Dear Ms. Burns,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
Several states passed Granger Laws in the 1860s and early 1870s which attempted to regulate the prices charged to farmers by railroad companies and grain elevator companies. To access records concerning these state laws contact the state archives for the states that you are researching.
Illinois’ Granger laws were challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court in Munn v. Illinois (1887) and Wabash v. Illinois (1886). We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Appellate Jurisdiction Case Files, 1792 - 2015 in the Records of the Supreme Court of the United States (Record Group 267) which should include files relating to these cases. These records are in the custody of the National Archives in Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1). To access these records, please contact RDT1 via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to the decision in the Wabash case, in 1887 Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act which created the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to regulate railroads. We searched the National Archives Catalog for records relating to rates between 1880 and 1919 and located 19 record series from the Records of the Interstate Commerce Commission (Record Group 134). We also located a series titled General Correspondence, 1906 - 1975 in the Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture (Record Group 16) that includes records related to Grain Storage and for Grain Prices. Plus, we located a series titled Records Relating to a Study of Freight Rates and Agricultural Prices, 1921 - 1921 in the Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (Record Group 83) that might contain data from earlier dates. These records are in the custody of the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2). To access these records please contact RDT2 via email at email@example.com.
In addition, we suggest that you also contact the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD as they may have relevant reference material.
We searched online and located the article “The Economics of American Farm Unrest, 1865-1900,” by James I. Stewart that lists references at the end which may be useful in your research. We also located an 1892 article on JSTOR entitled “The Price of Wheat Since 1867” which includes information on average freight rates on wheat between 1862 and 1891 and other factors affecting wheat prices, as well as multiple other articles regarding grain and railroad rates and grain elevator rates. There may be a fee for accessing the JSTOR articles; however, you may access JSTOR for free via the Archives Library Information Center (ALIC) at any National Archives location. Some public and university libraries also provide free access to JSTOR for their patrons.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!