A Guide to the Chapman J. French Papers, 1903-1957 French, Chapman J. Papers Ms2009-034

A Guide to the Chapman J. French Papers, 1903-1957

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2009-034


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Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
USA
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2010 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections Staff

Repository
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Ms2009-034
Title
Chapman J. French Papers 1903-1957
Physical Characteristics
10 containers; 4.2 cu. ft.
Language
English
Abstract
Papers of Chapman J. French, civil engineer employed by Norfolk & Western Railway from 1903 to 1950. Includes correspondence, memoranda, working notes, and specifications for projects as well as company and engineering department procedures. Also includes personal papers, largely relating to purchases for household and farm.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Chapman J. French Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Chapman J. French Papers, Ms2009-034 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Acquisition Information

The first accrual of the Chapman J. French Papers (1.5 cu. ft.) was purchased by Special Collections in 2009. The papers had been part of a larger group of railroad-related materials compiled by a collector, then sold to a dealer (see "separated material" section). Additional materials from the same source were purchased later that year.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the first accrual (1.5 cu. ft.) of the Chapman J. French Papers commenced and was completed in March 2009. Processing of an additional 2.7 cu. ft. of material began in November 2009 and was completed in May 2010.


Biographical Information

Chapman Johnston French, son of Charles D. and Annie C. Johnston French, was born August 15, 1880. He graduated from Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) in 1902 and soon thereafter became employed by the Norfolk & Western Railway as a civil engineer. He served for many years as resident engineer at Narrows, Virginia, where he lived with his wife Lela Lee Weatherly French. Later, the couple moved to Roanoke, where French served in the Engineering Department. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and several fraternal organizations, including the Elks and the Knights of Pythias. French retired in 1950. Following Lela's death, French married Mildred Greer. Chapman J. French died at Troutdale, Virginia on July 6, 1964.

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of Chapman J. French, a civil engineer employed by the Norfolk & Western Railway during the first half of the twentieth century. The collection is divided into two series:

SERIES I. PROFESSIONAL PAPERS, 1900-1957. This series contains such items as correspondence, memoranda, working notes, and specifications for engineering projects, as well as administrative memoranda and rules governing the company's engineering department and other aspects of the company's operation. The collection includes documentation on topics relating to construction of railways and associated structures but also includes many papers relating to legal agreements, property acquisition, rights of way, and court cases. Included among the papers are a number of property plat maps and track diagrams, as well as a collection of blank forms used in various aspects of the company's operation--particularly contracts and agreements. Geographical areas substantially represented within the papers include Columbus, Ohio; Narrows, Virginia; Norfolk, Virginia; and Portsmouth, Ohio.

SERIES II. PERSONAL PAPERS, 1911-1945. French's personal papers are largely devoted to various purchases of household and farm goods and include such items as receipts, invoices and correspondence with various merchants and manufacturers. Also included are materials relating to French's car (a 1914 Hupmobile), the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the brewing of alcoholic beverages, the Matthew French monument, the Giles County Game & Fish Protective Association, numerous fraternal lodges, personal health (including correspondence relating to French's use of a hair restorative), and a number of letters regarding a contract between the Virginian Railway and French's parents for some buildings near Narrows.

Arrangement

The collection essentially retains French's original order, arranged alphabetically by subject (sometimes by topic, sometimes by geographical area); in processing, some unsorted material was added to the arrangement. The inventory includes a partial list of those topics in each folder judged most significant by the processor, based on their prevalence or uniqueness. Many of the folders, however, contain materials relating to additional topics that are not listed.

Related Material

Special Collections holds several other manuscript collections and books relating to the Norfolk & Western Railway. Consult the Guide to Manuscript Sources for Railroad History Research and the library's catalog.

Separated Material

The Chapman J. French Papers were acquired in two separate accessions as part of a larger collection of railway-related material that had been compiled by a private collector, then sold to a dealer. In the course of processing, the French Papers were removed to a separate collection. The acquisitions of which these papers were a part also included the following collections:

Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven Railroad Stock Certificates (Ms2009-035)
New River Mineral Company Stock Certificate (Ms2009-036)
Norfolk & Western Railway and Associated Companies Collection (Ms2009-037)
Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Receipts (Ms2009-038)
Raleigh Coal & Coke Company Rail Spur Drawing (Ms2009-039)
Reed Island Iron Company Receipts (Ms2009-040)
Rock Island Lines Insurance Booklet (Ms2009-041)
Sullivan Railroad Company Stock Certificate (Ms2009-042)
Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia Railroad Annual Report (Ms2009-043)
Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia Railway Annual Report (Ms2009-044)
Thomas Wood and Company Freight Records (Ms2009-045)
Virginia Iron, Coal and Coke Company Receipts (Ms2009-046)


Contents List

Note: This list comprises only a partial inventory of the folder contents and includes only those materials deemed most significant, based on their prevalence, uniqueness, and connection to local or railway history.

SERIES I. PROFESSIONAL PAPERS 1900-1957
  • Box-folder 1-1
    Aa-Ao
    • Abingdon, Virginia 1910-1948
    • Agreements 1926-1931, n.d.
    • Alnwick, Virginia 1925, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-2
    Ap
    • Appalachian Electric Power 1910-1943, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-3
    Ar-Az
    • Arthur, Virginia 1923-1924
    • Auvil Yard 1923, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-4
    Ba-Be
    • Ballast, Stone 1925-1943
    • Basic Belt Line n.d.
    • Benchmarks 1936-1943
  • Box-folder 1-5
    Bf-Big R
    • Big Creek Spur 1941
  • Box-folder 1-6
    Big Sandy and Cumberland Railroad 1925-1929, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-7
    Big Sandy Line 1923-1925, n.d.
    [2 folders]
  • Box-folder 1-8
    Bj-Blt
    • Blackford, Virginia 1942
    • Blackstone, Virginia 1941-1942
  • Box-folder 1-9
    Blu
    • Bluefield Virginia/West Virginia 1924-1948
      [see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 1-10
    Blv-Bom
    • Bombardment Air Base (Lockbourne, Ohio) 1941-1942
      [see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 1-11
    Bon-Bt
    • Bristol, Virginia 1942-1945, n.d.
  • Box-folder 1-12
    Bua-Buch
    • Buchanan Branch - Bull Creek Spur (H. E. Harman Coal) 1934-1944, n.d.
      [3 folders][see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 1-13
    Buci-Buck
    • Buckeye Ordnance Works (South Point, Ohio) 1942
  • Box-folder 1-14
    Bud-Bz
    • Bumping posts 1927-1933
    • Burke, Kizzie and Frank v. Norfolk and Western 1949
  • Box-folder 1-15
    Ca-Ch
    • Car repair shops 1923
    • Carter Coal Company liquidation 1949
    • Catawba Branch 1942
    • Chowan River flood control 1950
    • Christiansburg, Virginia 1942-1948
  • Box-folder 2-1
    Cia-Cinc
    • Cincinnati, Ohio 1922-1949
      [2 folders]
  • Box-folder 2-2
    Cind-Ciz
    • Cinder 1928-1929
    • City Point, Virginia 1946
  • Box-folder 2-3
    Cj-Cn
    • Clare, Ohio 1925-1927
    • Clear Fork and Oceana Railroad Company dissolution 1910-1948
    • Clearances 1928-1930
    • Clift Yard 1925, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-4
    Coa-Com
    • Columbus, Ohio 1928-1950
      [see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 2-5
    Con
    • Concrete masonry specifications 1907-1950, n.d.
      [2 folders]
  • Box-folder 2-6
    Coo-Coz
    • Cooper to Lick Branch change of line and grade 1935-1947, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-7
    Cp-Cz
    • Cross ties 1933-1949
    • Crossings 1934, n.d.
    • Culverts 1905
  • Box-folder 2-8
    Da-Dn
    • Damascus, Virginia 1929-1942
    • Date plates for masonry 1930
    • Derailment of Train 214 near White Top Gap 1920
    • Detroit, Toledo and ironton Railroad Company 1947
    • Districts, Operating 1949
  • Box-folder 2-9
    Do-Dz
    • Dooms, D. A. flood claim 1943
    • Drainage complaint of A. R. Harsh 1947
    • Dry Fork Branch 1903-1942
    • Dublin, Virginia 1943-1949
    • Durham, North Carolina 1940-1945
  • Box-folder 2-10
    Ea-Em
    • Eggleston, Virginia 1924
    • Elam, Virginia 1940
    • Elkhorn Tunnel 1947, n.d.
      [see also Oversize Materials]
    • Elliston, Virginia 1944, n.d.
    • Emory, Virginia 1923
  • Box-folder 2-11
    Engineering Department memoranda 1923-1948, n.d.
  • Box-folder 2-12
    Engineering Department, rules and instructions for the government of 1924-1937
    [2 folders] [see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 2-13-14
    Engineering instruments 1923-1946
  • Box-folder 3-1-2
    Engineering instruments 1947-1950
  • Box-folder 3-3
    Eo-Ez
    • Expenditures, Authorities for 1940
  • Box-folder 3-4
    Fa-Fn
    • Fencing 1900-1948, n.d.
      [see also Oversize Materials]
    • Fieldale, Virginia abandonment 1925
  • Box-folder 3-5
    Fo-Fz
    • Forms (blank) n.d.
    • Fort Gay, West Virginia 1926-1942
    • French drains 1929
    • Front Royal, Virginia 1943
  • Box-folder 3-6
    Ga-Gh
    • Galax, Virginia 1948-1957
  • Box-folder 3-7
    Gilbert Branch - Ben Creek Spur 1941
  • Box-folder 3-8
    Gilbert Branch - Horsepen Spur 1930-1948
  • Box-folder 3-9
    Gj-Gt
    • Glade Spring, Virginia overhead coaling station 1905
    • Grading specifications 1947
    • Graham, Virginia passenger station 1923
  • Box-folder 4-1
    Guyandot and Tug River Railroad 1906-1908
  • Box-folder 4-2
    Guyandot and Tug River Railroad 1926-1928
  • Box-folder 4-3
    Ha-Hn
    • Hamill Coal siding contract 1944
      [see also Oversize Materials]
    • Hazardous materials, Handling of 1951
  • Box-folder 4-4
    Ho-Hz
    • Honaker Branch 1933-1948, n.d.
      [see also Oversize Materials]
    • Hopewell, Virginia 1940-1946
  • Box-folder 4-5
    Ia-In
    • Iaeger, West Virginia 1923-1924
    • Indeminity clauses 1941
    • Interchanges 1921
  • Box-folder 4-6
    Io-J
    • Ironton, Ohio 1938-1944
  • Box-folder 4-7
    K
    • Kenova, West Virginia 1927-1938
  • Box-folder 4-8
    La-Ld
    • Lake Erie - Ohio River Canal 1948
    • Lamberts Point, Virginia 1925-1950
  • Box-folder 4-9
    Lea-Len
    • Lenore Branch 1939-1948
      [2 folders]
  • Box-folder 4-10
    Leo-Lez
    • Lewis Creek Branch 1938
      [see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 4-11
    Lf-Lz
    • Luray, Virginia 1924-1941
    • Lynchburg, Virginia passenger station 1941
  • Box-folder 4-12
    Maa-Map
    • Map index n.d.
      [2 folders]
  • Box-folder 4-13
    Maq-Maz
    • Marion, Virginia bridge 1938
    • Matoaka, West Virginia 1925-1942
    • Max Meadows 1910-1944
  • Box-folder 4-14
    Mb-Mz
    • McCarr Branch 1945
    • Mud Fork dam (proposed) 1910-1948
      [see Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 5-1
    Naa-Nar
    • Narrows, Virginia 1903-1949
      [6 folders][see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 5-2
    Nas-Naz
    • New River 1923, n.d.
  • Box-folder 5-3
    Nb-Nn
    • New Boston, Ohio 1942-1945
    • New River, Holston and Western Railroad Company 1916, n.d.
      [see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 5-4
    Noa-Noq
    • Nolan Spur 1942-1949
  • Box-folder 5-5
    Nora-Norf
    • Norfolk, Virginia 1923-1949, n.d.
  • Box-folder 5-6
    Norg-Nz
    • Norton, Virginia 1924, n.d.
  • Box-folder 5-7
    O
    • Oakvale, West Virginia 1925-1949
  • Box-folder 5-8
    Pa-Pd
    • Passes 1925-1950
    • Payne, Virginia 1929
  • Box-folder 5-9
    Pe-Ph
    • Pembroke, Virginia 1923-1945
    • Personnel matters 1916-1954
    • Petersburg, Virginia 1941-1948
      [see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 5-10
    Pi-Pn
    • Pipes / Culverts 1920-1944, n.d.
  • Box-folder 5-11
    Poa-Porta
    • Pocahontas electrification 1916
    • Pocahontas Fuel Company 1923
    • Pocahontas Mining Corporation 1931-1936
    • Pond Creek Branch 1923-1945
  • Box-folder 6-1
    Portb-Poz
    • Portsmouth, Ohio 1921-1950
      [3 folders][see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 6-2
    Pp-Pr
    • Price, Margaret J. v. Norfolk & Western Railway 1923-1924
    • Prices to be charged for construction of side tracks 1937-1943
    • Progress colors 1924
  • Box-folder 6-3
    Ps-Q
    • Public roads 1946
    • Pulaski, Virginia 1917-1945, n.d.
  • Box-folder 6-4
    Ra-Rd
    • Radford Arsenal 1946-1950
      [see also Oversize Materials]
    • Radford, Virginia 1923-1943, n.d.
    • Rail 1925-1936
  • Box-folder 6-5
    Rea-Ree
    • Reed Island Branch 1941-1942, n.d.
      [see also Oversize Materials]
  • Box-folder 6-6
    Ref-Rez
    • Rental of equipment 1923-1945
    • Requisition procedures 1925-1931
  • Box-folder 6-7
    Rf-Roam
    • Rights-of-way 1926-1942
    • Riverton Lime and Stone Company 1940
    • Roadbed width 1937-1946
  • Box-folder 6-8
    Roanoke River 1945-1948
  • Box-folder 6-9
    Roanoke, Virginia 1930-1948
  • Box-folder 6-10
    Rp-Rz
    • Rock slide - Clinch Valley District 1909
  • Box-folder 6-11
    Sa-Sg
    • St. Paul, Virginia 1923-1941
    • Saltville, Virginia 1910-1923
    • Sargents, Ohio 1947
    • Sewells Point, Virginia 1923-1926
  • Box-folder 6-12
    Sh
    • Shelton, J. H. v. Norfolk & Western Railway 1910
      [see also Oversize Materials]
    • Shenandoah, Virginia 1923-1926
  • Box-folder 6-13
    Si
    • Sidings 1926-1949, n.d.
      [see also Oversize Materials]
    • Signs 1948
  • Box-folder 6-14
    Sj-So
    • South Point, Ohio 1942
  • Box-folder 6-15
    Sp-Sz
    • Speedwell Branch 1937, n.d.
    • Steel storage tanks, painting of 1936
    • Stepp, Alice and David v. Norfolk & Western Railway 1950
    • Streamliner 1946
  • Box-folder 7-1
    Ta-Th
    • Talbot Spiral 1930
    • Telephone companies 1911
  • Box-folder 7-2
    Ti-Tn
    • Timber 1929-1932, n.d.
    • Tinker Creek Spur (proposed 1946
  • Box-folder 7-3
    To-Tt
    • Town Hill Branch 1923-1940
    • Tracks 1920-1947
    • Trestle, Coal (proposed for Southern Chair & Novelty Corporation) 1929
  • Box-folder 7-4
    Tua-Tum
    • Tug Fork Branch 1924-1944
    • Tug River 1923-1944, n.d.
    • Tug River and Kentucky Railroad n.d.
  • Box-folder 7-5
    Tun-Tz
    • Tunnels 1908-1948
      [2 folders]
SERIES II. PERSONAL PAPERS 1911-1945
  • Box-folder 8-1
    Aa-As
    • Alcohol, Brewing 1920-1921, n.d.
    • Alumni Association, Virginia Polytechnic Institute 1920-1930
    • American Society of Civil Engineers 1922-1931
  • Box-folder 8-2
    At-Az
    • Atwood, Thomas v. Weyanoke Coal & Coke Company 1926
    • Automobile (Hupmobile) 1914-1931, n.d.
  • Box-folder 8-3
    B
    • Banks (First National Bank of Narrows) 1920-1927, n.d.
  • Box-folder 8-4
    Ca-Cl
    • Camping supplies 1920-1921, n.d.
    • Chickens 1925-1931, n.d.
    • Cigars 1919-1928
  • Box-folder 8-5
    Cm-Cz
    • Coal 1917-1931
  • Box-folder 8-6
    D-E
    • Electricity 1923
  • Box-folder 8-7
    F
    • French, Matthew monument 1931
    • Furnace 1926-1930
    • Furnishings 1919-1928
  • Box-folder 8-8
    G
    • Giles County Game & Fish Protective Association 1928-1931
    • Giles County magisterial districts 1945
    • Givens, French 1928
  • Box-folder 8-9
    H
    • Health and medicine 1917-1929
    • Home and farm 1916-1932, n.d.
  • Box-folder 8-10
    I-K
    • Insurance 1916-1931, n.d.
    • Jones, C. C. farm 1930
    • Kress Mail Order Stores 1918-1919
  • Box-folder 8-11
    La-Ln
    • Lloyd, E. C. (trance reading) 1911
  • Box-folder 8-12
    Lo-Lz
    • Lodges, Fraternal 1925-1932, n.d.
      [3 folders]
  • Box-folder 8-13
    M
    • Montgomery Ward 1917-1934
      [3 folders]
  • Box-folder 9-1
    N-O
    • Narrows, Virginia 1928-1930
    • Neal, J. Y. 1926-1929
    • Nelson Hardware 1924-1930
  • Box-folder 9-2
    P-Q
    • Paint and painting 1924-1931
    • Postal service - Narrows, Virginia 1920
  • Box-folder 9-3
    Ra-Rd
    • Rent 1916-1922
    • Roadmasters' and Maintenance of Way Association of America 1921-1922
    • Roofing 1919-1926
  • Box-folder 9-4
    Sa-Sea
    • Sears, Roebuck & Company 1919-1926
      [2 folders]
  • Box-folder 9-5
    Seb-Sz
    • Suits 1920-1931, n.d.
  • Box-folder 9-5
    T-U
    • Taxes 1918-1930
    • Telephone companies 1911
  • Box-folder 9-7
    V
    • Virginian Railway 1917-1930
  • Box-folder 9-8
    W-Z
    • Water service (Roanoke) n.d.
OVERSIZE MATERIALS 1881-1957, n.d.
Oversize Folder: 1
  • Bluefield, West Virginia - J. B. Higginbotham purchase and Joseph Davison option 1881
  • Buchanan Branch n.d.
  • Columbus, Ohio - signal arrangement map 1950
  • Columbus, Ohio - joint double track with Pennsylvania Railroad 1930
  • Columbus, Ohio - proposed additional track at Reed Avenue Yard 1949
  • Drainage complaint of A. S. Graham, Frank Johnson et al 1942
    [2 pieces]
  • Eel River Mining Company - mine track layout 1957
  • Elkhorn Tunnel 1947
    [3 items]
  • Engine tonnage ratings by district 1941
  • Engineering department - organization chart 1937
  • Fencing - Lamberts Point, Virginia 1924
  • Fencing (7-foot cyclone) 1939
  • Fire doors (Franklin horizontal) - plans 1908-1909
    [2 items]
  • Foill, Frederick - drainage complaint 1947
  • Gay Mining Company - proposed siding 1941
  • Givens, Ray - flood damage claim 1948
  • Gondola car, Drop bottom (with fixed ends) - plans 1900
  • Hamill Coal Corporation siding (proposed) 1944
  • Haverhill Site n.d.
  • Honaker Branch 1948
    [2 items]
  • Lewis Creek Branch 1916
  • Mud Fork dam (proposed) 1908
  • Narrows Branch - elevation 1943
  • Narrows Branch - territory in vicinity of 1942-1946
    [3 items]
  • Narrows, Virginia 1913-1947
    [8 items]
  • Narrows, Virginia - Hale Lot 1913
    [3 items]
  • Narrows, Virginia - Hale Realty Corporation 1936
  • Narrows, Virginia - Samuel Johnson property 1920
  • Narrows, Virginia - Union Tanning Company n.d.
  • Narrows, Virginia - Virginian Railway Company line and lands 1925
  • New River, Holston & Western Railroad - right-of-way and track 1916-1933
    [4 items]
  • New River, Holston & Western Railroad connecting line (proposed) 1916
    [4 items]
  • Norfolk, Virginia - railroads in vicinity 1933
  • North Carolina extension 1933
  • Passenger station (standard first class) - plans 1910
  • Pearisburg, Virginia - Perkins' administrator v. Walker D. Hines 1919
  • Petersburg, Virginia - joint operation of connecting track with Atlantic Coast Line Railroad 1947
  • Pocahontas Coal & Coke Company - coal territory tributary to Guyandot River 1927
  • Portsmouth, Ohio - flood protection 1940
  • Radford Arsenal - siding facilities 1946
  • Reed Island Branch 1941
    [2 items]
  • Reed Island Branch - Speedwell extension 1933
  • Sargents, Ohio - drainage conditions n.d.
  • Sawtooth trackage 1928
  • Shelton, J. H. v. Norfolk & Western Railway 1910
  • Sidings, Oil - standard protection of 1936
  • Southwest Virginia - tributary to the lines of the Norfolk & Western Railroad 1893
    [2 pieces]
  • Tinker Creek spur (proposed) 1949
    [2 items]
  • Trestles - standard plans 1891
  • Tulip to Oakvale double-track n.d.
  • Unidentified track elevation n.d.
  • Wilcoe Yard n.d.