Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 37
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
Throughout the 1870s, the railroad continued to drive the economic and demo-
graphic development of the county. On June 11, 1868, in a meeting at Harrisburg, the direc-
tors and president, Sidney Sherman, of the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railroad
acknowledged that they were hopelessly in debt and unable to proceed as a company. They
were in default on a mortgage they had taken out on November 1, 1860; they owed a
contractor, William M. Sledge, a considerable amount of money; and the dispute over own-
ership of the rails used to construct the Columbus Tap Railroad, which they had acquired,
had never been resolved. Over the next eighteen months, the railroad's many problems were
worked out, and a group of investors, many of whom lived in Boston, Massachusetts, emerged
as the new owners. During the same months, the company's new managers undertook
major improvements to the dilapidated railroad, making extensive repairs to the track, instal-
lations, and rolling stock, and purchasing new rolling stock. In addition, the Brazos Iron
Bridge Company constructed a bridge across the Brazos River to replace the awkward and
dangerous barge system which had, until then, been used by the railroad. By 1870, the
railroad was ready to proceed with its westward extension and approached the state legisla-
ture to amend its charter. A year earlier, they had decided to extend their line to San Antonio,
rather than to Austin as had been the original plan. On July 27, 1870, the legislature sanc-
tioned the new plan, and changed the name of the railroad to the Galveston, Harrisburg, and
San Antonio Railroad. In 1875, the railroad built a roundhouse on the west side of Columbus,
and in 1878, a cattle pen that enclosed some two acres a mile or two west of town. By then,
they had extended their track beyond the county line. Though the railroad had begun acquir-
ing rights of way across the lands west of Columbus as early as August 1871, they began
doing so in earnest in late January 1873. Over the next two months, they acquired at least ten
rights of way on the west side of the county. They also planned two new depots.49
up his little carpet bag and leave, I think for that reason, if no other, he should encourage the emigra-
tion of people of the Northern States and Europe, who come here with the inherent doctrine of political
equality to all; whereas on the other hand, if we do not counterbalance that immense immigration
which is pouring in from the Southern States, every one with State sovereignty on the brain, his
prophesy might come to pass, and certainly if the State administration should unfortunately become
Democratic" (see Speech ofHon. R. P Tendick on Immigration, Delivered in the Senate of the State
of Texas, April 19, 1871, n. p., n. d.).
49 Galveston Daily News, October 11, 1868; Houston Daily 7imes, January 7, 1869, February
19, 1869, March 23, 1869; Gammel, ed., The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, vol. 6, pp. 547-551; Colorado
Citizen, August 12, 1875, April 4, 1878; Colorado County Deed Records, Book Q, p. 574, Book R, pp.
55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 62, 87, 91; Colorado County Bond and Mortgage Records, Book I, 225, pp. 601, 604,
607; St. Clair Griffin Reed, A History of TexasRailads (Houston: St. Clair Publishing, 1941. Reprint.
New York: Arno Press, 1981, p. 192). When itbecame clear that the existing railroad had no intention
of building a line to La Grange and Austin, as had earlier been intended, a new railroad, the Columbus,
Austin, & Parker County Railway Company, was chartered. The company, which was incorporated by
virtue of an act passed by the legislature on April 2, 1873, was to construct track from Columbus to
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/37/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.