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PART 5 EVEN, GOLDEN SPIKE PAGES 1 TO a. FOR ALL THE NEWS OMAHA DEE YOUR MONETS WORTH The Omaha VOL. XXXVIII NO. 47. OMAJIA, SUNDAY MORNING, MAY 9, 1909. SINGLE COPY FIVE CENTS. FO RTIETIi AN N IVERSARY OF THE DRIVING OF THE Wlllr ill OF THE DRIVING OF THE hi ivTT 1 T7siiwiraribi 1 By General Grenville KL Dodge THE building of a Pacific steam road to connect the streams flowing Into the Atlantic and Pacific was advocated as early as 1819, before a mile of railroad was built in any part of the world. It took practical form when Asa Whit ney, In 1846, in petitioning congress In behalf of a Pacific railroad, said: "You will see that it will change the whole world." Senator Thomas H. Benton In 1849 pleaded that the great line when built should "be adorned with Its crowning honor, the colossal statue of the great Columbus, whose design It accomplishes, hewn from the granite mass of a peak of the Rocky mountains, overlooking the road, the mountain itself the pedestal, and the statue a part of the mountain, pointing with outstretched arm to the western horizon, and saying to the flying passenger, "There is the east! There la India!'" Charles Sumner in 1863 said: "The railroad from the Atlantic to the Pacific, traversing a whole continent and binding together two oceans, this mighty thoroughfare when completed will mark an epoch of human progress second only to that of our Declara tion of Independence. May the day soon come!" And it did come, and all the prophecies were fulfilled when the first transcontinental line was completed and the tracks joined at Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869, JuBt forty years ago. This ceremony was one of peace and harmony between the Union Pacific, coming from the east, and the Central Pacific, coming from the west. For a year or more there had been great contention tnd rivalry between the two companies, the Union Pacific endeavor ing to reach Humboldt Wells, on the west boundary of Utah, and the Central Pacific rushing to reach Ogden, Utah, to give them an outlet to Salt Lake City, and the two lines were graded alongside of each other for 226 miles between Ogden and Humboldt Wells. Climbing Promontory mountains they were not a stone's throw apart. . When both companies saw that neither could reach Its goal they came together and we made an agreement to join- the tracks ' on the summit of Promontory mountain, the Union Pacific selling to the Central Pacific flfty-eix miles of Its road back within fire miles of Ogden and leasing, trackage, over that five miles to enable the Central Pacific to reach Ogden. These five miles were not only a part of the Union Pacific, but used by their line north to Idaho. This agreement was ratified by congress. Each road built to the summit of Promontory, leaving a gap of about 100 feet of rail to be laid when the last spike was driven. The chief engineer of the Union and Central Pacific had charge of the ceremony and the work, and we set a day far enough ahead so that trains coming from New York and San Francisco would have ample time to reach Promontory In time to take pari in the ceremonies. Arrival of the Official Parties On the morning of May 10, 1869, Hon. Leland Stanford, gov ernor of California and president of the Central Pacific, accompanied by Messrs. Huntington, Hopkins, Crocker and trainloads of Cali fornia's distinguished citizens, arrived from the west. During the forenoon Vice President T. C. Durant and Directors John R. Duff and Sidney Dillon and Consulting Engineer Silas A. Seymour of the Union Pacific, with other prominent men, including a delegation of Mormons from Salt Lake City, came in on a train from the east. The national government was represented by a detachment of "regulars" from Fort Douglas, Utah, accompanied by a band, and 600 others, including Chinese, Mexicans, Indians, half-breeds, negroes and laborers, suggesting an air of cosmopolitanism, all gathered around the open space where the tracks were to be joined. The Chinese laid the rails from the west end, and the Irish laborers laid them from the east end, until they met and joined. Telegraphic wires were so connected that each blow of the descending sledge could be reported Instantly to all parts of the United States. Corresponding blows were struck on the bell of the city hall In San Francisco, and with the last blow of the sledge a cannon was fired at Fort Point. General Safford presented a spike of gold, silver and iron as the offering of the territory of Arizona. Governor Tuttle of Nevada presented a spike of silver from his State. The connecting tie was of California laurel, and California presented the last spike of gold in behalf of that state. A silver sledge had also been presented for the occasion. A prayer was offered. Governor Stanford of California made a few appropriate remarks on behalf of the Central Paclflo and the chief engineer re t sponded for the Union Pacific. Then the telegraphic inquiry from the Omaha office, from which the circuit was to be started, was answered: "To everybody: Keep quiet When the last spike is driven at Promontory Point we will say 'Done.' Don't break the circuit, but watch for the signals of the blows of the hammer. The spike will soon be driven. The signal will be three dots for the commencement of the blows." The magnet tapped one two three then paused "Done." The spike was given Its first blow by President San ford and Vice President Durant followed, neither of whom hit the splice the first time, but hit the rail, and were greeted by the lusty cheers of the onlookers, accompanied by the screams of the locomotives and the music of the military band. Many other spikes were driven on the last rail by some of the distinguished persons present, but it was seldom that they first hit the spike. The original spike, after being tapped by the officials of the companies, was driven home by the chief engineers of the two roads. Then the two trains were run together, the two locomotives touching at the point of junction, and the engineers of the two locomotives each broke a bottle of champagne on the other's engine. Then it was declared that the connection was made and the Atlantic and Pacific were joined together never to be parted. Celebrate from Ocean to Ocean The wires in every direction were hot with congratulatory telegrams. President Grant and Vice President Colfax were the recipients of especially felicitous messages. On the evening of May 8, in San Francisco, from the stages of the theaters and other public places, notice was given that the two roads had met and were to be wedded on the morrow. The celebration there began at once and -practicably lasted through the 10th. The booming of cannons and the ringing of bells were united with the other species of noise making In which jubilant humanity finds expression for its feelings on such an occasion. The buildings in the city were gay with flags and bunting. Business waa suspended and the longest procession that San Francisco had ever seen attested the enthusiasm of the people. At night the city was brilliant ' with Illuminations., Free railway trains filled Sacramento with an unwonted crowd, and the din of cannon, steam whistles and bells followed the final message. At the eastern terminus In Omaha the firing of a hundred guns on Capitol hill, more bells and steam whistles and a grand proces sion of fire companies, civic societies, citizens and visiting delega tions echoed the sentiments of the Calif orniana. In Chicago a proces sion of four miles in' length, a lavish display of decoration in the city and on the vessels in the river, and an addreas by Vice Presi dent Colfax In the evening were the evidences of the city's feeling. In New York, by order of the mayor, a salute of a hundred guns announced the culmination et the great undertaking. In Trinity church the te deum was chanted, prayers were offered, and when the services were over the chimes rung out "Old Hundred," ' the "Ascension Carol" and national airs. The ringing of bells on Inde pendence hall and the fire stations in Philadelphia produced an unusual concourse of citizens to celebrate the national event. In the other large cities of the country the expressions of publlo gratification were hardly less hearty and demonstrative. Bret Harte was Inspired to write the celebiated poem of "What the Engines Said." The first verse is: "What was it the engines said. Pilots touching, head to head. Facing on the single track. Half a world behind- each back? This is what the engines said. Unreported and unread." Not forgetting my old commander. General W. T. Sherman, ''I' iMilliliii Extract from General Sherman's Memoirs By General William Tecumseh Sherman W ITHIN a few days of the grand review of May 24, 1865, I took leave of the army at Washington and, with my family, went to Chicago to attend a fair held in the Interest of families of soldiers impoverished by the war. I remained there about two weeks, later visit ing South Bend, Ind., my native place; Lancaster, O., and Louisville, Ky., returning to Lancaster, O., where I remained with the family until receipt of General Orders No. 118 of June 27, 1865, which divided the whole territory of the United States into nineteen de partments and five military divisions, the second of which waa the military division of the "Mississippi," afterward changed to "Mis souri," Major General W. T. Sherman to command, iwlth headquar ters at St. Louis, to embrace the Departments of the Ohio, Missouri and Arkansas. My thoughts and feelings at once reverted to the construction of the great Pacific railway, which had been chartered by congress In the midst of war, and was then in progress. I put myself in com munication with the parties engaged in the work, visiting them In person, and assured them that I would afford them all possible as sistance and encouragement. Dr. Durant, the leading man of the Union Pacific, seemed to me a person of ardent nature, of great abil ity and energy, enthusiastic in his undertaking and determined to build the road from Omaha to San Francisco. He had an able corps of assistants, collecting materials, letting out contracts for ties, grading, etc., and I attended the celebration of the first completed division of sixteen and a half miles, from Omaha to Paplllion. When the orators spoke bo confidently of the determination to build 2,000 miles of railway across the plains, mountains and desert, devoid of timber, with no population, but, on the contrary, raided by the bold and bloody Sioux and Cheyennea, who had almost successfully defied our power for half a century, I was disposed to treat it Jocularly, because I could not help recall our California experience of 1855-'56, when we celebrated the completion of twenty-two and a half miles of the same road eastward of Sacramento, on which occasion Edward Baker had electrified us by his unequaled oratory, painting the glori ous things which would reesult from uniting the western coast with the east by bands of iron. Baker then, with a poet's imagination, saw the vision of the mighty future, but not the gulf which mean time was destined to swallow up half a million of the brightest and best youth of our land, and that he himself would be one of the first victims far away on the banks of the Potomac (he was killed in bat tle at Balls Bluff October 21. 1861). .The Kansas Pacific was designed to unite with the main branch about the 100th meridian, near Fort Kearny. Mr. Shoemaker was its general superintendent and building contractor, and this branch in 1865 was finished about forty miles to a point near Law rence, Kan. I may not be able to refer to these roads again except incidentally, and will, therefore, record here that the location of this branch afterward was changed from the Republican to the Smoky Hill Fork of the Kansas river, and is now the main line to Denver. The Union and Central railroads from the beginning were pushed with a skill, vigor and courage which always commanded my admi ration, the two meeting at Promontory Point, Utah, July 15, 1869, and in my judgment constitute one of the greatest and most bene flcient achievements of man on earth. The construction of the Union Pacific railroad was deemed so Important that the president, at my suggestion, constituted on the 6th of March, 1S66, the new Department of the Platte, General P. St. George Cooke commanding, succeeded by General C. C. Augur, headquarters at Omaha, with orders to give ample protection to the working parties, and to afford every possible assistance In the con struction of the road; and subsequently in like manner the Depart ment of Dakota was constituted, General A. H. Terry commanding, with headquarters at St. Paul, to give similar protection and encour agement to the Northern Pacific railroad. These departments, with changed commanders, have continued up to the present day, and have fulfilled perfectly the uses for which they were originally designed. During the years 1865 and 18G6 the great plains remained almost in a state of nature, being the pasture fields of about 10,000,000 buffalo, deer, elk and antelope, and were in full possession of the Sioux, Cheyennes. Arapahoes and Kiowas, a race of bold Indians who saw plainly that the construction of two parallel roads right through their country would prove destructive to the game on which they subsisted, and consequently fatal to themselves. The troops were posted to the best advantage to protect the par ties engaged in building these roads, and in person I reconnoitered well to the front, traversing the buffalo regions from south to north and from east to west, often with a very small escort, mingling with the Indians whenever safe, and thereby gained personal knowledge of matters which enabled me to use the troops to the best advan tage. I am sure that without the courage and activity of the de partment commanders with the small bodies of regular troops on the plains during years 1866-69 the Pacific railroads could not have been built; but once built and in full operation, the fate of the buffalo and Indian was settled for all time to come. Chief Engineer in Charge of Construction. who had been such an aid in protecting us in the building of the road, in answer to our telegram, sent this dispatch: "WASHINGTON, May 11, 1869. General G. M. Dodge: In common with millions, I sat yesterday and Heard the mystic taps of the telegraphic battery announce the nailing of the last spike in the great Pacific road. Indeed, am I its frleud? Yea. Yet, am I to be a part of it, for as early as IS 54 I was vice president of the effort begun in San Francisco under the contract of Robinson, Sey mour & Co. As soon as General Thomas makes certain preliminary Inspections in his new command on the Pacific I will go out, and, I need not say, will have different facilities from that of 1S46. when the only way to California was by sailing around Cape Horn, taking our ships 196 days. All honor to you, to Durant, to Jack and Dan Casement, to Reed, and the thousands of brave fellows who have wrought out this glorious problem, spite of changes, storms and even doubts of the incredulous, and all the obstacles you have happily surmounted. W. T. SHERMAN. General." After the ceremony a sumptuous lunch was served in President Sanford's cars and appropriate speeches were made by Governor Stanford and others, and a general jollification was enjoyed. At night each train took its way to its own home, leaving at the junction-point only the engineers and the workmen to complete the work ready for the through trains that followed in a day or two after. The one thought that was in all minds was, "What of the fu ture? What could a railroad earn that ran almost Its entire length from Nebraska to the California state line through a country un inhabited, and, at that date, with no developed local business upon Its whole line." My own views upon that question I expressed in my report upon the completion of the road in 1869, In which I said: "Its future is fraught with great good. It will develop a waste, will bind together the two extremes of the nation as one, will stimu late Intercourse and trade, and bring harmony, prosperity and wealth to the two coasts. A proper policy, systematically and per sistently followed, will bring to the road the trade of the two oceans and will give it all the business it can accommodate; while the local trade will increase gradually until the mining, grazing and agricultural regions through which it passes will build up and create a business that will be a lasting and permanent support to the com pany." As soon as the road was in operation, with regular trains, the company called upon me to make an estimate of the earnings of the company for the next ten years. They desired that they should show a sum. If possible, equal to the interest upon all the company bonds and provide for the government sinking fund. What the Golden Spike Achieved This was a problem that would have challenged the imagination of the greatest optimist of the time, for we had a road 1,086 miles in length, with few settlements upon it, and the country surround ing it, from our own observation, did not promise any great amount of railroad traffic. However, by claiming all the known traffic be tween the Atlantic and the Pacific, and all the trade of foreign countries seeking Japan, China and Australia by this route, we built up a yearly earning of $5,000 per mile, but the growth of the country even then distanced my imagination 100 per cent, and our yearly earnings in ten years rose to $10,000 or $12,000 per mile. When I look back upon the growth of the country west of the Missouri, now supporting five transcontinental lines, with all the miles of lateral roads filling the intermediate territory, with the traffic on the Union Pacific today demanding a double track over Its entire length, I have not the ability to even guess what the future has in store. When you try to calculate the business that will be created by the government's conservation of the country's resources, its millions spent impounding the great streams that flow east and west from the Rocky mountains, the minerals bidden in every range and foothill, the agricultural growth from dry farming and Irrigation, and the great yearly increase In population, and that today the country is comparatively only scratched. As it de velops and grows today, in ten years it will require 50,000 addi tional miles of railroad to transport its people and its production. When the Union Paclflo was first built over 90 per cent of its traffic was through business. Now that figure is reversed and 90 per cent of It or more is local, and this is the case of all the trans continental and intermediate lines. There is an empire building up west of the Missouri river and on the Pacific coast from Mexico to Bering strait. Already there is a development that has outstripped every effort to meet its demands or anticipate Its necessities. To me, who traveled over most of this country in the '60s and '60s, when Its inhabitants were mostly Indians, and its products game and grass, its growth I cannot even comprehend, and its future no man can safely prophesy. It Is a great satisfaction to have lived and witnessed the development of our nation, from the lakes to the Pacific, as a result of the civil war it has made a oentury's growth In fifty years.