Butterfield Overland Mail Terminus
Historic town in the annals of western transportation, Tipton, in 1858-59, was the eastern stagecoach terminus of the famous Butterfield Overland Mail. N.Y. expressman John Butterfield (1801-69), under contract to carry mail and passengers between St. Louis and San Francisco over the Southern Route on a twice-a-week, 25-day schedule, used Tipton as stage terminus because the Pacific R. R. (Mo. Pac.), completed to this point, could be used for the first 160 miles.
The first westbound mail and passengers carried by Butterfield stage left Tipton, Sept. 16, 1858, and arrived in San Francisco 24 days later after traveling some 2,700 miles across rivers, deserts, mountains, and through hostile Indian territory. At one time Butterfield had 1,500 horses and mules, 100 coaches, relay stations about 20 miles apart, and, at the peak, 2,000 employees.
Tipton was replaced as terminus when the railroad reached nearby Syracuse in the summer of 1859. In 1861, because of the Civil War, traffic was transferred from the Southern to the Central Route.
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Butterfield coaches traveled south from Tipton to Arkansas
making stops at the following relay stations in Missouri:
Relay Station · Nearest Town Today · County
Shackelford's · Syracuse · Morgan
Munhollen's · Florence · Morgan
Burn's · Cole Camp · Benton
Warsaw · Warsaw · Benton
Bailey's · Fairfield · Benton
Quincy · Quincy · Hickory
Yoast's · Elkton · Hickory
Bolivar · Bolivar · Polk
J. H. Smith's · N. of Brighton · Polk
Molloy's · S. of Brighton · Polk
Evans' · N. of Springfield · Greene
Springfield · Springfield · Greene
Ashmore's · N. W. corner of · Christian
J. I. Smith's · N. E. corner of · Barry
Crouch's · Cassville · Barry
Cassville (not a relay station but a stop)
Harbin's · Seligman · Barry
Tipton was laid out by William Tipton Seeley, 1858, shortly before it became the Butterfield Overland Mail terminus. Near Tipton is the State Training School for Negro Girls, opened, 1916.