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My Present Past
A genealogical experience
Hannibal St Joseph Railroad
The Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad was the first railroad to cross Missouri starting in Hannibal in the
northeast and going to St. Joseph, Missouri, in the northwest. It is most famous for delivering the first letter
to the Pony Express on April 3, 1860, from a railway post office car pulled behind the locomotive Missouri.
The line connected the second and third largest cities in the state of Missouri prior to the American Civil War.
The stage route that it paralleled previously had been called the "Hound Dog Trail."
Construction on the railroad, which originally started during an 1846 meeting at the Hannibal office of
John
Marshall Clemens, the father of Mark Twain, began in 1851 from both cities. Bonds from counties along the
route along with the donation of 600,000 acres in land voted by Congress paid for construction. The lines met in
Chillicothe, Missouri, on February 13, 1859.
The line started westward from Hannibal and ran through the Missouri cities of Palmyra,
Monroe City, Shelbina,
Clarence, Anabel,
Macon, Bevier, Callao, New Cambria, Bucklin, Brookfield, Laclede, Meadville, Wheeling,
Chillicothe, Mooresville, Breckenridge, Nettleton, Hamilton, Kidder, Cameron, Cameron Junction, Osborn,
Stewartsville, Hemple, Easton, before arriving in St. Joseph.
The first assignment of Col. Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War was protecting the railroad and
Pony Express mail. Grant was promoted to brigadier general in August 1861 after the assignment. Shortly after
Grant left his assignment, the railroad experienced its worst disaster of the war on September 3, 1861, when
bushwhackers burned a bridge over the Platte River, causing a derailment that killed between 17 and 20 and
injured 100 in the Platte Bridge Railroad Tragedy.
The first experiment in distributing mails in so-called "post offices on wheels" was made in 1862 by William A.
Davis between Hannibal and St. Joseph, Missouri. It was intended to expedite the connection at St. Joseph
with the overland stage, which had replaced the Pony Express routes to the West a year earlier. The Hannibal &
St Joseph furnished a baggage car, altered to Davis' specifications. Similar to a postal route agent's car, it had
a table and a 65-pigeon-hole letter case, but no pouch rack. Davis boarded the westbound train at Palmyra,
Missouri, with authority to open the sacks and letter packages which were addressed to the St. Joseph
District Post Office, to remove all California letters, and to make up and sort the mail in a manner identical to
the way the St. Joseph D. P. O. would have dispatched it. Davis was paid at the rate of $100.00 per month. The
railroad was harassed by guerrillas and by lack of maintenance, resulting in several suspensions and finally
abandonment of the experiment. After the Civil War, Railway Post Office service was re-established on this
line, and it became known as the Chicago & Kansas City Railway Post Office.
In 1867 a consortium of
Charles E. Kearney, Robert T. Van Horn, and Kersey Coates persuaded the railroad to
build a cutoff at Cameron (Cameron Junction) to Kansas City, Missouri. The railroad, through its subsidiary
Kansas City and Cameron Railroad, built a shortcut and the 1,371-foot Hannibal Bridge over the Missouri River in
downtown Kansas City. The bridge established a direct link between Chicago and Texas. It was the first rail
bridge across the Missouri River when it opened July 3, 1869, and established Kansas City rather than
Leavenworth or St. Joseph as the dominant city in the region.
The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad had used the railroad for through traffic to Chicago almost from
the start and in 1883 it formally acquired it. The connection by rail between Hannibal and St. Joseph remained
in place for about 125 years. On March 2, 1970, the railroad became the property of the Burlington Northern
Railroad after the Chicago Burlington & Quincy merged with three other railroads to form the new company.
However during the mid-1980s, the railroad discontinued service from Brookfield westward to St. Joseph.
Today, a four mile stretch of track between Brookfield and Laclede remains in place and is primarily used for
surplus railroad cars along what is now the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad which instead of running west
to St. Joseph now runs southwest toward Kansas City. The tracks from Laclede westward to St. Joseph are no
longer in place, while the tracks from Brookfield eastward toward the Mississippi River are still in use today by
the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad .

Terminals in
blue above are locations where Robert E Jacobs worked for the Chicago Burlington & Quincy as a
relief operator between 1945 and 1956.
1851 Senate Bill S3  Page 01

1851 Senate Bill S3  Page 02

1851 Senate Bill S3  Page 03

1851 Senate Bill S3  Page 04

1851 Senate Bill S3  Page 05

1851 Senate Bill S3  Page 06

1851 Senate Bill S3  Page 07
1860 Map of the Hannibal St Joseph Railroad
1866 H. R. 721  Page 01

1866 H. R. 721  Page 02

This bill introduced by Robert T. Van Horn
would pave the way for the first bridge,
called the Hannibal Bridge or Kansas City
Bridge, built over the Missouri river at
Kansas City, Missouri. The bill also had a
provision for a second bridge which would
be built at Quincy, Illinois across the
Mississippi River. The Hannibal Bridge,
completed by Keystone Bridge Company in
1869, would bring a large influx of
business and tremendous growth to Kansas
City, Missouri and the surrounding area via
the Kansas City and Cameron Railroad
from Cameron Junction.
James F. Joy who was the chief officer of several railroads
including the Hannibal St Joseph and Chicago Burlington &
Quincy  claimed the deciding factor in whether Leavenworth or
Kansas City would receive the bridge that would link the towns
with Cameron Junction. He chose Kansas City and on November
01, 1866, James F Joy, Nathaniel Thayer and Sidney Bartlett
were chosen as trustees for the bridge. Work was commenced
on February 07, 1867, contract for the masonry was secured on
February 23 by Vipond & Walker of Kansas City. The pile driving
on the north bank began on February 27th. Between April and
August of 1867, work was suspended because of high water. The
cornerstone of the south abutment was laid on August 21 with
appropriate festivities. A contract for the superstructure was
awarded to the Keystone Bridge Company on November 22,
1867. On November
22, 1867 the road from Cameron was
completed to the North bank of the Missouri River in Kansas
City. The last stone was laid on May 05, 1869 when the
completion of Pier #4 finished the masonry of the bridge. The
draw was swung on the 15th day of June, 1869, with the first
engine crossing the span on the 25th and the bridge was publicly
opened on Saturday, July 03, 1869.
1867 Mo Kan Page 369
1867 Mo Kan Page 467
Hannibal & St Joseph Railroad
Edward J Engel Quincy, Illinois to Kansas City
Hannibal & St Joseph Railroad
Edward J Engel Quincy, Illinois to Kansas City