Letter from Danforth H. Ainsworth to Samuel B. Reed, June 16, 1865

In this letter from June 16, 1865, Danforth H. Ainsworth writes to Samuel Reed describing the progress of the Union Pacific Railroad construction in and around Omaha, Nebraska. He states that unwillingness on the part of the President and the Secretary of the Interior to approve a change of the line to Mud Creek caused quite a bit of excitement in Omaha, noting that "the Omahas were pretty thoroughly frightened, and for a few days Bellevue stock had an upward tendency." Ainsworth also tells Reed that he wrote to Mrs. Reed to tell her "she might consider you beyond danger from indians, at least on your trip to Salt Lake."

S B Reed Esqr

My dear friend;

I received your letter of 29 [alt], only yesterday, and really I must confess that it had not occurred to me that a letter might be on its way to you even before you had reached your destination, and then give you a report from as near the states as this, many days after you left us. I thought of you often during your long stage journey and you may be assured with no envy, but a heart full of sympathy. Mr. House had Mr. Schimonsry's amusing account of ferrying the Platte with all its mishaps.

I took the liberty when your coach was supposed to have reached [Deave] of writing to Mrs. Reed, that as no news was considered good news, as long as the telegraph was in order, she might consider you beyond danger from indians, at least on your trip to Salt Lake. Mr. Evans has been quite unfortunate, considering all things, and he really seemed almost disheartened before he left. We got orders May 26 to draw for [friends] and his party was ready to move Monday 29.

On Friday (26) Mr. Evans shot himself through one of the fingers of his left hand, fracturing the bone badly, though the pistol ball was quite small.

On account of this mishap he thought best to start Mr. Case with party, and they left on Tuesday May 30, but only to return the following Friday on account of not being able to cross the Platte. They passed through to the Bluffs en route to Plattsmouth. Mr. Evans only left last Tuesday evening, expecting to overtake his party at Kearney. During the past two weeks Omaha has been the scene of a good deal of excitement, and the people have been a good deal exercised on acct of various orders rcd by Mr. House and myself. Last Sunday, a week, I rcd a dispatch to make survey immediately from nearest point on Mud Creek line to river at Bellevue, and Mr. House received orders to stop all work this side of junction, [Beimettyer] and all, and even to move force to Bellevue line. The work was stopped accordingly, though no force was put at work on Bellevue line before it was finally decided to resume operations here and on Mud Creek line.

The Omahas were pretty thoroughly frightened, and for a few days Bellevue stock had an upward tendency. Some cargoes of iron were even started for Bellevue though I think nothing was unloaded there, except some of Boomer's bridge timber.

The trouble was all on account of unwillingness of Prest and Secry of Interior to approve change of line to Mud Creek.

I doubt whether any permanent buildings are ever built here, and possibly crossing point of Missouri line may be near Bellevue. I do not understand that the Mud Creek line has been accepted by Prest & Secry of Interior but work was resumed because because [sic] that was at the quickest way of getting track to Platte valley.

Mr. Boyle has both of his boys with him though Peter is only on visit, and returns home next week.

I received a letter from Mrs. Reed about a week ago, and all were well at that time, though I presume you will have receiv'd much later news from home when this reaches you.

I shall be pleased to hear from you as often as you can make it convenient to write, and will be glad to know of your progress.

With regards to Mr. Schimonsry and Mr. Bissell, Truly your friend
DH Ainsworth

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Danforth H. Ainsworth to Samuel B. Reed
  • Extent: 4 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: June 16, 1865