Skip Redundent Navigation
Territorial Kansas Online 1854-1861 Explore Topics Territorial A-Z Map Lesson Plans  
Back to main document information

Untitled Document


Elwood Kansas June 1 st 1859.

Friend Crane,

I have no apology to offer for this letter, believing that the fact of its being on a subject important to myself is sufficient explanation for it.

I take my pen to write you concerning the St. Joseph & Topeka R.R.

I regret to say Dr. that I do not think you citizens of Topeka have acted exactly in good faith toward the citizens of St Joseph & Elwood, in voting to locate the road by way of Doniphan. You may remember that when you were first here seeking to start the enterprise, that we told you we were willing to embark in it, provided the road ran up Peters Creek, & not one cent would our citizens have subscribed had they not recd a sort of

[Page 2]

promise from the Topeka directors that the road should never run by Doniphan; the same impression you Topeka men conveyed to the minds of the St. Joseph citizens; without which impression they would have never given one dollar to the project.

But we will say nothing further of the apparent bad faith of the Topeka delegation; I will only speak of the result. You have located the road by Doniphan, on the strength of their subscription, which they have failed to pay, after being let off on ½ of the assessment; & to pay that ½ they had a sale of lots on Monday, but could not dispose of enough to pay for the outlay in advertising the sale – this is the simple truth. For want of funds the Engineer has stopped work – neither Palermo nor Doniphan, separate or combined, being able to pay enough on their subscriptions to pay for the simple location – if

[Page 3]

such is the case, how will you be able to construct the road with their assistance, for you may rest assured that not a single subscription from this place or from St. Joe will be paid for any work except from the depot here to the depot at Wathena.

Now Dr. I suppose that the citizens of Topeka really desire this road built – why then do you not so act as to accomplish the object. What means were used to induce your directors to vote for the Doniphan route, or what motives impelled them I know not; if they thot the amount of aid for that route would be greatest they were sadly mistaken; furthermore, the perfect worthlessness of the Doniphan Lan{xxxxx] Co. subscriptions is now perceived, by their total incapacity to raise the first 5 per cent assessment. The directory must meet again shortly, to consider the present dead-alive condition of the road, & it rests with you of Topeka to say whether there

[Page 4]

shall or shall not be a road; if you insist on the Doniphan route, then the road is all yammer, a dead cock, the pit, & the sooner the whole thing given up the less money lost by all parties engaged & the sooner the St. J. & T. R.R. Co. will cease to be a laughing stock with every sensible business man.

The Doniphan & Palermo men have hood winked you Topeka-ites, by making you believe that the citizens of St. Jo, except – Jeff Thompson, were in favor of the Doniphan route – this is a sad mistake. Jeff has been the finnest warmest & most useful friend of the road, & by his personal popularity got the city to take stock in the road; & since the location by Doniphan, the citizens are so mad at him for swindling them in that stock, as they say, that they will not vote him any supplies for the city public works, & he has lost their confidence to a very great extent. There is not a prominent man, except one or two who are heavily interested in Palermo &

[Page 5]

Doniphan, who favors the Doniphan route. Besides, they are serving the old Marysville {XXarter}, & unless the location is changed [XXXXXX] Peter’s Creek, they will stop the St. J. & R.R.R. & put all their energies into the construction of that Marysville road. By locating the road up Peter’s Creek, there would be a strong probability of getting aid from the H & St. J. R.R., or some of its prominent backers; with the certainty of completing 20 miles of grading by winter.

The Palermo & Doniphan men say, you [XXXXX] County aid, if you run this way – possibly I am as well acquainted in this county as any of them. This township is [XXXXX] one that holds the political balance [XXXXX] power, in the Republican party, which has the control of the County, & we can accomplish more than Palermo & Doniphan combined – if the road runs via P. & Donip

[Page 6]

it benefits but two townships, if the other way it is of more or less advantage to all.

But to sum up the whole argument pro & con – if Topeka wishes to build her road from this point, she must locate it via Peter’s Creek, for; 1 st ly, Topeka Palermo & Doniphan cannot alone build the road, & if it goes by D—the three towns will have the privilege of so doing, as the road

[XXXXX] any aid from this end – the capacity of P. & D. to give any thing is evidenced by the manner they pay their first 5 per cent assessment; their whole power to pay depends upon the value of town property in the two towns, & you will know that no small town in Kansas could be sold out today for enough, cash, to grade ten miles of the road. 2 nd ly, if the road runs via Peter’s Creek, the City of St. Joseph will increase her subscription, the citizens then will subscribe & pay $50000., at least; while along the road as much can be obtained as P. & D. ever

[Page 7]

would or could pay. 3 rd ly, If it goes [XXXXX] P. Ck route, there is a $500.000. subscription, which, though not assessable for 18 months, is good at the end of that time; although [XXXXX], in whose name it is taken, is not worth much, for the subscription is in reality Bob Stewarts & some of his eastern friends, who built the Hannibal & St Joe road. 4 th ly, if located the P. Cr’k route there is a strong probability that the County of Doniphan will give her bonds to the road; but by the other route she never will. 5 th ly, if you do not change the present location St. Joe will build the Marysville road, & yours will be out for the present.

It requires but two of your Topeka directors to change the location, & if you want a road you will do well to reconsider your recent action.

I have written this letter to you, Dr, because I feel friendly toward Topeka; to us here it matters just now but little whether we

[Page 8]

have a road running southwest or west – we are sure of one, for St. Joe is bound to build one. I prefer to see the first one built to Topeka, Knowing the Marysville road is certainty, in the future. I have aided you in every way in my power in this road & [XXXXX] offer my advice for your good as well as my own, & I think when you reflect it carefully, that you will perceive [XXXXX} comitness of my conclusions.

I shall also write to Judge [XXXXX] on this matter. If convenient, I shall be glad to hear from you.

With many good wishes for your [XXXXX] & happiness, I remain, Your friend,

Ed Russell


The current URL is