Balaam Fox

Ambulance Driver for the Army: 1850's

BALAAM FOX, not only was a stage driver, he also served his country in the Civil War, enlisting in the Seventh Missouri Infantry. He was born sixty miles east of the Mississippi, in Illinois, and came to Kansas in the '50's, about the same time that Buffalo Bill came.

In the '50's he drove an ambulance for General Harney, at the time the latter had the bloody engagement with the Brule Sioux Indians. In this fight General Harney killed, at Ash Hollow, on the North Platte, over 500 Indians. For the next five years, previous to his staging career, Fox was on the plains, part of the time in the employ of the Government, and the balance of the time driving ox and mule teams for Russell, Majors & Waddell, the noted overland freighting firm.

In 1860 he was on the plains, a bearer of dispatches for Col. E. V. Sumner, First United States Cavalry, from the early spring until late in the fall. He rode from headquarters Fort Riley to Denver via Forts Zarah, Larned, Dodge, Lyon, and Wynkoop. In 1865 he was on the Santa Fe Trail, driving stage up and over Raton Mountain from Gray's Ranch, on Purgatorie River, Colorado, to McDowell's Ranch, on Red River, in New Mexico, a distance of thirty-seven miles. The road was a rough and crooked mountain trail and at times the trip was lonesome. For four months he drove a five-mule team over it both ways in the night. Barlow & Sanderson, then the noted stage men of the Southwest, ran this line, which was equipped with the celebrated Concord coaches. Fox was afterwards transferred farther to the Southwest, driving for some time in the sand-hills, near the Arizona line, from Sabanil to Socorro, New Mexico.

In the latter part of 1865 he went into the employ of Ben Holladay, on the Overland Stage Line, and for seven months drove eight-horse teams from Snake River, Idaho, to Helena, Montana, a distance of seventy-five miles. He had a good deal of rough experience one way and another on the plains, since he first drifted out on the frontier.

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