Researched and written by Stephen Dock
What parent hasn’t heard those words, along with “He’s touching me” or “I can’t get a phone signal” or “I got to use a bathroom”? Simple trips to places like Vernon, Texas today can be a bother. A look back to the turn of the 20th century, however, provides an entirely different perspective.
In an ad from the 17 August 1898 edition of the Mangum Star, the public is invited to take the Mangum & Vernon Stage Line from Mangum, Oklahoma Territory to Vernon, Texas. It boasts that the distance between Mangum and Vernon is covered in 1 ½ days. For $3.00 one way or $5.00 round trip travelers could enjoy the newest rigs and the best accommodations.
In 1898 a mere day and a half for this route was unbelievably fast! If you took a supply wagon it could take anywhere from 3 to 5 days or even longer if you got to the Red River crossing and the water was up. You had to camp and wait for the river to go down before you could cross it.
In an interview in the 5 August 1957 edition of the Mangum Star, 74 year old Roy Crain stated “I helped run a freight wagon through Mangum. It took as long as 3 weeks to drive the wagon from Combs, near the present site of Sentinel, to Quanah, Texas”
True West Magazine provides some tips for Stagecoach Etiquette.