The Transcontinental Railroad: The Gateway to the West (Milestones in American History)
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Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, Number 1, by Utah State History - Issuu
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On July 26, Brigham Young, Jr. Athearn, professor of history at the University of Colorado and book review editor of Montana, the Magazine of Western History, has contributed numerous articles to the Utah Historical Quarterly concerning the railroads in U t a h. H e is the a u t h o r of several successful books a m o n g which is a history of the Denver and R i o G r a n d e Railroad. H e is currently writing a history of the Union Pacific Railroad. Before long the reason behind the elaborate courtesies was revealed by Dillon, who, as Young wrote in his diary, "wants our assistance in laying out the U.
Richards, calling it "my good fortune to travel from Chicago to Omaha with the directors, and several other gentlemen who were largely interested in the railroad between the former city and New York. Durant telegraphed Brigham Young from Fort Sanders near Laramie , and asked him if he would take a contract to prepare a road grade from the head of Echo Canyon toward Salt Lake.
Apparently there was to be no haggling over price; Durant simply asked Young to name the figure, per cubic yard and depending upon the character of the material to be worked, for which he was willing to assume the task. Young would have some three weeks to make his decision and to get his crews organized because late snow storms had held up the movement of supplies between Omaha and Green River.
No time was lost in contemplation at Salt Lake City; Durant had an affirmative answer to his telegram the same day he made his request. Reed, Union Pacific superintendent of construction, and Brigham Young. Young, Jr. Church Historian's Library. In writing to his wife, Jack Casement said the road had been blocked for three days and he commented: "I never saw a worse storm. Work was to commence within ten days, to be completed by November 1. The railroad agreed to carry men, teams, and tools from Omaha free and to provide powder, steel, shovels, picks, sledges, wheelbarrows, scrapers, crowbars, and other necessary tools at cost plus freight charges no higher than those paid by other contractors.
For their work the Mormons were to be paid at the rate of 30 cents a cubic yard for excavations where earth was hauled less than feet away from the cuts, and 50 cents for greater distances. Estimates of work costs were to be made monthly with 80 per cent of the estimate to be paid on the twentieth of each month. Actually, the work east of Echo Canyon, for about fifty miles in the direction of Bridger, was awarded to J. Nounnan and Company, a non-Mormon organization. This section of grading was commenced in mid-July Commenting upon the extent of indebtedness among his people and the possibility of turning a surplus of labor into money, he called the opportunity a God-send.
These men two of the principal contractors for the Union Pacific. Not only would employment help to reduce indebtedness, said the newspaper, but it also would provide "the necessary funds to send for machinery and establish mercantile houses in the various settlements. Casement to his wife, May 8, , J.
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Casement Collection. Utica, New York, , , wrote that over one thousand Mormons had worked off part or all of the money they owed the church for passage money already advanced by their railroad employment. These two men were the guiding force in the construction of the Union Pacific, with Dodge as chief engineer in the field and Durant the principal promoter of the Union Pacific.
As one of the local churchmen explained it, the contract would "obviate the necessity of some few thousand strangers being brought here, to mix and interfere with the settlers, of that class of men who take pleasure in making disturbance wherever they go. Accordingly, he wrote to Franklin D. Richards to his brother Franklin D. Anxious that no able-bodied man remain idle for a moment, Young remarked that if the wagon trains sent forth to get the immigrants should reach the terminus first, their members could work for the railroad until their passengers arrived; likewise, if the immigrants arrived first, they were to hire on as construction workers until the wagon trains came up.
Under an arrangement made with the Union Pacific, all Mormon immigrants able to work would be passed free from Omaha to the terminus. This, said Young, meant that a larger migration than normal could be sent forth because the mission money would go further. The contract, beneficial to both parties, was used by the Mormons to benefit themselves in a number of ways. Young, Brigham Young, Jr. Young all sons of Brigham , who were now ready to let sub-contracts, It was rumored that as many as ten thousand men might be wanted. Samuel B.
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Reed told Durant that Brigham Young was sending five hundred teams out to meet the annual immigration and after they had completed this assignment, probably before August 1, the animals could be added to the force at work near Echo. By mid-June Bishop John Sharp had a crew of eighty men at work in Weber Canyon, but already he had been obliged to refuse employment to others because the defile in which the men were working was too narrow to accommodate any more.
Once that point was passed, the bishop said that he could use as many as five hundred men. Meantime, Joseph Young forwarded lumber for temporary shacks to house the additional crews.
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The latter, who was close to the spiritual leader, would remain an important Utah railroad figure for 12 Young to Richards, May 23, , ibid. Mormon dependents were given a special rate because of the grading contract. Durant told Webster Snyder, superintendent at Omaha, to transport passengers on Young's order at the same rate charged contractors, allowing one hundred pounds of baggage to each and collecting half of this fare from children between the ages of five and thirteen.
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Joseph A. The younger Brigham, according to his father, was assigned the role of superintending and coordinating all the sub-contracts "as my representative. By then, said the elder Young, the workmen were working together well and accomplishing much more than at first. As he said, "they have got used to the labor.
Early in June a mass meeting was held in the new tabernacle at which Brigham Young made the principal address. He told his people that he had always wanted the railroad and that he would help to build it, provided he was well paid.
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Despite the fact that Young had said this many times before, there seemed to be doubts among his followers that he really meant it. Upon hearing his comments, one of his followers wrote: "We felt much better after he did that; we feared he might not be willing and we'd never have a road.
https://windthacardapon.tk A Wyoming newspaper criticized him for it, saying that a more northerly route was sixty or seventy miles shorter, but it admitted that Brigham Young probably would have his way because "There is more political strength and influence united in him than in any other one person in America.