J. E. Howard served as the Assistant Treasurer and Paymaster of the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railroad and the Chicago and West Michigan Railway from 1886 through 1893. He was also the Assistant Treasurer and Paymaster of the Saginaw Valley and St. Louis RR between 1889 and 1897, and by 1894, the Paymaster of the same railroads. Correspondence in the collection documents that on December 18, 1899 Howard resigned as Director of the Pere Marquette RR (PMRR). Beginning in 1901, he was the Chief Clerk of the PMRR.
From 1885 until 1900, Howard lived in Grand Rapids. He then “removed to Detroit”, where he lived at least 1902. He is always listed in the city directories as a single man and a boarder. Howard was never listed in the Michigan or other state censuses. Several letters in the business correspondence subseries of this collection document that he was a Baptist and served as Chair of the Board of the State Normal School at Ypsilanti.
Howard is listed as James E. Howard in Polk’s city directories for Grand Rapids and Detroit from 1885 through 1902. However, he always signed papers as “J. E. Howard”. (No further information is available on Howard.)
Organizational History: There are many Michigan railroad companies in this collection. Brief histories from Michigan Railroads and railroad companies by Graydon M. Meints (1992) will be given for each company in this collection. All locations are in Michigan (MI), unless otherwise noted.
The Bay City Belt Line Railroad Company (BCBRR) was incorporated on May 29, 1889 for $50,000 in Saginaw. The railroad (RR) owned six miles of track from the Saginaw River in Bay City to the Saginaw River in Hampton Township. On June 29, 1889 the route was revised and the capital increased to $100,000. The BCBLRR was bought on November 22, 1893 by the Detroit and Bay City RR, and was sold to PMRR on May 6, 1903 (Meints, p. 40).
On April 23, 1869, the Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore RR Company (CandMLSRR) was incorporated for $1,000,000 in St. Joseph. The RR owned 30 miles of track from St. Joseph to the Indiana state line. In 1869, the RR consolidated with the Lake Shore RR of Western MI. The RR then opened a line from New Buffalo to St. Joseph in 1870. Later that year, it consolidated with the Grand Rapids and Lake Shore RR, and in 1871 with both the Grand Rapids and Holland RR and the Montague, Pentwater and Manistee RR. In January 1872, the RR completed a new line from New Buffalo to Pentwater. Later that year, the RR consolidated with the Muskegon and Big Rapids RR. In November 1876, the CandMLSRR went to receivership. It was sold by foreclosure sale on November 15, 1878 to the Chicago and West MI Railroad (Meints, p.48).
The Chicago and West MI Railroad (CandWMRR) was incorporated on December 20, 1878 for $6,151,000 in Muskegon, in order to reorganize the CandMLSRR, thus taking control of the New Buffalo to Pentwater line. On November 14, 1879 the RR took control of the White River RR, which it leased a year later. In 1881 the RR amended its name to the Chicago and West MI Railway (Ry) Company (CandWMRy) of Boston, Muskegon and Grand Rapids. The Ry consolidated with the Grand Haven RR; Grand Rapids, Newaygo and Lake Shore RR; and the Indiana and MI RR. The Ry bought the White River RR (1884), took control of the Muskegon Lake RR (1886), added a branch from Baldwin to Mackinaw City (1889), and took control of the Chicago and North MI RR (1891), leased the Grand Rapids, Kalkaska and Southern RR (1898), and bought the Chicago and North MI RR (1899). Part of the Ry was sold on December 7, 1889 to the PMRR. In 1903, the CandWMRy took control of the Grand Rapids, Kalkaska and Southeastern RR. On March 28, 1917, the CandWMRy was sold in a foreclosure sale to the PMRR (Meints, p. 49).
On November 30, 1896 the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western RR Company (DGRandWRR) was incorporated for $5,693,500 in Detroit and Boston, for the purpose of reorganizing the Detroit, Lansing and Northern RR; and to consolidate the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit RR, the Saginaw and Grand Rapids RR, the Saginaw Valley and St. Louis RR; and the Saginaw and Western RR. On December 29, 1896, the RR restated its routes, and on January 1, 1896 acquired the lines of the companies it had consolidated and reorganized. The DGRandWRR was sold to the PMRR, in part on December 7, 1899. The remainder of the DGRandWRR was sold at a foreclosure sale on March 28, 1917 (Meints, p. 64).
The Detroit, Lansing and Lake MI RR Company (DLandLMRR) was incorporated on March 16, 1871 for $2,000,000 in Detroit, in order to consolidate the Detroit, Howell and Lansing RR and the Ionia and Lansing RR. The line originally ran from Lansing to Greenville, and soon included from West Detroit to Howard City. On July 18, 1872, the RR received the Paterson RR. On October 1, 1872, the RR consolidated with the Ionia, Stanton and Northern RR. The RR went into receivership on July 31, 1876. On December 14, 1876, the DLandLMRR was sold at a foreclosure sale to the Detroit, Lansing and Northern RR (Meints, p. 65).
On December 21, 1876, the Detroit, Lansing and Northern RR (DLandNRR) was incorporated for $4,410,000 in Detroit, Ionia and Boston for the purpose of reorganizing the DLandLMRR. The line originally ran from West Detroit to Howard City, and included related branches. In 1879, the RR took control of the Saginaw Valley and St. Louis RR, which it later leased, and extended its line to Big Rapids. In 1883 the RR took control and leased the Saginaw and Western RR. The RR took control of the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit RR in 1897, which it leased a year later. After taking joint leases of several depots, the RR was reorganized and went into receivership on April 1, 1896. At this time, the RR was called the Detroit, Lansing and Northern System. The DLandNRR was sold at foreclosure sale on November 10, 1896 to the DGRandWRR (Meints, p. 65).
The Flint and Pere Marquette Railway Company (FandPMRy) was incorporated on January 21, 1857 for $5,500,000 in East Saginaw, in order to own 170 miles of track from Flint to Pere Marquette. The Ry consolidated with the Genesee and Oakland RR (1859), the Flint and Holly (1868); the Holly, Wayne and Monroe RR; the Cass River RR; the Flint River RR; and the Bay City and East Saginaw RR (1872). Lines were opened from Saginaw to Mount Morris (1862), extended from Otter Lake to Caro (1872) and were completed from Monroe to Ludington (1874). The Ry took control of the Bay City and East Saginaw (1868), East Saginaw and St. Clair (1872), Saginaw and Clare County RR (1877), and the Saginaw and Mt. Pleasant (1879). On July 1, 1879, the Ry went into receivership. In 1880 the Ry took control of the Manistee RR, and suffered a foreclosure sale. The FandPMRy was incorporated in 1880 as the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad Co. (FandPMRR) for $6,500,000 to reorganize itself. In 1888, the FandPMRR consolidated the Saginaw and Clare County RR; the Saginaw and Mount Pleasant RR; the East Saginaw and St. Clair RR; and the Manistee RR. In 1889 the FandPMRR bought the Port Huron and Northwestern RR. In 1891 the branch from Novi via Delway to Detroit was added. The FandPMRR gained control of the Monroe and Toledo RR in 1893, which it bought in 1897. Part of the FandPMRR was sold to the Pere Marquette RR (PMRR) on December 6, 1899. The remainder of the RR was sold at foreclosure on March 28, 1917 (Meints, pp.74-75).
On May 13, 1887, the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit RR Company was incorporated for $450,000, for the purpose of owning 35 miles of track between Grand Rapids and Grand Ledge. The RR was controlled by the DLandNRR, which leased the GRLandDRR in 1888, when the line was completed. On February 1, 1896, the GRLandDRR merged, effective on January 1, 1897, into the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western RR (Meints, p. 83).
The Grand Rapids, Newaygo and Lake Shore RR (GRNandLSRR) was incorporated on September 8, 1869 for $1,000,000 in Grand Rapids, in order to own 80 miles of track from Grand Rapids via Newaygo to the shore of Lake Michigan in either Mason or Oceana County. The line from Grand Rapids to Sparta opened on May 9, 1872. On June 16, 1875 the line was expanded to 110 miles from the southern limits of Grand Rapids to Manistee. On September 24, 1875, the line from Grand Rapids to White Cloud was completed. The GRNandLSRR merged into the CandWMRR on July 16, 1881 (Meints, p.81).
The Grand Rapids, Northern and Lake Shore RR existed from 1888 until 1890. Its name indicates that it was probably a temporary merger of several railroads. Only some scattered accounts (1 folder) of this RR exist in this collection. (This railroad is not documented in Meints’ book, or in other publications.)
The Ionia and Lansing RR Company (IandLRR) was incorporated on November 13, 1865 for $300,000 in Ionia, for the purpose of owning 34 miles from Ionia to Lansing. In 1869 the charter was amended to include 125 miles from Lansing to the mouth of the Pentwater River. The line opened on November 18, 1869 from Lansing to Portland. On March 16, 1871, the IandLRR merged into the Detroit, Lansing and Lake MI RR (Meints, p. 89).
The history of the Michigan Central RR Company (MCRR) is long and complex. Because few items in the collection are from the MCRR, only a brief corporate history will be noted here. The RR was chartered on March 28, 1846 for $2,200,000 in Detroit and Boston, to own a line from Detroit, via Ypsilanti, to Ann Arbor. The MCRR acquired, controlled, or leased many lines, and eventually grew to encompass the whole state of MI as well as lines that ran east to Niagara Falls and west to Joliet, Illinois. Part of the MCRR was leased in 1930 to the New York Central RR, while other parts were bought in 1961 by the Detroit, Hillsdale and South Western line. Eventually, the remainder of the line went to the Consolidated Rail (1976), and the Penn Central Corp. (1978) (Meints, pp. 108-109).
The Milwaukee, Benton Harbor and Columbus Railway Company was incorporated on April 6, 1897 for $600,000 in Benton Harbor, to consolidate the St. Joseph Valley Railway Company and the Benton Harbor and Southeastern Railway Company. The line was completed on October 4, 1897 from Benton Harbor to Berrien Springs. On May 6, 1903, the RR merged into the PMRR (Meints, p. 113).
On October 27, 1869 the Paw Paw Valley RR Company was incorporated for $400,000, in order to own 50 miles of track from Schoolcraft, via Lawton, Paw Paw, Lawrence, Hartford, Watervliet, and Benton Harbor to St. Joseph. The RR eventually lapsed (Meints, p. 124).
The Pere Marquette RR Company (PMRR) was incorporated on September 20, 1899 for $150,000 in Detroit, for the purpose of owing 33 miles of track between Pentwater and Manistee. Initially, the RR was controlled by the FandPMRR, the DGRandWRR, and the CandWMRR. On October 31, 1899, the PMRR was renamed the Pentwater and Manistee. A month later it returned to using its original name in order to consolidate its three controllers for $28,000,000. The PMRR controlled, bought, and leased many lines, some of which were in Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana [none of which are represented in this collection]. The PMRR was sold at a foreclosure sale on March 15, 1917 to the Pere Marquette Ry, and eventually merged into the Chesapeake and Ohio RR on February 19, 1946 (Meints, p. 126).
The Saginaw and Grand Rapids RR (SandGRRR) was incorporated on October 22, 1878 for $1,000,000 in Saginaw, in order to own 70 miles of track from St. Louis to Grand Rapids. The RR was controlled by the Saginaw Valley and St. Louis RR, which later leased the SandGRRR. In March 1879, a line opened from St. Louis to Alma. On February 1, 1896, effective on January 1, 1897, the SandGRRR merged into the DGRandWRR (Meints, p. 133).
On June 5, 1883, the Saginaw and Western RR Company was incorporated for $675,000 to reorganize the Chicago, Saginaw and Canada RR, a 50-mile track from St. Louis to Howard City. Initially, the SandWRR acquired a line from St. Louis to Lakeview. From its incorporation date, the RR was controlled by the DLandNRR, which leased it in 1883 for 30 years. The line from St. Louis to Howard City was completed in August of 1886. On February 1, 1896, effective January 1, 1897, the SandWRR merged into the DGRandWRR (Meints, p. 134).
The Saginaw Valley and St. Louis RR Company (SVandSLRR) was incorporated on May 16, 1871 for $300,000, for the purpose of owning 34 miles of track from East Saginaw to St. Louis via Saginaw. The line was completed on January 1, 1873. In 1878, the charter was amended to own 91 miles from St. Louis to Grand Rapids, and the St. Louis branch to Mount Pleasant for $1,000,000. In 1878 the SVandSLRR controlled the SandGRRR. In 1879, the SVandSLRR was controlled by the DLandNRR. The charter was further amended in June of 1882 so that the SVandSLRR could own 63 miles from East Saginaw via Alma to Grand Rapids, 22 miles from St. Louis to Mt. Pleasant, and 6.5 miles from Alma to Ithaca. As of December 28, 1882, the SVandSLRR operated the Ithaca and Alma RR. The SVandSLRR merged into the DGRandWRR on January 1, 1897 (Meints, p. 135).
Incorporated to own 13 miles of track from White Cloud to Crooked Lake on November 13, 1879 for $130,000, the White River RR Company (WRRR) was controlled by the CandWMRR. The line opened on April 1, 1880 from White Cloud to Mud Lake. The CandWMRR lease the WRRR in 1880 before buying it on February 7, 1884 (Meints, p. 152).