Three railroad systems pass through Warren county, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, popularly known as the Burlington, the main line running east and west, the Rock Island and St. Louis division running north and south and the Quincy branch cutting off the southeast corner; the Iowa Central, running diagonally from northwest to southeast; and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, running east and west.

The main line of the Burlington was orig­inally the Peoria and Oquawka railroad. During the summer of 1851 sufficient stock was subscribed to warrant its construction, and the contract was let, part going to Chauneey Hardin, A. C. Harding and Ivory Quinby, of Monmouth, for $12,000 per mile. The surveys were made through Warren county in October, and work commenced at the Burlington end of the line December 2, Oquawka having been left off the line.

The last rail was laid March 5, 1855, and the first railway train into Monmouth came from the west on that day. Warren county people contributed 5100,000 for the building of the road. William Sprout, who died in 1902, in Monmouth, hauled the first load of freight landed here by the new road. It was consigned to N. A. Rankin & Co., for whom Mr. Sprout was then working. Regular trains commenced running about April 1, there being a passenger and a freight each way daily. The ticket office was established May 1, with C. S. Cowan in charge.

The time between Monmouth and Chicago was ten and one-half hours. The fast mail service on this road was inaugurated March 11. 1884.

The Northern Cross railroad, now the Quin cy branch, of the Burlington , was completed about the first of February, 1856 .

During 1869 and 1870 the Rockford , Rock Island and St. Louis railroad was in process of incubation. The charter had been granted in 1865, and in 1869 the counties and towns along the route voted subsidies and soon the line was under construction. The first work in Warren county was done in April, and south of Monmouth. It was then extended both ways, and in August the road was in running order from Monmouth to St. Louis . On the 22d of that month the first passenger trams ran into Mcnmouth on the new road. The road is now the Rock Island and St. Louis division of the Burlington .

The Iowa Central railroad was completed into Monmouth January 24, 1883 , and the first locomotive drew up to the depot grounds on that day. The road was organized as the Burlington , Monmouth and Illinois River railroad in 1875, and a narrow gauge road was contemplated.

In 1879 William Hanna and Delos P. Phelps, of Monmouth, became interested in the proposition, were placed on the executive committee of the company, and secured subscriptions and subsidies which resulted in the construction of the road, though Keithsburg was made the western terminus instead of Burlington, and the road was made standard gauge. It was consolidated with the Iowa Central railroad in a few years, and is now a part of that system. The first through car of freight from Chicago to Monmouth over this road was received March 7, 1883 .

It was a consignment of twelve tons of lead, shipped to Smith & Dunbar. The first passenger train from Peoria arrived in Monmouth April 21, on Saturday, and returned to Peoria the next Monday. Monmouth has been a division point on the Iowa Central since October 23, 1898 .

The surveys for the Santa Fe railroad were made during the summer of 188b and the first through train over the road was a directors' train which passed through the county December 8, 1887. Regular trains were not run until the next summer. The Santa Fe now makes Monmouth the terminus of one of its trains from Chicago, the trains entering that city over Iowa Central tracks from Nemo, and the Iowa Central station being used. This arrangement began November 5, 1899 .

The first telegraph office in the county was opened in Monmouth in August, 1856. F. M. Crawford was operator. The Great Western Telegraph Company opened an office in August. 1869, and the Atlantic and Pacific opened one in 1877. Neither of the two latter continued very long.


Early Days of Greenbush-1905

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