IN 1885, when the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic Railway
was under construction through southern Kansas, the track
had been laid up to and inside the city limits of
Winfield, Kansas. From the east it had been laid to the
foot of Loomis Street, up which the line had been located
to Sixth Avenue. The depot had been located on Sixth
Avenue, near Main Street, and the building had been about
half completed. The work of track-laying had been
temporarily stopped for lack of ties and rails. An
ordinance had been passed by the city council giving the
railway company the right of way along Loomis Street and
Sixth Avenue, despite a protest from property-owners,
who, while not opposed to the construction of the road,
yet desired that the railway company should be required
to pay damages to abutting property-owners before the
ordinance was granted.
After the passage of the ordinance granting the right
of way there was considerable grumbling on the part of
the owners of property, more particularly by those
holding along Loomis Street, more than half a mile of the
street being occupied by the road, while along Sixth
Avenue only a few blocks were taken. The company had
bought two corner-lots at the intersection of Loomis
Street and Sixth Avenue in fee simple, in order to
accommodate the curve into Sixth Avenue. The ordinance
provided that the railway should grade and macadamize the
street to the level of the rails, so that it would offer
the least possible obstruction to the passage of
One Saturday morning it became known that the material
for the track was en route and that immediately upon its
arrival the track-laying gangs would be set to work.
There had been rumors that an application would be made
to District Judge Torrance, in chambers, for an
injunction restraining the railway from laying tracks
along Loomis Street or Sixth Avenue until the
property-owners had been satisfied.
Judges Conveniently Called
The assistant secretary of the company heard of the
rumors, and at once sought the judge to advise him of the
contemplated action. It was in the fall of the year, and
the judge stated that he was sorry, but he had arranged
to leave that afternoon for the Indian Territory on a
hunting trip of several weeks' duration in order that he
might be fully rested by the opening of the next term of
court. The assistant secretary then sought Judge Gans,
the judge of the probate court, to whom he gave the same
information and also advised him of what he had been told
by the district judge. Judge Gans said he regretted that
Judge Torrance intended to leave, but as he had made
arrangements to visit some friends in Sumner County for a
few days be feared that the property-owners would not be
ready to act in time, and his arrangements were such that
he could not well wait over.
One hundred thousand dollars in county bonds had been
voted in aid of the road, and a condition of the aid was
that the track should be laid and cars running thereon,
and a depot built within one-quarter of a mile of the
intersection of Sixth Avenue and Main Street, by a
certain time. There was no clause in the petition calling
the election at which the bonds were voted that provided
for an extension of the time limit by reason of delay on
account of injunctions or other legal proceedings against
the company. The property-owners sought the district
judge only to find that he had left for the Territory. A
search for the probate judge resulted in the discovery
that that official also was out of the city. In the
absence of the two judges there was no officer in the
county competent to issue an injunction.
In the meantime, Chief Engineer Thayer had got busy,
and strings of teams were hard at work dumping ties along
the line in the streets. Only three cars of iron had been
received, and this, in addition to the stock already on
hand, was not sufficient to lay the entire track. No
grading bad been done on the streets, as the ground was
level, but it had been the intention of the company to
excavate to a depth sufficient to bed the ties below the
street-level. The iron gangs got their cars out, and the
work of track-laying began at sunset. All night long the
work was pushed, and the rails were down to the Sixth
Avenue curve when daylight appeared on Sunday morning.
A Freight Train Plays
But here the company was at a standstill. Their supply
of rails was exhausted, the ties were nearly all used up,
and there were still several blocks to he laid before the
track could reach the depot - and the bonds he earned.
The property-owners were jubilant. True the track was in
on Loomis Street, but there was still hope that on the
return of the probate judge on Monday morning an
injunction could be obtained tying up the line on Sixth
During the afternoon a freight train pulled in on the
Southern Kansas Railroad from the east with two carloads
of ties and three of rails for delivery to the Kansas
City Southwestern at Winfield. As soon as these cars were
side-tracked Chief Engineer Thayer had his men alongside,
and before the agent of the Southern Kansas knew what was
happening the ties had been snaked off the cars on to
wagons, and heavy trucks were bearing away the rails. The
men were driven remorselessly. Hot coffee and sandwiches
were served on the work, and the ties were thrown down
without regard to spacing; the rails were dumped and
spiked at ends and centers, and at midnight the track
reached Main Street.
The track was in, the bonds were earned and duly
delivered later, and all chances for a suit in injunction
were ended. On the following Tuesday the delayed material
STEALING A PASS.
The Santa Fe Takes Advantage of
to Wrest the Prize Route from Its Rival.
THE engineers of the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic were
locating the line from Coffeyville to Sedan, and had
proceeded with the located line to within three miles of
the town of Peru. There is a chain of hills between Peru
and Sedan, the county-seat of Chautauqua Comity. The
Santa Fe was rushing its line from Independence to Sedan,
and was endeavoring to beat the Denver, Memphis and
Atlantic into that place. The Denver road's preliminary
survey ran through the only pass in the hills. Under the
law of Kansas, a map of a located survey of a railroad
through a pass or elsewhere holds the right of way. The
Santa Fe's located line was a considerable distance
farther from Sedan than that of its rival.
Orders were sent out from the office of A. A.
Robinson, chief engineer of the Santa Fe at Topeka, to
send a party of engineers to that pass and locate the
line. This was done, and the map of the location filed
with the county clerk. Their located line was not within
five miles of the pass on either side, hut when the
Denver engineers ran their location up to the pass they
found the location stakes of the other fellow. An
investigation at the county clerk's office showed that
the Santa Fe ~d stolen a march on them, and nothing
remained but to locate their line along the valley, which
cost them an additional five miles of track and was
provocative of no inconsiderable amount of strong
language when the fact reached the ears of the general
QUICK BRIDGE WORK.
Mike the Irish Foreman Builds a New
While the Chief Engineer Is Drafting the Plans.
IN the spring of 1885 a sudden freshet in the
Ninnescah River, near Belle Plain, Sumner County, Kansas,
took out the bridge of the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic.
The work had been delayed by a severe winter and heavy
rains, and the time was getting very short in which the
work could he completed in order to earn the bonds voted
in aid of the road, which were to be delivered when the
track had reached the western boundary of the county.
General Manager Hansen came down the line on a special
just as the bridge went out. He called for a division
engineer and told him he wanted that bridge in by six
o'clock the following evening. The engineer said that it
could not be done, as he would first have to get his
draftsman and prepare plans. The general manager told him
that he didn't want plans, but he did want a bridge. The
engineer persisted in his statement that the bridge could
not be replaced inside of three weeks.
Well, you had better go back to Belle Plain and turn
in your time," said the general manager.
The Man for the Job.
Then he turned to the foreman of the bridge gang.
"Mike," said he, "I want a bridge across
that stream by six o'clock to-morrow evening. Can you do
"I can, sor," was the answer.
"Well, get to work at it."
Mike gathered his gang of men, ran the pile-driver
down to the bridge, and set to work driving piles.
Luckily the piling at the west end had not been taken out
by the flood. He drove piles all night and at daylight
was about half through the work, and had only a few short
piles on hand. These he drove down, and then taking an
engine went to Belle Plain. Here on the Santa Fe
side-track were several carloads of bridge and heavy
timbers for structural work. Without inquiring as to
ownership, he threw the switch, backed his engine in on
the siding, hooked on to those cars of timber, and set
out for the Ninnescah as fast as he could turn a wheel.
When he arrived there it was noon. All the short piles
had been driven, and their tops barely cleared the level
of the water.
Mike put a gang at work sawing off the first bent of
piles on the west side to correspond in height with the
short on the east side, and along the tops he laid a
stringer of heavy timber. Upon these stringers he built
up a crib, about twenty feet long and fifteen wide, with
the bridge timbers he had stolen at Belle Plain. Across
this he laid stringers, and on these stringers laid his
ties and track.
At six o'clock the general manager's car crossed the
break and went on to the front. That crib bridge stood
for some three months, when it was replaced by a Howe
A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.
Breaking Ground for a Crossing Over
the Other Line
While the Enemy Sleeps on His Arms.
THE grading gangs had come to within half a mile of
the point where the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic was to
cross the Santa Fe track in entering Lamed, Kansas. At
this point the Santa Fe was built on a fill some six or
eight feet high, while the borrow pit on either side was
about three feet deep. The Santa Fe laid sidings in each
borrow pit, and ran some box-cars down and left them
standing there. The location map of the Denver, Memphis
and Atlantic showed that the crossing was at grade and
that there were two side-tracks on either side of the
main line at a level some eight or ten feet lower.
The Denver, Memphis and Atlantic appealed to the court
to have an order issued compelling the Santa Fe to take
up those side-tracks, but was met by the allegation on
the part of the Santa Fe that they were necessary for its
business and could not be removed without great
inconvenience and considerable detriment to its traffic.
The assistant secretary of the Denver, Memphis and
Atlantic returned to a point just inside the Kingman
County line, where the grading forces were approaching a
farm owned by a man who was a strong friend of the Denver
line, and with whom the assistant secretary had already
settled as to the amount of damages and compensation he
should receive for the right of way. The line merely
clipped a corner of his property, and took less than two
acres in crossing it. The cross-section stakes showed
that there was a slight fill across this piece, some
three feet in height, which could be thrown up inside of
two or three days. The assistant secretary found the
farmer in the field, and told him that he wanted him to
get into his buggy and go with him to Kingman, and there
swear out an injunction, returnable in sixty days,
forbidding the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic from entering
upon his land until he had received the amount of damages
he had demanded. The farmer demurred to this on the
ground that he had been one of the strongest advocates of
the new line, and that such a procedure would tend to
antagonize the officers of the railway company.
Power of Strategy.
After some argument, during which the assistant
secretary used all his powers of persuasion and
thoroughly explained the reason for his request, the
farmer consented, the injunction was asked for, and,
meeting with no opposition from the railway's attorneys,
was granted. Armed with a certified copy of this
document, the assistant secretary returned to Lamed,
presented the fact of the injunction, filed in Kingman
County, to the court, and demanded an extension of time
for the completion of the line into Lamed on the ground
of superior force preventing the company from completing
the work within the time stipulated. The petition calling
for the election to vote bonds in aid of the road in
Pawnee County contained the saving clause "unless
prevented by legal proceedings or superior force beyond
the control of the company." The extension was
granted without demur, which extended the time for the
completion of the line into Lamed - about three and a
half months beyond the original date.
In the meantime, work had, to all appearances, ceased
on the construction of the line in and about Lamed. One
dark night, when the last train had passed and there were
no more due on the Santa El for several hours, a gang of
men appeared on the Santa Fe track about a quarter of a
mile west of the original Denver crossing, lifted two
lengths of rail, and laid and spiked the crossing. The
borrow pits were crossed by stringers and on these the
track was laid on either side of the crossing to a point
outside the limits of the Santa Fe right of way. When the
Santa Fe people found out in the morning what had
occurred during the night they waxed exceeding wroth, and
sought the aid of the courts to have the crossing removed
on the ground that it was not according to location, but
they found on file an amended map of the Denver location
showing the crossing.
The Denver people had taken the hint from the Santa
Fe's clever trick in stealing the pass in the hills
between Sedan and Peru, and the defeated road was
compelled to submit. The track-laying was pushed from the
Lamed end into Kingman County, as well as from the east
end, and when the date set for the hearing of the
injunction obtained by the farmer arrived it was
dissolved and the tracks joined within two days.
LAYING TRACK ON STRAW.
An Unsteady Ballast, but It Served
the Denver, Memphis, and Atlantic
in a Serious
THE Denver, Memphis and Atlantic had been delayed with
its grading by an unusually wet spring. Heavy rains had
interfered with the work, and the time for the completion
of the line into Kingman in order to secure the county
bonds voted in aid of the road had only three days to
run. The assistant secretary came out along the line and
found that the end of the grade was a mile and a half out
of town, and a heavy rain was falling, rendering it
impossible for the grading gangs to work. He sized up the
situation, and, getting into his buggy, drove to all the
farms within a radius of several miles and bought up
every straw and hay stack that could be purchased. This
he ordered delivered to the foreman on the work, and
drove back to the line, arriving there almost
simultaneously with the first load of straw, to find the
foreman much puzzled as to what the stuff was for.
He was instructed to receive all the straw and hay
that was brought, but not to have it unloaded until he
had been told where to put it. The assistant secretary
then took him into the buggy, and they drove out along
the uncompleted line. The country was comparatively
level, but was cut up with low swales or hollows. The
contour of the land was such that a track could be laid
on the ground and a train run over it, with the exception
of some of these swales, where the sag would be too
sharp. Into these swabs the assistant secretary ordered
the straw and hay dumped to fill them up and ease up the
sag in the track so that an engine could crawl over it.
The track gang was ordered out and instructed to lay
ties without regard to spacing, spiking the rails only at
ends and centers. The work was pushed rapidly, the
construction train following close on the iron gang, and
at eleven o'clock at night on the last day of the
allotted time the construction train rolled into Kingman,
and a long blast of the whistle announced to the world
that the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic had reached
The petition upon which the bonds had been voted
stipulated that track should be laid and cars running
thereon to a certain point in the city of Kingman on or
before a certain date. Technically it was a compliance
with the law, and the bonds were delivered without demur,
though it was not until sixty days afterward that the
road was really completed and opened for traffic.
Winning the Good-Will of an Obdurate
with Good Cheer for the Inner Man.
County, the located line I of the Denver, Memphis and
Atlantic struck the northwest corner of a forty-acre
tract used by the owner as a pasture and feeding-place
for cattle, and, following a draw, went out at the
southeast corner, thus cutting the land into two
flatirons. The farmer was very angry, and swore by all
the gods that he would shoot the first railway or
construction employee who should dare to set foot on his
land, and it was well known that as he had said so would
he do. The graders were working on each side of his
In looking over the profile of the located line, the
right-of-way agent saw that an opening was provided for a
trestle which would leave a clearance of about ten feet
under the track. He at once got into his buggy, first
taking the precaution to place a dozen bottles of
Anheuser-Busch beer in a bucket packed with ice, and
wrapped with heavy blankets well saturated with water,
under the apron in the rear of his buggy. Then he set out
for the residence of the farmer, timing himself so as to
arrive there about noon.
He reached the house just as the farmer came in from
the field for dinner. Driving direct to the barn, the
right-of-way man met him and received rather a crusty
"Mr. Herrick," he said, "I have
ventured to stop here to see if I could get a bite to eat
and a little fodder for my broncos?"
"Certainly," he answered. "Get down and
unhitch and put your team in the barn."
Sowing the Seed.
The horses put up and fed, the two entered the house
and took seats, conversing on various topics until dinner
was announced, but neither of them mentioned the road.
When Mrs. Herrick announced that dinner was waiting, the
right-of-way man said: "By the way, Mr. Herrick, I
trust that you will not take it amiss, but I have some
beer on ice in my buggy, and if you do not object we may
as well drink it with our dinner."
"I will certainly not object," he said,
"for I have not tasted beer for a year."
Now Kansas was a prohibition State, and it was a hot
day in July, so the prospects of a glass of cool beer
proved too much for the farmer's hostility. The beer was
brought and duly enjoyed, Mrs. Herrick having provided an
After dinner the right-of-way man produced some good
cigars, and when they were well-lighted, casually
remarked: "By the way, Mr. Herrick, now that I am
here, I would like to look over that pasture of yours and
see just how the line cuts it."
Immediately Mr. Herrick waxed violent and proceeded to
express his views of railways in general, and the Denver,
Memphis and Atlantic in particular, in no uncertain
terms. However, the two wended their way out to the tract
in question, and after looking the situation over
carefully the right-of-way man said:
There is no question, Mr. Herrick, hut that the line
when built will practically ruin this field for pasture
purposes. I see that your water is in the south boundary,
and as the line is located it will cut all the northern
part of your land off from water."
That is just what I am sore about. I want the road as
bad as any one, but you can see for yourself that it
practically ruins my farm, for it cuts the whole one
hundred and sixty acres off from water."
An Early Harvest.
"But suppose that the railway company would agree
to fence the line with a barbed-wire fence on each side
all the way through your property, and will put in a
trestle that will he large enough to give free access to
the water for your stock, running this barbed-wire fence
down under the trestle and across the face of the dump on
each side, so that you will have an unobstructed passage
and at the same time have your stock prevented from
getting on the track. How would that suit you?" And
the right-of-way man drew a diagram in the sand of what
he had suggested could be done.
If the company will enter into writings with me to put
in that trestle and fence the road in, so that my stock
can have free passage at all times to the water, I will
give you a deed for the right of way for the cost of the
"All right, Mr. Herrick, I will write out the
agreement right now, and if you and your wife can get
into my buggy and drive into Sedan with me this
afternoon, we will find Ben Henderson, the company's
attorney, and fix it up."
To this Herrick readily agreed. The required agreement
was made and executed and delivered to Mr. Herrick, who
in his turn executed and delivered a deed for the right
of way to the railway company. Great was the surprise of
the railway officials when they received a wire stating
that a deed had been secured and that the graders would
begin work the next morning on the forbidden ground. The
trestle was erected, the fence was built exactly as
agreed, and the track had been laid through the property
before the general manager knew the terms upon which the
deed had been secured.
FLANKING THE ENEMY.
Cutting the Farmer's Corn Behind His
While He Quarrels with the Engineer in
THE engineers engaged in running the preliminary
surveys of the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic were, in some
places, considerably annoyed by farmers who objected to
the party crossing their fields of growing grain. During
the summer, when the corn had grown to be breast-high, it
was not so bad, but a little later, when the corn had
begun to tassel, it was necessary to cut out a row in
order to get a sight through.
Joe Broadus was the engineer in charge of a party on
preliminary survey in Cowley County, and in running his
line across the Grouse Valley he found it necessary to
cut a considerable amount of corn. It never, in any case,
amounted to more than one row across the field, and the
amount of corn that was thus destroyed, in case it had
been left to mature, would have been inconsiderable.
About a mile beyond Dexter he came up ahead of the
party and was about to enter a field of corn when he was
stopped by the owner, who fondled a shotgun as he
informed him that he could not enter his field. In vain
Joe told him that the law of eminent domain gave the
railway engineers the right, and that if he was injured
in any way the law provided a recourse against the
railway company; that Joe was only an employee; that he
had certain orders, which he proposed to obey. The farmer
answered that he did not care anything about the law of
eminent domain, and that the law provided that he could
have damages for the right of way through his property,
but the law did not say anything about who was to pay him
for growing crops destroyed.
Outwitting the Man Behind the
Joe gave a sign to his transitman and took his
position so that in facing him the farmer had his back to
the field. The transitman set his instrument, and the
axman went ahead with his corn-knife and cut out the
corn. There happened to be quite a long tangent at this
point, and, after the rodman had given him a sight, the
transitman took up his instrument and went ahead, setting
it up on the farther border of the field. The levelman
came up, set his level, took his forward and rear sight,
and went ahead, and it was not until the black flag came
up that the farmer became aware of what had happened.
While he had been arguing with the chief, supposing that
all work had been stopped, the engineers had gone ahead,
cut his corn, run their line, and were out into the field
of his neighbor beyond.
Then Joe thanked him very elaborately for the pleasant
little chat they had had, assuring him that he had
enjoyed it immensely, and then went on to take his place
ahead of the party, leaving the farmer to gather up his
corn for fodder or to amuse himself in any way that he
A TRACK WAR.
The "Katy" Fires
Another Road Bodily Off a Disputed Right of Way.
DURING the summer of 1881, the Missouri, Kansas and
Texas, then a part of the Missouri Pacific system, became
involved in an altercation with a narrow-gage railway
running from Cherokee, Kansas, to Parsons. The city
council of Parsons had given the narrow gage the right to
lay a track from its main line near the crossing of the
Missouri, Kansas and Texas to its up-town depot, about
half a mile away. The track was to be laid along the west
side of the street, adjoining the tracks of the Missouri,
Kansas and Texas.
The question as to the width of the street was in
dispute between the city and the Missouri, Kansas and
Texas, or as it was more commonly known, the Katy, and
the narrow gage occupied about ten feet of the land in
dispute, which was claimed by the Katy. For some time the
narrow gage and the Katy had had very, close relations,
and during that time the Katy had made no protest against
the narrow gage occupying the 'disputed territory with
its track. One of the sudden changes in ownership, which
were of common occurrence in those days among Western
roads, caused the narrow gage to pass under the control
of the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Gulf Railroad.
The Katy thereupon ordered the narrow-gage people to
take up their track, and stated that if they did not do
so it would have to move it for them. The narrow-gage
people told them to go to Tophet, or some other place,
whereupon the Katy got a gang of men and was about to
remove the narrow gage bodily, when the narrow-gage
people got out a force, and the two gangs came into
collision, with the result that a lively battle took
place. Neither side was able to overcome the other,
however, and the forces drew off and contented themselves
with watching the other fellows for some days.
The Katy Becomes Strenuous.
Finally the Katy withdrew its forces and had
apparently abandoned the contest. About a week afterward
a train came in on the Katy one Sunday afternoon, loaded
with construction men. The train stopped at the depot,
the men tumbled to the ground armed with picks and
crowbars, and strung out along the narrow gage from its
depot to the main line. Within fifteen minutes the
narrow-gage track had been picked up bodily and carried
across the street, where it was dumped upside down. The
men had simply removed the bolts from the fish-plates,
pried up each rail-length of track, and removed it from
the right of way.
Then the city ordered the narrow-gage to remove its
tracks, which were obstructing the streets. The narrow
gage did so, and, putting its depot on wheels, moved it
down to a point on its main-line, where it, or its
successor, stands today. The road was afterward changed
to a standard gage.
TOM POTTER'S START.
Won Out Because He Was Prompt
to See an Opportunity and to Grasp It.
IT was told of Tom Potter, who was general manager of
the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, and afterward, at the
time of his death, general manager of the Union Pacific,
that his first act in railway service which brought him
to the attention of his superior officers v as while he
was station agent for the Burlington at a little station
in Iowa. One afternoon a farmer and his wife drove into
town in a farm-wagon, and in attempting to cross the
track were struck by a train. The team was killed, the
farmer and his wife escaping uninjured.
Tom, who had witnessed the accident from the window of
the station, at once hustled out and asked the farmer the
value of his team and how much he thought he ought to
have for damages. The farmer replied that it was
doubtless his fault that he had lost his team, and if the
railway company would pay him three hundred dollars for
the horses he thought that would be fair. Tom, happening
to have that amount of money on hand, paid it over to the
farmer, taking in return his receipt and that of his wife
as payment in full of all claims and demands against the
railway company for the accident and for the killing of
Then he reported the accident to the division
superintendent, and in lieu of the cash sent the farmer's
receipt to the auditor with his returns. It was only a
short while after that Torn was called to Chicago, and
from that time his rise in the service was rapid until at
his death he was rated as the best general manager the
Union Pacific had ever had. The same quickness of
judgment and promptness to take advantage of
opportunities characterized him all through his life and
contributed in no small degree to the success of the
lines he was called upon to direct and control.
Lady (at railway restaurant counter) - Will you please give me a
Waitress - Will you eat it here or in a bag?