Lew M Hill

In the Shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Range

LEW M. HILL, one of the Overland Stage Line drivers between Atchison and Denver, was employed in the early '60's on the eastern divisions of the great stage line. He was a driver and station keeper on the Little Blue and Platte rivers until the building of the transcontinental railway drove off the Concord stage coach, and practically wiped out the main overland line. Lew first began driving in Iowa when a young man, way back in the early '50's. In the later '70's and early '80's he went into the mountains of Colorado and was in the employ of the well-known Barlow & Sanderson Stage Company, whose lines extended all over southern and southeastern Colorado. For some time he drove between Alamosa and Del Norte, almost under the shadow of the most beautiful chain of mountains on the face of the globe--the charming Sangre de Cristo range.

From Del Norte Mr. Hill drifted west across the continental divide, into the San Juan mining region, driving for a time in the early '80's on the line between Gunnison and Lake City, when those two mining towns were important places, and in their palmiest days. For upwards of a decade he drove out of and into most of the mining towns in the Gunnison country. After the Cripple Creek gold excitement broke out, and stage lines inevitably followed, and were the only means of public conveyance into that new camp, early in the '90's, Lew went into the new El Dorado, and at intervals drove on all the stage lines centering in that wonderful mining district, up to the fall of 1894.

After the second railroad had made its advent into the Cripple Creek camp, Lew went back over the range to his home in Gunnison, where his family resided, and soon he was at the head of a stage line running from Gunnison into a new gold-mining camp located some twenty-odd miles to the southwest.

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