Frederick E Shearer.

The Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... online

. (page 11 of 61)
Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 11 of 61)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and thereon ensued the tallest jump ever put on
record. The owner being minus a portion of his
skin, as well as a large fragment of his breeches,
and the bullwhacker's sorrowful cry, ' Thunder,
I've lost the whisky."

Chfippell, 387.4 miles from Omaha. Eleva-
tion 3,702 feet. It is a side track with section-
housj near by. Trains meet and pass here, but
passenger trains do not stop unless signaled.

Lo(tf/e Pole has an elevation of 3.800 feet,
and is 396.5 miles west of Omaha. The creek
from which this station is named, rises in the
Black Hills of Wyoming, west of Cheyenne, and
is fed by springs and numerous small streams
near its source. It generally has water in its

channel the entire year. In occasional places it
sinks into the sand, runs a distance under-ground,
and then reappears on the surface again. The
valley of the Lodge Pole is quite narrow the
bluffs on either side at times approaching near
the track. The whole region of country upon
which we have now entered, is covered with
buffalo grass, and affords both winter and sum-
mer grazing for immense herds of cattle and
flocks of sheep. Stockmen claim that both cattle
and sheep will do better in this region than far-
ther east, for the reason that the native grasses
are more nutritious, and that there is less snow
in the winter.

( 'o/foii, 406.5 miles from Omaha, and 4,022
feet above the sea. It is simply a side track,
named in honor of Francis Colton of Galesburg,
111., and formerly general ticket agent of the

Sidney is 414.2 miles from the Missouri
River, and 4,073 feet above the sea. It is the
end of a sub-division of the road, and has a
roundhouse and machinery adequate for making
minor repairs. The railroad reached and passed
here in August 1867. The rocky bluffs which
jut up close to the town, were quarried by the
railroad men, and stone obtained for various con-
struction purposes. It is now a regular eating-
station, where all passenger trains stop for break-
fast and supper. The railroad hotel is kept by
J. B. Rumsey, and passengers may be assured of
good meals, with plenty of time to eat, as the
train stops thirty minutes. Sidney is the county-
seat of Cheyenne County, Neb. The military
post here known as Sidney Barracks, was laid
out in 18G7, and built in January, 1868, by
Colonel Porter. The town has several stores,
hotels, saloons and general outfitting establish-
ments. It is the nearest railroad point to the
Black Hills, it being only 185 miles by actual
measurement to Harney's Peak, and the adjacent
gold fields, over an excellent wagon road, with
wood and water convenient of access. It has
become a great outfitting depot for the Black
Hills. A daily stage line and freight train now
run regularly, reaching Custer City in thirty
hours, and Deadwood in forty-eight hours. It
is the point where large quantities of military
and Indian supplies are shipped to the agen-
cies and military posts adjoining. It also lias
a weekly newspaper. The Sidney Telegrn/ih, which
is quite an enterprising sheet. The town still
his the characteristics of a frontier place, and
not a small number of roughs have died here
"with their boots on." In December, 1875, a
man was found hanging to a telegraph pole one
morning, who had shot another in cold blood,
and without provocation. He was taken from
the jail and jailer by masked men and strung up
as aforesaid. The town was begun about the
time the railroad passed through. D. Carrigan,
now probate judge of the county, and James and


Charles Moore being the first settlers. James
Moore was the post trader here for a long time.
He is now dead. In the time of the Pony Ex-
press he made the remarkable trip of 280 miles
in fourteen hours and three-quarters. The town
has had trouble with Indians, and was once
attacked by them, as related in another place.
Even after the trains were running regularly, the
Indians would seek for revenge in ditching them
and in killing all the employes they could.
Section-men always went armed, ready to defend
themselves in case of attack. In April of 1869,
the Indians attacked two section-men who had
gone to the creek for water, and one of them,
Daniel Davidson, was killed his body being liter-
ally filled with arrows. Right north of the town,
where the traveler can see a small column of
stones, was an old fort or breastwork, the re-
mains of which are still visible, which was
used as a place of defense in case of Indian
raids. A bridge across the North Platte River,
on the road to Spotted Tail's Agency, would
largely increase the trade and importance of
the town. In 1875, the assessed valuation of
Cheyenne County was about $ 1,250,000. There
are a large number of stockmen in the county.

Beautiful Cloud Effects. Artists and all
travelers, as they get nearer and nearer to the
summit of the Rocky Mountains, will often have
fine opportunities to see some magnificent cloud
effects. The most glorious sunset ever witnessed
by the writer, was one beautiful evening in pass-
ing down the line of the Denver Pacific Railroad
from Cheyenne. Long's Peak, grand in its sub-
limity of snow, was surrounded with a collection
of clouds, so poised that the rays of the setting
sun showed us each side of them. On the hither
side the fleecy clouds were lighted up with the
grandest of crimson and golden colors ; in their
midst opened little circular or oval windows,
which, letting light upon their upper portions,
seemed to be of molten silver ; while in their depth
of deep azure blue more beautiful than we can de-
scribe there seemed to glow the intense colors
and reflections from the bosom of a mountain lake.
Every few minutes the clouds, at our distance from
them, changed their position, and new colors,
forms, and rays came and went, and when at last
the sun itself dropped slowly behind the very point
of the peak, and it shone out in startling clear-
ness with the grand display of rainbow-colored
clouds above ; the sight seemed like a heavenly
vision. The editors of the New York and East-
ern Editorial Excursion Party of 1875, who wit-
nessed the scene, expressed but one sentiment of
admiration, that it was far the most superb
cloud and sunset scene ever witnessed. Such
scenes are very frequent, and exceedingly capti-
vating to those who have a true artist's eye and
appreciation of colors and effects.

An English traveler (to whom beautiful sun-
sets are unknown) when once traveling from

Ogalalla toward Laramie, over the plains, says,
" As we journeyed, the sun approached the hori-
zon, and the sky and numerous clouds assumed
columns of strange and wonderful beauty. The
' azure vault ' itself was of all possible shades o
light green, and also of clear light blue; some of
the clouds were of solid masses of the deepest
indigo, while a few were black, some were pur-
ple, and others faintly tinged with crimson and
gold. Two days before, 1 had witnessed cloud
effects almost equally fine. There is no monot-
ony i.i the glorious dawns or beautiful sunsets,
which are the rule on these elevated plains, and
which go far to relieve the tameness of the land-

" As evening approached, on my journey to
Laramie, and I neared my destination on the
great mountain plains, I saw hovering over one
of the snow-capped peaks, a richly colored cloud,
so curious in foim, and withal so perfect that it
might well have been considered a miraculous
omen, in the superstitious days of old. It was a
most accurate representation of a long waving
ostrich plume, in varying tints of crimson and
purple and gold ; I gazed on it with pleasure and
wonder till it faded away."

Sunset in a Storm. The Earl of Dunraven,
in an account of his travels, mentions with won-
der these extraordinary sunset scenes : "Just be-
fore sundown, the gorgeous flaunting streamers
of bright yellow and red that were suddenly shot
out across a lurid sky were most wonderful to
behold. If the vivid colors were transferred to
canvas with a quarter of their real brilliancy,
the eje would be distressed by the representa-
tion, and the artist accused of gross exaggera-
tion and of straining after outrageous effects.

" These stormy American sunsets are startling,
barbaric, even savage in their brilliancy of tone,
in their profusion of color, in their great streaks
of red and broad flashes of yellow fire ; startling,
but never repulsive to the senses, or painful
to the eye. For a time the light .'hone most
brilliantly all over the western hemisphere,
breaking through a confused mass of dazzling
purple-edged clouds, massed against a glowing,
burnished copper sky, darting out bviglit arrows
through the rifts and rents, and striking full
upon the mountain top.

" But not long did this glorious effulgence last.
The soul of the evening soon passed away ; as
the sun sank, the colors fled. The mountains
became of a ghastly, livid greenish color, and as
the faint rose light paled, faded slowly upward
and vanished, it really looked as though the life
were ebbing away, and the dull gray death-hue
spreading over the face of a dying man."

Sunset Scene on Mount tf as/iburne.
The Earl of Dunraven ascending, in the summer
of 1874, the summit of Mt. Washburne was re-
warded at sunset with a scene of extraordinary
magnificence, which he relates as . " The

sun was getting very low, and the valleys were
already steeped in shade. To the east all was
dark, but in the western heavens long naming
streaks of yellow were flashing across a lowering
sky. The masses of black clouds were glowing
red with an angry flush. The clear white light
of a watery sun had changed into broad streaks
of flaunting saffron. Across all the hemisphere,
opposed to it, the setting orb was shaking out
the red and yellow folds of its banners, challeng-
ing the forces of the storm, which was marshal-
ing on the horizon its cloud warriors resplend-
ent in burnished gold.

" The sun sank behind a cloud, and I turned
away to descend; but as we went, the sun,
though invisible to us, broke through some hid-
den rift in the clouds, and shone out bright and
strong, splashing its horizontal rays full against
the opposite slop3, and deluging the lower por-
tions of tin valley with a flood of intense cherry-
colored lurid light. The hills reddened as if
beat upon by tha full glare of a great furnace.
It was a sight mist glorious to see. The beauty
of it held us and forced us to stop. The glow
did not gradually ripan into fullness, but sud-
denly, and in all its intensity, struck upon a
prominent ridge, lighting up the crags and cliffs,
and even the rocks and stones, in all their de-
tails, and than by dagreas it extended and spread
on either side over the foot-hills, bringing out
the projecting slopas and shoulders from deep
gloom into clear light, and throwing back the
valley into blackest shade. Every rock and
precipice seem id closs at hand, and shone and
glowed with such radiance that you could trace
tha very rents and crevices in the cliff faces, and
mark the pine trees clinging to the sides, while
in comparison the deep recesses of the chasms
and canons seemad to extend for miles back into
dark shadow. As the sun sank, so rose the
light, rushing upward, surging over the hills in
a wave of crimson mist, really beautiful to be-
hold, and illuminating the great bulk of the
range, while the peaks were still darkly rearing
thair sullen heads above the tide, and the valleys
were all filled with gray vapors. At last the
glare caught the mist, and in an instant trans-
formed it from gray cloud into a gauzy, half-
transparent veil, light, airy, delicate exceed-
ingly, in color like the inner petals of the rose.
Then, as the sun dropped suddenly, the light
flashed upon the summit, the peaks leaped into
startling life, and the darkness fell."

Broivnson. Simply a side track. Elevation
4,200 feet above the sea. Distance from Omaha,
423.2 miles. The station was named after a for-
mer general freight agent of the Union Pacific.
From Sidney, and in this vicinity, the bluffs are
rugged, and look like fortifications or the old
castles that we read about. They are simply
indications of the grand scenery which is to

Potter. 433.1 miles from Omaha. Elevation
4,370 feet. It is a telegraph station. West of
Potter you cross the bed of a dry creek, which
leads into the Lodge Pole.

J)iic. Another side track, at -which pas-
senger trains do not stop. There is a fine
stock ranche near by, and the grazing in
this vicinity is excellent. It is 442.3 miles
from the eastern terminus of the road, with an
elevation of 4,530 feet.

Antelope. 451.3 miles from Omaha. Eleva-
tion, 4,712 feet. A telegraph and coal station,
with side tracks and section-house. In Novem-
ber, 1875, the Indians, who have a liking for
good and fast horses, equal to that of Bonner,
the Neio York Ledger man, went to the ranche of
Mr. Jones, a Kentuckian, about twenty miles
south of this station, and stole some forty head
of blooded horses and mares which he had
there for breeding purposes. They are supposed
believed to have gone north, and if Uncle
Sam's Indian agents would withhold rations from
the tribe until they were brought back, or make
a thorough search for them, they could undoubted-
ly be found. Many of the animals were thorough-
breds, and very valuable. Here is another viola-
tion of the Sioux treaty. Mr. Jones will have to
pocket his loss, while Uncle Sam will, of course,
pocket the insult. Antelope is the home of some
old hunters, and if the traveler desires to hear
their experiences, let him stop a day and inter-
view Jack Evans, who has a rant he here, and Mr.
Goff, who lias been engaged in the business some
fourteen years.

Landscape of the Colorado Plains.
There is a charm in life on the great plains. To
one who visits it for the first time, it seems
lonely indeed, and yet it is never wearisome.

Now come great rolling uplands of enormous
sweep, then boundless grassy plains, and all
the grandeur of vast monotony and desolation.
Sometimes the grand distances are broken by
rugged buttes and bluffs. As they rise in sight,
the traveler is as eager in his curiosity as the
sea voyager just catching his first view of the dis-
tant shore. Over all these plains there is a
sparkling, enthusiasm-giving atmosphere, crisp,
strong, magnetic, and a never-failing breeze;
even in the hottest days, or portions of the day,
the air is bracing, and rarely ever is the sky long

That vastness of solitude, boundless plains,
and boundless sky. that stretch of blue, that
waste of brown, never a tree, river, bird, or ani-
mal, home or life of any nature, who can de-
scribe the sensations, which are so overpowering.

As you approach the mountains, the Colorado
plains assume more verdure, as they are better
watered by the little streams from the foot-hills,
or bedewed by the mountain showers. In sum-

mer time the landscape is green, and the plains
covered with flowers, while in autumn, with the
yellow of the prairie grass, the flowers ever stay,
new ones coming as old ones disappear. The
sunflower is the most profuse of all the species of
vegetation that spring up wherever the soil is
opened. For thousands of miles, wherever the
railroad or a wagon route has made its way
across the country, there spring up parallel rows
of the ever-living sunflower. In the eastern por-
tions of the plains of Nebraska and Kansas, near
the Missouri River, may be seen square miles of
sunflowers, 7 to 9 feet high ; as we travel farther
west, they gradually dwindle until they are, in
Colorado, only 3 to 9 inches in height, the oddest
little plant in nature, yet perfect in shape and

years yet to come, to be only the grazing-field of
thousands of buffalo or herds of cattle. Water
is scarce, irrigation is impossible, rains uncer-
tain, and in many parts the soil is full of soda
and alkali. The western march of settlement
practically ends at the one hundredth meridian
of longitude Xorth Platte.

Coyotes. Pioneers, Indians and drivers,
unite in the most thrilling exclamations of their
detestations of this, the meanest of the animal
tribe that infest the plains. Just after twilight,
if you happen to be encamped on the plains, you
will hear not far off the quick bark of a single
coyote. This is the first call, the bugle cry. Then
come answers, and the pack of wolves assemble
rapidly; and just as darkness closes down, you
have but one enjoyment left, to listen to the most

Into this vast area of plains, which reaches
from east to west 500 miles, and north to south
1,01)0 miles, there can be poured nearly all the
population of Europe and Asia. Swallowing up
by the thousands, the plains, with open month,
wait with insatiate appetite for more. Into this
area can be put the whole of India. It is twice
as large as Hindostan, and as large as the whole
of the United States east of Chicago.

Agriculture is certain as far west as the three
hundredth mile from the Missouri River; from
thence westward, to the immediate vicinity of
the mountains, no crops can at present be raised.
This reach of 200 miles or more is, for many

dismal of howling matches. As eacli new coiner
arrives he is welcomed with a howl. Each howl
is short, and by the band there seems to be a
chosen few who execute them in proper manner,
with all the variations. After these few have
performed some of their most " striking airs," a
silence of a few moments' duration follows, and
then the whole band breaks out with the most un-
earthly noises, which are second to no other noises
of plains and mountains Kit Carson once said of
these howls, "that it was only a little dispute as
to which coyote had, as the winner of the match,
the right to take the stakes (steaks)." A trav-
eler says of them : " It is quite impossible to do


full justice to this wolf music. There is no
racket known to the inhabitants of the more
civilized sections of our country which will com-
pare with it. All the felines in the neighbor-
hood would not make a noise which would begin
to equal wolf music." Strange as it may seem,
the rough pioneer esteems this music his sweetest
lullaby, for as one of the old " roftgh and readies"
says : " If any redskin should take it under his
scalp to look about camp, every cuss of them
coyotes would shut up his trap and wake the fel-
lows up with the quiet." So long as the coyote
cries there is no danger from Indians the
moment he ceases, danger is near so the pioneer
esteems their music his best lullaby, and their
bark his safety. Occasionally the pack, toward
early morning, will make a raid into the
traveler's camp, and grab any edibles or pieces
left within reach; even sometimes seizing the
very haversack upon which the sleeper's head
is pillowed, but seldom ever touching the per-
sons of the campers. As morning approaches,
they retire to a safe distance from camp, and
squatted on their haunches like dogs, wait till
the party leaves.

The plains men have an old saying, " That the
coyotes can smell a Sta'es fetter, and then you
will not see a coyote anywhere within sight of
camp." The explanation for which is supposed
to be as follows, given also by the old plains men :
" States fellers shoots at any live thing as
jumps in their sight, whether it is any 'count to
them or no."

Adams. A side track 457.3 miles from
Omaha; elevation 4,781 feet. The country here
is considerably broken, and between the bluffs
on either side huge boulders crop out.

Bushnell, 463.2 miles from Omaha, and
4,860 feet above the sea. It is simply a side
track with water tank. In coming up this val-
ley the railroad crosses the Lodge Pole Creek, or
its little branches, several times. Near Bushnell
is a trestle bridge across the creek.

Hailstorms. This region of country is fre-
quently, in summer, visited with hailstorms and
cloud-bursts. In the summer of 1875, a train was
overtaken by one of these hailstorms, and not a
whole pane of glass was left in the side of the
cars toward the storm. The glass in skylights
on the top of the cars was broken, and many of
the hailstones, as large as a man's fist, bounded
through the cars on the opposite side. The
wooden sides ^of the cars were dented, and the
sheet-iron casing of the engine-boiler looked as
though it had passed through a violent case of
the small-pox. When these cloud-bursts occur,
the drops of rain seem as large as walnuts, and
come so fast that the entire surface of the ground
is covered the surplus water not having time to
run off. In such storms the road is liable to
washouts, and great care is necessary in the run-
ning of trains to avoid accidents.

Bushnell is the last station in Nebraska. Just
across the line, between it and Wyoming, comes

Pine Bluffs, 473.2 miles from Omaha ; ele-
vation 5,026 feet. The little station takes its
name from the stunted pines along the bluffs.
Pine timber once was plenty here, but it disap-
peared when the road was built. It is the great
trail and crossing point for Indians passing from
the buffalo grounds on the Republican to Horse
Creek and North Platte River. Was several
times attacked by Indians during construction of
road, several were killed and large amounts of
stock stolen. It is now the head-quarters of
Judge Tracy's cattle ranch e, and several carloads
of cattle are shipped each year. Muddy Creek
is just west of station, has water most of the time,
yet Lodge Pole Creek, beyond Egbert, sinks in
the sand. Water can be found in the bed of the
stream by digging 3 to 9 feet. This is a telegraph
station, with side track, cattle-yards and chutes.

Tracy, 478.8 miles from Omaha ; elevation
5,149 feet. It is a side track named in honor
of Judge Tracy of Cheyenne.

Egbert, 484.4 miles from Omaha ; elevation
5,272 feet. It is a side track with water tank.
Three miles south of this side track runs the
Muddy, which has quite a settlement of ranche-
men. The Lodge Pole at this point is still dry,
and the company dug thirty-two feet for the
water which supplies their tank. The road here
leaves the main valley of the Lodge Pole, to the
right, and runs up a branch, in which the bed of
a creek is visible, but which never has water in
it except after the cloud-bursts spoken of.

Burns, 490.7 miles from the Missouri River,
with an elevation of 5,428 feet. The grade is
now quite heavy as we are going up on to the
divide between the Lodge Pole and Crow Creek.
Burns is simply a side track where trains occa*
sionally meet and pass.

Hillsdale, a telegraph station with side
track and section-house. The place takes its name
from a Mr. Hill, who was killed here by the In-
dians at the time the road was located. He
belonged to the engineer corps of the road. The
company's well here, which supplies the water
tank, is 72 feet deep. North and south of this sta*
tion numerous sheep ranches have been opened.
By looking straight west, up the track, you can
here obtain the first glimpse of the Black Hills
of Wyoming and they will come into plain view
as you ascend the heavy grade toward the divide.
Hillsdale is 5,591 feet above the sea, and 496.4
miles from Omaha. Notice the grade indicated
by the elevations as you pass these stations.

Atkins, 502.6 niiles from Omaha, and 5,800
feet above the sea. It is a side track, simply,
with water tank and section-house near by. The
well which supplies this station with water is
over 200 feet deep. Here the traveler obtains a
good view of the Black Hills stretching off to the
right. Still up the grade you go, reaching the

summit of the divide in the first snow shed on
the line of the road just beyond

Archer, which is 508 miles from the starting
place, with an elevation of 6,000 feet above tide-
water. This station is a side track with section-
house near by. A short distance farther, you

makes its way through the bluffs off to the left.
Soon we come to a deep cut through the spur ot
a bluff, passing which, we cross a bridge over a
dry ravine, and then continue up the hill to the
" Magic City " of the plains, called Cheyenne.
Lony's Peak. Travelers will notice, a fev



enter the shed ; it seems like passing through a
tunnel. In the distance there are mountains
"to the right of you," and mountains "to the
left of you," but we shall see more of then! here*
after. Leaving the snow shed we are now on a
down grade into Crow Creek Valley, which

hours before reaching Cheyenne, the snow-clad
summit of this bold peak, rising above the dis-
tant horizon. It is about sixty miles south-west

Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 11 of 61)