« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
the consolidated company, equal at par to $2,475,000, and how much of the two and a half millions of increase to the original two millions was made up by extra dividends in the old company, and how much of surplus has been and will be paid by the trustees to the stockholders of the company, I need not name, to make good the assertion, that the Utica and Schenectady company has turned out the most successful of modern railway enterprises.
The Utica and Schenectady rail road is now enrolled among the things that were, and history teaches by the examples inscribed on its pages. Twenty years the directors of that company served the shareholders without compensation or reward, and not only repaid them their whole capital, with interest, but gave them a little surplus, and left the original stock unimpaired in the new company. If this success does not show that there was ability, application and integrity in the direction and management of the concerns of the company, it will be extremely difficult to produce an example of this sort that will. I am not aware of a single year, and I marked the progress of affairs with considerable attention, when the annual expenses of the road exceeded thirty-three per cent of the gross earnings. Those expenses seldom reached that sum during the whole seventeen years the road was operated. Why, then, do we now see those expenses reaching to and even exceeding fifty per cent of the gross earnings of rail road companies? I place these facts on the record, and those who have time, and are so disposed, may discuss causes and their effects.
The shareholders of these companies have a remedial power in their own hands, and can apply it once in each year, if they choose to do it. They can know, if they will, whether the laws of the state have been sfjictly observed by the directors and agents of the company; and they should know, too, whether the principal agents of the corporations have been interested in contracts with the company; or have used the. information or knowledge which could only come to them confidentially, for the purpose of dealing in
the stock of the companies to which they belong, and speculate on a rise or fall in the market. When men seek places in rail road directions, to control and participate in the contracts for supplies, and when the chief agents of these com panies are allowed to be contractors, the stockholders directly, and the general public indirectly, suffer materially.
I will dismiss the subject of rail roads, and go back in order of time a half century or more. March 26,1803, an act was passed, authorizing certain great roads in this state to be opened and improved, and for that purpose $41,500 was directed to be raised by lottery.
The State road, so called, from Johnstown to the Black river country, passing through parts of Manheim and Salisbury and the towns of Norway and Russia in this county, was laid out and surveyed, and probably opened by commissioners appointed by the governor, pursuant to the authority conferred by the above act. This road was used a good deal in the early part of the present century, when the eastern emigration was flowing towards the present counties of Lewis and Jefferson, the western portion of St. Lawrence, and the northern parts of Oneida and Herkimer.
The Fall Hill turnpike and bridge company, incorporated in 1804, was authorized to build a toll-bridge over the Mohawk at Little Falls, and construct a road from the house of Ira Crane in Minden, Montgomery county, to the Mohawk river, thence along said river to Henry A. Vrooman's, in German Flats, and thence to Samuel Abbott's house and Kassler's mills. The object of this improvement was to avoid the difficulties of the road over Fall hill, which was pretty steep and rugged. The bridge was erected and used many years, and until the charter was abandoned. The road was not made. - *
In the year 1806, commissioners were appointed to lay out and straighten the road on the south side of the Mohawk river, from Schenectady to Utica, where they should judge the same expedient. This road was directed to be opened three rods wide, and the towns through which it passed were required to work it. In all the cases which I have noticed, if any portion of these roads, surveyed by the directions of the legislature, was laid out through improved lands, compensation was made to the owners, and after the roads were surveyed and opened by the state, the towns through which they passed were required to repair and maintain them. This requirement could only be observed where there was sufficient population.
An opinion prevailed at an early day, that the northern travel would leave the Mohawk valley at East Creek or Little Falls, and turn towards the Black river country, but the project of opening and improving a road from Little Falls in that direction was never carried into effect. The people of Johnstown, Utica, Whitestown and Rome, were too much alive to their own interests to allow such a project to get the start of them. The route from Johnstown through the northern parts of Montgomery and Herkimer, crossing the East Canada Creek at Brackett's bridge, and the West Canada creek at Boon's bridge, near Prospect, in Oneida county, was much the shortest, and the best adapted to emigrant travel.
The Great western turnpike passes through the southeast corner of the town of Warren, at the Little lakes, a distance of two or three miles. This road does not touch the Mohawk valley. The Minden and Utica turnpike company was incorporated in 1809. The designated line of this road in the county passed through the present towns of Stark, Warren, Columbia, Litchfield, the southwest corner of Frankfort into Oneida county. Some part of this turnpike was completed, and one or more gates were erected to collect tolls, but it has long since been abandoned, the charter having been declared forfeited for a misuser, and the people are not obstructed by the toll-bar.
Col. Jeremiah Drake projected a rail road, to connect with the Utica and Schenectady line, near A. A. Fink's, two miles east of Little Falls, and running northerly a distance of about fifteen miles in this county, to the northeast corner
of the Royal grant. He procured an act of incorporation in 1834, had the line of road surveyed and located, and estimates of cost of construction and traffic made up. Col . Drake was sanguine the road would .yield a good return upon the investment, but failing to convince capitalists of this fact, he was compelled to abandon the project. The line of the road as surveyed, passed through Manheim Center, Wintonville, Salisbury Center to Devereaux. This line would not have yielded an income quite as prolific as the Utica and Schenectady, but that company and the New York Central line would have found it a most valuable auxiliary in furnishing fuel from the North woods.
The plank road mania of 1847-8, in its epidemic progress through the state, visited the county, and roads of this description were constructed in various directions.
The first, in point of time, was the road from the village of Mohawk, through Herkimer and Middleville to Newport, up the valley of the West Canada creek.
The Little Falls and Middleville, connecting the two places named by plank.
The Manheim and Salisbury, connecting Little Falls with Salisbury Four Corners. This line has been extended to Graysville, a village on the Black Creek in the north part of Norway.
The Little Falls and Salisbury, connecting the former place with Devereaux at the northeast corner of the Royal grant. The route of this road is nearly on the line of Col. Drake's proposed rail road. The plank road from Utica, passing through Frankfort, Litchfield and West Windfield to Unadilla.
The Mohawk and Dion, connecting the two places named by plank.
The Frankfort and Utica, extending from Frankfort village to the west line of the county, along the Erie canal.
Dion and Cedarville, extending from the former village south to Cedarville.
The plank road from Fort Plain, in Montgomery county,
to Cooperstown, passes through Starkville and Van Hornesville, in the town of Stark.
The North Gage and Russia plank road, connects Russia, in this county, with North Gage, in Oneida county.
The Utica, Deerfield and Schuyler plank road.
Although not in the order of time, I may here remark that a charter was granted in 1836, to construct a rail road from Herkimer to Trenton, Oneida county, along the valley of the West Canada creek; but no further effort was ever made to carry into effect the objects of the law. Like many other projects of this kind, its promoters found it difficult to obtain the capital to build the road, although the route was quite feasible and unobstructed by deep cuts and heavy embankments.
The Newspaper Press Of The County.
Strange as it may seem to the reader, the history of the newspaper press of the county, although covering only about half a century, has come to rest in tradition, and while itself the recorder of events that have moved a world in arms, and shook crumbling empires into dust, it has failed in this county to place its own existence and career beyond a surmise and a probability; or, the frail memory of man when he makes the effort to speak of dates and limit periods without a written or printed record before him. Tradition is much more uncertain among a civilized people who claim to record events as they transpire, than with the aboriginal natives of this continent, who perpetuate their legends and important national events by reciting them in a full assembly of the tribes, where the young, the old and the middle aged of both sexes are seated around the great council fire to hear repeated and impress upon the memory, the history of their tribe, the exploits in war of their great chiefs and distinguished braves, to describe the limits of their hunting grounds, and to recount the moons and the seasons since the happening of some great event.