Page:History of Willamette Railroad.djvu/6

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Leslie M. Scott

their hopes dashed to disappointment. So they were keenly responsive to the independent scheme of the Dayton-Sheridan promoters.

A leading sponsor in its early stages appears to have been Isaac Ball, one of the long-suffering farmers. At his instigation, citizens held a meeting at Amity, October 20, 1877, to consider the project. The meeting named a committee to report upon the practicability of the plan, which committee met at McMinnville, November 1, and reported at a second meeting at Amity, November 17. The report estimated the cost of the railroad between Dayton and Sheridan at $150,000, based upon costs of similar construction in Ohio, Illinois and Missouri. It cited that the railroad would serve 300,000 acres of land, which would produce 1,000,000 bushels of wheat annually. An assessment of fifty cents an acre would build the railroad, and add five dollars to the value of every acre.[1] The report continued:

Let every farmer figure for himself. Let him count the time it takes to haul his grain away to Dayton now; count the wear and tear of himself, his teams and the harness and wagons; and the loss in the prices of grain in not being handy to the market to catch it at the top notch. Let him also count the increased cost of all machinery, merchandise, salt, iron, lime, etc., that must be hauled from Dayton or Saint Joe. And then let him consider how much more grain he could raise, if he could save the time spent in hauling off his crop to Dayton, and put it on the farm in fall planting.

This report was dated at Dayton, November 5, 1877, and was signed by B. B. Branson, Charles Lafollette and W. S. Powell. The second meeting at Amity, which received the report November 17, responded promptly by pledging $24,000 to the enterprise. The committee also went through the preliminaries of incorporating a company, the Dayton, Sheridan and Grand Ronde Railway Company.[2] The directors of the company were B. B. Branson (the first president), Ellis G. Hughes (the succeeding president, elected March 22, 1878), Sylvester Farrell, W. S. Powell, and F. E. Beach. The secretary of the company and its manager in 1878 was Mr.

  1. See The Oregonian, November 15, 1877: also September 24, 1878.
  2. Date of incorporation of the Dayton, Sheridan and Grand Ronde Railway, November 14, 1877; capital stock, $200,000; 2,000 shares, par $100.