My Present Past
A genealogical experience
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Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad
Morley instantly divined the situation and procuring a locomotive was rushed to Pueblo where he arrived at
3 o'clock on the morning of the 20th. Like his general manager at El Moro, he sought a special locomotive over
the narrow gauge, but without avail. It was nearly forty miles to Canon City. Once there, Morley new he could
easily  gather a force for the town favored his Company. Within a few hours his rivals would soon start in a
special train. Were he to smuggle himself into the Rio Grande crowd, he would probably suffer violence and
accomplish nothing, for he would have no time after arriving to marshal a force to oppose their advance. He
must get there first.  He had a start of several hours; the narrow gauge line was new, rough and crooked, the
engine was small and the schedule was slow. He would beat them yet. Morley at once procured a good horse and
started at full gallop. It was a race of flesh and blood against a railroad, a desperate ride. Urging the animal to
the limit of its endurance Morley had arrived almost within sight of Canon City when the animal fell dead from
exhaustion. Leaping to his feet the rider ran the rest of the way alone and safely reached the offices of the
Canon City and San Juan Company before the train of the Rio Grande laborers arrived. The friendship of Canon
City for the Santa Fe Railroad was instantly proven. A force of townspeople with shovels and firearms quickly
assembled and hurried the two miles to the entrance of the Canon where they were found in grim possession by
the Denver Rio Grande party a half an hour later.
On April 19th, 1878, the Board of Directors for the Canon City
& San Juan Railroad elected W. B. Strong, General Manager and
A. A. Robinson, Chief Engineer respectively of the Santa Fe, to
similar positions in the Canon City & San Juan Railroad.

At about the same time the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe
directors in Boston decided to extend the Pueblo & Arkansas
Valley Railroad from Pueblo into Leadville and the San Juan
mining district.

That same year it was planned to build fifty seven miles from
Canon City to the South Arkansas at a cost of $750,000. Seven
per cent gold bonds, limited to $14,000 per mile of completed
road were to be issued to the stockholders. The extension
when built was to be placed under a 30 year lease under the
same conditions the line from the Kansas boundary to Pueblo,
Colorado was  held under.
1879 Immigrant's Guide Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe
During this same time it was officially announced to build
the New Mexico & Southern Pacific Railroad from the
north line of New Mexico at Raton Pass southward via Las
Vegas to Albuquerque on the Rio Grande, 248 miles at an
estimated cost of $2,621,000, which sum likewise would
be raised through an issuance of first mortgage seven per
cent gold bonds limited to $15,000 per mile of completed
road. The bonds were to be further secured by a lease of
the property to the Atchison Company, which guaranteed a
payment of 37 per cent of the gross earnings of the new
road and a rebate of 15 per cent on all business delivered
to and from said line at the southern boundary of
Colorado. The securities were quickly sold, the money was
thus ready and the Santa Fe Company had definitely
embarked on a policy of aggressive expansion.
On April 20th, 1878 the Santa Fe Company obtained a writ of temporary injunction against the Denver Rio
Grande for further action in the Canon.

The Rio Grande Company, since they owned the only railroad line out of the Canon to Pueblo, along with the
telegraph lines refused to transport any men or supplies for the Santa Fe and only censored telegraph
messages, not unfriendly were accepted for transmission. Mr. Strong was equal to the task, he established a
pony express line from the Canon to Pueblo, a forty mile excursion, that was executed on a five hour schedule.

On April 22nd, Strong set 175 laborers to work grading the line from Canon City to Pueblo. This line was to be
completed in about thirty days and should reach Leadville by the end of the year. At the same time he
announced a broad gauge line would be surveyed from Pueblo to Denver.

The Denver Rio Grande paid their workers, one dollar per day, Mr. Strong countered by paying his men one and a
half dollars per day, including board

On April 26th, 1878, Judge Henry of the State District Court, issued an injunction restraining the Santa Fe
from further action in the Canon. The Santa Fe still held strategic points it had occupied and prepared to build
its main line south from Trinidad.

Narrow gauge refers to the width of the track. In this instance the Denver Rio Grande was strictly narrow gauge at 3' in width,  while the more popular broad
gauge commonly used by the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe was measured at 4'8"
1/2 inches in width.
On May 06, 1878 the Santa Fe Company with Attorneys, Willard Teller, Gilbert B. Reed and Charles E. Gast and
the Denver Rio Grande Company with Messengers, Wells, Smith and
Macon of Denver and H. A. Risley of
Colorado Springs appeared before
Judge Hallett in the United States Circuit Court in Denver. After hearing all
arguments, the judge issued a temporary order forbidding either company from working in the disputed Canon
and invited Judge Dillon of St. Louis to consider the case jointly before rendering a decision.
Before inviting Judge Dillon, Judge Hallett issued a restraining order against both companies, they were to
vacate the property and were forbidden to continue work until a decision was rendered. To make sure there
were no problems, the judge imposed a $20,000 bond on each company to ensure good behavior of both parties.
On June 01, 1878, Judges Dillon and Hallett ruled in favor of the Canon City & San Juan Company to continue
grading but would not allow them to lay rails. This was a temporary makeshift decision only to last until the
regular session of the United States Circuit Court, which was to convene on July of that year.
On the 23rd of August, 1878, the United States Circuit Court ruled in favor of the Canon City & San Juan
Railroad on the basis of their filing of surveys with the Receiver of Federal Land Office if Pueblo on July 23,
1877 and afterwards approved by Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior. While the Congressional act of 1872
had granted the Rio Grande the right of way two hundred feet wide, from Colorado to Old Mexico, the Rio
Grande had not taken the formal steps to secure such right of way through the Canon. The decision however
only took into account the first twenty miles of the Canon, which the Santa Fe had secured with the Act of
March 03, 1875. The upper part of the Canon was still in controversy and the decision only put the Denver Rio
Grande's prior claim, subordinate to the Santa Fe. The Denver Rio Grande promptly made an appeal to the
United States Supreme Court and while waiting they continued working of their line from above the twenty
mile limit. In New York a group of foreign capitalists purchased $1,000,000 of the Denver Rio Grande first
mortgage bonds, which funds would absorb the floating debts of the company and provide for a short but
vigorous building campaign in the disputed territory. On September 01, 1878, the Rio Grande filed suit in
Federal Circuit Court against the Pueblo & Arkansas Valley Railroad for the right of way through the upper
Canon to Leadville and from the mouth of the South Arkansas to San Luis Park, due west of the Canon City.
On September 03, the Secretary of the Interior formally approved the plats for a line to Leadville and across
Poncha and Marshall Passes, for the Santa Fe. On September 12th, the railroad consolidated the Pueblo &
Arkansas Valley Railroad with the Canon City & San Juan Railroad, thus bringing its Colorado interests under a
single corporate head. The capital stock of the combination thus effected was $6,000,000. Not only did the
Santa Fe people plan to reach Leadville; it was proposed to extend branches through Gunnison Pass, into Park
and Summitt Counties of the interior and through Colorado Springs to Denver. This meant the direct invasion of
all territory occupied by the narrow gauge railroad.
However, on October 19th, 1878 the Santa Fe and the Denver Rio Grande entered into a lease agreement. The
lease would run for thirty years beginning on December 01, 1878, allowing the Denver Rio Grande to lease all of
its lines, facilities and privileges of conducting business to the Santa Fe but keeping its corporate structure
intact. It provided for direct payment of percentages of capital earned, rental of trackage, rolling stock and
fixed structures, payment for depreciation and not to enter into any other agreements with competing
railroads of the Denver Rio Grande.
Above & Left:


1881 A. T. & S. F. Pass Checks
issued to Edward J. Engel &
Wife. These were personally
written and signed by
W. B. Strong