Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Family, August 17, 1869

In this letter from August 17, 1869, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family describing a lawsuit brought by Captain Davis, a tie contractor, against the Union Pacific Railroad. Reed supports Davis, another victim of Thomas Durant's interference during construction.

Another day has passed and not much done. Tomorrow there will be a meeting of the Board of Directors of the company, the first we have had since my arrival—all others have been meetings of the contractors' board. After tomorrow's meeting I hope my stay here may be limited.

The company are doing all they can to raise means to meet all their paper as it comes due—so far they have done so and will continue to pay all their liabilities as they come due. Yesterday I had a long talk with Mr. Ames and other gentlemen connected with him in Boston, about the Davis claim. First in regard to the Piedmont and Tie Siding material in the woods. I made this statement which you may show Captain Davis if you see him.

That he was ordered by T. C. Durant, in June or July, 1869, to furnish all the ties and timber necessary to complete the road west of the Ames contract, at prices to be fixed hereafter. In accordance with such instructions Davis put a large force of men and teams at work and made and delivered a large amount of material previous to November and had in the woods at that time a large amount not delivered which would all have been hauled out or piled in lots where it could be got at during the winter if his teams had not been taken by T. C. Durant's order to distribute material along the line. Consequently his ties and timber were buried under the snow and could not be gotten at until after the road was finished; and new ties had to be made to keep the track layers at work.

In regard to the material up the Laramie, North Platte and Green Rivers and other places, I told them that I had had no positive orders in regard to them, but I understood that T. C. Durant had ordered them to put forces in on the Platte and Green Rivers and make and deliver material from those points and keep the force on the Laramie after the first contract was closed. That Davis did send large forces to these places and made ties and attempted to run them down the rivers, but on account of the extreme low water, it was impossible to get them down last season and that the road was finished before they could be delivered in the spring. They asked me for the information which I gave and I think it will put a new phase on the Davis question. Mr. Ames has invited me to go home with him this evening which I intend to do, General Dodge is expected here this evening.

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Family
  • Citation: Nebraska State Historical Society, Samuel Reed Papers (Union Pacific Railroad Collection), MS 3761, Unit 1, Subgroup 14, Series 1, Box 2, Letters to Wife and Family
  • Date: August 17, 1869