First Highway Robbery

Beginning in 1849, California stagecoaches transported more than $100 million in gold from isolated back-woods camps to big-city safes; yet seven years passed before any thief had the nerve to hold up a moving stage. The first stage robbery attempt occurred on August 12, 1856, when the Tom Bell gang, masked and mounted, Continue reading First Highway Robbery

Last Driver on the Line

Edward B. Daingerfield arrived in California in August 1850, where he clerked at the Placerville post office and carried mail on horseback to and from Coloma. Four years later he hired on as a stage driver for Barton and Ellison, on the run to Mokelumne Hill by way of Drytown and Jackson. After a brief spell in the Continue reading Last Driver on the Line

Stage Road Robbery

It is still called Bullion Bend, that stretch of curving old stage road from Placerville to Carson Valley that was bypassed during construction of modern Highway 50. There, in 1864, two Pioneer Line stagecoaches were held up by Confederate sympathizers who said that they needed Comstock Lode silver bullion to finance the Continue reading Stage Road Robbery

Irrepressible Hank Monk

Henry “Hank” Monk started his staging career at a tender age in New York, driving a regular run 20 miles from Waddington to Massena. He was in his twenties when he arrived in California in 1852. Monk drove treacherous Sierra Nevada passes for nearly twenty-five years, with only two relatively minor accidents. He is celebrated, though, for the wild ride he gave Horace Greeley in Continue reading Irrepressible Hank Monk