Promoting Land

It was not uncommon for nineteenth century railroads like the CB&Q to promote lands west of the Mississippi River for settlement along their various roads.  As we continue to process the CB&Q’s company archives we have come across a great deal of brochures, broadsides, and reports that outline the quality of life in these “western” territories for immigrants and laborers seeking affordable land and ready work.  The images below are from an especially thorough brochure focusing on Saline County, Missouri and were found in the 1890s decade files:

CB&Q 33.6 1890s – “Saline County Farm Scene” from Saline County, Missouri brochure.

The amount of detail these types of items go into varies, but in this piece we see particularly informative accounts concerning daily life in Saline County:

CB&Q 33.6 1890s – Excerpt on Medical Services and Public Schools in the County

Interestingly, not all the information in this brochure was favorable.  It contains candid criticisms and notes opportunities for growth and development as you can see here:

CB&Q 33.6 1890s – Criticisms

These types of items continue to have an educational value for today’s researcher who is fond of local history and perhaps genealogy as well.  References to local businesses and prominent citizens are common among these documents along with drawings of buildings and town layouts as they appeared in the 1890s. These gems are sprinkled throughout various parts of our CB&Q collection, with some of the largest amounts concentrated in record group 32.9 – Printed Ephemera. The diligent local historian as well as the savvy genealogist would be wise to analyze our inventory if they are seeking additional resources to supplement their research.


Promoting Land — 1 Comment

  1. Genealogy research is both informed by and guided by local history material, such as in this example. Our ancestors did not live in vacuums, and, in many instances, their lives were shaped more by local happenings than the broad national events we often study in history. Knowing the conditions of the land and life in general in Saline County could answer many a genealogist’s question about why their ancestors immigrated there in the 1890’s, and a perusal of this material could and should prompt them to explore a possible connection in the family to the CB&Q. And, of course, if their ancestors are one of the persons named in these promotional materials, it’s all the greater a find for them.