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The Pony Express
#1
Quote:PONY EXPRESS©


One add for Pony Express riders reads: "Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily.  Orphans preferred."  They rode in inclement weather through the high plains, dark mountain passes, wasteland desert, forested terrain and Indian attack.  They were under constant threat of personal injury and sudden death, trail riding both day and night.  The Pony Express rider went without sleep as he rode a hundred miles or more at break-neck speeds.  His duty included a pledge that put the mail above all else including his horse, his health and even his life.  It took ten days at the most from East to West or West to East.  He crossed the plains, the desert, the mountains, gorges, valleys and rivers and did it with very little rest or food.  He was required to be young and slim of build and rawhide tough with a tenacious attitude and skilled with a gun. 

Pony Bob once rode 120 miles in 8 hours and 20 minutes with an Indian arrow through his jaw resulting in the loss of three teeth.  They were paid $25 a week at a time when most men were working for $1 a week.  Jack Keetley rode 340 miles in thirty-one hours without stopping to rest or eat and at the last stop he was taken from the saddle, sound asleep.  Average age of the Pony Express rider was 15 with the youngest being 11 years old.  They couldn’t be over 125 pounds and had to swear an oath not to use profane language, get drunk, gamble or treat animals cruelly and not to do anything else that is incompatible with the conduct of a gentleman.  When they were hired they were given a gun and a bible.

Billy Tate at age 14 was chased by a band of Piute Indians.  He rode into some rocks where he took cover and made his stand, he killed seven of his attackers before being killed himself.  He was found riddled with arrows but not scalped; this was out of respect for his bravery.  But the most famous of all Pony Express riders was William F. Cody or “Billy” as he was called until he went to work for the railroad and the military providing buffalo meat for their rations.  He started his job with the Pony Express at the age of 12.  He had learned his skill with horses and guns from the Kickapoo Indians where he grew up in Iowa Territory.  One time after finding that his relief rider had been killed he made a non-stop round trip ride of 322 miles, and he did it in 21 hours and 40 minutes using 21 horses.  This ride was done between Red Buttes Station and Rocky Ridge Station in Wyoming where he was assigned.  This was a record that was never broken. Buffalo Bill said that excitement was plentiful as a Pony Express rider.

The cost in 1860 to send a 1/2 ounce letter was $5.00 ($130 in 2012 U.S. dollars).  It was the quickest means of communication until the telegraph was established and put them out of business.  In the 18 month period that they operated, riders rode an estimated total of 650,000 miles.  During this time they averaged 80 riders that trotted, cantered, galloped or flat out ran at speeds between 10 to 25 miles an hour or better on a total of 400 horses on a trail that went from Missouri to California.  It was 1,900 miles long with stations averaging 15 miles apart and spanning a total of eight states.  The Pony Express grossed $90,000 and lost $200,000 in this time period.  Their losses were due to stations being burned and horses stolen by Indians, a cost they had not calculated.  However, in 1866 about 5 years after they had started, all assets were sold to Wells Fargo for 1.5 million dollars.  

Note: The Pony Express route roughly followed the Oregon Trail to Fort Bridger in Wyoming, and then the Mormon Trail known as Hastings Cutoff, to Salt Lake City, Utah.  From there it followed the Central Nevada Route to Carson City, Nevada, then over the Sierras and into Sacramento, California.

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#2
Hello My Friend @727Sky 


Once A Rogue, Always A Rogue!
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#3
(09-07-2021, 05:01 AM)727Sky Wrote:
Quote:PONY EXPRESS©


One add for Pony Express riders reads: "Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily.  Orphans preferred."  They rode in inclement weather through the high plains, dark mountain passes, wasteland desert, forested terrain and Indian attack.  They were under constant threat of personal injury and sudden death, trail riding both day and night.  The Pony Express rider went without sleep as he rode a hundred miles or more at break-neck speeds.  His duty included a pledge that put the mail above all else including his horse, his health and even his life.  It took ten days at the most from East to West or West to East.  He crossed the plains, the desert, the mountains, gorges, valleys and rivers and did it with very little rest or food.  He was required to be young and slim of build and rawhide tough with a tenacious attitude and skilled with a gun. 

Pony Bob once rode 120 miles in 8 hours and 20 minutes with an Indian arrow through his jaw resulting in the loss of three teeth.  They were paid $25 a week at a time when most men were working for $1 a week.  Jack Keetley rode 340 miles in thirty-one hours without stopping to rest or eat and at the last stop he was taken from the saddle, sound asleep.  Average age of the Pony Express rider was 15 with the youngest being 11 years old.  They couldn’t be over 125 pounds and had to swear an oath not to use profane language, get drunk, gamble or treat animals cruelly and not to do anything else that is incompatible with the conduct of a gentleman.  When they were hired they were given a gun and a bible.

Billy Tate at age 14 was chased by a band of Piute Indians.  He rode into some rocks where he took cover and made his stand, he killed seven of his attackers before being killed himself.  He was found riddled with arrows but not scalped; this was out of respect for his bravery.  But the most famous of all Pony Express riders was William F. Cody or “Billy” as he was called until he went to work for the railroad and the military providing buffalo meat for their rations.  He started his job with the Pony Express at the age of 12.  He had learned his skill with horses and guns from the Kickapoo Indians where he grew up in Iowa Territory.  One time after finding that his relief rider had been killed he made a non-stop round trip ride of 322 miles, and he did it in 21 hours and 40 minutes using 21 horses.  This ride was done between Red Buttes Station and Rocky Ridge Station in Wyoming where he was assigned.  This was a record that was never broken. Buffalo Bill said that excitement was plentiful as a Pony Express rider.

The cost in 1860 to send a 1/2 ounce letter was $5.00 ($130 in 2012 U.S. dollars).  It was the quickest means of communication until the telegraph was established and put them out of business.  In the 18 month period that they operated, riders rode an estimated total of 650,000 miles.  During this time they averaged 80 riders that trotted, cantered, galloped or flat out ran at speeds between 10 to 25 miles an hour or better on a total of 400 horses on a trail that went from Missouri to California.  It was 1,900 miles long with stations averaging 15 miles apart and spanning a total of eight states.  The Pony Express grossed $90,000 and lost $200,000 in this time period.  Their losses were due to stations being burned and horses stolen by Indians, a cost they had not calculated.  However, in 1866 about 5 years after they had started, all assets were sold to Wells Fargo for 1.5 million dollars.  

Note: The Pony Express route roughly followed the Oregon Trail to Fort Bridger in Wyoming, and then the Mormon Trail known as Hastings Cutoff, to Salt Lake City, Utah.  From there it followed the Central Nevada Route to Carson City, Nevada, then over the Sierras and into Sacramento, California.


What a great piece of history I have just
learned.

I had a small pony, 14 hands.  'Astra' was her name.  Had some Quarter horse and Waler in her breeding.  Very intelligent animal.  Could go for hours.  Great pony for endurance riding, not afraid of anything.  She could go like a Mustang.    Would have made a great 'Pony Express'.  

Played 'polocrosse' with her in down times.  Smart horse, very quick.  Would hold the racket in her mouth even with the bit.  Best pony.  As she got old as I did I then went into Clydesdales to further that hobby.   

You can only break so many bones so I gave the horses up.  

Your story reminds me of many times riding at 'flat out', skipping creeks, dodging branches and jumping fences.

Arthritis reminds me of those times.

Kind regards,

Bally :):):):)
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#4
Surprising how well known it is considering the PE only operated for a year or so.  I guess having Wild Bill Cody writing about riding for them cemented their fame.

10 days from Missouri to San Francisco via horse transport.  Guessing that would have been some 2500 - 3000 kilometers depending on how windy the trails were.  300 kilometers a day.  Quite a haul.

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Location: The lost world, Elsewhen
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