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Pike's Peak Express Companies, 3

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 Historical Society.


THE Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Company was founded by William H. Russell, John S. Jones and associates early in 1859 as a stage and express line to the Rocky Mountain gold region. Instead of using the old Oregon trail which followed the Platte river, a new and Shorter route was surveyed from Leavenworth to Denver by way of the Solomon and Republican rivers. In April regular trips were inaugurated, thereby providing the first dependable Service between the Missouri river and the Rockies. The new means of transportation was received with enthusiasm by the people of the border and with Still greater appreciation by the miners near Pike's Peak, to whom it meant a great reduction of time for travel across the plains and a much more Swift and reliable mail service. The Stage company had been in operation only three weeks, however, when the proprietors purchased the older line of John M. Hockaday, who held a government contract for transporting the mail to Salt Lake City via the Platte river. This necessitated the abandonment of the Solomon and Republican route 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 Mormon migration to the valley of Great Salt Lake brought increased demands for improved mail Service to these Western communities. The first government contract for a regular overland mail Service was made in 1850 with Samuel H. Woodson of Independence, Mo., who was engaged to serve the route between that frontier outpost and Salt Lake City by way of the Oregon trail. This service was none too good and in 1854 a contract for carrying the overland mail was made with W. M. F. Magraw. Severe losses from Indian attacks 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 there to California had come to be regarded as one central route to the Pacific. The monthly service then in effect did not satisfy the population of California and the Postmaster General asked for bids for an improved service by this route. [216]

In April, 1858, a new contract was made with John M. Hockaday of Independence, for a weekly mail from St. Joseph to Salt Lake City by way of Forts Kearny and Laramie. For the route from Salt Lake City to Placerville, Cal., a contract was made with George Chorpenning, a pioneer carrier on the western end of the line. [217] The service to Salt Lake was scheduled for twenty-two days, in carriages or covered wagons drawn by four mules or horses, at an annual compensation of $190,000. The Postmaster General reserved the right to discontinue the service, or to reduce it to semimonthly "whenever the necessities of the public and the condition of affairs in the Territory of Utah may not require it more frequently . . ." [218]

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


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

Memorandum of agreement between Jones, Russell & Co., and J. M. Hockaday and J. 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 said Jones, 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 15th instant, on the following terms and conditions, to wit: First. A bonus of fifty thousand dollars, all mules, coaches, wagons, and harness, used for transporting for 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 a valuation, which the parties hereto may mutually agree upon hereafter, paid, and to be paid as follows: The said Hockaday & Co., receive, as part payment, the balance due upon the present quarter from the 15th instant-being twenty-three thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars. Fifteen thousand dollars in an acceptance of Jones, Russell & Co., payable in New York, four months from the 15th instant; thirty-six thousand two hundred and fifty dollars in cash, from the 1st 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 twelve months, payable in New York; the second and third of which shall become due and payable in eight and twelve months from the 15th instant; the first in four months 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 run through Atchison, Kansas Territory, unless a change is ordered by the Post Office Department unsolicited. It is expressly agreed that any failure on the part of Jones, Russell & Co., after they take possession of the line, shall not diminish the amount due as per contract on the 30th of June for said period. The said Hockaday, and Hockaday & Co., both, or either of them, further agree that they will, when called upon, execute any further assignment of said contract that may be necessary, and agree that the name of J. M. Hockaday shall be used by Jones, Russell & Co., in the execution of said contract, so far as the same may 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 the interests of Jones, Russell & Co., before Congress for an increased compensation for carrying said mail, so far as he can, with convenience to his own business interests, the said Jones, Russell & Co.,


agrees to pay him a liberal compensation therefor in case of success. It is expressly 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 of the 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. Smoot of the Leavenworth banking firm of Smoot & Russell and at the time was not made public. [223] It is probable that it was undertaken at the request of Wm. H. Russell, of the "parent" firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell, who had much to do with directing the finances of these companies and was himself Something of a "plunger." To execute the provisions of this agreement, Smoot and John M. Hockaday were made assignees of the Hockaday firm, to hold the property in trust for Jones, Russell & Co.224 During 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 by Jones, Russell & Co. to the Hockaday firm in the period agreed upon. The claim of Hockaday for damages ensuing from a reduction of the service was not assumed by Jones, Russell & Co., but remained a claim of Hockaday & Ligget against the government (for which $40,000 was later appropriated for their relief). [226] Russell later asserted that his firm was entitled to additional payment for continuing the weekly mail service, which they were obliged to do because of the large quantity of mail. [227]


Hockaday termed this transaction virtually a "forced sale"that in order to properly 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 the consequent reduction of pay, and the "obvious increase of expense, they were wholly ruined in credit, and rendered unable to continue the service required." Realizing that they were "pecuniarily ruined" they consequently "were forced to Sell out their contract, together with all their property, at a ruinous sacrifice, for $145,000,"-at least $100,000 less than it would have brought if Such curtailment had not been made. [228] When the matter was considered on the floor of congress there was marked Sympathy for the firm. It had rendered satisfactory service and was made to suffer because of a reduction of the postal Services owing to the failure of the usual congressional appropriation-a view which was at least in a measure agreed to by President Buchanan. [229]

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


the Hockaday firm had rendered satisfactory service and had conveyed the mails with "great regularity" it appears to have been quite poorly equipped. In the absence of any inventory of property transferred or schedule of appraisement an exact judgment is impossible. Hockaday's estimate for a monthly Service, made in 1857, 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 time of the sale to Jones & Russell. [231] The most important thing gained by these parties, however, was the mail contract to Salt Lake City, which definitely placed this firm in the overland mail business by way of the Central route.


According to the original Hockaday contract for transporting 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 performed in carriages or covered wagons, drawn by four mules or horses." [232] These terms no 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 and branches of the Republican. Alexander Majors of the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell termed the Fort Kearny route the best natural road on the continent and believed it the best in the world. [233] Lt. G. K. Warren, U. S. topographical engineer, in his official report to the Secretary of War, asserted: "Of all the valleys of rivers running into the Missouri, that of the Platte furnishes the best route for any kind of a road leading to the interior, and the best point of starting is Omaha City." [234] In


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

In my last I gave a description of the express route but I believe I did not make any comments on it. I am sorry to say, it is disliked very much. Few are traveling it now. Those that do come in by that route say water and grass are very scarce. The Express Company, you are aware have abandoned it. Those who have traveled it once say they will never do so again. How unfortunate that the miserable location the company made should drive people away from it and prejudice almost every one against any road which should be located near the same general route. I am still satisfied that the most direct road can be made near this route, much shorter than the Express road, and with water, wood and grass as plenty as on that road. It would probably take some time to induce people to travel it however. The wrong cause is given by many, for the Express leaving the road. 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, moveable supplies and stock to the new route required added work and further expense during the


Summer of 1859. In this work Beverly D. Williams appears to have played a leading role, as he had in establishing the initial route. [237] Unfortunately the press, particularly the Leavenworth papers, Seem to have been "duly instructed" to remain quiet concerning the change until arrangements had been completed, when repeated articles appeared in praise of the accomplishments of the firm. With the move to the Platte went the building of new stations at more convenient distances, since those of the Hockaday line had been few and far between, and the construction of barns capable of accommodating several teams of mules, with necessary provender and supplies. When moveable, the supplies and equipment of the stations on the old route were probably transferred to the new road,238 which resulted in a very considerable increase in Stock, etc., on the Platte route. Hockaday and Liggit alleged that their loss was entirely a "consequence of the curtailment of service" from weekly to Semimonthly and submitted a considerable number of affidavits testifying to the large increase of Stock, concerning which the minority report of the congressional committee concluded there "is every reason to believe . . . was for passenger accommodation," 239 and not for other purposes.

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


Denver City, July 9, 1859.

EDITOR of THE TIMES: Through your columns we wish to 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 landed here this morning at 7, A. M., making the entire trip in six days and twenty-one hours. The appointments of the route far exceeded our expectations, and when every arrangement that they have now under way is completed, there will be thrown open 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 amply supplied with first class stock, and at convenient points. There are established good eating houses-some of which throw many brag Eastern Houses in the shade; we have 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 that prevails, that the company cannot and will not be able to carry out their advertised time and advantages.
The coach on which we came was the first one on the Platte Route, and consequently was subject to more than ordinary delay. By a computation Of our own, we are able to say that twenty-eight hours were lost at the different stations in getting up the mules and arranging for the travel which is ready to go 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 and to Leavenworth.



Although the express coaches operated with considerable regularity misunderstandings arose during the first weeks which delayed the arrival of both gold and mail and caused Some dissatisfaction. The coach from Denver was brought to the junction on the South Platte to meet the overland mail from Salt Lake City, the conductors of which do not seem to have been advised of the new arrangement, and refused to receive either passengers or letters .241 Shipments of gold could not be dispatched unless in the care of a special messenger who in several instances was not on hand .242 After some


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

The L. and P. P. is winning golden opinions. Stages now make the regular trips in little over six days carrying mails with unfailing regularity and putting passengers through with more comfort, and giving better and more regular meals than can be obtained on any stage route in the Western States. The fact is, this express company is about the only link that binds us to the states. Long may it prosper! [245]


During August, 1859, the Leavenworth Times published several articles in praise of the achievements of Jones & Russell in establishing their new stage line:

Before all, a tribute of praise to the deserving. Not more than six weeks have elapsed since Messrs. Russell, Jones & Co. commenced transferring their express line from the Central to the Northern route, and with the incredible obstacles to the contrary, notwithstanding, their immense stage route is already in as perfect a working order as the oldest lines of the East. The writer arrived here [Denver] from Leavenworth-a distance of six hundred and


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

About a week earlier the same paper had praised the express company and the new route, which it termed "so well established, and the time made on it so unparalleled, that its Superior claims over every other route are universally acknowledged." Jones and Russell had established stations at regular intervals of twenty-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 the mines, and if he gets out of supplies, his stock can be easily replenished. The great pioneer world is under a load of indebtedness to the gentlemen who have thus provided against the liabilities and dangers to which emigrants are subjected in their march across the Great Plains.
Every station is a seeming Oasis-a link in the great chain of civilization, that even now stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific. [247]

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

When the overland stage was operating to California under the


ownership of Ben Holladay, Frank A. Root served as messenger on the "run" from Atchison to Denver, Colo., starting his first trip January 23, 1863. His description of the stations along the line is probably the best account extant:

There was a remarkable similarity in many of the stations built along the Platte on the stage route for a distance of at least 250 miles when the line was put into operation. Most of the buildings were erected by the stage company, and usually they were nearly square, one-story, hewn, cedar-log structures, of one to three rooms. When constructed with only one room, often partitions of muslin were used 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 poles were supported for rafters placed as close as they could be put together, side by side. On these were placed some willows, then a layer of hay was spread, and this was covered with earth or sod; and, lastly, a sprinkling of coarse gravel covered all, to keep the earth from being blown off. The logs of which most of the first stations were constructed were procured in the canons south of the Platte, in the vicinity of Cottonwood Springs, in the southern part of western Nebraska.

Nearly all the "swing" stations along the Platte-in fact, over the entire line-were similar in construction and closely resembled one another. A number of the "home" stations, however, differed somewhat in several respects, being two or three times larger, and provided with sheds, outbuildings, and a number of other conveniences.

The station, stable and outbuildings at old Julesburg [249] were built when that was the point where the through coaches forded the South Platte for Salt Lake and California, going up the Rocky Ridge road along Lodge Pole creek. Besides being the point where the stages on the main line crossed the Platte, it also became an important junction for upwards of four years. Here the branch line, the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express, started by Jones, Russell & Co., and subsequently absorbed by the Central Company, and known as the "Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company," ran their stages up the South Fork of the Platte for 200 miles beyond to Denver.

At Julesburg-in early staging days one of the most important points along the Platte-were erected the largest buildings of the kind between Fort Kearney and Denver. They were built of cedar logs, hauled from near Cottonwood Springs by oxen, a distance of 105 miles.

Most of the stations east of Denver for about a hundred miles were constructed of rough lumber hauled from the mountains down the Platte valley. The buildings were decidedly plain, the boards being of native Colorado pine, nailed on the frame perpendicularly. Only a few of the stations west of the Big Blue river at Marysville were weatherboarded. With this exception, all were plain log structures between the latter point and Fort Kearney. A sta-


tion on the line where there was no family living-only a stock tender-was called a "swing" station.

The first sod buildings seen on the line were at Fort Kearney, a few having been erected in pioneer overland freighting, pony express and staging days. The post-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 few buildings of that character between the Missouri river and the Rockies. [250]

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

There were about twenty-five eating stations on the line, among which may be mentioned 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's Orchard, Latham, Big Bend, etc. [251] The more important stations fed passengers both ways, and the others getting a load of them going west would almost invariably lose the coach load going east. Passengers took their meals regularly twice and sometimes three times a day according to the reputation of the house and the hour the stage reached it. Leaving Atchison [the later terminal] in the morning they dined with Mrs. Perry, at Kennekuk, and supped at Seneca, with John E. Smith, whose better half enjoyed the reputation of keeping the cleanest house of anybody on the whole line. It was eighty-five miles out to Guittard's, and when the mails did not reach us at Atchison till after dinner we would reach Guittard's the next morning for breakfast. Going east passengers seldom passed by the house of this Frenchman. He kept one of the best ranches on the whole line and he was known along the overland from Atchison to California by stage passengers and freighters as well as the "Delmonico" is in New York. His was the favorite stopping place far all passengers on the overland, and thousands of freighters and pilgrims hardly ever passed, going east or west without sitting down to the hospitable table that made this ranch so famous. [252]
Miss Lizzie Trout, at Midway station, could get up a first-class meal the quickest of any person on the line. It was remarkable to get such good fare as we used to have on the plains. The most of the stations were well kept and the fare was good, while a few were miserable apologies. Leaving the Big Blue it was almost impossible to get butter at any station, but we had plenty of beans, bacon, hominy and sorghum, especially after reaching the Platte Valley, with a good supply of buffalo steaks and antelope. Dried apple pies


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 Revelation along the Platte. [253

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

Mr. John S. Jones, the long expected General Superintendent of the Express Company, 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 one of its members cannot fail to produce a salutary effect, and infuse increased vigor 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 had caused his journey to the gold regions. I learn that be proposes to erect an additional ware-house in this place, and one in Auraria [probably for the freighting firm of Jones & Cartwright] ; also, to establish numerous branches in the various mining districts. . . . They start this afternoon for Golden City and the Gregory Diggings.

I am also apprised that some changes will be made in the "personnel" of the office at this point, caused partly by "resignation," and partly by removal. [256]


To promote the business of the express company and the freighting firm of Jones and Cartwright which also served the Pike's Peak region, Jones made a tour of the mines.

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

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


The good reputation enjoyed by the Pike's Peak Express companies in the Rocky Mountain region was no doubt due in considerable measure to the dependable mail service which was inaugurated by the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express in 1859 and continued by the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company in 1860 and 1861. Perhaps the best account of this is found in the Reminiscences of William Larimer, who was employed as an assistant of Martin Field and Judge Amos Steck, the first postmasters of Denver.

When the coaches would arrive with the express, we would close the office while sorting the mail. This would take an hour or more as the mails were heavy. While this was going on, long lines of people were gathering and usually by the time we were ready to begin the distribution there would be two lines formed around the block. Each person had to take his turn, though any individual was allowed to inquire for his party or family. This sometimes made trouble, as some man who had money and did not want to go to the rear of the line would give two or three dollars to some fellow, who was closer to the window, for his turn. I could often see 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 for the transportation at time of delivery.

The post office was usually the first place immigrants inquired for. They soon found that it cost 25 cents for a letter; then it was that they could distinguish the difference between mail and express. There was no mail opened on the road, of course. The average time consumed in traveling across the plains was about thirty days: the stage made it in about six. This naturally led travelers to expect to hear from home immediately on arrival. As everybody came to the post office where I was the clerk, I had a fine opportunity of getting acquainted with every new arrival. Our office was often the place of amusing incidents. Our patrons were continually trying to play smart tricks on us. Frequently they would return letters and demand the return of the money. At first we did not see the trick. A letter that was not worth 25 cents to them after they had learned its contents was almost sure to be brought back with the claim that it was not their letter but was for someone else of the same name. We at first assumed everybody to be honest, and conscientiously desiring that the right person should have his mail, we would refund the money. But it was not long before we discovered that we were paying out almost as much money as we were taking in and were loaded down with letters marked "Opened by mistake." We saw the necessity of changing our methods of doing business; so, in case of doubt, when mail was called for, after questioning whence they expected mail we satisfied ourselves (in case, as a last resort, a letter had to be opened to prove its identity) by opening it ourselves at the supposed owner's request. I remember, on one occasion, of opening a letter: the applicant requested me to read a little of it, in that way he could tell. I did so. It commenced by saying: "Your wife has been raising hell ever since you left." The man said: "Hold on, I think that is my letter," took it and paid for it 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. It commenced by saying: "Your brother was hung for horse stealing. . . ." He also took his letter and paid for it without any farther public reading.

Martin Fields the first postmaster was succeeded by Judge Amos Steck who remained in charge of the mail department of the Express Company until the Federal Government established its own mail service. Fields was afterwards a pioneer mail agent on the Hannibal & St. Joe Railroad and was killed, 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, after operating for only a short time, was purchased by Messrs John S. Jones, and the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell. They reorganized it under the name of the C. 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 a very deserved one and I cannot do better than to repeat his words:

"A more accommodating or efficient agent could not have been named. Possessed of a remarkably retentive memory for names, faces and events, it was the work of an instant 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 a letter for him, Steck knew it without ex


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

Only slightly less in importance to the future of the Pike's Peak region were the shipments of gold by the express company Which became much more Substantial by the late summer and fall of 1859. Up to this time small amounts ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in value had been received-now almost every stage brought a larger quantity of gold dust. The change of route delayed this movement and apparently diverted some gold to Omaha, but in a few weeks Leavenworth regained its popularity. The shipments Were quickly publicized in the Leavenworth papers, probably to promote the Pike's Peak trade. [260] During the month of August the volume of shipments greatly increased. 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 the express company at Leavenworth of $3,726 from the Philadelphia mint, Said to have been the first Pike's Peak gold coin. The express that arrived in Leavenworth August 22 reported rich findings in the Medicine Bow mountains and great excitement concerning the discoveries about the headwaters of the South Platte. [261] A few days later an express arrived after an eight-day trip from Denver with 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's Peak is no humbug. Millions of dollars of gold will be taken out of the mines next season. A great many crushing machines are now on their way Out." [263] An advertisement of the Pike's Peak Express Company of about this time announced:

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 at Leavenworth after a six-day trip from Denver with $9,000 in gold addressed to eleven consignees, of which the firms of Jones & Cartwright and Jones, Russell & Co., received the major portions. [265] The express of September 23 carried over $32,000 and six passengers 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 Shipment of 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. The morning coach carried seven passengers and approximately $32,000, the latter in the care of Jarrett Todd as messenger; [267] the afternoon coach an additional sum of nearly $12,000 and four passengers. [268] The coach that arrived October 6, 1859;


brought six passengers who carried the record-breaking sum of 0,000, but the sickness of the regular messenger prevented the dispatch of gold by the company. [269] Among the passengers arriving on the express of October 14 was General 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 coaches throughout the entire lines, with good stations as a general thing. In a few places the Company are rapidly changing, intending to have the line shortly in perfect order. Both lines come more than up to their advertised time, which allows the passengers ample time to rest by the way. On our recent trip we were accompanied by J. Armor, Esq., the gentlemanly agent of the Company, with George Speer, Express agent from Denver City to the Crossing [of the Platte], and Charles Wylder from the Crossing to Leavenworth City. . . [270]

By late October many were leaving the mines to escape the approaching cold. Atchison reported a great influx of the "hardy miners from the land of gold," all of 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 these returning pilgrims with substantial sums of gold, many of whom planned to return in the spring. [272] This tendency for the movement to be largely a seasonal one-way traffic appears to have reduced the chance of income for the express company, since the emigrant tide was westward in the Spring and Summer and eastward in the fall and early winter.

The express that arrived November 17 reported having encountered a severe storm some 150 miles below Denver, with temperatures near zero, causing considerable suffering by the passengers and delay in arriving at Leavenworth. Among those making this trip were the famous newspaper correspondent, A. D. Richardson, and Beverly D, Williams, the latter formerly with the express company and then delegate-elect to congress from the provi


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

Among the travelers now en route from Denver to Leavenworth are two ladies. They must have suffered no little inconvenience in being on the open prairie, with seldom 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 fingers on the 1st ult. At the Express Station on the same creek, I observed the mercury at 15° below zero. Most of the Express Stations are well built, warm, and provided with all that is necessary for health and comfort. They are almost invariably provided with a cow, and good shelter for live stock. [277]

Clay Thompson, messenger on a Denver City express 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 its part.

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 upon the company for general good management. They now employ three well qualified messengers, who never fail to bring their coaches through


in time, all safe. But a few years ago a trip across the plains at this season, was considered a most difficult and dangerous undertaking; calling for a great 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 be the expense, safety is always secured to passengers and property. [278]

The following message of W. B. Majors, who arrived on the Utah mail coach at the same time as Thompson, indicates that the employees on the overland route also endured much privation during the Winter of 1859-1860.

The snow in the Rocky Mountains is very deep. . . . Nearly all the mail carriers from 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. As yet the mail has not failed, and if there is no delay between here and Fort Laramie the mail will go through without fail.

Mr. Majors informs us that the snow between the South Pass & Strawberry Creek would average about ten feet, & he experienced much difficulty from his mules getting into the deep snow. [279]

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

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

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


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 to look for the unloading of the bag of "dust," which is always the first thing unloaded. The crowd must, one by one, "heft" the sack, to judge the number of dollars worth of dust that it contains. Then commences the unloading of the coach, which consists of buffalo robes and blankets almost without number, part of a sack of crackers, a bundle of dirty clothes, boots, caps, coats, shawls, leggings, books, novels and other conveniences too numerous to mention, are brought out.

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


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


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

One of the first itineraries of the route to Denver, as it existed early in 1860 after Jones & Russell had established their Stage line, appeared in a Pike's Peak guidebook written by Samuel Adams Drake, entitled Hints and Information For the Use of Emigrants to Pike's Peak. This was clearly in the interest of Leavenworth as a port of embarkation, and the Pike's Peak Express Company as a means of travel to the West. [285] This publication was issued at about the same time as the incorporation of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company and the Pony Express (February, 1860), and appears to have been intended to promote 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 which lead from the Missouri to the Gold Region; no matter which of these he may determine to adopt, either may be taken with equal facility and without loss of time. But his attention is particularly directed to the GREAT MILITARY ROAD FROM LEAVENWORTH, which is subject to but few of the objections urged against all others. This road, projected and constructed from Fort Leavenworth to Utah and California, has a cordon of military posts along its whole extent, which the tide of travel that continues to flow over it, is fast merging into important settlements, rendering it perfectly safe from any depredations by Indians, besides affording supplies much needed by the traveller. On the other hand, the Arkansas or Santa Fe route, is notoriously unsafe for travellers. Its entire length is subject to hostile incursions from the most formidable and warlike tribes on the continent, and during the fall and winter just passed, the Indians have been in undisputed possession of the route. The mails have been plundered and the passengers massacred in cold blood, and


nothing less than an effectual chastisement of the Indians and constant patrolling by cavalry can render it available for travel.

THE GREAT MILITARY ROAD, (sometimes called the Platte route), is also that traversed by the Pike's Peak Express Company, who convey the mails and passengers to Denver City in seven days, and have frequently performed the journey in even less time. This company also carries the mail to Utah. They have 24 stations between Leavenworth and Denver City, where good meals can be obtained, and the entire distance as given by the viometre, which measures all the inequalities of surface, is 665 miles. This distance will soon be shortened fully sixty miles, by improvements to be made in the road between Denver City and the crossing of the Platte. We here append a table of distances by this route, the accuracy of which may be relied on.


[1] Leavenworth station miles
[2] Armors 26
[3] Kinnekuk 45
[4] Lochnane's [Log Chain?] 65
[5] Seneca 83
[6] Guittard's 110
[7] Cottonwood [Hollenberg, near the Kansas line] 134
[8] Rock Creek 154
[9] Big Sandy 174
[10] Kiowa Station 198
[11] Liberty Farm 222
[12] 32 Mile Creek 244
[13] Fort Kearny 274
[14] 17 Mile Station 294
[15] Plum Creek 310
[16] Cold Water 333
[17] Cottonwood Springs 367
[18] O'Fallon's Bluffs 402
[19] Lower Crossing South Platte 440
[20] Upper Crossing South Platte [Morrell's Crossing] 467
[21] Lillian Springs 497
[22] Beaver Creek 547
[23] Fremont's Orchard 578
[24] St. Vrain's Fort 622
[25] Denver City 665

From this announcement it is clear that Jones and Russell had greatly increased the number of stations along the line over those 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 far distant from "Goodale's Crossing," Which was at the forks of the Denver City and Lodge Pole creek roads. [288] In later years the overland Stage line increased these stops, as is seen by the account in the Overland Stage, which lists fifty-one stations from Atchison (then the eastern terminal) to Denver, and 153 from Atchison to Placerville, Cal., according to a Schedule of 1862. [289] From Fort Kearny west this "Central route" was to become very largely the line of the Union Pacific railroad. The route through Kansas eventually included twelve stations as follows:

Leavenworth Seneca
Atchison Laramie Creek
Lancaster Ash Point
Kennekuk Guittard's
Kickapoo Marysville
Log Chain (sometimes known as Hollenberg

One of the best accounts of a trip over the stage line, as it was in August, 1860, was written by Richard F. Burton in his The City of the Saints, And Across the Rocky Mountains To California (1862), pp. 1-69. Burton had a brilliant background as an explorer in Africa and Arabia '290 and he minced no words in his condemnation of many things he saw on the stage line of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company on the


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


A tour through the domains of Uncle Samuel without visiting, the wide regions of the Far West would be, to use a novel simile, like seeing Hamlet with the part of Prince of Denmark, by desire, omitted. Moreover, I had long determined to add the last 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 of prospecting 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 the general consensus of guide-books, has pointed out as the proper, indeed the only practical 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 [Central Overland California & Pike's Peak Express Co., a subsidiary of Russell, Majors, & Waddell], Which expects, by securing the monopoly of the whole line between the Missouri River and San Francisco, and by canvassing at head quarters for a biweekly . . . and even a daily transit, which shall constitutionally extinguish the Mormon community, to insert the fine edge of that wedge which is to open an aperture for the Pacific Railroad about to be.

At Saint Joseph (Mo.), better known by the somewhat irreverent abbreviation of St. Jo, I was introduced to Mr. Alexander Majors, formerly one of the contractors for supplying the army in Utaha veteran mountaineer, familiar with life on the prairies. His meritorious efforts to reform the morals of the land have not yet put 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 ever saw a sober driver; as for profanity . . . they would make the blush of shame crimson the cheek of the old Isis bargee. . . The conductors and road-agents are of a class superior to the drivers. . . . I met one gentleman who owned to three murders, [291] and another individual who lately attempted to ration the mules with wild sage. The company was by no means rich; already the papers had prognosticated a failure, in consequence of the government withdrawing its supplies, and it seemed to have hit upon the happy expedient of badly entreating travelers that good may come to it of our evils. The hours and halting-places were equally vilely selected; for instance, at Forts Kearney, Laramie, and Bridger, the only points where supplies, comfort, society, are procurable, a few minutes of grumbling delay were granted as a favor, and the passengers were hurried on to some distant wretched ranch, apparently for the sole purpose of putting a few dollars into the station-master's pockets. The travel was unjustifiably slow, even in this land, Where progress is mostly on paper. From St. Jo to Great Salt Lake City, the mails might easily be landed during the fine weather, . . . in ten days; indeed, the agents have offered to place them at Placerville in fifteen. Yet the schedule time being twenty-one days, passengers Seldom reached their destination before the nineteenth; the sole reason given was, that snow makes the road difficult in its season, and that if people were accustomed to fast travel, and if letters were received under schedule time, they would look upon the boon as a right.

"The Prairie Traveler" [emigrant guide by Randolph B. Marcy], doles out wisdom in these words: "Information concerning the route coming from strangers living or owning property near them, from agents of steam-boats and railways, or from other persons connected with transportation companies . . . should be re-


ceived with great caution, and never without corroboratory evidence from disinterested sources."

THE START-TUESDAY, 7TH AUGUST, 1860. Precisely at 8 A. M. appeared in front of the Patee House-the Fifth Avenue Hotel of St. Jo-the vehicle destined to be our home 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 are said, 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 as much as possible; the minor officials, with all their little faults, are good fellows, civil and obliging; they wink at non-payment for bedding, stores, weapons, and they rather encourage than otherwise the multiplication of whisky-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 the right to the left bank of the Missouri River. The "Big Muddy" . . . [is] the Plata of this region the great sewer of the prairies. . . . According to Lieutenant [Gouverneur K.] Warren [of the U. S. Topographical Engineers] the Missouri is a superior river for navigation to any in the country, except the Mississippi below their junction. .

Every where, except between the mouth of the Little Cheyenne and the Cannon Ball rivers, there is a sufficiency of fuel for navigation; but, ascending above Council Bluffs, the protection afforded by forest growth on the banks is constantly diminishing.

Landing in Bleeding Kansas-she still bleeds-we fell at once into "Emigration Road," a great thoroughfare, broad and well worn as a European turnpike or a Roman military route, and undoubtedly the best and the longest natural highway in the world. For five miles the line bisected a bottom formed by a bend in the river, with about a mile's diameter at the neck. The scene was of a luxuriant vegetation. A deep tangled wood-rather a thicket or a jungle than a forest-of oaks and elms, hickory, basswood, and black walnut, poplar and hackberry . ., box elder, and the common willow . . ., clad and festooned, bound and anchored by wild vines, creepers, and huge llianas, and Sheltering an undergrowth of white alder and red sumach, whose pyramidal flowers were about to fall, rested upon a basis of deep black mire, Strongly suggestive of chills -fever and ague. After an hour of burning sun and sickly damp,

[Cottonwood Station, near Hanover, Kansas.]


Erected in 1857 by George [Gerat] 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, passed through a straggling "neck o' the woods," whose yellow inmates reminded me of Mississippian descriptions in the days gone by, and after Spanning some very rough ground we bade adieu to the valley of the Missouri, and emerged upon the region of the Grand Prairie.

Nothing, I may remark, is more monotonous, except perhaps the African and Indian jungle, than those prairie tracts, where the circle of which you are the centre has 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 of repose so suggestive in the sandy deserts, and the perpetual motion so pleasing in the aspect of the Sea. No animals appeared in sight where, thirty years ago, a band of countless bisons dotted the plains.

These prairies are preparing to become the great grazing-grounds which shall Supply the unpopulated East with herds of civilized kine.

As we sped onward we soon made acquaintance with a traditionally familiar feature, the "pitch holes," or "chuck-holes" which render traveling over the prairies at times a sore task. They are gullies and gutters . . . varying from 10 to 50 feet in breadth, they are rivulets in spring and early Summer, and they lie dry during the rest of the year.

Passing through a few wretched shanties called Troy-last insult to the memory of hapless Pergamus-and Syracuse . . ., we made, at 3 P. M., Cold Springs, the junction of the Leavenworth route. Having taken the northern road to avoid rough ground and bad bridges, We arrived about two hours behind time. The aspect of things at Cold Springs, [292] where we were allowed an hour's halt to dine and to change mules, somewhat dismayed our fine-weather prairie travelers. The scene was the real "Far West." The widow body to whom the shanty belonged lay sick with fever. The aspect of her family was a "caution to snakes:" the ill-conditioned sons dawdled about, listless as Indians, in skin tunics and pantaloons fringed with lengthy tags such as the redoubtable "Billy Bowlegs"


wears on tobacco labels; and the daughters, tall young women, whose sole attire was apparently a calico morning-wrapper, color invisible, waited upon us in a protesting 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 a dinner consisting of doughnuts, green and poisonous with saleratus, suspicious eggs 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 our worst. 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 bad bread, worse eggs and bacon.

The next settlement, Valley Home, [293] was reached at 6 P. M. Here the long wave of the ocean land broke into shorter seas. . . . A well 10 to 12 feet deep supplied excellent water. The ground was in places so far reclaimed as to be divided 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 an hour's supper under the auspices of Major Baldwin, whilom Indian agent; the place was clean, and contained at least one charming face. Kennekuk derives its name from 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 the plains. Their reservation is twelve miles by twenty-four; as usual with land set apart for the savages, it is well watered and timbered, rich and fertile, it lies across the path and in the vicinity of civilization, consequently, the people are greatly demoralized. The men are addicted to intoxication, and the women to unchastity; both sexes and all ages are inveterate beggars, whose principal industry is horse-stealing. . . . They have well-nigh cast off the Indian and rejoice in the splendors of boiled attire, a ruffled shirts, 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 debouch into, the KanSas River. . This particular Grasshopper was dry and dusty up to the ankles; timber clothed the banks, and slabs of sandstone cumbered the sole. Our next obstacle was the Walnut Creek, which we found, however, provided with a corduroy bridge; formerly it was a dangerous ford and then crossed by means of the "bouco" or coracle, two hides Sewed together, distended like a leather tub with willow rods, and poled or paddled. At this point the country is unusually well populated; a house appears after every mile. Beyond Walnut Creek, [296] a dense nimbus, rising ghost-like from the northern horizon, furnished us with a spectacle of those perilous prairie storms.

Gusts of raw, cold, and violent wind from the west whizzed overhead, thunder crashed and rattled closer and closer, and vivid lightning, flashing out of the murky depths around, made earth and air one blaze of living fire. Then the rain began to patter ominously upon the carriages. . . . The thermometer fell about 6° (F.), and a strong north wind set in, blowing dust or gravel, a fair specimen 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 near a 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 bottom of 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, mostly garnished with tall square lumber fronts . . . masking the diminutiveness of the buildings 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 out his shingle" there.

Refreshed by breakfast and the intoxicating air, brisk as a bottle of veuve Clicquot- it is this that gives one the "prairie fever"-we bade glad adieu to Seneca. . . . That day's chief study was of wagons, those ships of the great American Sahara Which, gathering in fleets at certain seasons, conduct the traffic between the eastern and the western shores. . . . The white-topped wain has found a home in the Far West. They are not unpicturesque from afar, these long-winding trains, in early morning like lines of white cranes trooping slowly over the prairie, or in more mysterious evening resembling dim sails crossing a rolling 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's Grocery, [299] where hang dog Indians, squatting, standing, and stalking about, showed that the forbidden luxury-essence of corn-was, despite regulations, not unprocurable there, we spanned the prairie to Guittard's Station. [300] This is a clump of board houses on the far side of a shady, well-wooded creek-the Vermillion, a tributary of the Big Blue River, so called from its red sandstone bottom.

Our conductor had sprained his ankle, and the driver, being in plain English drunk, 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 his mother and sister, had emigrated under the excitement of California fever, and had been stopped, by want of means, half way. The improvement upon the native was palpable: 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 and cream, 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 could see the tintage was that of the Arabian Desert, sere and tawny as a jackal's back. . . . October is the month for those prairie fires which have so frequently exercised the Western author's pen. Here, however, the grass is too short for the full 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 which thrives by selling whisky to ruffians of all descriptions, we forded before sunset the "Big Blue," a well-known tributary of the Kansas river. It is a pretty little Stream, brisk and clear as crystal, about forty or fifty yards Wide by 2.50 feet deep at the ford. The soil is sandy and solid, but the banks are too precipitous to be pleasant when a very drunken driver hangs on by the lines of four 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 changed our fagged animals for fresh, and the land of Kansas for Nebraska, at Cotton-wood Creek, a bottom where trees flourished, where the ground had been cleared for corn, 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 the Judiciary. [At the Upper Crossing of the South Fork of the Platte (later Julesburg), where the passengers for the Pike's Peak region left those bound for Salt Lake, Burton remarked: "Conspicuous among them was a fair woman, who had made her first appearance at Cotton-wood Creek . . . with an individual, apparently a well-to-do drover, whom she called `Tom' and `husband.' She had forgotten her `fixins,' which, according to a mischievous and scandalous driver, consisted of a reticule containing a `bishop,' a comb, and a pomatumpot, a pinchbeck watch, and a flask of `Bawme'-not of Meccah. Being a fine young person of Scotch descent, she had, till dire suspicions presented themselves, attracted the attentions of her fellow-travelers, who pronounced her to be `all sorts of a gal.' . . . It was fortunate for Mr. and Mrs. Mann -the names were noms de voyage-that they left us so soon. . . ."]

A weary drive over a rough and dusty road, through chill night air and clouds of musquetoes, which we were warned would accompany us to the Pacific Slope of the Rocky Mountains, placed us about 10 P. M. at Rack [in present Nebraska], also called Turkey Creek. . . . Several passengers began to suffer from fever and nausea; 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, and many under the influence of a much jollier god. The employes, when aroused pretty roughly, blinked their eyes in the atmosphere of smoke and musquetoes, and declared that it had been "merry in hall" that night.

After half an hour's dispute about who should do the work, they produced cold scraps of mutton and a kind of bread which deserves a totally distinct generic name. The strongest stomachs of the party made tea, and found some milk which was not more than one quarter flies. This succulent meal was followed by the usual douceur.


A little after midnight we resumed our way, and in the state which Mohammed described 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 at another Station, better than the last only as the hour was more propitious. The colony of Patlanders rose from their beds without a dream of ablution, and clearing the while their lungs of Cork brogue, prepared a neat dejeuner a la fourchette by hacking "fids" off half a Sheep Suspended from the ceiling, and frying them in melted tallow.

Issuing from Big Sandy Station at 6:30 A. M., and resuming our route over the divide that still separated the valleys of the Big Blue and the Little Blue, We presently 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. . . . One could not have recognized at this season Colonel Fremont's description written in the month of June-the "hills with graceful slopes looking uncommonly green and beautiful." . . . All is barren beyond the garden-reach which runs along the stream; there is not a tree to a square mile-in these regions the tree, like the bird in Arabia and the monkey in Africa, signifies water-and animal life seems well-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 great buffalo ground; and even twenty years ago it was well stocked with droves of wild horses, turkeys, and herds of antelope, deer, and elk. The animals have of late migrated 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 of these mangeurs de lard. It is a dish constant in the great West, as the omelet and pigeon in the vetturini days of Italy. . . . The Little Blue ran hard by fringed with emerald-green oak groves, cotton-wood, and long-leaved willow; its waters supply catfish, suckers, and a soft-shelled turtle. . . . We then resumed our journey over a desert, waterless save after rain, for twenty-three miles; it is the divide between the Little Blue and the Platte rivers.

At 9 P. M., reaching "Thirty-two-mile Creek," we were pleasantly surprised to find an utter absence of the Irishry. The stationmaster was the head of a neat-handed and thrifty family from Vermont; the rooms, such as they were, looked cosy and clean-and the chickens and peaches were plump and well "fixed." Soldiers


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


After a long and chilly night . . . lengthened by the atrocity of the musquetoes, which sting even when the thermometer stands below 45°, we awoke upon 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 miles from the fort of that name. The first aspect of the stream sas one of calm and quiet beauty. . . . On the South is a rolling range of red sandy and clayey hillocks, sharp toward the river-the "coasts of the Nebraska." The valley, here two miles broad, resembles the ocean deltas of great streams; it is level as a carpet, all short green grass without sage or bush . . . ; here it was narrowed by Grand Island. Without excepting even the Missouri, the Platte is doubtless the most important western influent of the Mississippi. Its valley offers a route scarcely to be surpassed for the natural gradients; and by following up its tributary-the Sweetwater- the engineer finds a line laid down by nature to the foot of the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains.

After satisfying hunger with vile bread and viler coffee-how far from the little forty-berry cup of Egypt!-for which we paid 75 cents, we left Kearney Station without delay. Hugging the right bank . . ., at 8 A. M. we found ourselves at Fort Kearney. . . . While at Washington I had resolved . . . to enjoy a little Indian fighting. The meritorious intention . . . was most courteously received by the Hon. John B. Floyd, Secretary of War, who provided me with introductory letters addressed to the officers commanding various "departments." . . . The first 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 more fighting for some time. Captain Sturgis, of the 1st Cavalry, U. S., had just attacked, 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 of the enemy, Comanches,


Kiowas, and Cheyennes, who apparently had forgotten the severe lesson administered to them by Colonel-now Brigadier General Edwin V. Sumner, 1st Cavalry, in 1857, and killed twenty-five with only two or three of his own men wounded. [305] . . . I had no time to call upon Captain Sully, who remained in command 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 reloading our weapons, and bade adieu, about 9:30 A. M., to Fort Kearney. . . . [Burton here discussed the American system of military outposts.]

We left Kearney at 9:30 A. M., following the road which runs forty miles up the valley of the Platte. . . . The road was rough with pitch-holes, and for the first 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 where animal life is as rare as upon the plains of Brazil. After fifteen miles of tossing and tumbling, we made "Seventeen-mile Station," and halted there to change mules. About twenty miles above the fort the Southern bank began to rise into mounds of tenacious clay, which, worn away into perpendicular and precipitous 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 of the conductors, who had become delirious with the "shakes." The establishment, though new, was already divided into three; the little landlady, though she worked so manfully, was, as she expressed it, "enjoying bad health;" in other words, 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 blanched skulls 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 preferred to them the "chips" of which it is said that a steak cooked with them requires no pepper.

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, we found it hard to swallow.

Resuming our weary ride, we watered at "Willow Island Ranch," and then at "Cold Water Ranch"-drinking-shops all-five miles from Midway Station, which we reached at 8 P. M. Here, while changing mules, we attempted with sweet speech and smiles to persuade the landlady, . . . into giving us supper. This she sturdily refused to do, for the reason that she had not received due warning. We had, however, the satisfaction of seeing the employes of the line making themselves thoroughly comfortable with bread and buttermilk. Into the horrid wagon again, and "a rollin:" 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-wood Station. [307] Cramped with a four days' and four nights' ride in the narrow van, we entered the foul tenement, threw ourselves upon the mattresses, averaging three to each, and ten in a small room, every door, window, and cranny being shut-after the fashion of these Western folks, who make up for a day in the open air by perspiring through the night in unventilated log huts-and, despite musquetoes, 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 of the "skillet," to prepare for a breakfast composed of various abominations, especially cakes of flour and grease, molasses and dirt, disposed in pretty equal parts. 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 in broad 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 only three weeks; and his wife, a comely young person, uncommonly civil and smiling for 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's march. . . . We halted at Halfway House, near O'Fallon's Bluffs, [308] at the quarters of Mr. M-, a compagnon de voyage, who had now reached his home of twenty years, and therefore insisted upon "standing drinks." The business is worth $16,000 per annum; the contents of the store somewhat like a Parsee's shop in Western India-every thing from a needle to a bottle of Champagne. A sign-board informed us that we were now distant 400 miles from St. Jo, 120 from Fort Kearney, 68 from the upper, and 40 from the lower crossing of the Platte. As we advanced the valley narrowed, the stream shrank, the vegetation dwindled, the river islands were bared of timber, and the only fuel became buffalo chip and last year's artemisia [wild sage].

At 5 P. M., as the heat began to mitigate, we arrived at Alkali Lake Station, and discovered some "exiles from Erin," who supplied us with antelope meat and the unusual 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 people were 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 and sultry heat combined to worry us. Slowly traveling and dozing the while, we arrived about 9:15 P. M. at Diamond Springs . . . where we found whisky and its usual accompaniment, soldiers. . . . In these regions the opposite races regard each 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 prefer this route, as by it they avoid the deep loose Sands on the way to the Upper Crossing. The mailcoach must endure the four miles of difficulty, as the road to Denver City branches off from the western ford.

At 10 P. M., having "caught up" the mules, we left Diamond Springs. . . . On the banks 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 the difference 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 the miasmatic and pestilential regions of Central Africa. Much may be endured when, as was ever the case, the highest temperature in the shade does not exceed 98° F.


Boreal aurora glared brighter than a sunset in Syria. [A vivid description followed.]

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 our approach. The plank lodgings soon appear; we spring out of the ambulance; a qualm comes 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-found restaurant . . ., we ordered [the German proprietor] out of bed, and began to talk 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 milk corrected 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 Trois Freres.

At the Upper Crossing of the South Fork [310] there are usually


tender adieux, the wenders toward Mormon land bidding farewell to those bound for the perilous gold regions of Denver City and Pike's Peak. . . . The wagons were unloaded, thus giving us the opportunity of procuring changes of raiment and fresh caps. . . . By some means we retained our old ambulance, which, after five days and nights, we had learned to look upon as a home; the Judiciary [Mr. F-, a federal judge], however, had to exchange theirs for one much lighter and far less comfortable. 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 our luggage and the mails for Security in an ox cart. The South Fork is here 600 to 700 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 not one feature in common with the deserts of the Old World. In Arabia and Africa there 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, in fact, 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, we reached Lodge-Pole Station, where we made our "noonin." The hovel fronting the creek was built like an Irish Shanty, or a Beloch hut, against a hill side, to save one wall, and it presented a fresh phase of squalor and wretchedness. The mud 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 the floor was much like the ground outside, only not nearly So clean. In a corner stood the usual "bunk," a mass of mingled rags and buffalo robes; the centre of the room was occupied by a rickety table, and boxes, turned up on their long sides, acted as chairs. The unescapable stove was there, filling the interior with 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 public towel, 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 to run wild every day in the week except one, were like newly-caught mustangs. The herdsman-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 three quarters of an hour in this operation, which a well-trained shepherd's dog would have 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 team that had never worked together before. They dashed down the cahues with a violence that tossed us as in a blanket, and nothing could induce them, while fresh, to keep the path. The yawning of the vehicle was ominous: fortunately, however, the road . . . was excellent.

[A lack of space forces a termination of Burton's narrative at this point. He went on to Salt Lake City, where he made an extended sojourn the basis for a detailed account in The City of the Saints (pp. 189-443). He finally continued to San Francisco, where he sailed for the Isthmus of Panama, thus bidding 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 and William 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; Leroy R. Hafen, The Overland Mail, 1849-1869 (Cleveland, 1926), p. 57. In the latter work (p. 62) the author points out that jealousy over the mail contract was a factor leading to the "Mormon War"-Magraw being one of the chief petitioners for federal intervention in Utah. It may be added that the immense business of Russell, Majors & Waddell, beginning in 1858, was based primarily on 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 account chronicles the grave difficulties in the way of a regular mail service, in particular the losses incurred from Indian attacks, and includes a map of the route east of Salt Lake, called "Magraw's Route," via Fort Bridger, the Sweetwater, 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-henceforth termed Senate Report 259. Exhibit C, which is a copy of the contract for mail route No. 8911. It has been pointed out that: "The purpose of the Postmaster General in letting the Hockaday contract was not to establish a fast mail on the South Pass route, but to connect closely the troops in Utah with the War Department. "-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, in Exhibit D, Senate Report 259, p. 17. Regardless of the results, the change seems to have been entirely consonant with the terms of the contract and the practice of the department. Hockaday pointed out, however, that any reduction in the frequency of trips did not mean a diminishment in the cost of transporting the same volume of mail matter.
220 House Report No 268 36 Cong., 1 Sess., v. 11 (Serial 1068): "Thus at a single .., blow the accumulations, in Mr. Legget's (Liggit's] case, of a life time of virtuous toil, were swept away, his family beggared, and his partner, Mr. Hockaday, discouraged and disheartened, retired to Salt Lake City, where he now remains in a state of mental and physical debility, which disqualifies him from bestowing any attention whatever to his business." The extreme phraseology of this report is apparent. Since congress later appropriated the sum of $40,000 for the relief of the Hockaday firm, the United States and Jones & Russell paid that company a total of $405,847.51 for services and property. It must be conceded, however, that the government was far more parsimonious in its reward of services on the Central route, than on the Southern or Butterfield mail road. According to the new arrangement the , annual subsidy for a semimonthly mail to Salt 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 Overland California 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 Exhibit 4, 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 Express Company, May 23, 1860, in Exhibit 6, of ibid. Russell held a key position in 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 post offices and post roads, Exhibit A of minority report, Senate Report 259, p. 12: "Jones, Russell & Co. purchased the contract and stock . after the reduction of the service, but were compelled to do weekly service, on account of the quantity of mail matter to be forwarded. We think we are justly entitled to payment for this extra service. It is certainly due us by any fair interpretation of the contract, in connection with the fact that weekly service has been a necessity."
This reference to a "fair interpretation of the contract" is questionable. Hockaday had agreed to urge upon congress the propriety of this claim, and in turn Russell supported the petition for damages by Hockaday and Liggit.
228. Memorial of J. M. Hockaday and William Liggit to congress, dated Washington City, March 14, 1860.-Exhibit L of minority report, ibid., p. 24. The following total of payments made to the Hockaday firm by the United States and Jones & considered the above contentions doubtful:
By the U. S. for transportation on Route 8911, from May 1, 1858, to June 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 for relief, and termed their alleged expenditure of $394,000 in the first year to stock and run the line as "difficult to imagine." In 1857 Hockaday estimated his total 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 frequent service. The reduction in pay was not to occur until July 1, 1859, but this prospective change probably did affect the credit of the firm, and hence the sale price to Jones & Russell. The latter asserted (Exhibit 3 of majority report, p. 9) That they (Hockaday & Liggit) were forced to sell out, and at a sacrifice, there is not a doubt, and all arising from the fact that their credit was destroyed, owing mainly to the fact that the appropriations failed at the last 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 by Buchanan, 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 in amount was unjustified, and would afford a basis for numerous raids on the treasury by contractors who had suffered a reduction. Buchanan reviewed the matter and admitted that "There is no doubt that the contractors have sustained considerable loss in the whole transaction."-Congressional Globe, v. 30, Pt. 1, pp. 572-576. The measure failed to obtain a two-thirds majority over his veto, and a new bill was then introduced, for the smaller amount, which was more in accord with the President's views.
230. Under the Hockaday management this line had had three divisions-St. Joseph to Morrell's (Upper) Crossing of the South Platte, Agent Charles W. Wiley; from the Crossing of the Platte to South Pass, Agent Joseph off. Slide; from South Pass 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 were to be Independence (later changed to St. Joseph), Big Blue, Fort Kearny, Fort Laramie, Independence Rock, Black's Fork, and Salt Lake City, which would cost approximately $54,847 (total costs being prorated to the various stations). The actual contract must have been based upon notably larger estimates-the number of mules alone was not less than 358, according to the affidavits of the three route agents. R. H. Porter testified that this firm had twenty-eight valuable preemption claims and locations which were sacrificed in the sale, on which the improvements 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 Salt Lake City, see House Report No. 6, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., from the committee of the post office and post roads, on the memorial of William M. F. Magraw (an earlier mail contractor on the Central route)
232. Copy of contract for Route No. 8911, Exhibit C of minority report, Senate Report 259, p. 13.
233. Parker and Huyett, The Illustrated Miners' Hand-Book and Guide to Pike's Peak (henceforth termed Parker & Huyett Guidebook), St. Louis, 1859 (microfilm of original in Library of Congress), p. 55. "It has superior advantages to any other, as regards water and fuel, as well as grazing for stock; besides, throughout the entire route settlements and trading posts have been established, for the accommodation of immigrants."-Ibid., p. 67. In the memoirs of Alexander Majors (Prentiss Ingraham, ed.), Seventy Years on the Frontier (Chicago and New York, 1893), the author devotes Ch. XXX to a discussion of the Platte valley, which he terms the "grand pathway to the mountains."
234. Parker & Huyett Guidebook, p. 56. The Oregon trail was the first route across the plains to the Pacific coast, and had been traveled so long that now, by the late fifties, it was generally regarded with favor. It was "first selected by nature's civil engineers, the buffalo and the elk," and thereafter was widely used by the Indians, the traders and trappers bound for the mountain country, more recently the pioneers on the road to Oregon and California, and now those on like errands to Pike's Peak.
235. As contrasted with other routes like the initial express road, which was undeniably closer to Pike's Peak, the Oregon and Salt Lake trail was plentifully supplied with trading posts and settlements en route, enjoyed military protection, was much smoother, and nearly always in sight of water. The flats along the river provided a far more dependable supply of grass than either the Solomon and Republican or the Smoky Hill routes, excepting early in the spring. Probably the greatest objection to the initial Pike's Peak Express road-the scarcity of fuel-did not apply to the Platte, where timber or buffalo and cattle chips were far more abundant.
236. E. D. Boyd to F. G. Adams, dated Denver City, July 20, 1859, in the Atchison Freedom's Champion, August 20, 1859. In February, 1860, when many in Leavenworth and other points to the west were boosting a revised Smoky Hill route, a writer signing himself J. M. N. O." wrote to the Weekly Leavenworth Herald (published in the supplement of February 18, 1960):
"In the spring of 1859, Messrs. Jones & Russell sent out a corps of experienced men to view and mark out a route from Leavenworth to Denver City. To avoid crossing large streams, it was tho't best to keep the divide between Smoky Hill and Solomon rivers on the south and Republican river on the north. And I doubt very much whether a better natural track for a road the same distance can be 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 the direction 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 as possible . . a mistake on the part of the viewers.
"The first trains were sent out before the return of the viewers, (which was unfortunate) as they with hundreds of emigrant wagons followed the viewers so close, that they too were out of their course before the mistake of the viewers was discovered. The viewers, on their return, partially corrected the mistake, but too late for the great rush of emigration, as they continued to follow the beaten 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 their coaches and stock on the Kearney route-not from choice of routes-as I understand from the agent, but they having purchased the contract for carrying the mail to Salt Lake by Fort Kearney . . ., therefore, the Express Company changed their passenger route, but retained the new route for their heavier trains in carrying stores, &c.
Had the viewers taken southwest instead of northwest from the head of Solomon river they would have shortened the route materially, and found wood, water and grass at short intervals, in abundance. . " (The writer's objections to the Platte road, which followed, are open to question-he boosted the Smoky Hill route as 150 miles shorter, and said it enjoyed a longer season with grass.)
237. The account in the Leavenworth Weekly Herald, June 25, 1859, seems to be garbled, inasmuch as the writer apparently refers to a new road along the Platte, and then mentions incidents along the old trail. Williams left Leavenworth May 31 with the following instructions: "to double the stations and send all stock from station No. 22, back to this city [Leavenworth] -all out-fits to Denver City. Sufficient stock was to be sent from No. 22, to make three stations from the crossing of the South Platte (200 miles from Denver City) to the latter point. He accomplished this duty."
238. That this transfer took place, is very probable, although not specifically mentioned by the press. The following Junction City dispatch of June 30 seems to refer to it (Leavenworth Daily Times, July 6, 1859): "Twenty-five wagons; belonging to Jones, Russell & Co., passed town on their return from Denver City, and the different points of the Express road.
239. Minority report of Senate Report 259, pp. 10, 11, which points out the absurdities of the testimony. Since the change of route was made at the same time the reduction of service and pay was to go into effect (July 1, 1859), both firms seem to have been, in effect, pleading that the added stations and equipment were a necessary result of the reduction, and hence ground for a just claim against the government. This may give added point to the secrecy of the transfer-a point which escaped the congressional committee. Perhaps a congressional appropriation would conveniently cover the cost of the transfer! The affidavits of the route agents and postmasters testifying to large increases of stock after July 1, 1859, are found in ibid., pp. 29-35. Lack of definite data precludes any positive conclusion.
240. Leavenworth Daily Times, July 22, 1859. At this time, three weeks after 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 a crowd. Now it is considered nothing unusual, and, though only six days from Denver, people are neither curious to see it, or eager to get the news." The express 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 several chops in consequence of the non-arrival of gold on the Express coach of yesterday afternoon. To settle their excited feelings, we will state that the instructions of the Express Company to their Agent at Denver City are such as to preclude the shipment of any valuables on the Express trains without there being a regular messenger to accompany them through. Mr. Fillibrown, the messenger, that last left here for Denver City, was sent over the old Express route. At the time of his departure, most of the stations at the Western end of the road had been broken up-a fact which was, however, unknown to the managers of the Company in this city-and he was accordingly obliged to travel the last three hundred miles without a change of teams, . . which . . greatly delayed his journey. On the day of the departure of this last coach, he had not yet arrived and there being no other messenger at Denver City, the rules as well as the interest of the company prevented Dr. Fox from transmitting the anxiously looked
243. Ibid. At about this time Jones announced that the company would start a daily express to Denver. As late as July 20 this paper noted the absence of gold shipments, and the great scarcity of mail, and hoped that Jones & Russell would 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. Much apprehension 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 give satisfaction at Camp Floyd and Salt Lake." A similar feeling existed at Fort Kearny (dispatch of June 17, 1859, to the Atchison Union o June 25) where such a proposed 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 bind ing together of the Atlantic and Pacific States. . The Post Office department ordered a weekly service early in 1860.
245. H. Parker Johnson, A. P. S., "Jones & Russell's Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Co.," The American Philatelist, v. 58, No. 2 (November, 1944), pp. 112, 113. This twelve-page article is a good brief review of the Leavenworth & Pikes Peak Express, with special emphasis upon its philatelic implications, and includes a number of rare stamp covers, a map of the express route (p. 107), and several illustrations.
246. Denver City Dispatch, dated August 11, of the Leavenworth Daily Times, August 23, 1859. "The gold fever is still raging fiercely. Everybody is going and gone to the new diggings. The Judge, the majority of the bar, members of the press, doctors, merchants, men, women and children, everybody stampedes or would like to stampede in the direction of the South Park. . . . How irresistible 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. Their express is one of the 'great may of the West-an evidence of what capital and energy can accomplish in the face of what the superficial would consider insurmountable obstacles."-Ibid.
The Leavenworth Weekly Herald, August 27, 1859, uttered another paean of praise by a later traveler, who pointed out that a number of stations had been added to those of the Hockaday firm, so that a journey across the plains was now nearly a pleasure trip. "Houses have been erected, wells dug, and the conveniences of life are rapidly gathered around points along a distance of hundreds 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 Mountains to California (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1862), excerpts of which are included in this article.
249. Julesburg, located at the Upper (California) Crossing of the Platte (which went by several names), was named after Jules Beni, a pioneer French Indian trader who had been made station agent by Beverly D. Williams. One of Ficklin's reforms (1860) was the removal of "Old Jules" for theft and other abuses, and the appointment 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 provided with 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 time Root 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 eating places (in 1860), but says that here "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 and cream, 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 Peak Express 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 Auraria for $3,000, as a wholesale store, thereby inaugurating the freighting firm of Jones & Cartwright, forwarders between Leavenworth and Denver. Their first train of some thirty wagons arrived August 24, to supply the wholesale and retail business of this firm. Jones & Russell had already been engaged in freighting to 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 are well aware of the ardent wishes of the proprietors of the Leavenworth City and Pike's Peak Express Company for the welfare and promotion of the various interests 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 whatever sacrifices himself and associates have already made, and are continuing to make for the benefit of ourselves and the people of this country generally.". Resolutions were also adopted in favor of a Pacific railroad and telegraph by the Central 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 the series of articles by Emerson N. Barker of Denver, entitled "Highlights in the Postal History of the Trans-Mississippi Region," in Don Houseworth's International Stamp Review, St. Joseph, Mo., December, 1940, to December, 1941, which includes articles on both the Pike's Peak and Pony Express, with illustrations. The authors wish to thank Mrs. Evelyn Whitney of Topeka for kindly bringing this to their attention.
The tribute of "General Hall" is found in Frank Hall, History of the State of Colorado (Chicago, 4 vols., 1889), v. I, p. 214.
260. Because of their publicity value, it is possible that the amounts announced may have been "stretched," or presented in a misleading form. Announcements from Denver, Leavenworth and Atchison, and even by different Leavenworth papers referring 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 Missouri Republican, 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 of gold 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 thousand dollars. Three thousand five hundred of it is the property of the Express Company, 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,' which can be constantly heard in your city.
"Almost the entire amount was received in exchange for goods or passage. . . The example further shows that Leavenworth City is not the only place, and the Express Company not the only channel by which gold from this latitude reaches the States."-Daily Times, August 24, 1859. The issue of the next day also described the above shipment as $18,000 in amount.
263. Deposits of flake gold were usually rather quickly exhausted. The chief deposits were in quartz leads, which for extraction required a rock-crushing machine.
264. Leavenworth Daily Times, September 13, 1859.
265. Ibid. A Denver dispatch, dated September 15, in the Times of September 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 shipped approximately the same amount; the next on the list of 21 consignees was "Wallingford & Murphy," with $14,793. At this time the amounts of gold being shipped from California were naturally far greater than from the Pike's Peak region.
266. Ibid., September 24, 1859.
267. Leavenworth Weekly Herald, October 1, 1859. Among the passengers on an 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." At about this time the famous Gregory returned to the States, carrying a bag of approximately $25,000 worth of dust he had received as part payment for his valuable holdings.
268. Leavenworth Daily Times, October 1, 1859.
269. Leavenworth Weekly Herald, October 15, 1859. An additional $1,000 was consigned to Jones & Cartwright.
270. The Daily Times, October 15, 1859, in "A Card," signed by seven passengers 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 coach with four passengers and $8,672; that of October 29 one carrying $15,000 and three passengers; and the Times of November 5, one carrying ten passengers and $8,000.
During this period of eastbound traffic the coaches do not appear to have averaged more than one half a capacity load, and without doubt the westbound traffic was then much lighter. Those unsuccessful in the quest for gold in all likelihood did not return via the Pike's Peak Express. Such failure was characteristic 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 of the passengers (five in number). It was forced to lay over nearly three days at several stations en route, and crossed the Platte on the ice. It reported a boom in the South Park region.
274. At this time the Rocky Mountain News began to ignore the name of Kansas, as applicable to the gold region, and substituted that of Jefferson. Beverly D. Williams had been active in the convention for the proposed state of Jefferson, and in October, 1859, was elected delegate to congress. At Washington he accomplished little more than impressing the government with the importance of the region, which was not formally organized as Colorado territory until February, 1861. In July of that year he was nominated for the same position, but was beaten by the Republican candidate. See Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Nevada, 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 Gold Region is without a parallel in the history of the world and its prosperous present is but a faint indication of what the future will develope."-Ibid.
276. Leavenworth Weekly Herald, and New York Daily Tribune, issues of 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 Daily Times, December 9, 1859. As to Denver and Auraria, he remarked: "Large and substantial frame houses, enlivened by paint" were making the log houses of the previous winter "resemble dog kennels rather than human habitations."
278. Weekly Leavenworth Herald, January 8, 1860. Accounts by employees are natury not unbiased. From the Leavenworth Daily Times of December 31, it is evident that is trip was completed the previous day, after an eight-day journey that was delayed by sleety roads. The January 8 issue of the Herald told of an express arrival on the day before, C. W. Wiley messenger, with three passengers and $22,000 in gold, of which $7,000 was consigned to the express company.
279. Leavenworth Daily Times, December 31, 1859. The express of December 15 brought some $15,000 in gold, six passengers, and 470 letters from the Pike's Peak region (Times of December 16); that of December 23 brought $19,000 and six passengers, and reported mining suspended for the season (Atchison Union, December 24-the coaches then went to Atchison first). An express driver was reported 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 the Treasury (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., January 16, in Leavenworth Daily Times, January 24, 1860.
280. New York Daily Tribune, January 13, 1860; Weekly Leavenworth Herald, January 14. A mass meeting at Denver January 2 memorialized congress to establish a territorial government. "Gov." S. W. Beall was then on his way to Washington 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. The Platte was still frozen, but the Salt Lake mail coach had broken through several times, in crossing at Morrell's station. Wiley reported the presence of four ladies 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 Peak Express Co.," loc. cit., p. 113. News releases concerning the new firm had already been published, and the change was effected without any interruption of service.
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 the defaming tribe to such a radical and rigorous a raking as will forever set at rest their foul tongues, and the sneering pens of journalistic fools who are ever ready to credit any story circulated by the unsuccessful louts and dunces 'just from Pike's Peak.' . -New York Daily Tribune, September 12, 1859. This admirable report, dated Denver City,' September 23, appeared in the Tribune 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 1863 when the North Platte section had been abandoned for a more direct road west, is found in Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, Ch. X (which has a map for that date). The Pike's Peak guidebooks, which were issued in the interest of the emigrant trade, give itineraries and descriptions of this road, particularly in 1859. See especially S. W. Burt and E. L. Berthoud, The Rocky Mountain Gold Regions (Denver City, J. T., 1861), which includes a map of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express road and an itinerary of stations in January, 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 Overland Expeditions (New York, 1859); W. B. Horner, The Gold Regions of Kansas and Nebraska . . (Chicago, 1859),-one of the best descriptive accounts; and The 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 the stage route through Nebraska, Particularly the Rock Creek station which Was the scene of an affray involving James B. "Wild Bill" Hickok, see the "Rock Creek Ranch Fight" by Addison E. Sheldon, George W. Hansen and others, in Nebraska History Magazine, v. X, No. 2 (April-June, 1927), pp. 67-146.
285. Publication announced in the Leavenworth Daily Times, February 4, 1860. This emigrant's hand book of fifteen pages has seven pages of material describing Leavenworth as a center of business and place to outfit emigrants. It was republished entire in the Times, February 14, 1860.
286. Pp. 4, 5. Kinnekuk or Kennekuk was probably named after the Kickapoo Indian chief 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 of C. W. stations were constructed between St. Joseph and the Upper Crossing of the Platte; that of J. A. Slade that three more were built between Morrell's crossing of the South Platte and South Pass.-Senate Report 259, p. 34. The various names referring 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, passenger fares 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 the period of the Pike's Peak Express companies, Leavenworth occupied this position, although Atchison was usually also on the route. In October, 1863, the Postmaster-General advertised for bids for the mail routes from Atchison to Salt Lake City (No. 14258), and Salt Lake City to Placerville and Folsom City, Cal. (Nos. 14620 and 15755). The stations en route (practically identical with those in 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 Overland Mail, pp. 275, 276.
W. R. Hornell's "Map of the Pony Express Trail," which was practically the same as the stage road from Kennekuk west, lists the following stations as far as the Kansas-Nebraska border: St. Joseph, Elwood, Johnson's Ranch, Troy, Cold Spring Ranch, Syracuse, Kennekuk, Kickapoo, Granada, Log Chain, Seneca, Laramie Creek, Ash Point, Guittard's, Marysville, and Hollenberg.-See the description of the Pony 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), and explorer of the highlands of Brazil, was later knighted by the British government, and honored by many geographical societies. He was the author of numerous works of travel and exploration, and is also famed for his translation of the Arabian Nights. The New York Tribune remarked (July 11, 1860) that his arrival in New York had been "entirely overlooked by our sharp-eyed lion-hunters." He was then considered "one of the most intrepid and successful explorers of the present century. . . With the exception of Livingstone and Barth, 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 of Nebraska (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 overland stage and Pony Express, with illustrations, including a photograph of Alexander Majors.
291. Under the Hockaday regime Joseph A. Slade had served as agent of the division 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 Sweetwater division, running northwest from Julesburg to Rocky Ridge, in which capacity he was 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 with the company. Jules wounded Slade, and Ficklin then ordered the execution of "Old Jules." 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. Slade was the terror of evildoers on the line, but took to drink, and later became the head of a gang of highway robbers and desperadoes. He was finally executed by the vigilantes of Virginia City, Mont.-Overland Stage, p. 216 et seq.
Burton referred to Slade as: "Of gougers fierce, the eyes that pierce, the fiercest gouger he." He met him in August, 1860, at Horseshoe Station, west of Fort Laramie, living with two ladies of disagreeable mien, one his wife. Slade already had the reputation of having killed three men. Burton complained of his treatment 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 Pony Express (New York and London, 1932, Ch. XII, entitled "Slade, of Julesburg."
292. In his itinerary to accompany this account (Appendix I, p. 505), Burton adds concerning Troy: "capital of Doniphan Co., Kansas Territory, about a dozen shanties. Dine and change mules at Cold Spring-good water and grass. Road from Fort Leavenworth falls in at Cold Spring, distant 15 miles.
Cold Spring was located between Troy and Kennekuk. Burton has twisted the order of 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 was likely 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 station preceding Kennekuk was Syracuse. There were more Pony Express than stage stations on the line.-See list quoted above.
294. Frank A. Root writes in The Overland Stage (pp. 190, 191): "Kennekuk was the first 'home' station out from Atchison, and here drivers were changed. It was 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 old stone mission visible for many miles was less than a mile northwest of the stage station, 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 is Whitehead, a young settlement on Big Grasshopper. . , . Five and a half miles beyond is Walnut Creek, in Kickapoo Co. [probably reservation] ; Pass over corduroy bridge; roadside dotted with shanties. . . . Burton's location of Whitehead is obviously in error, this town being near the Missouri river. Burton does not mention Kickapoo stage station, on the Indian reservation twelve miles west of Kennekuk, and it is possible that this was not a stopping point in August, 1860. In 1863 there were only two or three houses visible along the stage line between this and the preceding station. This locality was a garden spot of northern Kansas.-Overland Stage, p. 191.
296. The Pony Express station of Granada was not mentioned by Burton, and apparently was not a stop on the stage line.
297. David M. Locknane's station (Log Chain of later accounts) was located on a branch of the Grasshopper river, and was termed by Burton "Big Muddy Station." It is said that an early settler who lived nearby made good money during the spring months by renting his log chains to freighters whose vehicles became mired in the mud of this crossing (interviews of George A. Root with old settlers). This was the home of "Old Bob Ridley" (Robert Sewell), a very popular stage driver on the eastern division between Atchison and Fort Keamy.-Overland Stage, pp. 193-195.
298. Although Burton had no praise for the Seneca station, it became famous for its 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 mammoth concern," kept scrupulously clean by his wife, who served excellent meals. The Overland Stage, p. 197, gives a list of the famous customers. It is probable that this account is later than August, 1860, when Burton stopped there.
299. "Uncle John" O'Laughlin was an early postmaster at Ash Point, between Seneca and Guittard's, and kept a small stock of goods "needed" by emigrants, including whisky. The Overland Stage (pp. 565, 566) tells of several thirsty lawyers who "practiced" at Uncle John's bar.
300. Located three miles north of present Beattie, Marshall county, where a monument was dedicated to the Pony Express in 1931, in the ceremonies of which the 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 the stage route followed the Oketo cut-off from this point north.See Overland Stage, pp. 198-200.
301. In understanding Burton's remarks, the reader should keep in mind the severe drought of 1860. As early as June 15 a traveler who had arrived at Denver told of the severe need of rain, and the lowness of the Platte and its tributaries.-Atchison Freedom's Champion, June 30, 1860.
302. Palmetto City and Marysville were adjacent settlements, the latter being one of the oldest and best known towns of northern Kansas, which had been laid out by Frank J. Marshall (Overland Stage, p. 199). When the daily stage service was instituted in 1861, the route ran west from Guittard's to Marysville, where it crossed the Big Blue by a rope ferry (in dry weather the river could be forded here). The Pony Express station was located in a small brick structure in Marysville.
303. "Cottonwood Station," also known as the Hollenberg Pony Express station, was named after G. H. Hollenberg, a pioneer settler of Washington county, whose career reads like an epic of fiction. Hollenberg left Germany in 1849, worked for three years in the California gold mines, followed the same occupation in Australia, and thereafter sojourned in Peru, South America. Early in 1854 he settled on the Black Vermillion, in Marshall county, and in 1857 he arrived in Washington county, where he established the Hollenberg ranch, with a trading post and 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 the stages followed the shorter Oketo cutoff. This station, located about 1½ miles northeast of present Hanover, was made a state park in 1942 and the ranch house repaired 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 that several other station houses along the route to Sacramento lay claim to Pony Express honors, nevertheless--"None of these relics of a heroic past are better preserved than the old Hollenberg station. ' The ground floor of this structure included a store and postoffice, and kitchen, dining room and bedrooms for the Hollenberg family. The six stage employees that were stationed here and the Pony Express riders slept in a common room in the attic, which extended the entire length 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-story log structure boasting of "one of the best dining stations on the stage route."-Overland Stage, p. 204. Since 1848 Fort Kearny had been an important military post, the location of which on the California and Oregon trail gave it an interesting past. In his "Itinerary" (p. 506) Burton stated that "groceries, cloths, provisions, and supplies of all kinds are to be procured from the sutler's store." 305. See the account entitled "From the Indian Country-Movements of the Southern Column of the Kiowa Expedition," a day-by-day report of the military operations and skirmishes from July 28 to August 10, 1860, written by "Rover," from camp west of Fort Kearny, August 10, in Leavenworth Daily Times, August 23, 1860. An earlier letter by "Rover," dated July 22, was written from camp on the Arkansas river, five miles southwest of Camp Alert (Fort Larned) in ibid., August 2, 1860.
306. "Plum Creek was in the heart of the buffalo region, and near this station vast numbers of the animals came out of the sand-hills south of the river and slaked their thirst in the Platte. Buffalo-wallows could be seen in a number of places. The old-time stage-drivers told me that a few years previous they seldom passed Plum Creek without seeing immense herds of buffalo. . . . The enormous travel 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 favorable reputation as a "home station," and was also a very good camping place for freighters, because of the abundance of cedar.-Ibid., p. 208. This "Cottonwood Station" is not to be confused with the "Cottonwood Station" in Washington county, Kansas. (See Footnote 303.)
308. The road in this vicinity was despised by the stage drivers, as it in places followed an angle of about forty-five degrees through the sand hills. Later a new road was laid out to the south of the bluff, which was longer but more safe for stage travel.-Overland Stage, p. 211.
309. Burton was obviously in error as the present junction of the North and South Forks 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 by several names, including "Laramie Crossing," "Goodale's Crossing," "Morrell's Crossing," and later "Julesburg" or "Overland City," although Julesburg came to be preferred. Julesburg became widely known, the station and stable were then "long, one-story, hewed cedar-log buildings; there was also a store and blacksmith shop. . . The Pacific telegraph line at this point also crossed the Platte, having been completed through to San Francisco via Fort Bridger and Salt Lake. It cost ten dollars a wagon to get ferried across the Platte [by rope ferry in 1564]."-Overland Stage, pp. 219, 220. Julesburg was named after Jules Beni. (See Footnote 291.)