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 top of page 513.

Alabama & Vicksburg. The Vicksburg & Jackson and the Brandon Companies were merged in the Southern railroad company before the war, and the line now known as the Alabama & Vicksburg was completed in the summer of 1861. After the war it was known as the Vicksburg & Meridian. The Queen & Crescent operating system was formed in the late '80's, with a total mileage in the State of 315 miles, embracing the V. & M., name changed to A. & V., and the Alabama Great Southern, main line 295 miles, 19 miles in Mississippi, which was completed May 17, 1871; also the New Orleans & Northeastern, completed November 1, 1883, 153 miles in Mississippi. C. C. Harvey, New Orleans, is president, and Charles Schiff, London, is vice-president, of both the A. & V. and N. O. & N. E. The Alabama Great Southern is now a part of the Southern system. The main line of the Alabama & Vicksburg to Meridian is 141 miles.

New Orleans & North Eastern. The New Orleans & North Eastern railroad company was organized under the laws of Louisiana, Oct. 14, 1868. (See above.) The total mileage of the road is 196, and it operates 153 miles in Mississippi, from Meridian to Pearl river. Hattiesburg is the division terminus between New Orleans and Meridian.

Louisville & Nashville. The New Orleans, Mobile & Chattanooga railroad, New Orleans to Mobile, was built under an act of the Alabama legislature, approved Nov. 24, 1866, and its charter was approved by act of the Mississippi legislature, Feb. 7, 1867. It was sold at decretal sale and by declaration of incorporation under Alabama statutes dated April 29, 1880, it was reorganized as the New Orleans, Mobile & Texas. Its property was deeded to the Louisiana & Nashville R. R. Co., Oct. 5, 1881. There are 73 3/4 miles in Mississippi, part of a great system connecting the Ohio river and Chicago with Jacksonville, Pensacola, Mobile & New Orleans.

Gulf & Ship Island. The Gulf & Ship Island railroad company was first chartered in 1855, liberally, with exemption from taxation. A grant of land was made by the United States, and a company was organized, but the land grant lapsed because of failure to meet the conditions. (See Internal Improvements.) In March, 1871, the Mississippi Valley & Ship Island company was chartered, to lay a line from Vicksburg to a point near Mississippi City, and the legislature petitioned congress to renew the grant of land. In 1872 interest in the development of the Gulf Coast was renewed, and Governor Powers recommended a general State tax to aid in the building of a railroad from Mississippi City inland. The project was paralyzed by the panic of 1873. A new Gulf & Ship Island company, with a majority of the directors at Chicago, was chartered March 4, 1882, W. H. Hardy, president, and a few miles of track were built in 1887-89, with state convict labor, which was withdrawn in the latter year. The railroad commissioners secured $40,000 first mortgage bonds in payment of two years' lease of the penitentiary. In 1896 the chief of engineers of the army reported Ship Island harbor not worthy of improvement, considering that the government had improved the Mobile and New Orleans harbors at great expense. He praised the harbor at Ship Island, but estimated the cost of a channel dredged to the shore at over $800,000. Governor McLaurin and the congressional delegation joined in representations of the advisability of that expenditure, considering that the government was expending $3,000,000 at Sabine Pass, where there was less export, and the governor recommended aid to the Gulf & Ship Island road extension. "As soon as it reaches the Alabama & Vicksburg railroad all opposition to appropriations for improvement of the harbor must of necessity cease."

The G. & S. I. in 1892 had only 20 miles of track laid, on the south end, and 70 miles graded, and work had ceased. Subsequently the road was completed from Gulfport to Hattiesburg, a distance of 70 miles, but continued in serious financial straits, until, in the course of court proceedings, Capt. J. T. Jones, a capitalist of Pennsylvania, who had considerable money involved in the enterprise, assumed the ownership, and individually undertook the completion of the road, the opening up of the great timber region and the development of an ocean port for Mississippi. In this he has been eminently successful. The mileage of the road was extended to 125 miles by 1900 and to 248 by 1901, since when additional lines have raised the total to 277. A deep water channel was dredged to afford access to a great pier 5,900 feet long and 300 feet wide, and the first ocean going vessel tied up here, alongside of the freight cars of the Gulf & Ship Island road, in 1902. The completion of this road marks one of the most important eras in the history of the State. J. T. Jones, Gulfport, is president of the road, J. A. Jones, of Buffalo, N. Y., vice-president; mileage Gulfport to Jackson, 160; Maxie to Columbia, 49; Saratoga to Laurel, 42; Mendenhall to Bush, 10; total, 277.

Mobile, Jackson & Kansas City. One of the projects to aid the proposed port of the coast, in the first railroad building period after the war, was the Ship Island, Ripley & Kentucky, W. C. Falkner, president, which built a narrow gauge road from the Memphis & Charleston at Middleton, Tenn., to Ripley in 1872-77. Thirty-eight miles leased from the Gulf & Ship Island, was consolidated with this in 1889 under the name of the Gulf & Chicago. The line was finally diverted to Mobile by consolidation with part of a proposed Jackson-Mobile line. In 1888, Mississippi chartered the Mobile, Hattiesburg & Jackson company and Feb. 22, 1890, chartered the consolidated Mobile, Hattiesburg & Jackson companies of Alabama and Mississippi, under the name of the Mobile, Jackson & Kansas City. F. B. Merrill, Mobile, was president. There were 21 miles of road in Mississippi in 1902 and 68 in 1903, completing the line to Hattiesburg. July 8, 1903, the Gulf & Chicago companies in Mississippi and Tennessee were consolidated with the M. J. & K. C.   B. M. Robinson, New York, is president; Geo. W. Crary, secretary and treasurer, Mobile. The company operates 368 3/4 miles in Mississippi, Mobile to Middleton and a branch to Hattiesburg.

Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham. This was begun as the Memphis, Holly Springs & Selma which was partly constructed by 1877 and nearly all graded in 1882. The Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham company was incorporated under an act of February 18, 1886, in Mississippi. The main line, 253 miles, was completed in 1887 and the Aberdeen branch, 12 miles, was built in 1888. The president is A. G. Davidson, St. Louis. This road has been leased to the St. Louis & San Francisco from Dec. 17, 1903, to Dec. 31, 2002. The latter road is the operating carrier and agrees to pay all taxes, organization expenses, interest on bonds and outstanding obligations. There are 131 1/2 miles of main track in Mississippi and 12 miles, branch to Aberdeen, a total of 143 miles.

Mississippi Central. This company, bearing the name of one of the old companies, was organized Dec. 21, 1897, the name being changed from Pearl & Leaf River to Mississippi Central Railroad Co. This line was first operated in January, 1903, between Brookhaven and Silver Creek. Its charter has been amended changing its western terminus to Natchez and its eastern terminus to Scranton, to which points it is projected. The mileage in 1905 was 55. Operating office, Hattiesburg; president F. S. Teck of Scranton, Pa.

The Sardis & Delta was organized Dec. 20, 1900; president, R. M. Carrier. It operates 13 miles of road from Sardis to Carrier, Pandla [sic.] county.

The Natchez, Columbia & Mobile is a logging road running from Norfield, Lincoln county, into Lawrence county, 20 1/2 miles. The company was organized June 24, 1892; president J. S. Butterfield.

The Natchez & Southern Railway Co. was organized Dec. 19, 1902. It was formerly the New Orleans & Northwestern, a consolidated corporation organized under the laws of Mississippi and Louisiana. President, E. G. Merriam, St. Louis; general office, Natchez; operating office, St. Louis; operates 2.29 miles of road from Natchez (depot) to Mississippi river.

The Fernwood & Gulf railroad is a line of 20 miles eastward from the I. C. main line in Pike county.

The Mississippi Eastern is a line of 11 miles eastward from Quitman, on the M. & O.

The Liberty-White railroad connects the town of Liberty with the Illinois Central.

The Alabama & Mississippi is an outlet of Greene county to the M. & O.

In 1900 there were four electric car lines in the State. Since then the development has been rapid and an interurban line is in construction along the gulf coast, with others projected in the interior.

 

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