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Postcard from the Past - Horse Parishes in Drift

Written by Dick Perue

“Lost Horse,” “Billy Collins, stage driver on mail route to Dillon puts in bad night on Divide”reads the headline and accompanying sub-head in the Dec. 29, 1904 issue of “The Saratoga Sun.” Details of the incident were related in the following news item:

“During the storm that raged over this section of the country from Saturday to Monday, the Dillon stage drivers had pretty tough trip over the Divide.

“Billy Collins, one of the drivers, left Dillon about nine o’clock Saturday morning for Saratoga. It was storming hard, and about three o’clock in the afternoon, one of the horses in the team slipped off the trail into the deep snow. In order to get the animal back and also save the other horse, Collins unhitched it, and in its frantic lunges the horse worked itself down the mountain a couple of hundred yards. Collins attempted to get the horse back to the trail but was finally compelled to give it up.

“Collins was obliged to stop there for the night and had a hard fight to keep from freezing to death. Next morning, the horse was dead, the exertion and cold being too much. Collins took the remaining horse and came to transfer where he secured another horse and returned for the sled. He was met at the transfer by Mr. Scribner, who brought the mail in, Collins returning to Dillon with the mail from this place.

“John Chase who left here Monday morning for Dillon was obliged to stay all night at the transfer taking the mail on to Dillon the next day.

“The snow is soft and, until the trail is packed down, will be difficult to travel over. When this is accomplished, however, no trouble is anticipated.”