THE OROVILLE & VIRGINA CITY RAILROAD COMPANY
The text of the protest was as follows:
"We, the undersigned, residents and tax payers of Plumas County, do hereby express our disapprobation and indignation at the terms and provisions of the Act of the legislature, approved March 30, 1868, by which it is attempted to force upon the people of this county, without submission to their voice, as overwhelming burden of taxation for the purpose of issuing, without a shadow of guaranty or security, to the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, bonds in the sum of two hundred and thirty thousand dollars, and which, when paid, will amount, for principal and interest, to the enormous sum of six hundred and ninety thousand dollars; and we do emphatically protest against the same, and denounce it as the most outrageous and barefaced swindle ever attempted to be forced upon a free people; and believing that the provisions of said bill are not only wholly impolite but grossly inequitable and unjust, we do earnestly petition the honorable board of supervisors of said county, as our representatives, and the guardians of our interests, either to resign, or to adopt some other adequate means by which to prevent the issuance of said bonds."
They also entered the following on their record of that meeting: "Ordered, that the district attorney
be instructed on behalf of the board to investigate the books and records of the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, and report to this board as soon as possible as to whether said company are entitled to demand, and what persons if any, as officers of said company, are entitled to receive the subscription of stock authorized to be made to said company to endeavor to avoid issuing the bonds to the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, be received and placed on file. Ordered, that agreement of the tax payers of Plumas County to indemnify this board for any damage they may sustain by refusal to issue the bonds of this county to the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, be received and placed on file." The next day H. L. Gear, district attorney, reported upon the question, advising the board to have quo warranto proceedings commenced by the attorney-general of the state. The report was adopted, and the district attorney was given full power to represent the board and employ associate counsel, the latter part of which he attended to by engaging his father-in-law, Hon. Peter Van Clief, the bill of the two attorneys amounting to only $6,344. On the seventh the board adjourned till the twenty-second.
Pending the legal proceedings the Supervisors of Plumas county, reflecting the almost unanimous public sentiment, resigned their offices rather than carry out the provisions of the Act of March 30, 1868. This left the county without any representatives empowered to issue the bonds as provided by the statue. The danger was thus averted for a time. A board of supervisors, however, is an indispensable portion of the county government, and consequently John B. Overton, county clerk, issued a proclamation on July 11, 1868, calling for a special election for supervisors to be held August 25, 1868, as he was by law empowered to do. This election resulted in the choice of the members of the old board by large majorities.
The opposition formed another company and commenced a suit against the Oroville & Virginia City to obtain their route, surveys, maps, etc. The Feather River & Beckwourth Pass Railroad was incorporated on June 8, 1868 by George P. Cornell, president; I. N. Thorn, secretary; Amos F. Blood, treasurer; William F. King and S. F. Seabury. It had an authorized capital stock of $8,000,000 and was to build from Oroville up the North Fork and by way of Beckwourth Pass to the eastern boundary of California, a distance of 145 miles.
On June 20, 1868, a complaint was filed in the District Court of the Second Judicial District, State of California, county of Plumas, entitled "The People of the State of California upon the relation of the county of Plumas, plaintiff, vs. R. C. Chambers, W. A. Bolinger, F. B. Whiting, Samuel Goodwin, W. C. Fairchild, P. D. Shaw, N. C. Cunningham, C. O. Bolinger, C. T. Kaulbeck, Austin Chambers, Creed Haymond, M. Tranor and J.D. Goodwin, claiming to compose the Oroville and Virginia City Railroad Company, Defendants.”
It was signed by Jo Hamilton, Attorney General, H. L. Gear, District Attorney of Plumas county, and P. Van Chef, of counsel for relator.
Set forth the fact of the Act being passed authorizing the Supervisors of Plumas county and directing them to subscribe to the stock of the railroad company $230,000, and bonds of the county to be issued in like sum for the payment thereof.
That the defendants claimed to hold a franchise to build a railroad from Oroville to the State line, through Beckworth's Pass.
That W. A. Bolinger, R. C. Chambers, Samual Goodwin, Creed Haymond and M. Tranor claimed to be the Directors and entitled to receive the subscriptions. That R. C. Chambers and Creed Haymond claimed to be respectively Secretary and Treasurer of the company, and entitled to receive the bonds.
That the defendants unlawfully and fraudulently claimed to exercise rights under the alleged franchise and corporation.
That no ten of them, or any persons under them, as required by law (Act May 20, 1861, providing for the incorporation of railroad companies), ever subscribed to the stock, or ever subscribed a sum equal to $1,000 for each and every mile of the proposed road or any amount approximating to it. That other acts required by law were not performed, such as electing Directors and officers, estimating cost of the road, fixing the capital stock, fixing the length of the road, etc. Also, that the 10 per cent, required by law was never paid in.
That the pretended organization of the company was made April 2, 1867, but no report of the operations of the company had been made, though more than a year had passed, and no such report was on file with the Secretary of State, as required by law.
A judgment was prayed for that the defendants had usurped the corporate franchise and unlawfully held it, and that they be excluded from it, etc.
The answer to the complaint which was duly verified, was dated October 8, 1868, and signed J. E. N. Lewis, Creed Haymond, J. D. Goodwin, attorneys for defendant. It denies the alleged unlawful intrusion or usurpation; denies any attempt to enforce the Act against the county, sets up the date and fact of the incorporation of the company, and that on the 26th of March, 1867, C. T. Kaulback, W. A. Bolinger, R. C. Chambers, F. B. Whiting, Samuel Goodwin, R. H. Fairchild, C. O. Bolinger, P. D. Shaw, A. Chambers, and A. C. Cunningham, subscribed to the stock to the amount of $110,000, which was at least $1,000 for every mile of the proposed road.
That the next day they elected R. C. Chambers Treasurer, and paid to him $11,000 cash, being ten per cent, of the subscribed amount. On the same day the Treasurer notified the subscribers of a meeting to be held April 2, 1867, to adopt articles of association and to organize the corporation.
That they met April 2, 1867, and organized and adopted articles of association, fixed the capital stock at $5,000,000 of $100 shares, and elected Kaulback, Goodwin, Whiting, Bolinger (W. A.) and Chambers as Directors.
That the contemplated length of the road was 110 miles and its cost $5,000,000, but subsequently engineer's estimates placed it at $3,000,000.
That all the acts in organizing, etc., were lawful and in accordance with the Act of the Legislature, and that the corporation was a lawful corporate body.
That the Directors organized April 3, 1868. elected W. A. Bolinger President, R. C. Chambers Treasurer and F. B. Whiting Secretary, the last two giving bonds.
That J. D. Goodwin became a shareholder by subscribing for one share March 20, 1868, and April 28, 1868, for 671 shares.
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