The Pony Express
“Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.”
Did you know:
- The Pony Express mail service was founded by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell.
- It was instrumental in establishing the state of California, keeping pioneers and prospectors in touch with the rest of the U.S.
- The company operated for only 19 months — between 1860 and 1861 — during which time it delivered approximately 35,000 letters.
- In the age before the telegraph, it was the fastest form of East-West communication.
- Stations were set about 10 miles apart along the Pony Express route to ensure that messages got from the Atlantic to the Pacific in about 10 days.
- The initial cost for mail was $5 per 1/2 oz, but this had dropped to $1 by 1861.
- The Pony Express began with 120 riders, 154 stations, 400 horses, and special saddlebags to quickly transfer mail between horses.
- Employees were required to swear an Oath of Good Conduct.
- At its peak, riders could not weigh more than 125 lbs, they changed every 75 to 100 miles, and rode day or night (sometimes for 20 hours at a time).
- The arrival of the transcontinental telegraph made the company obsolete.
- Buffalo Bill Cody claimed to have ridden for the Pony Express and kept its memory alive in his Wild West shows.
History, “Ten Things You May Not Know About the Pony Express” at http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-pony-express
Wikipedia, “Pony Express” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony_Express