Notes from the Past

Western Mail - Part II

Demas Barnes' letters reporting his cross country trip included much material concerning the operations  of the stagecoach  lines.  Barnes describes his departure from Atchison, Kansas, the western terminus of the railroad, as follows:
It was eight o'clock in the morning.  A whip cracked -- a heavy Concord stage wheeled to the front of the office; on it was painted "Overland."  Childish though it may have been, I felt sad; it was a long distance.  I was running from letters, from home, from friends.  Life is not so full of pleasure that we can afford to put three thousand miles between us and our dearest heart treasures and not feel irresolute and pained.  Our effects were soon loaded.  1600 pounds of Mail in the Coot, our baggage on top exposed to the storm.  Hear me, Mr. Halliday [sic - Ben Holladay owned the Overland Stage Line];  all the protection it had was extemporized by the passengers in the shape of coats and shawls -- not even a cheap tarpaulin or and old blanket. . .
To be continued.

Posted June 15, 2000

Editor's Note:  I am indebted to Wells Fargo in Colorado Territory by W. Turrentine Jackson published by the Colorado Historical Society, 1982 for the source material contained herein.

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