American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, January 30, 1869
Adventure in a Stagecoach

by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr

  the timber, and also to determine whether it would pay to erect a mill upon the stream after which the hamlet took its name. I found hundreds of acres of as fine spruce timber as I had ever seen; and I furthermore found a spot where a mill could be safely put up. My company had not been the first to discover the value of the timber, nor to think of a mill. Three mills, at least, had been already erected there; but the heavy freshets of Spring and Autumn had swept them away. I had no thought of putting a mill upon the stream. No dam could have been raised that would withstand the power of those mountain freshets.

I looked for a good Fall, with a chance above it of running a canal inland to bring the water to a safe place. And such a Fall I found. I could not have asked for a better. I spent a week in my examination, and at the end of that time I had perfected my plans and designs, and I believed that before another twelve-month had passed we would be sending down from Hillbrook . . .


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    Hillbrook was about the smallest place to boast of a respectable hotel that I ever saw; but it happened in this way:  Before any railroad had been thought of in that section a line of stage coaches furnished the means of public conveyance between the two beautiful valleys—the east of the mountains, and the still richer that lay to the westward. The passage across the mountain range was through Jackson’s Notch; and here, at the eastern entrance, was Hillbrook. The stages from the east reached this place at night, meeting those from the west; so here passengers had to stop over until morning, when the coaches started on the return trip over their respective routes; and in the summer time there was much travel this way, and it required a good-sized hotel to accommodate the many passengers who were forced to spend the night at Hillbrook for the purpose of exchanging coaches in the morning.

It was late in the season when I arrived at Hillbrook. I had been sent up there to examine




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