Riders: Between 80 and 100
Salary: $100 per month
Qualifications: Age ranged from 11 to mid 40’s. Riders had to weigh less than 125 lbs.
Earliest Riders: Johnny Fry (St. Joseph), James Randall (San Francisco), Billy Hamilton (Sacramento)
Youngest Rider: Legend has it that Bronco Charlie Miller was 11 years old when he rode for the Pony Express.
Riders Changed: Every 75 to 100 miles at Home Stations
Horses Changed: Every 10 to 15 miles at Relay Stations
Speed of Rider: Average 10 miles per hour
Horses Used: Mustangs, Morgans, Pintos, and Thoroughbreds.
Stations: Estimated between 150 and 190 stations, located every 5-20 miles
Mochila: Saddlebag designed especially for the Pony Express to carry the mail. On the eastern end they were made by saddle maker Israel Landis.
Route: 1,966 miles from St. Joseph, MO to Sacramento, California. Through the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. The riders crossed the Missouri River by Ferry Boat, located at the foot of Francis Street
Time: The route typically took 10 days
Quickest Run: Carrying President Lincoln’s Inaugural Address, the riders traveled the route in 7 days and 17 hours.
Total Miles: The route was approximately 650,000 miles
Longest Ride: Pony Bob Haslam rode 370 miles from Friday Station to Smith Creek and back again.
Cost of Mail: $5.00 per ½ ounce at first. Later, the price lowered to $1.00 per ½ ounce when a new, light weight paper was used.
Founders: Russell, Majors, and Waddell. Their company was the Central Overland California and Pike’s Peak Express Co. (C.O.C.&P.P.) The Pony Express was a subsidiary for the freight and stage company. Some creative types have claimed the initials C.O.C. & P.P. really stood for “Clean Out of Cash & Poor Pay!”
Dates: The Pony Express lasted from April 3, 1860 until October 24, 1861.
Telegraph: It was completed on October 24, 1861.
Success: Proved the Central Route could be traveled all year round. The government moved the Overland Mail Company, who had the mail contract, from the Southern/Butterfield Route to the Central Route in 1861. Keeping the lines of communication open and the flow of mail going influenced California’s remaining in the Union.
Failure: Financially, the Pony Express was a failure. The owners invested $700,000 and left with a $200,000 deficit. The company failed to secure the government mail contract. The company was sold at auction to Ben Holliday in March 1862. Four years later, he sold out to Wells Fargo for $2,000,000.