BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD STOCK CERTIFICATE, SIGNED BY JOHN W. GARRETT, 1862

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Item Code: 819-80

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Certificate is numbered 29914 and is for fifteen shares at one hundred dollars each. Bearer of certificate was Richard Wilson, who purchased the shares on August 11, 1862. The President of the railroad, John W. Garrett, signed at the bottom right corner. Cancellation stamps in blue ink on each lower corner read, “CANCELLED B&O.R.R.CO. / 18 FEB 1863”. Certificate measures 6 3/8” x 10”. Very good condition with no tears or holes, except for the six holes which were punched near the lower edge. Two light creases are present.

Chartered in 1827 as the country’s first railroad, the legendary Baltimore and Ohio played a unique role in the nation’s great railroad drama and became the model for American railroading. John W. Garrett, who served as president of the B&O for twenty-six years, (1858 to 1884), ranked among the great power brokers of the time. The B&O’s unprecedented plan to build a rail line from Baltimore over the Allegheny Mountains to the Ohio River was considered to be the most ambitious engineering feat of its time. The B&O’s success ignited "railroad fever" and helped to catapult railroading to America’s most influential industry in the nineteenth century. Taking the B&O helm during the railroads’ expansive growth in the 1850s, Garrett soon turned his attention to the demands of the Civil War. Despite original Southern sympathies, Garrett became one of President Abraham Lincoln's most trusted confidantes and strategists, making the B&O available for transporting Northern troops and equipment to critical battles. Garrett often accompanied the President to his visits to battlefields in Maryland. The Confederates attacked the B&O 143 times, but could not put "Mr. Lincoln’s Road" out of business. In 1865, Garrett organized the funeral train that took the body of the assassinated president from Washington to Springfield, Illinois, a long several-week excursion that included stops and ceremonies with processions throughout the North.

After the war, Garrett became one of the first of the famed Gilded Age tycoons, rising to unimagined power and wealth. When he was not fighting fierce railroad wars with competitors―Garrett steered the B&O into highly successful entrepreneurial endeavors, quadrupling track mileage to reach important commercial markets, jumpstarting Baltimore’s moribund postwar economy, and constructing lavish hotels in Western Maryland to open tourism in the region.    [sm]

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