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American Heritage Center

Hell on Wheels: Union Pacific Towns in Wyoming

Jack Casement

Jack Casement
and his brother Dan were awarded the track laying contract for the Union Pacific Railroad from Omaha to Promontory. Separated from his family, Jack Casement wrote many letters from “End of Track.” His accounts provide details and insights into the railroad business, the day-to-day living conditions, and life at end of track towns. The Casement letters are showcased in Ken Burns' American Experience production, Transcontinental Railroad.

Casement letterCasement wrote to his wife Frances from the town of Benton, "I arrived at this place yesterday morning and went to the end of track 30 miles beyond…This is an awfull [sic] place alkali dust knee deep and certainly the meanest place I have ever been in...”

A few weeks later he wrote, “The weather is very nice but the country is awful. We carry our water about fifty miles on the cars. We are losing a great many mules. Six nice fat ones died in less than an hour today…”

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