Oct 14 2015

 

When the Civil War came to San Antonio in the early Spring of 1861, stage travel was disrupted. For example, Saltmarsh’s Stage line was confiscated and D. A. Saltmarsh was arrested for disparaging the Confederacy. Stage travel continued to the major towns in Texas, however, schedules and routes were adjusted.

During the Civil War, Confederate States of America (CSA) mail left Brownsville (Sharkey’s Hotel) for San Antonio every Monday. The line required passengers to furnish their own provisions on the road. The line passed through Edinburg, Rio Grande City, and Oakville.

In 1862, the CSA opened bids for mail service from San Antonio to Corpus Christi and back via Graytown, Oakville, Gussettville, Echo, Casa Blanca, San Patricio and Nueces once a week. Another CSA line advertised its service in the local newspapers and provided service from San Antonio to Helena and back via Lodi and Panna Maria, once a week.

In February of 1865, San Antonio mercantile owners, Ward, Briggs, and Pancoast obtained a CSA mail contract and operated a four-horse mail coach service from San Antonio to Brownsville via Oakville, Rio Grande City, and Edinburgh.

Although mail lines continued to operate during the Civil War, few stage lines advertised in newspapers. Due to a shortage of paper, newspapers that continued to print during the War reduced circulation and included fewer advertisements. It may be appropriate to assume that fewer people traveled during the war and most transportation resources were diverted to military use.

Bidding on Local Postal Routes

After the close of the Civil War, reliable stagecoach service became a priority for the post office and the traveling public. The local postal routes around San Antonio were described in the bidding process.

In 1874, the U. S. Post Office opened bidding for new mail routes, specified by number:

31130 - from Beeville, by Helena, Panna Maria, Floresville, and Utzville (now under Calaveras Lake) to San Antonio and back, 100 miles and back, three times a week. 

31131 - from San Antonio, by Graytown, Fairview, Belle Branch (no post office), Oakville, Gussettville, Echo, San Patricio, Sharpsburgh, and Nueces to Corpus Christi, 157 miles and back, three times a week.

31135 - from San Antonio, by Cottage Hill and Lavernia, to Sutherland Springs, 34 miles and back, three times a week.

In 1875, the Post Office opened bidding on new mail lines.

31160 - from Floresville to Sutherland Springs a distance of 15 miles three times a week each way.

31152 - from Sutherland Springs by Stockdale and Riddleville to Yorktown 39 miles and back three times a week.

31153 - from Sutherland Springs to Seguin and back 23 miles three times a week.

By the 1880, the Floresville Stage Line had an office in the Central Hotel in San Antonio with W. H. McAlpine acting as superintendent. In 1885, Cooper and Thomas had a hack line (a smaller two horse vehicle used for short distance runs) to Sutherland Springs from Floresville. A. G. Pickett also ran a hack line daily between Floresville and San Antonio. By January of 1886, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad had arrived in Floresville, making stage travel obsolete between Floresville and San Antonio.