity 
for receiving, switching and handling 1,700 cars were constructed, with 
the combined facilities of a large, new engine-house, coal sheds, water 
supply, etc. Improvements requiring large expenditures arc in progress 
at the Wells Street passenger station and yard, and at other city stations 
in Chicago and at Milwaukee, and many points upon the road. 

During the lattei* half of 1892, Hughitt was busy arranging de- 
tails for the acquisition of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western 
Railway Company. At the annual meeting, May 31, 1893, he was 
able to state that "the concluding steps are in progress at this time 
and are expected to be fully accomplished during the present sea- 
son." The sale was completed August 19, 1893. 

The Lake Shore, as it was generally called before it lost its iden- 
tity, ran from Milwaukee to Manitowoc, its main line tiien i-unning 
inland and northwest to Little Falls, crossing the North Western 
tracks at Appleton and forming junction at Interior Junction, 
which was then a North Western terminus. The Lake Shore con- 
tinued to Little Falls and from Interior Junction to Ashland with 
lines from Clintonville to Oconto, from Eland Junction to Marsh- 
field, and from Monico to Hurley, with a spur between Pratt Junc- 
tion, Harrison, and Parrish Junction. It added 757.71 miles to the 
Chicago and North Western System along with 60 miles of road 
leased from the St. Paul Eastern Grand Trunk. 

In 1891 the mileage by states of the Chicago and North Western 
was as follows : 

In Illinois 693.97 

In Wisconsin 1 ,579.62 

In Michigan 521 .19 

In Iowa 1,163.12 

In Minnesota 414.47 

In South Dakota 744.13 

In North Dakota 14.28 

Total 5,030.78* 

* Exclusive of the Trans-Missouri Hivcr lines. 


In 189-i business was still in the doldrums because of the general 
depression of the two previous years. Industry had declined, and 
freight earnings had fallen off heavih' ; passenger traffic had held its 
own only because of Chicago's AVorld's Fair (a situation that re- 
peated itself during the second World's Fair of 1933). A strike 
which originated in the Pullman car shops spread through all the 
roads running southwest, northwest, and west out of Chicago. The 
strikes, when settled, were followed almost at once by complete fail- 
ure of the crops in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. However, 
net earnings were sufficient to pay 7 per cent on the pi'eferred stock 
and, after drawing on the undivided surplus of previous years, to pay 
4 per cent on the common — the only road in the region to pay any- 

In 1895 the Chicago and North Western, through Hughitt, turned 
its attention to its Wisconsin grant, then consisting of 284,000 acres 
of timberlands near the northern boundary of Wisconsin and Michi- 
gan. The land, as has been noticed, had been selling — when it was 
selling — for less than two dollars an acre, and at that, the demand 
was light. Hughitt decided to make the region accessible, and for 
that jjurpose the Wisconsin Northern Railway Company was formed 
to connect with the Chicago and North Western at Big Suamico in 
Brown County, to run through Brown, Oconto, Shawano, Forest, 
and Florence counties to the state border, a distance of about 115 
miles. The road was built on contract and purchased by the Chicago 
and North Western in 1897 — so some of Wisconsin's finest agricul- 
tural land came to be redeemed from the forest. 

The 3'ear 1896 was indeed a sad one. To quote President Hughitt: 

A summary of the general results of the year shows a decrease in gross 
earnings derived from traffic of $2,51 1,517.62, compared with the earnings 
of the previous year; passenger earnings fell off $445,248.84, and freight 
earnings decreased $2,118,009.77, with an increase in earnings from mail, 
express and miscellaneous of $51,740.99. The shrinkage in passenger 
business was, for the most part, due to the decline in first-class travel, 
and evidenced the dulness and hesitation of business consequent upon the 
uncertainties of financial and political affairs, which characterized the 
agitation of the Presidential election during the greater part of the 
fiscal year. 

These effects were more disastrouslv felt in reduction of freight earn- 

inps. The tonnage movement fell off 1,857,251 tons, or 10.87 per cent, 
and the reduction in rates was equal to a loss of $903,153.92 on the re- 
duced traffic of the year. The principal decline in tonnage was in the 
transportation of iron ore and other ores, which fell off 1,792,526 tons, 
leaving the total comparative loss in tonnage of other articles which made 
up the year's movement at C 1,725 tons ; there was a decline in lumber of 
191,221 tons; in wheat and flour 5,40-i tons; in oats 2t,931 tons; in barley 
50,420 tons, and an increase in corn and rye of 237,000 tons ; the balance 
of the tonnage was made up of miscellaneous articles as compared with 
the same articles transported in the preceding year, the decrease in the 
movement of which amounted to 29,71'9 tons. 

The annual report for the thirty-ninth fiscal year of existence for 
the Chicago and North Western Railway, ending May 31, 1898, and 
recounting the accomplishments of the previous twelve months, was, 
dating from the Galena start, delivered on the road's fiftieth anni- 
versary. Hughitt may have mentioned the matter to some of his fel- 
low directors — but there is no reference to it in the records ; maybe 
folks were not as anniversary-minded in those days, 

William Jennings Bryan, his "Cross of Gold," liis "Crown of 
Thorns," and his "Free Silver" had been successfully buried under 
an avalanche of Republican votes. Major William McKinley was 
President, capital loosed its purse strings, and prosperity was again 
with us. Hugliitt joyously recited this ode to good times: 

The revival in business during the past fiscal year has resulted in an 
increase in the gross receipts of the company of $5,073,317.57. After 
paying the current expenses and taxes, the fixed charges and usual divi- 
dends on preferred and common stock, there is a surplus of $2,235,322.59. 

The new century started well for the ]Middle West and for the 
railroads that had contrived it out of the wilderness. Markets for 
farm products were good. Building was active. Manufacturers were 
prosperous. And there was no lack of money for land and town-lot 
speculation. New Chicagos were advertising themselves blatantly at 
every crossroads or river landing, and the burden of their song was 
always the same: If the railroads could make one miracle city, they 
could make another, and this time, of course, the hub of the universe 
was going to be I.ostvillo on the prairie. 

Sioux City, wliicli had been an imiMirtant point in the Missouri 



Ilivcr traffic continued to be important with the early aid of several 
raih'oads. Witliin a few years it became a great com market and 
livestock center. Quite obviously it was scheduled to grow. The only 
question was how much. E. C. Peters and some other local promoters 
thouf>ht it would be wise to set no limits. 

Peters owned a tract of land in the somewhat swampy valley of 
the Floyd River. It was definitely outside the city limits and not 
too accessible. So Peters promoted an elevated railroad, the third 
one ever seen in the United States, and sold building lots at the end 
of it. New York banks that bought Sioux City mortgages paid a 
large percentage of the cost of development, and though the ele- 
vated collapsed, Peters's suburb turned out to be permanent. 

Far from being unique, the Sioux City case was typical of the 
period. Prosperity was definitely at hand, and not even the worst 
pessimist would venture to forecast an end to it. Such things had 
happened before and have happened since. 

All the railroads were doing well in those years, the North West- 
ern better than ever. The 3'ear 1900 was one of intensive building 
and improvement. Double tracking had been completed over 333 of 
the 487 miles between Chicago and Council Bluffs. All the track 
elevation required by the Chicago City Council up to that date had 
been completed. 

A bridge 2,750 feet long and 184 feet high was built across the 
valley of the Des Moines River to eliminate a bad pull over the 
Moingona hill between Boone and Ogden, Iowa. New stations of 
stone and brick replaced the classic red wooden depots not only 
along the main line but at such outposts as Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, 
and Pierre, South Dakota. 

A new line was extended from Nelson, Illinois, to Peoria and 
thence southward to an East St. Louis connection to tap the Illinois 
coal fields. 

In 1902, the Chicago and North Western Railway company offi- 
cially took over the railroad, franchise, and property of the Fre- 
mont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad. The Fremont, Elk- 
horn and Missouri Valley Railroad, which had 1,372 miles of road, 
was operating lines from Fremont, Nebraska, to Hastings, Lincoln, 
and Superior, Nebraska; to the Black Hills; and into Wyoming as 
far as Casper. 


In 1905 the Chicago and North Western extended the line 148 
miles to Lander to prepare for the rush that would come with the 
opening of 1,410,000 acres of the Shoshoni reservation. 

New extensions were authorized in 1909 for lines in the St. James 
district and Belle Fourche Valley of South Dakota. In 1911 the new 
passenger terminal in Chicago was opened, and Will Ogden's rail- 
road seemed to have reached the peak of its prosperity. 


lap/er 2S 


The Northwest, that promised land of wliicli Will Oydtii had 
dreamed and preached, had cliangcd prodigiously since he had first 
set foot on it at the mouth of the Chicago River in 1835. For one 
tiling it was no longer the Northwest any more than Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, and Wisconsin, which had been so marked on tiie maps of 
revolutionary times. It was a region unlike tlie New World of which 
it was a contiguous part or the Old World that had populated it, 
a region out of whose mixed bag of races and creeds and philosophies 
were emerging a unity of spirit and something like an indigenous 
culture. And this, which had been yesterday's frontier, was now the 
Middle West, axis of a nation and potentially the richest area on 

Ogden had ridden horseback over the dangerous trails out of Chi- 
cago into the wilderness of the North Woods, the unpromising groves 
and rolling meadows of what was to be Iowa, the desolate emptiness 
of uncharted valleys in the territory beyond the upper jMississippi — 
even to the barren edges of the red Missouri. And he had seen things 
in these vast solitudes that other men could not see. He had pictured 
the advance of civilization a thousand miles, not in a hundred years 
or two hundred, but in a single generation. He had lived to see the 
fulfillment of his vision but not to realize the extent of it. He died 
most likely without knowing that he had earned a place among the 
empire builders. 

William IJutler Ogden had been a prophet but he had never been 
enough of a prophet to foresee the caprices of steam transport. 

He had believed that the railroad would bring some big business 
to the sprawling town that accident had dropped at the foot of I-ake 
Michigan. But never in his right mind would lie have predicted that 




the steam locomotive, passing by more logical prospects, would drag 
this improbable village out of a swamp to a place among the world's 
first five cities. Out of an abiding and convincing faith he had 
preached of wonders that would one day come out of the never-never 
land beyond the end of the rail. But he could not have told what the 
wonders would be. He had looked into the future to see great oceans 
of ripening wheat and Babylonian towers filled with yellow com. He 
knew all about the treks and traffic of the voyageurs, hunters, and 
traders. But he died without ever having heard of the Merritt 
brothers or of the fabulous Mesabi iron range. He had heard that a 
gold strike had been made in the Black Hills — but there was no rail 
into the Black Hills, not yet. 

The wealth of the land had been sufficient to bring his railroad 
through depressions he had not envisioned. Transcontinental trains 
were rolling in and out of Chicago over the tracks of the Chicago 
and North Western Railway. Frontiers were rapidly receding. The 
Indians were quiet now . . . there wouldn't be any more blood- 
letting like the affair of the Little Big Horn — not likely. Will Ogden 
could die content in the thought that the pioneers had won the West 
and that the nation was now a glorious prosperous unit from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific. A lot of his contemporaries shared the 
thought: Have I flayed well the -part? Give me then your applause. 
Not even then was any man in America seer enough to foretell what 
the trend of the drama was going to be or its climax. 

Ogden had been dead some twenty years. Across the skyline above 
Pig's-Eye on the Mississippi stretched the tall massed cylinders of 
the grain elevators, in many ways the most tremendous architecture 
that had been given to the world since Egypt. Towering cities had 
grown out of the settlements about St. Anthony Falls and out of the 
hamlets of Omaha and Council Bluffs and Sioux City and Sioux 
Falls and Des Moines and Rockford and Elgin and out of the dreamy 
villages by the Lake Michigan shore. A great university had risen 
between the lakes at Madison. The barren reaches of upper Michi- 
gan were alive with a new sort of pioneering citizenry that attacked 
the earth with dynamite and drills instead of plows. There was no 
longer any wilderness in Wisconsin. Green fields had replaced the 
cutover lands, and dairy herds roamed picturesquely and profitably 


tliroiif^h tlie ^rccn fields. And population was virtually continuous 
from Beloit to Superior. 

The milling industry had already made the Twin Cities famous. 
The greatest primary wheat market in the world had sprung up in 
South Dakota. As a cattle shipping center, Omaha was beginning 
to rival Chicago. A truly remarkable clinic in the cornfields at 
Rochester, Minnesota, was attracting international attention. Iowa 
corn and hogs liad become a principal factor in the nation's food 
supply, and a dozen industrial enterprises were getting under way 
in a dozen Iowa towns. The Black Hills hud become one of the great- 
est gold-producing areas in the world. Thousands and thousands of 
head of cattle were on the ranges about Belle Fourche and the green 
plateaus of the Bad Lands. Indian reservations were being opened 
up, and the tide of settlement was still flowing West. Day and night 
the copper and iron poured into the loading hoppers along the 
Lake Superior littoral. 

Out to the far corners of a region that fifty j'ears before had been 
virtually unexplored went long trainloads of manufactured goods, 
building materials, farm implements, industrial tools, hardware, and 
the like. Back came an incredible avalanche of wheat, oats, barley, 
rye, hay, potatoes, fish, livestock, dressed meat, gold, silver, arsenic, 
granite, brick, fire clay, cement, feldspar, sausage, soy beans, fruit, 
spodumene, gypsum, cement, lumber, butter, marble, salt, mica, rock 
wool, eggs, nuts, sugar beets, poultry, cheese, corn, clover seed, 
money — the list is endless. 

This, then, is the Middle West. 

It is also the Chicago and North Western Railway. Look at the 
map of this amazing region from the Kansas state line to Duluth 
and from Milwaukee to Lander, Wyoming. You find the white spaces 
of Ogden's time filled up now with the names of literally hundreds of 
towns that have come to mean something in the American economy, 
and laced across the picture in a pattern that looks something like 
a graph of the human circulatory system is the chart of North 
Western's 9,729 miles of steel. 

The reason, of course, is obvious. The steam railroad made these 
towns just as it made a fertile homeland out of the barren West. 

In Europe, when finally practical necessity overcame public 
phobia and the laj'ing of rails began, the problem of the surveyors 



was to link up existing towns as best they could. In the old North- 
west Territory and the unknown lands beyond, there were no towns. 
The railroad laid them out, named them, populated them, and nursed 
them through their formative years. It gave them an excuse for ex- 
istence hundreds of miles from deep rivers and scores of miles from 
other human habitation. It enabled them to thrive in isolation in the 
midst of forests or on prairies as free of track or trail as the bosom 
of the Atlantic. And whatever the lavish natural resources of this 
area, the advantages of benign weather and the enterprise of the 
people who followed the locomotive whistles westward, the great Mid- 
dle West, as a region, a culture, or an attitude of mind, is definitely 
the creation of the railroad. 

The North Western's progress into this mysterious realm, like 
that of all lines west of the Mississippi, was in three stages. First the 
trains came after the pioneer, as in the Des Plaines Valley in IS^S 
and later among the marooned towns of the lush valley of the Min- 
nesota. Then, as in the mining country and parts of Iowa, they 
moved forward virtually at his side. And finally they were ahead of 
him out on the flats and into the Indian country, leading him on 
to a promised land. 

Will Ogden lived to see some of this transition, but by no means 
its most important part. Today he probably would be unable to 
recognize the names of dozens of men who helped give substance to 
his vision. In his declining years perhaps he had heard of Carl 
Schurz who had led a number of German intellectuals and liberals 
into Wisconsin after the unsuccessful revolution in Baden in 18-18. 
Schurz had been the friend and advisor of Abraham Lincoln. He had 
been Secretary of the Interior and an advocate of timber conserva- 
tion, and his voice had been heard far across the land. But it is less 
likely that the great railroad builder had ever met or been concerned 
with a Scotch lad named John Muir whose father followed the lure 
of the railroad to a spot near Madison. Certainly he would have 
no ideas about Robert M. La Toilette or Frank Lloyd Wright or 
what they might stand for. 

On the whole the characters of the period were as fantastic as the 
conditions that produced them. Ignatius Donnelly, erratic genius, 
came to Minnesota in 1856 to map the town of Nininger, stir the ter- 
ritory's political and social life, establish the authorship of Shake- 


spcarc's plays, and explore the lost continent of Atlantis. His weird 
essays into the unknown, his striking success as a best-selling author 
had no effect on the westward course of the rails. The fact that he 
was able to get elected to a scat in the United States Senate did. 
He didn't like tlie policies of the railroad operators — and he was as 
powerful as he was prejudiced. 

Wiien Douglass Houghton, a young explorer, wrecked his dory 
and drowned off the Keeweenaw peninsula in Lake Superior, the news 
was a long time getting down to tlic Chicago and North AVestcrn 
Railway offices in Chicago. Destiny is never in much of a hurry. But 
from tlie wreck of Houghton's boat an Indian guide saved his field 
notes, and the notes told about the wonderful copper ore of upper 

The Mcrritt brothers, I.eonidas, Napoleon, Jerome, Cassius, Al- 
fred, Lucius, and Lewis, were timber cruisers who found some red 
dust on a slope just west of Lake Superior in Minnesota that the 
Indians call "the height of land." The other name for it is Mesabi. 
A bo3' set out from a little town in the Root River Valley on a 
dubious venture. With a gift of persuasion that cannot be over- 
appraised he had succeeded in borrowing a team of horses from his 
cautious father. "The lumber companies are getting away from the 
rivers," he said. "They will need transport. With a team of horses I 
can earn enough money hauling logs in one season to buy a share of 
a business for myself." The little boy's name was Weyerhaeuser. 

A doctor in Le Sueur, who never could collect his bills and so was 
forced to run a steamboat on the Minnesota River as a side line, got 
some original ideas about surgery. He went to Chicago, conferred 
with medical rebels like Occhsner, Billings, and Murphy, and came 
home. He never had any notions about being a miracle man and he 
had had no experience in the building of better mousetraps. But 
presently the world was beating a path to his door. He took his 
talent and his sons. Will and Charlie, to Rochester and opened a 
larger office. He was Dr. William Worrell Mayo. 

H. N. Ross, a professional miner with the Custer expedition sent 
out to examine the resources, if any, of the Black Hills, looked at 
the sand remaining in his pan and saw gold. Chief Sitting Bull and 
his Sioux braves rode north and got ready for the massacre of tlie 
Little Biy Horn. 



More gold was discovered in Deadwood Gulch, and a town sprang 
up. Wild Bill Hickok was shot in it. Jack McCall was hanged. Beadle 
began to print a dime novel entitled Deadwood Dick, and presently 
all the rainbow chasers, gamblers, thieves, roustabouts, harlots, and 
high-graders in the Missouri Valley were on their way to the gold 

Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark passed 
along the route of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha 
Railway between Council Bluffs and Sioux City long before the sur- 
veyors or the now-forgotten Kilroy. One of their party. Sergeant 
Floyd, was stricken with what one of them diagnosed as a "Billiouse 
Chorlick." He died at the mouth of the little river that now bears 
his name. The expedition went on to plant the flag on the Pacific 
shore and to claim what was actually the Northwest Territory for 
the United States. 

Mike Fink, legendary trapper and river boatman, was up in these 
parts when no man's land began twenty feet from either side of the 
Missouri. He left a record for mayhem and murder all the way from 
St. Louis to the Yellowstone. 

After these worthy pioneers came Pierre Chouteau, the fur dealer, 
who opened a trading post west of the river. The LTnited States Cav- 
alry came along in 1854 and took advantage of Chouteau's spade- 
work to establish a military base. They called it Fort Pierre. It 
seemed to offer few advantages as a railroad terminal, even had there 
been any railroads. Considered with information denied the aging 
Will Ogden, it seems unlikely even now. 

There were giants or a reasonable facsimile along the river in 
those days. The North Western came into Sioux City in 1868. Wait- 
ing for it was one E. C. Peters who figured the influx of population 
it was presently to bring and decided to do something about it. He 
built an elevated railroad. 

Ogden probably heard the tragic news of General George Arm- 
strong Custer before his passing. Word of the encounter with Sitting 
Bull was a long time filtering back to civilization and difficult to be- 
lieve, but it got there eventually. Custer and the 276 men of his com- 
mand had been wiped out in half an hour's fighting. But the railroad 
builder knew nothing of the end of hostilities and the treaty by 
which the Indians gave up all claim to western South Dakota. Nor 


did he have any inkling of the advent of the medicine man Wovoka 
wlio promised to raise up the ghosts of dead Sioux warriors to lead 
the living in the extermination of the whites. 

Up from Chadron, Nebraska, the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri 
Valley, later part of the North Western, came into the hills — to 
Rapid City in 188G, Whitcwood in 1887, Belle Fourchc and Dead- 
wood, 1890. Westward from Chadron at the same time the tracks 
were pushed to the Wyoming state line in 188G; Douglas, Wyoming, 
1887; Casper, 1888. 

The great Sioux reservation was about to be broken up. Cattle 
were already running in the West River country. Scotty Philip 
had a tremendous ranch near Pierre where he was trying to breed 
the biggest herd of buffalo on earth. On White River, near the Hills, 
Corbin Morse of Rapid City was grazing a couple of thousand iicad 
of white-faced Herefords. 

The gold camps were still roaring, but in no considerable volume. 
The overnight millionaire hadn't been seen in Deadwood for a long 
time now. There weren't any pockets left along Elacktail Creek or 
Gold Run. 

Claims were being consolidated and passing into the hands of 
four or five wealthy operators. Individualists — lone sourdoughs 
with pick and pan — no longer could hope to find a footing in Lead. 
Lead belonged to the Homestake. And the Homcstake belonged to 
Phoebe Hearst. 

Across the hill were enough paying mines to provide some compe- 
tition — the Oro Hondo (said to be owned by Millikin who had just 
sold the (jolden Cycle of Cripple Creek) ; the Wasps, Number 1 and 
Number 2; the Montezuma; and the Wiiizzers. Most of these were 
low-grade mines, and it was obvious that any operator might easily 
put more gold into them than he was likely to take out. There was 
plenty of nervous tension up in the northern Hills — and drama and 
suspense — and good business for the railroad. 

Poker Alice was playing a few hands nightly in Sturgis, unaware 
that it was a matter of anybody's business but her own. Potato Creek 
Johnny, not yet looked upon as a quaint old character by the other 
denizens of the Hills, was trying to keep body and soul together 
j)anning a dollar or two every day or so out of Potato Creek. Dead- 
wood Dick was still just a character in Beadle's dime novels. 



On December 15, 1890, cavalry and Indian police were sent to 
arrest Sitting Bull to keep him from joining a Sioux uprising. The 
chief resisted and was shot through the head. 

A week later in the Harney bar in Rapid City a general stared 
glassily into his whisky while at Wounded Knee Creek a regiment of 
trigger-happy soldiers slaughtered a couple of hundred Indians, in- 
cluding women and children, who had already surrendered. Buffalo 
Bill, with Mayor John R. Brennan of Rapid City, paid a visit to the 
Wounded Knee "battlefield." He refused to talk about it. 

C. D. Crouch and a young British army engineer, ¥. S. D. Brough- 
ton, began to promote a railroad through the Black Hills from 
Rapid City to Mystic on the west slope, by way of Rapid Canyon, 
a tortuous pass. His backers, it was said, were hoping to sell their 
34 miles of right of way to some railway that might need it as a 
link in a transcontinental route. 

All of this was in the backgi-ound as the Chicago and North West- 
ern Railway entered upon the last 168 miles of its western advance 
at the turn of the century. Most of the characters were on the stage. 
But not all. Still to be heard from were Gutzon Borglum, the moun- 
tain-carver, silent Cal Coolidge, a visitor from New Hampshire, 
Governor William J. Bulow, a harried reception committee, and Alex 
Johnson, an able diplomat — nobody could have predicted any of 
them, either, in the days when William Butler Ogden was urging the 
Pioneer on its solemn round to Oak Park. But it seems to have been 
that way with most of the people whose destiny was linked with the 
railroad's varied progress. When there was need for them to appear, 
they appeared. It was inevitable. 

C/iap/er 29 



One of the results of tlie contest over the state capital site previ- 
ously referred to was that the North Western Railway set out from 
Pierre, South Dakota, to tiie Black Hills with what was to be the 
last important building program up to the present day. In this as 
in the campaign for votes there was open rivalry with the Milwaukee 
road which had also become interested in the West River country. 
It was one of those shows that for so many years made Dakota rail- 
roading so interesting and unpredictable. The two lines started West 

They moved away from the IMissouri River at the height of iin 
important boom. By the turn of the century the effects of the slump 
of the late eighties were disappearing. Crops were good, transporta- 
tion was good, and prices were liigh in the eastern markets. Once 
more the farmers were prosperous. 

At the same time changes had occurred in the hill country. No 
new strikes of any significance had been made in the Deadwood area. 
The gold ore was still low grade. But there was plenty of it, and new 
extraction processes and efficient operating methods had made it 
extremely profitable. 

The Holy Terror mine at Keystone, in the southern hills, had be- 
come a big producer, and small, high-grade mines in the vicinity 
were keeping the Rapid City smelter busy. Tiiere were the cus- 
tomary bonanza tides of loose money in the district and almost un- 
limited markets for whatever anybody might want to sell. 

Also, along the White River and both forks of the Chej^eniie, cattle 
were being run in increasing numbers. Areas that had not been con- 
sidered suitable for farming were being put to jiractical use. And 


AGAIN A farmer's RAILROAD 235 

South Dakota's overenthusiastic champions were beginning to tell 
the world that there was no wasteland in all the state. 

Inasmuch as the bad years had most affected the country west of 
the river, it was the West River country that profited most by chang- 
ing conditions. The population of this region, largely with railroad 
assistance, was to increase from 50,600 to 136,700 between 1900 
and 1910. In the same period the state census was to Icngtiicn from 
401,500 to 583,800. 

The railroads had brought their lines to the Missouri River in 
1880. From that point expansion had been hampered by the fact 
that most of the land to the west was taken up by tlie Great Sioux 
reservation, but along about 1900 the government began to make 
plans to release some of the region for white settlement. In 1902, the 
Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley branch of the North West- 
ern built 69 miles of road from Verdigre, Nebraska, to Bonesteel in 
the Rosebud reservation district, west of the Missouri and in the 
soutliern part of the state. In 190-1 the Rosebud was thrown open. 

The ensuing land rush, the first South Dakota had seen in many 
years, was spectacular, exciting, and, so far as the North Western 
was concerned, a commercial success. The government followed a 
new procedure in the distribution. Two thousand five hundred claims 
of 160 acres each, a total of 400,000 acres, were put up for sale at 
four dollars an acre. The wild scramble of the "Cherokee Strip" 
and similar land grabs had taught the Department of the Interior 
some valuable lessons. So prospective buyers were required to regis- 
ter for an assignment of claims as drawn by lot. 

AVith 2,500 claims available, 106,308 persons signed their names 
for the lottery. Most of them, of course, were speculators who hoped 
to win a good claim and sell it to some actual settler at a profit. 
Others were just the same sort of land gamblers who had followed 
the rails West in the first place. Literally thousands of such people 
rode the North Western's new extension up into the reservation just 
to look at land that might or might not be like what they could or 
could not hope to win in a lottery with the chances forty-two to one 
against them. 

The registration offices were swamped. More than 7,000 filed past 
the clerks in Yankton in one day. A thousand were in line at opening 
time the next morning. They had slept all night in the streets. 


A carload of eatables was brought down from Sioux Falls to feed 
these enthusiasts. It was sold out before noon. 

It was obvious after such demonstrations that movement into 
other parts of the West River country was inevitable. Alex Johnson, 
then general agent for the North Western at Winona, Minnesota, 
loader of the Pierre forces in the capital fight, tells of the situation 
in his diary : 

In the latter part of 1904 it was decided to extend the road to Rapid 

Immediately after tlie vote in the capital fight, local representatives 
of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul had announced that they would 
build from Chamberlain to the Black Hills. President Ilugliitt made no 
comment on tliis subject except tliat if any road were to be built to Rapid 
City his would be first. And it was. 

Both roads started working out of their East and West terminals at 
once — the Milwaukee from Cliamberlain and Rapid, the North Western 
from Pierre and Rapid. On the Pierre, Rapid City line the construction 
crews met near Pliilip and drove the theoretical gold spike without cere- 

Tlie first train to enter Rapid City from the ^Missouri was the North 
Western. It arrived on August 7, 1907. Milwaukee's line wasn't completed 
until three months later. Considering that we had to go only 167 miles 
against the Milwaukee's 220 it had been an unequal contest from the 

The Chicago and North Western Railway purchased right of way for 
a part of the distance and followed the Bad River to the Cheyenne. The 
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul followed the White River and crossed 
through the Bad Lands. The North Western passed within eight miles of 
the Bad Lands at Wall. 

The two roads were thus actively competitive. 

Better transportation as usual brought settlers into the west 
country. More land was offered for settlement on the Rosebud 

In 1908, 6,000 homesteads were put on sale, most of them at six 
dollars an acre, the remainder at $4'. 50 and $2.50 an acre. There 
were 114,769 registrations in the lottery that governed the sale. 
Fifteen trains a day brought landseekers into the Dallas, South 
Dakota, terminal of a North Western line extended from Bonesteel. 

AGAIN A farmer's RAILROAD 237 

Fifteen thousand persons, including a number of women, registered 
in one day. 

The west end of the Lower Brule reservation, on the Missouri 
about halfway between Pierre and Chamberlain, was opened in 1907. 
Two years later parts of the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock 
reservations were made available. Thousands upon thousands of 
hopeful people, a large portion of them strangers to farming even 
in theory, poured into the West River country. Barbed-wire fences 
began to appear in the most unlikely places. The free ranges on 
which the great herds had been wandering since the middle eighties 
were split up. The native grasses which had made this a favored 
grazing area in wet season or dry went under the plow. There were 
loud outcries from the cattlemen. And there were warnings from 
railroad men who knew the country, including Alex Johnson. 

"We had solicited livestock business in this entire area," he said, "so 
it was well known that by me and many others it was classed as an ex- 
clusive livestock grazing range. Others, obviously, thought it was an 
agricultural country. But it has been pretty well demonstrated that it is 
an agricultural country only when there is sufficient rainfall — and the 
rainfall is not dependable." 

He spoke from experience on this point. He and Marvin Hughitt, 
Jr., bought a ranch near Midland, South Dakota, in the dry farm- 
ing area and worked it with the best available scientific advice but 
otherwise as any settler would have had to work it. They just about 
broke even for five years. After that they sold at a price twelve 
hundred dollars above what they had paid for the land. After pay- 
ing outstanding bills, Johnson's share of this profit was $134. But 
he emerged from the transaction with some understanding of what 
would have to be done if the West River country and the railroads 
serving it were to survive. 

Apparently he had some serious talks on the subject with Presi- 
dent Hughitt. He wrote: 

Mr. Hughitt was convinced, when he found out how many settlers were 
moving into our territory, that many of them were prepared to do grain 
farming on the basis of land agents' estimates, activities and publicity. 
And again and again he instructed that plans should be made to help 


these settlers. We culled on the State Agricultural College at Brookings 
for help as we had done many times before. 

We brought in experts in dairy grasses and hardy seeds, livestock and 
subjects that pertain to tliat part of the country and we started on an 
agricultural program. 

We were not so successful. Tlie settlers were all range livestock men. 
They were not radical. But their recitals of personal experience were not 
encouraging to newcomers and there were many obstacles to be over- 
come. . . . 

The program went on nevertheless. The North Western's farm 
experts finally got some cooperation in plans for crop rotation and 
diversification and soil conservation. Corn began to grow in regions 
that had been thought unsuited to it. Great wheat districts like the 
St. James Valley, no longer dependent on a single crop, have since 
come through all disasters save collapsing money markets and 
droughts like that of 1936 with some show of profit. 

As for the cattle country, the Federal government started to do 
something about saving it in lO.'JO. Numbers of claims tiiat liad been 
futilely worked as farms were brought back from the settlers taken 
out of cultivation and seeded with grass. Earthen dams were built 
to impound rainfall and increase the number of watering places. The 
program is by no means comprehensive but it has had its beneficial 
effects. Western South Dakota is still one of the world's great live- 
stock producing areas. 

It was the livestock business that lured the North Western sub- 
sidiar}', the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad, to the 
Wyoming state line in 188G, and another subsidiary, the Wyoming 
Central Railway, from that point to Casper in 1888 and on to Lan- 
der in 1905. The cowboy is still the most important figure in that 
end of the country, and livestock movements are still sufficient to 
justify an outpost of the old Galena and Chicago Union Railroad 
at the foot of the Tetons. 

But that isn't all of tlic stor^'. The visionaries who were still in- 
sisting on pushing the North Western across the great plains had 
more than their usual luck. In 1890 oil was found in the Salt Creek 
field — a high quality of oil that amazed the experts. A refinery was 


built at Casper in 1895. Two pipe lines were run to tjic field in 1916, 
and the boom was on. 

The period of mass h^-stcria ended some time after World War I, 
and Casper has gone about its business more quietly ever since. 
But there is still oil in the Salt Creek field and plenty of demand 
for it back where the North Western Railway comes from. 

As for the rest of this Wyoming line, you can find coal along it 
almost anywhere you look. 

Rapid City, terminus of the line from Pierre, had been a place of 
many guises during the brief but spectacular history of the Black 
Hills. It had been located by John Brennan, Samuel Scott, and 
others as the prospective center of a prospective farming com- 
munity. The farms were a long time coming. 

With the arrival of the stage line from Sidney-, Nebraska, in 1876, 
the town became a supply station and hay camp. Despite intermit- 
tent gold discoveries in the neighborhood it remained a hay camp 
until the advent of the railroad ten years later. 

In the eighties quartz mining was going on extensively in the 
Keystone and Rockerville districts, and ore was being hauled in by 
ox teams to a smelter in Rapid. The community, then, was a counter- 
part of Deadwood or Lead or any of the other gold-mining towns 
in the northern hills. 

The high-grade ores of the neighborhood played out, or lack of 
water or litigation stopped the operation of the mines that had been 
feeding Rapid. So the smelter closed up and eventually collapsed. 
But the town had no concern about that. Lady Luck still walked 
with it — this time to point out the lucrative cattle business over east 
a bit. 

So Rapid City became a cow town complete with saloons, harness 
shops, gambling joints, and hitching racks. That was the town that 
the passengers from Pierre discovered on August 7, 1907. But it 
was already getting ready to dress for a new part. The land agents, 
townsite agents, and barbed-wire salesmen were flocking into town. 
Dozens of them had come across the prairie in buggies before the 
first train whistle was heard in the Bad Lands. 

The hardy-perennial seers of Rapid City knew what was going 
to happen. The fences were coming, and the little farms and the net- 
works of roads and the breaking up of the sod. And the cattlemen 


were going to have to go out of business or move. But it wasn't 
going to be too much of a IjIow. Presently all the land between the 
hills and the river was going to be filled with homesteaders — thou- 
sands of them — raising wheat, or tr^'ing to raise it, on the old 

The old-timers of Rapid Citj' had seen too many projects come 
and go to venture a guess whether the agricultural theory of these 
newcomers might be right or not. It was the homesteader's privilege 
to find out for himself. As Tom Sweeny, the myriad-minded merchant 
put it : 

If they say this is going to be a great agricultural community, then 
we shall be the willing suppliers of this great agricultural community. It 
is not for us to ask what use a man may make of the goods he purchases 
from us, nor how much benefit they're going to be to him. If a sad-eyed, 
shaky, dcfeated-looking man comes to you to buy a cheap revolver, by 
all means sell it to him . . . but don't be foolish about extending him 

So Rapid City became a distributing center for the southern Hills 
and a great part of the West River country and maintained a com- 
fortable existence for just about twenty years. The solid populace 
that had succeeded the stage drivers and miners and cowboys may 
not have had an exciting life but it w as a lot less tiring than the rou- 
tine their fathers remembered. 

Something of the same metamorphosis had come to the northern 
Hills, too. The Homestake had tahcn in most of the competing mines 
in the district, and gold production had become about as romantic 
as the running of a steam laundry. Wild Bill Hickok, a badman of 
dubious stature, and Calamity Jane, an unprepossessing harlot, had 
been dead for quite a long time. Deadwood Dick — save in reason- 
able facsimile provided by the chamber of commerce — had never ex- 
isted. National prohibition had come along to close up the mildewed 
honky-tonks. And the normal people left in these towns to carry on 
a normal business took a deep breath, kicked off their shoes, put on 
their slippers, and sat down to lead a normal life. 

About this time (1927) two unforeseen influences came westward 
to affect the destiny of the Black Hills. One was Gutzon Borglum, 
the sculptor, who had been invited by State Historian Doane Robin- 



son. The other was Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States 
and particular concern of the North Western Railway. 

Borglum, who had been frustrated in his plan to carve the story 
of the Confederacy on the side of Stone Mountain, Georgia, was 
looking for a new project of similar scope. Robinson suggested that 
he chisel out a bust of Washington four times larger than the Egyp- 
tian Sphinx on one of the Black Hills peaks. Borglum came, selected 
a granite knob called Mount Rushmore, and went to work. 

There had been some tourist business in the Hills since the coming 
of the railroad — there had always been some of it even back in the 
stagecoach days. But some of the local boys, including Paul Bel- 
lamy who operated a bus line out of Rapid City, didn't think there 
was enough. You could get to the towns on the railroads all right. 
But not much farther. The hill roads were bad and those that were 
passable seldom led to any points of interest. 

So Bellamy and his committee had played some politics and 
brought about the establishment of Custer Park, a state game pre- 
serve and recreation center. They got an appropriation for some 
road improvements. Then, having viewed their handiwork and found 
it good, they invited Calvin Coolidge to spend his vacation in the 
enjoyment of it. 

While the world was still laughing at the preposterous brashness 
of these naive people of the Hills, Coolidge accepted the invitation. 

The job of bringing the President from Washington to Rapid 
City devolved on the Chicago and North Western Railwa}'. It in- 
volved logistics generally associated with the movement of an army 
corps. Not only the President but his official family had to be trans- 
ferred: Cabinet members, officials outside the Cabinet, corps of sec- 
retaries, assistant secretaries, stenographers, messengers, advisors 
— correspondents, photographers, secret-service operatives, and 
carloads of people still unidentified. North Western tacticians went 
to work on this problem two months before a solution was going to 
be needed and, well in advance of the departure from Washington, 
had arranged for the arrival, spotting, and unloading of every car 
in the movement ; the feeding, transfer, and billeting of every pas- 
senger ; arrangement for priority over regular trains — one of the 
most intricate schedules that, up to the moment, had ever been seen 
in railroading. 


It hiul just been complctwl, and tlie arriiiigers had sunk back into 
their ciiairs wiicn Senator Pete Norbcck called tiie office of the gen- 
eral passenger agent in Chicago. 

"I hate to mention it," lie said. "Jkit President Coolidge has 
changed his mind about going with you to the Black Hills. He wants 
to visit the grave of a distant relative who, unfortunately, is buried 
somewhere near Mitchell." 

The general passenger agent was too tired to argue. 

"You'll have a copy of the schedule in the mail this morning," he 
said. "It takes care of every minute the President and his party will 
be on our line and it provides specific instructions for every man 
who will have anything to do with the trip. It represents two months' 
work on the part of several people, and I should like to have 3'ou 
show the President a copy of it. If he has the sense of economy peo- 
ple say he has, he may not want to throw it away." 

Senator Norbeck called back some hours later to say that Presi- 
dent Coolidge was going to the Black Hills over the North Western 
as originally j)lanned. And so, in due course, he did. Not until months 
afterward did Senator Norbeck tell what happened when he went 
to the White House to deliver the schedule. 

"I told him that the North Western officials were anxious to co- 
operate with him if he wanted to see the grave of this distant cousin 
or whatever it was," he said. "But I said that they wanted a sort of 
friendly compromise so all that work wouldn't be wasted. I told him 
the railroad would be willing to move the relative's body to Rapid 
City or to Washington- — which would cost less." 

Whether this was actually Senator Norbeck's solution of a per- 
plexing problem will never be known. But anyway it is a matter of 
history that the President came to Rapid City by way of Rochester, 
Mankato, Huron, and Pierre. 


lapter 30 


Rapid City became the most famous town of its size in the world 
during that summer. President Coolidge Kved at the game lodge in 
Custer Park and established his summer White House at the high 
school. The town was frightfully overcrowded with the influx of 
about a thousand people who made up the official entourage. In ad- 
dition to that people came journeying on business from Europe, 
Asia, Africa, and all parts of the United States. Thousands of others 
came across the prairie as visiting neighbors. Tlie passenger traffic 
between Chicago and the Hills approached an all-time peak. 

Next 3'ear the hegira continued, for though Coolidge was gone, 
Gutzon Borglum was there and he was beginning to make some prog- 
ress on the sculpture of his great stone faces. New roads had to be 
constructed to make his work accessible and they, in turn, opened 
up new vistas of the Hills to sight-seers. So year by year the tide of 
visitors increased. And presently Rapid City, always adaptable, had 
taken on a new role as a tourist center. 

It was probably Marvin Hugliitt who said that the Black Hills 
embraced the richest hundred square miles of territory on earth. 
Stewart Edward White declared that nowhere else on the globe was 
such a variety of scenery to be found in so small a compass. They 
were both very close to right. 

Scenery and riches are where you find them. You can climb the 
corkscrews of the Iron Mountain road and emerge among the 
"Needles," a breath-taking concourse of stone spires on the roof of 



the world. Or you may ride over the prairie 4 miles from the railroad 
station at Wall to the Bad Lands and look down upon the majestic 
beauty of chaotic desolation. And as for riches — gold may come in 
many ways — out of a gold mine or over a table at the old Bodega 
in Deadwood, or, if you are running a railroad, it may lie in the 
undisclosed products of a new land. It may also come from a cow's 
willingness to cat buffalo grass. 

As we've mentioned elsewhere cattle came into the Hills almost as 
soon as the gold seekers. The earliest arrivals were brought in be- 
cause the miners had chased away the Indians from broad pastures, 
new trails were open out of Cheyenne and Sidney, and there had been 
three successive years of grassless drought in the South. So the 
thundering herds came up from Texas to the new open range from 
Buffalo Gap to the North Dakota Bad Lands. In the summer of 
1882, 27,000 head of Texas longhorns came in a single drive. And 
the hard-bcatcn tracks of their passing can still be seen along the 
Belle Fourclie River. 

This, the Texas travelers discovered, was good grazing ground. 
Winters at the north end of the Hills were seldom severe. Snows 
weren't often deep, and the tough prairie grasses that curled up 
close to the ground in the fall provided adequate food in all sorts of 
weather. The herds that had been brought for an emergency feeding 
stayed in the region from then on. 

About 1890 when there began to be signs of the passing of the old 
open range, more or less modern cattle ranches sprang up along the 
north fork of the Cheyenne River. The largest was the Diamond A, 
which controlled 400,000 acres and at one time had about 50,000 
steers under its brand. Six or seven other outfits in the same region 
ran herds of from ten to fifteen thousand head apiece. And this in a 
region that has never been celebrated in the movies, pulp magazines, 
or ranch-house laments as part of the cow country. 

Until 1886, livestock went out to market the same way it had 
come into the Hills — on the hoof. The cows were herded down along 
the old stage-line routes and put aboard the trains at Cheyenne or 
Chadron. So money came into the Belle Fourche River district, and 
a town grew up as was to be expected. 

The town, 4 miles southeast of the present railhead, is remem- 


bered by a few old-timers as "Old Minnesela." It didn't last long 
enough to get a place on many of the maps, but the smart citizenry 
remedied that condition in 1890 by making one of their own. The 
North Western (Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad) 
came up from Whitewood that year, skipped Old Minnesela, and 
laid out the town which is now Belle Fourche. The Minneselans were 
incensed at what they considered an unnecessary slight to a going 
community. Belle Fourche, of course, had nothing but a temporary 
railroad station. Old Minnesela had a drugstore, a large hotel, a 
blacksmith shop, one church, one school, some homes, and quite a 
lot of saloons. 

So when the townsite company held its sale of lots in Belle Fourche, 
the Minneselans, in every buggy, cart, and wagon they could mobi- 
lize, brought copies of their map to the end of the rail and tried to 
lure the customers to a sale of their own. The •i-mile jaunt between 
Old Minnesela's hotel and the railroad station was too obvious, and 
the trick failed. The citizens accepted defeat and moved over to 
Belle Fourche, saloons and all. 

Belle Fourche was a thriving cow town and still is, although it 
has lost some of the old look. As you stepped off a train in the 1900's 
you stood at the head of a two-block street in which virtually all the 
business houses were saloons, gambling halls, or a combination of 
both. There were few women on the streets and \Trtually no children. 
Nearly all the men who wove in and out of the scene were cow- 
punchers in the garb of their trade. At the curbs stood scores of cow 
ponies, fetlock-deep in mud, with their heads drooping between their 

Today Belle Fourche has paved streets and brick buildings, a new 
hotel, and a couple of modern moving picture theaters. The galaxy 
of grogshops burned down sometime before Prohibition and has 
never been replaced. The town gets along quite well with a single 
municipal saloon and night club. Cowboys still fill up the town, but 
most of them seem to be there on business. The cow ponies come off 
the ranches only at rodeo time. Travel between home and market is 
now done more quickly by automobile. 

There is no outward resemblance between the sprawling town of 
Belle Fourche and the Homestake gold mine, but picking one or the 


other of thcin as a revenue source, a railroad freiglit agent would 
undoubtedly choose Belle Fourche. In 1893 it established a record 
as the most important shipping point for range cattle in tlie world. 
And it has never been far away from that mark since. 

In 18913, 4,700 carloads of stock went out to the Chicago and 
Omaha markets. Since then such outfits as the Diamond A have 
gone out of business. The big ranges are cut up, and the problems 
of cattle raising have multiiilied a hundred per cent. But Belle 
Fourche unobtrusively reaps a high rating year by year. In 19-i-t 
the town shipj)ed 7,1.53 carloads of mixed products; in 19-15, 7,i01< 
cars; in 19-i6, 7,495 cars; and in 1947, 7,848 cars. 

In 1947 the local livestock exchange sold 104,540 cattle and 60,- 
249 sheep. And several times that year Belle Fourche rated as the 
number one primary cattle market in tlie United States, if not in 
the world. 

Cattle raising ceased to be the community's lone industry in 1907 
when the government completed the Orman irrigation dam across 
the Belle Fourche River. Since then there has been a great diversifi- 
cation of farm products. 

The production of sugar beets became an important industry in 
1917. Beets were shipped out by the trainload to mills outside the 
state until 1927 when the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company built a fac- 
tory at Belle Fourche. This plant turned out 250,000 bags of sugar 
in 1940. One hundred and eighty-eight carloads were sent to mid- 
western markets in 1947. 

Other shipments during 1947 were: sheep, 989 cars; lumber, 301 
cars; wheat, 278 cars; brick and tile, 163 cars; wool, 117 cars; 
hogs, 82 cars ; molasses, 68 cars ; horses, 16 cars ; scrap iron, 9 cars ; 
bentonite, 4,469 cars ; miscellaneous, 39 cars. 

Bentonite, a claylike mineral whose absorbent qualities make it 
valuable in well-drilling, iron molding, and cosmetic manufacture, is 
becoming one of the district's principal products. At this writing 
the North Western is building a spur track from Belle Fourche to 
the district where the large deposits have been located. 

The tourist trade, so highly spoken of in the lower Hills, does not 
come to Belle Fourche much except for the "Roundup," a local rodeo 
show held in the fall. But nobody seems to care much about visitmg 


sight-seers. There aren't any dude ranches in the neighboi-hood, 

Although you'd have some trouble buying beaded moccasins and 
souvenir paperweights in the place, the merchants have little cause 
for worry. Postal receipts last year (1947) were $32,579.03. And 
the banks did a business of $58,820,000. 


'lanter S / 


In 1910 IMakvix IlrcinTT rclinquislicd tlie prcsidcnc^^ to William 
A. Gardner and became chairman of the Board. Gardner's regime 
was brief. He died in 1916 and was succeeded by Richard H. Aish- 
ton. The road continued to flourish. There was still plenty of money 
in the till. And Gardner was spared the headaches of wartime gov- 
ernment control that nobody in those halcyon days could have fore- 

The Federal director general of railroads took over the North 
Western s3\stem on December 28, 1917. For 1918 the company got 
$23,201,01.5.60 as rent from the government, and paid out $8,816,- 
106.;39 interest on bonds, .$925,000 war tax, $149,577.01< corporate 
operating expenses, and $1,201,762 for all other expenses. After 
payment of dividends there remained $2,418,956. 

The government's report for 1918 showed $127,295,678.35 oper- 
ating revenues as against $108,264,983.32 received by the Chicago 
and North Western in 1917— a gain of $19,030,695.03. On the other 
hand 1917 operating expenses had been .$78,758,988.73 against 
$109,498,572.24 in 1918. All other expenses (net) were, 1917— 
$5,108,138.58; 1918— .$5,355,668.98. So the net revenue, which had 
been .$24,397,856.01 in 1917, dropped under government operation 
to .$12,441,437.13, or very nearly twelve million dollars. 

On March 4, 1920, the railroads were given back to their owners. 
Under the Transportation Act of 1920, the railroads were guaran- 
teed six months' compensation equal to half of what they had re- 
ceived from the government. And there were some new woes. The 
Chicago and North Western Company in November, 1920, filed 
claims against the United States Railroad Administration "for un- 
dermaintenance; deficiencies in materials and supplies turned back 




at the end of Federal control, as compared with the amount taken 
over ; unpaid compensation ; balances on open accounts ; and for 
the value of property retired during the Federal control period and 
not replaced — less all credits due the Railroad Administration." 

The government allowed the claim and paid a total of $15,500,000 
cash to the company in 1921. This was one of the few bright spots 
in the annual report. Nineteen twenty-one was a year of wide- 
spread depression. Railway wages were up until July 1, when the 
United States Railroad Labor Board established a new scale aver- 
aging about 11 per cent lower than the year before. Operating ex- 
penses continued to be abnormally high. 

Business picked up a bit in 1922, and revenues climbed during the 
next three years. But the difference between gross income and oper- 
ating expenses somehow never seemed to approach a prewar adjust- 

]\Iarvin Hughitt, who had been president of the company from 
1887 until 1910 wiien he was elected chairman of the Board of Di- 
rectors, resigned that post in 1925 to become chairman of the 
finance committee. On January 6, 1928, he died. He was nearly 
ninety-one years old and for fifty-six years had been continuously 
associated with the Chicago and North Western Railway Company, 
the directing genius of its spectacular journeyings into new coun- 
tries. The resolution adopted by the Board of Directors observed : 

His courage and foresight overcame the obstacles of the pioneer days, 
while his optimism and faith in the destinies of the nation led him far 
in advancing steam transportation beyond the rugged frontiers. 

His guiding influence and sound judgment were keenly felt in the 
trying days of the railroad's expansion. With the coming of the ever ex- 
panding scope of Governmental regulation of railroads, Mr. Hughitt 
readily adapted himself to the altered environment and never lost con- 
fidence in the ultimate fairness of the American people. 

Marvin Hughitt's successors were concerned as he had been — and 
with greater reason — at what seemed to be the increasing illogic 
in Federal control. 

The fiscal year 1926-1927 had been fairly profitable, but there 
were signs that gave the auditors concern. During 1927 wage in- 


cruascs liiul btin f^riuitcd tlmt added about $1,300,000 to the pay- 

A coal strike had been in prospect at the beginning of the _ycar 
so the farsighted purcliasing department had laid in 1,000,000 tons 
of coal as a reserve. The strike, however, went on so long that the 
company had to go into the open market and buy coal from eastern 
fields. Tliis increased operating expenses approximately $685,000, 
and a further increase was caused by the replacement of worn-out 
and obsolete equipment, $841,057 worth more than required the 
year before. The surplus, after interest and dividends, decreased 
$2,583,757. The gross revenue was $4,202,764 below that of the 
preceding year. 

Meanwhile, improvements were going ahead as if no dire omens 
could be noted in the annual report. The company had put 5,122 
new and rebuilt freight cars into service that year. It is interesting 
to note that a thousand of these were automobile cars — motor-car 
competition was still being compensated for by tlie revenue that 
came from transporting motor cars. 

New grain elevators, engine houses, coal-handling plants, gas 
plants, and water-treating plants, shops, docks, and tracks had 
been built. At Proviso, Illinois, 32 new tracks had been added to 
the classification yard, each with a capacity of 100 cars. Subways 
were constructed under the south end of the yards to carry Lake 
Street and North Avenue under the tracks. Work was started on 
a merchandise freight house, and the program that was to make 
this one of the world's greatest marshaling yards was well under 

In 1929 it was completed, with features that made it probably 
the most remarkable freight terminal in the country. Certainly it 
was, and is, one of the largest. As it went into service its electric 
retarder yard alone contained 59 tracks with individual capacities 
of from 38 to 76 cars each, a total capacity of 3,220 cars on an 
aggregate track length of 33 miles. 

Its function, of course, is to take individual cars out of one train 
and put them into other trains where they belong. And this, as in 
other great switchyards, since the London and Northwestern Rail- 
way invented the idea in 1873, is done by gravity: 

A group of cars are shoved to the summit of an elevation. One 


by one or in small groups, according to the classification required, 
they are allowed to coast down an incline into a maze of branching 
trackage. Originally the progress of each car was directed by a 
tender at every switch and a brakeman "riding the top." 

In the Proviso 3'ards, however, the movement of cars into the 
classification yards from the hump is controlled by 30 mechanically 
operated retarders. The retarders, located on leads to the various 
tracks, together with the 58 switches connecting the yard tracks 
with the leads, are operated from three elevated towers. 

A teletype communicating system transmits switching lists from 
the agent's office simultaneously to the hump, the yardmaster's office, 
and each of the three towers. The movements of trains approaching 
the hump are controlled by a series of signals operated by the yard- 

The yard is electrically lighted by floodlights of 1,000-watt ca- 
pacity on four towers whose height varies from 100 to 120 feet. 

A departure yard, operating in connection with the classification 
yard, contains 21 tracks (combined length 17 miles) with capaci- 
ties of 60 to 100 cars each — a total capacity of 1,760 cars. A pneu- 
matic tube, a mile and a quarter long, connects the agent's office 
with the departure yard for quick transmission of outgoing way- 

Engine houses at Proviso were rebuilt to make room for larger 
locomotives. Two electrically operated cinder-handling plants were 
installed, and among other improvements was a water-softening 
plant in conjunction with a reservoir of 500,000 gallons capacity. 
These are only parts of Proviso. So huge is the freight yai'd that 
for operating efficiency it is divided into nine smaller yards, each 
with its individual yardmaster supervised by the general yardmaster. 
Approximately 230 miles of track were laid down in the yard area 
5 miles long and half a mile wide — enough trackage to hold 26,000 
cars. The location of this sixteen-million-dollar freight yard, only 
13 miles west of Chicago, was also strategic since it kept freight 
operations close to the city, yet just far enough away to be sepa- 
rated from the congestion of various forms of traffic. Undoubtedly, 
this was one of the biggest construction jobs, within a comparatively 
small area, ever undertaken by the \orth Western. 

All that happened in 1929, in October of which year had come 


the big market collapse and the hoginiiiiig of a depression that 
seemed likely never to end. The railroads didn't feel the shock im- 
mediately — at least not enough of it to hurt. The officials knew as 
everybody did that the country was in for plenty of trouble, but 
at first there was some hope that it might not be permanent. A group 
of railroad presidents conferred with President Hoover and prom- 
ised to spend millions in a recovery program. Some of them may 
have thought they could find the money and that the scheme would 


lapter 32 


In the year 1930 the North Western built the Wood Street j'ard in 
Chicago, a series of tracks alongside paved driveways to facilitate 
handling of potatoes and vegetables. Its constructors still point to 
it with considerable pride after nearly eighteen years. Unemploy- 
ment was increasing, and the stock market was virtually out of busi- 
ness. But there were still indications that some people still had hope 
in the country. During the year, 528 new industries were established 
along the company's lines. Most of them had to do with petroleum 
products, but machinery manufacturers, miscellaneous manufac- 
turers, building-material distributors, and automobile companies 
were included in the list. Whatever hope had buoyed them when they 
came looking for switch-track facilities had faded before the end of 

It was fairly obvious by that time, even to the most hearty opti- 
mists, that the railroads were going to bear their share of the 
disaster — and more. Railroad managers became aware of an in- 
creasing and malignant menace in unregulated truck traffic. At the 
moment there seemed to be no satisfactory answer to it. Class rate 
increases requested by the western lines were not allowed by the 
Interstate Commerce Commission until December 3, 1931, when the 
truck competition had increased to such an extent that the effect 
of the decision was virtually nullified. A reduction in grain rates 
that would have cost the western carriers an annual loss of twenty 
million dollars was voided by the United States Supreme Court. But 
livestock rates were reduced. 



Kconomy measures were discussed without encouraging results. 
The North Western had nhvays done a large passenger-carrying 
business. Now it was unable to reduce passenger-train mileage as 
rapidly as the passenger business declined. Authority had to be ob- 
tained from regulatory bodies which would not act without tests 
to demonstrate that a particular train was not needed. Dcsjiite this 
difficulty, some three million passenger miles were eliminated — not 
nearly enough to make any great difference in the widening spread 
between revenue and operating cost. 

Nine hundred and sixty banks failed in North Western territory 
tliiit year. The company was doing business with sixty-five of them 
but with what tlie directors sourly considered unusual luck lost only 
tliree thousand dollars. An additional 117 banks closed their doors 
in the same nine states served by the North Western in January, 
1932, and 35 in February. 

With undecorated realism the directors' annual report for 1932 
observes: "The result of the operation of the company for the year 
reflects general business conditions." And so it diti, for that year, 
and the next year, and long years afterward. 

There were better than average crops in 1932 — but that was of 
small benefit to anybody, including the producers. Prices were low, 
and there wasn't any market anyway. As compared with 1931, the 
railroad's revenue from agricultural products had dropped 26 per 

At the same time the movement of manufactured products had 
decreased 64 per cent, and the traffic in iron ore was only about 5 
per cent of normal. Business in building materials was little better. 

In previous years, as has been mentioned, the loss of traffic di- 
verted to motor vehicles was offset somewhat by the revenue that 
came from hauling automobiles and parts. But at this stage of the 
depression the automobile industry had just about hit bottom. 

There was only one bit of cheer in the record of this unfortunate 
year: "All of tlie coinj)any's high-grade, overnight trains are pay- 

Passenger travel in general had declined 73 per cent. The Chicago, 
Saint Paul, Miimeapolis and Omaha Railway Company (the Omaha 
line) was unable to jjay $2,485,230 interest on its bonds. The North 
Western Comj)any was forced to borrow funds to pay interest on 


its own debentures sold to refinance the Omaha bonds in 19;J0. The 
conij)any up to December 31, 1932, liad borrowed $17,039,933 from 
tlic lleconstriiction Finance Corporation, used $5,000,000 to refund 
half of a teii-million-dollar loan with the banks, and the remainder 
to retire equipment trust certificates. 

The net increase of the company's indebtedness for the year added 
uj) to $13,880,333. 

There was almost a respite in 1933. Grain, iron ore, and forest 
products started to move again. Thanks to the Century of Progress 
Exposition in Chicago, passenger traffic picked up a bit. Operating 
expenses were reduced $2,889,451, to produce a net operating in- 
come of $6,031,714. 

But there were complications. Two issues of long-term bonds ma- 
tured tliat year: $0,355,000 of Chicago and North Western Railway 
Company debentures, and .$7,725,000 of Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Railroad Company consolidated mortgage bonds. It 
was arranged to refinance these issues by paying 50 per cent cash 
borrowed from R.F.C. and 50 per cent in general mortgage bonds 
of 1987. The statement at the end of the year showed a net increase 
in indebtedness of $20,527,426.48. 

There was no relief the next year. Operating expense increased 7 
per cent, and net operating income was down 14 per cent. There was 
a drought in parts of Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Ne- 
braska. Suburban passenger revenue dropped 14 per cent. Additional 
borrowings less some repayments brought the total loans to the com- 
pany from governmental agencies on December 31, 1934, to .$44,- 
410,133. The net increase in the system's indebtedness was $22,087,- 

Then, on June 28, 1935, President Fred W. Sargent, by direction 
of the Board of Directors, filed a petition in bankruptcy with the 
United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois. 
The petition set forth "that on May 1, 1935, the interest of the com- 
pany's 4% per cent Convertible Bonds of 1949, Scries A, in the sum 
of $1,717,956.50 became due and jDayable subject to a sixty-day 
grace period ; and that since funds w-ere not available on June 27, 
1935, the Board of Directors voted to default on the payment. It 
was set forth that on December 31, 1935, obligations totaling $29,- 
464,891.50 would mature. Of this, $11,185,308.50 was for interest. 


including tliat already due on the previously mentioned bonds, and 
$18,279,583 for principal maturities." 

United States District Judge John P. Barnes approved the peti- 
tion as properly filed and authorized the company to continue opera- 
tion under the supervision of the court, until further order. Effec- 
tive October 21, 1935, the court appointed Charles P. Megan trustee 
of the property of the company. 

Reasons for the petition, as they appeared in press interviews 
with sundry officials, were hardly necessary. Among the battered 
industries of the country the experience of the North Western Rail- 
way was far from unique. 

There was something dishearteningly familiar in the catalogue 
of trouble: the long continuation of the depression; four years of 
unprecedented drought in the regions served by the railroad ; in- 
creased competition with unregulated truck traffic and subsidized 
air transportation ; inordinately high taxes ; restoration to labor of 
previously authorized 10 per cent wage cuts, with price of rail- 
road service limited by law. Appointment of a trustee made little 
difference in the general state of the country. Business for the rail- 
roads continued bad. 

Nineteen thirty-seven saw what was probably the worst drought 
since the first settlers moved westward across the Mississippi River. 
Corn shriveled not only in the semiarid regions of the Dakota West 
River country, but in Iowa bottomlands that yesterday had been 
moist and fertile. Minnesota wheat was parched. And all across 
Nebraska and all along the Missouri Valley the plains were dusty 
gray under a shriveling sun in a brassy sky. 

Passenger traffic, however, began to show some recognizable signs 
of improvement. The 400, the one feature of depression railroad 
operation that its founders could look at with any degree of pleasure, 
was still flashing back and forth between Chicago and the Twin 
Cities with a customer in every seat. The diesel-powered streamliners 
operated jointly with the Union Pacific Railroad Company between 
Chicago and Denver, Los Angeles and Portland and, with the Union 
Pacific and Southern Pacific to San Francisco, were booked up weeks 
in advance. These trains, together with low-fare limiteds of the 
Challenger type, produced an increase of 22 per cent in passenger 


This and otliir factors made it possible to show a little gain over 
19.'35. The deficit in net income was $9,674,005 as against last year's 
deficit of $11,070,;548. 

Hearings before the Interstate Commerce Commission on a plan 
of financial reorganization under Section 77 of the Bankruptcy Act 
began in Sej)teniber, 193G, and continued from time to time. At the 
December, 1937, hearing, the company filed an amended plan which 
had been approved by the Board of Directors in October. The I^ife 
Insurance Group Committee and the Mutual Savings Bank Group 
Committee opposed this plan vigorously and filed their own pro- 
posed plan of reorganization for the company. 

The two hearing examiners of the Interstate Commerce Commis- 
sion's Bureau of Finance, at their own suggestion and in order to 
aid in expediting the proceeding, prepared and filed a memorandum 
concerning certain features of the proposed plan of reorganization. 
The memorandum suggested a total capitalization of $468,000,000 
and concluded as follows : 

It is suggested that not less than one share of new common stock be 
issued for each 5 shares of existing preferred stock and that not less 
than one share of new common stock be issued for each 10 shares of ex- 
isting common stock, in recognition of the existing equity of the holders 
of those classes of stock in the property. 

Considerable time was consumed in the preparation of briefs and 
oral arguments and in the presentations of the views and pleas of 
the various interested groups and parties. It was not until April 18, 
19,39, that the report of the Interstate Commerce Commission's ex- 
aminers in the North Western case was released. This report found 
the equity of the preferred and common stockholders to be without 
value. On December 12, 1939, the Commission approved a reorgani- 
zation plan under which debt was chopped from $366,210,000 to 
$210,161,000, and fixed charges were slashed 75 per cent — to $3,- 
934,000. There was also contingent interest of $4,728,000 and divi- 
dend requirements on tlie new preferred of $5,349,000 a year. The 
Commission approved the finding of the examiners to the effect that 
the holders of the "investment type" preferred and common stock 
(in the lush twenties these shares sold at $150 for preferred and at 
$108 for common) were to be wi})ed out. 


Of course there ensued a new flood of petitions. District Judge 
Barnes and learned counsel for all sides spent a weary and perspir- 
ing summer (1940) in court. There is nothing duller or drier than 
presentation, testimony, and argument in such cases. On September 
11, the court filed an opinion finding that the plan met the require- 
ments of the statute. The road and eight other parties appealed. In 
January, 1941, the Interstate Commerce Commission asked accep- 
tance or rejection by the creditors on vote. The plan won, and in 
May the Conmiission certified the result of the vote to the District 
Court. The road, fighting for its preferred and common stockholders, 
sought a stay from the Circuit Court of Appeals. This was denied. 
On June 27, a decree confirming the plan was entered by Judge 
Barnes. The case was carried to the Circuit Court of Appeals which, 
in an opinion handed down in February of 1942, approved Judge 
Barnes's findings and confirmed the plan. 

The North Western and the other interested parties petitioned 
the Supreme Court of the United States for writs of certiorari to 
the Circuit Court. That took time, as do all cases so headed. On 
April 19, 1943, the Supreme Court denied the petition but granted 
motions for leave to supplement the record. The road then went 
back into the District Court seeking leave to file a petition to remand 
the proceedings to the Interstate Commerce Connnission for a modi- 
fication of the plan. In denying the motion. Judge Barnes (April 27, 
1943) said: 

I tliought the plan was good. I still think it is good. It is very fortu- 
nate that the road is accumulating some cash wherewith to meet the ob- 
ligations of the plan, give it a good start upon what we hope will be a 
long course of prosperity and long life. ... * 

There is no reason that I can see, why I should change the plan, and 
certainly no overpowering reason to cause me to appear to overrule the 
Circuit Court of Appeals of this Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the 
United States. 

The road, still fighting, sought a rehearing of the petitions for 
writs of certiorari and for a rehearing before the District Court. 
The Supreme Court denied both sets of petitions. The road then be- 
sought a reopening of the case by the Interstate Commerce Com- 

* The war was on, and all railroads were busv as beavers. 


mission, which was also denied. On July 1, 1943, under the Urgent 
Deficiencies Act, the road sought to set aside approval of the Com- 
mission's plan. The three-judge court, convened in accordance with 
that act, held tliat the Circuit Court of Appeals had exclusive juris- 
diction to review decisions in bankruptcy matters and pointed out 
the fact that the earnings and cash position of the road had im- 
proved and that this condition had been forcefully called to the 
attention of the appellate tribunals. The court entered a decree dis- 
missing the bill of complaint, and on December 20 the Supreme Court 
affirmed the decision. The fight was over and done with. 

During the nine years that it took to complete the North West- 
ern's reorganization, three sole trustees of the property of the 
debtor (the term used for a financially embarrassed corporation in 
Section 77) served under court appointment. These were Charles P. 
Megan, appointed October 3, 1935, who took office on October 21. 
Megan served until May of 1939, when he resigned to devote his en- 
tire attention to his law practice. He was succeeded by Charles ]M. 
Thomson, former judge of the Appellate Court of Illinois and trus- 
tee of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad when that organi- 
zation had its own spell of difficulties. Judge Thomson remained as 
trustee of the North Western until his death December 30, 19-13 — 
just ten days after the United States Supreme Court put an end 
to the fight against the reorganization plan. Claude A. Roth fol- 
lowed Judge Thomson and was serving as trustee on June 1, lO-i-i, 
wjicn the consummation order went into effect, and title to the North 
Western was vested in the reorganized company — whereupon Row- 
land "Bud" Williams, chief executive officer of the road since 1939, 
was elected president. 


lapter^ 33 


There was nothing accidental about the appearance of Rowland L. 
Williams ("Bud" to his friends) as chief executive officer of the 
North Western in 1939 at a time when the company was in the mid- 
dle of its reorganization procedure. Williams came to the North 
Western with thirty-six years of railroad experience behind him. 
He had been known for many years in the Middle West as a practical 
railroad man. But he was more than that. He was generally reputed 
to be one of the top-ranking railroad analysts in the United States. 

Like many of his contemporaries and predecessors, Williams came 
up the hard way ; the knowledge and experience gained in each rail- 
road job held, plus some extra qualities of initiative and drive, hold- 
ing him in good stead for one promotion after another. 

He was born in 1888 in the small town of Salem, Illinois, where 
farming and railroading were the principal occupations. The son 
of an insurance salesman of moderate means, Williams got his edu- 
cation in the local schools and at the age of fifteen decided to go to 
work. He selected railroading not because of any outside influences 
but because he thought his chances were best in that direction. 

Williams took a summer job as messenger boy for the Baltimore 
and Ohio Southwestern (now B & O) in 1903 with no remuneration 
except the privilege of learning telegraphy. He went back to school 
that winter but the following summer returned to his job for a 
salary of five dollars a month. Within the next three years he did 
a stint as freight and yard clerk, then as telegrapher, and in 1907 
switched allegiance, for a raise in salary, to the Chicago and Eastern 
Illinois Railroad. Williams was destined to stay with the C & E I 
for the next thirty-two years. 

Those years, however, were the ones in which he absorbed a great 


deal of iiiforinntion on tlic ramifications of rail transportation. He 
held a variety of positions, each one better than the lust. He was 
first an operator, then trans])ortation timekeeper, division chief 
accountant, assistant chief clerk, and then chief clerk to the division 
superintendent, chief clerk to the division engineer, chief statistician, 
and special representative of the president. In 19.'}2 he was promoted 
to assistant to president only to move up afraiii, four years latir, to 
executive %'ice-president. 

The variety of positions he held hi-oui^lit him in contact with all 
phases of operations on the C & E I, including its financial structure. 
When the C & E I landed in the Federal courts after failing to 
weather the great depression of the 1930's, Williams obtained still 
more experience on the problems of railroad reorganization. 

He was executive vice-president of the C & E I when the North 
Western called to him in 1939 to take over as chief executive officer. 
Fred W. Sargent had resigned in June of that year with the illness 
that was to cause his death a few months later. Taking over the helm 
of the North Western was undoubtedly a unique experience for Wil- 
liams, who admits that up to that time he had never set foot on the 
property. But it was also a challenge that was to require him to 
draw deep on his knowledge of railroad matters. With the return of 
the railroad to private management, Williams on June 1, 1944, was 
elected president of the North Western. 

When Williams came to the North Western he knew he had a job 
on his hands. On the one hand operating costs had to be kept down 
and reduced wherever possible; at the same time every effort was 
to be made to get new business. The first thing he did was to review 
the property, personally as well as through detailed reports sub- 
mitted to him. 

Out of this survey came what he calls his "house cleaning" pro- 
gram. He ordered the tearing up of a lot of unprofitable and un- 
necessary trackage. Some of the company's branch lines had served 
their purpose in the horse-and-buggy days of the Middle West. They 
had done their job well, but had been staggering on more or less use- 
lessly since the advent of the Model-T Ford. There was no longer 
any purpose or profit in maintaining a one-train-daily passenger 
service on short branch lines whose potential customers were all 
automobile owners. There were longer stretches so expensive to main- 


tain and operate that freight competition against the new truck 
lines would have cost more than the rewards gained thereby. 

One branch line after another, and hundreds of side tracks and 
spurs all over the map were pulled up after careful study showed 
Williams this was the action to take. Thirty-five miles of track was 
pulled up by the end of 1939; 50 by 1940; 101. by 1941; 162 by 
1942; and 266 by 1943. These figures do not include a total of 557 
miles of unnecessary side tracks. But the "house cleaning" went even 
further. Since 1939, 195 freight and passenger depots have been 
removed along with 634 other station buildings, 577 shop buildings, 
1,118 minor structures, and 1,226 miles of right-of-way fence. Wil- 
liams was determined to streamline the railroad as well as its trains. 

Williams had watched with approval the performance of the 
streamliners City of Portland, City of San Francisco, City of Los 
Angeles, and City of Denver, which were operated in cooperation 
with connecting lines to the West. He also saw, in 1939, the great 
enthusiasm with which the streamliner Twin Cities Ji.00 was received. 
Orders were placed for more equipment of the JfOO type, which was 
delivered and placed into service only a few weeks after the attack 
on Pearl Harbor. 

Williams was convinced that the customers would pay for the 
comfort, safety, and dependability of his sleek diesel-powered green 
and yellow streamliners. In 1941 the Twin Cities 400 brought in 
$1,263,905, an increase of $162,689 over 1940. The new 400 fleet 
placed in service in January of 1942 to serve southern Minnesota, 
Wisconsin, and upper Michigan brought an additional rush of 
patrons. "All these trains," says the report for that year, "have 
been most favorably accepted by the public and carried a very heavy 
traffic and contributed greatly to increased revenues." 

Of course the war with its heavy movement of troops, families vis- 
iting loved ones in widely scattered military and naval bases, gas 
rationing, and the tight tire situation were principal contributors to 
the crowding of railroad stations. But even so, the popularity' of 
the streamliners was easy to see, for these were the trains on which 
reservations and accommodations were in greatest demand. 

The heavy war traffic helped the North Western considerably, 
just as it helped all railroads, bus lines, and air lines. But this im- 
petus of new business, coming unexpectedly' on the heels of the North 


Western's reorganization, gave it extra hope in facing tlie future. 
After tlic war the "recession" forecast by some people failed to ar- 
rive. North Western's operating revenues for 1947 were the largest 
in the history of the company. 

Operating revenues are not profits, liowever. The war period as 
well as the years following can be characterized as an era of spiral- 
ing costs in materials, supplies, and labor. Taxes, too, took a tre- 
mendous portion of North Western's earnings into state and Fed- 
eral coffers. 

What is the answer.'' Williams is an active proponent of the theory 
tiiat the railroads can save themselves if they are allowed to. He is 
also convinced that overcomplicated Federal regulation of the rail- 
roads isn't doing them and — therefore — the nation any good. In a 
top national magazine he pointed out the essential trouble with the 
railroads — he makes no distinction because they are all in the same 
galley. They are allowed to make 3 per cent or less on a capital in- 
vestment of twent^'-seven billion dollars. They are among the poor- 
est earners in industry and, he observes bleakly, some of them are 
going broke. This in a lush period of dollar-a-pound butter and cus- 
tomers' lines in front of the automobile agencies. 

Williams is surprised that there are so many people who still 
seriously think it would be a good plan to nationalize the railroads. 
He wonders how anyone could overlook the time the government ran 
the trains during the first World W^ar. That experiment, he points 
out, cost the taxpaj'ers about two million dollars a day in deficits 
and, in addition, saw one of the greatest snarls of freight cars in 
history. In World War II the railroads were left to run their own 
business. The result was that they handled more men of the armed 
forces than most folks believed possible, hauled their civilian passen- 
gers without much difficulty, did the biggest freight transporting 
job in all history, and to top it aU, paid out more than three million 
dollars a day in taxes. 

He is against government bonuses or subsidies or other paternal- 
istic largess. All the railroads need, or want, he says, is a recognition 
of the right to earn a living. He is not opposed to high wages for 
employes if the cmplo^'ers are allowed to get enough money out of 
their operations to pay the wages without going into bankruptcy. 
But when railroads are getting a .'3 per cent return wliile otlirr ])ul)lic 


utilities are earning 8 per cent and manufacturing generally is 
averaging 17 per cent, something is definitely wrong with the gov- 
ernment regulations that permit such a disparity. 

A case in point is that concerning the new freight car which costs 
in the neighborhood of $4<,500. Williams believes railroads should be 
permitted to set aside enough funds to replace worn-out equipment. 
Yet the government permits setting aside a depreciation fund only 
at the rate of about .$1,800 per freight car, since that was what an 
old freight car cost some thirty years ago when it was purchased 
new. Somewhere it has to dig up $2,700 in new money or it doesn't 
get its new freight car. 

That also holds true in any modernization a railroad may at- 
tempt. It must be progressive if it is to stay in the transportation 
picture, yet it costs money to conduct research, build new modern 
passenger stations, and make its plant efficient enough so that it can 
compete with other forms of transportation. 

As for the North Western, Williams maintains that only constant 
improvement and a constant increase in operating efficiency have 
kept it alive. Service is better and faster, but most of the things that 
go into it cost the railroad twice as much as they did in 1929. True, 
the improved equipment results in better performance — it just has 
to be that way. He points out that an average trainload in 1929 
was 1,536 gross tons as against 2,288 gross tons in 1947. 

Williams is a determined railroad man but he is no zealot. He is 
interested in any and all improvements in rail transportation, pro- 
vided those improvements are real in the sense that they will pay 
their own way. His interest in progress, however, goes beyond the 
confines of railroads. He has a refreshing curiosity in foreign fields 
of endeavor, such as television or industries that are producing com- 
paratively new products. His interest goes to people, which is un- 
doubtedly one of the reasons why he has a host of friends and ac- 
quaintances throughout the country. And he has real faith in the 
youth of the nation. Recently he had this to say about the oppor- 
tunities for }'oung men and women: 

Despite appearances to the contrary, the road to success and happi- 
ness for young men and women embarking on their life careers is still 
the same road it has alwavs been. As long as we think and act like human 


beings, the formula for success, wliidi includes liapj)incss, will never 
clmnfcc. Its elements require seleetion of work the individual will enjoy; 
incentive, or the quality of wanting something sufficiently to work hard 
to attain it; initiative, or the willingness to accept increasing responsibili- 
ties; and, finally, courage to "take a chance" when opportunity knocks. 
These are the elements that have helped make America great. Our young 
men and women who use them honestly will find that their success will 
be as enduring as the American way of life. 

-■ ■ ■ ■ -^^fy^^r.!!:,... ■■^..■$',c.^'?t?jl 

tJ/art LJuj/it 



lapter 34 


Up and down through the hierarchy of the Chicago and North West- 
ern Raihvaj' you can always start an argument about why the trains 
run on the left-hand side of the road. The one peculiarity that dis- 
tinguishes this line from all other major railroads in the United 
States, the mark of rugged individualism that has been noted by 
railroad historians since the first double track ran out of Chicago, 
really merits a simple explanation — so you'd think. Unlike other 
folkways of pioneer Chicago that survive only in old pictures, 
crumbling letters or the erratic memories of graybeards, this one 
has been — and still is — out where everybody could look at it and 
nearly everybody has. Long before now, you might imagine, the 
archaeologists should have dug up some well-authenticated reason 
for this phenomenon. But they haven't. The most obvious thing 
about the North Western is still the most mysterious. 

The first guess of the casual observer is, of course, that old Eng- 
land, which still stands virtually alone in all the world on the left 
side of the street, had something to do with it — along with English 
cash, allegedly invested. Harried researchers, who have gone through 
all the archives saved on the subject before and since the Great 
Chicago Fire say no. 

It started off as an accident — is the burden of their song— and it 
continued as a convenience. And one must admit that they did not 
arrive at this conclusion without a lot of long, tiresome work. It 
may be correct. Among the people who have listened to it one finds 
no great unanimity. 

In a Directory of Industries published by the Chicago and North 
Western line, one reads this : 



In speaking of the construction of the Chicago and North Western 
Railway, tliere is one fact that cannot be omitted — the "North Western" 
is the only railroad in the United States that is left-handed in its opera- 
tion, trains running on the left rather than on the right side wherever the 
road is double tracked. 

Wlien the railroads of the countr\' first started building lines, many 
of them were financed by English and Dutch capital. The Galena and 
Chicago Union, parent road of the Chicago and North Western Railway, 
was one of these. English and Dutch engineers were schooled in left- 
handed operation and built all roads for that system. Consequently when 
double tracking was started on what is now the Galena division of the 
North Western toward Oak Park and West Chicago in 1855, switches and 
equipment were designed for operation opposite to the right-hand system 
practiced on all other railroads in the United States today. By 1882 
double tracking had been started on all three divisions of the road in 
what is known as the Chicago suburban territory. 

Along with construction and the laying of rails goes the planning of 
stations and by 1882 many stations in the Chicago area had been built. 
Since commuters frequently arrive at the station several minutes before 
train time in the morning and have need for a waiting room while they 
head for home immediately in the evening, almost all stations were built 
to serve the track on the in-bound movement. Naturally when other rail- 
roads were changing to right-hand operation late in the nineteenth cen- 
tury, the North Western officials had not only the reversing of switches 
and the changing of their signal system to consider. 

They had also the problem of changing all suburban stations. Since 
the advantages of right-hand operation were about equalized by the 
advantages of the left-hand system, the expense of changing was not 
thought justified. 

That ought to settle the matter. But it doesn't. 

Some North Western men Iiave an entirely different idea. Their 
principal point is that British capital had no part in the financing 
of the road in the beginning or at any other time and that no im- 
ported engineers were required to help Ogdcn lay out the right of 
way of the Galena and Chicago Union. 

With no local precedent to guide them, the construction crews 
puslied westward from tlic Chicago terminal, hauling up supplies 
from behind as the rails went down aliead. They pushed tics, spikes, 
and strap iron for rails from the riglit side of the flatcars as they 


went ahead, presumably because the surveyors' stakes had been 
planted on the left. And thus was established an unloading technique. 

The tracks went down, the trains moved, and presently stations 
were built. But materials still had to be hauled from town and they 
were still unloaded on the right-hand side as one faced in the out- 
bound direction. And for convenience the stations were erected close 
to the stockpiles. 

When it came time to double track there was no place to lay the 
new line except on the side of the right of way opposite the stations, 
whose usefulness to inbound passengers was already fairly obvious. 
The original track, because it was nearer the stations, was given the 
inbound traffic, and the new rails took what went out. That trains 
were thus made to run on the left-hand side of the course was, of 
course, purely incidental. 

Well, maj'be. Ask a dozen railroad men and ^'ou'll get a dozen 
theories. But no matter how much or how little they were mixed up 
with the destinies of the Galena and Chicago Union, it isn't possible 
to rule them out altogether. William Strickland, sent abroad by the 
Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Internal Improvements, 
brought back a report on English railroading in 1826. Five years 
later several steam lines were operating on the Atlantic seaboard, 
and English locomotives were in great demand. 

In 1831 the first John Bidl had gone into the service of the Cam- 
den and Amboy road. Shortly afterward, another John Bull was 
pulling trains on the Mohawk and Hudson. And before Ogden got 
his idea for a railway into the Northwest, British machines were 
too numerous to be noticed. 

These locomotives were wrapped up in mystery. They arrived 
with English assemblers and mechanics. English engineers came 
along to drive them and protect them from the inquisitive eyes of 
Yankee inventors and designers. 

The secrets, such as they were, got out. Local talent promptly 
began to discard them. John B. Jervis devised a front truck with 
two axles and four wheels to replace the British rigid front axle with 
its two wheels. To the designs of Henry R. Campbell, James Brooks 
made a locomotive equipped with four drive wheels connected with 
outside rods. The American locomotive was in business. But it was 
not yet independent of tradition. 

272 CENTunv oi- sehvice 

As in t]ie United States, England's only pattern for railroad 
operation liad been the business of turnpikes and stagecoaches. In 
England it was customary for the coachman to sit on the right-hand 
side of the box so he would have his right hand free to swing the 
whip. As a corollary he drove on the left-hand side of the road so 
that he could see his clearance when he had to pass somebody com- 
ing toward him. 

Thus, when locomotives came onto the English scene they oper- 
ated on the left side of the right of way — in so far as there was any 
left side — and the drivers (paralleling the case of stagecoach team- 
sters), were given a place at the right-hand side of the engine. Engi- 
neers sit on tlie right-hand side of locomotive cabs to this day. 

Why the United States decided to break away from the road 
traditions of old England isn't quite clear. Psychologists say that 
most human beings are right-handed and that there is a tendency 
among right-handed people to keep to the right. A\liich is probably 

England's rule of keeping to the left on the highway was based 
on the principle every automobile driver knows, that in traffic it's 
better to see the middle of the road than the edges. It might have 
been adopted without question by the United States save that the 
first post roads had no right and left. Like the pioneer rail lines 
they were single track. To pass somebody else you got off the high- 
way on whichever side happened to be convenient. Early American 
drivers acquired the habit of keeping to the right because there was 
no good reason for doing otherwise. 

With the coming of the automobile and the growing congestion of 
the cities in the 1900's it was discovered that Americans hadn't been 
entirely logical in their application of new road rules. Horse driv- 
ers, engine drivers, and automobile drivers all had been kept in their 
right-hand seats. And some of them were beginning to find out why 
the English stage driver had established his odd coaching tradition. 
It hadn't made so much difference to the locomotive engineers, who 
didn't have to worry much about steering. And unless they were in 
an unusual hurry the surviving specimens of horse pilots seldom 
locked hubs with passing traffic. But the automobile drivers, who had 
a knack of smashing tiie left-hand fenders that tliev couldn't see, 


raised a protest that echoed across the countr}' and in all parts of 
Canada except Halifax. 

The steering wheel of the automobile was then moved over to the 
left-hand side of the car — where it belongs in right-handed traffic 
movements. The old-fashioned buggy went out of business. And the 
engineer continued to occupy a seat on the right-hand side of his 

If there was any justification for the changeover of automobile 
steering apparatus, his perch seems a little illogical except, of 
course, in the case of a left-handed railroad. 

We seem to be right back where we started from. 

Maj'be the British investors weren't more interested in the Galena 
and Chicago Union or the Chicago and North Western any more 
than in any other railroad venture of the sixties and seventies. But 
it is interesting to study some of the place names that lie in clusters 
along the right of way between Chicago and Lander, Wyoming, or 
Perth, IMinnesota, and London, Wisconsin. 

One of j'our present chroniclers was born in Beresford, South 
Dakota, about the time the railroad was hopefully pushing on in the 
direction of the Big Bad Lands. The signs on the stations north of 
Sioux City were all of an age and all bright and new. And three of 
them appeared in interesting sequence: Hawarden, named for the 
home of Gladstone; Beresford, titled in honor of Admiral Lord 
Charles Beresford; and Alcester, so called for Colonel Alcester of 
the British Army, currently hero of a battle in the Sudan. Not far 
away was Turton, South Dakota, named for a town in Lancashire, 
England. And over around the corner in Iowa was Sutherland, keep- 
ing green the memory of a duke. 

There are plenty of other such evidences of hands across the seas 
and prairies: Cobden, Minnesota, named in 1886 for the great Eng- 
lish liberal; Brampton, Michigan, for the English city; Carnarvon, 
Iowa, for Carnarvon, Wales; Caledonia, Illinois, for poetic Scot- 
land; Dundee, Illinois, for Dundee; Esmond, South Dakota, for 
Thackeray's novel; Ivanhoe, Minnesota, for Scott's novel; Glad- 
stone, Michigan, for the great Gladstone; Seaforth, Minnesota, for 
the home of the Seaforth highlanders; Mayfair, Illinois, for guess 
where ; Ipswich, Wisconsin, for Ipswich, England ; Exeter, Iowa, for 


the cathedral city; Guernsey, Iowa, for the island of Guernsey; 
Avoiidale, Illinois, for the river Avon; Stratford, Wisconsin, for the 
home of Shakespeare; Argyle, Illinois, for the Scottish Argyle; 
Bangor, Wisconsin, for IJangor, Wales; Wolsey, South Dakota, for 
Thomas Cardinal Wolsey. 

And you have Bayfield, Wisconsin, honoring the British officer 
who first explored the shores of Lake Superior, and Pender and 
Hartington, both in Nebraska, recalling a pair of English lords who 
invested in the district if not in the railroad that made the invest- 
ment worth while. Along the line of the C St P M and 0, the names 
are strung out as thickly as the stripes on an old school tie: Buxton, 
Nebraska; Bramhall, South Dakota; Derby, Minnesota; Albany, 
Wisconsin ; Coleridge, Wisconsin ; Perth, Minnesota ; Eton, Minne- 

There might be noted also Auburn, Wisconsin, named for Gold- 
smitli's deserted village, and Randolph, Nebraska, which adds to the 
fame of Randolph Churchill. Afton ("Flow gently . . . among thy 
green braes") is on the Wisconsin timetable. W^ellington is to be 
found in Michigan, and Nelson in Illinois. 

One admits, of course, that this roster of familiar names may 
mean nothing more than the nostalgia of a dozen or more lonesome 
wanderers from the British Isles. An English engineer, whose name 
escapes us, laid out much of the original townsite of Sioux City, 
Iowa. He was going to make another London out of it and he had 
plans for a near-by industrial district which he was going to call 

It is certainly within the range of possibility that his voice may 
have been heard in the naming of Hawarden, Alcester, and Bercs- 
ford only a few miles to the north. On the other hand, he had nothing 
to do with the left-handed operation of the Chicago and North West- 
ern Railway because a single track is neither right nor left. 

More tangible evidence of England's friendship, if not financial 
interest, in Will Ogden's railroad is oflTcrcd by Ernest Poole whose 
family had a part in the building of early Chicago. In Giants Gone 
he tells of Ogden's difficulties in the panic of 1857. The railroad 
builder, he recounts, found himself heavily obligated for the debts of 
his roads, for one of which he alone had endorsed notes totaling one 
and a half million dollars. At this point, Poole observes, his failure 


would have been inevitable save for his connections abroad. However, 
it is to be doubted that any "friendships" had an effect on "left- 
hand" building — which actually began in 1855. 

What one seldom reads in the histories of the period is that Will 
Ogden was something more than a mousetrap builder waiting for a 
world to come to his door. He was also an international trade am- 
bassador — the ubiquitous evangelist of the great Northwest. 

By the early fifties, interest in railroads had begun to sweep 
Europe as well as the United States, and Ogden was received for 
what he was — an expert in a new and amazing field of enterprise. He 
was visited by engineers in France, locomotive makers in Germany, 
bankers in Holland, and investors in England. 

That he left many friends in the British Isles and that his enthusi- 
asm for the Northwest had been contagious is obvious in the sequel. 
Offers of help came quickly when word got abroad that he was in 
trouble. One man, Poole recounts, tendered all his fortune — a half 
million dollars. A Scottish laird made a similar gesture of good will 
and verified it with the deposit of one hundred thousand pounds to 
Ogden's credit in a New York bank. 

Ogden declined the offers, appealed to the faith of the farmer 
customers to whom he had sold stock in his railroads, and presently 
talked himself out of the depression. His English friends presumably 
wrote him messages of congratulation and went back to running 
their own railways on the left-hand side of the road. All of which, 
of course, has little to do with the subject under discussion, but 
makes an interesting footnote. 


hapter 35 


If yott believe the maps, the Chic.if^o and North Wostcrn Railway 
consists of 9,^62 miles of track stretching out across Illinois, Wis- 
consin, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota into Nebraska and 
AVj'oming. But a lot of grizzled suburban conductors will argue the 
point with you. To them the whole system is the cluster of rails hug- 
ging the North Shore of Chicago, plus the route that follows Ogden's 
old survey out west of town and some more of the same out Wood- 
stock way — a hundred miles or so, they calculate it — and they'll tell 
you that's enough. When you have to run over it five or six times a 
day, the mileage adds up. 

IManagcment probably will agree with the conductors. It is an 
axiom of the railroad business that there is little money in short 
hauls — whether of freight or of passengers. Until the advent of the 
streamliners there has been a general belief that profits from carr}'- 
ing passengers are negligible wherever you carry them. Freight is 
easier to handle and it doesn't make noises about sticking windows 
or the springs in the red plush seats. 

On the other hand, whether it is profitable or not or a public bene- 
faction or not, the North Western's suburban service is as much a 
part of the North Western as the main line up into the iron coun- 
try. If the railroad is going to be a hundred years old this year — 
well, so is the suburban service. (The two grew up simultaneously.) 
And so, one may presume, are some of the customers. Will Ogden 
may have been reaching out for the farm products of the Rock 
River, Fox, and Dcs Plaines valleys when he projected the Galena 
and Chicago Union Railway. But it is liistory that he was presently 
hauling the former carriage trade into town from Cottage Hill, 




Aurora, and Cherry Valley at from twenty-five to seventy-five cents 
a head. 

While considering the manner in which the North Western system 
helped to bring Minnesota out of the wilderness and brought civili- 
zation to the trans-Missouri prairies, historians generally overlook 
what was going on at the railroad's point of origin. It was the subur- 
ban service that broke the sod in Rogers Park and brought the 
wealth to Lake Forest and civilization to Evanston and pickle fac- 
tories to Clybourn Junction. Chicago in 1891 had a population of 
1,250,000 and save for a couple of cable lines under construction was 
still traveling about in horsecars. It was the suburban service that 
made it possible for people to move out into the fresh country air 
as much as five miles from the center of the city. The suburban ser- 
vice made possible changes in the horrible housing conditions close 
to the river. And it gave commuting office workers some sense of 

Here is a picture of suburban travel as it was practiced by the 
hardy pioneers of the seventies. Town dwellers who occasionally went 
to Winnetka or Palatine just for the ride were generally surprised 
at the large collections of oil lanterns on the station platforms. 
Word got around that in railroading the wear and tear on lanterns 
was terrific and that every switchman had to carry a spare. 

The largest string of lanterns was outside the Davis Street station 
in Evanston. And a stranger, who inquired about them, discovered 
that they belonged not to the railroad personnel but to commuters, 
men who had taken the early morning trains to Chicago. 

"Raymond Park," says the antiquarian who looked into the mat- 
ter, "was a thickly wooded section in the 1870's, and on an early 
winter morning, those woods were as dark as the inside of a fireman's 
glove. . . ." 

So you can see the picture. Father, late as usual, looks up at the 
cuckoo clock as he scalds his throat with a last quick cup of coffee. 
In the still, empty air he can hear the engine whistle blowing for 
Elser's Crossing up there on the other side of Grosse Point. He wipes 
his mustache, gives Mamma a peck on the check, picks up his lantern, 
and starts his trek through the black forest to the North Western 

Survivors of those fascinating daj's say that the lanterns of com- 


niuters loping over the snow trails for the 7:23 were generally so 
thick that the woods seemed to be swarming with fireflies. During 
the day the station attendant would service the lanterns, trimming 
the wicks, and filling them with oil so that the owners would be able 
to find their way home in the evening. 

The camaraderie that you used to find aboard transcontinental 
trains when the journey from Chicago to San Francisco took three 
or four days is still a part of suburban travel. Everybody rides the 
same train every weekday for years on end. By a sort of squatter's 
right he establishes title to his own seat, and this is respected by 
people who have laid similar claim to seats of their own. In due time 
he gets to know everybody aboard and all about his family. There 
is no such clearinghouse for gossip in the world. 

A card game got started on the Waukcgan run thirty years ago 
and it's been going on ever since. The cards aren't the same, or the 
card table supplied by the conductor — who isn't the same either — 
or the upholstery on the plush seats. The game that started out as 
cinch has gone through some metamorphoses — whist, auction bridge, 
contract — but the players haven't changed, nor apparently have 
they ever finished a rubber. 

The society of the suburban trains develops Its pets and bores 
just like other societies. The late Lew Ferguson, who established a 
record for endurance as a conductor on the North Shore haul, re- 
called one old lad who was virtually ostracized because of one bad 

Ferguson observed : "He read his paper too early." 

Amplified, this meant that he was the sort of man who combines 
his reading with buttered toast and soft-boiled eggs and so had fin- 
ished his absorption of the morning's news by the time he got to the 
station. With nothing much to do between Evanston and Chicago 
it was his custom to flop down alongside somebody who hadn't read 
his paper and engage in sprightly conversation about his grand- 
children or his setter dog. 

"He was shunned like the plague by everybody," said Ferguson, 
"until finally he had nobody to talk to but me. Then I shunned him 

The conductors, like the coninniters, are sid generis. They are 
])e()ple of great tact, jiatience, and friendliness. And they git to 


learn more about human beings than would ever be possible on one 
of those long runs where they see the passenger only when he gets 
on and six hours later when he gets off. There have been times when 
this intimate knowledge of how people behave has soured them. But 
usually they are philosophically tolerant. Sometimes the urge to do 
something for people whose lives are spent shuttling to and from 
work overpowers them. And on at least one occasion this impulse 
took a novel form. One conductor on the Milwaukee division figured 
out that the operating corporation had a lot more money than the 
poor people who rode the trains. Therefore, it seemed logical that 
the corporation ought to pay the fare. So, for a couple of years, he 
made a practice of letting everybody travel free. He would snap his 
punch at a commutation ticket — but never a ride came off. Eventu- 
ally the corporation caught up with him and disagreed with his 

Man}' articles reach the lost and found department from the 
suburban runs. Since the first time a North Western engineer safely 
piloted his train back from Waukegan, the inbound traveler has 
heard the conductor bawl his last warning: "Chicago — remember 
your parcels !" It is as much a slogan of the North Western as 
"Safety first." But there's more to it than that. The conductor, who 
knows everybody on his train, is sometimes his own lost and found 
department. If you forget anything going into town, you get it 
back on your way home. 

In a fair year the suburban service carries about nineteen million 
passengers — an expensive, unremitting, and sometimes thankless 
job. But after a hundred 3'ears of operation it is still one of the 
dominant factors in Chicago's transportation system, and until 
somebody discovers what you do with an automobile when you get 
it into a big city, it is going to be increasingly important. 

While the suburban trains plod their faithful course day in and 
day out. The J^OO and other high-speed trains flash like comets across 
the countryside. In an age of speed, the North Western was the first 
to put superspeed trains on long-distance runs, perhaps because of 
their experience with the "silk train." 

Almost forgotten, now, is the periodical run of the silk train. It 
hasn't flashed across the Northwest since the attack on Pearl Har- 


bor, (ind perhaps, thanks to nylon and other artificial fibers, may 
never be culled upon to make its spectacular dash again. But it gave 
the world a grand show while it lasted. 

For many years, when there were no imitations worthy of the 
name, virtually all of America's supply of silk was bought in the 
Japanese market, and dealing in it entailed many complications. 
Silk was definitely what you might call a cash crop. There was 
always a market for it, and the price didn't vary much from year 
to year. As a medium of barter and exchange it would have had just 
about the same currency as the gold with which you bought it on 
the Yokohama exchange. It differed from invested money only in 
that it bore no interest. 

Therefore, if a producer owned ten thousand yen worth of silk, 
it behooved him to sell it and get his pay as soon as possible. Other- 
wise he was losing the interest on ten thousand yen as long as he held 
it. For the same reason the buyer had to deliver it as quickly as pos- 
sible to a manufacturer, who didn't let it acquire much age in his 
stockroom. The bigger the operator, of course, tlie greater his fi- 
nancial interest in speed. 

So the silk would be purchased in Japan and shipped to America 
by the shortest route on the fastest available ship. It would be in 
the slings ready for landing before the ship came to her berth in 
Seattle and San Francisco. And before the passenger list had been 
cleared, stevedores would be trundling it into the cars of the waiting 
silk train. Once the train was loaded, and heavily armed guards 
mounted, the conductor without further preliminaries waved his hand 
and hopped aboard. He had the right of way over the Great North- 
ern tracks all the way to St. Paul and over the Union Pacific to 

There was no nonsense involved in this routine. The train on oc- 
casion might be hauling a shipment worth millions of dollars, on 
which investment a day's additional interest might be considerable. 
So the crack limiteds and the red-ball freights got out of the way 
while a relay of the best locomotives and best train crews on the 
road rolled their freight across the continent. At Minnesota transfer 
a North Western locomotive, guards, and crew were waiting to take 
it to Chicago, and the same procedure took place at Council Bluffs. 

Unfortunatclv the records of the train on the first stage have 


not been published. But it is known that the Chicago and North 
Western managed to maintain an average speed of around a mile a 
minute, which experience may well have prompted such innovations 
as what the trade calls "superspeed trains." On January 2, 1935, 
the North Western put the first ^00 on the Twin City run — the fast- 
est train for such a distance in the world. 

The performance astonished operations experts on other roads 
because it involved no radically designed equipment. Four Pacific- 
type locomotives were taken into the Chicago shops and refitted with 
79-inch drive wheels at a cost of fourteen thousand dollars each. 
Tenders were equipped to carry 15,000 gallons of water and 5,000 
gallons of oil — enough for a nonstop trip. The train was made up 
of all-steel cars, not radically different in design from cars on other 
crack trains. The ensemble was called The Ji-OO because it is about 
400 miles to St. Paul, and the scheduled running time was slightly 
less than 400 minutes. 

As a matter of fact, the initial time was seven hours from Chicago 
to St. Paul. This was reduced a half an hour in the first six months, 
and from then on the train regularly ran 409 miles in 390 minutes, 
a little better than an average of 60 miles an hour. 

The IfiO was the fastest train between starting point and terminus 
in America. As the first train on the continent to run at high speeds 
for sustained periods on scheduled runs, it set new standards for 
much of the country's passenger train service. The diesel-powered 
streamliners, the City of San Francisco and the City of Los Angeles, 
run in cooperation with the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific, 
have also been pace-setters. 


lapter 36 


The North Westekx's most spectacular contribution to recent 
railroading was its demonstrations, begun in 19.'55, that superspeed 
trains are not only feasible but profitable. The success of the first 
J^OO was the success of every streamliner that has come since, revolu- 
tionizing the country's passenger service and making possible such 
luxuries as the daily Cliij of San Francisco. But it wasn't the com- 
pany's first newsworthy innovation, or the most important. 

When, in 1863, a North Western freight conductor stuck his head 
through the hole in the roof of his damaged caboose and discovered 
that he had an excellent view of his train ahead, he was inadvertently 
demonstrating that safety innovations are not always premeditated. 
The view through the caboose roof gave the conductor an idea; he, 
in turn, transmitted it to officei-s at the railroad's nearest car shops 
where new cabooses were a-buildiiig. The results were apparent a 
few weeks later when the first cabooses with cupolas rolled off the 
line. The cupola has been a caboose characteristic until recent years, 
when boxcars got too high. Bay windows that permit a view along- 
side the train are taking the place of the sun parlor on top. But the 
principle is the same, and still sound. 

The North Western was the first railroad to run sleeping cars 
west of Chicago (1858); the first, in conjunction witli the Union 
Pacific and Central Pacific, the latter now the Southern Pacific, to 
carry dining cars between Chicago and San Francisco (1869); the 
first to install a permanent railway post-office service (1864'); the 
m;unif;u-turer of the first railway post-office cars for the United 


States Government (1865). But what is more significant than all 
of this is the fact that in 1857 — eight years after the running of its 
first train — the railroad was tlie first in the West to operate by tele- 

In 1910 Ralph C. Richards, general claim agent for the railroad, 
took the phrase "Safety first" and sent it on its way to become the 
slogan of the thoughtful and the careful all over the United States. 
He had previously written a book called Railroad Accidents, Their 
Caiise and Prevention, setting forth tlie thesis that accidents are the 
result of a chain of circumstances that can be stopped at the begin- 
ning. The nation's railroads were interested, but it was the North 
Western that first set up a department dedicated to safety and the 
prevention of crippling mishaps. 

Richards's demonstration that it was possible to reduce worka- 
day casualty lists through organized effort led, in 1912, to the 
formation of the National Safety Council. On this subject the Coun- 
cil is now one of the final authorities in the United States. 

In 1913 the rate of casualties of all sorts, nonfatal as well as 
fatal, was about 39 for each million man-hours. Thirty years later 
the rate was below 12 casualties for each million man-hours. This 
was about the same as 400 working years. As it is now, a railroad 
employee has one chance of a fatal accident every 4,000,000 man- 
hours or roughly 1,600 working years. 

In 1948 the National Safety Council honored the North Western 
with a special Council award for exceptional service to safety. The 
certificate presented to R. L. Williams, president of the railway, by 
Ned H. Dearborn, president of the Council, bore this citation: "A 
pioneer in safety, the Chicago and North Western has steadfastly 
sought over the years to protect its passengers and employees from 
accidents, with conspicuous success." 

The railway has a far better than average record in the Railroad 
Employees National Safety Contest conducted annually by the 
Council. Since the first contest in 1927, it has won five first-place 
awards, and while its safety record did not stand high consistently 
every year, it has achieved an employee accident rate over the past 
twenty years 26 per cent better than the average for all Class 1 

Among the safety firsts of recent years credited to the North 


Western is the development of the Mars light, a powerful beam that 
oscillates with a figure-eight motion at the front of a train. This 
light changes to red automatically, and a similar red light goes 
on at the rear of the train, whenever the train makes an emergency 
stop or the engineer releases air-brake pressure to a certain point. 
The development of the oscillating light goes back to 1936 when it 
was first installed on the high-speed JfOO. Like many inventions, the 
light had many "bugs" in it, but operating officials saw great prom- 
ise in its possibilities. They worked patiently on the "gadget" in 
the face of disinterest by other railroads. Theirs and the manufac- 
turer's efforts were rewarded when they finally got the light per- 
fected to its present state so that it would be an advance warning 
to all of the onrush of a fast train, as well as a "stop" order to all 
other trains when the light turned red. 

"This is an important development in the art of railroading," says 
C. H. Longman, vice-president in charge of operations. "It's purpose 
is to protect trains making emergency stops from rear end collisions 
or, in the event of derailment, from being sidcswipcd by trains on 
other tracks. The red lights operate instantaneously, should the 
engineer apply the brakes or throw a control switch, or should an 
air hose part between cars. The lights serve as stop warnings to 
trains approaching from either direction. They are visible for sev- 
eral miles on a clear night and have a long range in daylight." 

All North Western through and suburban trains have been 
equipped with these lights front and rear. It is interesting to note 
that the usefulness of the lights has reached beyond the confines of 
the North Western to the point that scores of crack trains of many 
of the nation's railroads now flash the oscillating lights. 

Another of the railroad's striking efforts to make life safe for 
passengers as well as freight was the completion in 1928 of the first 
large-scale system of continuous automatic train control. The in- 
stallation between Chicago and Council Bluffs on the railroad's 
high-speed heavy-density main line cost two and a half million dol- 
lars and was looked upon by old-time railroad men as a species of 
black magic. Through electronic relays the control permits trains 
to go no faster than a previously set maximum. But it docs more than 
that. It permits discarding of wayside signals by installation of 
those same signals rigiit in the engineer's cab. The control constantly 


tells the engineer through those signals what the condition of the 
track ahead may be, day or night and in all kinds of weather. At 
times it signals the engineer to reduce speed or stop. If the engineer 
fails to respond, it gives him a leeway of a few seconds, and then 
moves in to do the job for him. It is one of the miracles that have 
made American railroads consistently the safest mode of transpor- 
tation in the world. 

When you stand in the concourse of the Chicago and North West- 
ern Railway terminal in Chicago, you are probably in closer touch 
with distant places than anywhere else on earth. Here, during the 
summer months when resort travel is at its peak, you can board a 
train and without changing cars or leaving the North Western sys- 
tem's tracks you can ride to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; to 
the North Woods of Wisconsin ; to Duluth, gateway to IMinnesota's 
Arrowhead recreation country ; across Wisconsin, Minnesota, and 
South Dakota to the Black Hills ; across Northern Illinois, Iowa 
and Nebraska into the Black Hills ; or straight west to Lander, Wy- 
oming, in the foothills of the Grand Tetons. And certainly without 
leaving your car and almost without getting out of your seat, you 
can travel over North Western and connecting lines across the 
Canadian border to Banff, Lake Louise, and Vancouver; to Yellow- 
stone Park, Sun Valley, and the Pacific Northwest ; to the Grand 
Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Kaibab National For- 
est ; or you can go directly to Denver and Portland and San Fran- 
cisco and Los Angeles. And aboard the new streamliners you can go 
with speed and comfort. 

The little strap-rail track that ran out of Chicago toward Cot- 
tage Hill over the Galena and Chicago Union road has stretched a 
lot since 1848. Today, even after the removal of duplicate lines and 
unprofitable spurs, it consists of 14,158.65 miles of track (including 
double track) and 9,3.32.91 miles of road. 

William Butler Ogden's first equipment of a few cars has length- 
ened into a train of 52,700 cars of all classes. And the little old third- 
hand Pioneer has turned out to be the great-grandfather of 1,242 
locomotives, including 165 diesels, the latter an unheard-of breed 
of power 100 years ago. 

To Chicago's gates the North Western brings a varied wealth 


from a vast productive land: wheat, corn, oats, flour, hay, straw, 
alfalfa, citrus and other fruits, potatoes, vegetables ; livestock, poul- 
tr}', fresh meat, eggs, butter, cheese; coal, coke, iron ore, crude 
petroleum, gravel, sand, crushed stone; logs, pulpwood, lumber; 
gasoline, sugar, syrup, cement, brick, autos, trucks, tires, parts ; 
beverages, canned foods, iron and steel, paper. In 19-i7 the total 
tonnage was : 

Agricultural products 10,638,384 

Animals and pro(Uicts 1 ,!)()8, 13G 

Products of mines 23,474,037 

Forest products 5,701 ,871 

Manufactures 18,145,984 

Operating revenue of $207,660,480 in 1947 was the greatest in the 
system's history. 

The old Icft-lmndcd railway has had an interesting if somewhat 
difficult century. It has fought with bankers, with legislatures, with 
courts, with drought, floods, blizzards, and Federal tax-makers. One 
of the most powerful influences in the development of the country 
between Chicago and the Black Hills to the west and Lake Superior 
to the north, it must now be appraised by a generation that never 
saw an Indian or a virgin prairie. It must go on and on meeting new 
competition, new restrictions, new taxes and costs. But at any rate 
it has what the engineers call the "habit of existence." It has sur- 
vived financial panics and wars as well as prairie fires and Sioux 
massacre. It has learned to work its miracles in adversity. 

If there is any truth to the fact that history repeats itself, ahead 
of it the railroad must face still more adversities. It must face them 
because it has become so important in the economy of the people of 
the Middle West that it is unthinkable for it to stop. The men at 
its helm aren't thinking of stopping because they are purchasing 
new and better locomotives, expanding its fleet of freight and passen- 
ger cars, rebuilding or remodeling its stations, and in hundreds of 
other ways demonstrating that the railroad intends to be a charac- 
teristic of the Middle West's terrain for a long time to come. 

Unlike its existence in the early days when it was the only railroad 
in the Middle West, today it competes vigorously with many other 
lines as well as with other forms of transportation for tlie patronage 


of the public. A century ago it pioneered in a wilderness ; in future 
years it must pioneer to hold its own. AVliatever its future holds out, 
the railroad's directorate, perhaps, is justified in the belief that 
the first hundred years are the hardest. 



Name Date elected 

William B. Ogden June 7, 1859 

Henry Keep June 4, 1868 

Alexander Mitchell Sept. 1, 1869 

John F. Tracy June 3, 1870 

Albert Keep June 19, 1873 

Marvin Hughitt June 2, 1887 

William A. Gardner Oct. 20, 1910 

Richard H. Aishton May 23, 1916 

WUliam H. Finley June 11, 1918 

Fred W. Sargent June 23, 1925 

R. L. Williams July 25, 1939 * 

June 1, 1944 t 

* Chief executive officer for trustee. 

t President. 


Name Date elected 

Theophilus W. Smith July 3, 1836 

Elijah K. Hubbard Nov. 29, 1837 

James H. Collins Dec. 29, 1845 

William B. Ogden Feb. 17, 1846 

John B. Turner June 5, 1851 

Walter L. Newberry June 1, 1859 

William H. Brown June 4, 1862 

John B. Turner June 1, 1864 


Station No. 1 

1848: Built in fall of this year just south of Kinzie Street and just west 
of Canal Street a few feet west of current location of bridge crossing 
North Branch of Chicago River at Kinzie Street. Depot which was 


Cliicago's first railroad station ran east and west with railroad tracks 
along soutli side of building. In I848 station had one story. Second 
story added to wooden frame structure in 1819. Used for both freight 
and passengers by Galena and Cliicago Union Railroad, now part of 
North Western. Burlington Road also used this station for some time 
after 1850 as well as tracks from Chicago to West Chicago until it 
could build its own tracks in Chicago. Building was used by Galena 
road until 1853 when it was converted to a railroad employee's read- 
ing room. It was torn down in the 1880's. Bronze plaque today marks 
site of station. 

Station No. 2 

1853: Galena and Chicago Union built station of brick and stone in 1852- 
1853 on west side of Wells Street and on north bank of Chicago River. 
Station was two stories high, running east and west with tracks on 
south side of station, and with passenger entrance from Wells Street. 
In 1862—1863 Wells Street was raised about eight feet, the railroad 
temporarily closing station to make this work possible. At the same 
time railroad took advantage of closing to add 30 feet to its length 
and to add a third story. The station remained in use until destroyed 
by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. 

St.4tion No. 3 

1854: Built by Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad Company, one of early 
components of the North Western. Station was of wood with a general 
shanty appearance, with back to West Water Street if it had been 
opened north of Kinzie Street, with its gable end toward Kinzie Street, 
the building running north and south parallel and close to west bank 
of North Branch of Chicago River. Trains operated northward out of 
it. Building was torn down in 1856 to make room for a new station 
(No. 5). 

Station No. 4 

1855: Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad (early component of North 
Western) operated trains from Chicago northward to Wisconsin state 
line. In 1855 it built what was then called Milwaukee Passenger Depot. 
In those days a street known as Dunn ran from West Kinzie north- 
westerly and along east side of what is now Milwaukee Avenue. North 
and parallel to Kinzie was a street known as Cook. The one-story 
wooden building was erected in the triangle formed by Dunn, Cook, 
and Kinzie streets. Building ultimately passed into hands of North 

appendix 291 

Station No. 5 

1856: A pretentious wooden structure with a huge domed train shed was 
built by the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Railroad in place of 
Station No. 3 which was torn down. With the consolidation of the 
Chicago and Milwaukee and the Milwaukee and Chicago railroads and 
ultimately the Galena and Chicago Union, this station was used for 
all the passenger traffic of those lines which eventually became part of 
the North Western. It stood just north of Kinzie Street on the west 
bank of the North Branch of the river. It was known as the Kinzie 
Street Depot. It was abandoned with the completion in 1881 of the 
Wells Street Depot (Station No. 8). 

Station No. 6 

1862: In 1851 the Galena road bought land (block 1 of original town of 
Chicago) on north bank of river just east of Dearborn Street and 
south of Kinzie. There it erected in 1862 a building two stories high, 
first stor_v to be used for freight. Because of changing of elevation of 
Wells Street in 1862 and the temporary closing down of Station No. 2 
for passenger use for a period of about one year. Station No. 6 was 
opened to passenger traffic during this period. This building was de- 
stroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871. 

Station No. 7 

1871: A wooden structure hastily built by North Western in late fall of 
1871 to take the place of Station No. 2 which had been destroyed in 
the Chicago Fire. Its entrance was from Wells Street and its location 
the same as that of Station No. 2. 

Station No. 8 

1880: Built during years 1880-1881 by North Western, and the railroad's 
largest Chicago terminal up to that time. Located on corner of Wells 
and Kinzie streets. Building was of stone with several towers carrying 
out the elaborate architecture common in that period. First trains ran 
into it on May 23, 1881. Later an annex for suburban traffic was added 
to station which was known as Wells Street Depot. It was used until 
present terminal built in 1911. Wells Street Depot was eventually torn 
down and in its place the Merchandise Mart was erected. 

Station No, 9 

(911: Built by Chicago and North Western at a cost of approximately 
twenty-four million dollars, of which about six million dollars was for 



Station building and train shed alone. Constructed largely of steel, 
stone, and concrete, it covers several city blocks with almost three miles 
of track under its passenger train sheds having a capacity of 229 cars. 
About 80,000 passengers pass through the station daUy, with this figure 
often reaching 100,000 during the peak jjcriods of World War II. 
Building and train sheds are bounded by Madison, Clinton, Lake, and 
Canal streets witli front of building facing south on Madison Street. 
Building is only a few hundred feet from site of original station of 




From the organization of the company to May 1, 1948 

William B. Ogden June 

Perry H. Smith Juue 

E. W. Hutcliings June 

Charles Butler June 

Thomas H. Perkins June 

Mahlon D. Ogden June 

Alex C. Coventry June 

Henry Smith June 

James R. Young June 

J. J. R. Pease June 

M. C. Darling June 

Albert Winslow June 

George M. Bartholomew June 

H. H. Boody June 

William C. Langley June 

James A. Edgar June 

A. L. Pritchard June 

L. M. Miller June 

Jolun Maxwell June 

William A. Booth June 

T. H. Perkins June 

William II. Dyckman Nov. 

David Dowcs June 

I>owell Ilolbrook June 

C. S. Sey ton June 







4, 1808 




3, 1809 




7, 1800 




0, 1801 




7, 1800 




8, 1859 




8, 1859 




8. 1859 




7, 1800 




17, 1805 




18, 1804 




0, 1801 




2, 1804 




2, 1804 




7, 1800 




7, 1800 




3, 1804 




0, 1801 




6, 1801 




2, 1804 




23, 1800 




6, 1801 




5, 1803 




2, 1804 




18, 1804 





Austin Baldwin June 6 

George Smith June 6 

George L. Duiilap June 

J. D. Fish June 

Joseph A. Wood June 

WUliam B. Scott Feb. 

James AV. Elwell June 

Samuel J. Tilden June 

William H. Ferry June 

John B. Turner June 

Thomas D. Robertson June 

H. H. Boody June 11 

Lowell Ilolbrook June 11 

William A. Booth June 11 

George i\I. Bartholomew June 11 

A. L. Pritchartl June 11 

Jolui M. Burke Aug. 18 

Benjamin Nathan June 1 

Julien S. Rumsey June 

James D. Fish June 

William B. Scott Nov. 

Samuel Sloan June 

Adrian Islin June 

M. L. Sykes, Jr July 

Henry Keep Nov. 

H. H. Baxter May 15 

James H. Benedict June 

George S. Scott June 

John Bloodgood June 

F. P. James June 

W. S. Gurnee June 

Russell Sage June 

Alexander Mitchell June 

Henry R. Pierson Apr. 

A. G. Dulman June 

J. L. Ten Have June 

John B. Turner June 

John E. Williams Sept. 

Alanson Robinson Oct. 

Charles R. Marvin June 

Harvey Kennedy June 

A. B. Baylis June 

W. L. Scott June 

Milton Courtright June 2 

, 1861 
, 1861 
, 1862 
, 1803 
, 1803 
, 180-i 
, 1864 
, 1804 
, 1864 
, 1804 
, 1864 
, 1864 
, 1864 
, 1864 
, 1864 
, 1864 
, 1864 
, 1865 
, 1865 
, 1865 
, 1865 
, 1807 
, 1807 
, 1867 
, 1807 
, 1868 
, 1868 
, 1868 
, 1868 
, 1808 
, 1868 
, 1808 
, 1868 
, 1809 
, 1809 
, 1809 
, 1809 
, 1809 
, 1869 
, 1870 
, 1870 
, 1870 
, 1870 
, 1870 

June 4 
June 1 
June 2 
June 1 
June 4 
May 15 
June 4 
June 6 
June 4 
Nov. 25 
July 22 
June 3 
June 4 
Nov. 11 
July 11 
Mar. 10 
Oct. 6 
June 2 

Oct. 20 

June 1 
June 2, 
June C 
Sept. 19 
June 1 

, 1863 
, 1863 
, 1871 
, 1865 
, 1864 
, 1865 
, 1868 
, 1868 
, 1869 
, 1809 
, 1867 
, 1808 
, 1868 
, 1868 
, 1807 
, 1868 
, 1873 
, 1870 
, 1865 
, 1807 
, 1867 
, 1809 
, 1868 
, 1902 
, 1869 
, 1871 
, 1809 
, 1875 
, 1870 
, 1870 
, 1870 
, 1870 
, 1870 
, 1871 
, 1890 
, 1879 
, 1871 
, 1870 
, 1870 
, 1877 
, 1878 
■, 1877 
, 1891 
, 1876 


June 2, 1870 

R. P. Flower 

II. II. Porter June 

Jolin F. Tracy June 

David Dowes June 

F. II. Tows June 

William H. Ferry June 

B. F. Allen June 

Albert Keep June 

S. M. Mills June 

James H. Howe June 

John Bloodgood June 

Jay Gould Mar. 

William H. Ferry Mar. 

Sidney Dillon Mar. 

Oliver Ames Mar. 

John M. Burke June 

Marvin Hughitt June 

David Jones June 

Perry H. Smith June 

Frank Work June 

C. J. Osborn June 

D. P. Morgan June 

Augustus Schell June 

Chaiincey M. Depew June 

Samuel F. Barger June 

D.O.Mills June 

Anson Stager June 

F. W. Vanderbilt June 2 

N. K. Fairbank June 7 

II. McK. Twonibly June 5 

J. B. Rcdfield June 5 

W. K. Vanderbilt Sept. 27 

Horace Williams Sept. 2' 

David P. Kimball Sept. 2' 

John I. Blair June 

Percy R. Pyne June 

Frederick L. Ames June 

James C. Fargo June 

Byron L. Smith June 

Oliver Ames II June 

Cyrus II. McCormick June 

James Stillman June 

Zenas Crane June 

Marshall Field Dec. 





















































Henry C. Frick Nov. 11, 1902 

Frank Work Nov. 11, 1002 

Chauncey Keep Feb. 19, 1906 

E. E. Osborn Oct. 17, 1907 

John V. Farwell Oct. 21, 1909 

Homer A. Miller Oct. 21, 1909 

W. A. Gardner Apr. 13, 1910 

William K. Vanderbilt, Jr Apr. 12, 1911 

Harold S. Vanderbilt May 4, 1914 

Edward M. Hyzer June 8. 1915 

Richard H. Aishton May 2.S, 191G 

Edmund D. Hull)ert Feb. 26, 1918 

Henry C. McEldowney Apr. 9, 1918 

William H. Finley June 11, 1918 

ChUds Frick Apr. 8, 1919 

James A. Stillman Apr. 8, 1919 

Samuel A. Lynde Apr. 8, 1919 

Gordon Abbott Apr. 13, 1920 

James B. Sheean Oct. 14, 1920 

MarshaU Field HI Feb. 8, 1921 

Albert A. Sprague Apr. 10, 1923 

Walter W. Head Sept. 11, 1923 

Fred W. Sargent Apr. 8, 1924 

Ray N. Van Doren Nov. 10, 1925 

John D. Caldwell Apr. 13, 1926 

W. Seward Webb Dec. 14, 1926 

Charles W. Nash Apr. 12, 1927 

John D. CaldweU Apr. 10, 1928 

John Stuart Jan. 8, 1929 

Edson S. Woodworth Nov. 7, 1929 

Arthur S. Pierce Apr. 8, 1930 

W. Rufus Abbott Apr. 15, 1930 

Samuel H. Cady Apr. 11, 1933 

Barret Conway Apr. 11, 1933 

W. Dale Clark Apr. 10, 1934 

Walter J. Kohler Apr. 9, 1935 

Harry W. Rush Apr. 9, 1935 

Benjamin F. Kauffman Apr. 13, 1937 

John H. MacMUlan, Jr Apr. 13, 1937 

R. L. Williams Dec. 6, 1939 

William H. Schellberg Apr. 9, 1940 

Chester O. Wanvig Apr. 9, 1940 

Robert K. Stuart ' Apr. 9, 1940 

Robert E. Smith Apr. 9, 1940 

Dec. 2 
Mar. 16 
Aug. 12 
Oct. 21 
May 11 
Dec. 14 
Dec. 3 
Apr. 8 
June 11 
Mar. 30 
Mar. 9 
June 23 
Oct. 13 
Feb. 8 
Feb. 22 
Apr. 17 
Apr. 8 
Apr. 13 
Oct. 14 
Apr. 10 
June 1 
Jan. 12 
Apr. 12 
Nov. 9 
May 19 
Feb. 5 
Sept. 12 
July 24 
May 19, 
May 19 
June 30 
June 1 
Feb. 15 
Apr. 21 
Dec. 6 
May 19 
Mar. 3 
Oct. 9 
May 19 
May 19 
May 19 
July 2 

, 1919 
, 1911 
, 1929 
, 1909 
, 1919 
, 1919 
, 1916 
, 1926 
, 1940 
, 1919 
, 1918 
, 1923 
, 1935 
, 1925 
, 1925 
, 1921 
, 1940 
, 1935 
, 1924 
, 1937 
, 1936 
, 1934 
, 1939 
, 1933 
, 1927 
, 1939 
, 1944 
, 1933 
, 1934 
, 1935 
, 1944 
, 1944 
, 1942 
, 1944 
, 1940 
, 1940 
, 1939 
, 1944 
, 1948 
, 1940 
, 1944 
, 1944 
, 1944 
, 1942 



Guy A. Tliomas Apr. 9, 1940 

Ix'onanl E. Iliirtz Apr. 8, 1941 

Harry \V. HarrLsoii Apr. 8, 1941 

John L. Banks Apr. 8, 1941 

William E. Buclianan Jinie 1, 1944 

William T. Faricy June 1, 1944 

William C. Frye June 1. 1944 

Meyer Kestnbaum June 1, 1944 

Howard J. Klossner June 1, 1944 

John Nuveen, Jr June 1. 1944 

Frefl N. Oliver Juno 1, 1944 

Walter P. I'aepeke June 1, 1944 

Eugene A. Schmidt, Jr June 1, 1944 

Harold W. Sweatt June 1, 1944 

Frcleriek W. Walker June 1, 1944 

Harry L. Wells June 1, 1944 

R. L. Williams June 1, 1944 

Arthur R. Seder Apr. 3, 1947 

Walter Geist May 20, 1947 

Harry G. McNeely Mar. 3, 1948 

Barret Conway Mar. 3, 1948 

* Incumbent as of May 1, 1948. 


E N D I X 



19, 1944 



19, 1944 


19, 1944 

Mar. 31, 1947 

Mar. 3, 1948 

May 20, 1947 


Aberdeen, S.D. 
Abie, Neb. 
Adams, Wis. 
Adrian, Minn. 
Afton, Wis. 
Agar, S.D. 
Agiiew, III. 
Ainsworth, Neb. 
Akron, III. 
Albion, Neb. 
Alcester, S.D. 
Alden, Iowa 
Algona, Iowa 
Algonouin, III. 
Allen, 111. 
Allcnville, W'is. 

AUouez, Wis. 
Almond, Wis. 
Almont, Iowa 
Alpha, Mieh. 
Altamont, S.D. 
Alton. Iowa 
Alloona, Wis. 
Amasa, Mich. 
Amber, Iowa 
Amboy, Minn. 
Ames, Iowa 
Amiret, Minn. 
Anamosa, Iowa 
Andover, Iowa 
Andrews, Neb. 
Aniwa, Wis. 
Ankcny, Iowa 

Anoka, Neb. 
Anson, W'is. 
Anston, Wis. 
Antigo, Wis. 
Antoine, Mich. 
Appleby, S.D. 
Aiipleton, Wis. 
Appleton Jet., Wis. 
Arabia, Neb. 
Arapahoe, Wyo. 
Arcadia, Iowa 
Archer, III. 
Arco, Minn. 
Aredale, Iowa 
Argonne, S.D. 
Arion, Iowa 
Arlington, Neb. 



Arlington, S.D. 
Arlington Heights, 111. 
Arpin, Wis. 
Arthur, Iowa 
Ashippun, Wis. 
Ashland, Wis. 
Ashland Jet., Wis. 
Ashton, 111. 
Ashton, Iowa 
Astoria, S.D. 
Athol, S.D. 
Atkinson, Neb. 
Auburn, Iowa 
Audubon, Iowa 
Augusta, Wis. 
Aurora, S.D. 
Austin, 111. 
Avoca, Minn. 
Avondale, El. 


Badger, Wis. 
Bagley, Mich. 
Balaton, Minn. 
Baldwin, Iowa 
Baldwin, Wis. 
Balsam, Mich. 
Bancroft, Iowa 
Bancroft, Neb. 
Bancroft, Wis. 
Bando, 111. 
Bangor, Wis. 
Bannerman, Wis. 
Baraboo, Wis. 
Bark River, Mich. 
Barksdale, Wis. 
Barneveld, Wis. 
Barr, 111. 
Barrington, III. 
Barronett, Wis. 
Barton, Wis. 
Bassett, Neb. 
Basswood, Mich. 
Battle Creek, Iowa 
Battle Creek, Neb. 

Ba^-field, Wis. 
Baj'port, Miiui. 
Beaman, Iowa 
Bear Creek, Wis. 
Beaton, Mich. 
Beaver, Iowa 
Beaver, Mich. 
Beaver Creek, Minn. 
Beaver Crossing, Neb. 
Bee, Neb. 
Beechwood, Mich. 
Beemer, Neb. 
Beldenville, Wis. 
Belgium, Wis. 
Belle Fourche, S.D. 
Belle Plaine, Iowa 
Belle Plaine, Minn. 
Bellevue, Wis. 
Bellwood, El. 
Beloit, Wis. 
Belvidere, 111. 
Benld, 111. 
Bennett, Wis. 
Bennington, Neb. 
Benoit, Wis. 
Benton, Wis. 
Beresford, S.D. 
Berne, Iowa 
Berryville, Wis. 
Bertram, Iowa 
Bessemer, Mich. 
Bigelow, Minn. 
Big Falls, Wis. 
Big Suamico, Wis. 
Bingham Lake, Minn. 
Birch, Wis. 
Birchwood, Wis. 
Birnamwood, Wis. 
Black River FaUs, Wis. 
Black Tail, S.D. 
Blackwell Jet., Wis. 
Blair, Neb. 
Blairstown, Iowa 
Blakeley, Minn. 
Blencoe, Iowa 

Blodgett, El. 
Bloomer, Wis. 
Bloomfield, Neb. 
Blue Earth, Minn. 
Blue Mounds, Wis. 
Blunt, S.D. 
Boardman, Wis. 
Bonduel, Wis. 
Bonesteel, S.D. 
Bonita, Wis. 
Boone, Iowa 
Bordeaux, Neb. 
Botna, Iowa 
Bowler, Wis. 
Box Elder, S.D. 
Boyer, Iowa 
Bradgate, Iowa 
Braeside, 111. 
Brainard, Neb. 
Brampton, Mich. 
Branch, Wis. 
Brandon, S.D. 
Brayson, 111. 
Breda, Iowa 
Breed, Wis. 
Brewster, Minn. 
Bricelyn, Minn. 
Brill, Wis. 
BrUlion, Wis. 
Bristow, Neb. 
Broadland, S.D. 
Broadmoor, 111. 
Bronson, Iowa 
Brookings, S.D. 
Brooklyn, Wis. 
Brooks, Wis. 
Bruce, S.D. 
Brunet, Wis. 
Bruno, Neb. 
Brunsville, Iowa 
Bryant, Iowa 
Bryant, Wis. 
Buckbee, Wis. 
Buckmgham, Iowa 
Bucknum, Wyo. 


A P I' E N U I X 

Ruda. III. 
Buffalo Gap, S.D. 
Btirchard, Minn. 
Uurke, S.D. 
Burkharilt, Wis. 
Biirkmere, S.D. 
Burnett, Wis. 
Burr, Minn. 
Burt, Iowa 
Bulk-r, Wis. 
Butlcrfield, Minn. 
Byron, Minn. 

Cable, Wis. 
Cadams, Neb. 
Cadoma, Wyo. 
Calamus, Iowa 
Caledonia, 111. 
Calhoun, Wis. 
California Jet., Iowa 
Callon, Wis. 
Calvary, Wis. 
Cambria, Minn. 
Cameron, Wis. 
Campbell, Midi. 
Campbellsport, Wis. 
Camp Douglas, Wis. 
Camp Grove, 111. 
Camp Logan, III. 
Camp McCoy, Wis. 
Canby, Minn. 
Canistota, S.D. 
Canning, S.D. 
Canova, S.D. 
Capa, S.D. 
Capron, 111. 
Careyliurst, Wyo. 
Carlisle, Neb. 
Carnarvon, Iowa 
Carncs, Iowa 
Carney, Mich. 
Carnforth, Iowa 
Carjientersvillc, 111. 
Carroll, Iowa 

Carroll, Neb. 
Cunollville, Wis. 
Carter (Forest Co.), Wis. 
Carlersville, Iowa 
Carthage, S.D. 
Cary, 111. 
Casper, Wyo. 
Caspian, Mich. 
Castana, Iowa 
Castlewood, S.D. 
Cato, Wis. 
Cavour, S.D. 
Cedar, Wis. 
Cedar Bluffs, Neb. 
Cedar (Jrove, Wis. 
Cedarhursl, Wis. 
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 
Center Jet., Iowa 
Centerville, S.D. 
Ceresco, Neb. 
Ceylon, Minn. 
Chadron, Neb. 
Chaison, Mich. 
Charlotte, Iowa 
ChallieUl, Minn. 
Chelsea, Iowa 
Chenumg, 111. 
Cherry Valley, 111. 
Chetek, Wis. 
Chicago, 111. 
Chili, Wis. 

Chippewa Falls, Wis. 
Chittenden, III. 
Churchill, 111. 
Cisco Lake, Mich. 
Claremont, Minn. 
Clarence, Iowa 
Clark, S.D. 
Clarkson, Neb. 
Clayton, Wis. 
Clear Lake, Wis. 
Clearwater, Neb. 
Clearwater Lake, Wis. 
("leinents, Minn. 
Ch-veland, Wis. 

Clinton, Iowa 
Clinton, Nel). 
Clinton Jet., Wis. 
Clintonville, Wis. 
Clowry, Mich. 
Clutier, Iowa 
Clybourn, 111. 
Clynian, Wis. 
Clyman Jet., Wis. 
Cobb, Wis. 
Cobden, Minn. 
Coburn, Neb. 
Cody, Neb. 
Coleridge, Neb. 
Colo, Iowa 
Colonic, S.D. 
Colon, Neb. 
Columbia, S.D. 
Columbia, Wis. 
Combined Locks, AVis. 
Comfrey, Minn. 
Commonwealth, Wis. 
Comstock, Wis. 
Concord. Neb. 
Coiide, S.D. 
Conover, Wis. 
Cotirad, Iowa 
Cordova, Neb. 
Cornell, Wis. 
Comlea, Neb. 
Correctionville, Iowa 
Cortland, 111. 
Cottage Grove, Wis. 
Cottonwood, S.D. 
Couderay, Wis. 
Council Bluffs, Iowa 
Council Bluffs Transfer, 

County Line (I'ierce 

Co.), Wis. 
Courtland, Minn. 
Cragin, lU. 
Craig, Iowa 
Craig, Neb. 
Crandon, S.D. 


Crandon, Wis. 
Crawford, Neb. 
Cray, Minn. 
Creighton, Neb. 
Crescent, Iowa 
Creston, 111. 
Creston, Neb. 
Crofton, Neb. 
Crookston, Neb. 
CroweU, Neb. 
Crystal Falls, Mich. 
Crystal Lake, lU. 
Cuba City, Wis. 
Cudahy, Wis. 
Culver, 111. 
Cumberland, 111. 
Cumberland, Wis. 
Currie, Minn. 
Cusliing, Iowa 
Cutler, Wis. 
Cuyler (Chicago), 111. 


Daggett, Mich. 
Dakota City, Iowa 
Dakota City, Neb. 
Dale, Neb. 
Dallas, S.D. 
Dalton, Wis. 
Dalzell, 111. 
Danbury, Iowa 
Dane, Wis. 
Darfur, Minn. 
Davenport, Neb. 
Dayton, Iowa 
Deadwood, S.D. 
Deep River, Iowa 
Deerbrook, Wis. 
Deerfield, Wis. 
Deering (Chicago), 111. 
Deer Park, Wis. 
De Kalb, lU. 
Delfelders, Wyo. 
Delft, Minn. 
Dellwood, Wis. 

Delmar, Iowa 
Dempster, S.D. 
Denison, Iowa 
Denmark, Wis. 
De Pere, Wis. 
De Smet, S.D. 
Des Moines, Iowa 
De Soto, Neb. 
Des Plaines, 111. 
Devils Lake, Wis. 
Devon Ave. (Chicago), 

De Witt, Iowa 
Dike, Iowa 
Dixon, 111. 
Dodge, Neb. 
Dodge Center, Minn. 
Dodgeville, Wis. 
Doland, S.D. 
Doliver, Iowa 
Dotson, Minn. 
Dougherty, Iowa 
Douglas, Wyo. 
Dousman, Wis. 
Dover, Minn. 
Dovray, Minn. 
Dow City, Iowa 
Drummond, Wis. 
Duck Creek, Wis. 
Dudley, I\Iinn. 
Duluth, Minn. 
Dumont, Iowa 
Dundas, Wis. 
Dmidee, 111. 
Dundee, Minn. 
Dunes Park, 111. 
Dunlap, Iowa 
Dwight, Neb. 

Eagle Grove, Iowa 
Eagle Lake, Minn. 
Eagle Point, Wis. 
Eagle River, Wis. 
Eakin, S.D. 

Earl, Wis. 
EarlviUe, 111. 
Early, Iowa 
East End (Superior), 

East Rockford, 111. 
East Waupun, Wis. 
Eau Claire, Wis. 
Eddy, 111. 
Eden, Wis. 
Edgar, Wis. 
Edison Park, HI. 
Edmund, Wis. 
Eland, Wis. 
Elberon, Iowa 
Elburn, 111. 
Elcho, Wis. 
Elderon, Wis. 
Eldora, Iowa 
Eldorado, Wis. 
Eleva, Wis. 
Elgin, 111. 
Elgin, Minn. 
Elgin, Neb. 
Eli, Neb. 
Elkhorn, Neb. 
Elk Mound, Wis. 
Elkton, S.D. 
Ellis, S.D. 
Ellsworth, Iowa 
Ellsworth, Wis. 
Elmhurst, 111. 
Elnihurst, Wis. 
Elmore, Minn. 
Elmwood, Mich. 
Elroy, Wis. 
Elton, Wis. 
Elva, lU. 
Emerson, Neb. 
Emmet, Neb. 
Engle, Wis. 
Enterprise, Wis. 
Escanaba, Mich. 
Esmond, S.D. 
Essig, Minn. 



K-tellinc. S.D. 
Evan, Minn. 
Evanston, 111. 
Evansville, Wis 
EwinK. Not). 
Exeter, Neb. 
Eyota, Minn. 

Fairburn, S.D. 
Fairchild, Wis. 
Fairfax, Iowa 
Fairfax, S.D. 
Fairmont, Minn. 
Fall Creek, Wis. 
Farmer, S.D. 
Farnliamville, Iowa 
Faulkton, S.D. 
Fellows, Wis. 
Fennimore, Wis. 
Fenton, Iowa 
Fenwood, Wis. 
Ferney, S.D. 
Fetterman, Wyo. 
Flagg, 111. 
Florence, Neb. 
Florence, W'is. 
Fond du Lac, W'is. 
Footville, W'is. 
Fordyce, Neb. 
Forest Jet., Wis. 
Fort Atkinson, Wis. 
Fort Calhoun, Neb. 
Fort Pierre, S.D. 
Fort Robinson, Neb. 
Fort Sheridan, 111. 
Foster, Neb. 
Fox Lake, Minn. 
Fox River Grove, 111. 
Francis Creek, Wis. 
Frankfort, S.D. 
Franklin Grove, 111. 
Freeport, 111. 
Fremont, Neb. 
Frieshind, Wis. 

Frost, Minn. 
Fruitdale, S.D. 
Fulton, S.D. 
Funiee, Mich. 

Gagcn, Wis. 
Galliraith, Iowa 
Galesville, Wis. 
Galloway, Wis. 
Gull, Ilk 
Galva, Iowa 
Garden Cit}', ]\[inn. 
Garden IVairie, 111. 
Garvin, Minn. 
Garwin, Iowa 
Gary, S.D. 
Geneva, 111. 
Geneva, Neb. 
Genoa City, Wis. 
Gentian, Mich. 
Gettysburg, S.D. 
Ghent, Minn. 
Gifford, Iowa 
Gilbert, Iowa 
Gilberts, 111. 
Gilfillan, Minn. 
Gillett, Wis. 
Girard, 111. 
Ciladbrook, Iowa 
Gladstone Park, 111. 
Glen, Neb. 
Glenbeulah, Wis. 
Glencoe, III. 
Glen Ellyn. 111. 
Glenoak, Wis. 
Glenrock, Wyo. 
Glidden, Iowa 
Glover, Wis. 
Goehner, Neb. 
Gogebic, Mich. 
Goldfield, Iowa 
Goodwin. S.D. 
Goose Lake, Iowa 
Gordon, Neb. 

Gordon, Wis. 
Gorman, S.D. 
Gowrie, Iowa 
Grand Detour, 111. 
Grand Jet., Iowa 
Grand Marsh, Wis. 
Grand Mound, Iowa 
Grand View, Wis. 
Granton, Wis. 
Granville, Iowa 
Granville, Wis. 
Gray, Iowa 
Great Lakes, 111. 
Green Bay, Wis. 
Green Lake, Wis. 
Green Valley, 111. 
Green Valley, Wis. 
Greenville, Wis. 
Greenwood Blvd., HI. 
Gregory, S.D. 
Gridley, Iowa 
Grimms, Wis. 
Grogan, Minn. 
Groton, S.D. 
Guckeen, Minn. 
Guernsey, Iowa 


Hadar, Neb. 
Hadley, Minn. 
Hahnaman, 111. 
Haifa, Iowa 
Hammond, Wis. 
Hanlontown, Iowa 
Hansen, Mich. 
Harcourt, Iowa 
Harlan, Iowa 
Harris, Mich. 
Harrison, Neb. 
Harrison, Wis. 
Harrold, S.D. 
Hartford. S.D. 
Hartington. Neb. 
Hartland, 111. 
Hartleys, Mich. 


Harlwick, Iowa 
Harvard, 111. 
Hatley, Wis. 
Haugen, Wis. 
Havana, Minn. 
Havelock, Iowa 
Haven, Wis. 
Haverhill, Minn. 
Hawarden, Iowa 
Hawthorne, Wis. 
Hay Springs, Neb. 
Hayward, Wis. 
Hazel, Mich. 
Hecla, S.D. 
Helena, Mich. 
Helenville, Wis. 
Hematite, Mich. 
Henderson, Minn. 
Hendricks, Minn. 
Henry, S.D. 
Herman, Neb. 
Hermansville, Mich. 

Hermosa, S.D. 

Heron Lake, Minn. 

Herrick, S.D. 

Herring, Iowa 

Hersey, Wis. 

Hetland, S.D. 

Hicks, Iowa 

Highland Park, 111. 

Highmore, S.D. 

Highwood, 111. 

Hiles, Wis. 

Hines, Wis. 

Hinton, Iowa 

Hitchcock, S.D. 

Holabird, S.D. 

Holstein, Iowa 

Honey Creek, Iowa 

Hooker, S.D. 

Hooper, Neb. 

Hortonville, Wis. 

Hoskins, Neb. 

Hospers, Iowa 
Hot Springs, S.D. 


Houghton, S.D. 
Howells, Neb. 
Hubbard, Iowa 
Hubbard, Neb. 
Hubbard Woods, 111. 
Hubly, 111. 
Hudson, Wis. 
Hudson, Wyo. 
Hudson City, Wis. 
Hughes, Iowa 
Hull's Crossing, Wis. 
Humbird, Wis. 
Humboldt, S.D. 
Hiunphrey, Neb. 
Huntuig, Wis. 
Huntley, 111. 
Hurley, S.D. 
Hurley, Wis. 
Huron, S.D. 
Hustler, Wis. 

Ida Grove, Iowa 
lUco, Wyo. 
Imogene, Muin. 
Indiantown, Mich. 
Ingalls, Mich. 
Inman, Neb. 
Iowa Falls, Iowa 
Ipswich, Wis. 
Ireton, Iowa 

Iron Mountain, Mich. 

Iron River, Mich. 

Ironwood, Mich. 

Iroquois, S.D. 

Irvine, Wyo. 

Irving Park, 111. 

Irvington, Iowa 

Irvington, Neb. 

Irwin, Iowa 

Irwin, Neb. 

Ishpeming, Mich. 

Itasca, Wis. 

Ivanhoe, Minn. 

Ives, Wis. 

Jackson, Wis. 
James, Iowa 
Janesville, Miiui. 
Janesville, Wis. 
JefFers, Minn. 
Jefferson, Iowa 
Jefferson, Wis. 
Jefferson Jet., Wis. 
Jefferson Park, 111. 
Jewell, Iowa 
Jim Falls, Wis. 
Jireh, Wyo. 
Johnson Creek, Wis. 
Johnstown, Neb. 
Joice, Iowa 
Jordan, Iowa 
Jordan, Minn. 
Judson, Minn. 
Juneau, AYis. 

Kampeska, S.D. 
Kamrar, Iowa 
Kasota, Miim. 
Kasson, Minn. 
Kaukauna, Wis. 
Kedzie, 111. 
Keeline, Wyo. 
Keesus, Wis. 
Kellcy, Iowa 
Kellner, Wis. 
Kelly, Wis. 
Kempster, Wis. 
Kendalls, Wis. 
Kenilworth, 111. 
Kennard, Neb. 
Kenosha, Wis. 
Kesley, Iowa 
Kew, Mich. 
Kewaskum, Wis. 
Kiester, Minn. 
Kilgore, Neb. 
Kimball, Wis. 


A P I" K N D I X 

Kiiiilierly, Wis. 
Kiiinsloy, Iowa 
Kirkiiiiin. Iowa 
Kiron, Iowa 
Klevcnville, Wis. 
Kloman, Mich. 
Kiuipp, Wis. 
Krakow, Wis. 
Kraii/.hurf;, S.D. 
Kurlli, Wis. 

Lac du Flambeau, Wis. 
La Crosse, Wis. 
La Fox, 111. 
Lake Benton, Minn. 
Lake Uluff, 111. 
Lake City, Iowa 
Lake Como, Wis. 
Lake Crystal, Minn. 
Lake Elmo, Minn. 
Lake Forest, 111. 
Lake Geneva, Wis. 
Lake George, Wis. 
Lakeland Jot., Minn. 
Lake Mills, Iowa 
Lake Mills, Wis. 
Lake Owen, Wis. 
I^ake Preston, S.D. 
Lakeside, Wis. 
Lake Tomahawk, W is. 
Lake \ iew, Iowa 
Lake Wilson, Miim. 
Lakewood, Wis. 
Lainbcrton, Mimi. 
Lamoille, Iowa 
Lampson, Wis. 
Lancaster, Wis. 
Lancaster Jet., W is. 
Lander, Wyo. 
Land O'Lakes, Wis. 
Langley, 111. 
Laona, Wis. 
Larch, Mich. 
Larscn, Wis. 

Lalhrop, Mich. 
Laurel, Nel). 
Laurens, Iowa 
La Valle, Wis. 
Lawn Hill, Iowa 
Lawrence, III. 
Lawrence, Miim. 
Lawton, Iowa 
Layton Park, Wis. 
I>ead, S.D. 
Lcajjers, Mich. 
Leat, Neb. 
Lebanon, S.D. 
Lebanon, Wis. 
I-edyard, Iowa 
Le Grand, Iowa 
Leigh, Neb. 
Le Mars, Iowa 
Lemington, Wis. 
Lenox, Wis. 
Leonards, Wis. 
Le Sueur, Minn. 
Levis, Wis. 
Lewiston, ]\Iiim. 
Lewisville, Minn. 
Leyden, Wis. 
Liberty, Wis. 
Lick, 111. 

Lime Creek, Mum. 
liincoln. Neb. 
Liiiderman, Wis. 
Lindsay, Neb. 
Linn Grove, Iowa 
Linwoo<l, Neb. 
Lisbon, Iowa 
Little Chute, Wis. 
Little Lake, Mich. 
Little Rapids, Wis. 
Little Suamico, Wis. 
Livingston, Wis. 
Ixjdi, Wis. 
Logan, Iowa 
Lohrville, Iowa 
Lohrvillc, Wis. 
Lombard, 111. 

Ixindon, Wis. 
I-one Pock, Iowa 
I^ng I-ake, Wis. 
Long Pine, Neb. 
Loretta, Wis. 
Loretto, Mich. 
Loretto, Neb. 
Lost Springs, Wyo. 
Loveland, Iowa 
Lowden, Iowa 
Low Moor, Iowa 
Lucan, Minn. 
Ludden, N.D. 
Lusk, Wyo. 
Luther, in. 
Luverne, Iowa 
Luverne, !Minn. 
Luzerne, Iowa 
Lynch, Neb. 
Lyndhurst, Wis. 
Lyons, Iowa 
Lyons, Neb. 
Lytles, Wis. 

McFarland, ]\Iich. 
McGirr, 111. 
McHenry, 111. 
McMillan, Wis. 
McNally, Iowa 
McNaughton, Wis. 
Madelia, Minn. 
Madison, Wis. 
Magnet, Neb. 
Magnolia, Jlinn. 
Magnolia, Wis. 
Main St. (Evanston), 

Malone, Iowa 
Malone, Wis. 
Malta, III. 
Malvern, Wis. 
Manchester, S.D. 
Manitowish, Wis. 
Manitowoc, Wis. 



Mankato, Minn. 
Mauley, Minn. 
Manlius, III. 
JNIanning, Iowa 
Mansfield, S.D. 
Manville, Wyo. 
Manyaska, Minn. 
Maple Park, 111. 
Maple River, Iowa 
Mapleton, Iowa 
Mapleton, Wis. 
Maplewood (Chicago), 

Maquoketa, Iowa 
Marathon, Iowa 
JNIaratlion City, Wis. 
Marengo, 111. 
Marenisco, Mich. 
IMaribel, Wis. 
Marinette, Wis. 
Marion, Wis. 
Marlands, Wis. 
Marna, Minn. 
Marshall, Minn. 
Marshalltown, Iowa 
Marshfield, Wis. 
Marshland, Wis. 
Martland, Neb. 
Mason, Wis. 
Mason City, Iowa 
Mastodon, Mich. 
Mattoon, Wis. 
IMaurice, Iowa 
Maj-fair, 111. 
May wood, 111. 
Meadow Grove, Neb. 
Mechanicsville, Iowa 
Medina, Wis. 
Medina Jet., Wis. 
Melrose Park, 111. 
Menasha, Wis. 
Mendota, Minn. 
Mendota, Wis. 
Menomuiee, Mic'li. 
Menomonie, Wis. 

Menomonie Jet., Wis. 
Mequon, Wis. 
Mercer, Wis. 
Meriden, Minn. 
Merriam, Minn. 
Merrill, Iowa 
Merrillan, Wis. 
Merrimac, Wis. 
Merriman, Neb. 
Midland, S.D. 
Midway, Wis. 
Miller, S.D. 
Millston, Wis. 
Miloma, Minn. 
Milroy, Minn. 
Milton Jet., Wis. 
Milwaukee, Wis. 
Minneapolis, Minn. 
Mimieopa, Minn. 
Minneota, Miiui. 
Minnesota City, Minn. 
Minnesota Jet., Wis. 
Minong, Wis. 
Miranda, S.D. 
Missouri Valley, Iowa 
Mitchell. S.D.' 
Modale, Iowa 
Mondamin, Iowa 
Mondovi, Wis. 
Moutfort, Wis. 
Monico, Wis. 
Monmouth, Iowa 
Monowi, Neb. 
Monroe, S.D. 
Monfort Jet., Wis. 
Montour, Iowa 
Montrose, S.D. 
Moorhead, Iowa 
Morgan, Minn. 
Moritz, S.D. 
Morrison, lU. 
Morse, 111. 
Morse Bluff, Neb. 
Mosher, S.D. 
Mountain, Wis. 

Mountain Lake, Minn. 
Mount Horeb, Wis. 
Mount Prospect, lU. 
Mount Vernon, Iowa 
]\Ioville, Iowa 
Mudbaden, Minn. 

Nachusa, 111. 
Naeora, Neb. 
Narenta, Mich. 
Nashville, Iowa 
Nashville, Neb. 
Nashville, Wis. 
Neble, Wyo. 
Necedah, Wis. 
Neenali, Wis. 
Negaunee, Mich. 
Neillsville, Wis. 
Nekoosa, Wis. 
Neligh, Neb. 
Nelson, 111. 
Nenzel, Neb. 
Neslikoro, Wis. 
Nevada, Iowa 
Newald, Wis. 
New .\ul)urn. Wis. 
Newbold, Wis. 
Newell, S.D. 
New London, Wis. 
New London Jet., Wis. 
Newman Grove, Neb. 
Newport, Neb. 
New Richmond, Wis. 
Newton, Wis. 
New Ulm, Minn. 
Niekerson, Neb. 
NicoUett, Minn. 
Nieols, ]Minn. 
Niobrara, Neb. 
Nisland, S.D. 
Node, Wyo. 
Nora, Neb. 
Norfolk, Neb. 
Norma, Wis. 



Noniiandy, 111. 
Norrie, Wis. 
North .Vurora, III. 
North Branch, Wis. 
North Chicago, 111. 
Northfield, 111. 
North Freedom, Wis. 
North Lake, Wis. 
Northline, Wis. 
North Lowell, Wis. 
Northrop, IMiiiii. 
Northville, S.D. 
Norwalk, Wis. 
Norway, Iowa 
Norway, Mich. 
Norwood Park, 111. 
Nowlin, S.D. 


Oak, Neb. 
Oak Center, Wis. 
Oakdale, Neb. 
Oakes, N.D. 
Oakfield, Wis. 
Oakland, Neb. 
Oak Park, lU. 
Oconto, Wis. 
Oconto Falls, Wis. 
Odanah, Wis. 
Odebolt, Iowa 
Odin, Minn. 
Oelrichs, S.D. 
Ogden, Iowa 
Ojibwa, Wis. 
Okee, Wis. 
Omaha, Neb. 
Onalaska, Wis. 
Onawa, Iowa 
O'Neill, Neb. 
Onida, S.D. 
Onslow, Iowa 
Ontario, Iowa 
Oostburg, Wis. 
Opal, Wis. 
Oral, S.D. 

Orange City, Iowa 
Ordway, S.D. 
Oregon, Wis. 
Org, Minn. 
Orin, Wyo. 
Oshawa, Minn. 
Oshkosh. Wis. 
Osseo, Wis. 
Ottawa, Minn. 
Owanka, S.D. 
Owasa. Iowa 
Owatonna, Minn. 
Oxford, Wis. 

Padiis, Wis. 
Palatine, 111. 
Palatka, Mich. 
Panola, jNlirli. 
Parker, S.D. 
Parkersbiirg, Iowa 
Parkerton, Wyo. 
Park Falls, Wis. 
Park Ridge, lU. 
Parrish Jet., Wis. 
Partridge, Mich. 
Paullina, Iowa 
Peratonica, 111. 
Peebles, Wis. 
Pelican Lake, Wis. 
Pell Lake. Wis. 
Pender, Neb. 
Pensankee, Wis. 
Pentoga, Mich. 
Peoria, 111. 
Peshtigo, Wis. 
Petersbnrg, Neb. 
Peterson, Iowa 
Peterson Ave., III. 
Petcrsville, Iowa 
Phelps, W'is. 
Philip, S.D. 
Piedmont, S.D. 
Pierce, Neb. 
Pierre, S.D. 

Pierson, Iowa 
Pilger, Neb. 
Pine Creek, Wis. 
Pine Lake, W'is. 
Pipestone, Minn. 
Pisgah, Iowa 
Plains, Mich. 
Plainview, Minn. 
Plainview, Neb. 
Plattcviile, Wis. 
Plum Creek. Iowa 
Plymo\ith, Wis. 
Polar, Wis. 
Polk City, Iowa 
Poplar Grove, III. 
Port Edwards, Wis. 
Porter, Minn. 
Port Washington, Wis. 
Powder River, Wyo. 
Powell, S.D. 
Powell, Wis. 
Powers, Mich. 
Pratt Jet., Wis, 
Preston, Wis. 
Price, Wis. 
Princeton, Wis. 
Proviso, 111. 
Pulaski, Wis. 
Pulp, Mich. 
Pureair, Wis. 


Quarry, Iowa 
Quinu, S.D. 
Quinnesec, Mich. 


Racine, Wis. 
Radcliffe, Iowa 
Radisson, Wis. 
Radnor, III. 
Racville, Neb. 
Ralston, Iowa 
Ramsay, Mich. 
Randall, Iowa 



Randolph, Neb. 
Rapid City, S.D. 
Ravenswood, Dl. 
Ravinia, III. 
Rawson, Wis. 
Raymond, S.D. 
Redfield, S.D. 
Red Granite, AYis. 
Redwater, S.D. 
Redwood Falls, ^linn. 
Reedsburg, Wis. 
Reedville, Wis. 
Ree Heights, S.D. 
Renwick, Iowa 
Revere, Minn. 
Rewey, Wis. 
Rhinelander, Wis. 
Rice Lake, Wis. 
Richmond, 111. 
Ricketts, Iowa 
Ridgefield, 111. 
Ridgetop, Wis. 
Ridgeway, Wis. 
Ridott, III. 
Riley's, Wis. 
Ringle, Wis. 
Ringsted, Iowa 
Ringwood, HI. 
Ripon, Wis. 
Ritter, Iowa 
River Falls, W^is. 
Riverside, S.D. 
River Sioux, Iowa 
Riverton, Wyo. 
Roberts, Wis. 
RocheUe, 111. 
Rochester, Minn. 
Rock, Mich. 
Rockfield, Wis. 
Rockford, lU. 
Rockham, S.D. 
Rockland, Wis. 
Rockmont, Wis. 
Rodell, Wis. 
Rogers Park, 111. 

RoUe, Iowa 
Rollo, 111. 
Roscoe, El. 
Rose Hill, 111. 
Rosendale, Wis. 
Rosholt, Wis. 
Ross, Iowa 
Round Grove, HI. 
Rowena, Minn. 
Roxby, Wis. 
Rudolph, S.D. 
Rufus, Wis. 
Rushmore, Minn. 
RushvLUe, Neb. 
Rusk, Wis. 
Rutland, Iowa 

Sac City, Iowa 
St. Charles, Minn. 
St. Charles, S.D. 
St. Cloud, Wis. 
St. James, Minn. 
St. Lawrence, S.D. 
St. Marie, Wis. 
St. Onge, S.D. 
St. Paul, Minn. 
St. Peter, Minn. 
Salem, S.D. 
SalLx, Iowa 
Salmo, Wis. 
Sanborn, Minn. 
Sand Rock, Wis. 
Sands, Mich. 
Sarona, Wis. 
Sauntry, Wis. 
Savage, Minn. 
Sawyer, Wis. 
Saxon, Wis. 
Saylor, Iowa 
Scarville, Iowa 
Schaller, Iowa 
Schleswig, Iowa 
Scott Lake, Mich. 
Scranton, Iowa 

Scribner, Neb. 
Seaforth, Mian. 
Secor, Iowa 
Seeley, Wis. 
Seneca, S.D. 
Seney, Iowa 
Sergeant Bluff, Iowa 
Seventh St. (Norfolk), 

Seward, Neb. 
Shabbona Grove, 111. 
Shaft No. 2, 111. 
Shakopee, Minn. 
Sharon, Wis. 
Shawano, Wis. 
Shawnee, Wyo. 
Sheboygan, AVis. 
Sheboygan Falls, Wis. 
Sheldahl, Iowa 
Sheldon, Iowa 
Shell Lake, Wis. 
Shennington, Wis. 
Shepley, Wis. 
Sheppard, Wis. 
Shickley, Neb. 
Sholes, Neb. 
Shorewood, Wis. 
Shoshoni, Wyo. 
Sibley, Iowa 
Sidemont, Wis. 
Silica, Wis. 
Sioux City, Iowa 
Sioux Falls, S.D. 
Sioux Rapids, Iowa 
Sioux Valley Jet., S.D. 
Skokie, m. 
Slater, Iowa 
Slaj-ton, Muin. 
Sleepy Eye, Minn. 
Sloan, Iowa 
Smith's Mill, Minn. 
Smithwick, S.D. 
Snells, Wis. 
Snyder, Neb. 
Soldier, Iowa 


A P P K N D I X 

Solon SpriiiRs, Wis. 
Sopcrtoii, Wis. 
Stiiitli Heaver Dam. Wis. 
South Kl^iri. III. 
Soiitli ISIiKvaukeo, Wis. 
South Omaha, Neh. 
South Oshkosh, Wis. 
South IVkin. 111. 
South Ran.lolph, Wis. 
South Range, Wis. 
South Sioux City, Neb. 
Sparta, Wis. 
Si.eer, III. 
Spencer, Neb. 
Spencer, S.D. 
Split Rock, Wis. 
Spooner, Wis. 
Spread Eagle, Wis. 
Spring Brook, Wis. 
Springfield, Minn. 
Sjjring Lake, Wis. 
Spring Valley. 111. 
Spring Valley, Wis. 
Staadts, W' is. 
Stack, Mich. 
Stafford, Neb. 
Stager, Mich. 
Stambaugh, Mich. 
Stanhope, Iowa 
Stanton, Neb. 
Stanton, Wis. 
Stan wood, Iowa 
State Center, Iowa 
Stephenson, Mich. 
Sterling, 111. 
Stickley, Mich. 
Stiles Junction, Wis. 
Stillwater, Minn. 
Stilzer, Wis. 
Stockton, Minn. 
Storden, Minn. 
Story City, Iowa 
Stout, Iowa 
Stratford, Iowa 
Stratford, Wis. 

Strouds, Wyo. 
Strum, Wis. 
Stuart, Neb. 
Sturgeon, Mich. 
Sturgis, S.D. 
Sugar Bush, Wis. 
Sullivan, Wis. 
Summerdale, 111. 
Summit Lake, Wis. 
Sui)erior, Neb. 
Su])erior, Wis. 
Superior East End, Wis 
Suriug, Wis. 
Sussex, Wis. 
Sutherland, Iowa 
Swanzy, Mich. 
Swedeburg, Neb. 
Sweden, Wis. 
Sweetwater, 111. 
Sycamore, 111. 
Sydney, Wis. 
Syene, Wis. 
Sylvan Lake, S.D. 


Tama, Iowa 
Tamarack, Mich. 
Taunton, Minn. 
Tekamah, Neb. 
Terra Cotta, 111. 
Teton, S.D. 
Thacher, Neb. 
Thor, Iowa 
Thornton, Wis. 
Three Lakes. Wis. 
Thurston, Neb. 
Tigerton, Wis. 
Tilden, Neb. 
Tilford, S.D. 
Tilton, Iowa 
Tipler. Wis. 
Tipton, Iowa 
Tomahawk Lake, W'is. 
Townsend, Wis. 
Tracy, Minn. 

Traer, Iowa 
Traverse, Minn. 
Trego, Wis. 
Trempealeau, Wis. 
Triumph, 111. 
Tri\miph, Minn. 
Trombly, Mich. 
Troy Grove, IlL 
Truax, Wis. 
Truman, Miim. 
Tunnel, Wis. 
Turin, Iowa 
Turtle Lake, Wis. 
Turton, S.D. 
Tuscobia, Wis. 
Two Rivers, Wis. 
Tyler, Minn. 
Tyran, Wis. 
Tyson, Neb. 


Llao, Wis. 
Underwood, S.D. 
Union. 111. 
Union Center, Wis. 
Union Grove, 111. 
Unityville, S.D. 
Upton, 111. 
Ute, Iowa 
Utica, Minn. 

Vail, Iowa 
Valentine, Neb. 
Valley Jet., Wis. 
Valley Springs, S.D. 
Vandyne, Wis. 
Van Metre, S.D. 
Van Petten, 111. 
Van Tassell, W'yo. 
Vayland, S.D. 
Verdel, Neb. 
Verdi, Minn. 
Verdigre, Neb. 
Verdon. S.D. 



Vernon Center, Minn. 
\'erona. Wis. 
\ esi)er, Wis. 
Vesta, Minn. 
Vilas, S.D. 
Villa Park, El. 
Viola, Minn. 
Virden, III. 
Volga, S.D. 
Voorhies, Iowa 
Vulcan, Mich. 


Wabasso, Minn. 
Wabeno, Wis. 
Wahoo, Neb. 
Wakefield, Mich. 
Wakefield, Neb. 
Wakonda, S.D. 
Wald, Iowa 
Wales, Wis. 
Wall, S.D. 
Wallace, Mich. 
Wall Lake, Iowa 
Walnut Grove, Minn. 
Wanda, Minn. 
Warren, Wis. 
Wascott, W'is. 
W;iseca, Minn. 
Washburn, Wis. 
Washington, Neb. 
Wasta, S.D. 
Watersmeet, Mich. 
Watertown, S.D. 
Watertown, Wis. 
Watkuis, Io\\a 
Waucedah, ^lich. 
Waukegan, 111. 
Waukesha, Wis. 
Waunakee, Wis. 
Wausa, Neb. 
Wausau, W'is. 

Wautonia, Wis. 
Wayne, 111. 
Wayne, Neb. 
Wayside, Neb. 
Webster City, Iowa 
Weedens, Wis. 
AVelcome, Minn. 
Wellington, Mich. 
Wendte, S.D. 
Wessington, S.D. 
West AUis, AA'is. 
West Bend, Wis. 
Westbrook. Minn. 
West Chicago. 111. 
West Clinton, Iowa 
West Point, Neb. 
West Rosendale, Wis. 
West Salem, Wis. 
West Side, Iowa 
What Cheer. Iowa 
Wlieatland, Iowa 
Wheaton, 111. 
Wheelerwood, Iowa 
White Lake, Wis. 
Whitelaw, Wis. 
Whitewood, S.D. 
Whiting, Iowa 
Whitney, Neb. 
Whitten, Iowa 
Wilcox, Wis. 
Wilder, Miim. 
Wild Rose, Wis. 
Wildwood, Wis. 
Williams Bay, Wis. 
Willow, Wis. 
Wilniette, 111. 
Wilson, Mich. 
Wilson, Wis. 
Wilson Ave., lU. 
Wilton, Wis. 
Winde, Mich. 

Windoni, Minn. 
AVinfield, 111. 
Winnebago, 111. 
AA inuebago, !Minn. 
^^ innebago, Wis. 
Winner, S.D. 
Winnetka, 111. 
Winnetoon, Neb. 
Winona, Minn. 
Winside, Neb. 
Winter, Wis. 
Wintlu-op Harbor, 111. 
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. 
Wisner, Neb. 
Witten, S.D. 
Wittenberg, Wis. 
Wolsey, S.D. 
Womac, 111. 
Wonewoc, Wis. 
Wood, S.D. 
Woodbine, Iowa 
Wood Lake, Neb. 
Woodruff, Wis. 
Woodstock, 111. 
Woodstock, Minn. 
Wood\ille, Wis. 
Woolstock, Iowa 
Worthing. S.D. 
Worthington, Minn. 
Wrightstown, Wis. 
W\eville, Wis. 

Yankton, S.D. 
Yarnell, Wis. 

Zachow, Wis. 
Zaneta, Iowa 
Zell, S.D. 
Zion, 111. 



R A I L ^^' A Y 

C O .M P A N Y 






Chicago, 111. 

Ilarlcm, 111. 



Harlem, lU. 

Elgin, 111. 



ElKin, 111. 

Rockford, 111. 



Kockford, 111. 

Freeport, 111. 



Belviderc, 111. 

lieloit. Wis. 



Turner Jet., 111. 

Dixon, 111. 



Chicago, 111. 

Gary, 111. 



Minnesota Jet., Wis. 

Fond du Lac, Wis. 



Elgin, m. 

Genoa, Wis. 



Gary, m. 

Janesville, Wis. 



Dixon, lU. 

Fulton, IlL 



Ogden Ave., Chicago 

Chicago River, Chicago 



Chicago, 111. 

Wisconsin state line 



Wisconsin state line 

Milwaukee, Wis. 




Turner Jet., 111. 



CUnton, Iowa 

Wheatland, Iowa 



Wheatland, Iowa 

Lisbon, Iowa 



Janesville, Wis. 

Minnesota Jet., Wis." 



Fond du Lac, Wis. 

Oshkosh, Wis. 



Sheboygan, Wis. 

Plymouth, Wis. 



Lisbon, Iowa 

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 



Cortland, 111. 

Sycamore, III. 



East bank of Missis- 
sippi River, 111. 

Little Rock Island 



Beloit, Wis. 

Magnolia, Wis. 



Plymouth, Wis. 

Glenbeulah, Wis. 



Oshkosh, Wis. 

Appleton, Wis. 



Kenosha, Wis. 

RocWord, 111. 



Cedar Rapids, Iowa 

Chelsea, Iowa 



Appleton, WLs. 

Ft. Howard, Wis. 



Chebea, Iowa 

Marshitil, Iowa 


Constructed by 
Galena and ChicaRo Union 

Rail Road Company 
G & C U R.R. Co. 
G & C U R.R. Co. 
G & C U R.R. Co. 
G & C U R.R. Co. 
G & C U R.R. Co. 
Illinois and Wisconsin Rail 

Road Company 
Rock River Valley Union 

Railroad Company 
Fox River Valley Railroad 

Chicago, St. Paul and Fond 

du Lac Rail Road Company 
Galena and Chicago Union 

Rail Road Company 
Chicago, St. Charlea and 

Mississippi Air Line Rail- 
road Company 
Chicago and Milwaukee Rail- 
road Company 
Green Bay, Milwaukee and 

Chicago Rail Road Com- 
Galena and Chicago Union 

Rail Road Company 
Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska 

Rail Road 
C I & N R.R. 
Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
C & N. W. Ry. Co. 
Sheboygan and Mississippi 

Rail Road Company 
Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska 

Rail Road 
The Sycamore and Cortland 

Rail Road Company 
The Albany Railroad Bridge 

Beloit and Madison Rail 

Road Company 
SheboyKan and Mississippi 

Rail Road Company 
Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
Kenosha, Rockford and Rock 

Island Rail Road Company 
Cedar Rapids and Missouri 

River Railroad 
Cliicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
Cedar Rapids and Missouri 

River Railroad 


' E N D I X 






So. Branch Jet., 

Ogden Ave., Chicago 



Escanaba, Mich. 

Negaunee, Mich. 



Magnolia, Wis. 

Madison, Wis. 



Marshall, Iowa 

Nevada, Iowa 



Winona, Minn. 

Rochester, Minn. 



Little Rock Island 

Chnton, Iowa 



Nevada, Iowa 

Boone, Iowa 



Boone, Iowa 

Missouri River, Iowa 



Rochester, Minn. 

Waseca, Minn. 



Missouri Valley, Iowa 

California Jet., Iowa 



California Jet., Iowa 

Sloan, Iowa 



Sloan, Iowa 

Sioux City, Iowa 



Glenbeulah, Wis. 

Fond du Lac, Wis. 



California Jet., Iowa 

Fremont, Neb. 



Fremont, Neb. 

Maple Creek, Neb. 



Negaunee, Mich, 

Lake Angeline, Mich. 



Various branches to Michigan mines 



Winona Jet., Wis. 

Winona, Minn. 



Clinton, Iowa 

Lyons, Iowa 



Waseca, Minn. 

Janesville, Minn. 



Mankato Jet., Minn. 

Mankato, Miim. 



Maple Creek, Neb. 

West Point, Neb. 



Janes\ille, Minn. 

St. Peter, Minn. 



Fort Howard, Wis. 

Marinette, Wis. 



Fond du Lac, Wis. 

Princeton, Wis. 



Genoa, Wis. 

Lake Geneva, Wis. 



Geneva, Dl. 

St. Charles, lU. 



Lyons, Iowa 

Anamosa, Iowa 



Manitowoc, Wis. 

BrilUon, Wis. 



West Point, Neb. 

Wisner, Neb. 



Constructed by 
Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
The Periinsula Rail Road 

Company of Michigan 
Beloit and Madison Rail 

Road Company 
Cedar Rapids and Missouri 

River Railroad 
Winona and Saint Peter Rail- 
road Company 
Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
Cedar Rapids and Missouri 

River Railroad 
C R & M R R.R. 
Winona and Saint Peter Rail- 
road Company 
Cedar Rapids and Missouri 

River Railroad 
Sioux City and Pacific Rail 

Road Company 
S C & P R.R. Co. 
Sheboygan and Fond du Lac 

Rail Road Company 
Sioux City and Pacific Rail 

Road Company 
Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri VaUey Rail Road 
Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
La Crosse, Trempealeau and 
Prescott Railroad Company 
Cedar Rapids and Missouri 

River Railroad 
Winona and St. Peter Rail- 
road Company 
Winona, Mankato and New 

Ulm Railway Company 
Fremont, Elkliorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 
Winona and St. Peter Rail- 
road Company 
Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
Sheboygan and Fond du Lac 

Rail Road Company 
The State Line and Union 

Railroad Company 
The St. Charles Railroad 

Iowa Midland Railway Com- 
The Appleton and New 
London Railway Company 
Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 







Mal-ineltc, Wis. 

Escanaba, Mieh. 



Chicago, III. 

Montrose, 111. 



Geneva, 111. 

Hatavia, 111. 



Stanwood, Iowa 

Tipton, Iowa 



Lake Shore Jet., Wis. 

Sheboygan, Wis. 



BrilUon, Wis. 

One mi. cast of Appleton 



St. Peter, Minn. 

New Ulm, Minn. 



Madison, WL'i. 

Winona Jet., Wis. 



Milwaukee, Wis. 

Fond du Lac, Wis. 



Sheboygan, Wis. 

Manitowoc, Wis, 



New Ulm, Minn. 

Watertown, S.D. 



Galena, 111. 

Platteville, Wis. 



Des Moines, Iowa 

Ames, Iowa 



Boone, Iowa 

Coal Banks, Iowa 



Manitowoc, Wis. 

Two Rivers, Wis. 



Appleton, 1 mi. east 

Appleton, Wig, 



Appleton, Wis. 

New London, Wis. 



Powers, Mich. 

Quinnesec, Mich. 



PhiUps Corners, Wis. 

Conley, Wis. 



Maple River Jet., 

Maplcton, Iowa 



Woodman, Wis. 

Lancaster, Wis. 



Ames, Iowa 

Callanan, Iowa 



New London, Wis. 

Chntonville, Wis. 



Sleepy Eye, Minn. 

Redwood Falls, Minn. 



Rochester, Minn. 

Zunibrota, Minn. 



Eyota, Minn. 

Plainview, Minn. 



Eyota, Minn. 

Chatfield, Minn. 




Appleton, Wis. 



Danchff Jet., Wis. 

Montfort, Wis. 



Wall Lake, Iowa 

Sac City, Iowa 



Clintonville, Wis. 

Tigerton, Wis. 



Hortonville, WLs. 

Lee, Wis. 



Constructed by 

Cliicago and North Western 
Railway Company 

C <t N W Ry. Co. 

C A N W Ry. Co. 

Stanwood and Tipton Rail- 
way Company 

Milwaukee, Manitowoc and 
Green Bay Railroad Com- 

The Appleton and New Lon- 
don Railway Company 

Winona and St. Peter Rail- 
road Company 

Cliicago and North Western 
Railway Company 

Northwestern Union Railway 

Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railroad Company 

Winona and St. Peter Rail- 
road Company 

Galena and Southern Wiscon- 
sin Railroad Company 

The Des Moines and Minne- 
sota Rail-Road Company 

Iowa Railway, Coal and 
Manufacturing Company 

Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railroad Company 

The Appleton and New Lon- 
don Railway Company 

Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 

Menominee River Railroad 

Galena and Southern Wiscon- 
sin Railroad Company 

The Maple River Rail Road 

Chicago and Tomah Railroad 

The Des Moines and Minne- 
apolis Rail Road Company 

Milwaukee, Lake Sliore and 
Western Railway Company 

The Minnesota Valley Rail- 
way Company 

The Rochester and Northern 
Minnesota Railway Com- 

Plain vie wRail Road Company 

Chatfield Rail Road Company 

Chicago and North Western 
Railway Company 

The Chicago and Tomah 
Railroad Company 

Sac City and Wall Lake 
Railroad Co. 

Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 

M L S & W Ry. Co. 







Constructed by 


Tracy, Minn. 

S. Dakota line 


Chicago and Dakota Railway 


South Dakota line 

Volga, S.D. 


Dakota Central Railway 


Wisner, Neb. 

Oakdale, Neb. 


Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 


Quinnesec, Mich. 

State hne, Mich. 


Menominee River Railroad 


State line, Wis. 

Florence, Wis. 


Menominee Railway Com- 


Janes\'ille, Wis. 

Alton, Wis. 


Rock River Railway Com- 


Montfort, Wis. 

Conley, Wis. 


The Chicago and Tomah Rail- 
road Company 


Tama, Iowa 

Toledo, Iowa 


The Toledo and Northwestern 


Toledo, Iowa 

Webster City, Iowa 


The T & N W Ry. 


Tigerton, Wis. 

Aniwa, Wis. 


Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 


Lee, Wis. 

Oshkosh, Wis. 


Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 


Eland Jet., Wis. 

Wausau, Wis. 


M L S & W Ry. Co. 


Volga, S.D. 

Pierre, S.D. 


Dakota Central Railway 


Oakdale, Neb. 

NeHgh, Neb. 


Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri VaUey Rail Road 


Norfolk Jet., Neb. 

Plainview, Neb. 


F E & M V R.R. Co. 


Madison, Wis. 

Montfort, Wis. 


The Chicago and Tomah 
Railroad Company 


Carroll, Iowa 

Kirkman, Iowa 


Iowa South Western Railway 


Webster City, Iowa 

Eagle Grove, Iowa 


The Toledo and Northwestern 


Eagle Grove, Iowa 

WiUow Glen, Iowa 


The T & N W Ry. 


Jewell Jet., Iowa 

Stratford, Iowa 


The T & N W Ry. 


Aniwa, Wis. 

Summit Lake, Wis. 


Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 


Ordway Jet., S.D. 

Ordway, S.D. 


Dakota Central Railway 


Plain\-iew, Neb. 

Creighton, Neb. 


Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri VaUey RaU Road 


NeUgh, Neb. 

Long Pine, Neb. 


F E & M V R.R, 


Florence, Wis. 

Crystal Falls, Mich. 


Menominee River Railroad 


Iron River Jet., Mich. 

Stambaugh, Mich. 


M R R.R. Co. 


Various branches to mi 



M R R.R. Co. 


Narenta, Mich. 

MetropoHtan, Mich. 


Escanaba and Lake Superior 
Railway Company 


Various branches to mi 



E & L S Ry. Co. 


Milwaukee, Wis. 

Madison, Wis. 


Milwaukee and Madison Rail- 
way Company 


Manning, Iowa 

.\udubon, Iowa 


Iowa South Western Railway 


Eagle Grove, Iowa 

Elmore, Minn. 


The Toledo and Northwestern 


Jewell Jet., Iowa 

D M & M connection 


The T ifc N W Ry. 


Willow Glen, Iowa 

Hawarden, Iowa 


The T & N W Ry. 


Stratford, Iowa 

Lake City, Iowa 


The T & N W Ry. 








Summit Lake, Ww. 

Three Ijikes, Wis. 



Monico, Wis. 

Rhinclander, Wis. 



Antigo, Wig. 

Bryant, Wis. 



Ordway, 8.D. 

Columbia, S.D. 



Wfttertown, S.D. 

Kedfield, S.D. 



Long Pine, Neb. 

Thatcher, .\eb. 



Oconto, Wis. 

Stiles Jet., Wis. 



Batavia, lU. 

Aurora, 111. 



Trempealeau, Wis. 

GalcsviUe, WLs. 



Sac City, Iowa 

lungsley, Iowa 



Tliree Lakes, Wis. 

Michigan state line 



Michigan state line 

Gogebic, Mich. 



Bryant, Wis. 

East Bryant switch 



Castlewood Jet., S.D. 

Watertown, S.D. 



Iroquois, S.D. 

Hawarden, Iowa 



Thatcher, Neb. 

Valentine, Neb. 



Stiles Jet., Wis. 

Oconto Falls, Wis. 



California Jet., Iowa 

Blair, Nebr. 



Belle Plaine, Iowa 

Muchakinoek, Iowa 



Gogebic, Mich. 

Montreal River, Mich. 



Eldora Jet., Iowa 

Aldcn Jet., Iowa 



Necedah, Wis. 

Wyeville, Wis. 



Oconto Falls, Wis. 

Clintonville, Wis. 



Belvidcrc, 111. 

Spring Valley, 111. 



Montreal River, Mich. 

Ashland, Wis. 



Centerville, S.D. 

Yankton, S.D. 



Valentine, Neb. 

Chadron, Neb. 



Chadron, Neb. 

Buftalo Gap, S.D. 



Winona Jet., Wis. 

La Crosse, Wis. 



Mapleton, Iowa 

Onnwa, Iowa 



Janeaville, Wis. 

Evanaville, Wis. 



Lake City, Iowa 

Wall Lake Jet., Iowa 


ComtTUcted by 

Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 

M L S & W Ry. Co. 

M L S & W Ry. Co. 

Dakota Central Railway 

D C Ry. Co. 

Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 

St. Paul Eastern Grand Trunk 
Railway Company 

Chicago and North Western 
Railway Company 

Galea ville and Mississippi 
River Rail Road Company 

The Maple River Rail Road 

Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 

M L S & W Ry. Co. 

M L S & W Ry. Co. 

Dakota Central Railway 

D C Ry. Co. 

Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 

St. Paul Eastern Grand Trunk 
Railway Company 

Missouri Valley and Blair 
Railway and Bridge Com- 

Ottumwa, Cedar Falls and St. 
Paul Railway Company 

Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 

Chicago, Iowa and Dakota 
Railway Company 

Princeton and Western Rail- 
way Company 

St. Paul Eastern Grand 
Trunk Railway Company 

Northern lUiuois Railway 

Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 

Dakota Central Railway 

Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 

F E & M V R.R. Co. 

Cliicago and North Western 
Railway Company 

Maple Valley Railway Com- 

JanesviUe and Evansville 
Railway Company 

The Toledo and Northwestern 



Date From 

1886 Columbia. S.D. 

886 Redfield, S.D. 

886 Doland, S.D. 

886 Buffalo Gap, S.D. 

886 Dakota Jet., Neb. 

886 Fremont, Neb. 

888 Scribner, Neb. 

886 Wyoming state line 

887 Kingsley, Iowa 

887 Cut Off, Iowa 

887 Iron River, Mich. 

887 Hurley, Wis. 

887 Watersmeet, Mich. 

887 Faulkton, S.D. 

887 Verdon, S.D. 

887 Lindsay, Neb. 

887 Rapid City, S.D. 

887 Arlington, Neb. 

887 Irvington, Neb. 

887 Platte River Jet., 


887 Linwood, Neb. 

887 Douglas, Wye. 

888 Ishpeming, Mich. 
888 Clowry, Mich. 
888 Wabic, Mich. 

888 Lake Geneva, Wis. 

888 Rhinelander, Wis. 

888 Pratt Jet., Wis. 
Geneva, Neb. 

Faulkton, S.D. 
Verdon, S.D. 
Rapid City, S.D. 

Wyoming state line 
Lincoln, Neb. 
Lindsay, Neb. 
Douglas, Wyo. 

Mo\'ille, Iowa 

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 

Watersmeet, Mich. 

Gettysburg, S.D. 

Groton, S.D. 
Oakdale, Neb. 

Wliitewood, S.D. 
Omaha, Neb. 
So. Omaha Stockyards 
Hastings, Neb. 

Geneva, Neb. 
Glen Rock, Wyo. 

Republic, Mich. 
Michigamme, Mich. 
Champion, Mich. 
WilUams Bay, Wig. 

Lake Flambeau, Wis. 

Westerly (Wis.) 

Kansas line. Neb. 

888 Creighton, Neb. Verdigre, Neb. 
88S Glen Rock, Wyo. Casper, Wyo. 

889 Montrose, lU. North Evanston, III. 
889 Lake Flambeau, Wis. Hurley, Wis. 

889 Near Pratt Jet., Wis. Westerly 

889 Jeffris Jet., Wis. Jeffris, Wis. 

890 Buffalo Gap, S.D. Hot Springs, SX). 

Whitewood, S.D. 
Whitewood, S.D. 

Deadwood, S.D. 
BeUe Fourche (S.D.) 

Miles Constructed by 

38.53 Dakota Central Railway 


32.54 DCRy. Co. 
24 . 38 DC Ry. Co. 

48.11 Fremont, Elkhoru and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 

58.02 F E & M V R.R. (3o. 

52.11 FE&MVR.R. Co. 
60.79 FE&MVR.R. Co. 

76.79 Wyoming Central Railway 

9.00 Sioux Valley Railway Com- 
5.96 T.inn County Railway Com- 
35. 16 Iron River Railway Company 
7.00 Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 
10.36 MLS&WRy. Co. 
42.33 Dakota Central Railway 

14.46 DCRy. Co. 

53.12 Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 

souri Valley Rail Road 

36.43 FE&MVR.R. Co. 
27.88 FE&MVR.R. Co. 
10.26 FE&MVR.R. Co. 

120.26 FE&MVR. R. Co. 

77.53 FE&MVR.R. Co. 

28.97 Wyoming Central Railway 

21.96 Iron Range Railway Company 

10.44 I R R.R. 
1.23 IRR.R. 

6.00 Lake Geneva and State Line 
Railway Company 

26.80 Milwaukee Lake Shore and 

Western Railway Company 
13.08 The Wolf and Wisconsin 

Rivers Railroad Company 
46.61 Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 

11.98 FE&MVR.R. Co. 
24.70 Wyoming Central Railway 

7 . 69 Junction Railway Company 
45.61 Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 
8.99 M L S & W Ry. Co. 
2.11 MLS&WRy. Co. 
14.12 Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 
9.13 FE&MVR. R. Co. 
21 . 19 F E & M V R. R. Co. 







Constructed by 


I,ttdd, 111. 

Seatonville, III. 


The DePue. Ladd and East- 
ern Railroad Company 


Rscanulia, Mich. 

Loop Line Jet., Mich, 
(near .\ntoine) 


Escanaba, Iron Mountain and 
Western Railroad Company 


Crystal Falla. Mich. 

Hemlock Mine, Mich. 


Paint River Railway Com- 


Near WaUrsniect, 



Milwaukee, Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 


Deadwood, .S.D. 

Ruby Basin, S.D. 


Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 


Portland Jet., S.D. 

End of Tr.ick, S.D. 


F E & M V R.R. Co. 


Mine branches 

Ruby Baain, S.D. 


F E & M V R.R. Co. 

Mine branches 

Portland branch 


F E & M V R.R. Co. 


Watersmeot, Mich. 


2.. 56 

Milwaukee Lake Shore and 
Western Railway Company 


Wausau, Wbi. 

Marshfield, Wis. 

40. (X) 

M L S & W Ry. Co. 


Mine branches 


M L S & W Ry. Co. 


Mill spurs 


M L S A W Ry. Co. 


Hunting, Wis. 

Big Falls, Wis. 


M L S & W Ry. Co. 


.^niwa, Wis. 

Mattoon, Wis. 


M L S & W Ry. Co. 


nUes Jet., Wi.s. 

Hile.s, WLs. 


M L S & W Ry. Co. 


Northern Jet., Wis. 

Wabeno, Wis. 


Wisconsin Northern Railway 


Wabeno, Wis. 

Laona, Wis. 


Chicago and North Western 
Railway Company 


Burt, Iowa 

Sanborn, Minn. 


Minnesota and Iowa Railway 


Sanborn, Minn. 

Vesta, Minn. 


M & I Ry. Co. 


Wall Lake, Iowa 

Denison, Iowa 


Boyer Valley Railway Com- 


Boyer, Iowa 

Mondamin. Iowa 


B V Ry. Co, 


Kirkman, Iowa 

Harlan, Iowa 


Harlan and Kirkman Railway 


Blue Earth, Minn. 

Mason City, Iowa 


Iowa, Minnesota and North- 
western Railway Company 


Mankato, Minn. 

New Ulm, Minn. 


Mankato and New Ulm Rail- 
way Company 


Tyler, Minn. 

Astoria, S.D. 


Minnesota and South Dakota 
Railway Company 


Mason City, Iowa 

Belle Plaine, Iowa 


Iowa, Minnesota and North- 
western Railway Company 


Blue Earth, Minn. 

Fox Lake, Minn. 


I M & N W Ry. Co. 


Boone, Iowa 

Ogden, Iowa 


Boone County Railway Com- 


Stark, Iowa 

Buxton, Iowa 


Southern Iowa Railway Com- 


Princeton, Wis. 

Marshfield, Wis. 


Princeton and North Western 
Railway Company 


RedGranite Jet., Wis. 

Red Granite, Wis. 


Princeton and North Western 
Railway Company 


Nekoosa Jet., Wis. 

Nekoosa, Wis. 


Princeton and North Western 
Railway Company 


Nelson, HI. 

Peoria, 111. 


Peoria and North-Western 
Railway Company 


Turtle, Mich. 

Cisco Lake, Mich. 


Chicago and North Western 
Railway Company 


Pelican, Wis. 

Crandon, Wis. 


Chicago and North Western 
Railway Company 


Moville, Iowa 

Sargent's BlufTs, Iowa 


Moville Extension Railway 







Honzicks siding, Wis. 

Ormsby, Wis. 



Evan, Minn. 

Marshall, Minn, 



GayviUe, S.D. 

Lead City, S.D. 



Verdigre, Neb. 

Bonesteel, S.D. 



Eland Jet., Wis. 

Rosholt, Wis. 



Jet. north of .\ntigo, 

Mayfair, lU. 

Casper, Wis. 



Lake Bluff, 111. 



Girard, lU. 

Benld, 111. 



Mercer, Wis. 

Fosterville, Wis. 



Laona, Wis. 

Saunders, Mich. 



Conover, Wis. 

Hackley, Wis. 



East Bryant switch, 

Chicago Northern Jet. 

Elton, Wis. 



St. Francis, Wis. 



Manitowoc, Wis. 

Green Bay, Wis. 



Duck Creek, Wis. 

Gillett, Wis. 



Casper, Wyo. 

Shoshoni, Wyo. 



Fort Pierre, S.D. 

Phihp, S.D. 



Wasta, S.D. 

Rapid City, S.D. 



Marathon City, Wis. 

Rib Falls, Wis 



Elton, Wis. 

Wolf River VaUey, Wis. 



Bonesteel. S.D. 

Gregory, S.D. 



Gregory, S.D. 

DaUas, S.D. 



MiUbrig, Wis. 

Hazel Green, Wis. 



Pulaski, Wis. 

Eland Jet., Wis. 



Wolf River Valley 
Jet., Wis. 

Van Ostrand, Wis. 



Shoshoni, Wyo. 

Lander, Wyo. 



PhiUp, S.D. 

Wasta, S.D. 



Pierre, S.D. 

Fort Pierre, S.D. 



St. Francis, Wis. 

Bay View, Wis. 



Bryant, Wis. 

Polar, Wis. 



Dallas, S.D. 

Coloine, S.D. 



Nachusa, lU. 

Nelson, 111. 


1910 Hinton Jet., Iowa 

1910 Belle Fourche, S.D. 

Hawarden Jet., Iowa 


Constructed by 

Northern Woodland Com- 

Minnesota Western Railway 

Fremont, Elkhorn and Mis- 
souri Valley Rail Road 

F E & M V R.R. Co. 

Chicago and North Western 
Railway Company 

C & N W Ry, Co. 

Chicago Northern Railway 

Macoupin County Railway 

Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
C A N W Ry. Co. 
C & N W Ry. Co. 

Milwaukee and State Line 
Railway Company 

Manitowoc, Green Bay and 
North- Western Railway 

M. G B & N W Ry. Co. 

Wyoming and Northwestern 
Railway Company 

Pierre, Rapid City and North- 
western Railway Company 

P R C & N W Ry. Co. 

Chicago and North Western 
Railway Company 

C & N W Ry. Co. 

C & N W Ry. Co. 

C & N W Ry. Co. 

C & N W Ry. Co. 

Manitowoc, Green Bay and 
North- Western Railway 

Wolf River Valley Railway 

Wyoming and Northwestern 
Railway Company 

Pierre, Rapid City and North- 
western Railway Company 

Pierre and Fort Pierre Bridge 
Railway Company 

Chicago and North Western 
Railway Company 

C & N W Ry. Co. 

C & N W Ry. Co. 

Lee County Railway Com- 

Sioux City, Dakota and 
North Western Railway 

Belle Fourche VaUey Railway 








Gettysburg, S.D. 

Blunt, S.D. 



Colome, S.D. 

Winner, S.D. 



Cut oft at Easton, 
Wisconsin division 

Lake Shore division 



Lindwerm, Wis. 

Necedah, Wis. 



Proviso yard. 111. 

Wisconsin division Jet., 



WyevUle, Wis. 

Sparta, Wis. 



Norma, 111. 

VaUey, lU. 



Peoria, 111. 

Pekin, 111. 



Pekin, III. 

Girard, 111. 



Junction at Koepe- 
nick. Wis. 

Pearson, Wis. 



Benld, 111. 

Staunton, 111. 



Buxton, Iowa 

Miami, Iowa 



Miami, Iowa 

Consol, Iowa 



Consol, Iowa 

Westerly (Iowa) 



Pine River Jet., Wis. 

Northerly (Wis.) 



Extension of Heine- 

Northerly and westerly 


mann spur 



Beaton, Mich. 




Wakefield, Mich. 

End of track 



Gogebic, Mich. 

End of track 



Staunton, 111. 

De Camp, 111. 



Braden, S.D. 

Vale, S.D. (beyond) 



Redwater Jet., S.D. 

JoUy, S. D. 



Wiscona, Wis. 

Fox Point, Wis. 



Winner, S.D. 

Wood, S.D. 



Gogebic, Mich. 

End of track 



Belle Fourche, S. D. 
{Middle Creek) 

Aladdin, Wyo. 


ConstrucUd by 
James River VaUey and 

North Western Railway 

Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
C & N W Ry. Co. 

Milwaukee, Sparta and North 

Western Railway Company 

Des Plainca Valley Railway 

Milwaukee, Sparta and North 

Western Railway Company 
Des Plaines Valley Railway 

St. Louis, Peoria and North 

Western Railway Company 
St. Louis. Peoria and North 

Western Railway Company 
Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
Macoupin County Extension 

Railway Company 
ChicaKo and North Western 

Railway Company 
Iowa Southern Railway Com- 
I S Ry. Co. 

B. Ueinemann Lumber Co. 
Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
Chicago and North Western 

Railway Company 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
C & N W Ry. Co. 
C & N W Ry. Co. 










Conatmcted by 


Mendota, Minn. 

Shakopee, Minn. 


Minnesota Valley Railroad 



Mendota, Minn. 

St. Paul, Minn. 


M V R.R. Co. 


Shakopcc, Minn. 

Belle Plaine, Minn 


M V R.R. Co. 


BeUe Plaine, Minn. 

Lc Sueur, Minn. 


M V R.R. Co. 


Warren, Wis. 

Black River Falls, 



West Wisconsin Railway 







Le Sueur, Minn. 

Mankato, Minn. 



Mankato, Minn. 

Lake Crystal, Minn. 



Black River Falls, 

Augiista, Wis. 



Augusta, Wis. 

Menomonie Jet., Wis. 



Lake Crystal, Minn. 

St. James, Minn. 



Omaha, Neb. 

Blair, Neb. 



Menomonie Jet. Wis. 

Hudson, Wis. 



North Wis. Jet., Wis. 

New Richmond, Wis. 



St. James, Minn. 

58 miles westerly from 
St. James 



St. Paul, Minn. 

StUlwater Jet., Minn. 



Stillwater Jet., Minn. 

Stillwater, Minn. 



Stillwater Jet., Minn. 

St. Croix drawbridge, 



Eh-oy, Wis. 

Warren, Wis. 



58 miles westerly from 
St. James, Minn. 

Le Mars, Iowa 



South Stillwater 
switch. Minn. 

South Stillwater, Minn. 



New Richmond, Wis. 

Clayton, Wis. 



Sioux FaUs Jet., 

Luverne, Minn. 



Blair, Neb. 

Tekamah, Neb. 



Luverne, Minn. 

Beaver Creek, Minn. 



Covington, Neb. 

Coburn Jet., Neb. 



Coburn Jet., Neb. 

Ponca, Neb. 



Hudson, Wis. 

River Falls, Wis. 



Clayton, Wis. 

Cumberland, Wis. 



Beaver Creek, Minn. 

Sioux Falls, S.D. 



Cumberland, Wis. 

North of Chandler, Wis. 



Luverne, Minn. 

State line, Minn. 



State hne, Minn. 

Doon, Iowa 



Heron Lake, Minn. 

Woodstock, Minn. 



Tekamah, Neb. 

Oakland, Neb. 



Merrillan, Wis. 

Towards NeillsviUe, Wis. 



North of Chandler, 

Cable, Wis. 


Constructed by 

Minnesota Valley Railroad 

M V R.R. Co. 

West Wisconsin Railway 

W W Ry. Co. 

St. Paul and Sioux City Rail- 
road Company 

Omaha and Northwestern 
Railroad Company 

West Wisconsin Railway 

North Wisconsin Railway 

St. Paul and Sioux City Rail- 
road Company 

The St. Paul, Stillwater and 
Taylors Falls Rail Road 

St P S & T F R.R. Co. 

St P S & T F R.R. Co. 

West Wisconsin Railway 

St. Paul and Sioux City Rail- 
road Company 

The St. Croix Railway and 
Improvement Company 

North Wisconsin Railway 

Worthington and Sioux Falls 
Railroad Company 

Omaha and Northwestern 
Railroad Company 

Worthington and Sioux Falls 
Railroad Company 

Covington, Columbus and 
Black Hills Railroad Com- 

C C & B H R.R. Co. 

Hudson and River Falls Rail- 
way Company 

North Wisconsin Railway 

Worthington and Sioux Falls 
Railroad Company 

North Wisconsin Railway 

The Worthington and Sioux 
Falls Railroad Company 
of Iowa 

The Worthington and Sioux 
Falls Railroad Company of 

Minnesota and Black Hills 
Railroad Company 

Omaha and Northern Ne- 
braska Railway Company 

The Black River Railroad 

Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 
apolis and Omaha Railway 




Sioux Falls, S.D. 

880 Lake Crystal, Minn. 

South Stillwater, 

Missouri River trans- 
fer, Iowa 

Oakland, Neb. 

Missouri River trans- 
fer. Neb. 
Eau Claire, Wis. 
Menomonie Jet., Wis. 

Cable, Wis. 

East (4 H miles) of 

Merrillan, Wis. 
Chippewa Falls, Wis. 

Emerson Jet., Neb. 

North (4 miles) of 
Cable, Wis. 

North (9 miles) of 

Superior Jet. 

(Trego), Wis. 
Bloomer, Wis. 

North of Bear Creek 

(Haugen), Wis. 
Wayne, Neb. 

From connection with 
main Une of C St P 
M & O R.R. 

North of Mason, Wis. 

St. Croix drawbridge 

Coburn Jet., Neb. 

Shaw's Mills, Wis. 

Towards Bayfield, Wis 

Towards Superior, Wis 
West of Neillsville, Wi 
Bloomer, Wis. 
Wayne, Neb. 
North of Ma.son, Wis. 


■itch, Wb 

South of Bear Creek 
(Haugen), Wis. 

Chicago Jet. (near 
Spooner), Wis. 

Norfolk, Neb. 

Cedar Falls, Wis. 

883 South of Bear Creek North of Bear Creek 

(Haugen), Wis. 
Eau Claire, Wis. 

Wakefield, Neb. 

(Haugen), Wis. 
Chippewa Falls, Wis. 

Hartington, Neb. 

Ashland Jet., Wis. .\shland, WL 

884 Spur to depot, Chip- 
pewa Falls, Wis. 

884 Woodstock, Minn. 
,884 Ashland Shore Line at 

Ashland, Wis. 
884 Superior Short Line 

Jet., Wis. 
88-1 Superior Street line 
884 Connor's Point line 

West Superior, Wis. 



Construcled by 

St. Paul and Sioux City Rail- 
road Company 

St. Paul and Sioux City Rail- 
road Company 

St P & S C R.R. Co. 

.94 St P & S C R.R. Co. 

53.51 Sioux City and Nebraska 
Railroad Company 
1.31 SC&NR.R. Co. 

2 . 74 Eau Claire Railway Company 

3.01 The Menomonie Railway 

4.00 Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 
apolis and Omaha Railway 

9.00 CStPM& ORy. Co. 

9.29 CStPMit ORy. Co. 

14 . 50 Chippewa Falls and Northern 
Railway Company 

18.70 Sioux City and Nebraska 
Railroad Company 

26.00 Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 
apolis and Omaha Railway 

51 . 63 C St P M & O Ry. Co. 

37.00 Chippewa F.ills and Northern 

Railway Company 
13.13 CF&NR.R. 

27.80 Sioux City and Nebraska 
Railroad Company 
2.50 C^dar Falls and Northern 
Railway Company 


Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 

apolis and Omaha Railway 



Chippewa Falls and Northern 

Railway Company 


The Eau Claire and Chippewa 

Falls R.iilway Company 


Sioux City and Nebraska 

Railroad Company 


Ashland Railway Company 


Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 

apolis and Omaha Railway 



C St P M & Ry. Co. 


Ashland Railway Company 


Superior Short Line Railway 



S S L Ry. Co. 


SSL Ry. Co. 







River Falls, Wis. 

Ellsworth, Wis. 



Wajtie, Neb. 

1 mile north of Randolph, 



Rice's Point, Duluth, 

St. Paul and Duluth 



Railroad connection 


Salem, S.D. 

Mitchell, S.D. 



West of Neillsville, 

Neillsville, Wis. 



Fairchild, Wis. 

Osseo, Wis. 



Osseo, Wis. 

Eleva, Wis. 



From 1 mile north of 
Randolph, Neb. 

Bloomfield, Neb. 



Chicago Jet., Wis. 

Spooner, Wis. 



Eleva, Wis. 

Mondovi, Wis. 



Neillsville, Wis. 

Marehfield, Wis. 



Bloomfield, Neb. 

End of track 



Woodville, Wis. 

A point about 3 miles 
south of Wildwood, 



Emerald, Wis. 

Woodville, Wis. 



.\bout 3 miles south of 
WUdwood, Wis. 

Spring Valley, Wis. 



Ponca, Neb. 

Newcastle, Neb. 



Madelia, Minn. 

Fairmont, Minn. 



Bingham Lake, Minn. 

Jeffers, Minn, 



Jeffers, Minn. 

Currie, Minn. 



Tuscobia, Wis. 

Birchwood, Wis. 



Spring Valley, Wis. 

Weston, Wis. 



Birchwood. Wis. 

Radisson, Wis. 



Chippewa Falls, Wis. 

Holcombe, Wis. 



Holcombe, Wis. 

Hughey, Wis. 



Radisson, Wis. 

Winter, Wis. 



Winter, Wis. 

Draper, Wis. 



Extension of Elmore 
(Minn.) Une 



CUff, Minn. 

St. Paul Jet., Minn. 



Constructed by 

Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 
apolis and Omaha Railway 

North-Eastern Nebraska 
Railroad Company 

Superior Short Line Railway 
Company of Minnesota 

Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 
apolis and Omaha Railway 

Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 
apolis and Omaha Railway 

Sault Ste. Marie and South- 
western Railway Company 

S Ste M & S W Ry. Co. 

Randolph and Northeastern 
Nebraska Railroad Com- 

Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 
apohs and Omaha Railway 

Sault Ste. Marie and South- 
western Railway Company 

Chicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 
apolis and Omaha Railway 

C St P M & O Ry. Co. 

Woodv-ille and Southern Rail- 
way Company 

Minnesota and Wisconsin 

Railway Company 
M & W Ry. Co. 

Cliicago, Saint Paul, Minne- 
apolis and Omaha Railway 

Watonwan Valley Railway 

Des Moines Valley Railway 
Company of Minnesota 

D M V Ry, Co. of Minn. 

Chippewa Valley and North- 
western Railway Company 

Minnesota and Wisconsin 
Railroad Company 

Chippewa Valley and North- 
western Railway Company 

Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls 
and Northeastern Railway 

E C C F & N E Ry. Co. 

Chippewa Valley and North- 
western Railway Company 

Cliicago, Saint Paul, -Minne- 
apolis and Omaha Railway 

C St P M & O Ry. Co. 

C St P M & O Ry. Co. 







Constructed by 


HartinEton, Neb. 

Crotton, Neb. 


C St P M & Ry. Co. 


NewcMtle, Nob. 

Wynot, Neb. 


C St P M & Ry. Co. 


Draper, Wis. 

Kennedy, Wis. 


C St P M & Ry. Co. 


Kennedy, Wis. 

Kaiser, Wis. 


C St P M & Ry. Co. 


Kaiser, Wis. 

Park Falls, Wis. 


C St P M & Ry. Co. 


Andreas, A. T.: Andreas' Eutory of Chicago, R. R. Donnelley & Sons, Chicago. 

Angle, Paul: The Great Chicago Fire, Valentine-Newman, Chicago. 

C & N W Ry. Co. Museum, An Account of Railroading in the Minnesota Valley. 

Carr, Clark E.: The Railway Mail Service, A. C. McClurg & Company, Chicago. 

Chicago Tribune newspaper files. 

Corliss, Carlton J.: "The Story of Marvin Hughitt," Illinois Central Magazine. 

Derleth, August: The Milwaukee Road, Creative Age Press, Inc., N. Y. 

Kingsbury, G. AV'.: History of Dakota Territory, privately printed by Mr. Kings- 
bury at Yankton, S. D. 

Minnesota Handbook for 1856. 

Minnesota Historical Society Collections. 

Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Farmers' Dairies, 10,J9. 

Petersen, W. J.: The Northwestern Comes, The Palimpsest (Iowa Historical 

Pullman Company Records. 

Reynolds' History of Illinois. 

Riegel, Robert: The Story of the Western Railroads, The Macmillan Company, 
New York. 

Robinson, Doane: Encyclopedia of South Dakota, published by State of South 
Dakota at Pierre, S. D. 

Smith, G. M.: South Dakota, Its History and People, S. J. Clarke Publishing 
Company, Chicago. 

Stennett, W. H.: Yesterday f Today, published by C & N W Ry. Co. 





Aberdeen, S.D., 173 

Aberdeen 'News, 182 

Adams, W. H., 22 

Afton, Wis., 274. 

Agar, Adam, 192, 195 

Agassiz, Jean Louis, 69, 70 

Aishton, Richard H., 24-8 

Albany, N.Y., 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 14, 19, 

20, 13G 
Albany, Wis., 274 
Alcester, S.D., 273, 274 
Alexandria, S.D., 174 
Alliance, Neb., 207 
American Fur Trading Co., 96 
American Land Co., 16, 30 
Andreas, A. T., 113 
Angle, Paul (Chicago Fire historian), 

Appleton, Wis., 81, 154, 220 
Argyle, 111., 274 
Armstrong, George B., 117-120 
Arnold, Isaac N., 10, 31, 47, 52, 53, 128 
Arnot, Marianna (Mrs. Wm. B. Og- 

den), 133 
Ashland, Wis., 220 
Ashley, Ossian D., 80 
Astor, John Jacob, 96 
Atlantic, Iowa, 199 
Atlantic Coast Line R.R., 135 
Auburn, N.Y., 136 
Auburn, Wis., 274 
Aurora Branch R.R., 61 
Aurora, 111., 277 
Austin, 111., 65 
Avignon, France, 99 
Avondale, 111., 274 

Babcock's Grove, 111., 72, 74 

Bad Axe, Battle of, 40 

Bad Lands, 165, 169, 228, 236, 239, 244, 

Baden, Germany, 229 
Baer, Ben, 170 
Bain, John, 162 
Baird, Billy, 170 
Baldwin Locomotive Co., 58 
Ballard, C. A., 22 
Baltimore, Md., 15 
Baltimore & Ohio R.R., 13, 14, 261 
Baltimore American, 39 
Banff, Canada, 285 
Bangor, Wis., 274 
Baraboo Air Line R.R., 160 
Barnes, Judge John P., 257, 259 
Barney, D. N., and Co., 150 
Bartholomew, G. M., 81 
Bates, John, 31 
Bayfield, Wis., 153, 274 
Beaubien, J. B., 22 
Beaubien, Madore, 22 
Beaubien, Mark, 22, 28, 29, 36 
Beauregard, Gen. Pierre G., 135, 136 
Belden, N.J., 162 
Bellamy, Paul, 241 

Belle Fourche, S.D., 228, 232, 245, 246 
Belle Plaine, Iowa, 109 
Beloit, Iowa, 162, 163 
Beloit & Madison R.R., 123 
Beloit, Wis., 62, 73-75, 78, 122, 228 
Belvidere, lU., 61, 73, 74, 122 
Beresford, Adm. Lord Charles, 273 
Beresford, S.D., 273, 274 
Bessemer steel mill, Wyandotte, Mich., 




Bigelow, Minn., 172 

Big Sioux County, S.D., 157 

Big Suamico, Wis., 221 

Bishop, Gen. J. W., 109 

Bismurck, S.D., 167, 168, 173, 174 

Black Huwk War, 1.5, 40, 41 

Black Hills, 151, 165-167, 169, 170, 175, 

224, 227, 228, 230, 232-234, 236, 239- 

244, 246, 285, 286 
Blair, D. C, 162 

Blair, John I., 123-126, 159, 162-164 
Blair, Montgomery (Postmaster Gen.), 

118, 120 
Blair, Neb., 145 
Blairstown, N.J., 123, 162 
Blizzard Club, 199 
Blodgctt, Judge Henry W., 71, 128 
Bloomington, 111., 188 
Bonestecl, S.D., 235, 236 
Boone, Iowa, 119, 191, 192, 194, 224 
Boonesboro, Iowa, 123 
Booth, John Wilkes, 188 
Booth, William A., 80 
Borglum, Gutzon, 2,33, 240, 243 
Boscobel (Ogden's country estate), 129, 

Boston,, 24, 70 
Bottineau, Pierre (legendary), 96 
Bramhall, S.D., 274 
Brampton, Mich., 273 
Brennan, Mayor John R., 233, 239 
Bronson, Arthur, 16, 53 
Bronson, George, 15, 31 
Brookings, S.D., 238 
Brooks, James, 271 
Broughton, F. S. D., 233 
Brown, Walston H., 151 
Brown, William H., 51, 71, 121 
Bryan, William Jennings, 222 
Buchanan, James, 116 
Buckner, Morris, 36 
Buell, CJen. Don Carlos, 135 
Buffalo, N.Y., 18, 20, 21, 27, 34, 35 
Buffalo Gap, S.D., 169, 170, 244 
Bulow, Gov. William J., 233 
Bunyan, Paul (legendary), 96 
Butler, Benjamin, 12, 16, 19 
Butler, Charles, 11-18, 20, 23, 31, 32, 34, 

53, 63, 71, 79, 81 

Butler family, 6-7 
Buxton, Neb., 274 

Cable, R.R., 153 

Cairo, 111., 117, 136 

Calamity June, 240 

Caledonia, 111., 273 

Calhoun, George, 29 

California Junction, Iowa, 145 

Camden & Amboy R.R., 271 

Campbell, Henry R., 271 

Canadian Pacific R.R., 135 

Canton, S.D., 162 

Carnarvon, Iowa, 273 

Carpenter, Philo, 22 

Carver, David, 22 

Cary, 111., 79, 80 

Casey, John, 209, 210 

Casper, Wyo., 126, 224, 232, 238, 239 

Caton, Judge John D., 136 

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 69, 124, 125, 145 

Cedar Rapids & Missouri River R.R., 
123, 125, 126, 145 

Central City, S.D., 169 

Central Pacific R.R., 116, 282 

Centralia, III., 136, 137 

Century of Progress Exposition, 256 

Ceres, goddess of harvest, 99 

Chadron, Neb., 169, 170, 207, 232, 244 

Chamberlain, S.D., 165, 173, 174, 176, 
236, 237 

Chapman, George, 22 

Chatfield, Minn., 209, 210 

Chatfield R.R., 144 

Cherry Valley, 111., 73, 277 

Cheyenne, Wyo., 168, 236, 244 

Chicago, 111., 14-18, 20-25, 27, 28, 30-44, 
47-49, 51-57, 59-75, 79-82, 87, 88, 92, 
100, 102, 104, 113, 115, 117-119, 122- 
129, 131, 132, 136, 142, 1.52, 154, 158, 
160, 161, 168, 180, 181, 187, 188, 197, 
211, 217-221, 224-228, 230, 243, 246, 
251, 253, 257, 269, 270, 273, 274, 277- 
282, 284-286 

Chicago & Alton R.R., 136, 188 

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R.R., 61, 


Chicago Daily Journal, 59 

Chicago & Dakota R'y, 144. 

Chicago Democrat, 29 

Chicago & Eastern Indiana R.R., 260- 

Chicago Fire, 30, 36, 44, 65, 66, 130, 131, 

160, 269 
Chicago, Fulton & Iowa Line, 74, 75 
Chicago Historical Society, 10, 37, 52 
Chicago, Iowa & Nebraska R.R., 72, 

123, 124, 126, 145 
Chicago & MUwaukee R.R., 127, I2S, 

Chicago, Milwaukee & North Western 

R'y, 144, 145, 162-164 
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul R'y, 
133, 134, 137, 139, 161, 172, 179, 234, 
Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac R.R., 

76, 79 
Chicago, St. Paul & Minneapolis R'y, 

151, 152 
Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis & 
Omaha R.R. (The Omaha), 100, 103, 
109, 137, 145, 149, 152-154, 162, 172, 
211, 231, 254, 256, 274 
Chicago & Tomah R.R., 144 
Chicago Tribune, 117 
Chicago, University of, 37 
Chicago World's Fair (1893 & 1933), 

59, 221 
Chippewa Indians, 15, 97 
Chouteau, August, 6 
Chouteau, Pierre, 155, 231 
Churchill, Randolph, 274 
Cincinnati, Ohio, 13, 38 
Civil War, 69, 85, 88-90, 94, 100, 104, 

113, 115, 117, 1.31, 135, 157 
Clark, S.D., 202-204 

Clark, Lt. William (explorer), 70, 231 
Cleveland, Ohio, 27 
Clinton, DeWitt, 7 
Clinton, Iowa, 72, 118, 124, 145, 150 
Clintonville, Wis., 220 
Clybourne, Archie, 29 
Clybourn Junction, 111., 277 
Cobden, Minn., 273 

Cody, William F. (Buffalo Bill), 233 
Cole. William, 205 

Coleridge, Wis., 274 
Collins, James H., 32, 52, 62 
Conway, Barret, 137 
Cooke, Jay, & Co., 160 
Coolidge, Calvin, 233, 241-243 
Cordova, Neb., 199 
Corinth, Miss., 135 
Corning, Erastus, 54 
Cottage Hill, 111., 73, 276, 285 
Council Bluffs, Iowa, 66, 117, 119, 124- 
126, 139, 145, 224, 227, 231, 280, 284 
Courtney, A. C, 81 
Credit Landing, Minn., 108 
Creighton, Neb., 145 
Crouch, C. D., 233 
Crystal Falls, Mich., 143, 219 
Cumberland, Md., 24 
Custer, S.D., 167, 168 
Custer, Gen. George A., 167, 230, 231 
Custer Park, S.D., 241, 243 


Dakota Central R.R., 145, 161, 217, 219 

Dakota Southern R.R., 159, 162, 168 

Dallas, S.D., 236 

Danby, 111., 74 

Darling, Enoch, 22 

Darling, Grace, 193 

Darling, M. C, 81 

Davis, W. N., 52 

Deadwood, S.D., 168-170, 211, 231, 232, 

234, 239, 244 
Dearborn, Ned H., 283 
Dearborn, Fort, 15, 27 
Deere, John, 55 
Deering, 111., 212 
Denver, Colo., 257, 285 
Depew, Chauncey, 216 
Derby, Minn., 274 

Des Moines, Iowa, 71, 124, 126, 154, 227 
Dcs Moines & Minneapolis R.R., 126, 

Des Moines & Minnesota R.R., 126, 195 
De Smet, S.D., 202 
Detroit, Iowa, 163 
Detroit, Mich., 15, 27, 57, 143 
Diamond A Ranch, 244, 246 
Dickinson Hotel, 127 


DixDii, 111., 12, 55, Gl, 02, 66, 67, 73, 87, 

Dixon Air Line, 122 
Dixon & Central Iowa R.R., GG 
Doland, S.D., 200-202 
Dole, George W., 19-23, 27-29, 63, 71 
Donnelly, Ignatius, 229 
Donohuc, Pat, 192 
Douglas, Stephen A., 60, 87 
Douglas, Wyo., 232 
Dows, David, 151, 153 
Drake, E. F., 108, 109 
Driscoll, Robert H., 169, 170 
Drummond, Thomas, 49, 51-53 
Duliuque, Iowa, 32, 62, 187, 197 
Duluth, Minn., 71, 86, 151, 228, 285 
Dundee, III., 273 
Dyer, Thomas, 52 
Dyer, Dr. Volmy, 127 


East Fork, 111., 38 

East St. Louis, 111., 224 

Ebbert, John, 59 

Eland, Wis., 220 

Elgin, III., 47-49, 5G, GO, 73, 74, 122, 227 

Elgin & State Line U.K., 75, 122, 144, 

Elroy, Wis., 151, 153 
Erie Canal, 7, 14 
Erie Canal (steamship), 36 
Erie, Pa., 19 
Escanaba, Mich., 143 
Escanaba & Lake Superior R'y, 143, 

Esmond, S. D., 273 
Eton, Minn., 274 
Evanston, 111., 277, 278 
Exeter, Iowa, 273 
Eyota, Minn., 209, 210 

Ferguson, Lew, 278 

Ferry, W. H., 153 

Field, Benjamin, 187 

Field, Norman, 187 

Fink, Mike (legendary), 231 

Florence, Wis., 143 

Flower, K. P., 153 

Fond du Lac, Wis., 79, 80 

Fond du Lac R.R., 80 

Fordham Heights, N.Y., 129 

Fort Atkinson, Wis., 78 

Fort Howard (Green Bay), Wis., 81 

Fort Niobrara, Neb., 145 

Fort Pierre, S.D., 1.50, 168, 231 

Fort Pierre Fair Play, 182 

Fort Snelling, 98 

Four Hundred, The, 257, 263, 279, 281, 

282, 284 
Fox Indians, 15, 40 
Fox River Valley R.R., 75 
Frankfort, S.D., 200 
Free]K)rt, 111., 42, 43, G4, 66, 71, 73, 74, 

87, 122, 187 
Fremont, Neb., 126, 139, 145, 169, 224 
Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley 

R.R., 126, 137, 145, 169, 217-219, 224, 

232, 235, 238, 245, 246 
Fulton, 111., 42, 61, 66, 67, 73-75, 122 


Gale, Stephen, 22 

Galena, III., 24, 25, 32, 38-43, 48, 49, 51- 
55, 62, 64, 66, 114, 122 

Galena & Chicago Union R.R., 32, 37, 
40, 41, 44, 47, 49, 51, 55-GS, 71-73, 75, 
78, 85, 87, 115, 116, 121-124, 126, 129, 
140, 144, 15.3, 187, 188, 215, 222, 238, 
270, 271, 273, 276, 285 

Galtier, Father Lucian, 96 

Gardner, William A., 248 

Garrett, Mayor Augustus, 47 

Genesee Valley Canal, 63 

Geneva, III., 122 

Geneva, Neb., 199 

Geneva, N.Y., 16 

Ghent, Treaty of, 96 

Gilbert, James, 22 

Gilctte, Earl, 211 

Gladstone, Mich., 273 

Gladstone, W. E. (British Prime Min- 
ister), 273 

Goldacker, Caroline, 211, 212 

Goldsmith, Oliver. 274 

Goodhue, Josiali C, 32 

Gorman, Gov. W. A., 101 

Gould, Jay, 123, 216 

Grange, The, 140-142 

Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., 114, 115, 136 

Great Northern R'y, 101, 139 

Greeley, Horace, 5 

Green Bay, Wis., 69, 81, 82, 123 

Green Bay, Milwaukee & Chicago R.R., 

Grignon family, 81, 82 
Guernsey, Iowa, 274 



Hudson & River Falls R.R., 152 

Hudson River R.R., 5.5 

Hughitt, Marvin, 134-139, 143, 161, 215- 

222, 236, 237, 248, 249 
Hughitt, Marvin Jr., 237, 243 
Hugunin, Capt. Hiram, 127 
Humbird, Jacob, 153 
Humbird, John A., 153 
Huntington, CoUis P., 135 
Huntley, 111., 73 
Hurley, Wis., 220 
Huron, S.D., 173-176, 199, 242 
Hutchins, E. W., 81 

Hale, William, 24, 25, 30, 31, 35 
Hall, Eugene J., 198 
Halleck, Gen. Henry W., 135, 136 
Hallowell, Maine, 36 
Hamilton, R. J., 22 
Hapsgood, Dexter, 22 
Harlem, III., 73-75, 122 
Harriman, E. H., 139 
Harrison, AVis., 220 
Hartington, Neb., 274 
Hastings, Neb., 224 
Havana, 111., 198 
Hawarden, Iowa, 273, 274 
Hayes, Samuel S., 113 
Healy, George P. A., 10 
Hearst, Phoebe, 232 
Hemlock Mine, 219 
Hempstead, C. M., 53 
Hempstead, C. S., 52 
Henderson, Minn., 107 
Hennepin, Louis, 38 
Heron Lake, Minn., 151 
Hickok, Wild Bill, 231, 240 
Hill, James J., 135 
Hogan, John, 22, 29 
Homestead Act, 116 
Honey Creek, Iowa, 191, 192, 198 
Hoover, Herbert, 252 
Hot Springs, S.D., 179 
Houghton, Douglass, 230 
Howe, Francis, 51 
Hubbard, Elijah Kent, 50, 62 
Hubbard, Grayson, 29 
Hudson, Wis., 153 

Illinois Central R.R., 41, 60, 64, 66, 75, 

Illinois & Michigan Canal, 31, 33, 34 
Illinois & Michigan Canal Commission, 

Illinois & Mississippi Telegraph Co., 

Illinois Infantry, Twenty-first, 115 
Illinois Parallel R.R., 127 
Illinois State Militia Board, 114 
Illinois & Wisconsin R.R., 78, 79 
Indianola, Iowa, 197 
Interior, S.D., 207 
Interior Junction, Wis., 220 
Interstate Commerce Commission, 138, 

180, 181, 218, 2.53, 258-260 
Iowa Central Air-Line, 124, 125 
Iowa Midland R'y, 145, 146 
Iowa Southwestern R.R., 144, 146 
Ipswich, Wis., 273 
Ireland, William, 140 
Iron River Junction, Mich., 143 
Iron River R.R., 217 
Ivanhoe, Minn., 273 

Jackson, Andrew, 5, 12, 14, 23, 29 
Jackson, Mitchell Y., 92, 93, 104 
James MmUson (steamboat), 19-21, 23, 

27, 28, 35 
Janesville, Wis., 62, 68, 79, 80, 123 
Jaync, Dr. William, 172 


Jefferson, Wis., 78 

Jensen, Olaf, K8 

Jervis, John IJ., 2T1 

Johnson, Alex, 199-202, 205, 207, 233, 

230, 237 
Johnson, Col. R. M., 3S 
Johnston, Cen. A. S., 135, 136 
Jones, William K., 31 
Junction U'y, 219 

Kami)eska, S.D., KiO, Kit 
Kate Shelley Bridge, 191, 197 
Kaukauna, AVis., 81 
Keep, Albert, 153, 217 
Keep, Henry, 133, 131 
Kelleher, Pat, 178 
Kelly, Oliver Hudson, 140 
Kenosha, Wis., 123 
Kercheval, Gholson, 22, 29 
Keystone, S. D., 169, 234, 239 
Kimberly, E. S., 22 
Kingsbury, G. W., 164, 180 
Kinzie, James, 22 
Kinzie, John H., 32 
Kinzie, Robert, 15, 25, 28, 29 
Kuhn-Loeb committee, 139 

La Crescent, Wis., 92 

La Crosse, Wis., 78, 79, 210 

La Crosse & Milwaukee R.R., 80. 151 

La Crosse, Tremi)leau & Prescott R.R., 

La FoUette, Robert M., 229 
Lake Benton, Wis., 101, 151 
Lake Crystal, Minn., 150 
Lake Forest, 111., 277 
Lake House, The, 27, 28 
Lake Louise, Canada, 285 
Lake St. Croix, 151 
Lander, Wyo., 225, 228, 238, 273, 285 
Lane, 111., 67, 73 
Lanier, James F. D., 80 
Larson, Nels, 181 
Lead, S.D., 1G9-171, 211, 2.32. 239 
Lesterville Lediier. 182 
Le Sueur, Minn., 95, 107, 230 

Lewis, Iowa, 199 

Lewis, Cai)t. Meriwether, 70, 231 

Lincoln, Abraham, 85, 94, 113, 116, 117, 

136, 137, 172, 188, 229 
Lincoln, Mary Todd, 172 
Lincoln, Neb., 71, 154, 199, 224 
Lincoln, Fort Abraham, S.D., 167 
Limiegar, David T., 117, 118 
Little Big -Horn, Battle of, 167, 168, 

227, 230 
Little Falls, Wis., 220 
Locke Hotel, 174 
Lombard, 111., 72 
London, Wis., 273 
London & Northwestern R'y, 250 
Long Pine, Neb., 169 
Los Angeles, Calif., 257, 285 
Louisiana Purchase, 96 
Louisville, Ky., 13 
Lowell Institute, 70 
Lowrey, Pete, 170 
Ludington, Gov. Harrison, 142 
Lyons, Iowa, 124 
Lyons & Iowa Central R.U., 124 


McCall, Jack, 231 

McCormick, Cyrus, 33, 34, 55, 71, 92 

McGill University, 143 

McKenzie, Alex, 173, 174 

McKinley, Maj. William, 222 

McLaughlin, Mrs. Catherine, 130, 131 


Madison, Wis., 62, 79, 101, 161, 227, 229 

Madison & Beloit R.R., 78 

Madison Express, 40 

Magic Mountains, 165, 166, 168 

Mahan, Robert, 57, 58 

Manitowoc, Wis., 220 

Mankato, Minn., 95, 103, 107, 109, 150, 

151, 242 
Maple River R.R., 145 
Marchant, George E., 162 
Mnrcy, William, 5 
Marengo, 111., 73 
Marquette & State Line R.R., 79, 80 


Marshfield, Wis., 220 

Mather, Thomas, 50-52 

Mayfair, 111., 2T3 

Mayo, Dr. Charles, 230 

Mayo, Dr. William, 230 

Mayo, Dr. William W., 230 

Maywood, III., 50, 60 

Meeker, Dr. Moses, 38 

Megan, Charles P., 257, 260 

Mendota, Minn., 96, 106 

Menominee R"y, 144 

Menominee River R.R., 143-145 

Merritt brothers: Alfred, Cassius, 

Jerome, Leonidas, Lewis, Lucius, 

Napoleon, 230 
Mesabi iron range, 227, 230 
Metropolitan, Mich., 143 
Mexican War, 114 
Meyers, T. N., 207 
Michigan Central R.R., 54, 57, 58 
Midland, S.D., 237 
:ilikadn, The (operetta), 170 
Mills, D. O., 216 
Milwaukee, Wis., 71, 93, 100, 126-128, 

161, 220, 228 
Milwaukee & Chicago R.R., 127, 128 . 
Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western 

R.R., 137, 220 
Milwaukee & Madison R"y, 144 
Milwaukee & Mississippi R.R., 79 
Milwaukee Sentinel, 127 
Mineral Point R.R., 75 
Minneapolis, Minn., 71, 95-98, 103, 109, 

152-154, 180. 228, 257 
Minnesota & Black Hills R.R , 151 
Minnesota Junction, Wis., 79, 80 
Minnesota Valley R.R., 107, 108, 144, 

150, 151 
Mississippi River, 18, 22, 31, 32, 40-42, 

61, 64, 66, 67, 69, 75, 87, 88, 94, 95, 

97, 101, 115, 122-126, 145, 149, 150, 

155, 160, 187, 196, 227, 229 
Mississippi & Rock River Junction 

R.R., 66, 67 
Missouri Valley & Blair R'y & Bridge 

Co., 145 
Mitchell, Alexander, 134 
Mitchell, S.D., 172-182, 206. 242 
Mitchell, Gen. William ("BUly"), 134 

Mitchell Republican, 182 

Mohawk & Hudson R.R., 271 

Moingona, Iowa, 191, 192, 194-198 

Moline, 111., 55 

Monarch of the Hudson (steamship), 20 

Monico, Wis., 220 

Moore, Tom, 26 

Morgan, Richard, 55-57 

Morrison, 111., 67, 73 

Morristown, X.J., 5 

Morse, Corbin, 232 

Morse, Samuel, 65, 71, 113, 136 

Muir, John, 229 

Murphy, Dr. William P., 230 

Museum of Science & Industry, 59 

Mystic, S.D., 233 


Narenta, Mich., 143 

Nashville, Tenn., 13 

National Safety Council, 283 

Neenah, Wis., 81 

Neligh, Neb., 169 

Nelson, III., 224, 274 

Nevada, Iowa, 123 

New Buffalo, Mich., 57-59 

New Deal regime, 139 

New Diggings, 111., 38 

New Orleans, La., 13 

New Ulm, Minn., 95, 151 

Newberry, Oliver, 22 

Newberry, Walter L., 22, 29, 30, 47, 51, 

52, 63, 121 
Newberry & Dole, 20, 22, 24, 60 
Newberry Library, 132 
New York, N.Y., 8, 14, 15, 20, 27, 48, 

81, 127, 129 
New York Central R.R., 54 
New York & Erie R.R., 12, 14, 21, 63 
New York Evening Star, 18 
Niles's Register, 40 
Nininger, Minn., 229 
Ninson, William, 22 
Norbeck, Sen. Peter, 242 
Norfolk, S.D., 167 
North Chicago Rolling Mill, 143 
Northern Illinois R.R., 217 
Northern Pacific R.R., 13.5, 139, 173 


North Wisconsin U'y, 152 
Nurlhwestern Gazelle ij Oalcna Ad- 

v«rlhrr, tO 
Northwestern Stage Co., 168 
Northwestern Union R'y, 144 

Oak Park (Oak Hidf?.), 111., 5!), 68, 153, 

233, 270 
Oakdale, Neb., 169 
Oconto, Wis., 220 
Ogden, Mrs. Abigail (Widow), 7, 8, 11- 

13, 16, 17 
Ogden, Abraham, 5-7, 9 
Ogden, Fleetwood & Co., 31 
Ogden, Iowa, 191, 198, 224 
Ogden, Jones & Co., 31 
Ogden, Mahlon, 8, 9, 1.3, 31, 53, 71, 81, 

Ogden, Peter Skene, 6 
Ogden, Sheldon & Co., 31 
Ogden, Utah, 6 

Ogden, William (1st settler), 5 
Ogden, William Rutler, 3-38, 40, 41, 44, 

47-1!), 51-59, 62-64, 68-71, 80-82, 85- 

87, 100, 116, 117, 121, 123, 128, 129, 

131-133, 150-152, 215, 225-229, 231, 

233, 270, 271, 274-276, 285 
Ogdensburg, N,Y., 5, 6 
Ohio Life Insurance & Trust Co. of 

New York, 104 
Old Ashton, S.D., 201 
Old Minnescla, S.D., 245 
O'Leary, Mrs., 130, 131 
Olmstead, George, 192, 195 
Omaha, Neb., 71, 117, 119, 126, 139, 142, 

1.50, 153, 154, 170, 188, 227, 228, 246, 

Omaha & North Nebraska R.R., 152 
O'Meara, Father, 25, 26 
Ontonagon & State Line R.R., 79, 80 
Ordway, Nehemiah, 173 
Oregon, 111., 42 
Ormonde, Duke of, 11 
Otis, .John, 36 
Ottumwa, Cedar Falls & St. P.iul R'y, 

Owen, T. J. V., 22, 29 

Paint River R"y, 219 

Palatine, 111., 277 

Parker, W. H., 170 

Park Falls, Wi.s., 211, Pierre, 95-97 

Parrish Junction, Wis., 220 

Patrons of Husbandry, 140 

Patton, Dr. William W., 114 

Paulson, D. A., 201 

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 263, 279, 280 

Pearson, John, 168 

Pearsons, Hiram, 22 

Pease, J. J. R., 81 

Peck, Ebenezer, 32 

Pender, Neb., 274 

Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion 

of Internal Improvements, 271 
Peoria, 111., 38, 224 
Perkins, Thomas H., 81 
Perth, Minn., 273, 274 
Peshtigo, Wis., 44, 132 
Peters, E. C, 222, 231 
Philadelphia, Pa., 4-9, 13-15, 48 
Philip, S.D., 232, 236 
Pierre, S.D., 161, 165, 172-180, 182, 183, 

206, 224, 232, 234, 236, 237, 239, 242 
Pig's Eye, Minn., 96, 97, 227 
Pittsburgh, Pa., 129 
Plainview R.R., 144 
Planks, S.D., 209, 210 
Plant, Henry B., 135 
Poole, Ernest, 274, 275 
Pope, Gen. John, 136 
Porter, H. H., 151, 1.53 
Portland, Oregon, 257, 285 
Pottawattomie Indians, 15 
Potter, Sen. R. L. D., 141 
Potter Law, 141-143 
Powers, Mich., 143 
Prairie du Chien, Wis., 79, 80, 86, 96, 

Pratt Junction, Wis., 220 
Presbyterian University, 174 
Prhle of the Lakes (steamship), 20 
Princetcm & Western R.R., 217, 219 
Promontory Point, Utah, 116 
Prophetstown, 111., 42 


Proviso, 111., 250, 251 

Pruyne, Pete, 29 

Pullman, George M., 72, 137, 187, 188 

Pullman Palace Car Co., 134, 137, 187 


Quinnesee, Mich., 143 


Radisson, Wis., 211 

Railway Condvictors, Order of, 197 

Ramsey, Gov. Alexander, 86, 87, 106 

Ramson & Saratoga R.R., 63 

Randolph, Neb., 274 

Rapid City, S.D., 168-170, 173, 178, 232- 

234, 236, 239-213 
Rapid City Joiminl, 181 
Ravena, N.Y., 3 
RajTDond, B. W., 47, 52, 75 
Raymond, S.D., 201 
Reconstruction Finance Corp., 256 
Redfield, S.D., 176, 200, 202 
Reed, Charles M., 19-21 
Revolutionary War, 6 
Reynolds, III., 39 
Rice, Edmund, 102 
Richards, Ralph C, 283 
Richmond, 111., 122 
Rider, Eli, 22 
Robbins, Allen, 52 
Robertson, Col. D. A., 140 
Robinson, Doane, 161, 240, 241 
Rochester, Minn., 95, 101, 103, 228, 242 
Rochester & Northern Minnesota R'y, 

Rockerville, S.D., 169, 239 
Rockford, III., 37, 42, 43, 47, 48, 61, 62, 

73, 123, 227 
Rockford & Rock Island R.R., 66 
Rock Island, 111., 55, 62 
Rock River Valley Union R.R., 78, 79 
Rockville, 111., 37 
Rogers Park, 111., 277 
Root River & Southern Minnesota 

R.R., 101, 103, 151 
Rosebud Reservation, 235, 236 
Ross, Horatio N., 167, 230 
Roth, Claude A., 260 

Rushmore, Mount, 241 

Russell, J. B., 47 

Ryan, Chief Justice Edward G., 141 

Sac Indians, 15, 40 

St. Anthony Express, 98 

St. Anthony Falls, Minn., 95-98, 103, 

St. Charles Air Line Branch, 74, 122 
St. Charles R.R., 144 
St. Croix Falls, Wis., 78 
St. James, Minn., 107, 225 
St. James' Church, 30 
St. Louis, Mo., 6, 38, 40, 41, 97, 175, 180, 

St. Louis, Alton & Chicago R.R., 136 
St. Louis Fair of 1903, 59 
St. Mary's of the Lake, Church of, 26 
St. Paui, Minn., 71, 72, 79, 85, 86, 88, 
92, 93, 95-98, 101-104, 107, 109, 110, 
140, 150, 152-154, 157, 161, 210, 228, 
257, 280, 281 
St. Paul Eastern Grand Trunk R.R., 

St. Paul Pioneer, 107 
St. Paul & Sioux City R.R., 109, 151, 

St. Paul, Stillwater & Taylor Falls 

R.R., 152 
St. Peter, Minn., 93, 101, 107, 160 
Salem, 111., 261 
Salt Lake City, Utah, 92 
San Francisco, Calif., 257, 278, 280, 282, 

Sargent, Fred W., 256, 262 
Sauganash House, 28, 36 
Saunders, William, 140 
Savage, Minn., 108 
Savanna, 111., 42, 64 
Sawyer, Edgar P., 1.53 
Sawyer, Philetus, 153 
Scales Mound, 111., 64 
Scammon, Eliakim, 36 
Scammon, Jonathan Y., 35-37, 47-53, 60, 

62-64, 68, 71, 78 
Schreiber, Rev. Francis, 198 
Schurz, Carl, 229 


Scott, Snmurl, 239 

Scrantiin, Pa., Ifi2 

Scripiis, .John I.., 117 

Seaforth, Minn., 273 

Seattle, Wash., 280 

Sewerage Commissioners, Board of, H 

Seymour, James, iO 

Shnkopee, Minn., lOfi, 108, 109 

Shannon, Judpe, 164 

Sheboygan & Western R'y, lU 

Sheehan, Daniel, 59 

Shelley, Kate, 191-198 

Shelley, Michael J., 192 

Sheridan, I.t. Gen. Philip, 131 

Shiloh, Battle of, 135 

Shoshoni Indians, 225 

ShuUsburg, 111., 38 

Sibley, H. H., 108 

Sidney, S.D., 167 

Sidney, Neb., 168, 171, 239, 244 

Simpson College, 197 

Sioux City, Iowa, 71, 126, 145, 153, 154, 

163, 167, 168, 205, 222, 224, 227, 231, 

273, 274 
Sioux City & Dakota R.R., 162-164 
Sioux City & Pacific R.R., 126, 137, 139, 

145, 217-219 
Sioux City & Pembina R.R., 162, 164 
Sioux Critic, 181 
Sioux Falls, S.D., 152, 157-159, 162-164, 

172-174, 179, 227, 236 
Sioux Indians, 87, 97, 98, 100, 102, 150, 

156, 164, 166-168, 230, 232, 233, 235, 

Sitting Bull, Chief, 230, 231, 233 
Sleepy Eye, Minn., 224 
Slim Princess (train), 211 
Slocombe, Capt., 21, 23, 27, 28 
Smith, George M., 175 
Smith, Gregory, 32 
Smith, Henry, 81 
Smith, Mathias, 22 
Smith, Perry H., 71, 81, 82 
Smith, Thcojihilus W., 32, 60, 62 
Snelling, Col. Josiah, 96 
Snow, George, 22 
South Carolina, Secession of, 113 

South Dakota State Agricultural Col- 
lege, 238 

Southern Minnesota R.R., 103, 105-108 

Southern Pacific R.R., 135, 257, 281, 282 

Si)ringfu-ld, 111., 172, 188 

Stainbaugli, Mich., 113 

Stamford, N.Y., 3 

Standing Buffalo (Oglala Indian), 166 

Stanton, Edwin M. (Scc'y of War), 

Stanwood & Tipton R'y, 146 

State Line & Union R.R., 144 

Steele, Franklin (legendary), 96 

Stennctt, W. H., 50, 73, 121, 187, 188, 

Sterling, 111., 42, 67, 73 

Stevens, Col. John H., 97, 98 

Stewart, Hart L., 47 

Stillwater, Minn., 89, 93, 153 

Stratford, Wis., 274 

Strickland, William, 271 

Sturgis, S.D., 170 

Sullivan, Dennis, 130 

Sumter, Fort, 113 

Sun Valley, Idaho, 285 

Superior, Neb., 224 

Superior, Wis., 71, 153, 228 

Sutherland, Iowa, 273 

Sweeny, Tom, 240 

Sycamore, Courtland & Chicago R.R., 

Taylor, Charles, 22 

Taylor, Edmund D., 32 

Taylor, Gov. W. D., 141 

Temple, J. T., 22, 32 

Thompson, Horace, 108 

Thompson, James, 39 

Thompson, J. E., 108 

Thomson, Charles M., 260 

Tilden, Samuel J., 71, 76, 80 

Todd, Capt. J. B. S., 172 

Toledo «c Northwestern R'y, 144, 145, 

15.3, 217, 219 
Tomah, Wis., 151 

Tomah & Lake St. Croix R.R., 151 
Toussaint I>'Ouverture (Emperor of 

Haiti), 99 


Townsend, Elisha, 50-62 

Tracy, John F., l.St 

Tracy, Minn., 151, 161 

Transit Co., 107 

Transportation Act of 1920, 24S 

Tremont House, 57, 58, 64, 114 

Trollope, Anthony, 94 

Troy & Schenectady R.R., 63 

Turner, John B., 47, 52, 61-66, 68, 71, 

72, 75, 121, 187 
Turner (Turner Junction), 111., 60, 61, 

66, 67, 72, 74, 75, 122 
Turton, S.D., 27.3 
Twombly, H. McK., 216 


Union Army, 115 

Union Pacific R.R., 116, 117, 126, 139, 

153, 257, 280-2S2 
United States Railroad Administration, 

United States Railroad Labor Board, 

United States Supreme Court, 142, 253, 

259, 260 
University of Wisconsin, 227 
Urgent Deficiencies Act, 260 
Utah-Idaho Sugar Co., 246 
Utica & Schenectady R.R., 58 

Vail, C. E., 162 

Valentine, Neb., 145, 169 

Vance Bill, 142 

Vancouver, Canada, 285 

Vanderbilt, F. W., 216 

Vanderbilt, W. K., 216 

Van Deusen Grain Co., 202 

Van Home, Sir William, 135 

Van Nortwick, John, 57-59, 64, 66, 67 

Verdigre, Neb., 235 

Verendrye brothers, 166 

Verne, Jules, 178 


Wall, S.D., 236, 244 
Walker, Charles, 52 

Walton, N.Y., 3-8, 11, 19, 34, 35, 62 
War Department, United States, 114 
Warren, 111., 64 
Warren's Mills, Wis., 151 
Washburne, Elihu, 52, 53 
Washington, D.C., 8, 12, 60, 97, 102, 117, 

120, 125, 157, 158, 165, 241, 242 
Washington, George, 24, 241 
Watkins, John, 22 
Watertown, S.D., 174, 199, 202, 203 
Watertown, Wis., 78 
Waterville, Maine, 36 
Waupaca, Wis., 81 
Waukegan, 111., 127, 212, 278, 279 
Weed, George, 13, 17, 34 
Weed family, 5, 6, 8 
Weld, William F., 54 
Wellington, Mich., 274 
Wentworth, Elijah, 29 
Western Wisconsin R.R., 151 
West Point Military Academy, 114 
Weyerhaeuser, Frederick (lumberman), 

Wheaton, 111., 74 
Wheeling, John, 8, 9 
Wheeling, Mary, 8-10, 13 
White, L. L., 284 
White, Stewart E.. 243 
Whitewood, S.D., 232, 245 
Wicker, C. G., 162-164 
Wilder, A. H., 108 
Willard, Frances, 197 
Willard, William C, 143 
Williams, Rowland L., 260-265, 283 
Willow Ri%'er, Wis., 78 
M'ilson, Walter, 201 
Winfield, 111., 74 
Winnebago Indians, 15 
Winnebago War, 39 
Winnetka, 111., 277 
Winona, Minn., 92, 101, 103, 150, 154, 

160, 236 
Winona & St. Peter R.R., 107, 144, 150, 

160, 161, 217, 219 
Winslow, Albert, 81 
Winslow, James, 80 
Wisconsin Northern R'y, 221 
Wisconsin R.R., 144 
Wisconsin & Superior R.R., 79, 80 


Wisconsin Siiiireme Court, 111, 112 

Wisner, Neb., 169 

Wolsey, S.D., 27 1 

Wolsey, Thomas Cardinal, 274 

Wood, Ed, 192, 191, 195 

Woodstock, 111., 78, 276 

Woonsocket Capital Investment Co., 

World War I, 138, 239, 264. 
World War 11, 139, 26 «■ 
Worthington & Sioux Falls R.R., 151, 

Wovoka (medicine man), 232 

Wrifihl, Frank Lloyd, 229 

Wrifrht, John, 22 

Wyoming Central U.K., 217, 218, 238 

Yankton, S.D., 159, 162, 164, 168, 172, 

173, 182, 235 
Yates, Gov. Richard, 114. 
Yellowstone Park, 285 
Yokohama, Japan, 280 
Youiijr, Bripham, 6 
Young, J. U., 81