Thomas J Ranahan

Stage Driver to Indian Scout

THOMAS J RANAHAN was born in Ireland in 1839, and emigrated with his family to Vermont in 1841. In 1855, the Ranahan family traveled west to Kansas Territory. Four years later, at the age of 20, he became a bullwhacker for the Russell, Majors & Waddel's wagon trains. From there he became a stage driver for the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express, and also a substitute rider for the Pony Express.

Ranahan continued as a stage driver after Ben Holladay took over the company, continuing even still when Wells, Fargo & Company bought out Holladay.

After his staging days were over, Thomas Ranahan was hired as a scout for Lieutenant Colonel George Forsyth. Forsyth and his troops were involved in a battle against the Plains Indians where they had to take refuge on a small island in the Arickaree River, by digging pits. For several years after this battle, he served as a scout under General E. A. Carr along with his old Pony Express and staging comrade, "Buffalo Bill" Cody.

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