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.

Anna Kathryn


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Anna Kathryn,
Great article/story. Stage coach journeys have always fascinated me. In frontier Australia in the 1800's we had Cobb and Co. coaches. I think the coaches originated from California.
The bit about not swearing sounds good. Nothing worse, even nowadays than sitting beside some foul-mouthed person.

angietheresa said...

i would love to go back in time and see for my self

im in england and we had toll roads and in some towns they still have the prices you had to pay for the cattle and sheep and of course people

but i much prefer to travel today as my son lives 100 miles away and i go to see him every week

Debby said...

I love the don't ask how far it is. I think that should be a rule in my car.


Hywela Lyn said...

I live in the UK too - but I have a keen interest in the American West - I even ride 'WEstern' rather than English style.

I love the 'rules' especially the one about sitting tight on a runaway coach. Having been on a runaway horse more than once, I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been in a rickety stage coach with absolutely no control over the situation.

CrystalGB said...

I am glad we don't have to travel by stagecoach today. Visiting relatives would require a difficult journey. I enjoyed reading the rules. Some of them made me smile.

ddurance said...

I like the one about freezing twice as fast if under the influence of liquor. LOL


Anne Carrole said...

Great article. And congratulations on the release of Salvation Bride! Great story!!!!

Meljprincess said...

I love the comment about whisky.
It's not fun to drink alone. Nobody gets you! LOL!

I'd love to read SB, Anna. I enjoy reading about stage coach rides and the wild west. I grew up in Lubbock, Texas.

Mel K.
Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

kaisquared said...

Amazing how alot of these rules carry over to the modern carpool! I do appreciate modern speed and shock absorbers, and air conditioning.