Peoria County, Illinois  Genealogy Trails 

Labor Organizations in Peoria - Railway Organizations

“A Brief History of Peoria” by Democratic State Central Committee? 1896.
Transcribed by Genealogy Trails Staff

    The movement set on foot some two years ago, to bring in close association the railway trades unions of the country, has already resulted in the location of the general offices of three of the leading organizations in the city of Peoria, with favorable prospects of another in October of the present year, and yet another the following May.

    The advantage of a concentration of interests of such organizations, their interests being so nearly identical, needs no demonstration, and, as to an advantage to the city in which they may be located, Peoria has already felt a great impetus in the publishing business, and the postoflice authorities can vouch for an increased income for “ Uncle Sam" at this point.
    The combined circulations of the official publications of the three organizations already located in Peoria exceed 60,000 per month. and there are perhaps more than one hundred persons employed in publishing these journals, with a wage list running up to several thousand dollars each month. In the general oflices of the three organizations there are about thirty-five officers and clerks, who, with their families, have created no small addition to our population, and that portion of their salaries expended for living expenses of course is appreciated by our merchants and owners of rent property. All told, their presence has added considerably to the volume of business. A few words concerning the work of these organizations will not be amiss.
    The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, the first to locate in Peoria, has a membership of over 22,000, which members are now carrying $33,000,000 in life insurance in the Beneficiary Department of the organization. There has been paid in death and disability claims during the past fifteen years, $3,835,000. Of this amount, $3l5,000 has been paid during the past twelve months. This organization has 506 local lodges in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Mr. W. S. Carter is the editor of the magazine and has succeeded in making it one of the leading periodicals of the country.

    The Order of Railroad Telegraphers were second to locate in Peoria. This organization has a membership of $14,000 telegraphers engaged in railway service in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and was organized in 1886. Since then it has secured articles of agreement with many of the railway companies of the country which has resulted in an increase in wages paid to telegraphers and station agents of at least $500,000 per annnum.
    The Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen has recently established its headquarters in this city, having removed from Galesburg, Ill., last December. This organization has a membership of over 21,000, composed of railway employes engaged in train and yard service. Their Beneficiary features are similar to those of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, and the trainmen have paid in death and disability claims during the past eleven years $3,423,000, and during the last fiscal year there was paid $401,465, in death and disability claims. There are 518 local lodges of this  organization located on the railway lines of the United States, Canada and Mexico.
    From the above it will be seen that the banks of Peoria have realized an increase of business in handling the funds of these organizations, and when others are located here, Peoria will be justly celebrated as the “ Railway Employes City."
    Peoria, taken as a whole, is well organized and a good place for the location of labor headquarters.
    The local unions are active in their own interests and believe that a man's pay should depend on his life necessities and not upon the business capacity of the employer. They are well organized, and with the displacement of the countless thousands all over the country by improved machinery. it is well that they are.
Prosperous, organized Peoria—Labor O mina Vincit.


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Peoria County, IL Genealogy Trails
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Peoria County, Illinois  Genealogy Trails 


“A Brief History of Peoria” by Democratic State Central Committee? 1896.
Transcribed by Genealogy Trails Staff

by H. J. Graham

    Peoria is one of the greatest railroad centers in the United States, having thirteen roads centering here, thus establishing the greatest gateway between the East and the West, north of St. Louis and south of Chicago.
    The magnificent facilities offered by these lines assure to industries located in and about Peoria all the facilities that come from sharp competition and first-class service, and the accommodations to the traveling public are not excelled at any point.


    The Chicago & Alton, which has recently acquired an entrance into Peoria, is one of the strongest and best equipped railroads in the United States. It connects the three great cities of Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City, and its advent to Peoria has marked a distinct advancement for superior service


    Peoria is the central eastern gateway of this very extensive and important railway system.
    With its main lines and branches it reaches all the important commercial center of the southwest, west and northwest. It penetrates in every direction the most fertile territory of Iowa, northern Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and northwestern Kansas, thus reaching the choicest agricultural region of the Mississippi Valley. At its important western terminals its through trains connect direct with the through trains to Manitoba, Utah, California and the Pacific Coast.



    The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway ranks as one of the largest railway systems west of the trunk lines, and Peoria is one of its most important terminals. This division passes through the most populous and fertile counties of Illinois and from Indianapolis offers three great divisions for direct connection with the Central States and the seaboard. The relationship of this system is intimate with the New York Central, one of the greatest trunk lines of America.


    This line extends from Peoria to St. Louis with a branch to  Jacksonville. It runs through the best and most productive portion of Illinois, which yields annually immense amounts of live-stock, corn and wheat; and it taps the rich fruit growing regions of Central and Southern Illinois.


    The Iowa Central Railway main line is from Peoria, Ill., to Mason City, Iowa, crossing the Mississippi River at Keithsburg, and traversing the best portion of the great grain growing state of Iowa. This line has close traffic relations with all the western trunk lines, which do not reach Peoria directly, thus opening up to Peoria the best grain producing territory of the West.


    The Lake Erie & Western Railroad unites Peoria with two of the great lakes. It traverses in almost a tangent, the rich agricultural districts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, touching Lake Erie at Sandusky. It reaches north to Lake Michigan at Michigan City, opening the vast lumber regions of the northwest. It passes through the prosperous sections of Indiana and Ohio, where the recently developed natural gas and oil fields have invited the location of many industries. The owners of this property have recently gathered in other important lines through Indiana and Ohio and the combination known as the Brice system aggregates as large a mileage as any other system west of the trunk lines. This line is particularly interested in Peoria, as it is its only western terminal.




    The Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railway connects Peoria with Lincoln, Decatur, Mattoon, Newton and Olney, Ill., and Evansville, Ind.; runs through the counties of Tazewell, Logan, Mason, Moultrie, Coles and Cumberland, which are some of the most productive of Illinois, taps the hard lumber district of Southern Illinois and Indiana, striking large coal beds and the cannel coal fields of Southern Indiana. This is an important link in connecting Peoria with the great States south of the Ohio River.



    The Peoria & Pekin Union Railway controls all the terminal facilities at Peoria, excepting the C. B. & O. and Rock Island lines. It has forty-two miles of siding in Peoria and does the terminal business for all other lines. It has a double track between Peoria and Pekin and gives unexcelled service in the handling of business to and from all industries.



    The Peoria Terminal Company has a belt line reaching all the industries on the river bank and is engaged in doing a switching business for the different lines. It is one of the most important factors in insuring quick service for manufactories along the Illinois River.


    The Rock Island & Peoria Railway main line connects Peoria with Davenport, Rock Island and Moline, whose importance, though commercially well known, may be estimated by their aggregate population of seventy thousand, so closely built together as to form a single city. This railway forms a busy thoroughfare between the "Tri-cities" and Peoria, passing through the beautiful, thrifty agrIcultural section which ranks in wealth and prosperity with any in the great Mississippi Valley.



    The Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway runs from the Indiana State Line to the Mississippi River at Keokuk. Burlington and Warsaw. It is a part of the great Pennsylvania Railroad, possibly the greatest equipped system in the world, and has a close affiliation in its west end with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R. R. This road runs through the best grain and stock region in the West. Its general freight offices and main shops are located at Peoria.




    The Vandalia Line is the Corn Belt Line and an important feeder to the Pennsylvania System of roads running between Peoria and Terre Haute. No counties in Illinois are so productive with corn as the district crossed by this line. It opens up the block coal fields of Indiana and the iron industries in that vicinity to Western markets.

    Thus it will be seen that Peoria with its many railroads and over one hundred well equipped passenger trains daily coming and going, is well supplied with railroad facilities.


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Peoria County, IL Genealogy Trails
© 2006 - 2011 by Genealogy Trails

All data on this website is © Copyright by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters.