Any Old Union Pacific Railroad Bonds Around?
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that, judging by the ads from real estate agents in other areas trying to entice York County buyers, this area must have been quite prosperous in the late 1860s. Merchants and other entrepreneurs wanted a chunk of our cash too.
Click here to read real estate offerings to York County “capitalists.”
For example, though York had its own jewelry stores, James E. Caldwell & Co., Jewelers, Importers, and Manufacturers of Philadelphia took out a sizable ad in the Gazette offering “watches, diamonds, jewelry, solid silver wares, plated goods, mantel clocks, bronzes, decorated china vases and ornaments, musical boxes, and carved wood ornaments to shoppers from York County.
Most surprising to me was Union Pacific Railroad’s nearly full column advertisement offering bonds to York Countians to invest in the western railway, then under construction.
The Union Pacific had 500 completed miles at the end of 1867, and estimated that the entire line, including the Central Pacific, “will be open for business in 1870.” Forty million dollars had already been invested (and spent) and the United States Government now backed up the companies. The estimated cost of the Union Pacific portion was $83,445,012 for 1,100 miles. The ad reported figures that showed just 325 finished miles had already earned a net profit of $485,789 in just one quarter.
Yorkers were offered First Mortgage Bonds by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, paying six percent in gold, which translated to over nine percent due to a premium on gold. You could easily purchase the bonds through Jacob Bastress, Esq., the Cashier at the First National Bank of York or through their listed New York addresses.
According to their website, due to mergers and purchases, today the Union Pacific Railroad has 32,300 miles of track, covering much of the country west of the Mississippi. They seem to be doing well, so check those old family papers. Maybe great-great grandpa bought some of those bonds.
Click here for the Union Pacific website