Butterfield Stage


Stage Coach

Anyone familiar with the history of the Cornudas Mountains knows the Butterfield Stage Route came through this country between 1857 to 1860.

 …”Despite the $600,000 per year grant Butterfield was awarded by congress, he still ran up large debts with the Wells Fargo company. In March of 1860, John Butterfield was forced out and Wells Fargo took over the stage route. “

butterfieldbwThe Southern Overland Mail Route, otherwise known as the Butterfield Stage, ran a mail and passenger service for less than three years: from September 1858 to March of 1861. The stages ran night and day, from station to station, working the route west from St. Louis to California and back again. The stations provided water and a change of horses were located every twenty to twenty-five miles.

Myra H. Mcilvan writes in “Butterfield Stage Line Across Texas”:

“Mail delivery took top priority, which often resulted in mailbags being crammed into the coach with the passengers. On the stretch from Fort Belknap in Texas to Tucson, Arizona, the handsome Concord-made coaches weighing more than two tons were replaced by lighter-weight “celerity” or mud wagons and the team of four to six horses stepped aside for mule power that proved to be a lot less attractive to Indians. The mud wagons had light frames that made it easier to maneuver the deep sands and mud. The roofs were made of thick duck or canvass and the open sides allowed the free flow of air as well as dust and rain.”

The cost for one way fare was $200 or $.15 per mile for shorter trips and usually took 22 days as opposed to the contracted 25. The map below show the comprehensive route of the Butterfield Overland Stage.

(Click On Map To Enlarge)

Wikipedia outlines the 5th and 6th division routes as it pertains to the Cornudas Mountains and surrounding area:

“At first the 5th Division route left Franklin to run due east thirty miles to Hueco Tanks, thirty six miles to Cornudas de Los Alamos then east northeast fifty-six miles to Pinery Station. Subsequently stations were added between Hueco Tanks and Cornudas de Los Alamos at Ojos de los Alamos, and at Crow Springs between Cornudas de Los Alamos and Pinery. From Pinery, the route then ran twenty-four miles east to Delaware Springs Station, then forty miles down Delaware Creek nearly to its junction with the Pecos River, and across Pope’s Crossing to Pope’s Camp. It then ran sixty five miles down the east bank of the Pecos, to Emigrant Crossing Station and onward fifty-five miles to Horsehead Crossing. Sections of this route, including Pinery Station, are preserved as part of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Butterfield Station – Alamo Mountain



Butterfield Overland Stage Route By Todd Underwood


Map Source:


Wikipedia – Butterfield Overland Mail in Texas


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