New York and Erie Rail Road Company (Signed by President Millard Fillmore)
New York and Erie Rail Road Company (Signed by President Millard Fillmore)
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Intricately engraved antique bond certificate from the New York and Erie Rail Road Company dating back to the 1840's. This document, which is signed by the company President and Secretary, was printed by Danforth & Hufty and measures approximately 13" (w) by 10 1/4" (h).
This certificate features a pair of nice vignettes - The Starrucca Viaduct at the bottom and a train rounding a bend at the top.
This piece is signed on the verso by United States President Millard Fillmore.
The New York and Erie Rail Road was chartered April 24, 1832 by Governor of New York, Enos T. Throop to connect the Hudson River at Piermont, north of New York City, west to Lake Erie at Dunkirk. On February 16, 1841 the railroad was authorized to cross into the northeast corner of Pennsylvania on the west side of the Delaware River. Construction began in 1836, and it opened from Piermont to Goshen on September 23, 1841. After some financial problems, construction resumed in August 1846, and the next section, to Port Jervis, opened on January 7, 1848. Further extensions opened to Binghamton December 27, 1848, Owego January 1, 1849, and the full length to Dunkirk May 19, 1851. At Dunkirk steamboats continued across Lake Erie to Detroit, Michigan.
President Millard Fillmore and Secretary of State Daniel Webster rode on the initial train of the complete route.
The line was built as 6 ft wide gauge; this was believed to be a superior technology to standard gauge, providing more stability.
In 1848 the railroad built the Starrucca Viaduct, a stone railroad bridge over Starrucca Creek in Lanesboro, Pennsylvania, which has survived and is still in use today. The viaduct is 1,040 feet long, 100 feet high and 25 feet wide at the top. It is the oldest stone rail bridge in Pennsylvania still in use.
The Erie's charter was amended April 8, 1845 to allow the building of the Newburgh Branch, running from the main line near Harriman north-northeast to Newburgh, also on the Hudson River. The branch opened January 8, 1850. It was later used as a connection to the New York and New England Railroad via a car float operation across the river to Beacon, New York.
The Paterson and Ramapo Railroad and Union Railroad opened in 1848, providing a connection between the Erie at the village of Suffern in Ramapo and Jersey City, across the Hudson River from New York City. Through ticketing began in 1851, with a required change of cars at Ramapo due to the gauge break. In 1852 the Erie leased the two companies along with the Paterson and Hudson River Railroad, and Erie trains begin operating to the New Jersey Rail Road's Jersey City terminal on November 1853 after a third rail for wide gauge was finished.
In 1852, the Buffalo and Rochester Railroad, part of the New York Central Railroad system, completed a new alignment between Buffalo and Batavia. The alignment from Buffalo to Attica was sold to the Erie's Buffalo and New York City Railroad, a reorganization of the Attica and Hornellsville Railroad, and converted to the Erie's wide gauge. The extension from Attica southeast to Hornellsville opened on November 17, 1852, giving the Erie access to Buffalo, a better terminal than Dunkirk.
The Erie began operating the Chemung Railroad in 1850; this provided a branch from Horseheads north to Watkins. The Canandaigua and Elmira Railroad opened in 1851 as a northern extension from Watkins to Canandaigua and was operated by the Erie until 1853. At this point, the Erie subleased the Chemung Railroad to the Canandaigua and Elmira. The C&E went bankrupt in 1857 and was reorganized in 1859 as the Elmira, Canandaigua and Niagara Falls Railroad, at which time the Erie leased it again. The Chemung Railroad reverted to the Erie in 1858 during the bankruptcy.
The Canandaigua and Niagara Falls Railroad continued this line beyond Canandaigua to North Tonawanda with trackage rights over the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad to Niagara Falls and the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge into Ontario. This was leased by the Canandaigua and Elmira from its opening in 1853 to 1858, when it went bankrupt, was reorganized as the Niagara Bridge and Canandaigua Railroad, and was leased by New York Central Railroad. The NYC converted it to standard gauge and blocked the Erie from it.
The Erie pushed southward into the coal fields of Elk County, Pennsylvania, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, and Clearfield County, Pennsylvania to acquire a source of fuel for its locomotives. This action began with the February 26, 1859 merger of two earlier roads to form the Buffalo, Bradford and Pittsburgh Railroad Company. The new organization was sponsored by the New York and Erie Railroad Company, later known as the Erie. The BB&P ran for 25.97 miles through Bradford, Pennsylvania after connecting with the primary line of the Erie at Carrollton, New York. The line came to a point known as Gilesville, the site of a bituminous mine, by January 1, 1866.
In August 1859, the company went into receivership due to the large costs of building, and on June 25, 1861 it was reorganized as the Erie Railway. This was the first bankruptcy of a major trunk line in the U.S.
Millard Fillmore's Signature
Millard Fillmore (January 7, 1800 – March 8, 1874) was the 13th president of the United States (1850–1853), the last to be a member of the Whig Party while in the White House. A former U.S. representative from New York, Fillmore was elected the nation's 12th vice president in 1848, and succeeded to the presidency in July 1850 upon the death of President Zachary Taylor. He was instrumental in the passing of the Compromise of 1850, a bargain that led to a brief truce in the battle over slavery. He failed to win the Whig nomination for president in 1852; he gained the endorsement of the nativist Know Nothing Party four years later, finishing third in the 1856 presidential election.
Fillmore was born into poverty in the Finger Lakes area of New York state—his parents were tenant farmers during his formative years. Though he had little formal schooling, he rose from poverty through diligent study and became a successful attorney. He became prominent in the Buffalo area as an attorney and politician, was elected to the New York Assembly in 1828, and to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1832. Initially, he belonged to the Anti-Masonic Party, but became a Whig as the party formed in the middle of the decade; he was a rival for state party leadership with editor Thurlow Weed and Weed's protégé, William H. Seward. Through his career, Fillmore declared slavery an evil, but one beyond the powers of the federal government, whereas Seward was not only openly hostile to slavery, he argued that the federal government had a role to play in ending it. Fillmore was an unsuccessful candidate for Speaker of the House when the Whigs took control of the chamber in 1841 but was made Ways and Means Committee chairman. Defeated in bids for the Whig nomination for vice president in 1844, and for New York governor the same year, Fillmore was elected Comptroller of New York in 1847, the first to hold that post by direct election.
As vice president, Fillmore was largely ignored by Taylor, even in the dispensing of patronage in New York, on which Taylor consulted Weed and Seward. In his capacity as President of the Senate however, he presided over angry debates in the Senate as Congress decided whether to allow slavery in the Mexican Cession. Fillmore supported Henry Clay's Omnibus Bill (the basis of the 1850 Compromise) though Taylor did not. Upon becoming president in July 1850, Fillmore dismissed Taylor's cabinet and pushed Congress to pass the Compromise. The Fugitive Slave Act, expediting the return of escaped slaves to those who claimed ownership, was a controversial part of the Compromise, and Fillmore felt himself duty-bound to enforce it, though it damaged his popularity and also the Whig Party, which was torn North from South. In foreign policy, Fillmore supported U.S. Navy expeditions to open trade in Japan, opposed French designs on Hawaii, and was embarrassed by Narciso López's filibuster expeditions to Cuba. He sought election to a full term in 1852 but was passed over by the Whigs in favor of Winfield Scott.
As the Whig Party broke up after Fillmore's presidency, many in Fillmore's conservative wing joined the Know Nothings, forming the American Party. In his 1856 candidacy as that party's nominee, Fillmore had little to say about immigration, focusing instead on the preservation of the Union, and won only Maryland. Fillmore was active in many civic endeavors—he helped in founding the University of Buffalo and served as its first chancellor. During the American Civil War, Fillmore denounced secession and agreed that the Union must be maintained by force if necessary, but was critical of the war policies of Abraham Lincoln. After peace was restored, he supported the Reconstruction policies of President Andrew Johnson. Though he is largely obscure today, Fillmore has been praised by some, for his foreign policy, and criticized by others, for his enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act and his association with the Know Nothings.
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