of 1859. While driving on the Salt Lake and Santa Fe routes he hauled many prominent army men and high officials across the plains. Mr. Lowe claims to have hauled Hon. John Speer, the pioneer and veteran Kansas journalist, at least fifty times. He also saw the indians whom General Harney drove into the Platte river, and relates that, when the mercury registered twenty degrees below zero, he came to a bunch of buffalo that lay in the sandy trail for warmth, when he was obliged to crack his whip and yell "Hoa! hoa!" to get the shaggy beasts out of the road.
ED. STERLING, better known as "Sandy," formerly a 'bus driver in New York city, began as a driver oil the overland line in 1860, from Seneca to Cottonwood station, and continued until the spring of 1861. He was then transferred to the South Platte fork at old Julesburg, from which place he drove west to Valley Station until fall; then he went on the Salt Lake division and drove from Weber to the foot of Big Mountain, a distance of thirty-five miles. Some time afterwards the high water washed out the road, and it was fully three days before anything could be heard from any place on the line east or west. The road became impassable and had to be changed. It afterwards ran through Weber valley to Dixie Cañon and to Parley's Park; thence to William Kimball's, son of the noted Mormon apostle, Heber C. Kimball. This road was afterwards used permanently as the great overland stage road and to accommodate the enormous freighting which was then going on over the plains and mountains. "Sandy" was reported to have had some narrow escapes in East and Dixie cañons, and more than once barely got away alive. In 1863, he, with another driver, Charley Haynes, was obliged to "double" the road from Plum Creek to Cottonwood Springs, a distance of sixty-two miles, for eight days and nights, on account of the horrible condition of the roads, which delayed the stages from both east and west.
After the closing of staging on account of the building of the Pacific railroad, Mr. Sterling located at Seneca, Kan., where he had driven for a long time, and engaged in the livery business. In the early '70's, opening the "Overland Stable," which he ran for about twenty-five years. He was a man with many friends and greatly respected by the community. During his later years he was sick more or less from being exposed so much when in the
employ of the stage company, and, after being confined to his bed for a few weeks, was forced to succumb. He died at his Kansas home in Seneca May 20, 1895.
CHARLES N. EMERY, born "way down in Maine" in 1835, was, little over a third of a century ago, well known on the overland line. He kept Thirty-two-mile Creek station, on the eastern or Fort Kearney division, from March, 1862, until the spring of 1864. He was then given the station at Liberty Farm, twenty-five miles east of there, on the north bank of the Little Blue
CHARLES N. EMERY.
river. During the raid by the Indians in August, 1864,
Thirty-two-mile Creek and Liberty Farm stations were burned,
as were also a large number of other stations on the great
stage line. In the spring of 1865, after new stations were
built, following the terrible raid by Indians in 1864, Emery
was placed in charge of the station at Fort Kearney, where
he remained until the eastern division of the line was
abandoned by the stage proprietor, after the completion of
the Union Pacific from Omaha to Kearney. Mr. Emery was a
very useful man for the stage line. He was a good judge of
horses, and, when occasion required, he could mount the box
and hold the reins of a four- or six-horse stage team quite
as well as most of the boys.
"Big Muddy," in western Missouri, and was apparently more fond of a slice of good fried bacon and a "corn dodger" than any thing that could be gotten up in the eating line. Mrs. Emory somehow knew this, and, in her best style, prepared an ample supply of these two, substantial "frontier delicacies." After the great stage man had partaken of such a nicely gotten up breakfast, before departing on his journey east, he threw down on the table a twenty-dollar gold piece, which he said was for the "lady of the house," who had anticipated his coming and had cooked for him such a choice breakfast.
Mr. Emery died at his home in Beatrice, Neb., in 1898. For the past quarter of a century or more he had been a citizen of Beatrice, and was there known as one of the early residents of that beautiful city so charmingly situated on the east side of the Big Blue river. He had an interesting family--he married at Lawrence, Kan., in the later '50's--and two sons whom I knew at Thirty-two-mile Creek in the early '60's as little tots are now between thirty and forty years old, and both are married and are the heads of families of their own.
ENOCH CUMMINGS, now in the prime of life, is one of the oldest and best known of all the drivers on the old overland stage line. He was born in Virginia, April 7, 1839, and first drove stage in Ohio in 1853, and two years afterward in West Virginia. He next drove in Illinois and Iowa, and later out of Tipton, Mo., west on the old Butterfield route, the first overland mail to the Pacific, that was started from St. Louis in September, 1858. Still later he drove in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado. He spent the greater part of sixteen years on the stage box. His first driving in Kansas was along the Kaw river, in the later '50's, from St. Mary's to Black Jack station, twenty-five miles, on the Leavenworth and Fort Riley route, in the service of the Kansas Stage Company. He also drove out of Fort Riley and Junction City, in the Kaw valley, and out of Leavenworth and other points, in the early days of Kansas Staging.
Cummings, early in 1861, drove on the Salt Lake mail route which ran out of Atchison once a week, from Liberty Farm to Fort Kearney, fifty-five miles. He drove one trip a week up and back. There were three strings of stock on the line, to make it a triweekly to Denver. The Salt Lake stages then crossed the South
Platte at old Julesburg; thence to the Mormon capital the coaches ran weekly. He relates that on one trip during 1860, when a little east of Lone Tree, soon after the break of day, his attention was attracted by a big cloud of dust a short distance ahead of him. The next thing he saw was a monster buffalo running abreast the stage trail. This was almost immediately followed by a band of Indians mounted on their ponies in hot pursuit. Cummings was then a "tenderfoot" on the plains--never before having encountered wild buffalo and Indians--and, for a few seconds, thought he would have to make peace with his Maker. The stage halted a short time to let Indians and buffalo go by and over the bluffs above Roper's ranch. As soon as they had passed he says it gave him great relief. But he finally got used to life on the plains, after punching his way through buffalo and Indians and roughing it for a period of a dozen or more years, in the '60's and '70's. When the central overland route was opened to the Pacific, on the 1st of July, 1861, Mr. Cummings was one of the boys who drove on the first daily stage-coach that ever crossed the country to Placerville, Cal., being employed at the time out on the prairies between Thirty-two-mile Creek and Fort Kearney. The old military post was on the south bank of the Platte, seven or eight miles east of the city of Kearney. Mr. Cummings also held the reins on the first daily Concord coach that came through from Placerville. He has at intervals driven over the entire line between Atchison and old Julesburg (453 miles), being steadily employed on that portion of the road during all the time while the line ran the Platte route.
In 1864 he was promoted to division agent between Atchison and Big Sandy--distance, 140 miles--and subsequently he was employed in the same capacity between Nebraska City and Fort Kearney. In August, 1866, he moved the stock from the Nebraska
City and Fort Kearney road southwest to Manhattan, Kan, in the Kaw valley, at the mouth of the Blue river. He was afterwards employed to move all the coaches, stock, wagons, etc., belonging to the company between Rock Creek and Atchison southwest over the Smoky Hill route. After the Union Pacific road had been completed from Omaha west to the mountains and the stage line that started from Atchison had been abandoned, the Concords ran to Denver for the first time on the Smoky Hill route until the Kansas Pacific railway was finished to Denver, September 1, 1870.
While on the Smoky Hill route Mr. Cummings was employed as division agent between Big Creek and Pond Creek, a distance of 139 miles. In 1866-'67 he finally determined to bid farewell to staging, although getting at the time $200 a month. Sixteen years of almost continuous service, during which time he rode on the box a distance approximating something over 100,000 miles, had satisfied him. He has had a rather eventful life as stagedriver, division agent, cowboy, a rider of the bronco, and a thrower of the lasso, and from saddle and camp life on the plains.
After he quit staging, Mr. Cummings married, in the fall of 1863, an estimable young lady, then living on the overland route at Guittard's Station, Kan. The fruits of this union have been ten children--five sons and five daughters. Three sons and three daughters are still living, the eldest daughter married, and Mr. Cummings, a young man in the early overland staging days, is now a happy grandfather. Mrs. Cummings takes a deep interest, with her husband, in everything pertaining to the old stage line, having made a wide acquaintance in the early days, and is therefore able to relate many interesting incidents that transpired along the line in Kansas and Nebraska.
Mr. Cummings has quite a number of relics of overland staging days which he has preserved, and now cherishes as priceless souvenirs. Among them is a breech-loading rifle of the Ballard pattern, an indispensable weapon on the plains in the '60's, a double-barreled shot-gun, and a revolver. He has them all carefully stored away, and calls the place "Fort Cummings," because all of his guns went through an exciting Indian fight on the Smoky Hill in the later '60's. He has also a set of double harness made at Concord, N. H., that was used on the old Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express line, opened across the plains to
Denver in May, 1859; also the whip-lash that he used all the time he drove on the" Overland" in the '60's. He could not now be induced to part with these relics for love or money.
Having bid adieu to staging, Mr. Cummings settled down in 1868 on a tract of land in Clay county, Kansas, about four miles west of Clay Center. He is now working 320 acres of as fine soil as any in Kansas. He is a pioneer, and one of the prominent citizens of his county, having served with credit two terms as sheriff. His long connection with the overland stage line has naturally made him a great lover of horses. He keeps twenty-five or thirty head, and although none of them ever did service on the old historic route between the "Big Muddy" and the Pacific, yet a number of them are very choice animals, and will compare favorably with much of the stock that was so long in daily service on the great stage line.
JOHN BRADEN was an old-time driver. As far as can be learned, he left his home in Pennsylvania or Ohio when quite young, and in the later '50's was employed by the Northeastern Stage Company, driving in Minnesota and Iowa. I first knew him on the Platte as a driver on the overland stage line for Ben. Holladay, between Diamond Springs and Alkali Lake, when I was also employed as messenger in 1863. For a time he drove on the eastern division, between Liberty Farm and Fort Kearney. He also drove out of Leavenworth for the Kansas Stage Company, and in the later '60's he drove on the Smoky Hill route for Wells, Fargo & Co. Braden was a good man and very useful.
It is said that, after leaving the Smoky Hill, he went west, and for some time drove on the Bitter Creek division of the overland line, between Fort Bridger and Salt Lake City. After Holladay sold the stage route to Wells, Fargo & Co., after the completion of the Union Pacific railway into the mountains, Braden worked for the noted express company a few years; then drifted south-west as far as Albuquerque, N. M., where, for about fifteen years, he was employed in livery stables, being a fine judge of stock and a very capable and efficient man. While in the prime of life, he met with a sudden and horrible death at Albuquerque at a carnival parade, on the night of October 17, 1896, during an explosion of a wagon-load of fireworks, in which accident he was burned almost to a crisp. He was in the wagon of fireworks
driving a spirited team, which ran away upon being shot by rockets during the parade. The horses were only stopped when the vehicle collided with a hack containing four little girls. During all this time, while being roasted alive, Braden remained at his post; but, when the crisis came, fell to the ground exhausted, though he remained conscious. His last words before he closed his eyes and expired were: "Did I save the little girls and the queen of the carnival and her attendants?"
The funeral was one of the largest and most imposing that ever took place in Albuquerque. It was held at the opera-house, which was jammed, hundreds being unable to gain admittance. The funeral cortege to Fairview cemetery was nearly three miles long, the police, the marshal and staff, first regiment band and company, fire department, school children, in hacks and on foot, and all the civic organizations in the city being in the procession. Every minister in Albuquerque participated in the services, and every school--public and private, Protestant and Catholic--closed doors and allowed the children to attend. To show in what esteem the old driver was held for the heroic work he did in saving the several little girls from burning to death, in which act he lost his life, a beautiful monument, furnished by the citizens of Albuquerque, has been erected to his memory in the city park.
BOB MARTIN, a pony express rider from Big Sandy to Liberty Farm, and also to Fort Kearney, was, later, a driver on the over land line. He left the stage route in the early '60's and went to Montana, where he afterwards was known as "Frank Williams." Why he changed his name was not understood at the time, but subsequent events made everything plain. On a Montana stagecoach, the passengers bound for the States one morning were James Brown, L. F. Carpenter, David Dinan, W. L. Mors, A. J. McCausland, A. S. Parker, and Charles Parks. On reaching Port Neuf cañon, the driver, Frank Williams, drove into an ambush, according to a well-planned scheme, and at an agreed signal yelled out, "Here they are, boys." Secreted in the brush were seven robbers, and it was afterwards learned that one of the passengers (?) sitting on the box beside the driver, Williams, belonged to the murderous gang.
A fire was almost instantly opened up by the passengers on
what they supposed were the robbers secreted in the brush. The shooting was promptly returned by the robbers, and five of the passengers, Dinan, McCausland, Mers, Parks, and Parker, fell dead the first fire. Carpenter also fell, wounded in three places, and, feigning death when approached by'a robber who intended to shoot him a second time, thus luckily escaped. Brown fortunately escaped the flying bullets and, uninjured, made his way hurriedly into the brush. Of the men killed I was well acquainted with three, Parks, Parker, and McCausland. The two latter were my warm personal friends, pioneer citizens of Kansas, bound for their homes in Atchison, having between them, it is stated, some $16,000 in gold dust, which at that time was equivalent to near $50,000 in greenbacks.
All together, the amount of dust secured by the robbers was between $60,000 and $70,000--Frank Williams, for his treachery, doubtless being rewarded by an equal division of the vast sum. Of the eight robbers and murderers, Williams, the driver, was the only one arrested and punished for the horrible crime. Officers, in due time, were put on his trail. They followed him to Salt Lake. Learning they were closely in pursuit, he went to Denver, where he was afterwards captured. Result--he was convicted by a vigilance committee and, at an early hour one morning, hung from the limb of a tree on the bank of Cherry creek.
WILLIAM TROTTER, of Boulder, Mont., in the later '60's was known from I the east to the west end of the overland line, and was perhaps better known than any other driver employed. He was born in Cannonsburg, Pa., November 20, 1836. He was the eldest of a family of six sons, and began life on his own account at the age of sixteen years. The family moved first to Ohio, thence to Iowa, and the subject of this sketch came to Kansas when it was yet a territory, during the later '50's. After two years' residence west of the Missouri river he returned to Iowa, and for a time was in the employ of the Western Stage Company, whose main line extended across the state from the Mississippi to the Missouri. Later he was employed by the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company, and, still later, on the same route by the overland stage line. At intervals he has driven in different sections almost the entire length of the noted historic route. For his long, faithful and efficient services he was pro-
moted to the responsible position of division agent, on the line from old Julesburg to Fort Kearney.
In the rapid construction of the Pacific railroad, and while the overland staging was naturally being shortened on the main line Mr. Trotter kept moving west, until finally, in the early '70's' he drifted to the Pacific coast. In California he conducted several hotels, spending one winter at Bakersfield, Kern county, since which time he has become quite noted as a landlord in the great Northwest, having, during the staging days, entertained many high officials, civil and military; among the latter, Generals Sheridan and Custer. He kept hotel for some time at Boise City, Idaho; afterward removed to Walla Walla and was proprietor of the Mechem station, on the summit of the Blue Mountains. From the latter place he removed to Boulder, Mont., and was landlord of the Windsor House at that place when it was only a stage station, the "city"' at that time containing but one house.
During the palmy staging days in the '60's he was simply known as Bill Trotter; but since he quit staging and has become a veteran Western hotel keeper he has been known as "Colonel" Trotter. Nearly his entire life has been spent in the great West, where he has witnessed changes that few can comprehend. For twenty years he was a stage-driver, and he estimates that he has driven a distance of at least 250,000 miles, or far enough to make ten trips around the world.
There are few stage men on the noted overland line that I have ridden with more than with my old-time friend Bill Trotter. In 1863-'65 I rode with him up and down the Platte valley hundreds of miles, in all kinds of weather-in balmy, clear, cloudy and stormy days; in the silvery moonlight, and on nights as dark as Egyptian darkness. I have sat by his side on the box through
rain and shine, and have on several occasions faced with him severe thunder-storms and piercing northwest blizzards. We have climbed several mountain peaks together and prospected side by side in the Rockies. A more warm-hearted, jovial, good-natured fellow never handled the reins of a stage team. The last time I saw the veteran driver was in the winter and spring of 1865, shortly following a disastrous raid by Indians on the Platte. We sat on the box together for over two weeks on that memorable trip, traveling by day and bunking together as companions at night all the way from Cottonwood Springs to Denver, a distance of 300 miles, riding all the way behind a single team of four. Later, while division agent on the Platte, between old Julesburg and Fort Kearney, after the stage line was turned over to Wells, Fargo & Co., Trotter witnessed the burning of the stations at O'Fallon's Bluffs and Willow Island by the Indians, and was within twelve hours of the burning of Butts and Alkali stations. In these raids a vast amount of property was destroyed and a great deal of stage stock stolen.
E. P. NICHOLS was one of the jolliest drivers to be found on the overland line.. He came out from Allegheny county, New York, to Kansas in the spring of 1857, nearly four years before the territory was admitted into the union as the central state. His early stage-driving in Kansas was up the Kew valley west from Topeka in the later '50's, and later he drove from other Points in Kansas on lines then operated by the Kansas Stage Company. He was afterwards a driver on the famous Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express route, started in the spring of 1859, and subsequently, when the line was opened for a daily through to the Pacific, as the "Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express," he was one of the first drivers employed.
While engaged with the latter company he was known from the Missouri river to the Pacific as "Teddy" Nichols. He drove on a goodly portion of the "Overland" between Atchison and Salt Lake in the early '60's and for some months in 1864, was a division agent on the line from Latham west. He was a warmhearted, whole-souled, fellow, witty, and universally esteemed by nearly every employee on the line, his name being familiar to all "Overland" boys employed between Atchison and Placerville.
Few drivers on the "Overland" were possessed of so remark-
able a memory as Teddy Nichols. He could relate many events connected with staging that scores of other drivers had long since forgotten. After the first railroad to the Pacific was completed, Mr. Nichols went west to the coast, where he was for several years engaged in staging, finally drifting back east as far as Arizona, where he was for some years again employed; but he then held the more responsible and lucrative position Of superintendent of an important stage line in that territory.
In 1886, after a continuous service of more than a quarter of a century in his favorite occupation, driving a distance of more than 300,000 miles, he returned to his early Kansas home, near Topeka, where he shortly married. His wife died in a year or two, and he afterward drifted overland south into the Indian Territory, remaining there until he died, near Purcell, from a stroke of apoplexy, on Sunday morning, January 14, 1894.
It was seldom that I made a trip across the plains by the old overland stage that I did not ride on the box with Teddy Nichols. While express messenger on the line, in 1863, and while occupying the position of local agent for the post-office department at Latham, Colo., in 1864, I saw him many times, and rode on the box with him hundreds of miles along the Platte during the exciting events that characterized those early days, He made his home at Latham station some months in 1864, and, seeing him as I did every day, opportunity was had to become intimately acquainted with. him. We were both then young men. Born in the Empire state, both came to Kansas in the territorial days of 1857, and quite naturally we spent much time talking over scenes of our boyhood and our early Kansas days. We became quite strongly attached. I regarded him as one of my truest and most faithful friends. Time and again have I ridden with him all night on the box, in all kinds of weather; have listened to him tell stories and sing comic songs; have climbed a number of peaks of the Rockies with him; have prospected for the precious
E. P. NICHOLS.
metals with him in the Colorado hills; and have enjoyed his company for hours at a time, day and night, in the staging days. Our last meeting on the old stage line was on the upper South Platte, in the spring of 1865. 1 never saw him but once since; that was in the spring of 1887, after a lapse of twenty-two years, when we met by chance, not to exceed five minutes, in a Topeka street-car. The next and last time he came to his old Topeka home the "grim monster" had claimed him, and he was laid to rest beside the remains of his loving wife in Rochester cemetery, the "Silent city of the dead," some two miles north, overlooking the capital city of Kansas.
CHARLES C. HAYNES, born at Liverpool, Medina county, Ohio, March 27, 1837, is doubtless one of the most prominent of the large army of drivers that in the early '60's was employed on the great overland stage route.
Mr. Haynes commenced staging in his native state in 1855, driving on the old Columbus pike, between Cleveland and Medina. In 1856 he went to Michigan, and drove for Humphrey & Hibbard out of Lansing, on the Grand Rapids road, and subsequently was employed on the Detroit road. In 1857 he went to Kalamazoo, and began driving for Patterson & Gleen, on the Allegan Toad. Later he drove out of Grand Rapids to and from the Detroit & Milwaukee railroad. He naturally feels somewhat proud of the fact that he drove the last team into Grand Rapids, when the first railroad was finished into that city, about the middle of July, 1857, when the palatial steam cars took the place of the more ancient Concord coach.
Leaving Michigan, Haynes then went to Iowa and began driving for the Western Stage Company on the Iowa City and Des Moines road, until the Rock Island railway was finished to within a mile of Iowa City. That part of the Hawkeye state did not please him, and in the fall of 1857 he went to Davenport and traveled with the manager of Van Aniburgh's great show as far as St. Louis, visiting all the prominent towns along the way on both sides of the "Father of Waters." While in St. Louis he drove 'bus several months for Valentine & Co., the express men, to and from the railroad depots and steamboat landings.
When the original Overland Mail Company was organized and put into operation, in September, 1858, Haynes went to Tipton,
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