58 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
For 11 years the people of Harrisburg and Houston talked railroad,
but they seemed to have wasted all their energy in talk,
for they did nothing else.
However, in 1851 the line, which is now known as the Galveston,
Harrisburg and San Antonio, was actually begun at Harrisburg,
and construction was pushed so vigorously that in nine
years 80 miles of road was actually constructed. In this day
of rapid transportation, when all the material for railroad construction
can be obtained almost at a moment's notice, it seems
strange to hear that it took nine years to build a crudely constructed
line 80 miles.
That was rather rapid work for the early days, however, for
all the material, except for ties, had to be brought in sailing
ships from Boston, New York or other ports on the Atlantic,
unloaded at Galveston and then brought up the bayou in steamboats.
There were many difficulties to be overcome in the way of
transportation and equally as great ones in obtaining money
or credit to pay for construction. Just as the Harrisburg road
got under good headway, the Houston and Texas Central got into
`the game. The first shovel of dirt for this road was thrown by
that great railroad genius, Paul Bremond, in 1853. When he
threw up that dirt he turned up more trouble for himself than
generally falls to the lot of one man.
Of course, he did not know this, but I am convinced that
had he done so it would have made not the slightest change in
his plans. His faith in himself and his confidence in his ability
to accomplish whatever he started out to do, was something
sublime. When it came to energy he had any engine on his
road faded to a standstill. He was a wonderful man, and he
did not hesitate, at times, to attempt the apparently impossible.
When his first contractor got cold feet and threw up. his job,
Mr. Bremond promptly undertook to carry out the contract to
build the road himself. There is where his troubles began.
The company had money enough to build two miles of road
and to buy an engine. Then the unlooked-for and unprovidedfor
element of credit bobbed up and scared all the other stockholders,
xcept Mr. Bremond, off the track.
He stayed and went straight ahead Just as if he had millions
behind him. He had faith, the kind that is spelled with a big
F, but the difficulty was to pay off several hundred clamoring
Irishmen with some of his faith. He did not actually perform
that miracle, but he came as near doing so as anybody could.
He was a very honest and square man himself and the Irishmen,
while they cursed and hunted for him everywhere, knew
that they would be paid sometime. They made life a burden
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed December 19, 2014.