October 09, 2015
October 9, 1863. J. Ross Browne was on a roll -- or actually, a rolling stagecoach, as it climbed the Sierra. "Do many people get killed on this route," Browne asked the driver, Old Charlie, as the coach lurched in the darkness while speeding along the edge of a cliff. "Nary killed that I know of," Charlie replied. "Some of the drivers mashes 'em up once in a while, but that's whisky or bad drivin'. Last summer, a few stages went over the grade, but nobody was hurt bad -- only a few legs'n arms broken. Them was Opposition stages. [Wells Fargo's] Pioneer stages, as a genr'l thing, travels on the road." He explained, ""Our company's very strict; they won't keep drivers that gets drunk and mashes up stages. 'Twon't pay. A stage is worth more'n $2,000, and legs cost heavy besides."