Pony Express Essay

Submitted By ljim579
Words: 1164
Pages: 5

Pony Express
Laura Jimenez
History 1301
4/25/11

Pony Express The Pony Express was founded by William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, and Alexander Majors. They wanted to help develop a faster communication style with the west and were jumpstarted by the threat of the Civil war. The Pony Express consisted of relays of men riding horses carrying saddlebags of mail across a 2000-mile trail. The whole event lasted only about eighteen months and was not over all successful. I chose this topic because it caught my attention with the name. I had remembered hearing about it before but I could not recall exactly what it was so I wanted to learn more about something I was not too familiar with. It sounded even more interesting to me when I found out how the system worked with horses as mail carriers. I found my information half through the main site Google and half through our library databases. The sites included in those were ponyexpress.org/history, stjoemo.info/-history/ponyexpress.cfm, ezp.tccd.edu:2255/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountTyp, and sfmuseum.org/his-t1/pxpress.html. The Pony Express came into existence a short time before the Civil War. The stagecoaches, which were in charge of the delivery of mail, took twenty days which seemed like an eternity, so three men : William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, and Alexander Majors made preparations for a revealing of the new service. They put everything together in a two month period. Six hundred broncos, especially chosen for their fleetness, toughness and endurance, were purchased. Seventy-five men, none of them weighing over one hundred and ten pounds, and all preferably under the age of eighteen, were engaged as riders, being selected on account of their bravery, their capacity for deprivation and their horsemanship. They were also chosen for their shooting abilities and their knowledge of the craft and the manner of attack of the Indians. Alexander Majors was a religious man and provided each rider with a Bible and made each rider take an oath stating "While I am the employ of A. Majors, I agree not use profane language, not to get drunk, not to gamble, not to treat animals cruelly and not to do anything else that is incompatible with the conduct of a gentleman. And I agree, if I violate any of the above conditions, to accept my discharge without any pay for my services." Henry Wallace, one of the chosen riders, was selected for the signal honor of starting off the Pony Express on April 3, 1960. Night and day it had been carried forward without ceasing. Mail was wrapped in oiled silk for protection and placed in the pockets of a specially designed saddle cover called a mochila. A rider would pick it from his predecessor and ride forth sixty miles at top speed to the point where his "relief" awaited him, to pick up the mochilla (or saddlebag) and start off in turn upon his sixty mile stretch. When horse or rider switches were made, the mochila was whipped off of one saddle and tossed onto the next one. Six hour were given each of these riders for his sixty mile stretch, and in this time he rode six different ponies. This very first trip took only ten days which was a tremendous hit to all. It was not exactly overnight, but perhaps overpriced for the time, at $5 a half-ounce. Each day, except Sunday, a messenger left St. Joseph at noon, another coming east from Sacramento at eight o'clock in the morning. Eventually, the Pony Express had more than 100 stations, 80 riders, and between 400 and 500 horses. The pony riders could cover up to two hundred and fifty miles in a twenty four hour period. The Express route was extremely hazardous, but throughout this eighteen month period only one rider was killed by hostile Indians and only one mail delivery was ever lost. The service lasted only about eighteen months until around November of 1861. The riders had covered over 600,000 miles. The fastest delivery time recorded for the Pony Express was seven…