Wednesday, April 01, 2009
An ATC in honor of the Pony Express. Before the telegraph, the Pony Express relay riders provided the quickest mail transport between Missouri and California - making the ride in just 10 days. Those good little horses were changed every 12 to 15 miles, over a distance of 1800 miles.
The Pony Express Overland Mail Service debuted on April 3, 1860. There is a National Historic Trail in honor of these riders, and the National Park Service site has photos and a history from the trail.
The Pony Express was in operation for just 18 months, but its impact on American popular culture remains.
The Library of Congress has a life history of George A. Stiers, who rode for the Pony Express as a young man, then went on to work as a scout for the federal government, and after that as a hand with different outfits in Colorado and Texas. He joined the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, made a couple of movies, and also performed on the Vaudeville circuit. Here he is describing a horse he liked to ride when he was working for one of the Colorado cattle outfits:
"Bud Roberts had a buckskin hoss that looked like a chunk of dog meat rolled in some hoss hide but it had the running works and the guts to do it. There were several hosses around there that folks thought could run and we had several races during the spell we stayed there getting the herd together. Sleepy, that was the hoss's name..."
Here is an engraving that shows the Pony Express rider passing the telegraph linemen. When the telegraph line was complete between California and Missouri, the Pony Express ended.