James Madison University
Libraries & Educational Technologies

http://www.lib.jmu.edu

A Guide to the

Chesapeake Western Railway Company Records, 1928-1982

SC# 4010

Compiled by: Samuel T. Elswick, June 1997; Tony Madson, March 1998;
Updated by Julia Merkel and Tiffany W. Cole, May 2010

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Chesapeake Western Railway Company Records, 1928-1982

Collection No.: SC# 4010

Creator: Chesapeake Western Railway Company

Extent: 9.5 Hollinger boxes, 12 record storage boxes, 1 rolled storage box, 5 flat boxes and 8 oversize Hollinger boxes; 29.3 linear feet

Language: English

Abstract: 

The Chespeake Western Railway Company Records, 1928-1982, are comprised of 29.3 linear feet of records pertaining to the administrative and business activities of a small Shenandoah Valley railroad through the period of America's Great Depression and up to the CW's eventual acquisition by the Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions:

Some materials in the collection containing Social Security Numbers may have access restrictions.

Use Restrictions:

Some materials in the collection containing Social Security Numbers may have access restrictions.

Preferred Citation: 

Chesapeake Western Railway Company Records, 1928-1982, SC# 4010, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information:

D.A. Brown, II Superintendent, VA Division of Norfolk Southern in Roanoke gave permission in April 1997 for JMU professors Raymond Hiser and Clarence Geier from the History and Anthropology Departments respectively to salvage records from the CW building on Chesapeake Drive in Harrisonburg, Virginia which suffered a five-alarm fire at the site on July 28, 1982.  After the fire, operating records remained in the building in disarray on the floor and suffered damage by fire or water or both.  Following their initial cleaning and inventory by students in History and Anthropology, the materials were transferred to Carrier Library in February 1998.

Provenance:

Records represent the day to day business operation of the Chesapeake Western Railway Company through 1982.  After a fire that year, records were left in the CW building on Chesapeake Drive in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and remained in that facility until 1997.

Biographical/Historical Note

The origins of the Chesapeake Western Railway Company date back at least to 1871, when the Washington, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad was chartered in Virginia as a narrow-gauge railroad to run from Washington, D.C., through Elkton, Harrisonburg, and Bridgewater, Virginia to Cincinnati, Ohio.  Virginians bought stock in the coporation, including many people in Rockingham County; rights of way were purchased and railbed grading began.  Like similar ventures of the time, the goals of the company never bore fruit, and work halted in 1874.

In 1892, a group of promoters including Jedediah Hotchkiss incorporated to build a railway to carry coal from West Virginia mines to Gloucester Point, Virginia.  Initially called the Chesapeake, Shendun, and Western Railroad, the name was quickly changed to Chesapeake & Western Railroad.  Using part of the old WC&StL right-of-way, and with $150,000 from the city of Harrisonburg to ensure that the railroad would pass through it, a 26 mile single-track, standard-gauge line was completed from Elkton to Bridgewater and began operating on March 23, 1896.  In the next few years, substantial C&W stock was purchased by New York investor Thomas Stokes, who hoped to develop the coal mines in western Rockingham County but became mired in financial difficulties.  His brother, W.E.D Stokes, purchased control of the C&W and also organized a new railroad, the Tidewater and West Virginia, in 1900.  The Tidewater changed its name in 1901 to the Chesapeake Western Railway, leased the C&W line for 99 years, and in 1902 completed 13 miles of rail from Bridgewater to the new town of Stokesville in North River Gap.  Trains carried passengers as well as freight between Elkton and Stokesville.  Plans were drawn up to continue the line into West Virginia but were not implemented.

For just over a decade, Stokesville boomed as timber, tanbark, and to a much more limited extent, coal, in the area were exploited.  Stokes operated the CW with offices in Harrisonburg until his death in 1926.  His estate continued to operate the railway until 1938.  In 1928, thi line from Mount Solon to North River Gap was abandoned for financial reasons.  In 1933, the nine miles from Bridgewater to Mount Solon were also dropped.  When the Stokes' heirs put the CW up for sale in 1938, Don W. Thomas, a former Norfolk & Western Railroad employee who had been the general manager of the CW since 1926, fought a bid from Japanese scrap metal buyers and bought the line.  In 1943, Thomas also bought the Baltimore & Ohio's Valley Road of Virginia line which rean between Harrisonburg and Lexington.  The line south of Staunton was taken up and sold for scrap, but the road between Harrisonburg and Staunton was improved and became an important link in the CW system because of the connection with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad at Staunton.  The CW linked with the Norfolk & Western at Elkton.

In 1954, the Norfolk & Western Railroad purchased CW, but the name was retained and was oeprated as a separate corporation.  By about 1980, however, little or no rolling stock carried the CW logo any longer.  Norfolk & Western and the Southern Railway Company merged as Norfolk Southern Corporation on June 1, 1982.  Not long after that merger, a five-alarm fire burned the CW office located at Chesapeake Drive in Harrisonburg on July 28, 1982, and company offices and operations were eventually absorbed by the NS.  Five miles of track east of Bridgewater were removed in 1988.  The CW under the control of NS serves as the Harrisonburg area's poultry feed supplier passing through the campus of James Madison University daily.

Scope and Content

The Chesapeake Western Railway Company Records, 1928-1982, consist of 29.3 linear feet of business records pertaining to the employees, assets, and business transactions of the company.  The collection is topically arranged in seven series with the largest series first; then chronologically within subseries.  Series consist of Personnel Records, Reports, Account Books, Correspondence, Blueprints and Schematics, Publications, and Miscellaneous Documents.

Series I, Personnel Records, 1929-1982, includes payrolls and time sheets with names of employees, occupations, hours, rates, payments, and dates of employment.  Also included in this series are Railroad Retirement Board forms primarily from 1930 to 1973, containing employee biographical and genealogical information.

Series II, Reports, 1953-1981, primarily is comprised of Dispatcher and Conductor reports, with information about specific trains, routes, departure times, distances and engine numbers.  Dispatchers' Record of Movement of Trains, 1973-1979, and Time Return and Delay Reports, 1975-1981, list information such as:  engineers' names, train departure times, type of service, etc.  Conductor Car Records and tonnage Reports include engine number, weight of trains, cargo, as well as identification of conductors and engineers on each train.  Entries for Shipping logs, 1970-1977; Traffic Analyses and other shipping records, 1973-1981, are followed by Per Diem/Mileage and Transfer Books, 1953-1970, which appear to be freight and transfer records written in abbreviated code and organized alphabetically by company name.

Series III, Account Books, 1932-1974, contains:  Interline Freight Balances; Car Services Balances; Amounts Due From and To Foreign Companies on Interline Freight Accounts; Operating Expenses and REvenues and other information including shops, engine house, bridges, agents, conductors, donations, etc.; Per Diem Reclaim Records, 1952-1973; Income Statements, 1968-1971; Records of Vouchers Released, 1955-1967; Freight Car Hires, 1943-1975, summarizing car hire, passenger and freight car mileage; and Miscellaneous accounts, 1934-1951, containing detailed information of topics organized chronologically and categorically under the following headings:  Operating Revenues, Freight Revenues, Rent from Locomotives, Misc. Income, Maintenance, Transportation Improvements, and Statements for Depreciation for railway structures.  Balance in Interline Freight Accounts, 1932-1935, lists date, items, folio number, and debits with yearly balances, organized alphabetically by account name.  Car Services Balance Books, 1944-1971, record balance and payment information for interline car service accounts.  Record of Amounts Due From and To Foreign Companies on Interline Freight Accounts Journals, 1930-1944, comprise both operating expenses and revenues as well as other information.

Series IV, Correspondence, 1976-1979, is comprised of a variety of topics which include land leases, shipments, track upgrades, expense reports, and business agreements in chronological order.

Series V, Miscellaneous Documents, 1935-1980, is comprised of eclectic pieces--many relating to previous series that would be lost among more substantial predecessors.  Headings under Miscellaneous include:  Financial notes and documents, many handwritten, 1935-1938 and undated; a conductor's balance sheet from September 1935; Operating expenses, undated; Per Diem Reclaim Mileage Records and Record of Amounts Due From and To Foreign Companies on Interline Freight Accounts, September 1935; Reports of Interline Passenger Traffic, August 1935 [one of which contains a note in the "Remarks" column stating "CCC" perhaps indicating a one way trip to Bridgewater Station for members of the Civilian Conservation Corps.]; Documents and invoices for parts and repair, indemnity releases, etc., 1955-1976; Forms from printing companies, 1928-1968; Records of purchase for forms from local printers; Receipt books, Carload Traffic Received, Automobile Expenses Records, Forecast Statement, N&W strike letter, 3.5 acre lease letter to Virginia Electric and Power Company, 1975-1980; Staunton Textile Corporation and Celanese Corporation, 1934-1955; Miscellaneous Correspondence, freight bills, account information, etc. and Exxon records, 1974-1976.

Series VI, Publications, 1963-1977, include copies of Bullinger's Postal and Shipper's Guide for the US and Canada, 1963, which lists shipping rates, distances, etc. and Standard Transportatin Commodity Code Tariff No. 1-E, November 15, 1977.

Series VII, Blueprints and Schematics, 1951-1979, contains the oversize materials:  a blueprint of the railway line from 1951 and diagrams of electircal gates and signal wiring, 1961-1979.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in seven series with the largest first; then chronologically within subseries:

I. Personnel Records, 1929-1982

II. Reports, 1953-1981

III. Account Books, 1932-1974

IV. Correspondence, 1976-1979

V. Miscellaneous Documents, 1934-1976, n.d.

VI. Publications, 1963-1977

VII. Blueprints and Schematics, 1951-1979

Bibliography

Cooper, Mason Y.  Norfolk and Western's Shenandoah Line.  Forest, Virginia:  Norfolk and Western Historical Society, Inc., 1998.

Geier, Clarence.  Stokesville; Augusta County, Virginia:  Early History and Town Plan.  [Report] Submitted to George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Roanoke, Virginia:  March, 1998.

Hawkins, Leighman.  "The Shortline Railroads of Virginia."  Virginia and the Virginia County, January 1951.

Murray, Michael S.  "Rails Through Rockingham County:  The Chesapeake Western Story."  Railpace Newsmagazine, January 1985.

"Norfolk and Western to buy Chesapeak Western."  Daily News-Record, July 29, 1954.

Price, Charles Grattan, Jr.  The Crooked and the Weedy:  A History of Virginia's Chesapeake Western Railway.  Harrisonburg, Virginia:  Don Mills, Inc., 1992.

Thompson, Tommy.  "Shortline."  Daily News-Record, April 3, 1971.

Separated Material

Due to the unwieldy nature of virtually off the bound ledgers, pages were removed from their covers and parceled into folders as both an aid to researchers and as a practical means to consolidate space.  The condition of some boards was also questionable with evidence of mold and pest damage.

Contents

Series I:  Personnel Records, 1929-1982
Box:Folder

Payroll and Time sheets:

1929

1:1

1930

1:2

1931

1:3

1932

1:4

1933

1:5

1934

1:6

1935

2:1

1936

2:2

1937

2:3

1938

2:4

1939

3:1

1940

3:2

1941:

January - April

3:3

May - August

3:4

September - December

3:5

1942:

January - April

3:6

May - August

4:1

September - December

4:2

1944:

January - March

4:3

April - June

4:4

July - September

4:5

October - December

5:1

1945:

January - March

5:2

April

5:3

May - June

5:4

July - September

5:5

October - December

6:1

1947:

January - April

6:2

May - August

6:3

September - December

6:4

1976

7:1

1978:

January:

Part 1

7:2

Part 2

7:3

February:

Part 1

7:4

Part 2

7:5

Part 3

7:6

March:

Part 1

7:7

Part 2

7:8

April:

Part 1

7:9

Part 2

7:10

May:

Part 1

7:11

Part 2

7:12

Part 3

7:13

June:

Part 1

7:14

Part 2

7:15

July:

Part 1

7:16

Part 2

7:17

Part 3

8:1

August:

Part 1

8:2

Part 2

8:3

Part 3

8:4

September:

Part 1

8:5

Part 2

8:6

October:

Part 1

8:7

Part 2

8:8

November:

Part 1

8:9

Part 2

8:10

December:

Part 1

8:11

Part 2

8:12

1979:

January:

Part 1

8:13

Part 2

8:14

February:

Part 1

8:15

Part 2

8:16

March:

Part 1

8:17

Part 2

8:18

Part 3

9:1

April:

Part 1

9:2

Part 2

9:3

May:

Part 1

9:4

Part 2

9:5

Part 3

9:6

June:

Part 1

9:7

Part 2

9:8

July:

Part 1

9:9

Part 2

9:10

August:

Part 1

9:11

Part 2

9:12

September:

Part 1

9:13

Part 2

9:14

October:

Part 1

9:15

Part 2

9:16

November:

Part 1

9:17

Part 2

9:18

December:

Part 1

9:19

Part 2

10:1

1980:

January:

Part 1

10:2

Part 2

10:3

February:

Part 1

10:4

Part 2

10:5

March:

Part 1

10:6

Part 2

10:7

April:

Part 1

10:8

Part 2

10:9

May:

Part 1

10:10

Part 2

10:11

June:

Part 1

10:12

Part 2

10:13

July:

Part 1

10:14

Part 2

10:15

August:

Part 1

10:16

Part 2

11:1

September:

Part 1

11:2

Part 2

11:3

October:

Part 1

11:4

Part 2

11:5

November:

Part 1

11:6

Part 2

11:7

December:

Part 1

11:8

Part 2

11:9

1981:

January:

Part 1

11:10

Part 2

11:11

February:

Part 1

11:12

Part 2

11:13

March:

Part 1

11:14

Part 2

11:15

April:

Part 1

11:16

Part 2

11:17

May:

Part 1

12:1

Part 2

12:2

June:

Part 1

12:3

Part 2

12:4

July:

Part 1

12:5

Part 2

12:6

August:

Part 1

12:7

Part 2

12:8

September:

Part 1

12:9

Part 2

12:10

October:

Part 1

12:11

Part 2

12:12

November:

Part 1

12:13

Part 2

12:14

December:

Part 1

12:15

Part 2

12:16

1982:

January:

Part 1

12:17

Part 2

12:18

February:

 

Part 1

12:19

Part 2

13:1

March:

Part 1

13:2

Part 2

13:3

April:

Part 1

13:4

Part 2

13:5

May:

Part 1

13:6

Part 2

13:7

June:

Part 1

13:8

Part 2

13:9

Railroad Retirement Board:

Forms, 1930s - 1941

22:5

Employee Personnel Records:

1930s - 1943

22:6

1941 - 1973

22:7
Series II:  Reports, 1953-1981

Dispatchers' Record of Movement of Trains, 1973-1979:

1973:

January - April

18:10

May - August

18:11

September - December

18:12

1974:

January - April

18:13

May - July

18:14

August - October

18:15

November - December

18:16

1975:

January - April

18:17

May - August

18:18

September - December

18:19

1976:

January - April

18:20

May - August

18:21

September - December

18:22

1977:

January - June

18:23

July - December

18:24

1978:

January  -March

18:25

April - June

18:26

July - October

18:27

November - December

18:28

1979:

January - June

18:29

July - December

18:30

Time Return and Delay Reports, 1975-1981:

1975:

January

18:31

February

18:32

March

18:33

April

19:1

May

19:2

June

19:3

July

19:4

August

19:5

September

19:6

October

19:7

November

19:8

December

19:9

1976:

January

19:10

February

19:11

March

19:12

April

19:13

May

19:14

June

19:15

July

19:16

August

19:17

September

19:18

October

19:19

November

19:20

December

19:21

1977:

January

19:22

February

19:23

March

19:24

April

19:25

May

19:26

June

19:27

July

19:28

August

19:29

September

19:30

October

19:31

November

19:32

December

19:33

1978:

 

January

20:1

February

20:2

March

20:3

April

20:4

May

20:5

June

20:6

July

20:7

August

20:8

September

20:9

October

20:10

November

20:11

December

20:12

1979:

January

20:13

February

20:14

March

20:15

April

20:16

May

20:17

June

20:18

July

20:19

August

20:20

September

20:21

October

20:22

November

20:23

December

20:24

1980:

January

20:25

February

20:26

March

20:27

April

20:28

May

20:29

June

20:30

July

20:31

August

20:32

September

20:33

October

20:34

November

20:35

December

20:36

1981:

January

21:1

February

21:2

March

21:3

April

21:4

May

21:5

June

21:6

July

21:7

August

21:8

September

21:9

October

21:10

November

21:11

December

21:12

Conductor's Car Records and Tonnage Reports, 14A:

February - September 1980

Flat 5:1

October 1980 - February 1981

Flat 5:2

March - July 1981

Flat 5:3

August - December 1981

Flat 5:4

January - June 1982

Flat 5:5

Shipping logs, 1970-1977

14B:  A-Mc

25:1

14C:  M-Z

25:2

Traffic Analyses and other shipping records, 1972-1981:

1972

22:8

1973

22:9

1974

22:10

1975

23:1

1976

23:2

1977

23:3

1978

23:4

1980

23:5

1981

23:6

Per Diem/Mileage and Transfer Books, 1953-1970:

15C:  1953

Part 1

26:1

Part 2

26:2

Part 3

26:3

Part 4

26:4

15D:  1954

Part 1

26:5

Part 2

26:6

Part 3

26:7

Part 4

26:8

15E:  1955

Part 1

26:9

Part 2

26:10

Part 3

26:11

Part 4

27:1

15F:  1956

Part 1

27:2

Part 2

27:3

Part 3

27:4

Part 4

27:5

Part 5

27:6

15G:  1957

Part 1

27:7

Part 2

27:8

Part 3

27:9

Part 4

27:10

15H:  1958

Part 1

27:11

Part 2

28:1

Part 3

28:2

Part 4

28:3

15I:  1959

Part 1

28:4

Part 2

28:5

Part 3

28:6

Part 4

28:7

Part 5

28:8

15J:  1960

Part 1

28:9

Part 2

28:10

Part 3

28:11

Part 4

28:12

15K:  1961

Part 1

29:1

Part 2

29:2

Part 3

29:3

Part 4

29:4

Part 5

29:5

15L:  1962

Part 1

29:6

Part 2

29:7

Part 3

29:8

Part 4

29:9

15M:  1963

Part 1

29:10

Part 2

29:11

Part 3

30:1

Part 4

30:2

15N:  1964

Part 1

30:3

Part 2

30:4

Part 3

30:5

15O:  1966

Part 1

30:6

Part 2

30:7

Part 3

30:8

15P:  1967

Part 1

30:9

Part 2

30:10

Part 3

25:3

15Q:  1968

Part 1

25:4

Part 2

25:5

Part 3

25:6

Part 4

25:7

15R:  1969

Part 1

25:8

Part 2

25:9

15S:  1970

Part 1

25:10

Part 2

25:11

Part 3

25:12
Series III:  Account Books, 1932-1974

Balance in Interline Freight Accounts, unbound Volume 9A, 1932-1938:

Part 1:  ACL Ry Co - CS+StL Ry

13:10

Part 2:  D+HRR Co - M+G Ry Co

13:11

Part 3:  Yahdin - Norfolk+Western

13:12

Part 4:  Federal Rds - CRI+P Ry

13:13

Part 5:  Chic Rk Isl+Pac - Ill No

13:14

Part 6:  Imp Extr - NY Phila+Norfolk

13:15

Part 7:  Oregon Short - Wisc Central

13:16

Car Services Balance Books:

9B:  January 1944 - March 1952

Flat 1

9C:  January 1953 - December 1971:

A-B with Accounts 7113, 752, 759 preceding

13:17

C-G

13:18

H-P

13:19

Q-Z

13:20

Records of Amounts Due From and To Foreign Companies on Interline Freight Accounts:

9D:  January 1955 - December 1967:

January 1955 - September 1956

Flat 2:1

October 1956 - November 1958

Flat 2:2

December 1958 - October 1960

Flat 2:3

November 1960 - September 1962

Flat 3:1

October 1962 - September 1964

Flat 3:2

October 1964 - December 1967

Flat 3:3

9E:  January 1958 - February 1974

January 1968 - December 1970

Flat 4:1

January 1971 - February 1974

Flat 4:2

Journals, 1930-1944:

9F [stamped No. 8] January 1930 - September 1933:

pp. 1-140

14:1

pp. 141-260

14:2

pp. 261-380

14:3

pp. 381-500

14:4

9G [stamped No. 9] October 1933 - June 1936:

pp. 1-120

14:5

pp. 121-240

14:6

pp. 241-360

14:7

pp. 361-480

14:8

pp. 481-600

14:9

9H [stamped No. 10] July 1936 - June 1939:

pp. 1-116

15:1

pp. 117-236

15:2

pp. 237-356

15:3

pp. 357-500

15:4

9I [stamped No. 11] July 1936-May 1944:

pp. 1-140

15:5

pp. 141-256

15:6

pp. 257-376

15:7

pp. 377-500

15:8

Per Diem Reclaim Records, 1952-1973:

January - September 1952

16:1

October 1952 - August 1953

16:2

September 1953 - June 1954

16:3

July 1954 - March 1955

16:4

April - December 1955

16:5

January - August 1956

16:6

September 1956 - May 1957

16:7

June - December 1957

16:8

January - July 1958

16:9

August 1958 - March 1959

16:10

April - December 1959

16:11

1960:

January - June

16:12

July - December

16:13

1961:

January - June

16:14

July - December

16:15

January - August 1962

16:16

September 1962 - April 1963

16:17

May - August 1963

16:18

1964

16:19

1965

16:20

1966

16:21

1967:

January - July

16:22

August - December

16:23

1968

16:24

1969

16:25

1970

17:1

1971

17:2

1972

17:3

1973

17:4

Income Statements, January 1968 - November 1971

17:5

Records of Vouchers Released, May 1955 - December 1967

17:6

Freight Car Hire, 1943 - 1975, 11A

Flat 1:1

Miscellaneous Accounts, 1934-1951, 11B:

Part 1

18:1

Part 2

18:2

Part 3

18:3

Part 4

18:4

Part 5

18:5

Part 6

18:6

Part 7

18:7

Part 8

18:8

Part 9

18:9
Series IV:  Correspondence, 1976-1979

1976:

January

21:13

February

21:14

March

21:15

April

21:16

May

21:17

June

21:18

July

21:19

August

21:20

September

21:21

October

21:22

November

21:23

December

21:24

1977:

January - February

21:25

March - April

21:26

May - June

21:27

July - August

21:28

September - October

21:29

November - December

21:30

1979:

January

21:31

February

21:32

March

21:33

April

21:34

May

21:35

June

21:36

July

21:37

August

21:38

September

21:39

October

21:40

November

21:41

December

21:42
Series V:  Miscellaneous Documents, 1928-1980

Financial notes and documents

22:1

Invoices

22:2

Forms from printing companies

22:3

Miscellany

22:4

Receipt books

24:1

Staunton Textile Corporation and Celanese Corporation Documents

24:2

Exxon records

24:3
Series VI:  Publications, 1963-1977

Bullinger's Postal and Shipper's Guide for the US and Canada, 1963

21:43

Standard Transportation Commodity Code Tariff Bo. 1-E, November 15, 1977

21:44
Series VII:  Blueprints and Schematics, 1951-1979

15A:  Blueprint of railroad between two stations, 1951

Rolled Storage 1:1

15B:  Diagrams of electrical gates and signal wiring, 1961-1979

Rolled Storage 1:2
 


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