Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Question: Dutch Flat Donner Lake Wagon Road

From: "Edward L Hodges" ehodges@ix.netcom.com

Hello to CPRR Researchers — I am Ed Hodges, a retired teacher from San Jose, who is searching for documents related to the construction of the Dutch Flat Donner Lake Wagon Road. My current research is focused on two aspects of the old road. The newspaper and book reference (High Road to Promontory) that I have found, indicate that minor construction was begun in 1862, with Dr. Strong of Dutch Flat in charge. Then in October of ' 63, Strong was removed from his job — apparently by Charles Crocker, and Robert H. Pratt became director of construction. According to George Kraus's book, it was under Pratt's direction that the wagon road was completed to Verdi/Crystal Peak in June of 1864. The trouble with Kraus's statement is that it is not backed up with a reference. I have not been able to find any newspaper clipping referring to this significant job assignment. I am searching for Charles Crocker's papers — the ones that connect him to the DFDLWR — but the only thing I have found so far is a one page document at the Stanford Green Library — it was dated June 1864, singed by C. Crocker, President of DFDLWR Co. What I want to find is hard evidence connecting Mr. Pratt to the wagon road in 1863. Thanks to Mr. Strobridge who sent me a copy of Robert H. Pratt's testimony in the 1915 Southern Pacific-Central Pacific Railroad "Unmerger Case," I found out that Pratt was officially hired onto the CPRR in March 1865. I believe that Pratt had been hired two years earlier to finish the wagon road as an employee of the DFDLWR Company (as stated by Kraus). I would like to find documentation to support Mr. Kraus's claim.

My second topic is the question of how much road construction was done by the DFDLWR in the Dog Valley area. I have a newspaper clipping from the Sacramento Union dated July 11, 1864 (p3/c4) that clearly gives credit to the DFDLWR for making the improvements in the old Henness Pass Turnpike Road. Unfortunately, the article ends its description of road improvements at the top of Dog Hill, First Summit. I would like to know if the dirt road we see there today following the creek to Verdi was built by the DFDLWR Company or by the earlier Henness Pass/Truckee Turnpike Company.

5 Comments:

Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

See prior posts.

6/28/2005 8:11 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Rick Martel" richardmartel@gmail.com

I spotted the following notes on the Jack Duncan page of the website:

C. L. Lorr —> HPTC /// C. Crocker -> CPRR
p. 9 Right of Way Deed. Henry A. Frist sells R-O-W to DFDLWR for $150. June 24, 1864. Witness by H. Polley.

I am very interested in finding out if the section of the road from Donner Lake to Donner Summit was part of this deed, or if there was some other Right of Way Deed for this section.

—Rick Martel, Roseville

11/17/2005 2:15 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Our new email is jcduncan@zetabb.com.

—Jack and Cleona Duncan

5/20/2008 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Edward L Hodges" ehodges1@earthlink.net

I have found proof that Chinese labor was used to build the eastern portion of the Dutch Flat Wagon Road in 1864. ...

—Edward Hodges, retired teacher from San Jose

6/05/2012 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Edward Hodges" ehodges1@earthlink.net

Over the past 10 years, I have corresponded with two well known California historians about the use of Chinese Labor in the construction of the Dutch Flat Wagon Road – the supply road used to build the CPRR over the Sierra. Their names are Russell Towle and Edson Strobridge. Unfortunately, both of these men died before the answer was found – in an old Sacramento Daily Union newspaper clipping.

The essence of my discovery is this – 150 Chinese laborers were used to help build the Eastern section of the DFDLWR – that is the section from the Summit to Verdi NV – see my attachment that refers to the Oct. 30, 1863 newspaper article.

—Edward Hodges, retired teacher from San Jose


Proof that Chinese labor was used to build DFDLWR

Russell Towle's analysis of Chinese labor on the DFDLWR

Strobridge's analysis of Chinese labor on the DFDLWR, p.1

Was Chinese Labor Used to Build the Dutch Flat Wagon Road-A

Strobridge's analysis of Labor Force on DFDLWR

6/09/2012 3:18 PM  

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