riding shotgun

Bethany K. Dumas dumasb at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU
Sun Apr 11 18:15:22 UTC 2004

All over the web there are sites that suggest that "riding shotgun" was
wagon behavior - see:


"Express companies often hired a special messenger armed with a
six-shooter or sawed-off shotgun to ride atop a stagecoach alongside the
driver to guard valuable shipments of gold and silver Ð hence the origin
of the term Òto ride shotgun.Ó One of IdahoÕs last stagecoach robberies
took place in 1884 on a lonely stretch of the Kelton/Boise road near the
town of Hailey."

Deadwood Magazine, Black Hills, SD
1800s rules for stage passengers

"Until the railroad steamed into Deadwood in late 1890, travelers came
into the narrow gulch by wagon, on foot or on horseback, or as passengers
in Concord stagecoaches, relatively comfortable transportation for the
time. Coaches, suspended on leather straps that served as springs, swayed
like a ship, sometimes causing seasickness for passengers crammed inside.
Up to nine passengers could be seated inside the coach while second class
travelers rode on top, along with baggage. The guard Òriding shotgunÓ
shared the seat with the driver who skillfully handled the reins for four
or six-horse teams."

It would be interesting to know what date the term started being used for
that sense.


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