Letter from Oakes Ames to Thomas C. Durant, January 16, 1869

In this letter from January 16, 1869, Oakes Ames writes to Thomas C. Durant regarding the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad and the need to secure the approval of the government appointed commissioners in order to ensure that bonds for building the road are not withheld. He urges Durant to work with the commissioners, stating "we cannot afford to fight the government now."

Dr Thos C. Durant

Dear Sir,

We have had a hard time here to get our bonds for our completed road and find that the Secy of the Interior claims that we should build on the Central R. line to the head of Echo. That he had accepted their map to that place.

I find that the central claim that they will meet us at the mouth of the Tunnel, and that we cannot go beyond a completed continuous line by the Law of 66.

We have now got commissioners, appointed by the Govt, to go out and decide the line between the end of completed track of the two roads. I would suggest that you conform to our line, ran by Blinckensdefer [sic] , as closely as possible, or we may have our line rejected, and the bonds withheld. If they should do that, we shall have hard work financially, and may be broken down entirely. We cannot afford to fight the Government now, if we can in the future, and as the Govt selected their commissioners, we must treat them properly, and conform to the line made so closely, that our line and road shall be accepted. I hope you will have the road in shape to get 60 miles at least accepted, while the commissioners are out there now.

I was at N. Y. yesterday. Mr. Crane was not in during the day. Money is very hard with them, and the stock holders are raising pro Rata of 80 per cent on their Stock in the Contracting Co. Mr. Crane, I suppose, will attend to yours; some of the Co say they will do their share, if all the rest will. You better write them, that you will do your share. Hope the road is progressing fast and that we shall win our line 1,200 miles of road.

Yours Truly,
Oakes Ames

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Oakes Ames to Thomas C. Durant
  • Extent: 4 pages
  • Citation: Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Papers of Levi O. Leonard, Series II, Box 3, Folder 21 (Ames, Oliver, 1866-1876)
  • Date: January 16, 1869