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The 1883 Emigrant Train -

The 1883 Emigrant Train
From the journals of P.G. & Leanore Hindorff
Their journey from Council Bluffs, Iowa... to...Temecula, California


These are transcriptions of the journals made by my Great-Grandparents,

Gus recorded his diary of the trip in a small pocket-size notebook, and Leanore recording hers on two pages of stationary from their business in Lewis, Iowa. I have attempted here to reproduce their journals entries, including original spellings, so that it reads much as they wrote it in October, 1883.

"Gus" immigrated from Stockholm, Sweden in 1868. He had attended school in Sweden and then later in Chicago, Illinois & Iowa of the USA. He had become a Naturalized citizen by virtue of his father obtaining his American Citizenship in 1875 in Illinois. He would have been considered an "educated man" in his day.

Leanore attended school and was a school teacher in Iowa.


-words in parenthesis were added for clarity

The History of Cass County
Cass County lies in the southwestern part of the State of Iowa. The early arrival of settlers was slow but constant. Soon cabins dotted the prairies in all directions. Many of the first settlers brought their goods by oxen from Rockport, Missouri about 125 miles away. The journey took about three weeks.  Cass County was organized on the first Monday in March, 1853. It was named after Lewis Cass.  The county commissioners were given their first task of selecting a location for the county seat. They chose a site which was one mile from Indiantown and laid out the town of Lewis as the new seat of government. (read about the Jeremiah BRADSHAW & Amos F. VAUGHN of Cass County, Iowa).
Most of the businesses and settlers moved from Iranistan and Indiantown shortly after the Lewis town plat was laid out. A frame courthouse was built in 1856, with a small stone building erected in 1864 to house the treasurer's office.
In May of 1855, the Western Stage started running four-horse coaches from Des Moines to Council Bluffs. The coaches crossed the Nishnabotna River going through Indiantown and Iranistan before continuing on to Council Bluffs. New settlers continued to arrive and by the first census of Cass County, taken in 1856, there were 815 persons in the county (448 males, 367 females). In 1857, the railroad lines were laid through Cass County, Iowa. The Rock Island railroad came to Cass County in 1868, with Atlantic, Cass County, Iowa being the stopping place in Cass County. With the arrival of the railroad, Atlantic became a fast growing town. The county seat was removed from Lewis to Atlantic on October 20, 1869. The first courthouse built in Atlantic was completed in 1872, being replaced by a new courthouse in 1882.

A year later, on October 10th, 1883, the family of Per Gustav Hindorff emigrated to California from Lewis, Cass County, Iowa.  They traveled by train on the Transcontinental Railroad, "striking" from Council Bluffs, Iowa along the Missouri River:
Gus (age 27), Leanore (age 27) &  their two small children - Leora (age 2) and Eric (just 9 weeks old)



Abt. age 17 -1873 Chicago, IL.

Nancy Leanore Vaughn
Abt. age 17 - 1873, Lewis, Cass County, Iowa

Eric Charles Hindorff & Leora Anna Hindorff - (ages 2 & 4)
Photo taken in ~1885~ California.  
Leora was born in 1881.
Eric was born in 1883, at Lewis, Cass County,  Iowa.

Dora Alice "Dode" Hindorff
Dora was born in 1886, at Temecula, San Diego county, California



Click on speaker to hear Train BELL and train

"ALL Aboard!" A train bell like this one was mounted on top of the train engine. When about to depart, the engineer would signal by ringing the bell, letting the conductor and passengers know it was time to board and take your seat, or those on the platform to stand away from the departing train. It could be heard from a great distance away. Sitting about 5 feet up off the ground, the panoramic views through the passenger seat windows would have been really something to behold, and at the racy speed of 40-60 MPH, you were nigh onto FLYING!

On two pages of stationary from their business in Lewis, Iowa,
Leanore (Vaughn) Hindorff wrote the following:

on Speaker to hear the recording of the old Ocean Pacific Express
 You can almost feel what it was like to be flying & bumping along the tracks inside one of these old beauties. "Clickety click, clickety clack, bumping along the railroad track."

1883 - Pacific Rail Road


The Journal Written by Per Gustav Hindorff - the Immigrant Swede


page 1


Oct. 10. Started from C. Bluffs...7:35
attached to Western Ex.
got bedded in for shut eye but did not get any sleep
on account of some Mormons who were singing
about Babilon falling.
Such a Blob.
finally got quiet about 3.


10. Night
Rained all the latter part of the night.

11. first station noted was
2:00 a.m. west of Chyann (Cheyenne)
Started Snowing
snowed till we got to North Platte @ 10:00 C
Came very near having a serious exident at
N. Platte.

page 2

One man in running to get on the train,
slipped on account of the snow & came
very near sliding under the car got
little hurt.

The scenery this Day has bean
somewhat monotonas
as on the Platte valley
-very flatt & very s( ___)
any has received

  under cutovatn (cultivation)
Principle river
Cattle & sheep
no timber of any kind in sight.
Just arrived at Chyan (Cheyenne, Wyoming) this 7:40 C

Has the aperrence of being a very lively place
- first electric lights since I was in Chicago.

page 3

Traveled all this day in snow &
commenced to freeze about the middle of
the afternoon

layed (over) nearly all night at Laremy
on account of children & men reported
Badly hurt -
it is all froze up this morning

12. & promising snow for all Day.

  Just passed one reck (wreck)
Engin a total reck & some front cars.
- the enginear not ecspected (to) live
We are about 10 Hrs behind time (schedule)

Got started from R. Creek at 9:30 C (central time)

struck ('came upon') another bad reck between Medicine Bow &
Carbon (coal) freight-cars piles and b---th (-------) of(f) the track.

page 4

Passed thru springs aft the Rockies
at 2:50 c.
Snowed all from noon & was quit
Colo. betther weather this afternoon
-snow all gone ecsept on top of mountain.
forst interesting sceanry was at Green R.-
Hand some farm
  grassy at distances -
11 PM C (central time)
are on the point of entering Echo=
= Canion. it is clear cool & Bright

Moon light

13 =
Arrived at Ogden @ 2:30 a.m. C.

the scenery through Echo C. by moon light
was beyond

page 5


Ogden. Oct 13th
arrived at this Place about 1:30
L (local) time
were about 10 Hrs
late ...... All around
the city to the east is snow
capped mountains
in light the distance looks
to be about (6?)
miles. axioul (actual)
Distans saw
to be 25 mi.

the Rocky' s are verry bare of timber
& apressively of

  Tramped around Ogden to day
till I was all wore out -
saw nothing of Interest
so far as the town was concearned ---
Did not Experince any trubble in
Crossing ths mountins

14 Sunday noon
arrived at this ( ----?) F---, Utah
about 7:30 L time & are about 40
hours behind time.
Our train is very heavy, pulled by
2 heavy freight en-
next line is crossed out = "we exchanged
(----) take (on?) & 80 tons]

R&R Lantern
page 6

Have Passed through nothing but ugly
Plains, with Mountain Peaks in all
directions. Some snow caps - it is nice & warm
Have verry (poor?) view of Salt Lake as we
passed it by night although it was in moonlght.

Still no (----) at this station of any Consequence &
not much show for making River ---

Arrived at Wells, Nev. this eve.

  Stopped about 2 hrs have some
(------) with an Old Indian

1 English family was Coxed (coaxed)
to stop off at this place & it was the oppinion of all
that they were badly sold as there is no
aperences of any Business ecsept it bein
a (Divitime) station.

15 -
had a very good nights rest & landed in Battle=
=Mountin in the valley of the Humbolt.

page 7

it opened out wth a verry nice day. we are
supposed to be in a good stock community. but very
little prospect f(or) any thing to live as (--at) -

Just passed Galconda. the pincipal attrac
-tion are some Hot Springs - we are also traveling
through some fine grazing country.

  Passed through Humbolt this eve.
which place is of considerable attraction for
a country like this. gathered some spesimens
of Sulpher which came from the springs at this place.
[Have sum ( seen?) Hot Springs (-----) day till the(y) have
seized to be a Outting.]???

Haid a view of Humbolt Lake by moonlight - also of
White Plains

page 8

on the American Dessart.

Arrived at Reno Nev. at Sunrise - this place is one
of Most business like I have sean on the rode (road).
It is verry nicely (------ed) on the M---er
River in the Reno, Nevada in mountinous.

- the scheenery is much the nisest as a hole that it has bean on the road -

  we werre hucked (hooked) on to a freigther
at Ogden & a great deal of the time arre pulled
by 2 engines.

Struck Truckee at noon - found have some of conciderubble Impor=
=tance - it is a Divtime station
We know (now) take on 3 engines

sayrd (stayed) about a hour for dines (dinner).
arrived at Summit about 2 Oklock to R
emedeatte after Passing Truckee.

  R&R shack
page 9

We then traveled through some A. thru roughed
Country in the whole land & No seanery was evin (----)
What glimsus we got of it as we in snowsheds most of is
after noon
took supper att Blue Canion & a blue loocking place it is.
Passed around Cape Horn in the night - wass
to sick from Cape smoke to pay much
arrivd in Sacramato about 11:30 in the night. Put in at
the Western (??) -
& haid a good rest - (17 is crossed out here) took =
17 = the (---------) up in the (Capitol) =
=House & left Docking (----er) for Lathropp.
at 5 am.
got to Lathropp in the night. it was cold & desagreeable &
we werre all tired out - got aboard the S.P. Train (Southern Pacific)
at 4:20 ("After"
crossed out) Morning.

Read Leanore's Train Journal of this same trip

NEXT- The Harness Maker

RAINBOW RANCH - a Homestead for Gus & Leanore Hindorff



Special Thanks to Ken Houghton Rail Images
Ken Houghten -
And also to Jack PeHee & Roger Hensley

MIDI: Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife
A lively Irish Folk Tune, played at many a dance back in the day.
 Sequenced by Barry Taylor 1998/2002

This Web Site was created & prepared by Teddie Anne Driggs 2000

All Hindorff Family Graphic Designs & icons by Teddie 1999/2000/2001/2002/2003/2004

Copyrighted 1999/2000 all rights reserved