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Cumberland and Ohio Railroad Company Collection, 1853-1907

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Cumberland and Ohio Railroad Company Collection




Western Kentucky University Library special CollectionsBowling Green, Kentucky, 42101-3576 USA

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item] Cumberland and Ohio Railroad Company Collection, 1853-1907, MSS 2,Library Special Collections, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green.


1/2 box, 2 folders, 89 items


The Cumberland & Ohio Railroad Company was chartered February 24, 1869, by the Kentucky Legislature primarily for the purpose of building and operating a trunk line railroad from a point on the Ohio River opposite Cincinnati, southwest to a crossing of the Kentucky River within thirty miles of its mouth, through the Kentucky counties of Henry, Shelby, Spencer, Nelson, Washington, Marion, Taylor, Green, Metcalfe, Barren, and Allen. By an act of the Tennessee Legislature passed January 10, 1870, permission was extended to the C & O Railroad Company to construct their railroad from said point on the State line via Gallatin to Nashville, Tennessee.

Sometime in the early 1870s, the citizens of Taylor County voted a bond issue of several thousand dollars for the purpose of building the Cumberland & Ohio Railroad through their county. Many other counties along the proposed line voted large bond issues to secure the road, too. The railroad was to extend from the Cumberland River on the south to the Ohio River on the north. A survey was made and even some grading was done, but the only line which was ever laid was a section from Lebanon to Greensburg. After a few years, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad assumed operation of the line.

Much animosity arose when collection of railroad taxes were attempted. Many people refused to pay the tax when they realized that they would not benefit any and that no railroad was to be constructed. Lawsuits were brought by bondholders who had purchased the Taylor County bonds in good faith. Financial affairs of the county, and many individual citizens, were involved in this unpleasant and money-losing ordeal. Because of the intense feelings harbored by citizens of Taylor County, no person could be found who would accept the position of sheriff for a number of years, since it would have been his duty to collect the tax.

Due to a decision reached by Federal Court proceedings, a special tax collector and a Sinking Fund Commission were appointed. It seems that little effort was made to enforce collection, but some taxes were paid voluntarily. Attempts to collect the said tax were still being made in 1893 and 1894.

Scope and Content

The correspondence covers the planning and proposed building of the Cumberland & Ohio Railroad in Allen County. The chief correspondents are G.M. Mulligan, W. H. Dulaney, W. J. McElroy, Z. F. Smith, and P. H. Leslie.Among topics described in the papers are those dealing with actions taken to achieve passage of a bill in the State Legislature, the selling of stockshares, and the concern and fear that Louisville would block the actual building of the railroad. Among the papers concerning the railroad are the following: original list ofstockholders, stock receipts, report made concerning the C & O, order requesting the Allen County Court to issue bonds, copy of charter, tax receipts, andofficial statement booklet with map.


  • Allen County - Railroads
  • & Railroad - Maps, 1872
  • Dulaney, W H
  • Gatewood, John J, 1830-
  • Lawyers
  • Leslie, Preston Hopkins, 1819-1907
  • McElroy, William J 1825-
  • Map - & , Railroad, 1872
  • Mulligan, Gilbert Marshall, 1821 -1877
  • Railroads - Allen County
  • Railroads - Construction and engineering
  • Railroads, C & O - Sumner County, Tennessee
  • Railroads, C & O - Tennessee
  • Railroads - Legislation and regulation
  • Railroads - 19th century
  • Receipts, Railroad - C & O, 1880
  • Shakers, South Union - Statement, 1873
  • Smith, Zachary Frederick, 1827-1911
  • Sumner County, Tenn. - C & O RR, 1873
  • Tennessee - Railroads, - Cumberland & Ohio
  • Tennessee - Sumner Co. - C & O RR, 1873

User Restrictions

Copyright has not been assigned to the Western Kentucky University.

Related Material

For additional papers concerning this subject see the E. H. Hobson Collection and SC 231.

Collection Inventory

Cumberland & Ohio Railroad Company. 1853-1907. 89 items
[box: 1]
Business papers. 1853-1874. 59 items
[box: 1, folder: 1]
Business papers. 1875-1907. 30 items
[box: 1, folder: 2]

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