Hank Monk

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Hank Monk

Hank Monk (1830-1883) was a legendary stagecoach driver in the 19th century who drove a stage between Carson City and Placerville in the 1870s. He is mentioned in Chapter XX of Mark Twain's Roughing It.

Early life

Henry Monk was born in Waddington, New York in 1830. He always had a great fancy for horses, and once drove eight horses abreast in Boston, during a civic celebration.

Monk is believed to have started driving a stage for William Clark in New York state between Ogdensburg and Fort Covington at age 12.

He went to California in 1852 and began to drive stage between Sacramento and Auburn for the California Stage Company. Later he drove between Sacramento and Placerville.

In 1857 and thereafter he drove stage for J.B. Crandall between Placerville and genoa, Nevada. He continued to run when the line was bought in turn, by Brady and Sundland, and Wells Fargo and Company. He drove Nevada Stages for more than twenty years, notably between Carson City and Virginia City for "Billy" Wilson and between Carson City and Glenbrook for "Doc" Benton.

Death

He died of pneumonia in Carson City on February 28, 1883.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Roughing It This reminds me of a circumstance. Just after we left Julesburg, on the Platte, I was sitting with the driver, and he said:

"I can tell you a most laughable thing indeed, if you would like to listen to it. Horace Greeley went over this road once. When he was leaving Carson City he told the driver, Hank Monk, that he had an engagement to lecture at Placerville and was very anxious to go through quick. Hank Monk cracked his whip and started off at an awful pace. The coach bounced up and down in such a terrific way that it jolted the buttons all off of Horace's coat, and finally shot his head clean through the roof of the stage, and then he yelled at Hank Monk and begged him to go easier--said he warn't in as much of a hurry as he was awhile ago. But Hank Monk said, 'Keep your seat, Horace, and I'll get you there on time'--and you bet you he did, too, what was left of him!"

A day or two after that we picked up a Denver man at the cross roads, and he told us a good deal about the country and the Gregory Diggings. He seemed a very entertaining person and a man well posted in the affairs of Colorado. By and by he remarked:

"I can tell you a most laughable thing indeed, if you would like to listen to it. Horace Greeley went over this road once. When he was leaving Carson City he told the driver, Hank Monk, that he had an engagement to lecture at Placerville and was very anxious to go through quick. Hank Monk cracked his whip and started off at an awful pace. The coach bounced up and down in such a terrific way that it jolted the buttons all off of Horace's coat, and finally shot his head clean through the roof of the stage, and then he yelled at Hank Monk and begged him to go easier--said he warn't in as much of a hurry as he was awhile ago. But Hank Monk said, 'Keep your seat, Horace, and I'll get you there on time!'--and you bet you he did, too, what was left of him!"

References

  • Gold Hill News, March 28, 1876 reprinted in Sacramento Union, April 1 1876; J.A. Yerington, Stories of Hank Monk, Sunset, XLL, 24 November-28 November, 1903

External links