“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Carson in Grant County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Passenger Coaches

— Cannonball Stage Station State Historic Site —

Passenger Coaches Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, November 2, 2019
1. Passenger Coaches Marker
Inscription.  The passenger coaches used on the Bismarck-Deadwood Stage Trail were often Concord coaches, usually drawn by four or six horses. The coaches were constructed for rough travel and built to endure the stain of the Dakota terrain. A driver sat at the front with his legs braced on the "dashboard." Mail, express, and other light baggage were usually carried on top and held in place by an iron rood rail and ropes. Heavier baggage was usually carried on the rear or inside the coach. Some passengers, at their own risk, rode on top of the coach. Sometimes, passengers had to shift position and weight to keep the balance of the wagon. A trip on a stagecoach was often described as "not unlike the swell of the ocean."

Travel along the trail was generally safe. Dangers included weather, prairie fire, and robbery. Outriders and shotgun messengers were employed to ward off "road agents" (bandits) from attacking the stage line after a string of holdups during summer 1877. Outriders rode in front and behind the wagon. Armed shotgun messengers rode beside the driver. The term "riding shotgun" was derived from shotgun messengers.

The 1880 census

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of Morton County, Dakota Territory, reflects a population heavily influenced by the freight and stage line industry. Over 90% of residents were single men, and over half of the occupations listed were related to the industry. Freighters, stage drivers, teamsters (those who drove draft animals), wagon masters, stage messengers, and station keepers made up a large portion of the population. Although the trail only operated for a short time, those involved had an important role in the early development and history of this area.

The Bismarck-Deadwood Stage Trail operated commercially from 1877 to 1880. The trail and his station were abandoned by the Northwestern Express, Stage, and Transportation Company when railroad expansion reached Pierre. The trail was also used by locals as a farm-to-market route. Eventually, the Bismarck-Deadwood Stage Trail was completely deserted. Ruts from wagon trains can still be seen in some places, including at the Bismarck-Deadwood Stage Trail State Historic Site east of Flasher.
Erected by State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1877.
Location. 46° 13.308′ N, 101° 28.652′ W. Marker is near Carson, North Dakota, in Grant County. Marker can

Site of barn, used to store horses and coaches. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, November 2, 2019
2. Site of barn, used to store horses and coaches.
be reached from 53rd Avenue SW, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8293 53 Ave SW, Carson ND 58529, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bismarck-Deadwood Stage Trail (a few steps from this marker); Cannonball Stage Station (a few steps from this marker).
More about this marker. The marker is on skids so the location may vary slightly
Also see . . .  Cannonball Stage State Historic Site. (Submitted on August 2, 2020, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 19, 2020, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 167 times since then and 105 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 19, 2020, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin.   2. submitted on August 5, 2020, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
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Dec. 10, 2023