Railroad Skirmishes.


Stealing a Pass in the Hills -
Building a Bridge in Record Time -
Laying Track on Straw Ballast -
Foiling the Man with the Shotgun -
Other Incidents in the Fight Between the D., M. & A. and the Santa Fe in Kansas.


While the Law Takes a Vacation the Railroad Borrows Ties and Rails for the New Line.

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 vehicles.

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 Away.

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 Providence.

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 Avenue.

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 arrived.


The Santa Fe Takes Advantage of Kansas Law
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 manager.


Mike the Irish Foreman Builds a New One
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 it?"

"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 truss.


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.


An Unsteady Ballast, but It Served the Denver, Memphis, and Atlantic
in a Serious Emergency.

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 Kingman.

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 Farmer
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 place.

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 reception.

"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 ample dinner.

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 papers."

"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.


Cutting the Farmer's Corn Behind His Back
While He Quarrels with the Engineer in Charge.

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 Gun.

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 thought proper.


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.


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 the team.

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 Bath bun?

Waitress - Will you eat it here or in a bag?

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