Robert & Shauna Valentine Family

Robert Young Valentine and Shauna Burgon Valentine met at BYU, fell in love and were married in 1967. They have lived in Provo, Utah; Durham and Laurinburg, North Carolina; and, for nearly three decades in Lincoln, Nebraska. Bob and Shauna moved back to Utah in 2004 into a new home in Highland. They have five grown children, Christopher, Lisa, Gina, James and Amanda and a lot of grandchildren. Enjoy news and photos of our growing family. Send comments, too. Stay in touch!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We've been working on the railroad!

As you know, my cousin, Sterling, and I read Stephen E. Amrose's book Nothing Like It In the World-The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 and recently we visited Promontory Point--where the Jupiter (Central Pacific) and Engine #119 (Union Pacific) were joined and the Golden Spike was driven. Celebrations took place all across America.


With the completion of the railroad there was a continuous line of track from New York to Sacramento. It was called the "Eighth Wonder of the World", the greatest work ever attempted, the most important event of modern times.

The Union Pacific and the Central Pacific became the first big business in America. The railroads had to invent everything: how to recruit, how to sell stocks and bonds, how to lobby the politicians, how to compete, what to build and where and what to buy, how to order and store necessary items that numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

10,000 people worked on the rails. The men who built the CP were mainly Chinese. In nearly every Western railroad town there used to be a Chinatown. The Irishmen working for the UP continued to work for the railroad or in various mines in the West. When the railroads reached Utah, they called on the Mormons to help.

Ambrose says of Brigham Young, "Had it not been for his generally feared or despised religion, he quite possible might have been a president of the United States, and depending on the time, a good or even a great one." In an 1890 history of Utah it was stated, "It was acknowledged by all railroad men that nowhere on the line could the grading compare in completeness and finish with the work done by the people of Utah."

At this time we know of three family ancestors who were part of this historical event.

PETER HANSEN (Father of Lulu Maud Hansen who was Marvin Burgon's mother): From Peter's journal: "It was about this time (1868) that the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were frantically racing to see who could complete the most miles of road before they met, in order to get the government grant of land." Peter contracted to do work for the Central Pacific and was working near Wells, Nevada when her received word that his third child was going to be born. He went home and returned to finish work, grading for the railroad. Peter witnessed the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory Point. He was given a replica of the golden spike in commemoration of his work when the two railroads met and were completed.

JOHN MALMSTROM (Father of Mamie Malmstrom Tholen, who was Margaret Tholen Burgon's mother): In 1868 John was 15 years old and received a call from President Brigham Young to work on the Union Pacific Railroad. He went with two older family members. He overheard them talking about him saying, "The kid will soon find out he's not home with his Ma when he goes on this expedition." John said he made up his mind he wasn't going to be the one to quit that he'd stick it out with them.

There were tent cities referred to as "Hell-on-Wheels towns" that were established along the rough. There was lots of drinking, gambling, and no law or order. John worked as a water boy bringing water to the construction crews. He got a man's wage because he was doing a man's job. He worked until the job was done. He and his friends decided not to attend the Golden Spike ceremony because there were so many desperados roaming and stealing, they wanted to get home with their money and horses.They did have some outlaws come after them but they were able to out run them. They stopped in Brigham City for the night and during the night, one of John's companions had his team of horses stolen, so they had to pull two wagons home to West Jordan with one team of horses.

NEPHI JAMES VALENTINE (Father of Lee B. Valentine) was 2 years old when his father took him by buckboard to the ceremony of the Golden Spike. They lived in Brigham City, which was a few miles away. No doubt other relatives worked on the railroad, too.

Just thought you'd like to know.


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