Before the National Road and Central Railroad in Henry County
This article appeared in the New Castle Courier in October of 1851
We had the pleasure, last week, of paying a short visit to our old friends at Knightstown, and of looking around at the effect of their completed and projected improvements, upon the business and prospects of the place. In the way of new buildings we could not see that the town makes much progress, though perhaps, we anticipated more than circumstance would justify. In the neighborhood of the Depot we observed two or three large warehouses, completed and ready for business, though, we are sorry to say, there was but slight indications of business to justify them, The reason of this apparent dullness, however is easy of explanation. The Knightstown railroad company is dependent upon, and entirely at the mercy of the Madison & Indianapolis company, and the latter knowing its power, but with, what we think, a most mistaken and suicidal policy implies such onerous and outrageous charges upon the former for transmissions of freight, the produce buyers cannot afford to give a price at Knightstown that will justify farmers in selling there. The effect is that produce of almost every kind is wagoned right from under the nose of the Depot to Cambridge, and goods, from Cincinnati, instead of being sent down river to Madison and thence by railroad, are brought by canal to Cambridge and thence by wagon to Knightstown, at a savings of nearly one half to the shippers. Every expedient has been resorted to, to remedy this unnatural state of affairs…the river freights have been reduced very low….drayage, commissions, and &c at Madison, put down to the very lowest living rate….and the rates on the Knightstown & Shelbyville lines reduced to almost nothing,….but there stands John Brough, the embodiment of a purse-proud and sordidly avaricious monopoly, refusing to move a peg, and demanding a rate of "tribute" that renders these other roads useless and unprofitable. This state of affairs will last until the Loisville railway is opened, which we hope will not be long.
Messrs. Sydney Muzzy, Jer. Woods and A. Fithian, are building a fine block of brick store rooms on Main Street which will be an ornament to the town. The building is two stories high, the lower stories built with open fronts and divided into storerooms of ample size and dimensions.
The National Road turnpike will in a short time be completed through Knightstown to a connection with the completed line in Hancock county, and heavy as has heretofore been the travel on this road, it cannot be but largely increased, when the line is completed from Richmond to Indianapolis.
The work on the Central Railroad in the neighborhood of Knightstown, is also being prosecuted with an energy and go ahead determination worthy of all commendation, and the citizens there flatter themselves that if at present their business and energies are cripple by the sordid and avaricious demands of the Madison Company, they will soon enjoy other facilities for reaching market, and will be able to command the business legitimately belonging to them.
The natural advantages of Knightstown are excelled by no town in the State, and when their abundant water power shall be fully improved, and their railroads and turnpikes completed, it is destined to become an important commercial and manufacturing point.