Letter from Artemus J. Mathewson to Samuel B. Reed, April 13, 1865

In this letter from April 13, 1865, Artemus J. Mathewson writes to Samuel Reed describing a taxing visit to New York , during which he was required to draw and shade profiles of the work done on the railroad the previous summer in the mountains of Utah. He notes that he repaired some of Reed's survey tools, and asks Reed to write a letter on his behalf to Thomas C. Durant requesting reimbursement for the "expense of the luxury" of room and board Mathewson incurred during his illness in Utah. He tells Reed he is uncertain that he will be able to accompany him "out on that miserable desert" for the next season's work.

6-2-35-7 Apl 13 1865 A.J. Mathewson good
Lockport. Will Co. Ills April 13: 1865.
S.B. Reed. Div. Eng.
U. Div. U.P.R.R. Omaha

Dear Sir

I returned from N.Y. a few days since — last Sunday at 11. o'clock P.M. and thought I would rest a day or two and then come down and see you — but after looking about me a little, soon found that I had been away so long that every thing [sic] appeared to be 'sixes and sevens' as they say — and that it was better I should write you, and ask you to come up and see me than for me to neglect my business longer: so I wrote you and in a few days recd a note from Mrs. Reed, saying you had started for Omaha.

I regretted this very much as I desired particularly to see you.

You recollect when you left, it was supposed I could leave in about 3. days. That time passed, and then 3. more, and then they wanted a tracing of Evans' work and Case's and ours. So I set to work and fixed it up — then, in the mean time [sic] Col Seymour & self had put up all the profiles — and after they had been put up they had to be shaded — a thing which should have been done before they were put up. But after all, they looked very plain and distinct to the eye, and it was much better than having them numbered unrolled every time they wanted to exhibit them. They all appeared to be well satisfied with what had been done last sumer [sic] by you over there in the M.ts and especially with your thorough examinations of the M.t. passes. They had me shade the timber, and show where the deserts were, by small dots indicating barren land. This set off the map well.

I brot [sic] your scale & have ground up your dividers so they are very nice again. My stay in N.Y. was miserably long — and I was very lonesome until Mr. Evans returned again, which was only a few days before I left, and on my return found my family all well but regretted at my disappointing them so many times by saying I should start on such, or such a day for home when they would look for me, but I did not come. My 'babies' were pretty glad to get me back I assure you, for they really shed tears — acting which neither of them has ever done by my punishing them — for they have never been whipped by me.

I send by express your map of Gr. S. Lake which I made in Omah for you one year since — also send your scale drawing pen and dividers.

Took your envelope of seeds and overhauled my own bag of seeds, and have got them all ready to send down to Mrs. Reed.

Shall send your instruments by Express in the morning.

They did not have any papers or instructions to send by me to you, and of course I did not bring them.

It is uncertain if I go out this year — for in the first place they may not need my services — and in the next place, I am admonished of the effect of an alkali desert on my health — for I suffered some on that score last year — and now, this reminds me of what I must say to you before I forget it.

I spoke to Col Seymour about my being sick and the expense of the luxury. He said I had better get you to make a statement now to the Mr. Durant, and he presumed he would fix it all right, but the statement should, or had better come, through you. All right I told him — and now, will you do so? You can state the time, or nearly so, that I was sick — and the expense = my board was just 4 1/2 Dolls to fix it up — the board bill I mean. Now, can you recommend them pay me this sum back? They aught [sic] to do so.

When I rest over one year if they will give me something to do next I would like it — or this year if they put me where I can stand it.

Tell Mr. [Schimmons Ri] that instead of sending the seeds to him this Spring, I had thought best to put them into my neighbor's conservatory and have his gardner [sic] bring them out by a hot house process this spring, and when developed, and they go to seed this fall they will save me some seeds which I will then forward him, and the names too, which I am not now able to do — and in the mean time [sic] will forward him a bit of moss agate, finished up.

I would like very well to accompany you again this season — but am too doubtful about being able to stand it out on that miserable desert. If however I do not go, you will certainly not forget to write to one whom you know will feel an interest in getting at least one letter pr. week — and learn the result of what you see. You can well imagine how I shall feel and the interest which I cannot help taking in these expeditions. From last year's experience, would be indicated the fact that from the mouth of Weber Caρon to Bear Riv. or up the Weber & down the Timpanogosto the mouth of Caρon was about the extent of country on our last summer's survey, where I could live and do any work.

If you go to Austin in Nevada Ter. which you very likely will, have the goodness to call on Mr. D. W. Welty who is my brother in law. Mr. W. married Mr. [Sells] sister. I have not seen them for five years and had thought last year to go over there to see them, but could not. They will be pleased to see you. I think Mr. Welty is a mason. I only lack 5. or 6 lbs of being as heavy as I was at Atchison last spring.

When I rest a year I think I could stand it over there again and if I do not go for the R.R. shall go on my own account.

Be sure and call on me on your return. You will find me somewhere round the country — but where I cannot tell.

You will accept my very best wishes for your success and health, and will not fail to kindly remember me to all our friends in Utah.

After you left N.Y. Gov. Reed called at the St. Nicholas and I gave the Gov. a shell agate pin set — Have got one to send to Pres. Young — and this reminds me to ask you to bring me one or two good sized specimens from Duck Lake as I have now parted with the last I have. You had best gather them as you go out, as you may pass there in the night on your way home.

Will you be good enough to make the statement proper to Mr. Durant — and also to obtain these specimens for me? I know you will if you can.

Write me once in a week or ten days anyway.

Yours very truly.
A.J. Mathewson.

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Artemus J. Mathewson to Samuel B. Reed
  • Extent: 2 pages
  • Citation: Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa, Papers of Levi O. Leonard, Box 26, Folder: "Samuel Benedict Reed Correspondence: 1860-1865"
  • Date: April 13, 1865