Vanguards of the Frontier: A Social History of the Northern Plains and Rocky Mountains from the Earliest White Contacts to the Coming of the Homemaker

By Everett Dick | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER XIII
LIGHTNING COMMUNICATION

THE ADVANCE in speedy communication across the Plains came like a whirlwind. On September 15, 1858, the Butterfield stage line made possible the carrying of messages from the Missouri frontier to the Pacific Coast in twenty-five days. In 1860 the Pony Express cut the carrying time to nine days, but before this romantic courier system was well started, plans were laid for extending the telegraph across the vast space of plains and mountains.

On June 16, 1860, Congress passed an act "To facilitate communication between the Atlantic and Pacific States by electric telegraph." This act directed the Secretary of the Treasury to subsidize a telegraph line from the western border of Missouri to San Francisco, in an amount not exceeding $40,000 a year for a period of ten years. Bids were to be received, and the government was to award the contract to the lowest bidder.1 The act specified the completion of the line by July 31, 1862. It also stipulated that a ten-word message from Brownville, Nebraska, to San Francisco should not cost over three dollars and that government despatches should have precedence over all other messages. The Smithsonian Institution, Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Naval Observatory were to have free use of the line during the period of the subsidy.

Hiram Sibley of New York, inspirer and promoter of the act, secured the contract with its subsidy in the latter half of September, 1860. Sibley was president of the Western Union

____________________
1
Lucius S. Merriam, "The Telegraphs of the Bond-Aided Pacific Railroads," Political Science Quarterly, Vol. IX, No. 2, p. 187.

-301-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Vanguards of the Frontier: A Social History of the Northern Plains and Rocky Mountains from the Earliest White Contacts to the Coming of the Homemaker
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 574

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?