What was the average distance between stops on a stagecoach journey through the frontier in 19c USA?
First of all one must realize the western reaches of "the frontier" were not so far west as one might think. Few people were west of the Mississippi river prior to the Civil War.
Most folks lived in rural areas, some 85% of the population was outside of the cities living an agrarian lifestyle.
Also most people never traveled more than twenty miles from the farms they were born on in their entire lifetimes.
Those who did travel were likely sales agents, lawyers or military officers transferring to new posts. Most folks had no reason to travel and very little money ever, bartering for goods & services was very common in lieu of cash transactions.
When average folks traveled they did so on foot or with a two wheeled ox cart, the ox being much more common than horses prior to the Civil War.
Roads were very few and usually in deplorable condition with very few bridges.
I once lived an a house which I rented in Caneadea New York, built in the 1820's. It had been a stagecoach stop in those days and still bore a small tin sign over the door with the name of the stage line. It was just a simple farmhouse in the Federal style. I researched what I could about stage lines then and found most stops were nothing more than farmhouses for the most part, perhaps here and there a tavern but most stops were simply houses that happened to be along the route. This one was (and still is today) on the Genesee river. For the most part the few roads that did exist then were improved (somewhat) indian trails and most followed rivers. I was able to determine that stage stops were usually about 12 miles apart, that's it, just twelve miles a day was the norm then.
I found what I could mostly in town and county historical society books on early histories.
Thanks for your reply, Bluesman.
I'm from Australia and we had stage coach lines here in the 19th C. too. The most well known being Cobb & Co. But it was nothing like the network that existed in the USA.
I appreciate the response.