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In 1862, the Pacific Railroad Act chartered the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies, and tasked them with building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United States from east to west. America’s first steam locomotive made its debut in 1830, and over the next two decades railroad tracks linked many cities on the East Coast.
By the terms of the bill, the Central Pacific Railroad Company would start building in Sacramento and continue east across the Sierra Nevada, while a second company, the Union Pacific Railroad, would build westward from the Missouri River, near the Iowa-Nebraska border. In the West, the Central Pacific would be dominated by the “Big Four”–Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington and Mark Hopkins. After General Grenville Dodge, a hero of the Union Army, took control as chief engineer, the Union Pacific finally began to move westward in May 1866.
In 1865, after struggling with retaining workers due to the difficulty of the labor, Charles Crocker (who was in charge of construction for the Central Pacific) began hiring Chinese laborers. By the summer of 1867, the Union Pacific was in Wyoming, having covered nearly four times as much ground as the Central Pacific. By early 1869, the companies were working only miles from each other, and in March the newly inaugurated President Ulysses S.
If you completed your subscription and still have not received an email, please contact us. Born a slave, Harriett Tubman became a famous "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, leading hundreds of slaves to freedom. The Underground Railroad was the term used to describe a network of persons who helped escaped slaves on their way to freedom in the northern states or Canada.
The most active of the Railroad workers were northern free blacks, who had little or no support from white abolitionists.
Estimates of the number of slaves assisted vary widely, but only a minuscule fraction of those held in bondage ever escaped.
Most of the railroad companies that were formed in Florida in the early 1880s never got beyond a plan on paper. The most promising plan for a railroad to the Indian River was originated in 1881 with the Palatka & Indian River Railroad Company.
The expectation of having a railroad from Enterprise to Titusville was exciting, and the residents of the Indian River communities anxiously formed a subscription committee and almost immediately raised pledges for the $30,000 of subscriptions. Road construction began with 300 workers clearing right-of-ways, grading, building bridges and laying track by early summer. The railroad was completed, and in December 1885 the first locomotive pulled into Titusville at Washington Avenue with whistles blowing, cannons firing and fireworks exploding.
With the completion of the railroad from Jacksonville to Tampa in 1886, and the completion of the connecting railroad from Enterprise to Titusville in 1885, Titusville became the transportation center of the Indian River for the next ten years.
Keeping you up-to-date with what is available and what is going on in the Titusville, FL area.
Over the next seven years, the two companies would race toward each other from Sacramento, California on the one side and Omaha, Nebraska on the other, struggling against great risks before they met at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869. The two lines of track would meet in the middle (the bill did not designate an exact location) and each company would receive 6,400 acres of land (later doubled to 12,800) and $48,000 in government bonds for every mile of track built. All were ambitious businessmen with no prior experience with railroads, engineering or construction. The company suffered bloody attacks on its workers by Native Americans–including members of the Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes–who were understandably threatened by the progress of the white man and his “iron horse” across their native lands.


By that time, some 50,000 Chinese immigrants were living on the West Coast, many having arrived during the Gold Rush. The Central Pacific broke through the mountains in late June, however, and the hard part was finally behind them. Grant announced he would withhold federal funds until the two railroad companies agreed on a meeting point.
It got its name because its activities had to be carried out in secret, using darkness or disguise, and because railway terms were used by those involved with system to describe how it worked.
Although George Washington had commented upon such practices by the Quakers as early as the 1780s, the term gained currency in the 1830s, as northern abolitionists became more vocal and southern suspicions of threats to their peculiar institution grew. The most famous “conductor,” an escaped slave named Harriet Tubman, reportedly made nineteen return trips to the South; she helped some three hundred slaves escape.
While the JTKW railroad continued to be laid on its way to Tampa, plans were in the making for a connecting link between Enterprise, on the north shore of Lake Monroe, and Titusville on the Indian River. Everyone was satisfied, the deadline had been met and the subscribers had to make good on the $30,000 worth of pledges. It was also the beginning of the golden age of steam boating on the river when the waterborn extension of the JTKW was formed as the Indian River Steamboat Company in 1886. Carlisle, the mother of conductor Carlisle of the Indian River division, has been stopping at the Titus House during the past week. 22, was switching cars from the mail line to the side-track, making up the train, another train with engine No. Construction of the Jax, Tampa & Key West Railroad began in 1881 and was bought by the Plant System in 1890. During that same period, the first settlers began to move westward across the United States; this trend increased dramatically after the discovery of gold in California in 1849. From the beginning, then, the building of the transcontinental railroad was set up in terms of a competition between the two companies. They borrowed heavily to finance the project, and exploited legal loopholes to get the most possible funds from the government for their planned track construction.
Still, the Union Pacific moved relatively quickly across the plains, compared to the slow progress of their rival company through the Sierra.
This was controversial at the time, as the Chinese were considered an inferior race due to pervasive racism. Both companies then headed towards Salt Lake City, cutting many corners (including building shoddy bridges or sections of track that would have to be rebuilt later) in their race to get ahead. They decided on Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake; some 690 track-miles from Sacramento and 1,086 from Omaha. Various routes were lines, stopping places were called stations, those who aided along the way were conductors and their charges were known as packages or freight.
A number of individual whites also aided runaways, as did “vigilance committees,” often biracial in character, in northern cities.
But the idea of organized “outsiders” undermining the institution of slavery angered white southerners, leading to their demands in the 1840s that the Fugitive Slave Laws be strengthened.
More workers were hired and by late August grading had been completed within four miles of the LaGrange store and track continued to be laid at the rate of a mile per day. Ming who has been conductor on the Indian river division during the past winter season, has been appointed general superintendent of the Jacksonville and Mayport Railway and Navigation Company.


The overland journey–across mountains, plains, rivers and deserts–was risky and difficult, and many westward migrants instead chose to travel by sea, taking the six-month route around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, or risking yellow fever and other diseases by crossing the Isthmus of Panama and traveling via ship to San Francisco.
After the railroad was completed, the price dropped to $150 dollars.In 1845, the New York entrepreneur Asa Whitney presented a resolution in Congress proposing the federal funding of a railroad that would stretch to the Pacific. Disillusioned with his partners, Judah planned to recruit new investors to buy them out, but he caught yellow fever while crossing the Isthmus of Panama on his way east and died in November 1863, soon after the Central Pacific had spiked its first rails to ties in Sacramento.
The Chinese laborers proved to be tireless workers, and Crocker hired more of them; some 14,000 were toiling under brutal working conditions in the Sierra Nevada by early 1867.
On May 10, after several delays, a crowd of workers and dignitaries watched as the final spike was driven linking the Central Pacific and Union Pacific. Watson, manager of the DeBary Steamship Line, predicted that a railroad by the way of Lake Harney to Titusville would be completed within 18 months.
John's and Indian River Railroad was opened in 1886 an ran from Titusville to Enterprise, a community located on the north shore of Lake Monroe, near Sanford. Lobbying efforts over the next several years failed due to growing sectionalism in Congress, but the idea remained a potent one. Telegraph cables immediately went out to President Grant and around the country with the news that the transcontinental railroad had been completed. By the time escapees reached areas where sympathetic persons might assist them, they had already completed the most difficult part of their journey.
DeBary supported the project and offered to guarantee the first three years interest on bonds issued for this purpose. Ming is an old experienced railroad man, having been connected with several of our Florida roads in different capacities and will doubtless give satisfaction in his new position. In 1860, a young engineer named Theodore Judah identified the infamous Donner Pass in northern California (where a group of westward emigrants had become trapped in 1846) as an ideal location for constructing a railroad through the formidable Sierra Nevada mountains. Thomas Durant had illegally achieved a controlling interest in the Union Pacific Railroad Company, giving him complete authority over the project.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, famous for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, gained firsthand knowledge of the plight of fugitive slaves through contacts with the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati, Ohio.
A successful escape was usually less the product of coordinated assistance and more a matter of the runaways’ resourcefulness–and a great deal of luck. The engineers and firemen jumped as soon as they saw the danger they were in, and were very thankful to have escaped without injury. By 1861, Judah had enlisted a group of investors in Sacramento to form the Central Pacific Railroad Company. In a short while everything was cleared off the track, and the north and southbound trains were enabled to resume their journey.
He then headed to Washington, where he was able to convince congressional leaders as well as President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Pacific Railroad Act into law the following year.
The company announced it would build the railroad and have trains arriving in Titusville by January 1,1886 if the residents would subscribe $30,000 in cash or land.



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