KanColl: The Kansas  Historical Quarterlies

Pike's Peak Express Companies
Part III -- The Platte Route

by George Root and Russell K. Hickman

November, 1945(Vol. 13 No. 8), pages 485 to 526.
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.


     THE Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Companywas founded by William H. Russell, John S. Jones and associates early in 1859 asa stage and express line to the Rocky Mountain gold region. Instead of using theold Oregon trail which followed the Platte river, a new and Shorter route wassurveyed from Leavenworth to Denver by way of the Solomon and Republican rivers.In April regular trips were inaugurated, thereby providing the first dependableService between the Missouri river and the Rockies. The new means oftransportation was received with enthusiasm by the people of the border and withStill greater appreciation by the miners near Pike's Peak, to whom it meant agreat reduction of time for travel across the plains and a much more Swift andreliable mail service. The Stage company had been in operation only three weeks,however, when the proprietors purchased the older line of John M. Hockaday, whoheld a government contract for transporting the mail to Salt Lake City via thePlatte river. This necessitated the abandonment of the Solomon and Republicanroute and opened a new chapter in the history of the Pike's Peak Express Company,the details of which are treated in this installment.

     The gold rush to California and the Mormonmigration to the valley of Great SaltLake brought increased demands for improved mail Service to these Westerncommunities. The first government contract for a regular overland mail Servicewas made in 1850 with Samuel H. Woodson of Independence, Mo., who was engaged toserve the route between that frontier outpost and Salt Lake City by way of theOregon trail. This service was none too good and in 1854 a contract for carryingthe overland mail was made with W. M. F. Magraw. Severe losses from Indianattacks forced him out of business in 1856. A Mormon firm, Hiram Kimball &Co., then took over until interrupted by the Mormon troubles of 1857. [215]



     By 1858 the mail lines from Independence, Mo.,to Salt Lake City and from thereto California had come to be regarded as one central route to the Pacific. Themonthly service then in effect did not satisfy the population of California andthe Postmaster General asked for bids for an improved service by this route.[216]

     In April, 1858, a new contract was made withJohn M. Hockaday of Independence, for a weekly mail from St. Joseph to Salt LakeCity by way of Forts Kearny and Laramie. For the route from Salt Lake City toPlacerville, Cal., a contract was made with George Chorpenning, a pioneer carrieron the western end of the line. [217] The service to Salt Lake was scheduled fortwenty-two days, in carriages or covered wagons drawn by four mules or horses, atan annual compensation of $190,000. The Postmaster General reserved the right todiscontinue the service, or to reduce it to semimonthly "whenever the necessitiesof the public and the condition of affairs in the Territory of Utah may notrequire it more frequently . . ." [218]

     When congress early in 1859 failed to pass thecustomary appropriation for the support of the Post Office department thePostmaster General felt obliged "to review the existing mail service of thecountry, with a view to its curtailment," and concluded that a diminished Serviceto Utah would be neither prejudicial to the contractor, nor harmful to thelessened needs of the military in that area. 219 This change was ordered, tobecome effective July 1, 1859. J. M. Hockaday and his associate, William Liggitmade it the occasion for a claim for damages against the government, allegingthat the reduction meant an increase, instead of a decrease in the cost ofoperation, with an impairment of credit and resources which finally involved themin "irretrievable ruin." [220]


     On May 11, 1859, Jones, Russell & Co. of theLeavenworth & Pike's PeakExpress Company purchased the contract and stock of the J. M. Hockaday stageline. Since this transfer has a very important bearing upon the later history ofthe Pike's Peak Express Company, a copy of the agreement follows:

     Memorandum of agreement between Jones, Russell & Co., and J. M. Hockaday andJ. M. Hockaday & Co., made this 11th day of May, 1859, at Leavenworth City,Kansas Territory, as follows:

     The said J. M. Hockaday & Co., sell to the saidJones, Russell & Co., his or their contract for carrying the mail from St.Joseph, Missouri, to Great Salt Lake City, to be turned over to them on the 15thinstant, on the following terms and conditions, to wit: First. A bonus of fiftythousand dollars, all mules, coaches, wagons, and harness, used for transportingfor the mail line, and all other things connected with the carrying of said mail,including the cost of all improvements at the stations en route, houses, corrals,farming utensils, land broken, &c., at any indefinite sum to be reached by avaluation, which the parties hereto may mutually agree upon hereafter, paid, andto be paid as follows: The said Hockaday & Co., receive, as part payment, thebalance due upon the present quarter from the 15th instant-being twenty-threethousand seven hundred and fifty dollars. Fifteen thousand dollars in anacceptance of Jones, Russell & Co., payable in New York, four months from the15th instant; thirty-six thousand two hundred and fifty dollars in cash, from the1st to the loth day of September, 1859, the balance in the acceptance of Jones,Russell & Co.,221 in three equal installments of four, eight, and twelvemonths, payable in New York; the second and third of which shall become due andpayable in eight and twelve months from the 15th instant; the first in fourmonths from the time of the ascertainment of the valuation to be hereafter made.Further, it is agreed between the parties hereto, that the said mail shall be runthrough Atchison, Kansas Territory, unless a change is ordered by the Post OfficeDepartment unsolicited. It is expressly agreed that any failure on the part ofJones, Russell & Co., after they take possession of the line, shall notdiminish the amount due as per contract on the 30th of June for said period. Thesaid Hockaday, and Hockaday & Co., both, or either of them, further agreethat they will, when called upon, execute any further assignment of said contractthat may be necessary, and agree that the name of J. M. Hockaday shall be used byJones, Russell & Co., in the execution of said contract, so far as the samemay be necessary in its performance, and no further; and the said John M.Hockaday further agrees to give his personal aid and influence to secure theinterests of Jones, Russell & Co., before Congress for an increasedcompensation for carrying said mail, so far as he can, with convenience to hisown business interests, the said Jones, Russell &Co.,


agrees to pay him a liberal compensation therefor in case of success. It isexpressly understood that the said J. M. Hockaday and J. M. Hockaday & Co.,sell, assign, and set over with said contract, all claim or claims in behalf ofthe same before Congress or the department.
Witness our hand and seals this 11th day of May, A. D. 1859, at Leavenworth City,Kansas Territory.
J. M. HOCKADAY & CO. [L. S.]
Witness: D. R. RISLEY
Witness as to W. H. Russell, Jos. ROBERSON. [222]

     The transaction was arranged by Luther R. Smootof the Leavenworth banking firmof Smoot & Russell and at the time was not made public. [223] It is probablethat it was undertaken at the request of Wm. H. Russell, of the "parent" firm ofRussell, Majors & Waddell, who had much to do with directing the finances ofthese companies and was himself Something of a "plunger." To execute theprovisions of this agreement, Smoot and John M. Hockaday were made assignees ofthe Hockaday firm, to hold the property in trust for Jones, Russell & Co.224During the summer of 1859 the Hockaday property was appraised and the "mules,coaches, stations, improvements, and supplies then on hand" were assessed at$94,000.225 This sum, with a bonus of $50,000, totalling $144,000, was paid byJones, Russell & Co. to the Hockaday firm in the period agreed upon. Theclaim of Hockaday for damages ensuing from a reduction of the service was notassumed by Jones, Russell & Co., but remained a claim of Hockaday &Ligget against the government (for which $40,000 was later appropriated fortheir relief). [226] Russell later asserted that his firm was entitled toadditional payment for continuing the weekly mail service, which they wereobliged to do because of the large quantity of mail. [227]


     Hockaday termed this transaction virtually a"forced sale"that in order toproperly stock the line he and his partner had been obliged to expend the sum of$394,000 and later to resort to their credit and the help of "confiding friends,"and that because of the curtailment of mail service to semimonthly, with theconsequent reduction of pay, and the "obvious increase of expense, they werewholly ruined in credit, and rendered unable to continue the service required."Realizing that they were "pecuniarily ruined" they consequently "were forced toSell out their contract, together with all their property, at a ruinoussacrifice, for $145,000,"-at least $100,000 less than it would have brought ifSuch curtailment had not been made. [228] When the matter was considered on thefloor of congress there was marked Sympathy for the firm. It had renderedsatisfactory service and was made to suffer because of a reduction of the postalServices owing to the failure of the usual congressional appropriation-a viewwhich was at least in a measure agreed to by President Buchanan. [229]

Just what did Jones & Russell obtain by this purchase, which required solarge an outlay? The government contract of John M. Hockaday for the mail routeto Salt Lake City was transferred to Hockaday & Smoot, assignees representingboth firms, for the remainder of the term ending November 30, 1860. [230] Eventhough


the Hockaday firm had rendered satisfactory service and had conveyed the mailswith "great regularity" it appears to have been quite poorly equipped. In theabsence of any inventory of property transferred or schedule of appraisement anexact judgment is impossible. Hockaday's estimate for a monthly Service, made in1857, included a total of seven stations, eighteen men, 92 mules and ten coaches,but it is very probable that these figures were considerably higher at the timeof the sale to Jones & Russell. [231] The most important thing gained bythese parties, however, was the mail contract to Salt Lake City, which definitelyplaced this firm in the overland mail business by way of the Central route.


     According to the original Hockaday contract fortransporting the mail to Utah(Route No. 8911), Service was to be "from Saint Joseph, Mo., by Fort Kearney,Neb. Ter., and Fort Laramie, to Salt Lake City, Utah Ter., and back, once a week,in twenty-two days, each way, at $190,000 per annum, the service to be performedin carriages or covered wagons, drawn by four mules or horses." [232] These termsno doubt obliged Jones and Russell to adopt a road by way of the Platte,regardless of their earlier preference for the shorter route by the Solomon andbranches of the Republican. Alexander Majors of the firm of Russell, Majors &Waddell termed the Fort Kearny route the best natural road on the continent andbelieved it the best in the world. [233] Lt. G. K. Warren, U. S. topographicalengineer, in his official report to the Secretary of War, asserted: "Of all thevalleys of rivers running into the Missouri, that of the Platte furnishes thebest route for any kind of a road leading to the interior, and the best point ofstarting is Omaha City." [234] In


adopting this route the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Company wassimply employing for mail, express and passenger purposes a road long used forfreighting by Russell, Majors & Waddell 235 The change was severelycriticized by E. D. Boyd, surveyor and describer of the earlier route, whoremarked:

     In my last I gave a description of the express route but I believe I did not makeany comments on it. I am sorry to say, it is disliked very much. Few aretraveling it now. Those that do come in by that route say water and grass arevery scarce. The Express Company, you are aware have abandoned it. Those who havetraveled it once say they will never do so again. How unfortunate that themiserable location the company made should drive people away from it andprejudice almost every one against any road which should be located near the samegeneral route. I am still satisfied that the most direct road can be made nearthis route, much shorter than the Express road, and with water, wood and grass asplenty as on that road. It would probably take some time to induce people totravel it however. The wrong cause is given by many, for the Express leaving theroad. If it had not been for Russell's connection with the Salt Lake mail,perhaps the change would never have been made.[236]

     The task of shifting equipment, moveablesupplies and stock to the new route required added work and further expenseduring the


Summer of 1859. In this work Beverly D. Williams appears to have played aleadingrole, as he had in establishing the initial route. [237] Unfortunately the press,particularly the Leavenworth papers, Seem to have been "duly instructed" toremain quiet concerning the change until arrangements had been completed, whenrepeated articles appeared in praise of the accomplishments of the firm. With themove to the Platte went the building of new stations at more convenientdistances, since those of the Hockaday line had been few and far between, and theconstruction of barns capable of accommodating several teams of mules, withnecessary provender and supplies. When moveable, the supplies and equipment ofthe stations on the old route were probably transferred to the new road,238 whichresulted in a very considerable increase in Stock, etc., on the Platte route. Hockaday and Liggit alleged that their loss was entirely a "consequence of thecurtailment of service" from weekly to Semimonthly and submitted a considerablenumber of affidavits testifying to the large increase of Stock, concerning whichthe minority report of the congressional committee concluded there "is everyreason to believe . . . was for passenger accommodation," 239 and not for otherpurposes.

     Before arrangements had been completed, serviceby way of the Platte was begun,to conform With contractual requirements. In its issue of June 25 the LeavenworthWeekly Herald remarked that "Jones and Russell have now their Express route fullyestablished -the different Stations are located and well stocked." The firstcoach by way of the Platte left Leavenworth July 2, before the improvements onthe new route had been completed, and arrived in Denver early in the morning ofJuly 9, 1859. An account of this first trip follows:


Denver City, July 9, 1859.

     EDITOR of THE TIMES: Through your columns we wishto make favorable mention of the Express Company of Messrs. Jones & Russell.We left Leavenworth on Saturday morning at 10, A. M., 2d inst., and were landedhere this morning at 7, A. M., making the entire trip in six days and twenty-onehours. The appointments of the route far exceeded our expectations, and whenevery arrangement that they have now under way is completed, there will be thrownopen to the public one of the best, if not the best, stage routes in the world.The stations will be from twenty to thirty miles apart, and each station amplysupplied with first class stock, and at convenient points. There are establishedgood eating houses-some of which throw many brag Eastern Houses in the shade; wehave had served up to us almost all kinds of vegetables, and plenty of buffalo,antelope and other wild game-all in abundance.
We make this statement to correct, as far as possible, an erroneous opinion thatprevails, that the company cannot and will not be able to carry out theiradvertised time and advantages.
The coach on which we came was the first one on the Platte Route, andconsequently was subject to more than ordinary delay. By a computation Of ourown, we are able to say that twenty-eight hours were lost at the differentstations in getting up the mules and arranging for the travel which is ready togo on to the line. This time and what will be saved by having station routes,will, without doubt, shorten the time to considerably less than six days from andto Leavenworth.

     Although the express coaches operated withconsiderable regularitymisunderstandings arose during the first weeks which delayed the arrival of bothgold and mail and caused Some dissatisfaction. The coach from Denver was broughtto the junction on the South Platte to meet the overland mail from Salt LakeCity, the conductors of which do not seem to have been advised of the newarrangement, and refused to receive either passengers or letters .241 Shipmentsof gold could not be dispatched unless in the care of a special messenger who inseveral instances was not on hand .242 After some


weeks these troubles were ironed out and the removal to the Platte did notablyshorten the time required for the trip to Denver which was now regularlycompleted in seven days or less. [243] Since it was necessary to take theoverland mail to St. Joseph, the terminal as fixed by government contract, themail coaches commonly returned by way of Atchison and arrived at Leavenworthlater. Even though the Post Office department had ordered a reduction of the SaltLake mail departures to semimonthly, Jones & Russell continued a weeklyservice. [244] Since the Hockaday transfer did not affect the mail to Denver, theexpress company continued its twenty-five cent fee on each letter to that city,causing some dissatisfaction, but the improved Service tended to allay passionson this score. A Denver paper remarked:

     The L. and P. P. is winning golden opinions. Stages now make the regular trips inlittle over six days carrying mails with unfailing regularity and puttingpassengers through with more comfort, and giving better and more regular mealsthan can be obtained on any stage route in the Western States. The fact is, thisexpress company is about the only link that binds us to the states. Long may itprosper! [245]


     During August, 1859, the LeavenworthTimes published several articles in praiseof the achievements of Jones & Russell in establishing their new stageline:

     Before all, a tribute of praise to the deserving. Not more than six weeks haveelapsed since Messrs. Russell, Jones & Co. commenced transferring theirexpress line from the Central to the Northern route, and with the incredibleobstacles to the contrary, notwithstanding, their immense stage route is alreadyin as perfect a working order as the oldest lines of the East. The writer arrivedhere [Denver] from Leavenworth-a distance of six hundredand


eighty miles-in eight days, and yet he enjoyed rest for three whole nights, andfrom four to five hours during each of the remaining ones.
At each of the express stations, with the exception of the division from theSouth Platte crossing to Denver City, comfortable buildings have been erected forthe ease and comfort of passengers, and at most of the layover stations, the fareis as good as can be found anywhere west of the Big Blue. From the South Plattecrossing to Denver, efforts are perceptible, at each of the points selected forstations, to erect permanent improvements, in the shape of sod-houses, muleguards, stables, &c., and in less than a month everything will be ascomfortable on the lower as on the upper end of the route; and in a year fromnow, a ride from Leavenworth to Cherry Creek will be a pleasant excursion.[246]

     About a week earlier the same paper had praisedthe express company and the newroute, which it termed "so well established, and the time made on it sounparalleled, that its Superior claims over every other route are universallyacknowledged." Jones and Russell had established stations at regular intervals oftwenty-five miles which were well prepared to take care of the traveler.

     If he loses his team he can easily secure a conveyance, either to or from themines, and if he gets out of supplies, his stock can be easily replenished. Thegreat pioneer world is under a load of indebtedness to the gentlemen who havethus provided against the liabilities and dangers to which emigrants aresubjected in their march across the Great Plains.
Every station is a seeming Oasis-a link in the great chain of civilization, thateven now stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific. [247]

     There is no doubt that these accounts, althoughbased on the truth, were in partnewspaper puffs to encourage the business of the company. About a year after thisRichard F. Burton, the famous African explorer, crossed the plains to Salt LakeCity by this same stage line, then operating as the Central Overland Californiaand Pike's Peak Express. In his detailed Story, The City of the Saints, he toldof many stations which were far from praiseworthy and of only a few which meritedhis unqualified approval. [246]

     When the overland stage was operating toCalifornia under the


ownership of Ben Holladay, Frank A. Root served as messenger on the "run" fromAtchison to Denver, Colo., starting his first trip January 23, 1863. Hisdescription of the stations along the line is probably the best accountextant:

     There was a remarkable similarity in many of the stations built along the Platteon the stage route for a distance of at least 250 miles when the line was putinto operation. Most of the buildings were erected by the stage company, andusually they were nearly square, one-story, hewn, cedar-log structures, of one tothree rooms. When constructed with only one room, often partitions of muslin wereused to separate the kitchen from the dining-room and sleeping apartments.
The roof was supported by a log placed across from gable to gable, by which poleswere supported for rafters placed as close as they could be put together, side byside. On these were placed some willows, then a layer of hay was spread, and thiswas covered with earth or sod; and, lastly, a sprinkling of coarse gravel coveredall, to keep the earth from being blown off. The logs of which most of the firststations were constructed were procured in the canons south of the Platte, in thevicinity of Cottonwood Springs, in the southern part of western Nebraska.
Nearly all the "swing" stations along the Platte-in fact, over the entireline-were similar in construction and closely resembled one another. A number ofthe "home" stations, however, differed somewhat in several respects, being two orthree times larger, and provided with sheds, outbuildings, and a number of otherconveniences.

     The station, stable and outbuildings at oldJulesburg [249] were built when thatwas the point where the through coaches forded the South Platte for Salt Lake andCalifornia, going up the Rocky Ridge road along Lodge Pole creek. Besides beingthe point where the stages on the main line crossed the Platte, it also became animportant junction for upwards of four years. Here the branch line, theLeavenworth and Pike's Peak Express, started by Jones, Russell & Co., andsubsequently absorbed by the Central Company, and known as the "Central OverlandCalifornia and Pike's Peak Express Company," ran their stages up the South Forkof the Platte for 200 miles beyond to Denver.

     At Julesburg-in early staging days one of themost important points along thePlatte-were erected the largest buildings of the kind between Fort Kearney andDenver. They were built of cedar logs, hauled from near Cottonwood Springs byoxen, a distance of 105 miles.

     Most of the stations east of Denver for about ahundred miles were constructed ofrough lumber hauled from the mountains down the Platte valley. The buildings weredecidedly plain, the boards being of native Colorado pine, nailed on the frameperpendicularly. Only a few of the stations west of the Big Blue river atMarysville were weatherboarded. With this exception, all were plain logstructures between the latter point and Fort Kearney. A sta-


tion on the line where there was no family living-only a stock tender-was calleda "swing" station.
The first sod buildings seen on the line were at Fort Kearney, a few having beenerected in pioneer overland freighting, pony express and staging days. Thepost-office, build of sod-also used as the first telegraph office at the fort-although small, was in the early '60's one of the most prominent of the fewbuildings of that character between the Missouri river and the Rockies. [250]

     In another account the same author describes theeating stations on the overlandstage line. This narrative is probably also somewhat later in time than thePike's Peak Express companies, after improvements had been installed.

     There were about twenty-five eating stations on the line, among which may bementioned Kennekuk, Seneca, Guittard's, Big Sandy, Kiowa, Liberty Farm,Thirty-two Mile Creek, Ft. Kearney, Plum Creek, Midway, Cottonwood Springs,Alkali Lake, Julesburg, Spring Hill, Valley Station, Beaver Creek, Fremont'sOrchard, Latham, Big Bend, etc. [251] The more important stations fed passengersboth ways, and the others getting a load of them going west would almostinvariably lose the coach load going east. Passengers took their meals regularlytwice and sometimes three times a day according to the reputation of the houseand the hour the stage reached it. Leaving Atchison [the later terminal] in themorning they dined with Mrs. Perry, at Kennekuk, and supped at Seneca, with JohnE. Smith, whose better half enjoyed the reputation of keeping the cleanest houseof anybody on the whole line. It was eighty-five miles out to Guittard's, andwhen the mails did not reach us at Atchison till after dinner we would reachGuittard's the next morning for breakfast. Going east passengers seldom passed bythe house of this Frenchman. He kept one of the best ranches on the whole lineand he was known along the overland from Atchison to California by stagepassengers and freighters as well as the "Delmonico" is in New York. His was thefavorite stopping place far all passengers on the overland, and thousands offreighters and pilgrims hardly ever passed, going east or west without sittingdown to the hospitable table that made this ranch so famous. [252]
Miss Lizzie Trout, at Midway station, could get up a first-class meal thequickest of any person on the line. It was remarkable to get such good fare as weused to have on the plains. The most of the stations were well kept and the farewas good, while a few were miserable apologies. Leaving the Big Blue it wasalmost impossible to get butter at any station, but we had plenty of beans,bacon, hominy and sorghum, especially after reaching the Platte Valley, with agood supply of buffalo steaks and antelope. Dried applepies


were a standing luxury on the Platte, and one of the passengers, who had been[on] a couple of dozen trips, said it was "apple pie from Genesis to Revelationalong the Platte. [253

     The Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Companywas censured by the RockyMountain News for continuing after the Hockaday transfer its usual fee oftwenty-five cents for each letter transported in addition to the regular postage.[254] This criticism, along with that occasioned by the delay of delivery whilethe routes were changed, probably was influential in inducing John S. Jones,general superintendent of the stage line, to visit the new mining region. Heplanned certain changes, including a reduction in the frequency of trips, sincethe income was too little for the capital outlay. He announced that with hisreturn to Leavenworth the tri-weekly service would be reduced to a weekly tripduring the winter months (1859-1860). [255]

     Mr. John S. Jones, the long expected General Superintendent of the ExpressCompany, made his advent in this place at an early hour on Monday morning last.The interest of the Company in this country is so vast that the presence of oneof its members cannot fail to produce a salutary effect, and infuse increasedvigor into the various branches of their immense business. With his usual energy,Mr. Jones proceeded at once to carry out the many reformatory measures that hadcaused his journey to the gold regions. I learn that be proposes to erect anadditional ware-house in this place, and one in Auraria [probably for thefreighting firm of Jones & Cartwright] ; also, to establish numerous branchesin the various mining districts. . . . They start this afternoon for Golden Cityand the Gregory Diggings.
I am also apprised that some changes will be made in the "personnel" of theoffice at this point, caused partly by "resignation," and partly byremoval. [256]


     To promote the business of the express companyand the freighting firm of Jonesand Cartwright which also served the Pike's Peak region, Jones made a tour of themines.

     I made my trip with Mr. John L[S]. Jones, the indefatigable GeneralSuperintendent of the Express Company. Mr. Jones very freely owned, that what hesaw not only came to, but quite exceeded his expectations.He is confident that the heavy monetary interest he has in this country, isperfectly safe. . . . Mr. Jones was everywhere cordially and hospitably receivedby the mining communities, and was eminently successful in reestablishing aperfect understanding and good feelings generally, between the miners and theExpress Company. . . [257]

     At a public meeting in Denver the citizenstendered Jones a vote of thanks forthe sacrifices made by himself and associates in their behalf, thereby placingtheir seal of approval on the work of the express company. [258]


     The good reputation enjoyed by the Pike's PeakExpress companies in the Rocky Mountain region was no doubt due in considerablemeasure to the dependable mail service which was inaugurated by the Leavenworthand Pike's Peak Express in 1859 and continued by the Central Overland Californiaand Pike's Peak Express Company in 1860 and 1861. Perhaps the best account ofthis is found in the Reminiscences of William Larimer, who was employed asan assistant of Martin Field and Judge Amos Steck, the first postmasters ofDenver.

     When the coaches would arrive with the express, we would close the office whilesorting the mail. This would take an hour or more as the mails were heavy. Whilethis was going on, long lines of people were gathering and usually by the time wewere ready to begin the distribution there would be two lines formed around theblock. Each person had to take his turn, though any individual was allowed toinquire for his party or family. This sometimes made trouble, as some man who hadmoney and did not want to go to the rear of the line would give two or threedollars to some fellow, who was closer to the window, for his turn. I could oftensee these trades made from the window. Up to that time we had no private boxes,so all the mail


went to the general delivery, and necessarily so, since collection was made forthe transportation at time of delivery.
     The post office was usually the first placeimmigrants inquired for. They soonfound that it cost 25 cents for a letter; then it was that they could distinguishthe difference between mail and express. There was no mail opened on the road, ofcourse. The average time consumed in traveling across the plains was about thirtydays: the stage made it in about six. This naturally led travelers to expect tohear from home immediately on arrival. As everybody came to the post office whereI was the clerk, I had a fine opportunity of getting acquainted with every newarrival.     Our office was often the place of amusingincidents. Our patrons were continuallytrying to play smart tricks on us. Frequently they would return letters anddemand the return of the money. At first we did not see the trick. A letter thatwas not worth 25 cents to them after they had learned its contents was almostsure to be brought back with the claim that it was not their letter but was forsomeone else of the same name. We at first assumed everybody to be honest, andconscientiously desiring that the right person should have his mail, we wouldrefund the money. But it was not long before we discovered that we were payingout almost as much money as we were taking in and were loaded down with lettersmarked "Opened by mistake." We saw the necessity of changing our methods of doingbusiness; so, in case of doubt, when mail was called for, after questioningwhence they expected mail we satisfied ourselves (in case, as a last resort, aletter had to be opened to prove its identity) by opening it ourselves at thesupposed owner's request. I remember, on one occasion, of opening a letter: theapplicant requested me to read a little of it, in that way he could tell. I didso. It commenced by saying: "Your wife has been raising hell ever since youleft." The man said: "Hold on, I think that is my letter," took it and paid forit and disappeared into the crowd which was constantly hanging around the window.Another case of about the same character was a letter from some point in Iowa. Itcommenced by saying: "Your brother was hung for horse stealing. . . ." He alsotook his letter and paid for it without any farther public reading.
     Martin Fields the first postmaster was succeeded byJudge Amos Steck who remained in charge of the mail department of the ExpressCompany until the Federal Government established its own mail service. Fields wasafterwards a pioneer mail agent on the Hannibal & St. Joe Railroad and waskilled, during the war, with many others at Platte River bridge near St. Joe. . .. Judge Steck's tenure of office began when the Pikes Peak Express, afteroperating for only a short time, was purchased by Messrs John S. Jones, and thefirm of Russell, Majors & Waddell. They reorganized it under the name of theC. 0. C. & P. P. Express and placed him in charge of the Denver City end.General Hall's tribute to Judge Steck in his History of Colorado (p. 214) is avery deserved one and I cannot do better than to repeat his words:
"A more accommodating or efficient agent could not have been named. Possessed ofa remarkably retentive memory for names, faces and events, it was the work of aninstant for him to answer any inquiry that might be made. No matter how complex,strange or unpronounceable the name of the applicant, if there was or was not aletter for him, Steck knew it without ex


amining the boxes. If a man applied at any time thereafter, even after a lapse ofa year, Steck recognized him immediately, and called him by name. He rarely madea mistake. His efficiency and his breezy welcomes became the subject of currenttalk all over the land. To this day the pioneers at their annual or periodicalgatherings take infinite pride in relating their experiences at the office of theC.O.C. & P P. Express." [259]

     Only slightly less in importance to the futureof the Pike's Peak region were the shipments of gold by the express company Whichbecame much more Substantial by the late summer and fall of 1859. Up to this timesmall amounts ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in value hadbeen received-now almost every stage brought a larger quantity of gold dust. Thechange of route delayed this movement and apparently diverted some gold to Omaha,but in a few weeks Leavenworth regained its popularity. The shipments Werequickly publicized in the Leavenworth papers, probably to promote the Pike's Peaktrade. [260] During the month of August the volume of shipments greatlyincreased. The express of August 9 brought three passengers and $1,800 in dust.The St. Joseph Weekly West of August 20 reported the receipt by theexpress company at Leavenworth of $3,726 from the Philadelphia mint, Said to havebeen the first Pike's Peak gold coin. The express that arrived in LeavenworthAugust 22 reported rich findings in the Medicine Bow mountains and greatexcitement concerning the discoveries about the headwaters of the South Platte.[261] A few days later an express arrived after an eight-day trip from Denverwith six passengers and $16,000 in gold ($4,000 to Smoot, Russell & Co. and$12,000 in the hands of the passengers). [262] The Herald of Sep


tember 3 announced the arrival of an express with $8,370 and remarked: "Pike'sPeak is no humbug. Millions of dollars of gold will be taken out of the minesnext season. A great many crushing machines are now on their way Out." [263] Anadvertisement of the Pike's Peak Express Company of about this timeannounced:

Jones, Russell & Co's

When coaches are full of passengers.
No coach will leave except on Tuesdays,
unless there are six passengers.
If there are passengers enough to justify.
Extra Baggage will be charged Express Rates.
Superintendent [264]
je 21-dtf

     On September 12, 1859, a coach arrived atLeavenworth after a six-day trip fromDenver with $9,000 in gold addressed to eleven consignees, of which the firms ofJones & Cartwright and Jones, Russell & Co., received the majorportions. [265] The express of September 23 carried over $32,000 and sixpassengers who were "handsomely provided with a round Supply of the dust,"prompting a comment in the next day's Times: "Though this is the largest Shipmentof gold yet made, it is merely a foreshadowing of what is to come." [266]

On the last day of September two expresses arrived from the mountains. Themorning coach carried seven passengers and approximately $32,000, the latter inthe care of Jarrett Todd as messenger; [267] the afternoon coach an additionalsum of nearly $12,000 and four passengers. [268] The coach that arrived October6, 1859;


brought six passengers who carried the record-breaking sum of 0,000, but thesickness of the regular messenger prevented the dispatch of gold by thecompany. [269] Among the passengers arriving on the express of October 14 wasGeneral Larimer, who joined in another manifesto of praise to the Leavenworth& Pike's Peak Express on both the Colorado and overland lines:

     The above routes are well stocked with first class mules and new Concord coachesthroughout the entire lines, with good stations as a general thing. In a fewplaces the Company are rapidly changing, intending to have the line shortly inperfect order. Both lines come more than up to their advertised time, whichallows the passengers ample time to rest by the way. On our recent trip we wereaccompanied by J. Armor, Esq., the gentlemanly agent of the Company, with GeorgeSpeer, Express agent from Denver City to the Crossing [of the Platte], andCharles Wylder from the Crossing to Leavenworth City. . . [270]

     By late October many were leaving the mines toescape the approaching cold.Atchison reported a great influx of the "hardy miners from the land of gold," allof whom were said to be boasting of both health and the precious dust. [271]During the fall and early winter the express coaches carried a number of thesereturning pilgrims with substantial sums of gold, many of whom planned to returnin the spring. [272] This tendency for the movement to be largely a seasonalone-way traffic appears to have reduced the chance of income for the expresscompany, since the emigrant tide was westward in the Spring and Summer andeastward in the fall and early winter.

     The express that arrived November 17 reportedhaving encountered a severe stormsome 150 miles below Denver, with temperatures near zero, causing considerablesuffering by the passengers and delay in arriving at Leavenworth. Among thosemaking this trip were the famous newspaper correspondent, A. D. Richardson, andBeverly D, Williams, the latter formerly with the express company and thendelegate-elect to congress from the provi


sional territory of Jefferson. [273] Williams was on a trip to Washington byway of his former home at Danville, Ky. He reported the organization of aprovisional territory, the election of an acting governor (Robert W. Steele), anda legislature then in session. [274] On December 2 two expresses arrived-thefirst early in the morning with $25,000 in dust and an additional $15,000 in thehands of the passengers, among whom was Wm. P. McClure, a member of thelegislature of the territory of Jefferson. The party had encountered three severestorms en route and had suffered from exposure. [275] An afternoon coach broughtfive passengers and an additional $10,000.276 The express of December 8 broughtover $8,000 in treasure, plus a large sum in the hands of the passengers, andreported that November had been the banner month for gold.

     Among the travelers now en route from Denver to Leavenworth are two ladies. Theymust have suffered no little inconvenience in being on the open prairie, withseldom anything but bois de buffalo to burn, with the mercury below zero,as it has been most of the time since the 29th of November.
At Rock Creek, I learned that one of the drivers of the Express froze his fingerson the 1st ult. At the Express Station on the same creek, I observed the mercuryat 15° below zero. Most of the Express Stations are well built, warm, andprovided with all that is necessary for health and comfort. They are almostinvariably provided with a cow, and good shelter for live stock.[277]

     Clay Thompson, messenger on a Denver Cityexpress arriving in Leavenworth late in December with some $11,000 in treasure,told a like story of suffering by the employees, but praised the company for itspart.

     Notwithstanding the cold and snow Mr. T. made the trip in less than eight days;this speaks well for his efficiency as a messenger, and reflects much credit uponthe company for general good management. They now employ three well qualifiedmessengers, who never fail to bring their coaches through


in time, all safe. But a few years ago a trip across the plains at thisseason, was considered a most difficult and dangerous undertaking; calling for agreat outlay of time and expense; under the enterprise of Messrs. Jones, Russell& Co., and their assistants, it is performed in one week, and whatever may bethe expense, safety is always secured to passengers and property. [278]

     The following message of W. B. Majors, whoarrived on the Utah mail coach at thesame time as Thompson, indicates that the employees on the overland route alsoendured much privation during the Winter of 1859-1860.

     The snow in the Rocky Mountains is very deep. . . . Nearly all the mail carriersfrom Fort Bridger west, had been more or less frost bitten, and one, Mr. R. P.West, had his feet frozen so badly that one foot will have to be amputated. Asyet the mail has not failed, and if there is no delay between here and FortLaramie the mail will go through without fail.
Mr. Majors informs us that the snow between the South Pass & Strawberry Creekwould average about ten feet, & he experienced much difficulty from his mulesgetting into the deep snow. [279]

     The coaches of early 1860 brought news ofpolitical activities in the new territory of Jefferson. [280] C. W. Wiley,messenger on the coach arriving February 2, 1860, reported encountering a severeStorm on the Big Blue, and said that in the absence of a ferry they had beenforced to cross by swimming the mules and coach. [281]

     The arrival and departure of a coach was alwaysof interest to the general public, as is evinced in the following item from theLeavenworth Daily Times, January 4, 1860:

     When the Express arrives in the day time, a crowd always gathers about theExpress office to learn the news. The Pike's Peak Express is different from anyother Express extant. There is a great profusion of buffalo robes andblankets-all the passengers are almost smothered with fixings to keepout


the cold. There is not a bit of crinoline about the coach-nothing but long-bearded, rough-looking men. After the usual shaking of hands, the crowd begin tolook for the unloading of the bag of "dust," which is always the first thingunloaded. The crowd must, one by one, "heft" the sack, to judge the number ofdollars worth of dust that it contains. Then commences the unloading of thecoach, which consists of buffalo robes and blankets almost without number, partof a sack of crackers, a bundle of dirty clothes, boots, caps, coats, shawls,leggings, books, novels and other conveniences too numerous to mention, arebrought out.

     On February 23, 1860, the last coach under theauspices of Jones and Russell's Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express left Denverfor Leavenworth, [282] bringing to a close the career of the pioneer expresscompany, which was now to be continued as the Central Overland California andPike's Peak Express Company ("C. O. C."), already chartered by the Kansaslegislature. In thus transporting to market the chief product of the Pike's Peakgold mines the company had performed a most significant function, second only inimportance to the transporting of passengers and carrying of mail to thesettlers. Cries of humbug still arose but they were quieted by the able reportsof Henry Villard [283] and others, in which the accounts released by the expresscompany played an important part.


     When the Pike's Peak Express was moved to thePlatte a route was laid out bearing to the northwest of Leavenworth and Atchisonacross northeastern Kansas to Fort Kearny, Nebraska territory. This road was verylargely the old California and Oregon trail, following the South side of thePlatte river which the stages crossed at the "Upper" crossing near the mouth ofLodge Pole creek, long known as Julesburg. The stage for Denver here turned tothe South and ascended the South Platte while those of the overland mail for SaltLake and California crossed to the North Fork (later omitted) and then followedthis Stream to its headwaters. The route then followed the valley of theSweetwater, crossed the continental divide at South Pass, and followed the Greenriver into Utah. After leaving Salt Lake City it wound through difficult mountainand


desert country to Carson Valley, Placerville, Cal., and finally to the westernterminus at Sacramento. [284]

     One of the first itineraries of the route toDenver, as it existed early in 1860 after Jones & Russell had establishedtheir Stage line, appeared in a Pike's Peak guidebook written by Samuel AdamsDrake, entitled Hints and Information For the Use of Emigrants to Pike'sPeak. This was clearly in the interest of Leavenworth as a port ofembarkation, and the Pike's Peak Express Company as a means of travel to theWest. [285] This publication was issued at about the same time as theincorporation of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Companyand the Pony Express (February, 1860), and appears to have been intended topromote these organizations, the parent firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell,and the business of Leavenworth. Excerpts from it follow:


     The emigrant, on arriving at Leavenworth, has a choice of all the routes whichlead from the Missouri to the Gold Region; no matter which of these he maydetermine to adopt, either may be taken with equal facility and without loss oftime. But his attention is particularly directed to the GREAT MILITARY ROAD FROMLEAVENWORTH, which is subject to but few of the objections urged against allothers. This road, projected and constructed from Fort Leavenworth to Utah andCalifornia, has a cordon of military posts along its whole extent, which the tideof travel that continues to flow over it, is fast merging into importantsettlements, rendering it perfectly safe from any depredations by Indians,besides affording supplies much needed by the traveller. On the other hand, theArkansas or Santa Fe route, is notoriously unsafe for travellers. Its entirelength is subject to hostile incursions from the most formidable and warliketribes on the continent, and during the fall and winter just passed, the Indianshave been in undisputed possession of the route. The mails have been plunderedand the passengers massacred in cold blood, and


nothing less than an effectual chastisement of the Indians and constantpatrolling by cavalry can render it available for travel.
THE GREAT MILITARY ROAD, (sometimes called the Platte route), is also thattraversed by the Pike's Peak Express Company, who convey the mails and passengersto Denver City in seven days, and have frequently performed the journey in evenless time. This company also carries the mail to Utah. They have 24 stationsbetween Leavenworth and Denver City, where good meals can be obtained, and theentire distance as given by the viometre, which measures all the inequalities ofsurface, is 665 miles. This distance will soon be shortened fully sixty miles, byimprovements to be made in the road between Denver City and the crossing of thePlatte. We here append a table of distances by this route, the accuracy of whichmay be relied on.


[11 Leavenworth station
[21 Armors26
[3l Kinnekuk45
[4] Lochnane's [Log Chain?]65
[51 Seneca83
[6l Guittard's110
[71 Cottonwood [Hollenberg, near the Kansas line]134
[81 Rock Creek154
[91 Big Sandy174
[101 Kiowa Station198
[111 Liberty Farm222
[12] 32 Mile Creek244
[131 Fort Kearny274
[141 17 Mile Station294
[151 Plum Creek310
[161 Cold Water333
[171 Cottonwood Springs367
[181 O'Fallon's Bluffs402
[191 Lower Crossing South Platte440
[20] Upper Crossing South Platte [Morrell's Crossing]467
[211 Lillian Springs497
[221 Beaver Creek547
[231 Fremont's Orchard578
[241 SVrain's Fort622
[251 Denver City665 miles

     From this announcement it is clear that Jonesand Russell had greatly increased the number of stations along the line overthose existing during the Hockaday regime. [287] This listing of mail sta


tions is much similar to that given in Allen's Guide Book for Route 5,from Leavenworth to Denver, which placed station 20 at Laramie crossing, not fardistant from "Goodale's Crossing," Which was at the forks of the Denver City andLodge Pole creek roads. [288] In later years the overland Stage line increasedthese stops, as is seen by the account in the Overland Stage, which listsfifty-one stations from Atchison (then the eastern terminal) to Denver, and 153from Atchison to Placerville, Cal., according to a Schedule of 1862. [289] FromFort Kearny west this "Central route" was to become very largely the line of theUnion Pacific railroad. The route through Kansas eventually included twelvestations as follows:

     One of the best accounts of a trip over thestage line, as it was in August,1860, was written by Richard F. Burton in his The City of the Saints, AndAcross the Rocky Mountains To California (1862), pp. 1-69. Burton had abrilliant background as an explorer in Africa and Arabia '290 and he minced nowords in his condemnation of many things he saw on the stage line of the CentralOverland California and Pike's Peak Express Company on the

AtchisonLaramie Creek
LancasterAsh Point
Log Chain (sometimes known asHollenberg


route to Salt Lake City and the Pacific coast. Burton seemed distinctlyunfriendly, perhaps because he could not appreciate the characteristic approachof the frontiersman, who looked into the future and pictured his hovelspalaces-to-be. Burton saw their wretchedness and moreover seemed to bear a grudgeagainst the express company, but his account may serve as a welcome antidote tothe "puffing" language of the press. Excerpts from his story follow, as far asthe point of divergence to Denver.



     A tour through the domains of Uncle Samuel without visiting, the wide regions ofthe Far West would be, to use a novel simile, like seeing Hamlet with the part ofPrince of Denmark, by desire, omitted. Moreover, I had long determined to add thelast new name to the list of "Holy Cities;" to visit the young rival, soi-disant,of Memphis, Benares, Jerusalem, Rome, Meccah. . . . Mingled with the wish ofprospecting the City of the Great Salt Lake in a spiritual point of view . . .was the mundane desire of enjoying a little skirmishing with the savages, . . .and that failing, of inspecting the line of route which Nature, according to thegeneral consensus of guide-books, has pointed out as the proper, indeed the onlypractical direction for a railway between the Atlantic and the Pacific.The mail coach on this line was established in 1850, by Colonel Samuel H.Woodson. . . . In May, 1859, it was taken up by the present firm [CentralOverland California & Pike's Peak Express Co., a subsidiary of Russell,Majors, & Waddell], Which expects, by securing the monopoly of the whole linebetween the Missouri River and San Francisco, and by canvassing at head quartersfor a biweekly . . . and even a daily transit, which shall constitutionallyextinguish the Mormon community, to insert the fine edge of that wedge which isto open an aperture for the Pacific Railroad about to be.
At Saint Joseph (Mo.), better known by the somewhat irreverent abbreviation ofSt. Jo, I was introduced to Mr. Alexander Majors, formerly one of the contractorsfor supplying the army in Utaha veteran mountaineer, familiar with life on theprairies. His meritorious efforts to reform the morals of the land have not yetput forth even the bud of promise. He forbade his drivers and employes to drink,gamble, curse, and travel on Sundays; he desired


them to peruse Bibles distributed to them gratis. . . . Results: I scarcely eversaw a sober driver; as for profanity . . . they would make the blush of shamecrimson the cheek of the old Isis bargee. . . The conductors and road-agents areof a class superior to the drivers. . . . I met one gentleman who owned to threemurders, [291] and another individual who lately attempted to ration the muleswith wild sage. The company was by no means rich; already the papers hadprognosticated a failure, in consequence of the government withdrawing itssupplies, and it seemed to have hit upon the happy expedient of badlyentreating travelers that good may come to it of our evils. The hours andhalting-places were equally vilely selected; for instance, at Forts Kearney,Laramie, and Bridger, the only points where supplies, comfort, society, areprocurable, a few minutes of grumbling delay were granted as a favor, and thepassengers were hurried on to some distant wretched ranch, apparently for thesole purpose of putting a few dollars into the station-master's pockets. Thetravel was unjustifiably slow, even in this land, Where progress is mostly onpaper. From St. Jo to Great Salt Lake City, the mails might easily be landedduring the fine weather, . . . in ten days; indeed, the agents have offered toplace them at Placerville in fifteen. Yet the schedule time being twenty-onedays, passengers Seldom reached their destination before the nineteenth; the solereason given was, that snow makes the road difficult in its season, and that ifpeople were accustomed to fast travel, and if letters were received underschedule time, they would look upon the boon as a right.
"The Prairie Traveler" [emigrant guide by Randolph B. Marcy], doles out wisdom inthese words: "Information concerning the route coming from strangers living orowning property near them, from agents of steam-boats and railways, or from otherpersons connected with transportation companies . . . should be re-


ceived with great caution, and never without corroboratory evidence fromdisinterested sources."
THE START-TUESDAY, 7TH AUGUST, 1860. Precisely at 8 A. M. appeared in front ofthe Patee House-the Fifth Avenue Hotel of St. Jo-the vehicle destined to be ourhome for the next three weeks. . . . [Description of the Concord coach followed].We ought to start at 8:30 A. M.; We are detained an hour While last words aresaid, and adieu-a long adieu,-is bidden to joke and julep, to ice and idleness.Our "plunder" is clapped on with little ceremony. . . . We try to stow away asmuch as possible; the minor officials, with all their little faults, are goodfellows, civil and obliging; they wink at non-payment for bedding, stores,weapons, and they rather encourage than otherwise the multiplication ofwhisky-kegs and cigar boxes.
We now drive through the dusty roads of St. Jo, the observed of all observers,and presently find ourselves in the steam ferry which is to convey us from theright to the left bank of the Missouri River. The "Big Muddy" . . . [is] thePlata of this region the great sewer of the prairies. . . . According toLieutenant [Gouverneur K.] Warren [of the U. S. Topographical Engineers] theMissouri is a superior river for navigation to any in the country, except theMississippi below their junction. .
Every where, except between the mouth of the Little Cheyenne and the Cannon Ballrivers, there is a sufficiency of fuel for navigation; but, ascending aboveCouncil Bluffs, the protection afforded by forest growth on the banks isconstantly diminishing.
Landing in Bleeding Kansas-she still bleeds-we fell at once into "EmigrationRoad," a great thoroughfare, broad and well worn as a European turnpike or aRoman military route, and undoubtedly the best and the longest natural highway inthe world. For five miles the line bisected a bottom formed by a bend in theriver, with about a mile's diameter at the neck. The scene was of a luxuriantvegetation. A deep tangled wood-rather a thicket or a jungle than a forest-ofoaks and elms, hickory, basswood, and black walnut, poplar and hackberry . .,box elder, and the common willow . . ., clad and festooned, bound and anchored bywild vines, creepers, and huge llianas, and Sheltering an undergrowth of whitealder and red sumach, whose pyramidal flowers were about to fall, rested upon abasis of deep black mire, Strongly suggestive of chills -fever and ague. After anhour of burning sun and sickly damp,

[Cottonwood Station, near Hanover, Kansas.]

     Erected in 1857 by George H. Hollenberg, this building was a mail station and stopping place for the Pony Express, stage coaches (see pages 517, 518), freighters and emigrants traveling the old Oregon trail. It was purchased by the state in 1942 and has been partially restored. Photograph through the courtesy of Leo E. Dieker, Hanover.

[stamped cover carried on first trip via the Platte route.]

This rare cover is owned by L. H. Barkhausen of Chicago. The copy was received
through the courtesy of Stanley B. Ashbrook of Fort Thomas, Ky.


the effects of the late storms, we emerged from the waste of vegetation, passedthrough a straggling "neck o' the woods," whose yellow inmates reminded me ofMississippian descriptions in the days gone by, and after Spanning some veryrough ground we bade adieu to the valley of the Missouri, and emerged upon theregion of the Grand Prairie.
Nothing, I may remark, is more monotonous, except perhaps the African and Indianjungle, than those prairie tracts, where the circle of which you are the centrehas but about a mile of radius; it is an ocean in which one loses sight of land.You see, as it were, the ends of the earth, . . . it wants the sublimity ofrepose so suggestive in the sandy deserts, and the perpetual motion so pleasingin the aspect of the Sea. No animals appeared in sight where, thirty years ago, aband of countless bisons dotted the plains.
These prairies are preparing to become the great grazing-grounds which shallSupply the unpopulated East with herds of civilized kine.
As we sped onward we soon made acquaintance with a traditionally familiarfeature, the "pitch holes," or "chuck-holes" which render traveling over theprairies at times a sore task. They are gullies and gutters . . . varying from 10to 50 feet in breadth, they are rivulets in spring and early Summer, andthey lie dry during the rest of the year.
Passing through a few wretched shanties called Troy-last insult to the memory ofhapless Pergamus-and Syracuse . . ., we made, at 3 P. M., Cold Springs, thejunction of the Leavenworth route. Having taken the northern road to avoid roughground and bad bridges, We arrived about two hours behind time. The aspect ofthings at Cold Springs, [292] where we were allowed an hour's halt to dine and tochange mules, somewhat dismayed our fine-weather prairie travelers. The scene wasthe real "Far West." The widow body to whom the shanty belonged lay sick withfever. The aspect of her family was a "caution to snakes:" the ill-conditionedsons dawdled about, listless as Indians, in skin tunics and pantaloons fringedwith lengthy tags such as the redoubtable "Billy Bowlegs"


wears on tobacco labels; and the daughters, tall young women, whose sole attirewas apparently a calico morning-wrapper, color invisible, waited upon us in aprotesting way. Squalor and misery were imprinted upon the wretched log hut,which ignored the duster and the broom, and myriads of flies disputed with us adinner consisting of doughnuts, green and poisonous with saleratus, suspiciouseggs in a massive greasy fritter, and rusty bacon intolerably fat.
It was our first sight of squatter life and, except in two cases, it was ourworst. We could not grudge 50 cents a head to these unhappies; at the same time,we thought it a dear price to pay-the sequel disabused us-for flies and badbread, worse eggs and bacon.
The next settlement, Valley Home, [293] was reached at 6 P. M. Here the long waveof the ocean land broke into shorter seas. . . . A well 10 to 12 feet deepsupplied excellent water. The ground was in places so far reclaimed as to bedivided off by posts and rails; the scanty crops of corn (Indian corn), however,were wilted and withered by the drought, which this year had been unusually long.Without changing mules we advanced to Kennekuk, [294] where we halted for anhour's supper under the auspices of Major Baldwin, whilom Indian agent; the placewas clean, and contained at least one charming face. Kennekuk derives its namefrom a chief of the Kickapoos, in whose reservation we now are. This tribe . . .are still in the neighborhood of their dreaded foes, the Sacs and Foxes.
They cultivate the soil and rarely spend the winter in hunting buffalo upon theplains. Their reservation is twelve miles by twenty-four; as usual withland set apart for the savages, it is well watered and timbered, rich andfertile, it lies across the path and in the vicinity of civilization,consequently, the people are greatly demoralized. The men are addicted tointoxication, and the women to unchastity; both sexes and all ages are inveteratebeggars, whose principal industry is horse-stealing. . . . They have well-nighcast off the Indian and rejoice in the splendors of boiled attire, a ruffledshirts, after the fashion of the whites.


     Beyond Kennekuk we crossed the first Grasshopper Creek. [295]
On our line there are many grasshopper creeks; they anastomose with, or debouchinto, the KanSas River. . This particular Grasshopper was dry and dusty up to theankles; timber clothed the banks, and slabs of sandstone cumbered the sole. Ournext obstacle was the Walnut Creek, which we found, however, provided with acorduroy bridge; formerly it was a dangerous ford and then crossed by means ofthe "bouco" or coracle, two hides Sewed together, distended like a leather tubwith willow rods, and poled or paddled. At this point the country is unusuallywell populated; a house appears after every mile. Beyond Walnut Creek, [296] adense nimbus, rising ghost-like from the northern horizon, furnished us with aspectacle of those perilous prairie storms.
Gusts of raw, cold, and violent wind from the west whizzed overhead, thundercrashed and rattled closer and closer, and vivid lightning, flashing out of themurky depths around, made earth and air one blaze of living fire. Then the rainbegan to patter ominously upon the carriages. . . . The thermometer fell about6° (F.), and a strong north wind set in, blowing dust or gravel, a fairspecimen of "Kansas gales," which are equally common in Nebraska. . .
Arriving about I A. M. at Locknan's Station, [297] a few log and timber huts neara creek well feathered with white oak and American elm, hickory and black walnut,we found beds and snatched an hourful of sleep.

Resuming, through air refrigerated by rain, our now weary way, we reached at 6 A.M. a favorite camping-ground, the "Big Nemehaw" Creek. . . . It is a fine bottomof rich black soil, whose green woods . . . were wet with heavy dew. ."Richland," a town mentioned in guide-books, having disappeared,we


drove for breakfast to Seneca, [298] a city consisting of a few shanties, mostlygarnished with tall square lumber fronts . . . masking the diminutiveness of thebuildings behind them. The land, probably in prospect of a Pacific Railroad,fetched the exaggerated price of $20 an acre, and already a lawyer has "hung outhis shingle" there.
Refreshed by breakfast and the intoxicating air, brisk as a bottle of veuveClicquot- it is this that gives one the "prairie fever"-we bade glad adieu toSeneca. . . . That day's chief study was of wagons, those ships of the greatAmerican Sahara Which, gathering in fleets at certain seasons, conduct thetraffic between the eastern and the western shores. . . . The white-topped wainhas found a home in the Far West. They are not unpicturesque from afar, theselong-winding trains, in early morning like lines of white cranes trooping slowlyover the prairie, or in more mysterious evening resembling dim sails crossing arolling sea. . . . [Burton here described the Conestoga or "Covered" wagon.]Passing through Ash Point at 9:30 A. M., and halting for water at Uncle John'sGrocery, [299] where hang dog Indians, squatting, standing, and stalking about,showed that the forbidden luxury-essence of corn-was, despite regulations, notunprocurable there, we spanned the prairie to Guittard's Station. [300] This is aclump of board houses on the far side of a shady, well-wooded creek-theVermillion, a tributary of the Big Blue River, so called from its red sandstonebottom.
Our conductor had sprained his ankle, and the driver, being in plain Englishdrunk, had dashed like a Phaeton over the "chuckholes"; We willingly, therefore,halted at 11:30 A. M. for dinner. The host was a young Alsatian, who, with hismother and sister, had emigrated under the excitement of California fever, andhad been stopped, by want of means, half way. The improvement upon the native waspalpable: the house and kitchen Were clean, the


fences neat; the ham and eggs, the hot rolls and coffee, were fresh and good,and, although drought had killed the salad, we had abundance of peaches andcream, an offering of French to American taste. . . .
At Guittard's I saw, for the first time, the Pony Express rider arrive. . . .[Burton wrote briefly of this novel means of communication.]
Beyond Guittard's the prairies bore a burnt-up aspect. [301] Far as the eye couldsee the tintage was that of the Arabian Desert, sere and tawny as a jackal'sback. . . . October is the month for those prairie fires which have so frequentlyexercised the Western author's pen. Here, however, the grass is too short for thefull development of the phenomenon. . . . In the rare spots where water then lay,the herbage Was still green, forming oases in the withering waste. . . .Passing by Marysville, in old maps Palmetto City, [302] a county town whichthrives by selling whisky to ruffians of all descriptions, we forded beforesunset the "Big Blue," a well-known tributary of the Kansas river. It is a prettylittle Stream, brisk and clear as crystal, about forty or fifty yards Wide by2.50 feet deep at the ford. The soil is sandy and solid, but the banks are tooprecipitous to be pleasant when a very drunken driver hangs on by the lines offour very weary mules. We then stretched once more over the "divide" . . .separating the Big Blue from its tributary the Little Blue. At 6 P. M. we changedour fagged animals for fresh, and the land of Kansas for Nebraska, at Cotton-woodCreek, a bottom where trees flourished, where the ground had been cleared forcorn, and where we detected the prairie wolf watching for the poultry. . . .
At Cotton-wood station [303] we took "on board" two way-passen-


gers, "lady" and "gentleman," who were drafted into the wagon containing theJudiciary. [At the Upper Crossing of the South Fork of the Platte (laterJulesburg), where the passengers for the Pike's Peak region left those bound forSalt Lake, Burton remarked: "Conspicuous among them was a fair woman, who hadmade her first appearance at Cotton-wood Creek . . . with an individual,apparently a well-to-do drover, whom she called `Tom' and `husband.' She hadforgotten her `fixins,' which, according to a mischievous and scandalous driver,consisted of a reticule containing a `bishop,' a comb, and a pomatumpot, apinchbeck watch, and a flask of `Bawme'-not of Meccah. Being a fine young personof Scotch descent, she had, till dire suspicions presented themselves, attractedthe attentions of her fellow-travelers, who pronounced her to be `all sorts of agal.' . . . It was fortunate for Mr. and Mrs. Mann -the names were noms devoyage-that they left us so soon. . . ."]
A weary drive over a rough and dusty road, through chill night air and clouds ofmusquetoes, which we were warned would accompany us to the Pacific Slope of theRocky Mountains, placed us about 10 P. M. at Rack [in present Nebraska], alsocalled Turkey Creek. . . . Several passengers began to suffer from fever andnausea; in such travel the second night is usually the crisis.
Upon the bedded floor of the foul "doggery" lay, in a seemingly promiscuous heap,men, women, children, lambs, and puppies, all fast in the arms of Morpheus, andmany under the influence of a much jollier god. The employes, when aroused prettyroughly, blinked their eyes in the atmosphere of smoke and musquetoes, anddeclared that it had been "merry in hall" that night.
After half an hour's dispute about who should do the work, they produced coldscraps of mutton and a kind of bread which deserves a totally distinct genericname. The strongest stomachs of the party made tea, and found some milk which wasnot more than one quarter flies. This succulent meal was followed by the usualdouceur.

A little after midnight we resumed our way, and in the state which Mohammeddescribed when he made his famous night journey to heaven . . . we crossed the .. . Little Sandy, and five


miles beyond it we forded the Big Sandy. About early dawn we found ourselves atanother Station, better than the last only as the hour was more propitious. Thecolony of Patlanders rose from their beds without a dream of ablution, andclearing the while their lungs of Cork brogue, prepared a neat dejeuner a lafourchette by hacking "fids" off half a Sheep Suspended from the ceiling, andfrying them in melted tallow.
Issuing from Big Sandy Station at 6:30 A. M., and resuming our route over thedivide that still separated the valleys of the Big Blue and the Little Blue, Wepresently fell into the line of the latter. Averaging two miles in width . . .the valley is hedged on both sides by low rolling bluffs or terraces. . . . Onecould not have recognized at this season Colonel Fremont's description written inthe month of June-the "hills with graceful slopes looking uncommonly green andbeautiful." . . . All is barren beyond the garden-reach which runs along thestream; there is not a tree to a square mile-in these regions the tree, like thebird in Arabia and the monkey in Africa, signifies water-and animal life seemswell-nigh extinct.
This valley is the Belgium of the adjoining tribes, the once terrible Pawnees,who here met their enemies, the Dakotahs and the Delawares: it was then a greatbuffalo ground; and even twenty years ago it was well stocked with droves of wildhorses, turkeys, and herds of antelope, deer, and elk. The animals have of latemigrated westward, carrying off with them the "bones of contention." . . . [Burton here discussed the Western Indians.]
Changing mules at Kiowa about 10 A. M., we pushed forward through the sun, . . .to Liberty Farm, where a station supplied us with the eternal eggs and bacon ofthese mangeurs de lard. It is a dish constant in the great West, as the omeletand pigeon in the vetturini days of Italy. . . . The Little Blue ran hard byfringed with emerald-green oak groves, cotton-wood, and long-leaved willow; itswaters supply catfish, suckers, and a soft-shelled turtle. . . . We then resumedour journey over a desert, waterless save after rain, for twenty-three miles; itis the divide between the Little Blue and the Platte rivers.
At 9 P. M., reaching "Thirty-two-mile Creek," we were pleasantly surprised tofind an utter absence of the Irishry. The stationmaster was the head of aneat-handed and thrifty family from Vermont; the rooms, such as they were, lookedcosy and clean-and the chickens and peaches were plump and well "fixed." Soldiers


from Fort Kearney loitered about the adjoining store. . . . Remounting at 10:30P. M., and before moonrise, We threaded the gloom without other accident than theloss of a mule.

After a long and chilly night . . . lengthened by the atrocity of themusquetoes, which sting even when the thermometer stands below 45°, we awokeupon the hill sands divided by two miles of level green savanna, and at 4 A. M.reached Kearney Station, [304] in the valley of La Grande Platte, seven milesfrom the fort of that name. The first aspect of the stream sas one of calm andquiet beauty. . . . On the South is a rolling range of red sandy and clayeyhillocks, sharp toward the river-the "coasts of the Nebraska." The valley, heretwo miles broad, resembles the ocean deltas of great streams; it is level as acarpet, all short green grass without sage or bush . . . ; here it was narrowedby Grand Island. Without excepting even the Missouri, the Platte is doubtless themost important western influent of the Mississippi. Its valley offers a routescarcely to be surpassed for the natural gradients; and by following up itstributary-the Sweetwater- the engineer finds a line laid down by nature to thefoot of the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains.
After satisfying hunger with vile bread and viler coffee-how far from the littleforty-berry cup of Egypt!-for which we paid 75 cents, we left Kearney Stationwithout delay. Hugging the right bank . . ., at 8 A. M. we found ourselves atFort Kearney. . . . While at Washington I had resolved . . . to enjoy a littleIndian fighting. The meritorious intention . . . was most courteously receivedby the Hon. John B. Floyd, Secretary of War, who provided me with introductoryletters addressed to the officers commanding various "departments." . . . Thefirst tidings that saluted my ears on arrival at Fort Kearney acted as a quietus:an Indian action had been fought, which signified that there would be no morefighting for some time. Captain Sturgis, of the 1st Cavalry, U. S., had justattacked, near the Republican Fork of Kansas River, a little south of the fort,With six companies (about 350 men) and a few Delawares, a considerable body ofthe enemy, Comanches,


Kiowas, and Cheyennes, who apparently had forgotten the severe lessonadministered to them by Colonel-now Brigadier General Edwin V. Sumner, 1stCavalry, in 1857, and killed twenty-five with only two or three of his own menwounded. [305] . . . I had no time to call upon Captain Sully, who remained incommand at Kearney . . .; the mail-wagon would halt there but a few minutes. . .. Intelligence of the fight had made even the conductor look grave.
We all prepared for the "gravity of the situation" by discharging and reloadingour weapons, and bade adieu, about 9:30 A. M., to Fort Kearney. . . . [Burtonhere discussed the American system of military outposts.]
We left Kearney at 9:30 A. M., following the road which runs forty miles up thevalley of the Platte. . . . The road was rough with pitch-holes, and for thefirst time I remarked a peculiar gap in the ground like an East Indian sun-crack.. . . The sight and song of birds once more charmed us after a desert whereanimal life is as rare as upon the plains of Brazil. After fifteen miles oftossing and tumbling, we made "Seventeen-mile Station," and halted there tochange mules. About twenty miles above the fort the Southern bank began to riseinto mounds of tenacious clay, which, worn away into perpendicular andprecipitous sections, composes the columnar formation called O'Fallon's Bluffs. At 1:15 P. M. we reached Plum Creek, after being obliged to leave behind one ofthe conductors, who had become delirious with the "shakes." The establishment,though new, was already divided into three; the little landlady, though sheworked so manfully, was, as she expressed it, "enjoying bad health;" in otherwords, suffering from a "dumb chill." . . . The whole line [of the Platte]becomes with early autumn a hotbed of febrile disease.
About Plum Ranch the soil is rich, clayey, and dotted with swamps and "slows." . . . Buffalo herds were behind the hills. [306] The plain was dotted with blanchedskulls and bones, which would have made a splendid bonfire. Apparently the expert


voyageur has not learned that they form good fuel; at any rate, he has preferredto them the "chips" of which it is said that a steak cooked with them requires nopepper.
We dined at Plum Creek on buffalo, probably bull beef, the worst and dryest meat,save elk, that I have ever tasted; indeed, without the assistance of pork fat, wefound it hard to swallow.
Resuming our weary ride, we watered at "Willow Island Ranch," and then at "ColdWater Ranch"-drinking-shops all-five miles from Midway Station, which we reachedat 8 P. M. Here, while changing mules, we attempted with sweet speech and smilesto persuade the landlady, . . . into giving us supper. This she sturdily refusedto do, for the reason that she had not received due warning. We had, however, thesatisfaction of seeing the employes of the line making themselves thoroughlycomfortable with bread and buttermilk. Into the horrid wagon again, and "arollin:" lazily enough the cold and hungry night passed on.

Precisely at 1:35 in the morning we awoke, as we came to a halt at Cotton-woodStation. [307] Cramped with a four days' and four nights' ride in the narrow van,we entered the foul tenement, threw ourselves upon the mattresses, averagingthree to each, and ten in a small room, every door, window, and cranny beingshut-after the fashion of these Western folks, who make up for a day in the openair by perspiring through the night in unventilated log huts-and, despitemusquetoes, slept. . . . [Description of the buffalo followed.]
The flies chasing away the musquetoes . . . we proceeded by means of an"eye-opener," which even the abstemious judge could not decline, and the use ofthe "skillet," to prepare for a breakfast composed of various abominations,especially cakes of flour and grease, molasses and dirt, disposed in pretty equalparts. After paying the usual 50 cents, we started in the high wind and dust . . . along the desert valley of the dark, silent Platte, which here spread out inbroad basins and lagoons. . . . On our left was a line of sub-conical buttes,red, sandy-clay pyramids, semi-detached from the wall of the rock behind them.Passing Junction-House Ranch and Fremont Slough-whisky-shops both-we halted for"dinner," about 11 A. M., at Fremont Springs,


so-called from an excellent little water behind the station. The building . . .two huts connected by a roofwork of thatched timber. . . . The station-keeper,who receives from the proprietors of the line $30 per month, had been there onlythree weeks; and his wife, a comely young person, uncommonly civil and smilingfor a "lady," supplied us with the luxuries of pigeons, onions, and light bread,and declared her intention of establishing a poultry-yard.
An excellent train of mules carried us along a smooth road at a slapping pace,over another natural garden even more flowery than that passed on the last day'smarch. . . . We halted at Halfway House, near O'Fallon's Bluffs, [308] at thequarters of Mr. M-, a compagnon de voyage, who had now reached his home oftwenty years, and therefore insisted upon "standing drinks." The business isworth $16,000 per annum; the contents of the store somewhat like a Parsee's shopin Western India-every thing from a needle to a bottle of Champagne. A sign-boardinformed us that we were now distant 400 miles from St. Jo, 120 from FortKearney, 68 from the upper, and 40 from the lower crossing of the Platte. As weadvanced the valley narrowed, the stream shrank, the vegetation dwindled, theriver islands were bared of timber, and the only fuel became buffalo chip andlast year's artemisia [wild sage].
At 5 P. M., as the heat began to mitigate, we arrived at Alkali Lake Station, anddiscovered some "exiles from Erin," who supplied us with antelope meat and theunusual luxury of ice taken from the Platte. We attempted to bathe in the river,but found it flowing liquid mire.
Yesterday and today we have been in a line of Indian "removes." The wild peoplewere shifting their quarters for grass.
[Burton described Indians on the move.]
At 6 P. M. we resumed our route, . . . up the Dark Valley, where musquetoes andsultry heat combined to worry us. Slowly traveling and dozing the while, wearrived about 9:15 P. M. at Diamond Springs . . . where we found whisky and itsusual accompaniment, soldiers. . . . In these regions the opposite races regardeach other as wild beasts; the white will shoot an Indian as he would a coyote.The Platte River divides at N. lat. 40° 05' 05", and W. long. (G.) 101°21' 24".309 The northern, by virtue of dimensions, claims to be


the main stream. . . . Hunters often ford the river by the Lower Crossing,twenty-eight miles above the bifurcation. Those with heavily-loaded wagons preferthis route, as by it they avoid the deep loose Sands on the way to the UpperCrossing. The mailcoach must endure the four miles of difficulty, as the road toDenver City branches off from the western ford.
At 10 P. M., having "caught up" the mules, we left Diamond Springs. . . . On thebanks large hare spots, white with salt, glistened through the glooms.
This was our fifth night in the mail-wagon. I could not but meditate upon thedifference between travel in the pure prairie air, despite an occasional "chill,"and the perspiring miseries of an East Indian dawk, or of a trudge in themiasmatic and pestilential regions of Central Africa. Much may be endured when,as was ever the case, the highest temperature in the shade does not exceed98° F.
Boreal aurora glared brighter than a sunset in Syria. [A vivid descriptionfollowed.]
Cramped with cold and inaction . . . hungry, thirsty we hear with a gush of joy,at 3:15 A. M., the savage Yep! yep! yep! with which the driver announces ourapproach. The plank lodgings soon appear; we spring out of the ambulance; a qualmcomes over us; all is dark and silent as the grave; nothing is prepared for us;the wretches are all asleep. A heavy kick opens the door of the soon-foundrestaurant . . ., we ordered [the German proprietor] out of bed, and began totalk of supper, refreshment, and repose. But the "critter" had waxed surly . . .and mastering with pain our desire to give these villain "sausage-eaters""particular fits," we sat down, stared at the fire, and awaited the vile food.For a breakfast cooked in the usual manner, coffee boiled down to tannin, . . .meat subjected to half sod, half stew, and, lastly, bread raised with sour milkcorrected with soda, and so baked that the taste of the flour is ever prominent,we paid these German rascals 75 cents, a little dearer than at the TroisFreres.
At the Upper Crossing of the South Fork [310] there areusually


tender adieux, the wenders toward Mormon land bidding farewell to those bound forthe perilous gold regions of Denver City and Pike's Peak. . . . The wagons wereunloaded, thus giving us the opportunity of procuring changes of raiment andfresh caps. . . . By some means we retained our old ambulance, which, after fivedays and nights, we had learned to look upon as a home; the Judiciary [Mr. F-, afederal judge], however, had to exchange theirs for one much lighter and far lesscomfortable. Presently those bound to Denver City set out upon their journey.
We crossed the "Padouca" [South Fork of Platte] at 6:30 A. M., having placed ourluggage and the mails for Security in an ox cart. The South Fork is here 600 to700 yards broad; the current is Swift, but the deepest water not exceeding 250[2.50] feet, . . . Having reloaded on the left bank, . . . we set out at 7 A. M.to cross the divide separating the Northern and Southern Forks of the Platte.We had now entered upon the outskirts of the American wilderness, which has notone feature in common with the deserts of the Old World. In Arabia and Africathere is majesty in its monotony.
Here it is a brown smooth space, insensibly curving out of sight, wholly wanting"second distance," and scarcely suggesting the idea of immensity; we seem, infact, to be traveling for twenty miles over a convex, treeless hill-top.
At 12:45 P. M., traveling over the uneven barren, and in a burning Sirocco, wereached Lodge-Pole Station, where we made our "noonin." The hovel fronting thecreek was built like an Irish Shanty, or a Beloch hut, against a hill side, tosave one wall, and it presented a fresh phase of squalor and wretchedness. Themud walls were partly papered with "Harper's Magazine," "Frank Leslie," and the"New York Illustrated News;" the ceiling was a fine festoon-work of soot, and thefloor was much like the ground outside, only not nearly So clean. In a cornerstood the usual "bunk," a mass of mingled rags and buffalo robes; the centre ofthe room was occupied by a rickety table, and boxes, turned up on their longsides, acted as chairs. The unescapable stove was there, filling the interiorwith the aroma of meat. As usual, the materials for ablution, a "dipper" or cup,a dingy tin skillet of scanty size, a bit of coarse gritty soap, and a publictowel, like a rag of gunny bag, were deposited upon a rickety settle outside.
There being no "lady" at the station on Lodge-Pole Creek, milk was unprocurable. Here, however, began a course of antelope veni-


son, which soon told upon us with damaging effect. . . . Like other wild meats,bear, deer, elk, and even buffalo, antelope will disagree with a stranger; it is,however, juicy, fat, and well-flavored.
At Lodge-Pole Station, the mules, as might be expected from animals allowed torun wild every day in the week except one, were like newly-caught mustangs. Theherdsman-each station boasts of this official-mounted a nag barebacked, and,jingling a bell, drove the cattle into the corral, a square of twenty yards,formed by a wall of loose stones, four to five feet high. He wasted threequarters of an hour in this operation, which a well-trained shepherd's dog wouldhave performed in a few minutes.
At 3 P. M., after a preliminary ringing, intended to soothe the fears of Madame[probably Mrs. Dana, a fellow passenger], we set out au grand galop, with a teamthat had never worked together before. They dashed down the cahues with aviolence that tossed us as in a blanket, and nothing could induce them, whilefresh, to keep the path. The yawning of the vehicle was ominous: fortunately,however, the road . . . was excellent.

     [A lack of space forces a termination ofBurton's narrative at this point. Hewent on to Salt Lake City, where he made an extended sojourn the basis for adetailed account in The City of the Saints (pp. 189-443). He finallycontinued to San Francisco, where he sailed for the Isthmus of Panama, thusbidding farewell to his travels in North America.]

(The Pike's Peak Express Articles To Be Concluded in the February,1946, Issue)


215. St. Joseph (Mo.) Argus, July 8, 1893, quoted in Frank A. Root andWilliam Elsey Connelley, The Overland Stage to California (Topeka,1901-hereafter cited Overland Stage), pp. 444-446; Hubert H. Bancroft,History of Utah (San Francisco, 1890-Works, v. XXVI), pp. 500-504; LeroyR. Hafen, The Overland Mail, 1849-1869 (Cleveland, 1926), p. 57. In thelatter work (p. 62) the author points out that jealousy over the mail contractwas a factor leading to the "Mormon War"-Magraw being one of the chiefpetitioners for federal intervention in Utah. It may be added that the immensebusiness of Russell, Majors & Waddell, beginning in 1858, was based primarilyon supplying the army in Utah.
216. Ibid., p. 109.
217. George Chorpenning, Brief History of the Mail Service (Washington,18747-microfilm of original in Library of Congress), pp. 7-9. This accountchronicles the grave difficulties in the way of a regular mail service, inparticular the losses incurred from Indian attacks, and includes a map of theroute east of Salt Lake, called "Magraw's Route," via Fort Bridger, theSweetwater, and the North Fork of the Platte, which the author termed the"Independence or St. Joseph and Salt Lake Mail Route."
218. Senate Report No 259, 36 Cong. 1 Sess., v. II (Serial 1040-henceforthtermed Senate Report 259. Exhibit C, which is a copy of the contract formail route No. 8911. It has been pointed out that: "The purpose of the PostmasterGeneral in letting the Hockaday contract was not to establish a fast mail on theSouth Pass route, but to connect closely the troops in Utah with the WarDepartment. "-Curtis Nettels, "The Overland Mail Issue During the Fifties,"Missouri Historical Review, Columbia, v. XVIII, No. 4 (July, 1924), p.530.
219. J. Holt, Postmaster General, to the Hon. D. L. Yulee, May 5, 1860, inExhibit D, Senate Report 259, p. 17. Regardless of the results, the changeseems to have been entirely consonant with the terms of the contract and thepractice of the department. Hockaday pointed out, however, that any reduction inthe frequency of trips did not mean a diminishment in the cost of transportingthe same volume of mail matter.
220 House Report No 268 36 Cong., 1 Sess., v. 11 (Serial 1068): "Thus at asingle .., blow the accumulations, in Mr. Legget's (Liggit's] case, of a lifetime of virtuous toil, were swept away, his family beggared, and his partner, Mr.Hockaday, discouraged and disheartened, retired to Salt Lake City, where he nowremains in a state of mental and physical debility, which disqualifies him frombestowing any attention whatever to his business." The extreme phraseology ofthis report is apparent. Since congress later appropriated the sum of $40,000 forthe relief of the Hockaday firm, the United States and Jones & Russell paidthat company a total of $405,847.51 for services and property. It must beconceded, however, that the government was far more parsimonious in its reward ofservices on the Central route, than on the Southern or Butterfield mail road.According to the new arrangement the , annual subsidy for a semimonthly mail toSalt Lake City was to be $125,000, in place of $190,000 for a weekly service.
221. See the concluding pages of the section entitled "Central OverlandCalifornia and Pike's Peak Express Company," dealing with financial matters,which will be published in the February, 1946, Quarterly.
222. Exhibit H of minority report, Senate Report 259, pp. 21, 22.
223. L. R. Smoot to Wm. Liggit, dated Washington City, May 15, 1860, in Exhibit4, majority report.-Ibid.
224. Affidavit of William H. Russell, president, and Jerome B. Simpson,vice-president of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak ExpressCompany, May 23, 1860, in Exhibit 6, of ibid. Russell held a key positionin several interlocking firms subsidiary to Russell, Majors & Waddell.
225. Ibid.
226 See Ch CIX of Private Laws for 1860-'61 (U. S. Statutes at Large, v.XII, p. 893).
227. Wm. H. Russell to L. Washington, Esq., clerk of senate committee on postoffices and post roads, Exhibit A of minority report, Senate Report 259,p. 12: "Jones, Russell & Co. purchased the contract and stock . after thereduction of the service, but were compelled to do weekly service, on account ofthe quantity of mail matter to be forwarded. We think we are justly entitled topayment for this extra service. It is certainly due us by any fair interpretationof the contract, in connection with the fact that weekly service has been anecessity."
This reference to a "fair interpretation of the contract" is questionable.Hockaday had agreed to urge upon congress the propriety of this claim, and inturn Russell supported the petition for damages by Hockaday and Liggit.
228. Memorial of J. M. Hockaday and William Liggit to congress, dated WashingtonCity, March 14, 1860.-Exhibit L of minority report, ibid., p. 24. Thefollowing total of payments made to the Hockaday firm by the United States andJones & considered the above contentions doubtful:
By the U. S. for transportation on Route 8911, from May 1, 1858, toJune 30, 1859: $221,847.51
By Jones & Russell for contract and property, including bonus: 144,000.00
By the U. S. for damages on account of curtailment of service: 40,000.00
Total payments: $405,847.51
The minority report reviewed the questionable aspects of the Hockaday claim forrelief, and termed their alleged expenditure of $394,000 in the first year tostock and run the line as "difficult to imagine." In 1857 Hockaday estimated histotal expense would be only $63,927 for stocking and running the line for a year,when making monthly trips, and considerably less in proportion, for more frequentservice. The reduction in pay was not to occur until July 1, 1859, but thisprospective change probably did affect the credit of the firm, and hence the saleprice to Jones & Russell. The latter asserted (Exhibit 3 of majority report,p. 9) That they (Hockaday & Liggit) were forced to sell out, and at asacrifice, there is not a doubt, and all arising from the fact that their creditwas destroyed, owing mainly to the fact that the appropriations failed at thelast Congress." The affidavit of R. H. Porter, (ibid., Exhibit 5, p. 11)is a more detailed statement of the same view.
229. The first relief bill to pass, to appropriate $40,000, was not signed byBuchanan, because of insufficient time to study the matter. A new measure for$59,576 was vetoed by him in January, 1861, on the grounds that the increase inamount was unjustified, and would afford a basis for numerous raids on thetreasury by contractors who had suffered a reduction. Buchanan reviewed thematter and admitted that "There is no doubt that the contractors have sustainedconsiderable loss in the whole transaction."-Congressional Globe, v. 30,Pt. 1, pp. 572-576. The measure failed to obtain a two-thirds majority over hisveto, and a new bill was then introduced, for the smaller amount, which was morein accord with the President's views.
230. Under the Hockaday management this line had had three divisions-St. Josephto Morrell's (Upper) Crossing of the South Platte, Agent Charles W. Wiley; fromthe Crossing of the Platte to South Pass, Agent Joseph off. Slide; from SouthPass to Great Salt Lake City, Agent James E. Bromley.-Affidavits of Wiley, Slide,and Bromley, in Senate Report 859, pp. 34, 36.
231. Exhibit M of minority report in ibid., pp. 36, 37. The stations wereto be Independence (later changed to St. Joseph), Big Blue, Fort Kearny, FortLaramie, Independence Rock, Black's Fork, and Salt Lake City, which would costapproximately $54,847 (total costs being prorated to the various stations). Theactual contract must have been based upon notably larger estimates-the number ofmules alone was not less than 358, according to the affidavits of the three routeagents. R. H. Porter testified that this firm had twenty-eight valuablepreemption claims and locations which were sacrificed in the sale, on which theimprovements alone were worth $20,000 (Exhibit 5 of minority report,ibid., p. 11).
Concerning the cost of equipping Route No. 8911, from Independence, Mo., to SaltLake City, see House Report No. 6, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., from the committeeof the post office and post roads, on the memorial of William M. F. Magraw (anearlier mail contractor on the Central route)
232. Copy of contract for Route No. 8911, Exhibit C of minority report, SenateReport 259, p. 13.
233. Parker and Huyett, The Illustrated Miners' Hand-Book and Guide to Pike'sPeak (henceforth termed Parker & Huyett Guidebook), St. Louis, 1859(microfilm of original in Library of Congress), p. 55. "It has superioradvantages to any other, as regards water and fuel, as well as grazing for stock;besides, throughout the entire route settlements and trading posts have beenestablished, for the accommodation of immigrants."-Ibid., p. 67. In thememoirs of Alexander Majors (Prentiss Ingraham, ed.), Seventy Years on theFrontier (Chicago and New York, 1893), the author devotes Ch. XXX to adiscussion of the Platte valley, which he terms the "grand pathway to themountains."
234. Parker & Huyett Guidebook, p. 56. The Oregon trail was the firstroute across the plains to the Pacific coast, and had been traveled so long thatnow, by the late fifties, it was generally regarded with favor. It was "firstselected by nature's civil engineers, the buffalo and the elk," and thereafterwas widely used by the Indians, the traders and trappers bound for the mountaincountry, more recently the pioneers on the road to Oregon and California, and nowthose on like errands to Pike's Peak.
235. As contrasted with other routes like the initial express road, which wasundeniably closer to Pike's Peak, the Oregon and Salt Lake trail was plentifullysupplied with trading posts and settlements en route, enjoyed militaryprotection, was much smoother, and nearly always in sight of water. The flatsalong the river provided a far more dependable supply of grass than either theSolomon and Republican or the Smoky Hill routes, excepting early in the spring.Probably the greatest objection to the initial Pike's Peak Express road-thescarcity of fuel-did not apply to the Platte, where timber or buffalo and cattlechips were far more abundant.
236. E. D. Boyd to F. G. Adams, dated Denver City, July 20, 1859, in theAtchison Freedom's Champion, August 20, 1859. In February, 1860, when manyin Leavenworth and other points to the west were boosting a revised Smoky Hillroute, a writer signing himself J. M. N. O." wrote to the Weekly LeavenworthHerald (published in the supplement of February 18, 1960):
"In the spring of 1859, Messrs. Jones & Russell sent out a corps ofexperienced men to view and mark out a route from Leavenworth to Denver City. Toavoid crossing large streams, it was tho't best to keep the divide between SmokyHill and Solomon rivers on the south and Republican river on the north. And Idoubt very much whether a better natural track for a road the same distance canbe found in the United States, than there was found to the head of Solomon river.From that point the viewers had no guide other than their own notion of thedirection to Denver City. . . The course taken from that point was north of west,which I presume was to strike the waters of the Republican as soon aspossible . . a mistake on the part of the viewers.
"The first trains were sent out before the return of the viewers, (which wasunfortunate) as they with hundreds of emigrant wagons followed the viewers soclose, that they too were out of their course before the mistake of the viewerswas discovered. The viewers, on their return, partially corrected the mistake,but too late for the great rush of emigration, as they continued to follow thebeaten track. From this circumstance, what was then known as the Express Route,became unpopular, and it became the interest of the Express Company to move theircoaches and stock on the Kearney route-not from choice of routes-as I understandfrom the agent, but they having purchased the contract for carrying the mail toSalt Lake by Fort Kearney . . ., therefore, the Express Company changed theirpassenger route, but retained the new route for their heavier trains in carryingstores, &c.
Had the viewers taken southwest instead of northwest from the head of Solomonriver they would have shortened the route materially, and found wood, water andgrass at short intervals, in abundance. . " (The writer's objections to thePlatte road, which followed, are open to question-he boosted the Smoky Hill routeas 150 miles shorter, and said it enjoyed a longer season with grass.)
237. The account in the Leavenworth Weekly Herald, June 25, 1859, seems tobe garbled, inasmuch as the writer apparently refers to a new road along thePlatte, and then mentions incidents along the old trail. Williams leftLeavenworth May 31 with the following instructions: "to double the stations andsend all stock from station No. 22, back to this city [Leavenworth] -all out-fitsto Denver City. Sufficient stock was to be sent from No. 22, to make threestations from the crossing of the South Platte (200 miles from Denver City) tothe latter point. He accomplished this duty."
238. That this transfer took place, is very probable, although not specificallymentioned by the press. The following Junction City dispatch of June 30 seems torefer to it (Leavenworth Daily Times, July 6, 1859): "Twenty-five wagons;belonging to Jones, Russell & Co., passed town on their return from DenverCity, and the different points of the Express road.
239. Minority report of Senate Report 259, pp. 10, 11, which points outthe absurdities of the testimony. Since the change of route was made at the sametime the reduction of service and pay was to go into effect (July 1, 1859), bothfirms seem to have been, in effect, pleading that the added stations andequipment were a necessary result of the reduction, and hence ground for a justclaim against the government. This may give added point to the secrecy of thetransfer-a point which escaped the congressional committee. Perhaps acongressional appropriation would conveniently cover the cost of the transfer!The affidavits of the route agents and postmasters testifying to large increasesof stock after July 1, 1859, are found in ibid., pp. 29-35. Lack ofdefinite data precludes any positive conclusion.
240. Leavenworth Daily Times, July 22, 1859. At this time, three weeksafter the initial departure, this paper remarked: "What will not human energy do?The whistle of the incoming Express, a few weeks ago, would have gathered acrowd. Now it is considered nothing unusual, and, though only six days fromDenver, people are neither curious to see it, or eager to get the news." Theexpress of that date brought $2,000 worth of gold dust.
241. Ibid., June 24 and July 4, 1859.
242. "The croakers once more experienced a violent vibration of their severalchops in consequence of the non-arrival of gold on the Express coach of yesterdayafternoon. To settle their excited feelings, we will state that the instructionsof the Express Company to their Agent at Denver City are such as to preclude theshipment of any valuables on the Express trains without there being a regularmessenger to accompany them through. Mr. Fillibrown, the messenger, that lastleft here for Denver City, was sent over the old Express route. At the time ofhis departure, most of the stations at the Western end of the roadhad been broken up-a fact which was, however, unknown to the managers of theCompany in this city-and he was accordingly obliged to travel the last threehundred miles without a change of teams, . . which . . greatly delayed hisjourney. On the day of the departure of this last coach, he had not yet arrivedand there being no other messenger at Denver City, the rules as well as theinterest of the company prevented Dr. Fox from transmitting the anxiouslylooked
243. Ibid. At about this time Jones announced that the company would start adaily express to Denver. As late as July 20 this paper noted the absence of goldshipments, and the great scarcity of mail, and hoped that Jones & Russellwould soon solve the trouble. Some of the gold probably went by way of Omaha.
244. Wm. H. Russell to L. Washington, dated Washington City, May 10, 1860,appearing as Exhibit A of minority report, Senate Report 259, p. 12. Muchapprehension existed along the line, engendered by fear of a reduction. A Weston,Mo., dispatch from Salt Lake City, dated July 22, in the New York Daily Tribune(August 27) remarked that the promise of a semimonthly mail "does not givesatisfaction at Camp Floyd and Salt Lake." A similar feeling existed at FortKearny (dispatch of June 17, 1859, to the Atchison Union o June 25) where such aproposed change was regarded "a great loss and deprivation to us out here. . . .They still bring in a mail weekly, and it ought to continue so for the binding together of the Atlantic and Pacific States. . The Post Office departmentordered a weekly service early in 1860.
245. H. Parker Johnson, A. P. S., "Jones & Russell's Leavenworth and Pike'sPeak Express Co.," The American Philatelist, v. 58, No. 2 (November,1944), pp. 112, 113. This twelve-page article is a good brief review of theLeavenworth & Pikes Peak Express, with special emphasis upon its philatelicimplications, and includes a number of rare stamp covers, a map of the expressroute (p. 107), and several illustrations.
246. Denver City Dispatch, dated August 11, of the Leavenworth DailyTimes, August 23, 1859. "The gold fever is still raging fiercely.Everybody is going and gone to the new diggings. The Judge, the majority of thebar, members of the press, doctors, merchants, men, women and children, everybodystampedes or would like to stampede in the direction of the South Park. . . . Howirresistible are thy attractions, oh potent lucre!"-Ibid.
247. Ibid., August 17, 1859, "We trust the outlay and enterprise of Jones& Russell may not only be appreciated, but properly remunerated. Theirexpress is one of the 'great may of the West-an evidence of what capital andenergy can accomplish in the face of what the superficial would considerinsurmountable obstacles."-Ibid.
The Leavenworth Weekly Herald, August 27, 1859, uttered another paean ofpraise by a later traveler, who pointed out that a number of stations had beenadded to those of the Hockaday firm, so that a journey across the plains was nownearly a pleasure trip. "Houses have been erected, wells dug, and theconveniences of life are rapidly gathered around points along a distance ofhundreds of miles, where two months ago there was not a fixed habitation.Passengers by this line get their regular meals, on a table and smoking hot."
248. Richard F. Burton, The City of the Saints, And Across the Rocky Mountainsto California (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1862), excerpts of which areincluded in this article.
249. Julesburg, located at the Upper (California) Crossing of the Platte (whichwent by several names), was named after Jules Beni, a pioneer French Indiantrader who had been made station agent by Beverly D. Williams. One of Ficklin'sreforms (1860) was the removal of "Old Jules" for theft and other abuses, and theappointment of Jack Slade as his successor. See Overland Stage, pp.213-219.
250. Ibid., pp. 64, 65. The "swing" stations were used to change stock,and were often much smaller than the home stations, which usually were providedwith sheds, outbuildings, and other conveniences.
251. See below for a list of the stations as they existed in the earlier years,before the transfer to the North Fork of the Platte was eliminated. By the timeRoot went over the line these stops had been approximately doubled in number.
252. In his City of the Saints Burton praises very few of the eatingplaces (in 1860), but says that here "the house and kitchen were clean, thefences neat; the ham and eggs, the hot rolls and coffee, were fresh and good,and, although drought had killed the salad, we had abundance of peaches andcream, an offering of French to American taste. pp. 27, 28.
253. Frank A. Root, "Overland Staging," Atchison Champion, December 14,1879. In the Overland Stage there are further remarks on this subject,with a poem (p. 97) that was circulated up and down the line to correct the"evil." The first verse follows:

"I loathe! abhor! detest! despise!
Abominate dried-apple pies;
I like good bread; I like good meat,
Or anything that's good to eat;
But of all poor grub beneath the skies,
The poorest is dried-apple pies.
Give me a toothache or sore eyes
In preference to such kind of pies."

254. H. Parker Johnson, "Jones & Russell's Leavenworth and Pike's PeakExpress Co.," The American Philatelist, November, 1944, p. 111.
255. Leavenworth Daily Times, September 9, 1859.
256. Denver City correspondence, dated August 17, in ibid., August 26,1859. At this time Jones and Cartwright purchased the Pollard House in Aurariafor $3,000, as a wholesale store, thereby inaugurating the freighting firm ofJones & Cartwright, forwarders between Leavenworth and Denver. Their firsttrain of some thirty wagons arrived August 24, to supply the wholesale and retailbusiness of this firm. Jones & Russell had already been engaged in freightingto Denver and vicinity. Local coach service to the mines was instituted later.257. Denver City dispatch, dated August 26, in ibid., September 1,1859.
258. Ibid., September 9, 1859. WHEREAS The citizens of Denver City arewell aware of the ardent wishes of the proprietors of the Leavenworth City andPike's Peak Express Company for the welfare and promotion of the variousinterests of our newly chosen country. Therefore be it
"Resolved, That our sincere thanks be herewith tendered to John [S].Jones, Esq., the General Superintendent of the Express company, for whateversacrifices himself and associates have already made, and are continuing to makefor the benefit of ourselves and the people of this country generally.".Resolutions were also adopted in favor of a Pacific railroad and telegraph by theCentral route.
259. Reminiscences of General William Larimer and of His Son William H. H.Lorimer (Herman S. Davis, ed., Lancaster, Pa., 1918), pp. 176-178. See theseries of articles by Emerson N. Barker of Denver, entitled "Highlights in thePostal History of the Trans-Mississippi Region," in Don Houseworth'sInternational Stamp Review, St. Joseph, Mo., December, 1940, to December,1941, which includes articles on both the Pike's Peak and Pony Express, withillustrations. The authors wish to thank Mrs. Evelyn Whitney of Topeka for kindlybringing this to their attention.
The tribute of "General Hall" is found in Frank Hall, History of the State ofColorado (Chicago, 4 vols., 1889), v. I, p. 214.
260. Because of their publicity value, it is possible that the amounts announcedmay have been "stretched," or presented in a misleading form. Announcements fromDenver, Leavenworth and Atchison, and even by different Leavenworth papersreferring to the same express coach, at times varied by several thousand dollars,but these announcements are the only estimates now available.
261. Leavenworth dispatch. dated August 22, to the St. Louis MissouriRepublican, in the New York Daily Tribune, August 29, 1859.
262. Leavenworth Weekly Herald, August 27, 1859. On August 15 the.following note was addressed from Denver to the Leavenworth Daily Times:"The Express coach that will bring you this letter, carries the largest amount ofgold in its various shapes yet shipped at one time from this point to your city.The aggregate quantity represents a value of not less than eighteen thousanddollars. Three thousand five hundred of it is the property of the ExpressCompany, and the remaining fifteen is divided among the passengers-all of whom,are members of the Georgia Company.
"I hope that this will at least stifle the foolish clamor for 'dust, dust,' whichcan be constantly heard in your city.
"Almost the entire amount was received in exchange for goods or passage. . . Theexample further shows that Leavenworth City is not the only place, and theExpress Company not the only channel by which gold from this latitude reaches theStates."-Daily Times, August 24, 1859. The issue of the next day alsodescribed the above shipment as $18,000 in amount.
263. Deposits of flake gold were usually rather quickly exhausted. The chiefdeposits were in quartz leads, which for extraction required a rock-crushingmachine.
264. Leavenworth Daily Times, September 13, 1859.
265. Ibid. A Denver dispatch, dated September 15, in the Times ofSeptember 24 carried a table of gold receipts up to September 15, which totaled$72,965 received so far, and $45,062 shipped. The largest shipper was the"Mercantile Dept. of the Express Co."which had received $19,104, and shippedapproximately the same amount; the next on the list of 21 consignees was"Wallingford & Murphy," with $14,793. At this time the amounts of gold beingshipped from California were naturally far greater than from the Pike's Peakregion.
266. Ibid., September 24, 1859.
267. Leavenworth Weekly Herald, October 1, 1859. Among the passengers onan earlier coach was Benjamin Burroughs (or Burrows), with $4,000 worth of dust,who had arrived in the gold regions just four weeks before, "poor and ragged." Atabout this time the famous Gregory returned to the States, carrying a bag ofapproximately $25,000 worth of dust he had received as part payment for hisvaluable holdings.
268. Leavenworth Daily Times, October 1, 1859.
269. Leavenworth Weekly Herald, October 15, 1859. An additional $1,000 wasconsigned to Jones & Cartwright.
270. The Daily Times, October 15, 1859, in "A Card," signed by sevenpassengers of the express.
271. Atchison Union, November 5, 1859; Leavenworth Daily Times,November 5, which remarked: "The Mountain Diggings are pretty well deserted."
272. The Leavenworth Weekly Herald, October 22, 1859, announced a coachwith four passengers and $8,672; that of October 29 one carrying $15,000 andthree passengers; and the Times of November 5, one carrying ten passengersand $8,000.
During this period of eastbound traffic the coaches do not appear to haveaveraged more than one half a capacity load, and without doubt the westboundtraffic was then much lighter. Those unsuccessful in the quest for gold in alllikelihood did not return via the Pike's Peak Express. Such failure wascharacteristic of this precarious calling, and in part explains the flood of"humbug" stories, some of which still circulated.
273. Leavenworth Daily Times, November 18, and Weekly Herald,November 19, 1859. This coach carried $9,237 in gold, plus $7,000 in the hands ofthe passengers (five in number). It was forced to lay over nearly three days atseveral stations en route, and crossed the Platte on the ice. It reported a boomin the South Park region.
274. At this time the Rocky Mountain News began to ignore the name ofKansas, as applicable to the gold region, and substituted that of Jefferson.Beverly D. Williams had been active in the convention for the proposed state ofJefferson, and in October, 1859, was elected delegate to congress. At Washingtonhe accomplished little more than impressing the government with the importance ofthe region, which was not formally organized as Colorado territory untilFebruary, 1861. In July of that year he was nominated for the same position, butwas beaten by the Republican candidate. See Hubert Howe Bancroft, History ofNevada, Colorado and Wyoming (Works, v. XXV-San Francisco, 1890), pp. 404,416. On page 410 there is a short biography of Steele.
275. Leavenworth Daily Times, December 3, 1859. "The growth of the GoldRegion is without a parallel in the history of the world and its prosperouspresent is but a faint indication of what the future willdevelope."-Ibid.
276. Leavenworth Weekly Herald, and New York Daily Tribune, issuesof December 3, 1859, the latter of which stated that the gold shipped amounted to$12,000. Many of these dispatches gave the names of the passengers.
277. Extended account of a traveler, signed "L. N. T.," in Leavenworth DailyTimes, December 9, 1859. As to Denver and Auraria, he remarked: "Large andsubstantial frame houses, enlivened by paint" were making the log houses of theprevious winter "resemble dog kennels rather than human habitations."
278. Weekly Leavenworth Herald, January 8, 1860. Accounts by employees arenatury not unbiased. From the Leavenworth Daily Times of December 31, itis evident that is trip was completed the previous day, after an eight-dayjourney that was delayed by sleety roads. The January 8 issue of theHerald told of an express arrival on the day before, C. W. Wileymessenger, with three passengers and $22,000 in gold, of which $7,000 wasconsigned to the express company.
279. Leavenworth Daily Times, December 31, 1859. The express of December15 brought some $15,000 in gold, six passengers, and 470 letters from the Pike'sPeak region (Times of December 16); that of December 23 brought $19,000and six passengers, and reported mining suspended for the season (Atchison Union,December 24-the coaches then went to Atchison first). An express driver wasreported to have frozen to death near Fort Kearny.
Concerning the output of gold of the Pike's Peak region, James R. Snowden,director of the Philadelphia mint, wrote to Howell Cobb, Secretary of theTreasury (December 23, 1859), that the gold so far received then amounted to$202,250.79.-B. D. Williams to John [S]. Jones, dated Washington, D. C., January16, in Leavenworth Daily Times, January 24, 1860.
280. New York Daily Tribune, January 13, 1860; Weekly LeavenworthHerald, January 14. A mass meeting at Denver January 2 memorialized congressto establish a territorial government. "Gov." S. W. Beall was then on his way toWashington to to present the petition to the congress.
281. Weekly Leavenworth Herald, February 4, 1860. The passengers carried$22,500 in gold, plus an additional sum consigned to the express company. ThePlatte was still frozen, but the Salt Lake mail coach had broken through severaltimes, in crossing at Morrell's station. Wiley reported the presence of fourladies from Virginia on the outbound trip, whose journey in midwinter aroused"surprise and misgiving," but all arrived safe and sound.
282. H. Parker Johnson, "Jones & Russell's Leavenworth and Pike's PeakExpress Co.," loc. cit., p. 113. News releases concerning the new firm hadalready been published, and the change was effected without any interruption ofservice.
283. Villard was so incensed that the "Greeley Report" was itself declared false,that he gathered a large body of documents and affidavits to 'subject thedefaming tribe to such a radical and rigorous a raking as will forever set atrest their foul tongues, and the sneering pens of journalistic fools who are everready to credit any story circulated by the unsuccessful louts and dunces 'justfrom Pike's Peak.' . -New York Daily Tribune, September 12, 1859. Thisadmirable report, dated Denver City,' September 23, appeared in theTribune of October 15, 1859.
284. A number of important changes in this route were made, from time to time,but a detailed study of the entire road is beyond the scope of this article.Probably the best single account of the overland mail route. as it was in 1863when the North Platte section had been abandoned for a more direct road west, isfound in Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, Ch. X (which has a map forthat date). The Pike's Peak guidebooks, which were issued in the interest of theemigrant trade, give itineraries and descriptions of this road, particularly in1859. See especially S. W. Burt and E. L. Berthoud, The Rocky Mountain GoldRegions (Denver City, J. T., 1861), which includes a map of the CentralOverland California and Pike's Peak Express road and an itinerary of stations inJanuary, 1861; Allen's Guide Book and Map to the Gold Fields of Kansas &Nebraska and Great Salt Lake City, by O. Allen (Washington, 1859), Route No.5; Randolph B. Marcy, The Prairie Traveler, A Hand Book for OverlandExpeditions (New York, 1859); W. B. Horner, The Gold Regions of Kansas andNebraska . . (Chicago, 1859),-one of the best descriptive accounts; andThe Illustrated Miners' Hand-Book and Guide to Pike's Peak, by Parker& Huyett (St. Louis, 1859), also very informative. Leroy R. Hafen, ed.,Pike's Peak Gold Rush Guidebooks of 1859 (Southwest Historical Series, v.IX, Glendale, Cal., 1941), briefly reviews the earlier guidebooks. Concerning thestage route through Nebraska, Particularly the Rock Creek station which Was thescene of an affray involving James B. "Wild Bill" Hickok, see the "Rock CreekRanch Fight" by Addison E. Sheldon, George W. Hansen and others, in NebraskaHistory Magazine, v. X, No. 2 (April-June, 1927), pp. 67-146.
285. Publication announced in the Leavenworth Daily Times, February 4, 1860. Thisemigrant's hand book of fifteen pages has seven pages of material describingLeavenworth as a center of business and place to outfit emigrants. It wasrepublished entire in the Times, February 14, 1860.
286. Pp. 4, 5. Kinnekuk or Kennekuk was probably named after the Kickapoo Indianchief of that name, although "Kinney Kirk" used in some early guidebooks,suggests another derivation. Lochnane's apparently became Log Chain.
Wiley testified that after the Hockaday transfer seven new 287. The affidavit ofC. W. stations were constructed between St. Joseph and the Upper Crossing of thePlatte; that of J. A. Slade that three more were built between Morrell's crossingof the South Platte and South Pass.-Senate Report 259, p. 34. The various namesreferring to the crossings of the Platte are highly confusing.
288. Allen's Guide Book (microfilm of original in Library of Congress),pp. 24-27.
289. "Table of Distances Between Atchison, Kan., and Placerville,Cal."-Overland Stage, pp. 102, 103; also schedule of stations, passengerfares and express rates issued by office of Overland Stage line (Ben Holladay,proprietor), 1862. At that time Atchison was the terminal, but during most of theperiod of the Pike's Peak Express companies, Leavenworth occupied this position,although Atchison was usually also on the route. In October, 1863, thePostmaster-General advertised for bids for the mail routes from Atchison to SaltLake City (No. 14258), and Salt Lake City to Placerville and Folsom City, Cal.(Nos. 14620 and 15755). The stations en route (practically identical with thosein the Overland Stage itinerary) are listed in House Exec. Doc. No. 24,38 Cong., 2 Sess., pp. 10, 11, quoted by Leroy R. Hafen, The OverlandMail, pp. 275, 276.
W. R. Hornell's "Map of the Pony Express Trail," which was practically the sameas the stage road from Kennekuk west, lists the following stations as far as theKansas-Nebraska border: St. Joseph, Elwood, Johnson's Ranch, Troy, Cold SpringRanch, Syracuse, Kennekuk, Kickapoo, Granada, Log Chain, Seneca, Laramie Creek,Ash Point, Guittard's, Marysville, and Hollenberg.-See the description of thePony Express route as quoted in Part IV, to appear in the February, 1946,Quarterly.
290. Richard F. Burton, English author, traveler, and explorer of India, Arabia,the Lake region of Central Africa (the discoverer of Lake Tanganyika), andexplorer of the highlands of Brazil, was later knighted by the Britishgovernment, and honored by many geographical societies. He was the author ofnumerous works of travel and exploration, and is also famed for his translationof the Arabian Nights. The New York Tribune remarked (July 11, 1860) thathis arrival in New York had been "entirely overlooked by our sharp-eyedlion-hunters." He was then considered "one of the most intrepid and successfulexplorers of the present century. . . With the exception of Livingstone andBarth, no living man has done more toward completing the map of Africa.The reader is also referred to the excellent shorter account by Capt. Henry E.Palmer in J. Sterling Morton, ed. (succeeded by Albert Watkins), History ofNebraska (Lincoln, 3 vols., 1905, 1906, 1913), v. III, Ch. XV. Volume I, Ch.III, of the same work contains a good account of the Central route, the overlandstage and Pony Express, with illustrations, including a photograph of AlexanderMajors.
291. Under the Hockaday regime Joseph A. Slade had served as agent of thedivision from the Upper Crossing of the Platte to South Pass. When the "C. O. C."was organized Benjamin F. Ficklin made him head of the smaller Sweetwaterdivision, running northwest from Julesburg to Rocky Ridge, in which capacity hewas untiring in his efforts to rid the line of incompetents. He found Jules Beni,agent at Julesburg, to be a thief and scoundrel, and forced him to settle withthe company. Jules wounded Slade, and Ficklin then ordered the execution of "OldJules." Jules and Slade finally "had it out" and the Frenchman went to his death.It was said that thereafter Slade wore one of Jules' ears as a watch charm. Sladewas the terror of evildoers on the line, but took to drink, and later became thehead of a gang of highway robbers and desperadoes. He was finally executed by thevigilantes of Virginia City, Mont.-Overland Stage, p. 216 etseq.
Burton referred to Slade as: "Of gougers fierce, the eyes that pierce, thefiercest gouger he." He met him in August, 1860, at Horseshoe Station, west ofFort Laramie, living with two ladies of disagreeable mien, one his wife. Sladealready had the reputation of having killed three men. Burton complained of histreatment by the "ladies," who forced him to sleep in the barn with the drunks.See, also, Mark Twain's (Samuel L. Clemens') sketch in Roughing It(Hartford, Conn., 1872), Chs. X and XI, and Arthur Chapman, The PonyExpress (New York and London, 1932, Ch. XII, entitled "Slade, ofJulesburg."
292. In his itinerary to accompany this account (Appendix I, p. 505), Burton addsconcerning Troy: "capital of Doniphan Co., Kansas Territory, about a dozenshanties. Dine and change mules at Cold Spring-good water and grass. Road fromFort Leavenworth falls in at Cold Spring, distant 15 miles.
Cold Spring was located between Troy and Kennekuk. Burton has twisted the orderof stations here, which should read: Troy, Cold Spring, Syracuse and Kennekuk.His following remarks seem harsh, as the lot of a widow upon the prairie waslikely to be a hard one, particularly when overtaken by sickness.
293. "Itinerary," P. 505: "After 10 miles, valley Home, a whitewashed shanty."According to W. R. Honnell's "Map of the Pony Express Trail," the stationpreceding Kennekuk was Syracuse. There were more Pony Express than stage stationson the line.-See list quoted above.
294. Frank A. Root writes in The Overland Stage (pp. 190, 191): "Kennekukwas the first 'home' station out from Atchison, and here drivers were changed. Itwas a little town of perhaps a dozen houses, having a store, blacksmith shop,etc. The Kickapoo Indian agency was one of the most prominent buildings. The oldstone mission visible for many miles was less than a mile northwest of the stagestation, adjoining the now thriving city of Horton.
The St. Joseph road here intersected the military road from Fort Leavenworth.Burton' comments on the Kickapoo Indians, which follow, are rather cynical.
295. Burton's "Itinerary," p. 505: "Four miles beyond the First Grasshopper isWhitehead, a young settlement on Big Grasshopper. . , . Five and a half milesbeyond is Walnut Creek, in Kickapoo Co. [probably reservation] ; Pass overcorduroy bridge; roadside dotted with shanties. . . . Burton's location ofWhitehead is obviously in error, this town being near the Missouri river. Burtondoes not mention Kickapoo stage station, on the Indian reservation twelve mileswest of Kennekuk, and it is possible that this was not a stopping point inAugust, 1860. In 1863 there were only two or three houses visible along the stageline between this and the preceding station. This locality was a garden spot ofnorthern Kansas.-Overland Stage, p. 191.
296. The Pony Express station of Granada was not mentioned by Burton, andapparently was not a stop on the stage line.
297. David M. Locknane's station (Log Chain of later accounts) was located on abranch of the Grasshopper river, and was termed by Burton "Big Muddy Station." Itis said that an early settler who lived nearby made good money during the springmonths by renting his log chains to freighters whose vehicles became mired in themud of this crossing (interviews of George A. Root with old settlers). This wasthe home of "Old Bob Ridley" (Robert Sewell), a very popular stage driver on theeastern division between Atchison and Fort Keamy.-Overland Stage, pp.193-195.
298. Although Burton had no praise for the Seneca station, it became famous forits service and clientele. Lt was the first town of importance west of Atchison,the station being kept by the "enterprising, shrewd New Hampshire Yankee, John E.Smith," a pioneer of that vicinity. His two-story hotel appeared to be "a mammothconcern," kept scrupulously clean by his wife, who served excellent meals. TheOverland Stage, p. 197, gives a list of the famous customers. It is probablethat this account is later than August, 1860, when Burton stopped there.
299. "Uncle John" O'Laughlin was an early postmaster at Ash Point, between Senecaand Guittard's, and kept a small stock of goods "needed" by emigrants, includingwhisky. The Overland Stage (pp. 565, 566) tells of several thirsty lawyerswho "practiced" at Uncle John's bar.
300. Located three miles north of present Beattie, Marshall county, where amonument was dedicated to the Pony Express in 1931, in the ceremonies of whichthe late John G. Ellenbecker officiated. (Ellenbecker, a resident of Marysville,was a prominent leader in commemorating many historic sites in this vicinity.)George Guittard was a pioneer of that part of Marshall county, and a son, Xavier,became famed as the keeper of the stage station For a time in later years thestage route followed the Oketo cut-off from this point north.See OverlandStage, pp. 198-200.
301. In understanding Burton's remarks, the reader should keep in mind the severedrought of 1860. As early as June 15 a traveler who had arrived at Denver told ofthe severe need of rain, and the lowness of the Platte and itstributaries.-Atchison Freedom's Champion, June 30, 1860.
302. Palmetto City and Marysville were adjacent settlements, the latter being oneof the oldest and best known towns of northern Kansas, which had been laid out byFrank J. Marshall (Overland Stage, p. 199). When the daily stage servicewas instituted in 1861, the route ran west from Guittard's to Marysville, whereit crossed the Big Blue by a rope ferry (in dry weather the river could be fordedhere). The Pony Express station was located in a small brick structure inMarysville.
303. "Cottonwood Station," also known as the Hollenberg Pony Express station, wasnamed after G. H. Hollenberg, a pioneer settler of Washington county, whosecareer reads like an epic of fiction. Hollenberg left Germany in 1849, worked forthree years in the California gold mines, followed the same occupation inAustralia, and thereafter sojourned in Peru, South America. Early in 1854 hesettled on the Black Vermillion, in Marshall county, and in 1857 he arrived inWashington county, where he established the Hollenberg ranch, with a trading postand tavern. The Hollenberg ranch house was a regular stop on the Pony Express,but in 1862 Holladay temporarily eliminated it from the Overland line, when thestages followed the shorter Oketo cutoff. This station, located about 1½milesnortheast of present Hanover, was made a state park in 1942 and the ranch houserepaired and restored as a Pony Express memorial. A letter of Dr. Howard R.Driggs, president of the American Pioneer Trails Association, to Kirke Mechem(April 30, 1941) adds thatseveral other station houses along the route to Sacramento lay claim to PonyExpress honors, nevertheless--"None of these relics of a heroic past are betterpreserved than the old Hollenberg station. ' The ground floor of this structureincluded a store and postoffice, and kitchen, dining room and bedrooms for theHollenberg family. The six stage employees that were stationed here and the PonyExpress riders slept in a common room in the attic, which extended the entirelength of the building.304. As found by Burton in 1860, Keamy station was not the same as that of 1863,when it had been moved to a site west of the military post, and was a one-storylog structure boasting of "one of the best dining stations on the stageroute."-Overland Stage, p. 204. Since 1848 Fort Kearny had been animportant military post, the location of which on the California and Oregon trailgave it an interesting past. In his "Itinerary" (p. 506) Burton stated that"groceries, cloths, provisions, and supplies of all kinds are to be procured fromthe sutler's store."305. See the account entitled "From the Indian Country-Movements of the SouthernColumn of the Kiowa Expedition," a day-by-day report of the military operationsand skirmishes from July 28 to August 10, 1860, written by "Rover," from campwest of Fort Kearny, August 10, in Leavenworth Daily Times, August 23, 1860. Anearlier letter by "Rover," dated July 22, was written from camp on the Arkansasriver, five miles southwest of Camp Alert (Fort Larned) in ibid., August2, 1860.
306. "Plum Creek was in the heart of the buffalo region, and near this stationvast numbers of the animals came out of the sand-hills south of the river andslaked their thirst in the Platte. Buffalo-wallows could be seen in a number ofplaces. The old-time stage-drivers told me that a few years previous they seldompassed Plum Creek without seeing immense herds of buffalo. . . . The enormoustravel on the plains in the '60's, however, soon drove the buffalo southward. . .."-Overland Stage, p. 207.
307. Usually known as Cottonwood Springs, which by 1883 had a very favorablereputation as a "home station," and was also a very good camping place forfreighters, because of the abundance of cedar.-Ibid., p. 208. This"Cottonwood Station" is not to be confused with the "Cottonwood Station" inWashington county, Kansas. (See Footnote 303.)
308. The road in this vicinity was despised by the stage drivers, as it in placesfollowed an angle of about forty-five degrees through the sand hills. Later a newroad was laid out to the south of the bluff, which was longer but more safe forstage travel.-Overland Stage, p. 211.
809. Burton was obviously in error as the present junction of the North and SouthForks of the Platte is a few miles from North Platte, Lincoln county, Nebraska,in longitude 100° 41' and latitude 41° 7'.
310. The Upper Crossing of the South Fork of the Platte apparently went byseveral names, including "Laramie Crossing," "Goodale's Crossing," "Morrell'sCrossing," and later "Julesburg" or "Overland City," although Julesburg came tobe preferred. Julesburg became widely known, the station and stable were then"long, one-story, hewed cedar-log buildings; there was also a store andblacksmith shop. . . The Pacific telegraph line at this point also crossed thePlatte, having been completed through to San Francisco via Fort Bridgerand Salt Lake. It cost ten dollars a wagon to get ferried across the Platte [byrope ferry in 1564]."-Overland Stage, pp. 219, 220. Julesburg was namedafter Jules Beni. (See Footnote 291.)

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