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Overland Mail-Kansas City, MO to Stockton 1858
Posted by: Vern Dander (ID *****8132) Date: August 08, 2007 at 18:39:38
  of 654

A bit of Stockton history

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The Butterfield Overland Mail Company route, the Chorpenning/Hockaday route, and the United States Mail Steamship Company, the Panama Railroad Company, and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company ocean route carried the vast majority of mail from the East to California. After 1858, a number of new routes emerged that competed briefly with these established routes.

First, there was the Kansas City, Missouri to Stockton, California, route, which began in October 1858. Though this route was authorized in 1854, it was not until 1857 that postmaster general Brown entered into a contract with Jacob Hall and John M. Hockaday for this monthly mail route. The contract called for a six-mule coach to provide mail/passenger service for approximately $80,000 and take no longer than sixty days round trip. The overland route left Kansas City and followed the well-established trail to Santa Fe and then Albuquerque, New Mexico. From Albuquerque, the route went westward along the Little Colorado River, and then onward to the recently established Fort Mohave, where the route crossed the Colorado River. From the river, the route crossed the Mohave desert to Fort Tejon, then up the central California valley to Stockton, California. The first trip took fifty-four days. Thereafter, depredations along the route by Mohave Indians interrupted the service. Only two mail trips made it all the way to the western terminus, Stockton, California. Only four mails reached Kansas City, Missouri, during the nine-month duration of the contract.


From: Dee Sardoc <>
Subject: Stockton, San Joaquin Co., CA -- 17 & 24 April 1859
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 09:03:59 -0700

Weekly Stockton Democrat
Stockton, San Joaquin Co., CA
Sunday, 17 Apr 1859
LOSS of the OVERLAND MAIL to Stockton -- The following account is given by Mr. John HALL, carrier of the mail on the overland route between Kansas City and Stockton:

He left Neosho, Mo., for Albuquerque, N.M., on 5th November last, having in charge the mail, consisting of about 4 or 5 pounds of letters and papers. He started with the intention of overtaking Lieut. STEIN and Lieut. BEALE, with their escort, who were some 8 or 10 days in advance of him.

When about 24 hours behind Lieut. STEINís party, he judged from their camp fires, HALL was attacked by a band of Camanche Indians, about 40 in number, who succeeded in taking him prisoner -- not, however, without resistance on his part. He was severely wounded by arrows in the leg and side, and his mule was shot dead. The mail was destroyed.

For 4 or 5 weeks HALL was completely prostrated by his wounds and was compelled, on his recovery, to follow his captors from place to place on the prairies. About the middle of February, having recovered from his wounds, he succeeded in making his escape on one of the horses belonging to the Indians. For 4 days and nights he traveled incessantly, without rest or food, but succeeded in gaining the settlements, although so debilitated he could scarcely sit upon his horse.

Mr. HALL reached St. Louis on 11th March. His exposures as a voyageur had hardened him in a manner as to enable him to bear his sufferings that would have killed another man.

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