land aquisition

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Thu Dec 15 10:30:05 EST 2005

Courthouse records should be the easiest to get to by far.

Railroads kept records of the survey and made a small plot map of the
property. But, in early days, this was a pretty rough-and-ready
process. Records from pre-N&W railroads are very scarce covering
surveys and property acquisition. N&W Right of Way records- if they
exist anymore- were fairly detailed, professional if you will, and were
in a small file that mapped the plot and may have had a receipt or
reference as to how the property was paid for.

Some series of Right-of Way valuation drawings will list the property
acquisition date and who the property was acquired from.

Sometimes the railroad does not know. In Hillsboro, Ohio, the N&W
acquired the Hillsboro branch from two very small railroads, the
Hillsboro RR and the Columbus & Maysville in 1905. These two little
lines had old origins and vague records. These lines lay along side the
B&O Southwest tracks through Hillsboro on their Hillsboro Branch.

There was a long running dispute with the N&W about encroachment in
Hillsboro that could not be sorted out due to the lack of certain
records and the marks used by the early surveyors- "40 feet from this
oak tree or this corner of Farmer Jones' barn"- which had since
disappeared. The N&W Assistant engineer advised that the N&W should
stand on their claim of proper line location as there was no way that
anyone could prove anything due the impossibility of creating a survey
backed by solid evidence or solid records. "Let 'em sue us!"

In slightly later years, the N&W argued with the C&O at Glen Jean and
Gregg's Hill, Ohio after the C&O and N&W severed the connection track in
1927 after the C&O had finished the C&O Northern and dissolved the
trackage rights agreement with the N&W to run on the N&W to Columbus,
Ohio. The N&W wanted to sue the C&O for encroachment and for erosion
damage, but the N&W could not prove a solid survey on who owned what in
that local area due to skimpy and insufficient surveys. The C&O ignored
the N&W entirely as to claims.

Right of Way records are usually kept by each railroad in the
Engineering Group or in he real estate group. They may or may not have
the appropriate records to assist you in your search. You would need to
contact NS in Norfolk.

G Rolih


-----Original Message-----
From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at
[mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of
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Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 7:34 PM
To: nw-mailing-list at
Subject: land aquisition

How do I find records of the surveys of land for the railroad and how
the land was acquired?

Thanks for any info

Jane March, Zuni, Va

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