Sunday, March 27, 2016

Stage Line Operator and Coach Driver Charles Haynes [otd 03/27]

Long-time stagecoach driver Charles C. Haynes was born March 27, 1837 in Liverpool, Ohio, about thirty miles south of Youngstown. Before his twenty-first birthday, he had accumulated years of experience driving stagecoaches in Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa.
Took a top driver to handle a 6-horse hitch. Library of Congress.

Railroads were supplanting stage lines there by 1857, so he moved west. The following year he began driving stagecoaches in Missouri and Kansas. Thus, for two years, Charlie staged in and out of Topeka. During the Civil War, he drove along the lines between Atchison, Kansas and various Rocky Mountain destinations. After that, Haynes moved even further west. He staged for a few months across eastern Idaho between Salt Lake and the Montana gold camps before heading for the West Coast.

Haynes spent nearly two years driving stage in California for the Wells-Fargo Express Company. He then returned to the Montana route out of Salt Lake. The completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 relegated Western stage lines to local and regional routes, usually carrying passengers, mail, and light freight to and from major railway stations.

From about 1872 until 1880, Haynes staged in central California, western Nevada, and southern Idaho. The latter operation mostly involved various routes in and out of Boise City. He often found himself moving on because railroad service had overtaken the stagecoach.

Hayes briefly ran his own stage lines, first into the Tuscarora, Nevada mining region and then in the Wood River area of Idaho. In about 1880, he retired to a ranch on Goose Creek in Cassia County. (The 1880 Census shows him there with wife Nancy and two stepsons.) In the mid-1880s, he served as Deputy U.S. Marshall, a position he held again in 1891-1893. He also served as a constable in Shoshone and as Lincoln County sheriff.
C. C. Hayes, ca. 1895.
Photo from Root-Connelly reference.

He still owned the Cassia County ranch in 1890, along with other property in Shoshone. However, the Shoshone hotel he purchased in 1889 burned down in November 1890. After that, Haynes spent his time overseeing his various other properties and transporting tourists to see Shoshone Falls

No less a personage than renowned orator and Presidential hopeful William Jennings Bryan affirmed that old "Uncle Charley" could still "finger the ribbons" with the best at the age of sixty. Bryan's 1897 letter to the Shoshone Journal said, in part, "Our driver, Capt. C. C. Haynes, was so experienced, and his horses so fast, that the twenty-five-mile coach ride across the lava-covered plain was made in less than four hours, and was neither tiresome nor unpleasant."

In the Haynes biography recorded in 1914, H. T. French wrote, "it has been his privilege to witness events that have made history, and he has played no small part in shaping the destiny of the great Northwest."

In early February, Uncle Charley went to visit old-time friends in Boise. He passed away there about two week after suffering a severe stroke. In reporting his death, the Idaho Statesman (February 21, 1914) said, “He is well known to the old residents of southern Idaho.”
                                                                                 
References: [French]
Frank A. Root, William Elsey Connelley, The Overland Stage to California, Nabu Press (1901, facsimile 2010).

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