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Biographical Sketch of Luther C. Challis

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Perhaps Luther C. Challis, nearly forty years a citizen of Atchison, is best known as a pioneer railroad man. He was born in New Jersey January 26, 1829, and for some years before moving West was engaged in business in Philadelphia and Boonville, Missouri. In 1855 he located in Atchison and joined his brother as one of the first merchants of that town. He afterward became a banker, and maintained a profitable ferry across the Missouri River until the building of the bridge in 1875. Mr. Challis was elected to a seat in the Territorial Council of 1857-58, made vacant by the resignation of Joseph P. Carr in January, 1858. He is generally conceded to be the father of the Central Branch of the Union Pacifie Railroad, having framed the bill to authorize its construction, secured its passage, and negotiated the treaty with the Kickapoo Indians for securing its right-of-way through their territory. Mr. Challis was also one of the incorporators of the Atchison & St. Joseph Railway, the first railroad built in the state, and one of the founders of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. He died in Atchison, July 26, 1894.

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