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STANT RHEA STAGE STAND. The Stant Rhea Stage Stand was on U.S. Highway 87 about 7 ½ miles south of Hale Center in Hale County, on a branch line of the Amarillo-Estacado mail route, which led from Plainview to Lubbock via Hale Center. Early settlers in the area kept in touch with the world by picking up mail at railheads. Federal mail delivery to post offices in the area began when W. L. Tharp took a route from the new railhead of Amarillo to Plainview and Estacado in July and August 1888. There were no roads, and the trip took Tharp six days. But about 1889 Wiley H. Fuqua of Amarillo, who had a new mail contract, laid off a route with several stations including one at Plainview. Fuqua added passenger service. After tiring of the arduous service, he disposed of the line. About 1890 the line was purchased by Stant Rhea and Robert Montgomery. Although it is not known when or why Montgomery sold out, Rhea became sole owner and carried the mail for nineteen years. Sidney Stanton (Stant) Rhea (1862–1922) is remembered as a small, wiry man with red hair who drove wild Spanish mules hitched to a buckboard or carriage. At first he made the 240-mile round trip from Amarillo to the Hale County area three times a week. With later route changes and better roads he did so daily. At the site of the stage stand Rhea had a mule corral and dugout. The dugout was used by stage passengers and mail patrons as a waiting place. Until rails were built into Lubbock in 1909 and made the route obsolete, the Stant Rhea Stage Stand was important to the South Plains.

Mary L. Cox, History of Hale County, Texas (Plainview, Texas, 1937). Claude W. Dooley, comp., Why Stop? (Odessa: Lone Star Legends, 1978; 2d ed., with Betty Dooley and the Texas Historical Commission, Houston: Lone Star, 1985).
Jeanne F. Lively

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Handbook of Texas Online, Jeanne F. Lively, "Stant Rhea Stage Stand," accessed November 22, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.