The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 364
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
It should be remembered that railroads in America were com-
paratively young at the time of Texas independence, scarcely
more than five years of age. It has been suggested5 that the interest
of Texans in railroads at that early date may have been due to
the fact that many of the early settlers were from South Carolina
where the Charleston and Hamburg Railroad had been in suc-
cessful operation since 1833.8 Too, the Pontchartrain Railroad, a
five-mile line extending from Elysian Fields Street in New Orleans
to Milnesburg on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain had served
since 1832 to prove the success of steam locomotion in the deep
South.' Be that as it may, the Republic was only a few weeks
old when it chartered its first railroad company.
Altogether the Congress of the Republic of Texas chartered
four companies with the privilege of constructing railroad track-
age. The first in point of time was the Texas Railroad, Naviga-
tion, and Banking Company, chartered on December 16, 1836.
The company was authorized to connect Gulf ports by means of
internal navigation and railroads and also the privilege of con-
structing branches, either canals or railroads, to connect with
the main line. The capital stock of the company was limited to
five million dollars, divided into 50,000 shares of $10o each. The
directors were empowered to borrow money upon the faith of the
company and to pledge its property, real or personal, for repay-
ment of such loans. The company was also given the right of
applying to the county court for condemnation of private land,
although the owners of the land were to be reimbursed by the
company at a rate determined by a jury. As for the public domain,
the company could take possession of such lands, not to exceed
one-half mile in width "from their works, on either side," and
pay to the government the minimum price which at that time
was fifty cents an acre. The charter further provided that "upon
going into operation" the company was to pay into the treasury
of the Republic a bonus of $25,000 in gold or silver and to share
with the government two and one-half per cent of the annual net
6S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads and of Transportation Conditions
Under Spain and Mexico and the Republic and the State (Houston, 1941), 10o.
6Winthrop M. Daniels, American Railroads: Four Phases of Their History
(Princeton, 1932), 4.
TQuiz on Railroads and Railroading (Washington, 1947), 1.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/390/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.