N.D. | Photograph
This is a photograph of the grading camp for the Union Pacific Railroad in the Rocky Mountains.
January 2, 1860
In this letter from January 2, 1860, John R. Boyle writes to Samuel Reed from Iowa City, Iowa discussing the difficulty he is having finding profitable employment in the railroad business. He states that his brother in Massachusetts wrote him that the railroad company there "is very timid in letting their road [as] money is more scarce south than it has been." He writes that he does not believe very much of the road he is currently working on will be built the next summer, and states "I don't hear of a road to be let any place in the country."
January 9, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from January 9, 1860, James Shaw writes to Samuel Reed encouraging him to send samples of trilobite fossils from Joliet, Illinois. He also asks that Reed keep him in mind when he returns to Muscatine, Iowa and gets "among the 'coal plants.'" In return for Reed's efforts, Shaw promises to send him "packages as valuable as you may send me."
January 17, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from January 17, 1860, C.E. Compton writes to Samuel Reed from Washington, Iowa regarding the disposal of some of Reed's land near the railroad track there. He states that others recently received $200.00 for their lots, but notes that they were much more accessible by the railroad than the lots Reed possesses. Compton nonetheless promises to do his best to dispose of Reed's lots for the best possible price.
January 25, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from January 25, 1860, A. O. Patterson writes to Samuel Reed discussing difficulties with the Muscatine branch of the State Bank of Iowa, which Patterson managed along with his partners J. W. Dutton and Reed's good friend Charles H. Abbott. Patterson states that he will have to "commence anew," and tells Reed he wishes he would "sell out & go with me to a warmer country." He also states that he believes a grant to the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad is in danger of being forfeited "on account of not having 75 miles done."
February 26, 1860
In this letter from February 26, 1860, Marion K. McMurphy writes to her brother, Erastus H. Reed, from Pontoosuc, Iowa discussing family news and the prospect of a railroad being built "from Appanoose to the junction or Burlington the coming summer." She states that she hopes the railroad will "make business a little more lively here as it is very dull on account of hard times in getting money."
In this letter from April 1860, L.C. Dillaway writes to Jennie Reed discussing family news and some of the latest women's fashions available in Baltimore stores.
April 13, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from April 13, 1860, Danforth H. Ainsworth writes to Samuel Reed discussing his position in Iowa City, Iowa as resident engineer. He states that he "would like it pretty well if I had only a respectable salary," noting that he had wanted to work on his farm but did not have enough money to "take on the first year's experiments." Ainsworth concludes that he can stand his position so long as it is not often necessary to explain delinquent payments to his suppliers.
April 30, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from April 30, 1860, John R. Boyle writes to Samuel Reed stating that the prospects for railroad work west of Iowa City, Iowa do not look good for the season. He notes that the governor of Missouri vetoed a state bill which had appropriated four or five million dollars "to finish up some of those roads now only part finished," and concludes "R Roading seems to be dead." He asks Reed to let him know if he hears of any work.
May 17, 1860
In this letter from May 17, 1860, Charles H. Abbott writes to Samuel Reed from Chicago recommending an acquaintance for employment as a farm hand. He also notes that "we are having great times here" on account of the Republican National Convention. He teases Reed about his support of Stephen A. Douglas, writing "come up and be converted to the true Republicans of /76 or will you wait to take the chances of the Little Giant at Baltimore."
July 6, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from July 6, 1860, Charles H. Abbott writes to Samuel Reed discussing the completion of the harvest and the prices of crops. He states that he heard Reed "had a great time at the Douglass celebration at Joliet [Illinois]," and teases him about the fact that the Joliet state prisoners also strongly supported Douglas in a mock election.
August 20, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from August 20, 1860, Thomas M. Isett and William C. Brewster write to Samuel Reed seeking his opinion of a business proposition made to them by the Keokuk and Des Moines Valley Railroad.
September 17, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from September 17, 1860, former Democratic governor of Illinois Joel A. Matteson writes a recommendation for Samuel Reed to take with him while he is in the South. Matteson states that he worked under Reed's direction in the past and writes "should any person want the services of an engineer of great experience they can find no person of better capacity to do any thing in his profession."
September 19, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from September 19, 1860, John Wilkinson, rector of Christ Church in Joliet, Illinois, writes to the Reverend Doctor Lord of Vicksburg, Mississippi introducing Samuel Reed to his "pastoral care." He states that Reed "contemplates passing the winter in your city."
September 21, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from September 21, 1860, Samuel Reed writes to his wife informing her that he has arrived in Cairo, Illinois. He notes the poor state of crops there and offers a brief description of the landscape, characterizing it as "the most forbiding looking place I have seen in the west." He tells her that he and John R. Boyle will travel to Memphis by railroad that morning, and then proceed to Vicksburg, Mississippi by river.
September 25, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from September 25, 1860, Julia B. Abbott writes to Jennie Reed, wife of Samuel Reed, discussing various family news. She notes that she attended the anniversary exercises at the Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts and enjoyed it very much. Among those "celebrities" she saw and heard were Professor Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher.
October 3, 1860
In this letter from October 3, 1860, Samuel Reed writes to his wife informing her that he has returned from his trip into the South. He tells her the engineer who promised him and John R. Boyle work was mistaken about the time it would be available and they do not know yet whether they will get it. He describes the wealth present in Vicksburg, Mississippi and states that he found it "very comfortable to have all the help wanted about a place and to feel that they are stationary and will not leave if any fault is found with them." He describes the slaves as "contented and happy," noting that they are better dressed than the laboring classes of the North. He also notes that Stephen A. Douglas is to speak in Chicago "and there will be a gathering of the people that will make the black Republicans quil in their shoes."
October 18, 1860
In this letter from October 18, 1860, William H. Seevers writes to Thomas M. Isett and William C. Brewster regarding the sale of their land near Oskaloosa, Iowa for right-of-way and depot ground. He states that although the exact location of the railroad depot has yet to be determined, there is a strong probability "that it will go on our land" and asks them to send the necessary paperwork.
October 22, 1860
In this letter from October 22, 1860, William H. Seevers continues his discussion with Thomas M. Isett and William C. Brewster regarding the sale of their land near Oskaloosa, Iowa for railroad use, stating that "the depot will no doubt be located this week."
October 26, 1860 | Letter
In this letter from October 26, 1860, Chester Weed writes to Samuel Reed regarding the possible sale of right-of-way and depot ground near Oskaloosa, Iowa to the Mahaska County Railroad Company. Weed states he would like to be sure they get the most possible out of the land, but does not want "our interest so tied up that we can't give right of way to the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad if they ever want it." He asks Samuel Reed to go out to Oskaloosa as soon as possible and see to the situation, as he is much better acquainted with the "lay of the land."