Intricately engraved antique bond certificate from the International Rail Road Company dating back to the 1870's. This document was printed by the Continental Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 16 1/4" (w) by 11" (h).
This superb piece features four vignettes - a train at a busy depot at the top, a male figure herding cattle at the left, a group of men loading cargo on to a cart at the right and a group of workers carrying sacks in the mountains at the bottom.
This piece also has two pages of coupons attached at the bottom margin.
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.