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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

7 September 1871

7 September 1871

We arrived at Omaha at 9 next morning, having dined and slept in the train. The Pullman Sleeping Carriages are certainly magnificent, but withal the whole space is so limited, and the dust so great that there is not much comfort or cleanliness. We crossed the Missouri River in a ferry boat, the bridge being only in progress. All were huddled together 1st and 2nd class passengers - a motley crew indeed, consisting of Ladies, gentlemen, Blacks, Gold Diggers, Chinese, Trappers from the Back Woods, and a bearded class of “strangers” fit for bowie knife &c. In an hour or so after starting from Chicago we reached the veritable prairie with its boundless page 11 extent of waving grass, and its antelopes, Prairie hens and other game. We encountered a most terrible stench and were troubled with it for a mile or more:- and were informed that a skunk had crossed the track! Here was land indeed capable of raising crops, only waiting for man to till. The Railway is simply laid on the surface, and it is said, was made at the rate of 8 miles per day with Chinese labour. Breakfast was at Des Moines, Dinner at Fremont and Tea at Grand Island, for all those not in Pullman’s Palace Cars. Next Day, Friday still finds us travelling the same boundless plains!