Archive for July 30th, 2009

Fire On The Prairie

July 30, 2009
Pony Express Wagon (Image from www.slu.edu)

Pony Express Wagon (Image from http://www.slu.edu)

[From the Louisiana (Mo.) Journal.]

Fire on the Prairie — A Terrible Scene — Ten Mail Bags Burned.

Mr. T.T. Stocks, just in from the plains, informed us that on last Monday two weeks ago, just preceding the great blow here, there was a terrible gale on the plains — The day was perfectly clear, not a cloud to be seen, but the wind was in a rage and from morning until late at night there was a constant rush of wind, so mighty that the mail coach was in constant danger of being overturned and smashed in pieces, and was only saved by the direction of the wind, which, coming from the west, struck it behind, pushing it forward. It was all the mules could do to hold it back, and prevent it from being driven over them.

But the most fearful encounter was that with fire, which, by some means had broken out upon the plains. The driver seeing the immediate danger he was in, laid the whip to the mules and fled before the devouring element with all the rapidity they could travel, but on came the mountain of flame leaping and gathering volume at every additional stride. Death of the most horrible character seemed to be the certain doom of the driver and expressman (fortunately there were no passengers along), when suddenly the mules, frightened by the loud roar and crackling of the flames, whirled around — overturning the coach, breaking the coupling, and causing the fore wheels to become disengaged from the body; with these they dashed through the flames, and ran back to the nearest station. The driver and expressman ran their heads into the boot of the coach, and covered themselves wit the fifteen mail bags on board, thus saving themselves from instant death — not, however, without getting pretty smartly scorched. Of the fifteen mail bags, with their contents, ten were burned up. The driver and expressman made their way back to the Pawnee station, on the Little Blue — the one they had left in the morning — where they found their mules had arrived pretty well singed.

The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Nov 27, 1861