Once I Built a Railroad

One of the things that I learned about my ancestor, Col. David Dobbs, besides him being once a sheriff and later on the chairman of the Democratic Party in Cobb County, was that in 1859, he and several other citizens of Cobb County were authorized by the state of Georgia to build a railroad from Marietta to the Alabama state line. The legislation was entitled “An Act to incorporate the Polk Slate Quarry Railroad Company, and for other purposes.” As I wrote in my book, I did not know if the railroad was ever built or if it was built, was it destroyed later by Sherman’s Army. Last night, I was searching through the newspapers for anything that I might have missed about my great-great-great-grandfather, I found more information on what I like to call The Mysterious Fate of the Polk Slate Quarry Railroad Company.

Rome Triweekly Courier May 10, 1860 – page 4

According to the Jacksonville Republican (May 1, 1860), the railroad was supposed to go at least as far as Jacksonville, Alabama, in Calhoun County. That is just due west of Possum Trot, for folks who don’t know.

Augusta Daily Chronicle and Sentinel April 22, 1860 page 1

However, according to The Augusta Daily Chronicle and Sentinel, “the proposed road will shorten the distance from Augusta, Georgia to Memphis as compared with the present route by Chattanooga at least 100 miles, if not more, and passing as it does through a fertile and densely populated country, cannot fail to bring to us and to our roads immense amount of produce and travel.”

Augusta Daily Chronicle and Sentinel January 7, 1860, page 2

What I learned last night is that the original rail line was not built due to the war, and according to an article in the Atlanta Daily Intelligencer, Friday, February 9, 1866, “the original Polk Slate Quarry Railroad, had to stop operations on account of the war” and they sold their charter to a new company. The new company was expected to commence work in March 1866 and have 20 miles under contract by October. The article also does say that the line was expected to first connect Marietta “The Gate City” to Jacksonville, Alabama (presumably, by way of Possum Trot). Plans called for the line to later hook up with the Memphis & Charleston railroad.

Atlanta Daily Intelligencer (Feb 9, 1866)

It appears that the railroad was eventually built, because the November 2, 1870 edition Atlanta Weekly New Era records that the Polk Slate Quarry Railroad went before the Georgia State Legislature to get some of that good old public money.

Atlanta Weekly New Era (Nov 2, 1870)

Once I built a railroad, made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a rairoad, now it’s done
Brother can you spare a dime?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s