The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (CRI&P) Railroad, commonly called the Rock Island, bisected Daviess County from northeast to southwest. It linked Jamesport to Gallatin to Altamont to Winston within the county.

A shootout with law officers followed by an extensive manhunt occurred on March 29, 1909, in Daviess County, MO. Three bandits, running from burglaries at Spickard, MO, were traveling on an eastbound freight train when they were discovered while the train stopped at this depot in Jamesport. The bandits used bottles of nitro to steal jewelry, loot and equipment and thus were named the “Nitro Chism Gang.” Earl Chism died from gunshot wounds. Once caught, Roy Chism served a 5-year sentence at Leavenworth, KS; Harvey Chism was later arrested in Bloomington, IL.

This photograph shows livestock pens near the train depot at Jamesport, MO (date unknown)

CRI&P Train Depot; Gallatin Rock Island railroad. The tracks would lie just to the left. (date unknown)

Daviess county gave its first monetary subscription to CRI&P following the Civil War on April 7, 1868. The first cars reached the county on June 21, 1870 via the St. Louis & Omaha, later called the Wabash. This undated post card scene shows the train depot of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific at Gallatin, MO. The Rock Island bisected Daviess County from east-west.

This post card scene shows the junction of two railroad lines east of the Grand River at Gallatin, MO, in 1909. The Rock Island line (left to right) bisected Daviess County from northeast to southwest; the Wabash bisected the county north-south.

Trains weren’t the only things to go across the Grand River on the railroad bridge near Gallatin, MO. Sometimes cars and other vehicles ventured across the span, providing that the wheelbase allowed tires to roll between the rails. (date unknown)

Sometimes cars and other vehicles ventured across the the countryside, taking a bumpy ride across railroad ties. (date unknown)

The photo was taken at the CRI&P train depot on Gallatin’s north side on Aug. 2, 1916. The occasion was the 50th wedding anniversary celebration honoring Dr. and Mrs. George T. Netherton. Each person shown in the large crowd photographed wore a gold ribbon. In those days trains were scheduled daily to depart from St. Joseph each morning and return the same evening. Thus, most of those in the crowd show were from the St. Joseph area. George T. Netherton (1841-1939) was a widely known and popular veterinarian who is buried in Brown Cemetery, Gallatin. The celebration was held at Dockery Park; this photo was taken as the crowd was about to depart to return their homes. Florence “Mami” Bell Bird is a teenager standing on the front row in this photo (next to the small girl to the left of the trees, near center). Her parents, Robert and Nanybelle Atha, are shown standing behind Florence. They lived at Faucett, MO, and traveled by train for the celebration at Gallatin. This panoramic photo is thought to have been taken by a Cirkut camera, photographer unknown.

This photo shows the Rock Island train line bridge over the Grand River east of Gallatin, MO, a location which later became “Wabash Crossing” named for the north-south line nearby, a public access to the river maintained by the Department of Natural Resources. (date unknown)

The Gallatin Democrat reported how 11 refrigerator cars piled up along the right-of-way on the Rock Island tracks in March, 1948. The derailment occurred as the train was pulling into the Gallatin depot. Damages were estimated at $15,000 but no injuries occurred. (photo by Hubert Long)

The Altamont Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (CRI&P) depot and tracks in 1908. (courtesy Jack Tingler)

An important stop on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (CRI&P) Railroad was at Altamont, MO, in 1914. The Rock Island built 13 houses here for workers, eight of which were still in use as residences over a century later.

For years Altamont, MO, was an important stop on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (CRI&P) as trains went across Daviess County. Altamont was headquarters for bridge gangs, line crews, coal chute, water works, section crews, round house, car repair department and depot agents who worked whenever needed, around the clock. (date unknown)

This photo of the Rock Island train depot was taken in 1915 at a time when Altamont featured an ice house operated by Roberts General Store. Mr. Roberts built a cement block building located on the alley north and west of the Christian Church. Ice would be cut off the railroad lake just outside town, hauled to the building and buried in saw dust. This ice was then used to cool meat, ice cream, pop and food cases for use during the summer months.

In 1871 a new Rock Island railroad depot was built on a high point in Daviess County, halfway between Cameron and Gallatin at Winston, MO. T.F. Jefferies, a native of Somersetshire, England, was the first station agent. Two sets of tracks were to the front of the depot and were used for switching cars while a set of siding tracks ran behind the depot. The depot today is located at the intersection of Route Y and Hwy 69 in Winston, MO. (Source: interview with Omar Baxter and Harle A Garner; 1837-1937 Centennial publication). This is the train depot where outlaws Frank & Jesse James and gang initiated their murderous train robbery in 1881.


Miles of railroad within Daviess County: Quincy, Omaha & Kansas City — 13.13 miles; Wabash — 35.81 miles; Rock Island (main line) — 28.26 miles; Rock Island, St. Joseph branch — 7.07 miles; Kansas City, Peoria & Chicago — 6.39 miles. By rail, St. Joseph, Omaha, Leavenworth and Kansas City are within a few hours; St. Louis and Chicago are within a night’s run. (map dated 1902)