Chicago, Burlington and Northern Railroad Company (Signed by John Murray Forbes)


SKU: 1117

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Product Details


Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the Chicago, Burlington and Northern Railroad Company dating back to the 1880's. This document, which has been signed by John Murray Forbes as the company Treasurer, was printed by the American Bank Note Company and measures approximately 10 3/4" (w) by 7" (h). 


This certificate contains a very detailed vignette of a train flanked by a pair of griffins.


You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    The Chicago, Burlington, and Northern Railway Company was constructed by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad and was built along the west bank of the Mississippi River. By 1896 the line had three daily trains each way from St. Paul, St. Louis and Chicago.

    The line's connection to the CB&Q gave it direct routes to Council Bluffs, Omaha Des Moines, Kansas City, Streater, Peoria, Quincy, Lincoln and other large cities in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, and Missouri. Connections made travel to Texas and the Pacific coast possible as well as sites in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Denver, Colorado; and Deadwood, South Dakota.

    The CB&N merged into the CB&Q in 1899.

    John Murray Forbes

    John Murray Forbes' Signature

    John Murray Forbes' Signature



    John Murray Forbes (February 23, 1813 – October 12, 1898) was a railroad magnate, merchant, philanthropist and abolitionist. He was president of both the Michigan Central Railroad and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. He kept doing business with Russell & Company.

    Early Life

    Forbes was born on February 23, 1813, in Bordeaux, France. His father, Ralph Bennett Forbes, was a member of the Forbes family, descended from Scottish immigrants who attempted unsuccessfully to start a trade from Bordeaux. His mother, Margaret Perkins, was a member of the Boston Brahmin Perkins family merchant dynasty involved in the China trade. Among his siblings was older brother was Robert Bennet Forbes, sea captain and China merchant.

    His paternal uncle was John Murray Forbes, lawyer and diplomat, and his maternal uncle was merchant Thomas Handasyd Perkins. Among his cousins was the botanist Francis Blackwell Forbes.

    In 1814, his parents moved back to the Captain Robert Bennet Forbes House in Milton, Massachusetts. Forbes attended school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, then at Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts, from 1823 to 1828.


    Forbes was one of three brothers sent by their uncle to Canton, China, and achieved some financial success during a short time spent trading in Canton. However, unlike his brother Robert, who devoted himself to the China trade, Forbes returned to Boston and became an early railroad investor and landowner.

    As with Jay Gould and E. H. Harriman, Forbes was an important figure in the building of America's railroad system. From March 28, 1846 through 1855, he was president of Michigan Central Railroad, and he was a director and president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, he helped with the growth of the American Middle West. In addition, he founded J.M. Forbes & Co., an investment firm in Boston in 1838.

    Murray was an elector for Abraham Lincoln. He served as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee during the administration of President Abraham Lincoln. Staunchly pro-Union, he is given credit for founding the New England Loyal Publication Society in early 1863 (Smith 1948). After the Civil War, Forbes was elected as a 3rd Class (honorary) Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

    Forbes was a delegate to three consecutive Republican conventions beginning in 1876, but he eventually became displeased with the Republican party and worked successfully to get Democrat Grover Cleveland elected President.


    He supplied money and weapons to New Englanders to fight slavery in Kansas and in 1859 entertained John Brown.

    Forbes's many philanthropic activities included the re-establishment of Milton Academy, a preparatory school south of Boston, Massachusetts in 1884.


    In the September 1899 issue of "Atlantic" magazine, Edward Waldo Emerson (Ralph Waldo Emerson's son), published Forbes' biography. The Emerson and Forbes families were close as Forbes' son, William, married Ralph's daughter, Edith Emerson. In Letters and Social Aims, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of Forbes:

    "Never was such force, good meaning, good sense, good action, combined with such domestic lovely behavior, such modesty and persistent preference for others. Wherever he moved he was the benefactor... How little this man suspects, with his sympathy for men and his respect for lettered and scientific people, that he is not likely, in any company, to meet a man superior to himself," and "I think this is a good country that can bear such a creature as he."

    The small community of Forbes, Missouri, is named for him.