THE EVENING NEWS
ALF. DOTEN, : : Editor and Proprietor.
GOLD HILL. : : TUESDAY, MARCH 28.1876
A Simple Story of a Simple Life.
Of all the stage-drivers who have drawn the strings over kyuse and mustang horses that no one but a Western man would think of harnessing, Hank Monk is probably the best known. Not that he is the best driver on the coast, for Hank is too modest to assert any such a thing, but circumstances and his fund of quiet humor have made him famous, and he was well known even before the big drive in which Horace Greeley was so reluctant a participant. Hank seldom speaks of this ride, and really does not consider it anything wonderful.
Hank Monk was born in the town of Waddington, St. Lawrence county, New York, March 24, 1826. He always had a fancy for horses, and once drove eight horses abreast in the city of Boston, upon the occasion of a great celebration. This was in his younger days, and at that time he regarded it as a great achievement.
Monk came to the Pacific Coast in 1852, and first drive the stage in California between Sacramento and Auburn, a distance of forty miles, for the California State Company, of which Burch & Hayward were then the managers. He afterward drove on the Placerville road into Sacramento, and in 1857came to Nevada. His first route here was between Genoa--at that time the metropolis of the State--and Placerville in California. J. V. Crandall was the proprietor of this road, and sold out to Brady & Sundland, who in turn disposed of their interest to Wells, Fargo & Co. Monk was driving all this time and continued until the stages were "hauled off." He drove for Billy Wilson between Carson and Virginia, and the fastest time made by him was one hour and eight minutes from the hotel door in Virginia to the Ormsby House in Carson. He has at different times driven to Steamboat Springs and Reno, and since those lines have discontinued has been on the Lake Tahoe line for Doc. Benton.
Hank never seems to be in much of a hurry, and some have gone so far as to say that he was not remarkable for his habits of industry, but however that may be no one ever yet rode with him who failed to get through "on time." Horace Greeley was no exception, and he always took his passengers down the grade at the same rate of speed, whether they were merchants, editors or tourists.
Many amusing stories are told of Hank, and the visitors who come to Carson are generally as curious to see Hank Monk and have him drive them to Lake Tahoe, as they are to see the lake itself. The time Horace Greeley rode with him he made the distance of 109 miles in ten hours, but Hank says he could have gone it in a much shorter time if the horses had been faster. The particulars of that drive he says, as given by Mark Twain, are not all correct.
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