Meerschaum Pipe Question
... I'm a pipe collector/restorer and several years ago I acquired an antique F.W. Kaldenberg meerschaum pipe made in New York, NY that has the engraving "SHERMANS PASS 8227 FT 10 MAY 68 ROCKY MOUNT" around the rim of the bowl. It seems professionally done at the pipe company or at an engraver. It is also practically in unused condition with a very brittle genuine amber stem. I know from researching the pipe manufacturer that Kaldenberg was the first meerschaum pipe company in the US and operated during the time of the Civil War. From some of the photos I have found, I've discovered that Jefferson Davis actually smoked a meerschaum pipe made by Kaldenberg which is on display in a museum in Virginia, I believe, so they were fairly prevalent and given as special gifts.
I am very puzzled about the engraving though and I need help, hence why I am seeking help from you. I know the date has to refer to '1868' as Kaldenberg was producing top of the line pipes around this time. I know that Sherman's Pass is also referred to as "Evan's Pass". It has to have a special a connection to the Transcontinental Railroad construction to commemorate a completed section or quite possibly as a congratulations on reaching the highest point of the Railroad. I can't find any record of ceremonies or events during which it might have been given as a gift. Quoting from an online research [Wikipedia] reference:
"The Union Pacific reached the new town of Cheyenne in December 1867 having laid about 270 miles (430 km) that year. They paused over the winter to get ready to push the track over Evan's (Sherman's) pass. The Union Pacific connection at Cheyenne to Denver with its Denver Pacific Railway and Telegraph Company railroad line was made in 1870. The new 'railroad' town of Cheyenne (elevation 6,070 feet (1,850 m)) on the new Union Pacific route was chosen to be a major 'railroad' town with extensive railroad yards, maintenance facilities and Union Pacific presence. It was about 35 miles (56 km) from Evans pass and the highest point reached on the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad — 8,200 feet (2,500 m)."
I've attached a few photos of the engraving around the bowl ...