Mr. Sumner –
The Bakersfield Daily Californian reported in April of 1896 that Mr. Sumner, formerly of Tulare, would be running a stage, every other day, direct between Mojave and Randsburg.
A report of a drunken stage driver in the Visalia Morning Daily Delta cannot be directly attributed to this stage line. However, it seems that the Visalia contingency in Randsburg were a clannish bunch and would more likely charter a stage from a Tulare neighbor than anyone else so the story will be told here.
It was reported in the Delta, that a party of Visalians including George A. Parker, J. M. English, J. F. Gibson, John L. Rhoades, and Dr. H. M. Combs, had taken a trip to Randsburg in January of 1897. Upon their return they decided to charter a stage to take them to Mojave where they could catch the train. They left Randsburg about noon on a Wednesday and after a few miles and several near upsets they realized that the stage driver was drunk. They deposed the driver and J. M. English took over the reins and took the four-horse stage into Garlock, a distance of twelve miles. At Garlock Mr. English decided that he was tired of driving and pulled over to let someone else drive. While the stage was at a stop the driver tried to unhook the horses, but Captain Merritt told him that they were going on to Mojave. The driver surrounded by his friends tried to stop them but they left him standing by the side of the rode and with Captain Merritt handling the ribbons they preceded to Mojave. A short while later the driver passed them in a buckboard but did not try to stop them. When they reached the next stage stop (Mesquite Springs) the driver was waiting for them. He humbly begged the party to let him aboard, which they did. Captain Merritt drove the stage into Mojave and turned over to the driver who had become partially sober.
Killian’s stage is pictured on page 84 of Roberta Starry’s book Gold Gamble. It is thought to be one of the earlier stages although no other references have been found to date it.
H. Galeron –Eureka Feed and Stage
The Randsburg Miner has a listing for H. Galeron, Eureka Feed and Stage in their December 12, 1896 edition. The Stage ran daily to Kramer Siding on the Santa Fe Railroad. Kramer Siding, which was later to become the southern terminus for the Randsburg Railway is 2.3 miles west of the present day town of Kramer also known as Four Corners at the junction of highway 395 and 58. In 1898 Mr. Galeron is listed in the Feed yard and freighting business presumably because of the Randsburg Railway he dropped the stage line and switched to freighting.
Walters & Pool–Fashion Livery & Stables
This business is also mentioned in the December 12, 1896 edition of the Randsburg Miner. No other information has been found on it.
George Washington Lloyd – Randsburg Transfer & Freighting Co.
George Lloyd, a 35-year-old native of Illinois, came to Randsburg in the latter part of 1896. He was an enterprising man and soon started a feed yard and dealt extensively in hay and grain. In later years he also carried oil, coal, and fuel. In addition to his hay and grain business he did most of the freighting from the Randsburg Railroad Depot in Johannesburg to Randsburg and the outlying camps. He laid the pipe to provide water to the Yellow Aster Mining & Milling Co. In the latter part of 1898 he opened a general merchandise store dealing in feed, hardware, coal, paints and oil. . His freighting company was located at the corner of Fiddler’s Gulch and Butte Ave. Mr. Lloyd and his wife left Randsburg for their future home in Santa Barbara in 1905. Mr. Lloyd was said to have been an astute businessman who had the respect and confidence of all who knew him.
Rice, Shippee & Co.– Mojave, Garlock and Randsburg Stage.
The first mention of this stage line is found in a September 12, 1896 edition of the Bakersfield Daily Californian. It was reported that L. M. Shippee had acquired ten new horses and was expecting his stage any day, which he intended to put on the road between Mojave and Randsburg. In November of that same year Rice & Shippee ran their stage over a new route to Randsburg. The stage left Mojave at 9 o’clock and arrived at Randsburg at 2 o’clock, just five hours after leaving Mojave. This new route was only 35 miles, versus the standard route of 54 miles through Garlock. This route most likely followed Searle’s 20 Mule team route out to what is now California City where it veered off in a more notherly route. The cost of a round trip ticket was $6.00.
November 22, 1896: “Messrs. Rice & Shippee will commence running stages over the short line from Mojave to Randsburg on Sunday, November 22d, reducing the distance to 36 miles and the time to five and a half hours: fare from Los Angeles to Randsburg, $6.75. They have recently been awarded the contract to carry the mail.” – The Herald
The company was short lived as the short route was sold to a Mr. Williams on the 16th of January 1897, and the route through Koehn Springs and Garlock was sold to W. K. Miller on the 22nd of January. Mr. Rice however did not stay out of the transportation business and in October of 1897 bought our W. T. Lockhart’s business of hauling the freight received in Mojave from the Southern Pacific Railroad.
October 24, 1897: “J. W. Rice, the well-known Mojave freighter, is operating a special fast freight line from Mojave to Randsburg and intermediate points for the Southern Pacific railroad with from eight to sixteen-horse teams.” – The Herald
January 15, 1897: “The stages and freight trains between Kramer and the two mining towns are owned by the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. Those plying between Mohave and the mines, a distance of about forty-seven miles have recently changed hands. Rice, Shippee & Co. selling to Williams & Co. There is generally on hand at Mojave about 100 tons of freight awaiting turn to get into Randsburg. Occasionally passengers have to wait a day both there and at Kramer.” – San Francisco Call
W. K. Miller– Mojave & Randsburg Stage Line
In January of 1897 W.K. Miller who had run the Mojave to Keeler stage line through Indian Wells Valley purchased the stage line Of Shippee & Rice including the mail contract. Mr. Millers thirty years of experience added to new stages and stock were thought to assure the success of the line.
June 06, 1897: “A post office will soon be established at Ballarat, and W. K. Miller, of the Randsburg and Mojave stage line, proposes to inaugurate a weekly service into the town in the near future.” – The Herald
September 05, 1897: “A thoroughly equipped Concord coach stage system, all four-horse stock, is in operation, all owned by W. K. Miller. The stage to Keeler leaves Sunday and Wednesday mornings, returning Monday and Friday evenings. The Randsburg stage via Garlock leaves at 3 a. m and 9a. m.; arrives 1:30 p. m. and 2 a.m., making close connections with north and south bound trains, Mr. Miller will shortly add another stage line to run from Garlock to Slate Range and Panamint (Ballarat).” – The Herald
September 27, 1897: “The travel via Mojave to Randsburg continues to increase, taxing the capacity of W. K. Miller’s stage line to the utmost, and it is predicted, that with the recent rich discoveries of ore in that district the coming winter will be a very busy one in the town and mines.” –The Herald
October 24, 1897: “W. K. Miller’s stage line to Randsburg is taxed to its utmost capacity on account of the heavy travel.” – The Herald
December 02, 1897: “W. K. Miller’s stage lines are kept very busy, necessitating extra stages almost every day to Randsburg and Johannesburg.” – The Herald
December 26, 1897: “W. K. Miller has reduced his stage fare from Mojave to Randsburg from $3 to $2.50 and will make many important improvements in the service after New Year’s.” – The Herald
On January 8, 1898 the Los Angeles Herald showed how he was to assure his continued success in their article which stated:: “W. K. Miller, owner of the Mojave stage line, has found the “cut” from $3 to $2.80 a winning card, for he has all the business he can attend to and is frequently compelled to run extra stages.”
January 16, 1898: “W. K. Miller, the Mojave stage owner, will commence running a stage from Johannesburg to Ballarat (Panamint district) next week. This will bring considerable travel to and from Johannesburg, and make it the distributing point for a large mining territory.” – The Herald
August 01, 1898: “The Randsburg Miner says that W. K. Miller’s stage line between Johannesburg and Ballarat will soon be extended clear through to Keeler, and that the Santa Fe road will sell tickets to Keeler via Johannesburg. Very good news, if true. The gap of about forty-three miles between Ballarat and Darwin will thus be filled, the road running through Shepherd Canyon and passing what was known as Panamint Junction In early days, when stages were flying all over that country.” – San Francisco Call
In 1899 he was awarded the mail contract to carry mail from Darwin to Ballarat and expanded his service to three times a week from Johannesburg to Ballarat and though Darwin to Keeler. If success can be measured in years, than Mr. Miller was successful, as ten years later he was still running a stage from Mojave to Randsburg and had added a line to the Panamints to serve Ballarat and Skidoo and Tonopah Nevada.
H. M. Williams –
According to the Bakersfield Daily Californian, dated 16 January 1897 Mr. Williams intended to buy out both routes of the Shippee & Rice Stage Line. It was his intention to make arrangements with the Southern Pacific Railroad to sell tickets direct to Randsburg from any station on their line. Those purchasing the tickets would be met in Mojave at the depot by Mr. Williams’s agents and be properly cared for.
It was his intention to have two stages a day running to Randsburg from Mojave. One Stage was to depart after the arrival of the 7:30 am train going south and one after the 1 p.m. train headed north. However in the January 19, 1897 edition of the same paper it was announced that Shippee & Rice would be keeping the Koehn Springs, Garlock to Randsburg route. Later on the 22nd of January it was announced that W. K. Miller had purchases this route.
Mr. Williams had his Mojave office in J. H. Underhill’s Saloon in Mojave, opposite the depot. The Randsburg office was in the St. Elmo Hotel.
Bright & Crandall
In May of 1897 great excitement was elicited by the announcement that the Kramer-Rand Railway was a fact and that grading had started at Kramer by Bright and Crandall a freighting firm out of Randsburg. This announcement proved to be a bit premature, as surveying did not start for almost a month. In June of that year the Union Construction Company was incorporated in Arizona to build the railroad. Whether Bright and Crandall ever got a piece of the action is unknown.
Grieve & Gordon (Ira and George)–Randsburg Livery & Feed Stable
Roberta Starry in her book Gold Gamble shows a listing for Grieve & Gordon Livery Stable. How long they were partners is unknown. George McPherson in his History of the Rand Mining District states that George arrived in Randsburg in April of 1897 and purchased a large section of property at the intersection of Broadway (Burma Road) and Butte Ave. He erected a large building and opened a stable and feed yard. His brother Ira joined him and for over a year they prospered. However on May 6th 1898, in the second large fire of the year, they were completely wiped out. They soon rebuilt and continued to prosper. The firm is listed in the 1898 business directory as the Gordon Bros. with no mention of a Mr. Grieve. The Gordon brothers were both young men and were well liked about town. They were leading members of newly organized Fire Department. They were said to have been ever ready to contribute money to assist in public improvements. Like many others they had acquired several mining claims but were too busy to work them. The Gordon Brothers were said to have owned a ranch in the Sacramento area in addition to their interests in Randsburg.
P. J. Hartt –The Kramer Stage Company
A stage line from Kramer to Randsburg was first established in October of 1896. It was 26 miles from the connection with the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad. P. J. Hartt was the manager of the Kramer Stage Company. It is not known whether this was the same stage that was running out of H. Galeron’s Eureka Feed and Stage or if it was a competitor. P. J. Hartt however played a significant role in the founding of the town of Randsburg, as he was on the original Vigilante Committee that was accredited with stabilizing the camp so that it could attract the capital investment needed to grow.
Squire L. Dunn –
Squire Dunn was listed in the 1898 Great Register of Voters as a teamster.
The Cruse Bros. are listed in the 1898 business directory as being in the feed yard and livery business in Randsburg.
A 65-year-old native of New York, John King ran a stable in Randsburg in 1900.
Kelly & Price– Randsburg Livery Stable
An advertisement appearing in the Randsburg Miner in the fall of 1900 showed that this stable was located on Staley Avenue. A review of the 1900 Great Register of Voters and the Census does not show any one by the name of Kelly or Price as being in the stable or related businesses. It does show however that Constable John Kelley and his wife had in their home a boarder by the name of Stephen Price. It is thought that it is quite possible that after the census was taken in July of that year that these two formed a partnership to run this business. Constable Kelly later became the Sheriff of Kern County and was one of the founders of the Kelly Silver mine in Red Mountain. 15
Houser Brothers–Albert, Roy, and William
Albert and Roy came to Randsburg in late 1899 or early 1900 and were followed shortly thereafter by William. They were reported in March of 1900 by the Daily Californian newspaper to be making some grand improvements in the appearance of the city moving houses and otherwise assisting in its growth. It is believed that they purchased George and Ira Gordon’s business. The Houser Brothers are best remembered for the Houser Hotel which is believed to have been constructed in 1901, however blacksmithing and the livery business was their mainstay.
Although A. W. Houser is listed in the 1905 Suits-Schuman Business Directory as being in the stable business this information was outdated by the time it was printed. In 1904 William and Roy bought out all the business interests of Albert except for the Houser Hotel. They also purchased the feed business of J. T. Curry and his one-half interest in the firm of Heydlouff and Curry.
The Hotel was leased most of the time until it was sold to A. C. Burcham one of the owners of the Yellow Aster Mining & Milling Co. in 1906. Prior to its sale it had been leased during the year of 1905 to the Y. A. M. & M. CO. Upon his retirement from the hotel business William Houser entered politics and served as County Supervisor from 1908 until his death in 1912.
In 1910 he made one unsuccessful try at being elected Sheriff of Kern County, an election that he lost by a vote of 752 to 745. Albert moved to Dos Palos and took up ranching.
In 1907 Roy took an interest in the Skidoo boom and purchased three lots in Skidoo with the intent of starting a livery stable, feed corral, wood and water business. In July of 1907 the partnership between Roy and William was dissolved and William remained the sole owner of all the Randsburg business interests. Roy however returned to Randsburg after his Skidoo adventure and it is assumed that he ran the family business for his brother while William was in Bakersfield serving as County Supervisor.
The brothers however did remain in partnership as late as 1912 on the William R. lode mine, along with Frederick Williams and Pat Byrne. During the previous years they had also been in partnership with G. P. Brady in the blacksmithing business in 1904 and with J. T. Curry in the lumber business in 1905.
Frank Duntley –
Frank Duntley was in the freighting business in approximately 1910 in the Rand Area.
Owens & Niehaus –
In November of 1913 Owens & Niehaus were advertising in the Randsburg Miner that they were in the Auto-Stage business and had a five-passenger automobile for hire.
William H. Johnson–
In 1914, Mr. Johnson built a stable and blacksmith shop on property owned by Pat Byrne, and had purchased some horses with the intent of handling draying services and running a stage. According to the 1915 Great Register of Voters he was still in the livery stable business.
W. J. Johnson –Livery and Auto Service
William J. Johnson was listed in 1920 Great register of voters as a Teamster in Randsburg.
Randsburg and Mojave Auto Stage –
The Randsburg and Mojave Auto Stage line that was operating in May of 1916 was the victim of embezzlement. At the same time that Illingworth’s vault was broken into a Mr. Potter, who had been employed by the stage line as manager about six weeks prior left town. He had told the driver’s that he was going to Los Angeles to purchase another car for the company. He left with several hundred dollars and never returned.
Wm. H. Anderson – Randsburg, Searles and Mojave Stage
The July 5th, 1922 issue of Barstow Printer –Rand Mining District Section, has an advertisement that shows that the Anderson Auto Line was in business with auto stages running to Los Angeles and Bakersfield. They also connected with the Packard Stage Lines in Mojave. In October of that year Mr. Anderson added the Studebaker dealership to his enterprises and added a Studebaker “equipped with all modern conveniences and adapted for desert travel” to his stage line. He had taken out an option on the Rose Garage in which he intended to run a garage business in addition to caring for his own fleet. In 1924 his advertisement showed a cost of $7.70 for a trip to Los Angeles and $6.10 for a trip to Bakersfield.
B. H. McFarland – San Bernardino-Randsburg Stage Line
A ticket in the collection of the Rand Desert Museum shows that Mr. McFarland ran a daily auto stage from the Silver Strand Hotel in Randsburg to San Bernardino, with stops at Johannesburg, Osdick, Atolia, Adelanto, Summit, Camp Cajon, and Devore.
Joe Vlasnik — An Advertisement listing Joe Vlasnik as a Hauling Contractor for Randsburg and Johannesburg appeared in the June 7, 1922 edition of the Rand district Miner newspaper.
The Mojave County Miner (Kingman, Arizona) reported on November 18, 1921 that George Chappel is now in business in Randsburg and doing well. He was reported to have twelve trucks in service. He had previously been in the trucking business in Kingman, Arizona.