Page:History of Willamette Railroad.djvu/9

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The Narrow Gauge Railroad

There came to this far off shore in 1874, from Dundee, Scotland, a man who was destined to extend the narrow gauge through the wheat fields of the Willamette Valley, and later, to lead the way to realization of a railroad for the Tillamook-Astoria region. He was William Reid. He heralded his coming with copious newspaper comments both on things of Oregon and on things of his native heather. With him came as an asset of his equipment a fund of Scotch persistency and shrewdness. For five years he acted at Dundee, Scotland, as American vice consul, in which capacity he published in 1873 a pamphlet entitled: "Oregon and Washington as Fields for Capital and Labor." This pamphlet had wide circulation and resulted later in the promotion by Reid at Portland of the Oregon and Washington Trust Company, which was converted into the Dundee Mortgage and Trust Investment Company. Thus Reid became resident agent at Portland for Scotch funds, first for mortgages and then for the narrow gauge railroad. He organized a board of trade at Portland and became its secretary, in which capacity he wrote many descriptions of Oregon resources and progress. He organized the Oregon and Washington Mortgage Savings Bank at Portland, and later the Portland National Bank. At Salem he organized the First National Bank. At Turner and Salem he built flour mills. Due to his operations. the Legislature of Oregon enacted a law in 1878 authorizing foreign corporations to build railroads in Oregon.[1] Reid's record in Oregon progress is that of an energetic and useful constructor.

The Dundee buyers of the thirty-two miles of narrow gauge railroad. having taken hold of the property in 1879, built in 1880–81 one hundred and fifty additional miles of track, expending, in all, sums as follows:[2]

  1. See session laws. p. 85.
  2. Figures taken from Dundee Courier and Argus, March 8 1889, at time of bankruptcy in Scotch court. The original capital was 16,000 shares, par £10 each, issued in year 1880; 16,000 additional shares issued in 1881. Original mortgage £95,000, 6 per cent. dated February 14, 1881; £119,700, 6 per cent, dated February 4, 1882. To this capital expenditure was added in 1885–89 by the receiver the further sum of $423,000.