State Highway Marker

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Railroad Comes to West Point- 1854


King & Queen Ct Ho, VA
    Sept 20th, 1853.
Editor Dispatch: The adjourned meeting of the stockholders met to-day at 12 o'clock—Dr. Fauntleroy in the chair. The roll being called, a quorum was found to be present.
The Chairman then appointed the usual committees on proxies, &c, after which a resolution was offered by Dr. Richardson¹ of New Kent, declaring it to be to the interest of the Company to select as the Eastern terminus of the Richmond &. York River Railroad, the highest point on the river which would afford an adequate depth of water for the accommodation of shipping of a large size.
Mr. Douglass, of King William, offered as a substitute, a resolution which designated West Point, in the county of King William, as possessing, in an eminent degree, all the advantages necessary for the Eastern terminus of the road.
W.R.C. Douglass, of New Kent, In a speech of some length and of great earnestness, opposed this resolution.
 Mr. Douglass, of King William, sustained his motion In a long and ingenious argument, which consumed the whole of the day.

    September 21st— 10 o'clock.
When I arrived at the Court House, Mr. Pierce², of New Kent, was advocating the claims of the "south side" of the Pamunkey. He was aided by Messrs. Saunders of Williamsburg and Garrett of York county, all of whose speeches showed how deep an interest they felt in the matter which they advocated. Though each one seemed to prefer a different point as the terminus, yet there seemed to prevail with them all the kindest feeling and a willingness to yield to claims of that point which should be shown to be the most eligible.
Mr. Bowden, of Williamsburg, one of the Proxies for the State, then addressed the meeting. I should do him I fear injustice were I to attempt to give you even the points of his speech. I will say that it was one worthy of the man and of an officer of the State. He showed how high were the motives which would influence the vote which he was about to give. His feelings seemed confined to no pride of place— to no local interests or prejudices; but that his whole aim was to promote the interest of the State. He preferred a very low point on the river, but did not confine himself to any particular spot.
After Mr. Bowden concluded his speech, sundry motions and short addresses were made.
I was delighted to see such kindness of feeling exist between the friends of the different routes— for amid the most violent excitement incident to a debate on such a subject, there were many personal explanations and assurances of the most lasting friendship for their opponents by the speakers.
After some confusion at the end of the addresses, the roll was called with the following result:
Whole number of votes given 2026
    For West Point 1061
    Against " "         665

So West Point was determined upon as the most eligible point for the terminus of the York River Railroad.
The Convention soon after adjourned.         U.

-The Daily Dispatch., September 23, 1854

¹- I assume that to be Dr. James Richardson.
²- Again assumed to be John P Pierce sometime Delegate to the General Assembly.

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