In the 1800s, stagecoaches were used in many different ways but one of their most important roles was to keep people connected. People depended on the stagecoach system to keep in touch with friends and family across the country. Not only did they carry people in carriages pulled by teams of six horses, they also carried mail and sometimes money! If you’ve ever seen a good ol’ Western starring John Wayne (or another Hollywood star) you’ll have no doubt witnessed (albeit on the screen) a stagecoach hold up and robbery – yes these things did indeed happen.
One of the more famous stagecoach companies in the US was the Wells Fargo Company with their red and yellow carriages. Wells Fargo was known for carrying loads of gold across the country from California to Nevada and ran the Pony Express. In 1866 they bought the Overland Express created by Ben Halliday with the Pioneer and Overland Mail stage lines, and in doing so, created the largest stagecoach empire in the world. Wells Fargo first started business with customers in the 1850s and continued through to the 1910s and was also known for bridging the gap between the unfinished ends of the transcontinental railroad. It was always exciting to see one of their coaches gallop into the remote towns that only they could reach where they carried treasure boxes, mail or people to the awaiting crowds that gathered in the plumes of dust.
I can imagine it would have been quite an experience to travel across the vast states of the US in a stagecoach, carrying precious cargo, always concerned you might run awry with a robbery or hold up. Would anyone have been up for the adventure globetrotters?
Reference: Wells Fargo History
Credit Images: Pinterest and Wells Fargo Stories