Despatch (1865-1870) - Initially developed by David A. Butterfield (no relation to
John Butterfield) in 1865 on the
Smoky Hill Trail, the line ran from Atchison,
in direct competition of Holladay Overland Mail and
Though other trails had been blazed along here, stage lines had not been
successful due a scarcity of water and frequent Indian attacks. However,
David Butterfield was determined that it could be profitable. The smooth-talking businessman soon
obtained capital for the "Butterfield Overland Despatch" and the first
stage left Atchison
on June 4, 1865, arriving in
Denver on September 23rd.
Along the 592 mile long route, relay stations were built about
every twelve miles, for passenger’s rest, food, and changing
of horses. The line was an initial success, providing tri-weekly express service between Atchison,
Denver, Colorado in only
Soldiers were also posted along the pathway at
Fort Wallace and other stops to protect the stations and the
travelers from Indian attacks. However, the soldiers could not keep up
with the furious
Indians who felt their land was being invaded.
Additionally, these "Indians" were not always
as they appeared, but were allegedly
hired men dressed in Indian attire, who not only frightened
those on the coaches, but also robbed them and burned their
equipment and supplies.
By January, 1866 the David Butterfield's Overland Despatch was in
financial trouble and the company was reorganized with David Bray becoming the president. However, it was
too little too late and just two months later, the line was sold to their
Later that year, Holladay, sold it to
Wells-Fargo. During this time, the
Kansas Pacific Railroad was also pushing towards
Denver and by 1870, the
stage line was no longer needed.
Mail Company (1858-1861) - The brainchild of
(no relation to David A. Butterfield), the stage company held the largest mail contact ever granted by the U.S. Government. See
full article HERE.
California and Pike's Peak Express (C.O.C. & P.P.) (1860-1861) - The
company was formed by the transportation firm of
Majors, Russell and Waddell
in May, 1860 when they acquired
George Chorpenning's contract for mail service from
performing freighting and passenger service, it utilized partner, William H. Russell's, equipment and portions of his
Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express route as well as acquiring other lines
running to Salt Lake City.