Friday, May 13, 2022

19th Century Commuting -Stage coach travel was no picnic

By Kimberly Grist
 Stagecoach robberies were frequent occurrences across the frontier. Highwaymen would typically select a site where the stage would have to slow down and approach with guns drawn.

Photos from Stagecoach (1939), directed by John Ford. The movie that made John Wayne a star.

John Boessenecker’s book Shotguns and Stagecoaches, claims that Wells Fargo’s stagecoaches were robbed nearly 350 times between 1870 and 1884.

Types of Service

Some companies had three classes of service:
  • First Class rode all the way.
  • Second Class had to get out and walk on steep slopes.
  • Third Class had to walk and push.  

Stage Stops

As the stage driver neared the station, he or she would blow a bugle or trumpet to alert the station staff of the impending arrival. Before my research, I don't recall learning of a bugle announcing the arrival of the stage. Still, I could certainly imagine the excitement of a small town, anxious to receive mail, supplies, or perhaps a visitor. The photo below is from the musical, "The Music Man," as the town welcomes The Wells Fargo Wagon.

According to the late Mr. Walter Oatts of Austin, whose father was the postmaster at Brushy, the driver of the stage would blow his horn when the stage was about a mile away. When the horn sounded, almost everyone in the vicinity would trudge up the hill to the Inn to be on hand when the stage came into town. Mr. Oatts also mentioned that "the arrival of the stage was heralded by the honks from a large flock of geese owned by the inn." The inn boasted every bedroom had its own feather beds.

Please pardon the pun, but after reading this post, my imagination took flight. What better way to greet my shy bride, than a reluctant groom and a gaggle of geese? A debutante with a stammer, a compulsive widowed blacksmith with two young daughters. Will they find a way to coexist or, even better, forge a romantic partnership?

A Baker For Bear is Available to read at a Special Price of 99 cents

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Fans of historical romance set in the late 19th -century will enjoy stories combining, History, Humor, and Romance, emphasizing Faith, Friends, and Good Clean Fun.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting today! I didn't know that detail about a horn being blown to announce the arrival of the stagecoach, but it makes sense with them being on a tight schedule that the drivers wanted the stations to be ready for a speedy handling of the cargo.