Butterfield Stage

Butterfield Stage
Postcard from Butterfield Overland Mail Centennial

From Early Barry County

The Butterfield Overland Mail Route was established in the fall of 1858, the achievement of John Butterfield, a resident of New York State, who had the government contract to carry the mail. This mail and passenger service linked the end of the road with the west coast. It originated at Tipton, Missouri, the end of the Pacific, now the Missouri Pacific Railroad and continued to San Francisco. It covered some 2700 miles in 23 or 24 days. Its establishment preceded by almost two years the famed Pony Express which ran from St. Joseph, Missouri, westward.


The Butterfield stage entered the county at the John I. Smith station at what was later known as the Wiley Wise Spring, head of Little Crane Creek near Osa. From there it went through Madry, down Camp Bliss Hollow to McDowell, up Big Flat to the Crouch station south of Cassville near where the Cline Hancock buildings are now located, through Cassville and across Washburn Prairie to the John Harbin home and station, the last in the county and in Missouri. It then took the Rock Creek road southwesterly, leaving the county in the direction of Pea Ridge, Fayetteville, Fort Smith and westward.


The Butterfield Centennial Celebration was carried out in September, 1958. A caravan complete with full-sized Concord coach transported by truck from town to town along the Butterfield mail route made the run and carried mail from Tipton, Missouri, to San Francisco. A special commemorative stamp was issued.

Butterfield stage sign
Sign marking Butterield Overland Mail in 1959
"Butterfield Overland Mail in Missouri 1858-1861. The John D. Crouch Relay Station in Barry County, 187 1/2 miles from the Tipton Terminus, stood about 6 miles north of Cassville.
Butterfield Stage Map

Map of Overland Mail Coach in Barry County