KanColl: The Kansas  Historical Quarterlies

Pike's Peak Express Companies
Part One
The Solomon and Republican Route

by George A. Root and Russell K.Hickman

August, 1944(Vol. 13 No. 3), pages 163 to 195.
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.

     THE discovery of gold in the vicinity of Pike'sPeak led to a great rush to the new El Dorado, which by 1859 assumed epicproportions. In the spring of 1850 gold was first found on Ralston creek, nearpresent Denver, by a party of Cherokee Indians. [1] At the time little came ofthis discovery, but by the middle 1850's rumors of this and other finds began toattain a widespread circulation, notably in the Southwest. [2] Popular interestin these accounts was sharpened by stories of wealth quickly won in the goldfields of California, while the widespread discussion of suitable routes to thePacific coast also worked to the same end. In 1858 John Beck, a member of theoriginal Cherokee party of 1849-1850, became a principal promoter of a newexpedition to the Rockies, led by William Green Russell. [3] In this venture wereincluded Cherokee Indians from the West, a smaller group of experiencedprospectors from Georgia, several parties from Missouri, and a group fromLawrence, who had set out by themselves to investigate the rumor of gold in thePike's Peak region. [4] After a considerable amount of unsuccessful prospectingthe Cherokee and Missouri companies abandoned their search and left for home,with the exception of a small group under Russell who in July found gold inpaying quantities on Cherry creek, a branch of the South Platte. [5] Early inSeptember the Lawrence group joined the Russell "placer camp," and shortlythereafter laid out the towns of Montana City and St. Charles. [6]

     The news of the Russell discoveries was soonbroadcast far and wide. John Cantrell of Westport, Mo., visited the CherryCreek



diggings and brought back a bag of the ore to Kansas City. He reported thatseven of his party "had made over $1,000 in ten days," and that at the placesvisited by Russell's party "the dirt would yield from seventeen to twenty centsto each pan; and he thinks that if properly worked, one man can make from $20 to$25 per day. The mines will average with those of California, in which Mr.Cantrell is experienced, having spent several years in them." [7] This accounthad a wide circulation in Kansas and Missouri. Other parties returned to Lawrenceand Leavenworth with stories that spread like wild-fire, and soon a Pike's Peakgold fever gripped the border country. [8] A Leavenworth paper reported:

     The gold fever has risen in our city to thehighest degree of temperature, and in less than thirty days from this date, therewill not be less than two hundred persons leave this city for the diggins. Oldfogies may attempt to throw cold water on the progressive spirit of YoungAmerica, but it will do no good, the boys will go and there's an end on't. . . .We have as much confidence in this "gold news" as we have that we are living. . .[9]

     In the fall of 1858 numerous reports of thediscovery of gold seemed to fully substantiate the view that a new El Dorado hadreally been found. [10] The St. Louis (Mo.) Republican conceded the truthof the reports, and believed that "thousands of adventurers from the westernstates" would soon leave for the West, and by the following spring "the rush willbe immense from all parts of the Union." [11] The fall migration was well underway before the original party of prospectors had all arrived at their homes forthe winter (after leaving a few on the ground to guard their discoveries). TheLeavenworth Times remarked: "Not a day passes but what a company may beseen starting from our city for Pike's Peak," and


believed that those on hand early would be surer of gaining the prize.[12]

     The first company arrived at the gold fieldslate in October, 1858, and found the remaining members of the Russell andLawrence paries hard at work erecting cabins. [13] Despite the lateness of theseason, train after train continued to wend its way westward, [14] even thoughCaptain Russell advised against foolish venturing at that me of year by personsinadequately prepared, and pointed out to those planning to go in the spring thatmany probably would not realize three dollars a day, instead of the ten orfifteen dollars they oped to obtain. [15]

     The settlers on Cherry creek founded Auraria,and somewhat later Denver (named for Gov. James W. Denver of Kansas) grew upiearby under the leadership of William Larimer, a very able town promoter. [16]During the winter of 1858-1859 the settlers built cabins and made ready for abusy and successful season during the following summer. All expected a greatmigration in the spring of 1859. With the opening of the new year the papers onthe border ran special gold mine editions, [17] while practically every issuecontained numerous articles describing the gold fields, quoting letters oftravelers and prospectors, and the advertisements of merchants. Pike's Peakseemed destined to rival California as a goal of migration and settlement. Thespirit of the new hegira was aptly phrased by an anonymous writer in theKansas Tribune, Topeka, January 20, 1859: [19]



Hurra for Pike's Peak! Hurra for Pike's Peak!
A rich El Dorado has lately been found,
Far, far to the Westward, and near Cherry Creek;
Where gold in abundance is scattered around.
Ah! hurra for Pike's Peak!
Hurra for Pike's Peak! Hurra for Pike's Peak!
There's gold in the Mount'n, there's gold in the vale,
There's plenty for all who are willing to seek
Believe me; believe me-'tis no idle tale.
Come, hurra for Pike's Peak! [18]

     With the prospect of a huge migration to theWest, the "jumping off" places on the border began to vie with one another for ashare of the business. Kansas City, Leavenworth, Atchison, Westport and St.Joseph each argued its superiority as the best place to outfit emigrants, andeach maintained that it was the terminal of the best route across the plains.19In this rivalry for the overland trade Kansas City and Leavenworth werepronounced leaders, both being favorably situated with reference to travel up theMissouri river, while Kansas City was especially well located as a gateway to theSouthwest via the Santa Fe trail. Fort Leavenworth had long been the chiefmilitary depot for supplies bound for the West and the eastern terminus of theFort Leavenworth military road (also known as the California trail or the SaltLake road). As a very convenient entrepot of settlers to Kansas, and of emigrantsto California and Salt Lake, the town of Leavenworth grew rapidly during the1850's and the freighting business increased by leaps and bounds. [29] In1855


     William H. Russell and Alexander Majors, who hadbeen in the freighting business, formed a partnership and establishedheadquarters at Leavenworth City from whence they transported supplies to FortsLaramie and Kearny. Their business enormously expanded during the Mormon troublesof 1857-1858, when they held contract to supply the federal army in Utah. In1858, if not earlier, William B. Waddell, a Missouri financier, joined the firm,Russell, Majors, and Waddell became known as the largest freight contractors forthe government in the West. [21] On his trip to new gold fields of western Kansas(Colorado) in 1859 Horace Greeley described in flowery language the tremendousbusiness of organization, with its "acres of wagons . . . pyramids of extraaxletrees . . . herds of oxen . . . [and] regiments of drivers and otheremployees." [22]

     During the winter of 1859-1860 plans wereformulated for the establishment of one of the most noted transportationcompanies ever to serve the Rocky Mountains. William H. Russell and John S. Jonesof the freighting firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell were the lying spirits inthe founding of the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Company. One of the bestaccounts of this historic event appeared in the Missouri Republican of St.Louis, [23] dated Leavenworth City, March 23, 1859:

     A number of leading representatives of thebusiness community of is city, concluded in the early part of February last, [24]to associate themselves for the purpose of creating a company for thetransportation of passengers and eight to the mining districts with the greatestpossible safety and dispatch. In the course of time the organization of a company. . . was effected and completed by the subscription and cash payment of stock tothe amount of two hundred thousand dollars, and the election of Mr. Wm. H.Russell, the famous


government freighter as president, and of Mr. John S. Jones, of Pettis county,Missouri, the pioneer government contractor of the west, as superintendent. Tothe latter gentleman the company, knowing that his ability and experience wouldbe more than equal to the management of . . . so large an enterprise. , very wisely delegated discretionary powers. The capital of the company isrepresented by 40 shares of $5,000 each, the whole of which is now held by tenindividuals. It can be increased as the wants of the company demand it. Thecompany adopted the name of "Leavenworth City and Pike's Peak Exportation[Express] Company." . . [25]

     At about this time Russell and Jones appear tohave spent some time in New York City and the East in order to interest New Yorkcapitalists in the venture, and to obtain the supplies needed by the new company.[26] Beginning in the issue of February 8, 1859, the New York DailyTribune carried the announcements of the new firm, the following appearing onthe front page:


The subscribers propose to transport any given number of pounds from LeavenworthCity, or other points on the Missouri that may be agreed upon, to the Gold Minesof Pike's Peak, Cherry Creek and the Platte, during the months of April and May,with dispatch, on favorable terms. [Names and addresses of references follow,concluding with J. B. Simpson of Nos. 5 and 7 Nassau St., who was also theirgeneral agent, and could give full particulars.] Early application will meet withfavor.
Russell, Majors & Waddell
Leavenworth City, K. T.
Jan. 28, 1859.

     Among the classified advertisements of theTribune at this time appeared the following announcement:


The undersigned, having made arrangements for transporting Freight for emigrantsto Pike's Peak, will send out during the season 50 trains of 26 wagons each, fromWestport, Mo., and from Atchison, K. T.
The first trains will leave the above points in April, and regularly thereafter.This will afford an opportunity to merchants and emigrants of having theirprovisions, merchandise and other freight transported for a stated price per 100pounds, and at prices much less than private terms, can be had. I willalso


     carry passengers at a stated price, furnishingboard and transporting their baggage. [27]

     In commenting on these advertisements the NewYork Tribune remarked

     This promises to be an extensive business in a.few months. Merchandise, provisions, saw and shingle mills, with all kinds ofmachinery, will have to be forwarded hundreds of miles by ox team. . . . We takepleasure in calling attention to the advertisement . . . of John J[S]. Jones, who. . . has had ten years' experience of this nature on the plains; was a largesub-contractor of Russell, Majors & Waddell; is full of energy, and of suchreputed integrity that we feel safe in saying he will give satisfaction to thosewho contract with him . . ." [28]

     Despite these "promotional boosts" of a friendlynature, [29] the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Company from the startincluded elements of uncertainty in its make-up, which made its futureproblematical. At the time of its foundation it was objected to by AlexanderMajors, of the firm of Russell, Majors, and Waddell. He stated that "it would beimpossible to make such a venture, at such an early period of development of thiscountry, a paying institution, and urgently advised them [W. H. Russell and JohnS. Jones] to let the enterprise alone. . . . They, however, paid no attention tomy protest, and . . . bought 1,000 fine Kentucky mules and a sufficient number ofConcord coaches to supply a daily coach each way between the Missouri River andDenver . . . on credit, giving their notes, payable in ninety days. . . ." [30]At this early date Majors refrained from cooperating in a project that appearedso doubtful, leaving his more venturesome colleagues to proceed on their ownresponsibility. The new company appears to have been launched


on borrowed capital, and for a continued existence needed a large income,which under the circumstances was fraught with uncertainty. [31] The Leavenworthpapers were quick to publish accounts of the new company. The Daily Times of February 18 copied a dispatch from the Washington (D. C.)Union, and remarked that the new organization would begin operations inthe near future. "The business in store for it would be of immense dimensions,but the energy and enterprise of those having it in charge is a sure guarantee ofits triumphant success." Its wagons and teams would land passengers and freightat the mines a week ahead of all competitors. [32] The Leavenworth Heraldof March 12, 1859, featured a letter of W. H. Russell announcing the new expressand coach line-beginning April 10, 1859-as "a daily line of Passenger and ExpressCoaches, making the trip to Denver City . . . inside of twelve days," also "anygiven number of Emigrant and Transportation trains, commencing on the first dayof April." This was followed by a detailed statement of the terms upon which thenew organization would transact business, signed by Russell, Majors &Waddell, and a shorter announcement of the new coach line, signed by Jones &Russell. [33] From the start, it appears that the older firm intended to carry onall matters of a freighting nature, as an extension of its overland business. Twoweeks later the Leavenworth Herald published the first comprehensivedescription of the new undertaking (March 26, 1859)


     John S. Jones, W. H. Russell & Co. haveestablished an Express and Transportation line from this place to the gold mines.Mr. Jones is now here, and has his office in the Planter's House, and is activelyand energetically engaged in outfitting his companies, hiring his hands, andputting the line into complete and successful operation. He is preeminentlyqualified for the position he occupies as general superintendent of the wholebusiness. He is a practical man, of great energy and indomitable perseverance.There was a general rush of men at his office on Monday last, from early dawntill night. He hired on that day about 100 hands as drivers ofteams.


     Before plans had been completed for locating theroute of the proposed line,considerable discussion of the subject took place. Each of the major "jumpingoff" places on the border had its favorite route across the plains, and nowpraised its advantages, with a weather eye out for the business which wouldfollow in the wake of a great migration to Pike's Peak. Kansas City naturallylooked with favor upon the Santa Fe road, which had long been used through thisgateway. [34] For those who expected to take the overland trail


across Iowa and Nebraska, the most convenient route usually led through Omahaandon to the Platte river-the "northern route." Intermediate points on the border,such as Atchison, St. Joseph, and Leavenworth might make use of a number ofoff-shoots leading to these major routes, but came to advocate a new or centralroad to the mines, which would attain a notable saving in distance traversed.[36] Early in January, 1859, the Leavenworth Herald pointed out that thatcity enjoyed "the only direct route to the gold mines, whereon a road can beestablished with wood and water, throughout the whole distance. The valley of theSmoky Hill Fork affords these facilities. It heads within thirty miles of Pike'sPeak, and flows nearly due East, to its confluence with the Kansas river, &the line produced would touch our city. . . . This gives our route an advantageof 120 miles over all others." [36]

     The Leavenworth Times remarked:

     Choose your point of outfit and departure andthen stick to it. Don't let the representations of interested parties influenceyou. . . . If you prefer or think it best to go by the Northern route, why gothat way. . . . Or if by Kansas City and the Southern Route, why, bend your stepsthitherward. Only remember that the united testimony of the most of those who aredisinterested and who for years have traveled more or less all these routes, isstrongly and unmistakably in favor of the road from Fort Leavenworth to FortRiley, and thence by one or two or three roads, as seems most practicable." 37When other places decried the advantages of Leavenworth, that town replied that"it has been demonstrated a thousand times that the route to the gold mines fromour city is the shortest, best supplied with wood, water and grass, and mostagreeable to travel. The road is direct and even, camping grounds are scatteredat intervals of from five to twenty miles. The streams are all bridged, andsupplies at hand." [38]

By early March, 1859, the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express


Company had made arrangements for the survey ofa route to the nines, to be directed by Col. William J. Preston. On the 15th ofthe month a party left Leavenworth with this object in view, which included C. F.Smith, Richard and William Eubank, and E. Downing. A traveler on the plainswrote

     I was fortunate in meeting the party sent out byMessrs. Russell & Co., as I understand, to test the practicability of a wagonroad on the table lands between the Smoky Hill and Solomon rivers, on the South,and the Republican, on the North, to the Gold Mines. This party headed by Col.Preston, consists of seven practical, trustworthy men, whose report will beanxiously looked for, as it can be fully relied upon as being correct.[39]

     In its issue of April 30, 1859, the LeavenworthTimes announced it wished to present important information dealing withthe new route and published thefollowing account of two members of the survey party, Eubank40 and Downing:Thursday afternoon Messrs. Ewbank and Downing, two experienced mountaineers andold Californians, returned from the reconnaissance, upon which they with others,had been dispatched by Messrs. Jones & Russell, of the Overland Express.Their statements are clear and explicit and must effectually put an end to alloutside cavilling, as to the wisdom and foresight of the company in adopting aroute which they pronounce unequalled for the requirements of travel, and ofwhich the maximum distance is not to exceed five hundred miles from Leavenworthto Denver City.

     The locating party left this city on the 15th ofMarch, were several days inDenver City, were obliged to halt at least three days to refresh their animals,and at no time travelled after dark, and yet they have performed the round tripin forty-four days, taking into account all detention which they met with, andthe time necessarily consumed in the performance of their duties. They leftDenver City on the 9th of April, and were thus only nineteen days on the returnjourney, two and a half days being lost by necessary stoppages on the road torecruit their animals. Here is their description of the
After leaving Junction City, our party struck out on the divide between theRepublican and Solomon's Forks, bearing mostly towards the latter stream; thencethe route passes over to the tributaries of the Republican Fork, up that streamuntil the divide between the Arkansas and South Platte is reached, throughextensive pineries, thence to the head waters of Cherry Creek andalong


that stream to Denver City. On this route, thereis no poisonous or alkaline water, nor sage brush, two peculiarities anddisadvantages of the Santa Fe route, there is no sand except in one body of fortymiles in extent, and this is along the Republican, with plenty of water, timberand grass close at hand. They further say that the region over which they havejust travelled, is the best grass country in the West, that there is an abundanceof water and timber for emigrants, and that in these essential respects, it isfar superior to the Platte Route.
The Company have in all, twenty-seven stations, seventeen of which were erectedand in full operation when this party returned, and the rest were going up andare undoubtedly ere this completed. They passed the stages which left Leavenworthon the 18th, near the head waters of Solomon's Fork, and are fully convinced,according to the progress which the coaches had made, that they reached DenverCity on the 28th inst [they actually arrived May 7, 1859].
The road from Junction City is far better than that from this city to Fort Riley.It is smoother in surface and there are no streams of any magnitude to pass, norin fact any that may not be readily forded at all times. The Government hadlocated the site for a substantial bridge over the Blue, where there is now anexcellent ferry; in short there have been no representations made of the route,which are not more than sustained by the statements of thesegentlemen.

     A week later the same paper published a muchmore detailed account of thisjourney of exploration-the journal of C. F. Smith, which gave a general pictureof the overland route to Denver, before the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak ExpressCompany had actually established a "right of way." The following journal is averbatim copy of this narrative, as it appeared in the Times, May 7,1859:


On the 15th of March, 1859, we left Leavenworth, bound for Denver City -- ourparty numbering seven; Col. William Preston having charge of directing the route.Day fine and a bright sky; we took the Fort Riley route; having started late wemade but thirteen miles, and camped at Easton for the night; party in goodspirits, and all well.
MARCH 16TH.--A mild and pleasant day; struck camp early and made fortytwomiles-traveling through a rather hilly country, but a good road all the way; atnight we camped at Indianola, a town situated on the boundary of the PottawatomieReserve.
MARCH 17TH.--Day broke upon us rather unpropitious; about 9 o'clock, A. M., afine drizzling rain began to fall, which soon turned into sleet, accompanied withsnow, making our day's travel very disagreeable; passed through St. Mary'sMission, and camped on Vermillion Creek, the western boundary of the[Pottawatomie) Indian Reserve; the road through the Reserve lies along the Kawriver bottom; is remarkably level and is a good road; made thirtythree milesto-day.
MARCH 18TH.--Rose early; a bright day. The road to-day was more elevated and dry,well watered, and wood in abundance. We made Ogden early, and camped. Made 40miles to-day.


MARCH 19TH.--Day pleasant; started rather late; arrived at Fort Riley, andfromthence we crossed the Republican river, and wended our way towards Junction City.This city, situated at the junction of the Smoky Hill and the Republican, may beconsidered the starting point towards the mines. We spent some few hours here,making changes in our packing wagons, &c.; took dinnerour last in thesettlements-and bidding our friends "good-bye," we struck a due west course forthe Peak. Camped on Chapman's creek for the night. Day's travel, about 28miles.
MARCH 20TH.--A bright day; struck camp early. Our journey to-day has been over anundulating country, well watered, but rather scarce of timber, but stillsufficient to supply the wants of the emigrants. Made about 30 miles to-day, andcamped on the head waters of a creek called by the buffalo hunters, "HardCrossing."
MARCH 21ST.--A mild and pleasant day; country very level, well watered andtimbered. Crossed Pipe creek 41 about noon, and bore a little northwest, aimingto strike the Solomon river about 60 miles above its junction with Smoky Hill.Day's travel, about 30 miles. Camped for the night on a creek emptying into theSolomon.
MARCH 22d.--A fine day; moved camp early; country well watered and timbered;surface gently rolling; made about 25 miles, and camped near the Solomon river;saw a few buffalo and antelope during the day.
MARCH 23d.--A pleasant day, but rather cool; course of the route along the northside of the Solomon river, keeping it 4 or 5 miles to our left; country samedescription as yesterday, well watered and timbered, affording a good naturalroad. Day's travel, about 25 miles. Camped for the night on a creek and near theriver.
MARCH 24TH.-Day mild and pleasant; still keeping the same course; country of thesame description as yesterday; saw a few straggling buffalo, and numerous herdsof antelope; day's travel about 25 miles; camped on the Solomon river; the partyrather disappointed in our distance traveled during the last few days, and as weexperience delay in crossing the numerous creeks with the wagons, unanimouslydecided to pack through to the Peak on the wagon mules.
MARCH 25TH.--A bright day; rose early, and went to making pack saddles for ourmules; did not complete our arrangements until about noon; got breakfast, andtaking a final farewell of our wagon, started en route again for the Peak; cameto the conclusion before night that packing was far preferable to hauling awagon; country to-day slightly rolling, well watered and timbered; day's travel,about 25 miles.
MARCH 26TH.--A pleasant day; party all well and in good spirits; same course wehave been following all along, keeping north side of Solomon river; country wellwatered and timbered; made about 30 miles, and camped on Solomon river.
MARCH 27TH.--Bright and clear day; concluded it would be best to send two of ourparty back to pilot the "express trains" out to this point. Mr. Cranmer andAlonzo were the ones to return; having packed up and bid"good-bye,"


the balance of us, Cal [Col.] Preston, Messrs. R. and M. [W] Ewbanks, Dowry[Downing?] and myself, started to explore the remainder of the route; day'stravel about 30 miles; camped on the river. Towards night the sky becameovercast, threatening to snow.
MARCH 28TH.--Snow fell last night to the depth of about six inches; day lookingunpropitious for traveling, but "pack up" is the word, and in ten minutes we areen route again. Having traveled up the Solomon about 15 miles, we conclude tobear northwest, and strike the Prairie Day [Dog] Creek, which after a few hours'ride we made. Prairie Day [Dog] Creek empties into the Republican, is wellwooded, and contains excellent water; 42 pitched camp for the night; made about25 miles; retarded somewhat on account of the snow. During the day saw signs ofthe Indians for the first time.
MARCH 29TH.--Cold and disagreeable day; traveled until 3 o'clock P. M..; gotsupper, and then resumed our journey until late at night; camped in a ravine,without wood or water; day's travel about 30 miles; country rolling, well wateredand timbered, affording an excellent road.
MARCH 30TH.--Struck camp early-and after traveling four or five miles, camped ona creek and got breakfast; cooked fast, ate fast, and on our route again; coursenorthwest, bearing towards the Republican; crossed Tappa [Sappa] creek 43 andstruck the Republican about 12 o'clock. The country up to this point from FortRiley is well watered and timbered, and gives an excellent road. The land is goodfor farming purposes, and offers every inducement for the emigrant to settle.To-day a body of the Cheyenne Indians met us at the Ari Kari Fork of theRepublican, or as some call it; the "White Man's Fork." 44 Twenty-three of theirwarriors crossed the river and came over to us. They proved to be quite friendly,and gave us a good deal of information concerning the route. Camped on theRepublican; day's travel about 35 miles.
MARCH 31ST.--A cold and cloudy day; struck camp early and traveled fast along thesouth side of the Republican. The route along the Republican is not quite as goodas that previously traveled. The bottom along the river is quite sandy, but onthe ridge, a distance of from a mile to two miles from the river, a good road canbe made. Wood is rather scarce, but an occasional clump of cotton wood trees isto be met with along the river. Day's travel about 25 miles. Camped on theRepublican, without wood, and went to sleep supperless
APRIL 1ST.--Bright day; made about 10 miles and camped for breakfast; travelingall day along south side of the Republican; towards night struck a grove ofwillows and camped; day's travel about 25 miles.
APRIL 2ND.--Snow fell last night, completely covering us, as we slept on theground without tent or covering, save our blankets. An early start and a briskride brought us to a clump of willows; here we unpacked and cooked breakfast;that over, in a few minutes we were ready for our day's journey. The river beganto grow less in its width, and the volume of water not larger than asmall

[Illustration of the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express passing the Milne house in old Indianola.]

     From The Overland Stage to California, by Frank A. Root and W. E. Connelly. Indianola, a defunct town of northern Shawnee county, was located west of the present State Industrial School for Boys. The Goodyear Rubber Co. is now erecting a large plant on the site.


creek. Towards night headed the river and camped; 45 day's travel about 25tiles; the road about the same all along the river; wood scarce, but plenty ofwater.
APRIL 3Rd.--Cold, windy and disagreeable day; packed up and struck a due vestcourse for Beaver creek, which creek empties into the South Platte; ,raveled allday without anything to satisfy our hunger (which I may say is rather ravenous onthe prairies) and camped at night in a deep ravine; the road Wed, but no timberor water; snow on the ground about 3 inches deep; day's travel about 35miles.
APRIL 4TH.--Cold and windy, very disagreeable; made about 10 miles and vamped,determined to get something to eat if possible; collected weeds, and while onewould feed the fire, another would hold the coffee-pot over the blaze to boil;after an hour's labor, managed to get a cup of coffee and a show for bread.Packed up and traveled all the rest of the day; towards night, struck a clump ofwillows and camped, went to sleep supperless; mules beginning to look badly;day's travel 25 miles; road good, but no wood or water.
APRIL 5TH.--Struck camp late, detained by cooking breakfast; day promises to befair, but cool; traveled until 3 o'clock, when we struck Bijou creek; camped andgot supper; our last two days' travel have been over a barren and sandy country,good for a road in itself, but not timber or water sufficient; camped a few milesbeyond Beaver creek,46 on one of its branches; obtained first view of the RockyMountains to-day; day's travel about 30 miles.
APRIL 6TH.--Rose early, bright day, packed up and started; party in hopes ofstriking Kiowa creek soon; about 1 o'clock saw timber in the distance and headedfor it; arrived at Kiowa about 3 o'clock, P. M.., camped for supper, and aftereating a hearty meal, resumed our journey; course during the day northwest;traveled until late at night, and camped near a creek among some willows; duringthe day the mountains have been visible for a distance of 50 miles on either sideof us, Long's Peak lying directly in front of us, and Pike's Peak more to thesouthward; day's travel about 30 miles.
APRIL 7TH.--Rose early, and were astonished to find ourselves in close proximityto an old adobe fort, or something of the sort; immediately despatched three. ofour party to ascertain if it was inhabited, and to acquire all the informationthey could as to our whereabouts; they soon returned with the welcome news thatwe were on the South Platte,47 and but 20 miles from Denver City; packed upimmediately; traveled along the South Platte on a well beaten road, and arrivedin Denver City about 10 o'clock, P. [A.] M., upon entering the town we were metby Gen. Larimer, who kindly proffered his services in procuring us a restingplace; after some little delay we managed to procure a house, or rather cabin, ofwhich we took immediate possession; the rest of the day was passed in hearingPike's Peak news from the inhabitants, and giving an account of our journey inreturn.
APRIL 8TH.--Remained at Denver City inquiring the news all the day, and trying toascertain what amount of gold the claims produced. The pleasureof


our stay was marred by the law being enforced upon a man who was found guilty(and acknowledged his guilt) of murdering his brother-in-law. Spent a pleasantday, listening to all the reports given us by the inhabitants concerning themines. Denver has about 250 cabins in it; is well situated, at the junction ofCherry Creek and the South Platte. Auraria, on the opposite side of the creek,contains some 100 cabins. The population of both places was estimated at about500 inhabitants. The population of all the towns, and including the persons inthe mines, is estimated at about 2,000.
APRIL 9TH.--To-day is set apart for our homeward journey; we take a differentroute from Denver, until we strike the Republican, the outward route provingimpracticable from the head of the Republican to Denver City; [48] rather late ingetting off; at last we bid "good bye" and start, taking a course up CherryCreek, on a hard beaten road, and very level, which we follow for twenty miles,leaving Rupellville [Rupellville] to our right about six or eight miles; fromthence we strike off nearly due East, through what are called the "Pineries";made about twenty-five miles, and camped on Rogers' claim; an excellent route tothis point from Denver, good road, and well watered; wood abundant.
APRIL 10TH-A bright day; racked [packed] up, got breakfast and struck a due Eastcourse for Kiowa creek; arrived and forded Kiowa about noon, and made BijouCreek, upon which we camped for the night; a good high and dry road; well wateredand timbered at regular intervals; day's travel about thirty miles.-
APRIL I1TH.--A cold and windy day; got breakfast, packed up and started; courseduring the day due East; crossed Beaver creek about 2 o'clock P. M.; got supper,and renewed our journey towards Republican river; a mule gave out in the evening,and, finding it impossible to get it along, we were reluctantly obliged to leaveit; camped for the night in a deep ravine, with some little wood and water; theroute to-day has been on a high divide; is well watered, and wood is abundant;day's travel about twenty-five miles.
APRIL 12TH.--Cold and rainy day; struck the Cherokee trail about 10 o'clock, A.M.., and camped; after breakfast packed up and started again; crossed theCherokee trail, and bore due East, for the head of the Republican; during theevening snow fell, which made it very disagreeable for both men and mules;towards night struck head of Republican, on which we camped; day's travel abouttwenty-five miles; the road from Denver City to this point is a remarkably good one; wood and water is abundant all along the route, and the soil hard andfirm.-
APRIL 13TH.-Rose rather later than usual; got breakfast, and started down theRepublican; a cloudy day, and cold; struck an Indian trail, fresh and indicatingvery recent travel, of perhaps but a few hours; this trail follows the course ofthe river for the distance of about twenty-five miles; at about the distance offifteen miles from the head of the Republican the water disappear. in the sandwhich forms the bed of the river, and does not show, itself agair for some twelvemiles; this is the longest stretch on the route without woo( or water; the roadis located on the ridge, and proves to be good; towards night struck into thehills and camped, day's travel about twenty-five miles.


APRIL 14TH.--A cold but bright day; rose early, got breakfast and started; afewminutes' ride brought us to the point we left on our outward trip, supposing it,at the time, to be the head of the river; 49 it may be necessary here to mentionthat the road adopted by the Express Company, from this point to Denver City, isthe one we traveled on our return; the first route having proved impracticable onaccount of the scarcity of wood and water; struck our old trail, and followed itduring the day, until we crossed the South Fork of the Republican; from thence,in order to explore a Northern route-which, should it prove practicable, wouldshorten the distance considerable-we bore due East, and traveled until late;another mule gave out to-day, but we managed to get it along until we camped; aviolent hail storm struck us whilst on a high divide; we were obliged to stand itall, and finally, striking a deep ravine, camped for the night; road excellent,but a scarcity of wood and water; our mules hold out better than we expected, butlook badly.
APRIL 15TH.--A clear day, but windy and cold; struck camp early, and traveleduntil 10 o'clock, when we stopped to get breakfast; wood there was none, but bysubstituting the Cache du Vache for it, succeeded in getting a breakfast. Resumedour travel after packing up; route on a high divide, lying between the South Forkof the Solomon and the Republican.59 It does not answer for a route to betraveled, owing to the total absence of water; occasionally water is found in abuffalo roll; day's travel, 25 miles; camped in a ravine for the night.
APRIL 16TH.--Struck camp early; course all day due East; about 10 o'clock struckseveral deep ravines, which we supposed to be the head waters of Prairie Day[Dog] Creek; stopped for an hour to graze our mules, then followed down theravine in search of water; traveled the remainder of the day, but did not succeedin finding any; camped in ravine for the night; party pronounce this routeimpracticable; day's travel 25 miles.
APRIL 17TH.--Rose early; bright day; packed up and started, expecting to strikethe head of the Solomon by night; course northeast; traveled all day without ahalt; struck a creek about 3 o'clock P. M.; creek well timbered, but perfectlydry; not finding water, kept on our course, traveling east; towards night strucka large ravine, bearing east; followed it down about 12 miles, and finding water,camped; made about 30 miles.
APRIL 18TH.--Struck camp early, got breakfast, and followed down ravine; after aride of a few hours found water in a buffalo roll; gathered chips and gotbreakfast; resumed travel after breakfast; course due east; traveled all day andat night struck South Fork of the Solomon and camped; day's travel, about 25miles.
APRIL 19TH.--A pleasant day; made about 10 miles and camped for breakfast; coursealong north side of river; mule gave out and obliged to leave it; resumed journeyafter breakfast; camped about 4 o'clock, P. M. for supper; after supper traveledtill late and camped for the night on the Solomon; day's travel about 20 miles;mules completely fagged out, cannot go out of a walk.


APRIL 20TH.--A bright day; made 7 or 8 miles and stopped for breakfast;.during the day kept along the river, obliged to do so on account of the grassbeing better for our mules; provisions getting short, and on an allowance of one'meal a day; coffee and sugar gone entirely; day's travel 20 miles; camped onriver for the night.
APRIL 21ST.--Owing to a storm accompanied with lightning, turned into sleet andsnow before morning, spent a disagreeable night; day cold and snowy; moved camp aquarter of a mile down the river, built a fire in a large pile of drift wood andlaid up for the day; mules. gone under entirely; employed dur ing the day dryingblankets, &c.
APRIL 22ND.--Bright and pleasant day; camped about 10 o'clock for break fast;resumed travel, and towards night crossed the South Fork of the Solomon at itsjunction with the North Fork; [51] camped for the night; day's trave about 20miles.
APRIL 23RD.--Bright and clear day; immediately struck across the country in orderto ascertain if Mr. Williams had passed with the trains; found the trail about 6miles from the river; at this point Col. Preston and Mr. Ewbanks led us toovertake Mr. Williams, in order to pilot him through to the Peak; to rest of usreturning to Leavenworth, camped at station No. 10 for the night; our homewardjourney has been slow, owing to the condition of our mules; ou trip throughouthas been one to which we were necessarily exposed to great varieties of weatherand encountered many hardships; but, with the exception of Col. Preston, who hadthe chills, not one of the party experienced a day of sickness.
William J. Preston, who was in charge of the survey, made a brief report in whichhe endorsed the journal of C. F. Smith as "substantially correct." [53]Myself and party left here, in accordance with your instructions, on the 15th ofMarch, selecting a route between the waters of Solomon Fork and the Republican.Striking up the Republican, we followed that stream to its her waters, and took acourse 20° N. of W., passing Beaver Lake, the forks of the Kiowa and CherryCreek: the last names[d] being tributaries of the Sou Platte. [Comments on Denverand the mines follow.] . . .
I will only add, that the country through which it passed is beautifullyversified with streams and gentle undulations; the soil is highly fertile, and wadapted for agricultural purposes; the face of the country lying along the wheroute, and its characteristics, differ very little from the Western prairiecountry generally. The lands about Denver and Auraria will teem with busy tillersthe soil by thousands and tens of thousands. . . [54]


     A few weeks later E. D. Boyd published a replyto these comments of Preston, in adescription of "The Great Central Route to the Gold Mines of Western Kansas-Notesof Travel." The Atchison and Cherry Creek Bridge and Ferry Company (F. G. Adams,president) wished to establish a direct route from Atchison to the mines, andwith this in view, laid out the "Parallel Road" to the west, closely followingthe first standard parallel across Kansas (approximately latitude 39° 40'north). The road extended 172 miles across the state, from Atchison to a point onLimestone creek, Jewell county, where it joined the Pike's Peak express road atStation No. 11. [55] Boyd acted as civil engineer of the company, and did theactual surveying under the personal supervision of Judge F. G. Adams. Henry Kuhn,later of Leavenworth and Marion, was an active promoter of the Atchison road, andaccompanied Judge Adams to the junction with the express road on the Limestone.East of the junction point the road was "carefully selected," and ferries werepromised across the Blue at the mouth of Elm creek, and across the Republican ata point some miles north of the standard parallel. In this section of the routethe characteristics of the country remained much the same, there being "nointerval of ten miles . . . without wood, and water is still more frequent. Thesoil is rich, and grass luxuriant till we cross the Republican, where it becomesshorter though still thick and nutritious." 56 This route was 65 miles shorterthan that of the express company from Leavenworth, "and the road will be. muchbetter as it avoids most of the streams falling into the Kansas river this sideof Fort Riley."

West of the point of intersection the road followed the route of the Leavenworthand Pike's Peak express. Late in May, 1859, E. D. Boyd wrote to F. G. Adams,giving a description of the new "right of way," which appeared in theFreedom'sChampion of Atchison. [57] A week later his detailed field notes of thesurvey were published in the same paper. The first part of the letter of May 31,1859, giving


     Boyd's description of the "Great Central Routeto the Gold Mines," follows

Denver City, May 31, 1859

F. G. Adams, Esq.-Dear Sir:
     We arrived here yesterday afternoon.
     I wrote you on the 6th inst., by Colonel Preston. Ihad been but one day on the road after you left, and the information I was ableto give you was but limited; as far as it was from my own observation it wascorrect. But that which I obtained from Col. P. was entirely erroneous. He musthave strangely misunderstood me, or I him [58] From that camp (49 miles from ourferry over the Republican) our course was nearly due west for 73 miles, at whichdistance we crossed the "divide" between Solomon's Fork and Republican Fork,latitude 39° 48'; longitude 99° 47'59 Thence our course was North ofWesttill we reached station 18 on the Republican, 221 miles from Republicanferry-latitude 40&176; 8'; longitude 101&176; 17'69 From 100 miles to the lastnamed point I found by the map that the road followed Fremont's trail of 1843.[61] Thence the road runs in a southwest direction, parallel with the Republicanto 366 miles, in latitude 39&176; 8', longitude 103&176; 27', eight miles east ofstation 24.62 Thence northeast [northwest] to this place [Denver], latitude39&176; 49', longitude 105&176; 7', leaving the Republican at 391 miles, crossingthe "divide" between it and the waters of the Platte at 396 miles, and the firstcreek 63 running into the Platte at 401 miles. The distance to this place fromour ferry on the Republican is 469 miles, making the total distance from Atchisonnot more than 620 miles,64 while the distance from Leavenworth by the ExpressRoute is 685 miles.
The above will furnish you with an idea of the general character of the route. Isend you a list of the distances, omitting the courses, as they will be shown onthe map which I shall send you as soon as I can prepare it.
Very poor judgment has been displayed, in my opinion, in the location of thestage road. [65] As I said in my last, a much better road could have been madenearer the top of the divide, between [the] Solomon and [the] Republican; I meanto where we cross it. Up to that point it is a constant succes-


     sion of ascents and descents and is verycrooked. No time was taken to eximine routes, and consequently the best has notbeen selected. Even the general route where it already is, can be improvedsomewhat, and shortened perhaps fifty miles between station 11 and this point.The road appears to follow a temporary wagon trail; does not go out of the way toavoid bridges, but does to find less precipitous banks. The bridges are like theone you saw at Station 11. The drivers are making small "cut offs" as they becomeacquainted with the roads.
Col. Preston could not tell the latitude of any point on the road; did not knowthe magnetic variation, and said the road did not touch Nebraska. The menemployed at Station 18 and 19 supposed that they were in Arapahoe county, Kansas,till I told them differently.

     On March 28 and April 1, 1859, an advance trainin two sections left Leavenworth to locate stations at suitable points sometwenty-five miles apart along the route to the mines. This preliminary work wasunder the general supervision of Beverly D. Williams, who had entire managementof the trains and stations.66 When this advance expedition reached Junction City,then on the outer fringe of settlement, a border paper wrote the followinggraphic account:

     On Tuesday of this week, the advance train,consisting of twenty wagons, drawn by four and eight mule teams, arrived in town;this being their seventh station from Leavenworth, the twentieth[twenty-seventh]being at Denver City, and each being twenty-five miles apart. Yesterday (Friday)morning 20 more wagons, mostly eight mules to the wagon, arrived, accompanied bynumerous families, &c, &c, to be located along the road at variousstations. The wagons are heavily laden, some carrying 5,000 lbs., but at thispoint their freight is being shifted, invoiced and reloaded, preparatory to theirfinal departure, today, for the plains.
Mr. Williams, the gentlemanly and energetic partner of Jones, Russell & Co.,to whom is confided the entire management of the trains and stations, is in town,giving his attention to the above arrangements, etc. A person inexperienced inthese matters, cannot imagine the necessary labors attending the enterprise ofthe magnitude of this concern. Four hundred and fifty mules; one hundred andtwenty men and women; and forty wagons constitutes this advance train and manymore on the road, followed by thousands of emigrants! `So they come and sodepart.' [67]


     The stations beyond the seventh at Junction Citywere constructed in a temporarymanner, evidently with the intention of making more permanent improvements later,and when referred to more recent maps and centers of settlement, were not muchmore than indefinite locations on the plains, designated by numbers only. As oneaccount said: "Each station is supplied with tents (soon to be replaced byhouses) sufficient to accommodate all the employees and passengers, and occupiedby a man and his family-a new feature, and a decided improvement over most stagestations on the plains." [68] After supervising this work, Beverly D. Williamsboarded the first stage over the new route, which arrived in Denver, May 7, 1859.John M. Fox accompanied him on this trip, and after arriving at theirdestination, both men wrote detailed accounts of the trip, which appeared in theLeavenworth papers. Williams remarked: [69]

     The road which we have just laid out between the39th and 40th parallel oflatitude from Leavenworth City to Denver City, is 689 miles in length by theroadometer [odometer], which will be reduced to 500 when properly straightenedout, passing over the most beautiful and fertile country in the Territory. Afterleaving Junction City our course was along the tributaries of the Solomon, aboutten miles from its north bank, crossing beautiful streams of never failing waterevery six to ten miles. Leaving the waters of the Solomon, we struck over tothose of the Republican, and struck Prairie Dog, Sappa, and Cranmer's Creek, neartheir head, [70] then traveling a long divide of twenty-six miles we reached themain Republican, just above the mouth of Rock Creek, and made station No. 18,[71] in a beautiful grove of cottonwoods. Up to this point, wood and water is inabundance; also grass in the proper seasons. After leaving No. 18, we kept up onthe southern side of the Republican to near its head, when we crossed the mainprong to the middle prong, [72] which we followed to its head. Along this portionof our route, wood is scarce and hard to get; grass and water plenty. We thenkept our course, and struck what we think is the most southern branch of theRepublican, on which we established


station No. 24, [73] where another road comes infrom the southeast. We traveled up this road about fifteen miles, when it boreoff to the south. We continued our course due west, and struck Bear creek, withwood and water, and made station No. 25. [74] Continued west, and in ten milesreached the pine forest. Continuing our course through high prairie, we passedlarge forests of pine, crossing the Bryou [Bijou.] and two Kioways, and reachedCherry Creek twenty-two miles above its mouth, and then travelled down one of themost beautiful vallies I ever saw, and very fertile, until we reached DenverCity, when the people all flocked together to look at the stages, etc. [75]

     In his letter of about the same time, John M.Fox commented at length upon developments in the new diggings and added furthersidelights upon the newly surveyed route of the Leavenworth and Pike's Peakexpress:

     Our tedious march is at last ended, and we arenow snugly located in DenverCity, the much talked of Golden City of the mountains. Our progress from Junction[City] to this place, was necessarily slow, inasmuch as we had to open a new roadthrough a country about which none knew but little, to contend with the severityof the weather, the fatigue and complete exhaustion of many of the mules, and themany obstacles incident to an enterprise of this magnitude. I can truly say, Sir,that I believe our road is the best in all respects, that can possibly be made,from Leavenworth City to the mines. Wood and water in abundance over the entireroute, excepting about 150 miles upon the Republican, where there is somescarcity of timber-in fact, a great scarcity for emi-


grants [76]-but our station can be readilysupplied from the pineries, lying some thirty miles distant from Cherrycreek.
Nearly all the station-keepers, men and employees upon the road, expressthemselves satisfied with this location. Some one or two swear they will notstay-Murphy (at 19) among them.
We have had two desertions only. Our nearest station to this place is fortythreemiles. An intermediate station must, of necessity, be made, until Mr. Williamsreturns and shortens the road, which he expects to do-saving a distance of fiftymiles or over.
Much of the country over which we passed is eminently adapted for agriculturalpursuits, and a great deal of it almost or wholly worthless.
Permit me to say, that I think Colonel Preston missed the chute, both in goingback and coming out-being too far north on his outward trip, and a great deal toofar south when he returned. [77]

     This criticism of the survey which had beenconducted by Col. Preston and party was replied to by a letter signed "S," whichwas apparently written by C. F. Smith, of the exploring party. In his reply Smithpointed out that the route followed by Fox was not that of Preston and the surveyparty, and that the work of these "pathfinders" was more to explore than toactually survey the road. The persons sent back by Col. P[reston], to pilot thetrains on the route had directions given them to correct all errors that had beenmade through necessity.

. . . Persons understanding the severities and hardships to be encountered bya party of explorers, undertaking the exploration at the time of the year we did,will readily perceive that the company who started us did not expect us tosurvey the route, but to explore it. In other words, to ascertainif wood, water and grass was in sufficient quantities to warrant a trainto proceed on the route we went. From the letter of Mr. Fox, according to his ownstatement, we would, if we had taken his route, pronounced it impracticable, forthe simple reason-as he himself says--`wood and water are deficient on theroute for a distance of 150 miles; in fact, a great scarcity of both foremigrants." This is not the route Col. Preston took, as you will see byreferring to my report to Mr. Jones. [78] Mr. Fox has certainly made a mistake inthe route in regard to Col. P. being too far either North or South. Any personlooking over my report will perceive that the only "stretch" we had was but theshort distance of 25 or 30 miles without wood, and without water, adistance of be-


t[ween] 15 or 18?9 True, wood was scarce, but still sufficient for the route.The work, in the start, demanded, for its successful accomplishment, constant andself-denying agents, and such I will venture to say were engaged for theundertaking; and I believe the route chosen by Col. P. (and I have it from thosewho piloted the trains) is the one adopted, and which Mr. Fox ascribes tohimself.

[Signed] S. [80]

     The high praise of this route leads one tobelieve that the element of advertising was a large factor in these accounts ofthe new express road and that the lack of a dependable supply of wood, thescarcity of water at some points, and the remoteness of the route from any wellestablished lane of travel, like that of the Platte, were negative factors not tobe ignored. [81]

     The departure of the first express coach waspostponed beyond the time originally proposed-April 10, 1859, because ofunfavorable weather and, what was still more important-the nonarrival from themanufacturers of Concord, N. H., of the coaches intended for this service. Thesevehicles were built by Abbot, Downing & Company, and were said to have beenthe first of this make received in Kansas .82 The delay in beginning the coachservice furnished an excuse for rival cities to denounce the whole venture of theLeavenworth and Pike's Peak Express. The Kansas City (Mo.) Journal ofCommerce termed the project "a humbug-one of those well con-


ceived schemes, got up by a few speculators to make a little money out of thesale of city lots, etc., and which, in the end, is calculated to do the West aserious injury. . . ." This paper conceded that there was such an expresscompany, but there was "no such route, and no such facilities for takingemigrants to the mines" as claimed by that organization. [83] The St. Joseph(Mo.) Gazette agreed in this general view, probably from like motives, andasserted that the venture was in a class of "shameless and barefaced deceptionsattempted to palm off on emigrants to the gold mines. . . ." To run coaches overa route until recently "absolutely unexplored," which "had no stations upon itscourse," was a "very remote" probability. [84] In reply the Leavenworth Heraldpointed out that the project was really under way, and would include the use of"sixty Concord ambulances, seventy-five wagons, eight hundred mules, threehundred oxen and four hundred men." [85]

     Early Monday morning, April 18, 1859, a largecrowd assembled to witness the departure of the first coach, and to wish thefortunate travelers bon voyage. The Daily Times of the following morningheralded the historic event with a suitable article in its columns, entitled "TheOverland Express":

     About 8 o'clock Monday morning, we observed twoof the new coaches of Messrs.Jones & Russell's Express, each with four splendid mules attached, drawn upin front of their headquarters under the Planter's House. The street was soonoccupied by a throng of people discussing the merits of the vehicles and animals,as well as the great enterprise which the day inaugurated. The crowd continued toincrease, and soon blocked the entire space in front of the Planter's, and wasparticularly dense in the immediate vicinity of the coaches themselves.
     The employees were meanwhile busily engaged instowing the baggage and mailssecurely, for their long jaunt across the plains of Kansas. The fortunateindividuals who were to take passage in the stages were receiving thecongratulations of, and making their adieus to their friends. Punctually at theappointed hour, the conductors shouted their "all aboard," the drivers flourishedtheir whips, making the air resound with a succession of reports, and thevehicles moved off at a spanking pace.


     In an editorial of praise the LeavenworthTimes hailed this event is a great one in the annals of the city-a localenterprise, unsupported by government appropriations or patronage, whoselaunching augured well for the future of their community.

     We believe we can see in the establishment ofthis great thoroughfare westward, a glimpse of future enterprises still moreglorious and important. It will do much to enforce our claims as the most properpoint d' appui for a railroad to the Pacific, and the more we do ourselves, tofoster and protect the initiatory step, the nearer we are to the object to beobtained. Why shall not Leavenworth eventually become what of right belongs toher position, the great focus of all travel, to Utah, California, and New Mexico,as well as to the mineral regions on our western confines?[87]

     The initial journey of the coaches proveduneventful, and was completed in good time. Colonel Preston of the survey party,in accordance with original instructions, delegated two members of that group,Messrs. Cranmer and Alonzo, to return and act as pilots of the first train ofcoaches, and at the same time to correct errors made by the survey party, therebyestablishing a permanent route to the mountains. [88] B. D. Williams, who had hadgeneral charge of the survey, accompanied the coaches on the first trip, andapparently was joined later by John M. Fox, who had also been engaged in theinitial work of preparation. [89] As the coaches traveled along the Solomon, inthe vicinity of present Glasco, Cloud county, Colonel Preston and one of the twoEubanks appear to have joined the party and acted as copilots to the mountains.[90] When they reached the headwaters of the Solomon the party met several of thesurvey group on the return trip from Denver, who reported that all was well. [91]John M. Fox of the express company commented:


     It is proper to remark that, during our trip,the utmost harmony and goodfeeling existed throughout the entire train. We met several bands of Indians, inall cases perfectly friendly. We treated them uniformly with kindness.
     We reached Denver City yesterday, (Saturday,) May7th. Gen. Larimer received us,and has treated us with extreme courtesy and hospitality. The city is situated atthe mouth of Cherry creek, and contains a population so floating that I canscarcely estimate the number of inhabitants. I think I am safe in setting thenumber at three hundred. About one hundred and fifty houses have beenerected-built chiefly of pine and cottonwood logs, with thatched roofs. We havesecured one of them temporarily for our office. The people were much gratified atour arrival.
     Auraria, opposite to this, is about the same insize, population, &c. Thetown opposite Denver is rather desirable, I think. The citizens had begun to growvery despondent in consequence of so much emigration returning almost as soon asarriving. Our entry, however, has re-animated them. [92]

     The arrival of the stages in Denver on May 7brought a revival of hope to the people of the new diggings, many of whom hadbecome despondent of the failure to discover rich deposits of gold. The minersreceived the coaches with demonstrations of joy, and unanimously votedLeavenworth "the greatest city in the East." The Rocky Mountain News published anextra in honor of the event, which paid a handsome tribute to the new expressline and its managers. [91] Soon after this came the news of the rich finds inGregory Gulch, which placed the future of the region on a solid basis. Adirectory of Denver and Auraria, issued some months later, remarked:

The arrival, in the second week of May, of the officers of the Pike's Peak andLeavenworth City Express Company, and of the first through coaches withpassengers, produced an universal sensation of joy and hopefulness. Theestablishment of an office of so powerful, energetic, and responsible acompany-the certainty of enjoying henceforth a sure and speedy means ofcommunication with the States-the practical demonstration of implicit faith inthe permanency of the gold resources of the country, implied in the investment ofan enormous capital in an apparently hazardous enterprise, jointly proved asource of deep gratification to the people of both Denver and Auraria, and atleast transitorily brightened up their countenance with the light of renewedconfidence. [94]


     On May 10, 1859, the stages began the returntrip from Denver to Leavenworth. Some days before they arrived at theirdestination, elaborate preparations were begun at Leavenworth for a propercelebration of so historic an occasion. The event would "settle the actuality ofthe gold deposits, demonstrate the plausibility and superiority of the greatroute from our city, and, let us hope, compensate those who have conceived andcarried out the project of establishing such a medium of intercourse andcommunication." [95] In order to stage a grand reception a meeting was held inmid-May and committees were appointed to make detailed arrangements. A few dayslater the "order of the day" was publicly announced, which included the preciseorder in which the various organizations would take part in the parade. [96] Theactual arrival of the coaches was delayed by an "unparalleled rise in thestreams." When they reached Salt creek they were met by an assemblage of ladiesand gentlemen who distributed "roses of bouquets" to the drivers and coaches. Thejourney from Denver to Leavenworth was completed May 20, 1859, when the coachesreached their destination, after a trip of approximately ten days from themountains. The incident was hailed by the Leavenworth Times as a greatevent, which announced:


The City in a Tumult!!
Arrival of Express Coaches From the Mines.

     "It is with a satisfaction words can illyexpress that we are enabled this morning to announce the complete success ofJones & Russell's Express Coaches, the superiority of the route fromLeavenworth, and the settled richness of the new El Dorado." [97] In an editorialsalute to the great occasion, this same paper remarked:

Bring out the flags, and let the cannon roar!
We celebrate today one of the most glorious achievements of the age.


Peace hath its victories as well as war.
A giant Empire springs, Minerva-like, from the bosom of a wilderness, and thegenius of man tames the rugged and oceanic plains to the uses ofcivilization.Leavenworth extends the hand of fellowship to the Rocky Mountains, andestablishes a perpetual bond of union till you may hear the responsive heartbeat.Honor to the noble men who have conceived and executed the grand project ofuniting regions half a thousand miles apart.
A mammoth enterprise-one of our own-has been crowned with success. The goldenfields of the West loom up in majestic proportions. Our pioneer friends andbrothers are now our neighbors as well, and our city has demonstrated to theworld the superiority of her position, and the indomitable enterprise of herpeople. . . [98]

     The great celebration of May 21, 1859, lastedfor about twelve hours, during which there "was naught but marching and feastingand enthusiastic acclaims." The parade began to assemble about 2 P. M., at thecorner of Main and Shawnee streets, where a mammoth flag was suspended betweenthe Planter's Hotel and the office of Smoot & Russell.

The balcony of the Renick House and Waverly [House] and the rooms of thePlanter's were thronged with ladies, while the streets were filled with horses,wagons, and crowds of enthusiastic people. The other streets of the city echoedwith the music of bells and the "gathering of the clans," in their brightuniforms, as they marched and countermarched, lent a life and animation to thescene that words can but faintly picture.
Between two and three o'clock . . . the great procession moved off in thefollowing order:
1st-Chief Marshal, with Aid de Camps, handsomely mounted and accoutred.
2d-Brass Band (Union) in an open wagon, discoursing elegant music.
3d-Committee of Arrangements, on all kinds of horses, from a mule and an Indianpony up to Arabian coursers.
4th-Some of the Express Coaches, handsomely fitted up and drawn by two pairs ofmules, containing some of the Express proprietors and a number of citizens.
5th-The Shield's Guards, Capt. Wm. H. Stanley, with their handsome uniform[s] andburnished muskets, keeping time to martial music. They presented a fineappearance and were much admired.
6th-Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company-Mr. Middleton, Foreman-in the followinguniform: Red shirt and black pants, with a handsome patent leather belt, bearingthe device of a hook and ladder raised in white letters, together with thesplendid firemen's New York uniform hat. Their apparatus was gaily decked, andthey bore beautiful flags, the folds of which swelled gracefully with thebreeze.
7th-Eagle Fire Company No. 1-Amos Graff, Foreman-turned out about thirty-fivestrong, with the following uniform: Red shirt, blue cape withvelvet

[sketches of various scenes of Denver in 1859.]

     From Richardson's Beyond the Mississippi as reprinted in The Overland Stage to California.


cuffs, blue cap with eagle for device and black pants. Their hose cart washandsomely decorated with flags and streamers, tastefully arranged, and numerousfloral devices. They carried the splendid flag presented to them by the NationalTheatre, and attracted general praise.
8th-Neptune Fire Company-James Duffy, Foreman-had for a uniform red shirts withblue lapels, black glazed caps (No. 2 painted in front) and black pants. Theirhose cart was also most happily ornamented with emblematical devices, floraldesigns, flags, and streamers, and their presence added greatly to the appearanceof the procession.
Without partiality or arbitrary distinctions, we must compliment the Firemen, asa body, on their gallant bearing and pleasing uniforms. They are a body of menwho reflect credit upon the city.
The Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company gave the Times three rousers inpassing our office, which we beg to return with compound interest, together withour warmest thanks.
9th-The Leavenworth Brass Band, in a covered carriage. Their music was trulyinspiriting, and they were followed by an immense crowd of citizens on foot,horseback, and in carriages.
With bands playing, flags flying, bells ringing, men shouting, and "Old Kickapoo"roaring, the procession moved up Shawnee to Broadway, greeted by the waving ofhandkerchiefs and every other evidence of enthusiasm.
Arriving at Government Lane, there stood the two well tried coaches, with theirtrusty drivers, who had so successfully solved the great problem of "the mainroute to the mines." They were both gaily bedecked and looked like triumphalchariots as they were. On the sides of the first coach was the followinginscribed by the miners


On the other coach appeared the following:


At sight of the coaches cheer followed cheer till the welkin rang, and they wereinstantly surrounded by an eager and expectant throng.
After the excitement had somewhat abated, the coaches took the post of honor inthe van, the bands struck up, the companies fell in rank, the roaring "Kickapoo"was heard, and the procession, about a mile in length, moved toward the city,passing down Fifth to Shawnee, up Shawnee to Sixth, down Sixth to Delaware, alongDelaware to Main, down Main to Cherokee, up Cherokee to Third, up Third toShawnee, and down Shawnee to the starting point.
After several pleasing and skillful manoeuvres by the horsemen, footmen, firemen,carriages, &c., which excited much applause and some merriment, a general"resting spell" ensued and speaking commenced.
Col. Isaacs [Isacks] opened the ball. He paid worthy tribute to the celebrationand to the Express Company, predicted a great future for Leavenworth and greatresults from the mines.
While yet speaking "the boys" were bringing down old Kickapoo; the cannon got thestart of them at the steep descent above the Renick, and dashed furiously towardthe crowd. A regular fright and stampede ensued. For


a moment, in the midst of rearing horses, rush of wagons, and fright of men,it seemed as though frightful consequences must ensue. The cannon, however, waschecked by a milk wagon, the contents of which watered the earth, and the crowdre-collected with merry laughter.
One or two persons were hurt, but not seriously, and the main damage was to"shins," "corns," and "window panes." Quiet restored, Col. Isaacs IIsacksl closedhis speech, and was followed by Capt. Perry, Gen. Eastin and McLane, and then theorder was given to disband.
Thus ended the celebration of one of the most notable events in our history, aremembrance of which we will ever cherish with pride andgratification. [99]

     In describing the speeches delivered on theoccasion, the Leavenworth Weekly Herald pointed out that the eloquentaddress of Col. A. J. Isaacs [Isacks] received much applause. Mr. Jones of theexpress company was not accustomed to making speeches, but thanked the audiencein a happy manner for the demonstration accorded him and his company. CaptainPerry made a "characteristically eloquent, humorous and sensible" address, inwhich he pointed out that "the route established by the company, introducing, asit did, civilization, cultivation, and refinement upon what has been styled the`American Desert,'-linking the Atlantic States with the mineral and agriculturalwealth of the mountains . . . it could not but become the channel through whichthe iron arteries of inland commerce would run and over which the iron horsewould yet snort on his road to the Pacific." [100]

     The following night a supper was given at thePlanter's Hotel in honor of the arrival of the express coaches. It was said tohave been "full of fun and frolic, toasts, speeches and the like. The supper wasbountiful and excellent and the company did not disperse till the wee sma' hours.Altogether it was a happy and satisfactory affair. . . ." [101]

     The next day Dr. Renick, the proprietor of theRenick House, gave a grand ball at his hotel in tribute to the Pike's PeakExpress Company.


     The completion of the first trip marked thesuccessful inauguration of the new company. A new route had been opened to theRockies and the residents of the new diggings had been given a frequent anddependable means of communication, the permanent value of which was yet to beproven.

(Part II to be Published in the November Issue)


1. Leroy R. Hafen, "Cherokee Goldseekers in Colorado, 1849-50," The ColoradoMagazine, Denver, v. XV, pp. 101-109. The diary of John Lowery Brown mentionsthis discovery (ibid., p. 108), but credits one Ralston as the originalfinder. This whole question, including the possibility that the discovery wasmade in 1849, rather than 1850, is reviewed by Hafen in the historicalintroduction of v. IX of the Southwest Historical Series, entitled Pike's PeakGold Rush Guidebooks of 1859 (Arthur H. Clark Co., Glendale, Cal., 1941), pp.34-37.
2. Ibid., pp. 39-43.
3. Ibid., p. 47 et seq.
4. Ibid., pp. 51-58, quoting The Kansas Magazine, Topeka, v. I p.552 et seq. (June, 1872), and The Trail, Denver, v. VII, No. 7, p.7. In the summer of 1857 Fall Leaf, a noted member of the Delaware tribe ofIndians, acted as a guide of Col. E. V. Sumner's expedition against the ArapahoeIndians, and discovered gold on the eastern slope of the Rockies. The sample ofthis precious metal, which he brought back to Lawrence, is credited with being aleading incentive behind the expedition from that city. (See the original accountin the Luke Tierney guidebook, copied entire in Hafen, Pike's PeakGuidebooks, pp. 91-145.)
5. Ibid., "Introduction," p. 71.
6. Leroy R. Hafen, Colorado, The Story of a Western Commonwealth (Denver,1933), p. 109.
7. Kansas City (Mo.) Journal of Commerce, clipped in the Herald ofFreedom, Lawrence, September 4, 1858. The Herald added that Cantrell broughtwith him three ounces of gold, which he himself dug.
8. E. V. King returned to Leavenworth with samples of gold he obtained at thediggings worth $21 per ounce (Leavenworth Ledger, clipped in Herald ofFreedom, September 18, 1858). Robert B. Willis, express messenger betweenKansas City and Topeka, gave a most encouraging report of the Lawrence party,alleging that the miners could make from eight to ten dollars a day, with pansand rough washers
(Kansas City Journal of Commerce, September 11, clipped in the Heraldof Freedom, September 18, 1858). The Journal printed a review of thediscovery in a detailed article some weeks later.
9. Kansas Daily Ledger of Leavenworth, clipped in the Herald ofFreedom, September 25, 1858. "Gentlemen of character and standing, whom weknow, have been there and have exhibited to our citizens specimens of the gold. .. All agree (except a few old fogies in our own midst), that we have a new ElDorado within our grasp. Lieut. [G. K.] Warren of the U. S. TopographicalEngineers in his report speaks in the most flattering terms.
10. Some of the reports were greatly exaggerated as to the amount of goldactually found, but these accounts usually bore the outward stamp of truth. Priorto the discovery of the Gregory lode in May, 1859, the "float gold" was usuallymeager in amount.
11. Wyandotte Gazette, September 18, in Herald of Freedom, October9, 1858.
12. LeavenworthTimes, September 18, 1858. This paper argued thatLeavenworth was a much more suitable port of embarkation for the mines, than wasKansas City. The Herald of Freedom counselled caution, and advocatedpostponement of the trip until the following spring, in view of the probableseverity of the winter at such high altitudes.
13. Hafen, Colorado, p. 110.
14. Palmetto Kansan, in the Herald of Freedom, November 6, 1858. "Withonly a knife and tin pan, men are easily earning from $10 to $15 per day. Wepredict such a rush to these diggings this winter and next spring as California,Australia or any other country never witnessed." A letter of Wm. B. Smedley,dated Richmond, Mo., October 10, 1858, by a member of the Missouri company,maintained that only a little fine gold had been found, and that the whole thingwould turn out to be a humbug-Jnction (City) Sentinel, in the Herald ofFreedom, November 13, 1858.
15. Junction (City) Sentinel, in Herald of Freedom, December 11, 1858.
16. Hafen, Colorado, p. 111. From 1854 to January, 1861, a portion of presentColorado east of the summit of the mountains was a part of Kansas territory, andthe present city of Denver was in Kansas. Kansas erected county divisions in theregion of the discoveries, but the later formation name of Colorado territorymakes it seem preferable to denominate this region .
17. Herald of Freedom, January 1, 1859; Kansas Tribune, Topeka,January 6, 1859. The Leavenworth Weekly Kansas Herald described the costof an "Outfit for the Mines" (issue of Jan nary 8), and listed three yoke ofoxen, a wagon, and supplies and equipment for mining that would cost $514.25. TheLeavenworth merchants were prepared to outfit over 30,000 Persons with cattle,horses and mules-"Any number," since "we have the famous Platte county, Mo.,market opposite." For a detailed statement of a proper outfit for the mines, seethe article from the St. Joseph (Mo.) Gazette, republished in the New YorkDaily Tribune, March 21, 1859, entitled "To and From the Gold Mines," in"Bypaths of Kansas History," The Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. XII, pp.319, 320.
18. Compare the following salute from the initial number of the Rocky MountainNews, Cherry Creek, K. T., April 23, 1859:
"Hurrah for the land where the moor and the mountain
Are sparkling with treasures no language hath told,
Where the wave of the river and the spray of the fountain
Are bright with the glitter of genuine gold."
19. Samuel C. Pomeroy of Atchison wrote to Thaddeus Hyatt of New York, January17, 1859 (MSS. division, Kansas State Historical Society), inquiring as towhether Hyatt still owned the steamer Lightfoot, a small vessel built forthe Kansas river trade. Pomeroy believed that the Hannibal and St. Joseph and theNorth Missouri railroads would soon be finished, giving through connections withSt. Louis, which would carry the bulk of the traffic from tat gateway to St.Joseph and Atchison. The Hockaday and Co. stage line to Cherry Creek would makeit possible to sell through tickets from the Atlantic coast to the mines. (TheLightfoot, which made regular trips up the Kansas river in 1857, did not returnto that locality in 1859, the Silver Lake, Col. Gus Linn,Colona, and Star of the West serving in its stead.-Albert R.Greene, "The Kansas River-Its Navigation," in Kansas Historical Collections, v.IX, pp. 339, 343-350.)
20. George A. Root, "Ft. Leavenworth Military Road," supplement to the HortonHeadlight, October 29, 1936. Alexander Caldwell, an early-day freighter ofLeavenworth, wrote (Kansas Historical Collections, v. III, pp. 451-458) :"The amount of supplies required annually for the military alone amounted to fromthirty-five to fifty million pounds." This required 10,000 wagons, 12,000 men,and 120,000 head of stock, representing an investment of over $5,000,000. "Theseprairie schooners, if placed end to end in one continuous line in the ordinaryway of freighting, would have formed a column more than 1,000 miles long."
21. J. V. Frederick, Ben Holladay, The Stagecoach King (Glendale, Cal.,1940), pp. 37-39; Miles Moore, Early History of Leavenworth City and County(Leavenworth, 1906), pp. 8, 129; Col. Prentis Ingraham [editor], Seventy Yearson the Frontier, Alexander Mayors' Memoirs of a Lifetime on the Border(Chicago and New York, 1893), pp. 140-143. It is possible that Waddell, evenprevious to 1858, was a silent partner of the firm, and contributed aconsiderable part of the necessary capital. This view is mentioned in an articlePaul I. Wellman, in the Kansas City (Mo.) Star, November 22, 1942,entitled: The Silent Partner Who Made History and Lost Fortunes on the GreatPlains." Matters of a uncoil nature will be treated in more detail in the finalinstallment of this article.
22. Horace Greeley, An Overland Journey From New York to San Francisco, in theSummer of 1859 (N. Y., 1860), pp. 47, 48; the same author in the New YorkDaily Tribune, June 2, 1859, quoted by Martha Caldwell, "When HoraceGreeley Visited Kansas in 1859," in Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. IX, p.126.
23. Issue of March 28, 1859, quoted in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush[Southwest Historical Series, v. X], pp. 288, 289.
24. The authors know of no charter issued to the Leavenworth and Pike's PeakExpress, which apparently operated on the basis of a private agreement. Itssuccessor, the Central overland California & Pike's Peak Express Company, waschartered by the Kansas Territorial legislature (1860). There were a number ofsmaller organizations that denominated themselves Pike's Peak expresscompanies-one was incorporated by the legislature of Kansas territory in 1859,and another, which was much advertised, was owned by William Smith ofIndependence, Mo. Hockaday, Burr & Co., contractors for the Salt Lake mail,announced they would run a regular line of coaches from St. Joseph and Atchison.All of these were of far less importance than the Leavenworth & Pike's PeakExpress.
25. This correspondent added that the first passenger line would be supplied withat least fifty of the celebrated Concord coaches, and eight hundred mules. Fromthe start, the managers promised a transit in less than twelve days, and later inless than eight days.
26. The Pike's Peak guidebook by James Redpath and Richard J. Hinton, entitledHandbook to Kansas Territory and the Rocky Mountains Gold Region (N. Y.,J. H. Colton, 1859) remarked (p. 142): "A company is also organized composedchiefly of New York capitalists, with $200,000 capital, of which Won. H. Russell,of Leavenworth, is President, and J. S. Jones, of Missouri, is Superintendent.They will run a daily line of Concord coaches, and a daily line of expresswagons, from Leavenworth City to Cherry Creek."
27. The advertisement, further noted that Messrs. Samuel & Allen wereauthorized to contract for transportation of men, merchandise, and persons. Theywould receive freight at St. Louis, while the undersigned (John S. Jones) woulddo the same at Westport, Mo., and Atchison, K. T. Jones would give fullparticulars, if addressed at Longwood, Pettis Co., Mo., or at Atchison, K. T.[List of references follows.] (Dated)-St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 27, 1859 John S.Jones.
28. Issue of February 8, 1859. The Tribune of February 24 published a newannouncement of the company, stating that their stages would connect with theEastern lines at St. Louis and Leavenworth, and the first coaches would leave thelatter city on April 10. They planned to start two daily passenger coaches, inaddition to those needed for express. "To obtain preference of seats, thoseholding tickets will be required to register at the Company's office inLeavenworth.
"We do not guarantee an arrival in any given numberof days, but feel every confidence that the trip from Leavenworth City to ourDepot in the mines of Denver City or its vicinity, will be made inside of twelvedays, and after the road is well established, hope to make the trip inside of tendays."
29. The wide circulation of the New York Tribune, which was extensivelycopied by other papers, furnished a great initial impetus to the company. Thusthe National Era (Washington, D. C.) of February 10 repeated the notice inthe Tribune, and remarked that "some of the leading capitalists in thecountry" were in the new organization.
30. Ingraham, Seventy Years on the Frontier-Alexander Majors' Memoirs of aLifetime on the Border, p. 164. Although Majors did not consent to the coachline, he seems at least to have agreed to the extension of freighting business,to be carried on by the firm of Russell, Majors, and Waddell.
31. Ibid., p. 165; Ben Holladay, The Stagecoach King, pp. 39, 41. Holladaybought equipment for the freighting firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell, andalso for the new stagecoach line. From the start, it is probable that theLeavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Company was heavily in debt to him, makingHolladay virtually a silent partner. The interlocking nature of the freightingfirm and the stage coach company obliged the former to take over the Pike's PeakExpress, when financial troubles of the stage line threatened W. H. Russell, amember of both firms.
32. Missouri Republican, St. Louis, February 26, 1859 (quoted in Hafen,Colorado Gold Rush, loc. cit., pp. 272, 273, carried anadvertisement of John S. Jones, stating he would run fifty trains from Westportand Atchison, for the transportation of freight, and would also carry passengers.This clearly refers to the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Company, about tobe launched.
33. The latter advertisement noted that a through ticket would entitle the holderto passage to St. Louis by emigrant cars, from thence to Leavenworth as deckpassengers on first class steamboats, and from Leavenworth for provisions only.(Boston-$100, New York$98, Chicago-$89, St. Louis-$85.) This advertisement wasmisleading, as it was the clearly expressed intention of the Company to transportits passengers by coach to the mines (the announcement by Russell in the adjacentcolumn so states).
"He sent out an exploring party, about two weeks ago, of nine [seven] men, undercharge of Col. Preston and Mr. Smith. They go to Fort Riley, and 'rom. thencewill look out a route proceeding as near as practicable due west fromLeavenworth, between the Republican and Smoky Hill Forks. They will proceed apart of the way up Solomon's Fork, which stream forms a junction with the SmokyHill Fork. These men will all proceed to a point about half way between FortRiley and Denver City; a part will then turn back to Fort Riley, where they willmeet the first trains and conduct them on to the halfway point. A part of thecompany of explorers keep on to Denver City, establishing the route, and returnto the halfway point and conduct on the first trains through to the gold mines.In this way the route is laid down, and the road made so that those who followwill have no difficulty in knowing the road.
On the route 27 stations will be established, at 25 miles apart, with six men ateach station-four drivers and two to remain permanently at the station. Fivewagons will be started soon, and kept on the route, hauling forage for the stock,and 25 ox wagons will start, as soon as grass will admit, with provisions for thestations. These supplies will be kept up during the whole year. Drivers are hiredfor 12 months, and are bound to remain. Half of their wages are reserved at eachpayment, which is forfeited if the driver leaves before his time expires. Eachdriver is responsible for losses occurring from his wilful negligence.Everything is arranged like clock work. It is a giant undertaking, and requires aperfect system, which Mr. Jones has maturely considered. Tents will be furnishedat each station for the summer, and for winter good adobe and log houses will beerected.
Passengers going this route may rest assured that everything will be provided forgiving them a speedy and comfortable passage across the plains to the gold mines.The known reliability and responsibility of Messrs. Jones, Russell & Co. is asure guaranty that they will perform what they undertake.They have completed arrangements with the most reliable express companies in theUnited States to convey all express goods and packages from St. Louis or thisplace to the gold region.
This is one of the best companies in the Union, and can be implicitly relied on.We commend it to the patronage of the public."
34. See the guidebook of Gunnison and Gilpin, entitled: Guide to the KansasGold Mines at Pike's Peak, Describing the Routes, Camping Places, Tools, Outfits,etc., From Notes of Capt. J. W. Gunnison [actual author unknown] (Cincinnati,Ohio, 1859), reviewed in Hafen, Pike's Peak Guidebooks, loc. cit., v. IX, p. 242.This work recommends the Platte river road only for those who come from Nebraska,Iowa, and the country above. "To all east of the Mississippi, and for a hundredmiles west of it, the best route by far is the great Santa Fe road, and thencefollowing the Arkansas to Bent's Fort and the mines."
35. The principal routes followed, in addition to the Santa Fe and Platte, werethe Arkansas (a variation of the Santa Fe), the Smoky Hill, the route of theLeavenworth and Pike's Peak Express by way of the Solomon and the forks of theRepublican rivers, and the parallel road which ran west from Atchison, somewhatnorth of the express route, which it joined in present Jewell county.
36. Weekly Kansas Herald, January 8, 1859.

37. Issue of February 4, 1859. Each route had its champion, the great majority ofwhom were far from being "disinterested." No doubt one of the "central"routes-between the Santa Fe and the Platte, was considerably shorter in distance,but other factors, such as water, fuel, etc., were not to be lost sight of. Theabove writer argued further for Leavenworth, as "the largest, most flourishing,and the best provided city in the Territory"-the best place to obtain an entireoutfit, at a. moderate price.
38. Leavenworth Daily Times, February 11, 1859. O. B. Gunn's New Mapand Handbook of Kansas & the Gold Mines (Pittsburgh, 1859) asserted (p.40) that the Smoky Hill route was entirely feasible," with ample supplies oftimber, water and grass, almost the entire distance. "In directness, it is Theroute, beyond a cavil, as it will be 150 miles shorter than either of the presentroutes, and so centrally located, that all prominent points in Kansas are aboutequally accessible to it." The Pike's Peak guidebook of L. J. Eastin (editorLeavenworth Herald) agreed with this viewpoint, but both of these guidebooks "hadan axe to grind."
39. F. Patterson to L. J. Eastin, dated Ogden, K. T., March 25, 1859, in theLeavenworth Herald, April 9, 1859. Patterson remarked that "C. F. Smith, esq.,the Col's [Preston] principal assistant, is a scientific engineer, and will be ofgreat service to him in the discharge of his important trust."
U. S. Deputy Marshal William J. Preston was commissioned by Governor Shannon alieutenant colonel in the southern division of the Kansas militia. He played anactive part in the troubles of 1856, among his "missions" being that of arrestingJames H. Holmes and certain disturbers of the peace on the Missouri border, andwith Col. P. St. George Cooke of taking into custody a large force under Col. S.W. Eldridge, who entered Kansas from the north in the fall of 1856. It was widelyrumored that he was too cowardly to arrest John Brown, but there is nosubstantial basis for this story.-Kansas Historical Collections, v. III, pp. 216,306, 314; v. V, pp. 517, 640, 652; James C. Malin, John Brown and the Legend ofFifty Six (Philadelphia, 1942), pp. 591, 661.
40. Probably William Eubank. Richard Eubank went on to the mines, and returned toLeavenworth May 20, 1859.
41. Apparently some eight miles north and a little east of present Minneapolis.The mileage figures given in this journal cannot be relied on to serve as a basisfor locating places of encampment, since Smith often seems to overstate theactual number of miles.
42. Prairie Dog creek roughly parallels the North Fork of the Solomon, innorthwestern Kansas.
43. Smith's use of the term "Sappa creek" is confusing, because today's stream ofthat name is much further removed from the Republican. It is probable that thevarious branches of Sappa creek of pioneer days included what is now calledBeaver creek, which is considerably closer to the Republican.
44. The Arickaree Fork of the Republican joins the main stream near presentBenkelman, Neb.
45. The South Fork of the Republican rises near the present Lincoln-Kit Carsoncounty line, in Colorado.
46. This probably should read Bijou creek, which was crossed in present Elbertcounty, Colorado.
47. Probably Cherry creek, a tributary of the South Platte river.
48. This leg of the return journey was by a route somewhat further north.
49. In view of the many "dry" streams and seasonal washes of Colorado, it is verydifficult to locate any route in this region that is described in terms of theprevailing water courses. See Margaret Long, "The Route of the Leavenworth andPike's Peak Express," The Colorado Magazine, v. XII, No. 5 (September,1935), pp. 180-194.
50. The location of this divide is questionable. It probably lies between theNorth Fork of the Smoky Hill, and several tributaries of the Republican, inpresent Sherman county.
51. About a mile from present Cawker City.
52. Near present Glasco, Cloud county.
53. This report to John S. Jones, general superintendent of the express company,is dated Leavenworth, May 11, 1859, and is in the Leavenworth WeeklyTimesof May 14. Preston sent his journal of the trip to B. D. Williams, but so far asis known, it was not published. I
54. At the close of this "meagre report," Preston thanked C. F. Smith, William IRichard Eubank and E. Downing for their prompt discharge of duty and "valuableasset ante" which had been rendered "throughout the entire survey." The glowingconclusion smacks of the typical boomer account.
55. Starting from Atchison the road ran west to the Grasshopper at Muscotah, andthen America City. It passed along the parallel to Clear creek (a branch of theRed Verto America City, thence bore to the northwest, and crossed the BlackVermillion near Barrett's mills, and the Big Blue at the mouth of Elm creek, nearBlue Rapids. It then passed Marble Falls, the Big and Little Blue rivers, andfollowed a divide between the Little Blue and the branches 6f the Republican.After crossing that stream near present Norway, Republic county, it ran west toStation 11, on Limestone creek, Jewell county, near the site of the presentvillage of Ionia.-F. A. Root and W. E. Connelley, Overland Stage, p. 302;introduction to "The Great Central Route to the Gold Mines of WesternKansas-Notes of Travel," by E. D. Boyd. Freedom's Champion, Atchison, June25, 1859. (These travel notes are published entire in Appendix A" of OverlandRoutes to the Goldfields, 1859, cited above. Henceforth they are referred toas "Boyd's Notes.")
56. Ibid.
57. Issue of June 18, 18,19.
58. Boyd apparently refers to a more detailed statement of Preston than the briefmissive quoted above, probably based on the journal Preston sent to B. D.Williams of the express company.
59. A few miles southeast of the site of present Norton. Boyd's mileage figuresclosely approach the actual distance.
60. Near Benkelman, Neb. The authors believe the latter figure should read101&176; 27'. Boyd's field notes of his survey, to be incorporated in the secondinstallment of this article, quote the longitude a mile distant as 101&176; 27',which would place Station 18 very close to Benkelman, Neb. However, his longitudereading nine miles farther southwest is exactly the same, pointing to at leasttwo errors in these computations.
61. See map accompanying the Report of the Exploring Expedition to the RockyMountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the Years1843-44, by Brev. Capt. J. C. Fremont, published in Sen. Doc. 174, 28 Cong.,2 Sess. This map bears out the observation of Boyd. Further east, Fremont's routewas closer to the Republican, than to the express route, which closely followedthe Solomon river.
62. Probably a few miles east of Hugo, Lincoln county, Colo.
63. Apparently East Bijou creek, southeast of Denver, in Elbert county, Colorado.64. Such seemingly exact mileages are to be treated "with a grain of salt,"because of the usual inexact methods of estimating distances used at that time,but Boyd's computations are far more exact than those of most writers.
65. See Boyd's letter of July 20, 1859, quoted later, in which he refers to theabandonment of the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak express route in favor of the roadby way of the Platte.
66. Account of the arrival of the first express in Denver, Rocky Mountain News,Cherry Creek, K. T., May 14, 1859, copied in "Bypaths of Kansas History," KansasHistorical Quarterly, v. VI, pp. 394, 395. In the Reminiscences of GeneralWilliam Larimer and of His Son William H. H. Larimer (Herman S. Davis [editor],Lancaster, Pa., 1918, p. 172), it is stated that Nelson Sargent, route agent onthe western division, had charge of one of the sections of this expedition. JohnM. Fox, general agent of the company in charge of express business, and MartinFields, who directed the postoffice branch, also went either at this time or withthe initial coaches.
Wm. H. H. Larimer, who later was employed as an assistant to Fields in thecompany postoffice at Denver, with his father were intimates of Wm. H. Russell,and were very influential in getting the express company to locate in Denver,rather than Auraria. The elder Larimer had been a leading industrialist ofPittsburgh, Pa., who because of business reverses emigrated to Nebraska, andlater to Leavenworth, Kansas. He now became one of the founders and leadingspirits in the new town of Denver.
67. Junction [City] Sentinel, in the Leavenworth Herald, April 16, 1859. ThePlatte City Atlas (Argus) remarked [Leavenworth Herald, April 91: "Theoutskirts of Leavenworth City are covered with camps of the numerous companiesdestined for Pike's Peak. . ,
Jones, Russell & Co. dispatched their second train on Tuesday, for Pike'sPeak. We understand that several companies, of one hundred each, have startedwithin the last week. It is said that in one week's time over one thousandpersons had disembarked at Leavenworth, of whom the greater portion were destinedfor the mines."
In same issue: "A contract has been effected with the Pike's Peak Express Companyfrom this place, to carry the mail daily to Denver City. The GeneralSuperintendent has gone to Denver City."
68. Rocky Mountain News, Denver, May 14, 1859, cited above. This reportwas obtained from B. D. Williams, of the express company.
69. Beverly D. Williams to John S. Jones, dated Denver, May 9, 1859, inLeavenworth Herald, May 28, 1859.
70. The route cut through the present counties of Norton, Decatur and Rawlins."Cranmer's Creek" probably is present Beaver creek.
71. Near Benkelman, Neb., but the mileage figures do not agree with thedescription in the text. Rock creek empties into the Arickaree Fork about ninemiles west of Benkelman. Williams may have erred in placing this stream beforeinstead of after Station 18.
72. Probably the branches of the South Fork of the Republican, near its head. Thedescription is confusing, when referred to a map of Lincoln and Kit Carsoncounties, Colorado.
73. Dr. Margaret Long, who has made a special study of the express route throughColorado, points out the confusion of names referring to the South Fork of theRepublican, and places this station on the Big Sandy.-"The Route of theLeavenworth and Pike's Peak Express," loc. cit., p. 191. This location wasprobably close to present Hugo, Colo.
A letter of N. Sargent to J. S. Jones, dated Denver City, May 9, 1859 (WeeklyKansas Herald, May 28, 1859), remarked: "The express coaches and wagons arrivedhere all safe, distance about 600 miles by the roadometer [odometer] ; but thiscan be shortened very much. The stations all have wood and water, except three orfour, where they have to go three or four miles for wood.
"Our course from Junction City was generally northwest until we left the headwaters of Solomon's Fork, then our course was W. and N. W. until we came to theRepublican, thence S. W. and S. W. by W. until we left station 23, thence duewest 10 degrees S. most of the time until we left station 26, thence west toCherry Creek, twenty miles south of Denver City.
"The whole road, with but few exceptions, is first rate; sand on the Republicanis the worst."
74. Probably East Bijou creek, in eastern Elbert county, Colorado.
75. The article in the Rocky Mountain News, May 14, 1859 (cited above), bythe same author, is interesting to compare at this point.
"The road, after passing Fort Riley, follows an entirely new route all the way,keeping along the divide between the Republican and the Solomon's forks of Kansasriver, crossing the heads of the tributaries of the later named fork for somedistance, then bearing a little northward, crossing the heads of Prairie Dog,Sappa and Cram[n?]mer creeks, tributaries of the Republican, and striking thatriver near the mouth of Rock creek, between longitude 101 and 102 degrees; itthen follows the south side of the Republican to a point near its source, thencestriking due west it crosses the heads of Beaver, Bijou and Kiowa creeks,tributaries of the Platte, passing through a beautiful pine country for sixtymiles, and striking Cherry creek twenty miles above its mouth.
"The whole length of the road is 687 miles by odometer measurement, but it willprobably be shortened 75 miles by cut-offs in various places-one veryconsiderable one at this end, terminating the road directly at the mouth ofCherry creek. The road throughout its whole length is good when broken andtraveled, but the coaches that have just arrived made the first track over it.Water is found at convenient intervals throughout the whole distance; alsoabundance of wood, except for about 150 miles along the Republican, where it issomewhat scarce. The road throughout its whole length is between latitude 39degrees 30 minutes and 40 degrees north."
76. Most accounts agree that there was a marked scarcity of timber along theRepublican and its tributaries, in extreme western Kansas and eastern Colorado.The shortage of water was not as serious, but was an additional drawback in thisregion. Both of these factors reflected upon the desirability of this route,since the older trail by way of the Platte, although longer, was far superior inthese respects. The whole problem will be treated in more detail later.
77. John M. Fox to John S. Jones, dated Denver City, May 8, 1859, in LeavenworthDailyTimes, May 21, 1859. Fox commented further on the suffering enduredby the emigrants who chose the Smoky Hill route, which was notably worse than thenew express road.
78. See the journal of C. F. Smith, quoted above. The problem of accuratelylocating these routes, particularly in extreme western Kansas and easternColorado, makes any categorical answer to this difficult. It does seem clear,however, that there were important variations in route, between the survey partyand the later group that located stations. Smith's accounts seem trustworthy, buthis return journey appears to have been more "lucky" as to wood and water, thanwere the trips of later travelers along the upper Republican.
79. On the trip west, Smith pointed out in his journal that wood was very scarce,and water not plentiful, from the head of the Republican to Denver. This road"proving impracticable," a different route was taken when the party returned,which proved much better. "The road from Denver City to this point [head of theRepublican] is a remarkably good one; wood and water is abundant all along theroute, and the soil hard and firm." The next day was the only one on this routein which the scarcity of wood and water was a serious objection. Smith laterpointed out "that the road adopted by the Express Company, from this point toDenver City, is the one we traveled on our return."
80. Dated Leavenworth, May 21, 1859, in the Leavenworth Daily Times, May24.
81. The route was clearly better than the Smoky Hill, upon which there was muchsuffering, and was decidedly shorter than the Platte, but lacked the"improvements" of this older road. One writer remarked: "The new route thus laidout via Republican Fork of Kansas river, seems to be a good one, according to thereport of the stage company, though about the same length as the old Ft. Kearnyand Arkansas routes, hilly and sandy on this end, and destitute of timber forfuel, for an equal distance with the others, or some 100 to 160 miles. I think itquite probable this express line will do a good thing in opening up this regionof the far west, but from present appearances, however, the company owning itwill not enrich themselves, at least not in the legitimate way of carrying mailmatter and passengers. "-Clarendon Davisson, previously a reporter of the ChicagoPress and Tribune, and member of the Chicago company, dated Denver, May 9,from the Missouri Democrat of May 25, in Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush,pp. 347-349.
82. Frank A. Root and William Elsey Connelley, The Overland Stage toCalifornia [hereafter termed Overland Stage] (Topeka, 1901), p. 155. Overfifty coaches were reported to have been ordered, but after reading the articleby Edwin G. Burgum, entitled "The Concord Coach" (Colorado Magazine, v.XVI, pp. 173-180), one doubts that the number could have been that high. Frank A.Root says in the Overland Stage (pp. 153, 154): "1 saw all the coaches atLeavenworth a few days after their arrival in Kansas direct from the manufactoryin the 'Old Granite State.' They were brought up the Missouri river by steamboatand were unloaded on the levee, between Shawnee and Choctaw streets. These stageswere the first Concord coaches shipped to Kansas." Each coach was drawn by fourmules, which were regarded better than horses for the hard service on the plains,and of which about 800 were purchased for the line. The stations en route towhich these animals were distributed had a working force of 108 men-an aggregate"army" of men and animals that entailed an operating expense of about $1,000 aday.
83. Daily Journal of Commerce, April 13, 1859. From the startthis paper termed the whole venture pure humbug, apparently in order to retain asmuch of the overland business as possible for Kansas City, by way of the Santa Fetrail, and favored the "Kansas City Gold Hunters Express Transportation Company,"operated by the firm of Irwin, Porter & Co., which proposed to use thisroute. The "humbug" theme will be discussed in more detail later.
84. St. Joseph Gazette, clipped in the LeavenworthDaily Times, April 22, 1859.
"That a daily line of comfortable passenger vehicles can be put through is athorough impossibility. There may ultimately be a road established upon the lineindicated but this is an enterprise yet to be consummated . there are seriousdoubts of the practicability of this new route." As indicative of the extremerivalry between towns for the overland business, both the St. Joseph and KansasCity papers made misstatements of fact.
85. Weekly Kansas Herald, April 23, 1859. "On Sunday last six of thecoaches arrived. Two of them started out on Tuesday, two on Thursday, and twowill leave Saturday (today)." The remaining coaches were looked for everyday-upon their arrival, one would leave each day. They had already sold at least2,000 tickets, it was announced.
Two coaches will now leave daily, and the line being fairly under way, we ay bepermitted to toss up our hat and shout a viva!
Among the articles shipped by the Express Company yesterday, we noticed severalflasks of Quicksilver 86
83. Daily Journal of Commerce, April 13, 1859. From the start this papertermed the whole venture pure humbug, apparently in order to retain as much ofthe overland business as possible for Kansas City, by way of the Santa Fe trail,and favored the "Kansas City Gold Hunters Express Transportation Company,operated by the firm of Irwin, Porter & Co., which proposed to use thisroute. The "humbug" theme will be discussed in more detail later.
84. St. Joseph Gazette, clipped in the LeavenworthDaily Times, April 22, 1859.
"That a daily line of comfortable passenger vehicles can be put through is athorough impossibility. There may ultimately be a road established upon the lineindicated but this is an enterprise yet to be consummated . there are seriousdoubts of the practicability of this new route." As indicative of the extremerivalry between towns for the overland business, both the St. Joseph and KansasCity papers made misstatements of fact.
85. Weekly Kansas Herald, April 23, 1859. "On Sunday last six of thecoaches arrived. Two of them started out on Tuesday, two on Thursday, and twowill leave Saturday (today)." The remaining coaches were looked for everyday-upon their arrival, one would leave each day. They had already sold at least2,000 tickets, it was announced.
Two coaches will now leave daily, and the line being fairly under way, we ay bepermitted to toss up our hat and shout a viva!
Among the articles shipped by the Express Company yesterday, we noticed severalflasks of Quicksilver 86
86. Leavenworth Daily Times, April 19, 1859. The previous day this paperannounced that the first through train of the express company would leave thatafternoon for Denver, which carried, by authority of the Post Office Department,the through mail. Martin Fields was in charge of the forwarding ofcorrespondence. Later that same day a train of thirteen wagons left FortLeavenworth for Fort Riley, loaded with commissary and quartermaster's stores forthe force of cavalry that had been detailed to patrol the new route to the mines,in the interest of safety from Indian attack. '
87. Leavenworth Daily Times, April 19, 1859-an editorial review of thewhole enterprise.
88. Journal of C. F. Smith, quoted above-entry of March 27, 1859; letterby the same author, signed "S" and dated May 21, 1859, m theTimes, May 21,1859.
89. Smith's journal; Rocky Mountain News, May 14, 1859, quoted above; B.D. Williams to John S. Jones, dated Denver, May 9, 1859, in Leavenworth Herald,May 28, 1859. Because of the absence of any detailed narrative of this trip, itis difficult to construct a satisfactory account from the scattered comments ofthe participants. There were nine through passengers, from Leavenworth to Denver,and in addition, several company officials apparently boarded the coaches, alongthe route.
90. Journal of C. F. Smith, closing entry, dated April 23, 1859.
91. Account of Eubank and Downing, LeavenworthTimes, April 30, quotedabove; St. Louis Dispatch, dated April 29, of the New York DailyTribune, May 2, 1859.
92. John M. Fox to John S. Jones, dated Denver City, May 8, 1859, in LeavenworthDailyTimes, May 21, 1859. "That there is gold here, the dust which I sendwith this letter is sufficient evidence. As to the quantity, no man can form anyidea." Also Wm. Larimer, Jr., to John Larimer, dated Denver City, K. T., May 9 to12, 1859, and quoted in Larimer, Reminiscences (op. cit.), pp.174-175:
"Russell's train changes the whole face of matters here. They are locating inDenver City. Denver is all O. K. Since writing the above the Denver City Companymet and donated nine original interests to the Leavenworth & Pike's PeakExpress Company.
Wm. H. Russell now holds one original share in Denver City, so you see we are nowall right, if not before. . . Wm. H. Russell & Co. also owns two shares inthe Express Company and now two shares in Denver. This is fine: their moniedinfluence will make this now the certain point. . . The Express Company is goingright to work to building and so is everyone.
93. Quoted at length in the Leavenworth Daily Times, May 25, 1859.
94. Denver City and Auraria, The Commercial Emporium of the Pike's Peak GoldRegion in 1859, p. 10. This facsimile reproduction of the first directory ofDenver contains a good account of the early settlements along Cherry creek.
95. Leavenworth Daily Times, May 16, 1859. The committee of arrangementsincluded an executive committee, a committee on invitation, and a committee ondinner and toasts. TheTimes printed a detailed account of the meeting atthe Renick House, at which these tentative plans were drawn up. Cyrus F. Currierwas chairman of the committee of arrangements.
96. Ibid., May 18, which announced the make-up and order of the parade inhonor of the occasion. Col. A. J. Isacks was to act as president of thecelebration, and Gen. G. W. McLane, chief marshal.
97. Ibid., May 21, 1859.
98. Ibid.
99. Ibid., May 23. "Old Kickapoo" was one of the most famous pieces ofartillery that entered into the troubles of "Bleeding Kansas." Captured by Gen.A. W. Doniphan during the Mexican War, this cannon was taken by the Proslaveryparty from the arsenal at Liberty, to Weston, Mo., and later to Kickapoo,Leavenworth county, from whence it derived its name. The scandals associated withthe elections on the Lecompton constitution so aroused the Free-State men ofLeavenworth that they recruited a force, and removed the gun from its restingplace at Kickapoo (January 1858). It was taken to Lawrence, and deposited besidethe Free-State cannon at the Eldridge House; thereafter it came into possessionof the Leavenworth Turnverein. While being used to blow out the wreckage in aLeavenworth coal shaft, the cannon exploded, and was sold to a junk dealer. Itwas finally purchased by the Kansas State Historical Society (1884) and is stillon exhibition in the state museum at Topeka. (Account derived chiefly from amanuscript of H. C. Fields, MSS. division, Kansas State Historical Society,copied in Kansas Historical Collections, v. VII, pp. 350, 351.)
100. Leavenworth Weekly Herald, May 28, 1859.
101. Leavenworth Daily Times, May 22, 1859.

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