Henry T Williams.

Pacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads online

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Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 12 of 62)
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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 ;i
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 of
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.
Lotiy's Peuk. Travelers will notice, a few


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 them 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
of the Union Pacific Railroad, and the highest
mountain in northern Colorado. The view we
here give is taken from Estes Park; a beautiful


little park on its north-western slope, and about
twelve miles distant from the summit. This
park is about four miles wide, and six miles long,
is well sheltered, easy of access, and beautifully
covered with pine and spruce trees, scattered
easily about over the grassy surface, which gives
to it a true park-like loveliness. It is partially
occupied by a few families who have taken up
permanent homesteads, and has been for a long
time an excellent pasture for large herds of cattle
which live here the entire year. It is also becom-
ing quite a pleasure resort, and has many at-
tractive features to interest the health seeker and
tourist. Excellent fishing, in lovely little trout
streams, can be found all over the vicinity. From
this valley is the only practicable route for
ascending the peak. Long's Peak is 14,271 feet
in elevation, and about 6,300 feet above the park.
Its construction is of the boldest and most de-
cided character, with great walls, deep canons ;
and on its sides there are gorges and caverns
among the grandest on the continent. Its sum-
mit is divided into two sharp crests, the western
one being the highest and most difficult of ascent.
It is a famous landmark for a stretch of country
of more than a hundred miles from north to

Buffaloes. Buffalo hunting is a pastime
tourists can now have little hope to indulge in.
Few or no buffaloes ever appear within sight of
the car windows of the overland trains, and the
vast herds which once roamed for thousands of
miles and continually up and down the great
plain, are passing away, or disappearing from their
old haunts to find some nook or corner more
quiet and secure. Thousands of them have been
killed during the past two or three winters for
commercial purposes. The hides are stripped
off and sold for as low prices as $1.50, while the
bones are gathered in heaps near the railroad
station and freighted eastward to be nsed for
commercial fertilizers. In one winter it is esti-
mated that on the lines of the Union and Kansas
Pacific Railroad there were killed over 100,000

A Smart Indian Trade. The Indians
which in olden times used to visit the military
posts, were noticeable for their great anxieties to
trade, and for their great shrewdness, which had
often the spice of humor.

At one of the posts a Kiowa chief endeavored
to consummate a bargain for an officer's wife, by
offering as an equivalent a large number of fat
dogs ; the number was so large that the Indians
present thinking it was impossible for the officer
to withstand so tempting an offer, made haste to
express their willingness to help eat the dog*, if
there were more than the white man could man-
age for himself.

But it is among the Indians themselves that
the sharpest species of trading is seen. In the
great passion of the Indian for " fire-water"

whisky there comes out, in their trade for it,
all the possible shrewdness and cunning of the

At one time, as a military officer relates the
story, there was a Kiowa village, beautifully
located for the winter near a grove of old cotton-
wood trees. The fact that the village was rich
in buffalo robes and other skins became known
to a band of the Cheyenne tribe. Stealing would
not answer, as there were too many Kiowas and
too few Cheyonnes. But the shrewdness of the
Cheyennes appeared soon in the shape of a bottle
of whisky ; how they obtained it was a mystery
not explained.

AVith their whisky, the Cheyennes proceeded
to the Kiowa village, exhibited their bottles, and
distributed around a few judicious smells of the
refreshing corn juice ; every now and then giving
the bottle a shake, so that the aroma should be
thoroughly appreciated by their friends the Kiowas.

The smells were freely accepted, and there
was an uncommon desire manifested to know more
(i. e., get better acquainted) of the Cheyennes.
Pipes were produced and duly smoked; after
which the visitors announced their willingness to
trade, as they said.

" They had not brought much whisky, as they
did not know that their brothers, the Kiowas
would like to see it. The little that they had
with them was good and very strong," (with
water) " when the Kiowas had tasted of it they
would see." The Cheyenne was liberal, "he
would give so much," (holding up the bottle and
marking with the thumb something like half an
inch of the whisky). " But seeing that the
Kiowas were not in haste to trade, the Cheyennes
would smoke with them." Meanwhile a kindly
disposed bottle-holder was dispensing smells of
the whisky to a few Kiowas, who were loud in
their announcements of the number of fine robes
which they possessed. This second smoke was
quickly finished, and the Cheyenne again ex-
hibited thefire.icater, marking it as before by the
location of the thumb on the bottle.

A general exclamation followed, for to the
Kiowa's eye the position of the thumb on the
bottle was so very much higher (i. e., so much
less whisky than before). To this Cheyenne had
no consideration ; the trouble he said, was with
the eyes of the Kiowas, which could not be ex-
pected to see big like those of a Cheyenne. Another
smelling time ensued, svhich was followed by an
instantaneous exhibition by the Kiowas of tin
cups and robes, and the Cheyennes began to pour
out the whisky.

While pouring out the promised grog, the posi-
tion of the thumb on the bottle was regarded by-
each Kiowa with the most exaet scrutiny, \\hien
effectually prevented all attempts to shove up the
gauge. And it was noticeable by the care of
the bottle-holders, that when the bottle was held
up after each pass, no Indian could detect the


slightest variation between the whisky mark and
the position of the finger on the bottle.

The Kiowas did not get drunk, and the Chey-
ennes left the village with all their ponies loaded
with robes, having as they freely remarked, made
a " heap smart trade."

Astonishment of Indians at the Loco-
motive and Telegraphs. When the first
locomotive was seen passing over the plains, an
Indian guide in the employ of the United States,
exclaimed with inexpressible surprise, "Good
Medicine yood medicine. Look look," at the tu-te
(toot). As he passed under the telegraph wires
which then were stretching along the Platte,
through which the wind as it swept, made the
whirr and singing sound of a prairie harp, this
guide heard the sound, and directly declared that
they were talking " medicines." This was sup-
posed to be the creations of the great spirit, and
everything of supernatural nature was "medi-

Tha Indians have rarely ever molested the tele-
graph wires which spanned the continent. Per-
haps the following incident may have much to do
with their respectful and distant attitude :
Shortly after the wires were erected, the attaches
of the Telegraph Company invited a number of
Indian chiefs to meet them at a given point, and
from thence to travel, one party East and the
other West.

When they had reached a distance of 100 miles
apart, each party was invited to dictate a message
to th3 other, which was sent over the wires.
Then turning backward, they rode rapidly toward
each other, and two days later met and compared
notes. They were greatly astonished, and ex-
pressed themselves convinced that the " Great
Spirit " had talked to them with the wires. They
decided from that time it would be well to avoid
meddling with the wires.

Soon after a little incident happened, which,
in the minds of the Indians, seemed to settle
forever the opinion that the telegraph belonged
to the Great Spirit. A young Sioux Indian was
determined to show that he had no faith in the
Great Spirit's connection with the wires, so he
set to work with his hatchet to cut down one of
the telegraph poles. A severe thunder-storm was
going on at a distance ; a charge of electricity
being taken up by the wires, was passed to the
pole which the Indian was cutting, and resulted
in his instant death. After that the tribe never
molested the telegraph again.

An Indian fraj/ei: The following actual
translation of an Indian prayer will give an idea
of their feelings and longings, and the extent of
their moral sentiments. It is a prayer to the
Great Spirit by a Crow Indian :

" I am poor ; that is bad."

" Make me a Chief ; give me plenty of horses ;
give me fine clothing. I ask for good spotted

" Give me a large tent ; give me a great many
horses ; let me steal fine horses ; grant it to me."

" Give me guns by cheating ; give me a beauti-
ful woman ; bring the buffalo close by."

" Xo deep snow ; a little snow is good."

" Give me Black Feet to kill or to die ; close
by, all together."

" Stop the people from dying, it is good."

" Give instruments for amusements, blankets
too, and fine meats to eat."

" Give the people altogether plenty of fine buf-
falo, and plenty to eat."


"Magic City of the Plains,' 9 516 miles
from Omaha ; elevation, 6,041 feet. Thus truly
is it named, for it is at present the most active
and stirring city on the entire line. Travelers
will here take a dinner in comfortable style
at one of the best kept hotels between the
two oceans. It is a good place to rest after a
tiresome journey, and it will pay to stop a few
days and enjoy the pure air and genial sun in
this high altitude. The hotel is owned by the
railroad company, and is 150 feet long by 36
wide, with a wing 25 feet square. It has an
elegant dining-hall, around which hang the heads
of antelope, deer, elk, mountain-sheep, black-tailed
deer, buffalo, etc., all nicely preserved and looking
very natural. It is two stories high, the upper
floor being well furnished with sleeping-rooms for
guests. Cheyenne is the capital of Wyoming and
the county-seat of Laramie County. Cheyenne
has had its ups and downs. Once very lively
when the road was building, then it fell dead and
motionless. Now it has arisen again, and is the
largest town on the railroad between Omaha and
Salt Lake City, having a population of fully
4,000, and rapidly growing. There are two causes
for this growth. First, the stock interests which
center here, and second, the recent gold dis-
coveries in the Black Hills. It is the termi-
nus of the Denver Pacific Railroad, and of
the Colorado Central completed, 1877, giv-
ing two routes to Colorado and New Mex-
ico. During the last two years there has
been a large increase in the permanent build-
ings of the city. In 1875, the Inter-Ocean
hotel was completed a fine brick struc-
ture three stories high, and other large and
elegant brick blocks with iron and glass
fronts. In proportion to its population, Chey-
enne has more elegant and substantial busi-
ness houses than most any other western
city. Its inflation period has long since
passed away, and its future growth, like its
present, will be substantial and permanent.
The town has a fine court-house and jail,
which cost |40,000, a large public school build-
ing, a good city hall, and a brick opera-house.
This is a wonderful change for a place known the


world over by its fearful sobriquet of " Hell on
Wheels." Churches have come where gamblers
once reigned ; and in five years as many edifices
for religious purposes have been erected. The
Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Cpngre-
gationalists and Catholics have all comfortable
church buildings. The school accommodations,
owing to the rapid growth of the city, will soon
have to be enlarged. At first sight the traveler
would naturally inquire, what there was to build
and sustain a town here ? The soil is not prolific,
nor is the country around it. Crow Creek bottom
is quite narrow, and in the most favorable seasons,
by irrigation, " garden truck " may be raised, but
beyond this everything looks barren and desolate.
The soil has a reddish appearance, and appears
to consist of decomposed granite underlaid in the
valleys with sand and on the uplands with rock.
In fact, a man who attempts to farm it for a
living in this region of country is simply fooling
away his time.

Stock Interests. The rich nutritious gras-
ses with which the great plains are covered are
here found in all their excellence, and the large
territory east of the base of the Black Hills, north
as far as the North Platte River and south to the
Gulf of Mexico, is now sustaining millions of
sheep and cattle. Cheyenne is located in the
midst of one of the best sections of this territory,
and all around it are the ranches of stockmen
men engaged in growing cattle, sheep, horses and
mules for market. With the exception of sheep,
no hay is cut for these animals except for those
kept up for use. Winter and summer they thrive
and fatten upon nothing but the native grasses.
Cheyenne is the central and natural trading-
point for these ranchmen and stock growers.
Another large and valuable element of its pros-
perity is the railroad trade the company having
here quite extensive machine and repair shops,
with a commodious roundhouse. Hunting and
exploring parties also supply themselves with out-
fits at this place, and immense quantities of mili-
tary and Indian supplies also pass through here
for the posts and Indian agencies north.

To give an idea of the stock business which
centers here, and its rapid increase, let us state that
375 cars of cattle were shipped in 1874. which
represent 7,500 head. In 1875, the shipments in-
creased to 525 cars, or 10,500 head, with prospects
for a large increase in 1876 and future years. It
may be well to state here, the shipments from other
points in this grazing belt of the country :

North Platte in 1875 shipped 96 cars, or 1.920 head.

Ogalalla, " " 207 " 4,140 "

Julesburg, " " 216 " 4,320 "

Sidney, " ' " 93 " 1,860 "

Pine Bluffs, " " 208 " 4,160 "

This statement does not include the cattle mar-
keted at home or supplied to the Indian agencies
in the north. Sixty thousand head of cattle,
seventy thousand sheep and four thousand horses
and mules ai e the estimated number owned and

held in Laramie County alone. The development
of the cattle and stock interests of this vast up-
land region is something never thought of nor
entered the heads of the projectors of the railroad.
In 1867, when the railroad first arrived, there was
not probably a hundred head of all kinds owned in
the whole territory, outside of those belonging to
contractors and stage lines. Now it is a leading
interest, and represents millions of dollars. Like
all other frontier towns, Cheyenne has a history,
and it is similar to that of others. It was once a
very fast town, and it is not very slow now. On
the 1st day of July, 1867, it had one house built and
owned by Judge J. R. Whitehead, on Eddy street,
between Sixteenth and Seventeenth. That house
stands to-day, and is known as the Whitehead
block. It was built of logs and smoothly plastered,
outside and in.

RouffJt Times. When it was known that this
was to be the winter terminus of the road, there
was a grand hegira of roughs, gamblers and pros-
titutes from Julesburg and other places down the
road to this point, and in the fall of that year and
winter of '68, Cheyenne contained 6,000 inhab-
itants. Habitations sprang up like mushrooms.
They were of every conceivable character, and
some were simply holes in the ground, otherwise
termed " dug-outs." Town-lots were sold at fabu-
lous prices. Every nation on the globe, nearly, was
represented here. The principal pastimes were
gambling, drinking villainous rot-gut whisky,
and shooting. Shooting scrapes were an every-
day occurrence. Stealing anything from any-
body was the natural habit of the thieving roughs.
Knock downs and robberies were daily and
nightly amusements. But these things had to
come to an end, and their perpetrators, some
of them, to a rope's end. The more respectable
portion of the citizens became weary of the dep-
redations on property and life. Vigilance com-
mittees were organized, and " Judge Lynch "
held court, from which there were neither appeals
nor stay of executions. Juries never disagreed,
nor were there vexatious delays and motions for
a new trial. Witnesses were unnecessary and de-
murrers of no account. Nor would " the insanity
dodge " avail. The victims were known and
"spotted" beforehand, the judgments of the
courts were unerring and generally righteous. No
gallows were erected, because telegraph poles and
the railroad bridge across Crow Creek were con-
venient of access. When Cheyenne was only six
months old, so frequent were the murders and
robberies, and the city authorities so powerless,
that a vigilance committee was organized. The
first knowledge of its existence happened thus :
Three men were arrested on the 10th day of
January, 1868, charged with having stolen $900.
They were put under bonds to appear before
the court on the 14th of the same month. On
the morning of the day after they were arrested,
they were found on Eddy street, tied together,


walking abreast with a large piece of canvas
attached to them, on which the following words
were conspicuous: "$900s/o/e; $500 returned;
thieves F. St. Clair, W. Grier, E. D. Brownville.
City authorities please not interfere until 10 o'clock
a. m. Next case goes up a tree. Beware of Vigi-
lance Committee." Within one year after its organ-
ization, the " vigilantes " had hung and shot
twelve desperadoes ' and sent five to the peniten-
tiary. Since that time Cheyenne has been ruled
by the law-and-order party, though even these may
seem rather lax to eastern people not accustomed
to the manners and customs of the frontier. Yet
the people enjoy "peace."

On the 13th day of November, 1867, the track
layers reached the city limits, and on the 14th
the first passenger train arrived. The arrival of
the track layers was greeted with music, a dis-
play of bunting, while the inhabitants turned out
en masse to meet them. On the 14th an en-
thusiastic meeting of citizens was held to extend
a public greeting to the railroad officials who had
arrived on the first train, among whom were
Sidney Dillon, Esq., now president of the com-
pany, and General Casement of Ohio, the cham-
pion track layer of the continent.

The first city government was organized, by the
election of officers, on the 10th of August, 1867.
The first newspaper was issued on the 19th of
September, called the Cheyenne Leader, and has
maintained its existence ever since publishing
daily and weekly editions. Other papers have
since been started, but they were short-lived, until
the publication of the Cheyenne Daily News,
which is a spicy little daily. As the town is now
able to support two papers, the Neics (just merged
into the Uaily Sun,) will continue to flourish.

Cheyenne is well laid out, with broad streets
at right angles to the railroad, and has an abund-
ant supply of pure water. Irrigating ditches
run through the streets. A ditch was dug from
Crow Creek to some natural " hollows " or reser-
voirs north of the town, which form beautiful little
lakes. From these the water for the streets is
taken by ditches. As a result, trees and shrubbery
will soon ornament the streets and yards of the
city, which will greatly add to its attractiveness
and beauty. There are a few local manufactories
already in existence and more will follow, and
on a larger scale. With the wool which is soon to
be annually shipped from this place, wo should
think a woolen factory would be a great desid-

Precious Stones. In the adjacent mount-
ains, on the hills and bluffs near by, and in the
valleys of the streams in this vicinity, a large num-
ber of curious and precious stones, gems rich and
rare, have been found. They are very plenty in
their natural state, their chief value being in the
cost of cutting by a lapidary and mounting by a
jeweler. In the immediate neighborhood of Chey-
enne the following are found: Moss-agates, in

great profusion ; topaz, in colors ; garnet or mount-
ain ruby; they are usually found in the little
heaps of sand thrown up by ants ; opals variegated,
rare as yet, and valuable ; petrifactions of wood
and shells, which when cut, polished and mounted,
are splendid ; amethysts, onyx, black and white,
for cameos and jasper. All of these have been
found in this vicinity, though some are rare. The
most beautiful moss-agates are found about half-
way to Fort Laramie, on Chugwater Creek.
Messrs. Joslyn & Park, an old and reliable firm of
manufacturing jewelers, in both Cheyenne and
Salt Lake City, have made this business a special-
ty, and possess the largest and finest collection of
stones in the country. Some of them are exceed-
ingly beautiful. Fine specimens of petrified
palm-wood may be seen at their store. They are
both beautiful and rare. The fact that petrified
palm-wood and petrified bones of the rhinoceros
have been found in this territory, shows that
some six million years ago comparatively recent
there was a tropical climate in this region of
country, when the palm flourished in luxuriance,
and the rhinoceros sported in the warm streams
or cavorted around on their sunny banks. Trav-
elers who are willing to omit their dinner can
improve the half hour allowed by the railroad, by
a hurried run over to this store, which is but a
block away.

Prospects. At present, the greatest cause of
the growth and prosperity of Cheyenne is the dis-
covery of gold in the Black Hills of Dakota. This
cause will last until, if that country will warrant
it, a railroad is built there. The discoveries
of gold seem to be extensive and inexhaustive,
and the building of a railroad from some point
here or on the Union Pacific or Missouri River,
will rapidly follow. The Colorado Central
Railroad newly opened gives to Cheyenne
very flattering prospects, and its business men
are reaping a rich harvest from their invest-
ments. The opening of northern Wyoming
to settlement, the development of the vast mineral
resources of the territory, and the continued pros-
perity of her stock interests, will give to the
" Magic City of the Plains " the trade, growth
and influence which her location demands.

Health. As a resort for health-seekers, Chey-
enne has superior advantages. It is about a thou-
sand feet higher than Denver, with an atmosphere
not only rarefied but dry. It has good hotels and
livery accommodations. Ponies are cheap, and in-
valids can purchase them and ride over the hills
and dales at pleasure. There is also an abundance
of game in the vicinity antelope, rabbits, deer,
etc. A bear weighing over 1,500 pounds, was
killed near here in 1875. It is the largest one
we ever saw. Its skin has been pn'scrvcd, and
the bear has been mounted in good shape. Fre-
quent excursions can also be taken in the warm
summer weather to Fort Laramie, Cheyenne Pass,
and other places which will expand the lungs

1. Golden Park. 2.-Genevieve Park. 3. Custer Park. 4. Limestone Peak. 5. Barney's Park.


and invigorate the body. The results of several
years' observations at the United States Signal
Station here, show that the temperature is more

Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 12 of 62)