Letter from Nevada.
LAKE TAHOE, August 26, 1875.
DEAR RECORD:—If your space devoted to correspondents is not all occupied by others, you might probably like a few notes of travel from over the Rocky Mountains. So much has been written about the fertile prairies of the States east of the Mountains, we will say noth-ing about them. Leaving the Missouri River at Omaha, the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad, about noon, on the 19th inst., we rise gradually over the prairies of Eastern Nebraska until we reach Grand Island (150 miles distant) for supper, the corn and other vegetation showing that the land is not so fertile as that passed over in Illinois and Iowa. The next morning (the 20th) we are on vast plains bordering the Platte River, and see numerous herds of cattle feeding as well as antelopes, and some other wild animals. Passing on to Cheyenne for dinner, we are now over 6,000 feet above the sea level, and still "the moun-tains" are west of us. At 4 P. M. we reach Sherman, the highest point of the railroad between the Atlantic and Pacific, being 8,242 feet above tide. Here we have a fine view of the Black Hills to the northwest, and of "Long's Peak" to the south, in Colorado, the snow still visible near the summit.
At sunrise on the 21st, we are in the Bitter Creek region, the ground being white with alkali and almost destitute of vegetation ; here are mines of bituminous coal supplying the railroad with fuel; during the afternoon we pass through Echo and Weber canyons, noted for their perpendicular and overhanging rocks ; in the evening we reach Ogden, the junc-tion of the Union and Central Pacific railroads. Here is also the point of de-parture for Salt Lake city, we therefore transfer our persons to the cars of the Utah Central railroad and take supper at the Townsend House, Salt Lake city.—Sunday morning we learn that there are churches of several denominations in the city, that its inhabitant are as varied in their religious views and creeds as other cities—the majority, however, being fol-lowers of Brigham Young and believe in the Book of Mormon. The services in “The Tabernacle''' being held in the afternoon during the time the other pla-ces of worship were closed, we entered that building (which is said to be capable of seating 12,000 people.) A short time after being seated, one of the elders rose and said the services would commence by singing a hymn. Prayer was then offer-ed by another. There was not any read-ing from the Bible, a large one however, lay unopened on a desk. After prayer, elder Orson Hyde, stood near the desk where it was, and said that although for the past fifteen years his residence had not been in Salt Lake City, it gave him pleasure to see the faces of former acquaintances as well as many new mem-bers added to the latter day saints. He said there were probably some present who would not agree with him in the views he was about to express, he, how-ever would state what he believed to be the truth of God's word; that somewhere within the covers of the book lying be-fore him it was recorded—"They shall come from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, but the children of the King-dom shall be cast out."
He then asked, where was such a gathering as herein indicated? No such place could be pointed out unless where we were then assembled; were there not present the Scandinavian, the German, the English, Welsh, and from all other nations where free thought was tolerated. The latter day Saints were a persecuted people, they were in Missouri, but had been driven out; they were in Illinois, but were not permitted to remain there; a guiding hand had directed them to their present resting place, and although man in his wisdom had projected and con-structed a line of railroad from the Atlantic to the Pacific passing near their city; and it had been predicted that it would be the means of bringing in a population, adverse to the doctrines of the latter day saints and thus neutralize them and eventually a so called purer faith prevail. A higher power however had ordered differently, and the R Road was destined to be a means for facilita-ting the assembling of the saints; I can-not pretend to give even an abstract of all he said as he occupied over an hour in the delivery of his sermon? or address, it is true it might not have occupied so much time if he had been a fluent speak-er; he reminded me of a remark I once heard made by a wag, of one of our Eastern preachers, viz: "That his pauses appeared longer than his sentences." On Monday afternoon we left Salt Lake City for Ogden and secured berths in a sleep-ing car on the Centrtl Pacific Railroad. Shortly after dark passing Corine. A few days before it was stated that a large number of unfriendly Indians had con-gregated near this place and fears were entertained of an attack on the white population, such however did not take place so far as we are informed. Our next place of departure from the main line was at Reno where the Virginia & Truckee R. R. runs to the South, wishing to view some of the mining towns of Nevada, we purchased tickets for Vir-ginia City, distant fifty miles, where we arrived for breakfast on Wednesday. Here is the great "Comstock Lode," probably producing more silver than any other mine in the world. We visited the mine of the Virginia Consolidated Co., producing, we were told, 650 tons of very rich ore per day. One of the stamping mills of the company is immediately ad-joining the mine, and is capable of con-verting 250 tons of the ore into ingots per day; the balance of 400 tons is taken to other mills belonging to the same company, and passed through the same process as at this, which is as follows: The ore as it arrives at the top of the shaft (which is 1600 feet deep) is dumped over the crushers, then through auto-matic feeders passes to the battery, where there are sixty stampers in motion, mak-ing so much noise as to prevent conver-sation; by means of these the ore is ground into powder, which is carried into vats with water, some of the lighter matter floating off; the ore is then put into large "pans" and mixed with quick-silver; then passes into "settlers" filled with water, and agitated so that more of the lighter matter passes off with the water, and the heavy metal into the amalgam strainers, which are cone-shaped canvas bags. Here a large part of the quicksilver is sepa-rated, leaving a small portion with the silver in a state similar to putty. It is then taken to the "retort house," heated to a high degree, the quicksilver passes off in vapor and is condensed in a tank of water, and so saved for future use. The silver is now termed crude bullion, taken to another building, melted in cru-cibles and poured into moulds forming ingots of 75 or 80 pounds each, 18 of these being a day's work. A part of this being gold, an assay is made from a small portion of each to ascertain what per centage. The ingots (or bricks) are then numbered and stamped with their value, (averaging over $3,000 each) and are ready to be sent to the mint or market. Leaving Virginia City at 4 P. M., we reach Carson City and remain over night. Here is the State capitol and a United States mint. This morning, by a stage ride of fourteen miles, we ascend the eastern slope of the Sierras, and reach Tahoe Lake, a rival as to its reputed purity and clearness of its waters to Lake George. Here are several saw mills converting the huge pine trees into lumber for use in the mines and for building purposes. This is hauled by teams to the summit of the mountain and then floated down a "Flume" to near Carson city. We were told the flume was seventeen miles long, and that 1000 cords of fire wood could be sent down in a day. A new narrow gauge railroad is about finished, which will take the place of the long teams used for hauling the lumber. Many of these have sixteen mules driven by one man and a load, 7,000 feet of green lumber.
To-morrow we expect to cross the lake by steamboat, land in California, and pursue our journey. WESTWARD.
P. S.—Lake Tahoe is 6,200 feet above the sea.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.