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THE NORTH CAROLINA
YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1899
RALEIGH, N. C.:
NORTH CAROLINA CORPORATION COMMISSION.
HENRY C. BROWN,
Office of the
RALEIGH, December 30, 1899.
To His Excellency, DANIEL L. RUSSELL,
Governor of North Carolina. SIR:-In obedience to the Statute of North Carolina, we have the honor to submit to your Excellency the Annual Report of the North Carolina Corporation Commission for the year 1899 and the transactions of this Commission during the said year, together with a compilation of the Annual Reports for the fiscal year ending June the 30th, 1899, of all the railroads in this State, and the last report of all the banks of the State to this Commission. Building and Loan Associations are required by law to make reports as of December 31, and their reports will appear in our next annual report.
On April the 5th, Franklin McNeill, Chairman; S. L Rogers and E. C. Beddingfield, who had been elected Commissioners by the Legislature of 1899, met in the office of said Commission and the oath of office was administered to them by Hon. Walter Clark, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
Dr. D. H. Abbott, who had been elected Railroad Commissioner and whose term had not expired, contended that he was entitled by reason thereof to the office occupied by E. C. Beddingfield, and brought an action to recover the same. The result of which was that the Supreme Court of North Carolina decided that the act of the Legislature, depriving Dr. Abbott of his unexpired term, was unconstitutional; so that E. C. Beddingfield served on the Commission from April the 5th to the 22d day of November, when Dr. Abbott was admitted to and assumed the duties of the office.
The Commission elected Mr. H. C. Brown Clerk, and soon after organizing adopted rules of practice and procedure in matters before them, and also rules governing the transportation of freight and passengers, all of which were, in the main, the same as those adopted by the Railroad Commission.
The annual report of the railroads of the State and the last report of the State banks of the State will appear in full elsewhere in this report, but a few statistics will be stated here. The railroad mileage was increased during the year 108.25 miles; gross earnings from operation were $13,253,627.43; the operating expenses were $8,186,500.41, net earnings were $5,067,127.02-an increase of $796,281.93 over the earnings of 1898. The capital stock of all the railroads in the State is $59,096,806.32; the funded debt of all the railroads in the State is $14,6+1,628.36; total cost of all the railroads in the State is $82,123, 167.15; interest paid on funded debt for the fiscal year was $2,121,348.80; dividends paid in the last fiscal year were $953,462.93; number of employees in 1899 was 9,120-an increase of 121 over the number of last year. Two passengers were killed and 65 injured; 26 employees were killed and 648 injured; 68 trespassers were killed and 99 injured; two persons not trespassers were killed and 11 injured—total killed, 98, and 823 injured. Number of State banks, 80, with a capital stock of $2,449,811.01; deposits, $9,152,192.28, an undivided surplus of $843, 279.29. Building and Loan Associations number 34 in the State.
The Commission required the railroads in the State, except such as were exempted, to put into effect the act of the Legislature of 1899 providing for separate accommodations on the cars for white and colored races on the 1st day of June, and this was done on the day named, and so far as the Commission is now informed it is working well.
The Commission adopted the freight and passenger tariffs which were in effect prior to April the 6th, 1899, except as to fertilizers, which will be referred to hereafter in this letter, with this qualification:
The rates for the transportation of passengers on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad were restored to that of the standard passenger rate; that is, 31 cents for first-class and 2 cents for
second-class fare; the rate for the transmission of telegraphic messages by the Western Union Telegraph Company was restored to 25 cents for a message of 10 words to and from any point on its line in the State.
Suits were pending in the Federal Court for the purpose of enjoining the enforcement of the order of the Railroad Commission reducing passenger rates over the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, and telegraphic rates by the Western Union Telegraph Company.
These suits were pending at the time of the repeal of the Railroad Commission Act by the last General Assembly. Such being the case, the Commission was at a loss to know the exact status of those cases, but being of the opinion that the Railroad Commission Act had been repealed, thought that the suits would abate of themselves.
Since this legislation has been construed by our Supreme Court to be an amendment to, and not a repeal of, the act referred to, the Commission will be obliged to take some steps in regard to these suits.
ASSESSMENT OF RAILROAD AND OTHER PROPERTY FOR
The Commissioners undertook to discharge the duty imposed upon them by the statute of assessing railroad and other property for taxation at the time provided by the statute. In the discharge of this duty, they availed themselves of the reports of the different railroads and other property which were accessible to them, and in some instances visited the properties with a view to obtaining what information they could in that way; and after making a careful consideration of the matter, made assessments on all of these different properties as required by the statute. The companies whose properties were so assessed were duly notified and a day fixed for hearing any exceptions which the parties interested might desire to make. All of the roads composing the Atlantic Coast Line System, all the roads composing the Southern Railway System, and the Seaboard Air Line System, and the Western Union Telegraph Company, appeared on the day named and excepted to the valuations placed upon their property, alleging that while their properties were valued at their actual