APRIL 19, 1887 – This is indeed a sad day for the Railway – in fact, for all of us who inhabit the Northwest. Alexander Mitchell, railroader, financier, philanthropist, is dead. For more than two decades his genius has directed the destinies of the Railroad, building it from an almost localized agency of transportation into a vast network of rails and other facilities extending into Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Upper Michigan, and the Dakota Territory with more than 800 passenger and freight stations.
Mr. Mitchell and the late Mr. S. S. Merrill, for many years our General Manager, long dreamed of the day when The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway would be a transcontinental line. Could they have lived but a few more years, I am sure they would have seen that dream materialize. It is rumored that Mr. Roswell Miller, who is but 42, will ascend to the presidency.
SEPTEMBER 4, 1887 – You move around a lot in this job as a relief telegrapher which keeps a man away from his family quite a bit but at least you get to see the country. Right now I'm doing a "trick" in Kansas City, Missouri, the bustling city on the Missouri River which our Railroad has begun serving with a line from Ottumwa, Iowa. Chances are, I'll be sent back to St. Paul as soon as new operators are trained for the work here.
Kansas City might have been just another town if it hadn't been for the Railroads. It owes its rapid growth over the rival cities of St. Joe, Independence and Leavenworth to the fact that the Railroads found out that the water level grades converge at the mouth of the Kaw (Kansas) River and that's right here. That means you could take a freight car 200 miles northwest, west or southwest of here, give it a shove, and it would coast down to Kansas City over a very gentle grade.
I saw William Rockhill Nelson on the street the other day. He's the biggest man in town anyway you want to look at it. Since he came here a few years ago to start The Star, Mr. Nelson has dominated just about everything and everyone in town. The man is a great improver – always wants to make things better.
They used to say this was a "houn' dawg town" but with Mr. Nelson in the saddle, Kansas City has become a community of go-getters.