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California Newspapers, 1865-66

"All I Know is What I Read in the Papers." —Will Rogers

These California newspaper articles mostly relate to the Central Pacific Railroad, including the visit of Vice President Colfax.  They were published in 1865 or 1866 in the Sacramento Daily Union, Alta California, Placer Herald (Auburn), or the Dutch Flat Enquirer.  They are arranged in chronological order with the date of publication shown in the format yyyy-mm-dd.  Click here to see images of these newspaper articles.



Pacific Railroad — While the work of wharf building, etc., is progressing satisfactorily at this end of the Pacific Railroad, that of grading and track laying is advancing rapidly in the mountains. The bridge at Newcastle Gap, about a thousand feet long and sixty feet high, has been completed several weeks, and another, of nearly equal dimensions, a few miles further on, is now finished. At what is known as "the big fill," some three hundred and fifty men, with thirty carts and thirty-five wagons, are at work, and the embankment is nearly completed. This embankment is a thousand feet long and fifty-three feet deep in the center. It is nearly completed and in a few days the men will be sent "to the front" to commence operations at a new locality. The Bloomer cut, twelve hundred feet long and sixty-three feet deep, completed several weeks since, presents two walls composed almost entirely of cobble stones, as solidly embedded in cement as though they had been placed there by the hammer and trowel of the mason. The grading from Newcastle to Clipper Gap, a distance of twelve miles, is so nearly completed that there will be no impediment in the way of the track-layers. The iron is laid about a mile and half beyond Newcastle, and will extend to Auburn station within ten days. By or before the 15th of June it will reach Clipper Gap. This point is located forty-three miles from Sacramento. It is the intentions of the company to lay out a town at that locality by the time the cars can reach it. Beyond that point three or four camps of workman are located, who are employed at the deepest cuts and heaviest fills. One of these is stationed at "Wild Cat Summit," a region of country where one would expect to find wild cats much more numerous than locomotives, and wild Indians in lieu of civilized Chinamen. The company has now employed about two thousand hands, two-thirds of whom are Chinamen. Many of the men use wheelbarrows, where they can be employed to advantage, while at other points some two hundred horses and carts and about fifty double teams are kept busy. One difficulty is experienced by the company, which could have scarcely been anticipated — that of scarcity of material for building the road. A glance at the towering hills would lead the observer to a different conclusion, but as many points where high and long embankments are required the soil is but from one to two feet deep, and is difficult to obtain. Consequently many acres are scraped over and much of the earth has to be hauled a long distance. In several instances costly bridges have been built where embankments would have been prepared had earth been abundant and easy to access. At the upper end of the line workmen are engaged in cutting red fir to be used for bridges and trestle work. This wood, sawed by mills now nearly completed, will be used for railroad ties after the supply from Mendocino, now on hand, is exhausted. Recently several lodes of valuable lime stone have been discovered, and Holmes & Co. have made arrangements for building kilns along the line of the road for supplying the San Francisco market. The managers of the road feel confident that they will run their first engine to Illinoistown (ten miles beyond Clipper Gap) by the first of October next. It is now certain that "faith can remove mountains," and especially, if properly backed up by Sacramento energy and gold coin, by blasting powder and the pick and shovel, by hundreds of horses and thousands of workmen, as is the case in the present instance. Therefore as the necessary iron lays on the levee and the ties are piled up at Roseville to extend to Illinoistown, we conclude that the promise will be fulfilled.




Railroad at Clipper Gap — The Railroad track reached Clipper Gap on Wednesday, and passenger and freight trains will commence making their regular trip to that place today. The stages of the California Stage Company will run in connection, and be withdrawn from this place.

FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 1865

No dispatches were received from the East yesterday. A dispatch from Carson states that Schuyler Colfax and party will arrive at Sacramento at nine o'clock A.M. to-morrow.

POLITICAL GOSSIP AND SPECULATIONS — A correspondent of the Solano Press, writing from San Francisco, June 26th, over the signature of "C.B.D.," thus gossips on the Senatorial situation:

"I have the extreme happiness of announcing to you — in a very confidential manner, however — that the successor of McDougall has at last been determined, and all that is now necessary is to go through the formality of electing him. The office has sought the man John B. Felton, of the firm of Pringle & Felton, of this city, in response to the loud outcries of the people, has now consented to be a candidate for United States Senator. Felton does not want the office. Felton, if he had his own way, would peremptorily decline the office. Felton, however, is a lover of ‘his country and his country's cause,’ and feeling that he has a duty to perform, he has agreed to accept the office. Let us breathe freely again, and thank God that all such complicated fights are postponed until the year of our Lord. Who is Felton? Why, as I before said, he is a lawyer, the brother-in-law of Sandy Baldwin of Norado (sp?), is talented, upright, remarkable, extraordinary, and above all, rich. Seriously, he has plenty of the needful and will spend it, too…


COLFAX AND PARTY IN CHINATOWN. — Being desirous of seeing all the sights afforded by our city, and being particularly curious in regard to the Celestial inhabitants of the town, Colfax and the gentlemen accompanying him, took a turn through Chinatown, as the Chinese quarter here is popularly teemed. Officer Downey, under whose especial charge the Celestials are, and Jack Perry, Captain of Police, accompanied the party, also several other gentlemen supposed to have some knowledge of the region to be explored. As none of the gentlemen from the East had ever before seen any but a few tolerably civilized Chinamen, such as are to be seen peddling cigars, etc., in New York, they were all much interested in looking through the various stores, shops and gambling dens to be seen here. The dress, language, and all they saw were new and curious to them. At one of the stores visited, a Chinaman explained to Colfax their mode of computation by means of one of their counting machines. Colfax gave the Celestial a sum to do, and was much pleased at the ready answer he received. The party being anxious to see a Chinese baby, search was made for one. Babies are not very plenty in Chinatown. The first one found was a boy about five years of age. Officer Downey, however, in order to gratify Governor Bross, who wished to see a still smaller specimen, started off and soon returned, bearing in his arms a cunning little imp of the masculine persuasion, less than a year old. The mother came with the child, and seemed to wonder much at the curiosity displayed in regard to her progeny by the "barbarians" from the East. The hair, eyes, complexion of the little "John" were closely examined and freely commented on, much to the amusement of some of the women present, who made audible cachinatory remarks behind their fans and aprons. The little "Hongkong" was examined much as were some of the dried turtles at the stores previously visited. Tom Poo having learned the real character and standing of the visitors, politely invited all hands into the saloon to indulge in lemonade and lager. Tom Poo allows nobody to get ahead of him in the way of hospitality. The party were a little astonished at the familiar style in which they were addressed by some of the female inhabitants of the "quarters," but concluded it was the "style in China." The Governor, being of an inquiring turn of mind, several times excited the laughter of all hands at the style of information he received. All thought themselves well paid for the trouble of making the visit in the many new and strange sights they had seen. On their way back the party took a look into a hurdy-gurdy house — an institution of this kind being something new to them. On learning who the party were, the proprietor produced some excellent California wine, and ordered a dance for their special edification. The more we see of our distinguished visitors, the better we are pleased with them, and the good natured interest they have invariably taken in such poor sights — tame lions — as we have to exhibit to them, shows them to be gentlemen who are determined to learn all that is to be learned about our country. — Virginia Enterprise, June 29th



Our distinguished Visitors — Their Progress through California and Arrival in San Francisco.

The telegraph has from time to time give us accounts of the progress of our distinguished visitors. Hon. Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the National House of Representatives: Lieutenant Governor (late acting Governor) Bross, of Illinois; A.D. Richardson, of the New York Tribune; and Samuel Bowles, of the Springfield (Mass.) Republican. Since their arrival in the state of Nevada, and in fact since their arrival in Colorado Territory, their progress has been a continual triumphal march, the people of every hamlet on the route turning out en masse to do the honors and welcome them to the Empire of the West. Mr. Colfax is known in the Pacific States for his active efforts in promoting the passage of the Overland Telegraph bill, of which he was the author, his constant advocacy of the Pacific Railroad, and his earnest, outspoken loyalty, which made him the warm friend and confidant of the late President Lincoln. Governor Bross is know far and wide as a writer and speaker on the same subjects, as a representative man of the Empire State of the West, and the proprietor of the most extensive newspaper establishment (Chicago Tribune) in the United States outside of New York. Mr. Richard on is reckoned among the readiest and most able writers and speakers of the day, and his long confinement and sufferings in Southern prison pens has commended him to the affections of our own loyal people. Mr. Bowles is an able representative of New England men and New England views, and it well worthy to travel is such company. Our reporter has furnished us by telegraph with the outlines of their trip since their arrival at Carson City: it therefor only remains for us to give a few particulars of their ride over the Sierra Nevada, and their arrival here.


The party left Carson City on Friday morning in a six horse coach specially provided for their use by the Pioneer Line, and were accompanied by Mayor Jones, of Carson, Governor Blasdell, of Nevada, and a number of other, say fifty in all, in carriages. The ride to the summit of the mountain, and then to Lake Tahoe, was accomplished at a terrific rate of speed, as it was the desire of Col. Bee.





Shasta, July 14th. — Mr. Colfax and party reached here this morning, and were enthusiastically received by our citizens. Our brass band turned out and entertained them with choice National airs, after which short addresses were made by Colfax, Bross and Richardson, and duly appreciated by the audience. Hearty cheers were given for our restored and triumphant Union, also for Colfax and party" after which they proceeded on their journey to Yreka and Oregon.

The following item Visalla Delta on the 12th: "Dr. De Laborda, one of the earliest discoverers of mineral at Clear Creek, has just sold his claims, or a part of them, to parties in San Francisco, for the snug little sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This is only a rumor, but it is believed, and from what we know of his claims we do not believe he received their value. The Company which bought them, if well managed, will make millions."

The Salt Lake Telegraph hoists the name of Brigham Young for Governor, and Herbert O. Kimball for Lieutenant Governor for the State of Deseret. The name of George A. Smith is proposed for representative to Congress from the new State.

John Templeton, who was struck in the breast by a pick in Virginia City, a few days ago, has since died.

The Sage Brush is the title of a new paper established at Basanville, Lassen county.

The old Board of Directors of the Dutch Flat Railway have been redirected.

The total existing indebtedness of Yuba country is …

There were shipped from Marquette, Lake Superior, in 1868, 185,000 gross tons of ore; in 1864 there were shipped 248,000 tons; of pig iron there were shipped in the former year 9000 gross tons; in the latter year there were shipped 12,951 tons — with a total value of $2,896,000. This increase in the product of iron is very marked.



Special Train. — Messrs. Low, Sibley and Johnson came up on a special train on the Pacific Railroad from Sacramento to this place, on Wednesday morning fast, in one hour, on their way to Clipper Gap and above. They are the committee who report to the President of the United States the completion of sections of the road as it progresses, and upon their favorable report the company draw bonds from the government to aid in the extension of the road.

The Pacific Railroad is being pushed rapidly ahead, and from present appearance will be completed to Illinoistown by the 1st of October.


Auburn, July 15 1865

Illinoistown. — We learn that the Pacific Railroad Company have purchased a tract of land adjoining Illinoistown, and have this week been surveying it off into lots. The location is a beautiful flat and will make an excellent sight for a town. With the completion of the Railroad to Illinoistown, that place is sure to become the most thriving and important town in the county. Its central location will command for it a large remunerative trade.

Although in the beautiful valley in which the town has been situated but little mining has ever been done, yet on the rivers a few miles from town (the North Fork of the American and Bear river) immense quantities of gold have been taken out; there are also rich quartz lodes near town which bid fair to yield handsome dividends.

Already has the price of property materially advanced, and many persons are preparing to settle and build in the town. What a change the railroad will make. In October 1849, the town could only of four houses.

Railroad Lands. — The Sacramento Union in speaking of these lands, and the rights of settlers on them, says:

"We have made the proper inquiries, and say a person who has resided on and cultivated a tract of land on an odd section within the railroad reservation, prior to the grant to the railroad company, has the right under the law to file his declaratory statement.



Sale of Lots at Colfax. — In another column will be found the advertisement of the sale of lots in the new town of Colfax, on the line of the Pacific Railroad one half mile above Illinoistown. The sale will take place to-day. As the site of the town is up, on an odd, and agricultural section of land, it will, in due time, be patented to the Railroad Company by the United States. It will therefore be of the first importance to purchasers of lots to understand whether the title they obtain carries with it the prospective claim of the R.R. Co., or is merely possessory.

Highway Robbers — Mr. Predmore, a teamster, while returning from Dutch Flat to Clipper Gap, on Tuesday, was stopped by a couple of Highwaymen, between Gold Run and Madden’s Toll House, and relieved of $52. On the same day, near the same place, at an earlier hour, several Chinamen were robbed.



Union Pacific Railroad — S. B. Reed, Engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad, was at Salt Lake on the 26th of July, en route to the southwest borders of Nevada. He expects to complete all his surveys for the Union Pacific Railroad before October 1st…



The Chinese Dinner to the Colfax Party — The grand complimentary dinner tendered by the six Chinese Companies in California to Messrs. Colfax, Bross, Richardson and Bowies, will come off this evening. Owing to the limited space at the command of the committee, but a very small number of guests will be invited.



Publication Office
San Francisco, Friday, August 18


The Grand Complimentary Chinese Dinner to Speaker Colfax,

Lieut. Gov. Bross, Albert D. Richardson and Samuel Bowies

The grand complimentary dinner to Hon. Schuyler Colfax and party, tendered by the "Six Chinese Companies in California," which has been in contemplation for some weeks past, took place last evening at the Hang Heong Restaurant, 808 Clay street. In addition to the Colfax party, invited guests, in number necessarily restricted by the space at the tables at the command of the Committee of Arrangements, were present and participated in the festivities. A much larger number would have been present had there been room for their accommodation. The tickets of invitations in English, were in the usual form, and signed in behalf of —

Chui Sing Tong, President of the Sam Yap Company: Khing Fong, President of the Yeung Wo Co.: Ting Sang, President of the See Yap Cp.: Wae Nga, President of the Ning Yeong Co.: Chee Shum, President of the Hop Wo. Co.: Mun Kuae, President of the Yan Wo Co.

By Selim E. Woodworth, Henry M. Hale, Wm. Harney, F.W. Macondray, Albert S. Evans, Chas Carvalho, Charles Bertody, Committee of Arrangements.

Among the American guests present were Hon. Schuyler Colfax, Hon. Wm. Bross, Albert D. Richardson, Samuel Bowies, General McDowel, Chief Martin J. Burke, Captain G.A. McNulty, Dr. McNulty, John H. Saunders, Esq; Lewis Leland, W.J. Badger, Dr. L. H. Henry, F.A. Foster, Joseph Tilden, O.H. Webb, R.J. Van Dewater, Wm. T. Coleman, W.C. Ralston, F. MacCrellish, C.K. Smith, Judge Turner, Cutler McAllister, Henry L. Davis, Joseph A. Donohoe, Gen. Hewston, Captain Coster, Judge Hoffman, A.D. Meacham, R.H. Llloyd.

There were also present the Presidents of the six companies, as given above, and representative of the leading Chinese mercantile houses of California, as follows: Tham Kwan, of the Hung Yuen: Wong Wun, of the Wo Kee Store; Chun Pho, of the Wing Cheong Leing: Lee Yew, of the Tung Wo Store; Weng Cheong Ngan, of the Hop Yik Store; Cnang Hung, of the Hop Kee Store; Chan Chow, of the Tung Sung; Fong Yan, of the Chy Lung Store; Fong Foon, of the Tung Cheong store; Choy Choo, of the Luen Wo store; Kwan Yuen, of the Tung Yu store; Sam Shim, of Hip Wo store; Wy Yuen, of Tuen Oncheong store; Lee Yuk, of the Wa Yuen Sun store; Lee Nang, of the Chung Sun store: Yu Tin, of the Hop Wo store. The hour fixed for the commencement of the dinner was six p.m., and at a few minutes past that time the company sat down to the tables. It is, of course, next to impossible to give a description of such a dinner which would be intelligible to those who have never attended one, and to those who have enjoyed that pleasure no description is needed.

The guests were received by the six President and Merchant Committee, in the hall above the dining room, on their arrival, when a general introduction all around took place before sitting down at the tables. The chairs and side-tables around the room were hung with scarlet coverings, embroidered with gold, and the dinner tables adorned with fresh flowers in regular Oriental style. The dinner proper consisted of 336 dishes, forming 130 courses, and divided comprised three distinct sittings. At the first sitting the courses consisted of soups and almost numberless "main dishes," into the composition of which entered fish, flesh, fowl and vegetable substances, in a thousand forms undreamed of to French cooks and Caucasian house wives generally. The famous "bird nest soup" which was pronounced delicious by all who partook of it, and a vast number of sweet meats and preserves of different fruits, were included in these courses.

As soon as one dish had been passed around and tasted by each guest, it was removed and a new one brought on by the attendants. No knives, forks, or spoons of our patterns were upon the tables at the first two sittings; chop sticks, and the short, thick China spoons or scoops, being what each guest was expected to help himself with. The efforts of the uninitiated guests to master the chopsticks and convey the food to their mouths with them, created a vast amount of amusement to the company, and sometimes not a little (?) to the most awkward of the party. Some of the guests soon got "the hang of things" early, while others, after repeated failures, gave up the attempt and contented themselves with spearing the morsels of food with a single stick as an Esquimaux would harpoon a walrus or a schoolboy impale an unlucky blue bottle on a pin.

Champagne, claret, and the finer qualities of Chinese rose-flavored wines, were served in profusion with every course. At the last sitting, fruit only was served, all the varieties in the market being included in the list. At the end of each sitting the tables were entirely cleared, and the company adjourned to the reception room to smoke and pass away the time until the next was announced. At the end of the first sitting the six Presidents paid their formal compliments to Mr. Colfax and party, thanking them for their attendance in Oriental style, through their interpreter, Mr. Carvalho, and receiving the thanks of their guests in return, and then took their leave according to the "statutes in such cases made and provided," and everywhere recognized as rules of action by the Chinese. A Chinese band was now introduced, and the guests were much amused and interested by their peculiar performance, until the tables were ready for the second sitting.

During the second sitting, a deputation of the merchants approached Mr. Colfax and Governor Borss, and presented their compliments, welcoming them to the feast and expressing their appreciation on the honor done them by their presence. The gentlemen replied in short speeches, which were translated by Mr. Carvalho, and the merchants then retired. At the end of this sitting the company were entertained in the reception room with a Chinese historical recitative song, accompanied by the music of a full band, and Mr. Colfax was presented with a large red and gold letter or package, super-scribed as follows:

"To His Excellency, the Honored Guest. For His High Consideration."

Within this were six slips of red paper, the usual Chinese visiting cards, inscribed as follows.

"The Compliments of the Sam Yup Company"

"The Compliments of the Yeong Wo Company"

"The Compliments of the See Yup Company"

"The Compliments of the Ning Yeong Company"

"The Compliments of the Hop Wo Company"

"The Compliments of the Yan Wo Company"

"The Six Companies respectfully solicit your bright company at their festival this afternoon."

At the end of the third and last sitting a Committee of the Companies again approached Mr. Colfax and party, and repeating the thanks for the honor of their company, expressed their regret at not being able to furnish a more sumptuous repast. Mr. Colfax replied that the pleasure was all upon his side, then he returned thanks for the honor done himself and friends, and that he was unable to conceive of a possibility of a more sumptuous repast being provided. A general shaking of hands and exchange of compliments followed, and the company separated at 12’o’clock — the dinner having occupied a few minutes less than six hours. Taken altogether, the dinner was a grand success, and we are assured that it was enjoyed in the highest degree by the distinguished gentlemen in whose honor it was given, none of whom will be apt to soon forget their first Chinese state dinner.



Important Sale. — Leland Stanford and others connected with the Central Pacific Railroad, having purchased a controlling interest in the stock of the Sacramento Valley Railroad, a new election of officers of the latter road has taken place, and Leland Stanford elected President, and Charles Crocker, Superintendent. This purchase disposes of the rivalry so long existing between the two companies, and gives the Central Pacific company the control of all the Railroad business centering at Sacramento.

Moving On. — The work of having the rails between Clipper Gap and Colfax, is being carried steadily forward, and although the grading is not quite finished, it is so near completion that track laying will not be interfered with. The opening of the road will take place early in September. In the mean while, as the different gangs of laborers finish the grading below Illinoistown, they are transferred above, to points between that place and Dutch Flat, and already much work has been done between the last named places.




The Colfax Party — The Shenandoah — The Lost on the Brother Jonathan — Arrivals — Additional Paymaster of Volunteers — Loehe in Custody — Address of the Union State Central Central Committee.

San Francisco, August 24th.

The Colfax party started for Mare Island on Shubrick, this morning, passing through Raccoon Straits to the new fortifications on Angel Island and Alcatraz. They were received by Commodore McDougall and Captain Baldwell at Mare Island. At noon, the marines being paraded and salutes fired, after a collation at the Commodore’s residence they visited the sloop-of-war Jamestown, being received with a salute, and after visiting the Camanche returned to Alcatraz, where they received another salute and partook of another collation. The last salute sent everybody down to the city front under the impression that General Halleck had arrived. The fog is so dense outside that the Golden City, if she comes, can hardly get in before morning.

It is believed that a cargo of potatoes and fresh provisions, cleared on board a sail vessel nominally for Victoria some weeks since at this port, were destined for the pirate Shenandoah. The vessel has not since been reported.

F.L. Fehrn, aged forty, who arrived from Mason, Illinois, by the steamer America, and was to start for Indian Valley to-morrow, burst a blood vessel and died instantly, at the International hotel, this evening. The remains were taken in charge by the Masonic fraternity.

It is reported that the schooner Blunt was lost on Tomales bay, with 90,000 feet of lumber.



More Carts. — The Pacific Railroad Company has recently ordered one hundred more carts to be used in grading the track of their road beyond Colfax. Of this number, Pike & Young, of Fourth and L streets, make thirty-five; Eugene Soule, of Tenth and I streets, twenty-five; Rippon & Hill, of Thirteenth and J, fifteen; Jones and Wise, of Ninth near J, ten; and J. McCleary, of K street near Tenth, five. These carts are to be finished and ready for use as speedily as possible. Some of the San Francisco and El Dorado papers have circulated the report that stockholders of this company designed to suspend work on their road and bought out the Sacramento Valley Road merely for the purpose of killing off competition. The purchase of these carts, with the necessary horses, harness and tools to work them, will require and outlay of about $25,000. This expenditure being made on the approach of winter, when livestock can only be kept at heavy expense, looks very much like going ahead with the work. There is now a much larger force employed on the road, notwithstanding the track is laid to Colfax, than every before, and the number of workmen is increasing every day.



Farewell Banquet and Ball to Hon. Schuyler Colfax and Party.

The grand farewell reception to Speaker Colfax, Governor Bross, Aldert [sic] D. Richardson, and Samuel Bowles, by the citizens of San Francisco, took place at the Occidental last night. ...



Locomotive at Colfax. — The rails were laid to Colfax, on the Pacific Railroad, yesterday. Regular trains, we are informed, will commence running to that place on Monday.


City Intelligence

Railroad Extension to Colfax. — The track of the Pacific Railroad has been completed to the new town of Colfax, the track-layers having reached that point at about 6 o'clock on Friday evening. This addition adds twelve more miles to the road, and makes its entire present length from Front street fifty-five miles, leaving some seventy miles yet to build before reaching the eastern boundary of the State. The regular passenger trains will commence running to and from the new town to-day, and about Thursday next the first freight will be delivered at that point. On Saturday morning, on the invitation of Superintendent C. Crocker and Assistant Superintendent G.F. Hartwell, some fifteen or twenty invited guests — ladies and gentlemen — left the city in the 6:30 train, for the purpose of making the "first trip" over the new division of the road. The light locomotive T.D. Judah, Engineer Johnson, tried her first experiment of drawing a passenger train of three cars to Clipper Gap within the regular schedule time. A wager had been made on the result, and the backer of the engine won the bet. After a pleasant morning ride and a brief delay at Clipper Gap, the pioneer train was made up and the company started for the eastern terminus. As portions of the new track had not yet been "surfaced up," and some of the rails had been laid scarcely long enough to learn how to lay still, the train, as a matter of course, ran at a moderate rate, giving the excursionists and opportunity to observe the character and extent of the work done along the line, and to admire the fine scenery, which becomes more beautiful and attractive with every mile of extension toward the summit. There are three bridges within the newly constructed portion of the road. The first is four hundred and fifty feet long and forty-five feet high in the center, containing one hundred and fifty thousand feet of lumber. The second is four hundred and fifty feet long and sixty feet high, containing one hundred and seventy thousand feet of lumber. The third, at Deep Gulch, is five hundred feet long and one hundred feet high in the center from the bottom of the masonry, containing two hundred and fifty thousand feet of lumber. All are structures of wood, of the most substantial and permanent character. The road is, of course, a succession of cuts and fills, varying in character and extent. The following are the dimensions of a few of the heavier cuts: The first one passed on leaving Clipper Gap if four hundred feet long and fifty feet deep; the second, a short distance, is of about equal capacity; the third, at Wildcat Summit, is nine hundred feet long and forty-one feet deep, requiring an excavation of thirty thousand cubic yards of earth or rock; the fourth, at Star House Gap, is eight hundred feet long and thirty-seven feet deep; the fifth, at George's Gap, is eleven hundred and fifty feet long and thirty-six feet deep; the sixth, at Lower Illinoistown Gap, is five hundred feet long and twenty-eight feet deep; the seventh, just above, is three hundred and fifty feet long and fifty-one feet deep; the eighth, near Colfax, is six hundred feet long and thirty feet deep. The character of the fills or embankments may, to some extent, be inferred from the dimensions of the cuts. On leaving Clipper Gap the road crosses four or five steep gulches, at which the embankment is from forty to fifty feet high at the center of the road, but a hundred feet high from the lower side. The first heavy embankment, at Wildcat Summit, is one thousand feet long and forty-five feet high; the second, at Bakney’s ranch, is eight hundred and fifty feet long and fifty-seven feet high; the third, at the Star House Gap, is one thousand and seventy-five feet long and thirty-seven feet high; the fourth, at New England Gap, is fifteen hundred and twenty-five feet long and fifty-three feet high; the fifth and sixth, at Lower Illinoistown Gap and just above, are each three hundred feet long and seventy-five feet high. The two last named fills were originally designed as trestle-work, but earth was afterward substituted for wood. The general character of the new road is equal to that of the previously finished portion, which is generally conceded to be equal to the best roads in the Eastern States. The town of Colfax consists of some thirty or forty new and unfinished frame buildings — the most of them of a commodious and substantial class. House building progresses slowly on account of the scarcity of lumber, caused by the fact that several of the mills in the neighborhood are busy in preparing lumber for the Railroad Company. A brickyard has been started by a man named Bush, who will soon have the first kiln ready for burning. After the lapse of two or three hours passed by the excursionists in the town and among the hills, the stage from Dutch Flat with Senator Connes, Secretary Redding, and several of their friends, on their return from Donner Lake, arrived. A fine collation, furnished by Superintendent Crocker and prepared by the ladies, was spread on a temporary table in the box car, and all were invited to partake. Such invitations are apt to be accepted, and the present instance was no exception to the rule. There was less cold chicken, less sandwich, less champagne and less fruit in sight or within reach at the expiration of half an hour that at the commencement of the exercises. There were no formal speeches made on the occasion. Soon after the table was cleared, the locomotive Atlantic, decorated with flags, stared for Clipper Gap. At that point a short detention became necessary to await the arrival of an upward bound train, after which the final start for the city was made. The Atlantic made the forty-three miles from Clipper Gap to the city in one hour and ten minutes, arriving soon after five o'clock P.M.



There are between three and four thousand laborers at work on the Central Pacific Railroad, between Colfax and Dutch Flat. It is expected to have the road opened for business to Gold Run, (three miles below Dutch Flat,) by the first of January, should the season continue favorable.

The Company have been determined to cross the summit of the Sierra Nevada with a tunnel 1500 feet in length, the work upon which will be prosecuted night and day through the months of the coming winter. Camps are now being established for the workmen.

Colfax, the present terminus of the Pacific Railroad, is a place of much life and animation just now. A good sized village has already been built, and houses are constantly increasing. The railroad freight depot is five hundred feet long, and great quantities of freight are daily deposited there by the cars and removed as speedily as teams can be engaged to convey it away, to different points in Placer and Nevada counties, and over the mountains to Virginia City, etc. Many large teams are engaged in freighting over the Donner Lake road, and the roads leading in that direction are lined with "prairie schooners."



The Summit Railroad Tunnel. — The Central Pacific R.R. Co. have commenced the tunnel of the line of their road, at the summit of the Sierra Nevadas. It is to be 1600 feet in length, and the work will be prosecuted night and day until completed.



The Pacific Railroad — President Johnson has decided to approve the change of route recently proposed for the Pacific Railroad west of Omaha, the company having acceded to the condition that the grade of the road shall thereby be reduced to thirty feet to the mile between the Missouri river and Platte Valley.  By the route originally contemplated the grade was upward of 70 feet to the mile.



The Tunnel Commenced. — S.S. Montague, Engineer of the Pacific Railroad, has just returned from the summit of the Sierras, which point he visited for the purpose of starting the work on the summit tunnel. This tunnel will be 1,750 feet, or about the third of a mile long, twenty-six feet wide and twenty feet high. The excavation will be sufficiently wide for a double track. The entire work runs through solid granite. It is expected that a year and a half will be required to complete it. The work was started by Montague at both ends. This tunnel is not level, but descends to the east at the rate of ninety feet to the mile. The summit is about fifty miles east of Colfax. Thirteen miles of the road between Colfax and Dutch Flat will be graded by the first of January. It is expected that the summit will be reached before the tunnel is completed, and that a temporary track will be laid over it for the purpose if facilitating the work on the eastern slope.



Tragedy in San Francisco — A terrible tragedy occurred in San Francisco, about three o'clock Sunday morning. A man named Davis G. Vinson, late of Colorado Territory, formerly of Texas, shot a beer girl known as French Mary, the Thunderbolt saloon, with a revolver, the ball entering near the left ear and ranging down into the chest. She fell without speaking, and Vinson, supposing her dead, placed the pistol to his head and shot himself dead. The woman was taken to the French hospital, and there is a possibility of her recovery. It is reported she had been on intimate terms with Vinson and had obtained all his money, amounting to $5,000 or more, and then forsook him. He entered the saloon on Sunday morning and called for liquor, but she refused to wait on him, whereupon he shot her.



Railroad — This institution is pushing ahead its operations with a determination and energy unequaled on any work ever started in this State, and we doubt whether the celerity of its motions — so far as building the road is concerned — has been surpassed any where. The hands are now grading the road about half a mile from this place, while camps have been established and work commenced eight and twelve miles above here. There is no doubt the people will hear the whistle of the locomotive here at an early day in Spring.



Your correspondent having "other fish to fry," did not avail himself of the polite invitation to join in the Legislative junketing, but learns from those who have just returned, that the parties had a good time generally, and that fortunately for all, "no accident occurred to mar the festivities of the occasion." The usual number of toasts were drank, and the customary amount of gas and gammon was evolved, involving no small numbers of headaches to those who entered too deeply into the merits of the Great Central Pacific monster.

The only matter of local legislation affecting your people is a bill introduced in the Senate yesterday, by Judge Hale, to amend an act to provide for the division of Placer County into Supervision Districts, and to provide for the election of Supervisors and off.



The Effect. — The Bee says a gentleman who went with the Legislators to Colfax lately on the C.P.R.R. tells the following: "Coming home one man sat in such a deep and profound study that for an hour or so none of his companions cared to break the chain of his thoughts. As the train neared the city, the therefore silent gentleman, roused himself and, holding with both hands to seat on which he had been sitting, exclaimed: ‘Boned turkey, canvass back and mallards, roast chicken, champagne, brandy punch, old bourbon — ten dollars per day, nothing to do but travel free over the State; it's a d?d sight better than the ------ business, and I'm going to follow legislation as a profession; I'm in favor of annual sessions, and think the Governor should call an extra one every now and then.’"



Central Pacific Railroad — The following are extracts from a pamphlet comprising a statement made by the President of the Pacific Central Railroad to the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Interior, of the progress and prospects of that enterprise. Last Summer George E. Gray, late Chief Engineer of the New York Central Railroad, went over the line of the road, made a special examination and submitted a report, at the conclusion of which, he says:

From the examinations I have made, having traveled the distance on horseback or on foot, I feel confidant that your railroad can be constructed over the Sierra Nevada, with the laboring force your will probably be able to command in California, within two years from next Spring, and at a cost not exceeding the mountain work on the Baltimore and Ohio, Pennsylvania Central, New York and Erie, and Hudson River Railroads. In fact, it is quite a remarkable feature of your route, that so elevated a mountain range can be surmounted with such comparatively light grades and curves, and at a cost which will favorably compare with other important railroads, long in successful operation.

A large majority of the whole laboring class on the Pacific coast find more profitable and congenial employment in mining and agricultural pursuits, than in railroad work. The greater portion of the laborers employed by us are Chinese, who constitute a large element in the population in California. Without them it would be impossible to complete the western portion of this great national enterprise within the time required by the Acts of Congress. As a class, they are quiet, peaceable, patient, industrious and economical, ready and apt to learn all the different kinds of work required in railroad building; they soon become as efficient as white laborers. Most prudent and economical, they are contented with less wages. We find them organized into societies for mutual aid and assistance. These societies, that count their numbers by thousands, are conducted by shrewd, intelligent business men, who promptly advise their subordinates where employment can be found on the most favorable terms.

No system similar to slavery, serfdom or peonage prevails among these laborers. Their wages, which are always paid in coin, at the end of each month, are divided among them by their agents, who attend to their business in proportion to the labor done by each person. These agents are generally American or Chinese merchants, who furnish them their supplies or food, the value of which they deduct from their monthly pay. We have assurances from leading Chinese merchants that under the just and liberal policy pursued by the company it will be able to procure during the next year not less than fifteen thousand laborers. With this large force the company will be able to push on the work so as not only to complete it far within the time required by Acts of Congress, but so as to meet the public impatience.

With the forces of laborers, which we are confidant can be procured if the National Government shall promptly issue to us the bonds granted by the Acts of Congress, we shall be able to complete the railroad over the Sierra Nevadas to the Truckee river, a distance of 120 miles from Sacramento, attaining at the summit an altitude of seven thousand feet above tidewater, during the year 1866; thence to a point fifty miles east of the Great Bend of the Truckee river during the year 1867; and to Salt Lake in two years thereafter, where we hope to meet the road being built from the East. We feel confident of being able, after reaching the Truckee river, to construct the road eastward as rapidly as the track can be laid. The construction of a railroad over so high a mountain range is necessarily slow and expensive, but it is the determination of this company to press on vigorously and to employ all the men and means they can command to complete the road as early as practicable. We have encountered and are now laboring upon the most difficult and expensive portion of the line entrusted to us. This, too, at the very commencement of our efforts. But another year will enable us to extend the road over the Sierras. We have gone far enough already to convince the most incredulous not only of the entire feasibility of the route, but that work can and will be accomplished within the time stated.



The Railroad. — The Sac. Union says the Pacific Railroad Company have purchased from Louis McLane, of the house of Wells Fargo & Co., 800 tons of railroad iron, sufficient to extend the track from Colfax to within four miles of Dutch Flat, and that the iron will be laid down immediately. — Other iron is on the way from the States, and some will be due by the time the above amount is laid in track. The graded track between Colfax and Dutch Flat, is understood to be nearly ready for the rails.




The Nevada Gazette says Chinamen have been passing through that place in droves, on their way to Placer County, probably to work upon the Railroad — having been driven out of the river claims on the Yuba by high water.



FRACAS.—On Saturday last one of the railroad hands having on board a quantity of "tarantula juice" kicked up a fracas with the proprietor of the Golden Eagle Saloon, for which he was pretty roughly handled.  Pauson was arrested for resenting an insult in his own house, but the prosecuting witness failing to make his appearance Justice Aubury discharged the party arrested.  It is about time that those who get drunk to vent their spleen on innocent parties, should know there are people who will not submit to be abused ad libitum.



P.R.R. Company paid off one day all the hands in their employ. They (word?) all debts, dues and demands the 15th of each month.



The low grounds along the Sacramento have been flooded, but inconvenience more than damage, is only announced. In the mountains the roads have been made exceedingly bad — being first covered with deep snow, that became slush under the warm rain, and rendered every road much traveled, a quagmire, to wear patience and life out of men and beasts. The Donner Lake and Placerville mountain routes have been blocked and interrupted, until certainty in stage travel has been entirely out of the question. Passengers get along as they may for the present — on foot, horseback or short lifts by wagon. The Central Pacific Railroad has been as effectually knocked out of time as some prize fighters who never won the champion's belt — but they have managed to put passengers through, after a fashion, by running trains between breaks and slides, and establishing a carrying business at the dissevered points. But taking into consideration that the storm was such a "big thing" in its way, the country has come out of it in good shape, and we have no mournful record of the loss of life, and the destruction and devastation of millions of property, that marked the history of the winter of the great flood.



The Great Swindle of the Age.

The following article is from the San Francisco Spirit of the Times, a paper that some time back made itself somewhat conspicuous at the Bay, as a champion for the Central Pacific Railroad Company. But the Spirit has at last opened its eyes to the fact that the concern is a most dangerous monopoly and an outrageous swindle:

"No one who has the least idea as to how matters are managed in this State, when the interests of the people are all at stake, will be surprised at the denouncement which has been made in connection with the transmission of the resolutions of instruction to our Senators and Representatives in Congress, relative to the withholding of a patent to the Central Pacific Railroad Company for 450,000 acres (700 square miles) of mineral lands, until the people of the State interested could be heard from. These resolutions were finally passed on December 23d, and on the 25th, Christmas day, Gov. Low says he despatched them to Washington. They were not received until the 8th of January, and on the 6th of January the patent., robbing the people of their land, years of toil…



RAILROAD.—This institution continues to push things ahead with a "vim" seldom equalled.  The trestle work across the ravine on the south-eastern side of town has already made its appearance, and ere long will be completed.  Notwithstanding the stormy weather, operations have been going on with great perseverance, and in this the company deserves much credit from the country at large.  Barring their penchant for the mineral lands, and their disregard for the rights of ditch owners, the whole concern is very popular.



The Santa Cruz Powder Works 5,555 kegs of blasting powder during month of January just past, beside a quantity of sporting powder.



A Close Call. — A few nights since a drunken fellow from the railroad accidentally fell through the window of a Chinese store, at the east end of town, whereupon the Celestials within, becoming frightened at the sudden intrusion, turned their shooting irons loose at the poor inebriate, at the same time crying in stentorian tones, "Lobber! Lobber!" until the whole of Chinadom and a "right smart chance" of "Melican men" had collected in the neighborhood. Justice Aubury took charge of the unfortunate man, who upon examination, it was ascertained was not seriously damaged, although a charge of buck-shot had completely riddled the breast of his clothing. The man was examined before Justice Aubury the following morning, and the above being the facts elicited in the case, was discharged.



The C.P.R. Co. have about sixty men, aided by several hundred inches of water, engaged in sluicing out the deep cut just below Gold Run, that was filled up by a huge slide during the late stormy weather. We learn that the Company by adopting this method of removing the obstruction thus occasioned, will not only save much time, but also many thousand dollars. The work along the entire line in this vicinity, both above and below, is progressing finely since the abatement of the storm, and with continued good weather, the days intervening may be numbered as few, when we shall be aroused from our morning slumbers by the shrill whistle of the "iron horse" and the cry of "all aboard for Colfax, Auburn and Sacramento." So mote it be.



Celestial. — Our citizens are nightly in danger of having their premises set on fire by the torches which our celestial neighbors are constantly carrying through the streets in place of lanterns. Large flakes of fire drop from these torches on wooden sidewalks, and in case it should be blown under a dwelling house or other premises, serious consequences might be the result. Steps should be taken to put a stop to this dangerous practice.



Six hundred "Johns" passed through this place yesterday bound for the C.P.R. works somewhere above. They marched double-file, and we doubt not most of our citizens thought they were flanked by bushwhackers, or — judging from the noise they made passing our office — wild geese. As the fine weather approaches the Railroad Company are adding largely to their force.



Pacific Railroad. — Work on this road goes steadily forward, and it is confidently expected that the cars will be running to Dutch Flat early in May. The grading is nearly completed between Colfax and that place, and the trestle bridges are receiving the attention of a large force of carpenters. As the favorable season for grading is being entered upon, the company are increasing their force of laborers, who are distributed at new camps above Dutch Flat. Large number of Chinamen have been taking that direction of late, and it is understood that all who choose to go can find employment. There is no doubt that the road will be well up the mountain slope before the setting in of another winter.



C.P. Railroad. — Work on this enterprise, since the fair weather set in, is being driven ahead with greater vigor than at any time for many months. Most of the grading between this place and Colfax has been completed, and the forces heretofore employed on that portion of the line, are transferred to the next section, the eastern terminus of which, reaches a point near Wilson’s Ranch, twelve miles above this place.

The cars will be running to Secret Town, four miles below this place, in at least twenty days.



Heavy Reports. — We have no reference whatever to that worthy dame, Madam Rumor, but to the C.P. Railroad Company, which, in all favorable localities, use immense quantities of powder for breaking down, or rather blasting down, their cuts. The material just opposite this placer seems peculiarly adapted to this purpose. Holes are drilled to a depth of eighteen or twenty feet, a keg or two of powder deposited, and when two or three of these are touched off in rapid succession, which is frequently the case, the concussion produced by the explosions, was not surpassed by the bombardment of Fort Sumpter, and we doubt if equaled by anything short of a first edition of San Francisco earthquake.



Railroad Progress. — The extensive trestle work over Long Ravine, on the Pacific Railroad, two miles above Colfax, has been completed, and the rails laid over it, and no obstructions to continuing the rails to Secret Town, eight miles above Colfax — at that point another trestle bridge is to be erected, which will take some weeks, after which the rails can be laid without hindrance, to a point about three miles above Dutch Flat, where it is supposed the terminus will be during the Summer months. It is thought that the road will be opened to the latter point by the first of June.

The trestling over Long Ravine is the most extensive yet constructed on the road — being in length something like 1200 feet, and its greatest height 118 feet. The Secret Town bridge will also be a large structure, though not as tall as that at Long Ravine — much of the work has already been done upon its timbers, as a large force of carpenters are employed.



SERIOUS ACCIDENT.—On Saturday last, Mr. N. Fellows, a foreman in the employ of the C. P. R. Company, above this place, while engaged in charging a blast, was seriously, though not fatally, burned by the accidental explosion of a keg of powder.  The unfortunate man was subsequently brought to Nary Red, near town, when it was ascertained that he was in destitute circumstances, whereupon Rev. Mr. Peck, Pastor of the M. E. Church, set about petitioning aid from citizens, who subscribed with commendable liberality the sum of $110.  The Mite Society appropriated the proceeds of their entertainment, which amounted to some $20 to the same object, and we learn that it is also the intention of the M. E. Church Aid Society to similarly devote the proceeds of their last meeting.  Our citizens are liberal, and proverbially prompt in relieving the wants of any worthy object of charity.  The Railroad Company, it is expected, will give liberally from their abundance, when a knowledge of the facts reaches them.




Railroad Survey to Salt Lake — The Virginia City Enterprise of April 15th has the following:

The topographical party of the Central Pacific Railroad, consisting of Butler, Ives, and 21 men, had reached, up to yesterday, as far as Stone & Gates’s Crossing, on the Truckee river, and will start from there Monday next towards Salt Lake City, which place they will in all probability reach in two months, completing the railroad survey in the meantime.



The Railroad Company will run an excursion train from Sacramento to the end of rail, beyond the high trestle-work at Long Ravine, to-morrow.



SERIOUS BURNED.—Mr. N. Fellows, a foreman on the Pacific Railroad, was seriously burned by the explosion of a keg of powder, while charging a blast, on last Saturday.


Saturday Morning, April 21, 1966

TERRIBLE EXPLOSION.—A terrible explosion occurred at Camp 9, on the line of C. P. Railroad, just below Gold Run, on Tuesday last, killing two white men and five Chinamen.  We have been unable to learn any of the particulars as to the cause of the fatal calamity, further than it is supposed to have been the result of carelessness on the part of the foreman, one of the number killed.  It seems to be customary with foreman along the railroad to try the material to be blasted with a few pounds of powder previous to the regular charge which not unfrequently reaches seven and eight kegs.  This is supposed to have been the mode of procedure in the instance resulting so disastrously, and that the main charge was negligently deposited before the fused used in the trying process had been extinguished.

LAND SLIDE.—A huge land slide occurred a few days since near Buckley's ranch, just above this place, on the line of the C. P. Railroad, damaging the ditches of the Dutch Flat Water Company to the amount of several thousand dollars, and rendering a change of the railroad bed necessary, which will also cost an immense sum.  Nearly a quarter section, extending along a heavy fill of the railroad several hundred yards, suddenly gave way and moved off in a solid body, taking with it ditches, flumes and everything else that obstructed its course, and making a change from the original survey of the railroad at that point imperative.  The material that gave way, it seems, was of a soapy or pipe clay formation, and the pressure from the railroad fill is assigned as the cause.



Blasting Accident. — Loss of Life. — A deplorable accident occurred on the Pacific Railroad, near Gold Run, on Monday last, by which three white men and three Chinamen were killed. — The foreman, Philip Hagan, was blown to pieces, and one man was blown fifty feet in the air and one hundred feet from the blast. A blast had been put off, and the men were reloading for a seam blast, when the explosion took place. It is supposed that some of the fire remained in the seams from the first blast, and hence the explosion when the powder was poured in for the second one. These accidents are liable to occur in seam blasting, if sufficient time is not given between the charges for the extinguishment of all particles of fire.

The Radical Postmaster at Marysville has been removed, and his place supplied by another Union party man who does not air his Sumner Stevens proclivities, if he has any.

The Railroad Company will run an excursion train from Sacramento to the end of the rail, beyond the high trestle work at Long Ravine, to-morrow.



Around the Horn. — The excursion train of the C.P. Railroad, on Sunday last, crossed safely over the suspension bridge at Camp 2, and came as far up as Cape Horn, four miles above Colfax. The iron is being laid down at the rate of a half a mile per day, and we have implicit faith that the cars will reach this place on or before the day designated by the company, to-wit: 20th of May. The forces above this place have received large reinforcements the past month, and the work is being pushed forward with greater rapidity than at any other time in the history of the enterprise.



Progressing. — The C.P.R. Company have broken dirt as far east or Summit-ward as Crystal Lake — twenty miles above this place. Mr. Burnham, who is superintending a large force on that division, informs us that the work is progressing satisfactorily and with as much rapidity as the most sanguine friends of the enterprise could have anticipated. The Autumn months, it is thought, will witness the completion of the grading to or near that point. As the work approximates completion below, recruits are immediately dispatched to the "front," and the railroad goes "goes marching on."



Central Pacific Railroad — The work on this road is at present being pushed forward with the greatest vigor, and our citizens are now looking hopefully forward with comparative confidence to out great national day of jubilee, at which time they calculate to celebrate, with all due honors, the anniversary of our independence, and the advent of the iron-horse in our midst. The cars now run daily to Secrettown, at which point a turn-table has been erected, and three stages which are always crowded with passengers, connect that place with Dutch Flat. A number of carpenters whose name is legion are engaged on the trestle work at Secret Ravine, and from the energy which is displayed in their operations, an early completion of the work may be expected. At present, no freight is carried any father than Colfax. We understand that there will be a "switch" — fourteen hundred feet long — at Gold Run for the convenience of parties receiving and transporting freight, and that a large commodious depot will immediately be erected a short distance from this place. Truly, the railroad is making rapid strides, and as soon as the deep cut at Gold Run is completed, which caved in so frequently sometime ago, we may look for a large addition to the length of the track, which is at present sixty-three miles.

Courtesy G. J. Graves, Newcastle, California.
Transcription courtesy Mara Levy.

Staff of the Daily Reporter in front of their office. Corinne, Boxelder County, Utah Territory. By William H. Jackson, 1869. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.
Staff of the Daily Reporter in front of their office. Corinne, Boxelder County, Utah Territory. By William H. Jackson, 1869.
Courtesy National Archives & Records Administration.

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