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Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad Company (Issued to and Signed by Thomas C. Platt)


SKU: 5253
Product Details

Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad Company dating back to the 1880's. This document, which is signed by the company President and Secretary, was printed by the Franklin Bank Note Company and measures approximately 11 1/4" (w) by 7 3/4" (h).


The certificate features a vignette of a 4-4-0 locomotive steaming down the tracks.

You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

Historical Context

The Warwick Valley Railroad was organized March 8, 1860 as a branch of the New York and Erie Rail Road, branching from it at Greycourt southwest to Warwick, New York. It opened in 1862 and was operated by the Erie.

The Pequest and Wallkill Railroad was chartered by 1870 to build an extension in New Jersey, running from Belvidere on the Delaware River and Belvidere Delaware Railroad northeast to the New York state line. The Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad was chartered later as a competitor, planning to build from Belvidere to McAfee, with the Wawayanda Railroad running the rest of the way to the state line. In April/May 1881, the three companies merged to form a new Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad and on April 1, 1882, the Warwick Valley Railroad joined, forming the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway (L&HR).

In the meantime, the Sussex Railroad had built a branch from Hamburg to South Vernon (McAfee); the L&HR bought this around 1881. The Warwick Valley Railroad had built an extension southwest to McAfee in March 1880, and the full line opened August 14, 1882, connecting Belvidere, New Jersey to Greycourt, New York.

The Orange County Railroad was chartered on November 28, 1888 and opened the following year, extending the line northeast from Greycourt to Maybrook. At Maybrook, the line junctioned with the Central New England Railway, continuing east via the Poughkeepsie Bridge over the Hudson River to New England. Trackage rights were obtained over a short piece of the New York, Ontario and Western Railway from the junction at Burnside west to the major junction at Campbell Hall.

The South Easton and Phillipsburg Railroad of New Jersey, and the South Easton and Phillipsburg Railroad of Pennsylvania was organized on July 25, 1889 to build a bridge over the Delaware River between Easton, Pennsylvania and Phillipsburg, New Jersey. The former built 460' on the New Jersey side, while the latter built 850' on the Pennsylvania side. Bridge construction began on November 19, 1889, and concluded the following year on October 2. "The South Easton and Phillipsburg Railroad of New Jersey and South Easton and Phillipsburg of Pennsylvania were consolidated with the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway on April 2, 1912." Subsequently, the L&HR obtained trackage rights over 13 miles of the Pennsylvania Railroad's (PRR) Belvidere Delaware Railroad between Phillipsburg and Belvidere;once the bridge was completed, the L&HR had a continuous line from Maybrook to Easton. At Easton, an interchange could be made with the Central Railroad of New Jersey and Lehigh Valley Railroad, while interchange with the PRR was at Phillipsburg. In 1908, L&HR lost the trackage rights from Phillipsburg to Belvidere as PRR took them back.

The L&HR eventually obtained trackage rights over the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad's (DL&W) Sussex Railroad from the junction at Andover south to Port Morris, where it interchanged with the main line of the DL&W.

The Mine Hill Railroad was the only branch built. It ran south from a junction at Franklin, New Jersey to the mines of the New Jersey Zinc Company at Sterling Hill, New Jersey.

From October 1912 until January 1916, the L&HR hosted the PRR's Federal Express passenger trains on the Poughkeepsie Bridge Route between Phillipsburg and Maybrook. With the completion of the Hell Gate Bridge in New York City on September 9, 1917, the Federal Express resumed service via Penn Station and the New Haven Line direct. At its peak, L&HR stretched 86 miles between Easton and Maybrook, acting as a bridge line and hauling anthracite coal from a number of mines along its system.

The L&HR filed for Chapter 77 bankruptcy on April 19, 1972, partly due to Penn Central's decision to operate over other routes in order to avoid the aging Poughkeepsie Bridge.

Post-bankruptcy, the L&HR continued to operate a nocturnal daily freight. During the mid-1970s, the L&HR became part of a proposal to run "Bunny Ski Trains" between Hoboken, New Jersey, and the Playboy Resort (Great Gorge) in Vernon, New Jersey. The proposed service, which would have run on weekends during the winter, would have retrieved passengers westbound along the Erie Lackawanna Railway's (EL) Morristown Line to Netcong, New Jersey, then run along a short section of the remaining Sussex Branch to Andover Junction in Andover, New Jersey, and then northbound along the L&HR to the Playboy Club. The service would have utilized EL's new commuter consists, but was met with stiff opposition from EL management, which was anticipating a merger with other northeastern US railroads and did not want to enter into a venture that it viewed as a potential money-loser. The Bunny Ski Train remained a viable proposal until the remaining vestige of the Sussex Branch was removed in July 1977, after it became clear that it was no longer needed as a connector to the L&HR.

By this point, the L&HR line had been abandoned, and trackage removal occurred when land ownership transferred from Conrail to land developer Gerard Turco
As such, in 1976 the L&HR was merged into Conrail.

Thomas C. Platt

This piece is signed on the verso by Thomas C. Platt.

Platt was born to William Platt, a lawyer, and Lesbia Hinchman, in Owego, Tioga County, New York on July 15, 1833. State Senator Nehemiah Platt (1797–1851) was William Platt's brother.

William Platt, a successful attorney and strict Presbyterian, encouraged his son to enter the ministry. Accordingly, the young Platt was prepared for college at the Owego Academy and attended Yale College (1850–1852), where he studied theology but failed to earn a degree owing to ill health which forced his withdrawal.

After leaving Yale in 1852, he entered into a variety of employments. He started out as a druggist, a business in which he was engaged for two decades; was briefly an editor of a small newspaper; served as president of the Tioga National Bank; and was interested in the lumbering business in Michigan. He also acted as President of the Southern Central and other railways.

In 1852, he married his cousin Ellen Lucy Barstow with whom he had three sons: Edward T. Platt, Frank H. Platt, and Henry B. Platt.

Platt became secretary and a director of the United States Express Co. in 1879 and was elected president of the company in 1880. He was a president of the Board of Quarantine Commissioners of New York from 1880 to 1888 and was President of the Tennessee Coal & Iron Company for several years.

Platt's political involvement began at the Republican Party's inception; he made his first appearance in politics in 1856 in the campaign of the party's first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont. Running as a Republican, he was elected clerk of Tioga County, serving from 1859 to 1861. He was elected as a Republican to the Forty-third United States Congress and the Forty-fourth United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1873 to March 3, 1877. His influence on statewide politics began on his return from Congress in 1877, when he aligned with the "Stalwart" faction led by US Senator Roscoe Conkling at the party's state convention, and against the "Half-Breed" faction loyal to President Rutherford B. Hayes.

In January 1881 he was elected with the support of the Stalwart faction to represent New York in the United States Senate. He became a member of the Forty-seventh Congress and the chairman of the Committee on Enrolled Bills. However, he served only from March 4 to May 16, 1881, when he and Conkling resigned because of a disagreement with President James Garfield over federal appointments in New York. (Platt resigned at Conkling's insistence, earning him the nickname of "Me Too" Platt.) The immediate occasion of their resignation was Garfield's appointment of Half-Breed faction leader William H. Robertson as Collector of the Port of New York. Soon afterward, however, Garfield's assassination by Charles J. Guiteau, a self-proclaimed Stalwart who claimed friendships with Platt and Conkling, was the finishing blow for their faction. Platt and Conkling ran in the special election to fill the vacancies created by their own resignations but lost. Eschewing elective office, Platt then devoted his attention to mending fences and rebuilding the machine, which he then ran after 1887 as an "easy boss."

Sixteen years after Platt's resignation, he was elected to the a second time a U.S. Senator from New York in January 1897 and was re-elected in January 1903. This time, he served from March 4, 1897, to March 3, 1909. He was Chairman of the Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard (in the 55th Congress). He was on the Committee on Printing (in the 56th through 60th Congresses), the Committee on Cuban Relations (in the 59th Congress) and the Committee on Interoceanic Canals (in the 59th Congress). He also served on the Republican National Committee.

On January 21, 1897, Platt's photograph appeared in the New York Tribune as "the first halftone reproduction to appear in a mass circulation daily paper," according to Time-Life's Photojournalism.

To increase his power as a political boss, Platt steered passage of the Greater New York bill in 1898. The bill incorporated the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island into the city, thereby creating New York City as it exists today.

Platt reluctantly supported Theodore Roosevelt's candidacy for Governor of New York in 1898 in the immediate aftermath of Roosevelt's fame leading the Rough Riders in the Spanish–American War earlier that year. Once elected, Governor Roosevelt was independently minded and crusaded against machines and corruption. In response, Platt sought a way to "shelve" Roosevelt so that a more compliant governor could be installed in his place. President William McKinley's original vice president had died in office, leaving a place on the ticket to fill before the 1900 election. At the 1900 Republican National Convention, Platt and President McKinley's political ally Mark Hanna proposed to get Roosevelt out of Platt's way in New York by nominating him for vice president. Roosevelt was chosen by acclamation, played a major part in McKinley re-election, and became president in September 1901 after McKinley was assassinated in office.

Platt's control over the Republican Party in New York State effectively ended in 1902. Benjamin Barker Odell Jr., Roosevelt's successor as governor, had not only acted independently of Platt but also, by 1902, insisted on taking over from Platt as leader of the party. After Platt tried but failed to block Odell's renomination as governor and Odell was re-elected, the era of a separate "boss" was over.

Platt was also a member of the New York Society of Colonial Wars.

Two years after his first wife died in 1901, he married Lillian Janeway, whom the New York Times described as "young enough in appearance to pass for his daughter." Their legal separation was announced in 1906, with Platt agreeing to pay his estranged wife $75,000 in exchange for her dropping all financial claims upon him and dismissing a suit for divorce which had been previously filed.

During his final years Platt suffered from a palsy of his legs which confined him to a wheelchair for a majority of the time. He retired from the Senate in 1909 and was stricken by what was diagnosed as an acute attack of Bright's disease on May 28, 1909, a case so severe that his doctor publicly predicted his patient's imminent demise. Platt recovered, however, convalescing until late in January 1910, when he was deemed well enough to return home to his Manhattan apartment.

Seemingly restored to heath, Platt was suddenly stricken by a second attack of kidney disease at about 1 pm in the afternoon of March 6, 1910. His personal physician was called, but it was immediately deemed apparent that there would be no recovery in this second life-threatening incident. Platt died in his own bed at about 4 pm on that same day.

On March 7, Republican Governor Charles Evans Hughes ordered flags of state buildings to be flown at half-staff in commemoration of the death of the former United States Senator, an action setting a precedent in New York of state government honoring such a former federal elected official in that manner.

Platt's body was interred in Evergreen Cemetery, Owego, New York. At the time of his death, he remained married to Lillian, but she received nothing in his will.