The History Of Utah's Railroads, 1869-1883

By Clarence A. Reeder, Jr.

(Return to Reeder Manuscript Index Page)


Manuscript Material and Court Cases

American Association of Railroads Library, Washington, D. C., Early Railroads of Utah File.

This file contains an assortment of newspaper clippings, railroad Mementos, papers and records. The information pertains to Utah Railroads prior to 1900.

Bancroft Library, Berkeley California, Utah Collection.

―――. Anderson, R. R., Transcript.

―――. History of the Salt Lake City Railroad.

―――. Jennings, William, Transcript.

A good evaluation of the social and cultural benefits the railroad brought to Utah.

―――. Riter, William W., Transcript.

―――. Stanford, Joseph, "Ogden City Historical Sketch."

Brigham Young University Library, Archives and Manuscript Collection.

―――. "Brigham Young Cash Ledger Books," 3 vols.

A Detailed account of the financial activities of Brigham Young as an individual and as Trustee of the L.D.S. Church are found in these records. There are entries for each of the various railroad interests the President had; however, most are not 7omplete.

―――. Little, James A., Manuscript No. 376.

Relates information on the Utah Southern Railroad and the American Fork Railroad.

―――. Smith, Charles, Diary.

The information concerning Corinne contained in this diary is of particular interest.

―――. Smith, Jesse N., Manuscript No. 503. Collection of Utah Railroad material.

L. D. S. Church Historian's Office, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The manuscript collection at the L.D.S. Church Historian's Office contains thousands of letters and papers relating to Utah and Mormon History. The files listed below were of particular value in gathering data for this study.

―――. Edwards, Robert, Railroad Material Collection, Microfilm 4 reels.

A large collection of assorted materials on Utah's and other railroads .

―――. Eldredge, Horace S., Letter File.

The collection includes letters regarding Eldredge's role as trustee for the Utah Central Railroad bonds.

―――. Fox, Jesse, Letter File.

Letters and other documents pertaining to route surveys for several Utah Railroads.

―――. Jennings, William, Letter File.

Miscellaneous letters and documents regarding several Utah railroads that Mr. Jennings had an interest in.

―――. Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saints.

There are about 750 volumes of chronologically arranged newspaper clippings, copies of letters, and other fragmentary bits of history in this set. Railroad enterprises are frequently cited, but almost always the reference is found in more complete form elsewhere.

―――. Little, Feramorz, Letter File.

―――. Little, James T., Letter File.

―――. Riter, William W., Letter File.

Among the letters and papers contained in the file are several pertaining to Mr. Riter's interests in the Salt Lake City, Utah Central, Utah Western and Summit County railroads.

―――. Salt Lake City Railroad, Account Books.

Day-to-day accounting of operation expenses and income. These records begin in 1871 and extend through the period of the study.

―――. Sharp, James, Letter File.

―――. Sharp, John, Letter File,

John Sharp was known as the "Railroad Bishop. " Numerous letters and other records pertaining to his activities on behalf of the various railroads he was associated with are in the collection.

―――. Thatcher, Moses, Letter File.

―――. Utah Central Railroad Company, Account Books, 1871-1880.

The day-to-day financial transactions of the railroad are contained in these books.

―――. Utah Central Railroad Letter File.

Miscellaneous records of the Utah Central Railroad are deposited in this file.

―――. Utah Eastern Railroad, Account Books,

The most valuable part of these records is the list of stockholders in the railroad.

―――. Utah Eastern Railroad, Letter File.

―――. Utah Southern Railroad, Letter File.

―――. Utah Western Railway, Account Books.

―――. Utah Western Railway, Letter File.

―――. Wasatch and Jordan Valley Railroad, Letter File.

―――. Young, Brigham, Letter Books.

An assortment of Brigham Young's letters, documents, notes, financial accounts and other material. Several items pertain to his railroad interests.

―――. Young, Joseph A., Letter File.

―――. Young. John W., Railroad Letter File.

The letters, papers and records that are contained in this large file compose the most valuable single manuscript source for Utah's early railroad history. Of greatest importance is material that pertains to the Utah Central, the Utah Northern, the Utah Western and the Salt Lake City

Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Papers of William West Durant.

Information on the Union Pacific Railroad.

National Archives, Social and Economic Records Division, Records of the General Land Office, Records Group 48.

Separate files for various Utah Railroads contain documents and letters pertaining to chartering and operations.

―――. Social and Economic Records Division, Records of the General Land Office, Records Group 49 , Division, F.

Documents, letters and maps for each railroad chartered in Utah that became operational are found in this collection. Information on each railroad is contained in a separate box.

New York Public Library, Letter, Utah Central Railroad Company to Horace S. Eldredge and Abram O. Smoot, January 1, 1870.

This letter explains issue of Utah Central Railroad bonds; Eldredge and Smoot were trustees for the bonds.

Union Pacific Railroad Company, Omaha, Nebraska, Miscellaneous Letters.

Letters and outline of history of the Utah Central, Utah Southern and Utah Northern Railroads. Much of this material was obtained from Dr. Leonard J. Airington, Utah State University.

Utah Power and Light Company, Salt Lake City Railroad Company, Minute Book.

Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.

There are two groups of materials that were used in this study that are located at the State Archives; these are the Railroad Incorporation Papers and Court Cases Involving Utah Railroads. Both groups provide a great deal of valuable information. Eighty two court cases were located, however, only those which have been referenced in the text of this study appear below.

―――. Railroad Incorporation Papers.

There were at least sixty-one railroads incorporated in the Territory of Utah from March 8, 1869 (when the first Utah railroad was charted) to December 31, 1883. The incorporation papers for all but two of these companies are in separate files in the Archives and provide a wealth of information regarding the organization and plans for these railroads. Some of the basic facts about each railroad have been assembled and appears in Appendix I. A microfilm copy of the Articles of Incorporation for all 250 railroads that have been chartered in Utah is in the possession of the writer.

―――. Bassett v-Utah Western Railroad Company, case 4478, Utah 3rd Dist. (1877).

―――. Bingham Canyon and Camp Floyd Railroad Company v. George Crismon, case 3887, Utah 3rd Dist. (1878).

―――. Cummings v. Wasatch and Jordan Valley Railroad Company, case 3414, Utah 3rd Dist (1878).

―――. Leisenring, et al. v. Utah Western Railroad Company, case 4478, Utah 3rd Dist. (1878).

―――. Noble County National Bank v. Utah Western railroad Company, case 3337, Utah 3rd Dist. (1877).

―――. Patrick v. Wasatch and Jordan Valley Railroad Company, case 3657, Utah 3rd Dist. (1878).

―――. Spackman v. Utah and Pleasant Valley Railroad Company, case 4804, Utah 3rd Dist. (1881).

―――. Union Trust Company v. Summit County Railroad, case 4511, Utah 3rd Dist. (1880).

―――. Union Trust Company v. Utah Northern }railroad, case 3383, Utah 3rd Dist. (1877).

―――. Warner v. Utah Western Railroad Company, case 3338, Utah 3rd Dist. (1877).

―――. Wasatch and Jordan Valley Railroad Company v. George Crismon, case 3886, Utah 3rd Dist. (1878).

―――. Young, Wasatch and Jordan Valley Railroad v. Spackman, case 5210, Utah 3rd Dist. (1882).


The newspapers that were published in Utah during the period of this study are the primary source for providing the day-to-day account of the construction and operations of the railroads that were chartered in the Territory.

Corinne Daily Journal, May 2, - July 30, 1871.

Corinne Daily Mail, September 4, 1874 - October 12, 1875.

Corinne Daily Reporter, November 13, 1871 - October 15, 1873.

Corinne Reporter, April 8, - August 26, 1871.

Daily Corinne Reporter, June 1, - November 11, 1871.

Daily Ogden Junction, September 22, 1873 - January 31, 1880.

Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City), November 21, 1867 - December 31, 1883.

Deseret News (Salt Lake City), October 12, 1865 - January 16, 1884.

L.D.S. Millennial Star (Liverpool, England), January 1864 - December 1883.

Ogden Daily Herald, May 2, 1881 - April 30, 1884.

Ogden Junction, January 1, 1870 - December 30, 1876.

Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 5, 1870 - December 30, 1883.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, December 16, 1868 - December 22, 1869.

This newspaper was published in Ogden between May 14, and July 28, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 15, 1872 - January 27, 1884.

Salt Lake Daily Tribune and Utah Mining Gazette, November 16, 1871 - April 13, 1872.

Utah Mining Gazette (Salt Lake City), August 80, 1873 - August 22, 1874.

Utah Mining Journal (SLC),. June 26, 1872 - March 1, 1873.

Utah Reporter (Corinne), November 2, 1869 - May 31, 1870.

Utah Semi-Weekly Reporter (Corinne), October 16 - 27, 1869.

Dissertations and Theses

Hakola, John William. "Samuel T. Hauser and the Economic Development of Montana: A Case Study in Nineteenth-Century Frontier Capitalism." Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1961.

Chapter IV is a study of the railroad subsidy movement in Montana in which the Utah Northern Railroad was involved.

Jameson, Jesse. "Corinne, A study of a Freight Transfer Point in the Montana Trade, 1869 - 1878." . Unpublished Master thesis, University of Utah, 1951.

Johnson, David F. "The History and Economics of Utah Railroads." Unpublished Master thesis, University of Utah, 1947.

Price, Mildred McClellan. "Building of the Union Pacific Railway." Unpublished Master thesis, Columbia University, 1929.

Rogan, Francis Edward. "Patrick Edward Connor, An Army Officer in Utah 1862 - 1866." Unpublished Master thesis, University of Utah, 1952.

Smith, Franklin A. "Railroads in the Territory of Utah." Unpublished Master thesis, Columbia University, 1943.

Thorum, Reho Francis. "Railroad Development in Utah 1869 - 1879." Unpublished Master thesis, University of Utah, 1936.

Government Documents

U.S. statutes at Large, Vol. XII (1861 - 1863).

―――. Vol. XVI (1869 - 1871).

―――. Vol. XVII (1871 - 1873).

―――. Vol. XVIII (1873 - 1875).

U. S. Congress, Senate, A Bill Granting to the Utah Southern Railroad Company a right of way through the public lands for the construction of a railroad and telegraph, S. 229, 42nd Cong., 1st sess. 1871.

U. S. Congress, Senate, Testimony before the Pacific Railway Commission, S. Exec. Doc. 51, 50th Cong., 1st sess., 1887 - 1888 (9 Vols; Washington, 1888).

The testimony of Jay Gould, John Sharp and others present valuable information on the financing and construction of several Utah Railroads.

U. S. Congressional Globe, 42nd Cong., 2nd sess., pp. 4185, 4331.

Congressional approval of the American Fork Railroad right of way bill.

U. S. Congressional Record, 43rd Cong., lst sess., p. 4323.

Approval of American Fork Railroad right of way.

U. S. Interstate Commerce Commission, Valuation Report, Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company. Valuation Docket No. 960 (1929).

U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission, Valuation Report, Union Pacific Railroad Company, Valuation Docket No. 1060 (1933).

Utah, A Memorial to Congress for the construction of a great national central railroad to the Pacific Coast, Utah Session Laws, 1st sess. (1852).

Utah, A Memorial to Congress in relation to the Pacific Railway, Utah Session Laws, 3rd sess. (1854).

Utah, An Act Incorporating Coalville City, Utah Session laws, 16th sess. (1867).

Utah, An Act providing for the incorporation of railroad companies and the management of the affairs thereof, Utah Session laws, 18th sess. (1869).

Utah, An Act authorizing the Utah Southern Railroad Company to close the State Road at the Point of the Mountain, Utah Session Laws, 20th sess. (1870).

Utah, Resolution Congratulating the President and Directors of the Utah Central Railroad, Utah Session Laws, 19th sess. (1870).

Utah, An Act to amend An Act providing for the incorporation of railroad companies and the management of the affairs thereof, Utah Session Laws, 21st sess. (1874).

Utah, An Act to amend An act providing for the incorporation of railroad companies and the management of the affairs thereof, Utah Session Laws, 23rd sess. (1876).

Guides, Books and Periodicals

Alter, J. Cecil. Utah the Storied Domain. Chicago: The American Historical Society, 1932.

Arrington., Leonard J. Great Basin Kingdom. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958.

―――. "Railroad Building and Cooperatives 1869 - 1879." The History of a Valley. Edited by Joel E. Ricks, assoc. ed., Everett L. Cooley. Logan, Utah: Cache Valley Centennial Commission, 1956.

A short history of the Utah Northern Railroad.

―――. "The Settlement of the Brigham Young Estate, 1877 - 1879." Pacific Historical Review. Vol. XG (19521 pp. 1 - 20.

―――. "The Transcontinental Railroad and the Development of the West." Utah Historical Quarterly. Vol. 37 (1969), pp. 3 - 15.

A discussion of the economic results of the coming of the railroads to the West.

―――. "The Transcontinental Railroad and Mormon Economic Policy." Pacific Historical Review, Vol. XX (May, 1951), pp. 143 - 157.

―――. "Utah's Coal Road in the Age of Unregulated Competition." Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 23 (1955), pp. 35 - 63.

Athearn, Robert G. "Contracting for the Union Pacific." Utah Historical Quarterly. Vol. 37 (1969), pp. 16 - 40.

A discussion of Brigham Young's contract for grading with the Union Pacific.

―――. "Railroad to a Far Off Country." Montana, the Magazine of Western History, Vol. XVIII (Autumn, 1968), pp. 3-23.

A study of Montana's interest in the Utah Northern Railroad.

―――. Rebel of the Rockies. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962.

―――. "Utah and the Coming of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad." Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. 27 (1959), p. 137.

Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Utah. San Francisco: The History Co. 1889.

Beal, Merrill D. Intermountain Railroads, Standard and Narrow Gauge. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1962.

Beebe, Lucius and Clegg, Charles. Narrow Gauge in the Rockies. Berkeley: Howell North Co., 1958.

Bonwick, James, The Mormons and the Silver Mines. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1872.

Colorado Railroad Museum, Steam in the Rockies: A Steam Locomotive Roster of the Denver Rio Grande. Golden, Colorado: Quality Typesetting, 1963.

Cummings, Henry. Horn Silver Mine. Report of the Manager, April 20, 1879.

The report gives details of the interest Sidney Dillon, Jay Gould, John Sharp and others held in the Horn Silver Mine.

Decker, Leslie E. Railroad Land Policy. Providence: Brown University, 1964.

Denver and Rio Grande Railway Company. Annual Report of the Board of Trustees to the Stock Holders, 1883.

Dodge, Grenville M. How We Built the Union Pacific Railway. Denver: Sage Books, 1965.

Valuable for information regarding the incorporation, building and operation of the Union Pacific Railroad.

The Economic Dependence of the Population of Utah. Salt Lake City: Vandergrift and Associates, 1931.

Ellsworth, S. George. "A Guide to the Manuscripts in the Bancroft Library Relating to the History of Utah." Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 22 (1954), pp. 197 - 247.

Fleming, Howard. Narrow Gauge Railways in America. Oakland, California.: Grahame H. Hardy, 1949.

First published in 1875, this book gives a brief history and description of Utah's narrow gauge railroads.

Galloway, John D. The First Transcontinental Railroad. New York: Simmons -Boardman, 1950.

Goetzmann, William H. Army Exploration in the American West 1803 - 1863. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959.

This work covers all early surveys in the West in detail. Excellent coverage of the railroad route surveys.

Griswold, Wesley S. A Work of Giants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1962.

A good descriptive narrative of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Haney, Lewis H. "A Congressional History of Railroads in the United States to 1850." Bulletin of the University of Wisconsin, No. 211. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1908.

―――. "A Congressional History of Railroads in the United States, 1850 - 1887." Bulletin of the University of Wisconsin, No. 342. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1910.

History of Sanpete and Emery Counties, Utah. Ogden: W. H. Lever, 1898.

Hogg, Garry. Union Pacific. London: Hutchinson, 1967.

Howard, Robert West. The Great Iron Trail. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1962.

Mr. Howard's book is the most readable of all the works examined on the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

Jenson, Andrew. Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia. 4 Vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1901 - 1936.

A valuable biographical guide to prominent Mormons.

Journal of Discourses by President Brigham Young, His Two Counselors, and The Twelve Apostles. 26 Vols. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1854 - 1886.

Kelsay, Laura E., comp. List of Cartographic Records of the General Land Office. Washington: National Archives and Records Service, 1964.

Kraus, George. High Road to Promontory. Palo Alto, California: American West Publishing Co., 1969.

Kyner, James H. End of Track. Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books, 1960.

A first-hand report of railroad construction.

Larson, Gustive O. "Building of the Utah Central." Improvement Era, January, 1925, pp. 217 - 227.

Logan, Ida Marie. "Utah, the Mormons, and the West: A Bibliography." Utah Historical, Quarterly, Vols. 25 - 28 (1954 - 1957).

Theses and dissertations about the Mormons and Utah; authored outside of Utah.

McCullough, C. W. "The Passing of the Street Car." Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 24 (1956), pp. 123 - 129.

McIntyre, Myron W., and Barton, Noel R., eds. Christopher Layton. Colonizer. Statesman, Leader 1821 - 1898. Salt Lake City: Christopher Layton Family Organization, 1966.

Mr. Layton relates his experiences as a director and stockholder of the Utah Central Railroad, as a subcontractor on the Union Pacific; Railroad construction, and as a stockholder of the Utah Southern Railroad in this book. His descriptions of the method of railroad building by the Mormons and their attitudes. towards the work are most enlightening.

Madsen, Brigham D. and Madsen, Betty M. "Corinne, The Fair: Gateway to Montana Mines." Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 37 (1969), pp. 102 - 123.

A detailed and comprehensive study of Corinne's position in the freight business with Montana.

Mann, David H. "When the Rails Came West." Improvement Era, February, 1939, p. 77.

A short discussion of Brigham Young's attitude towards the coming of the transcontinental railroad.

Myrick, David F. Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California. Berkeley: Howell-North, 1963.

Oregon Short Line Railroad Company. Corporate History as of Tune 30, 1916. Publication data not given in reference.

A brief history of all Utah Railroads that were consolidated to form the Oregon Short Line. Charts give details as to change of ownership.

Patterson, C. G. Utah and Her Railroads. Salt Lake City: C. G. Patterson, 1916.

A pamphlet. attacking the railroad monopolies in Utah and explaining the history behind those monopolies.

Perkins, Jacob R. Trails. Rails and War, The Life of General G. M. Dodge. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1929.

Poor, Henry V. Manual of Railroads in the United States. New York: H. V. and H. W. Poor Co., published annually, 1869 - 1886.

This is an excellent annual report of the operations and vital statistics of all railroads in the United States and its Territories. Its greatest value to this study has been in providing financial data and changes in officers and directors of Utah railroads.

―――. The Pacific Railroads and the Relations Existing Between Them and the Government of the United States. New York; 1879. Published letter regarding the Union Pacific Railroad and the Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1864.

Quiett, Glenn Chesney. They Built the West. New York: D. Appleton-Century Co. Inc., 1934,

Railway World, Vol. 1 to 9, 1875 - 1883.

Magazine of Railway information containing numerous short articles and reports on Utah's Railroads.

Riegel, Robert Edgar. The Story of the Western Railroads. New York: Macmillan Co., 1926.

A good overall view of western railroads and their builders.

Roster of Union Pacific Locomotives. 1867 - 1964. Revised ed., 1964, Omaha: Barnhart Press, 1964.

"Salt Lake City Says Goodbye to Street Cars." The Circuit, Vol. 7, No. 8, June, 1941, pp. 2 - 5. Trade magazine of Utah Power and Light Company.

A brief history of the Salt Lake City Railroad.

Sloan, Edward L., ed. Gazetteer of Utah and Salt Lake City Directory, 1874. Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Herald Publishing Company, 1874.

Mr. Sloan presents a chronological list of. important events that occurred in Utah from 1847 to 1874. He also presents short sketches of each of Utah's railroads.

Sloan, Robert V., ed. Utah Gazetteer and Directory of Logan, Ogden, Provo, and Salt Lake Cities for 1884. Salt Lake City: Herald Printing and Publishing Co., 1884.

Starr, John W. Jr. One Hundred Years of American Railroading. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1929.

"Tintic, Utah, A Little Town with a Big Railroad History." Trains, December, 1941, pp. 40 - 41.

Trottman, Nelson. History of the Union Pacific. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1923.

Excellent for corporate and financial history of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Tullidge, Edward W. Tullidge's Histories of Northern Utah and Southern Idaho. Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor, 1889.

―――. History of Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City: Star Printing Co., 1886.

Union Pacific. Railroad Company, Report of the Directors to the Stockholders. Publication data not given.

Annual reports for the years of 1879 through 1886 have been used in preparation of this work.

―――. Report of the Government Directors to the Secretary of Interior, 1897 - 1898. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1898.

Utah Central Railway Company. Articles of Association. Mortgages of the Utah Central Railway Co., including the articles of association of that Company together with other papers and legal documents. Salt Lake City: Star Printing Co., 1886.

On file at the Association of American Railroad's Library.

Utah, its Resources and Attractions. 8th ed. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1897.

Copy in Library of Congress.

Utley, Robert M. "The Dash to Promontory." Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 29 (1961), pp. 99 - 117.

Webb, W. P. The Great Plains. Boston: Ginn and Co., 1931.

Whitney, Orson F. History of Utah. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon and Sons Co., 1892 - 1904.

Whittemore, Flora and Christopherson, Mildred. Tosoiba. Salt Lake City: Utah Printing Co., 1958.

Wrigley, Robert L. Jr. "The Utah and Northern Railway Company: A Brief History." Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. XLVl l (September, 1947), pp. 245 - 253.

Zobell, Albert L. "Utah Saddles the Iron Horse." The Western Humanities Review. Vol. III (January,1949), pp. 23 - 32.


Name Clarence A. Reeder, Jr.
Birthplace Ogden, Utah
Birthdate July 28, 1932
Elementary School St. Joseph's and Public Schools Ogden, Utah
Secondary School Weber High School Ogden, Utah, 1950
College Weber College Ogden, Utah, 1951
University University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 1954-1957, 1958-1959, 1962-1970
Degree B.S., University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1957
Professional Organizations American Historical Association,
Western History Association,
Phi Alpha Theta
Professional Positions Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army Reserve,
Teaching Assistant and Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Utah,
Teaching Associate, Department of Speech, University of Utah,
Administrative Director, College of Medicine, University of Utah,
Registrar of the University, University of Utah