Geography of Denton County Page: 8
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GEOGRAPHY OF DENTON COUNTY
the initial route for later roads built to the Pacific. Old
records refer to detours on this early stage road as
"divergences." "Divergences" in that time were
made chiefly because of fear of Indians; later on, de-
tours were made in roads to fit the topographic and soil
conditions of the southwest, and to make better connec-
tion with watering places. Old timers all along the
route like to tell of a bet which was made in New York
City regarding the time schedule made by the coach in
reaching San Francisco. The bet, which attracted na-
tional attention, was made between John Butterfield
and Captain Harrison, Commander of the "Great
Eastern," a 20,000 ton steamer which sailed the seas
via Cape Horn for San Francisco. John Butterfield
bet $100,000 that his stage coach could make the trip
in shorter time than Harrison's steam ship. In twenty
days' time the coach reached the golden gate port,
early on Sunday morning, October 10, and thirty-six
hours later the steamship docked. The Butterfield
Trail continued for two and one-half years, the first
year the government lost $572,770. But as previously
stated, such a route was never planned as a money-
making concern. It was abandoned, and the contract
cancelled March 2, 1861, when our country was facing
a dark and troubled period. Today historic markers
are being placed all along the Butterfield route. In
the northwestern part of Denton County is a crossing
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Cowling, Mary Jo. Geography of Denton County, book, 1936; Dallas, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth90885/m1/21/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.