W. T. Eldridge
At Right: 1898 Cane Belt Stock Certificate Issued to Perry Clarke
Cane Belt Railroad Company Timeline
+ March 10, 1898: A group of Eagle Lake businessmen - including William Dunovant and William T. Eldridge - chartered the Cane Belt Railroad headquartered in Eagle Lake. Dunovant was president and Eldridge vice-president. The line was to commence from Lakeside (about one mile southeast of downtown Eagle Lake) and proceed 10 miles south to Bonus, Texas, where Dunovant had a large plantation.
+ November 11, 1898: Initial construction under way, and the Cane Belt purchased one mile of track from the Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio Railway Co. from Eagle Lake to Lakeside in order to connect with that road.
+ Summer 1899: Cane Belt charter amended to extend line north to Sealy and south to the gulf coast.
+ In 1900, the railroad was completed northward to Sealy and as far south as Wharton, and the Cane Belt agreed to build through Bay City, Texas.
January 1899 Houston Post
Cane Belt #5 at Houston TX, 1905
+ May 28, 1900: Official from Quintana, Texas reports that Dunovant signed contract to extend Cane Belt Railroad to that city.
+ July 1, 1901: Cane Belt reaches Bay City, TX and receives bonus from estate of Abel Head "Shanghai" Pierce.
+ 1902: Jonathan Lane becomes president of the Cane Belt RR. An ongoing feud between Dunovant and Eldridge resulted in a buy out of Dunovant's Cane Belt stock and dissolution of his partnership with Eldridge.
+ 1902: Cane Belt constructs "Bonus Loop" to Garwood
+ January 1903: Cane Belt completes route to Matagorda
+ October 1903: Cane Belt sold to AT&SF Ry Co. Leased to Gulf Colorado & Santa Fe subsidiary.
Cane Belt Switch Key
Dallas Morning News