The Pony Express

by | Apr 2, 2023 | History | 0 comments


Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily.

Orphans preferred.

Wages $25 per week.

On April 3, 1860, a rider set out from St. Joseph, Missouri, heading west. At the exact time, roughly one thousand eight hundred miles away, another rider left Sacramento, California, heading east. Both, on the same mission, to deliver the mail. Ten days later, the rider from St. Joseph arrived in Sacramento and the Pony Express had completed its first run. 

Created by William H. Russell, William Bradford Waddell, and Alexander Majors, the Pony Express had around 150 relay stations spanning across the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. Most riders were between 100-125 pounds, with the average age being 20. Though some were as young as 14. The riders rode 10 to 15 miles to the next relay station, switch horses within less than a minute and continue their journey. Once they completed 75 to 100 miles, they were rewarded with a cot and a meal while another rider continued the journey. 

To mail a package with the Pony Express wasn’t cheap. The starting cost was $5 for every half-ounce. The cost eventually was reduced to $1 but was still expensive for the time period. The Pony Express lasted until it’s final ride in October 1861. By then, the Western Union transcontinental telegraph line was completed and made the Pony Express and it’s riders obsolete.  


Would you have the courage to ride for the Pony Express?


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