The Pony Express was the first rapid transit and the first fast mail line across the North American continent from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast.
It was a system by means of which messages were carried swiftly on horseback across the plains and deserts, and over the mountains of the far West. It brought the Atlantic coast and the rapidly developing state of California ten days nearer to each other.
The Pony Express had only a brief existence, from April to October , when it was supplanted by the trans-continental telegraph. Yet it was of the greatest importance in binding the East and West together at a time when overland travel was slow and cumbersome, and when a great national crisis made the rapid communication of news between these sections an imperative necessity.
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The Pony Express marked the highest development in overland travel prior to the coming of the Pacific railroad, which it preceded by nine years. In fact, it proved the feasibility of a transcontinental road and demonstrated that such a line could be built and operated continuously the year around — a feat that had always been regarded as impossible.
The operation of the Pony Express was a supreme achievement of physical endurance on the part of man and his ever faithful companion, the horse.
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The history of this organization should be a lasting monument to the physical sacrifice of man and beast in an effort to accomplish something worthwhile. Its history should be an enduring tribute to American courage and American organizing genius. Language: English.
Published in: The goal was to provide a mail route from St. Joseph to California.
The Story of Pony Express | RealClearHistory
Averaging less than 10 days per run on the 2,mile route, traveling through the storms and heat of summer, and the snow and cold of winter, through American Indian lands, and rough terrain, the Pony Express became one of the West's most colorful stories. A pouch of letters dispatched from Washington and New York on March 31, , was transported by train to St. Joseph, and to be carried by a succession of riders on the trek west to Sacramento, California. Johnny Fry was one of nearly young men selected to take part in an ambitious endeavor.
Leaving from St. Joseph, Missouri, Fry would carry a mail pouch on the first leg of the Pony Express. Fry was scheduled to leave the station at 5 p.
The real story behind the Pony Express
April 3, , with his parcel, but the train delivering his pouch was delayed and he did not depart until p. At Elwood, Kansas, they followed the trail through the wooded bottoms, across the Kickapoo reservation, and to Seneca, where another rider and horse were ready to continue the trek. To ensure the fastest transport, Pony Express horses carried a maximum of pounds, which included the pound mochila and the rider whose weight could not exceed pounds.
Other items were a water sack, a horn to alert the station, a Bible, and two weapons: a revolver and optional rifle. Fresh horses were provided every 10 to 15 miles at stations along the trail.