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Sierra Mountains Telegraph Line

 For development to take place there has to be men of vision.  Men of vision developed the pony express to deliver mail to the western frontier faster than stagecoach.  Unfortunately for the pony express, at the same time other men of vision were developing a faster way to connect the east with the west.
One such man was Fred A. Bee. Fred lived in Virginia City, Nevada. On July 4, 1858 he and four partners started the Placerville, Humboldt and Salt Lake Telegraph Company. Carson Valley residents had passed a bond referendum for $1,200 toward the project, and so they started immediately. By fall of that year the telegraph had connected Placerville, California with Nevada. Six months later it arrived in Carson City, and finally it stretched all the way across Nevada.
 
In the process of doing this, they had to cross over the rugged Sierra Mountains. Less than ten years later the Central Pacific Railroad would spend about 20 million dollars crossing those same mountains. The ground was granite. The winds were strong, and the snow deep.
With limited funds and manpower Fred Bee decided that rather than blast holes in the granite for telegraph poles, they would string the wire on the pine trees that had been able attach themselves to the granite and withstand the winds and snow. So, the telegraph wire was strung from treetop to treetop with some spans of wire being quite long. This led people to nickname the Placerville, Humboldt and Salt Lake Telegraph Company, “Bee’s Grapevine Line.” But when it was completed, even the skeptics used it with pride.
 
Two years later Congress authorized constructing the Overland Telegraph Company, and Fred A. Bee’s Grapevine Line became a major link in the completion of the transcontinental telegraph.
 
 

Chuckwagon: Cooked Cabbage Salad

1 Pint or more of chopped cooked cabbage

Add:
1 Egg well beaten
¼ Cup vinegar
1 Tsp butter
Dash of salt and pepper

Sweeten to suit taste. Simmer a few minutes and add ½ cup of thick fresh cream. Serve immediately.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

SALTED UNDERSHIRT

A SALTED UNDERSHIRT FOR THE GRIP

 

            March 1, 1892, Daily Herald, El Paso, Texas – Five years ago I was suffering with a very severe throat trouble, so much so that I did not expect to live.  An acquaintance told me that he could give me a remedy that would cure it and , as I had tried all of the doctors in my town without receiving any benefit, I decided to try the remedy suggested.  I tried it, was permanently cured of my cough, and besides I discovered that I was not subject to colds.

I was conductor, running in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama.  I was of course subjected to very hot cars in winter, and of necessity had constantly to get out in the cold at all hours of the night.  In all that time I have never had a cold or the grip.

You will be astonished at the remedy.  It is simply to wear a salted undershirt.  Take a summer undershirt and soak it in brine made with, a half pint of ordinary salt to about a quarter of water, and put out to dry.  Wear this shirt next to the body.  It is not unpleasant to wear and will, I am sure, keep off grip and bad colds, and, I firmly believe, consumption.  If I were to live to be eighty years old, I have so much faith in the salted shirts that I would never cease to wear them.  My reason for preferring the thin gauze shirt is because the salt makes a heavy shirt too stiff and hard.  Wear the heavy shirt over the salted shirt.

NOTE: This article written in 1892. It was the latest in medical news back then, but not necessarily now.

Rattlesnake Dick

As a teenager, Charlie Lazure came out west to the New Mexico Territory where he got into a shooting fracas. It’s not known what happened to the other guy, but Charlie was shot in the leg, which resulted in his having a limp for the rest of his life.

Charlie stole a horse and mule, and before long there was a posse after him. He escaped to the Arizona Territory, eventually ending up in Tombstone, where his luck ran out. He was arrested and returned to New Mexico. But fortunately, for Charley, the complainant failed to show up, and he was released.
 
Two years later, in 1885, Charley got into another shootout in Silver City. Again Charley was arrested. But he was released on a bond posted by County Sheriff, Harvey Whitehill. Quite possibly Harvey stepped forward with the bond because he and Charley had been involved in some illegal dealings together… for later Harvey Whitehill was indicted on a number of crimes.

While out on bond, Charley again stole a couple of horses. And again, he was arrested and brought back to Silver City. This time the complainant showed up, and no one posted bond. As a result, Long Neck Charley spent two years at the Santa Fe Territorial Penitentiary. 

On May 4, 1887, Charley Lazure was released from prison. Not wanting to have anything to do with prison again, he dropped out of sight.Then again, maybe that’s how he picked up the nickname, Rattlesnake Dick. Charley Lazure mayhave just slithered under a rock somewhere.

The Oxbow Stage Route

By 1858, the population of California and the west had grown considerably, and there were a number of people traveling from the East to the West, and the West to the East. Stage routes were a series of undependable smaller lines. So Congress decided to pass legislation to authorize the establishment of one line that would transport passengers and mail from St. Louis to San Francisco.
 
As the Northern legislators saw it, the stage line would follow the great emigrant trail… a route that was a straight line between the two cities. However, the Southern legislators had a different view of the route. According to the legislation, the choice of the route was up to the Postmaster General. And the Postmaster General was from Tennessee.
 
The Postmaster General decided there would be two starting points… St. Louis and Memphis, his hometown. This was nearly 1,000 miles longer than necessary, and it lay across vast amounts of unsettled country. The press dubbed it “the oxbow route.”
 
 The contract, with a $600,000 a year subsidy, was given to John Butterfield. A lesser man would have failed… but not Butterfield. On September 15, 1858, the first stage started down the oxbow route. The route was to have been traveled in 25 days. But Butterfield scheduled his stages to make it in 24 days.
 
 
 

 

With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the oxbow route was suspended. However, by that time The Butterfield Overland Stage Line was delivering more mail to the West than all the ships at sea.
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