George Monroe

George Monroe Two black men (allegedly) carried the mails on the Pony Express. George Monroe rode between Merced and Mariposa and William Robinson rode the mail from Stockton to the mines.

After serving many years as an express rider, Monroe, son of an early black gold miner, became one of California's most famous stage drivers. In 1879 Monroe was chosen to drive President U. S. Grant along the treacherous "S" curves of the Wanona Trail into Yosemite Valley. His fame as a driver led to Monroe Meadows in Yosemite being named for him.

Source: Katz, The Black West.

Robert Miller, in his book Reflections of a Black Cowboy, says that Monroe has hired by Bolivar Roberts and rode the 140-mile route between Merced and Mariposa.

One of his most famous rides involved carrying a judge's order to Mariposa so that the sheriff there could hold one Johnny Edmonds for trial for the murder of a bank teller. The ride had to be made within seventeen hours or the sheriff would have to let Edmonds go. Not only was the route through Indian country, but the Edmonds gang was lying in wait to intercept any dispatches. All was well until about twenty-five miles from Mariposa where he was ambushed by the Edmonds gang. Monroe was able to avoid capture and delivered the judge's order in time.

It should be noted, however, that while there may have been a horseback mail route between Merced and Mariposa, the Overland Pony Express of 1860-61 did not follow this route.

Jackie Lewin, Currator, St. Joseph Museum, writes

"We often get questions regarding black riders. Unfortunately, at this time, I don't have any evidence that any were black."