Commonly Called the Joint Companies
Riding the national trend toward internal improvements that was reflected in numerous turnpike and canal-building ventures, on February 4, 1830 the New Jersey legislature separately incorporated both the Delaware and Raritan Canal Company and the Camden and Amboy Railroad and Transportation Company. Private funds underwrote both enterprises and spared the fiscally conservative state from being directly involved in potentially risky undertakings. Both charters contained a clause that prohibited rival companies from constructing a canal or a railroad within a specified distance. The railroad company was required to pay transit duties to the state, and an act of February 4, 1831, authorized the transfer of one thousand shares of stock to the state. In order to avoid ruinous competition, on February 15 another law, the so-called “Marriage Act,” authorized the consolidation of the two companies’ stock. Thus was created the entity “commonly called the Joint Companies.” Another act of March 2, 1832 guaranteed the Joint Companies’ monopoly of the New York-Philadelphia traffic, and gave the state an additional one thousand shares of stock. Other pioneer railroads chartered in 1831–1832 were the Paterson and Hudson River Railroad, which ran from Paterson to Jersey City, and the New Jersey Railroad, which ran from Jersey City to New Brunswick. The Camden and Amboy’s first locomotive, the John Bull, which was imported from England, made its trial run on November 12, 1831; by the fall of 1833 it was making regular runs between Bordentown and South Amboy. The Joint Companies eventually acquired ownership or interests in steamboats, ferries, stage lines, turnpikes, and bridge companies, as well as other railroads. By 1871, the Joint Companies (renamed the United Companies) owned, leased, or controlled more than four hundred and fifty miles of track in the state.
John Bull locomotive, built in England by Robert Stephenson for Robert L. Stevens.
John Bull locomotive, built in England by Robert Stephenson for Robert L. Stevens. From: Archibald Douglas Turnbull, John Stevens: An American Record (New York, 1928), facing p. 385. The locomotive depicted is modified from the original imported machine.
An act relative to the Delaware and Raritan Canal and the Camden and Amboy Rail Road and Transportation Companies.
“An Act relative to the Delaware and Raritan Canal and the Camden and Amboy Rail Road and Transportation Companies,” Acts of the Fifty-fifth General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey … Being the Second Sitting (Trenton, 1831). The so-called “Marriage Act” passed February 15, 1831, which authorized the consolidation of the two companies’ stock.
Title page of Acts of the Fifty-fifth General Assembly of the State of New Jersey ... being the second sitting.
Acts of the Fifty-fifth General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey … Being the Second Sitting (Trenton, 1831). The so-called “Marriage Act” passed February 15, 1831, which authorized the consolidation of the two companies’ stock.
N.E. view of New Brunswick, N.J.
“N. E. View of New Brunswick, N.J.” From John W. Barber and Henry Howe, Historical Collections of the State of New Jersey (New York, 1844), following p. 312. Caption: “On the right is seen the Railroad bridge, above which, on an eminence, is seen Rutger’s [sic] College. The Delaware and Raritan Canal, passing along Raritan river, is seen in front of the city.”
Map of the town of Paterson, N.J., compiled from actual surveys / by U. W. Freeman, surveyor, &c.
Map of the Town of Paterson, N.J. Compiled from actual Surveys, by U. W. Freeman, surveyor, &c. &c. [circa 1833] Perhaps the earliest depiction on a map of a rail line (lower right) in New Jersey. Because the Paterson and Hudson River Railroad’s route did not cross the state, it did not conflict with the Camden and Amboy’s monopoly. In 1832, the company built the first railroad drawbridge in the United States across the Passaic River.
Title page of Hear both sides : documents and papers relating to the late Camden and Amboy Railroad accident at Burlington, N.J. : containing an account of the accident, the verdict of the coroner's jury, the Company's report, a review of the Company's report by a "Burlingtonian", and the correspondence between Commodore R. F. Stockton and C. Van Rensselaer.
Hear both Sides. Documents and Papers Relating to the Late Camden and Amboy Railroad Accident, at Burlington, N.J. (Philadelphia, 1855). In addition to this indictment of the Camden and Amboy, the accident generated several published eulogies. The horrendous accident on August 29, 1855, which took twenty-four lives and injured nearly one hundred, provided more ammunition for those attacking the monopoly.