|The Chicago Burlington & Quincy line that runs through Liberty, Clay County, Missouri in 1945 was originally built |
under the Kansas City & Cameron Railroad, which was chartered in March of 1860. However, the beginnings of
this road actually started with the incorporation by the Missouri Legislature in 1855 of the Kansas City,
Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad Company, the object of which was to build a road to the nearest point on the
Hannibal & St. Joseph line. The incorporators were Dr. Benoist Troost, Washington H. Chick, Milton J. Payne,
Andrew J. Martin, Thomas H. Swope, Joel Walker, H. J. Richards, Jesse Riddlesbarger, Alexander Gilham, Gains
Jenkins, William J. Jarboe, Joseph C. Ranson, John W. Ammons, Samuel W. Bouton, Dr. Johnston Lykins, Dr.
Thomas B. Lester, David K. Abeel, John W. Summers, J. A. Fenley and William A. Strong. Governor Price vetoed
the bill but it was passed over his veto. The line was never actually built under this charter, however the
passage of its charter started the inception of the road from Kansas City to Cameron, Missouri. To understand
how and why this line was built through Liberty, you will have to explore the entire railroad situation in the
State of Missouri and the adjoining rail lines including the Pacific Railroad.
Railroads began to reach St. Louis, Missouri around 1849 and it was known that to extend the westward
expansion of our young unsettled country, a means of transportation other than wagons and riverboats were
needed. So a convention was held in St. Louis that same year and the Pacific Railroad was chartered from
St. Louis to the western line in 1852, which included the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad.
On December 01, 1855 the Missouri Legislature passed a bill giving State aid to certain railroads, among which
was the Pacific. This gave great satisfaction here, as it was expected and anticipated that the road would be
immediately pushed through and Kansas City was sanguine of success in securing its terminus.
The talk of a railroad to Galveston Bay began to grow in early 1855, which included almost every town in
western Missouri and eastern Kansas. Projected railroads began to spring up from Parkville, Missouri to
Leavenworth, Kansas. In discussing the Galveston Railroad project it was soon discovered that the country
northward of Kansas City would like to have the road extended through their section.
On January 12, 1856 the books were opened for subscription to the stock of the Kansas City, Hannibal & St.
Joseph railroad. It was then expected the road could be located by March and constructed in two years and it
would prove the most important line for the city because of the impact to immigrants to the State of Kansas.
On January 16 a meeting was held and Joseph C. Ranson, John C. McCoy and Jesse Riddlesbarger were appointed
to correspond with E. M. Samuels of Clay County, Missouri for the purpose of a survey. Clay County had already
proposed to pay half the expense if Kansas City would pay the other, which was promptly accepted. On July 05,
1856 the directors of the Kansas City, Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad engaged Robert J. Lawrence to survey
and locate the line. The work was begun the next week and an agent accompanied Mr. Lawrence to solicit
subscriptions to the stock. The previous day Colonel Samuels of Clay County had addressed the citizens of
Liberty on extending the line to Keokuk, Iowa and on the 9th, he addressed the people of Kansas City on the
same subject. On July 19th the survey of the route of the Kansas City, Hannibal & St. Joseph was finished by
Mr. Lawrence to Fishing Creek and on the 26th, Joseph C. Ransom made the first call upon subscribers to the
expense of the survey. On October 04, 1856 the directors of this road resolved to organize under the general
incorporation law of the State as the Keokuk & Kansas City Railroad and asked the people to assemble and
memorialize the Kansas City Council to order an election to vote $150,00 stock in it. The election occurred on
the 14th and the proposition carried with Keokuk voting for $45,000 with $50,000 of individual subscription
from Kansas City and the same amount from Clay County. On November 10 in Kansas City a convention on the
interest of this road was called and a subsequent meeting at Linneus, Missouri on November 20th for the same
interest. The report of the survey by Robert J Lawrence was presented at both meetings and the line was
regarded as exceptionally favorable however the survey only extended the line of the Hannibal & St. Joseph
line. At the convention at Linneus on the 20th, it was determined the line was necessary and must be built, so
they raised a committee to obtain a charter from the Missouri Legislature. That committee consisted of E. M.
Samuels of Clay County, Kersey Coates and R. T. Van Horn. W. Y. Slack of Chillicothe was appointed agent and an
assessment of $3,000 was made to pay for a preliminary survey to be made by the Hannibal & St. Joseph
Company. This convention was followed by many enthusiastic meetings and subscriptions of stock by most of the
counties along the proposed line.
On December of 1856 General Duff brought up the entire stock of the Kansas City & St. Joseph Railroad and on
March 03, 1857 a bill was introduced by General Reid into the Missouri Legislature which passed and signed
appropriating $75,000 for it under the name of the Platte County Road by which it was afterwards known. One
half of the sum was to be expended between Kansas City and St. Joseph and the other half extending into Iowa.
On the 2nd of January 1857, General John W. Reid of Kansas City introduced into the Missouri Legislature a bill
to incorporate the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad and it passed on January 6th. As soon as the Governor signed
the charter, the company opened the books in Kansas City and two hundred and fifty shares of stock were
subscribed by the people.
In January of 1857, the Missouri Legislature chartered the Kansas City & Galveston Railroad. This road was to
extend northward to Lake Superior and John J. Shoemaker commenced the survey from Kansas City, north
through Platte and Clinton counties, with meetings being held in Plattsburg, Smithville and Barry.
In February of 1857 the Kansas City, Galveston & Lake Superior Railroad Company was formed to build a road
from Lake Superior to Galveston Bay through Kansas City. Dr. Lykins was elected President, Robert T. Van
Horn, Secretary and Kersey Coates, Treasurer. On March of the same year the Louisiana Legislature passed a
bill to incorporate the New Orleans, Shreveport & Kansas City Railroad, the line to touch the points named and
run along the line between Arkansas and the Indian Territory, Kansas and Missouri. Among the incorporators
named in the bill were Kersey Coates, Dr. Lykins and E. M. Samuels of Clay County.
On June 02, William M. McPherson of the Pacific Railroad visited Jackson County and promised to complete the
road to Kansas City in eighteen months, if Kansas City would give $150,000 and Independence $50,000 and it
was promptly voted in. The Kansas City & Keokuk Railroad Company completed its organization on July 6th by
electing Kersey Coates, President, Joseph C. Ranson, Vice President, S. W. Bouton, Secretary and Robert J.
Lawrence, Engineer. The survey of the Kansas City, Galveston & Lake Superior road was to the line of the
Hannibal & St. Joseph road by Mr. Shoemaker on July 11th and the cost of construction was estimated at
$22,000 per mile.
In May of 1858 there was a renewed interest in locating the northern line from Kansas City and straight up
through Platte City and then to St. Joseph, bypassing Liberty entirely. An engineer was put on the project and a
survey was completed on the newly proposed line. During this time there was not much road building but a lot of
debate between the different locations between Kansas City and St. Joseph on what direction the line was
going to take. At the session of the Missouri Legislature in 1859-60, the Missouri Pacific, Iron Mountain and
North Missouri Roads were all in a condition that they could not go forward without further State aid. The
Legislature labored without doing anything. Kansas City felt this to be a most calamitous blow. Indignation
meetings were held in Kansas City and other locations and Governor Stewart was urged to recall the
Legislature, which was recalled to meet on February 27, 1860. During this time, Kansas City organized the
Kansas City & Gallatin Railroad Company to build a road to a connection with the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad
at the latter location but it waited the action of the Legislature in regards to the Pacific Railroad. Soon after,
the Legislature approved the aid for the Pacific road and this stimulated renewed interest in the Pacific Road.
However the Governor of Missouri, Robert M. Stewart, who was the father of the Hannibal & St. Joseph
road vetoed the bill due to a technicality, the Legislature adjourned and railroad prospects were again plunged
into gloom. The people were tired of being between hope and fear with the railroads. The Governor had been put
into office because of his interest and involvement in the railroads but his actions on this particular bill would
be the death knell of his political career.
In March of 1860, Dr. Johnson Lykins at a Council meeting in Kansas City offered a resolution, which was
adopted, creating an executive committee to foster the railroad interests and to correspond with other places
to that end. It at once opened a correspondence with the people of Clay County relative to this road and to the
Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. The result was that in a few days a company was organized called the Kansas
City & Cameron Railroad Company. Meetings were held and thus an interest awakened along the line. On April
27th, Kansas City voted it $200,000 and Clay County voted it $200,000 on June 12th, with the survey
beginning on April 27th. In July Kansas City Mayor Maughs and E. M. Samuels and Michael Andrews of Clay County
went to Boston, Massachusetts and effected a contract with the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad Company to
start building the road on August 7th, 1860. The contract for the work was let to W. J. Quealy on August 16th
and work was to began on October 8th, 1860. In the following January of 1861, work was about one third done.
There were about six hundred men employed and it was expected to have two thirds done by April and the cars
running by June. The war, however, stopped the work and the road was not finished until its close.
Meanwhile the Pacific Company, having failed to get State aid, effected a shift by which it was able to command
the necessary means and went on with its road. Ground was broken in Kansas City on July 25th, 1860 and the
work was progressing rapidly, with every prospect of completion in 1861, when it too, was stopped by the war.