Friday, March 02, 2012

How many worked on the railroad? Any women?

From: "Robert Young"

How many people worked on the transcontinental railroad? Any women? ...

—Robert Young


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

"when we had 8, 9, and 10 thousand Chinamen on the work, we had from 2,500 to 3,000 white men"

3/02/2012 12:02 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

See, "Chinese by the Numbers," Chapter 4, from Nameless Builders of the Transcontinental Railroad by William F. Chew, © 2004, Courtesy of the author.

3/02/2012 12:09 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

"Strobridge adopted two children in early 1866 and the other four of his adopted children were not born until after the completion of the Pacific Railway on May 10, 1869. Strobridge's car did have three apartments. He and his wife lived in one, Mrs. Joseph Graham, a close friend of Mrs. Strobridge and wife of the Contract and Finance Company's Asst. Chief Engineer, lived in another and the third was used for an office."

3/02/2012 12:19 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

"Letter from Central Pacific Railroad Chief Engineer Samuel S. Montague to Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Metzler Clement at the Summit Camp with a gift for their 1 1/2 year old son, "Monty" (Russell Montague Clement, born March 30, 1965 at Illinoistown, a town later renamed Colfax after the U.S. Vice President). Mrs. Clement travelled over the Panama Railroad to reach California to join her husband."

3/02/2012 12:21 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Also see, Women and the railroad.

3/02/2012 12:23 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

See another post about Women on the railroad.

3/02/2012 12:24 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Native American women: "As they moved into Shoshone territory they began to use Shoshone workers. The Central Pacific used both their men and women. It was written by an observer of that day that those Native American women were stronger than the men in back breaking work."

3/02/2012 12:28 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

"Question #5. How prominent were women in the Chinese-American population? Did they ever work alongside the men?"

Answer: 5) Great question about the women. I find only one newspaper reference to the Chinese women, and that was to say that the bodies of Chinese women were being left where they were found, while the bodies of the men were being shipped back to China. Was this because the women were not as important? Was it because they were from the local Chinese population and were not covered by any obligation to be returned? Don't know. There is a lot about the Chinese on the railroad that we don't know."

3/02/2012 12:33 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

See, Chinese RR workers ... Wives?"

3/02/2012 12:35 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Also see, Chinese women.

3/02/2012 12:37 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Since there was considerable worker turnover, please be clear as to whether you are trying to count the number of workers at one time, or the total number of people that ever worked on the railroad.

Supt. Strobridge's 19th century testimony was that "our maximum strength ... very nearly approached 10,000 men on the work". See the graph of Chinese Monthly Employment.

3/02/2012 12:52 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The above posts give information about the Central Pacific Railroad built mostly by Chinese laborers from Sacramento to Promontory.

Can anyone suggest similar sources for information about the numbers of mostly Irish and army veterans that built the Union Pacific Railroad from Omaha to Promontory and any accompanying women?

The best modern history of the transcontinental railroad is David Bain's Empire Express of which used copies are readily available very inexpensively.

3/03/2012 4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Phil Nohl"
Subject: The last spike, May 10, 1869

... I am a film collector and recently purchased a small batch of [still photographs] that were shot in the 1950's by a Ponca Indian calling himself both Chief White Golden Eagle, and Chief White Eagle, Jr. The Chief seems to have worked at the famous 101 Ranch in Oklahoma.

There was also a lot of ephemera attached to the purchase. One of the photographs [of the last spike ceremony] appears to have been clipped from a magazine. Of interest is what this man wrote on the photo: "Chief White Eagle, Jr. - My sisther (sic) drive the golden spike." Above that is the handwritten date " ... on May 10, 1868." The date is off by one year, but I thought you might have an interest in his notation. Obviously the golden spike was not driven in by a woman, but there are a few references to women at the event who may have had their turn somewhere down the line.

However, on the same photo, he wrote that his mother was born in 1872 – so obviously there is something wrong here.

... Just thought someone might find this of interest. ...

—Phil Nohl, Wisconsin

5/18/2015 7:39 AM  

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