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Hon. Charles L. Davidson It is with profound regret and sorrow we
record in this report the death of one of the members of this Board, Maj. Charles L. Davidson, who died at his home in Hull, Iowa, March 15, 1898.
The exalted character and distinguished services of the deceased appropriately demand the highest recognition. No one of the illustrious men who have served the state and who have contributed to the efficiency of this Commission has left a deeper impress or a larger place in the hearts of the people. While his example will inspire other men and other generations to strive to emulate the performance of noble deeds for the benefit of mankind, his place can never be filled. Although he held high official positions, yet he was ever helpful to the needy and unfortunate. As a member of this Board he was above reproach, his every act being characterized by ability and a high-minded zeal for that which is right. His aim was always to allay, so far as possible, differences between complainants and railroads without litigation. Whether as a member of the Board or as its chairman (which office he held at the time of death) the same modesty marked bis course. Everyone with whom he came in contact admired the large-bodied and tender-hearted man, and it was frequently said of him that he did not have an enemy. Although he was a man of the strongest convictions, yet, his ways were all the ways of friendship, and his words were all the words of kindness. There was nothing dishonorable in his business or political career, and he was one of the highest-minded men in the service of the state.
He enlisted prior to his seventeenth birthday, in Company A, Twentyfifth Iowa infantry, and as a soldier, none was better. True to every duty, faithful in every service, devoted to what he conceived to be the rigbt, loyal to the flag of his country and all it typifies, he soon became an ideal soldier. Amid shot and shell, the roaring of cannon and rattling of musketry, his loyalty never flagged, his courage never weakened; he was the same soldier boy, gentle but brave, sweet-hearted and true comrade,“Charlie”' Davidson.
His generous, genial, cheerful, loving nature endeared him to all. He was indeed a Christian soldier. “Loyalty to his Master made his gentleness more gentle and his bravery more brave.” Socially and as a friend of all the people in all walks of life, with almost paternal kindness he won the hearts of acquaintances and associates. In all the relations of life that cluster around the fireside and home, he emb died everything that makes the loving husband, the kind father, the faithful friend. His loss to the state is irreparable and is keenly felt by his associates on the Board.
"He rests from his labors and his works do follow him."
RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS' REPORT.
STATE OF IOWA,
DES MOINES, December 6, 1897.
The law requires the board of railroad commissioners of this state to make report to you, as governor, of its doings for the preceding year, containing such facts, statements, and explanations as will disclose the workings of the systems of railroad transportation in the state, and the relation of such railways to the general business and prosperity of the citizens thereof, together with such suggestions and recommendations in respect thereto as may, to the board, seem proper.
This report shall exhibit and refer to the conditions of each corporation on the first day of July of each year, the details of its transportation business transacted during the year ending Jure 30th.
Among other things the law requires that such reports shall also contain as to every railroad corporation doing business in the state:
First. —The amount of its capital stock.
Second.—The amount of its preferred stock, if any, and the condition of its preferment.
Third.—The amount of its funded debt and the rate of interest. Fourth.—The amount of its floating debt.
Fifth.—The cost and actual present cash value of its road and equipment including permanent way, buildings, and rolling stock, all real estate used exclusively in operating the road, and all fixtures and conveniences for transacting its business.
Sixth.—The estimated value of all other property owned by it, with schedule of the same, not including lands granted in aid of its construction.
All of the information which the board of railroad commissioners has been able to procure from the different railways within the state is submitted within this report.
The board has been unable to obtain certain of the statistics asked for by it of the different lines of railway. Some companies, however; have attempted to give the desired information, while others refuse or fail to do so, assigning as a reason therefor that they cannot comply with the request of the board except upon what is known as a "mileage basis," and suggesting that such statistics upon such a basis are not reliable and are misleading.
For instance, it has been found practically impossible for the board to obtain from the reports filed by the railways operating lines through the state and within other states accurate and reliable statistics that would enable it to determine the earnings of that part of the line operated in and through this state, and what is true in this respect is equally true in regard to the tonnage carried by the different interstate lines in and through Iowa.
Where the officials of the companies have attempted to give this information it has been upon a mileage basis of their entire lines, regardless of population of territory or traffic carried, although portions of such lines run into and through other states.
What is true in regard to the earnings and tonnage applies with equal force to their operating expenses and debt, as well as other things, all of which will appear in the statements of the respective companies compiled by the board and made a part of the report filed herein.
SITES FOR ELEVATORS, ETC.
During the last year many applications have been made to the board asking that the railway companies be compelled to grant to grain buyers and other persons along the lines of such railways the privilege of locating and building ware and storehouses and elevators upon the railway property. The board has experienced some difficulty in always reaching an amicable adjustment between the railways and those applying for such locations. It would seem that additional legislation might be enacted whereby the rights of the respective parties in matters of this kind could be more clearly defined and understood.
The only authority which the board has attempted to exercise is under the general statutes, the terms of which give the board super vision over all railways, and give to it the right to investigate any neglect on the part of railway companies.
The board has attempted to adjust, as nearly as possible, the differences between the railways and their patrons in matters of this kind, but it can be readily seen that in many instances considerable difficulty would be experienced where there is a disposition between