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Samuel Morse Felton Family Papers

Felton, Samuel Morse, 1809-1889 (civil engineer)  Search this
Felton, Samuel Morse, 1853-1930 (son)  Search this
American Locomotive Sales Corporation.  Search this
Louisville Southern Railway Co.  Search this
Philadelphia RR.  Search this
Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore RR.  Search this
Southern Railway and Steamship Association.  Search this
United States. Army  Search this
United States. War Department  Search this
Ames, Oliver  Search this
Atterbury, W.W.  Search this
Cooke, Jay  Search this
Davis, Robert C.  Search this
Fletcher, Andrew  Search this
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865  Search this
Lomonossoff, G.  Search this
McAdoo, W.G.  Search this
Milliken, J.  Search this
Scott, Thomas A.  Search this
Smith, M.H.  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Transportation  Search this
0.3 Cubic feet (2 boxes)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
1841-1930, undated
Papers of Samuel Morse Felton, civil engineer and railroad president, and his family.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains biographical material on both Feltons; a handwritten bound report by Felton on the construction of the Norfolk Co. Railroad, 1847 1849; correspondence, 1861 1927, to and from both Feltons; various reports on military railroads during the World War years; and news clippings and articles on the Feltons, 1889-1930.
Collection divided into five series.

Series 1: Biographical, 1841-1921

Series 2: Correspondence, 1861-1927

Series 3: Reports, 1847-1919

Series 4:History of Transportation Department, undated

Series 5: News clippings, 1889-1930
Biographical / Historical:
Samuel Morse Felton (1809 1889), civil engineer, became Superintendent and engineer of the Fitchburg Railroad in 1843 and left in 1851 to become President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad (PWBRR). Under Felton's able management this unsuccessful and financially failing railroad was rebuilt, restored and prospered. The road was of great strategic importance during the Civil War and performed a great service by transporting troops and supplies for the Union. In 1857, he installed the locomotive engine "Daniel Webster" in service on the PWBRR. It was probably the first really successful coal burning passenger engine in regular service upon any RR in the U.S. In 1865 he left the PWBRR to become President of the Pennsylvania Steel Company. This was the first attempt in the United States to manufacture steel rails as a commercial enterprise. During this period he also served as director of many railroads including the Philadelphia, Wilmington & BRR, the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co., the Northern Pacific, the Ogdensburg & Lake Champlain and several others. He was director for ten years of the Pennsylvania RR. In 1869 he was appointed by President Grant as a Commissioner to inspect Pacific Railroads.

His son, Samuel Morse Felton (1853 1930), followed in this father's footsteps. He graduated from MIT in 1873 and began a life long career in American railroading. In 1889 he became President of the Chicago and Alton Railroad, later assumed the Presidency of the Mexican Central Railroad, and became President of the Chicago Great Western Railroad in 1909. During WWI he was appointed Director General of Military Railways and in that capacity had charge of the organization and dispatch to France of all American railway forces and supplies. He continued in that position during the World War years. By 1928 he was Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Great Western Railroad, President of the Western Railroad Association, and Chairman of the Western Association of Railway Executives, to name only a few of his positions. At his death he was an advisor and associate of the Central Trust Company of Illinois.
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Railroads  Search this
Business records -- 1840-1930  Search this
Civil engineers  Search this
Transportation  Search this
Slavery -- United States  Search this
Correspondence -- 1840-1930
Clippings -- 1840-1940
Samuel Morse Felton Family Papers, 1841-1930, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Samuel Morse Felton Family Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Online Media:

Volume 1 (1)

Archival materials
Oct. 1865ā€“Nov. 1866
Collection Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865ā€“1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at:
Collection Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
NMAAHC.FB.M798, Subseries 3.1
See more items in:
Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Georgia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865ā€“1869
Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Georgia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865ā€“1869 / Series 3: Registers of Letters Received
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
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