New book on local history of stagecoaches


Following in his path of popular previously written historical works, local author Nelson William Rex has just released a new book on stagecoaches in Monroe County.

The book, which details the stagecoach as an important means of transportation in the days before motor vehicles, features 100 pages of information and photographs that Rex has gathered.

Being a big fan of Westerns and a long-time attendee of Western functions in St. Louis, Rex looked into the history of stagecoaches in Monroe County.

“You have to go back into the history,” he said. “Years ago, when people came out to this region, stagecoaches were the way to go.”

In the book, titled “Stagecoaches! The Monroe County Connection,” Rex explores everything from types of stagecoaches to what a journey would be like inside one.

The book takes the reader on a journey that begins with the wheel and goes into various trails across the United States, stagecoach drivers, horses and other local connections.

Nelson William Rex

“People had to get here somehow,” Rex said.

The book shows the struggles of traveling through dust, heat, rain, mud, snow, ice and all the other hazards of moving around in a stagecoach in the 1800s.

Rex researched stagecoach movements in the St. Louis area using libraries and city hall archives in Columbia, Waterloo, Springfield and St. Louis.

“This book will appeal a lot to the older generation,” Rex said. “It’s cool to see how Waterloo got its beginnings.”

Many families in the region may have come to Monroe County and the surrounding area in stagecoaches back in the day, and this book can help them learn more about the journeys their relatives may have taken, Rex said.

“It’s a journey back in time…one that can show people what happened years ago,” he said. “People need to know what was going on back then and how it differs from this area in this day and age.”

The book can be purchased for $25 at the Republic-Times office at 205 W. Mill Street in Waterloo, or at the Peterstown House — once a stagecoach stop along the Kaskaskia Trail — 275 N. Main Street in Waterloo.

These books can also be ordered by adding $5 for shipping and handling, with checks made payable to Nelson William Rex, 8219 Gall Road, Waterloo.

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