Railroad History of Washington Co, 1882
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The "Washington and Pittsburgh Railroad Company" was incorporated in 1831, the project for building a railroad between the places indicated in the title having originated in Washington. It was first brought to public notice at a meeting of the citizens of the borough held at the court-house on the 27th of December, 1880, and organized by the appointment of John Johnson, Esq., president; Capt. William Hunter, vice-president; and Joseph Henderson and Thomas Morgan, secretaries. Hon. Thomas H. Baird addressed the meeting at length, and offered the following resolutions, which were adopted:
"Resolved, That the town of Washington, being situated at the extreme northern angle of the Cumberland Road, presents the nearest point of practicable junction with the Pennsylvania Canal at Pittsburgh.
"Resolved, That a connection between these great commercial avenues is desirable, as respects the interests of this town and section of country, and also the interests of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and the intermediate line.
"Resolved, That the inclined plane of Chartiers Creek presents a practicable and direct route for a Railway, and at the least possible expense.
"Resolved, That a petition be addressed to the Legislature praying the incorporation of a company to construct a Railroad from Washington to Pittsburgh, or the bank of the Monongahela opposite the debouche of the Pennsylvania Canal."
A committee was appointed to circulate a petition, to explore a route, ascertain its practicability,
expense, local and general advantages, and to obtain releases along the line. On the 26th of February, 1831, "a Friend to the Road," in an article in the Washington Examiner, gave detailed cost of material, grading, etc., for the thirty miles (which was the length of the proposed route) as $89,267. A bill was brought before the Legislature of Pennsylvania asking for the incorporation of the "Washington and Pittsburgh Railroad Company." It passed the House and Senate, and on the 18th of March, 1831, was approved by the Governor. Charles De Hass, a civil engineer, was employed to make a preliminary survey. Two routes were surveyed, one by Chartiers Valley, a distance of thirty-three miles; the other "from a point near Mr. Cowan's mill up the valley of Scrubb-Grass Run to the summit between that run and Saw-Mill Run, from thence by the latter run to the Ohio River near the toll-gate," this line being three miles shorter than the other route.
On the 30th of March, 1831, Mr. De Hass made his report and presented plans, maps, and draft of the route, cuts, masonry, etc., with estimate of cost. Thomas H. Baird, T. M. T. McKennan, James Ruple, John R. Wilson, Isaac Leet, John Watson, and John R. Ewing, of Washington County, and Charles Cowan, William Lea, James Herriot, John McKee, Francis Bailey, and Ross Wilkins, of Allegheny County, were appointed commissioners to receive subscriptions. Books were opened in Washington at the house of David Morris, and in Pittsburgh at the hotel of Nicholas Griffith. The amount of subscriptions obtained is not known, but it seems probable that they were not large, as Judge Baird paid for the survey out of his private funds. Alexander Reed addressed a letter to Jonathan Knight, then chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, asking him to lay the matter before that company (who were at that time intending to run the main line of their road through Washington County to the Ohio) and induce them to build or aid in building the proposed road from Washington to Pittsburgh. Mr. Knight, in his reply, said the proposition could not be entertained, as the company had use for all their funds and more, but that they would be glad to connect with the proposed road and use it as an auxiliary. The result was that the road was not commenced, and at the expiration of the specified time the charter was forfeited. On the 1st of April, 1887, another act was passed incorporating the Washington and Pittsburgh Railroad Company, by which Daniel Moore, William Hunter, Alexander Reed, James Ruple, John K. Wilson, John H. Ewing, John Cook, John Dagg, Dr. John Wishart, William Smith, Dr. Samuel Murdoch, Robert Officer, John Watson, Daniel Huston, Joshua Emery, and Samuel Hazlett of Washington County, and eighteen gentlemen of Allegheny County were appointed commissioners to open books of subscription at Washington, Canonsburg, and Pittsburgh. The location of the road was described in the act as "beginning at some point within the borough of Washington, in the county aforesaid, and terminating at some suitable point at or near Allison's Run, in the township of Chartiers;" and it was provided also "that the said company shall have power, and they are hereby authorized to construct, continue, and extend in a northerly direction the line of their said railroad from the said point at or near Allison's Run to a point at or near the city of Pittsburgh." Nothing was done under this incorporating act. A supplemental act was passed April 22, 1846, reviving a part of the original act and appointing commissioners to open books for subscriptions to the stock on or before the 1st of December following the passage of the supplement. Books were opened, but this attempt was no more successful than those which had preceded it, and the result was failure to construct the road.
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Source document: Crumrine, Boyd, 1838-1916. "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men" edited by Boyd Crumrine ; Illustrated. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts and Co., 1882.