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and one to New Madrid, the last mentioned extending to Point Pleasant. A great variety of other experimental surveys were made throughout the Swamp Region; and it is believed from indications discovered in these discursive experimental surveys, that one of the most practicable routes from Old Indian Ford towards New Orleans would be almost in a straight line in that direction; that is on the east side of the St. Francis river through Stoddard and Dunklin counties to the Arkansas line, in Grand Prairie, which is also in a direct line toward Memphis.
A powerful argument in behalf of this route in Missouri might be built up, based on the reasonable presumption, that a railroad bed constructed along the eastern shore of the St. Francis in Stod. dard and Dunklin counties would be the best embankment to prevent the occasional overflow of this river in these counties, and further that such an embankment may be essential to reclaim the swamp lands in these and the adjoining counties of New Madrid and Pemisco, as also of a large part of the country in Arkangas east of the St. Francis. This branch of this subject is well worthy the careful consideration of the Swamp Land Commissioners of Arkansas, as also of the above mentioned swamp counties of Missouri.
That the probable feasibility of this route may be still more highly appreciated, and that the ignorant prejudice against building a railroad through the Swamp District may be more thoroughly advised and fairly enlightened, it is proper to state, and it should not be forgotten that while the cost of the construction of the railroad from St. Louis to the Iron Mountain, ready for rolling stock, averages $40,000 per mile along its 80 miles, and that while the cost of construction of the railroad from the Iron Mountain to In. dian Ford, ready for rolling stock, averages $30,000 per mile along its 70 miles, the cost of construction of railroads from Indian Ford through various portions of the Swamp Region, ready for rolling stock, averages in general only $18,000 per mile, being only about 1 as much as the average from St. Louis to the Indian Ford. . . .
. . . . . That the length and cost of the Missouri portion of the St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans Railroad, may be somewhat minutely yet concisely shown, we may conclude from the data above stated, as the distance from Indian Ford to the Arkansas line in Grand Prairie, Dunklin county, is 60 miles on an air line, and as the average deviation from an air line may be fairly represented by one sixth, that the length of Indian Ford and Grand Prairie line is 70 miles, and that the cost of construction of this link, ready for rolling stock, averaging $18,000 per mile, is $1,260,000; and placing the links in tabular form we find The dength of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain link 80 miles
. Iron Mountain and Indian Ford link 70“ 16 Indian Ford and Grand Prairie link 70 66
Total length of the Missouri portion
220 miles Cost of 1st division, 80 miles, at $40,000 per mile, . $3,200,000
" 20 " 70 " 30,000 .00 2,100,000 · 4 3d « 70 16 18,000 " 1,260,000
$6,560,000 By adding cost of rolling stock together with build.
ings and fixtures for same at the rate of $4,000 per mile, 220 miles...
880,000 We find total cost of Mo. portion in running order $7,440,000 - Touching the Arkansas portion of the St. Louis and Memphis Railroad oor the route bove indicated, as it may become a link of vast importance in the Mississippi Valley Railroad, and as it was originally and almost universally thought to be utterly impractieable, it is but justice to Mr. W. D. Ferguson. of Arkansas, to fix the fact that he is the man who first projected and earnestly advocated this route. One year ago from this date at the Memphis Convention in June, 1853, in conversation with the author of this article, he presented the claims of this route, and urged them with the light of his experience on the ground, and with the warmth of his enthusiasm in the prospect. Not one word could we then hear in its favor excepting from him.
Since then but little has been said or done on this subject until the first day of March, 1854, when G. W.Underhill, of Arkansas, E. H. Porter, of Tennessee, and L. M. Kennett, of Missouri, with their associates in each of said States formed themselves into a corporation under the general law of the State of Arkansas by the Dame of Memphis and St. Louis Railroad Company, for the purpose of building a railroad through Arkansas from a point opposite or near Memphis, “on or near a direct line between the game and the city of St. Louis, Missouri, and running thence as nearly as said company may deem it practicable in the direction of St. Louis, so as to reach a point on or connect with the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad, or any other railroad or point theroon, in that general direction.”
The charter was filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of Arkansas on the 6th day of March, 1854, and on the 18th day of the same month the Board of Commissioners of said company met and organized by the election of Ethel H. Por. ter, President of the Company, and J. T. Swayne, Secretary.
As the legal provision is thus obtained for building the Arkan. sas link of this road, we will now proceed to inquire into the prob. able length and cost of the same.
For the sake of avoiding circumlocution, we will designate the point on the boundary line between Missouri and Arkansas east of the St. Francis river, where this railroad will probably cross, by the name which is given to the strip of country there extending both into Missouri and Arkansas: that is Grand Prairie, although the village of Grand Prairie is not exactly at this point.
From this point to Memphis, the distance on an air line is about 60 miles, being the same distance as from this point to Indian Ford. By the reports gathered from the experimental surveys of the Iron Mountain Railroad Company throughout various portions of the Swamp District, and from the facts stated by Mr. Ferguson, of Arkansas, the general character of the country from Indian Ford to Grand Prairie seems to be about the same as that from Grand Prairie to Memphis, and as the air fine distance is also the same, therefore it is reasonable to make the same allowance for the length and cost of a practicable route from Grand Prairie to Memphis, as from Indian Ford to Grand Prairie. . . 1. Calculating then on this hypothesis the length of Grard Prairie and Memphis link is 70 miles, and the cost of construction of the same, ready for rolling stock, is $1260,000. Calculating the cost of rolling stock together with buildings and fixtures for same at the rate estimated for the Missouri portion, to wit: $4,000 per mile, (70 miles, it is $280,000, making the total cost of the Grand Prairie and Memphis road in running order............ $1,540,000 To which add the total cost of the St. Louis and Iron
Mountain road to Grand Prairie in-running order... 7,440,000 And we find the total cost of the road from St. Louis --to Memphis............
The total distance from St. Louis to Memphis by this route according to the above estimates is 290 miles, which with a speed on the road of 30 miles an hour brings St. Louis and Memphis within ten hours distance of each other.
Having ascertained the probable length and cost of the St. Louis and Memphis Railroad, we will proceed to an examination of the Memphis and New Orleans road.
The distance from Memphis to New Orleans on an air line is 342 miles. These two points are connected by a road in process of construction composed of three links, which are the 6. Now Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad," reaching inom New Orleans to Canton, the “Mississippi Central Railroad," reaching from Canton to Grenada, Miss., and the “Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad,” reaching from Grenada to Memphis. The distance from New Orleans to Canton, air line, is 175 miles
Do, Canton to Grenada . " 73
93 Total distance by deviating lirks
3+6 · Do. without deviating
312 Amount of deviation by the links By allowing on the sum. total a deviation of
44 miles from the air line distance of the links
3+6 The length of the practicable route from Memphis to New Orleans is
390 miles In order to show the progress and prospects of this combined enterprise in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, we will quote a paragraph from the memorial of the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad Company to the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad Company, dated 18th March, 1851:
“The greater portion of this route is already provided for. From New Orleans to the Mississippi State line the “Great Northern and Jackson roay” is nearly completed, and will soon be finished all the way to Canton, Mi.; - thence the “Mississippi Central road" to Holly Springs passing Grenada, Mi., is under contract to be completed in 21 years. From Grenada our road, the “ Mississippi and Tennessee" completes the line to Memphis; and the means at our command warrant us in the confident expectation of its early consummation.”
It will thus be seen that the southern and larger portion of the St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans railroad is rapidly progressing with brilliant prospects of entire completion long before the
beyears. Fromrenada, Mi Mississippi finished
Memphis and St. Louis portion can be done, according to present indications.
But the presentation of these facts should stimulate the public mind with renewed activity in behalf of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad, that while this work is being built to the Mountain, means and spirit, may be gained to drive it on to Mem-, phis, that a respectable portion of the 2,000,000 acres of swamp land in South-east Missouri may be applied to its construction, and thereby to their own reclamation; their nett proceeds remaining a school fund vested in the stock of the Railroad Company. This is doubtless the best thing that could be done with a large portion of the swamp lands, both in Missouri and Arkansas; and it may be that half enough could be realized from these lands in Missouri and Arkansas together to build the road from Indian Ford to Memphis, 140 miles, the amount necessary to complete this portion, being, according to the above mentioned estimates, only $3,080,000. Means may be gained to prosecute this enterprise by arousing a spirit in Congress in behalf of a grant of lands for the Mississippi Valley Railroad, the St. Louis convention having sent them a memorial on this subject in December, 1852, and the Memphis convention having endorsed the memorial in June, 1853.. This grant of land by Congress 'should be made liberal enough to meet one half the cost of building this road from St. Louis to Indian Ford, 150 miles. Then, the length of this road being the same from St. Louis to Arkansas, as the length of the North Missouri Railroad from St. Louis to Iowa, each one being by à eingular coincidence just 220 miles, and as the cost of construction of the Iron Mountain Railroad is also equal to that of the North Missouri Railroad, and its value to the State also fully equal, it therefore follows that an equal amount of State credit should be granted to each. But the N. M R R. has received $2,000,000 while the Iron Mountain Railroad has received only 750,000 Leaving the claim of the I. M. R. R. for
$1,250,000 of State credit, which it is but just and reasonable to suppose will be allowed by the Legislature as soon as it convenes.
Let then this Swamp Land grant, this Mississippi Valley Railroad grant, and this grant of $1,250,000 State credit be gained, while the contractors are building the road from St. Louis to the Iron Mountain, then means and spirit enough will be realized to drive this work on with energy to Memphis.