Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Family, June 4, 1865

In this letter from June 4, 1865, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family describing his preparations to start another survey the following morning. Reed outlines his potential route and notes the inexperience of his crew, as most of his previous group found other employment. He also details an upcoming Indian gathering, featuring all of the tribes in the vicinity of Salt Lake and Brigham Young.

My party are all ready to start tomorrow morning. I shall go out with them and set them to work, then return to the city and go on horseback south about 60 miles to Spanish Fork to explore the country and, if possible, find a practicable route over the Wahsatch Mountains to the valley of the Uintah Mountains where there is less snow in the winter than on the north side, where I ran the line last season. I have but little hopes of finding a practicable route over the Wahsatch range at any place south of my line of last year unless I go at least one hundred and fifty miles south which will take us entirely too far out of a direct line. Mr. Smith, who ran the level for me last season, goes out with the party again. All the balance of my old party have engaged in various occupations, some farming, some in stores, some lumbering, so that nearly all will be new men and totally unacquainted with the business.

This week there is to be a meeting of all the tribes of Indians in the vicinity of Salt Lake and surrounding country on Spanish Fork, 60 miles south, to receive presents and confirm a treaty of peace with the government. President Young, the Indian agent and Military commander of this district, will be present. I hope to get there in time to see the gathering and think I shall if I have good luck in starting my party. There was quite a detachment of soldiers started south yesterday which are bound for the country I wish to explore and I shall be with them most of the time while traveling the mountains in that section of the territory. There is a committee from Congress on their way out here to investigate the affairs of the Overland Stage Co. and Indian difficulties. I don't wish them any harm, but hope they may be corralled by the Indians and kept, as others have been, defending themselves for days without food. They would, no doubt, realize some of the difficulties of traveling on the plains and make a report that would ensure a more effectual protection of the business of this country.

After a 15 day trip exploring the route through the Uintah mountains, Mr. Reed returned to Salt Lake and made a report that there was no hope of finding a line that way. His program for the season being completed he sent to Mr. T. C. Durant for further instructions. As wires were down there was no hope of getting any word in time to do anything this season, Mr. Reed, upon the advice of Brigham Young decided to run a line west of Salt Lake. This he worked on until well into November, being provided with a military escort from Camp Douglas.

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: June 4, 1865