International Rail Road Company of Texas (Signed by Galusha Grow)
Beautifully engraved antique bond certificate from the International Rail Road Company of Texas dating back to the 1870's. This document, which is signed by the company President (Galusha Grow) and Secretary, and measures approximately 16 3/4" (w) by 27 3/4" (h) - including the 12 rows of coupons at the bottom.
This superb piece features a detailed train scene, with a second train crossing a bridge in the background.
The International Railroad Company was chartered on August 5, 1870, to build from the south bank of the Red River near Fulton, Arkansas, to Laredo and ultimately to Mexico by way of Austin. At Fulton the International planned to connect with a railroad building south from St. Louis. Among the members of the first board of directors were John S. Barnes, James W. Barnes, Paul N. Spofford, and Thomas W. House. The charter was the most liberal ever granted by the Texas legislature. In 1870 grants of state land in aid of railroad construction were prohibited by the Constitution of 1869, and the charter granted to this road, at a rate of $10,000 a mile, bonds of the state to run for thirty years and to bear interest at 8 percent. On November 25, 1871, the company notified the governor that it had completed fifty-two miles and applied for bonds on fifty miles. Bonds in the amount of $500,000 were issued and signed by the governor and treasurer, but the comptroller, Albert A. Bledsoe, refused to countersign or register them on the ground that they were unconstitutional because of fraud in the enactment of the law. The Texas Supreme Court upheld him. In the meantime, the new Constitution of 1876 allowed the legislature to make land grants not to exceed twenty sections to the mile. A compromise was effected between the state and the railroad by the state's granting twenty sections a mile and freedom from taxation for twenty-five years. Thereby the credit of the state was saved, and Texas avoided a state debt for railroad building.
Work on the International Railroad began in December 1870 at Hearne, and by December 1871 the railroad had completed fifty miles. Palestine was reached on July 11, 1872, and Longview on January 31, 1873, giving the company 177 miles of main track. The International was consolidated with the Houston and Great Northern Railroad Company on September 30, 1873, to form the International and Great Northern Railroad Company. John S. Barnes was president of the International, and H. M. Hoxie was general superintendent.
Galusha Aaron Grow (August 31, 1823 – March 31, 1907) was a prominent American politician, lawyer, writer and businessman, who served as 24th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1861 to 1863. Elected as a Democrat in congressional elections, he switched to the newly-organized Republican Party when the Democratic Party refused to prohibit the extension of slavery into western territories.
Elected speaker for the 37th Congress, Grow presided over the House during the initial years of the American Civil War.
During the 35th United States Congress, on February 5, 1858, he was physically attacked by Democrat Laurence M. Keitt in the House chambers, leading to a brawl between northerners and southerners. Keitt, offended by Grow's having stepped over to his side of the House chamber, dismissively demanded that Grow sit down, calling him a "black Republican puppy". Grow responded by telling Keitt that "No negro-driver shall crack his whip over me." Keitt became enraged and went for Grow's throat, shouting that he would "choke [him] for that". A large brawl involving approximately fifty representatives erupted on the House floor, ending only when a missed punch from Rep. Cadwallader Washburn upended the hairpiece of Rep. William Barksdale. The embarrassed Barksdale accidentally replaced the wig backwards, causing both sides to erupt in spontaneous laughter.
During his tenure Congress passed the landmark Homestead Act of 1862, which he supported. Grow was defeated for reelection in 1862. For over a century he remained the last incumbent House speaker to be defeated, until Speaker Tom Foley lost his seat in 1994.
He moved to Houston, Texas in 1871, and that year became president of what became known as the International - Great Northern Railroad, a position he held until 1875. He then returned to Pennsylvania and the practice of law from 1875 to 1894.
Grow returned to the United States Congress as a member at-large from Pennsylvania from 1894 to 1903; was the chairman of the committee on education in the 56th Congress.