The First ‘Member’ of the Guadalupe Pass Club

Ever heard of Waterman L. Ormsby?

By T. Lindsay BakerMarch 16, 2016 10:53 am

I like to think that there’s a sort of club – it consists of people who’ve been over the Guadalupe Pass, west of the Pecos, and just south of of the New Mexico line.

One of the early members of this club was Waterman L. Ormsby. He was there in 1858 as the only through passenger on the first westbound stagecoach of the Butterfield Overland Mail.

The route connected St. Louis on the Mississippi with San Fransisco on the Pacific. About 2800 miles by stagecoach. The trip over the The Guadalupe Pass was the high point in both elevation and in experience for Ormsby during his transcontinental journey.

The route to the Pinery Stagecoach Station at the crest of the Guadalupe Pass over 5600 feet in elevation was exceedingly steep and rough. Ormsby complained, “We were obliged actually to beat our mules with rocks to make them go the remaining five miles to the station!”

Any club member who has crossed the Guadalupe Pass, and who too has marveled at its wild beauty much acknowledge that Waterman L. Ormsby be counted as a charter member of our non-exclusive club.

Lindsay Baker is an author and professor of history at Tarlton State University. He joins The Standard as a production of KTRL – Tarleton Public Radio.