It Used to Take 7 Hours to Go From Warrensburg to Clinton
It takes about 35-40 minutes to hop on Missouri 13 and go from Warrensburg to Clinton, but back in the day, it was an all-day journey.
The Warrensburg and Clinton Stage Line departed Warrensburg at 7:00 AM every morning for the journey to Clinton. And if you were looking to go the other way, you were going to have to be a very early riser, because that service departed Clinton at 4:00 AM every morning so people could connect with all trains of the Pacific Railroad going east and west. According to their advertisement in the July 4, 1886 edition of the Warrensburg Journal that's been posted by the Johnson Country Missouri Historical Society on their Facebook page.
That would put you in Clinton at 2:00 PM, and going to Warrensburg to catch the trains, at 11:00 AM. Of course even with the stage line's "New, four-horse, coaches, the most careful drivers, and the best of horses" I can't imagine how bumpy, hot, and arduous a journey it was between the two towns.
Proprietors of the Warrensburg and Clinton Stage Line, Cruce & Davis, seem very proud of their four-horse coaches, horses, and drivers. So much so that they proclaim they're "one of the best daily lines in the west."
Of course, the company didn't just take customers between Warrensburg and Clinton. From Clinton, one could go South and West to Oceola and Ft. Scott. From Warrensburg, one could head to Lexington.
So what was it like traveling by stagecoach back then? The Henry Ford.org website sheds some light on this along with some beautiful photos of stagecoaches in their collection.
Traveling by stagecoach wasn't easy. The public would travel in coaches in "stages" jostling along rough country roads with mail, freight, and other passengers. The coach would stop every few hours for fresh horses and passengers could find meals, lodging, and conversation at various Inns along the route. There was also discomfort, loneliness, and of course the ever-present danger of being robbed as well.
Eventually, the railroads would change long-distance travel, and today, the modern equivalent of the stagecoach, the bus, still in many cases requires one to travel in "stages" from your origin to your destination in just as much discomfort as the stagecoach, it just gets you there more quickly.
Luckily for us, if you own a car, you can get from Warrensburg to Clinton in minutes. And in seven hours or less, you can find yourself in the Quad Cities, Central Illinois, Dodge City, Norman, Hot Springs, Little Rock, or Memphis. And you'll never lose access to all the entertainment options on your phone or car's touch screen.