CO&G Railroad

Prologue

All railroads have a story to tell.  From the exuberant days of formation, through turbulent and sometimes stuttering steps of growth, until eventual demise – either by absorption or dissolution – many of the lines have stories that are strangely similar.  Although the railroads themselves are inanimate objects, the very fabric of their existence is indelibly stamped with the characteristics of the people, places and times they served, thus giving each a unique and colorful personality.  By understanding these stories, one learns not only about the railroad itself, but also a bit about how we, as a nation, became what we are today.  This is the story of one of the lesser-known lines that helped build mid-America.

My interest began when I moved to a small town in Oklahoma called Choctaw.  Missing the mountains and the small narrow gauge lines I love so well, I took solace in walking along the nearly deserted, weed-covered rails near my home.  Like an addict in search of a quick fix, I looked for any form of railroad memorabilia to make me feel at home.  I found an old open-end wrench in the dirt between the ties.  Under the rust and grime, I could make out the words “Rock Island”.  I could vaguely remember a railroad called the Rock Island System from back in the 1970’s, but I knew little about it.  I began to search out the history of this stretch of track.  Here is the story it had to tell.

Before The Railroad: 1830 – 1887

The Federal government designated land in the present-day state of Oklahoma as Indian Territory for the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole Indians under the provisions of treaties signed in the early 1830’s.  These tribes were relocated from their original homelands in the eastern United States.  They were joined by the Sac and Fox, Kickapoo, Shawnee, and Pottawatomie Indians.

The name “Oklahoma” comes from Choctaw Indian words meaning “red men.”  At the close of the Civil War, the Indians were forced to cede portions of their lands back to the Federal government.  The Federal government in turn used the ceded land as reservations for various tribes of Plains Indians.  That portion west of the 98th meridian and south of the Canadian River became part of the Wichita and Caddo Reservation.  That portion north of the Canadian River and west of the 98th meridian became a part of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation.  The portion east of the 98th meridian became known as the Unassigned Lands, inasmuch as no tribes were settled there.

Texas cattle were driven northward across the Indian lands on the Chisholm and other trails in the 1870’s and 1880’s.  With the cattle drives came the demand for railroads; as a result, pressure began to build to allow permanent white settlements in a region that previously had been reserved by treaty to native Americans.

Beginning in April 1889, the United States government succumbed to the pressure to open Indian lands to white settlement.  Land runs were initiated after tribal property was seized and then allotted individually to tribal members.  On April 22, 1889, the Unassigned Lands were opened by land run.  On April 19, 1892, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation was opened by land run.  On August 6, 1901, the Wichita and Caddo Reservation was opened by lottery.

In opening the individual parcels of present-day Oklahoma to homesteaders between 1889 and 1901, the Federal government distributed the public domain of the last of America’s agricultural frontiers.  The opening of the lands corresponded with the huge influx of immigrants from Germany, Italy, Russia, and southeastern Europe. It was natural that many of these immigrants were attracted to the region.

The Early Years:  1887 – 1902

Known as the Choctaw Route, the railroad was first incorporated by an act of Congress in 1887 as the Choctaw Coal and Railway Company (CC&R) under the laws of Minnesota.  The charter authorized the company to enter the Indian lands and granted the rights “to mine, smelt, refine, deal in coal, iron and all kinds of ores and minerals, and for the construction, operation etc. of railroads.”

The first portion of the line (65 miles) was completed in 1890 from Wister to McAlester, Oklahoma, via Victor, Caston, Fanshawe, Hughes, Red Oak, Panola, Lutie, Wilburton, Limestone, Hartshorne, Haileyville, Dow, Alderson, and Krebs.  A second unconnected segment (26 miles) was added in 1892 from El Reno to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, via Banner, Yukon and Council.

As the homesteader population increased, the fledgling railroad began to expand to better serve the settlers in the area.  Like many of the small railroads in the 1890’s, the Choctaw Route grew by a series of reorganizations, acquisitions, and mergers.  In less than twenty years it was transformed from a small mining short line into a portion of a major Class I system.

The CC&R quickly found itself in direct competition with the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (CRI&P), a major mid-western line based out of Chicago.  The CRI&P had entered the Indian Territory from Kansas in 1890 and was building due south following the route of the Chisholm Trail.

Figure 1 - 1894 Mortgage Bond Script

The 1880’s were boom times for the nation, and many small railroads like the CC&R were formed during this period of unbounded growth and speculation.  When the Panic of 1893 occurred and silver prices plummeted, the capital required for day-to-day operations disappeared.  Like many other small lines, the CC&R defaulted on their mortgage obligations and was sold in bankruptcy court.

Figure 2 - 1894 Preferred Stock Certificate

In 1894 the CC&R was reorganized as the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (CO&G.) The new owners kept the nickname of the Choctaw Route. They raised funds through the sale of mortgage bonds and stocks.  Unfortunately, much of the CO&G stock was being purchased by representatives of the CRI&P, a fact that would come back to haunt the CO&G owners later.

Figure 3 - 1900 Stock Certificate

Figures 1 through 6 are examples of early CO&G bond script, trust bonds and stock certificates. CO&G management immediately launched a large scale expansion program. The gap between McAlester and Oklahoma City was closed in October, 1895. The El Reno to Weatherford extension was completed in 1898.

Frisco City and Reno City were two of the small communities platted during the land runs.  Frisco City, located three miles northwest of Yukon, was settled by Union veterans, but faded away when the CO&G built on the south side of the North Canadian River.  Reno City, located three miles north of El Reno, also died when the CRI&P built a mile west instead of passing through it.  The residents simply abandoned their town and relocated to El Reno. They moved all of their homes and businesses, including a three-story hotel, by skidding the structures across the river.

Figure 4 - 1902 Stock Certificate (Unissued)

The next target of the CO&G was the Little Rock and Memphis Railroad (LR&M) which had been organized by a special Act of the Arkansas Assembly on January 11, 1853. That line had been surveyed in 1854 and four years later the line had been completed 45 miles from Memphis, Tennessee to Madison, Arkansas.  The next 40 miles to DeVall’s Bluff,including a big bridge across the White River, was not completed until 1871. Later that year, through rail service was put into operation between Memphis and Little Rock.

Figure 5 - 1902 Stock Certificate (Issued)

In 1898, the CO&G leased, then purchased, the LR&M and organized a subsidiary called the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad (C&M) to operate it.  Jay Gould, the most infamous of the railroad “robber barons” of the late 19th century, owned several competing lines in the region.  He attempted to block the CO&G’s connection to the C&M by denying access to the bridges over the Arkansas River.  Undeterred, the C&M completed the 151 miles of track between Little Rock and the Indian Territory boundary, including a new bridge across the Arkansas River. The CO&G then extended its Oklahoma lines eastward to meet the C&M.  When construction was completed in 1900, the C&M was absorbed into the CO&G.  By 1901, the CO&G had a main line running from Memphis, Tennessee across Arkansas and Oklahoma to Texola, Oklahoma near the Texas border.

For the first few years of the new century, Oklahoma Territory was in the midst of an agricultural boom.  Located in the heart of cotton, potato, peach, wheat, and cattle country, many of the small communities along the Choctaw Route quickly became agricultural and/or meat-packing centers.  The region’s growth was fueled by the railroad industry. By 1902, the CO&G had additional competition from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad (AT&SF) and the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad (MKT.)  These lines interchanged with the CO&G at Shawnee. By 1907, there was an average of 42 passenger trains and 65 freight trains arriving in the city each day.

Figure 6 – 1900 Common Stock Certificate With Vignette Enlargement

Shawnee had the largest cotton-seed oil mill in the Southwest; by 1902, there were seven cotton gins in the immediate area and two cotton compresses. Between March 1901 and March 1902, 375 railroad cars of cotton product were shipped on the CO&G from Shawnee, along with 150,000 bales of cotton.  Note the vignette enlargement in Figure 6 which shows men loading bales of cotton.

The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Texas Railroad Company (CO&T) was chartered on June 21, 1901, by the CO&G to extend the line from Texola, Oklahoma to Amarillo, Texas in the Texas Panhandle. In 1902 the CO&T built ninety-eight miles to Yarnall, Texas and,by utilizing trackage rights over other carriers, reached Amarillo. The CO&T completed its own line into Amarillo by late 1903.

David vs. Goliath: 1902 – 1912

The CRI&P began extending south from Caldwell, Kansas, in 1890, and followed the approximate route of the Chisholm Trail through Indian Territory.  It reached El Reno, Oklahoma Territory during the winter of 1889-1890 and gave the community a commercial outlet into Kansas and other points east two years prior to the arrival of the CO&G.  By 1892 the CRI&P had completed its line south through the Indian Territory into Texas and opened up a transportation link with Fort Worth, Texas.

 

The Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway (CRI&G) was originally chartered on May 13, 1902, in the interest of the CRI&P to construct an extension of the Rock Island system from Fort Worth to Galveston. In 1903 the CRI&G built thirty-two miles of track between Fort Worth and Dallas. No track was built south of Dallas, as the Rock Island eventually acquired a 50 percent interest in the Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway Company in order to reach Houston and Galveston.

In early 1903 the CRI&G gained control of the CO&T from the CO&G by acquiring a controlling stock interest.  The CO&T was merged into the CRI&G on December 1, 1903.  Later that year, the CRI&G acquired and merged two other Texas subsidiaries of the Rock Island system. The Chicago, Rock Island and Mexico Railway (CRI&M) operated another line in the Texas Panhandle, while the Chicago, Rock Island and Texas Railway (CRI&T) ran between Terral, Oklahoma, and Fort Worth, Texas. The merger created a 334-mile branch line to the existing CRI&P system.

The CRI&P acquired sufficient CO&G stock by 1904 to force out the existing management in a hostile takeover move.  On April 1, 1904, the CO&G, and practically all of its remaining property, was leased to the CRI&P for 999 years.

The CRI&G completed an extension from Amarillo to the Texas-New Mexico border near Glenrio, New Mexico in 1910. At Glenrio the CRI&G connected with another Rock Island line to Tucumcari, New Mexico. A connection at Tucumcari with what later became the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) completed a through route between Memphis and the Pacific Coast.  By 1912, all of the remaining CO&G line was controlled by the Rock Island system through 100% stock ownership.  Although the CRI&P gained total control of the CO&G, the section of the line from Memphis to Amarillo was always called the Choctaw Route, and the CO&G remained in existence as a separate corporate entity until 1948.

Growth and Prosperity: 1912 – 1931

On November 16, 1907, all counties in Oklahoma Territory became counties in the new State of Oklahoma.  The influx of immigrants continued to add to the growing population.  After gaining control of the CO&G, the CRI&P controlled both the major east-west route across the state and the major north-south line.  These two lines crossed at El Reno.  The community took its name from nearby Fort Reno, named for Major General Jesse L. Reno, a Union officer killed at the Civil War Battle of Antietam.  Because of its centralized location and early settlement, El Reno became a center for the railroad network serving the entire state.  El Reno also became the western terminus of the Fort Smith and Western Railway (FS&W) that ran eastward to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

In addition, the Oklahoma Railway, an interurban line, operated streetcars that connected El Reno with Bethany, Yukon, Oklahoma City, Norman, Edmond, and Guthrie.  Because of its railroad outlets, El Reno became the most important transportation and distribution center for the central part of Oklahoma and the surrounding Indian reserves.  Also, because of its centralized location, El Reno became a major repair, maintenance, and financial center for the Rock Island lines.

In 1916 the CRI&G owned fifty-five locomotives and 2,044 cars, and reported passenger earnings of $848,000 and freight earnings of $2,476,000. These figures do not include the assets of the CO&G, which were included in the CRI&P annual report.  By this time the corporate identities of the CRI&G and the CO&G were so entwined with that of their parent, the CRI&P, that all of the lines were simply referred to as the Rock Island.  Railroad maps of the time (see Appendix C) show all of the Rock Island controlled lines as CRI&P.

No other major construction occurred until the late 1920s, when a series of new lines was projected for the Texas Panhandle and adjoining states. The lines built included a route between Amarillo and Liberal, Kansas. The Texas portion opened as far as Stinnett in 1927 and was extended to Hitchland in 1929.  Another Panhandle branch between Dalhart and Morse opened in 1930.  An oil boom in central Oklahoma in the 1920’s provided additional freight revenues for the line.  At the peak of production, Pottawatomie County wells were producing more than 120,000 barrels a day.

In 1931 both the CRI&G and the CRI&P were classified as Class I railroads.  By then the original 3-foot narrow gauge track on the Hot Springs Branch had been standard-gauged, the mines and timber operations in Oklahoma and Arkansas were in full production, and boom times had brought rapid economic growth to the region.  Feeder branch lines fanned out in all directions to serve the ever expanding agricultural and ranching communities, with corresponding increased activity in passenger and freight traffic operations.  Life was good … but a dark cloud loomed on the horizon.

Downturn and Struggle:  1931 – 1948

There were a number of negative economic factors in the 1920’s that ultimately meant the CO&G would suffer significantly during the Depression. In 1922, the Rock Island experienced a nation-wide strike that resulted in increased tension between workers and management.  While the economic effect of the strike is difficult to evaluate, the shops in El Reno and Shawnee ceased to grow as employers.  Perhaps more serious was the decline in agricultural production due in large part to the impact of the boll weevil on the cotton crop.  Ultimately, however, it was the stock market crash of 1929 and the resulting depression that took a great toll on the region, as with the rest of the nation.

By 1931, the CRI&P was in serious financial trouble.  Like most other railroads, it attempted to cut costs by abandoning unprofitable branches.  Unfortunately, not only was the business environment sinking fast, the lack of significant rainfall in the early 1930’s dealt a crippling blow to agricultural and ranching operations in the region as well.  As parts of Oklahoma and Texas turned into the “Dust Bowl,” both freight and passenger traffic decreased significantly.

Both the CRI&G and its parent company, the CRI&P, entered receivership in 1933.  The CRI&G was leased to the CRI&P on September 1, 1939 and was merged into the reorganized CRI&P on January 1, 1948.  In the 1948 restructuring, the separate CRI&G and CO&G companies ceased to exist.  The reorganized CRI&P was renamed the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (as opposed to the earlier Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway.)

Route of the Rockets and Rockettes: 1940 – 1964

The CRI&P operated a number of named passenger trains known as Rockets serving the Midwest.  Two of these distinctive trains operated through central Oklahoma: the Twin Star Rocket (Minneapolis – St. Paul – Des Moines – Kansas City – Oklahoma City – Fort Worth – Dallas – Houston), and the Choctaw Rocket (Memphis – Little Rock – Oklahoma City – Amarillo).

Figure 7 - Choctaw Rocket ca. 1941

The Choctaw Rocket was initially designated as train #51 (westbound) and train #52 (eastbound). It was the first diesel powered streamliner to operate out of Memphis and across Arkansas and Oklahoma, with an inaugural run on November 17, 1940.

The original locomotive and car assignments for the two Choctaw Rocket sets of equipment included E6 locomotives 628 and 629, modernized heavyweight railway post office-baggage cars 702 and 703, coaches 350-Amarillo, and 351-Oklahoma City, sleepers 622-Seminole, and 623-Wewoka, and dining-parlor-observation cars 430-Memphis, and 431-Little Rock. The coaches, sleepers and observation cars were all streamlined cars ordered from Pullman Standard Manufacturing Company, specifically for use on the Choctaw Rocket.

By 1952, the Choctaw Rocket had lost its Rocket designation, reflecting the route’s downgrade to secondary train status. In August 1953, the conventional locomotive-pulled trains were replaced by self-propelled Budd rail diesel cars (RDC) and the trains were renamed the Choctaw Rockette.

1962 Choctaw Rockette at Howe, Oklahoma (Photo by Mike Condren)

After the discontinuance of Western Pacific Railroad’s RDC trains 1 and 2 (Salt Lake City – San Fransisco) in 1960, the Choctaw Rockette route held the distinction of being the longest Budd RDC route in the United States. Declining patronage and a desire by the Rock Island to close many small town depots resulted in the discontinuance of this route, by now designated as unnamed trains #23 and #24.

At 6:40pm on Saturday, August 8, 1964 the era of the Choctaw Rockette ended unceremoniously in Memphis, Tennessee after the arrival of the last run.  Earlier that afternoon, RDC #9002, operating as train #24, completed the last run into Memphis, ending a legacy that began with the Choctaw Rocket in November 1940.

Time Runs Out for the Choctaw Rockette (Photo by Boyd T. Pyle)

This photograph shows the train sign being removed from the arrival / departure board at Central Station in Memphis.  Boyd T. Pyle, a photographer waiting to return to Little Rock on Rock Island #21, happened to glance up at the board and saw a station employee removing the Choctaw Rockette signs. The sign for train #23 was already gone, but he had time to hurriedly snap this photo before the train #24 sign came off.

Sunset and the Bitter End: 1963 – 1984

A merger proposal with Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) was announced in May, 1963.  The Chicago and North Western Railway Company (C&NW) filed an unsuccessful counter-offer to purchase CRI&P on July 5, 1963 in a hostile take-over move.

The merger was approved by stockholders of the CRI&P on January 7, 1965 and by stockholders of the UP on May 11, 1965.  After 10 years of interference and delays, the Interstate Commerce Commission (I.C.C.) approved the merger with massive conditions on December 3, 1974.  The CRI&P declared bankruptcy for the third and final time on March 17, 1975.

The UP objected to the merger conditions, depleted financial condition, and deferred maintenance, and withdrew from merger negotiations on April 4, 1975.  The merger application was subsequently dismissed by the I.C.C.  The SP filed notice to purchase the portion of the line between Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and Saint Louis, Missouri in 1976.  The application was denied by the I.C.C. in February 1977.

As conditions continued to worsen, the Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks went on strike on August 28, 1979.  U.S. President Jimmy Carter ordered a 60-day cooling off period on September 17, 1979, but the strikers ignored the back-to-work order.  The I.C.C. ordered Kansas City Terminal Railway Company (KCT) to provide “directed service” on September 25, 1979.  The KCT began operating the railroad on October 5, 1979.

On January 25, 1980, bankruptcy court Judge Frank J. McGarr ruled that the CRI&P could not be successfully reorganized and ordered its liquidation – the largest such liquidation in American history.  “Directed service” by the KCT ended on March 31, 1980 and the CRI&P was dissolved on June 1, 1984.  All remaining assets were transferred to the Chicago Pacific Corporation.  The Chicago Pacific Corporation was sold to Maytag Corporation in 1989.

Although the CRI&P served fourteen states with nearly 8,000 miles of main track, it was one of the weaker of the major railroads. In 1975, when it entered receivership for the final time, the company owned 609 diesel units and 27,736 freight cars. After final dissolution, major portions of the Rock Island System in Oklahoma and Texas were acquired by other railroads, including the Golden State Route by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company and the Mid-Continent Route from Kansas City to Fort Worth by the Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Railroad Company.  However, most of the original Choctaw Route through Oklahoma and Texas was abandoned.  The segment of the main line through the city of Choctaw, Oklahoma near my home continues to be used sporadically by the UP.   Other remnants are still used by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), the UP, and various industrial and/or transfer short lines around the metropolitan areas.

Schemers, Manipulators, and Politicians: 1900 – 2001

To fully understand the rise and fall of the Choctaw Route, one must evaluate the actions of business, political and civic leaders involved.  Some of the actions took place early in the railroad’s history; in particular, the scheming of Jay Gould and other railroad tycoons.  Some of these individuals had reputations as the most unethical of the 19th century American businessmen and were known as “robber barons.” They would allow their rivals to believe that they were beaten, and then spring some legal or contractual loophole that completely reversed the situation and gave them the advantage. They pioneered the practice, now commonplace, of declaring bankruptcy as a strategic maneuver.

Conflict-of-interest was rampant, and many of the smaller companies were simply “picked-clean” of their assets by holding companies and Eastern “big-money” interests.  Absentee management had no opposition to using stock manipulation and insider trading (which were then legal but frowned upon) to build capital and to execute or prevent hostile takeover attempts leaving the minority stockholders and general public to absorb the losses.

The builders of the various railroads would often pit one small community against another, and have them compete for the privilege of having the line run through their town.  The settlers knew all too well that their future prosperity – or demise – depended on how close they were to the tracks.  Many settlers willingly gave half of their homesteads to the railroads, to insure that their remaining land would be on the right-of-way.

Another sad, but true, example of the irresponsibility of the time was the general attitude toward exploitation of the Indian Territory by the builders, settlers, and business leaders alike.  Much of the right-of-way for the Choctaw Route was taken from lands deeded in perpetuity to the Native American people when they were involuntarily resettled there by government action.

The questionable political actions date from the time of the original railroad charters, and continue even to today.  They include the actions of the United States Congress, the Supreme Court, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and numerous state and local jurisdictions.

Although it is not entirely fair to judge the actions of past generations by today’s standards, there are lessons to be learned from the past that may help us to prevent similar occurrences in the future.  As the last remnants of the Choctaw Route fade into obscurity, there are fewer and fewer reminders of the past to teach us.

Figure 10 - Choctaw Freight Depot, ca. 1900

As a sad example of modern government indifference, the original Choctaw Route terminal in Little Rock, Arkansas was demolished in 2001 – against the wishes of the general population who tried to save it as a historic landmark – to make room for the new William J. Clinton Presidential Library.

In Memory of the Choctaw Terminal

Choctaw & Memphis Railroad

Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad

 Little Rock, Arkansas

Opened April 9, 1900 – – Destroyed November 21, 2001

Epilogue

The history of the Choctaw Route reflects that of mid-America, and in particular, that of Oklahoma.  Indeed the basic threads of the unique heritage that make up this region are prominent in the colorful tapestry that is the Choctaw Route story.

Four of the Five Civilized Tribes, and the various Plains Tribes – the frontier experience, land runs and land lotteries – numerous ethnic immigrant settlements, and the growth (and death) of communities – the range cattle industry, rich agriculture, timber, and petroleum production – exploitation, corporate greed, financial manipulation, and government indifference – depression and drought, boom and bust – all are part of the Choctaw Route story.  As you walk the rotting ties, the story begs to be heard.

Appendix A – CO&G Railroad Timeline

  • Purchased Choctaw Coal and Railway Company from George H. Earle, Jr., Sydney F. Tyler, Francis I. Gowen, George B. Kirkbride, and Nicholas Thouron, Trustees on 10/3/1894.
  • Built from Oklahoma City to Mc Alester, Oklahoma, (120 miles) via Dickson, Choctaw, Harrah, McLoud, Sunnyside, Dale, Shawnee, Earlsboro, Tracy, Seminole, Lima, Wewoka, Holdenville, Bilby, Agua, Calvin, Hill Top, Stuart, Whites, Barnett (Haywood), and Dods by 10/1/1895.
  • Built from El Reno to Weatherford, Oklahoma, (50 miles) via Fort Reno, Calumet, Geary, Bridgeport, McCool, and Hydro by ~1898.
  • Purchased Choctaw and Memphis Railroad Company on 6/30/1900 for $1,621,500.
  • Leased White and Black River Valley Railroad Company for 80 years on 7/1/1900.
  • Leased trackage rights between Benton and Biddle (Hot Springs Junction), Arkansas, from Little Rock and Hot Springs Western Railroad Company on ~1900.
  • Purchased the Tecumseh Railway Company on 10/12/1900 for $12,000.
  • Built from Shawnee to Tecumseh, Oklahoma, (8 miles) via Spudland by 1901.
  • Built from Weatherford to Elk City, Oklahoma, (46 miles) via Indianapolis, Clinton, Parkersburg, Foss, and Canute by ~1901.
  • Purchased White River, Lonoke and Western Railroad Company on 9/14/1901.
  • Purchased Western Oklahoma Railroad Company on 5/1/1902.
  • Purchased Choctaw Northern Railroad Company on 5/3/1902 for $1,027,500.
  • Through stock purchase, controlled by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company on 5/6/1902.
  • Purchased Hot Springs Railroad Company on 5/10/1902.
  • Relocated line between Haileyville and Wilburton, Oklahoma, (17 miles) by ~1904.
  • Leased to Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company for 999 years on 3/24/1904.
  • Through 100% stock purchase controlled by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company on <1912.
  • Abandoned line between Lehigh and North Coalgate, Oklahoma (6 miles) on ~1923.
  • Abandoned line between Watonga and Homestead, Oklahoma, (23 miles – Choctaw Northern alignment) on ~11/1926.
  • Relocated line in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, (5 miles) by ~1930.
  • Abandoned line between Anthony, Kansas and Ingersoll, Oklahoma, (33 miles) on ~4/1937.
  • Abandoned line between Frisco Junction and Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (84 miles) on ~1/1940.
  • Consolidated into Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company on 1/1/1948.

Appendix B – CO&G Railroad Family Tree

 

Figure 11 shows the complex relationships between the Choctaw Route and its predecessor / successor railroads.  The diagram has been simplified to eliminate many of the wholly-owned subsidiary lines and non-operating holding company entities.

It is important to note that most railroads of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s went through bankruptcies, receiverships, and reorganizations; with corresponding changes in ownership and names.  Often, the company name was simply changed from a Railroad to a Railway or vice versa.  At other times, the words in the name would simply be rearranged.  For example, after three reorganizations the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad became the Little Rock and Memphis Railroad.

Figure 11 - CO&G Family Tree

The dashed lines in the diagram indicate instances when portions of one company were transferred to another company or business entity; typically on an involuntary basis due to hostile take-over or stock manipulation actions.  Many of these companies had interlocking ownership structures where directors or major stockholders participated in managing several companies concurrently.

 

Appendix C – 1915 Oklahoma Railroad Maps

Figure 12 - 1915 Railroad Map (Western Oklahoma)

Figure 13 - 1915 Railroad Map (Eastern Oklahoma)

Figures 12 and 13 contain portions of the 1915 railroad map for Oklahoma.  On this map, all of the Rock Island lines, including both the CO&G and CRI&G, are identified as CRI&P.

Appendix D – References

Laws and Court Decisions

Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler, Government Printing Office, 1904, “ACTS OF FIFTY-FOURTH CONGRESS—FIRST SESSION, 1896, Chapter 122, Apr. 24, 1896. | 29 Stat., 98,” INDIAN AFFAIRS: LAWS AND TREATIES, Vol. 1, Laws, http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/Vol1/HTML_files/SES0595.html

Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler, Government Printing Office, 1904, “ACTS OF FIFTY-SIXTH CONGRESS—FIRST SESSION, 1900, Chapter 111, March 28, 1900. | 31 Stat., 52. | 29 Stat., 98,” INDIAN AFFAIRS: LAWS AND TREATIES, Vol. 1, Laws, http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/Vol1/HTML_files/SES0697.html

CHOCTAW, O. & G. R. CO. v. MACKEY, 256 U.S. 531 (1921), 256 U.S. 531, CHOCTAW, O. & G. R. CO. et al. v. MACKEY, County Treasurer, et al., United States Supreme Court, No. 211. Argued April 21, 1921. Decided June 1, 1921, http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=256&invol=531

NOBLE v. OKLAHOMA CITY, 297 U.S. 481 (1936), 297 U.S. 481, NOBLE et al.  v. OKLAHOMA CITY.  HIGGINGS et al. v. SAME, United States Supreme Court, Nos. 335, 336. Argued Feb. 4, 5, 1936. Decided March 2, 1936, http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=297&invol=481

CHOCTAW, OKLAHOMA & GULF RAILROAD CO. v. NICHOLAS, “1899 IT 87, 53 S.W. 475, Decided: 10/27/1899,” Indian Territory Court, http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=63071

O’NEAL v. UPTON, “1950 OK 34, 214 P.2d 712, 202 Okla. 403; Case Number: 33609, Decided: 02/07/1950,” Supreme Court of Oklahoma, http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=54768

Choctaw, O. & G. R. Co. v. Harrison, 235 U.S. 292 (1914), United States Supreme Court, Docket num. 45 – November 30, 1914, http://www.vlex.us/caselaw/U-S-Supreme-Court/Choctaw-O-&%3B-G-R-Co-v-Harrison-235-U-S-292-1914/2100-20030453,01.html

General Information

The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Historical Association, contributors, “Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad”, “Rock Island System” The Handbook of Texas Online

Trainweb, contributor, “The Choctaw Terminal,” http://www.trainweb.org/choctawterminal/index.html

Matt Willett, contributor, “Rock Island’s Family Tree,” Matt’s Place on the Web, http://home.covad.net/~scicoatnsew/rihist1.htm

Rock Island Technical Society, contributor, “The Rock Island Railroad,” History,

Historical Society of Pottawatomie County, contributor, “History,” City of Shawnee, http://www.shawneeok.org/History/Default.asp

Clinton School of Public Service, University of Arkansas, contributor, “Gift Evokes Sturgis Hall’s History as Railroad Depot.”

Wikipedia contributors, “List of Oklahoma railroads,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_Oklahoma_railroads&oldid=27038067.

City of Weatherford, contributor, “Indian Territory Legends,” Legends of America, http://www.legendsofamerica.com/OK-Weatherford.html

Canadian County contributor, “History of Canadian County,” Canadian County, http://www.canadiancounty.org/county/county%20government/about/history.htm

Kenneth C. Craft and Lisa A. Craft, “Rails of Change,” 19th and 20th Century Potawatomie Culture and the Railroad, http://crm.cr.nps.gov/archive/22-10/22-10-4.pdf

George H. LaBarre, contributor, “Railroad Stocks and Bonds,” George H. LaBarre Galleries, Inc. On-line Catalog, http://www.glabarre.com/category/Railroad_Stocks/c32

Sharon McAllister, contributor, “Maps ‘n’ More, 1915 Railroad Maps,” OKGenWeb Special Project.

One Response to CO&G Railroad

  1. Pingback: URL

Comments are closed.