Monday, August 06, 2012

Caswell County Railroad

Caswell County Railroad

On many occasions a major railroad line through Caswell County, North Carolina, was considered. Set forth here are accounts of efforts to make the railroad a reality, which never occurred.

1. Richmond Daily Dispatch (6 March 1861)

A meeting was held in Caswell county, N. C., on the 1st instant, at which Col. Bedford Brown presided, and N. M. Roan acted as Secretary. The object of the meeting was briefly and lucidly explained, which was to consider the important interests of the county of Caswell in the
construction of a railroad from the company shops on the Central Railroad, via Yanceyville and Milton, to Barksdale's Depot. Col. Brown explained the great advantages of this road.

Mr. Thomas McGehee Smith, of Milton, was called on, who entertained the meeting by a very admirable and practical speech, setting forth the great advantages of this route over every other, connecting the various sections of the country.

Brief remarks were made by Mr. Wm. Russell, Richard J. Smith, Esq., Walter J. Jones, Esq., and others, warmly approving the enterprise.

On motion, the meeting adjourned to meet on Tuesday of April Caswell County Court, and that the friends of the road, in and out of the State, be invited to attend on that occasion.

2. Richmond Daily Dispatch (6 March 1861)

Public meeting in Danville.
--At a meeting of a portion of the citizens of Danville, Va., and of Caswell county, N. C., held in Danville, on the 30th November, 1861.Mayor William T. Clark was called to the chair, and C. W. Watkins appointed Secretary.
The object of the meeting having been explained by George W. Read, Esq., R. W. Lyles, Esq., moved that a committee of — be appointed to draft suitable resolutions for the action of the body.
The chairman appointed the following gentlemen to constitute said committee, viz: R. W. Lyles, B. G. Cobb, John W. Holland, Jas. C. Voss, Dan'l S. Price, G. T. Pace, William Rison, J. P. Atkinson, and E. J. Bell. The committee then retired for consignation.

During the absence of the committee, the meeting was addressed by George W. Read, Wm. D. Coleman, Wm. W. Flood and others. The committee then returned, and reported, through their chairman, the following preamble and resolutions, viz:

Whereas, the President of the Confederate States has recommended in his late message to Congress the construction of a railroad from Danville, Virginia, to Greensboro', North Carolina, as indispensable for the successful prosecution of the present war, we feel it our duty to express our readiness to do all in our power to secure said connexion: Therefore.

1. Resolved, That with our knowledge of the great advantage to be secured to the Government of the Confederate States in the prosecution of the war, by thus filling up the short gap between Danville and Greensboro', and in view of the cheapness with which it can be built, and seeing especially that, with this connexion, a continuous line of railroad will be secured through the middle of the Confederacy, so indispensable to the cause not only of Virginia and North Carolina, but of the entire South, we, the people of Danville, as well as a portion of the citizens of Caswell, pledge our undivided support to said connexion, and will contribute our substance as liberally as our means will allow.

2. Resolved, That Dan'l S. Price, A. G. Walters, B. G. Cobb, W. T. Sutherlin, W. B. Swann, A. S. Buford, William D. Colemac, Wm. W. Flood, Thomas B. Doe, and R. W. Lyles, be appointed a committee to memorialize the Legislature of Virginia, it need be, in order to obtain such amendments to existing charters, or to obtain a new charter, if necessary, to secure the early completion of the said connexion; and they are also requested to communicate with the authorities of North Carolina, and assure them of our readiness to do all in our power to further the great work in contemplation.
On motion, the preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted.

On motion,Resolved, That the Danville, Richmond, (Va.,) Raleigh, and Greensboro', (N. C.) papers be requested to publish the proceedings of this meeting.

The meeting then adjourned.

Wm. T. Clark, Chm's.

C. W. Wateine, Rec'y,

3. Richmond Daily Dispatch (14 February 1861)

Virginia and North Carolina Railroad.
--The bill to incorporate the Milton and Yanceyville Railroad, to connect with the North Carolina Road at the workshops, introduced in the North Carolina Senate, passed its third reading Monday by a majority of eight. It is without restriction, and gives the privilege of a connection with the Richmond and Danville Railroad. A bill introduced to incorporate a similar company, and which has passed its third reading in the House of Commons, provides that any connection with a Virginia Railroad leading to the city of Richmond shall be a forfeiture of the company's charter, and restricts the gauge of the road to the same as that of the North CarolinaCentral Railroad.

4. Richmond Daily Dispatch (28 February 1861)

A great Triumph!--straight route from
Richmond to the heart of North Carolina!

Our readers will see by the subjoined interesting communication, that the North Carolina Legislature, at its late session, has passed the measure in which Richmond is so profoundly interested, but which has been so long and so bitterly opposed, granting a charter to connect, by a short line of railroad not exceeding forty miles, the great North Carolina Central Railroad with the Richmond and Danville Railroad. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of this improvement. It opens to Richmond, by the shortest, the most eligible, and the least expensive route, the garden spot of North Carolina, and of the whole South; and, by means of its connection with other Southern roads, it will present the straightest route throughout the whole Southern country, and secure the whole travel of the South to Richmond. It remains to be seen whether the enterprise and liberality of Richmond are equal to the achievement of the brilliant fortunes which are now offered to it, by contributing the small sum necessary to insure so magnificent a return. A future of wealth and grandeur is opening before this city, if it is but true to itself and its opportunities, such as has never been equaled in the Southern States. Its immense manufacturing facilities, when a road is opened for them to a market, will begin to tell with the most surprising effects; and its merchants, when the door is opened to them by means of direct communication with the Southern country, will feel the breath of a new life. This city, the most beautiful and attractive in America, will at some future day become the most prosperous and flourishing in the Southern States:

Messrs. Editors: Allow me to call your attention to a charter granted by the North Carolina Legislature during its late session, to connect by a short line of railroad, the North Carolina Central Railroad with the Richmond and Danville Railroad, at or near Barksdale's Depot, on the Danville road. This new road is to begin at the company's shops — the central point on the North Carolina Central Railroad, and now a beautiful little village — thence it takes its route to Yanceyville, thence to Milton, and then to Barksdale's Depot. By reference to the map, it will be seen that this is a perfectly straight line, thus affording the privilege so long sought and so earnestly desired by both the people of Caswell and adjoining counties, and by the citizens of Richmond, of connecting by a short and practicable line of railway, the two railroads above mentioned. Hitherto this connection has been most urgently pressed in the North Carolina Legislature, but has been constantly and steadily resisted by every possible means, and invariably voted down. Now, we have a charter for the shortest, the most eligible, and last, but not least, the least expensive route. Most of the way from the company's shops to Barksdale's, it will run upon a ridge, and need not in its entire length exceed 40 miles of railway actually to be constructed. Can the cost of this short, but most important link of railway, exceed fifteen thousand dollars to the mile? Allowing this to be a full estimate, its whole cost would be six hundred thousand dollars. Now, shall such a sum as this prevent its construction? The whole of Western North Carolina, or nearly so, will be brought within ten or fourteen hours of Richmond, and its varied products poured into your market. Can its value to your city, then, be easily estimated? Glance your eye over the map, and see how it at once opens up a direct line of travel from your city to the South and Southwest. Calculate the distances, and see, if this connection is ever once made, if we can not thus divert the through Southern travel from other and longer routes, over this line to your city? Your kind attention occasionally, Messrs. Editors, and a kind word now and then in your columns, and the serious and earnest attention of the citizens of Richmond, and all who have its interest at heart, is invited to this new enterprise. Is Richmond ready for it? Can it be carried through?

5. Richmond Daily Dispatch (8 April 1861)

Railroad meeting.

--A large meeting of citizens of Caswell and Alamance counties, North Carolina, was held at Yanceyville, North Carolina, on Tuesday last, to take in to consideration the contemplated railroad from Milton to the Company Shops, on the North Carolina Central Railroad.

Col. Jones, of Danville,Va.,delivered a speech of considerable length on the advantages and beneficial effects of railroads, exhibiting facts in railroad statistics instructive and truly encouraging to the friends of the Milton Railroad. At a rough guess he placed the cost of the contemplated road at $600,000, and glancing at the wealth of Caswell, which he estimated at $8,000,000, he thought this county could well afford to take $250,000, if not $300,000, of the stock. He cited the example of other North Carolina counties of less wealth through which railroads now passed, and could not believe that the people of Caswell would be found less enterprising and mindful of their own interest.

It was resolved that the Commissioners appointed by the charter be requested to open books for stock immediately, and that said Commissioners report progress at a meeting to be held at Yanceyville on Wednesday of Caswell Superior Court, (8th day of May next.)

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