History of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway - 1837-1915 - Download

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History of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway -1837-1915 by Decatur Axtell

This extensive history was compiled by Decatur Axtell in the early years of the 20th century while he was serving as C&O’s Senior Vice President. See the biography below:

Briefly, Axtell was the receiver of the Richmond & Alleghany Railroad when it was purchased and merged into C&O in 1890. The R&A was the line that had been built along the route of the old James River & Kanawha Canal. When the R&A was merged, Axtell became C&O vice-president and served until his death in 1918.

He took an interest in the history of the line and over several years composed a history which he wrote mainly from Annual Reports and probably other official documents available to him in the executive offices at Richmond. This manuscript became known to Miss Laura Armitage in the 1920s who was then serving as a “research assistant” in the executive office and as assistant editor of the C&O’s employee magazine. She had a great interest in history and gathered files about C&O’s past, must have found the Decatur Axtell manuscript, and decided to type it. This probably was done sometime around 1930 since she used C&O/Pere Marquette joint letterhead paper.

We have reproduced the Armitage typescript of Axtell’s compiled work.

Since Axtell died in 1918, the history ends at about that time. It is little more than compiled data taken directly from Annual Reports, but nonetheless forms an impressive amount of “raw” data on the early period of the C&O through the latter half of the 19th Century and the first years of the 20th.

The material is presented in this DS booklet without comment or editing, so that interested persons may use it as a “primary source” for information about this period of C&O history.

The material is so extensive that we can only offer it in digital format. A print copy would comprise about 500 pages, and would be very expensive to print. Any purchaser interested in a print copy should telephone the C&OHS and inquire as to the costs for a special run.





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