1849 Stage to California

“At least one Independence firm, Hansford and Peacock, and one St. Louis firm, Turner and Allen, planned passenger trains to California in 1849. . . .Whether Hansford and Peacock’s train ever departed is not known, but Turner and Allen’s venture received such an enthusiastic response that two California-bound trains were dispatched, even though only one had been initially advertised. . . .

[E]ager forty-niners willingly paid the 200-dollar fee. For this they were promised a ride to California in spring wagons carrying six passengers each, food rations for the entire trip, and the transportation of 160 pounds of baggage. . . . Further, while the trip was optimistically projected for sixty days, enough provisions would be carried for a hundred days . . .

The experiment had been an interesting one, but the surviving passengers, especially from the first train, were in anything but a friendly mood after their agonizing trip mercifully ended in long-awaited California. . . .When D.T. McCollum finally reached Sacramento, he calculated that 159 days had passed since the sixty-day train had left Independence.”