Friday, April 20, 2007

UPRR employee in Utah, Thomas B. Morris

... Any info on a UPRR employee in Utah named Thomas B. Morris. He seems to have been quite a wheeler-dealer ... trying to cut deals with Patterson and Miller for contracts for beef and flour. ...


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Don Snoddy"

He was not just in Utah — he was one of the engineers with Samuel Reed durng the first of the surveys. He shows up and is identified in one of the Promontory pictures. Don't know why he was trying to sell beef and flour.


4/20/2007 9:45 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Thomas Morris is a common name, but a Thomas Morris was assistant engineer under Grenville Dodge and did locating work for the UP across Utah. He was also part of the engineering staff that approved construstruction work for contractors building the grade over the Promontory. Morris, and other UP engineers, claimed land along the right of way and platted a townsite at the junction point of the CP-UP. Yes, this Thomas Morris was a wheeler dealer. Morris is mentioned often in Dodge's unpublished "autobiography" (which is in reality a compilation of his letters, notes, etc); a copy is at the Council Bluff, Iowa Public Library. On the land claims, he is mentioned in the diary of Leonard Eicholtz, copy at the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

UP Surveyor Samuel Chittenden said it best: "this is a splendid country for speculation and anyone with a few hundred dollars and half a Yankee head, can make a fortune here." – letter to Mother, Ft. Bridger, WY, May 19, 1868, "The Chittenden Correspondence," La Posta: A Journal of American Postal History (April 1984), pp. 53-5.


Bob Spude – Historian – Cultural Resources Management – National Park Service – Intermountain Region ¨ 505.988.6770 Voice – 505.988.6876 Fax

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

4/23/2007 10:34 AM  
Blogger machold said...

Thomas Burnside Morris was my great grandfather. He was born in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1842, and I believe he graduated from City College of New York. I have donated his diaries to the Union Pacific museum (I have copies), and I have his original letters to his fianceé. I am not sure that "wheeler dealer" best describes him. The survey work was very hard, and he was always scrabbling for supplies. He dealt with many Mormons, including several sons of Brigham Young, and he infers that they were better "wheeler dealers" than he. When the UP was finished, he worked on the Northern Pacific, laying the line eastward from Portland. I gave a photo album of him and his work colleagues to the Portland Historical Society. In 1874, he was a founder of the Renton Coal Company, and he died in 1885. I would like to find out if he served in the Civil War (under Dodge?), if an obituary was published and where he is buried.His son, Roland S. Morris, was an outstanding student at Princeton and U. of P. Law School, Ambassador to Japan under Wilson and a founder of the Philaelphia law firm of Duane Morris.
Roland Morris Machold

2/04/2010 10:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Recent Messages