Kay County Stage Coach Driver
In Gueda Springs, Kansas, at a small local cemetery, stands a tombstone of one of the most well-known figure in early Blackwell, Kildare history, Stage Coach driver Bryan M. Terrill.
He was born August 16, 1838 in Colorado and at an early age got his first driving job on a small mountain stage line. In 1888 he came to Kansas where he drove the stage from Leavenworth to Lawrence, then the political center of the state. Then he drove to Topeka and the railroad crowded him out to Emporia. The railroad pushed him on to Cottonwood falls and then to El Dorado and Newton and finally he came to Wichita as a superintendent of the Tisdales Stage Line, interest in the southwest. In Wichita, the stage company entered into a four year contract with the government to make trips by stage to Fort Sill, at a rate of l0 miles an hour. Mr. Terrill made many of these trips and the Indians were troublesome along the way.
Once he was turned back just south of Caldwell, Kansas by a band of hostile Indians, forbidding him to cross into Indian Territory. When the country got to civilized for him, Mr. Terrill went to Arizona where he distinguished himself by cleaning out a band of stage robbers, and was elected sheriff.
When the Cherokee strip was opened he was on hand and established a stage line between Blackwell and Kildare. From 1893 to 1898, he drove the stage out of Blackwell, taking people to the near rail point at Kildare. When the railroad came to Blackwell in 1898, the stage driver went to Arkansas City and established an old fashion stage line to Gueda Springs. In the summer when there were lots of people at the springs, he did well. He made trips every day with his four horse team and old-fashioned stage. He soon became in poor health and the thirst of adventure had left him. At the age of 65, on January 29, 1902, probably the oldest stage driver in the west, he passed away.
On the day of his death, the following newspapers said many of great things about this once well-known stage driver:
The Arkansas City Traveler: "He was in every sense of the word a stage driver and in fact knew but little else. He was the pioneer in the business in this country. It is said that he couldn't hitch up a team and couldn't get all the various straps and buckles in their proper places to save him, but let him get on the seat with the reins of two, four, six or eight horse team and a long whip in his hand and he was perfectly at home. "
The Wichita Eagle: "All of the old settlers knew Terrill and practically all of the distinguished pioneers of Kansas rode with him. He drove Horace Greely, Jim Lane, Henry M. Stanley, the African explorer, General Sherman, Justice Brewer and practically all the territorial officers of Kansas. Such men as Terrill were the great factors in the civilization of the west. They were a peculiar type of men that the younger generation know little of. They were the heralds of the passing events along the line as well as the larger news of the day and their arrival was looked for much more eagerly than the arrival of a train."
Bryan Terrill's Grave in Gueda Springs
So the next time you are in the Arkansas City area, take a little trip to Gueda Springs, northwest of the city and visit Bryan Terrill's grave site. His brief five years in Kay county helped in many ways. His stage line was the backbone to the citizens of both Blackwell and Kildare.