Trains/Train Depots of Fulton County
Burnside Crossing 1899
Fulton County Narrow Gauge Railroad
Pictures submitted by Donald Parkinson
Smithfield Depot circa 1912
submitted by Max Latimer
C. B. and Q. Depot, Canton: Unknown Date
submitted by Karen Morlan
Many articles about the Chatsworth Train Accident on August 10, 1887
Excerpt from the History of Fulton County published in 1879 by C. C. Chapman, pages 1006-1013, submitted by Janine Crandell
CHICAGO, BURLINGTON & QUINCY RAILROAD.——RUSHVILLE BRANCH.
The Jacksonville & Savanna
Railroad was chartered by the Legislature in 1855. It was intended to run from
Jacksonville to Savanna, Carroll county, passing through Liverpool, Canton
Farmington and Yates City. A great deal of work was done on this line between
Canton and Liverpool. That part of the branch of the C., B. & Q. road 2
1/2 miles south of Canton to Farmington was graded, tied and bridged as
the Jacksonville & Savanna Railroad. That portion of
this road from near Canton to Rushville was chartered
and surveyed as the Peoria & Hannibal Railroad. We find in the first number of
the Lewistown Democrat a call for a meeting to be held at Lewistown Thursday,
June 19, 1855, for the purpose of interesting the people in behalf of this road.
Meetings were also held at Farmington and Canton. Canton was not a point named
in the charter of the Peoria & Hannibal road, but it was talked of running the
road two or three miles south of Canton. The Peoria & Hannibal road was graded
from Hollis, Peoria Co., to the southern line of that
county, and some work was done at Utica, in this county. The labor was done on
the Jacksonville & Savanna road by local subscription, but when the panic of
1857 came upon the country all work on both lines ceased.
In 1861 Mr. James H. Stipp, President and General Agent of the Jacksonville & Savanna Railroad, and Judge Henry L. Bryant, President and General Agent of the Peoria & Hannibal Road, entered into contract with James F. Joy and Capt. E. B. Ward, of Detroit, selling to them, or rather giving them a perpetual lease of that part of both roads upon which work had been done. These gentlemen represented the C., B. & Q. R. R. Co., and therefore at that time the road was virtually sold to or placed in the hands of the C., B. & Q. Co. The contract that Messrs. Stipp and Bryant entered into with these men was that they were to complete the road and put it in running order. It became evident to Messrs. Stipp and Bryant and the Directors of the two companies that they could not build it, and being very desirous of a road, such a contract was made. The C., B. & Q. Co. did the work according to contract, and in June, 1862, the road was completed to Lewistown which was as far south as the C., B. & Q. Company agreed to construct it; but in 1869 it was completed to Rushville.
Fulton county issued bonds for the construction of the Jacksonville & Savanna Railroad to the amount of $100,000, and for the Peoria & Hannibal road $200,000. All these bonds were sold, and of the $300,000 issued all are redeemed except $75,000. A portion of the bonds issued to the J. & S. were used to buy iron, and the rails of the C., B. & Q. Railroad from Farmington to Lewistown were purchased by Fulton county bonds. The entire grading, tying, bridging and ironing was given to the C., B. & Q. Railroad on condition that they would build it.
Frank Farwell, of Liverpool, now of Kansas, and Col. A. C. Babcock of Canton, under the firm name of Farwell & Babcock, were contractors to bridge, grade and tie the J. & S. road from Liverpool to Yates City. To these parties, for the work done, the C., B. & Q. paid $10,000, and a few hundred dollars to other parties, which was all this Road ever paid for the vast amount of work done upon this route. There were collected on local subscriptions in this county for the original roads $200,000, as follows: Farmington, $40,000; Canton, $100,000; Lewistown, $60,000, and Liverpool, $20,000.
The railroad track first reached Canton on Friday, May 2, 1862. This was a gala day for Canton. On that date the first goods that ever entered Canton by rail were received; they were consigned to Holmes & Peck, merchants. The Directors of the J. & S. Road were Thompson Maple, Israel S. Piper, Jason M. Bass, A. C. Babcock, and W. A. Dickerman, all of Canton, and A. M. Field, of Farmington; James H. Stipp, President; W. A. Dickerman, Vice-President, and I. S. Piper, Secretary.
In 1868 ground was broken at Lewistown for the extension of the C., B. & Q. road to Rushville. The work was pushed rapidly forward during the summer of 1869, and brought to completion. This gave a new impetus to the towns of Vermont and Ipava, the two principal points on this road southwest of Lewistown. The depot buildings erected by the company at the various towns along this route are all good, substantial buildings, creditable alike to the people of the towns and to the Railroad Company.
Sad Accident.—From the day the first locomotive engineer stepped into the cabin of his engine, opened the throttle and whirled over the prairies and woodland, until the present day, heroic acts of self-sacrifice have been performed by this faithful and trusted class. The engineer is always the first one upon the train who sees the danger ahead, and in almost every instance might escape, with but slight injuries at most; yet how few are there who desert their post until they have done all in their power to avert the crash and save the lives of those who have entrusted themselves in their care! Then, as it often proves, it is too late to save their own lives. When we hear of a sad railroad accident, the collision of trains, the wreck of coaches, the loss of life, we ask, "Did the engineer escape?" and almost invariably are told, "No; he was killed."
Locomotive engineers as a class have ever proven their fidelity to the precious charges entrusted to them, often by giving their lives; but never in the history of railroad accidents did an engineer prove his heroism, his devotion to his trust and ingenuity more than did Engineer Chislon of the C., B. & Q. It was during the autumn (of 1870, we believe) when the Fulton County Fair was in progress at Canton, that brave Chislon laid down his life that others might live. Hundreds of passengers from Lewistown, Ipava and Vermont, had taken advantage of the cheap rates and visited the fair. This was one of the most successful seasons during the prosperous period of that Association, and thousands were in attendance from all points of the county and Central Illinois. Evening arrived and the coaches on the southern bound train of the C., B. & Q. were packed with human freight. All was ready, the bell rang, and Engineer Chislon, fully appreciating the great responsibility, pulled the long train slowly from the depot, lest some of his passengers would be injured. On, past the fair grounds the train moved, steadily gaining in motion. Soon the careful engineer had the train under great headway. Every one was joyous and the laugh and jest arose upon the pleasant autumn air, even above the clatter of the train. Upon rounding a curve what should meet the eyes of the faithful engineer, who had looked steadily ahead with his hand on the throttle, upon this, his ride into eternity? On came a heavy freight train at great speed. Both trains were within a few hundred feet of each other before the danger was discovered. A collision could not be avoided, for it took but a moment for the engines to come together, yet the work of saving hundreds of lives was performed in a twinkling. The brave and thoughtful Chilson adopted the only possible plan to save his cargo of human beings and executed it instanter. He ordered his fireman to detach the engine from the coaches and then jump for his life. Both duties were performed with great celerity. Then Chislon, fearless of death, opened the throttle wide and with his engine dashed ahead to meet the oncoming train, that it might be checked and thus prevent it from wrecking his coaches. The crash of the engines as they shattered each other was the first intimation the passengers had of the imminent danger they were in.
When the steam and smoke of the wrecked engines cleared away the remains of engineer Chislon were found, and with grateful hands tenderly carried away and cared for. He had saved the passengers of his train, but it cost him his life. It is supposed that ere he had performed every service that he could toward saving his train the engines collided and he was ushered into eternity.
The engineer and fireman of the freight train escaped by jumping from their engine. Mr. Chislon left a widow and a small family of children to mourn his loss, besides thousands of grateful friends. May the memory of this illustrious hero never be forgotten, for no man ever did more to save the lives of hundreds of the citizens of this county than he, and none ever performed a greater service more heroically and at a greater cost.
C., B. & Q. R. R.——QUINCY BRANCH.
The main line of the C., B. & Q. which runs from Galesburg to Quincy, enters this county at section 5, Union township, and makes its exit at section 30 near the town of Avon, which is on this road. This branch of the road was built as the Northern Cross Railroad. The enterprise was agitated as early as 1851, and by 1856 the road was built. Connections were made with the Central Military Tract Railroad for Chicago. Shortly afterward these two roads, with the Peoria & Oquawka, fell into the hands of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company. This is one of the chief railroad lines in the United States.
C., B. & Q. R. R.—ST. LOUIS DIVISION.
This road was built in 1870 as the Rockford, Rock-Island & St. Louis Railroad.
It is well known that contests by different towns for railroads have often been
protracted and severe; especially was this so in earlier days, but there never
was perhaps a greater contest between rival towns for a line of railroad than
there was for the R., R-I. & St. L. R. R. Many years prior to the construction
of this road the company obtained a charter and much work was done on the line
from Beardstown, passing through Rushville to Macomb. For years the work was
abandoned, and until 1869 the enterprise was not revived. At that time the
citizens of Rushville and Macomb became greatly interested in the road and
desired it completed. Great interest was manifested all along that route, which
subsequently was known as the Macomb and Rushville route. During the summer and
autumn of 1869 the citizens of Astoria, Vermont and Table Grove became desirous
of a railroad; and as much parleying was done by the leading men on the Macomb
and Rushville route, a proposition was made by some of the leading and
enterprising citizens of the eastern route, principally of Astoria, to the
officials of the R., R-I. & St. L. R. R. for the construction of this road from
Beardstown through Browning, Frederick, Astoria, Vermont and Table Grove to
Bushnell. The citizens through this county and at Bushnell took great interest
in the enterprise and pushed their claim with the greatest energy. The contest
between Rushville, Industry and Macomb and Astoria, Vermont, Table Grove and
Bushnell, proved a fierce one in the extreme; but the men of Fulton county along
the latter route proved to be the sharper, shrewder business men and out-generaled
the leading lights of Macomb and Rushville. It was decided by the company as the
more favorable route and the one which would prove the most remunerative, to
accept the offer made by the citizens of West Fulton county. Work was commenced
on the line in December, and by June 1, 1870, cars passed over the road. The
proposition was received from the officials of this road in November, 1869, that
if they would raise $300,000 from Frederick to Bushnell, the road would be built
through Fulton county instead of through McDonough and Schuyler counties. This
amount was readily voted. Astoria township led the van with $50,000. The town of
Astoria, which at that time was not so large by 500 population as it is to-day
gave $10,000; Woodland township, which the road does not touch, gave $15,000;
Vermont $24,000; Eldorado township, McDonough county, $6,000; and Farmers'
township $35,000. Of the very large subscription made by Astoria township, it
not only has paid its interest promptly but has reduced the principal $15,000.
The enterprising town of Astoria has liquidated one-half the amount subscribed,
and the interest on all of it has ever been paid with promptness.
This road seemed to prosper for a time, but on account of the vast amount of money expended in its construction and the mismanagement of the road afterwards, it proved to be a very unprofitable investment to the stockholders. The rolling stock, which at first was all new, without repair or attention soon got into bad condition; the road-bed was neglected, and the entire line came into disrepute. In 1876, however, the C., B. & Q. R. R. Co. purchased it and gave it the name of the St. Louis Division of the C., B. & Q. R. R. The road-bed was immediately put in repair, new rolling stock provided, and to-day it is one of the best roads in the State of Illinois.
TOLEDO, PEORIA & WARSAW RAILWAY.
This railway crosses the county in a line almost directly east and west, and is the principal railroad of Fulton county. It seems more especially identified with the interests of this county than any other road, and the people along the route take a commendable local pride in its welfare. The T., P. & W. is one of the principal arteries by which the produce of the Northwest is transported to the seaboard. It is the most direct route for the people of Fulton county to reach the thriving and growing city of Peoria. Not only is it the best route to that city, but it is the cheapest and quickest route to Chicago. It connects with the famous old Illinois Central at Oilman, and the T. P. & W. coaches are whirled on into the Garden City without change or delay. This is also by far the best route to Burlington and Keokuk and the West. A branch leaves La Harpe from the Warsaw line for these cities, and one goes through in much less time and at cheaper rates than by any other available road. At one time, like most newly builded roads, it fell into disrepute; but under its present management it has taken rank with the largest roads of the country. Its road-bed is level, well ironed and smooth, and its rolling stock, both freight cars and coaches, is equal to that run by the oldest and most prosperous of roads.
The T., P. & W. Ry. Co. is a consolidation of the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw Railway Company and the Mississippi & Wabash Railroad Company, the former of which was incorporated Feb. 14, 1863, and the latter Feb. 16, 1863. These two companies were consolidated Dec. 1, 1865, and the entire road between the State line and Warsaw was put in operation Oct. 14, 1868, The Burlington branch, from La Harpe to Burlington, was opened in November, 1871.
The first work on the T., P. & W. through this county was done by the M. & W. R. R. This road passed through Canton and Cuba, its western terminus at Carthage. Some work was done between Cuba and Spoon river; from Bushnell west to Carthage much work was done under the management of this company. From Carthage to Warsaw the road was completed and put in operation. After the charter was obtained, a special act of the Legislature was passed dividing the road in this State into the Eastern, Western and Central Divisions, for its construction and management. Peoria was not a point on this road at that time; it crossed the Illinois river at Pekin. From Pekin east it was known as the Eastern Division, from Pekin to Bushnell as the Central, and from Bushnell to Warsaw as the Western. Each division was a sort of independent organization. Thompson Maple, of Canton, and a Mr. Buell, had a contract for the construction of the Central Division of the road, or that part between Pekin and Bushnell, and Mr. Sample, of Keokuk, built the Western Division.
The total length of the road is 238 miles; sidings, etc., 29 miles. Of this number 34 miles are in Fulton county.
Connections:—At State Line with P., C. & St. L. Railway, at Watseka C. & E. I. Railway; at Gilman with I. C. and G., C. & S. Railways; Chenoa, with C. & A. Railway; at El Paso with I. C. Railway (main line); at Peoria with P. & R. I., P., P. & J., C., R. I. & P., and C., B. & Q. Railways; at Bushnell with St. Louis Division and main line of the C., B. & Q. Railways; at Burlington with C., B. & Q., B. & C. R. and M. & B. and B. & S. W. Railways ; at Keokuk with Des Moines Valley Railway.
Any contributions, corrections, or suggestions would be deeply appreciated!
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Updated September 10, 2005