Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Family, June 18, 1864

In this letter from June 18, 1864, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family detailing the difficulty of the terrain. In three weeks he has only surveyed 24 miles. Reed also notes the pleasant climate, comments on the price of gold, and describes a few of the men in his party.

Last Thursday I received my first mail bag since leaving Salt Lake City. We have been delayed two days by high water. I sent to Salt Lake for a boat and about the time the team started the river commenced falling and by the time the boat arrived the water had so far receded that we could ford the river and we have not used the boat. My route has thus far been very difficult to survey and in three weeks we have only made twenty four miles. We have just gotten through a very difficult canon and the country ahead for ten miles is much better. The climate here is good. In the middle of the day it is quite warm. The evenings and mornings are quite cool and my beaver robe and shawl are quite comfortable to sleep under. Sunday morning-heavy frost last night, ice as thick as a window glass in the dishes standing out last night. I can eat more at a meal than ever before in my life, and don't care how often the meal occur.

I see by the late papers that gold is at a 200 premium. If so I am working here for $900.00 per year unless my salary is increased, which I have some intimation it might be."

The man that runs the transit, Mr. Perris, is an Englishman and has been an extensive traveler in Europe and Asia also among the islands of the sea. He is intelligent and has a pleasing address. Has one wife and says has no desire for another. Mr. Smith, leveler, is also from old England and is club footed, walks on the ends of his toes. He is intelligent but knows nothing of railroads or railroad engineering but is willing to learn. He is very nervous and if I happen to speak quick it completely upsets him and he can't do anything correctly for an hour afterwards. One wife is all that claims him for a husband. One of my rodmen is deputy sheriff and assistant U.S. assessor. He is a man of general information, quick to adapt himself to anything and would succeed in almost any situation where energy and perseverance only were required. The other rodman, Deacon we call him, is an original genius after his own sort and that is quite unlike anybodies. He is the Jonah of the camp and makes more amusement than all the rest, is ready to give or take a joke, never angry.

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 18, 1864