by Coleman Leifer
As most collectors of Civil War era railroad checks and drafts are aware, most of the vignettes on them have nothing to do with the railroad issuing the document, but are stock vignettes furnished by the security printer. However, in the check illustrated below, boxcars in the train chugging across the top show the various railroads making up the Louisville and Nashville and Great Southern and South and North Alabama Railroad.
From the left, these railroads are;
S. & N. (South and North Alabama). Ran from Montgomery to Decatur, Alabama.
N. & D. (Nashville and Decatur). Ran from Decatur, Alabama, to Nashville, Tennessee.
M. & L. (Memphis and Louisville). This line, which never operated under the M. & L. name, consisted of the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Railroad, which ran from Paris, Kentucky, to the Kentucky-Tennessee state line (83 miles) and the Memphis and Ohio Railroad, which ran from that point to Memphis (130 miles).
L. & N. M. S. (Louisville and Nashville Main Stem). This line ran from Louisville to Nashville. Branch lines ran to Bardstown, Livingston, and Richmond, Kentucky, and to the Kentucky-Tennessee state line.
Source – Manual of the Railroads of the United States, Henry V. Poor, 1872.
This article originally appeared in the July – September 1995 issue of The Check Collector.