Excerpt from pp. 395 – 400
LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD.
This great and important railroad was originally incorporated under the name of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company, by the act of Assembly passed 21st April, 1846. The bill was got up at the suggestion of Edward L Biddle Esq., principally through the agency of Hon. Henry King, Christian Pretz. Esq., and other enterprising citizens of Lehigh County, and by James M. Porter, Peter S. Michler, Abraham Miller, and a few other citizens of Northampton County. The bill was carried through the legislature by the indefatigable exertions of Dr. Jesse Samuel, who then represented Lehigh County in the House of Representatives, and against a very strong opposition. It was, however, nothing to pass a bill, and another to got the stock subscribed to an amount sufficient to obtain the charter.
The commissioners named in the act of incorporation advertised for subscriptions of stock on the 2nd of June, 1846, and adjourned the opening of the books from day to day and from time to time for at lout twenty times, and it was not until the 2d of August, 1847 that a sufficient amount of stock could be secured. On that day they had 5002 shares of stock subscribed, and $5 on each share of stock amounting to $25,010 paid in.
The names of the original subscribers of stock were: Solomon Fogel, James M. Porter, Edward L Biddle, John A. Willink, John N. Hutchinson, Horace Gray, Dudley S. Gregory, Archibald Robertson, Daniel McIntyre, John P. Jackson, John S. Darcey, Robert L. Schuyler, John Acken, Wm. Samuel Johnston, Asa Whitehead, William Wright, and Elisha Townsend.
On the 2d of August, 1847, the following named commissioners, named in the act, signed the necessary certificate to the Governor for the purpose of obtaining the charter of incorporation:
William Edelman, Casper Kleckner, George Probst, Stephen Balliet, John D. Bauman, Thos. Craig, James M. Porter, Peter S. Michler, Abraham Miller, Henry King, Benjamin Ludwig, Christian Pretz, and Peter Huber.
Some difficulty occurred with the Governor and Secretary of State in procuring the charter, after all this was done. The $100 tax for the act of Incorporation had not been paid until after the advertisements for the subscription of stock had issued. However, after some trouble, on the 20th day of September, 1847, the letters patent were issued by the Governor, and after due notice an election for officers by the stockholders was held, at the office of J. M. Porter at Easton, on the 21st day of October, 1847, when the following officers were elected: President James M. Porter; Managers, Dudley S. Gregory, John L Dorsey, John P. Jackson, Daniel McIntyre, Edward L Biddle, and John N. Hutchinson; Secretary John N. Hutchinson.
These officers continued in office for the years 1847,1848,1849, and 1850. In the months of October, November, and December, 1850, the first survey of the road was made from the mouth of the Mahoning Creek to Easton by Roswell B. Mason, Esq., civil engineer.
On the 3d of March, 1851, the canal commissioners appointed Jacob Dillinger and Jesse Samuel, Esqrs, engineers, to examine under the eleventh section of the act of incorporation, whether a railroad constructed upon the route would or would not injure the canal of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, or the works necessarily appertaining thereto or obstruct the works of that company.
Those gentlemen performed that duty, and on the 10th day of March, 1851, reported that it would not.* On the same day the Board of Managers authorized Mr. Hutchinson, who in the meantime had become treasurer as well as secretary of the Company, to commence the construction of the rai1road by grading on the sixteenth mile from the river Delaware at Easton, which is a short distance below Allentown, Mr. Dillinger being appointed the superintendent, and Dr. Samuel the engineer. The work was commenced and continued during that spring and summer until about a mile was graded. The following landholders on that part of the route released all claim for damages for a nominal considerations Their release is dated March lst, 1851, and is signed by the following persons: Henry King, Stephen Rhoads, Peter Newhard, Adam Hooker, John Yost, John Moore, Abraham Newhard, and George R. Boyd.
* This was done that the work upon the railroad might be commenced before the 21st day of April, 1851, when the time limited by the charter for the commencement of the road would have expired,
This release was procured by Jno. N. Hutchinson, Esq, mainly through the instrumentality of the Hon. Henry King.
A meeting of the stockholders was hold on the 4th of April, 1851, when the foregoing proceedings were reported to and approved of by them. On the same day an election for officers was hold, when James M. Porter was elected president; John N. Hutchinson, secretary and treasurer; and Christian Pretz, Asa Packer, Dudley S. Gregory, Benjamin Williamson, John N. Hutchinson, and Edward R. Biddle, managers.
On the 7th of October, 1851, the President reported that the expenditures in constructing the railroad up to the 7th, of July last, when he received the last return in detail from Judge Dillinger, the superintendent, amounted to $444.37 and that the work was still in progress, the expenditures on which now amount to $750. Mr. Hutchinson having made two payments of $500 each on account of his subscription to stock from which the disbursements had been made.
On the 31st of October, 1851, Asa Packer became the purchaser of a large amount of the stock which had been subscribed, and commenced efforts to get additional stock subscribed, and the road constructed. On the 13th of September, 1852, Robert H. Sayre was appointed chief engineer for the construction of the road, and on the 27th of November, 1852, Judge Packer submitted a proposition for constructing the railroad from opposite Mauch Chunk, where it would intersect the Beaver Meadow Railroad, to the river Delaware at Easton, where it would intersect the New Jersey Central Railroad, and the Belvidere Delaware Railroad for a consideration, to be paid in the stock and bonds of the Company, which was accepted by the stockholders, at a meeting in which all the stockholders, representing 5150 shares of stock were present.
On the 7th of January, 1853, the name of the Company was changed by act of Assembly to that of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, and on the 10th of that month James M. Porter was re-elected president, John N. Hutchinson, secretary and treasurer, and John N. Hutchinson, William Hackett, William H. Gatzmer, Henry King, John T. Johnston, and John O. Stems, managers,
Although the formal contract with Judge Packer for the construction of the road was not signed until the 12th of February, 1853, yet he began the work immediately after the acceptance of this offer, on the 27th of November, 1852, by commencing the deep rock cut at Easton. The work was prosecuted with vigor by Judge Packer himself at some of the hardest cuts, and by sub-contractors at other places, until its completion. The gentlemen concerned in the New Jersey Central road, who were represented by its president, John T. Johnston, Esq. and the gentlemen in the Belvidere Delaware Railroad, who were represented by Mr. Gatzmere, cashed a considerable portion of the bonds and stock for the enterprising contractor, Judge Packer, but in the fall of 1854 the sale of the stock bonds become so dull and the money market so tight, and the price of provision and labor became so enhanced, that the work must have come to a stand-still, but for the noble conduct of Commodore Stockton in coming to its rescue, and advancing sufficient money to enable the contractor to get through.
The work then progressed, and on the 24th of September, 1855, the contractor, Judge Packer, delivered the road to the Company, and it was accepted. Judge Packer, in the construction of the road, encountered great difficulties and embarrassments, from the rise in the price of provisions and necessaries as for the hands - the sickliness of some of the seasons, the failures of sub-contractors, and the necessary re-letting the work at advanced prices, and the difficulty in raising money upon and disposing of the bonds of the Company, from the stringency of the money market but, with an energy and perseverance seldom met with, he worked through it all.
In the beginning of the year 1856, the persons representing the largest amount of the stock came to the determination that it was necessary to remove the office of the Company to Philadelphia. Judge Porter, the President, declined a re-election, as his business would not permit his removal to that city, and on the 5th day of February, 1856, William M. Longstreth was elected President. William H. Gatzmer, Asa Packer, John T. Johnston, Elisha A. Packer, J. Gillingham Fell, and David Bennet, Managers, and John N. Hutchinson, Secretary and Treasurer. On the same day the stockholders passed the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the stockholders of this Company, on accepting the declination of the Hon. James M. Porter, President of the Company, to be a candidate for re-election, we cannot withhold this testimony of their estimation of his worth as a man, and as an officer of this Company, and the care and attention he has uniformly bestowed upon Its business and affairs, during its whole existence as a corporation,
Resolved, That having full confidence in his integrity and ability, and his high legal attainments, we recommend to the President and Managers to be elected this day to secure his services, if possible, as the legal adviser of the Company.
The office was then removed to Philadelphia, where its business has since been transacted. Mr. Longstreth did not continue long in the Presidency; he resigned on the 13th of May, 1856, and J. Gillingham Fell was elected in his place, and has continued to fill the office until this time, with great credit to himself and benefit to the Company. Commodore Stockton was elected to fill his place in the Board of Managers.
The road has become an avenue of great importance to the public, connecting as it does the coal region of the Lehigh with Philadelphia, by the North Pennsylvania Railroad, the Belvidere Delaware Railroad, and with Now York, by the New Jersey Central Railroad, and the Williamsport and Elmira Railroad with the same railroads by the branch of the Catawissa road, extending up Quakake Creek; thus opening a communication to the great West.
Although the road carries a great many passengers, the stockholders depend mainly upon the transportation of coal as the source of a profitable remuneration of their investment.
In the year 1858, the second year after its construction, there were transported over it upwards of 460,000 tons of coal, and it is now paying the stockholders six per cent on the capital stock, besides paying the interest upon its bonds, and prudently reserving a surplus for contingencies, and keeping up the road in stock.
No railroad company gives fairer promise of being remunerative, and it has fully justified the expectations of its early friends. To Judge Porter, Judge Packer, and Robert H. Sayre, Esq., its engineer, who is now also the superintendent of the road, the stockholders and public are indebted for their perseverance and personal attention given to the road throughout its progress. To John N. Hutchinson, Esq., as Secretary and Treasurer, for his attention to the books and finances of the Company, they are equally indebted. Every transaction is fairly recorded, and the accounts of the Company are a pattern for all others.
The following is the account of the coal transported upon this road since its completion, in 1855.
Oct. and Nov. 1855 5,857 00
Dec. 1st, 1855, to Dec. 1st, 1856 168,349 00
Dec. 1st,1856, to Dec. 1st,1857 418,235 03
Dec. 1st,1857, to Dec. 1st,1858 471,029 10
Dec. 1st,1858, to Dec. 1st,1859 577,651 10
Tons 1,641,122 03
The annexed letter, from a correspondent of the New York Tribune, shows the many advantages possessed by the road.
"The marvel of the day, in this region, is the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Unlike most enterprises of the kind, which generally look for support from traffic to be created by the construction of the road, the projectors of this seized upon a route where an overwhelming trade had existed for years, and which only waited for the now channel to be constructed, that it might pour down upon it an inexhaustible supply of products from the field, the forge, the furnace, and the mine. This road begins at Easton, the outlet of the river Lehigh. When the line of road commenced on the Delaware, all access to the latter was shut out by an enormous limestone bluff which rose something like a hundred feet above the water line. Through this huge obstruction, the roadway was blasted some hundred feet, at a great expense, The great blocks of stone thrown out in the excavation, were used in building the massive piers and abutments of the noble bridge across the Delaware, on which two tracks are laid, one above the other, connecting tile Valley Road with the New Jersey Central and the Belvidere Delaware Roads. The tracks are thus built one above the other, because the grade of one road is some fifteen feet higher than the other. It is probably the only similar bridge in America, and its colossal proportions strike with astonishment the mind of every traveler who views it, in passing either up or down on the Belvidere Road. It is the outlet over which the products of the Lehigh region find their way to New York, and other Eastern markets, by two great thoroughfares, and twenty years hence must pass an almost fabulous amount of coal.
"After leaving this rocky chasm, at South Easton, it follows the valley of the Lehigh, forty-six miles, to Mauch Chunk. The whole route abounds in wild and striking scenery, not so terrific as that on the Erie Road, but equally picturesque and captivating. The mountains have been blasted away in many places where they touched the river, to make room for the track. At various points, as you travel upward, you notice other roads connecting with this, all running up into coal mines, and some of them interlocking with other roads still further in the interior. At its northwestern terminus, it connects with the Beaver Meadow Road, twenty-five miles long to Jeaneville, and about midway with Quakake Road, a branch thirteen miles long, which unites with the Catawissa Road, above Tamaqua. Some fifteen miles above Mauch Chunk, the Beaver Meadow connects with the Harleton Road, which extends to Cranberry Colliery, twelve miles above Hazleton. About seven miles north of this junction, the Lehigh and Luzerne Road unites with the Hazleton, having come down eight miles from the Big Black Creek coal basin. Other ramifications of the network of railroads now established in the coal region, might be mentioned, all of which are tributary to the Lehigh Valley Road. These pour an immense tonnage over the latter, all which formerly passed down the Lehigh Canal. These feeders are increasing in number annually. The Valley Road has not been three years in operation, yet in 1858 It brought over its beautifully descending grade nearly half a million of tons of coal, beside a vast amount of iron and other heavy freight peculiar to that region. It had no struggle to create the business it is now doing, all of it being ready made, and clamoring to be accommodated. Its profits have enabled it to make a first dividend a few weeks since.
"At the village of Catasauqua, twenty-six miles below Mauch Chunk, another road ten miles long comes in from Fogelsville, and furnishes a large tonnage of iron from numerous furnaces all now In blast in Lehigh County. Just below Allentown, two other connections with the Valley Road will soon be made. Ono of these will connect Allentown with the Dauphin and Susquehanna Road at Auburn, on the Reading Road, the other the East Pennsylvania, from Allentown to Reading. These will be now bountiful feeders to the Lehigh Valley. They traverse a country which contains untold amounts of iron ore, of which great amounts will be carried to the blast furnace on the line of the Valley Road. When these roads are completed, the valleys of the Schuylkill and Lehigh will be connected together. But to do this, the Blue Mountain must be pierced by a tunnel 2,000 feet in length, a slow and expensive undertaking. One of these routes, the East Pennsylvania opens a direct communication between New York and the West, without going through Philadelphia. By this route, from New York to Harrisburg is only 175 miles, or twenty-one miles nearer than by Philadelphia, 424 to Pittsburg, and 895 to Chicago.
ŇAt the old Moravian town of Bethlehem, the Lehigh Valley Road connects with the North Pennsylvania, and at with the Belvidere, the Now Jersey Central, the Delaware and Lackawanna Roads, and with the Morris Canal and the Delaware Division Canal. It would be difficult to name another railroad so abundantly supplied with important feeders and outlets as this. What these feeders and outlets do for it, is shown in the following table of its tonnage during the two years It has been In operation.
North Pennsylvania Railroad 43,239 66,000
New Jersey Central Railroad 82,102 126,000
Belvidere Delaware Railroad 121,648 100,000
On line Lehigh Valley Railroad 171,246 179,000
Total tonnage 418,235 471,000
Here is an increase of nearly 15 per cent. In the face of a reduction on many old-established thoroughfares. Its traffic the present year will probably reach 600,000 tons. It never yet has sufficient rolling stock, though running six hundred coal cars and nineteen engines. Long trains of cars, containing ten tons each pass directly from the mines over a descending grade to Trenton, where they ascend a long and elevated trestle-work, and discharge their contents into schooners carrying two hundred and fifty tons, moored in the Delaware and Raritan Canal. Such a vessel receives bar cargo in an hour, and saves many days of demurrage by this admirable arrangement, The road to said to have carried more freight per mile during the past year than any other in this country, or in the world."
Rev. April 2010