Butterfield Overland Mail in Texas

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Butterfield Overland Mail
Pinery Stage Stop, TX.jpg
Type historic trail
Location New Mexico Territory near Anthony - Indian Territory near Sherman
Coordinates 31°53′36″N 104°48′57″W / 31.89333°N 104.81583°W / 31.89333; -104.81583Coordinates: 31°53′36″N 104°48′57″W / 31.89333°N 104.81583°W / 31.89333; -104.81583
Official name: Butterfield Overland Mail Corridor
Type U.S. historic district
Designated August 27, 2014
Reference no. 14000524[1]
Location 400 Pine Canyon Rd.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Area 2,401.3 acres (971.8 ha)[2]
Butterfield Overland Mail in Texas is located in Texas
Butterfield Overland Mail in Texas
Location of Butterfield Overland Mail Corridor
Butterfield Overland Mail in Texas is located in the US
Butterfield Overland Mail in Texas
Location of Butterfield Overland Mail Corridor

In Texas, the Butterfield Overland Mail service created by Congress on March 3, 1857, operated until March 30, 1861, the route that was operated extended from San Francisco, California to Los Angeles, then across the Colorado Desert to Fort Yuma, then across New Mexico Territory via, Tucson and Mesilla, New Mexico to Franklin, Texas, midpoint on the route. The route through Texas followed first the northern route to the Pecos River and downstream to Horse Head Crossing, the route in West Texas was changed in 1859, in order to secure a better water supply on the route and to provide mail service to a more settled area, the stages between Franklin and the Pecos River followed the San Antonio-El Paso Road to Camp Stockton and then turned east to Horsehead Crossing. From Horsehead Crossing the route crossed Texas to the Red River and into Indian Territory; in 1860 the route was changed to another route from Jacksboro to Sherman via Decatur due to the building of a new toll bridge at Bridgeport, that avoided delays crossing the West Fork of the Trinity River when it was flooded. From Colberts Ferry the route went on to Fort Smith, then up across Arkansas and southwest Missouri to Tipton with the final leg by train to St. Louis. The Texas mail route was so long that the route there, like that in California, was divided into two divisions each under a superintendent.

5th Division Route[edit]

At first the 5th Division route left Franklin to run due east thirty miles to Hueco Tanks, thirty six miles to Cornudas de Los Alamos then east northeast fifty-six miles to Pinery Station. Subsequently, stations were added between Hueco Tanks and Cornudas de Los Alamos at Ojos de los Alamos, and at Crow Springs between Cornudas de Los Alamos and Pinery, from Pinery, the route then ran twenty-four miles east to Delaware Springs Station, then forty miles down Delaware Creek nearly to its junction with the Pecos River, and across Pope's Crossing to Pope's Camp. It then ran sixty five miles down the east bank of the Pecos, to Emigrant Crossing Station and onward fifty-five miles to Horsehead Crossing. Sections of this route, including Pinery Station, are preserved as part of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

From Horsehead Crossing the trail ran seventy waterless miles east northeast across the Llano Estacado to the headwaters of the Middle Concho River, then northward, about thirty miles through the vicinity of modern Carlsbad, to a camp or station;, then twenty-two miles to Grape Creek Station near the south line of present Coke County; to Fort Chadbourne in what is now Coke County.

In August 1859, the route in West Texas was changed from the upper route in order to secure a better water supply on the route, with more security from the Army and to provide mail service to a more settled area, by using the San Antonio-El Paso Road from Franklin to Camp Stockton before cutting across to link up with the rest of the route at Horsehead Crossing. This entailed abandoning the investment in the well constructed stations on the old route, and building some on the new route, although this was mitigated when an arraignment was made to use the stations of George H. Giddings' San Antonio-El Paso Mail along that route. Losses from this change and debt taken on from a delay of postal revenue, eventually led the investors in the Overland Mail Company to take control and dismiss John Warren Butterfield in 1860.

The stages between Franklin and the Pecos River now would follow the San Antonio-El Paso Road down the Rio Grande, 14 miles from Franklin to Ysleta, then passing 1214 miles through Socorro to San Elizario, then on 1012 miles to Camp Hawkins Station, 24 12 miles to Birchville Station, 15 miles to Camp Rice Station, then 18 miles to Fort Quitman. Moving eastward away from the river at Fargo Station 512 miles below Fort Quitman, the route traveled 2512 miles to Eagle Spring, 19 miles to Van Horns Wells, then a waterless 33 miles to Deadman's Hole, 18 miles to Barrel Springs, another 18 miles to Fort Davis. From Fort Davis Station the route proceeded down through Limpia Canyon to Limpia Station, Barrilla Springs, then 34 miles to Leon Springs and 812 miles on to Camp Stockton. 11 miles east of Camp Stockton the route reached Camp Pleasant then crossed the plain 23 miles to Horsehead Crossing where a ferry carried the coaches across the Pecos River to Horsehead Crossing Station.

6th Division Route[edit]

The 6th Division route ran from Fort Chadbourne, twelve miles to the north across Valley Creek to Station #1 then sixteen miles to Mountain Pass Station, then thirty miles, past the route of the Texas and Pacific Railway, a mile west of the site of present Tye, to Fort Phantom Hill, then twelve miles more to Smith's Station, twenty six miles to Clear Fork station, thirteen miles to Franz's Station and then twenty-two miles to Fort Belknap. From Fort Belknap the line turned eastward sixteen miles to Murphy's Station (near present Graham, Texas), then nineteen miles to Jacksboro, Texas, sixteen miles to Earhart's Station, twenty-four miles to Davidson's Station, then seventeen miles to Gainesville, Texas, fifteen miles to Diamond's station (one mile west of the site of present Whitesboro), fifteen miles to Sherman and across the Red River at Colbert's Ferry, eight miles below Preston, Texas to Indian Territory.

Stations in Texas [3][edit]

4th Division[edit]

5th Division[edit]

  • Franklin Station - Located in Franklin, Texas, 22 miles from Cottonwoods Station. - Midway point of the Overland Mail route and headquarters of the 5th Division.[4]:314-316,366,406n30-33,407n34-36

Captain Pope's New Road from Franklin to Horse Head Crossing Station (1st route used, until August 1, 1859 when route was moved to the Lower Road.)[edit]

Lower Road, from Franklin to Horse Head Crossing Station (used from August 1, 1859)[edit]

Ysleta mission church
  • Ysleta - Located 14 miles from Franklin.
  • Socorro - Located 3 miles from Ysleta.
Grounds of frontier Fort Stockton

Main 5th Division Route[edit]

  • Horse Head Crossing Station - On the Pecos River, located 55 miles from Emigrant Crossing Station on the northern route and 45 miles from Camp Stockton on the Lower Road. A ferry was added to carry coaches across the Pecos River from August 1, 1859.[10]
    • Castle Gap Station- Located 12 miles from Horse Head Crossing Station, 17 miles to Wild China Ponds.[4]:196
  • Wild China Ponds - Seasonal waterholes between Horsehead Crossing and Head of Concho, nearest Horse Head Crossing. 17 miles from Castle Gap Station, 19 miles from Llano Estacado Station.[4]:196,197,211,213,214,387n39
    • Llano Estacado Station - Later station, built in 1859, midway between Horse Head Crossing and Head of Concho. 48 miles from Horse Head Crossing, 36 miles from Castle Gap Station.[4]:187,192-196,212,213,384n4
  • Mustang Waterholes - Seasonal waterholes between Horsehead Crossing and Head of Concho, 12 - 14 miles from Head of Concho in Centralia Draw.[4]:188,192,209,210
    • Camp Johnston Station - Later station built in 1859, between Horse Head Crossing and Head of Concho, 19 miles from Llano Estacado Station; 12 miles from Head of Concho in Centralia Draw just east of the Mustang Waterholes.[4]:187,188-189,206,207,381n3,384n2,385n6
  • Head of Concho Station - Located 70 miles from Horsehead Crossing, no water on the route except at station.
Fort Chadbourne stage station

6th Division[edit]

Guard House at Fort Phantom Hill
Museum at Fort Belknap

6th Division alternate route between Jacksboro and Gainesville Stations August 1860 - March 1861[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff. "Butterfield Overland Mail Route Corridor, National Register of Historic Places Program". National Park Service. Retrieved October 14, 2016. 
  2. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Butterfield Overland Mail Corridor" (PDF). Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved October 14, 2016. 
  3. ^ Mileage of original stations from List of Stations from New York Times, October 14, 1858, Itinerary of the Route. Other mileage from note for that entry.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Glen Sample Ely, The Texas Frontier and the Butterfield Overland Mail, 1858–1861, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Mar 4, 2016
  5. ^ A. C. Greene, 900 Miles on the Butterfield Trail, p.75
  6. ^ Julia Cauble Smith, "POPE'S CAMP," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/uzp03), accessed May 17, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association
  7. ^ "EAGLE SPRING," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rpe01), accessed May 17, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  8. ^ a b Beale, Edward Fitzgerald (1858). Wagon Road from Fort Defiance to the Colorado River: Letter from the Secretary of War, Transmitting the Report of the Superintendent of the Wagon Road from Fort Defiance to the Colorado River: Issue 124 of [U.S.] 35th Cong., 1st sess. House. Ex. doc. Harvard University. 
  9. ^ Ernest Wallace, "FORT STOCKTON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qbf46), accessed May 17, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association
  10. ^ Glenn Justice, "HORSEHEAD CROSSING," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rih01), accessed May 17, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

External links[edit]