V&T, N&P, South Side Reports, 1856

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sun Aug 4 11:31:56 EDT 2019

You can order the” Collected Works of the Board of Public Works” on microfilm through your local library. Very interesting reading, especially on some planned railroads that were never constructed.  I used it as a source on early operations and plans when I wrote the Pocahontas Division book.




From: NW-Mailing-List [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2019 3:37 PM
To: N&W Mailing List
Subject: V&T, N&P, South Side Reports, 1856


Attached are the reports of the V&T, the Norfolk & Petersburg and the South Side RRs to the Gods of Gubbmint Oversight, Reporting & Regulation for the year 1856.  They are published in a volume called  [Virginia] Annual Report of the Internal Improvement Companies to the Board of Public Works, Year Ending September 30, 1856.  


This volume is from Google Books.  Google also has the 1857 volume, but will not let you see it.  The 1857 volume, and other years, are probably available from some of the other standard digital archives.


This 1856 volume contains reports from all the railroads, canals and turnpike companies in Virginia, but curiously none from the Telegraph companies.


The V&T section of the report has one answer I had sought for years:  the date the V&T got Telegraph.  The answer is on page 208 of the report, which is page 15 of the V&T PDF, and states that the Lynchburg & Abingdon Telegraph Company was erecting a line on the Railroad's right-of-way, as was as far west as Wytheville as of the time of the report.


In regard to the above paragraph, our Old Friend William M. (Bill) Harman, a 1940-hire Radford Division Telegrapher, told me 50+ years ago that his father had told him that the V&T got the Telegraph in 1857.  Ever a Doubting Thomas, I had always sought some legitimization for that date.  Of course, this 1856 report does not mean that the V&T began running trains by the Telegraph in 1856/1857...  that probably came shortly after the Telegraph line was opened, for by the late 1850s "running trains by Telegraph" was in vogue throughout the East.


So if you ever dig up an insulator from this original construction, it will most likely be clay (not glass,) and of the configuration now called the "egg."


Hopefully Senator Bundy, when he returns from his yachting sabbatical upon the Elizabeth River, can expostulate a bit on the Bonsack Branch (p. 206 of the V&T report; page 13 of the V&T PDF.)


                     -- abram burnett,

only a tiny sprout in the great turnip garden of life


                  Sent to You from my Telegraph Key
Successor to the MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH LINE of 1844

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