Bridget

Bridget and bustling Phoenix

Bridget loved watching the bustling streets of Phoenix in the 1890s. Her driver often directed her to park the wagon she pulled behind the Wells Fargo office at the start of the day.

Bridget would turn herself around and position herself so that she faced the street and could see everything. Street cars powered by electricity, not horses, rolled by with a clamor. But teams of horses still pulled the stagecoach from Prescott that arrived at the Wells Fargo office. Once her wagon was filled with deliveries, Bridget would start walking about town where she was a familiar sight to people in Phoenix.

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Phoenix, Arizona, 1885. Driving through Phoenix today you may not see the canals of water shown in this early map. But they are still there, and still provide an important function in getting Phoenix the water it needs.
A knock on the kitchen door brought fresh butter delivered from the back of her wagon, an important ingredient in a city where dairy spoiled quickly. Local merchants looked forward to her stopping at their stores to deliver bags of dimes and change for the cash register. The canals of Phoenix made the city and surrounding areas ripe for growing citrus and cantaloupe. Farmers would drop off crops that she would take to the railroad depot to feed people in distant towns.
Stagecoach arrives out front of the Wells Fargo office in Phoenix, 1895. How would you describe the differences between the wagon Bridget pulled and the stagecoach she watched arrive?

It was customary for wagon drivers to put a hitch weight down when leaving a wagon unattended. The 20 lb block of iron set on the ground kept the horse from wandering far. Bridget’s driver knew he didn’t need a hitch weight. He would “turn her loose to go every place,” because he trusted Bridget to know her job and to do it well. Her intelligence and willingness to work made her a valued part of the Wells Fargo team, and earned her extra treats.

As Phoenix continued to grow, Wells Fargo brought a second horse and wagon into the business in 1896. Bridget was a great role model for her new co-worker. She demonstrated the importance of working hard to get business done for customers.

Illustration of a Wells Fargo horse at work making a delivery, 1910s.

A fun coloring/activities book

Bridget Activity Book

Read about Bridget’s adventures delivering gold and packages to Wells Fargo customers back in 1898.

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