My Present Past
A genealogical experience
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Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad
The track had only been built out about seven miles but
the excursionists who filled two passenger coaches rode
proudly over this stretch, covering the distance in a little
under thirty minutes.
"We left  the city at three o'clock in the afternoon and
soon were steaming over the prairies at a rate of about
fifteen miles per hour. The character of the road that
was built, bridges and masonry, elicited the most
approved commendations from the party. The ties were
of oak and walnut and the rails iron, 56 pounds to the
yard. It was apparent to all that the roadbed had not
been built merely for the purpose of securing franchises,
but that its proprietors designed it for service."   

Reporter, Topeka State Record, April 1869

Superintendent Noble of the Kansas Pacific Railroad,
a guest, pronounced the road
"The best he ever saw in a prairie country."
1873 Advertisement for Denver, Colorado
Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad
At Wakarusa an old fashioned picnic celebration with eating, drinking and oratory was held. It was here that Col.
Holiday was said to have made his famous "Wakarusa speech." After years of struggle he had gotten his
railroad, at least a small one, financed and its construction begun. He had just ridden over seven miles of its
track and great things now were sure to come. The longer he talked the more fervid his inspiration became. So
he boldly announced to his audience that, "Some day the road would cross the Rockies and reach old Santa Fe."
This nearly took his listeners' breath but the Colonel's ambitions were now beyond control. The railroad thus
commenced, he said, "Would grow larger and larger from the Gulf of Mexico, Old Mexico and finally California
would all be joined by the Mississippi Valley and even the Great Lakes. The coming tides of immigration will flow
along these lines of railway and like an ocean wave will advance up the sides of the Rockies and dash forth their
foaming crests down upon the Pacific slope."
Col. Holliday's oratory and unbelievable prophecies were too much at Wakarusa, even for the most hopeful of
spirits of this frontier celebration. Many laughed scornfully, while others stared in open-mouthed amazement.
One young man., Tom Anderson a local wit, was said to have flung himself down on the ground, with his heels
upward in mocking agony exclaiming "Oh, the damed old fool!" But it was to be the pleasant irony of fate that
the "old fool" should live to see his prophecies fulfilled. While few if any persons could have shared Mr.
Holliday's extreme hopes, public confidence had been aroused.
"From the expeditions and satisfactory manner  in which this company  have conducted their work, the friends
of the enterprise can rest easy as to its prospects. There is no mistake about it, we are soon to have a road
from Atchison to Emporia, and a good one too."
Emporia Gazette May 1869
Before the end of May 1869, the railroad had crossed the line from Shawnee into Osage County. On the 17th of
June, when the track had nearly reached Carbondale, another big excursion, comprising of about two hundred
Topeka citizens and invited guests, went out once more to the end of the line, which had now been extended
into Osage County, fifteen miles from Topeka. The road had more than doubled in length since the first trip and
so the party proceeded to celebrate in much the same manner as at Wakarusa.
During this time the Shawnee County Commissioners issued bonds for the railroad that had been voted on in the
election of 1867, receiving in exchange stock in the company. A train schedule was next arranged and announced
in the Topeka papers in late June, 1869:

A. T. & S. F. R. R. Time Table
Superintendent's Office A. T. & S. F. R. R.
Topeka, June 23, 1869

The above railroad will be opened for business on Monday, June 28th, 1869 between Topeka and Carbondale (17
miles), at which point trains connect with stages for Burlingame and Emporia. Trains will run daily except
Sundays as follows: Mixed train leaves Topeka at 6:15 A.M., arriving at Carbondale 7:45 A.M.. Passenger leaves
Carbondale 10:10 A.M., arrives at Topeka 11:30A.M., connects with east and west trains on the Kansas Pacific.
Returning leaves Topeka at 1:00 P.M., arriving at Carbondale 2:00 P.M. Mixed train leaves Carbondale 4:00 P. M.,
arriving at Topeka  5:45 P. M.
                                                                                                                     T. J. Peter, Supt.
Having thus projected the railroad, organized it and secured for it, large assets in the form of land grants and
since he had financed the road, got its construction under way and in formal operation, Cyrus K. Holliday need no
longer be a central figure in this narrative. The building of the Santa Fe would go on, slowly at first with
occasional delays, yet on the whole steadily until its present (1920) greatness had been attained. So far the
genius and persistence of the promoter have stood out in bold relief. Now the force of Mr. Holliday's great
personality merges into that of the corporation which he had created and he ceases to be so prominent a
character in this story. Yet, be it remembered for more than thirty years, until his death on March 29th, 1900,
Mr. Holliday remained an active and efficient member of the Santa Fe directorate.
In the early days of the railroads in Kansas, the stagecoaches were used primarily to move passengers, freight
and mail from the farthest point of the railroads to the furthest extremes that these lines could not access.
As the railroads grew larger and larger and their lines extended to these remote outposts, the use of the
stagecoaches were diminished rapidly in the late 1800's.
1871 Kansas Pilot
Pages 43 - 44

A descriptive background of the
Kansas Stage Company, created and operated by
James & William Hawkes.

Other notable stage lines during this time were:

Terry Stage Lines - Leavenworth, Kansas
Overland Stage Company - Atchison, Kansas
Southern Kansas Stage Company - Lawrence, Kansas
Holliday Express & Stage Company - Atchison, Kansas
As the line continued to progress toward Emporia, sixty two miles south, a boom struck that village. An election
to vote bonds in aid of the approaching railroad was held on June 15th, 1869 amid much excitement. As to the
outcome of this election, an Emporia correspondent wrote to a Topeka paper: "The vote on bonds to the
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad today resulted gloriously. Lyons County sustains her record in favor of
most sanguine supporters of the bonds looked for." A thorough and effective canvass was made and the
proposition gained rapidly among the people from the first. Say to your numerous readers that there will be two
railroads in Emporia a year from now and tell Holliday, Lakin and the eastern men to hurry up their cakes.
Things are lively here. Lots that went begging at $500.00 three months ago are readily gobbled at $1,000.00
now. About one hundred men are in town awaiting the result of the railroad vote. Had it been adverse they
would have skedaddled tomorrow. As it is, they remain and go to work to-morrow.
Harry Norton to-day sold
$10,000 worth of property to Dr. Griswold of Ohio.
Bancroft's agency is overrun. Gen. Schofield arrived today
and is at the National. The quiet way in which he came and in which he acts excites the admiration of our people.
No one knows his mission. He is dressed as a citizen and don't sport any fancy dogs or willow jugs." Another
Emporia citizen who signs himself, "Cceur de Lion," wrote at the same time to the same paper:  "The town is
crowded with strangers and speculators; real estate stiffens in price; the good time so long coming is evidently
at hand. The crop prospect was never better; the fortunate holders of lots hold up their heads with new
dignity; everything is lovely and the goose was never more loftily suspended."