Fort Laramie Mail

“A Fort Laramie postmarked letter in existence today is worth a small fortune to collectors. This was the last chance to mail anything this side of California without detouring to Salt Lake City, and the emigrants made the most of it, often swimming the North Platte for the privilege. The post office was not a separate building; it was part of the sutler’s store. . . . Woodson, Magraw, and Hockaday, the regular mail carriers from Salt Lake City to the Missouri, took turns at attempting to run monthly mails, though frequently interrupted by weather and Indians. Sometimes emigrant mail was accepted for delivery by army messengers. . . .

Although the mail normally ran in just two directions, east and west along the Platte, Fort Laramie also served briefly as the mail contact point for two distant gold rush communities, south and north. In 1858-1859, before more direct routes were established, mail from the Denver area was routed to the states through Fort Laramie; and for a few years beginning in 1876 Fort Laramie was a major stage and mail route on the Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail to the Black Hills of South Dakota.”