My Present Past
A genealogical experience
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Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad
There are numerous motives for the lease agreement with the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe and the Denver Rio
Grande, one was the aggressive expansion of the Santa Fe into the Rio Grande territory and the vigorous
leadership of W. B. Strong, coupled with the financial inferiority of the Denver Rio Grande. Mr. Palmer of the
Rio Grande contended that it was due to the imminent consolidation of the Denver Rio Grande with the Pueblo &
Arkansas Valley Railroad, a Santa Fe subsidiary. It was also desired to equal the stock  and debt of both
companies. Basically one share of Pueblo & Arkansas Valley stock was swapped for five shares of the Denver Rio
Grande stock. Originally the Pueblo & Arkansas Valley issued stock was $15,438 per finished mile with a bonded
debt of $11,780 per finished mile, while the Denver Rio Grande stock issued at $25,222 with a bonded debt of
$22,664 per mile and another $500,000 of outstanding debt before the lease was made, making the Denver
Rio Grande stock practically worthless. Also about $1,700,000 worth of Pueblo & Arkansas Valley stock was
provided to Palmer, as he required, for further payment in the company's debts in excess of the bonded debt
of $22,664 per mile.
On December 03, 1878, the Denver Rio Grande stockholders ratified the lease with the Atchison Topeka &
Santa Fe by a four fifths vote, in Colorado Springs. The stock of the Pueblo & Arkansas Valley and Denver Rio
Grande companies which had been interchanged was deposited in Boston, Massachusetts, naming Mr. T. J.
Coolidge ,trustee. On December 13, 1878 the Denver Rio Grande and its effects passed to the Atchison Topeka
& Santa Fe Railroad, by order of President Palmer. On the same date, W. B. Strong announced that all operating
officials of the Rio Grande would be transferred to the Santa Fe payrolls and he instructed D. C. Dodge,
general manager of the Rio Grande, the line to and from Denver was open for freight and passenger business.
In May, 1878 contracts aggregating $1,500,000 were let for the construction of the first hundred miles of
New Mexico extension. Supplementary plans for building one hundred and twenty miles farther to Las Vegas, in
the heart of New Mexico, were likewise made ready. Work started in La Junta in June and by September 1st,
the line was finished and opened for business, 81 miles to
Trinidad. Sixteen miles south was Raton Pass, the
summit of which must be pierced by a tunnel to avoid the expense and hindrance to traffic caused by excessive
grades. Work in this tunnel was begun promptly but there was no waiting for tunnels to be finished. To avoid
delay, the Pass was surmounted by a "switchback", which was boldly conceived by Chief Engineer A. A. Robinson
and on December 07, 1878, a locomotive travelled over the summit and into New Mexico. The Santa Fe had
crossed the first barrier of the Rockies over the strategic Raton Pass and the long contemplated entrance of
New Mexico had at least been made.
In the Spring of 1878, the Union Pacific, Colorado Pacific, Kansas Pacific and
Omaha Bridge Company formed a pool whereby it was agreed to divide and share
their transportation business. All earnings  were to be placed into a fund and
divided among the members of the pool according to a stipulated percentage.
This agreement was made due to the increased pressure brought upon by the
actions in Colorado, of the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.

On December 28, 1878, the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe proposed to buy the
Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad, which was projected to run between
Denver and Leadville. They arranged to purchase the first mortgage bonds of
the company, which indebtedness was $700,000. There was a question of a
prior $300,000  worth of county aid that was given to the road and the affair
was dropped before the end of January, 1879.
On March 18, 1879, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the Grand Canon
case involving the Santa Fe and Denver Rio Grande.

On April 19th, 1879,
C. W. Wright, Attorney General for Colorado started
"quo warranto" proceedings against the Santa Fe on behalf of the people of
Colorado. Wright's ultimate purpose was to oust the Santa Fe from Colorado.

On April 21, 1879, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower court
in favor of the Santa Fe and confirmed the Denver Rio Grande held the rights
to the Canon from the
Act of June, 08, 1872.        S984 - Pg 01   Pg 02

On April 22, 1879, the Santa Fe was ordered to court by warrants issued by
C. W. Wright to answer and show by what authority they were operating a
railroad, a Kansas corporation, in Colorado. Wright was accused of bad faith, not
only by public opinion but also by the Governor of Colorado, who was not
informed of the proceedings.
On April 23, 1879, a suit in equity was brought in the Massachusetts Supreme Court to set aside the previous
lease of October 29, 1878, of the Denver Rio Grande and the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe. The plaintiffs being
the Rio Grande and the defendants, the Santa Fe. Arguments were heard but there was not an immediate
decision involving the case.
On May 15, 1879 the United States Circuit Court at Denver gave the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe leave to file
a supplemental bill and litigate the question as to whether the Rio Grande Company by lease and other
agreements had admitted the Atchison Company to continue construction upon the located line of the former.
The court also decided that in any consideration of the case, the roadbed of a rival company could only be
appropriated on paying for the cost of construction after it had been justly determined. The question of the
lease must first be determined.
Towards the end of May, 1879, Attorney General Charles W. Wright, after obtaining the writ of "quo
warranto", formally entered suit to enjoin the Santa Fe from operating railroads in Colorado. The case was
heard before
Judge Thomas M. Bowen of the State District Court in Alamosa. After much deliberation the
Judge returned a vigorous reply and the motion was denied.
On June 04, 1879 the Times reported the private law firm of
Butler, Wright and King, who the Attorney
General was a member, represented the Denver Rio Grande in litigation, which made it a conflict of interest.
On June 10, 1879, Judge Bowen of the State District Court issued an injunction forbidding the Santa Fe and al
lits officers and employees from operating the Denver Rio Grande railroad lines wholly or in part and from
exercising any corporate rights and privileges. This meant the restoration of the property to its original
managers. Bowen's writs of injunction were served on June 11th and ordered the sheriffs in the various
counties to take possession of the Denver Rio Grande property.
Attorney Willard Teller for the Santa Fe appeared before Judge Hallett on June 12th and moved to have the
injunction handed down by Bowen rescinded and have the matter brought into Federal Court for consideration.
Hallett consented and granted the application transferring the case to the United States Court and declared
Bowen's writs were virtually null and void. Hallett contended that any action which denied the right of the
Santa Fe or any outside corporation to conduct business in Colorado could not be sustained so long as such
corporations complied with the laws. The state might prevent a foreign corporation from conducting business
within its boundaries but if such a corporation entered the state and acquired movable property therein, the
state had no right to confiscate such property, whether it be a horse or a railroad.
Judge Bowen then surprised everyone by placing the Denver Rio Grande Railroad in the hands of a receiver,
Mr. H. A. Risley of Colorado Springs, one of the Rio Grande lawyers, on June 14th, 1879.

The suit was opened in the Federal Circuit Court in Denver on June 17th, with Judge Hallett on the bench and
Justice Miller of the United States Supreme Court, who sat in an advisory capacity. On June 23rd, Judge
Hallett, Justice Miller, concurring, rendered a decision. The court held that the Denver Rio Grande property
had been wrongfully taken and that within three days after June 25th it must be turned over to the lessee,
the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe. Justice Miller declared the order must be promptly obeyed and that any
violence would be sharply discountenanced. The Denver Rio Grande attorney's moved for an immediate
execution of the Supreme Court mandate with reference to the Grand Canon, claiming that the Supreme Court
decision applied to the whole twenty miles in dispute from the mouth of the Canon, westward. To this Justice
Miller responded that the prior right conceded by the highest court to the Rio Grande applied only to that
portion of the Canon which was too narrow for both roads, the Royal Gorge. Since the Santa Fe had already built
through the Gorge under authority of the Federal Circuit Court and refused to give over its property without
compensation, Miller held that the Supreme Court mandate could not be executed until the cost of the Santa
Fe construction could be determined. As to restoring the property, the Rio Grande people asked for a stay of
proceedings until the receivership question could be settled and this the Court granted.
On July 2nd, Justice Miller decided that the State Court had acted within its authority and that Mr. Risley was
a legally appointed receiver for the Denver Rio Grande.
The Santa Fe now moved for an injunction against the Denver Rio Grande forces from blocking construction
above the twenty mile limit, in the direction of Leadville. Since both the Circuit and Supreme Courts had ruled
only on the first twenty miles of the Canon, the decision of the latter evidently pertaining only to the Gorge,
the Santa Fe had pushed operations, building the line through the first twenty miles of the Canon and crossed
the Arkansas by means of a hanging bridge, a bold and original idea of A. A. Robinson, of the Santa Fe. At the
twenty mile limit the Santa Fe laborers were stopped by
Engineer DeRemer and armed forces of the Rio
Grande men who had established themselves in a stone fort. The Denver Rio Grande contended they had prior
operations before the Santa Fe above the twenty mile limit but it was presented and proved by the Santa Fe
that they not the Denver Rio Grande had located the line of July 26th, 1878. Afterwards Justice Miller
concluded the Rio Grande Company and Meyer's application for receivership was in collusion to prevent Judge
Hallett's decision from being enforced. On July 14th, the Court ordered that Risley be discharged as receiver
and restore the property to the Santa Fe within two days of the determination. Likewise the Court ruled that
the Supreme Court decision gave the Rio Grande the prior right all the way from Canon City to Leadville. But
they must take over the constructed line and pay all legitimate costs of construction.