Cold on the 1859 Pike’s Peak Express Line

The following message of W. B. Majors, who arrived on the Utah mail coach at the same time as Thompson, indicates that the employees on the overland route also endured much privation during the winter of 1859-1860.

The snow in the Rocky Mountains is very deep. . . . Nearly all the mail carriers from Fort Bridger west, had been more or less frost bitten, and one, Mr. R. P. West, had his feet frozen so badly that one foot will have to be amputated. As yet the mail has not failed, and if there is no delay between here and Fort Laramie the mail will go through without fail. . .

Mr. Majors informs us that the snow between the South Pass & Strawberry Creek would average about ten feet, & he experienced much difficulty from his mules getting into the deep snow. . . .

An express driver was reported to ham frozen to death near Fort Kearny. (Leavenworth Daily Times, December 31, 1859.)