John R. Price, one of the pioneer railroad builders of the West, was born in Wales, Sept. 16, 1828. For generations the family have been bridge builders and contractors, and a bridge built by his ancestors 200 years ago still spans the river Meath in Wales. At the age of twenty-seven years, Mr. Price was made superintendent of construction on the Merthyr & Abergavenny railroad in South Wales, this being his first experience in railroad building. In 1866 he came to America for the purpose of prospecting in the Caribou mining district of British Columbia, and went as far northwest as the region now known as the Klondike. After five years he returned to Wales and again engaged in contracting. In 1872 he came to America to stay and located in Oskaloosa, Iowa. His first railroad work in this country was for the Morris Valley line. He was superintendent of construction on the Keokuk locks, a work which took three years to complete. He had large contracts with the Iowa Central, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, the Chicago & Alton, and the St. Louis & Omaha railroad companies. After finishing the work on these lines, Mr. Price moved his family to Topeka, Kan., making that city his headquarters while he did construction work for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company, building the line between Independence and Wellington, the Kiowa branch, which enters Oklahoma, the line between Florence and Lyons, sixty miles of the main line to Chicago, and the road from Arkansas City through the Indian Territory to the Texas line. At this time the firm of Carlysle, Price & McGarock was formed, with James Carlysle, of Pueblo, Colo., John R. Price, and J. W. McGarock, of Omaha, Neb., as the members. This firm built the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad into Colorado Springs, also having heavy contracts with the Colorado Midland, and built the carriage road to the top of Pike's Peak. After the firm was dissolved, Mr. Price took a large contract for the Atlantic & Pacific railroad, building through New Mexico and Arizona, a work which required four years to complete. He then went to Old Mexico to look over a proposed contract for a road from San Luis Potosi to Tampico, to be built for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, and the Mexican Central. He undertook the work at the request of the officials of the road without any opposing bids. Returning to Alburquerque, N. M., he shipped his outfit to the new field. It took thirty-five cars to transport it to Laredo, Tex., from which point they were compelled to take it overland 300 miles. This was accomplished with the greatest difficulty and consumed two months. After this contract was completed Mr. Price built the road from Venandito to Tampico, a work requiring two years for completion. Mr. Price then returned to Kansas and built the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe line west from Hutchinson, known as the "Kinsley cut-off." This branch is 106 miles long and the contract called for completion in 100 days. It was finished in ninety-six days. His last railroad work was to build a line of his own from Osage City to Ottawa, which was later sold to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Altogether, Mr. Price has built between 2,000 and 3,000 miles of railroad in the United States and Mexico. At the age of eighty-two he retired from railroad work to his ranch at Turon, Reno county, which he manages personally, and is the president of the Turon Mill & Elevator Company.Pages 1334-1335 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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