William Trotter

Ten Trips Around the World

WILLIAM TROTTER, of Boulder, Montana, was known from the east to the west end of the Overland Line, and was perhaps better known than any other driver employed. He was born in 1836 in Pennslyvania, the eldest of a family of six sons, and left home to work at the age of sixteen. He came to Kansas when it was yet a territory, during the later '50's. After two years' residence west of the Missouri river he returned to Iowa, and for a time was in the employ of the Western Stage Company, whose main line extended across the state from the Mississippi to the Missouri. Later he was employed by the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company, and, still later, on the same route by the Overland Stage Line. At intervals he has driven in different sections almost the entire length of the noted historic route. For his long, faithful and efficient services he was promoted to the responsible position of division agent, on the line from old Julesburg to Fort Kearney.

While division agent on the Platte, between old Julesburg and Fort Kearney Trotter witnessed the burning of the stations at O'Fallon's Bluffs and Willow Island by the Indians, and was within twelve hours of the burning of Butts and Alkali stations. In these raids a vast amount of property was destroyed and a great deal of stage stock stolen.

In the rapid construction of the Union Pacific railroad, and while the overland staging was naturally being shortened on the main line Mr. Trotter kept moving west, until finally, in the early '70's' he drifted to the Pacific coast, where he became a hotel keeper.

During the palmy staging days in the '60's he was simply known as Bill Trotter; but after he quit staging and became a veteran Western hotel keeper he was known as "Colonel" Trotter. Nearly his entire life was spent in the great West, where for twenty years he was a stage-driver. He estimated that he drove a distance of at least 250,000 miles, or far enough to make ten trips around the world.

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