“Remember boys, nothing on God’s earth must stop the United States Mail,” John Butterfield admonished his employees, and from September 15, 1858 to March 1, 1861, nothing much did. One of the most colorful chapters in American history is the amazing story of Butterfield’s Overland Mail.
Melody Groves’ Butterfield’s Byway: America’s First Overland Mail Route Across the West (The History Press, $19.99) tells the story in this fun-to-read book. Groves has written a wonderful, comprehensive book on the short history of the line but it does more than that. She provides the historical background giving the wherefores and the whys of the need for a southern stage line that linked the “States” with California in the years prior to the Civil War.
—Marshall Trimble, author of Roadside History of Arizona