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The stages are got up in elegant style, and are each arranged to convey eight passengers. The bodies are beautifully painted and made water-tight, with a view of using them as boats in ferrying streams. The team consists of six mules to each coach. The mail is guarded by eight men, armed as follows: Each man has at his side, fastened in the stage, one of Colt’s revolving rifles, in a holster below one of Colt’s long revolvers, and in his belt a small Colt’s revolver, besides a hunting knife; so that these eight men are ready, in case of attack, to discharge 136 shots without having to reload. This is equal to a small army armed as in the ancient times, and from the looks of this escort, ready as they are either for offensive or defensive warfare with the savages, we have no fears for the safety of the mails. The accommodating contractors have established a sort of base of refitting at Council Grove, a distance of 150 miles from this city, and have sent out a blacksmith, and a number of men to cut and cure hay, with a quantity of animals, grain, and provisions; and we understand they intend to make a sort of traveling station there, and to commence a farm. They also, we believe, intend to make a similar settlement at Walnut Creek next season. Two of their stages will start from here the first of every month.
The undersigned, Petitioners, Citizens of New Mexico, would respectfully represent to your Honor, that, on the first day of July last, a monthly mail was established between Independence, in the State of Missouri, and Santa Fe, in the Territory of New Mexico; that the enterprise, energy, and untiring perseverance of the Contractors, up to this time, have delivered this mail, both at Independence and this place, with a punctuality not excelled, if equaled, by that of other Contractors in the United States…all demand the establishment of, at least, a SEMI-MONTHLY MAIL between Independence and Santa Fe.
Lt. (USN) Edward Fitzgerald Beale, 1822-1893
- Graduated from Naval Academy in 1842
- Sailed to California with Admiral Stockton, 1846
- Rescued Kearny at San Pasqual battle in 1847
- Crossed Panama to U.S. with gold samples in 1848
- Appointed to survey Beale’s wagon route in 1857
- Ambassador to Austria-Hungary in 1876
The Neosho mail arrived at Santa Fe on the 2d, having been detained by the slow movements of Lieutenant Beale’s party. They met no hostile Indians, but signs of an approaching outbreak were daily visible. They were evidently only deterred by the strength of the mail company’s force.
St. Louis, Dec. 2, 1858
The first daily mail from Albuquerque, New Mexico, arrived at Neosho, Missouri, on the 17th ult., thirty-one days out. The mail was intercepted by a war party of Kiowa Indians, but a shot from the mail party, wounding the principal chief, put them to flight.
Major Wells, connected with the stage line, arrived here this morning from on the Neosho mail route, having deemed it unsafe to proceed with the mail, after hearing of that deplorable disaster which, he informs me, occurred to the last outgoing mail party. It seems that the party which left Albuquerque on the 15th instant, for Neosho, had some of their animals stolen by the Indians, the Comanches, of the Plains, which the party, however, pursued and recovered. The Indians thereupon largely reinforced themselves and attacked the mail party, which after several repulses, they eventually succeeded in overpowering. The entire party was massacred, and all the outfit, including the mail, was destroyed.
The loss of the Neosho and Albuquerque mail of last November, is confirmed by the arrival here of John Hall, the conductor, who makes affidavit to the effect that when about two days’ march behind Lieut. Beale’s party, he was attacked by forty Comanches, badly wounded and taken prisoner. The mail was destroyed. Hall escaped from the Indians in February, and, after enduring great hardships, succeeded in reaching the settlements in safety.
OVERLAND ROUTE TO STOCKTON. – The first train of the Great Central Mail Line, Barrow, Porter & Co., proprietors, from Kansas City to California, left yesterday. It consisted of twelve wagons, one hundred mules and twenty-five men. The coaches, with one hundred more mules, and an additional force of twenty-five men, will follow in a few days.
These advance parties are sent out to fix the stations and provide accommodations for the regular mail train, which leaves this city on the first of October. The whole station equipment, when organized, will be the most extensive on the American continent…Thus has this great central route, at once taken the precedence of all others as the overland route to California, not only for the mails, but for all the purposes of trade, traffic and commerce.
During the period of nine months that it was in operation, there were but four arrivals of through mails at Kansas, and but two at Stockton. The whole mail matter received at Kansas from Stockton consisted of two letters and twenty-six newspapers while it appears, from the returns, that but a single letter reached Stockton from Kansas.
WASHINGTON, MAY 12 – The Territorial Overland mail routes between Neosho, Missouri, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, and between Kansas, Missouri and Stockton, California, which were let to contractors last year, have been discontinued, to take effect from the 1st of July next.
The failure of Congress to make the usual appropriations for the Postoffice Department, the interruptions of the mails mostly from the presence of hostile Indians along the lines, and the consequent obstruction of mail matter, to a comparatively insignificant amount, are the reasons alleged for the discontinuance of this overland service.
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