The Tennessee state legislature on Jan. 28, 1852, granted a charter for the Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville Railroad. The charter, in part read:

That said company shall have power to unite with any company that may be chartered by the legislature of the State of Kentucky, for the construction of a rail road from Louisville , or some suitable point on the line of the Nashville and Louisville railroad, to the boundary line of the State of Tennessee, to unite with the rail road from Memphis as aforesaid, and to consolidate said two railroads, and the stock of the two companies so as to make one rail road and one company, in such manner and upon such terms as said company may deem best.

It also stipulated:

That said company shall have power to extend said rail road across the Tennessee and Kentucky line, so as to connect with any railroad that may be built by the State of Kentucky or her citizens, from any point on the Nashville and Louisville rail road, so as to form one connected continued road from Memphis by Clarksville, to the point of intersection with the Nashville and Louisville rail road in the direction towards Russellville and Bowling Green, Kentucky, or beyond these towns if necessary, to the point of junction with the Nashville and Louisville rail road.

The legislature gave railroad officials “ten years to complete said road, and five years to complete that part of said road from Clarksville to the Kentucky line, or to the junction with the Louisville and Nashville rail road on to the city of Louisville.”

Click here to read the full Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville Railroad charter.