Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Records - Land Department
Scope and Content of the Collection
The Land Department record group comprises one of the largest record groups in the CB&Q Railroad Company Records. It also contains some of the widest varieties of types of materials, including correspondence, reports, maps, plats, promotional material, ledgers, legal and financial volumes, contracts, applications, and some drawings. The Record Group begins with correspondence to and from Colonel H.B. Scott, who managed the combined B&MRR – Iowa and B&MRR – Nebraska land departments and corresponded prodigiously with individual land owners, CB&Q agents in the field, and real estate agents. There are circulars and letters also with Foreign agencies, mostly English but also representing other countries and groups in Europe. The two previously separate Land Agencies – the B&MRR-Iowa and B&MRR-Nebraska - make up the last two subgroups and include more specific records on land purchases, including land examination reports by field agents, plats and maps showing ownership of land, applications for land deeds, and correspondence between CB&Q and land purchasers/examiners for delinquent accounts.
Forms part of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Records.
This finding aid supersedes the Guide to the Burlington Archives in the Newberry Library, 1851-1901 (Chicago: Newberry Library, 1949), and incorporates subsequent additions to the company records. Certain materials have been deaccessioned and donated to the Burlington Route Historical Society; see curator for details.
- Creation: 1852-1934
- Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company (Organization)
Materials are primarily in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.
History of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Land Department
In 1859, Charles Russell Lowell was appointed by CB&Q financier John Murray Forbes to found the railroad’s Land Department, surveying and managing the sales of over 230,000 acres in Iowa. Forbes also appointed an assistant to Lowell, an 18 year old named Charles Elliott Perkins. The Land Department was charged with surveying and examining the land and the land claims that were granted to it in the Federal Land Grant Act in Iowa. Lands that were too swampy to farm, or had been claimed prior to the enactment of the Land Act, had to be investigated. The Land Department also had the task of promoting farming on the land and finding willing land purchasers. For this they extended invitations and sent promotional materials to the Eastern United States and to Europe, hoping to entice settlers. By 1869, when George S. Harris took over its management, the department was also selling lands in Nebraska and moving aggressively forward in land sales.
After 1905, the Land Department closed its books, having sold 359,804.25 acres in Iowa for a sum of $4,199,657.34, averaging $11.67 per acre; and 2,365,704.09 acres in Nebraska for $12,402,837.83, averaging $5.24 per acre. From the most active years, 1863-1905, the company had made enough to construct some but not all of its lines; but more importantly, it had populated lands along the railroad lines, ensuring its enduring success in Iowa and Nebraska.
491.5 Linear Feet (745.5 boxes, 10 oversize boxes, 282 oversize volumes, and 2 flat file folders)
Correspondence, reports, maps, plats, promotional material, ledgers, legal and financial volumes, contracts, applications, and some drawings pertaining to the examination and sale of lands granted to the CB&Q by Federal land grant acts. Most of the lands were sold for farming, in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. Forms part of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Records.
Papers are organized in the following subgroups:
- Subgroup 7: Private Land Papers,
- Boxes 1-130; Box +1; 3 volumes
- Subgroup 71: Private Land Companies,
- Boxes 131-157; Box +1; 7 volumes
- Subgroup 73: Foreign Agencies,
- Boxes 158-167
- Subgroups 75: Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company in Iowa,
- Boxes 168-512; Boxes +1-5; 79 volumes; 1 flat file folder
- Subgroups 76: Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company in Nebraska,
- Boxes 513-752; Boxes +6-10; 193 volumes; 1 flat file folder
Collection Stack Location
4a 35 1-6; 4a 36 1-12; 4a 39 2-12; 4a flat files
Deposit of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Company, 1943, with subsequent additions, 1948-onward. Ownership transferred to Newberry Library by Burlington Northern Company, 1975.
Martha Briggs, Alison Hinderliter, Lisa Janssen, Kelly Kress, Emma Martin, Andrew Olofsson, and Pamela Olson, 2014.
Genre / Form
- Inventory of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Records - Land Department,1852-1934
- Alison Hinderliter and Kelly Kress
- Language of description
- Script of description