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Waddington Historical Society

A Small Town with a Big History

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Go West Young Man- History of Hank Monk

The Clark House, where the stagecoach was located,  was built in 1835 and was saved from the Wrecking Ball in 1990 and continues to go through renovations.   As early as 1838, Hank may have been taking passengers from this location to Massena, New York and beyond.  After his death, his brother George A. Monk was interviewed for the World's Fair in St. Louis because Hank's stage coach would be on exhibit.  He shared that Hank was anxious to head west with a whole crowd of young men from Louisville, Massena and Waddington.  While his mother objected, Hank left in 1852 . From the 1850's to early 1900, many young men from Waddington went West. 

Hank drove stagecoaches in California and Nevada, and became famous for the stagecoach run between Carson City and Virginia, working for more than 20 years.  He is mentioned in Chapter XX in Mark Twain's book entitled Roughing It.  Twain describes the wild ride that Monk led to get the editor of the New York Daily Tribune, Horace Greely, to a speech in Placerville.  The legend of Hank quickly spread across the west. His charm and stories led to many famous men in his coach, including Union Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman and President Rutherford B. Hayes.   He passed away of pneumonia in Carson City in 1883.   

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