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Butterfield Stage Route .KMZ


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Had a slow week at work so I decided to crank out a google earth map of the Butterfield Stage Route through Arizona. I used a mix of GLO, old maps, and current topo's to trace the route. In areas the trail was visible I traced the route using Google Earth. In developed areas like Tucson I gave it my best guess based on old maps. Its interesting to see that some stage stations still exist while others are gone without a trace. Over the past few years Ive been riding/hiking the southern AZ sections and look to continue all the way to Yuma. As always check land status prior to venturing out.  

Butterfield.kmz

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That route ran just a few miles north of me here in N.M.  Most of the lands out yonder were sketchy at best.  Made for some worrisome travel to any passengers is my bet. 

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Nice kmz file DesertPilot thank you. I have found a lot of old artifacts on old trails, including the Old Spanish Trail, and the The old Arrowhead Highway (Old Model T Road) in Southern Nevada. I found if you detect near washes, wells/ springs, top of hills, on the trail there tends to be more artifacts, coins, ect. places where people stopped.

Dave

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Very nice, Desertpilot.  I'd imagine a sellable idea would be a book with maps and brief descriptions of the top 20 or 30 stage routes and maybe even defunct railroads across the West, perhaps with locations of stage watering holes, rail water towers, locomotive fuel depots, roadhouses, outhouses, cathouses, hold-ups, stick-ups and massacres, and other relevant historic sites indicated.  There are a gazillion possible variations of the concept, some of which could turn a dime or two for the researcher/author.  Tourists, prospectors and treasure seekers all love that sort of information compiled into neat packages that can be stuffed in a backpack pocket.

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The "Butterfield Overland Mail Route" followed a network of existing trails. Through New Mexico it was basically over the same established east/west route from Mesilla to Steins that had been travelled for years. It was the southern extension of the "immigrant road" which was basically the only way across Southern New Mexico without having to go through contortions to get through the mountains. Today that route is generally I-70 west for the same reasons as 100 years ago. The trail lies within a few miles of the interstate the full route.

There is some awesome information in the Deming public library. A traveler on that route was killed in an ambush near Lordsburg. His journal was recovered in Steins. For some reason it all wound up at the Deming public library. It is a handwritten account of every day of his travels from St. Louis until the night before his death at Cow Springs. It is all original, in a manilla envelope unbound. There are four thin red ribbons that were used for bookmarks still in the file. As of about 15 years ago it was still available for examination. About 100 pages as I remember, and neatly written so that you get the hang of reading it pretty quickly. 

It was a grand adventure until they got to Mesilla. They knew that the most dangerous section of the route was west of Mesilla to the Arizona border and they were obviously terrified. He describes not being able to eat because of the nerves. His last entry describes the foul water at Cow Springs and the apprehension his fellow travelers felt. That despite being exhausted that they cant sleep. His wish was for the next two days travel to end safely in Steins. It didn't.

I was on a treasure hunt sponsored by a local paper and dropped in to the library to look up some info. The lady came back with a box of items and this journal was inside. I got a motel in Deming and spent the next day reading it all. It was one of the neatest stories I had ever heard.

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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IMG_20160106_222157389.jpgif only this 1872 Canadian half dollar could talk

IMG_20151105_211016095.jpg

7 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

The "Butterfield Overland Mail Route" followed a network of existing trails. Through New Mexico it was basically over the same established east/west route from Mesilla to Steins that had been travelled for years. It was the southern extension of the "immigrant road" which was basically the only way across Southern New Mexico without having to go through contortions to get through the mountains. Today that route is generally I-70 west for the same reasons as 100 years ago. The trail lies within a few miles of the interstate the full route.

There is some awesome information in the Deming public library. A traveler on that route was killed in an ambush near Lordsburg. His journal was recovered in Steins. For some reason it all wound up at the Deming public library. It is a handwritten account of every day of his travels from St. Louis until the night before his death at Cow Springs. It is all original, in a manilla envelope unbound. There are four thin red ribbons that were used for bookmarks still in the file. As of about 15 years ago it was still available for examination. About 100 pages as I remember, and neatly written so that you get the hang of reading it pretty quickly. 

It was a grand adventure until they got to Mesilla. They knew that the most dangerous section of the route was west of Mesilla to the Arizona border and they were obviously terrified. He describes not being able to eat because of the nerves. His last entry describes the foul water at Cow Springs and the apprehension his fellow travelers felt. That despite being exhausted that they cant sleep. His wish was for the next two days travel to end safely in Steins. It didn't.

I was on a treasure hunt sponsored by a local paper and dropped in to the library to look up some info. The lady came back with a box of items and this journal was inside. I got a motel in Deming and spent the next day reading it all. It was one of the neatest stories I had ever heard.

When I was growing up my grandparents were the only inhabitants of Cow Springs NM

I spent my Summers and holidays there. So much history and my Granddad soaked it up like a sponge and bathed me in it.

The traveler whoms journal you read probably wasn't buried out there

 I recall two fenced off graves; one of a slow gunfighter named Timmins out of El Paso and the other a grave of a young girl murdered by Victorio approx 1880.

IMG_20151105_210945452.jpg

IMG_20151105_205351079.jpg

Edited by Edge
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On 7/27/2018 at 10:03 AM, Desertpilot said:

Had a slow week at work so I decided to crank out a google earth map of the Butterfield Stage Route through Arizona. I used a mix of GLO, old maps, and current topo's to trace the route. In areas the trail was visible I traced the route using Google Earth. In developed areas like Tucson I gave it my best guess based on old maps. Its interesting to see that some stage stations still exist while others are gone without a trace. Over the past few years Ive been riding/hiking the southern AZ sections and look to continue all the way to Yuma. As always check land status prior to venturing out.  

Butterfield.kmz

Thanks for the file, some friends of mine went to the painted rock station and Oatman graves recently and they're being slow about getting me the coordinates.

 

What other lines operated coaches across AZ? I know there are many stations across the state on various routes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

According to documented news accounts, (and treasure story lore), the Butterfield Stage Station, located several miles N/W of Stein's Ghost town on I-10, was the site of numerous attack(s) by Apaches, as were the stagecoaches themselves, as they passed through "Doubtful Canyon" shown in the distance (photo attached), at the base of the Peloncillo Mts. near the AZ/NM border. The Lordsburg, NM "Western Liberal" newspaper referenced a $200,000 missing army payroll that had been destined for Fort San Simon, a few miles to the West of the stage stop. I was able to access the private property in the late 1990's when I obtained the photograph, and detected the area around the ruins. Interesting artifacts; such as the usual misc. mystery metal, parts and pieces of horseshoe nails, etc. A few buttons, but no coins in the immediate vicinity. Lots of Quail and several Javelina, with young piglets. Remote and beautiful, cool and peaceful in the fall when I visited.

Mac  (BMc)

STEINS STAGE STOP.jpg

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The Chiricahuawa Apache Indians were fierce warriors. Several years back on the old Ghost towns forum someone posted the accounts of the Salerio mine master from 1864. It is south of Tucson and north of Nogales.

It went something like this.

The mine master writes in his journal 

Last night the dogs were barking. I feared it was Indians. When I went out in the morning I found bear tracks in the wash.

It went on to say that 9 people were ambushed and murdered by the Apache Indians near Tubac.

Then about 3 days later the mine master writes. The dogs were barking last night but it was not like they were barking because of the bear. They were terrified 

In those 3 words, it became apparent to me that the Chiricahuawa Apache was terrifying not only to humans but to every living thing. 

Within a few days of that post, the Chiricahuawa Apache ran everyone out of southern Arizona and chased them all the way to Yuma.

 

 

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