The History Of Utah's Railroads, 1869-1883

By Clarence A. Reeder, Jr.

(Return to Reeder Manuscript Index Page)

Chapter 2

The Transcontinental Railroad And Utah

It seems most appropriate to begin this account of Utah's early railroads with the story of the first two roads to enter the Territory. These were the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads, and together they combined to form the great transcontinental highway of the nineteenth century. The story of the construction of this national railroad has been told many times; the ramifications of its growth and development have been thoroughly explored and exploited by learned authors, motion picture producers, teachers, artists, statesmen, politicians and others.

The earliest suggestions of a railroad to the Pacific were made in the 1830's when the "iron horse" was still in its infancy. The railroad promoters of this period and of the 1840's hoped to tie the Oregon Country to the United States by rails.[1] New force was added to the voices calling for a Pacific railroad after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848; that treaty settled the war with Mexico and added California, Utah and New Mexico to the possessions of the United States. The cry rang still louder when, in the same year, gold was discovered in California; and thousands of "forty-niners" struck out for the gold fields across the uninhabited plains and mountains of the West or took ship passage for the long and dangerous trip to California around the Cape or across the Isthmus of Panama. This cry for rail facilities and communication was voiced by over a hundred thousand Americans who peopled California by 1850; and they were joined by thousands of other Americans who had made their way to Utah as part of the Mormon migration that had begun in 1847.[2]

The demand had become great enough by 1853 that Congress authorized a survey "to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean."[3] The bill called for five routes to be surveyed, and each route had powerful supporters in Congress who sought to benefit the state or private interests that they represented. The northernmost route was along the 45 degree parallel from Chicago.[4] This was the route proposed by Asa Whitney, the most prominent of the Pacific railroad promoters of the 1830's and 1840's.[5] The route along the 42th parallel from Chicago westward through Council Bluffs, Iowa, and South Pass was championed by Stephen A. Douglas, the "Little Giant," who would face Abraham Lincoln in debate and presidential contest during the ensuing decade. The third contender was the great senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton, who championed a route from St. Louis, Missouri, westward through the Cochetopa Pass and along the 39th parallel. Congressman J. S. Phelps of Missouri and Senator William Gwin of California favored a fourth route from Springfield, Missouri, west along the 35 degree parallel. The southernmost route was from Vicksburg, Mississippi, via the 32th parallel across Texas and along the Gila River. Senator Thomas Rusk of Texas sponsored this line.[6]

The United States Army Corps of Topographical Engineers con ducted these surveys between March of 1853 and October of 1854. Its reports submitted to the Secretary of War, Mr. Jefferson Davis, indicated that any one of the five surveyed routes was practical and that no one route was better than the others.[7]

This was the time of the great North-South sectional controversy, and both sides sought to dominate the West by controlling its transportation facilities.[8] Therefore, when Secretary Davis, one of the leading southern exponents, submitted his recommendations for the route of the Pacific railroad to Congress, he selected the 32th parallel route.[9] His recommendation was promptly rejected and every proposal submitted after that time for a route for the western railroad was blocked by either northern or southern interests.[10] This deadlock was not broken until representatives and senators from the southern states withdrew from Congress at the beginning of the Civil War. The North, no longer hampered by southern opposition and fearing the loss of California to the South, took action to authorize the construction of a Pacific railroad in 1862.[11]

The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 was titled "An Act to aid in the Construction of a Railroad and Telegraph Line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean and to secure to the Government the use of the same for Postal. Military and Other Purposes."[12] This act and its subsequent amendment in 1864 created the Union Pacific Railroad and established the regulations and provisions for financial support and land allocations that made it possible for the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific to construct the transcontinental railroad.[13]

Mormon Attitudes Toward The Coming Of The Transcontinental Railroad

The route of the Pacific railway, as established by the act of 1862, ran directly through Utah Territory and raised the question throughout the United States as to what the attitude of the Mormon people was in regard to the railroad passing through their valleys. It was alleged in many of the nation's newspapers that the Mormon church leaders were opposed to any means of transportation or communication that would bring Utah into closer contact with the outside world. This was purported to be because the church's hierarchy feared that if their people were exposed to the "Gentile ways, " they would lose the dominance they held over the people; and the church would be destroyed.[14] Brigham Young and other church leaders may have feared a renewal of the persecution which they had experienced in Missouri and Illinois when they were in contact with non-Mormon people, but history bears out the fact that from the time that the Mormons arrived in Utah, they had, under the leadership of President Young, encouraged the building of a Pacific railway.

For example, members of the first Territorial Legislature of Utah approved a "Memorial to Congress for the construction of a great national central railroad to the Pacific Coast" that was signed by Governor Brigham Young on March 3, 1852.[15]

The memorial appealed for a railroad from some eligible point on the Mississippi or Missouri River to San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Astoria or other point on the Pacific Coast. Four reasons were given for the need for a railroad. First, a better means of transportation was required to carry the huge number of immigrants that were moving west; second, a railroad was necessary before the rich mineral deposits of California could be developed for the benefit of the people; third, it would provide the means for the trade of China and the East Indies to pass through the United States rather than being diverted through other channels; and fourth, the railroad would be a perpetual chain which would hold the nation together in time of peace and provide for its defense in time of war.

A second memorial to Congress in relation to the Pacific Railway [16] was submitted in 1854 when the prospects for the completion of a transcontinental railroad looked promising because of the railroad surveys that had been authorized by Congress in 1853. This memorial was an appeal to consider a route for the Pacific railway that would pass through Salt Lake City. The legislature outlined a route from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean; a route based on actual surveys conducted by the Mormon people as they had traveled to Utah and made excursions to California.

These two memorials certainly indicate that the people of Utah were interested in a railroad through the territory, and this positive position was frequently reaffirmed by the church hierarchy. In a sermon delivered in the Salt Lake City tabernacle on May 26, 1867, President Young assured his people that he was anxious to see the railroad come to the territory. He noted that he was anxious for the railroad to be completed because it would prove an easy and inexpensive means of bringing the many converts of the church to Utah. Further, it would put the people of Utah at the doorsteps of the markets of the world where they could sell their many goods at a profit.[17]

Even in his disappointment at the selection by the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads of a route that passed to the north of Salt Lake City, Brigham Young spoke of his desire to see the railroad come:

. . . We are right in the great highway from sea to sea. And instead of the railroad being any detriment to us, all I have to regret is that they tried to get it on the north side of the lake; we want it in this city where it belongs. And that is not all, the attempt to carry it in that direction is an insult to the people of this city, for in so doing they have tried to shun us. They would not have had a telegraph or railroad across the continent, and coaches would not have run as they do now for one generation yet, if it had not been for the Latter-Day Saints; and for them to try to take it away from us I look upon as an insult.[18]

After Brigham Young had accepted a contract to do grading work in Echo and Weber canyons for the Union Pacific Railroad, the Deseret Evening News was quick to call attention to that fact as proof that the Mormon people were not opposed to the railroad:

How such people will be disappointed when they know that our citizens expect to do all in their power this Summer to grade the road for the rails between the head of Echo Canon and this valley! It is gratifying to think that we have such an opportunity offered to us. No number of words would have such an effect, as the grading of this road according to contract will have, in disabusing the public mind respecting us and our views. Our protestations die upon the air; but our works live. They are the tangible evidences of our thoughts and views, and speak in a manner that can neither be misunderstood nor disputed. It may be that the world will believe after awhile that we are not afraid of our principles and system being fairly tested in the broad light of day, and that we have no disposition to seclude ourselves or to run into a comer to hide ourselves from scrutiny.[19]

A dozen or more articles that have not been quoted appeared in the Salt Lake newspapers during the period of time that the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were building toward Utah. It seems clear that while the Mormon people were apprehensive over an influx of outside people, they nevertheless favored very strongly the building of a railroad from the time that they arrived in Utah in 1847.[20]

Construction of the Pacific Railway

From the time that President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Bill in 1862 until the rails were joined in 1869, the local news media kept the people of Utah apprised of the progress of the proposed transcontinental railroad. Before construction was begun surveys of the route were made by both companies. As early as 1864 survey teams visited Utah; and this was the first contact the Mormon people had with the railroad personnel who, in a few short years, would be so numerous in the Territory. In July of 1864, the visit of a survey team under the command of Samuel B. Reed, superintendent of construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, was reported in a letter from Brigham Young to Daniel H. Wells.[21] The report told of Mr. Reed's conference with President Young and of their discussion as to the various routes the Union Pacific might follow in reaching Salt Lake City. According to Mr. Reed, the company planned to pass through the capital city of Utah and then proceed west across the desert south of the Great Salt Lake toward Humboldt Springs, Nevada.[22] This plan was later revised and a different route was chosen for the actual construction of the line.

In 1865 the people began to be apprised regularly of the progress in the construction of the road. In the autumn of that year several articles appeared in the Deseret News, and those articles continued at regular intervals throughout 1866. They told of the difficult and heroic struggle the Central Pacific Railroad was waging in pushing its rails towards the summit of the rugged and towering Sierra Nevadas. Unbelievable quantities of snow delayed and halted construction for six months of the year, and gigantic snow slides frequently swept away the Chinese laborers who had been employed to build the road, as well as the grades they had finished. It was evident that if the road was to be used year-round, many miles of snow sheds, constructed of the sturdiest timber, would have to be built to shield the track. Furthermore, the boring of more than a dozen tunnels through granite rock was necessary. The longest of these tunnels, the Summit Tunnel, was 1,750 feet long, 26 feet wide, and 20 feet high.[23] In this tunnel nitroglycerine had been introduced as a blasting agent, but even with this powerful new explosive capable of displacing a third more rock than a comparable powder charge, tunnel progress was often limited to a mere foot or two each day. The amount of blasting necessary for tunnel construction was immense; in March and April 1867, alone, over 2,000 charges were set.[24]

The struggle to complete the line over the Sierras continued throughout 1867 and well into 1868. The Central Pacific, however, was racing against the Union Pacific In order to build its road as far east as possible; this competition resulted from the desire of each railroad company to realize the greatest possible benefit from the land grants and sale of bonds that were provided for in the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862.[25] With this in mind the Central Pacific officials obtained a force o f eight to ten thousand Chinese laborers and started them on the construction of the grade on the eastern slope of the Sierras in the spring of 1867, That spring as the work crews blasted, picked, and shoveled a roadbed toward Reno, rails were carried by wagon over the summit from the end of track on the western slope. Doggedly these laborers continued their efforts; and by the end of 1867 they had laid thirty-nine miles of track to the east and west of Truckee, on the eastern side of the summit. They had also hauled two locomotives over the summit and placed these engines in use for construction purposes on the finished part of the road.[26]

The unfinished portion of the line over the Sierras was completed on June 15, 1868, at which time the rails were continuous from Sacramento to Reno. The most difficult part of construction lay behind the huge army of Oriental and white laborers. The remaining 450 miles to Salt Lake City across Nevada and Utah was, by comparison, an easy country through which to build a railroad. The officials of the Central Pacific felt confident that they would be on the shores of the Great Salt Lake within a year.[27]

While the Central Pacific was struggling up the west side of the Sierras, the Union Pacific Railroad began pushing its way west from Omaha, Nebraska. General Dodge, Chief Engineer of the Union Pacific, announced on September 11, 1866, that track had been laid to a distance twenty-eight miles west of Fort Kearny, Nebraska. He also reported that work would not be suspended during the winter months and that he expected to have track laid to the vicinity of the old stage and pony express station of Julesburg, Colorado, by January 1, 1867.

The most difficult part of construction for the Union Pacific lay beyond the plains, awaiting them in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and Utah. Officials of the Union Pacific estimated that, in spite of the rapid construction work on the plains, they would not reach Salt Lake City before the autumn of 1 870.[28]

The work of grading the road, laying the track and putting up a telegraph line was under the direction of General J. S. Casement and his brother, D. C. Casement, of Ohio. A large army of men was engaged in this work. Far to the front of the main body were 1, 500 men who were scattered through the Black Hills, the Laramie Plains and in the Rocky Mountains cutting and preparing ties. Along the route, where actual construction was taking place, the men were spread out over several miles. To the front of the construction crews were 2,000 graders who had to protect themselves from Indian attacks as they worked with pick and shovel to build the grade. Several miles behind the graders, and about a mile ahead of the track layers, were three squads of men who laid ties. Engineers accompanied the first squad and gave directions for laying and leveling guide ties every 100 feet on straight lines and every 50 feet on the curves. This squad was followed by two men who marked the points where the ends and the middle of each rail would lie. The second squad laid these ties by sighting along the guide ties that were already in place. The third squad followed and placed the remainder of the ties.

Twenty miles behind this vanguard were numerous construction trains loaded with ties, rails and other materials. These trains formed the huge supply dump for the construction while smaller trains based six miles behind the tie and rail layers carried the supplies to the end of the track as the workers pushed westward. As supplies were needed a small construction train ran forward to near the end of the track, unloaded its materials, and returned to the main supply dump for reloading. It then returned to the six-mile camp to stand by prepared to move forward again when the call for supplies came.

At the end of the track, three trucks, pulled by horses, were used to haul rails forward to be laid. As a truck loaded with rails was pulled forward to the end of the last track, men would slide the rails forward on rollers, one at a time, and drop them in place on the waiting ties. This process continued as the truck moved forward on the newly laid track. When emptied, the truck was tipped off the track; and the next truck-load of rails was moved up. As the rails were dropped, two spikers fastened each rail in place at its middle and ends. These men were followed by other spikers who drove the remaining spikes. Another team, called fillers, followed closely behind and packed gravel and soil around the ties. The track, at this point, was firm enough to support a fully loaded supply train traveling twenty miles an hour.

The final job of ballasting and improving the road was accomplished by a crew of 1, 500 men who were stationed all along the line to correct any weakness in the initial construction.

The men who were grading and laying ties and rails lived in trains pulled to the extreme end of the track. These trains consisted of sleeping cars, dining cars, kitchens, storerooms and offices.[29] The reader may well visualize the busy construction scene:

The rush of the loaded truck; the successive dropping of the rails in place; the rattle of the spikers' hammer, sounding like a hotly contested skirmish; the roar of the resounding of the frequent signals, near at hand; the universal bustle; "the rumble and grumble, and roar" of the wonderful advance. Let the elements of savage warfare, and the actual presence of the hostile Sioux along the bluffs, be woven into the picture, and together it forms one that the world has not seen before, and which the stories of magic can scarcely equal.[30]

The road advanced at a very rapid pace across the plains; and beginning on the 9th of May, 1866, 245 miles of track were laid in the next 182 working days.[31]

Regularly scheduled trains were running as far west as Laramie, Wyoming, by mid-May, 1868; and as spring flowers began to blossom on the plains that year, the construction crews of the Union Pacific prepared to build their road through the rugged Rocky Mountains.

To this point construction had been easy, and the grading crews generally did not extend more than twenty or thirty miles ahead of the track layers; this made it simple to furnish them with supplies. But as preparations were made to enter the mountains, It was realized that in many places there would be difficult cuts, fills, bridges and tunnels to construct and these would cause delays. The road would progress much faster if the grading crews could be strung far out in advance of the track layers, thereby minimizing these delays.

It would be difficult to supply large numbers of grading crews who were working at some distance from the end of the track unless there was devised a means of meeting their needs through local suppliers. Upon reviewing his route surveys, Superintendent Reed concluded that one of the most difficult areas for construction would be through Echo and Weber canyons in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah Territory. He also saw that, unlike all other locations on the route, there was a ready force of labor that could go to work immediately on the grading and at the same time be supplied locally. That work force could be drawn from the Mormon communities of northern Utah.

Mormon Construction on the Transcontinental

Samuel Reed visited Salt Lake City in May of 1868 and negotiated with President Brigham Young a contract for grading. At the time of Reed's visit, the Union Pacific officials had not yet announced their plans to run the railroad around the north end of Great Salt Lake; however, the Mormon president was aware of the fact that this was being contemplated. The contract, therefore, provided that grading would be done for a distance of fifty to ninety miles. The work was to commence at the head of Echo Canyon and run west to the mouth of that canyon then down Weber Canyon to the valley. If it was decided that the road would pass through Salt Lake City, the Mormons would grade to the city. However, if the road were to pass north of the city, the contract provided for grading to the Great Salt Lake. In either event the work was to be completed by November, 1868.[32] Evidently the amount of the contract was $2,125, 000.[33]

Brigham Young accepted the contract with the Union Pacific Railroad with the intention of subcontracting the work to prominent members of the Church or to ward bishops. His plan was to provide his people with a means of earning cash at a time when hard money was difficult to obtain in Utah. He employed his sons--Joseph A. Young, Brigham Young, Jr., and John W. Young--to act as his agents in assigning these subcontracts. As the work to be done was examined, it was estimated that there would be enough work for ten thousand men; and the following rates were established for the various kinds of jobs encompassed by the contracts:[34]

Earth excavation, either borrowed for embankment, wasted from cuts,
or hauled not exceeding 200 feet from cuts into embankment, per cubic yard.
$ .27
Earth excavation, hauled more than 200 feet from cuts into embankment, per cubic yard. .45
Loose rock, per cubic yard. 1.57-1/2
Solid lime or sand rock, per cubic yard. 2.70
Granite, per cubic yard. 3.60
Rubble masonry in box culverts, laid in lime or cement, per cubic yard. 5.85
Rubble masonry, laid dry, per cubic yard. 5.40
Masonry in bridge abutments and piers, laid in lime mortar or cement beds and
joints dressed, drafts on corners, laid in courses, per cubic yard.
Rubble masonry in bridge abutments and piers, laid dry, per cubic yard. 7.20
Rubble masonry in bridge abutments and piers, laid in cement, per cubic yard. 7.65
Excavation and preparation of foundation for masonry at estimate of engineer.  

The contract stipulated that the Saints [35] could start to work as soon as the exact location of the line was established. The Union Pacific engineers completed their survey in the canyons early in June; and the route was staked and ready for grading on June 10, 1868. At 10:30 in the morning of that day, Mr. Reed broke ground at Devil's Gate near the mouth of Weber Canyon. Work began immediately in that area under the direction of Bishop John Sharp and Joseph A. Young, both of whom had been awarded large parts of the grading contract by Brigham Young;[36] and they soon had crews working in various parts of both Echo and Weber canyons. Their contract called for them to do grading, bridge and trestle work, and to build two tunnels of 300 and 500 feet in length.

Other contractors who had large groups of men working for them included Levi Stewart, Thomas E. Ricks and John Taylor.[37] In all, between June of 1868 and May of 1869, several thousand Mormons were employed on the Union Pacific road; and work crews were scattered from the head of Echo Canyon to the mouth of the Weber Canyon and on to the Promontory Summit.[38]

In many places the canyon was extremely narrow and was enclosed on either side by sharp, jagged, rocky cliffs that rose perpendicularly from the Weber River and made work extremely difficult and dangerous. At several locations it was necessary to cut the roadbed through solid rock on the face of the canyon wall fifty or more feet above the river bed.[39] In other locations the canyons opened into broad valleys and construction of the grade was relatively easy.

The Mormon construction crews established camps to live in as near as possible to the roadbed they were working on, and they immediately set about making the temporary quarters comfortable and homey. A description of these camps, their occupants, and the work the men were doing appeared in the Deseret News:

ECHO CITY, July 13, 1868

BELOVED NEWS:-- We are here; and the railroad is coming. Already it is estimated, one half, if not more of the track down Echo Canyon is ready for the ties and rails.

A birds-eye view of the railroad camps in Echo canyon would disclose to the beholder a little world of concerted industry unparalleled, I feel safe to assert, in the history of railroad building. All classes of profession, art and avocation, almost, are represented. Here are the ministers of the gospel and the dusky collier laboring side by side. Here may be seen the Bishop on the embankment and his "diocese" filling their carts, scrapers and shovels from the neighboring cut. Here are the measurer of tapes and calicos and the homeopathic doctor in mud to their knees or knecks turning the course of the serpentine torrents. Here the driver of the quill finds grade in propelling a pick. The man of literature deciphers hieroglyphics in prying into the seams of sand rock. "Our Local, " when last seen, was itemizing on a granite point with sledge and drill to beat 300 yards or less into "kingdom come, " or a big fill hard by; and "Our Hired Man" had pitched into a dugway of loose rock high upon the mountain side, several fathoms above "eternity's gulf stream" to carve out a new channel for the tide of travel, the track for the iron horse having absorbed the Pioneer road . Here the grey haired scissors-grinder and the editor returning to his wits, with a third party, supposed to be, had formed a copartnership to run a cart without a horse on a hill side cut. One there was of the homo genus who "plead" leave of absence to defend a contraband distillery. But such an illustrious corps of practical railroad makers must surely leave their mark. The above are real life pictures.

There are in Echo Canyon some forty-five camps, and, considering the difficulty experienced from various causes in keeping up communication with the "rest of mankind," I herewith compile a list of the camps, in their order, beginning at the mouth and ascending to the head of Echo. Feramorz Little's; Wm. Tulley's Salt Creek; Harvey Boys, Provo Valley; Houtz Wadaworth, Springville; Ballinger & Lissonbee's; Davis & Co's.; Noon & Co's.; William Cooper's; Danes from Big Cottonwood; S. Chipman's, American Fork; Mill Creek boys; J. Neff's; Milo Andrus'; Spanish Fork boys; Bishop Hickenlooper's, 6th Ward; Isaac Brockbank's; Bishop Sheets'; W. J. Lewis'. Provo; Hartwell & Fowler's; Bishop McRae's, 11th Ward; Findlay's, Bountiful; Coalville boys'; Kimball, Houtz & Co's., at Hanging Rock Station, half a mile below which a coal bed has recently been discovered; P. P. Pratt and B. Driggs; Ezekiel Holman's; George Cook's; E. R. Young's; P. Butler, blacksmith; A. Daniel s' Wanship; Bishop Proctor's, 10th Ward; Abraham Day & Co's.; Mt. Pleasant; James Craig's, Sugar House Ward; Collstrup & Co's., Ft. Gunnison; Reed Bro's., West Jordan; Blythe & Laird's; Azra Hunkley's; Wild & Winter's; Coalville and Chalk Creek; Maxfield & Co's., Big Cottonwood; Farnsworth's, Battle Creek; John W. Young's; P. H. Young's.[40]

The correspondence and articles that appear in the Utah newspapers during this period of construction on the Union Pacific were unequaled for their description of the united efforts of the Mormons. They tell the story of a people working together in harmony under the guidance of their religious leaders to accomplish a temporal task which they treated as though it were divinely inspired. Their camps were models of clean living and cooperation. Community prayer was said twice daily, and men had no fear of bringing their wives and families to the camps. Order was the common preoccupation and cooperation the key word. Moreover, these people took pleasure in their work. After a day of hard work, they generally gathered around the camp fires for singing and games. Hymns, songs and ditties were sung. A song about their work in the canyons was penned by railroad grader James Crane of Sugar House:

At the head of great Echo there's a railroad begun,
And the "Mormons" are cutting and grading like fun;
They say they'll stick to it, till it is complete
And friends and relations they long again to meet.


Hurrah! Hurrah! for the railroad's begun!
Three cheers for our contractor, his name's Brigham Young!
Hurrah! Hurrah! we're honest and true,
For if we stick to it's bound to go through.

Now there's Mr. Reed, he's a gentleman true,
He knows very well what the "Mormons" can do;
He knows in their work they are lively and gay,
And just the right boy's to build a railway.

CHORUS.- - Hurrah! Hurrah! &c.

Our camp is united, we all labor hard;
And if we work faithfully we'll get our reward;
Our leader is wise and industrious too
And all things he tells us we're willing to do.

CHORUS. - - Hurrah! Hurrah! &c.

The boys in our camp are light-hearted and gay;
We work on the railroad ten hours a day;
We're thinking of the good times we'll have in the fall,
When we'll take our ladies and off to the ball.

CHORUS.- - Hurrah! Hurrah! &c.

We surely must live in a very fast age;
We've traveled by ox teams, and then took the stage;
But when such conveyance is all done away
We'll travel in steam cars upon the railway.

CHORUS.- - Hurrah! Hurrah! &c.

The great locomotive next season will come
To gather the Saints from their far distance home;
And bring them to Utah in peace here to stay,
While the judgments of God sweep the wicked away.

CHORUS.- - Hurrah! Hurrah! &c.[41]

The attitude of the individuals working in the canyons was expressed well in a letter written to the Deseret News in June of 1868 by one of the men in Bishop John Sharp's camp at Devil's Gate:


Weber Canyon, June 18, 1868

EDITOR DESERET NEWS:-- Thinking a few lines from this place would be acceptable to you, I venture to write so that you may know how we are getting along at this point of the railroad. At present about 120 men work here, and Devil's Gate is having another gate cut through it.

The men work with a will and seem to enjoy themselves, and to the best of my knowledge are contented and happy. A better set of boys I don't believe will be easily found. Strange stories have reached us about rumors in the city concerning us out here, that amuse us when we hear them, about accidents, discontent, &c., &c. Let me say, if any one out here is dissatisfied, he keeps it very close, for I have not heard about it, though there is a certain class of men who magnify mole hills into mountains. They bring to my mind the story of the three black crows. In fact we have heard that we get nothing to eat out here but bad bread, muddy waters and prayers. The only complaint among the boys is that we have got the spirit of the times and swine's flesh is at a discount. We do not wish to see it, much less to eat it. Perhaps the prayers are disagreeable to some few who have been with us, for we remember that we are Latter-day Saints in this canyon as well as at home in the city, and we remember our prayers in the season; and during the two weeks which I have spent here, I have not heard one angry or profane word, and the third commandment is strictly kept.

Bishop John Sharp is out here with us, and has the confidence of all hands, as I believe he deserves to have; and I do not think there will be found a more orderly camp on the railroad. The Lord has blessed us so far. We have had no accidents, and the health of the :.amp is good.

We held meeting on Sunday the 7th, and enjoyed ourselves very well. On the 14th, it was very windy, but we expect to hold meetings every Sunday while we stay; and we would not be sorry to have a stranger in our midst now and then during the summer.

Your Brother in the Gospel,[42]

Work had just begun in the canyons when Brigham Young was informed that the decision had been reached to route the track around the north end of the lake and leave Salt Lake City forty miles from the main line. Reaction to this announcement was immediate and hostile among both Mormon and gentile in the capital city; and on June 10, 1868, a mass meeting was held in the new Mormon tabernacle to discuss the situation. More than three thousand men attended and opened the meeting by electing Brigham Young as presiding officer. President Young was first to address the assembly, and he expressed keen disappointment that the railroad would probably not pass through Salt Lake City. He assured the people, however, that he would honor his contract to construct the grade regardless of where the road was to run and that the railroad would be finished. He also noted that if the proposed northern route was taken, the railroad would be close enough that a branch line could be built from it to Salt Lake City.[43]

Several other speakers, both Mormon and non-Mormon, followed and spoke of the desire of the people of Utah to have the railroad pass through Salt Lake. They pointed out the advantages the railroad would enjoy by passing through a ready-made market, and they gave assurances to each other that the railroad officials would not be so foolish as to leave the capital of the Territory off the main trunk line of the transcontinental railroad.[44]

John Taylor, who less than a decade later would succeed Brigham Young as Mormon church president, was one of the speakers at the meeting. Both he and President Young expressed a desire to see the railroad pass through Salt Lake City; however, both seemed more concerned with uniting the people to continue in their support of the construction regardless of which route the railroad took. John Taylor's remarks were most explicit in this expression:

. . . We have no time to listen to croakers. The railroad must be done. . . America wants it; and we want it; and with a hearty co-operation we say to those gentlemen who have come here as representatives of the railroad, we bid them a hearty welcome to our mountain home. We sympathise with them in their feelings, desires and labors, and we will be the co-laborers with them in this herculean enterprise, and with a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together, we will accomplish the object designed, and not stop till the restless iron horse shall pass in triumph from the Atlantic to the Pacific shore.[45]

Four resolutions were passed at the meeting to be forwarded to the directors and officers of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads. These were:

Resolved:--That Utah welcomes to borders the coming Railroad, and hails with pleasure closer contact and more intimate relations with her friends east and west.

Resolved:--That every advancement in civilization and enterprise will always and at all times receive a helping and friendly hand from the people of Utah.

Resolved:--That it is the wish of this meeting that the Railroad shall come to this city and pass by the south side of the Lake, and for that purpose proper and suitable grounds for depot, machine shops and improvements can be obtained within this city.

Resolved:--That one hundred thousand citizens of this Nation demand that this great national work shall be performed for national good and for the people's benefit and not for private profit or personal speculation.[46]

As history has recorded, the pleas and resolutions of the people of Utah went unheeded, and the transcontinental railroad swung to the north as it made its exit from Weber Canyon. Survey crews had recommended the northern route because It was much shorter and a better supply of timber and water was available. General Dodge had reviewed these recommendations, weighed them against the loss the railroad might expect if Salt Lake City were left off the main line and the opposition he would face from the Mormon leaders, and still decided to accept the recommendations for the northern route. He entered into conversations with Brigham Young and presented the railroad's case. President Young was greatly disappointed, but he was a practical man; and when he was convinced that the northern route held considerable advantage over the southern one, he supported the Union Pacific in its decision. The Mormon president, however, immediately began plans for a local connecting railroad from Ogden to Salt Lake City.[47]

Work in the canyons on the Union Pacific contract continued through the summer and autumn of 1868. The roadbed neared completion, section by section, until in December only the most difficult sections of grading and tunneling were yet unfinished.

The Casement Brother's construction crews were laying track ever closer to Utah; and by October l, 1868, they had laid track as far west as Green River, Wyoming. At that time Superintendent Reed made it clear that there would be no winter layoff for track laying and that the grading must continue. Indeed, the work was pushed ahead, and track was only thirty-seven miles from the mouth of Echo Canyon by December 14. Since it was not possible to complete the tunnels in Weber Canyon before the track layers arrived, a temporary roadbed was laid so as not to slow down progress while those tunnels, which would take up to three months to complete, were being finished.[48]

At the close of 1868, only the tunnels and bits and pieces of bridge building and grading remained to be done in the two canyons, and Mormon grading parties were at work on the roadbed from the mouth of Weber Canyon to Ogden.[49]

Snow and cold hampered the grading and track laying crews as the new year of 1869 began, but it did not stop their progress. During the first week of the year, daylight was broken through the smallest of the three tunnels in Weber Canyon. With only infrequent delays track laying continued down the canyons; and Echo City, a new and booming railroad town at the mouth of Echo Canyon, was reached amid celebrations on January 15, 1869. On January 22, in the narrows of Weber Canyon, the track layers reached a point 1,000 miles from Omaha, Nebraska, the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific.[50]

Track was laid through the mouth of Weber Canyon and into the valley of the Great Salt Lake on the last day of February. The grading had been completed to Ogden, and the track layers made haste toward that city.[51] On March 8, at 11:40 a.m., the rails were laid to within sight of Ogden. During that day the citizens of Ogden watched the progress of the road from the vantage point of every high place and bluff until the track reached the city about 2:30 p.m.

At five o'clock a procession was formed; and with artillery salutes and martial music, all proceeded to the tithing office where a stand had been erected beside the newly laid track. The Honorable Lorin Farr, Mayor of Ogden, presided at the ceremonies which resounded with speech making by a dozen people--all of whom praised the railroad, the nation, the Territory of Utah, the city of Ogden, the Mormon people and the railroad construction crews.[52]

Noticeable by his absence was Brigham Young, who, on the day of the celebration, was organizing the Utah Central Railroad Company which was to be chartered to construct a line from Ogden to Salt Lake City to form a junction with the transcontinental.[53]

The Union Pacific swung northwest from Ogden and moved on toward Corinne. By mid-March track had been laid through Bonneville, a railroad town seven miles north of Ogden. and the rails reached Corinne on April 8.[54]

As the Union Pacific crews laid track into Ogden, the Central Pacific Railroad had just finished its road to Humboldt Wells, Nevada; and on April 8 they had reached Indian Springs--110 miles west of Corinne. The Union Pacific laid track to Corinne on that date and had completed grading to Monument Point on April 23.[55]

The Central Pacific, like the Union Pacific, entered into contracts with Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders for the accomplishment of grading work. On August 4, 1868, President Young wrote to Franklin D. Richards and told him that he had agreed to grade 200 miles of roadbed for the Central Pacific Railroad and that he expected to start work as soon as that company's engineers had laid out the route.[56] The principal Mormon contractors for the Central Pacific were Ezra T. Benson of Logan and Mayor Lorin Farr and Chauncey W. West of Ogden, all prominent church and civic leaders in northern Utah. Their contract called for the preparation of roadbed from Ogden to Monument Point, sixty miles to the northwest. The local papers announced that construction was under way between Ogden and Box Elder in November of 1868.[57] This was probably a portion of the large contract mentioned by President Young in his letter to Richards. Mention of a Central Pacific contract for grading held by President Lorenzo Snow was also found. He reported that he was working in the Promontory area and had nearly completed his portion of the work.[58]

In late 1868 and early 1869, the question of point of ;unction had become critical since both roads had grading crews working between Ogden and Promontory. At mid-April, grading of the Union Pacific was on the east slope of Promontory range where the company of Sharp and Young and the regular Union Pacific crews graded alongside of Farr, Benson and West for the Central Pacific Railroad.[59] Grading had already been done to Monument Point by the Union Pacific in their effort to lay as many miles of road as possible.[60]

It was apparent that the two railroads could not agree on a point for the rails to meet. Therefore, on April 10, 1869, Congress passed a joint resolution which established the common terminus of the two lines at or near Ogden, Utah. The Union Pacific was to build the line from the terminus to Promontory Summit where the rails were to connect, and the Central Pacific was to pay for and own the line from the junction at Ogden to Promontory.[61] This resolution settled the place for the joining of the rails, but further legislation was needed before the termini of the two roads were definitely decided upon.

The Golden Spike

Once the decision had been reached by Congress as to the location of the meeting of the rails at Promontory, both roads began making preparations for the day which the whole nation was eagerly waiting for, the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The date was set for May 10, 1869. The hour appointed for the celebration to begin was noon.

The Deseret News reported that on that day hundreds of people had assembled to witness these celebrations at Promontory. In the official party of the Central Pacific Railroad Company was the Honorable Leland Stanford, President; John Corning, General Superintendent; J. H. Strowbridge, Superintendent of Construction; Charles Marsh, Esq., one of the directors; E. B. Ryan, Governor Stanford's private secretary; Messrs. J. T. Haines, F. A. Tritle and William Sherman, Commissioners of Inspection; Edgar Mills, of the firm of D. O. Mills and Company, bankers of Sacramento; Governor Safford of Arizona; General Houghton and E. H. Peacock of Sacramento; The Honorable Tom Fitch, Member of Congress of Nevada; Dr. Harkness of Sacramento; Judge Sanderson of the Supreme Court of California; Dr. T. D. B. Stillman of San Francisco; S. T. Game of Virginia City, Nevada; Mr. Phillips (a banker) and his wife of Nevada, California; Alfred Hart of Sacramento who was the company's official photographer; and E. D. Dennison who was in charge of the excursion train for the Central Pacific.

The Union Pacific Railroad Company also had a large representation which included General G. M. Dodge, General Superintendent; Thomas C. Durant, President; and Sidney Dillon, Vice President; Director John Duff; H. M. Hoxie, Assistant Superintendent; Silas Seymour, Consulting Engineer; Samuel B. Reed, Superintendent and Engineer of Construction; D. V. Warren, Superintendent of the Utah Division of the railroad; Colonel Hopper, Superintendent of the Laramie Division; J. W. Davis of the firm of Davis and Associates; L. H. Eicholtz, Engineer of Bridges; General Ledlie, bridge building, J. S. and D. T. Casement, track layers; Major Bent and Ed Creighton, Alexander Majors, G. C. Yates, J. J. Megeath, J. M. Ranson, and C. T. Miller; Governor J. A. Campbell of Wyoming Territory; Major A. D. Russell, the company's photographer, assisted by C. R. Savage of Salt Lake City; and H. W. Cossley, steward for the party.

Salt Lake City was represented by the Honorable William Jennings who was Vice President of the Utah Central Railroad; Colonel F. H. Head, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Territory of Utah; Feramorz Little, a Director of the Utah Central Railroad Company; John Sharp, Assistant Superintendent of that company; and, as previously mentioned, C. R. Savage.

Ogden's representatives were the Honorable F. D. Richards, Mayor Lorin Farr and Bishop Chauncey W. West; and Cache County was represented by the Honorable Ezra T. Benson.

There were a number of other officials there from all over the nation, including W. B. Hibbard, Superintendent of the Western Union Telegraph Company; Colonel Henry of Wyoming; General J. A. Williamson of Corinne; J. A. Green of the firm of Green and Hill; Guy Barton of the firm Woodworth and Barton; George B. Senter, ex-Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio; Henry Nottingham, past General Superintendent of the Cleveland and Lake Shore Railroad; Charles C. Jennings of Rainsville, Ohio; R. Hall of the firm of Hall and Casement; W. H. House of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Colonel Lightner, E. B. Jones and Samuel Beatty, mail agents.

The press of the country was represented by newsmen from California, Nebraska, New York, Massachusetts and Utah.

As the appointed hour arrived, Edgar Mills arose and read the program. He announced that the first item would be the dedicatory prayer offered by the Rev. John Todd of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Todd, the minister from "puritan" New England, rose and consecrated the great highway that was being joined in Mormon Utah to the good of the people and asked the blessings of the Lord upon it and upon those who directed its operations. He further acknowledged the handiwork of the Lord in completing this monumental task and prayed that it would serve the nation well as the mainstream of traffic between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.[62] Next on the program was the presentation of spikes. Dr. Harkness of the Sacramento press presented Governor Stanford a spike of pure gold. With his presentation he made the following remarks:

Gentlemen of the Pacific Railroad, the last rail, needed to complete the greatest railroad enterprise of the world, is about to be laid; the last spike, needed to unite the Atlantic and Pacific by a new line of trade and commerce, is about to be driven to its place. To perform these acts the East and the West have come together. Never since history commenced her record of human events has man been called upon to meet the completion of a work so magnificent in contemplation, and so marvelous in execution.

California, within whose borders and by whose citizens, the Pacific Railroad was inaugurated, desires to express her appreciation of the vast importance to her and her sister States, of the great enterprise which, by your joint action, is about to be consummated; from her mines of gold she has forged a spike, from her laurel woods she has hewn a tie, and by the hands of her citizens she offers them to become a part of the great highway which is about to unite her in closer fellowship with her sisters of the Atlantic. From her bosom was taken the first soil, let hers be the last tie and last spike, and with them accept the hopes and wishes of her people that the success of your enterprise may not stop short of its brightest promise.[63]

Next, The Honorable F. A. Tritle of Nevada offered a silver spike to Dr. Durant of the Union Pacific Railroad and made the following remarks:

To the iron of the east and the gold of the west Nevada adds her link of silver to span the continent and wed the oceans.[64]

This was followed by a third presentation of a spike by Governor Safford of Arizona; he remarked:

Ribbed with iron, clad in silver, and crowned with gold, Arizona presents her offering to the enterprise that has banded the Continent and directed the pathway to commerce.[65]

Governor Stanford responded on behalf of the Central Pacific Railroad and graciously accepted the spikes that had been presented. He expressed hope that the great transcontinental highway they were completing that day would serve the nation and its commerce well, and he looked forward to the addition of other tracks spanning the nation so that freight could move rapidly and the nation would be even more united.

General Grenville M. Dodge responded for the Union Pacific Railroad and called attention to the fact that the great Thomas Hart Benton had stated that someday a railroad would cross the United States and would become the route across the continent to India and the Far East.

L. W. Coe of the Pacific Union Express Company stepped forward and presented Governor Stanford with a silver spike mall; and J. H. Strowbridge, Superintendent of Construction of the Central Pacific Railroad, and Samuel B. Reed, Superintendent of Construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, carried the last tie forward and placed it in position. A plate was mounted on the tie which bore the inscription, "The last tie laid on the completion of the Pacific Railroad, May 10th, 1869; presented by West Evans, manufactured by Strahle & Hughes, San Francisco." The plate also bore the names of the directors and officers of the Central Pacific Railroad Company.

Superintendent W. B. Hibbard of the Western Union. Telegraph Company stepped forward and attached telegraph wires to the mauls so that as the final blows that completed the railroad fell, the entire nation would be alerted. Governor Stanford took his place on the south side of the track, and Dr. Durant of the Union Pacific stood on the north side; and at a given signal they drove the spikes.

As the spikes were driven, the telegraph line flashed the glad tidings to the East and the West that the work had been completed. This news set off celebrations throughout the United States. A message was sent to President Grant announcing the completion of the railroad, and finally the official photographers stepped forward and took views of the scene from every possible vantage point.

Thus, the last tie was laid, the last rail was placed in position, and the last spike was driven which bound the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans with an iron band. The telegraph had borne the news to the United States, and the nation responded in celebration.[66]

At 12:32 p.m. Salt Lake City received the signal that the rails were joined; and immediately flags were unfurled, brass and martial bands in various parts of the city began playing; and artillery salutes were fired from the Court House, City Hall and from Arsenal Hill as a signal to the people of the city that the long awaited event had been consummated.[67]

At 2:00 p. m. six to seven thousand people gathered at the new tabernacle and listened to Captain Croxall's brass band "discourse their soul-cheering strains to divert the public and add a life-giving impulse to the occasion."[68] On the stand to speak to the crowd were Governor Charles Durkee, George A. Smith, John Taylor, William Hooper and Mayor Daniel H. Wells. Brigham Young was on his way back to Salt Lake City from southern Utah and did not arrive until May 11.

The ceremony lasted several hours and consisted of band music, prayers and the promised speeches. In the evening the celebration continued with fireworks, large fires on the hills and illuminating banners. The people of Salt Lake City celebrated, but they looked eagerly to the day when they would hold a similar celebration welcoming the rails of the Utah Central Railroad to their city.[69]

Payment on Contracts

The grading that the Mormons had agreed to do for the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific was completed in the spring of 1869, but only about $1 million in payments from each company had been received to that time. The Union Pacific still owed a million or more dollars on their contract and were making no offers to pay it. The Credit Mobilier scandal, which had netted the directors and principal stockholders of the Union Pacific huge profits, had left the railroad without adequate funds to meet debts or operating costs. The Central Pacific also owed a million dollars to their Mormon contractors; however, they had made promises of making payment on this debt.[70]

Tension, anger and despair mounted in Salt Lake during the summer of 1869 as President Young and his subcontractors felt great concern over their inability to complete payments for labor to the thousands of workers they had encouraged to take jobs on the railroad contracts. The individual workers found themselves destitute in many cases and in debt to merchants who had advanced them goods on the promise of payment from the railroad.[71]

Feelings found free expression on the pages of the Deseret News and Salt Lake Telegraph during August of 1869. The railroad companies were reminded that the Mormon people had come to their assistance to enable them to finish the transcontinental line rapidly, and in many cases they had left their farms or other gainful employment to do so. The work completed by the Mormons had been excellent; and, it was noted, had been praised by President Dillon, Mr. Reed and others. The companies were severely chided for using money to their own advantage that had been honestly earned by the Mormon people. They reminded the companies that the withholding of the earnings of a community in any other place would not have been tolerated, and rebellion by the people against the company would have been the result.[72]

John Sharp was sent east by President Young in August of 1869 to attempt to recover the money that was owed him by the Union Pacific Railroad, and his subsequent negotiations with that company extended over the months of August and September. The fruits of his labors produced a settlement in which it was agreed that the Union Pacific Railroad would provide iron and rolling stock for the Mormon-controlled Utah Central Railroad which was already in the process of construction, between Ogden and Salt Lake City. This agreement assured the early completion of the Utah Central, which was of significant importance to the prosperity of Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, it did not provide any ready cash with which to pay the subcontractors or the laborers who had toiled on the Union Pacific or the merchants who had extended them credit. This settlement, nevertheless, was looked upon as gratifying news because the Mormon people felt far more assurance in looking to the directors of the Utah Central and to President Brigham Young than to the directors of the Union Pacific for payment of their debt.[73]

President Young made the payments due to the subcontractors and workers in several different ways. Both church tithing credit and passes for travel on the Utah Central were given to workers against their claims; those workers who owed money to the immigration fund for their transportation to Utah were credited with payments. But primarily cash was paid. This money came from the sale of $1,000,000 of Utah Central Railroad bonds that Brigham Young had put on the market in order to meet his obligations to his people. Records indicate that the debt the President owed to those who worked in good faith on the Union Pacific grading contract had been paid by the latter part of 1870.[74]

John Sharp conducted further negotiations with the Union Pacific in 1870, and he succeeded in gaining an additional $70,000 in payment. The Union Pacific's board of directors felt that this payment satisfied all claims that Brigham Young had against the company, but President Young's account books still showed a balance of $130,000 owing on the "UPRR Grading Contract" at the time of his death in 1877.[75]

Negotiations for payment by the Central Pacific Railroad were also conducted by John Sharp. He, Lorin Farr, and William Jennings met with Wand Stanford and other officials of the Central Pacific in San Francisco in February and March of 1870. They were able to obtain $100,000 of the money owed on the Benson, Farr and West contract. Time certificates amounting to about 60 cents on the dollar were given by the Central Pacific on the remainder of the debt that was owed to the Mormons. Benson, Farr and West advertised in the local newspaper for all who had claims against the company to bring them in for settlement; and they paid off most of their railroad debts.[76]

The Junction

It has already been noted that on April 10, 1869, Congress fixed the junction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads at or near Ogden, Utah. The bill read in part:

. . . that the common terminus of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads shall be at or near Ogden; and the Union Pacific Railroad Company shall build and the Central Pacific Railroad Company pay for and own the railroad from the terminus aforesaid to Promontory Summit at which point the rails shall meet and connect and form one continuous line.[77]

Unfortunately, this action was totally unsatisfactory to the officials of the Union Pacific Railroad; and they claimed the law was unconstitutional. They argued that Congress had based its action on a compromise which had been reached between the two companies and that the two men who represented the Union Pacific in the compromise did so without authorization from the board of directors. The agreement, therefore, was not binding; and the Congressional ratification not valid. Further, Congress did not have the authority to force a corporation to sell its property.

The act was ignored, and the Union Pacific established a temporary junction at Promontory and maintained control of the road to that point for a time.[78]

The point of junction was of extreme importance to both roads for several reasons. First, if the road between Ogden and Promontory were turned over to the Central Pacific, there would be a question as to which road was entitled to the bonds and land grants for that portion since the Pacific Railway Act specified that the company constructing the line would receive those benefits. Second, the two companies were far apart on their estimates of the cost of construction and value of the line. More important, however, was the question of control of freight. The Central Pacific was extremely anxious to extend its road as far as Ogden where a junction with the Utah Central Railroad would give it direct access to Salt Lake City and the Utah market. If the Central Pacific did not reach Ogden, the Union Pacific, by holding the last thirty to fifty miles of road, would have control over freight rates between San Francisco and Salt Lake City.[79]

For the same reason the Union Pacific was just as anxious to extend their line as far as Corinne which was the jumping-off point for all the wagon freight trade to the Montana and Idaho mining areas.[80]

Neither railroad was interested in Promontory as a terminus, and the struggle to become the junction city was one between Ogden and Corinne. The citizens of these two communities recognized that the chosen city could realize considerable financial gain, and the rivalry was keen. Financial gain was not the only consideration; the continuous Mormon-Gentile [81] struggle was emphasized since Ogden was the principal Mormon community north of Salt Lake City while Corinne, which had been founded as the railroad was built, was peopled by non Mormons. Ogden, it will be recalled, was scheduled as the terminus of the Utah Central Railroad; and that factor, along with other business interests, would sustain the city if it were not chosen as the junction. Corinne, on the other hand, could not expect to prosper or even continue to exist if it became just another station along the Central Pacific Railroad. It had only two hopes, both of which were being challenged by Ogden: first, to become the junction city; and second, to remain as the railroad terminal point for the rich Montana trade.

The Corinne newspapers conducted a brilliant campaign on behalf of their city's efforts to become the railroad junction. No praise was spared in extolling the qualifications of their city for this distinction; it was already the business center of northern Utah, lake port for the Great Salt Lake trade, river port, terminal point for the Montana trade and center of unbelievable scenic attraction.[82]

This rich praise for Corinne was noted in the Boise, Idaho, newspaper in December of 1869, after the two railroads had agreed upon a junction.

We rejoice not in the downfall of Corinne, nor glory in the success of Ogden. We would rather see Ogden wiped out and Corinne become an exceeding great city, but we fear that the boasts of the Corinne Reporter will not be realized. One would think to look at the columns of the Reporter that New York, Chicago and San Francisco were situated too far from Corinne ever to amount to much.[83]

As the struggle to be the chosen city was being aired in both the Mormon and non-Mormon press of Utah, General Grenville Dodge, President, Oliver Ames and other officials of the Union Pacific Railroad, and President Leland Stanford and other officers of the Central Pacific Railroad made surveys of the possible junction sites. After several meetings, they finally agreed on a location.[84]

Their decision was confirmed by Congressional action when, on May 6, 1870, Congress fixed the common junction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads at a point about five miles northwest of Ogden and nullified all previous Congressional acts regarding the junction.[85]

This junction, however, was never located at the point agreed upon and was unofficially fixed at the Ogden depot until arrangements could be made for moving it five miles to the northwest. This situation continued from 1870 to 1874 as Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad officials made extensive plans for the common termini and a city known as Junction City. In the meantime Ogden became the terminus of the Utah Central Railroad which ran to Salt Lake and connected with rail roads to the south and west where Utah's rich mines were located. It also became the terminus of the Utah Northern Railroad which extended to Franklin, Idaho, and tapped much of the Montana trade. It became obvious that the natural place for the junction would be at Ogden where both links of the transcontinental line would have access to the feeder lines from the north and south.[86]

Meetings were held in Ogden in May of 1874 between Sidney Dillon, Oliver Ames, S. H. H. Clark, T. E. Sickles and others from the Union Pacific and Leland Stanford, Mr. Towne, Clement and Montague of the Central Pacific. The decision was finally reached to locate the junction at Ogden. After that decision, both roads began to build extensive shops and yards.[87] The junction still remains at Ogden.


[1] Grenville M. Dodge, How We Built the Union Pacific Railway (Denver: Sage Books, 1965), p. 5. This work was originally published as U. S. Senate Document No. 447, 61st Congress, 2nd Session (1910).

[2] Nelson Trottman, History of the Union Pacific (New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1923), p. 3-4.

[3] Statutes at Large, vol. VII, p. 219 (1853).

[4] William H. Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West 1803 - 1863 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), p. 262-263.

[5] Lewis H. Haney, 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), p. 409-410.

[6] Goetzmann, pp. 262-266.

[7] Goetzmann, pp. 274-295

[8] W. P. Webb, The Great Plains (Boston: Ginn and Co., 1931), p. 197.

[9] Goetzmann, pp. 297-298.

[10] Webb, p. 197.

[11] Dodge, pp. 9-11.

[12] Statutes at Large, vol. XII, p. 489 (1862).

[13] Lewis H. Haney, 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), pp. 65-68.

[14] Deseret News (SLC), January 27, 1868.

[15] Utah, A Memorial to Congress for the construction of a great national central railroad to the Pacific Coast, Utah Session Laws, 1st sess. (1852), p. 225.

[16] Utah, A Memorial to Congress in relation to the Pacific Railway, Utah Session Laws, 3rd sess. (1854), pp. 30-32.

[17] Journal of Discourses by President Brigham Young, His Two Counselors, and The Twelve Apostles, vol. XII (Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1869), p. 54. Sermon delivered by Brigham Young, May 26, 1867.

[18] Journal of Discourses by President Brigham Young, His Two Counselors, and The Twelve Apostles, vol. III, p. 271. Sermon delivered by Brigham Young, August 16, 1868.

[19] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 26, 1868.

[20] Deseret News (SLC), January 27, June 17, July 15, October 14, December 23, 1868; Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 9, June 2, June 10, 1868.

[21] Letter from Brigham Young to Daniel H. Wells, July 16, 1864, L.D.S. Millennial Star (Liverpool), September 17, 1864.

[22] Letter from Brigham Young to Daniel H. Wells, July 16, 1864, L.D.S. Millennial Star (Liverpool), September 17, 1864.

[23] Deseret News (SLC), October 19, November 9, 1865, May 31, June 28, September 12, 1866. A detailed account of the construction of this part of the Central Pacific Railroad is found in George Kraus, High Road to Promontory (Palo Alto, Calif.: American West Publishing Co., 1969.

[24] Deseret News (SLC), May 15, 1867.

[25] Deseret Evening News (SLC), August 19, 1868.

[26] Krause, pp. 182-187.

[27] Deseret Evening News (SLC), June 5, July 1, 1868.

[28] Deseret News (SLC), October 10, 31, 1866, August 7, 1867.

[29] Dodge, Union Pacific, pp. 36-39.

[30] Deseret News (SLC), July 24, 1867.

[31] Deseret News (SLC), July 24, 1867.

[32] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 20, 21, 1868.

[33] Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1958), pp. 261-262.

[34] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 21, June 9, 1868.

[35] Members of the L.D.S. (Mormon) Church commonly refer to each other as Saints.

[36] Deseret Evening News (SLC), June 12, 18, 1868.

[37] Deseret News (SLC), July 29, 1868.

[38] Deseret News (SLC), July 22, 29, 1868.

[39] Deseret News (SLC), July 29, 1868.

[40] Deseret News (SLC), July 22, 1868.

[41] Deseret News (SLC), August 12, 1868.

[42] Deseret Evening News (SLC), June 23, 1868.

[43] Deseret Evening News (SLC), June 11, 1868.

[44] Deseret Evening News (SLC), June 11, 1868.

[45] Deseret Evening News (SLC), June 11, 1868.

[46] Deseret Evening News (SLC), June 11, 1868.

[47] Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, pp. 260-262.

[48] Deseret Evening News (SLC), October 20, December 1, 19, 1868; Deseret News (SLC), October 7, 1868.

[49] Deseret News (SLC), December 30, 1868

[50] Deseret Evening News (SLC), January 11, 25, 1869; Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, January 19, 25, February 10, 1869.

[51] Salt Lake Telegraph, March l, 1869.

[52] Salt Lake Telegraph, March 8, 1869; Deseret Evening News (SLC), March 9, 1869.

[53] Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, p. 485.

[54] Salt Lake Telegraph, March 16, April 9, 1869.

[55] Salt Lake Telegraph, March 16, April 8, 23, 1869.

[56] Letter, Brigham Young to Franklin D. Richards, August 4, 1868, L.D.S. Church Historian's Office, Brigham Young Letter File.

[57] Deseret News (SLC), November 25, 1868.

[58] Deseret News (SLC), December 16, 1868.

[59] Salt Lake Telegraph, April 14, 1869.

[60] Salt Lake Telegraph, March 16, April 9, 1869

[61] Statutes at Large, vol. XVI, p. 12.

[62] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 12, 1869.

[63] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 12, 1869.

[64] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 12, 1869.

[65] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 12, 1869.

[66] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 12, 1869.

[67] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 10, 11, 1869.

[68] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 10, 1869

[69] Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 10, 11, 1869.

[70] Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, pp. 265-266: Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, August 12, 1868. The Journal History, 750 volumes of chronologically arranged documents of the history of the L.D.S. Church, located in the L.D.S. Church Historian's Office, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[71] Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, p. 265.

[72] Salt Lake Dally Telegraph, August 24, 25, 1869; Deseret Evening News (SLC), August 24, 1869.

[73] Deseret Evening News (SLC), September 4, 1869; Salt Lake Telegraph, September 24, 1869; L.D.S. Church Journal History, John Sharp to Albert Carrington, August 3, 1860; Brigham Young to Albert Carrington, September 4, 1869.

[74] Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, pp. 267-269; Ogden Junction, April 23, 1870.

[75] Union Pacific Railroad Contract Account, pp. 942, 943, 1043, 1064, 1122, Brigham Young University Library Archives, Provo, Utah, Brigham Young Cash Ledger Books, vol. 2; Letters, John Sharp to Brigham Young, May 5, July 7, 1870, L.D.S. Church Historian's Office, John Sharp Letter File. These letters explain the details of the $70,000 settlement of 1870.

[76] Letter, John Sharp to Brigham Young, February 17, 1870, L.D.S. Church Historian's Office, John Sharp Letter File. This letter, written in San Francisco, summarizes the negotiations and settlement with the Central Pacific Railroad. Ogden Junction, March 22, April 5, 1870; Deseret News (SLC), March 30, 1870.

[77] Statutes at Large, vol. XVI, p. 56 (1869).

[78] Deseret News (SLC), May 26, 1869.

[79] Salt Lake Telegraph (Ogden), May 27, 1869. The Salt Lake Telegraph was published in Ogden from May 14, to July 28, 1869.

[80] Salt Lake Telegraph (Ogden), May 27, 1869.

[81] The name Gentile is commonly used by members of the Mormon Church to describe anyone not of their faith.

[82] Utah Reporter (Corinne), November 6, 27, December 9, 1869, January 6, 1870. Articles campaigning for Corinne as the junction city are found in nearly every issue of the newspaper during this period.

[83] Utah Reporter (Corinne), December 23, 1869, cited from the Boise Statesman.

[84] Salt Lake Telegraph (Ogden), June 8, 1869; Salt Lake Telegraph (SLC), September 14, 1869; Deseret Evening News (SLC), September 16, 1869.

[85] An Act to Fix the Point of Junction of the Union Pacific Railroad Company and the Central Pacific Railroad Company, Statutes at Large, vol. XVI, pp. 121-122 (1870).

[86] Salt Lake Daily Herald, August 13, 31, 1871; Deseret News (SLC), September 13, 1871; Corinne Dally Reporter, May 24, 1873.

[87] Daily Ogden Junction, May 26, June 9, 1874; Deseret Evening News (SLC), May 30, 1874; Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 4, 1874; Ogden Junction. June 6, 1874.