Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Family, April 5, 1864

In this letter from April 5, 1864, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family describing his tiresome travel from Grinnell, Iowa via stage and discusses his coming work.

In the spring of 1864, three field parties were organized for the purpose of continuing the explorations and experimental surveys in the mountains west of the second division of one hundred miles west of the initial point fixed by the President of the United States. The parties designated for experimental surveys were placed respectively in charge of Mr. Jas. A. Evans, Mr. F. M. Case and Mr. Samuel B. Reed, division engineers. In March 1864 Mr. Reed started from Omaha for Salt Lake City, to locate the most feasible route for the road through the Rocky Mountains. He was provided with letters to General Connors, the Military Commander there and to Brigham Young, the Mormon prophet, asking their aid in the work.

I arrived in this crowded busy little city Sunday morning, after a tiresome ride from Grinnell via the Western Stage. The journey was slow and tiresome and I was glad to get to bed and sleep. We are waiting for news from New York before starting for the plains. I learn from Mr. Young of Salt Lake City, that the country I have to explore is comparatively well settled and that there will be no danger in traveling the whole country in any direction. Mr. Young is quite intelligent and has come east this spring to pilot the train of emigrants expected from Europe in June across the plains to the great Salt Lake City. He regrets not being able to accompany me this season on my survey. They all feel a great interest in the construction of the road and will extend to me every facility in their power to help forward the work. This town and surrounding country is full of people going to the gold fields seeking their fortune or to escape the possibility of a draft.

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: April 5, 1864