10-horse freight outfit – R. & J. Reynolds collection

“Freighting” became an important occupation. The man who wished to engage in it must be a considerable capitalist, for the heavy wagons, constructed especially for the purpose, were expensive, and strong, well-broken mules were required. Eight, ten, twelve, and sometimes eighteen or twenty mules or horses were used as motive power for the “outfit.” The wagons were carefully packed, and often carried thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. The driving of one of these “freighters” over the mountains and deserts required forethought, prompt action, and good judgment. There was always danger from the Utes. Apaches and other Indians. The heat and the cold, the alkali dust, the blinding glare of the sun upon the desert sands, thirst and hunger—all of these tested to the uttermost the physical and mental powers of the teamsters.

Ingersoll’s century annals of San Bernadino County, 1769-1904