The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923 Page: 39
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History of West and Northwest Texas Since 1845
In the fall of 1858, the then next best thing to a railroad-
the stage coach-had been in operation across West Texas from
San Antonio to San Diego, California, through El Paso, a dis-
tance of 1,200 miles; and over the Marcy trail across West and
Northwest Texas from St. Louis to San Francisco by way of
El Paso, a distance of 2,700 miles. This was said to be 40 per
cent longer than any other stage line in our history and also the
longest in the world. This line was known as the Butterfield
Southern Overland Mail. At Preston was the first division out
of St. Louis; at Fort Chadbourne was the second; at El Paso
the third, and thence to Tucson, Fort Yuma, and the sixth and
last division at San Francisco. Its coaches started simultane-
ously from St. Louis and San Francisco on a twenty-five-day
schedule, and beat the schedule by one day, and each was greeted
by a mighty ovation. Its equipment consisted of more than one-
hundred Concord stage coaches, one thousand horses, five hundred
mules, and seven hundred and fifty men, including one hundred
and fifty drivers. It began as a semi-weekly but was soon pro-
moted to six times a week, and from the first its operations had
the effect of advertising and greatly aiding in the settlement of
the country through which it passed, notably Fort Belknap and
Young County, which it put on something of a boom.
It was promoted by John Butterfield and was successfully oper-
ated until the war between the states came on, when it was trans-
ferred to a shorter route, where it took its chances with the snows.
The same event that put a stop to the Butterfield stage line
also put a stop to the growing possibilities of the early settlement
and development of West and Northwest Texas for twenty years
to come. When the war came on, owing to the exigencies of mili-
tary necessity in the South, small attention could be paid to the
Indian, and for years he roamed almost at will over Texas fron-
tiers; and practically all intercourse with the Pacific coast stopped
Many men who made names for themselves on both sides of the
controversy were in the United States Army in the portion of
Texas in question, when the war came on, as colonels, lieutenant
colonels, majors, captains and lieutenants. Among the number
who afterwards wore the gray were Generals R. E. Lee, Fitzhugh
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923, periodical, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101084/m1/45/: accessed January 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.