Russell Thorp doing an excellent job
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
Travelers on the Cheyenne and Black Hills stage line report that Russell Thorp is doing an excellent job of managing the line. They also give very good reports of the services and hospitality provided by the Thorp family at the Raw Hide Buttes stage station.
When Thorp purchased the stage line in May he at once made Raw ide Buttes the home station. With his headquarters here, the new proprietor was at the center of the line's activity and able to keep in touch with every phase of its business. This location also enabled him to keep a close eye on his local mining investments, and ranching activities.
A passenger on the line recently reported that: "Anyone who ever stayed over night or for a meal at the Thorp's home station will bear out the assertion that the welcome and entertainment there were of the best western character, and the meals, prepared by a Chinese cook (Friday), something to be long remembered."
Another guest at their ranch said: "Raw Hide Station was truly an oasis in the desert of sand, cactus and loneliness surrounding it. Mrs. Thorp's charming personality, her kind neighborliness, the comfortable air of hominess so rare at this time of the Wyoming plains, as much as the busy life around the station, draws to these fine people the warm regard of all those who make up the fast-growing community. Mr. Thorp is one of the salt of the earth."
It is often heard that life of the frontier west is "fun for men and boys, but mighty hard on horses and women." Mrs. Thorp has readily adjusted herself to this frontier surrounding and is making it more pleasant for those around her. Mrs. Thorp (Josephine Brooks) had been a pioneer teacher in Omaha, Neb., and was teaching in Evanston when she met Russell.
She had organized the first grade school there and was its principal at the time of their marriage in 1873. Two years later they moved to the "Magic City of the Plains" (Cheyenne) where their son Russell Jr. was born.
Young Russell is enjoying the frontier life, learning all he can about the stage line operation and hearing lots of exciting tales about road agents and outlaws. From Luke Voorhees, Scott Davis and Captain Willard he has heard stories about exciting things like the Canyon Springs robbery and the capture of Blackburn and Wall. George Lathrop, one of the top drivers, is even teaching Russell Jr. the art of a reinsman. His first lessons on how to manipulate the lines were using six strings as practice lines that were tied to stakes driven in the ground.
Russell Jr. even has a new roan pony that his father bought from Charles Guernsey. The pony is only 14 hands tall but holds his head as high as the other horses and can run like an antelope. He was from a bunch of 70 horses Guernsey had bought fresh off the Texas trail. Even with his tail touching the ground and a mustache three inches long, he is the biggest little horse in the area.
(Information sources: "The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes," by Spring; "Wyoming Cowboy Days," by Guernsey.)