Railroads in Mississippi
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Source: Rowland, Dunbar, ed. Mississippi, Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form, in three volumes. Vol. 2. Atlanta: Southern Historical Publishing Association, 1907. pages 502-516

This section begins near the bottom of page 509.

Illinois Central. The New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern, Mississippi & Tennessee, and Mississippi Central were bought about 1871 by a syndicate headed by Col. H. S. McComb, of Wilmington, Del., who was made president of the Chicago, St. Louis & New Orleans Railroad Company. In association with Col. H. S. Edgar, vice-president of the combined lines from New Orleans to Cairo; Gen. A. M. West, president of the Mississippi Central railroad; Thomas A. Scott and J. Edgar Thompson, they organized the Mississippi Valley Company, which invested in land and built the town of McComb City, where the shops of the line were located. "The Chicago, St. Louis & New Orleans railroad company was formed by consolidation of the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern, the Mississippi Central railroad companies, under act of February 27, 1878." A few years ago after the consolidation of 1878, the system was leased to the Illinois Central, the outlet from Cairo to Chicago. The Canton, Aberdeen & Nashville road, making the branch to Aberdeen that the old charter required, was completed in 1884, also the Kosciusko branch. The C. St. L. & N. O., was leased to the Illinois Central to pay $400,000 rent, taxes, and interest on bonds not exceeding $18,000,000. The Miss. & Tenn. was merged into the C. St. L. & N. O. and leased in 1889, on similar terms, the bonds being $3,500,000. Mileage in State, 1889, 636. The president of the Illinois Central is Stuyvesant Fish, New York, general manager, W. J. Harahan. The latest statement of mileage is: main line, 301; Memphis division, 88; Aberdeen division, 88; Kosciusko branch, 18; M. B. & N. Division, 8; Monticello branch, 24; double track, 55 miles; total, 583 miles.

The Illinois Central also controls the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley System, with a mileage of 1,024 miles, making a grand total of 1,606 miles in the State, nearly half the total trackage. The abandoned Meridian, Brookhaven & Natchez road was brought [sic.] by the Illinois Central indirectly, in 1891, and rebuilt a few miles out of Brookhaven.

Southern Railway. The Georgia Pacific, Atlanta to Greenville, was partly built in 1883, but was not completed and put in operation until 1889, with 202 miles in the State, and was then a part of the Richmond & Danville System. Branches were in construction or in contemplation in 1889. The line was bought at foreclosure August 31, 1894, by the Southern Railway company and made part of that great system which has also acquired control of the Mobile & Ohio. This line has a mileage in Mississippi of 237, composed of State line to Greenville, 179; Itabena to Webb, 35; Stoneville to Percy, 23. The Georgia Pacific is now a part of the Southern railroad. The same stockholders own the majority of stock in the Mobile & Ohio. A legal consolidation of the two roads was authorized by a bill which passed the legislature on the last day of the session of 1904, but it was not given the approval of the governor. Samuel Spencer, New York, is president of the Southern, the Mobile & Ohio, the Memphis & Charleston and the Alabama Great Southern, together constituting a system of about 600 miles in Mississippi, and allied to the Schiff roads with terminals at Vicksburg and New Orleans and a mileage of about 300.

Memphis & Charleston. The Memphis & Charleston Ry. Co. was organized under the laws of Mississippi (Code of 1892) by certain of the purchasers of the property of the old Memphis & Charleston company at foreclosure sale, to take title to and operate that portion of the property which lies in the State of Mississippi. The old company was organized under an act of Tennessee approved Feb. 2, 1846, and was first authorized to construct a line in Mississippi by act approved March 1, 1854. There are 34 miles of line in Mississippi now generally known as "The Southern railroad."

Mobile & Ohio. The project of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad was prominently urged by M. J. D. Baldwyn, a citizen of Mobile. He showed the importance of a railway connection between the Ohio and Mississippi Valley and the Gulf of Mexico, and the favorable location of Mobile for its southern terminus. The birth of the enterprise is said to date with the public meeting at Mobile, Jan. 11, 1847. Alabama passed an act incorporating the company, February 3, 1848, capital $10,000,000; on Feb. 17, of the same year, Mississippi granted a right of way through its borders and an extension of all the chartered privileges appertaining to the company under their act of incorporation in Alabama. Kentucky and Tennessee promptly conceded the same rights through their borders. In May, 1848, the books were opened in Mobile for subscription to the capital stock, and in 20 days the sum of $650,000 was subscribed in that city. Hunt's Magazine for December, 1848, declared "This will be the longest railroad in the United States under a single charter" and gave its proposed route as follows: "Commencing at Mobile up the mouth of the Chickasaw-bogue until it strikes the dividing ridge between the Tombigbee and Escatawba rivers--follows this ridge to the head of the Escatawba--from thence, continuing its general northerly direction, and passing near the towns of Marion, Macon, and Aberdeen, Mississippi, to the Tenessee River in the State of Tennessee, below the Big Bend Shoals, a distance of 340 miles from Mobile. From thence through the towns of Jackson and Trenton in Tenn. and Moscow in Ky., to its terminus on the Mississippi river, at the town of Columbus, Ky., 16 miles below the mouth of the Ohio river, and 470 miles from Mobile." It is remarkable how closely the original route was adhered to as the line was gradually built. Official reports declared it to have been organized June 7, 1848, under the laws of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky, approved February, 1848, also act of Mississippi, March 5, 1880. Debt of the road was readjusted in 1879 without foreclosure and it is still operated under its original name and charter, operating the St. Louis & Cairo under 45 year lease from 1886. General office, Mobile, also operating office: president, Samuel Spencer, N. Y.; operates the following lines in Mississippi: main line, 272 miles; Branches--Artesia to Columbus, 14 miles; Artesia to Aberdeen, 11 miles; Aberdeen Branch, 9 miles; Montgomery Division, main line, 9 miles; total in Mississippi, 315 miles.

In February, 1901, the reported sale of the Mobile & Ohio railroad to the Southern system caused much excitement, and the railroad commission made an investigation, but abandoned proposed action upon assurance that the alleged consolidation was a purchase of the majority of stock of the Mobile & Ohio by the individual stockholders of the Southern railroad company.

Alabama Great Southern. The Alabama Great Southern was organized Nov. 30, 1877, under the laws of the State of Alabama. The original corporation was the Alabama & Chattanooga, chartered in Alabama, 1853, and Mississippi in 1871. It operates 19 miles of road in Mississippi from the Alabama-Mississippi State Line to Meridian, under a contract with the Southern Ry. Co. for joint use of track between York, Ala., and Meridian, Miss., paying 5% on valuation of $326,400, divided on wheelage basis-contract dated Nov. 3, 1895. Also has contract with N. O. & N. E. and A & V. for joint use of track and terminal facilities in Meridian, for the space of 50 years from July 1, 1890.

The East Tenn., Va., & Ga. seven miles in State, uses M. & O. tracks into Meridian from Lauderdale. (Alabama Central).

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