A Chinese Immigrant Recalls the Dangers of Railroad Work · HERB: Resources for Teachers
On this trail, or close to it, was built the Union and Central Pacific The party had been close to the future line of the Union Pacific along several hundred miles of the trip. from a trip on the plains, I met Mr. Lincoln at the Pacific House. This writer recalls a trip over the Rio Grande in the winter of “The last rail is laid; the last spike is driven; the Pacific Railroad is completed.” In such . Union Pacific line, Promontory – Ogden, by Central Pacific. Ogden to June Chief Engineers Dodge, UP, and Montague, CP, meet and start rebuilding .. In , one of the graders recalled how twelve men in Ogden organized. A Chinese Immigrant Recalls the Dangers of Railroad Work notably on the Central Pacific line of the First Transcontinental Railroad, which was built primarily.
So, although already suffering pangs of hunger, we had to start on our way immediately. When we were passing China Bar on the way, many of the Chinese died from an epidemic. As there were no coffins to bury the dead, the bodies were stuffed into rock crevices or beneath the trees to await their arrival.
Those whose burials could not wait were buried on the spot in boxes made of crude thin planks hastily fastened together. There were even some who were buried in the ground wrapped only in blankets or grass mats.
New graves dotted the landscape and the sight sent chills up and down my spine. The work at Hope was very dangerous.
Where the Transcontinental Railroad finally joined
However, the sides of the rock were nearly perpendicular all around and there was no easy way to reach the top. The workers had to scramble to the top by use of timber scaffolding and by ropes fastened to the rock.George H.W. Bush's funeral service in D.C.
Railroads were well-established in the eastern part of the country by the mid-nineteenth century, but had not yet become an option for reaching its western states and territories.
Settlers and businessmen alike wanted the railroad to come to the West so that people and goods could more easily make their way there. InCongress passed a bill authorizing the creation of a transcontinental railroad that would connect the West with the rest of the nation. This project involved two companies, Union Pacific and Central Pacific, and would take six years to complete. Although most of the companies' railroad workers were initially from Ireland and Union Pacific employed some native-born American soldiers, the vast majority of workers for Central Pacific were Chinese immigrants by the time the railroad was finished.
Where the Transcontinental Railroad finally joined - CNET
These immigrants faced particularly poor working conditions and fierce discrimination, but their efforts were crucial to the construction of the railroad and to the full development of the West. The Chinese had already established a significant presence in the United States before the call for a transcontinental railroad came about. More than 40, Chinese immigrants arrived in California during the s.
Most came from southern China and hoped to escape the poverty and social unrest that characterized their homeland. Like thousands of native-born Americans and immigrants from other parts of the world, they hoped to strike it rich during the Gold Rush. When they failed to achieve this dream and the scramble for gold had ended, many of these Chinese immigrants remained in California to perform other jobs.
Some worked in the silver mines, while others worked as cooks and domestic servants in such cities as San Francisco.
When work on the Transcontinental Railroad began, neither Union Pacific nor Central Pacific wanted to hire these immigrants.
Chinese immigration and the Transcontinental railroad
Amid all the romance of building the railroad we tend to forget that it was one of the major industrial enterprises of its age. Watkins InCongress gave charters to two companies to build it. The Union Pacific was to start from the Missouri, cross the great plains and cut through the Rockies.
Lobbyists got the rates doubled within a year. Leland Stanfordgovernor of California and president of the Central Pacific Railroad, persuaded a malleable geologist, Professor Josiah Whitney, to declare the gently sloping Sacramento Valley a mountainous region so that the Central Pacific could collect the highest possible rate for laying track across it.
A grateful California legislature later named its highest peak Mount Whitney in the professor's honor. Congress also promised each company 6, acres of federal land for every mile of track it laid. When you added it all together it was a gift of roughly the size of California plus most of Montana. Marc Reisner The Union Pacific and Central Pacific were soon locked in a race to see who could lay the most track -- and therefore get the most land and money.
Somewhere in the West -- no one knew exactly where -- the two lines were supposed to meet. It is a Grand Anvil Chorus that these sturdy sledges are playing across the plains.
It is in triple time, three strokes to a spike Twenty-one million times are they to come down with their sharp punctuation before the great work of modern America is complete. Bell In Nebraska, some 10, men were at work on the Union Pacific -- heading west.