Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 10, 2009
Here's a question I got today that revisits a subject we talked about recently:

On Mar 10, 2009, at 5:06 PM, Tricia wrote:

Hi, I grew up watching Alan Rocky Lane, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, etc. in reruns and even now watch shows or Westerns frequently. We get True West off and on. I hope someday to get further west than Branson (been to CA but as 9 yr old and just Universal Studios in 1979). I'd even like to finish plans to organize a Western and Indian Pow Wow festival here in eastern panhandle of WV where I now live.

My mother and I have questions for you for True West Moment.

I am a Cviil War portraying Confederate spy Belle Boyd and First Lady of Confederacy Varina Davis. I've been an extra in CW movies, but not Westerns (yet!) I'm a sometime pioneer reenactor. I'm used to wearing large hoop dresses as well as camp dresses. I grew up on watching Westerns and wondered about methods of travel. A couple years ago, I saw my first "real" stagecoach. It was supposed to be one used in "Gunsmoke" and was owned by a West Virginia collector. I sat in it. But it was very small inside and narrow. The ones on TV or movies look larger. I wondered if this one was "legitimate" or if the ones on television and in movies were made larger than real life. I recall "Maverick" or "Stagecoach" show and movie for examples. They crammed a lot of people in it.

Can you tell me how large the original stagecoaches were? I know people were smaller, but how many could really sit on one seat and/or in floor?

Two things. First of all, you need to get True West every issue! Because we cover every aspect of every question you have covered.

Yes, stage coaches were smaller than we like to think, however, I was just at the Booth Museum in Cartersville, Georgia and they have both a classic Concord Stagecoach and a mud wagon (which had a lower center of gravity with open sides). Believe it or not, the Concord actually had a middle seat. I have been researching this because in the Apache Kid story, he is being transported to the train station in Casa Grande to be taken to the Yuma Territorial Prison, and on the way there, the sheriff and his deptuy, the stage driver and nine prisoners are in, and on, one stagecoach. They could sit three on each bench and two on the middle bench and two on the box, with room for several more on top. We've got photos (see below) of four or five sitting on top of the stage!

Bob Boze Bell
Executive Editor, True West magazine

This photo was sent to me by Fred Nolan in England. Here we see five Buffalo soldiers on top of the stage and you can clearly see the gent seated in the middle bench inside the stage. When I was in Cartersville, I took a photo of the bench for drawing purposes (they had straps that ran from the ceiling to act as back braces. I'll run that photo another day.

"When a fellow says it ain't the money but the principle of the thing, it's the money."
—Frank McKinney Hubbard

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post your comments