The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926

THE
SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL
QUARTERLY
VOL. XXIX JULY, 1925 No. 1
The pubthcatzon committee and the editors disclazm responszbihty for vews expressed hb
contributors to THE QUARTERLY
SOME DETAILS OF THE SOUTHERN OVERLAND MAIL
RUPERT N. RICHARDSON
The acquisition of California by the United States was quite
naturally followed by a demand for some regularly established
means of communication between that new territory and the rest
of the country far away to the east. As early as 1849 the United
States Government began to supply this need through the Pacific
Mail Steamship Company, which operated from New York to the
Isthmus of Panama, and thence to San Francisco. Also, a little
later, a stage line with a mail contract was started from Inde-
pendence, Missouri, to Salt Lake City; and from Salt Lake City
to California, a somewhat irregular line of communication wa',
provided for. But these overland projects covering so great a
distance were experimental, and the service secured was not at all
satisfactory.'
Therefore, California considered it a great victory for Western
statesmanship, and Postmaster General A. V. Brown was greatly
delighted when Congress by an act approved March 3, 1857, au-
thorized the advertising for bids for a semi-weekly mail service
from some point on the Mississippi to San Francisco.? The con-
tract was awarded July 2, 1857, to John Butterfield and others,
and on October 9, 1858, the first overland mail from San Francisco
arrived at Saint Louis.
1A brief review of the different overland mail routes is given by F. L.
Paxson in The Last American Frontier', Ch. XI. See, also, the Reportl, of
the Postmaster General for 1857, pp. 30, ff.
2bid., 26.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117141/. Accessed July 13, 2014.