Relevant dates in the story of Jack Slade

1797?— Charles Slade Jr. born in England.

1798?— Slade family arrives in America, settles in Alexandria, Virginia.

1816— Charles Slade and brothers Richard and Thomas migrate from Virginia to Illinois Territory.

1818—Charles Slade lays out town of Carlyle; Illinois becomes a state.

1819 (June 23)— Charles Slade marries Mary D. Kain.

1820— Charles Slade elected to Illinois legislature.

1824— Illinois legislature creates Clinton County and designates Carlyle as county seat.

1825 (May)— Charles and Mary Slade donate 20 acres in Carlyle for Clinton County courthouse.

1826— Charles Slade elected to second term in Illinois legislature.

1829— Charles Slade appointed U.S. marshal for Illinois by President Jackson.

1831 (Jan. 22)— Joseph Alfred Slade born, fourth of five children.

1832 (Aug. 13)— Charles Slade elected to U.S. Congress..

1833 (Dec. 2)— Charles Slade takes seat in 23rd U.S. Congress.

1834 (July 11)— Charles Slade dies of cholera near Vincennes, Ind., en route home from Congress.

1836— Elias S. Dennis arrives in Carlyle from New York State.

1838 (Feb. 24)— Charles Slade’s widow, Mary, remarries Elias S. Dennis.

1846 (May)— Mexican War begins.

1846 (July)— U.S. acquires Oregon Territory from Great Britain.

1846— Elias Dennis elected Illinois State Senator.

1847 (May 4)— Jack Slade and brothers enlist in Illinois Foot Volunteers to serve in Mexican War.

1847 (July)— Mormons settle on Great Salt Lake, Utah.

1847 (September)— Slade’s regiment arrives in occupied Santa Fe. N.M.

1847 (Sept. 14)— General Winfield Scott’s army occupies Mexico City, effectively ending Mexican War.

1848 (Jan. 24)— Gold discovered at Sutter’s Fort, California.

1848 (Feb. 9)— Jack Slade’s older brother Richard dies of disease at Santa Fe, N.M.

1848 (Feb. 9)— Slade’s Company A moves from Santa Fe to Albuquerque.

1848 (Oct. 16)— Slade honorably discharged as private at Alton, Ill.

1849 (April)— Slade departs from Carlyle, Ill. for California.

1850 (Sept. 9)— California joins the Union as a free state.

1850 (Oct. 29)— Slade listed in Carlyle census as a miller, age 19, living with stepfather Elias S. Dennis.

1850— Slade heads west again with other young men from Carlyle along Overland Trail toward Oregon.

1851— First mail route between California and Salt Lake.

1853 (Aug-Sept.)— Legal documents suggest Slade may have been in Arlington, Va., designating power of attorney to his stepfather to act in disposing of residue of Slade’s father’s estate.

1854— Slade contacted by his family at new town of Leavenworth, Kan.

1854— William Magraw and John Hockaday get U.S. mail contract for Independence to Salt Lake route.

1854 (Dec. 28)— Russell, Majors & Waddell form freighting partnership.

1855— Kansas civil war begins.

1855 (March 27)— War Department gives Russell, Majors & Waddell two-year monopoly freighting contract for supplying posts west of Missouri River.

1856 (Summer)— U.S. mail contract for Central Overland route to Salt Lake City taken from Magraw and Hockaday and given to a Mormon contractor, Hiram Kimball.

1857 (March 12)— Slade’s stepfather Elias S. Dennis named U.S. marshal for Kansas, based at Leavenworth.

1857— First mail service to California launched by George Chorpenning and John Hockaday.

1857 (May-June)— U.S. Army force formed to proceed against Mormons in Utah.

1857 (Sept.)— U.S. Army force invades Utah.

1857 (Sept. 16)— U.S. Postmaster General Aaron V. Brown  chooses Southern route for transcontinental mail, awards contract to John Butterfield’s Overland Mail Co.

1857-58 (winter)— In absence of reliable U.S. government mail service during Mormon rebellion, Army establishes its own mail service between Fort Leavenworth and Fort Laramie.

1858 (Mar. 1)— Slade’s stepfather Elias S. Dennis removed as U.S. marshal for Kansas.

1858 (May 1)— John M. Hockaday & Co. awarded a 2 1/2-year U.S. mail contract for weekly service on the Central route between Missouri River and Salt Lake City— 1,200 miles distance.

1858 (July)— Gold discovered in Pike’s Peak region (later Colorado).

1858 (Aug.- Dec.)— Slade leads mammoth Hockaday & Co. supply train from Atchison toward Salt Lake.

1858 (Sept. 15)— Butterfield Overland Mail Service to California begins operating along Southern “ox-bow” route.

1858 (Nov.)— Mining camp of Denver established near Pike’s Peak.

1858 (Dec. 3)— Valley Tan letter dispatch Dec. 5 says mail left South Pass Dec. 3 in charge of Wm. Ashton, the agent. This suggests Slade became agent after this date but before Feb. 23, 1859  (see below).

1858 (Dec. 4)— Slade’s supply train from Atchison to Salt Lake stops for winter at Horseshoe station (later Wyoming).

1859 (early Feb.)— Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express Co. formed by William Russell, John Russell and John S. Jones.

1859 (Feb.)— Slade in charge of Hockaday mail line between Horseshoe station and Salt Lake City.

1859 (March 8)— Postmaster General Aaron V. Brown, architect of six mail routes to Calif., dies suddenly. Successor Joseph Holt, seeking to cut costs, reduces mail service on Hockaday line from weekly to semi-monthly as of July 1.

1859 (April 18)— Jones & Russell’s Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express Co. makes first stagecoach run from Leavenworth through Kansas Territory to Denver.

1859 (May 11)— Jones, Russell & Co. acquire Hockaday’s Central Overland contract to transport U.S. mail from St. Joseph, Mo., to Salt Lake City. Slade retained as a division agent.

1859 (May 20)— Slade, suppressing mutiny by drunken teamsters at Green River, shoots and kills teamster Andrew Ferrin.

1859 (late June)— Russell & Jones abandon previous Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak stage route (through Kansas) to Denver and sends coaches to Denver by way of Hockaday’s route: through Fort Kearny and Julesburg. Station built at Julesburg; new superintendent Beverly D. Williams appoints Jules Beni stationkeeper there.

1859 (Summer)— Some 100,000 gold-seekers come to Colorado, most along Overland Trail.

1859 (Oct. 28)— Jones & Russell’s bankrupt Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express Co. taken over by Central Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Co., newly created by Russell, Majors & Waddell. Ben Ficklin succeeds Beverly Williams as general superintendent of COC&PP, puts Slade in charge of 500-mile division from Julesburg to South Pass; instructs Slade to clean bandits from the line.

1859 (Dec. 2)— Abraham Lincoln speaks in Atchison, Kansas Territory; Slade in group that met with him at Massasoit House.

1860 (Jan.)— Preparing for Pony Express to California, Ficklin reorganizes Central Overland line into five divisions, with Slade in charge of Sweetwater Division between Fort Kearny and Horseshoe, covering about 400 miles.

1860 (Jan. 27)— Pony Express announced by Russell.

1860 (Feb.)— COC&PP Charter granted by Kansas legislature. Ficklin admitted as incorporator, due to his cleanup job on the line, with Slade’s help.

1860 (Feb.-Mar.)— In 60 days, stations constructed for 1,900-mile Pony Express route from St. Joseph, Mo, to Sacramento, Cal. Slade takes charge of building stations, assigning riders, distributing stock from Fort Kearney to Horseshoe station.

1860 (about March 15)— Slade ambushed and left for dead by Jules Beni at Julesburg. Beni flees the area.

1860 (April 3)— Pony Express inaugurated.

1860 (mid April)— After suffering from wounds for several weeks, Slade transported to St. Louis for surgical assistance.

1860 (May or June)— Slade returns from St. Louis. Ficklin extends Slade’s jurisdiction westward, from Julesburg to Pacific Springs, a domain of more than 500 miles.

1860 (July 1)— Ficklin leaves Pony Express after quarrel with William Russell.

1860 (August 14)— Sir Richard Burton spends night at Horseshoe station, mentions Slade “living with two ladies of disagreeable mien, one his wife.”

1860 (Dec.)— Freighting firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell seeks bankruptcy protection; its lines taken over by freighting firms of Ben Holladay and Wells, Fargo & Co.

1860 (Dec. 29)— John B. Floyd fired as U.S. Secretary of War.

1860-61 (winter): Slade’s men kill John Sarah, wife and three children; Slades adopt Sarah’s surviving son Jemmy.

1861 (Jan.): Pacific Telegraph Co. incorporated in Nebraska; Overland Telegraph Co. incorporated in California, with Ben Ficklin among incorporators.

1861 (Feb. 28)— Colorado Territory created.

1861 (April 14)— Civil War begins with fall of Fort Sumter, S.C.

1861 (April 26)— Russell resigns as president of Central Overland California and Pike’s Peak Express Co. following bankruptcy of Russell, Majors & Waddell. Succeeded by Bela M. Hughes of St. Joseph, cousin of Ben Holladay, signaling Holladay’s ascent.

1861 (May 24)— Overland telegraph lines from east reach Julesburg.

1861 (July)— Central Overland stagecoach service increased to daily frequency.

1861 (Aug. 2)— Mark Twain (then Samuel Clemens) and brother Orion Clemens visit Slade at Rocky Ridge station.

1861 (August)— Slade captures killers Henry Bacon and Harry Smith about 15 miles below Independence Rock (now Wyoming).

1861 (late August)— Jules Beni killed by Slade (or Slade’s men) at Cold Spring station (now Wyoming).

1861 (late August)— Telegraph line completed between Julesburg and Slade’s headquarters at Horseshoe station.

1861 (Oct. 24)— Pony Express discontinued with completion of telegraph line to California.

1861-62— Severe winter causes delays on stagecoach schedule.

1862 (Mar. 1-Apr. 10)— Sioux Indians raid stage stations from North Platte Bridge (present site of Casper, Wyo.) to Green River (west of Slade’s division).

1862 (Mar. 21)— Ben Holladay buys C.O.C. & P.P. at auction for $100,000. Changes name to Overland Stage by Aug. 14, 1862.

1862 (March 23)— Sioux Indians make first appearance on Slade’s division, raiding station at Horse Creek and at Platte River Bridge station.

1862 (April 1)— Sioux attack station at Red Buttes (Slade’s division).

1862 (April 16-19)— Sioux attack armed coach at Plante’s Station, Split Rock, Sweetwater Bridge and Green River stations. Brig. Gen. James Craig declares martial law along Overland route.

1862 (April 24)— Sioux again attack Red Buttes station; travel on Central Overland suspended.

1862 (early June)— Ben Holladay visits Horseshoe and tells Slade he’s considering moving Overland line to the south.

1862 (mid-June)— After Slade restores stations and gathers lost mail, stage operations resume.

1862 (July 8)— Ben Holladay issues order to abandon North Platte stage route for Cherokee Trail route to the south. Slade appointed division agent for 226-mile stretch from Latham (and later to Denver) and then just beyond Elk Mountain, Wyoming. Builds headquarters at central spot he names Virginia Dale.

1862 (July 16)— Salt Lake Deseret News calls Slade “the terror of all the settlers between Pacific Springs and Julesburg.”

1862 (July 21)— Mail service begins on new Cherokee Trail route after 20-day interruption for changeover.

1862 (July)— Fort Halleck constructed (in present southern Wyoming) to protect travel on new mail route.

1862 (Aug. 15)— Letter to Sacramento Union says, “We need a dozen Slades on the route.”

1862 (Oct. 15)— Slade and three of his men go on spree at Sanderson’s store in Laporte, Colo.

1862 (early Nov.)— Slade shoots up Sutler’s store at Fort Halleck. U.S. Army Cavalry pursues Slade to Denver, where he is arrested and jailed. Ben Holladay’s lawyer negotiates Slade’s release with the promise that the company would discharge him from his duties.

1862 (Nov. 15): Overland Stage Co. dismisses Slade.

1862 (late fall-early spring 1863)— Slade returns to Carlyle, Ill., for a visit.

1863 (Feb. 23)- Slade indicted in absentia by Colorado grand jury for Oct. 1862 saloon spree in Laporte.

1863 (spring)— Slades move west to Fort Bridger, where he sets up as contract freighter with John Ely.

1863 (Mar. 3)— Idaho Territory created out of what was formerly huge Washington territory. Includes present-day Montana and Wyoming.

1863 (May 26)— Bill Fairweather and prospecting party strike gold in Alder Gulch, Idaho Territory (now Montana).

1863 (June)— Slade and wife set out at head of small freighting outfit for Alder Gulch, arrive late June or early July.

1863 (summer)— Slade locates dairy ranch (Ravenswood) and builds toll road on second ranch (Spring Dale), both east of Virginia City, Idaho Territory (now Montana).

1863 (Sept. 24)— Slade heads expedition to retrieve goods from steamer stranded at the mouth of the Milk River— about 350 miles from Virginia City.

1863 (Dec. 7)— Masonic lodge organized in Virginia City.

1863 (Dec. 10)— Slade’s Milk River freighting party returns safely to Virginia City; Slade nets sizeable profit.

1863 (Dec. 19-21)— George Ives tried and executed at Nevada City for murder of Nicholas Tiebalt.

1863 (Dec. 20)— First meeting of Virginia City Vigilance Committee.

1863 (Dec. 23)— Second vigilance committee formed at Nevada City.

1864 (Jan. 4)— First Vigilante executions.

1864 (Jan. 10)— Vigilantes hang Bannack district sheriff Henry Plummer and two deputies.

1864 (Jan. 14)— Vigilantes hang five alleged road agents in Virginia City.

1864 (about Jan. 15)— People’s Court established in Virginia City; Alexander Davis chosen as judge.

1864 (Feb. 1)— Vigilante posse spends night at Slade’s ranch before capturing and hanging Bill Hunter, last of road agents executed by Vigilantes (Feb. 3).

1864 (Mar. 8-10)— Slade goes on two-day binge in Virginia City.

1864 (Mar. 10)— Slade hanged in Virginia City by Vigilante posse from Nevada City.

1864 (May 26)— Montana Territory created.

1864 (July 20)— Slade buried “temporarily” at Great Salt Lake City Cemetery, Utah.

1865 (March 22)— Virginia Slade marries Jim Kiskadden at her home in Virginia City.

1865 (April 5)— John R. Rockfellow deeds Ravenswood ranch in Montana back to Virginia Slade Kiskadden for $850.

1865 (Apr. 8)— Civil War ends with surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.

1866 (Oct. 27)— Final settlement of Slade’s estate. Lawyers pay $305.91 to Kiskadden , apparently unaware that his wife has already left him.

1868 (Oct. 29)— Kiskadden divorces Virginia Slade.

1869 (May 10)— Transcontinental railroad completed at Promontory Point, Utah.

1869 (Aug. 15)— Kiskadden marries Asenath (Annie) Adams in Clark County, Mo.

1870 (June 8)— Virginia Slade marries James Reed in St. Louis.

1871 (Aug. 17)— Slade’s mother, Mary Dark Dennis, divorces Elias S. Dennis in Carlyle, Ill.

1872— Mark Twain’s Roughing It fixes Slade’s reputation as a legendary desperado.

1873 (Jan. 16)— Slade’s mother, Mary Dark Dennis, dies in Carlyle, Ill., age 73.

1887 (Feb. 21)— Vigilante leader James Williams, Slade’s executioner, commits suicide near Virginia City, Mont.

1890 (March 12)— Slade’s widow last heard from in Chicago.

1894 (Dec. 17)— Slade’s stepfather Elias Dennis dies, Carlyle, Ill.

1911 (Dec. 4)— Slade’s youngest sister, Virginia, dies in Carlyle, Ill.

1917 (April 5)— Slade’s half-brother Elias Dennis Jr., last surviving sibling, dies.

1921 (July 22)— Jules Beni’s widow, Adeline Beckstead, dies, Bellevue, Neb.

Webmaster:  Dan Rottenberg, Philadelphia, PA     Contact Us:  Email  Website