Manuscripts/Mixed Material [Interview with O. W. McCuistion]
Mr. McCuistion relates an interesting incident of the early 60's when he was a member of a freighting crew of some thirty wagons going from the Missouri River west, to Salt Lake City, Utah, with a cargo of eatables, composed mostly of bacon and flour.
This wagon train followed the U.S. Stage Line from the Missouri River to California, and was the route fromerly used by the“Pony Express.”
Every twelve miles along this line, stage stands were stationed, with relief men, horses and all needed supplies for this express purpose. The stage was drawn with from four to six horses, two men on the drivers seat, with sometimes two U.S. Soldiers riding the top of the vehicle for extra protection of the Government's mail and Express, And always, there were from eight to ten men mounted on horseback, following the stage.
The horses were driven on a dead run between stations, therefore necessitated the best animals obtainable, therby, also running the risk of greater danger of being molested by Indians, as they are great lovers of good horses, and to raid one of these trains in transit, would result in a cache of from twelve to sixteen very disireable animals.
When the stage would drive into a stand, other men and horses were quickly substituted, in almost unbelievable time, and on they rushed in a mad run, for another twelve miles to another stand, where the exchange was repeated, and likewise, until the end of the line, which was California to tho'se going west, and the Missouri River to tho'se traveling eastward, there being a stage going in either direction daily.