Top Ten Things Not to Do on the First Transcontinental Mail Service Route in 1858

 

Wikipedia image – Concord Coach with Welles Fargo paint

This week marks the 162nd anniversary of the first transcontinental mail service between St Louis and San Francisco in 1858. It was a stagecoach service, and who wouldn’t want to get on and take a ride. You all know the rules. You need to take the list so that the time continuum will remain intact. I would take your own water too. Life on the road will not be easy.

Top Ten Things Not to Do on the First Transcontinental Mail Route in 1858.

10 If you go, do not ask for a first-class ticket. If you do, at best, the driver will not understand you. At worst, instead of an inside seat, you’ll get to ride up on top. (You can’t blame the driver, Manvel. He thought the best spot on the coach was next to him. I hope you can handle that musket. It has a real kick. Yeah, the grin on the driver gives me the creeps too.)

9 If you go, do not complain to Tiny, the WWF champ, about the food along the way. If you do, at best, Tiny will be too busy to hear you. At worst, Tiny, who thinks the food is great, will take yours. (Well done, Manville. Now Tiny, who has questionable taste, thinks you are going to give him your food for the whole three weeks of the trip. Maybe you can trade a rattlesnake for your old food portion. Watch out when you grab that snake though.)

8 If you go, do not ask if you are there yet. If you do, everyone will think you are joking. At worst, the driver is not pleased and has stopped the coach. (Since you opened your mouth at mile 50, Maolmin, the driver is contemplating leaving you at the side of the road. After all, there are 2750 more miles to go, and he doesn’t want to hear the question 55 more times. Oh-oh, here he comes.)

7 If you go, do not complain about the restroom facilities. If you do, at best, everyone will ignore you. At worst, you’ll be sitting next to William Fargo a director of the Overland Mail Company. ( Not a good person to hear your complaint. You see, Maralyn, his company just invested one million dollars in coach stops every 10 to 15 miles, and the fact that you don’t like them is not sitting well. I think he just told you to use a bush if you are dissatisfied. That puts a different spin on it.)

6 If you go, do not forget your winter clothes. If you do, at best the weather will remain warm. At worst, you’ll be subjected to exteme temperatures. ( The coach has no heat or window glass, Marcell. Maybe you can ask the person next to you if they have an extra coat. No, you can not ask if you can share their coat. That might be an easy way to be put off in the snow.)

5 If you go, do not think you can take all the room you want. If you do, at best, the coach will be empty. At worst, all nine seets will be filled.(The coach is narrow and cramped, Marcellus. You can only have the space by your seat. I think you better stop inadvertently kicking that guy with the .44 revolver on his hip. Say didn’t Wyatt Earp carry a .44?)

4 If you go, do not think you can stay overnight in one of the way stations. If you do, at best they will have room. At worst, you’ll stay overnight and be stuck there. (Because the coaches run 24/7, Marcian, it could be several days until one comes through with an open seat. Because of this, most passengers try to sleep on the coach which is almost impossible. Try going without sleep for three weeks.)

3 If you go, do not tell the masked man with the gun that you are not going to give him your valuables. If you do, at best, he will laugh at your attempt at humor. At worst, he will invite you to do a dance. (There highwaymen do not fool around, Marden. Just give him the money. You do not want to dance to the tune of a pistol.)

2 If you go, do not forget your bandanna. If you do, at best you can buy one in the way station. At worst, you will be confronted with continual clouds of dust. (Remember, Marek, there are no windows on the coach. The dust is a constant companion, and if you are lucky, you won’t come down with consumption as a result of the trip. What is consumption? Don’t ask.)

1 If you go, do not discuss the coming transcontinental railroad with Mr. Fargo. If you do, at best, he’ll laugh. At worst, he’ll be tired of the conversation and ask the guy with the Springfield musket to put you off the coach. (Fargo is worried about the railroad, Maribelle. Of course, his business is safe until 1869 when the government turned its mail service over to the now completed transcontinental route.)

53 comments

  1. Love #3. I can see a modern time traveler do that for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. So true.

      Like

  2. LOL! I know what “consumption” is. 🙂 Great list, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I knew you would. Thanks, Jill. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is quite a history lesson! Maybe I should stop complaining about airplane travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we all are very lucky for the advancements made since those days. Thank you, Liz

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John. Keep those history lessons coming!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Makes it easy to stay home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it does. Thanks, Linda.

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  5. I think several of these could apply to modern air travel, John. Do you think Tiny would settle for 6 of my 9 pretzels? No… OK, he can have the whole pack.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tiny isn’t one for sharing, Dan. Best to keep the pretzels hidden. Thanks for the laugh. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good list today, John. Do you think Tiny would mind if I ride one of the horses?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think he would welcome you to be the guide on the lead horse. Sure, jump on. Try to avoid the whip though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Humph…well, I never!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t imagine how long it would take in a stagecoach – and all that heat and dust. No thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like your kind of thing. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I get car sick so I can only imagine being stagecoach sick. OOH… I LOVE the picture of the Wells Fargo coach. Isn’t it great someone was smart enough to preserve it? Nowadays, no one has any respect for the old. Drives me mad John.

    I too would go nuts in slow traffic, and you know, that coach, had no shocks. Our butts would be permanently dented from those unpaved roads. DOUBLE OOH

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Plus you get no sleep. The seatas on the Concord coach were covered in leather. They were described as harder than the wood underneath. Bring a pillow.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now there is a good idea.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We don’t know how great we have it. That’s all I know.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have to second that opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’ve been reading a lot about World War II, and with the exception of 9/11, my life has been one long holiday, compared to what Americans went though then. I’m spoiled. I don’t even want to say we, it’s too cheeky and not humble enough. Your piece, though told with your imitable humor, echoed that fact for me.

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  9. I don´t happen to have a bandana, would a facemask do?

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  10. I wouldn’t have been a very good traveler back in those days. The scarcity of bathrooms, fast food, motels, and Internet connections would have made me grumpy indeed! Thanks for putting things in perspective, John.

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  11. Gwen M. Plano · · Reply

    Another great list, John. Two nights ago, we watched 3:10 to Yuma, and your count-down fits even that era. Well done!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great movie, Gwen. Sounds like fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Let’s count license plates!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. I was thinking of 1000 bottles of beer on the wall. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure the driver would love that one.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha. Of course, he is outside up on top.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I can’t even begin to imagine going 2,750 miles in a stagecoach. Wow! Talk about discomfort. Great one, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No sitting down for three weeks after. Thanks, Jan

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  14. I cannot fathom why anyone from today would want to go back and do THAT trip!
    Always fun and we learn stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Today we would all get off after a couple of miles.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No kidding!!

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  15. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    Its amazing to think of the work and time it used to take to deliver that letter.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 2,700 miles of getting whipped in the face with dust? What’s not to love?!

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  17. The road trip from hell. You needed to be made of the tough stuff back then. Three weeks in a coach with Tiny would see me heading for therapy … again 🙄.Great post as always, John. 😊

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  18. I, for one, think it’s just too damn bad that Mr. Fargo (and Mr. Wells) didn’t go out of business in 1869.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Had some problems with these two did you?

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  19. I can’t believe we used to travel like this! Then again, in 100 years’ time, we’ll probably look at automobiles and say, “I can’t believe we used to travel like that”!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you are right, Jessica.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Don’t ask Wells or Fargo if you can put up Burma-Shave signs along their route, no matter how creative you think you are. The ride may be hairy, but ditties aren’t going to shave off the miles!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahha. Good one, Linda.

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  21. Another winner, John. “Are we there yet?”… love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. Thanks, Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!

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  22. Great history here, John! Did you ever read Roughing It by Mark Twain? He spends a great deal early in the book describing his and his brother’s overland coach experience from his home in Missouri to Carson, City, Nevada. They slept in the coach overnight many nights and it didn’t sound like it was any better than trying to sleep on an airplane today. The little bag of peanuts or pretzels would have been a luxury then. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. I have not read it but will put it on the list. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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