The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926 Page: 17
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Some Details of the Southern Overland Mail
and springs, and thus making irrigation possible at stations in
Arizona and Southwestern California.5o
It seems, however, that the line would have been more service-
able in the matter of developing the country if the Postoffice De-
partment had specified that it keep closer to the frontier settle-
ments wherever possible instead of requiring that it break away
into a region void of settlement just after it left Fort Belknap.
From that point to the California settlements, a distance of some
thirteen hundred miles, the country was without habitation except
for a few isolated villages like Franklin, Tucson, and Fort Yuma.
In Texas some two hundred miles more of frontier settlement
could have been served with little additional mileage if the line
had been run more to the south after leaving Sherman. Instead,
it skirted a thinly settled frontier to Fort Belknap, and there broke
away into a desert. It was not to be supposed that the settlements
would build to it for several years.
As a news carrying agency as well as a means for carrying
urgent letters and valuable documents the overland route lost its
significance with the launching of the "Pony Express" by the
"Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company"
in April, 1860. This company advertised that it would transport
telegraphic dispatches within eight days, and letters within twelve
days, San Francisco to New York.51 So badly did it beat the
news service of the mail route that the newspapers on the Pacific
Coast as well as those in Saint Louis, gave very little notice there-
after to news brought by the stage route; and the way news fur-
nished them by passengers was not featured any longer. The
San Francisco Herald offered five hundred dollars for the news
dispatch carried by the express riders, and complained bitterly that
two other papers had secured a monopoly on it.52
The stormy period of the winter of secession, 1860-'61, saw the
beginning of the end of the Southern Overland Mail. The reason
for its discontinuance was set forth by a United States Senator in
his agitation in March, 1861, for better connection with the Pacific
Coast. "We have just received notice," he says, "that the Butter-
field route is cut up by the roots, that it is cut right into at the
"5San Francisco Herald, correspondent, February 1, 1860.
"San Francisco Herald, April 16, 1860.
21Ibid., Editorial, April 23, 1860.
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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/m1/25/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.