Excursions to the West
Railroads played a significant part in settling the Great Plains. As an incentive to build track that would bring settlers onto the plains Congress made extensive grants of land to railroad companies (see, for example, the land granted the Burlington & Missouri River RR in the Railroad Land For Sale map exercise). In turn, the railroads encouraged potential farmers into the region anticipating farm use of rail services to haul crops to market in the east. The document below is a portion of a pamphlet distributed by the Rock Island & Pacific Railway of Chicago promoting interest in farming the Great Plains.

To Start You Thinking

1) What is it that John Sebastian of the Rock Island & Pacific Railway is offering in this pamphlet?

2) What are the values to which the pamphlet appeals in its eastern readers?

3) Identify examples of contemporary promotions that are similar to this one.


from "A Farm Out West" Emigration Folder, page 3, Chicago: Rock Island Railroad, 1897. Found at Western Trails Project, Kansas State Historical Society.

Last modified in June, 2019 by Rick Thomas