- Journal of SD History
The Jackass Mail—San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line
JAMES E. BIRCH
NOVEMBER 30, 1827 - SEPTEMBER 12, 1857
FOUNDER, SAN ANTONIO & SAN DIEGO MAIL
FIRST OVERLAND MAIL ARRIVES
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 31, 1857-The first Overland mail from the East arrived here today under the contract between the Government and James Birch.
The mails left San Antonio on July 9 and 24, with the second mail making the trip in 34 days.
J. E. Mason, in charge of the mails, left San Antonio with four men on July 9. The time for preparation was too short to send relays of mules on ahead, but at El Paso they took an ambulance. They had gotten as far as Cienga de Sang when they were overtaken by the second party in charge of Capt. James Skillman, who came in an ambulance for the entire distance.
The two parties then proceeded together as far as the Pino villages. There Mason took both mails, and with one companion pushed on with pack mules.
They made the trip to San Diego in the unequalled time of nine days across the worst part of the route, including the Colorado desert.
Plenty of water was found along the entire route. On the 80 miles stretch of desert from Tuscon to the Gila River water was found in three or four places in sufficient quantities to supply hundreds of animals.
The boxed news item printed above first appeared as a notice in a San Diego paper announcing the first westbound overland mail arriving over the "Jackass Mail" line.
SAN ANTONIO AND SAN DIEGO MAIL ROUTE
Notice is hereby given that, on or about the 6th day of March, A.D. 1858, all the interest of the Estate of the late James E. Birch in and to the Mail Contract with the U.S. Post Office Department between San Antonio, Texas and San Diego, California, was sold and transferred to the firm of G. H. Giddings & Co., and the said estate will not be responsible for any debts in any manner contracted in respect of said contract from said date.
All debts now due for the same will be presented to said firm of G. H. Giddings & Co., at their office, San Diego, for settlement, in pursuance of an agreement between the parties.
JULIA A. B. BIRCH,
(Admtrx. of said estate.)
GEO H. GIDDINGS & CO.,
Sacramento, May 17th, 1858, j12-4
Public notice in Galveston, Texas paper announcing transfer of ownership of Son Antonio-San Diego mail route, May 17, 1858the "Jackass Mail."
Page 18. Figure 1. Cover mailed at San Francisco, Nov. 21, 1859, and directed over the San Diego and San Antonio Line.
Page 19. Figure 2. A stampless cover from Philadelphia to Benicia, California, and forwarded to Fort Yuma-via San Diego.
Page 20. Figure 3. Forwarded to Fort Yuma from Benicia-via San Diego.
Page 20. Figure 4. A letter from the editor of the "Alta California" newspaper.