In 1857, Pottawatomie County in western Iowa voted to buy $300,000 worth of stock in the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company to insure that the railroad would go through their city. An economic panic in 1857 kept the railroad company from starting work as they had promised, and so in the spring of 1858, some people began to promote a connection between Council Bluffs and St. Joseph, Missouri by railroad. This letter was written in response to a convention held in Council Bluffs to support the building of a railroad between Council Bluffs and St. Joseph, Missouri.
- Why was the Missouri Valley so significant for settlement? Identify evidence from the source to support your answer.
- Compare Thompson's description of the Missouri Valley to Morgan's description of the route for the Davenport and Iowa City Railroad and The Iowa Patriot's description of the Mississippi River. What benefits did each find in physical characteristics of each region?
Thompson, Jeff, "Council Bluffs & Saint Joseph Railroad - Letter from M. Jeff Thompson, of St. Joseph," Council Bluffs Nonpareil, pp. 2, 22 May 1858. Courtesy of Library of Congress