We pretty much take for granted how quick getting in touch with friends and family is at this day and time. Years ago, it was much more difficult. In order to connect with our West Coast, communication would be bundled in canvas bags, then stowed in the holds of boats in the cities of Boston, New York, and Baltimore for a six-month sea voyage down the east coast to Havana, then onward to the Straits of Magellan, rounding the point before sailing up to San Francisco.
The discovery of gold changed the long slow process. Men became wealthy overnight. With wealth, there was a need to keep in touch with this new found state and it's growing population. In 1850, three men came up with a fantastic idea. William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell, reasoned that moving mail via short differences, with riders instead of stagecoaches, would cut down time. Instead of months, overland routes, allowed the task to be completed in 10 days. They called their enterprise - the Pony Express.
The route would lead from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. 184 stations all located 10miles apart. The three developed the idea. By 1860, 184 stations, 120 riders, 400 horses, and several hundred personnel, gathered to watch the inaugural run. Ten days to get your letter to California at the cost of $5.00 per half ounce.
Poster found in the Smithsonian
The express lasted only 19 months, but they still fuel the imagination.
On April 20th, fellow author Reina Torres and I will be releasing a sweet, historical western romance based on the pony express. Look for Always, Ransom on April 20th followed by my story, Always, Clay the 20th of June.
Until next time,