The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926 Page: 15
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Some Details of the Southern Overland Mail
law violator.42 The United States mounted force and the state
rangers did what they could; but not until some eighteen years
after the abandonment of the Butterfield route were the forays of
the Comanches finally stopped.
Just what the receipts to the company from passenger fares were
is difficult to determine from the information we have available.
For the first quarter year that the service was maintained the way-
bills for passenger from San Francisco amounted to $12,000.43
As we have noted, during this quarter the through passengers
seemed to outnumber those who traveled from one way point to
another. Even though we should estimate the receipts for way
passengers equal to that from through passengers and assume that
the west bound traffic was as great as the east bound we should
have only about two hundred thousand dollars receipts per year.
It seems that the receipts increased as the service continued, due
to the ability of the company to carry more passengers after the
road was improved and the equipment completed. Nevertheless, it
is not probable that the receipts ever greatly exceeded two hundred
thousand dollars for the reason that at the rate charged per pas-
senger it would have been impossible to take in much more than
that amount." Even when added to the six hundred thousand
dollars paid the company by the government for carrying the mail,
it seems doubtful that the project proved profitable, or that it
would have done so had the service continued for the four-year
period of the contract. The salary of employees, the cost of feed,
and the difficulty of hauling it to the desert stations, the difficulties
in securing water, and the loss from Indian depredations were
only some of the most important of the hundreds of expense items
the company was obliged to meet month after month.
Notwithstanding the comparatively small amount of passenger
traffic and the inconsiderable number of emigrants who followed
the line except that part of it that ran along well established emi-
42As to the garrisons at the Texas posts, see the Report of the Secretary
of War for 1858, 35th Cong., 2nd Sess., House Ex. Doc. No. 2, Vol. 2,
Part II, 776.
43Missouri Republican, December 29, 1858; news item.
"According to their advertisement in the San Francisco Herald the
company charged two hundred dollars per passenger from San Francisco
to Fort Smith, or to the terminus of the Pacific Railroad. San Francisco
Herald, February 12, 1859. Five passengers, or at most six, filled a coach.
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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/m1/23/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.