Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, January 14, 1866

In this letter from January 14, 1866, Samuel Reed writes to his wife describing his busy work finding contractors for construction of the second 100-mile section of the Union Pacific Railroad line. He also describes a compliment given him by an important engineer, who called Reed a "pioneer" of topographical engineering.

Another busy week has passed. I have been very busy in the office contracting for the second hundred miles. Mr. Boyle has all the work on 44 miles. I have drawn all the contracts and most of them are executed. Expect to have to go over the line as far as Fort Kearney.

Mr. Durant is still here and very busy. I have written for Mr. Schimouski and Bissell to come here and do the balance of their work. This does not look like going home very soon, still I would rather remain here than go to the mountains next summer. My time will be fully occupied in closing out my last year's work. I have been instructed to make out estimates and reports to be submitted to Congress.

Col. Simpson of the topographical engineers paid me a very handsome compliment at the lunch on the day of the inspection of the first 40 miles of road. He gave as a toast, to which I was expected to respond, "S. B. Reed, the able, energetic, pioneer engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, who crosses mountains, streams and deserts which have baffled the best engineers of the topographical department of the Government." As speech-making is not my forte, I called on George Francis Train to respond for me which he did in a very hand-some speech and which was loudly cheered.

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed
  • 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: January 14, 1866