EARLY TRANSPORTATION METHODS
|Progress of Four Score Years—Early Trails—The Oregon Trail—Camping Places in Wyoming—Marking the Trail—The Pony Express—Day of the Stage Coach—The Overland Line—Changing the Route—Ben Holliday—Educating a Tenderfoot—Marking the Overland—Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Line—Perils of Stage Coaching—Road Agents—Passing of the Stage Coach—Freighting Across the Plains ... 325|
|The first white men in Wyoming–the trappers and the fur traders–traveled on foot or on horseback, following the banks of the, streams or the old Indian trails through the forests and mountain passes. In 1832 Capt. Benjamin Bonneville took the first wagons through the South Pass. It is a far cry from the heavy, lumbering Conestoga wagon or "prairie schooner" of Captain Booneville to the sumptuous passenger coaches of the year 1918, yet such has been Wyoming's progress within the comparatively short space of four score and six years.|
| In the early part of the Nineteenth Century, before the people of the United States had even dreamed of a trans-continental railway, the pioneers of western civilization sought out lines of travel, which have been developed into the great avenues of commerce between the East and the West. Without a practical knowledge of engineering, actuated in a majority of cases by the hope of personal gain, perhaps with no thought of the effect of his labors upon future generations, the old trail-maker "followed the line of least resistance," dodging marshes, circling the hills, seeking the open places through the forests, but always keeping in view suitable camping grounds and watering places.|
One of the oldest of the great trails to the west, and one of the most noted, with the Santa Fe Trail, which was declared a Government highway in 1824, through the efforts of Thomas H. Benton, then United States Senator from Missouri. The line of this trail is now marked by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, which follows it closely from Kansas City, Mo., to Santa Fe. From 1825 to the beginning of the Civil war, the trade that passed over the Santa Fe Trail amounted to several millions of dollars. This trail did not touch Wyoming, but its starting point was also the starting point of Wyoming's historic route of early days to the Pacific Coast, viz.:
|THE OREGON TRAIL|
| This noted trail, over which thousands of emigrants and gold seekers passed on their way to Oregon and California, had its eastern terminus at Independence, Mo., about ten miles east of Kansas City. Independence was the last white settlement of consequence west of St. Louis as late as 1832, when Fort Leavenworth, St. Joseph and Council Bluffs came into prominence as outfitting points for emigrant parties bound for the "Far West." From Independence the Oregon and Santa Fe trails were one up the valley of the Kansas River to about where the present City of Lawrence (Kan.) is now located. There the Santa Fe Trail turned more to the southwest, while the Oregon Trail kept on up the Kansas River to the site of the present City of Topeka (at first called Papan's Ferry). There it left the river and pursued a course toward the northwest, through what are now Pottawatamie, Marshall and Washington counties in Kansas, crossing the northern boundary of that state near the northeast corner of the last named county.|
After Fort Leavenworth and St. Joseph became active competitors of Independence in the outfitting business, a trail from those places intersected the main road not far from the present Town of Blue Rapids, Kans. From the Kansas line the trail continued in a northwesterly direction until it struck the Platte River where Grand Island, Neb., now stands. A short distance above Grand Island the trail crossed the river and followed the north bank to Fort Laramie.
Another trail left the Santa Fe, not far from the present City of Great Bend, Kans., and followed up the Arkansas River to Bent's Fort where it turned northward and descended the South Fork of the Platte River for some distance, when it crossed over to the North Fork, striking that stream a little below Scott's Bluff, Neb. It then ascended the North Platte to Fort Laramie, where it joined the main trail. From Fort Laramie the trail followed the river for about fifty miles, when it left the Platte to strike it again near the present City of Casper. At this point the road crossed to the north side of the river and proceeded via Willow Springs and Independence Rock up the Sweetwater River to the South Pass. At Pacific Springs, a few miles west of the South Pass, the trail divided, one branch crossing the Green River not far from the mouth of La Barge Creek, in what is now Lincoln County, and the other running southwest to old Fort Bridger and thence to the upper waters of the Bear River. Near the western boundary of Wyoming the two were united for a short distance, only again to be divided into two separate trails. The northern branch ran by way of Fort Hall and Boise to Oregon, and the southern by way of Great Salt Lake to the Sacramento Valley in California. The latter was known as the "California Trail," though the Mormon emigrants called it the "Mormon Trail" or the "Salt Lake Trail." The distance from Independence to the mouth of the Columbia River over this historic trail was 2,124 miles.
Some writers give to Wilson P. Hunt and his expedition of 1811 the distinction of being the first explorers over the Oregon Trail, but this is incorrect. Hunt ascended the Missouri River and came into what is now the State of Wyoming from the north. That part of the trail between Independence and Grand Island was in use at a very early day. perhaps before the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, but no record of when or by whom it was first used can be found. That portion between the upper waters of the Green River and Grand Island was no doubt first traversed by the six Astorians who left the Walla Walla Valley in June, 1812, to return to St. Louis. Gen. William H. Ashley discovered the route through the South Pass in 1824, and the first written account of the trail was that of John B. Wyeth, published in 1833.
|CAMPING PLACES IN WYOMING|
| Thwaites' "Early Western Travels" (Vol. XXX) gives a list of the principal camping places along the Oregon Trail, with the number of miles from each camp to the next. On the trail south of the Platte River, the first camping place in Wyoming was at Horse Creek, which was twelve miles from Scott's Blufif. On the trail north of the river the first camp was near the present Town of Torrington. From the camp on Horse Creek to Fort Laramie the distance is given as twenty-four miles. From Fort Laramie to the South Pass the best known camping grounds, with the number of miles between, are shown in the following table:|
|MARKING THE TRAIL|
| Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming have all made appropriations to defray the expenses of placing monuments or markers along the Oregon Trail. By an act of the Wyoming Legislature, approved on February 20, 1913. the sum of $2,500 was appropriated for the purpose of purchasing and placing suitable markers "under the supervision of a commission of three members, the same to serve without compensation, to be appointed by the governor." The act also provided that: "Any person who shall destroy, remove or injure any monument or marker erected as herein provided for, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not less that thirty days nor more than ninety days: or both by such tine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court."|
Governor Carey appointed as the members of the commission A. J. Parshall, state engineer; H. G. Nickerson, of Lander: and Mrs. Emily A. Patten, of Cheyenne. Subsequently Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard, of the State University, succeeded Mrs. Patten and Mrs. J. T. Snow, of Torrington, succeeded Mr. Parshall. Under the auspices of these commissioners markers have been placed at the most noted stopping places along the trail in Wyoming, the most eastern monument being located at Torrington, the county seat of Goshen County.
|THE PONY EXPRESS|
| Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, there was a rush of emigrants from the older states and it was not long until Congress and private firms and corporations began to realize the needs of improved methods of communication with the West. The great freighting and stage line firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell sprang into existence in the early '50s and until after the beginning of the Civil war practically controlled the freight and passenger traffic across the plains. As early as 1855 William Gwin, the United States Senator from California, introduced a bill providing for a weekly mail or letter express between St. Louis and San Francisco, to operate on a ten-day schedule, the cost of each round trip not to exceed five hundred dollars. The bill was referred to the committee on military affairs, which never reported it back to the Senate.|
The census of 1860 showed nearly half a million inhabitants west of the Rocky Mountains, and the Government saw that better service was necessary, especially as war was imminent. There were then three recognized lines of mail transit between the East and West. First, the Panama line, which was most patronized, but which would be greatly endangered if the Southern States withdrew from the Union, on account of its location: second, the "Butterfield Route." which started from St. Louis and ran far to the southward, entering California at the southeast corner of the state: third, the "Central Route," which followed the Platte River into Wyoming and reached the State of California via Salt Lake City.. The Gwin bill of 1855 recommended this route, and in 1860 it was regarded as the most practicable, as it could be controlled by the North in the event of war.
In the winter of 1859-60. William Russell, senior member of the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell. was in Washington in connection with some freight contracts with the Government. An overland mail route was discussed by him and Senator Gwin and he saw an opportunity to secure a profitable contract with the Government for carrying the mail, if he could manage to keep the route open during the winter seasons and equal or lower the time schedule of the Panama line. He even went so far as to commit his firm to the undertaking without first consulting his partners. Upon his return to Leavenworth, he found Majors and Waddell rather unfavorable to his scheme, but as he had agreed to make the trial they joined him in the incorporation of the "Central Overland California & Pike's Peak Express Company." which was granted a charter by the Territory of Kansas, and which was empowered to operate a passenger and freighting business in addition to the "Pony Express."
The first Pony Express rider left St. Joseph, Mo., on the afternoon of April 3, i860, and at the same hour the east bound mail left San Francisco on a fast steamer and sent up the Sacramento River to Sacramento, where it was transferred to the Pony Express. Johnny Frey took the first mail out of St. Joseph, and Harry Roff was the first rider out of Sacramento. At the stations along the route relay riders and steeds were stationed and when the two mails met the riders set out upon the return trip. Each rider received a salary of from $125 to $150 per month, and was required to take an oath to abstain from intoxicating liquors and profane language while in the employ of Russell, Majors and Waddell as a mail carrier.
The route followed in general the Oregon Trail, except where some distance could be saved by a short cut across the prairies. From Fort Kearney, Neb., it followed the south bank of the Platte for about two hundred miles. At Cottonwood Springs (the junction of the North and South forks of the Platte) the rider took a course almost directly westward, past O'Fallon's Bluffs, Beauvais Ranch, Alkali and Diamond Springs to Julesburg. There he forded the South Fork of the Platte and then followed the course of Lodge Pole Creek to Thirty Mile Ridge. From that point to Scott's Bluffs he pursued nearly a direct line ; then via Fort Laramie, Platte Bridge and South Pass to Fort Bridger; thence to Salt Lake City; then crossing the Humboldt River into Nevada he passed by Carson City to Placerville, Cal., and from there by the shortest route to Sacramento. A large part of this route traversed the wildest regions of the United States, and there were but four military posts along the line.
The saddle-bag used for carrying the mail was called the "mochila." It contained four pockets—two in front and two behind the rider's legs. Letters were wrapped in oiled silk to protect them from moisture. The postal charges were at first $5 for each half-ounce letter, but this rate was afterward reduced to $1. Eighty riders were employed and they were always on the go, except for the few hours' rest between the change from east to west, one-half riding in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction. They were men who could be relied on to retain their presence of mind in an emergency, were strangers to fear and expert horsemen. Stories of the thrilling experiences of the Pony Express riders discount fiction. Among the most noted of these riders may be mentioned "Jim" Moore. Johnny Frey, Harry Roff, William F. Cody (better known as Buffalo Bill), Robert Haslam (commonly called "Pony Bob"), J. G. Kelley, George Gardner. Dan Westcott, "Boston," Sam Hamilton and the one known as "Irish Tom,"
Cody's "run" was from Red Buttes to the Three Crossings on the Sweetwater River, so called because the trail crossed the stream three times within a quarter of a mile, a place always difficult to negotiate and in times of high water actually dangerous. Yet he rode this "run" back and forth as long as the Pony Express was in existence. The distance was seventy-six miles. On one occasion, when he reached the Three Crossings, Cody found that the man who was to take the mail on west had been killed the night before. He therefore continued his ride to Rock Ridge, eighty-five miles, and then returned to Red Buttes, making a total of 322 miles without delay or rest, the longest run on record in the history of the Pony Express. Another time, when he carried a package containing a considerable sum of currency, fearing he would be held up by road agents, he provided himself with a dummy mochila and concealed the real mail bag under his saddle blanket. Sure enough, at a lonely spot on the route he was met by two highwaymen who commanded him to "throw up his hands." Confronted by two rifles leveled at him, he obeyed, remonstrating with the robbers, who commanded him to throw them the mail pouch and not try to reach for his gun, threatening to fill him full of holes if he did not obey orders. He loosed the dummy mail bag and, watching his opportunity, hurled it at the head of the robber nearest him, who dodged, and, while thus taken off their guard momentarily, Cody quickly drew his revolver and by an accurate shot disabled the other man. Then, putting the spurs to his horse, he rode over the one who had stooped to pick up the mail bag. Before the bandit could recover his equilibrium and take aim, horse and rider were out of range and the mail was saved.
When Edward Creighton completed the Pacific Telegraph in October, 1861, the Pony Express went out of business. It had been a losing venture financially. The purchase of some four hundred good horses, the establishment of stations every ten or twelve miles along the route, the wages of the riders and station keepers, the transportation of supplies, etc., absorbed the receipts and left a deficit. But while the Pony Express was in existence it added romance and adventure to the Great West about which volumes have been written. During the sixteen months from April, 1860, to October, 1861, the Pony Express riders traveled over six hundred and fifty thousand miles in the aggregate. All had adventures with hostile Indians, blizzards and road agents, and some of them lost their lives while in the discharge of their duty, but the history of the West shows no more courageous, faithful and persistent men than the Pony Express riders.
|DAY OF THE STAGE COACH|
| One of the earliest stage coach lines in the West was that of John M. Hockaday and William Liggett, which was established in 1851 to carry mail, express matter and passengers between St. Joseph, Mo., and Salt Lake City. The stages on this line at first made monthly trips, but later became semi-monthly. Hockaday & Liggett sold out to Russell, Majors & Waddell in 1858.|
W. F. McGraw, of Maryland, began operating a stage line between Sacramento, Cal., and Salt Lake City in the early '50s. At Salt Lake City his stages connected with those of the Hockaday & Liggett line. In 1854 Congress voted to appropriate $80,000 annually for direct mail service from the Mississippi Valley to the Pacific Coast. McGraw received every year $13,500 of this appropriation, but even with this assistance from the Government he failed in 1856.
On September 15, 1857, the Butterfield Overland Mail Company entered into a contract with the United States postoffice department to carry the mails between some point on the Missouri River and California for a period of six years, service to commence within One year from the date of contract. St. Joseph, Mo., was selected as the starting point and the first Overland stages started from St. Joseph and San Francisco on September 15. 1858. The principal promoters and largest stockholders of the company were John Buttertield and William G. Fargo. The route followed by the Butterfield Company's stages was known as the "Southern Route," through the Indian Territory,'New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Southern California. Some of the coaches went by way of El Paso and others by way of Albuquerque. The time required for the trip was twenty-five days. The Southern Route was followed regularly until the beginning of the Civil war, when the Northern (or Central) Route via Forts Kearny, Laramie and Bridger and Salt Lake City to Placerville, Cal. The first stages over this route left St. Joseph and Placerville simultaneously on July 1, 1861. Over the new route the time was shortened to seventeen days.
In the meantime the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell had inaugurated the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express in the summer of 1859, and by the close of that year there were six different mail routes to the Pacific Coast, the aggregate cost of which to the Government was not far from two millions of dollars annually. In 1860 the Pony Express was started by Russell, Majors & Waddell, as already narrated. In the fall of 1861 Ben Holliday succeeded to the business of Russell, Majors & Waddell and the Butterfield Overland Company, and in a short time he became known as the "King of Western Transportation." At the height of the Overland's prosperity, Holliday had 500 stage coaches, 500 freight wagons, over five thousand horses and mules and a "host of oxen." He also owned sixteen steamers which plied between San Francisco, Panama, Oregon, China and Japan, and the Government paid him about one million dollars annually on mail contracts.
|CHANGING THE ROUTE|
|During the first twelve months after Holliday took possession he expended nearly two million dollars in improving the service and establishing stations. Scarcely had these stations been opened when the hostile Indians, as told in another chapter, began making raids. The annoyance from this quarter became so great that in July, 1862, the route was changed to the South Platte, via Julesburg, Laramie Plains. Bridger's Pass and Green River to Fort Bridger, where the old line was struck and followed to Salt Lake. Indian raids continued, however, and so crippled the line that in November, 1866, Holliday sold the Overland to Wells, Fargo & Company.|
|The coaches used by the Overland Company were of the type known as the "Concord," so called because they were built at Concord, N. H., and the harness was made by the Hill Harness Company of the same place. At the front and rear of each coach was a "boot." In the front boot was carried the treasure box. and the mail was carried in the hindmost boot. The passengers rode inside the coach, their bagc;age being piled on top. The horses were mostly Kentucky bred. While Holliday was at the head of the company it was his boast that no transportation company ever owned a better lot of horses. The six horses of each team were matched as to color and size as nearly as possible. Among the stage drivers were men who became celebrated in the frontier romance of the plains. One of these was Hank Monk, who was made famous by Horace Greeley. Others were Jack Gilmer, Billy Opdike, "Keno" Armstrong, Enoch Cummings and "Bishop West." On one occasion Keno Armstrong drove 610 miles in 110 hours without "a wink of sleep." Every driver was a man in every sense of the word and the stage driver was a character to be respected in all western settlements. So famous were some of these men in the annals of the West that a popular song of that period was entitled "The High Salaried Driver of the Denver Line."|
|EDUCATING A TENDERFOOT|
| Dr. W. R. Thomas, in his "Romance of the Border," tells a story of Bishop West that is regarded as worth repeating here. He got his sobriquet of "Bishop" from the fact that one of the station keepers was a Mormon bishop named West, and the other drivers along the line gave the nickname to their comrade. Between Central City and Idaho Springs, where West had his "run." the road ran along the Virginia Canyon, "three miles up hill and three miles down." It was one of the best pieces of road on the entire Overland line and West was one of the most expert drivers in the company's employ. On one trip his only passenger was a man from the East, who rode on the box with West, and as the coach ascended the ridge he was constantly complaining at the slow pace.|
"I have heard a good deal about Rocky Mountain stage driving," he remarked to the driver, just before they reached the summit, "but I haven't seen any of it yet."
"Maybe you will before you get out of the mountains," replied Bishop, with a quizzical glance at his passenger, at the same time dismounting from the box to see that his brake blocks were properly adjusted before undertaking the descent.
"Aren't we going near enough to a snail's pace now," testily asked the tenderfoot, "without stopping to bother with the brakes?" He failed to notice the look in the driver's eye, however, a look which Doctor Thomas describes as "malicious."
Having adjusted the brakes to his liking, West resumed his seat on the box and a few rods farther the coach rolled over the crest of the hill. Then things began to happen. With a yell like a Comanche Indian on the war path. Bishop "threw the silk" into the flanks of the leaders and away they went at full speed. The passenger first begged, then stormed and raved, but the only response was the cracking of the whip like a pistol in the horses' ears and the yells of the driver to them to "Get out of the way!" When about half way down the slope the rate of speed became so great that the passenger grew desperate, and finding protestation and supplication alike in vain, he leaped from the coach. Without looking back to see what had happened to his passenger, Bishop went on down the hill until he reached Idaho Springs, having made the descent of three miles in 11½ minutes. About an hour later the tenderfoot came limping in, scratched and bruised, with torn clothing, uttering anathemas against all stage drivers, but especially against Bishop West. But he was never again heard to complain as to the slowness of the Overland coaches. His education in that respect was complete.
|MARKING THE OVERLAND|
| In establishing the relay stations, where horses were changed, along the Overland, many of them were located at the camping places on the old Oregon Trail. The most noted stations in Wyoming were at Fort Laramie, Deer Creek, Platte Bridge. Devil's Gate, Split Rock, South Pass, Pacific Spring, Green River and Fort Bridger. Quite a number of the places where these stations were located have been marked by monuments erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution of Wyoming and Colorado, with the assistance of the appropriations made by the state Legislatures of the two states.|
>One of these markers, on the boundary line between Colorado and Wyoming, was unveiled on July 4, 1917. Dean S. Walter Johnson, of the Colorado Agricultural College delivered the principal address, in which he reviewed the history of the Overland Route, closing his address with these words: "If there is such a thing as manifest destiny, does not this stone mark its trail?" Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard of the Wyoming State University also spoke in behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution of the two states.
|CHEYENNE & BLACK HILLS STAGE LINE|
|About the middle of February, 1876, Luke Voorhees, now receiver in the United States Land Office at Cheyenne, came to Cheyenne from Salt Lake City to organize the Cheyenne & Black Hills Mail and Express Company. Thirty Concord coaches and 600 horses were needed and as soon as a sufficient number had been secured a tri-weekly line between Cheyenne and Deadwood was opened. The excitement over the discovery of gold in the Black Hills region was then at its height and for a time the stage line did a thriving business. The tri-weekly line was inadequate to accommodate the rush and it was not long until daily stages were running. Notwithstanding the opposition of the Indians, the line continued to do a good business until railroads were built into the Black Hills from the east and south, then it was discontinued. One of the drivers on this line was William Sherman, who died at Sheridan on March 28, 1918. He was a veteran of the Civil war, came to Wyoming soon after the war was over, and at the time of his death was eighty-two years of age.|
|PERILS OF STAGE COACHING|
| The life of the stage coach driver was by no means a path of roses. Besides the danger from hostile Indians, about 1877 a gang of organized "road agents" began operating in Wyoming, robbing stages and even express trains. In the spring of 1878 the coach from Cheyenne to Deadwood was robbed by six masked men. When the driver met the southbound coach he described the robbers as well as he could, the spot where the robbery occurred, and warned the driver and passengers to keep a sharp lookout. On the southbound coach there were three inside passengers, while the express messenger and a man named John Flaherty rode outside with the driver. Capt. Eugene Smith accompanied the stage on horseback, and after meeting the other coach rode about a quarter of a mile in advance, looking for signs of the robbers. Upon reaching the place where the northbound stage had been held up, he found the envelopes of a number of registered letters and struck the trail of the bandits, which led up the valley of a dry creek. Smith rode into the ravine, but had gone only a short distance when one of the robbers fired at him. About fifty shots were exchanged, Smith's horse was killed, when the bandits mounted and fled.|
Later in the same year a coach on the same line was held up near Hat Creek by Charley Ross and a man named Brown. Upon the order to the passengers to "hold up your hands," one of them, Daniel Finn, "came a shooting." Ross returned the fire and Finn was slightly wounded in the face. Brown was shot through the body and captured. Sheriff T. J. Carr, of Cheyenne, learned through Brown that Ross was at Eureka, Nev., and went after him. He was brought back to Cheyenne, tried and convicted of highway robbery. Wyoming prisoners were then kept in the Nebraska penitentiary at Lincoln. Ross was taken there and after failing to secure a pardon, committed suicide. His photograph remained in Sheriff Carr's collection for several years after his death, labeled: "Charley Ross, road agent and murderer on the Black Hills stage road. 1877-78; captured at Eureka, Nev., December, 1878, by T. J. Carr; committed suicide at Lincoln, Neb., penitentiary, February 16, 1885."
In November, 1878, the coach from the north, bound for Laramie City, carried two road agents–Mansfield and McLaughlin–as prisoners. At the crossing of the Platte River the stage was stopped by a company of masked men. the guard overpowered and the two bandits were taken out and hanged.
About that time Gen. D. J. Cook, of Colorado, organized the Rocky Mountain Detective Association for the purpose of breaking up the gang, and a number of Wyoming men became members. Nathaniel K. Boswell, of Laramie, learning that the road agents had a rendezvous near Rock Creek, took thirteen deputies and started for the place. Six men were captured and were afterward convicted. Boswell also captured Jack Watkins, one of the worst of the desperadoes, when no one else would undertake the task. Finally, through the combined efforts of the detective association, the territorial authorities and the United State troops, the gang was broken up. Among the road agents were Bill Bivins, Marriner, Harrington, Miller, Oaks, Congdon and others, some of whom were arrested and sentenced to prison and some "bit the dust" in their conflicts with officers of the law.
An occasional stage robbery occurred after the organized road agents were put out of business. In September, 1889, Bill Brown and Dan Parker stopped the United States mail coach near Rawlins and robbed the mail and the passengers, after which they escaped to Brown's Hole. A reward of $1,000 was offered for their arrest. Parker was arrested by Sheriff T. J. Carr at Provo, Utah, brought to Wyoming and received a penitentiary sentence. Brown was arrested near Buffalo, Wyo.. on April 2, 1891. and on the i8th received a prison sentence.
|PASSING OF THE STAGE COACH|
|With the building of the Union Pacific Railroad the stage coach began to decline. Wells, Fargo & Company, who succeeded Ben Holliday as the proprietors of the Overland, began naning their stages from stations on the railroad to the towns in the interior. A stage line was opened from Rawlins to Lander in the spring of 1887. As the Union Pacific was in process of construction, the Overland stages ran from the terminus of the road westward until the railroad was finished, and the same system was followed when other railroads began to be built through the state. In the fall of 1891 all the stage lines centering at Buffalo were consolidated under one management, known as the Buffalo & Burlington Stage Company. Daily stages were run from Buffalo to Fort Custer, Gillette. Sheridan and Douglas, and return stages from these towns also made daily trips. The time from Buffalo to Fort Custer was four hours. There are still a number of stage lines in operation in Wyoming, one of the most important of which is the line from Cody to the eastern entrance of the Yellowstone National Park. But with the advent of the railroad the glory of the old coaching days departed, never to return.|
| With the Mormon emigration, the rush to the gold fields and the Oregon emigration, numerous settlements and mining camps sprang into existence. These settlements and mining camps needed supplies. The West was without navigable rivers or railroads, so that the great quantity of provisions, etc., needed by the pioneers had to be transported in wagons. One of the first to engage in this business of freighting was Abe Majors, founder of the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell. Majors had been a "bull-whacker" on the old Santa Fe Trail before embarking in the business on his own account. He was an experienced ox driver, knew all the details of the freighting business, and held the record of having made the round trip from Independence, Mo., to Santa Fe in ninety-two days. He began freighting on a small scale in the early '50s, and was soon succeeded by the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell.|