Riding the Butterfield frontier: life and death along the Butterfield Overland Mail road in Texas, 1858-1861Show full item record
|Riding the Butterfield frontier: life and death along the Butterfield Overland Mail road in Texas, 1858-1861
|Ely, Glen Sample
|Doctor of Philosophy
|Although the Butterfield Overland Mail operated in Texas for just thirty months, during that time it influenced and intersected much of the state's history. In West Texas especially, Butterfield, in conjunction with the U.S. Army, helped develop the region's initial infrastructure and economy. In Texas, the Army spent four dollars for every one dollar expended by Butterfield. The Overland Mail Company, however, made a greater economic imprint on some parts of West Texas than the army. Between the Colorado and Pecos rivers lay the heart of the Butterfield frontier. Here the Overland Mail Company proved the primary economic force, building, supplying, and defending its remote stations with little to no support from the military. Along this frontier, Butterfield, not the army, built the region's infrastructure and primed its economic pump.^For those living on the Texas frontier, the postmaster general's establishment of a transcontinental mail line between St.^Louis and San Francisco and the U.S. Army's outposts offered the real prospect of making money from the federal government and related agencies. Neither the overland mail service nor the military forts could survive without regular supplies and services. The federal frontier economy was a powerful magnet that pulled people to the western frontier. Many migrated westward to get a fresh start in life. Some came to fulfill their dreams and aspirations, and perhaps get rich off of the burgeoning frontier economy. While a few of the region's inhabitants became wealthy, others lost everything they had. Some even lost their lives. The overland frontier in Texas is best seen as a series of fluid, multiple frontiers rather than one monolithic, linear, Old West frontier common to a number of previous interpretations.^Woven into the narrative is a hybrid of different perspectives and interpretations of West Texas.^This work combines environmental history, economic history, and ethnohistory to obtain a more complete understanding of the region, its people, and its stories. Antebellum West Texas was a series of meeting places, zones of convergence, and encounters.
|Kerstetter, Todd M.
This item appears in the following Collection(s)
- Doctoral Dissertations