Description[Railroads]. Charter of the Galveston and Red River Railway Company. N.p., n.d. [circa 1852]. First edition. 8vo. 16 pages. Slim sewn pamphlet with blank yellow-tan wrappers. Moderate foxing and a few shallow folds throughout. Pamphlet has been folded in half vertically, with crease running the length of the booklet. Rear wrapper has the words "Charter / Galv. & R. R Railway / Co." neatly written in ink. Generally very good. Scarce.
Construction of the railroad began in 1853, and by 1856 the company opened its first twenty-five mile stretch between Houston and Cypress. Shortly thereafter, the railroad's name was changed to the Houston and Texas Central Railway Company. The final sentence of the charter's introduction reads: "...it would be difficult to find, in any country, a charter bestowing upon the institution it seeks to create, a franchise containing immunities so permanent and valuable, or presenting an opportunity for investment sure to produce results so propitious and remunerative." From the papers of B.A. Shepherd.
Reference: Winkler 309.
Benjamin Armistead Shepherd was born in Virginia on May 14, 1814. Due to the poor conditions of the land and a dwindling family fortune, he left Virginia in the 1830s and arrived in Galveston, Texas. He married Mary Dobson in 1841 and settled in the growing town of Houston. A personal friend of General Sam Houston (whom he had met at age 19), Shepherd established himself as a prominent landowner and one of the foremost citizens of Houston, involving himself in many entrepreneurial adventures before founding and serving as president of the First National Bank of Houston in 1866. In 1875, he arrived in the newly formed San Jacinto County where he organized the town of Shepherd along the proposed Houston, East, and West Texas Railway. He died in Houston in 1891.
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