What was up with Fred Fogg?
I've been re-reading the common Maine two foot books, or more so, reading between the lines. Bob Jones' books, Crittenden's book, etc. There are subtle lines of potential connection that are not directly called out in the books. Note that as of now, I've not done any original research, though I've talked to Linda and she plans to do some, as she's interested in the topic.
Fred Fogg shows up many times thoughout a certain period of Maine two foot history. Though each is handled as stand-alone occurrences by our go-to books, there may be a theme to this man when one considers his interaction linearly. I have some reason to think he may be the man who actually got the W&Q built.
Mr. Fogg showed up as a principal player in the Franklin & Megantic Railroad in the 1880's. Clerk, passenger and freight agent, conductor, etc. He was credited as a lawyer, partnering with Phillip Stubbs out of Strong. Fair enough.
Next, in the early 1890's, he is practicing out of Waterville and is George Crosby's lawyer. He helps make the connection between Crosby and the W&Q principals at the time, when Crosby subscribes to $100K of stock. Many of Crosby's associates are apparently talked into subscribing, maybe as much as an additional $50k or so. As one of Crosby's associates, he subscribes to $5K worth of W&Q stock. Fogg is also heavily promoting the Farmington connection, even before the W&Q is built.
Crosby is relieved of his subscription liability on the basis that he was owed substantial wages for his activities in promoting and managing the railroad for a brief period of time. Following this- Fogg does the same thing for his $5K.
Next: In an 1896 director's meeting, Fred Fogg, as general counsel, forces then-president Rundlett (an old Wiscasset head), as well as a general management shakeup, on account of the poor financial condition. We're led to believe he felt the financial problems were the root cause of Fogg's concern, and he squarely blamed mismanagement on the part of Rundlett (and a few others, including treasurer Patterson) for these problems. Fogg got his way, and ended up as General Manager.
All of that is straight out of Bob Jones' books. Crittenden's "The Maine Scenic Route" tells us that the F&M was a financial failure, on account of over-ambitious expectations of its promoters.
Now- between the lines.
Fogg was a promoter of the F&M. Right around when things weren't looking good, he bailed.
Fogg plainly was interested, and believed in the two foot gauge concept. He plainly had thought of joining the Franklin County system to the Wiscasset effort even before the W&Q got built, likely with Phillip Stubbs and others. It seems likely that it was Fogg who suggested and pushed the use of two foot gauge, first to George Crosby, and ultimately to the W&Q directors. Crosby is credited with estimating the cost of the W&Q to Burnham at $300K. How would he know? With Fogg's experience at the F&M, was that Fogg's estimate?
The choice of two foot gauge made the project reachable, when combined with Crosby's $100k. Fogg was in the right place, with the right background, to realize that and weave a web that made it happen. Thus- Fogg may really be the man who got the W&Q built (as opposed to Crosby). In such a case, Crosby certainly would get credit for being receptive; this is consistent with Boston "money" being receptive to the narrow gauge concept in general.
Next, Crosby, Fogg, and others don't pay their subscriptions, which in turn apparently sink the company. As such, what business did Fogg have blaming Captain Rundlett for the mess, when Fogg was such a party to the loss of expected income?
Why did Crosby promise $100k, which has been calculated at half his net worth?
Another between the lines: did Crosby and Fogg never plan to pay their subscription? Did they promise to pay in order to get the railroad built, then knowing the lack of income would crash the company, plan to come in a pick up the pieces? This would amount to a free railroad, which if coupled with the planned connection to the Sandy River, would become a real money maker (or so they thought).
I don't like to be this negative, and if Fred Fogg indeed put the pieces together to get the railroad built, I don't want to see him branded in a negative light. I can't envision a happier explanation of his lack of paying his subscription, combined with forced near-complete takeover of the road's management. Maybe he was just frustrated.
Anyway, if I've gotten some of the facts wrong, especially directly out of the books, I apologize and am open to correction. I'm busy with plate flangers and boiler components and Easter ops and and and. This is just a fascination I've gained lately; I've made a habit of staying up past bedtime, quietly so as to not wake anyone, re-reading these passages and trying to draw straight lines.
Discussion is welcome!