Imported from: Google Blogger site
Original publish date: April 5, 2010

Savage's plea for more money

Here is an interesting page sent by a Mr. Corey Phelps, a long-time collector. It is a hand-typed letter on letterhead from the Minneapolis St Paul & Dubuque Electric Traction Co. This was the "Dan Patch Electric Line" tirelessly promoted by Marion Savage and named after his famous race horse. (The horse owned the world pacer record for either 32 or 54 years, depending on information source.)

Savage was one of the first promoters to attempt to sell railroad stock to average people. He advertised heavily in magazines, where he relied on the strength of the famous "Dan Patch" name to secure promises to buy stock in the railroad company.

The company was organized in 1907 and had 7,980 stockholders by 1914. Bob Kerstein of cites the company had about 8,500 stockholders at its peak, an astounding number for a company of its size. Common stockholders had voting rights, but preferred stockholders did not. The company was only minimally profitable and was in receivership by 1918. Mr. Phelps and I agree that this undated letter was probably written about 1914.

This letter, autographed by Savage, was a plea to the subscriber to pay for his or her stock. The letter is complete in itself, but is clearly labeled as page two. Page one is missing and I suspect it may have been some sort of flashier company promo. Obviously, whoever kept this letter over the decades thought the second page more important than the first.

"This is a personal letter that I am sending to you and I want you to write to me personally today -- use the enclosed envelope which I have stamped for your convenience. Your letter will then come directly to my desk. I will expect to find some money in it. Please Don't disappoint me.

"Send what you owe use and I promise I will personally attend to the immediate mailing of your certificates and I will also personally promise to bring our road to completion at once and won't have to again urge you for more money. Write me today and don't forget to send me the balance due on your contract. I will look for your immediate reply -- Remember the fulfillment of my plans depends upon you as one of my partners.

"Your very truly,
(signed M W Savage)

"P.S. I think I have showed you how it is to your interest to pay what you are owing on your contract, but in order to make it practically certain that you will send me the balance at once, I am going to allow you a liberal discount for your immediate payment. If you will send me the balance due at once you may deduct FIVE PER CENT from the amount. Now, this certainly makes it well worth you while to pay us at once. Even if you have to borrow the amount it will pay you to do this, so as to get this Extra liberal discount. It will be a benefit to you and your company -- let's complete our road and get it started to earn big money right away.

"Do this and I promise you I won't have to again urge you to send us more money. Send us your remittance, deduct FIVE PER CENT, and I will send your certificates at once, and I will bring our road to completion by January 1st.

"M. W. S."