The History of Keokuk County, Iowa
DES MOINES: UNION HISTORICAL COMPANY.
1880.

THE C., R. I. & P. RAILROAD.

 

The next railroad enterprise in the county was the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. This company had, for a number of years, been operating a road to Washington, in the adjoining county, and repeated overtures were made, from time to time, to induce the said company to extend the line to the county-seat of Keokuk county. In the fall of 1870, Ebenezer Cook, vice-president of this company, made a proposition to build the road by the first of December, 1871, provided the people of the county would raise by subscriptions the sum of fifty thousand dollars, secure the right-of-way from the Washington county line, and provide suitable depot grounds in Sigourney. The committee to whom the people had delegated the management of this matter consisted of J. P. Yerger, J. H. Shawhan and George D. Woodin. This committee, on canvassing the matter, wrote to Mr. Cook, stating that his proposition would be accepted, but they preferred to raise part of the subsidy by taxation, in several townships, under the laws of Iowa, instead of by subscription. To that the Rock Island Company assented, agreeing to take the amount assessed as a part of the fifty thousand dollars; but as a delay had been occasioned by these negotiations, thus preventing any work being done till the following spring, the time for completion was extended to July 1, 1872.

In January, 1871, elections were held in the several townships of the county which would be immediately benefited by the building of the proposed road. These townships were Lafayette, German, Sigourney and Van Buren. The vote in all these townships was in favor of the tax, and through the energetic efforts of the committee the right-of-way was soon secured. The depot at Sigourney was located on the farm of, Messrs. Woodin and Clark in the north part of town. Having agreed to assist in purchasing the right-of-way for the road and depot grounds at Sigourney, these gentlemen furnished the land free of cost as a means of discharging their share of the obligation. The donation was a liberal one and went far toward lessening the expense to those who signed the bond for the right-of-way. Work was commenced on the road in the summer of 1871 and was completed some time in advance of that specified in the contract; trains were running into Sigourney by the 9th of April following. The promptness which characterizes this company in all of its enterprises when it once determines to act was manifest in this instance and presents a marked contrast with the long years of vascillation and uncertainty which characterized the movements of the north and south road already described.

The road once completed proved to be a good investment both for the people of the county and the company which built it. The following tables show the shipments of produce and manufactured articles from Sigourney station for the years 1875 and 1878 These tables were carefully compiled by Mr. J. C. Baird, agent of the C., R. I. & P. railroad, at Sigourney, and not only show the business of the road but furnish a good basis from which to make an estimate of the resources of the county:

1865.

 ARTICLES.  CARS.  POUNDS.  BUSHELS.  VALUE.

 

 Barley 22  462,000  9,625  $        7,281.75   
 Butter ....... 28,760  ....... 4,845.00   
 Cattle 151  2,718,000  ....... 135.900 00   
 Corn 665  13,965,000  249,375  14,962.50   
 Coal 10  200,000  25,000  250.00 
 Cheese ....... 900,610  ....... 1,201.20 
 Clover seed ....... 5,245  87  524.50   
 Dry hides ....... 1,560  ....... 234.00   
 Dressed hogs        ....... 8,345  ....... 584.15   
 Eggs ....... 63,745  ....... 3,187.30   
 Flour 100,000  ....... 2,500.00   
 Green hides ....... 40,485  ....... 2,839.95   
 Hogs 275  3,712,500  ....... 185,625.00   
 Horses 11  220,000  ....... 11,275.00 
 Millet seed ....... 3,160  70  52.50 
 Oats 158  3,318,000  103,685  46.658.25   
 Potatoes 15  304,945  5,085  3,551.00   
 Poultry ....... 16,840  ....... 1,012.20   
 Pelts ....... 1,480  ....... 89.60   
 Rye 11  231,000  5,135  3,337 75   
 Rags ....... 20,085  ....... 300.25   
 Sheep 12  108,000  ....... 5,440.00   
 Stone 120,000  ....... 126.00   
 Stalk cutters 40,000  ....... 2,565.00   
 Timothy seed 182,635  4,058  9,130.50   
 Tallow ....... 7,340  ....... 513.80   
 Wheat 158  3,318,000  55,300  38,710.00   
 Wool and woolen goods ....... 2,200  ....... 1,650.00   
 Total 1,509  29,218,965  457,420  $484,278.25   

The shipments for the year 1875 as given furnish a good basis for estimating the business of the road and also the resources of the county. From the following statement for the year 1878 it will be seen that there was quite a falling off. This resulted from the partial failure of crops and the extension of the road westward, much shipping heretofore done at Sigourney now being done from stations further west.

1878.

ARTICLES. CARS. POUNDS. BUSHELS. VALUE.

 

Apples ....... 7,050  125  $        62.50  
Butter ....... 42,395  ....... 4,239.50  
Beeswax ....... 450  ....... 22.50  
Barley 40,000  850  255.00  
Brick 40,000  ....... 30.00  
Cheese ....... 12,455  ....... 622.75
Corn 140.000  ....... 425.00
Cattle 125  1,900,000  ....... 57,000.00
Eggs (15,390 dozens) ....... ....... ....... 1,599.00  
Flour ....... 100,000  ....... 3,000.00  
Clover seed ....... 365  62  248.00  
Feathers ....... 470  ....... 115.00  
Hides ....... 34,245  ....... 1,712.25  
Hogs 212  3,180,000  ....... 79,500.00
Horses ....... ....... 10,880.00  
Oats 15  300,000  9,375  1,171.85  
Poultry ....... 32,000  ....... 1,600.00  
Rye 17  340,000  6,071  1,821.30  
Sheep 36,000  ....... 900.00  
Syrup (210 gallons) ....... ....... ....... 84.00  
Tallow ....... 10,424  ....... 521.25  
Timothy seed 120,000  2,666  2,399.40  
Wool goods ....... 15,430  ....... 12,354.00  
Wheat 61  1,220,000  ....... 12,199.80  
Total 534  7,421,285  19,149  $136,693.10  

In the summer of 1875 Mr. Riddle, the superintendent of the C., R. I. & P. Railroad, proposed to the citizens of Oskaloosa that the company would immediately extend their road from Sigourney if the citizens would raise the sum of $20,000 and furnish the right-of-way. At the same time J. P. Yerger, of Sigourney, was employed to secure the right-of-way from Sigourney to the Mahaska county line. The citizens of Oskaloosa raised the required subsidy by local subscription, and Mr. Yerger secured the-right-of-way to the Mahaska county line. The road was finished to Oskaloosa in February, 1876, and now extends to Knoxville, in Marion county.

The stations on the road in Keokuk county are Keota, Harper, Sigourney, and Delta.

The length of the road belonging to the company in Keokuk county is shown in the following proceedings of the board of supervisors:

In accordance with chapter 5, section 1321, Code of 1873, the board of supervisors of Keokuk county make the following division of railroad lines in Keokuk county, Iowa:

CHICAGO, ROCK ISLAND & PACIFIC RAILWAY.


TOWNSHIPS                 MILES.       TOWNSHIPS                 MILES.

Lafayette  ....................   6.23             Sigourney  .................... 6.90

German  ......................   6.32             Warren  .......................   6.19

Total length of road  .......................................................  25.64

LESSER DIVISIONS.

Sub-district No. 7, Lafayette township, one mile, and pays a tax of $67.70.

Sub-district No. 8, Lafayette township, two miles, pays a tax of $154.00. Sub-district No. 9, Lafayette township, 2.25 miles, pays a tax of $173.27. Independent district of Keota, 0.75 miles, and pays a tax of $90.76.

Sub-district No. 10, Lafayette township, 0.25 miles, and pays a tax of $27.51.

Sub-district No. 7, German township, 2.10 miles, pays a tax of $167.47. Sub-district No. 8, German township, 2.05 miles, pays a tax of $163.50. Sub-district No. 9, German township, 2.17 miles, pay a tax of $173.06.

Sub-district No. 1, Sigourney township, 2.95 miles, pay a tax of $251.49. Sub-district No. 3, Sigourney township, 3.95 miles, pays a tax of $423.64. Independent district of Delta, 1.05 miles, and pays a tax of $138.61.

Sub-districts Nos. 1 and 2, Warren township, 2.27 miles, pays a tax of $299.65.

Sub-district No. 3, Warren township, 2.87 miles, pays a tax of $189.43.

The valuation of the road is $5,500 per mile, and in addition to the taxes enumerated pays a special railroad commissioners' tax amounting to $210.32.

Transcribed by Pat Wahl. Thank you, Pat!

 

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