The Cape Vincent & Rome Railroad
From: Cape Vincent and Its History
Compiled by Nelie Horton Casler
Hungerford - Wolbrook Co.
Watertown, NY 1906

The Cape Vincent & Rome Railroad.

In the summer of 1833, William Smith made an effort to interest people on the subject of a railroad from Cape Vincent to Rome. In 1846 an act of the legislature granted the right of constructing the Rome and Cape Vincent railroad, but it was not until 1848 that sufficient stock was subscribed to warrant beginning the work. When the last rail was laid to Cape Vincent in the spring of 1852, the trains began to make regular trips. Among the commissioners and stockholders from this town were Roswell T. Lee, Jere Carrier, Henry Ainsworth, and Theophilus Peugnet. An interesting pamphlet urging the construction of a railroad was published in 1844 by William Dewey, civil engineer. The following is an extract:

“The business of the country demands it. It will benefit the merchant and the farmer, and can be constructed from Cape Vincent to Rome finished, complete for business, for $7,500 per mile.”

A large train-shed, hotel, freight house and wharf, were built. In 1853, a canal was cut through Wolfe Island, by a stock company in which the railroad company and the city of Kingston, Ontario, were interested. This shortened the route from Cape Vincent to Kingston. In 1862 the name of the road was changed by the legislature to the “Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad Company.”

Several of the railroad company’s buildings have been destroyed by fire, and on September 11, 1895, the large train shed, a land mark for more than forty years, was totally wrecked by a terrific wind storm. The evening train, Mr. William D. Carnes, conductor,—had arrived from Watertown with a large number of passengers for the Kingston boat. Fortunately they had boarded the steamer before the storm struck. Many took refuge in the shed. Two persons were killed, and several were seriously injured. Buildings were unroofed, trees blown down, and great damage done throughout the town. The following year the company erected the present passenger station.

The station masters have been: C. W. Rogers, J. S. Nicol, F. W. Denning, Sidney Bickford, C. C. Case, E. M. Moore, Seth Dickinson, J. W. Brown, William Johnson, Ira A. Whittemore, A. G. Littlefield, and W. A. Casler, the present station master, who succeeded Mr. Littlefield in 1889.

Eight passenger trains are run daily between Cape Vincent and Watertown, N. Y. These are under the charge of Mr. James Dorris and Mr. William M. Raymond, conductors; Messrs. James A. and John Brady, engineers; Mr. George Cole and Mr. John Shryver, baggagemen; and Mr. Clarence Radley and Mr. Cleveland Stage, trainmen.

In 1892 the New York Central Railroad Company leased the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad.

The America, Captain James Allen, and the Wanderer, Captain Wm. C. Hudson, of Folger’s line of steamboats, make daily trips between this place and Kingston, Ontario.

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