IT is many months since I closed a series of articles..., entitled, "Our World." In those I spoke at some length of the mineral and vegetable productions of the earth, of curious plants, excellent fruits, and beautiful flowers. I only ceased the pleasant task of writing for want of time. At the earnest request of editors and publishers, I have consented to resume my writing. In my articles I shall speak more especially of what may be seen, and of what has transpired, in some of the places I have visited.

By the expression, "From sea to sea," at the head of this article, I mean from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, across the western continent, a distance of a little over 3000 miles. This would be a pleasant and interesting trip for any one to make in summer, especially if he has the company of kind friends who are acquainted with the route. Having myself made this trip during the last three months, I will speak of some items of interest by the way. 

This I do the more readily, because it is presumed that but few of the readers  will ever pass over this route.

Having stored our lunch basket with wholesome food, including plenty of excellent California fruit, we left the Pacific Ocean, September 19, for our trip "across the continent." It was our choice to take the slow train, that we might see more of the country through which we passed.

The first one hundred and thirty-eight miles of our route from San Francisco to Sacramento, the capital of California led through a diversity of hill and dale, orchard and garden, with, cultivated fields, and strips of timber along the banks of the streams, there being no roads or forests in that part of the State. Before our arrival at Lathrop, we passed through a part of the great possessions of Miller and Lux. 

These men own hundreds of thousands of acres of land in central California. Their farm through which we passed comprised 57,000 acres of a soil adapted to the growth of hay and grain. Such an area of land, when covered as far as the eye can reach with ripening grain, is a beautiful sight.

As we neared Sacramento, we had an opportunity to see the "levee" of the Sacramento River. This levee is a high bank built up on each side of the river for many miles above and below the city, to keep the river, in time of high water, from over- flowing its banks and flooding the surrounding country. After this levee had been constructed, it was considered safe to build upon the lowlands near the river. 

Last winter, in the time of heavy rains and floods, the levee gave way, and this flat section for miles below the city was a vast sea. In many instances, the water came nearly to the chamber floors of the buildings, and the people were obliged to go from house to house and to the higher portions of the city in boats. 

One day last winter in time of the flood I passed there, and saw some twenty boats in which men and women, and in some cases young ladies alone, were passing from house to house making calls. They seemed rather to enjoy the romance of the situation, and it reminded me of the city of Venice, Italy, with its streets of water.

After passing some twenty-five miles from Sacramento, we began to ascend the Sierra Nevada Mountains. From here to Colfax, a distance of about twenty-five miles, our route lay through a section of gold mines. The railroad passes but a short distance from Sutter's Mill where William Marshall, in 1848, while digging in a mill-race, first discovered California gold. Since that time millions of dollars have been obtained by digging and washing the soil of California. While some have amassed wealth, others have lost even what money they had in searching for greater wealth; others have sacrificed their health by exposure in the mines, while still others have sacrificed their lives in searching for the shining metal. Such is earthly wealth. How often we see the scripture fulfilled that riches "make themselves wings" and "fly away."

From the Central Pacific R. R. we get a direct view of the placer and hydraulic works. As we slowly climb the mountainsides we see piles of gravel, and large sections, which have been dug over. Upon inquiry, we are told that this is the result of gold washing in the rockers and hydraulics. The rocker is a box placed upon rockers, something like the cradle of our ancestors. Soil is dug up and placed in the box, and then, while water is poured in from a dipper held in the right hand, or supplied from a pipe, the box is rocked with the left hand. This rocking motion causes the soft dirt and water to pass out of the box, while the gold, being heavy, settles to the bottom of the box. Every few hours the contents of the box are emptied on a clean table, and carefully examined, and the gold separated from the gravel. This process is called placer mining. Because there was so much of this kind of mining done in the county through which we passed, it is called Placer County. In hydraulic mining the water is conducted down the mountain sides through strong iron pipes, and then passing through a rubber hose with a "nozzle" three or four inches in diameter, is thrown with great force against a bank of dirt, which is thus torn down and literally dissolved. 

Sometimes the water is thrown with such great force, and in such volume, that rocks weighing half a ton are moved by it.

It is so arranged that the water and this dissolved earth pass through long boxes, or troughs, constructed of planks with bottom and sides. These are about 14 inches in width, and 300 feet in length, and are called sluices. In the bottom of these sluices are placed narrow pieces of board lying cross-wise of the box; to each end of these are nailed long narrow strips to aid in taking them out of, and placing them in, the sluices. These sections are called "riffles."

As the water and dissolved earth pass rapidly through these sluices over the riffles, the gold, being heavier than the dirt or water, sinks to the bottom of the sluices between the slats of the riffles. After the water has passed for a few hours through one sluice, its course may be turned to another. The limes are then taken out of the first sluice, and all the gold is carefully removed from the bottom of the sluice. 

This is called cleaning up the sluices. After this is done, they ascertain the result of their labor, or, as the miner expresses it, "see how it pans out." This expression originated from the fact that this kind of mining was first done in a common pan. 

The prospector for gold would dig up a pan-full of earth containing the precious material, and then stepping into a stream he would hold his pan in the water, at the same time giving it a rocking motion. This caused the dirt gradually to wash out, and the gold to settle at the bottom. He could then decide how his dirt "panned out." So we see that the expression, "How did the thing pan out?" means, "How did it result?" The gold obtained by the process already described is in the shape of gold dust and "nuggets" small pieces of gold.

As we continue to ascend the mountains, coming to the stations, New Castle, Auburn, Dutch Flat, etc., we see water running in various directions in ditches, troughs, and pipes, and we are told that it is to supply water for hydraulic mining, and for other mining purposes. In the canyons near and far we also see smoke stacks, which indicate that steam works of some kind have been placed in the solitary places of the mountains. These we are told are quartz mills, and are used in connection with the quartz mines. But night is coming on, the second night of our journey on the slow train, and we will leave the quartz mines for another day.


Southampton, England, Jan. 12, 1879.



WHEN we closed our talk last week, we were on the Central Pacific R. R., slowly ascending the Sierra Nevada’s, in sight of the quartz mills in the distance. Having now arrived at Colfax, we will take time to examine one of these mills. Upon the out-side we see men running car loads of rock which has been lifted up the shaft from the mines, into the upper part of the mill; and as we enter, we see men with heavy sledge-hammers breaking these rocks into pieces about as large as a man's fist. We are told that this rock is "gold-bearing quartz," but we do not see much in it that looks like gold. Presently, we see one of the workmen throw aside a piece which is covered on the outside, and seems to be permeated through and through, with yellow specks about the size of a large pin-head. Now we think we have seen some genuine gold; but to our astonishment we are told that "all which glistens is not gold," and that that which looks to us so valuable is only "pyrites" which, placed in the crucible of the refiner, will all turn to dross, and prove of no value whatever. In contrast with this, the workman shows us a dull looking piece of green rock, which we might esteem of but little value, and tells us that this will yield sixty or seventy dollars to the ton.

We pass down a few steps to see what is becoming of the broken rocks thrown in to the great hopper above. Oh, what a racket! Enough to deafen one! This noise is made by the stamp-mill and crusher. 

Here we see the rocks dropping from the hopper into a place arranged somewhat like the cylinder and concave of a threshing machine, only the massive teeth are many times larger and stronger. In this crunching, groaning machine the rocks are broken into pieces about as large as walnuts.

Before us is a row of eighteen upright shafts, with massive iron pestles at their bases. These pestles strike into huge iron cases. Into this great mortar and directly under these pestles, the small pieces of rock are being shoveled. A small stream of water runs through the iron mortar, and we are told that this is the stamp mill, driven by a powerful steam engine, which is pulverizing the ore so that the gold can be separated from the rock.

We descend another story, where we behold a stream of mud and water running from the stamps into a huge tub. In this tub are upright paddles, which are carried by machinery rapidly around the tub, somewhat as a woman stirs cream into butter in a crock. This stirring causes the heavy portion of the dirt containing the gold to sink to the bottom of the tub, while the water and light mud run off in pipes.

In the next story below is to be seen a great iron pan in which has been deposited a quantity of this heavy mud, after the water was drained off from it. Into this pan they have poured quite a quantity of quick-silver. This is called the amalgam pan. 

What is amalgam? It is a mixture of quicksilver with some metal; in this casethe metal is gold. Quicksilver has great affinity for gold when brought in contact with it, and in the amalgam pan it picks up the gold, and separates it from the pulverized ore.  We next visit the retorting room where the amalgam is melted, and the quicksilver in the shape of blue fumes rises from the crucible, and the gold, in a crude state, can 

be cast into bars and sent to the refiners, where, by the application of powerful acids and intense heat, the dross is entirely removed from it. This refining process is usually done away from the quartz mills. 

There are gold refineries in San Francisco. The process of retorting the quicksilver is very unhealthy, especially if the workmen breathe the fumes of the quicksilver. 

The retorting is usually done under a condenser, which is a huge iron like an inverted cup. Cold water runs over this iron, and as the fumes of the quicksilver strike the cold iron, it turns to drops of quicksilver, and runs down the sides of the condenser, much as steam turns into water as it strikes the cold lid of a tin boiler.

But the half hour that our train stopped for supper is up, and we must hurry back so as to go on our journey up the mountains.



PASSING Colfax station, we slowly continue our course up the Sierra Nevada’s, and the ascent is so steep that our train of ten cars, although drawn by two heavy engines, moves no faster than a boy can run on level ground. We are now some nine hundred feet above the level of the sea, and in six hours, with only about fifty miles' travel, we shall be 6100 feet higher.

Suddenly we cross a deep chasm on a bridge several hundred feet high, and we see, winding off to our right, a deep valley. 

This is the American River bottom. Here we come to what has been denominated, "The Cape Horn of the Nevadas." Turning quickly around the rocks to the left, we find ourselves apparently hanging upon the edge of a rocky cliff. On our right, about two thousand feet below, flows the river; and on our left, several hundred feet above, is the peak of the mountain. It is said that when the workmen were constructing the railroad around this point, they were let down by ropes from the top of this crag, and thus held while they made a place, with a pick, for their feet. As we pass this place, we are led to admire the perseverance which led men to construct this road under such difficulties.

But what now? We exclaim, as we instantly plunge from daylight into darkness. 

Oh, we are only passing through a tunnel. 

They could not go around the edge of this mountain as they did around Cape Horn, sothey dug a hole through it. Here we are several hundred feet below the peak of the mountain, but the rocks at the sides and overhead are so firm that the earth does not cave in upon us. We shall pass through a number of such tunnels in the mountains.

As we come out of this tunnel, what a sight meets our gaze! Crags and peaks, ravines and canyons, on the right hand and on the left, above us, below us, and in every direction! Here, in the winter season, the snow whirls and piles in fantastic shapes. 

Formerly it blocked the railroad, but they have now constructed sheds over the track, so as to keep the snow from filling the grade made by cutting through the mountains. These are called snow-sheds.

We pass in and out of these snow-sheds and tunnels for nearly forty miles; and, as by this means we are deprived of viewing the scenery, it is somewhat dreary traveling. We no sooner shoot out of one long shed and get a little sight of the romantic mountain views outside than we dash into another. They must, however, be very nice in the winter when there is danger of being snowed in, and of suffering for food and fire as some have in the past.

But here we are at the summit, and although only about one hundred miles from Sacramento, we are more than seven thousand feet higher than that city. How light the air seems. If we fill our lungs with it, it seems almost as though we had not breathed at all. This must be good for the expansion of the lungs; but I am glad we do not tarry here long, for the work of breathing is too taxing for feeble lungs.

Now that we are over the top of the mountains, and are going down at the rate of some three thousand feet in seventy miles, perhaps they will leave off one of the engines. But no! They tell us they will keep on two engines, as they wish to let us down the mountain side carefully.

The variation of the scenery on the east side of the mountains differs but little from that on the west side, only the great snow banks to be seen on that side do not appear on this. Soon after we begin to descend, we catch a glimpse of the blue waters of Donner Lake in the distance. It was at this place that a party of emigrants in early mining times, in undertaking to pass over the mountains late in the fall with ox teams, were overtaken by heavy snows. When discovered a few weeks after by a party who came from California in search of them, they were found at their camp at Donner Lake nearly all frozen or starved to death. The snow came down to the depth of twenty feet. This is now shown by stumps of trees which they then cut off for fuel above the snow.

We glide rapidly down the mountain, following along the course of the swiftly flowing Truckee River until we make a halt at Reno, Nevada. Here the conductor calls out, "Change cars for Virginia City." 

As Reno is one of the most prominent stations on the Central Pacific Railroad in Nevada, and as considerable time is required to overhaul the train and to get lunch, we will make some inquiries and look about a little before resuming our journey.



As we closed our last, we had halted at Reno, Nevada. From this place a branch railroad has been constructed around the mountain by the way of Carson City, the capital of the State, to Virginia City, a distance of about sixty miles.  Virginia is in the very heart of the mining sections of Nevada; but as our train does not stop here long enough to permit us to visit it, we must content ourselves with making a few inquiries.

There are some good gold mines in Nevada, but the silver mines are so rich that the State has obtained the far-famed title of "The Silver State."

Much of the Nevada mining is done several hundred feet below the surface of the ground. A large hole like a broad well is dug to a depth of twelve, fifteen, and in some cases more than twenty hundred feet. 

This is called a shaft. From this central shaft, at various depths, tunnels are run in every direction. The workmen and material are passed up and down the shaft by means of a heavy windlass worked by steam. 

The rocks forming the top and sides of the tunnels are kept in place by frames made of heavy timbers. The workmen, by the aid of lights fastened to the front of their caps, find their way around in these dark caverns, and dig up the precious gold and silver ore. This is then raised to the surface, and passed to the quartz mill, where it goes through the process described in a former article.

Sometimes the water comes into the mines with such force, and in such large quantities, that the workmen are obliged suddenly to flee to the surface of the ground. Although heavy pumps, worked by powerful steam engines, are kept busy pumping the water out of the mines, the workmen have, in some instances, been overtaken by the water and drowned.

However much we may prize these materials after they are made into money, I do not think any of our readers would esteem these deep, damp mines a very desirable place to tarry in long. No wonder these metals are so highly prized, when it is such a task to obtain them; yet how sad it is to think that so many of the human family should place them as an idol between themselves and their Maker!

As we see men bringing large quantities of gold and silver to the surface, we are forcibly reminded of the psalmist's declaration, "The earth is full of Thy riches. "It is full of God's riches, not only on the surface, but beneath the surface. If men find so much by going down a few hundred feet, who knows but a million times more may be buried still farther down? This we do know, that when the earth is renewed by the fires of the day of God, these metals will be much more abundant than now. In describing that state, the Lord has said, "For brass I will bring gold; and for iron, I will bring silver," showing that silver and  gold will be as plentiful then as iron and brass are now.

Another sad reflection in regard to these mines is occasioned by the sorrow and misery which have been caused by some who controlled them. They divided their mining "stock," or property, into shares worth about thirty dollars each. They then employed men to examine these mines, and to publish reports of the immense layers of almost solid silver they saw. Suddenly these mining shares increased in value, in one case selling as high as eight or nine hundred dollars per share.

People mortgaged their homes to get money to invest in these mines of wealth. 

But soon these shares began very rapidly to diminish in value, and, as a gentleman from Reno stated to me, they can hardly be given away now. He further stated that the town of Reno was nearly ruined by this stock speculation, and as the result of the deception practiced upon them, many were even suffering for the necessaries of life.

But our train is ready to move. Our course for the next thirty-five miles down the Truckee River to Wadsworth gives us our first sight at sage brush and desert sand, of which we shall see hundreds of miles as we bear on our way over the plains toward the Rocky Mountains. To look at this desert land, where it seldom rains, one would think nothing could grow here; but for several miles back, on either side of the Truckee River, wherever its waters can be used for irrigation, we see beautiful gardens, flourishing fields of grain, and luxuriant orchards. The limit of vegetation is only the limit of the supply of water for irrigation. But here we come to Wadsworth, where we shall make another halt, as we have a relay of engines, and our train is thoroughly examined.



ALTHOUGH the vast plain of sand and sage brush upon which our eyes rest at Wadsworth does not appear very flourishing, yet the careful observer will find some things of interest even here. To the northeast of us, among the Humboldt peaks, is a large mountain which, in appearance, is covered with huge drifts of snow; but upon inquiry, we find that this is a chalk mountain, in which are vast layers of chalk stone. 

When this is quarried out, bleached, and cut up into strips, it is used by students and others for marking purposes. To look at this mountain, one would think that it contained chalk enough to supply the world; but this article is so cheap, and the mountain so far from market that it does not pay to work it much.

The land lying east of Wadsworth is full of alkali, which sometimes performs curious freaks. An atmosphere alternately damp and dry causes it to come up out of the earth, and in some cases, spots of land as large as a house have been raised as high as ten feet by it. The people call this kind of earth "rising land." It is very porous, and looks much like bread sponge, which is being raised with yeast. And why should it not? This same alkali is refined, and made into soda with which bread and biscuit are raised, and what wonder if, in its natural state, it should begin to raise the land?

We have not time now to explore all the wonders of this barren-looking country; but as I spent the month of February, 1878, in this part of Nevada, I will speak of some things I then saw. A few miles below this city, on the east bank of the Carson River, is a place that the early emigrants to California named "Ragtown." It is not much of a town now, however, although it has as many real buildings as it ever had; but it was formerly a city of tents. Before the railroad was constructed, one of the principal routes taken by those going to California in covered wagons, brought them to Carson River at this place. Both they and their teams being wearied by the long journey, they would pitch their tents here, and rest awhile before going over the Sierra Nevada’s into the golden State. The appearance of so many kinds of tents, some looking old and much worn, gave the place its name.

A short distance from Ragtown are two lakes of a very peculiar nature. One of them, covering a surface of about one hundred acres!, is called Borax Lake. By the side of this lake have been constructed large vats about two feet deep. These are filled with water from the lake, and as sun and wind dry away the water, a thick layer of crystallized soda is formed on the bottom. 

When I was there, one year ago, the workmen were busily engaged taking the soda from these vats, and preparing to fill them with water again. All around the edge of the lake were spangles of this crystallized soda, making it look a little way off much like frost and ice on the edge of a pond of water.

One-half mile west of this lake, is a smaller one called Soda Lake. Near this lake there is a spring of pure, clear water; but in the midst of the lake, which covers some four acres, there is a seemingly bottomless spring, which constantly sends up alkali water like a strong lye from ashes. 

When I visited this lake, the workmen were engaged in taking up a layer of solid soda, which had accumulated around its edges to the thickness of about one foot; and I was told that there were about a hundred tons of it to be taken up. They were sawing it into pieces for men to handle. 

After being removed to the store-house near by, it was broken up into smaller pieces, put into sacks, and shipped by rail to San Francisco to be refined, and thus fitted for cooking purposes.

These two lakes are about sixty feet lower than the surface of the surrounding country. They are indeed curiosities in the midst of the solitude of the desert surrounding them.

If we follow Carson River to a point some thirty-five miles below Wadsworth, we come to what is called the upper sink of the Carson River. This sink is literally a lake about six miles long and two miles wide, into which the Carson River empties. 

That which is curious about this lake, and of which I will tell you more hereafter, is that, although a large river is constantly running into it, it has no visible outlet; and here we will leave you to meditate a little while, that you may decide, if you can, what becomes of all this water.



IN the present article we wish to speak more fully of the Piute Indians in the Carson Valley, Nevada. Some of their religious notions are very strange indeed. When one of their number is sick, they think it is a visitation of evil spirits; and although they use some remedies for the disease, their greatest concern is to drive the devil away from their wigwams. To do this, they beat themselves unmercifully, and keep up a piteous howling all night, very much resembling the barking of a pack of coyotes. 

Besides the common Indian mode of severely sweating the sick and immediately plunging them into cold water, these Piutes have what they call "patting and sucking doctors." Patting the body in a lively manner to relieve pain is a remedy, which has been adopted by some physicians among the whites; but the Piute's practice of sucking the affected parts is not so commendable.

A Piute doctor is supposed, by his tribe, to have power to drive away evil spirits. 

If one takes it upon himself to heal the sick, he is a great man, and his work is a solemn affair. If he promises to raise one who is sick, and fails to do it, the faith of his tribe in his power is greatly weakened; and when he fails the third time, they think it is sufficient proof that the spirits have a grudge against him, and his life is taken tosatisfy them.

In most cases, when the Piutes find that their friends are about to die, they leave them to die alone. Especially is this course pursued with the aged and infirm among them. When a contagious disease breaks out, those who are attacked by it are often abandoned not only to die alone, but to be devoured by wild beasts. This is because their friends regard the presence of such a disease positive proof that Satan is very angry with them, and they hurry to get away from those who are the victims of his wrath.

When so situated that they can do it, they find a tree in some secluded spot, in which, with poles and brush, they construct a platform; on this, the dead, having beenwrapped in blankets, are laid, and then covered with brush to keep ravenous birds from devouring them. Here they are allowed to remain several days and sometimes weeks, fresh food being placed by them occasionally. When it is thought that they have had sufficient time to make a safe journey to the "spirit land," their bodies are taken down from the "burial tree," and deposited in the earth in some spot where the whites will be unable to find them. 

Their mode of mourning for their dead is very peculiar. For some time the air resounds with their doleful strains of lamentation; but this is not all. They smear their faces with pitch, as a sign of mourning; and what is still worse, they are not permitted to wash their faces while the least particle of this pitch remains upon them. It must be allowed to remain until it wears off. This requires three months, and sometimes longer, according to the power of the skin to work it off.

I should consider it quite an infliction to go such a length of time without washing my face, especially in a country where so much dust is flying as there is most of the time in this valley. When I was there about a year ago, I saw an old Indian who had lost a little boy several weeks before. 

It was truly a pitiable sight to see his face all covered with little hillocks of sand which had stuck to the pitch, and had even penetrated into his eyes, causing them to become much inflamed.

If an Indian loses his squaw, or a squaw her husband, they smear their faces with pitch, and mourn until it is all worn off; then they are free to marry again, if they choose. It is considered by them not only a mark of great disrespect for the dead, but also a great crime, to undertake to remove the pitch by washing.

With one more glance at this valley and its surroundings, we must leave the poor Piutes, pitying them for their darkness, and hasten on our journey.

There are marks, which show that the valley immediately surrounding the sinks of the Carson and Humboldt Rivers was once a vast lake. As we look up along the mountain sides, we can distinctly trace a water line made by the washing of the waves of the lake. Sighting from point to point, and from one side of the valley to the other, I found that these water lines form a perfect level, as though they had been even with the surface of the lake. 

Besides, I was told that the Piutes have a tradition that this plain was once covered with water.

In the midst of this valley there is a great crack in the earth, extending a long way. 

This is evidently the work of an earthquake or some eruption. On either side of this crack are numerous small pieces of lava. 

The probabilities are that this eruption literally let the bottom out of the lake, and left some underground channel, which carries off much of the water from the Carson and Humboldt Rivers.



THE supposition that the Carson Valley was once a lake, and became what it is now by some great eruption, is not improbable, as history informs us that such changes are not unfrequently wrought in the earth.

As the result of earthquakes, mountains and islands sometimes suddenly disappear, and new ones are as suddenly formed. In a work called, "Recreative Science," we learn that "in 1797 the crater of Tunguragna [a volcano], one of the peaks of the Andes, flung out torrents of mud, which dammed up rivers, and opened new lakes." 

Again it says that in 1679 Mt. Etna, in the island of Sicily, "poured forth a flood which covered eighty-four square miles of surface, and measured nearly one hundred million cubic feet. On this occasion the sand and scoria from the volcano formed the Monte Rossi, near Nicholosa, a cone two miles in circumference, and four thousand feet high."

The best of evidences are found all through these Nevada Mountains that they were once under water. We not only see round, smooth stones, and sand like that by the sea-shore, but petrified oyster and clam shells. These are found on points of land several thousand feet higher than the sea. And thus we can account for many strange things, which we behold in nature. 

What are now high, towering mountains, in some cases, may once have been the bottom of the sea; and what is now the bed of the sea may once have been lofty mountains. The psalmist seems to have contemplated some such terrific convulsions, either in the past or future, when he penned the following: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."  

Ps. 46:1-3.

God that made the earth and all that is therein is almighty in power. . It is a small thing with him to produce these changes, for "He looketh on the earth and it trembleth; he toucheth the hills and they smoke." Ps. 104:32. When we think of the changes thus wrought by God's power, and what desolations he has made in the earth, it should awaken in all our hearts a desire to "hide under the shadow of his wing;" and to do this we must make "his truth our shield and buckler."

But as we are being hurried rapidly on our journey eastward, we cease our musings on what we have passed, and hasten to view the wonders of the dreary sage brush plains. At first sight, one would think that these plains were totally destitute of anything interesting; but as we approach them, and look to the right about two miles, and up and down the railroad several miles, we see the ground as white as snow, and exclaim, What! Is this snow in mid summer? The conductor kindly informs us that what we see on the ground is salt and alkali, and that we have arrived at the salt wells.

As our train halts, we see great bins filled with salt by the road-side, and men with teams hauling still more up to the bins, while others are loading it into the cars. Away in the distance are vats something like those made for soda, in the Carson Valley. These vats are filled with water, and as it dries away, the salt forms in layers on the bottom.

The water once overflowed a low portion of this land, where it gradually dried away, leaving a thick layer of salt on the ground. This is what led to the discovery of these salt springs.

But on goes our train; and as we leave these mineral curiosities behind, it is with the reflection that the formations of alkali, soda, salt, and borax, found in Nevada, are very nearly associated together; and this seems to confirm the statement made by the inhabitants, "that all these minerals are of the same class."


THE abundance of the miser is but poverty to him.

THY works, O Lord, interpret thee,

And through them all thy love is shown;

Flowing about us like a sea,

Yet steadfast as the eternal throne.

Alice Cary.


“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  

  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.  

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”

Genesis  6:7

”And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.”

Genesis 6:17

  “In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.  

And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.”

Genesis 7:11,12


CONTINUING our journey, we arrive in one of the most desolate places of the western continent. For many hundred miles we see little else but gravel, sage brush, and barren rocks. There are but few dwellings, and these are some eight or ten miles apart, occupied principally by persons in the employ of the railroad company. 

So dreary and monotonous is the scenery, that not so much as an animal is seen to break the solitude of nature. Occasionally we strike a stream of water, when our weary eyes are greeted with the sight of a few cabins, and small, cultivated fields and gardens. We look without for something to interest and amuse, but finding nothing, we turn to ourselves, and fall to musing on the past and present conveniences for "crossing the plains."

Though crossing the plains on the swiftly flying steam-car is somewhat tedious, yet the fatigue is nothing compared with crossing at the rate of fifteen or twenty miles a day with the slow, patient ox team, as did the early emigrants in making their long and perilous journey to California. 

Now and then we get a view of the "old wagon track," and of the ruins of the old adobe brick stationhouses, where the overland stages used to stop.

As our attention was directed to places where these unfortunate emigrants were met by the savage Indians, and in some instances whole companies massacred, and their effects taken, we could but think how comparatively safe we were, drawn by our ponderous iron horse, which is still a wonder to many of the Indians along the route. 

We could rest at night without fear of the wild savages, while the wearied emigrants, when, resting in a camp inside a corral (enclosure) made by placing wagons around them, leaving their stock to feed among the sage brush, were perhaps aroused at midnight with the startling announcement that the Indians were taking their teams, and were rushing swiftly toward them.

The State of Nevada is now in the rear, and nearly two days are spent in crossing Utah. This is known to the world as the "Mormon Territory," and here is where the great Salt Lake is located. We are now nearing Ogden, and are passing the edge of this lake, the length of which is more than forty miles. It is more than four thousand feet above the sea, and being among the mountains, is itself a great curiosity. The water of this lake is about as salt as that of the ocean; and although it has no visible out-let, and is constantly fed by streams of fresh water from the mountains, yet its waters are said to be diminishing instead of increasing. Like the sinks of the Carson Valley in Nevada, it probably has an outlet in some underground channel.

As we near the city of Ogden, our eyes are once more refreshed with green trees and verdure. How pleasant to the sight! 

We spend two hours here, changing cars and making general preparations for our journey to the Missouri River, a distance of one thousand miles. Ogden is a large place; it is here that passengers take a branch railroad for Salt Lake City, a few miles down the lake. This city is the center of the Mormon kingdom. Many in foreign lands think if they could get to Salt Lake they would be in paradise; but, alas! Upon their arrival here they too soon learn that they are but slaves to Mormon leaders.

At many points we discover holes dug in the sides of the hills, a few poles and slabs, with straw and dirt placed over as a roof, one small front window, one door, a bare earth floor, and an abundance of misery and poverty within. Such, for the poorer classes, is Mormon paradise.  It is over eight hundred miles from San Francisco to Ogden. As we leave this place, we are promised some of the most romantic scenery in the whole route, so we make preparation to take an early breakfast to be ready for sightseeing.



HAVING completed our changes and preparations we leave Ogden and are again on our onward journey. After two hours' ride we enter the valley of the famous Weber River. This is a deep canyon through which the clear, rapid stream is passing toward the Pacific Ocean as we go up the stream toward the Atlantic. Here, indeed, is beautiful scenery. On our left are high rocks, like a great wall; to our right, some fifty feet down the ledge, is the real channel of the river. Suddenly, we cross the stream twice in the space of a very few rods; we have come to the "Devil's Gate." It is strange that nearly every terrific looking place in America has been named after his Satanic majesty; but so it is.

This is a romantic spot. The river cuts a channel around a point of the mountain, which is in shape like a horseshoe. The rocks are some two hundred feet high on either side of the river in this curve. As we cross this chasm, the river is for a minute hid from view by the point of the mountain; then, as we again cross the river and look back, to our left, into this gap in the mountain, it appears like a gate or opening into some vast abyss. Such is the "Devil's Gate."

We wish the train would make a stop here, that we might longer view this sublime scenery; but there can be no delay, and on we speed, up the beautiful Weber Canyon. The appearance of the country here is entirely different from that west of Ogden; instead of sage brush and sand, we see high, rocky, fantastically shaped mountains on either side of a narrow valley; and we are told that this continues until we reach the Territory of Wyoming. 

But here we come to another sight. This time it is the "Devil's Slide." From a point some eight hundred feet up the side of the mountain, two strips of flat rock, standing edgewise, extend down to the bed of the stream. These strips are about fourteen feet apart, and project out of the ground in places fifty feet, forming a sort of trough down the mountain. This is one of the most singular formations to be seen in the entire route from ocean to ocean. Not far from the slide is a tree on which is placed a sign-board with this inscription : "One-thousand-mile tree." This tree does not differ materially from others near by, only it happens to be just one thousand miles from the Missouri River, and serves as a token of progress, telling us we have performed very nearly one-half the journey from San Francisco to Omaha.

There are some fruit orchards and verdant spots in this valley, and as we stop at the stations we are greeted by fruit and sweet-apple cider peddlers, all anxious to pick up a few pennies from the passing train.

This afternoon seems to be one of interest in our journey. We pass from Weber Valley, and soon enter "Echo Canyon." 

Here on our left is a ledge of rocks resembling a straight wall of masonry some two hundred feet high, and extending several miles along the railroad. At the entrance of this canyon is a prominence called "Pulpit Rock." A speaker would need a very strong voice to address an audience in the valley from this great elevation.

I thought I had "seen rocks before," but these curiously shaped ones, towering toward heaven, looking like a huge piece of masonry, or the ruins of some old castle, of such gigantic proportions that our train was but a mere speck compared with them, have riveted our gaze while we have traversed the entire length of this valley.

As we leave, with some regret, this canyon, we can but say, Here are some of the wonders of God's creation, inspiring us with solemn thoughts of the greatness of His power who made the massive rocks, and who sustains our world and all other planets in their courses, by the power of his will. But night is coming on, as we pass out of Utah into the Territory of Wyoming. We will retire to our berths for sleep, that we may be prepared to view the new scenes of the morrow.




NIGHT overtook us as we were leaving Utah, and this morning we find ourselves in Wyoming Territory, gradually ascending toward the Rocky Mountains. The country through which we are now passing is indeed barren, the soil consisting of a mixture of gravel and red rock. For many miles there is hardly a tree or bush to be seen. In this section of country, between Green River and Bitter Creek, the trains in winter have many times been snowed in. To prevent this, board fences have been made a short distance from the railroad, on the windward side, for the purpose of catching the snow when it is driven by the fierce winds. Thus the drifts are made at a distance from the track, leaving it clear.

We have traveled many miles without seeing a living object, except at the stations, but now, on nearing Bitter Creek, we see, off to our left, a huge gray wolf. He sits leisurely upon his haunches, and, on hearing our train, looks back toward us with such a disconsolate, hungry expression that we pity him, for we can see neither an animal nor a vegetable on which he can feed, and we conclude that he is disgusted with the country, and is, like ourselves, taking his leave.

We now slowly ascend to the great "water divide" of America, reaching it at just 5 P. M. On our left are two great posts with an archway of boards extending between them, on which is a nice painting, and the words, "The Great Water Divide of the Continent." The "water divide" is the point from which the waters flow, part toward the west and part toward the east. 

All rivers west, such as the Frazer, Columbia, and Colorado, with their tributaries, empty into the Pacific, and those east, as the Del Norte, Mississippi, and St. Lawrence, with their tributaries, empty into the Atlantic Ocean.

Passing onward we come to mountain valleys, which are covered with prairie grass. Occasionally we see a residence, with patches of cultivated ground, and small herds of cattle. We also see, now and then, the beautiful wild antelope, a species of deer. They are so near our train that we can get a good view of them.

Suddenly, we leave this scenery and begin to climb toward the summit, which we reach at 3 P. M. the following day. On consulting our guide-book we find that we are eight thousand two hundred and forty-two feet higher than the sea. We had always supposed that in crossing these mountains we would be, at time?, in valleys where we could see great peaks towering high above us, like the Andes of South America or the Alps of Switzerland; but instead of this we gradually ascend to the highest point, which looks, when we have reached it, more like an elevated plain than a mountain.

We halt only five minutes at this station, called Sherman, where we catch a glimpse of the graves of several emigrants who died here at an early date, and then pass rapidly down the eastern side of the mountain. 

We descend more than two thousand feet in thirty-three miles, and arrive in Cheyenne just at dark, having advanced some fifteen hundred miles on our eastward journey. 



FROM Cheyenne a railroad runs south to Denver, Colorado. This city is only a few miles distant from the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains, of which we had a glimpse at Sherman station. The scenery among these mountains is magnificent; and because of its great beauty, Colorado has been justly denominated the Switzerland of America.

Passing out of Wyoming Territory, we enter the State of Nebraska, where are found vast and extensive prairies covered with grass of living green. In contrast with the barren rocks and desert wastes previously witnessed, these plains presented a welcome relief to weary eyes. 

Large herds of cattle, sheep, and horses were feeding on the rich growth of grass; in some instances there were more than a thousand cattle in a single drove. They are here fattened for the large Eastern markets. From the prairies they are transported in the cars to the cities of Chicago, Boston, New York, etc. At Julesburg we waited for eight long trains of cars to pass, filled with hundreds of these creatures, on their way to the Eastern Slaughter houses.

On the prairies the Indians used to chase the wild deer, the elk, and the buffalo. 

We looked out eagerly for awhile, hoping to be favored with the sight of at least one buffalo, but were told that these, like the poor Indian, had left the line of the railroad, and receded from civilization.

As the darkness of night again creeps upon us, we behold one of the most awful yet grandest scenes of frontier life, a prairie on fire. Full in the distance is seen the long line of bright flame, with its broad band of dark smoke-clouds above. The fire jumps with the wind, and the flames leap twenty to thirty or more feet into the air, and for miles brighten the prairie with their terrible glare. We have no fears for our own safety, as the wind is blowing from us toward the fire; but no words can describe the feeling of terror with which the settler beholds advancing toward him the fire-fiend for which he is unprepared and unprotected.

In the fall of the year these fires are most frequent; and, creating a strong current or breeze by their own heat, they often advance with the rapidity of a locomotive, twenty or more miles an hour, and their terrible lurid light by night, and the blackened path left behind, as seen next day by the traveler, are sights never to be forgotten. Nearly every night in autumn the prairies of the boundless West show either the near or distant glow of a fire, which in extent has the appearance of another burning Chicago.

But on we speed, passing thrifty villages, cultivated farms, and the beautiful Platte River. At midnight on the eighth day after leaving California, we reach Omaha, a city on the west bank of the grand old Missouri River, about nineteen hundred miles from San Francisco. Here we learn that we are to stop for a few hours at a good hotel in Council Bluffs, a city on the east side of the river. Our ponderous train moves slowly over the great iron bridge, which crosses the river from bluff to bluff. 

This bridge is a great work of art; it is about a mile in length, but is so strongly constructed that passengers go over it with little fear of harm.

We now find ourselves in the large and fertile State of Iowa. Our train stops directly in front of the hotel, and without delay we secure a room and make ourselves comfortable for the remaining hours of the night. How refreshing the change after riding so many days in the dust and smoke, and what a luxury a real bed is, even for a few hours. The rest we obtained here enabled us to perform the remainder of our journey without becoming over-fatigued.

 J. N. L.


THE city of Council Bluffs derives its name from the high banks, or bluffs, at whose base it is situated; and also from the fact that at this place the Indian tribes formerly met for council, and, in later times, the "pale-faced man" and the "red man" met together for council and treaty.

Only fifty years ago this city was the extreme western border of civilization in the United States. The vast extent of territory over which we have passed was then the refuge of wild beasts and the home and hunting-ground of savages.

Leaving Council Bluffs, we hasten toward Chicago, some five hundred miles distant, over beautiful prairie land not prairies covered with herds of cattle as in Wyoming and Nebraska, but overspread with well cultivated farms, and dotted with flourishing villages and cities. A few hours' ride brings us to a place where, only fifteen years ago, I had occasion to take a trip of twenty miles in a stage-coach. 

We were from noon till one o'clock at night performing this short journey. The prairie mud was so deep that four horses were needed to draw the coach, a little baggage, and one lady passenger, the men being obliged to walk five miles. We now glide over the same ground, the same distance, in thirty or forty minutes.

With the exception of a few clusters of small trees, called groves, which serve as way-marks to the traveler, these prairies in their natural state are nearly as destitute of timber of any kind as the barren desert. 

Such was their condition twenty-six years ago, when I first saw them. Now I observe large orchards and groves of locust, cottonwood, etc., which the farmers have planted and raised for fuel, and also as a protection from the fierce winds that sometimes blow furiously over this vast tract of level land.  I well remember how long it took me to cross one of these prairies in Illinois, a number of years since, when, in company with a friend, I made the journey in a private carriage. We arose early in the morning, took the point of compass we wished to follow, saw in the distance a cluster of trees called "Shabona Grove," and traveled for hours in almost a direct line, there being no fences to hinder our air-line passage. 

Now the same section is covered with highly cultivated and well-fenced farms, and intersected by railroads.

We have now reached the Mississippi, or “Father of Waters," so denominated by theIndians because of the many large rivers, such as the Missouri and Ohio, emptying into it, making it a mighty, rushing stream as it pours forth its flood of waters into the great Gulf of Mexico. This river is nearly three thousand miles in length, and taken in connection with its main branch, the Missouri, it is the longest river in the world, measuring 4506 miles from the source of the Missouri to the mouth of the Mississippi at the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi was for many years the great thoroughfare of travel from New Orleans to the falls of St. Anthony in Minnesota. 

Now the traffic is divided between the river and the line of railroad running north and south.

After crossing the Mississippi, which at this place is about one mile in width, on a strong bridge similar to that over the Missouri, we hasten through Illinois and approach Chicago, the great inter-ocean city of the West. Night again overtakes us, and we know little by actual sight of the world around us. At the opening of day we enter this large city of 450,000 inhabitants, and on learning that the Eastern train will not leave till late in the afternoon, we improve the time in looking about the place and learning something of the people and their customs.

J. N. L.


CHICAGO is about two thousand four hundred miles from San Francisco, and over nine hundred miles from New York City. It is situated on Lake Michigan, and is the head of navigation in the chain of great lakes surrounding the State of Michigan, and forming, in part, the boundary line between Canada and the United States. These lakes are called Michigan, Superior, Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario. Their waters flow from one lake to another in the order above mentioned, until at last they empty into the grand St. Lawrence River, thus forming a great thoroughfare for travel and commerce from Chicago and intermediate points to the ocean.

Forty years ago, this city was denominated the "far West," and a trip from Montreal or Quebec, through this chain of lakes, was a perilous undertaking. 

Many steamers have been wrecked upon these waters, in a sudden gale, and many persons have thus found a watery grave. 

The great through lines of railroad from New York, Boston, and other points, to the Pacific Coast, with about fifty branches diverging from Chicago in every direction, have made a wonderful change in the peril of travel. Now the three-thousand-mile trip from Boston to the Pacific Ocean is considered a much less dangerous undertaking than the few hundred miles of lake travel then.

Fifty years ago, Chicago was only a small village, a trading point for Indian furs, and the home of a few white settlers who had begun to plow the prairie soil. 

Now it is one of the most important commercial cities in the United States, and the greatest railroad center, grain market, and cattle market, in the world.

Twenty-seven-years ago I passed through this city for the first time. It is now more than four times as large as it was then, and even the oldest part of the city has given place to a style of buildings far superior in size and beauty to the best it then contained.

As its inhabitants multiplied, thus extending the city to the shores of Lake Michigan on one side, and into "Mud Prairie" on the other, the serious question arose, and was considered for many years, how to supply the city with healthful water. A great tunnel was finally constructed two miles out under the lake, and the water is conveyed through the tunnel to a huge reservoir in the city. By means of powerful engines it is lifted into a tower, whence its own weight distributes it through a system of water-pipes, giving an abundance of pure, cool water to all the people. 

This tunnel is one of the curiosities of the city.

Another object of interest, especially to the agriculturist, is the grain elevators. 

These are large buildings, many feet in height, strongly constructed, and covering acres of ground. They are furnished with bins in which are stored millions of bushels of grain, the product of the fertile prairie farms of the West and Northwest. 

Some of these buildings are near the wharf on Lake Michigan, but the greater number are near the railroads. When a cargo of grain is to be sent to other parts of the world, it is interesting to see how soon cars can be filled by simply hoisting a gate of the bin, and letting the grain run through large, strong tubes directly into the cars.

During our stay here we visited that part of the city, which was desolated by the great fire in October, 1871. Of all the buildings in the city, nearly one-third in number, and fully one-half in value, were destroyed. Vast stone structures crumbled down before the flames like wood fully dry. 

Those who witnessed the scene say that it was terrible beyond description. The whole atmosphere seemed to be on fire. 

One man, in describing it, said that there was but one comparison he could think of at the time, and that was God's act, in ancient times, of raining fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Like most large cities, Chicago contains many wicked, as well as some good, people. Many thought, and so expressed themselves, that this awful conflagration was a judgment of God upon the inhabitants for their great wickedness. The water-supply of the city was so abundant that the citizens had often boasted of their security from extensive fires; but, early in the progress of the flames, the large water-pipe broke, so that water could not be obtained, which greatly increased the suffering, and added calamity to calamity. Many a rich man was, in the short space of two hours, stripped of his wealth and brought to actual beggary. How uncertain are riches, and how often they take to themselves wings and fly away!

The city is now mostly rebuilt, and but few traces of the fire remain.

 J. N. L.