Early Overland Mail Proposals

The idea of carrying mails overland by stage was of early origin. In 1849, a petition embodying a plan for a continental mail was recommended to the Senate by the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads. At the close of the same year, a second petitioner, William Bayard, offered to open a road to California and to carry mails over it “once a week in four-horse coaches.” Two years later, Henry O’Reilly proposed to establish a route through “Nebraska, the Desert, California and Oregon,” and to erect stockades upon it, each twenty miles apart, for the quartering of “twenty dragoons,” two of whom should ride daily between posts and carry express and mails. This plan received nation-wide attention, for its author was a successful telegraph builder.