January 21, 2009
Traveling by Stagecoach
It's hard to believe, as I jump into my car and travel to my mom's house, a mere seventeen miles away, that such a visit in 1873 would have been considered a 'trip' of several days, not a quick visit for lunch. A visit to my daughter in Baton Rouge or sister in Ft. Worth, both about 250 miles from where I live, would have taken weeks. Though, the trip to Baton Rouge would have been shorter, as I'd have taken a ship from Galveston to New Orleans (and perhaps transferred to a paddle boat and ridden up the Mississippi). Still, none of these trips, from my mom's to my sister's to my daughter's, would have been spur of the moment, let's go for a weekend, visit. The trip to my sister's is the one most likely to have been taken by stagecoach, just as Laura did on the last leg of her journey from Ohio to Salvation, TX, a small town a few miles from Bryan, TX. Though I admit, I didn't think too hard how she got to the first stagecoach, it's most plausible that she took a boat down a few rivers, as well as a train or two.
Before embarking on her stagecoach journey, she might have checked (if the timeline were more accurate) the 'rules' as laid out in the Omaha Herald. Here's a couple of those suggestions, first published in 1887:
*When the driver asks you to get off and walk, do it without grumbling. He will not request it unless absolutely necessary. If a team runs away, sit still and take your chances; if you jump [from the run-away stage], nine times out of ten you will be hurt.
*Don't swear, nor lop over on your neighbor when sleeping. Don't ask how far it is to the next station until you get there.
*If you have anything to take in a bottle, pass it around; a man who drinks by himself in such a case is lost to all human feeling. Provide stimulants before starting; ranch whisky is not always nectar.
Check out the other rules here:
Here's a site on stagecoach companies: http://www.linecamp.com/museums/americanwest/hubs/stagecoach_lines_pony_express/stacecoach_lines_pony_express.html
Please leave a comment about one of the rules (or all of them), along with your e-mail. I'll draw the first winner before 10:00 a.m.....let's see, how about a 'fresh off the press' copy of SALAVATION BRIDE.