The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926 Page: 6
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Soth wesIernl, Historical Qutrlerly
The contract was executed September 16, 1857, and provided
that service should begin a year from that date. Notwithstanding
the reports that the contractors had found unsurmountable diffi-
culties and were asking the government to release them from their
agreement," the stages were started on contract time; and the Post-
master General in his report for 1858 announced that the service
was a "conclusive and triumphant success."
As we have noted, the law required the company to provide for
passenger transportation along with the mail service. This the
company endeavored to do, and to that end placed on the line an
adequate number of Concord coaches roomy enough to transport
five or six passengers in addition to the six hundred pounds of mail
which might be carried if necessary."o
From the files of the Saint Louis and San Francisco papers,
especially the Saint Louis Missouri Republicanl for 1858-1859,
one may gather considerable information concerning the passen-
gers that arrived at the two eastern termini, Saint Louis and
Memphis, as well as those that reached San Francisco from the
east. For the first year that the service was maintained there are
unusually complete accounts as to the passengers that arrived at
Saint Louis. The number of passengers and generally their names
were reported. When they reached Saint Louis inquiring news-
paper reporters generally met them and proceeded to gather from
them all the information possible about their journey, the number
of persons who left San Francisco, the number that joined the
party or left it at the different way stations, the number that left
the Saint Louis route at Fort Smith bound for Memphis, the des-
tination of all parties, and their names and occupations. Thus it
is that for the first year of the Southern Overland Mail we have
in the files of the Saint Louis papers definite accounts of the
Captain John Pope's opinion of the route is set forth at length in the
Pacific Railroad Reports, Vol. 2, Ch. XI, printed as House Executive Doc-
ument 91, 33rd Cong., 3rd Sess. Bartlett's opinion is given in Bartlett's
Personal Narrative, John R,. Bartlett, London, 1854, 2 Vols.
'The State Gazette, Austin, Texas, for May 22, 1858, carried an edi-
torial which indicated that the editor accepted this rumor for the truth.
The article contained a bitter complaint, alleging that it was nothing
but a ruse to get an entire change of the route and thus rob the South-
west of the proposed Pacific Railroad, which he thought would follow the
"Report of the Postmaster General for 1858, pp. 6 ff. The report con-
tains a full account of the beginning of the service and indicates the
enthusiasm Mr. Brown had for it.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926, periodical, 1926; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117141/m1/14/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.