Beautifully engraved antique bond certificate from the Wilmington and Northern Railroad Company dating back to the 1880's. This document, which is signed by the company President (Henry A. duPont,) Secretary and Treasurer, was printed by the American Bank Note Company and measures approximately 13 1/2" (w) by 9 1/2" (h).
This certificate features a pair of great vignettes - a train steams past some livestock at the top with a city and harbor in the background, and a second train idles at a station at the bottom.
The Wilmington and Northern Railroad was formed in April 1877 as a consolidation of the Wilmington and Northern Railroad (of Pennsylvania) and the Wilmington and Northern Railroad (of Delaware.) Both of these entities had been incorporated in February of that same year. The Pennsylvania entity was formed from the former the Berks and Chester Railroad.
The Pennsylvania road ran from the Delaware state line to New Cut, Pennsylvania, a distance of 60 miles; while the Delaware road ran from the Pennsylvania state line to Wilmington, a distance of 12 miles.
The Wilmington and Northern Railroad, which penetrated the Pennsylvania hinterland as far as Reading, was an attempt to siphon off some of Philadelphia's natural trade into the secondary market in Wilmington. Instead of becoming a hub, Wilmington became a corridor, through which rail traffic passed en route to somewhere else.
Henry A. duPont
Henry A. duPont's Signature
Henry Algernon du Pont (July 30, 1838 – December 31, 1926), known as "Colonel Henry", was a soldier and politician from Winterthur, near Greenville, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was the grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, a veteran of the Civil War, and a member of the Republican Party, who served two terms as U. S. Senator from Delaware.
Early Life and Family
du Pont was born July 30, 1838 at Eleutherian Mills, near Greenville, Delaware, son of Henry and Louisa Gerhard du Pont and grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. He married Mary Pauline Foster in 1874 and had two children, Henry Francis du Pont and Louisa Evelina. They were members of Christ Episcopal Church in Christiana Hundred and lived on the Winterthur estate near Greenville, Delaware. He attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and graduated first in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1861.
du Pont was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Engineers. Later he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the 5th Regiment, U.S. Artillery and served as a light artillery officer in the U.S. Army during the American Civil War, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. At the beginning of the war he was assigned to the defenses of Washington and New York Harbor, but in 1864 was part of General Philip Sheridan's Corps in the Shenandoah Valley of northern Virginia. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his handling of a retreat at the Battle of Cedar Creek, allowing Sheridan to ultimately win a victory in the battle. He stayed in the U.S. Army for ten years after the war.
In 1875 he returned to Delaware became president and general manager of the Wilmington & Western Railroad Company from 1879 until 1899. During that time, and for the remainder of his life he operated an experimental farm on his estate now known as the Winterthur Museum near Greenville, Delaware.
du Pont was elected to the U.S. Senate on June 13, 1906, to fill the vacancy in the term beginning March 4, 1905. During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 59th, 60th, and 61st U.S. Congress. In the 61st Congress he was Chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department.
He was again elected to the U.S. Senate in 1911. During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 62nd Congress, but was in the minority in the 63rd, and 64th U.S. Congress. In the 62nd Congress he was again Chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department, in the 63rd Congress he was a member of the Committee on Military Affairs, and in the 64th Congress he was a member of the Committee on Transportation and Sale of Meat Products.
In the first popular election of a U.S. Senator in Delaware, du Pont lost his bid for a third full term in 1916 to Democrat Josiah O. Wolcott, the Delaware Attorney General. In all, he served most of two terms from June 13, 1906 to March 4, 1917, during the administrations of U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft and Woodrow Wilson.
Death & Legacy
Henry A. du Pont died December 31, 1926 at Winterthur Museum near Greenville, Delaware and is buried at the du Pont Cemetery at Greenville. His son, Henry Francis du Pont, developed his home into the well known Winterthur Museum.