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State aid bonds cataloged by Grover Criswell
State aid bonds issued by southern states. Prior to the Civil War, southern states were heavily agricultural. While agricultural goods were valuable, they were much cheaper per ton than ordinary manufactured goods prevalent in the North. Consequently, the South attracted much less railroad development. (See Timeline for related events.)
A few southern states floated special bond issues before the Civil War to help railroad development. But after the Civil War, the need was greatly enhanced. To help rebuild rail infrastructure destroyed by the wars, several more southern states issued bonds on behalf of railroad companies within their borders. Generally, the states "guaranteed" the loans. Had the railroads failed to repay their debts, state treasuries promised to repay principal and interest.
In actual fact, most railroads failed and few, if any, states ever repaid their promised debts. Thus arose series of speculations, lawsuits, and threats of lawsuits, all trying to force state repayments.
Grover Criswell cataloged several state aid bonds in his historic reference, Confederate and Southern States Bonds, (1st edition 1961, 2nd edition 1979.) When state aid bonds appear for sale in prominent auctions, they are usually listed under their "Criswell number."
Because many state aid bonds are extremely rare, Mr. Criswell was never able to include all the varieties that he knew of. Many new varieties have appeared after Criswell's last edition. This was especially true after Sotheby's auctioned a huge hoard of 80,000 Confederate and southern states bonds in November, 1987. Throughout the 1990s, auction descriptions generally improved, and this allowed many "new" varieties to be cataloged that had escaped detection for years.
In an effort to help you acquire some of these rarities, this chart compares my numbering system with Criswell's.
(Please note that there are many other railroad aid bonds issued by northern states, as well as individual counties, townships, and towns. Those bonds were beyond Criswell's original purpose, and hence did not appear in his work.)
|Company||Criswell number||Cox number|
|STATE OF ALABAMA|
|Alabama & Chattanooga||unlisted||ALA-425-B-50|
|Mobile & Great Northern||unlisted||ALA-426-B-40|
|Montgomery & Eufala||Cr-70a||ALA-427-B-40|
|STATE OF ARKANSAS|
|Little Rock & Fort Smith||unlisted||ARK-876-B-50|
|Little Rock Pine Bluff & New Orleans||unlisted||ARK-877-B-50|
|Little Rock Pine Bluff & New Orleans||unlisted||ARK-877-B-55|
|Memphis & Little Rock||unlisted||ARK-878-B-45|
|Memphis & Little Rock||unlisted||ARK-878-B-50|
|Mississippi Ouachita & Red River||unlisted||ARK-879-B-50|
|STATE OF FLORIDA|
|three or four railroads (reported, but no description available)||unlisted||unlisted|
|STATE OF LOUISIANA|
|New Orleans Mobile & Chattanooga||unlisted||LOU-348-B-50|
|Vicksburg Shreveport & Texas||unlisted||LOU-362-B-50|
|STATE OF MISSOURI|
|Pacific Rail Road||unlisted||MIS-935-B-50|
|St Louis & Iron Mountain||unlisted||MIS-937-B-50|
|St Louis & Iron Mountain||unlisted||MIS-937-B-70|
|STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA|
|Atlantic & North Carolina||Cr-56a||NOR-173-B-50|
|Atlantic Tennessee & Ohio||Cr-69d||NOR-175-B-50|
|Chatham Rail Road||Cr-68c||NOR-177-B-50|
|Raleigh & Gaston||Cr-62b||NOR-179-B-50|
|Raleigh & Gaston||unlisted||NOR-179-B-51|
|Western Rail Road||Cr-69c||NOR-180-B-60|
|Western North Carolina||Cr-58a||NOR-181-B-50|
|Western North Carolina||unlisted||NOR-181-B-55|
|Western North Carolina||unlisted||NOR-181-B-56|
|Western North Carolina||unlisted||NOR-181-B-57|
|Western North Carolina||unlisted||NOR-181-B-58|
|Western North Carolina||unlisted||NOR-181-B-70|
|Western North Carolina||unlisted||NOR-181-B-71|
|Western North Carolina||unlisted||NOR-181-B-75|
|Williamston & Tarboro||unlisted||NOR-182-B-50|
|Wilmington Charlotte & Rutherford||Cr-60d||NOR-183-B-40|
|Wilmington Charlotte & Rutherford||Cr-62w||NOR-183-B-50|
|Wilmington Charlotte & Rutherford||unlisted||NOR-183-B-60|
|Wilmington Charlotte & Rutherford||unlisted||NOR-183-B-70|
|STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA|
|Blue Ridge (aid bonds reported, no description available)||unlisted||unlisted|
|South Carolina RR (proofs only)||unlisted||SOU-138-Bp-07|
|South Carolina RR (proofs only)||unlisted||SOU-138-Bp-08|
|South Carolina RR (proofs only)||unlisted||SOU-138-Bp-09|
|STATE OF TENNESSEE|
|Louisville & Nashville||Cr-66a||TEN-789-B-50|
|Louisville & Nashville||Cr-66b||TEN-789-B-55|
|Louisville & Nashville||Cr-67a||TEN-789-B-60|
|Louisville & Nashville||Cr-68b||TEN-789-B-65|
|Louisville & Nashville||Cr-68a||TEN-789-B-66|
* did not appear in his published books, but in some of Criswell's later price lists
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