McConnel, the Northern Cross and Scandal

When it comes to scandals, Illinois has been at the forefront. Thus, it comes as no surprise that charges of unethical conduct, fraud and larceny would stain the planning and construction of the state’s first railroad, the Northern Cross.

Rather than entrust internal improvement projects to private enterprise, the legislature decided on state control. The Board of Public Works and Fund Commissioners was created to oversee internal improvements. Commissioner Murray McConnel of Jacksonville was given charge of the project.

It wasn’t long before charges of malfeasance, fraud and incompetence were leveled at McConnel and Commission President William Kinney. A joint Illinois House and Senate Board of Public Works and Fund Commissioners Investigation was launched in 1838. &nbsp;&nbsp;<ahref=""><spanstyl... 13px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.</span></a></p>