Stage stations burned
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
The stage from Fort Laramie arrived here today. Regular weekly coaches are again scheduled to leave Fort Laramie every Saturday. The coach, crew and passengers will stay overnight here and get an early start tomorrow so they can cover the most hazardous part of the remaining trip in the daylight.
With the establishment of military camps at Hat Creek and Camp Collier on the Cheyenne River, the Stage Co. announced the resuming of regular weekly stage schedules and said they intend to start running three stages per week as soon as the route is "clear of Indians," so that the station keepers and stock on the route would be safe. In addition to the newly established camps, and Captain Egan's troops patrolling the route. The 5th Cavalry commanded by Colonel Merritt is camped on Sage Creek, under orders to stop the flow of Indians from the Red Cloud agency trying to join Sitting Bull in the Powder River country.
June 27, 1876 - Luke Voorhees, superintendent of the Cheyenne Black Hills Stage and Express Co., rode in today from Custer City. He had been on a lone ride from Custer to Livingston, Mont. (north of Yellowstone), and back as requested by the 2nd Assistant Postmaster General, to determine if a mail route could be established through the area. Voorhees is convinced that the route could not be established at this time.
On his way back to Fort Laramie from Custer City, Voorhees also rode upon the smoldering ruins of the Stage Stops at the Cheyenne River and here at Hat Creek that were burned by Indians last night.
NOTE: J.W. Dear's Ranch on Rawhide Creek, which had just been completed and intended as a stage stop was also burned at the same time. Bands of Sioux even swooped as far south as Chugwater where they ran off 20 head of Hi Kelly's horses. These events all happened simultaneously with the defeat of the 7th Cavalry in the Battle of the Little Big Horn in which Gen. George A. Custer and his command of 256 troops were killed.
For a brief time no wheels turned along the Black Hills trail and no travelers ventured into the Indian country north of Fort Laramie.
(Information sources: Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Route by Agnes Wright Spring; Hat Creek and hard Times by Edward C. Bryant.)