Colorado History and Genealogy Project

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Southern Overland Mail and Express Company

This company was organized at Kansas City, Missouri, in 1862, by Messrs. Barlow, Sanderson & Company. At that time it consisted of a weekly line of post coaches from Kansas City to Santa Fe, via Smoky Hill route to Fort Harker, Kansas, and thence to Fort Zarah, on the Arkansas; up the Arkansas to Bent's old fort, in Colorado, and on to Santa Fe by way of Trinidad, Fort Union, and Las Vegas. The time occupied in making the through trip was twenty days.

July 1, 1866, the Union Pacific Railroad Company, Eastern Division (now Kansas Pacific), having reached Junction City, 138 miles west of Kansas City, the company moved its initial office to this point, and changed the line to a tri-weekly. Time to Santa Fe, eight days. In the spring of 1867 the company advanced to Salina, Kansas, continuing the line, as a triweekly, from this point to Santa Fe; time seven days. During the summer of 1867 the road reached Fort Harker, and the route was then traveled from this point, by way of Fort Zarah, as before; time, six days. In the fall of the same year, the iron track having been pushed as far as Fort Hays, Kansas, the route was changed to run from the latter, southwest, by way of Fort Dodge, on the Arkansas, leaving forts Larned and Zarah to the eastward. From Fort Dodge the route continued as before. Time to Santa Fe, five days.

In July, 1868, the company followed in the wake of the iron steed, to Sheridan, Kansas, 397 miles west from Kansas City. The route was now a branch line was also put in operation, from Bent's Fort to Pueblo, connecting, at the latter place, with the Denver and Santa Fe stages for Denver and Northern Colorado.

The line continued to start from Sheridan until in February, 1870, when track-laying had proceeded sufficiently to warrant a new change of base; and the company moved its head-quarters, respectively, to Pond Creek, Eagle Tail, and finally, on the 9th of April, to Kit Carson, 485 miles west from Kansas City.

The main route, since that time, has been and will, for some time, continue to be from Kit Carson, via Fort Lyon, Trinidad, etc., to Santa Fe, and the trip is made in three days.

A second important line is now also operated by this company, as successor to A. Jacobs & Co., running from Denver to Trinidad, by way of Colorado City and Pueblo, connecting, at Trinidad, with the Kit Carson, or main line, for Santa Fe. Daily coaches are run over the entire length of both lines. Time from Denver, same as from Carson, three days. The fare from Kit Carson to Santa Fe is $90.00; fare from Denver to Colorado City, $9.00; to Pueblo, $15.00; Trinidad, $30.00; and to Santa Fe, $80.00.

The company consists of J. L. Sanderson, B. Barlow, and Gr. J. Barnum. The officers are: J. L. Sanderson, Superintendent, Kansas City; John R. Griffith, Secretary and Treasurer, Kansas City; W. S. Stone, Denver, Paymaster and Assistant Superintendent.

The number of coaches now in use on the several lines is fifty. The company employs 100 men, and between 600 and 700 horses and mules. reconstructed, striking west to forts Wallace and Lyon and Bent's Fort; continuing west to Trinidad, and so on, as before, to Santa Fe, and was also changed to a daily line. Time from Sheridan, four days.

Rocky Mountain Directory & Colorado Gazetteer

Source: Rocky Mountain Directory and Colorado Gazetteer, 1871, S. S. Wallihan & Company, Compilers and Publishers, Denver, 1870.

 

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