Saturday, March 20, 2010

What happened to the men in the photo of the 'golden spike' ceremony?


The photo of the 'golden spike' ceremony which contains the 'Jupiter' and the '119' has interested me since I first saw it in a history book in grade school over 50 years ago. It has made me a 'history buff' ever since. I was fortunate enough to finally visit the site last year.

Is there any information available about any of the participants in the photo? What they did with their lives after the photo? Where they lived? Where they are buried. I always wondered what happened after the photo to men like George Booth, who I believe is the man holding the champagne bottle, and Sam Bradford, who I believe is the man holding the two smaller bottles, and also some of the other named men in the photo? Who was Mr. Hirch, the only named man without a first name listed? ...

—Dennis Kowalski


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

You are probably asking about the most famous A.J. Russell photo, but there are several other large format Imperial View photographs, CDV's and stereoviews by Russell, A.A. Hart, and C.R. Savage, as well as The Last Spike painting by Thomas Hill.

3/20/2010 10:54 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

For information about the participants in the Andrew J. Russell "Champagne" photograph, see:
Golden Spike: A Moment in Time, Courtesy of the National Park Service.

3/20/2010 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Val Holley said...

Some sources identify George W. Lashus, not George Booth, as the engineer of the Jupiter at the Golden Spike ceremony. While the majority of credible sources say the engineer was George Booth, the Southern Pacific Bulletin of June 1919, p. 5, identifies Lashus, as does his obituary in the New York Times of Feb. 23, 1938. As well, Lashus rode in the Golden Spike Jubilee parade in Ogden, Utah, on May 10, 1919, billed as an original engineer, and no one accused him of being a fraud. Does anyone have information on the discrepancy?

1/03/2011 11:34 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"
Subject: Engineer of the Jupiter at the Golden Spike ceremony

I find several articles in the Ogden Standard Examiner linking Lashus with the Jupiter. A couple make it the Union Pacific's Jupiter, and for a bit I thought maybe he was in the UP's 119, and that explained the problem. He did apparently start out as a fireman on the UP, one piece placed him at the Meiker massacre on the UP. But he quit that company when it was at Rawlins and made his way to Sacramento where he became an engineer on the CP, initially assigned to Rocklin. Later he operated construction trains in Utah. Later he became roundhouse foreman of the CPRR Ogden roundhouse and had several children who lived there for years – and likely still has descendants there. There is no question that the Ogden paper makes Lashus a CPRR employee at Promontory and on the Jupiter.

So my question is: where did the Booth identification come from?


1/04/2011 4:18 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


One of the problems with fifty year celebrations or centennials is the overwhelming desire to find as many links to the event, place or persons as possible. When the good folks of Ogden hosted the 50th anniversary for the driving of the golden spike they collected much good information. Unfortunately, some of it was not quite accurate. The need to have the original Chinese crew of the CP, the need to have the original spike, and the need to have the original crew of the Jupiter, among many other things, tempted some to expand on the truth. So, although all the contemporary 1869 literature available suggest Booth was the engineer of the Jupiter on May 10, 1869, the Ogden newspaper in 1919 reported that Lashus was the engineer of the Jupiter. There is no doubt that he was an engineer, and that he worked for the CP and probably was even an engineer who at one time may have been in command of the Jupiter, but, unless other evidence appears, was not the engineer on the Jupiter on that brisk day in May 1869. His reminiscences are valuable and he does provide information about the first engineers and their engines during the first years of operation.

Hope this helps.

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.

1/04/2011 12:31 PM  

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