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From Rule's Standard History of Knoxville, Tennessee, with Full Outline of the Natural Advantages, Early Settlement, Territorial Government, Indian Troubles and General and Particular History of the City Down to the Present Time. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1900.

Chapter Contents

Charles McClung, the Pioneer Road Builder — Stage-Coach Lines — Progress in Turnpike Roads — The Tennessee River and Tributaries — First Steamboat at Knoxville — Railroad Building — The East Tennessee and Georgia and the East Tennessee and Virginia Roads — The Great Southern System — Roads to Atlanta and Cumberland Gap — Bridges — Street Railways.


The completion of the Kingston pike in 1894 from Knoxville to Campbell's station, a distance of fifteen miles, was an event of great importance both to Knox county and Knoxville, increasing as it did the trade of the town and the ease with which farmers and others could drive over the road. The time required to drive this distance on the old dirt road was about five hours, while after the completion of the pike two and a half hours was quite sufficient.

Kingston Pike circa 1910
Kingston Pike, circa 1910

In 1792 Charles McClung, from whom the numerous and honorable McClung family of Knoxville have descended, came from the vicinity of Philadelphia, Pa., and by the first county court held in Knox county was engaged to locate a public highway from Knoxville west to Campbell's station, and thence to the western boundary of Knox county. There was already a bridle path following pretty closely after an Indian trail to Sinking creek, but here a divergence was necessary. At Campbell's station there was a block house and a considerable settlement. In this connection it is important to note that the Indian trails usually followed the ridges, in order that the Indians following these trails might overlook the valleys, in which settlements were for the most part made, and thus discover the existence of settlements from the rising columns of blue smoke ascending from the cabins in the nooks and crannies of the forests. Just east of Sinking creek this trail turned abruptly to the south, extending in that direction for a short distance, then ran along the slope of Chestnut or McAnally's ridge to an Indian town on the Tennessee river near the present site of Concord, and thence to the Cherokee country beyond the Little Tennessee.

The road as originally laid out by Mr. McClung was about thirty feet wide, cut the greater portion of the way through the primeval forest. At that time the county of Knox contained only about 2,000 inhabitants, and this undertaking was one of no small magnitude. Many years later the road was widened to fifty feet, every land owner along the way freely giving of his land to the extent made necessary by this widening of the road. Before the beginning of the present century the road reached Kingston, and later on it formed a part of the great national highway from Washington to Knoxville, to Nashville, to Montgomery and to New Orleans.

Along this national highway the means and methods of travel were wonderfully different from those at present in vogue. On that part of it between Knoxville and Washington, in 1842, there was a line of stages, called "The Great Western Line," and in the advertisement of the company owning and operating this line they said that the trip between the two cities could be made in six days and six hours. The line ran by the way of Warm Springs, Asheville, Rutherfordton, Salisbury and Greensboro to Raleigh, a distance of 385 Miles, the fare between Knoxville and Raleigh being $25. From Raleigh to Washington the traveler went by rail and steamboat, a distance of 288 miles, making the entire distance 673 miles. From Raleigh to Washington the fare was $19, making the fare between Knoxville and Washington $44, the time, "only six days and six hours," being considered remarkably short, as it in reality was, considering the means of travel. The schedule time now is 19 hours, 50 minutes.

The Kingston Turnpike company was chartered by a special act of the legislature of the state passed May 24, 1866, the company being organized September 17, succeeding a board of commissioners appointed for the purpose by the legislature. This preliminary board consisted of the following gentlemen: Perez Dickinson, Joseph A. Cooper, O.P.Temple, Charles M.McGhee, and Robert H.Armstrong. A board of directors was elected consisting of Robert H.Armstrong, O. P.Temple, Charles M. McGhee, Joseph A. Cooper, and George W. Mabry, the officers of the company being O. P. Temple, president, and Robert H. Armstrong, secretary and treasurer. As fast as the company could raise funds it macadamized the road, and soon after five miles had been thus improved, a toll gate was established and tolls collected which were applied to the further macadamizing and improving of the road. The county of Knox was a stockholder in the company, and in 1892 became by purchase of the remainder of the stock the sole owner of the pike. Soon afterward an order was issued to extend the road to the county line, the work to be done by the convicts of the county, and the pike was completed to Campbell's station by November 1, 1893, at which time the purchase above mentioned was effected, the county paying the other stockholders $20,000 for their stock.

In 1876 Knox county established a workhouse for the punishment of criminals with the view of devoting their labor to the building of roads. Work was begun as soon as practicable, and by January 1, 1892, there had been constructed seventy-seven miles of turnpike roads. During 1892 there were constructed three miles of the Third Creek pike, reaching Beaver ridge, nine miles from Knoxville, and also a mile on a branch of this pike, into Hind's valley. There were also constructed five miles on the Kingston pike, making eight miles in all this year, or nine miles considering the short branch into Hind's valley. The board of pike commissioners built during the year seven and a third miles of pike road, or an equivalent of this length, as follows: On the Sevierville pike, one and one-fourth miles; Pickens Gap pike, one and three-fourth miles; Neubert Springs pike, three-eighths of a mile; Maryville pike, one and one-third miles; Rutledge pike, one-half a mile; Brabson Ferry pike, one and three-fourths miles, and in the Twentieth district, one-eighth of a mile. At the end of 1892 there were about ninety-five miles of turnpike road in the county, which cost in the neighborhood of $300,000.

In addition to the above there was the Tazewell pike, seven miles long, which was owned by a private corporation, and together with this seven miles of Tazewell pike there were about 102 miles of good turnpike road in the county, all of course running into Knoxville and increasing its trade. At the present time (February 1, 1899), the different turnpike roads leading out from Knoxville are of the following lengths:

  • The Kingston pike is macadamized to a distance of sixteen miles, and is graded about one and one-half miles further.
  • Middlebrook pike is macadamized to a distance of eight miles.
  • Third Creek pike is macadamized seven miles to the forks, from which point Beaver Ridge pike is macadamized five miles, and from the same point Hinds' Valley pike is macadamized two miles.
  • Clinton pike is macadamized ten miles and is graded one mile further to the county line.
  • Sharp's Gap pike is macadamized eight miles, and is graded one mile further. Tazewell and Jacksboro pike is macadamized nine miles to Hall's Cross Roads, from which point it takes the name of the Maynardville pike and is macadamized about six miles further to the county line.
  • Tazewell pike begins at Smithwood four miles out from Knoxville, and is macadamized twelve miles, to the county line.
  • Washington pike is macadamized twelve miles.
  • Rutledge pike is macadamized thirteen miles.
  • Strawberry Plains pike, which runs by the Holston river, is macadamized eight miles.
  • Thorn Grove pike is macadamized sixteen miles.
  • Sevierville pike is macadamized to the county line, a distance of nine and a half miles.
  • Gap Creek pike, which leaves the Sevierville pike about six miles from Knoxville, is macadamized seven miles.
  • Martin's Mill pike is macadamized nine miles, and Picken's Gap pike branching off from this pike about three miles from Knoxville extends five miles.
  • Maryville pike extends seven miles to the county line.
  • Lowe's Ferry pike branches off from the Kingston pike four miles out from Knoxville and extends four miles.

Besides the above pikes which radiate from Knoxville in various directions, there are several cross pikes, connecting the main ones, to the extent in the aggregate of about ten miles. Thus the entire length of turnpike roads in Knox county connecting Knoxville with the country, is 173.5 miles, to which adding the ten miles of cross pikes, makes the total length of such roads in the county at the present time, 183.5 miles.


The Tennessee river, taken as a whole, is a wonderful stream. From the junction of the Holston and French Broad, which of late years has been considered its origin, though formerly the name Holston was applied down to the confluence of the Little Tennessee, the distance to its mouth is 650 miles. Including its tributaries it has more than 1,300 miles of water navigable for steamboats, and when only flat boats are taken into consideration it is navigable for more than 2,200 miles; that is, it and its tributaries together.

In 1820 the government appropriated several thousand dollars for the improvement of the Mussel Shoals, and in 1829 it appropriated $4,000,000 for the construction of a canal round the shoals; but as there was no appropriation ever made either by the government of the United States or by the state of Alabama for keeping the canal in repair, it was neglected and was in use only a few years. And while previous to 1897 there had been considerable money spent in improving the river below Chattanooga, very little had been done in this way above that city.

But the amount of business done on the river showed that it was worthy of attention. In 1896 there were sixty-four steamboats on the river, with an aggregate capacity of 80,000 tons. During the year these sixty-four steamboats carried more than 20,000 passengers and 20,000,000 tons of freight. About 3,000,000 tons of this freight were carried between Knoxville and Chattanooga. The French Broad is used much more than other of the tributaries of the Tennessee, for the reason that there is but little railroad built up its valley. In 1896 the French Broad carried about forty times as much freight in value as had been expended on the Tennessee in its improvement, including all the appropriations made since the first one mentioned above, in 1820.

Riverboat in Knoxville circa 1910
Riverboat unloading cargo in Knoxville, circa 1910

The citizens of Knoxville are very much interested in the improvement of this splendid stream. They think that with an expenditure of about $600,000 the channel of the Tennessee could be made three feet deep at low water all the way to Chattanooga, and if this depth were secured the river would become a competing line between these two points. The Tennessee river improvement committee of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce has this matter constantly under consideration, and is doing all in its power to secure an adequate appropriation.

The first steamboat to arrive at Knoxville was the Atlas, a small boat which had made its way through "The Suck" in the Tennessee river to Knoxville in 1826, and which greatly astonished the citizens by its movements. The commander of the Atlas was Captain Connor, who was greeted on his arrival by a dinner and by speeches and was honorably toasted. The arrival of this little boat suggested to the citizens of Knoxville the possibilities of the navigation of the Holston and Tennessee rivers by means of steamboats, and almost immediately a company was organized with the view of purchasing a steamboat for the purpose. The steamboat thus purchased was designed to run between Knoxville and "The Suck," the place where the Tennessee cuts through the Cumberland mountain range. One of the members of this company was sent to Cincinnati to make the purchase, and the steamboat thus purchased was brought to Knoxville and named in honor of the town in which lived the members of the company that thus established the navigation of the Tennessee, for the attempt of the Atlas to so navigate the river was only a suggestion as to what might be done. When this new steamboat, the Knoxville, arrived at the wharf there was great excitement in the town, for it was looked upon as an event opening up a new era in its history.

In 1848 William Williams and James Williams, the latter of whom was minister plenipotentiary under President Buchanan to Constantinople, began the wholesale grocery business in Knoxville under the firm name of Williams & Co. Their warehouse was located on the river at the foot of Gay street. They purchased the steamer Cassandra, and a short time afterward built the Kate Fleming and the Chattanooga. The former was in the trade between Louisville, Ky., and Cairo, Ill., in the fall of 1850, until such time as high water in the Tennessee river would permit of her passage over the Mussel shoals; but she was burned to the water's edge just below Louisville in October of that year. The Chattanooga, however, succeeded in getting over the shoals, and at once went into the trade between Knoxville and Decatur, Ala. This boat was 145 feet long and 23 feet beam, and of 160 tons burden. Her full length cabin was finely fitted up and furnished for carrying passengers, her captain being McMahon and clerk, James E. Williams. This boat was a success in every way, running from and to Knoxville nine months in the year. Then followed in a short time the Mollie Garth and the Lady Augusta. The river traffic was considerable until the completion to Knoxville in 1855 of the East Tennessee and Georgia railroad, and then it was that Williams & Co. closed out their business and the passenger and freight business, until that time enjoyed by the river, was gradually transferred to the railroad, that on the river gradually sinking into insignificance.

In 1895 the following boats were on the Tennessee river, and were more or less intimately connected with Knoxville: The steamer Telephone, owned by the Union Boat, Store and Warehouse company; the Flora Swan, owned by the Knoxville, Sevier and Jefferson Steamboat company; the Lucile Borden and the Onega, owned by the Three Rivers Packet and Transportation company; the Oliver King, owned by Oliver King; the Bill Tate, owned by the Holston River Packet and Transportation company, and the City of Knoxville, owned by C. R. Love & Co. The Onega was built in 1891, is 106 feet long, and has a net tonnage of 74-77 tons. The City of Knoxville is 130 feet long, and has a tonnage of about 100 tons. The Dixie is a new boat, built in Knoxville, and is owned by Oliver King of that city. The Three Rivers Packet company has a shipyard, located on the south of the river about 200 yards above the bridge, at which they repair such boats as may need to be repaired. So far they have built no new boats. All of the above-named boats are on the river at the present time.


Railroads are one of the most potent factors in modern civilization, and yet it is but seventy years since the first locomotive made its first trip in the United States, that being at Honesdale, Pa., in August, 1829. Horatio Allen was the engineer and the locomotive was named the Stourbridge Lion. It was but six years later, in 1835, when the movement which awakened public interest in Tennessee in the question of railroads began, this being under the new constitution of 1834. This constitution declared that a well regulated system of internal improvements is calculated to develop the resources of the people of the state, and to promote their prosperity and happiness.

A general system of public improvements was established in 1836 by an act of the legislature which provided that when two-thirds of the capital stock of any company organized for the purpose of constructing any railroad or macadamized turnpike within the state of Tennessee had been subscribed, the governor, on behalf of the state, should subscribe the remaining one-third, and in payment thereof should issue bonds bearing 5½ per cent interest. Under this scheme the state became subscriber for one-half of the stock of all railroads and turnpike companies, provided that the whole amount of stock taken by the state had not reached $4,000,000. The profits arising from the stock thus subscribed by the state in various companies was set aside to constitute a fund for the redemption of the bonds issued in pursuance of the state's most liberal policy.

Under the laws issued by the legislature state bonds were issued to railroads to the amount of $800,000. But a reaction came against the state's being so extensively engaged in internal improvement schemes, and in 1840 all laws authorizing the governor to subscribe stock in this way to such improvements were repealed; but there was no interference with any work already in progress and being carried on in good faith. No more aid was granted by the state to railroads until 1852, when an act was passed creating a general system of internal improvements. This act provided that when railroad companies had graded a certain amount of track, then bonds not to exceed $8,000 per mile should be issued for the purpose of equipping the road and its franchises, and the road itself to be mortgaged to the state, the mortgage being in the form of a lien on the property. But the state, by reason of the coming on of the war of the Rebellion in 1861, became a great loser through its generosity. The railroads were notwithstanding of great benefit to the people in their commercial and social capacities, and this in all probability much more than compensated for the loss to the state treasury.

After 1867 no bonds were granted by the state to railroad companies, and the constitution of 1870 forbids the loaning or giving of the credit of the state to any corporation or company, and it also prohibits the state from becoming a stockholder in any company. But, notwithstanding this prohibition to the state, counties and incorporated towns may still, as previously, vote to aid railroads and other like companies, under certain limitations.

The year 1835, mentioned in the beginning of this sketch of the railroad history of Knoxville as that in which the spirit of public enterprise manifested itself to such a degree that internal improvements were largely undertaken, is that in which Col. Robert T. Hayne, of South Carolina, paid a visit to Nashville, for the purpose of urging the construction of a railroad from Memphis to Knoxville and thence to Charleston, S. C., on the Atlantic coast. Such a railroad would, if constructed, connect the Mississippi river with the Atlantic ocean. A similar effort was made in 1836 by William Armour, then a representative in the state legislature from Shelby county, to connect the Mississippi with the seaboard by a line "running from the eligible point on that river as near the center of the state as practicable to the Tennessee river, thence near the center of the state to a point on the Virginia line."

For the purpose of discussing the subject of internal improvements, which was still of interest to the public mind, a convention assembled at Nashville, in 1836, at which sixteen counties were represented, and at this convention a resolution was adopted advocating the construction of the above-mentioned road. The legislature, which was then in session, appropriated $15,000 for the survey of a road by the name of the "Central Railroad," and Albert Miller Lea was appointed chief engineer of this road, with authority to survey the line through the state and to estimate the cost of both a single track and a double track road.

During this same year a charter was procured for the Hiwassee railroad, the charter requiring that stock should be subscribed within two years to the amount of $600,000; and on July 4, 1836, a railroad convention assembled at Knoxville composed of gentlemen from many of the states in the Union, of which convention Col. Robert T. Hayne was chosen chairman. This convention adopted measures for the construction of a railroad from Cincinnati or Louisville through Cumberland Gap up the French Broad and on through to Charleston, S. C. Several delegates, however, from lower East Tennessee and Georgia were dissatisfied with this route, and having their attention called to the Hiwassee charter, determined if possible to avail themselves of its privileges and construct a road under them.

By the adoption of this route they considered that a railroad could be built from Knoxville through Georgia to Charleston and put in operation before the road by way of Cumberland Gap could be commenced. The McMinn county delegates hastened home and opened subscription books, while the Georgia delegates procured a charter from their state legislature, intending to construct the road in such a way as to meet at the state line. The taking of stock in McMinn county being somewhat slow, six residents of that county agreed to subscribe each $100,000, thus furnishing the entire $600,000 required by the Hiwassee charter, in order to prevent its forfeiture. These six residents were General Nathaniel Smith, Onslow G. Murrell, Ashbury M. Coffey, James H. Tyffe, Alexander D. Keys and T. N. Vandyke. But it was found upon examination of the books that $120,000 had already been subscribed, and thus it was necessary for each of these six gentlemen to subscribe only $80,000.

Upon the organization of the company, Solomon P. Jacobs was chosen president, and Ashbury M. Coffey, secretary and treasurer. As chief engineer, J. C. Trautwine of Philadelphia was selected. This road was surveyed and ground was broken two miles west of Athens, in 1837, and this was the first work on a railroad in the state of Tennessee. The road was soon afterward graded from the state line to Loudon and a bridge erected across Hiwassee river.

After considerable difficulty with the state occasioned by its having subscribed $650,000 to the stock of the road, because of the insufficiency of the original $600,000 already mentioned as having been subscribed, the difficulty taking the form of a lawsuit which was won by the railroad company in the supreme court; and by reason of various difficulties caused by the stringency of the times, several unsuccessful efforts being made to raise money enough to build the road, the company made agreement with Gen. Duff Green, under which agreement Gen. Green undertook to build the road from Dalton, Ga., to Knoxville, Tenn. But Gen. Green failed and at length was compelled to surrender his contract.

The company then made an agreement with William Grant & Co., to complete the road from Dalton to the Hiwassee river and with J.G. Dent & Co. to complete it from the Hiwassee river to Loudon in 1852, and in 1854 it was completed from Loudon to Knoxville. In the chapter on the municipality of Knoxville may be found an account of the proceedings of the mayor and board of aldermen with reference to the location of the depot of this road in the town. But through failures, disappointments and other difficulties the name "Hiwassee" had been changed in 1848 to East Tennessee and Georgia.

In 1852 the East Tennessee and Virginia railroad company was chartered, the road extending from Knoxville to Bristol, on the state line between Tennessee and Virginia. Thus a connecting link was formed between the great railroad systems of the Northeast with the roads of the Southwest, in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. This route was completed in 1858 and the two roads mentioned above were afterwards, in 1869 consolidated under the name of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia railroad.

The system of railroads was gradually extended by the construction of new lines and the absorption of other lines, until it became one of the most important systems of the South. The Knoxville & Ohio road was begun before the war, being built as far as Clinton. In 1867 its construction was resumed, and it was completed to Careyville [sic]. Still later it was extended through the coal fields to the Kentucky state line at Jellico.

Some time between 1870 and 1880 a line was built from Morristown to Wolf Creek in the Unaka mountains, and while Mr. Thomas was president this line was extended to Paint Rock, connecting with the Western North Carolina railroad, forming with it a through line or connection with the East.

Still later a connection was made between the southwestern terminal of the system at Ooltewah Junction with the Selma, Rome & Dalton to Cohutta, Ga., and a line built thence to Atlanta and Macon, thus making connection with the Macon & Brunswick road and giving a direct line to the sea at Brunswick, which place is still one of the most important ocean terminals of the Southern railway.

A branch road was also built from Johnson City to Embreeville, the road from Emory Gap on the Cincinnati Southern to Oliver Springs was purchased, and the connecting link between the latter point and Clinton on the Knoxville & Ohio was built. Another branch was built from Knoxville to Maryville, Tenn., which is the Maryville branch of the Southern railway. This branch was surveyed in 1876 and completed in 1881, and for the grading of the road from Maryville to the Smoky mountains five hundred Swiss laborers were engaged, but this part of the road has not yet been built. The road from Knoxville to Maryville is known as the Knoxville & Augusta railway.

There was also acquired by the company the road from Rome, Ga., to Meridian, Miss.; the Mobile & Birmingham, from Mobile to Marion Junction, Ala.; and the Memphis & Charleston, and the Blocton branch from Birmingham to Blocton, Ala.

On May 31 and June 1, 1886, the gauge of this system of roads was changed from a five foot to a four foot nine inch gauge, the standard gauge, or nearly so, all the roads in the country at that time, except the Pennsylvania railway, having a gauge of four feet and eight and a half inches.

In 1894 the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia railway system comprised 1,780.3 miles, and it was in this year that the organization of the present Southern railway system, which included the Richmond & Danville, the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia, the Georgia Pacific, and most of the leased and operated lines of those systems. The Memphis & Charleston and the Mobile & Birmingham were not included, but the former was purchased and absorbed by the Southern Railway Company in February, 1898.

It was in this same year, 1894, that the Louisville Southern railway, extending from Louisville to Lexington, Ky., a distance of eighty-seven miles, was purchased by the Southern, and as it had the Knoxville & Ohio to Harriman Junction, it thus obtained through the Cincinnati Southern railway an outlet to the Ohio river.

The officers of the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad Company elected November 26, 1869, at the time of the formal consolidation of the East Tennessee & Virginia with the East Tennessee & Georgia, were Thomas H.Calloway, president; Joseph Jacques, vice-president; James G. Mitchell, secretary and treasurer; R. C. Jackson, superintendent; C. Hodge, master of transportation, and J. R. Ogden, general freight and ticket agent. Among the directors were Thomas H. Calloway, Joseph Jacques, J. T.Grisham, C. M.McGhee, B. M. Branner, William Galbraith, Joseph H.Earnest, Perez Dickinson, J. M. Meek, William R. Sevier and Joseph R.Anderson.

At the time of the consolidation the total owned mileage of these roads was 270 miles, including the line from Bristol, Tenn., to Chattanooga, Tenn., and from Cleveland, Tenn., to Dalton, Ga.

On May 25, 1886, the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railway Company's property was sold under foreclosure by special master, William Rule, for $10,250,000, and was bought in by interests therein controlled, and the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railway Company was organized to succeed it. The officers elected under this reorganization were Samuel Thomas, president; Henry Fink, vice-president; L. M. Schwan, secretary, and J.G. Mitchell, treasurer.

In 1891 the mileage of the roads owned, leased and operated by this company, as given by Poor's railway manual, was as follows:

Railroad Miles
East Tennessee Division. — Bristol, Tenn., to Chattanooga, Tenn. 242
Ooltewah Cut Off. — Ooltewah, Tenn., to Cohutta, Ga. 11.5
North Carolina Branch. — Morristown to Paint Rock, Tenn. 43.5
Walden's Ridge R. R. — Clinton to Harriman Junction, Tenn. 30.6
Tennessee Valley Branch R. R. 4
Tennessee & Ohio R. R. — Rogersville to Rogersville Junction, Tenn. 116
Embreeville Branch — Johnson City to Embreeville, Tenn. 15.5
Atlanta Division. — Cleveland, Tenn., to Rome, Ga. 68
Rome & Decatur Division. — North Rome, Ga., to Attalla, Ala. 61.3
Atlanta Subdivision. — Rome to Macon, Ga 158.5
Brunswick Division. — Macon to Brunswick, Ga. 190
Hawkinsville Branch. — Cockran to Hawkinsville, Ga. 10
Alabama Division. — Rome, Ga., to Selma, Ala. 196
Meridian Subdivision.— Selma to Meridian, Miss. 113
Akron Branch. — Marion Junction to Akron, Ala. 53.1
Blockton Branch. — Birmingham Junction to Blockton, Ala. 31.4
Bessemer Branch. — Junction to Bessemer, Ala. 20.6
Total length of lines whose operation is included above 1,265.0
Sidings 252.64 miles
Gauge 4 ft. 9 in.
Rails (steel) 1087.7 miles, 56 lbs.
Controlled by stock ownership.
Knoxville & Ohio R. R. — Knoxville to Jellico, Tenn., and branches 69.3
Mobile & Birmingham Ry. — Mobile to Selma , Ala. 150
Louisville Southern Rail way. — Louisville to Burgin, Ky., and branches 130
Memphis & Charleston. — Memphis to Stevenson, Ala., and branches 330
Alabama Great Southern Rail way. — Chattanooga to Meridian, Miss. 295.5
Cin. N. O. & Texas Pacific Rail way. — Cincinnati, O., to Chattanooga, Tenn. 336

Included in the mileage of the Meridian subdivision is a section of the Mobile & Ohio railway from Lauderdale to Meridian, Miss., 18 miles, which was used under trackage contract; and included in the Atlanta subdivision was 17.6 miles from Austell to Simpson street, in Atlanta, which is owned jointly by this company and the Georgia Pacific Railway Company.

The Embreeville branch was opened June 1, 1891, and the Bessemer branch on the same date. In September, 1891, the company purchased a controlling interest in the Chattanooga Union Railway Company. The board of directors of the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railway Company, elected December 16, 1891, was as follows: Samuel Thomas, New York; Calvin S. Brice, Lima, Ohio; John G. Moore, New York; Samuel M. Felton, Cincinnati, Ohio; John H. Inman, New York; James Swann, New York; T. M.Logan, New York; John Greenough, New York; William L. Bull, New York; R. G. Erwin, New York; E. P. Howell, Atlanta; George J. Gould, New York; C. M. McGhee, New York; George Coppell, New York, and E. J. Sanford, Knoxville, Tenn.

The officers elected were as follows: Samuel M. Felton, Cincinnati, Ohio, president; Calvin S. Brice, vice-president; Henry Fink, New York, second vice-president; J. M. Mitchell, Knoxville, treasurer; William Hawn, Knoxville, auditor; L. M. Schwan, New York, secretary, and C. H. Hudson, Knoxville, general manager.

Henry Poor's manual for 1893 states that plans for reorganization were under consideration. According to the manual in 1892, Charles M. McGhee and Henry Fink of New York were appointed receivers of the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Company. At the election held November 16, 1892, W. G. Oakman of New York became president, and ex-President Samuel M. Felton became vice-president in place of Calvin S. Brice. Samuel Thomas of New York was again chosen chairman of the board. Mr. Brice remained as a director.

Southern Railway

The Richmond & Danville railway was sold under foreclosure June 15, 1894, and was purchased by the reorganization committee. The Southern railway was then organized with the following officers: Samuel Spencer, president; A. B. Andrews, second vice-president; W. H. Baldwin, Jr., third vice-president; Francis Lynde Stetson, general counsel; W. A. C. Ewen, secretary; George S. Hobbs, auditor. The new company began to operate the property on June 30, 1894. In 1892, Samuel Spencer, of New York, was added as a receiver of the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railway Company, in connection with the two former receivers, Messrs. Charles M. McGhee and Henry Fink. The same board elected November 16, 1892, are reported in Poor's manual for the year 1894.

Southern Railway Depot circa 1915
Southern Railway Depot, Knoxville, circa 1915

Poor's manual for 1895 gives the following mileage of the Southern at the time of the consolidation:

Railroad Miles
Washington, D. C., to Richmond, Va., via Danville, Va., and Charlotte, N. C., to Atlanta, Ga. (about) 790.00
Bristol, Tenn., via Knoxville and Chattanooga to Atlanta, Ga., thence via Birmingham, Ala., to Greenville, Miss. (about) 852.00
Rome, Ga., to Lauderdale, Miss. 282.20
Atlanta, Ga., to Brunswick, Ga. (about) 350.00
Various other lines owned, leased or controlled 2,062.25
Total length of all lines of Southern railway system (December 31, 1894) 4,342.45

The Southern Railway Company was chartered by the legislature of Virginia, February 20, 1894, and the corporation was organized in Richmond, Va., June 18, following. August 1, 1894, the operation of the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia railroad was assumed, as was that of the Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta, and the Columbia & Greeneville railroad. Other railroads were acquired September 1, 1894, giving at that date a mileage to the Southern system of 4,429.47 miles.

October 23, 1894, the following board of directors was elected: Aubin L. Boulware, Richmond, Va.; and the following, all from New York: Charles H.Coster, Harris C.Fahnestock, Thomas F. Ryan, Samuel Spencer, Anthony J. Thomas, Samuel Thomas and Skipwith Wilmer. (One vacancy.)

On the same day the following officers were elected: Samuel Spencer, president ; A. B. Andrews, Raleigh, N. C., second vice-president; W. H. Baldwin, Washington, D. C., third vice-president; F. L. Stetson, New York, general counsel; W. A. C. Ewen, New York, secretary, and H. C. Ansley, Washington, D. C., treasurer. At the time of this election the Principal office was at Richmond, Va., the New York office being at No. 80 Broadway, and the Washington office, No. 1300 Pennsylvania avenue. Later on other mileage was added to the Southern system and the total mileage, including the Alabama Great Southern, amounting to 5,591.86 miles, was as follows:

Mileage by Divisions.

Railroad Miles
Washington Division. — Washington to Monroe, Alexandria to Round Hill, Manassas to Harrisonburg, Calverton to Warrenton 338.54
Norfolk Division. — Monroe to Spencer, Greensboro to Goldsboro, Selma to Norfolk (Partners Point), Franklin Junction to Rocky Mount, University to Chapel Hill, Greensboro to Wilkesboro, Winston-Salem to Mocksville, High Point to Asheboro 655.27
Charlotte Division. — Spencer to Greenville, Biltmore to Spartanburg Junction, Salisbury to Norwood, Charlotte to Taylorsville 327.55
Atlanta Division.— Greenville to Atlanta, Atlanta to Ooltewah Junction, Atlanta to Fort Valley, Toccoa to Elberton, Chamblee to Roswell, Atlanta Belt, Cleveland to Cohutta, North Rome to Attalla 540.04
Richmond Division.— Neapolis to West Point, Keysville to Durham, Oxford to Henderson 284.82
Asheville Division.— Salisbury to Morristown, Asheville to Murphy 350.80
Columbia Division. — Charlotte to Augusta, Columbia to Greenville, Spartanburg to Alston, Hodges to Abbeville, Belton to Anderson, Edgefield to Aiken 422.73
Knoxville Division. — Bristol to Chattanooga, Knoxville to Jellico (K. & O. R. R.), Embreeville Branch, Rogersville Branch, Clinton to Harriman Junction, Coal Branches, Middlesboro Branch 450.54
Memphis Division. — Chattanooga to Memphis and Branches 331.70
Macon Division.— Atlanta to Brunswick, Cochran to Hawkinsville, McDonough to Columbus 387.18
Birmingham Division. — Austell to Greenville (including Southern Ry. in Mississippi) and branches 546.60
Anniston Division.— Atlanta Junction to Meridian, Birmingham Junction to Birmingham, Akron Branch, Blocton Branch, Lauderdale Branch 449.80
Louisville Division. — Southern Railway in Kentucky, Louisville to Lexington, Lawrenceburg to Burgin, Versailles to Georgetown 131.10
Between Knoxville and Maryville (K. & A. R. R.) 16.00
Total 5,232.67
Alabama Great Southern R. R.
Main Line Chattanooga to Meridian 296.04
Branches 33.09
Belt Ry. of Chattanooga (Leased to A. G. S.) 30.06
Grand total 5,591.86

On August 1, 1894, the Southern railway assumed the operation of the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia; the Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta and the Columbia & Greenville roads. The mileage at that time as given by Poor's manual was before given.

The Southern railway covers almost the entire South, from the Ohio and Potomac rivers to the Gulf, and from the Mississippi to the Atlantic. There are few important cities which it does not reach, and it gives all points on its lines direct passenger and freight service and facilities scarcely, if at all, surpassed by points on any line.

Since the organization of the Southern railway, the trackage, grades, equipment and service of the roads amalgamated to form it and afterwards added have been greatly improved. Patrons have been given facilities not before enjoyed, and such as are now equal to those given by any railroad line. The administration and policy of the company are progressive and wide-awake. All that is possible is done to build up the country tributary to the lines of the company, and within the past few years a great development in agriculture, horticulture, manufacturing and commerce has been witnessed. That development is still in progress.

The present board of directors is as follows: Hon. Joseph Bryan, Richmond, Va.; Charles H. Coster, H. S. Fahnestock, James T. Woodward and Adrian Iselin, all of New York; S. M. Inman, Atlanta, Ga.; Skipwith Wilmer, Baltimore, Md.; A. B. Andrews, Raleigh, N. C., and William W. Finley, Washington, D. C. The principal officers are: Samuel Spencer, New York city, president; A. B. Andrews, Raleigh, N. C., first vice-president; W. W. Finley, Washington, D.C., second vice-president; Frank S. Gannon, Washington, D. C., third vice-president and general manager; Francis Lynde Stetson, New York city, general counsel; J. F. Hill, New York city, secretary; A. H. Plant, Washington, D. C., auditor; H. C. Ansley, Washington, treasurer; John M. Culp, Washington, traffic manager; W. A. Turk, Washington, general passenger agent, and M. V. Richards, also of Washington, land and industrial agent.

Article from Review.

"KNOXVILLE, July and August, 1897. "A few years since the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia system was reorganized under the name of the Southern railway, under the direction of Samuel Spencer and W. H. Baldwin, Jr., and put upon an advanced basis in point of equipment and management. Standard steel rails, steel and iron bridges, heavy rock ballast and the strongest and handsomest rolling stock obtainable, followed the reorganization. Connections were extended in all directions. The old East Tennessee railroad, with the North Carolina extension, is now known as the branch division of the Southern, with division headquarters at Knoxville. Here are also located the repair shops of the system, a magnificent new establishment costing over $500,000 and employing 1,000 men. Thirty passenger trains daily traverse the East Tennessee lines and the freight business has assumed gigantic proportions. To take one's stand on one of the main lines on any day in the year and watch the incessant outgo and influx of large fast freight trains, laden with coal or slabs and blocks of marble, with iron, lumber, live stock, grain and merchandise, affords a better realization of the great traffic of the valley than any bold figures could produce. "Along the lines of this system which now penetrate almost every portion of the valley, is found an unparalleled diversity of interests. Agriculturally this division of the Southern reaches an excellent region. The strong upland soils cannot be surpassed, and the abundant water supply, both for power and natural irrigation, affords the first great requisite. Of the 9,000 square miles of territory enclosed in the valley district, a great portion is covered with superb timber, embracing every variety known in the Eastern United States and many species peculiarly indigenous. The manufacturing industries are extensive and growing. The Southern has its headquarters in Washington. "Scenically the Southern railway is not only unsurpassed but unequaled. The route from North Carolina into Tennessee, where the railroad and the French Broad river pass together through the great mountains, is the most wildly beautiful bit of railway journeying in America. It is an enchanted region." The Knoxville Southern Railroad Company was organized in 1887, and began the construction of its railroad the same year. On the completion of this line to Blue Ridge station, where it made a junction with the Marietta & North Georgia railroad, which started some years before and was constructed as a narrow gauge to run from Marietta, Ga., north and northeast into the mineral region of northeastern Georgia and northwestern North Carolina, the entire line was made standard gauge, and was taken up under the same management. But the division of the old Marietta & North Georgia railroad from Blue Ridge station to Murphy, N. C., a distance of twenty-five miles, is still a narrow gauge.

Atlanta, Knoxville & Northern Railway

At Marietta connection is made with the Western & Atlantic railroad, and in this way solid trains have since been run from Knoxville to Atlanta.

From Knoxville the Knoxville Southern, as it was originally called, but which is at the present time known as the Atlanta, Knoxville & Northern railroad, runs through an agricultural country, until it reaches Louisville, fourteen miles from Knoxville, and six miles further on reaches Friendsville, an old Quaker settlement. Madisonville, the county seat of Monroe county, is forty-four miles from Knoxville. Jellico Junction is sixty-one miles and Wetmore, at the head of navigation on the Hiwassee river is sixty-seven miles from Knoxville. From this place there is weekly steamboat connection with Knoxville and Chattanooga.

The Knoxville Southern Railroad Company on August 13, 1887, asked the mayor and board of aldermen of the city of Knoxville for a subscription to its capital stock of $275,000, to be paid for in the company's stock, to aid in the construction of the road, under an act of assembly passed February 17, 1887, regulating the manner in which counties and municipalities might subscribe to the capital stock of railroad companies, and upon the submission of the question to the people of Knoxville as to whether they would authorize such subscription, there were cast for the subscription 3,329 votes, to 20 against it. The conditions upon which the bonds thus voted to be issued were that they should be twenty-year, five per cent bonds, to be issued to the company when it should have completed its road from a point within one mile of the city of Knoxville to the state line between North Carolina and Tennessee, where said state line crosses the Hiwassee river, the road to be of the standard gauge, to make connection with the Marietta & North Georgia railroad, and have its trains running from Knoxville to the city of Atlanta.

The railroad was completed within the next three years, and on August 25, 1890, a committee of the mayor and board of aldermen appointed for the purpose, reported that the road began at a point on the south side of the Tennessee river within one mile of the city of Knoxville, that it was a standard gauge, steel railroad, that the southern terminus was at the state line between North Carolina and Tennessee and that the cars had run into the city of Atlanta from Knoxville and into the city of Knoxville from Atlanta. All the conditions having therefore been complied with by the railroad company, an ordinance was passed by the mayor and aldermen of Knoxville, September 2, 1890, that upon the receipt of the stock of the company for $275,000, the bonds of the city should be delivered to W. B. Bradley, president, and George R. Eager, agent and attorney for the company, and the transfer was actually made on September 3, the city receiving certificate No. 176 for 2,750 shares of the stock of the company and the interest on the bonds from July 1, 1890, to September 3, 1890, amounting to, $2,367.75, giving the bonds in exchange therefor.

This company was afterward consolidated with the Marietta & North Georgia Railroad Company, the consolidation being authorized by legislation both by the state of Georgia and the state of Tennessee. The first legislation of Georgia on this subject was had December 17, 1892, and this act was amended December 15, 1894, and also December 16, 1895. Under these acts the Atlanta, Knoxville & Northern Railroad Construction Company had become lawful purchasers of the property and franchises of the Marietta & North Georgia Railroad Company through a judicial sale of the same in the city of Marietta, Ga., which sale was confirmed by the circuit court for the northern district of Georgia, January 6, 1896. This company, therefore, filed a petition in the office of the secretary of state of Georgia praying for the formation of a corporation to exist for the period of 101 years with the right to renew the charter, and to be known as the Atlanta, Knoxville & Northern Railroad Company, the petitioners being Charles A. Collier, Eugene C. Spalding, Charles S. Northern, Jacob Haas, Victor L. Smith, William T. Spalding, Edward K. Barnes, Theodore A. Hammond, Jr., Henry L. Smith, and Alexander W. Smith, all of Fulton county, Ga. Their petition was that they be substituted for the original incorporators of the Marietta & North Georgia Railroad Company, that they should have a capital of $3,000,000, to be used for operating the lines of railroad previously owned by the Marietta & North Georgia Railroad Company, between Marietta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn., and between Blue Ridge, Ga., and Murphy, Tenn. [sic], and the prayer of the petitioners was granted, the company being incorporated by the state of Georgia, and the charter being filed for record in Knoxville, November 6, 1896. Since that time the roads mentioned above have been owned and operated by the Atlanta, Knoxville & Northern Railway Company.

The Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville railroad was formerly the Powell's Valley railroad, and was begun in 1887, about the same time as the Knoxville Southern railroad, now the Atlanta, Knoxville & Northern. It extends from Knoxville to Middlesboro, Ky., a distance of seventy-three miles, and in an almost exactly northern direction. It passes through Beverly, Corryton, Powder Springs, Lone Mountain, Powell's River and Cumberland Gap, the latter station being three miles from Middleboro [sic].

In order to assist in the construction of this road, the city of Knoxville, upon invitation, subscribed $225,000 to the stock of the company, and agreed to give in exchange therefor the same amount in bonds of the city, the election to determine the will of the voters being held August 13, 1887, at the same time the vote was taken on the subscription to the stock of the Knoxville Southern Railroad Company, and with almost precisely the same result, the vote in case of the Powell's Valley railroad stock being 3,328 in favor to 20 against it. This is a very useful road to the city of Knoxville, as it passes through a rich agricultural and mining country, and almost exactly over the old Cumberland Gap trail, which had for nearly a century been used as a wagon road, and which during the civil war was famous as being the only practicable route from the North into the valley of the Tennessee, and was kept open by the government of the United States at enormous expense. At Knoxville this road connects with the Knoxville Belt railroad, and at Middleboro [sic] with the Middleboro [sic] Belt railroad, thus increasing its mileage considerably, and it also has short spurs running out from the main line to coal mines at several places.

On August 22, 1889, an excursion party from Knoxville and West Knoxville, being on board a train making a tour of observation over this road, a very serious accident occurred at Flat Creek, Grainger county, Tenn., in which several citizens of the two corporations were either killed or wounded. Those who were killed were Col. Isham Young, chairman of the board of public works of Knoxville, and Alderman F. Hockenjos of the same city; S. T. Powers and Alexander Reeder and Judge George Andrews of West Knoxville. The wounded were Peter Kern and Aldermen Barry and Perry, and Citizens H. H. Ingersoll, H. H. Taylor, A. J. Albers, John T. Hearn, Dr.West, Alexander A. Arthur, Hugh McKeldin, A. M. Wilson, W. I. Smith, C. Aebli, H. Schubert, R. Schmidt, E. W. Adkins and E. S. Kinzel, all of Knoxville; and Hon. George L. Maloney, H. B. Wetzel, Ed. Barker, W. W. Woodruff and Thomas Rodgers, citizens, and Aldermen Park and Ross of West Knoxville.

This accident produced a profound sensation in the two corporations, and the boards of mayor and aldermen of each passed suitable resolutions expressive of sympathy for the families to whom such great calamities had come.

Louisville & Nashville Railway

August 30, 1889, Mayor Condon of Knoxville conveyed the information to the board of aldermen that he had been notified by the proper authorities of the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad Company that their road had been completed according to contract as a standard gauge road and that connections had been made at Cumberland Gap with the Louisville & Nashville railroad, and that he had appointed J. C. Anderson and William Park to make an investigation of the condition and quality of the road. September 27, 1889, the railroad company made a demand on the city of Knoxville for the $225,000 in bonds or the same amount in cash, in accordance with the contract with the city, made as above related, their road having been, as they said, completed according to their contract. The entire matter was referred by the board of mayor and aldermen to the finance committee to investigate and report back to the board.

L&N Station circa 1915
L&N Station, Knoxville, circa 1915

October 12, 1889, two reports were submitted, a majority and minority report, the former signed by George W. Albers and Samuel B. Boyd, Jr., being to the effect that the railroad company had not complied with its contract, but in what particulars the report did not state. The opinion of the majority was sustained by the opinion of Attorney Joseph W. Sneed. The minority report, signed by W. C. Perry, was to the effect that the railroad company had complied with its contract in every particular — that the rails were of steel, the roadbed well tied, the bridges and trestles in good shape, and that connection had been made with the Louisville & Nashville railroad in Claiborne county, 460 feet south of the Tennessee state line. The minority report was adopted by the board of mayor and aldermen. "On October 25, 1889, Alderman Perry requested that the city attorney be instructed to draw up an ordinance authorizing the issuance of the bonds of the city for the $225,000 to the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad Company, and on November 8, following, such an ordinance was passed on its first reading by the following vote: Aye — J. D. Selby, Barry, Knaffle, Jones, Horne, Perry and McDaniel; and nays — Boyd and Albers.

November 22, 1889, Mr. Templeton and Major T. S. Webb, attorneys for the railroad company, presented the case of the company to the council, asking for the issue of the bonds, and the city attorney expressed his opinion. Alderman Perry called up the ordinance for the issue of the bonds for its second reading, and on motion of Alderman McDaniel the entire matter was referred to a committee of five aldermen, to be assisted by the city attorney, to investigate the financial condition of the company — this committee being composed of Aldermen Selby, Boyd, McDaniel, Knaffle and Albers. December 20 this committee reported to the board that they had investigated the financial condition of the company in connection with the city attorney and Gen. Hood, and had been informed by the company that the stock book was in New York city, which fact from necessity terminated their investigations. They had been informed, however, that the company owned no stock, having turned it over to the construction company, which had disposed of it together with the first mortgage bonds, which this company had sold in order to enable it to build the road.

November 21, 1890, W. P. Washburn, presented an argument to the board in favor of the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad Company, stating that they had completed the road in accordance with their contract to its final connection with the Louisville & Nashville railroad, at Cumberland Gap, and that the company then made application for the issuance of the bonds, or the payment of so much money in cash. The city council replied by passing the following series of resolutions:

"Whereas, The matter of the issuance of $225,000 in bonds of this city to the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad Company has been heretofore fully investigated by a former board with the assistance of expert railroad engineers, of the city attorney and a special attorney employed by the city; and, "Whereas, The board making the investigation was the one legally existing at the time of the expiration of the railroad company's contract with the city, and was in full possession of all the facts in the case, and after such investigation reached the conclusion adverse to the issuance of said bonds; and,

"Whereas, This board is unwilling to issue bonds of the city which may be subject to the charge or even suspicion of invalidity and believes that any bonds now issued in response to the application at present made by the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad Company, would be subject to such a charge; and,

"Whereas, This board has not the same opportunities of forming correct judgment in the premises as were possessed by its predecessors and does not feel warranted in reversing the action of its predecessors, therefore,

"Be it resolved, That, while this board has the desire and purpose to regard and satisfy all just demands against the city, it declines to comply with the request now made by the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad Company, and to the end that the question may be put at rest, suggests to said company the propriety of securing a determination thereof in the courts of the country, with the purpose of thereby securing a final and indisputable settlement of the rights of the parties and of saving the obligations of the city from attack or suspicion in the event the courts shall adjudge that the city must issue the bonds."

The Knoxville, Cumberland Gap & Louisville Railroad Company thereupon brought suit against the city for the purpose of compelling it to issue the bonds, filing its original bill December 20, 1890, the city filing its answer in January, 1891, setting up more than twenty different defenses — technical and meritorious — the principal one being that the railroad company had not constructed its road within the time and according to the terms prescribed in the contract. Another defense was that Knoxville's subscription had, prior to the suit, been assigned by the railroad company to the Cumberland Gap Construction Company, and that the railroad company had no legal interest in the subscription. The railroad company thereupon amended their bill and alleged the assignment of the subscription to the Cumberland Gap Construction Company and made that company a co-complainant. After voluminous argument on both sides of the case, Chancellor Gibson, on June 19, 1893, held that the terms of the contract had been in all respects complied with by the railroad company, and that the construction company, as assignee of the contract of subscription, was entitled to the city's bonds, and decreed their issuance.

The city appealed the decree to the supreme court, which, on November 20, 1894, held that the railroad company had cornplied in all respects with the terms of its contract and was entitled to the bonds or to the cash on November 21, 1890, provided the railroad company was then able or was able on November 20, 1894, to deliver to the city the stock subscribed for; but as the court was not satisfied that the railroad company was able to deliver the stock oil either date, it ordered and decreed that the cause be remanded to the Chancery court at Knoxville to be there referred to the clerk and master for proof and report on this point.

This decree was presented to the Chancery court December 18, 1894, and on June 27, 1895, the master reported that the railroad company was able to deliver its stock on December 26, 1890, and on November 20, 1894. Exceptions were filed by the city July 6, 1895, and the cause was heard by Chancellor Lindsay on the master's report and on the exceptions, July 30, 1895, the chancellor overruling the exceptions and decreeing that the railroad company was able to deliver the stock on the days given above, and decreed that the city should within ninety days issue its bonds for $225,000 to the railroad company.

The city again appealed to the supreme court, which, after long argument on both sides, decided that it was proven that the railroad company nor the Cumberland Gap Construction Company could deliver the stock to the city at either of the dates mentioned, as all of the stock of the company had been issued to the construction company, which itself had hypothecated all of the stock received from the railroad company, and had actually expended of its own money, $289,500, which amount was to the construction company a total loss. The supreme court decision was made November 16, 1896, the bill of the complainants being deemed invalid, and the unadjudged costs in that court and in the courts below were to be paid by the complainants. And in this way the city of Knoxville was saved from the issue of its bonds. The cost of the road to the construction company was $2,069,560.14. The only cost to the city of Knoxville for being saved from the issuance of these bonds, which, together with the accrued interest at the time the decision was reached, would have amounted to near $300,000, was the fees paid her attorneys, viz: To John W. Yoe, $10,000, and to Joseph W. Sneed, $15,500, this latter sum being so fixed by the Supreme court of the state of Tennessee, which reduced it from $20,000, as it had been fixed by the court of appeals.

Other Local Railways

The Knoxville Belt Railway Company was chartered February 28, 1887, by A.L. Maxwell, O. P. Temple, J. W. S. Frierson, Sam House, W. R. Tuttle, William Morrow, A. A. Arthur, Henry B. Wetzel and Charles Seymour, for the purpose of constructing a railway from near the mouth of William's Spring branch, near the Crescent Marble Company's quarries, about one mile above the mouth of First creek on the Tennessee river; thence northwest, passing through or near the fair grounds, crossing the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia railway, near the zinc works, and on up the valley of First creek to a point near where the Broad street turnpike crosses said creek, and thence around the city in such a way as to cross the Knoxville & Ohio railway at a point near the Brookside Cotton mills; thence on to the valley of Third creek not far from where the old Clinton road from Knoxville crosses the north prong of the east fork of Third creek; thence down the valley of Third creek, crossing the tracks of the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia railway near the car works, and thence on down the valley of Third creek to the Tennessee river; thence up the river along the northern bank to the point of beginning, making a complete circuit of the city, in a line twelve miles in length.

During the years 1887, 1888 and 1889 a portion of this line was constructed, Reps Jones contracting for the construction of three miles of it, and put a number of men to work on the line from a point near the cotton mills down to the mouth of Third creek. In 1889 it was determined that the road should run along the north bank of the Tennessee river to the mouth of Second creek and thence up Second creek to a point where it was designed to erect a union depot. About one-half of the line as originally designed has been constructed.

One of the latest railroad projects in which Knoxville is interested is that of Colonel Boone's Black Diamond system of railways, which it is designed to build from some point or points in a northern state or in northern states through Knoxville to the Atlantic coast at Port Royal, S. C. This route is practically the one selected or favored by John C. Calhoun in 1837, and on which some work was done; but by reason of the breaking out of the war the project had to be abandoned. This dream of Calhoun, therefore, lay dormant until 1893, when a convention of friends of the enterprise met at Knoxville, attended by delegates from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee, some of the original directors of the road being present.

Colonel Albert E. Boone of Zanesville, Ohio, having gained considerable reputation as a railroad promoter, was sent for, and has since had charge of the project. The original plan was to construct a road from the Jellico coal fields to the sea, but as there would be great, if not insuperable, difficulties in attempting to financier a local road, Col. Boone insisted that the road be extended to the Ohio river, and later to the capitals of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and also that it be a double track road throughout.

Two other points Col. Boone insisted upon; first, that the grades should not exceed sixty-six feet to the mile, which the surveys show has already been accomplished; and second, the colonel interested the people along the proposed route to invest in the franchises and surveys, and they by subscriptions from $5 up to $250 raised enough money to secure the rights of way and to make the necessary surveys of the line, this money to be returned to the subscribers when the road is under construction.

Early in February, 1899, Col. Boone announced that the capital necessary to construct this line of railroad had been secured from English sources, and there the matter rests at the present time, March 1, 1899.

Cable Cars

In 1892 there was organized a company which had in view the transfer of persons across the Tennessee river by means of a cable car, the cable extending from the bank of the river on the south side to the top of what was known as Longstreet's Heights on the north side, the car ascending on this side of the river to a height of nearly three hundred feet. This cable line was completed in the latter part of the year, 1893, and in the beginning of 1894 went into operation. It had made several successful trips, when on Sunday, February 18, 1894, the cable broke just as the car had reached the upper end of the line, and was almost ready to land its passengers. The result was that the car slid down the cable at great speed, the broken end of the cable entwining itself about the car, crushing in one end, and stopping it when about half way down the incline, the car being then almost directly over the middle of the river. Here it hung suspended in midair for several hours before a rescue of the passengers could be effected. Those in the car were: Oliver Ledgerwood, who was struck and killed by the cable when it crushed in the end of the car; Miss Alice Wardell, Frank and Fred McBee, George M. Phillips, Henry Hatcher, and Willis Kibley.

Mr. J. E. Patten, one of the proprietors of the cable line, as soon as practicable after the accident, procured a cable rope 600 feet in length, and throwing it over the cable supporting the car, slid it down to the car, the ends of this rope being securely held by boatmen below. Then making a loop seat, Mr. Patten was drawn up to the car from the launch Vollette, taking with him block and tackle, which he so fastened to the cable that all the living passengers could readily descend. The body of Mr. Ledgerwood was then taken down, and the excitement, which was very great throughout the city, then subsided. A coroner's jury announced as their verdict that Mr. Ledgerwood came to his death through the breaking of the cable of the cable car which runs from the north to the south side of the river, at what is known as Longstreet's Heights, and that the accident was due to the carelessness of the owners of the cable in not guarding or protecting it, as it evidently had been tampered with. The company had already on that day carried across the river by means of their car 105 persons, and they announced their intention of repairing the cable and going on with the business of transferring people across the river; but this intention was at length abandoned.


Up to 1872 the Tennessee river at Knoxville was crossed by means of ferries, except for a short time during and immediately after the civil war, when there was in use a temporary bridge. On August 3, 1871, a vote was taken on the question of the construction of a bridge across the river at this point, to be paid for by an appropriation from the county treasury. In Knoxville the vote on the proposition to appropriate $75,000 was as follows: For the appropriation, 1,156 votes; against it, 35 votes. Outside the city the vote so far as could be ascertained was 768 in favor of the appropriation and 851 against it, making the affirmative vote 1,919 and the negative vote 886.

This question having been settled in favor of the bridge, a committee was appointed consisting of W. A. A. Connor, John L. Moses, Alfred Caldwell, John Tunnell, Julius Ochs and M. Nelson, to contract for the construction of a bridge, and this committee organized by the selection of W. A. A. Connor, chairman; Julius Ochs, secretary, and John L. Moses, treasurer. The foot of Gay street was selected as the site for the north end of the bridge, and in due time it was constructed, though not without increases in the amount of the appropriation, until finally the cost of the bridge was $163,653.65, the bridge being completed in 1874. This bridge was of the Howe truss pattern, 1,404 feet in length, with a driveway eighteen feet wide, and a sidewalk on each side, five and a half feet wide.

This structure erected at such cost was blown down by a high wind May 1, 1875, being utterly destroyed, and ferries were again resorted to and in use for nearly five years. But in 1879 a contract was made with George W. Saulpaw, by the terms of which he was permitted to use the old piers so long as he should keep open a bridge upon them. Mr. Saulpaw at once began the erection of a bridge on the old piers, which he opened to the public March 2, 1880. Soon afterward S.B. Luttrell purchased a half interest in the bridge, becoming sole proprietor in the year 1881.

This bridge was used until 1898, in July of which year the present fine structure constructed just below the old frame bridge, at the foot of Gay street, was opened to the public. The superstructure of this new bridge is of steel, resting on five stone piers and surmounted by a concrete driveway and sidewalks. Its length is 1,512 feet, width between the sidewalks, 30 feet, the sidewalks themselves being six feet in width and protected on the outer side by an iron railing four and a half feet high. The stone piers rise above low water to a height of fifty feet, and the bridge is 104 610 [sic] feet above low water. The cost of this elegant structure, which is considered the finest in the Southern states, was $211,000, aside from incidental expenses. The approach at the south end of the bridge is sixty feet long, and at the north end, 127 feet, so that the extreme of the bridge and its approaches is 1,699 feet.

Views of the Knox County (now Gay Street) Bridge
Looking northeast, circa 1910
Knox County Bridge, circa 1910 Knox County Bridge, circa 1910
Looking northwest, circa 1910 Looking east, circa 1910

Street Railways

The Knoxville Street Railway Company was the parent company of the street railroads in Knoxville, Tenn. It was chartered December 12, 1875, and secured the first franchise from the city granted to any street railroad, on February 11, 1876. The original directors were M. L. Patterson, Edwin Phelps, Joel J. P. Hargis, Oliver C. Irish and George W. Ross. This company built its first track along Gay street and operated it by mules.

In 1882 the Market Square Railroad Company was organized with C. W. Crozier, D. R. Samuels, W. C. McCoy, John L. Moses, W. H. Simmons, Peter Kern and J. S. Hall as directors, the charter dating February 27, 1882, and they secured a franchise from the city on August 11, 1882. While they had a franchise over all of the streets of the city, they only built from Gay street out Asylum street and made a loop line in that part of the city known as the Ninth ward.

Next the Mabry Street, Bell Avenue and Hardee Street Railway Company was organized by M. E. Thompson, Daniel Cawood, H. H. Taylor, Joseph Meek, Thomas L. Seay and R. N. Hood as directors, the charter being issued on August 12, 1885, and the franchise being granted by the city council on August 25, 1885. This company built a horse car line along Vine and Hardee streets to, the cemeteries on the Rutledge pike and along Central avenue to Hardee street, and along that street and Bell avenue to the Rutledge pike and beyond; along several other streets. Afterwards extending to the vicinity of Lake Ottossee.

Lake Ottosee at Chilhowee Park circa 1915
Lake Ottosee at Chilhowee Park, circa 1910

Early in the [18] nineties the Mabry, Bell Avenue and Hardee Street railroad desired to connect with the Market Square railroad by the construction of a track through Gay street, parallel to the track of the Knoxville street railway. The latter company made a proposition for the use of their tracks and it was accepted.

Gay Street with trolley circa 1910
Gay Street, looking north, circa 1910

In January, 1886, the Citizens Railway Company was chartered with John S. Van Gilder, Reps Jones, E. C. Jones, F. H. McClung and Somers Van Gilder as directors, and the city granted a franchise over specific streets on August 10, 1886.

The Knoxville and Edgwood Street Railroad Company was organized March 12, 1887, with William Caswell, N.A.Jackson, J. A. Jackson, S. A. Rogers, F. A. Moses and E. C. Camp named as directors in the charter, and the city gave a franchise on April 1, 1887, for a track through Gay street, Park, Florida, North Fourth avenue, to city line, and from Park through Crozier to Broad and along Central avenue to city line.

On March 15, 1887, the Elmwood Street Railway Company was incorporated with Reps Jones, H. B. Branner, Charles McTeer, A. P. White and H. W. Curtis as directors, and were granted a franchise by the city April 1, 1887, along Main street from the court house to Prince street and along the latter street to Market square and to Gay street; or from the court house along Gay street to White street, now North Gay street, and then along Park street to Elmwood Park, which was outside of the city. This line was constructed from White street to Elmwood Park and operated by dummy engine. In 1890 there was organized by amendment to the charter of the Elmwood street railroad, the Rapid Transit Company, with the following directors: W. G. McAdoo, S. G. Heiskell, M. R. McAdoo, Samuel Hensel and A. P. White, with the right to use either electricity or cable as motive power.

The West End Street Railroad Company was chartered November 10, 1887, with James D. Cowan, R. S. Payne, R. M. Rhea, R. P. Gettys and W. H. Simmonds as directors, and the city granted a franchise over Clinch street from Gay street to the city line, December 23, 1887. The road was erected. It was extended into West Knoxville and operated over Highland avenue, Clinch avenue, Eighth street, Cumberland, Temple, Yale and other avenues.

There was granted a charter to the Middlebrook Railway Company dated October 14, 1889, with Samuel McKinney, T. S. Webb, H. H. Taylor, Hu. L. McClung, S. B. Crawford, W. B. Ragsdale and W. H. Simmonds as directors, and the city granted a franchise April 14, 1893, from Gay street along Fifth avenue and over the Knoxville and Ohio railroad bridge, along University avenue to the city line.

In May, 1893, the Knoxville Electric Railway Company was organized by amendment to the charter of the Knoxville Street Railway Company (the parent company). W. G. McAdoo, F. K. Huger, Charles E. Bostwick, M. R. McAdoo and Samuel Hensel were the first directors. The city granted a new franchise to this company, recognizing the former grants to the old company and extending the franchise to include other specific streets.

Just prior to the organization of the new company the old company absorbed the Mabry Street, Bell Avenue and Hardee Street Railroad. The new company also consolidated the Market Square Company into the new organization and also the Rapid Transit Company properties, the latter having absorbed the Edgwood Company properties. Then there was installed the system to operate the roads by electricity. The Middlebrook and West End companies remained out of the consolidation.

In 1893, the Knoxville Electric Railway Company having failed to pay interest on its bonds, it was placed in the hands of a receiver, and in June, 1895, the properties were sold to J. Simpson Africa as trustee, representing the Union Trust Company of Philadelphia and other creditors, C. C. Howell acting as agent of the parties at the sale and bidding the same in for the owners of the bonds. This sale included the property of the Rapid Transit Company, and soon after the sale J. E. M. Chamberlain, Jr., as trustee, raised the bid on the Rapid Transit property. The decrees for the sale of these properties were made in two parts. Nine-tenths of the property was confirmed to Africa as trustee and one-tenth (the Rapid Transit line) to Chamberlain as trustee.

Soon after the sale the Citizens' company began to operate the Rapid Transit company line and commenced the construction of lines on Jacksboro, Munson streets and Central and Park avenues. This brought on litigation after litigation and the Citizens' company fought the company operated by C. C. Howell as agent. The city also took a hand in the litigation to protect its rights, and the United States court of appeals decided that a street railroad could only build on streets where the charter specifically named the streets and the municipality specifically granted the franchise. This delayed the Citizens' company and the old company, or Howell's, seemed to have their own way, and through good management obtained possession of all the streets and bridges in and about Knoxville. There seemed to be nothing for the Citizens' company to do.

Mr. Howell organized a new company, known as the Knoxville Street Railway Company. It was chartered November 2, 1896, with W. S. Shields, J. C. Luttrell, T. S. Webb, Hu. L. McClung and C. C. Howell as directors, and the city granted a franchise naming specific streets, including those previously specifically granted to the Knoxville Electric railway and its predecessors and others over which the company desired to build. The Citizens' company enjoined the Knoxville Street Railway Company from accepting the franchise granted as above stated and the injunction held for a year. On being dissolved by the courts, the Knoxville Street Railway Company accepted the franchise. This company was the main or principal company in the city at that time.

The North Knoxville corporation granted to the Citizens' company a franchise over certain streets, and as there had been several extensions and delay after delay, the city by ordinance declared forfeited a deposit of $1,000 made by the company and the track of the Citizens' company within the limits of that city.

On March 1, 1897, the Citizens' company attempted to dig up Depot street, contrary to a city ordinance prohibiting the digging up of streets during winter months. When the police interfered the Citizens' company had the police arrested for interfering with them and the fire department was called out to do police duty, which they did. This brought about additional litigation between the Citizens' company and the city, and the city won every point of the litigation.

In the latter part of 1895 Mr. C. C. Howell, the general manager of the Knoxville Street Railway Company, bought the Middlebrook Railway Company and operated it in connection with the lines managed by him.

The Knoxville Traction Company was organized March 28, 1898, by an amendment to the charter of the Knoxville Street Railway Company. On the same day it acquired by purchase the property and lines of the Knoxville, Middlebrook, West End, and the Citizens' Street Railway Companies. This comprised all of the street railways in the city. On the same day the same company secured by purchase the property of the Knoxville Electric Light and Power Company and the Mutual Light and Power Company. These light and power properties are still held and controlled by the same people. It was a virtual consolidation of all the electric business in Knoxville, which was at that time placed in the charge and management of Mr. C. C. Howell, who had also been in charge of the affairs of the Knoxville Street Railway Company and the Knoxville Electric Light and Power Company and had made them a success.

When the Knoxville Traction Company was organized it chose as directors the following gentlemen: Frank S. Hambleton, John N. Steele and Charles N. Baer of Baltimore, Md.; C.C. Howell, E. E. McMillian, W. S. Shields and R. M. Rhea of Knoxville, Tenn.

Mr. Frank S. Hambleton was chosen as president. He was connected with the Baltimore Consolidated Street Railway Company and his father, T. Edward Hambleton, was the father of rapid transit in Baltimore, Md. Mr. Frank S. Hambleton has been associated with his father for many years and was thoroughly equipped and the proper person to become the head of this important property.

Mr. C. C. Howell was elected vice-president and general manager of the company. Mr. Hambleton first showed his ability and good judgment in placing Mr. Howell at the helm of management of these newly acquired properties, as he was acquainted with the people, who had been watching him since he arrived in Knoxville and knew that he was operating the property of the city well, and in the interest of the people that he represented.

On many occasions when Mr. Howell was in his hardest fight with the city authorities, establishing what he thought was the rights of his company, he would say: "The railway's interest and the people's interest are identical," and his predictions have proved true, as he has the whole community in sympathy with his work. There is not a more thoroughly equipped and better managed property in the country than the Knoxville Traction Company and its allied property, the Knoxville Electric Light and Power Company. The roadbed and the cars are of the best and the service given to its patrons is equal to that of any town of the same size of Knoxville.

Mr. C. C. Howell was born in Jefferson county, New York, March 22, 1848. His father died when he was four years of age, and he was compelled to become the architect of his own fortune and in 1861 he apprenticed himself to learn the blacksmith's and machinist's trade in Watertown, N. Y., which he followed until after the war, when he entered the employ of the Watertown Portable Steam Engine Manufacturing Company, remaining for two years, and during that time he attended night school. After working at his trade for seven years in Watertown he went to Utica, N. Y., and remained for one year, following his trade. In the fall of 1868 he left Utica and went to the Michigan State University at Ann Arbor, where he took a special course in chemistry, metallurgy and mechanical engineering.

He has become identified with all the public enterprises of Knoxville and was one of the originators of the annual carnival, each year giving it his strong support. He was one of the principal movers in securing the national camp of volunteers in Knoxville during the Spanish-American war. He identified himself with the women of the city and helped to secure the first funds for the erection of the new city hospital. The Woman's Hospital and Promoting Board entrusted him with the obtaining of the necessary legislation and he secured the passage of an act permitting the city to issue $30,000 of bonds, which sold for $32,000 net. He was selected by the Women's Building and Promoting Board as one of the governors of the new hospital and the city council chose him as one of the building committee of that institution.

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