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|Source: The News-Journal, March 28, 1938
RECALL PROMOTION OF TRACTION LINE
Travelers along the Disko road west of North Manchester and
on the Laketon road south of Ijamsville wonder at the odd
topography of the land near the road. Few know that it and a
few faded stock certificates are all that is left of a vain
dream of interurban lines into North Manchester. The
question was cussed and discussed with fervor for two or
three years in Wabash, Kosciusko, Miami and Fulton counties.
The storm center was North Manchester and Laketon with
Warsaw and Wabash playing both ends against the middle.
During that time there were eloquence and promises galore,
meeting after meeting of interested people in town and
country schools, houses, bonus elections and talk of
elections, and at least four groups of interurban interests,
seemingly fighting to get preference in building the
It was in 1904 and the first half of 1905 that interest
reached the fever pitch, but by the end of 1905, when some
of the local business men were being sued on notes they had
given to purchase stock, with the provision the notes were
not collectable unless the lines were built, the belief
gradually grew that there would be no interurban, and that
we were "stung".
V.J. Drayer, Dayton, Ohio, promoter, seemed to have started
the whole thing. He claimed to represent financial interests
about Dayton who were interested in building a line through
North Manchester. He was very vague as to his route, but did
build some grade between Wabash and North Manchester
following a route through Laketon. He interested some North
Manchester and Laketon capital, and even yet it has never
been fully decided whether Drayer was the J. Rufus
Wallingford type of promoter or whether he really wanted to
build a line, in the hope of making profit from it as a
successfully run business. But judging from the North
Manchester Journal of those days he was some promiser, and
even when hard headed business men, distrustful of the
sincerity of his intentions, sought to corner him and make
him "put up or shut up", he dodged them and did neither. For
he certainly put up no deposits asked as a guarantee of good
faith, and he did not stop talking, at least for a long
While Drayer was doing his promoting, the Winona company
with Sol C. Dickey, entered the picture. The plan of that
company was to build a line from Peru to Winona by way of
Chili, Roann, Laketon, North Manchester, Silver Lake, and
possibly a second line from North Manchester to Wabash
through Urbana. Later a proposal was made to leave out
Silver Lake and build the line from North Manchester to
Sidney, thence to Packerton and on to Winona.
Pleasant township had two elections, one voting on a $15,000
tax raised subsidy for the Drayer interests and another for
the Dickey interests. The Drayer election was 190 for and
288 against, and the one for Dickey was 201 for and 241
against. The writer recalls meetings held in the district
school houses in Pleasant township that year, and especially
the one just before the Drayer election when Mr. Drayer in a
meeting at the Bussard building, told with all his eloquence
of the future prospects of his interurban lines. He told of
what his company was doing in detail. There was none to
dispute him until he mentioned Dayton. Then the late Robert
Nelson, arose to his feet, told the group of neighbors and
farmers that he knew Dayton, probably as well as Mr. Drayer,
and that statements Drayer was making were untrue. Mr.
Drayer was so discomfited he had little more to say that
Elections on subsidies were scheduled for Chester, Noble and
Paw Paw townships, but before they were actually held,
suspicion had grown so rapidly they were cancelled. Jackson
township did have an election and voted $5,000 subsidy to
the interurban company that would build a line through
Sidney. Needless to say the subsidy was never collected.
While the Drayer and Dickey disputes were going on Mr.
Barry, superintendent of the Indiana Northern Traction
Company, with a line from Wabash to Marion, entered the
picture with a proposal to build from Wabash to Winona,
paralleling the Big Four railroad. Barry's proposition
sounded good, and he had the advantage of having a line
already in operation. He asked and was given a franchise to
use North Manchester streets. But by that time Drayer was
also actually constructing the grade south of Laketon and
between Laketon and North Manchester, and so the North
Manchester town council decided to be impartial and also
granted Mr. Drayer a franchise. Barry a few months later
sold his interest to the Union Traction company, and the new
company never displayed any desire to extend its lines. The
company operating a line from Elkhart to Goshen, for a time
considered building south along the Big Four, but that
project did not get even to the meeting stage.
Dickey suddenly switched his plan to the route from Peru to
Warsaw through Akron, and Drayer had told so many stories
and made so many promises people would believe nothing he
said. Local prospective investors grew more wary, and when
the promotion money was gone, Drayer faded out of the
It was a beautiful dream while it lasted, and back in the
setting of those days, when automobiles were very much a
rarity and their possibility not realized, it was no wonder
people were eager for a tram service that would run on
hourly schedules and stop at every farm house or cross road
along the way. At that time the interurban people boasted
they would put the railroads out of business, but instead
they were put out of business by a new and then unthought of
competitor, the trucks and automobiles.
Source: North Manchester News,
March 21, 1906
INTERURBAN BRIDGE FOR EEL RIVER
Is Reported completed and Ready For Shipment.
The following concerning the interurban bridge has been
published in some of the daily newspapers in this vicinity
as a statement by J.A. Barry who is promoting the Indiana
Northern line from Wabash to Warsaw.
"In an interview J.A. Barry stated that everything is
progressing favorably on the Wabash-Warsaw line, and in all
probability an early start will be made in construction. The
bridge to span Eel river at North Manchester, is now ready
in the yards of Henry Lewis & Co., of Philadelphia, and as
soon as the pier and abutments have been started the
bridge will be shipped, and there will be do delay on this
It is the intention of the company to have the line between
Wabash and North Manchester completed at the earliest
possible date, so all the force can then be thrown on the
north end of the line. With a pleasant autumn this year
there is every likelihood that the cars of this line will be
running from Warsaw direct to the capital city early in
The bridge to be erected at North Manchester has the
following specifications. Two through, pin connected bridge
spans, 100 feet long center to center of end pins, width
fourteen feet, five inches center to center of truss, height
twenty-one feet, six inches center to center of cords, the
capacity of this bridge is two eighty-one ton locomotives
with their following train loads. With this kind of
construction the traveling public will have one of the best
and safest roads in Indiana when it is completed.
Yesterday Mr. J.A. Barry presented at the office of county
recorder George F. Ogden fourteen deeds for right-of-way
between here and Wabash, for which his company has paid.
They were as follows:
Thomas M. Beck, forty rods, $50.
James Van Buskirk, 100 rods, $300.
George Pretorious, seventy-two rods, $200.
Charles D. Reed, 160 rods, $300.
Daniel L. Speicher, 160 rods, $300.
George P. Miller, 160 rods, $300.
Henry Mills, 160 rods, $350.
Charles H. Siploe, 160 rods, $300.
Robert Thompson, 160 rods, $275.
Noah Eckman, eighty rods, $125.
James Harris, seventy-two rods, $125.
Catharine Olinger, 106 rods, $125.
Daniel Urschel, 160 rods, $300.
Abram Strickler, 102 rods, $250.
The deeds all contain a provision that if the road ever is
abandoned the property shall revert to the original owners.
This consideration had something to do with the prices that
were accepted for the several tracts of land.