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“…spit with the wind, not against it.”

Wells Fargo Stagecoach

Travel by stagecoach was no sissy way to go west.   Check out the rules posted in every Wells Fargo stagecoach:

  • Abstinence from liquor is requested, but if you must drink share the bottle. To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and unneighborly.
  • If ladies are present, gentlemen are urged to forego smoking cigars and pipes as the odor of same is repugnant to the gentler sex. Chewing tobacco is permitted, but spit with the wind, not against it.
  • Gentlemen must refrain from the use of rough language in the presence of ladies and children.
  • Buffalo robes are provided for your comfort in cold weather. Hogging robes will not be tolerated and the offender will be made to ride with the driver.
  • Don’t snore loudly while sleeping or use your fellow passenger’s shoulder for a pillow; he or she may not understand and friction may result.
  • Firearms may be kept on your person for use in emergencies. Do not fire them for pleasure or shoot at wild animals as the sound riles the horses.
  • In the event of runaway horses remain calm. Leaping from the coach in panic will leave you injured, at the mercy of the elements, hostile Indians and hungry coyotes.
  • Forbidden topics of conversation are: stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings.
  • Gents guilty of unchivalrous behavior toward lady passengers will be put off the stage. It’s a long walk back. A word to the wise is sufficient

Elizabeth C. MacPhail, Wells Fargo in San Diego, The Journal of San Diego History, Fall 1980, Volume 28, Number 4. (as posted on Wikipedia)

The two main stage companies were the Butterfield-Overland and the Central Overland.

The Butterfield-Overland Stage route was later taken over by Wells Fargo:

The Central Overland route took passengers from Salt Lake City, to Carson City, Nevada, and into California.

The coming of the trans-continental railroad in 1869 made stagecoach travel obsolete. Well, it was fun while it lasted!


I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

12 thoughts on ““…spit with the wind, not against it.”

  1. This is so fun! While Tayler, Tiffany & Jason were on the Trek a couple of weeks ago I took the boys to the Wells Fargo Museum (a free one here in town) – it covered a lot of the history of the Stage Coaches and had hands on exhibits that were really informative and fun. We’ve also been south of town years ago with my Dad where you can still see the ruts of the old Butterfield Trail that the coaches wore into the ground.

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