Ohio History Journal

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VOLUME 66 ?? NUMBER 1 ?? JANUARY   1957





Faith vs. Economics: The Marietta and

Cincinnati Railroad, 1845-1883





In the 1850's Cincinnati was Queen of the American West, and

eastern railroad builders pressed eagerly toward the prize of her

commerce.1 And even before the rails reaching westward from New

York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore breached the Appalachian barrier,

Ohio promoters were building lines to connect with them. By 1857

four Ohio roads fought for traffic between Cincinnati and the

Atlantic seaboard.

In 1851 a railroad later to become part of the New York Central

thrust down across Ohio from Cleveland to Columbus, where it

connected over the Little Miami Railroad with Cincinnati. In 1857

another local effort, the Steubenville and Indiana, crossed eastern

Ohio and waited fondly at the river for a connection with the


* John E. Pixton, Jr., is assistant professor of history at Pennsylvania State University.

This article and the one following it, "The Steubenville and Indiana Railroad: The

Pennsylvania's Middle Route to the Middle West," by Walter R. Marvin, were the

papers given at a session of railroad history specialists known as the Lexington Group

during the annual meeting of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association at Pitts-

burgh, April 19-21, 1956.

1 This article is based chiefly upon the papers of William P. Cutler, the president

of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad through most of its independent existence. In

addition to correspondence, Cutler left thirty-two little notebook diaries, covering,

with unequal emphasis, most of his adult life from 1830 to 1888. The manuscripts

are in the Marietta College Library.

Other basic sources were the annual reports of the M & C, issued irregularly from

1851 to 1877, a complete set of which is in the Marietta College Library; the annual

reports of the Ohio Commissioner of Railways and Telegraphs, which begin in 1867;

and other official documents, as well as newspapers and periodicals (especially the

Railroad Record, published at Cincinnati from 1852 to 1872).