It Builds Character

A favorite character from literature.

The assignment asks who of the literary greats I would choose to meet and what I would ask of them. There doesn’t seem to be a time frame to this question, so I think I would choose not a writer, but a character who made history: John Butterfield, the person who originated the stagecoach mail route from the railhead at Tipton, Missouri to Sacramento, California. In my opinion, it was such a vast undertaking it bordered on recklessness.

The United States Congress provided the greater portion of the of the financing for the purchase of 1,800 horses and mules at about $65 each, harnesses, 250 stagecoaches capable of carrying 3,000 pounds each and costing $1,400 each, a number of special mail wagons, water-tank wagons, conductors, drivers, 200 stations, water wells, and water tanks. Butterfield employed more than 2,000 men in all – station keepers, blacksmiths, mechanics, and an untold number of livestock herders and helpers at about $27 per month.

Postage for a coast-to-coast letter was 10 cents. Fare to ride the Butterfield Stage from Tipton, Missouri to Sacramento was $150.

If I had the opportunity to speak with Butterfield I would ask him what he promised Congress before they handed over such a large sum of money.

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4 thoughts on “It Builds Character

    • Scott says:

      Thank you. The Civil War brought Butterfield to a halt, and wonder what the outcome would have been. As it was, Wells Fargo did Butterfield a lot of damage.

      Amateur radio operates a lot of Special Event Stations, such as operating from the Indianapolis Speedway during the race, and scores of other. Perhaps Route 66 is a favorite of mine – stations operating between Chicago and California.

      I wanted to do a Butterfield Special Event series, operating from every old relay station across Texas. But it was too costly. I write something up in a few days and share the QSL card I created for it.

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