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Up The Morgan Effigy Inclusion of V.P. in La. Naming of Abbeville Early Sheriffs of V.P. Old Masonic Biographies Père Mégret, Founder Abbeville's Early Years San Jacinto Cannon An Abbeville Authoress Coming of the Railroad The Railroad Celebration A Ride on the Train A Fatal Shooting Abbeville in 1894 Fourth of July 1889, 1898 Concord Street Fire 1903 Fenwick Sanitarium Graceland Obituaries Masonic Temple Gueydan Liquor Raid Eleven Abbeville Heroes Abbeville Rooftop Views
Gary Theall The Coming of the Railroad

Compiled by Gary E. Theall

 

The following excerpts from the Abbeville Meridional chronicle the long, arduous and frequently frustrating struggle of the townspeople of Abbeville to secure a railroad connection.  After overcoming innumerable obstacles, the first train finally pulled up to the depot on Thursday, December 15, 1892, amidst a grand welcome and celebration.  This was a pivotal event in the history of Abbeville, for before that time the town was virtually isolated from the outside world, the roads being almost impassable and the only other means of travel—by steamboat—was limited to one or two boats per week.  Daily railroad service not only allowed the townspeople to travel to other parts of the country conveniently, it also enabled the planters to transport their abundant crops to market quickly and cheaply, and the merchants to receive their stocks promptly.  The completion of the railroad more than any other single event brought Abbeville into the mainstream of commerce.

The Meridional 5-4-1878:

Mr. Editor:—I saw in one of the last issues of the Courier du Teche a lengthy article touching an important question for this parish: a Rail Road between New Iberia and Abbeville. The gentlemen, who speak of this project, seem to have an accurate idea of the probable cost of such a railway.

They went as far as to tell us exact amount, which, according to their estimate is $120,000. It is a big sum, but, after all, a mere trifle taking in consideration the good it would do to this part of the country.

We are certain that Vermilion would furnish more then [sic] half to hereself [sic], should enterprising men take it in their heads to put the thing en train; and en train we would soon travel over our beautiful country[;] how cheering it would be!

Iberia is stirring up; Vermilion can not stay behind, she is the most interested. We are aware that several land owners of this parish are ready to subscribe thousands of acres of land and take for same shares in the contemplated Abbeville & New Iberia Rail Road.

The Meridional 3-27-1880:

Trains on Morgans La. and Texas Rail Road now run through to Vermilionville commencing last Saturday [March 20, 1880], and the Vermilionville folks are supremely happy.

The Meridional 2-12-1881:

Rail Road to New Iberia.

It must be a self-evident fact to every thoughtful person that Abbeville only requires a little better transportation and commercial facilities to become an important business place. Upon the completion of the Louisiana, Navigation Company's canal, she will enjoy continual and quick water communication with New Orleans. The rail road from Houston to New Orleans, passing as it does within a short distance of the town, places us within a few hours ride of the great thoroughfare of commerce and travel. Business and the interest of the community alike demand that we should make an effort to come in closer contact with the outside world. In this age of steam, rail communication has ever proven the most feasible and efficient means of effecting this end. Our sister town, New Iberia now manifests a laudable desire to become united to Abbeville, by the iron bands of rail road communication. The short distance, of some twenty odd miles, over a level, open country with no engineering difficulties to encounter renders the scheme eminently feasible and perfectly practicable. The horrible condition of the common roads during ordinary weather, and the actual amount of travel necessary demand, either a rail road or a graded toll turnpike. Of these the former is far more the preferable. The immense amount of back country with its traffic adjacent to Abbeville, certainly presents a strong proof of its assured financial success. A company with ample capital to build and equip the road could easily be formed here and in New Iberia. Suitable arrangements could be effected with Morgan's Rail Road for freight transportation to and from New Orleans which independent of local freights, would form a handsome revenue. We intend to agitate this subject from time to time and invite discussion upon the matter. Our esteemed co[n]temporary the New Iberia Star of the 29th ult., has the following remarks to make in regard to it:—

NEW IBERIA TO ABBEVILLE.—Railroad Between those points Connecting the Bayou Vermilion with the Bayou Teche. The miserable condition of what are termed public roads must have awakened the people of these two towns and the intervening country to the necessity for a reliable and rapid means of constant communication. A large proportion of the present cotton, sugar and molasses crops are still on the farms because of lack of facilities for transportation. Persons traveling for pleasure or business—of whom there are many at this season of the year—have to resort to all manner of expedients in order to get to their destination, and there is no doubt that another season like the present one would go far to destroy the business of New Iberia. Nothing more readily suggests itself than the construction of a branch railroad from New Iberia to Abbeville. No enterprise could be more commendable or whose success would more redound to the advantage of our section of country. We have conversed with several of the planters living along the line of this road and they have assured us that they will gladly build the road-bed if the merchants of New Iberia will come down with handsome subscriptions.

The precedent established by our neighbors of Terrebonne and Lafourche, should incite us to like efforts. We now listen for a voice from the merchants. Who speaks first?

The Meridional 7-2-1881:

A new era will soon dawn for our Parish, it must soon be called to play an interesting part in the great work of progress which will inevitably follow the result of the connection of La., to the Pacific by Rail.

The Parish has been settling up fast since a couple of years by a steady working class.

Abbeville following the impetus must soon be connected to New Iberia by Rail, the least of things when one thinks of the great moves of our days.

It has been the hope of our progressive citizens for years to see this road built, they say that it would be a great benefit to Vermilion and Iberia. The distance being short and the country through which the road will pass, a level pra[i]rie, the only stream of any consequence is Petit Anse Bayou, which can easily be bridged over. We are morally certain that the development of the resources of our Parish is only a question of time.

Le Meridional 8-27-1881:

[Translated from the French by Gary E. Theall.]

The question of a railroad linking Abbeville to Iberia, has cooled down considerably. We desire so much to see this improvement made that we cannot prevent ourselves from dedicating some lines to it from time to time. Residents of New Iberia, it is to your interest. "The pen is mightier than the sword" is one of the axioms of the century, you will lose nothing, you will see Vermilion parish pour its products to you, you have everything to gain, your town is destined to become the center of the Attakapas country. By working in concert, by bringing out again the advantages of an iron route, through the voice of the journals, we will succeed sooner or later in drawing the attention of the capitalists.

The Meridional 9-17-1881:

What has become of the Railroad from here to New Iberia? Has it all ended in talk? The road is undoubtedly needed and we think that it is equally certain that it would prove a paying investment. We may never see it but a railroad will eventually connect these two places.

Le Meridional 10-22-1881:

[Translated from the French by Gary E. Theall.]

The work advances steadily at the courthouse; it is in the process of being painted on the North side. Mr. T. Dutel, artist emeritus is working there at this moment. This building will be the most imposing of the town when they finish it. We are really delighted with the progress of our little town. All seems rejuvenated here except the writer. You will see if ten years from now we do not have a railroad, unfortunately many of us will be sleeping the sleep of the just and the wicked, under the cold earth, and the shrill cry of the locomotive will be able to reach only our sad remains.

The Meridional 10-22-1881:

We were pleased to notice in the Sugar Bowl of New Iberia of the 20th inst., an article in regard to the proposed Railroad from New Iberia to the salt works, which road when completed to the last place, is to be pushed to Abbeville. This contemplated road will sooner or later be built, circumstances require it, why wait for something to turn up. "Procrastination is the thief of time," the promoters of this movement are men who have arrived at the climax of life, and, if the thing is allowed to remain at the statu quo they will never see the dream of their life accomplished before they return to mother earth.

Mr. Gilmore, the editor of the above named paper, one of the most warm advocates of this scheme, in conjunction with the editor of this paper, gave birth to this question some nine years ago. It remained dormant for several years, when it was brought out of its lethargic state and discussed on each side by parties who plainly see that a great profit for Abbeville and New Iberia will accrue from the above projected road; but there is something lacking, it is not the will of those who desire its promotion, but it is the capital! and how are we to obtain it? we do not know unless northern capitals are called into requisition. This it seems to us, is not an impossibility, why not form an incorporated company of sock holders in the town of New Iberia, every share to be worth say $50.00. Now is the time to keep this question at a red heat, and we should not let it rest at all until we have accomplished our end. Up then citizens of Iberia, work to the interest of your community, it is a matter of great moment to you.

Le Meridional 11-5-1881:

[Translated from the French by Gary E. Theall.]

We notice with pleasure in the issue of 20 October of the Sugar Bowl of Iberia, an article concerning the railroad proposed to the salt mine, then, later to be pushed here. We can only praise these gentlemen who have this enterprise in hand. Look at what the residents of Jeanerette have done. They have organized into an incorporated society, whose goal is to build the railroad. The stock of this company is two hundred thousand dollars. They can increase or diminish the amount of stock. Each person furnishing $50 becomes a shareholder of it. We well wish that our friends of New Iberia, understanding that it is in their interest, will be able to make the necessary arrangements to organize into their center such a similar company.

We are persuaded that a number of persons of our parish would be inclined to become shareholders of an iron track between Abbeville and the salt mine. We are pleased to believe that within a year this question will be decided. We see with pleasure the newspapers of New Iberia take a legitimate interest in it. This is a question of the greatest pecuniary consideration for that town. It is necessary that she draw to herself the products of our vast and fertile prairies, by cutting ahead of the road from Jeanerette. Once the latter is established it is no longer of interest to New Iberia to occupy itself further with it; Jeanerette would surpass her, by the fact that the route by the river would be shortened by this latter road. No more procrastination therefore; events force you to act, gentlemen citizens of Iberia.

The Meridional 5-27-1882:

It has long been talked of, that a branch from the main Railroad trunk was to be run to Abbeville, but so far nothing done and certainly no good reasons can be given for the non-accomplishment of the projected work. The level of the country is such that the grading and completion of the work would be cheap and it would certainly pay contractors to engage in the good work; why not on with it?

Le Meridional 6-3-1882:

[Translated from the French by Gary E. Theall.]

A few words about the projected railroad which will link Abbeville to Iberia. There is not an inch of earth over this line which is not susceptible to the cultivation of corn, cotton and sugar cane. There is also an immense extent of earth on each side, which is being developed with surprising rapidity. There are there vast ponds or plains, hideouts of aquatic life such as turtles, crawfish, frogs, etc., these low basins seeming to beg the passers-by to do them the grace of sowing them with seed. Everywhere that man has made some effort he has been amply rewarded by the soil. The territory to the East of Abbeville is rich and fertile; the town is the center of an immense country. Lake Arthur, the basin of the Queue Tortue, Iles Maronnes, Anse des Mouton, Anse des Broussards, to the west of the bayou Vermilion, and all the territory between our town and Iberia will make a commercial center which will compare well even with its more advanced sisters.

What does this vast extent lack to complete its existence, to make it one of the premier commercial areas of the west of Louisiana? A railroad, that is all. A railroad is no longer what it used to be, a business of the state. We would have been ridiculed fifteen years ago for taking a risk on such land so eagerly, and there was reason, for the country was unknown, the population was sparse, all the prairie east of Abbeville was an immense desert, without any resources; today the perspective is more promising. Our geographic position requires a railroad—that is why we demand it. We dare to hope that the newspapers of New Iberia in the interest of their community will second our efforts toward that goal, we work together in concert and we will have the good fortune to see this great work realized before closing our eyes.

Le Meridional 10-28-1882:

[Translated from the French by Gary E. Theall.]

The residents of the Prairie Carlin, we are told, are in raptures to think that perhaps in the course of the next year, there will be at their doors a railroad; we are assured that they are in agreement to sell very cheaply and even to give the right of passage over their lands. From New Iberia to the salt mine, it ought to be completed by the month of January next. From this point to Abbeville, or from a point closer near the Petite Anse, it will be easy enough to push the work up to Abbeville in the course of next year. Abbeville will be a great advantage to New Iberia by all reports.

Le Meridional 11-4-1882:

[Translated from the French by Gary E. Theall.]

We have hope of seeing realized the wishes of the good people of our parish, concerning the railroad which will unite us with New Iberia. Already an assembly of notables from the latter region is being held, which has had as a goal to inform themselves as well as the residents whose lands are situated on the line which the railroad from Iberia to the salt mine must pass over, of their disposition to cede the right of passage for it. The accomplishment of the work would be finished next January;—with that, therefore, the first step of the great job is accomplished. The shareholders well understand that the task will not be completed before the road is pushed up to the limits of Abbeville, center of a country which developed as if by magic a decade ago.

The Meridional 3-24-1883:

We are glad to hear that the citizens of New Iberia are keeping up the movement about the projected Railroad from the Salt Mine to Abbeville. We hope that before the close of the present year it will be an accomplished fact. We have up to the present time been fed on hope; we do not give up the ship however; we will not rest, until we come out victorious, and then we hope the public will say to us: Well done good and faithful servant.

The Meridional 4-28-1883:

New Iberia and Salt Mine railroad is to be pushed on to Abbeville as soon as the right of way is allowed by those living on the proposed line, a survey is soon to be made.

Le Meridional 5-5-1883:

[Translated from the French by Gary E. Theall.]

If we are to judge by the reports of the newspapers of New Iberia, the projected railroad which is supposed to link us with that region should begin soon. It is a work which will be done; it is an absolute necessity, and in the world we live in, the railroad speculators will not fail to seize the occasion to monopolize the market of a center where a vast region pours forth its diverse products.

Le Meridional 5-19-1883:

[Translated from the French by Gary E. Theall.]

Where will the railroad hit Abbeville? Will it follow the upper limits of the town, or hit the center? This is a question which we do not pretend to resolve. But all leads to the belief that the line will follow close to the public road from Grosse Isle.

The Meridional 5-26-1883:

The Railroad committee from New Iberia, it is said will visit our town next week preparatory to establishing the line between this place and New Iberia.

The Meridional 6-16-1883:

The Rail Road.

We will until we see a better opening drop the question of rail roading from this place to any other section, we have been blowing this horn long enough to make a man deaf, and, may be crazy, and we see no good arising therefrom. We must for the last time until we see a fairer showing give an advice to any and to all parties interested in this stupendious [sic] scheme; it is this, that being not able to feel the pulses nor the purses of our parishioners personally, we invite those who want to reap benefit from them to do it themselves. A railroad to Broussardville or to Vermilionville would suit us better than that to New Iberia. In the first place if we are directly connected to Vermilionville we are put in a more direct communication with the Mississippi River, that is when the Vermilionville and Port Allen railroad is built and we hope that the citizens of Lafayette may take the question into their hands and with the assistance of parties who are willing to risk the chances and with what little contributions we can throw in, build this road which we have no doubt will be worth thousands of dollars to that community, as for a bonus we can not speak for our people, the best way to decide on a question of money, is for such as stir it up to see for themselves. It is not the province of a country editor to go around and decide such questions.

The Meridional 7-7-1883:

Railroad to Abbeville seems to have turned out all a hoax and our people are again doomed to disappointment.

The Meridional 6-14-1884:

Long has it been since, the talk first began of a road between this place and Avery's Island to connect with Iberia; but as suggested in our last number, we think that a branch from here to Lafayette, considering the projected road from the latter point to Baton Rouge, would be as feasible and better paying. Our people should open their eyes to the importance of such a work and immediately go to work and see what can be done in that direction.

The Meridional 7-5-1884:

Railroad Meeting?

At the Railroad Meeting held at the Court House in the town of Abbeville on Saturday, June 28th 1884, the following proceedings were had.

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Jos. T. Labit, who stated that the nomination for chairman was in order, whereupon Mr. N. C. Young was elected chairman of the meeting and Mr. G. Godchaux Secretary.

The chairman explained the object of the meeting, to be, to take the initiatory step for constructing a Railroad from Abbeville to Lafayette, thence to Baton Rouge, some members of the meeting advocated a Railroad connection with new Iberia in preference, but a majority seemed to favor Lafayette, after some discussion it was resolved, two committees, one to confer with the Railroad authorities of Baton Rouge and Lafayette R. R. Co., to induce them to extend their road to Abbeville and Vermilion Bay, on which committee the chairman appointed Messrs. J. T. Labit, Eli Wise, L. Sokolosky, W. B. White and Lastie Broussard, and the other committee to confer with the people of New Iberia, in reference to making Railroad with that town, on which committee the chairman appointed Messrs. Lastie Broussard, W. W. Edwards, W. B. White, O. Bourque and J. J. Abadie.

On motion of R. C. Smedes, Esq., the chairman of the meeting was added to both committees, to act as chairman of said committees, with power to call a general Railroad meeting, whenever he shall deem proper.

On motion of Mr. Smedes, the Publisher of the Meridional be requested to publish the proceedings of said meeting.

The meeting then adjourned subject to the call of the chairman.

N. C. Young, Chairman.

G. Godchaux, Secty.

Le Meridional 6-6-1885:

[Translated from the French by Gary E. Theall.]

It will soon be fourteen years ago that the Meridional published its first article on the subject of a railroad. At that time, the immense resources of Vermilion parish with regard to agriculture was, so to speak, unknown or in a state of adolescence. The prairies were immense, and the herds of animals grazed quietly, and each spring furnished its contingent of fatted calves to the New Orleans market. This traffic brought round sums of money to the raisers of horned animals. But as in all new countries, they had no outlet for their various products, cotton, sugar and rice. There was, as in our time, the Vermilion bayou, but the only boats which furrowed its waters were the schooner of Capt. Francioni and the Pelican State, a small steamer. Since that time, the country has become populated, all the great prairies of the lake, of Prairie Greig, and of the surroundings of Abbeville are comprised of vast fenced enclosures in which are cultivated the different products of the climate. The transformation has therefore been immense, and in the winter season from ten to twelve thousand units of cotton and sugar are transported on the Vermilion bayou to the landings accessible to boats. If fourteen years ago the necessity of an iron way linking our town to some point of the Morgan railroad made itself felt, all the more reason is it necessary when the country has at least doubled its workers. It is impossible for us to enumerate the advantages with which the parish would be endowed by the accomplishment of this great work. It suffices for us to say that the transformation would be immediate. Now it would also be in the interest of the railroad company to construct this route; never having been witness to the development which ordinarily follows the construction of iron ways, we refrain from affirming it. Only, we have the firm conviction that the company would see its profits augmented in the course of time.

The Meridional 9-26-1885:

A Railroad to This Place.

The question of a railroad from Lafayette to this place is being talked of, and is much desired by our people. Some portions of our State are sadly in need of these convenient means of transportation, and it is gratifying to learn that our people are waking up to the necessity of having them. It was once stated by a distinguished personage that a railroad laid down in any part of the United States would be a paying institution, and the truth of his statement is being fully confirmed by practical experiment.

This section of country, which is sparcely [sic] settled would had we direct railroad communication with the outside world, soon fill up with an industrious, agricultural population, whose joint products must find an outlet to good markets by means of railroad transportation. A railroad from Lafayette to this point would pay as well, for the same number of miles, as any other road in the South, for the reason that the soil in this portion of the State is inexhaustible, and that the yet unoccupied lands of this section must, in the course of a very few years, be teeming with a population of agricultural and stock-raising citizens.

This and adjoining parishes are well adapted to grow all the cereals, cotton, sugar-cane; and the raising of stock is a well established fact, and it only needs capital and labor to develop their rich soil. This can not be better accomplished than by having railroads throughout the State, for it is a well-known fact that these great artificial means of transportation increase and develop the wealth of a country more than any other method that can be devised, and when this is done, capitalist[s] will not be slow to profit by the golden prospects before them in the wide field of a rich and fertile country.

The stock-raising interests of southwestern Louisiana are immense, and her vast prairies afford an abundance of nutrition the whole year round to myriads of cattle and horses that graze thereon, and beef of the finest kind is shipped almost daily to cities east of here. It will only require a few years hence, if we secure railroad transportation to the great commercial centers, to make this section a garden spot of our State; and by dividing off our large tracts of land into farms of various dimensions, according to the wealth of the owners, the amount of produce that will be raised will be of incalculable benefit to the world at large. Let us, then, strive to place ourselves in railroad communication with the outside world, for railroads create and develop the resources of a country by opening all the avenues to the wealth of its productions.

The Meridional 11-14-1885:

Mr. J. Henry Putnam, one of our largest sugar planters and most enterprising citizens, informed us a short time back that there would, without the least plausible doubt whatever (he is placed in a position to know), be a railroad built from New Iberia to Abbeville by next spring. Our citizens need and want a railroad to some eligible point (not on paper, however), whereby they can have quick transit and direct communication with the outside world, and they want it as soon as it can be had. We have trade and travel sufficient to justify the building of a railroad from New Iberia or Lafayette to this place, then why not commence its erection at once? The early bird, in this connection, will most undoubtedly catch the worm. Stretch forth, then, some of you that are anxious to reap the benefit of a golden harvest, and with your briarian arms grasp the rich prize that is now awaiting your coming. A railroad to this place, from either direction, will prove a good paying institution; and don't you forget it.

Abbeville Meridional 1-29-1887:

Railroad Meeting at Abbeville.

On Tuesday last a meeting of a considerable number of prominent men of Vermilion parish met at the court-house in Abbeville to confer with a committee composed of Messrs. F. M. Welch and G. Sitges, of Jeanerette, who were appointed by the citizens of Jeanerette to confer with the people of Vermilion parish to provide means to build a standard gauge railroad from Jeanerette to Abbeville. The meeting was organized by the election of W. W. Edwards, Esq., as president, and J. Henry Putnam, Esq., as secretary. Mr. Welch then addressed the meeting stating the objects of the same and explained the plans for securing the construction of the road, independently of any railroad corporation from without. The meeting was also addressed by several other gentlemen, and much interest manifested on the subject. An executive committee, composed of influential business men of the parish, was appointed to confer with a like committee from Jeanerette to canvass the matter and get things in shape for the organization of a company at home to construct the road with our own capital and resources. Dr. W. D. White, Messrs. N. C. Young, Martin Bagley, J. Henry Putnam, Lastie Broussard, Wm. Cade and Jacob Isaacs were appointed on the committee.

Abbeville Meridional 2-19-1887:

The Road from Jeanerette to Abbeville.

A special from Jeanerette, of the 15th, to the New Orleans Picayune says, parties start out to-morrow to secure the balance of the right of way for the Jeanerette, Abbeville and Western Railroad. The principal part of the right of way has already been secured. It is said that the work of surveying and grading will commence immediately. The projectors of the enterprise are confident that the 5-mill local tax for ten years will be carried unanimously at the election March 12. Eastern capitalists have made inquiry into the project and the question of securing capital for constructing the road is pretty well settled. The road will open up to settlement one of the richest and most produ[c]tive sections of Louisiana. The people at Abbeville and along the line of the road are giving the enterprise every encouragement. They feel confident that once railroad communication is established the town now only an unpretentious inland village, will grow to be a town or city of great importance.

Abbeville Meridional 3-12-1887:

Captain F. M. Welch, who accompanied the railroad surveying party from Jeanerette to this place, paid us a visit last Monday and said there was not the least doubt of the road being built between the two points; and he also showed us a letter from a Philadelphia capitalist, who is interested in the projected road, stating that he was much encouraged and well satisfied with the present outlook. Captain Welch also informed us that the people of Jeanerette, almost to a man, will vote the five mill tax, the election for which takes place there to-day.

Abbeville Meridional 3-19-1887:

The railroad fever is sure to strike Abbeville. It is coming closer day by day.

New Orleans Times-Democrat, reprinted Abbeville Meridional 3-26-1887:

Another Louisiana Railroad.

Another town in Louisiana, Jeanerette, has voted a five mill tax toward the construction of a new railroad, the Abbeville, Jeanerette and Western Railroad, to run from Jeanerette, on the Southern Pacific, to Abbeville, in Vermilion parish. To show the interest felt in this matter, the sacrifices that the people are willing to make and the burdens to bear in order to secure better connection with the markets of the world, it is only necessary to call attention to the fact that but thirteen votes were cast against this tax in Jeanerette, and that when the news came of the result of the election a cannon was fired in honor of the victory and brass bands rang out a paeon of triumph. As we have said before, scarcely anywhere else in this country save in the Southwest, is it possible to secure such ready responses to all demands for assistance from railroads and such enthusiasm over the voting of a tax. The proposed railroad is not great one, being merely local to Iberia and Vermilion parishes, but it will be of great benefit to that portion of the State. Vermilion contains a large area of fertile and cheap land. It has latterly been attracting immigration and increasing rapidly in population, but not as fast as it will as soon as this railroad is built and it is placed in better communication with the rest of the world.

Abbeville Meridional 4-9-1887:

We learn that grading will be commenced on the Jeanerette, Abbeville and Western Railroad on the 13th inst., and that the road will be completed to this place by October 15th. This road will open up a rich country and traverse one of the most fertile and salubrious portions of the State. We await patiently further developments.

Abbeville Meridional 4-16-1887:

We are informed that in consequence of the failure of the engineer to put in an appearance on the day he was expected at Jeanerette, the commencing of grading the road was postponed from the 13th until some time early next week. In regard to the depot grounds here our informant says it is impossible for him to say what place would be the most suitable, as the company will require sufficient room to make a wharf for boats to land at and erect large warehouses. He also says that the building of the road from Jeanerette to Abbeville is a fixed fact, and that all doubts should be cast aside.

Abbeville Meridional 7-16-1887:

Evidently all is not well with the Jeanerette, Abbeville and Western Railroad. In the official proceedings of the town council of Jeanerette, published in the Pilot, we read that a motion ordering the issuance of bonds, by the town, in favor of the road was defeated. Why is this thus?

Abbeville Meridional 9-17-1887:

If we have no railroad to this place it is not because it would not pay to build one, or that we are not in need of such, but because a few old mossbacks oppose it.

Abbeville Meridional 11-19-1887:

And now we have it on what may be considered reliable authority that we are to have a railroad from New Iberia to this place via the Salt Mines.

Abbeville Meridional 11-17-1888:

We have talked railroad to our people until we are sick of it; that is, we have lost all hopes of seeing Abbeville in possession of anything so desirable; and as our parish is so greatly in need of the road, we will merely suggest to our near neighbor, Mr. J. Henry Putnam, of Rose Hill. You have, or will have, a track some three miles out from the bayou, and as it is only about twelve miles from there to Avery's salt mine branch, why do you not make the effort to have the gap filled and thus secure a railroad terminating at your refinery? By so doing you would build up a town at home which would create surprise, as well as regret, on the part of our lethargic townsmen.

Abbeville Meridional 6-8-1889:

The Railroad.

The people of Vermilion parish have at last begun to talk railroad. A mass meeting has been called, resolutions passed, and committees appointed. We are truly glad to see this evidence of awaking on the part of our sleepers. The Meridional has for a long time agitated that question, and almost made itself hoarse trying to be heard on the subject. Now, gentlemen, since the matter has been carried so far, we do hope you will continue and let us soon hear the neigh of the iron horse at our depot. A road from the Southwest Pass through Abbeville and to a connection with the Northwest would open up to this, one of the most delightful countries in the world, a market for all the fruits, berries, and vegetables we could raise, and Vermilion would soon become the "star" parish of the State. Gentlemen, we are in earnest. Please don't let all your enthusiasm evaporate in gush.

Abbeville Meridional 8-10-1889:

Messrs. Lastie Broussard and N. C. Young left for New Iberia last Thursday morning to confer with a committee of that place in regard to the railroad to this place.

Abbeville Meridional 8-17-1889:

A petition signed by four-fifths of the property tax payers of the town was presented to a special meeting of the council Tuesday evening asking that a special election be held to vote a four mills tax on the dollar in aid of the K.C.L.&G.R.R., and a like sum in favor of the New Iberia, Abbeville and Western R.R., each being to run for ten years. In accordance with the request an election for the purpose has been ordered to be held at the court house on Thursday September 26, 1889; polls open at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. First blood for the railroad.

Abbeville Meridional 8-17-1889:

What a Rail Road Means.

Our people will soon be called upon to tax themselves for ten years in order to obtain not one but two railroad lines, thus reaching every part of the parish and uniting it with the whole world by the iron ties of rapid transportation.

Now, do many of our citizens realize what a railroad through a country means. Well! In case they should not, we will attempt in a few words, to tell them. It means progress for all! It means the possibility of establishing central sugar factories and therefore the success and prosperity of the farmer by the sale of cane by the ton. It means the facility to make and sell in the northern markets, secondary products such as Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, strawberries, game, fish and many other things at a renumerative [sic] rate. It means manufacture, by the facilities afforded for obtaining materials. It means houses built at cheap rate. It means a great saving in freights. It means increased travel, therefore more trade. It means a better price for our cattle. It means a "cotton seed oil mill," in short, it means prosperity! by the immensely enhanced value of all property. Who will be so blind as not to see it?

The tax is but temporary. The monies collected will be kept entirely secure. The benefits will be everlasting, and even were not the companies to execute the full proposed programme, enough must be by them accomplished, (before they get a cent) to place our parish in a position beyond compare in Louisiana.

Remember also that the amount for which we may now tax ourselves will in due time come back to us tenfold while in the meantime we will have gained a hundred fold in general progress and prosperity. If you are good and progressive citizens, VOTE THE TAX, and cause others to do likewise. Vermilion Parish forward and go ahead!

Abbeville Meridional 11-16-1889:

All the railroad petitions, not being in, the Police Jury at its last meeting, failed to tax [sic; take] any action in regard to ordering the election for the special tax for the Kansas City, Louisiana and Gulf Railroad. All persons having petitions are urged to send them in at once.

Abbeville Meridional 11-30-1889:

The Election.

The election, to vote the five mills railroad tax, by the corporation of Abbeville, was held last Wednesday. Sixty-one freeholders' votes were cast, being more than the number required to authorize the said tax on the property inside of the corporation. That means business. Our citizens are alive to urgency of the time. In this age of progress and railroading, Louisiana is soon to be checkered by lines. Her resources will soon be developed to its full extent. Other sections are working studiously to attract the attention of capitalists. None compare, taking everything into consideration, with our parish. Here is a soil adapted to the production of all semi-tropical productions, good land and mild climate, easy access to one of the finest inland seaport[s] in the world. With these advantages and a wide awake will, we will surely, in the near future, become a prosperous people. The next step is to appoint commissioners to canvass the different wards of the parish to emulate our population to the necessity of voting at the parish election to be ordered by the Police Jury for the tax.

Abbeville Meridional 3-1-1890:

Doomed!!
Abbeville's Untimely Decease!
The Big Plot Revealed!

While the good people of Abbeville have been moving Heaven and earth in their efforts to secure the Kansas City, Louisiana and Gulf Railroad, and the three mills tax subsidy for its benefit, some big railroad schemers have been very quietly engaged in digging a grave for Abbeville. The hole is now of the right depth, the coffin is all ready, and when the plan is fully developed the shroud will be forthcoming to envelop the defunct remains of this once promising town.

All who have tears to shed prepare to drop them now. The procession is about to start. As the angels of futurity chant their wierd [sic] requiem, listen and we will tell the brief but harrowing tale of our approaching calamity.

A party of Northern capitalists have been quietly operating for some time in this section, securing right of way, monied and landed subsidies to build a railroad to New Iberia. It is not exaggerating to say they have met with flattering success. This week they have closed arrangements for a large tract of land at Perry's Bridge, which will be the terminus of the road. Here they will lay out a new town, whose waxing splendors shall cause Abbeville to shrivel up and crumble into nothingness.

Once a road and town are built, the ruin of Abbeville will follow as surely as the wreck succeeds the storm. Perry's Bridge to-day does no small share of the commerce of the parish, and once possessed of all the advantages which obtain with rail communication, we shall behold a new Carthage, and when it has secured the removal of the seat of justice, the finishing touch of our downfall will be given, and the crack of the herders' whip will be the only sound to disturb the vast solitude of the cow pasture occupying the scene of Abbeville's present bustle and activity!!

So, if our people do not want to get left, they must get a move on themselves at an early moment.

Abbeville Meridional 3-15-1890:

A rather peculiar looking vehicle came into town this week and everybody thought it was a sewing machine agent until a little investigation proved it was the gentleman who is to survey the Abbeville and New Iberia railroad.

Abbeville Meridional 8-9-1890:

Perry's Bridge we are told has out done Abbeville in the way of securing aid for Kansas City, Louisiana and Gulf Railroad and will scoop in the depot and terminus, leaving Abbeville out in the wet. The tears are ours gentlemen, hence we weep.

Abbeville Meridional 12-20-1890:

A petition for a five mill tax for ten years in aid of the New Iberia, Vermilion and Western railroad is in the hands of W. W. Edwards, Esq., and has been circulated pretty extensively this week among our citizens. If we expect to secure this railroad we must be up and doing.

Abbeville Meridional 11-14-1891:

Police Jury on Tuesday passed an ordinance exempting from taxation for a term of ten years, the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad provided it builds from Abbeville to a connection with the Southern Pacific.

Abbeville Meridional 11-21-1891:

Rail Road Meeting.

Abbeville, La., Nov. 17, 1891.

On this day pursuant to call a large number of the citizens of Abbeville and Vermilion parish, including a majority of the railroad Executive Committee, met at the Courthouse. The meeting was called to order by J. H. Putman [sic], Esq., who stated the objects of the meeting.

On motion J. H. Putman was chosen chairman and Dr. C. J. Edwards, secretary of the meeting.

The minutes of the railroad meeting of Nov. 6 were read and adopted. A letter from the Watkins Banking co, relative to the proposed Watkins extension to Abbeville, was read and ordered filed.

Letters were read from J. Kruitschnitt, general manager of the Southern Pacific R. R. to C. J. Edwards, secretary of the committee and to Aug. Erath, president of the Iberia and Vermilion R. R. stating that the Southern Pacific would build a railroad to Abbeville, provided the town of Abbeville granted them a 5 mill tax for ten years, furnished depot site and right of way free of charge and secured eqemption [sic] of the road from taxation for a period of ten years.

It was the sense of the meeting that these conditions could be complied with and on motion the chair appointed a committee of three to make a canvass of the property tax payers of the town of Abbeville, with petitions praying for a special election to levy a 5 mills tax for ten years in favor of the Iberia and Vermilion Rail Road in accordance with the low [sic] governing such elections.

Messrs. G. Godchaux, J. M. Beauxis and L. Sokoloski were appointed on said committee.

On motion a committee of three was appointed by the chair to secure by donation the necessary depot grounds in Abbeville or immediate vicinity thereof and the right of way through the parish. Messrs. W. W. Edwards, Lastie Broussard and Dr. W. G. Kibbe were appointed on said committee.

On motion the meeting adjourned subject to call.

J. H. Putnam, Chairman.

C. J. Edwards, Secretary.

Abbeville Meridional 1-30-1892:

The special election last Monday was a grand victory for progressive ideas. The 5 mill tax for ten years in aid of the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad was carried by a handsome majority, there being no votes cast against the measure. There were 69 votes cast representing a property assessment of $84,158.

Abbeville Meridional 2-13-1892:

E. B. Cushing, of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, accompanied by his corps of assistants, arrived at New Iberia, Monday and began a survey immediately of the country between that place and Abbeville, to establish a line for the New Iberia and Vermilion Railroad, which is to be constructed by the Southern Pacific Company.

Abbeville Meridional 2-20-1892:

Rail Road Racket.

On Tuesday E. B. Cushing who is in charge of the engineering corps surveying the proposed extension of the Salt Mine branch to Abbeville, reached town and made an inspection of sites on the bayou, at Godchaux's, just below town, at Dr. White's in front of town and at W. W. Edwards and W. A. White just above town. On Thursday Mr. Dovers one of the engineers ran a line from the latter point on the bayou and out to the Lafayette road.

In the evening General Manager J. Kruttschnitt, Engineer Cushing, President [Auguste] Erath of the Iberia and Vermilion railroad, and a party of gentlemen from New Iberia arrived in town after a reconnoitre of the route. Mr. Kruttschnitt made a careful examination of the three sites above mentioned and expressed a decided preference for the one just below town on the Godchaux place. As the site can not be obtained except by expropriation according to law, it will take a little time and some money before the question of the depot site is definitely decided.

Abbeville Meridional 3-19-1892:

The Railroad.

The Engineers have completed the survey of the New Iberia and Abbeville Branch Railroad, and the Right of way Committee, Messrs W. W. Edwards, Lastie Broussard, and Dr. W. G. Kibbe, will take the field at once to procure the right of way. The time for action has now come, and it is the privilege and the duty, of every citizen to aid this very important enterprise in every way he can. Every one can do something. Some can give the land for the Railroad, others can contribute money according to their abilities, to defray necessary expenses of the Committee. The line of Railroad will pass through lands owned by minor children in some places, and must be paid for as the law requires, and money for this purpose. The public spirit and enterprise of every citizen will now be put to test, and it is hoped and believed that they will not be found wanting. If the right of way is secured the Railroad to Abbeville is a certainty. It will be built this summer. There is not a doubt about it. It is not a probability merely but a certainty. On the other hand if aid is not given the Right of way Committee the right of way will not be secured[,] the Railroad will not be built, and the loss and the shame will rest on the heads of those who refuse to do their plain duty. We think that no man who has any self respect, would be willing to hereafter be among the number of those who caused the failure of this great public benefit and convenience, by their refusal to contribute such aid, as was easily in their power to give. No man we think would feel confortable [sic], when he reflected that his parsimony was the cause of such a calamity, as the loss of the Railroad, nor would he like to hear his neighbors express their opinions on his conduct.

Vermilion Parish now expects every man to do his duty, and we believe they will and that the advent of the Iron Horse into Abbeville will be one of the achievement[s] of the year 1892.

Abbeville Meridional 4-9-1892:

The committee on right of way for the Iberia and Vermilion rail road have been hustling and have met with the most flattering success. So far as Vermilion is concerned a rail road is no longer a question of doubt, but a certainty.

Abbeville Meridional 4-9-1892:

Prospective investors in land had better decide P.D.Q. Now that the railroad is assured, the price of land will begin to increase, and a year hence will bring four or five times the amount it would sell for at present.

Abbeville Meridional 4-30-1892:

Our Railroad.

The line located between Abbeville and New Iberia we believe is as follows: From New Iberia down the Salt Island Railroad six miles to the Hayes place, thence a little north of west to Abbeville, 15½ miles to the Bayou Vermilion or 15 miles to the eastern limit of town. Thus the entire distance by rail will be 21½ miles from depot in Abbeville to depot in New Iberia. We are informed that the committee on obtaining the right of way through Vermilion Parish have already secured the greater portion of right of way and have deeds for the same. The committee speak in terms of the highest praise of the people along the line who have generously donated their land for the good of the public. They have been more patriotic even than was expected, and have set a good example for others.

We are told that a very few persons have refused to donate the right of way in hopes that they may get pay for their land and some of their friends are advising them not to give, but it is believed by the committee that even these persons when they consider the matter more seriously and the good the Railroad will do the country will cheerfully make the desired donation. We will next week publish a list of names of persons who have generously given the right of way. A little more delay will occur, in taking the necessary proceedings to obtain the right of way through lands of minors and then the work will be ready to let to contract. The construction of this road will bring money into the parish and enable the farmers along the line who have time to get profitable work with their teams and to put a little cash in their pockets.

Abbeville Meridional 4-30-1892:

The railroad committee called a meeting of subscribers, last Monday, at the court house to decide upon the selection of attorneys to conduct expropriation proceedings for the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad Co.

Abbeville Meridional 6-4-1892:

Aug. Erath, President of the Iberia & Vermilion R. R. Co. was amongst us last week looking after the interest of the road.

Abbeville Meridional 6-18-1892:

The Iberia & Vermilion R.R.

At a meeting of the stockholders of the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad held in New Iberia, Monday the 6th inst., the following were elected to serve for the ensuing year: J. Kruttschnitt, president; R. Natili, vice-president; A. C. Pickett, secretary; J. B. Richardson, treasurer; R. S. Perry, J. A. Lee, A. Erath, E. A. Pharr, P. L. Renoudet, W. F. Owen, J. G. Schriever, Hugh M. Young, Henry J. Leovy, F. P. Davis, M. B. Bergeron, directors.

It is to be hoped that the few remaining difficulties in the way of securing to our town this important commercial necessity will be removed in time to complete the road this fall. But people who are talking of the certainty of the road must remember that there yet remains something to be done. About 2¾ miles of right of way at this end and the depot grounds are yet to be obtained. There is every indication that this will occur only as the result of a hotly contested law suit. Mrs. G. Godchaux, the owner of the largest part of the land in question has determined not to accept the price tendered by the committee, and has employed able counsel to resist the expropriation proceedings to the bitter end.

This law suit will consume both time and money in its prosecution, and in the event of a favorable decision for the railroad a large sum of money may be required to pay the damages assessed by the court. So we are not out of the woods yet and it will be wise to wait awhile before we holler.

Abbeville Meridional 6-18-1892:

Gus Godchaux left here last Tuesday morning for New Orleans, where he went to employ attorneys to defend the expropriation proceedings begun against him by the Iberia & Vermilion R.R. Co. This promises to be a fierce legal struggle and one which will be watched with all-absorbing interest from start to finish.

Abbeville Meridional 7-2-1892:

E. B. Cushing, chief engineer of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company arrived in town Sunday evening and will attend the trial of the expropriation suits.

Abbeville Meridional 7-2-1892:

Judge O. C. Mouton of Lafayette has been here this week attending court as counsel for Mrs. Katie Godchaux in the expropriation proceedings brought by the Iberia and Vermilion railroad company.

Abbeville Meridional 7-2-1892:

Tuesday evening Judge [A. C.] Allen held court in chambers, for the purpose of trying the railroad expropriation suits. The usual preliminiaries [sic] having been accomplished the first case was called, that of the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad Co., vs the Heirs of Dupre Toups. The following jury of freeholders was empanelled, Wm., Cade, foreman, John Abshire, Jr., Dupre Meyers, J. M. Beauxis, Nic Broussard, Eli Wise, Amb. Lacour, L. J. Feray, Eraste Mouton, F. D. Lege, C. D. O'Bryan, and Theolin Landry, Jr. The jury returned a verdict for $150 for defendants, $77 for the land and $73 damages.

Abbeville Meridional 7-2-1892:

The suit of the Iberia & Vermilion Railroad Co., vs. Mrs. Katie Area and her husband Gus Godchaux began Thursday before Judge [A. C.] Allen. Judge [W. W.] Edwards, Lastie Broussard and T. D. Foster appeared for the plaintiff while Judge Mouton and District Attorney Gordy represented the defendants. A number of exceptions and motions to quash the venire filed by the defense were tried and decided adv[e]rsely to the defense. The jury was then duly empanneled and the case supposed to be ready to go to trial when the defense objected to the admission of any testimony because the defendant's husband had not been cited. An inspection of the sheriff's returns and the citation served on Mrs. Godchaux showed that Mr. Godchaux had not been summoned, and this being a fatal defect the case was dismissed as in nonsuit.

Abbeville Meridional 7-9-1892:

Rail Road Meeting.

Last Friday evening a number of the citizens of Abbeville who are interested in securing the building of a railroad to this place assembled at the law office of Lastie Broussard. The meeting was organized by electing Judge W. W. Edwards, chairman and O. H. O'Bryan secretary. The situation was fully discussed, and it was resolved to appoint a ways and means committee to raise the necessary funds to pay the expenses incurred in the expropriation suits. Messrs. Jos. T. Labit, Dr. J. T. Abshire, L. O. Broussard, L. Sokoloski and Dr. C. J. Edwards were appointed as said committee. The ways and means committee met Saturday and chose Jos. T. Labit, as chairman and Dr. J. T. Abshire, secretary. Several sub-committees were appointed to carry out the plans of the work more effectively, and from present indications the required amount of money will be subscribed in a few days. It would be a terrible calamity to lose the chance of securing this railroad and we hope every citizen will feel the vital interest there is in such an important matter and lend a helping hand by subscribing as liberally as his means will permit.

Abbeville Meridional 7-9-1892:

From present indications the citizens ways and means committee will probably be able to raise a fund sufficient to purchase the right of way and depot site of Mrs. Katie Godchaux and the matter will be adjusted amicably and without delay.

Abbeville Meridional 7-9-1892:

The way[s] and means committee appointed by the citizens railroad meeting of last Friday have pushed subscriptions with great energy. Messrs. Eli Wise and Ludwig Sokoloski have especially distinguished themselves in the good work.

Abbeville Meridional 7-9-1892:

The town council held their regular meeting at the Courthouse last Wednesday evening. In addition to the usual business before the body was an extensively signed petition from the citizen tax payers of the town asking a donation of two hundred and fifty dollars towards assisting in securing the building of the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad. After due discussion and an able presentation of the matter by Messrs. Jos. T. Labit, W. A. White, W. B. White and others the council unanimously resolved to appropriate the desired amount $250.

Abbeville Meridional 7-23-1892:

Last Saturday the right of way committee purchased of Mrs. Katie Godchaux for the Iberia & Vermilion Railroad Company the depot site on the bayou at the lower edge of town, being the upper portion of the Area place, together with the right of way from there to the public road for the sum of $1,000. This gives the company the unbroken right of way from the Bayou Vermilion through the parish to the Iberia line. A small amount of money yet remains to be raised to pay the costs incurred in the expropriation suits and other incidental expenses. This will not require much work we hope.

Abbeville Meridional 8-6-1892:

Speaking of the recent purchase here of the depot grounds for the Iberia & Vermilion Railroad the St. Mary Banner says:

Iberia's gain is our loss. Had we been up and doing the Franklin & Abbeville Railroad, would by this time have connected us with the rich prairies of Vermilion[,] and Franklin instead of New Iberia would have reaped the benefits of this enormous trade.

Abbeville Meridional 8-6-1892:

The right of way gang of the Iberia & Vermilion Railroad on Tuesday morning sta[r]ted at the bayou on the Godchaux place and began working eastward to join the force coming from the Salt Mines branch. The unprecedently copious and long continued rains are greatly interfering with work on this most important enterprise.

New Iberia Enterprise, reprinted Abbeville Meridional 8-6-1892:

On Tuesday morning last, ground was broken at the Iberia end of the proposed branch railroad to Abbeville by August Erath, to whose persistent efforts is mainly due the successful attainment of a project that has been talked of and agitated for the past twelve years. From this time on the work of construction will be pushed with the characteristic energy which moves all matters with which the great Southern Pacific Railroad Co., is connected, and in about sixty days the iron horse of progress will be steaming into the quiet town of Abbeville.

Abbeville Meridional 8-13-1892:

First dirt on the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad was broken Monday on the line of the proposed road where it crosses the White tract about two miles east of town. The contractors are in camp on the western end of this tract and as soon as the weather permits will push the grading to a speedy complition [sic].

Abbeville Meridional 8-27-1892:

Work on the railroad has progressed rapidly this week owing to the favorable weather. The force at this end of the line are now in Godchaux's field.

Abbeville Meridional 9-3-1892:

From the New Iberia Sugar Bowl of Aug. 27 we learn that a large crowd of Mexicans went out on the works of the Vermilion railroad Sunday afternoon. We learn that some 250 convicts were also sent to work on this new road during the week and no doubt the time lost by unfavorable weather will now soon be cought [sic] up.

Abbeville Meridional 9-24-1892:

E. B. Cushing, chief engineer of the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad was in town this week and reports that track laying begun [sic] Wednesday on the east end, and thinks that with fair weather we will see the iron horse here by the 10th of November. So mote it be!

Abbeville Meridional 10-8-1892:

Work on the railroad grade in this parish is about completed, and only a few days more will be required to finish up in Iberia then look out for the locomotive.

Abbeville Meridional 10-15-1892:

Reports have it that the railroad construction gang have crossed the bayou Petite Anse [near Avery Island] and have completed about 2 miles of track on this side. The bridge gang had a great deal of trouble in finding a solid foundation for the piling.

Abbeville Meridional 11-5-1892:

The contractors who were grading the railroad from State street to the bayou and also the depot grounds and sidings finished up and left last Wednesday.

Abbeville Meridional 11-5-1892:

The construction train and track-laying force are now at work in this parish near Grand Marais [near Delcambre].

Abbeville Meridional 11-19-1892:

The railroad construction gang are now this side of Grosse Ile woods.

Abbeville Meridional 11-26-1892:

Tuesday morning the whistle of the locomotive of the construction train was plainly heard in town.

Abbeville Meridional 11-26-1892:

Tuesday morning a lot of carpenters got off of the construction train and came into town for the purpose of going to work on the Depot Building. But the lumber having failed to arrive there was nothing for them to do. Consequently they returned that evening.

Abbeville Meridional 11-26-1892:

Last night the tie gang had reached the east end of the old Area place and the track layers were not far behind.

Abbeville Meridional 12-3-1892:

Completion of the Railroad.

At last Abbeville enjoys the luxury and advantage of a railroad. The last spike on the main line of the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad was driven at 10 minutes past 10 o'clock, Tuesday morning, November 29, 1892, and the work train drawn by Engine 521, with Dick Tanner at the lever backed down to the end of the track. Ever since a large gang of men have been at work on the main line and putting down switches and sidings. Of these there will be four.

Wednesday ten cars loaded with lumber for the depot and warehouse arrived and with it a number of carpenters. Everywhere is a busy scene of activity and the bustle and rattle of the trains is a welcome novelty to the easy going people of this delightfully rural town.

The Citizens Railroad Executive Committee met at the courthouse Monday and appointed a committee to take all necessary steps for celebrating in an appropriate manner the formal opening of the road for business.

Abbeville Meridional 12-10-1892:

The steam pile driver has been at work this week putting down the wharf at the railroad depot.

Abbeville Meridional 12-17-1892:

The Celebration.

Thursday, Dec. 15, 1892 is a day which will long be remembered in Abbeville, marking as it did the inauguration of railroad communication with the outer world.

A committee headed by Drs. W. D. White and W. G. Kibbe and J. H. Putnam had tastefully decorated the front of the new depot with cane cotton and rice, in their natural state, and festoons of Spanish moss. Inside of the building a most creditable exhibit of the products of the parish had been arranged. Especially when it is taken into consideration the brief apsen [sic; lapse, span?] of time, in which it was gotten together.

The stores and business houses closed at 2:30 p.m. and a large portion of the population of the town gathered at the depot to welcome the special train containing the South[e]rn Pacific officials and citizens of New Iberia. The train was due at 3 o'clock but as usually the case on such occasions, it was not on time, and it was 4:45 when the train composed of two sleepers the Guadaloupe and Morgan and a coach arrived. The reception committee boarded the train and escorted Messrs Julius Kruttschnitt president of the I. & V. R. R., and general manager of the S. P. R. R., J. G. Schreiver, traffic manager; Wm. F. Owens, superintendent; E. B. Cushing, chief Engineer; A. C. Pickett Vice president of the I. & V. R. R.; Mayor Koch of New Iberia and a number of other prominent gentlemen to the depot platform where Mr. Knuttschnitt [sic] was formally presented to J. H. Putnam ch[a]irman of the Citizens Railroad committee. Mr. Putnam made an elaborate address of welcome, which was responded to in a few appropriate remarks by Mr. Knuttschnitt who called upon Robt. F. Broussard of New Iberia to speak in behalf of the Railroad. Amid salvos of artillery and screeching of whistles he found the task rather a difficult one, but finally he obtained a hearing and made a pretty speech.

The representatives of the City press with the officials were shown through the exhibits and afterwards taken to the Masonic Hall where a banquet had been spread in the lower hall.

Toasts were proposed by Judge [A. C.] Allen, Judge [Conrad] Debaillon, Messrs Putnam, W. A. White, Mayor Koch, Millard and a number of other gentlemen.

Abbeville Meridional 12-17-1892:

The First Train.

The long looked for, wished for and yea even prayed for event has transpired. Abbeville at last is the proud possessor of a railroad or to be more correct the railroad belongs to some one else but we of Abbeville are privileged to use it and that suits us just about as well as owning it.

On Thursday, December 15, 1892, at 8:30 a.m., the first train pulled out from the depot on schedule time. It was made up of a combination, car No. 457 and passenger coach 408, drawn by engine 512 with Joe Hannon in the cab and conductor Marye in charge, and was to be in New Iberia at 10:40 o'clock, making the run in 2 hours and 10 minutes.

The stations between here and New Iberia as established at present are Erath [Note: This is the first mention by the Meridional of a place called "Erath."], Meadows [Delcambre], Bob Acres, Poufette, Lee, Salt mine junction. The total distance is 27½ miles and the fare will be 85 cents each way. Returning trains will leave New Iberia at 3 p.m., arriving here at 5:10.


[Read also Ken Dupuy's description of the celebration upon the completion of the railroad, and his imaginary ride on the train from Abbeville to New Iberia.]