Sadie Belle (Smith) Trail [RG3738.AM]


RG3738.AM:  Sadie Belle (Smith) Trail, 1873-1942

Papers:  ca. 1864-1976

Otoe County, Nebraska

Size:  0.75 cu.ft.; 1 box + oversize


Born in 1873, Sadie Belle Smith was the daughter of O.S. and Sarah F. (Thompson) Smith.  She graduated from Crete High School in 1891 and received her teaching degree from the Nebraska State Normal School at Peru in 1895.  Sadie served as a teacher and assistant principal at the North Bend Public Schools until she married Rollin A. Trail in Phelps County, Nebraska, on March 7, 1906. 

Rollin A. Trail was born in Otoe County, Nebraska, in 1872.  By 1889 he was attending Doane Academy in Crete, Nebraska, where he met Sadie Smith.  Rollin became a civil engineer and worked for the Union Pacific Railroad in Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and Utah; the Chicago Great Western in Iowa; and the Deepwater Railway in West Virginia and Virginia.  After marrying Sadie Smith in 1906, Rollin went to work for the Great Northern Railroad in Montana.  Rollin and Sadie eventually moved to the State of Washington where he worked for the U.S. Reclamation Service.

Rollin A. Trail died in 1916.  Sadie (Smith) Trail died in 1942.  They are buried in Camp Creek Cemetery in Otoe County, Nebraska.


This collection consists of one box of papers relating to Sadie Belle Smith and Rollin A. Trail.  The collection is organized into two series: 1) Materials compiled and transcribed by Rosalie (Trail) Fuller, and 2) Original family papers.  The bulk of the collection (series 1) consists of research and transcripts of letters compiled in 1976-1977 by Rosalie (Trail) Fuller, the daughter of Sadie and Rollin Trail.  The second series contains an original diary kept by Sadie Smith and a plat/profile book owned by Rollin Trail during his time with the Deepwater Railway in Virginia.  Also included are a few original letters (as well as photocopies), a few certificates and ephemera, and a folder containing a few military documents relating to Fort Lyon in Colorado.


Series 1 – Materials compiled and transcribed by Rosalie (Trail) Fuller

Box 1


    1. Pioneers in Nebraska

      Foster Homes: Letters of Sadie B. Smith, R.A. Trail, and others

    1. Teacher and Student: Letters of Rollin A. Trail, and others, 1892-1895

      Teacher and Civil Engineer: Correspondence of Sadie B. Smith and Rollin A. Trail, 1895-1898

    1. Teacher and Civil Engineer: Correspondence of Sadie B. Smith and Rollin A. Trail, 1899-1901

      Teacher and Civil Engineer: Correspondence of Sadie B. Smith and Rollin A. Trail, 1901-1902

    1. Teacher and Civil Engineer: Correspondence of Sadie B. Smith and Rollin A. Trail, 1903-1904

      Trestles, Tunnels, and Rights of Way: Excerpts from the Letters of R.A. Trail from West Virginia and Virginia, 1903-1905

      Courtship: Correspondence of Sadie B. Smith and Rollin A. Trail, January-July, 1905

    1. Courtship: Correspondence of Sadie B. Smith and Rollin A. Trail, August-December, 1905

      Marriage: Correspondence of Sadie B. Smith and Rollin A. Trail, 1906-1942

Series 2 – Original family papers

    1. Diary of Sadie Smith, 1890s

      Plat/profile book of Rollin Trail, 1903-1905 (Deepwater Railway)

    1. Correspondence

    1. Certificates and ephemera (see also oversize)

    1. Military documents, 1864-1881 (see also oversize)


Subject headings:

Courtship — Nebraska

Deepwater Railway

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska

Social life and customs

Teachers — Nebraska

Trail, Rollin A., 1872-1916

Trail, Sadie Belle (Smith), 1873-1942


KFK/dco               09-18-2003

Revised TMM      07-23-2019


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