George C. Werner

EAST LINE AND RED RIVER RAILROAD. Jefferson, on Big Cypress Bayou, was the principal port for freight moving into and out of northeastern Texas. It was the largest river port in the state and by 1870 was second only to Galveston in volume of traffic. However, the number of railroads projected and under construction threatened to divert the traffic away from Jefferson, and the East Line and Red River Railroad Company was promoted by William M. Harris, Benjamin H. Epperson, and other local businessmen in an effort to protect the town's trade area. The company was chartered on March 22, 1871, to run from Jefferson to Sherman and from there to the western boundary of the state. The route was somewhat nebulous and seemed to depend on the financial incentives offered by towns along the projected line. The charter was amended twice, in 1873 to change the route to run via Greenville and in 1875 to again run via Sherman. Construction began in 1876, and the first twenty miles to Hickory Hill opened on December 5. The company reached Daingerfield on July 4, 1877, Leesburg in 1878, and Sulphur Springs in 1879. Track reached Greenville, 124 miles from Jefferson, in late 1880. The promoters of the East Line and Red River built the company as a narrow gauge railroad, which later necessitated a costly change to standard gauge. The railroad was acquired by Jay Gould in June 1881, who sold it to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company (Katy) on November 28, 1881. In May 1882 the thirty-one mile extension from Greenville to McKinney was completed. Katy's right to own property in Texas was challenged by Texas Attorney General James Stephen Hogg through legal proceedings involving the East Line and Red River. Hogg was successful in the lower courts, and the decree declaring the charter of the East Line and Red River forfeited was upheld by the Supreme Court of Texas on February 17, 1890. William M. Giles was appointed receiver for the road effective April 13, 1891. Hogg claimed that this was the first time in the United States that a railroad charter was forfeited and a receiver appointed on application of a state. In 1891 the company owned eleven locomotives, ten passenger cars, and 252 freight cars and earned $62,027 in passenger revenue, $158,471 in freight revenue, and $1,939 in other revenue. The company was sold on January 21, 1892, to Simon Sterne representing Henry V. Poor who was trustee for the bondholders. However, the court at Austin refused to confirm the sale and directed Giles to stay in office and to issue $400,000 in receiver's certificates to convert the Greenville to Jefferson section to standard gauge. The 124 miles were converted on September 13, 1892. The line between Greenville and McKinney had been converted in 1887. The East Line and Red River was again sold to Poor on January 31, 1893, and by him deeded to the Sherman, Shreveport and Southern Railway Company on March 8, 1893.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, George C. Werner, "EAST LINE AND RED RIVER RAILROAD," accessed April 19, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqe01.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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