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Selling Shares of the Bytown & Prescott Railway

On September 28, 1850, with their certificate of incorporation in hand, the promoters of Bytown started to organize.  Stock books would be opened for share subscriptions in Bytown, Kemptville, Prescott, and Ogdensburg.  A provisional committee of the leading citizens of Bytown was formed to canvas for stock subscriptions, to petition the different municipalities along the railway line for financial support, and to generally promote the venture.
Concurrently, the committee petitioned the Town of Bytown to subscribe for £15,000 (about $60,000) in shares of the railway company.  The municipality obliged and on October 15, 1850, By-Law #44 was passed authorizing the purchase of £15,000 worth of shares through the issuance of £15,000 worth of 20 year debentures at 6% interest (more on these debentures later).  A majority of the ratepayers ratified this bylaw on October 19.  From the Bytown end, the B&O was off to a good start - or so it seemed. 
At the Prescott end, a meeting was held on November 9, 1850 at Brady's Hall and a resolution was passed requesting the Town of Prescott to subscribe to £7,500 ($30,000) worth of shares in the railway.  On December 10, the Prescott and Bytown delegations met halfway at the Kemptville Town Hall and a 12 man delegation was formed to solicit more subscriptions in Kemptville, Smiths Falls, and Merrickville.
A further meeting was held at Gilman's Hotel in Prescott on December 28 to promote the line and the subscription book for the sale of shares was opened.  A 22 man delegation was formed to solicit subscriptions in Prescott and the surrounding countryside.  Things were well under way.  It was now time to engage a qualified engineer to oversee the location and construction of the line.  Who could the promoters get to undertake this task?


Bytown & Prescott 4-4-0 "Ottawa" #3, at Ottawa, Ont circa 1861.  Built by Boston Locomotive Works in 1854, this was the second locomotive used on the B&P.  A scale model is at the Ottawa Train Station.  Courtesy National Archives of Canada C-005288