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Kansas Town and Land Company papers

Creator: Kansas Town and Land Company

Date: 1885-1930

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Selected letters, agreements & contracts: MICROFILM: MS 1024-MS 1036
Remainder of collection: Ms. Coll. 130

Unit ID: 40130

Restrictions: None

Abstract: Documents included are contracts, deeds, and plat maps that provide a precise insight into the creation of boundaries, plats, and land transactions. Major features include the E. W. Cline correspondence files, 1898-1916; land transaction documents; and town company record books (90 v.) The records in this collection provide information on railroad development and community growth in Kansas and throughout the region. Local and community histories can be traced to original platting and sales of land.

Space Required/Quantity: 73.12 cubic feet

Title (Main title): Kansas Town and Land Company papers

Titles (Other):

  • Maturity record books
  • Kansas Town and Land Company records
  • Records
  • Kansas Town & Land Co. records
  • Papers
  • Town lot payment books
  • Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway Town Lot Payment Books
  • Letter press volumes

Administrative History

Administrative History:

The Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway was formed in 1885. Its purpose was to build the Kansas and Colorado mileage of the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company. Marcus A. Low, a former attorney for the Rock Island, was president, and C. F. Jilson was secretary - treasurer. The Rock Island advanced the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska about $25,000,000 to begin construction in exchange for nearly all of the latter’s stock. Essentially, this made the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific the owner of the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska from the very beginning.

Under the guidance of Chief Engineer Hilon A. Parker, the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska laid track from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Horton, Kansas. Track was laid south from Horton to Topeka, Kansas, where it crossed the Kansas River and then continued southwest to Herington, Kansas. In March 1887, Congress granted the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway the authority to construct and operate a railroad line southwest through Indian Territory to El Paso, Texas, and New Mexico, and another line south to Galveston, Texas. Herington served as a divisional terminal while the southwest line was built through McPherson, Hutchinson, Pratt, and into "desolate" country to Liberal, Kansas. The new terminal at Liberal was reached in December of 1887, and construction then stopped for thirteen years. The southern line from Herington was built throughout 1887 and the first train arrived in Caldwell, Kansas, in early 1888. The northwest line between Horton, Kansas, and Jansen, Nebraska, was completed in 1888. In June 1888, Rock Island lines in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska were consolidated, and track was then laid across northern Kansas through Belleville, Phillipsburg, Norton, Colby, and Goodland to the Kansas - Colorado line. After entering Colorado, track was laid through New Burlington (present Burlington) to Limon and south to Colorado Springs. The Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska had put down about 1388 miles of track by 1888, mostly in Kansas and Missouri. The Railway continued its push southward and entered Indian Territory (present Oklahoma), built through Enid and El Reno, crossed the Canadian River and laid track into Mingo in 1890.

In 1889 the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway failed to make its interest payment to the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific. The Rock Island started foreclosure proceedings on the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska. Meanwhile, following a court decree, all roads and property of the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway were sold to the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company on April 30, 1891. The sale was approved June 6, 1891, and all 1486 miles of completed Chicago, Kansas, & Nebraska track were turned over to the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railway Company by June seventeenth.

Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway officials organized themselves into a town company and purchased 620 acres of land in Horton. The Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Town Company was the immediate predecessor to the Kansas Town and Land Company. It influenced the growth of Horton when it was chosen as a divisional headquarters for the Railway. The Kansas Land and Town Company was incorporated on July 27, 1887, to buy and sell real estate. It conducted no other business. The office for this business was located in the Topeka offices of the Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway and later the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company. Low was president and Jilson was secretary; Ernest W. Cline was the Company's treasurer. This firm was responsible for the acquisition and disposition of all lands and right of way owned by the Chicago, Kansas & Nebraska and Rock Island railway companies throughout Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Although the original charter for the company expired in 1907, an extension of 50 years was acquired from the State of Kansas. During these years, the Kansas Town and Land Company owned full or part interest in other companies.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

The records in this collection provide information on railroad development and community growth in Kansas and throughout the region. Local and community histories can be traced to original platting and sales of land. Documents included are contracts, deeds, and plat maps which provide a precise insight into the creation of boundaries, plats, and land transactions. The correspondence in this collection deals with a variety of right of way and land disposition concerns. This information on the origin of Kansas communities may not exist elsewhere. Subjects included are negotiation with county officials over assessment and taxation practices; donation of land for public schools, colleges, churches, and assorted recreational facilities; negotiation of terms for the lease of pasture and agricultural land uses; growing conditions and yields of rental crops; rental or lease of company owned buildings and facilities; extensive communication with local real estate agents, bankers, and lawyers who represented the company's interests. The majority of the records center on the official activities and correspondence of Mr. Ernest Warren Cline. He was Treasurer and Secretary-Treasurer of the Kansas Town and Land Company as well as Right of Way and Tax Agent for the C. R. I. & P. Railway Company. The collection contains office records, receipts and disbursements, correspondence and legal documents, and Town Company Record Books. These town site volumes list each property and the dispostion made of each. They are supported by original and duplicate title papers on file and have entries that also show the disposition of all properties.

This collection also contains oversized materials. There is one box and one Letterpress Volume of the correspondence of J. F. Doty who was predecessor to E. W. Cline. This correspondence covers 1888 through 1890. It is divided into Letters Received and copies of Letters Sent. There are 45 boxes and 13 Letterpress Volumes of correspondence of E. W. Cline. He represented the railroad's interests in all matters concerning the acquisition and disposition of land on the right of way. His correspondence was with surveyors, land agents and private individuals concerning land plats and prices; sales, rental and lease agreements. A major concern of Cline's correspondence was with legality of titles, complete land descriptions, payment of taxes, and indebtedness. The correspondence from 1898 through 1904 is divided into Letters Received and copies of Letters Sent. After March of 1904 correspondence was handled differently. Carbon copies of letters sent were incorporated into files arranged on a numerical basis which contain both incoming and outgoing copies of letters sent. This correspondence is arranged by subject with the most recent correspondence on top. Although the original index was lost, a subject index has been reconstructed. There are 3 boxes of Fred Iles correspondence. Fred was Assistant Right of Way and Tax Agent in Topeka until 1917 when he assumed E. W. Cline's position. This miscellaneous collection covers from 1906 through 1930. When Iles assumed the duties of Right of Way Agent in 1917, his official correspondence was placed in the numerical files of the office. Land transactions are contained in 50 boxes. Most of the material pertains to Kansas town sites and is arranged in alphabetical order. Some documents have correspondence attached to them. This collection is divided into two groups: 4 boxes of purchases and 42 boxes of sales. There are three boxes of Contracts and Agreements dealing with rental and lease agreements negotiated on lands and structures owned by the railroad and the Kansas Town and Land Company. These are arranged in numerical order and are dated from 1887 through 1909. There are 4 Letterpress Volumes of Miscellaneous Contracts and Agreements as well as one box labeled Miscellaneous. The Letterpress Volumes are not well organized and material content is often sketchy. The Miscellaneous box contains unrelated files and unorganized papers from E. W. Cline's office. The materials pertaining to the Union Stock Yards Company are in one box. This company was located in North Topeka and operated from 1885 through 1898 when C. F. Jilson, trustee for C. R. I. & P. acquired the deed. The business was operated at a loss from 1898 through 1900 when it failed. In 1904, the C. R. I. & P. transferred the land to the Kansas Town and Land Company. Another box contains material about the South Arkansas Valley Town Company which was organized and incorporated in 1887 to do business in Dodge City, Kansas. The company was disbanded in 1906. The Golden Belt Town Company materials are in three boxes and one Letterpress Volume. This company was incorporated in 1886 to buy and sell land in south central Kansas. Communities covered include: Waldeck, Durham, Tampa, Ramona, Lincolnville, Furley, Peck, Lost Springs, Aulne, Elbing, Whitewater, and Gladys. One box contains the materials of the East Abilene Town Company. It was incorporated in 1887 and dealt with Abilene, Kansas. Town Company Record Books are in 14 boxes. They were kept for the purpose of recording all land transactions entered into by the Kansas Town and Land Company. These books are arranged numerically in a rough alphabetical order. Each volume contains a brief abstract of all lands acquired at a given town site by the C. K. & N. Railway Company, C. R. I. & P. Railway Company, the Kansas Town and Land Company, or one of its trustees. One box has the materials of the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company. These materials include side track information, statistical data and building records for the Kansas Division, right of way maps through each Kansas county on the southwest route from McPherson to Meade Counties, and station ground blue prints which are arranged by town site or station name.

Contents: Ser. 1. J. F. Doty correspondence (1 box, 1 v.) -- ser. 2. E. W. Cline correspondence (45 boxes, 13 v.) -- ser. 3. Fred Iles correspondence (3 boxes) -- ser. 4. Land transactions (50 boxes) -- ser. 5. Agent's statements -- ser. 6. Contracts and agreements (3 boxes) -- ser. 7. Miscellaneous contracts and agreements (4 v.) -- ser. 8. Miscellaneous (1 box) -- ser. 9. Union Stock Yards Company (1 box) -- ser. 10. South Arkansas Valley Town Company (1 box) -- ser. 11. The Golden Belt Town Company (3 boxes) -- ser. 12. The East Abilene Town Company (1 box) -- ser. 13. Town company record books (14 boxes) -- ser. 14. Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company (1 box) -- ser. 15. Miscellaneous volumes (2 boxes) -- ser. 16. Microfilmed letterpress volumes (6 boxes on 13 microfilm reels ; 35 mm.: MS 1024-MS 1036) -- ser. 17. Oversized materials.

Specific Contents Identified:

Headings or descriptors assigned to subsections of the material, for example labels on a particular box or group of boxes.

  • 1887-1895: sale register books of the Golden Belt Town Co. and Kansas Town and Land Co. Undated: stock certificate books of South Arkansas Valley Town Co. and East Abilene Town Co. 1910-1911: account book
  • 1906: maturity record
  • Manuscripts Collection 130
  • Maturity record books
  • Oversize materials

Microfilm:

  • MS 1024: Letter press volumes : 1899 Feb.-Apr. 1899-1899
  • MS 1025: Letter press volumes : 1899 May1 -Dec. 12 1899-1899
  • MS 1026: Letter press volumes : 1899 Dec. 12-1900 July 16 1899-1900
  • MS 1027: Letter press volumes : 1900 July 16-1901 Mar. 30 1900-1901
  • MS 1028: Letter press volumes : 1901 Apr. 1-Dec. 24 1901-1901
  • MS 1029: Letter press volumes : 1901 Dec. 26-1902 Sept. 16 1901-1902
  • MS 1030: Letter press volumes : 1902 Sept. 17-1903 May 20 1902-1903
  • MS 1031: Letter press volumes : 1903 May 21-Oct. 20 1903-1903
  • MS 1032: Letter press volumes : 1903 Oct. 21-1896 Feb. 23 1896-1903
  • MS 1033: Letter press volumes : 1896 Mar.-1904 Jan. 1896-1904
  • MS 1034: Letter press volumes : 1904 Feb.-1893 Feb. 1893-1904
  • MS 1035: Letter press volumes : 1893 Mar. 3-1895 Nov. 15 1893-1895
  • MS 1036: Letter press volumes : 1895 Nov. 23-1904 Mar. 2 1895-1904

Related Records or Collections

Finding Aids: Available in the repository. Http://www.kshs.org/p/kansas-town-and-land-company/18508

Other Finding Aid/Index: Subject guide by townsite name available in the repository. Http://www.kshs.org/p/kansas-town-and-land-company/18508

Index Terms

Subjects

    Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway
    Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railway -- Records and correspondence
    Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company
    Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company -- Records and correspondence
    East Abilene Town Company
    Golden Belt Town Company
    Kansas Town and Land Company
    South Arkansas Valley Town Company
    Union Stock Yards Company
    Deeds
    Great Plains
    Herington (Kan.)
    Horton (Kan.)
    Kansas
    Topeka (Kan.)
    Cline, Ernest W
    Doty, J. F
    Iles, Fred
    Jilson, C. F
    Low, Marcus, A. 1842-
    Parker, Hilon A
    Account books -- Kansas
    Business records -- Kansas -- Topeka
    Cities and towns -- Great Plains
    City planning -- Great Plains
    Railroad companies -- Great Plains
    Railroad land grants -- Great Plains
    Railroads -- Great Plains
    Railroads -- United States

Creators and Contributors


Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: None

Use and reproduction: Information on copyright available from the Kansas Historical Society (Topeka).

Ownership/Custodial Hist.: Records donated when the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad closed its Topeka, Kan., office.

Add'l physical form: E. W. Cline copies of letters sent, 1899-1904, & copies of letters sent (personal), 1893-1903 ; J. F. Doty copies of letters sent, 1888-1890 ; F. H. Kollock copies of letters sent, 1891-1905 ; misc. agreements and contracts, 1889-1904: Microfilm. Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, 1980. 13 microfilm reels ; 35 mm.; rolls MS 1024-MS 1036, lab no. 18118-18130; available for research or inter-library loan.

Cite as: Cite as: Kansas Town and Land Company Papers, 1885-1930, Ms. Coll. 130, Kansas State Historical Society.

Action note: Collection processed by J. Thomas Brown, 1980.

Notes

Local Note: See J. F. Doty correspondence series (unit 307374) also on Kansas Memory.