News of the Pony Express

Here is the story of the Pony Express as published in the newspapers of 1860-1861.

A careful review of this material will give the reader a good understanding of the importance to the Pony Express.

Many thanks to Larry Carpenter, Corresponding Secretary, NPEA, for his research in compiling much of these stories.

Table of Contents

February 10, 1860: Wanted, Two Hundred Grey Mares
March 4, 1860: Rocky Mountain News
March 17, 1860: The New Overland Express Company
March 19, 1860: MEN WANTED!
March 23, 1860: Overland Pony Express
April 3, 1860: Speech by M. Jeff Thompson, Mayor, St. Joseph, MO
April 3, 1860: Evening Bulletin
April 5, 1860: Starting of the Pony Express
April 10, 1860: Pony Express
April 11, 1860: The Pony Express
April 13, 1860: Our Pony Express News
April 13, 1860: News From the Atlantic in Nine Days!
April 13, 1860: Arrival of the Pony Express
April 13, 1860: Letter by the Pony Express
April 14, 1860: Arrival of the Pony Express
April 14, 1860: Arrival of the Pony Express
April 14, 1860: Local News
April 14, 1860: Connecticut Election
April 14, 1860: The Pony Express
April 14, 1860: A Trip to Washoe
April 14, 1860: Arrival of the Pony Express in San Francisco
April 14, 1860: Q.E.D.
April 16, 1860: The Pony Express on the Summit
April 16, 1860: The Cost
April 21, 1860 Arrival of the Pony Express
April 23, 1860: Carson City, UT
April 23, 1860: The Pony's Time
April 23, 1860: Times Made By the Pony and the Stage
April 24, 1860: Arrival of the Pony Express
April 28, 1860: The Pony Express
April 28, 1860: Central Overland Mail Route
May 8, 1860: Sacramento Daily Union
May 9, 1860: Sacramento Daily Union
May 12, 1860: Massacre in Carson Valley
June 6, 1860: The Road from Placerville to Genoa
August 21, 1860: Indian Disturbances on the Pony Route
November 15, 1860: The Election News
November 19, 1960: The Pony Express
November 24, 1860: The Central Route
November 24, 1860: Letter from St. Louis
November 30, 1860: The Pony On His Way To California
December 20, 1860: Arrival of the President's Message
December 25, 1860: Snow in the Mountains
March 3, 1861: Contra Costa Gazette
March 5, 1861: The Pony Express
March 23, 1861: The Pony Express to Arrive Tomorrow in San Francisco

Leavenworth Daily Times
February 10, 1860


TWO HUNDRED GREY MARES, from four to seven years old, not to exceed 15 hands high, well broke to the saddle, and Warranted Sound, with black hoofs, and suitable for running the "Overland Pony Express."

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Rocky Mountain News
March 4, 1860

B.F. Ficklin, general road agent of the California Overland and Pike's Peak Express Co., paid our city a visit a few days since; received the effects of the old L. & P. P. Co., on the 1st inst. and on the same day departed over the road. He is rapidly perfecting arrangements for the Pony Express and for increasing the service on the present line.
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Sacramento Daily Union
Sacramento, Saturday, March 17, 1860

The New Overland Express Company

The San Francisco TELEGRAM, of March 15th, has the following particulars of this enterprise:

W. Finney, the agent and manager of the Company on this side, arrived here by the last Overland Mail, having recently left Fort Levenworth, and from him we learn the preparations that have already been made. Fifty horses have already been purchased towards the road on this side. The animals will be immediately placed at the stations to be selected along the route, and the first express mail will leave this city on Monday, April 3d, at 4 o'clock P.M., and is to leave here each Monday there after. The express will leave here by boat for Sacramento; at that point it will take horse, and be transported on horseback to St. Joseph, Mo.

At 6 o'clock P.M., of the day after leaving this city, the express will receive dispatches at Carson City, by telegraph; these dispatches will be delivered to the telegraph operator at St. Joseph, and from there transmitted to their destination. The schedule time between Carson City and St. Joseph is nine days. So a dispatch sent by telegraph from San Francisco to New York, on the evening of the 4th of April, will be delivered in the latter city on the morning of the 13th, and an answer will be received here on the 22nd.

A letter sent from here by express on the 3d will be delivered in New York on the 15th, and the answer can be received here on the 29th. The Company expect to be able to carry from thirty to fifty pounds of express matter.

Their stations will be from twenty to twenty-five miles apart, and as great care has been exercised in the selection of animals (Major Solomon having already selected those for this side), and the choice of riders, there is no doubt but the Company can make the time inside of the schedule.

The charges on matter, we learn, will be $3 per half-ounce from this city to Salt Lake, and $5 per half-ounce for all points beyond that, as far as New York. The Company have made arrangements with telegraph and express companies, so that their dispatches and letters will be put through to their destination without a moments delay.

Offices will shortly be established in this city, Sacramento and Placerville, of which, of course, due notice will be given.

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Sacramento Daily Union
March 19, 1860

MEN WANTED! The undersigned wishes to hire ten or a dozen men, familiar with the management of horses, as hostlers, or riders on the Overland Express Route via Salt Lake City. Wages $50 per month and found. I may be found at the St. George Hotel during Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.


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Sacramento Daily Union
Sacramento, Friday Morning, March 23, 1860

Overland Pony Express

The agent of the proprietors, W.W. Finney, has completed his arrangements for stocking that portion of the line assigned to him, and has started his men on animals for distribution on the route. For express and pack service he has purchased one hundred and twenty-nine mules and horses--about a hundred of the latter. They are all California stock, and will adapted for riding and packing purposes. The necessary saddles for riding and packing, with bridles, blankets, etc, etc, were purchased here and in San Francisco. A certain number of tents and tent poles were also provided for the use of the men who are stationed beyond Carson Valley.

Twenty-one men, as express riders and packers, started with the train. The men and animals will be distributed between this city and Eagle Valley; the line to that point is to be stocked from Salt Lake.

Finney goes to Ruby Valley with the train to fix upon the points for stations to make a proper distribution of men and horses for service. Provision and grain for the present have to be packed from Placerville to the points along the route where they will be needed.

It is the intent of the agent to run the express from Carson Valley upon the route surveyed last Summer by Captain Simpson. By that route the distance from the city to Salt Lake is not far from seven hundred miles. At the rate of two hundred miles in twenty-four hours the time between the two points will be three and a half days.

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Evening Bulletin
San Francisco, Tuesday Evening, April 3, 1860

From 1 o'clock till the hour of our going to press, a clean-limbed, hardy little nankeen-colored pony stood at the door of the Alta Telegraph Company's office--the pioneer pony of the famous express which today begins its first trip across the continent. The Little Fellow looked all unaware of his famous future.

Two little flags adorned his head-stall. From the pommel of his saddle hung, on each side, a bag lettered "Overland Pony Express." The broad saddle, wooden stirrups, immense flappers to guard the rider's feet, and the girth that knows no buckle, were of the sort customary in California for swift horsemen who appreciate mud.

Readers who get early copies of the Bulletin may see the pony that will figure in Congressional debates, in the newspapers and in history, still standing at the Telegraph office door. At a 1/4 to 4 he takes up his line of march to the Sacramento Boat. Personally he will make short work, and probably be back tonight; but by proxy he will put the west behind his heel, like a very Puck, and be in at New York in 13 days from this writing.

At 3 o'clock the letters he had to carry numbered 53; probably his whole cargo will be 75 or 80 letters, at $5 each. Those which use both pony and telegraph expect to be landed in New York in nine days after quitting San Francisco.

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Sacramento Union
Sacramento, California, April 5, 1860

Starting of the Pony Express

This institution left the Alta Telegraph office, Sacramento, at 2:45 o'clock yesterday morning, and arrived at Placerville at 6:40 a.m., making the distance of forty-five miles in five minutes short of four hours, in less time than that set down in the time tables. The express took fifty-six letters from San Francisco, thirteen from Sacramento, and one from Placerville -- a total of seventy letters, which, at $5 per letter, makes the sum of $350.

The stations from this city to Carson Valley are at comparatively short distances, from twelve to fifteen miles, but beyond that locality they are more extended. The rider of the Express from this city to Sportsman's Hall, twelve miles beyond Placerville, was a young man name W. Hamilton, and the rider from Sportsman's Hall, over the summit of the Sierra Nevada, to Carson City, was Warren Upson, of this county.

We learn that the road was very heavy with mud from this city to Strawberry Valley, a distance of eighty-nine miles. From Strawberry Valley to Woodford's, a distance of twenty-one miles, the snow terminates; thence the road was probably easier. The Express could not have been initiated at a more unfavorable juncture, so far as the weather and the condition of the road are concerned, and the making of the distance from Sacramento to Carson City, one hundred and forty-four miles, in eighteen hours, as appears below, or at the rate of eight miles per hour, under such adverse circumstances, we consider indeed remarkable.

We learn by advices from the East that the continuance of the Pony Express across the continent for the period of six months, at least, is a fixed fact, and that contracts have been made in view of this understanding. We append a table of the distances from Sacramento to Carson City, and also of the time at which the Express reached several points of the route:

Sacramento to Placerville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 miles
Placerville to Junction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 1/2
Junction to Brockliss' Bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1/2
Brockliss' Bridge to Strawberry Valley (snow region) . . . . . . . .26
Strawberry Valley to Slippery Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Slippery Ford to Johnson's Pass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Johnson's Pass to Lake Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Lake Valley to Luther's Pass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Luther's Pass to Hope Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Hope Valley to Woodford's (end of snow). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Woodford's to Genoa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Genoa to Carson City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Distance from Sacramento to Carson City . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144 miles

Pony Express left San Francisco April 3rd at . . . . . 4 p.m.
Arrived at Sacramento April 4th at. . . . . . . . . . . . . 2:45 a.m.
Arrived at Placerville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6:40 a.m.
Arrived at Strawberry Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12:30 p.m.
Arrived at Carson City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8:30 p.m.

Owing to the wires of the Alta Telegraph Company being put out of order by the storm last night, we could not get the exact time at which the Express arrived at Carson City, but giving it the same ratio of distance per hour as from Placerville to Strawberry Valley, seven miles per hour, we place the time of its arrival at Carson City at 8:30 p.m. making the rate of speed from Sacramento to Carson City at eight miles per hour; and this too, including the passage over the once formidable and now not to be despised snowy range.

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The Weekly West
St. Joseph, Missouri, Saturday Morning, April 7, 1860


At a quarter past seven o'clock, last evening, the mail was placed by M. Jeff. Thompson, on the back of the animal, a fine bay mare, who is to run the first stage of the great through Express from St. Joseph to her sister cites of the Pacific shore. Horse and rider started off amid the loud and continuous cheers of the assembled multitude, all anxious to witness every particular of the inauguration of this greatest enterprise which it has as yet become duty, as a public journalist, to chronicle. The rider is a Mr. Richardson, formerly a sailor, and a man accustomed to every description of hardship, having sailed for years amid the snows and icebergs of the Northern ocean. He was to ride last night the first stage of forty miles, changing horses once, in five hours; and before this paragraph meets the eyes of our readers, the various dispatches contained in the saddlebags, which left here at dark last evening, will have reached the town of Marysville, on the Big Blue, one hundred and twelve miles distant-an enterprise never before accomplished even in this proverbially fast portion of the country.

Previous to the starting of the mail, and while the crowd were anxiously waiting, brief and appropriate addresses were delivered by Mssrs. Majors of the Express Company, Mayor M. Jeff. Thompson, and others, setting fourth the advantages to be derived by the country generally and our city in particular, from this magnificent undertaking, characteristic of the energy and enterprise of those representative men of the great West, Messrs. Majors, Russell, Waddell & Jones. This is but a precursor as Mr. Majors justly remarked, of another, a more important, and greater enterprise, which must soon reach its culmination, viz: the construction of the road upon which the tireless iron horse will start on his long overland journey, opening up as he goes the rich meadows of nature, the fertile valleys, and crowning the eminences of the rocky range with evidence of civilization and man's irresistible mania of progression; diversifying the prairies with lowing cattle herds, and making them lovelier by the dwellings of the pioneer, cheered in his western pilgrimage by the loved ones of his household, and aided by the fair hands and bright eyes of woman. Of a truth "the desert shall blossom as the rose".

The messenger from New York with the through dispatches, left that city on Saturday morning; but was detained twenty-four hours in Detroit, reaching this city at five o'clock last evening, via the Palmyra Branch and Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, making the distance from the Mississippi to the Missouri in the unprecedented time of four hours and fifty one minutes, including stoppages. The train consisted only of only the engine and one passenger car, running something over forty miles an hour, the distance being stated as two hundred and eight miles. This we may venture to assert, is better time than has ever before been made on a Western railroad, at all events.

The extension of the St. Louis, St. Joseph, and Salt Lake telegraph line will further facilitate this undertaking, bringing us even nearer our brethren to the west of the Sierra Nevada, until, at no far distant day, we shall have a continuous electric chain from one Ocean to the other. And the transmission of intelligence will be almost instantaneous. A proud era it will be for journalism, when the papers of the southern and eastern cities are enabled to publish important events of the Golden State simultaneously with its own journals; and when we here on the banks of the Missouri, intermediate, will made aware of the fluctuations of the markets, lucky strikes in the mines, and of disastrous fires ere the ruins have ceased to smoke.

The Eastward express, we understand, will leave San Francisco today, and we will expect its arrival in twelve days at furthest. We shall regard the arrival of this express as by far the most important event which has occurred since the settlement of our city, and would suggest that a suitable and appropriate demonstration be gotten up to testify our appreciation of the enterprise which has conceived and this far successfully carried out the undertaking.

This article has kindly provided by Stephen Williams, May 1998. He provides the following additional information:

"This account of the ride of a former sailor named Richardson on a fine bay mare marks the beginning of the Pony Express 7:15, 4/3/1860 in St. Joseph, Missouri. It is recorded in "The Weekly West a St. Joseph Newspaper published by F. M. Posegate & Co. between mid 1858 until August 1860. Francis Marion (Frank) Posegate, then 22 years old, is the Likely author of this article although it may also have been written by either Wellington Cunningham, Washington Jones or Edward Y. Shields who also worked for the West at that time. The paper has F.M. Posegate & Co. on the masthead and F. M. Posegate is listed in the 1860 St. Joseph City Directory as "Editor and propr Weekly 'West' w s 2nd bet Francis and Jule"."

(F.M.Posegate was Williams' great grandfather and was strongly opposed to Abolitionists and strongly supportive of the Union. He was an old line Henry Clay style Whig at the time he ran the West and the West was a Whig Paper. He became a Republican during the War.)

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Sacramento Daily Union
Sacramento, Tuesday Morning, April 10, 1860

PONY EXPRESS. -- Another Express, to be carried across the continent by Pony Express of Louis Russell & Co., leaves San Francisco today. So soon as the boat lands at the levee tonight a messenger takes it and it is passed from one to another, and kept moving night and day until it reaches St Joseph. From the rate the Express which started last week travelled until it reached the Summit, it may safely be calculated that it was carried across the continent in less time than such a trip has ever before been performed. By a gentleman recently from Salt Lake, we learn that the facilities of stands, horses, etc., on the route east of Salt Lake are much better for making quick time than they are at present on this side. The road, too, has been kept open all winter, and the mail delivered without a single failure; and for months had not varied a half-day in time. The same Company, Russell, Majors & Co., are running an express to and from Pike's Peak, and for five hundred miles on the Platte River, the two lines travel the same road and stop at the same stands. For that distance there are settlers, traders, etc., every twenty or twenty-five miles. There is only one place between St. Joseph and Salt Lake where the distance between settlements is over twenty-five miles, and there the space is less than forty. So favorable is the ground and so level and smooth the road, that the Pony Express is given only forty hours to run from the junction of the Salt Lake and Pike's Peak roads to St Joseph, a distance of five hundred miles. It will require a speed of over twelve miles and hour to accomplish the undertaking.

We repeat the declaration that this Pony Express is an enterprise in which Northern and. Middle California are deeply interested. If sustained as it should be, it will prove the first great step toward the establishment of a daily Overland Mail upon the Salt Lake route. The Pony Express, with the Express to Pike's Peak, and the regular transportation of the mail, will sooner or later drive the Post office Department- - unless it is done by Congress - to let a contract for transporting the mail in coaches from Missouri to California, in sixteen days in summer and twenty-one in winter. The transmission of news by the Pony Express will also urge forward the telegraph lines on the east and west sides, until they meet midway on the American continent. But it is not to be supposed that the proprietors of the Express will run it at an enormous cost for the glory of the thing. They expect to be liberally employed by California in the way of sending letters. They have a right to expect this from California, and particularly from Sacramento, and we do hope her citizens will respond more liberally than they did last week. Thirteen letters from Sacramento was a. number so ridiculously small as to appear discreditable, and one only from Placerville looks still more ridiculous in print. These two cities should do better in the future.

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The Deseret News
Great Salt Lake City, Wednesday, April 11, 1860

The Pony Express

The first Pony Express from the west left Sacramento City, Cal., at 12 p.m., on the night of the 3rd inst., and arrived in this city at 11:45 p.m. of the 7th, inside of prospectus time. The roads were heavy and the weather stormy. The last 75 miles was made in 5 hours, 15 minutes, in a heavy rain.

The express from the east left St. Joseph, Missouri, at 6:30 p.m., on the evening of the 3rd and arrived in this city at 6:25 p.m., on the evening of the 9th. The difference in time between St Joseph and this city is something near 1 hour and 15 minutes, bringing us with-in six days communication with the frontier, and seven days from Washington - a result which we Utonians, accustomed to receive news three months after date, can well appreciate.

Much credit is due the enterprising and persevering originators of the enterprise and although a telegraph is very desirable, we feel well satisfied with this achievement for the present.

The weather has been disagreeable and stormy for the past week and in every way calculated to retard the operations of the company, and we are informed the express eastward from this place was five hours in going to Snyder's Mill, a distance of five miles.

We are indebted to Mr. W. H. Russell for a copy of the St Joseph Daily Gazette, printed expressly for Utah and California with dates from Washington and New York to the evening of the 2nd, and from St Joseph to 6 p.m. of the 3rd instant.

The probability is, the express will be a little behind time in reaching Sacramento this trip, but when the weather becomes settled, and the roads good, we have no doubt they will be able to make the trip in less than ten days.

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Daily Evening Bulletin
San Francisco, Friday Evening, April 13, 1860

News From the Atlantic in Nine Days!

We had the pleasure of laying before the readers of the Bulletin, yesterday afternoon, in the form of an extra, news brought from the city of St. Louis, across the continent, in nine days! This unparalleled feat was accomplished by the "Pony Express," which hereafter, it is hoped, will be run regularly; and by its agency, California may be said to have been brought from ten to twelve days nearer to the rest of the civilized world. The ocean mails which left New York on the 20th of March, only reached us last evening; and passengers by the steamer that brought them, found news here fourteen days later from home! This fact shows in bold relief the superiority of the land routes for the transmission of the mails; and we do not think the Government will long neglect, now that so convincing a demonstration has been made of this superiority, to establish a daily line of stages, and discontinue the contracts with the expensive ocean routes altogether. The money spent in carrying the mails by Panama, over foreign territory, would soon put the roads across the plains in excellent condition for stage traveling. Daily lines of coaches on the road would quickly call into existence a belt of settlements, stretching from the Mississippi to California. Villages would spring up, and farms be closely contiguous. The comforts and necessities that the inhabitants of these could furnish to travelers would deprive the overland journey of all of its present dangers and hardships. Nobody would then think of going to or returning from the East by sea - and the influx and reflux of travel would, sooner than can now be estimated, create such a pressing and apparent necessity for a railroad, that, even if Congress failed to do anything for the enterprise, it would build itself. Indeed, to judge from the present aspect of affairs, there is little hope of the road ever being constructed, until it is build as we have indicated.

But without permitting ourselves to count too strongly on the ultimate effects of the success of the present enterprise, we still can greatly felicitate ourselves upon its importance. To be brought ten or twelve days nearer to the world is no small matter, nor one that will be without beneficial influence upon our prosperity. The distance of our State from the main centres (sic) of population, and the danger and toll of passing that distance, have been the great obstacles to overcome in the progressive march of our State. We all should look on with gladness as that distance is shortened step by step, through the agency of enterprise and art; and when a great undertaking, like the establishment of an express across the continent has been successful, the event should not be allowed to pass unnoted. The bringing of news overland from the East in nine days, is to us a matter of much greater moment than was the laying of the Ocean Telegraph; and if that event was worthy of a special celebration, we certainly think the arrival of the first Pony Express is, also. We believe some popular demonstration, by the people of California, in favor of Overland communication with the East, would be productive of good "at home." News of it would arrive in time to be read by the members of the great political Conventions; and an expression from the people on the Pacific might influence favorably the action of those bodies on the Railroad, the Telegraph, or kindred measures. What say the people and the press to a grand celebration of the success of the great Pony Express?

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Daily Alta California
San Francisco, Friday Morning, April 13, 1860

News From the Atlantic in Nine Days!









Per Pony Express and St Joseph's, Placerville and Alta Telegraph Lines.

The Great Overland Pony Express, via Salt Lake, arrived yesterday, at half-past three o'clock P.M., at Carson City, in Western Utah.

The summary of news prepared by our correspondent at St. Louis, telegraphed to intercept the Pony Express on its way to Carson City, and thence forwarded over the wires to us, is given below.

St. Louis, April 3

The following summary comprises all news of importance, occurring after the departure of the Butterfield Overland Mail, which took out exclusive telegraphic dates March 20th, and is made up expressly for the Central Overland Pony Express which will leave St. Joseph's on the 3d of April, at 5 O'clock P.M.


All mails due from California have arrived in the usual time.

The general domestic and European news has,with few exceptions, not been particularly important.


In Congress, nothing definite.


The Overland Telegraph Bill passed the Senate, and will undoubtedly undergo a strict scrutiny in the House.

Congress has not done much in March.


The President has sent a solemn protest against the proposed action of the House to inquire, by committee, into his personal and official conduct. He treats it as an insult to the sovereignty of the people, whose representative insists that the House can only proceed against him in the manner pointed out to Congress, by impeachment.

The Message was entirely unexpected, and, it is said, has been wholly his own act. It has created a profound sensation, and is forwarded with this in full.


The most important current incidents is the capture of Miramon's two steamers before Vera Cruz, (of which you ought to have had accounts) by the American squadron, and the sending of them as piratical prizes to New Orleans.

Our Government has not yet determined what to do in the premises. The matter involves much difficulty.



Central Italy, by popular vote, has almost unanimously determined upon annexation to Sardinia.
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Daily Alta California
San Francisco, Friday Morning, April 13, 1860

Our Pony Express News

Yesterday was the commencement of another important epoch in the history of California - the arrival of the first Pony Express overland, with news from New York, to the 3rd April - less than ten days old. One by one the chains of darkness and the desert are broken, and we are brought nearer and nearer to our brethren on the other side of the continent. We are still a growing people; nations have reached a summit of prosperity, and then declined, but we are still going ahead. American life is a continuous revolution of business, activity and national progress; and revolutions never go backward.

One of our most glorious advances of late is the Pony Express; its achievements will be famous through the world. Wherever men think, and books are read, there the Pony Express to California will be heard of, and the news welcomed. Honor, then, to the men who have planned it, and, with so little bragging, and yet with so much efficient management, have made it a perfect success from the beginning.

The day of the ox team, which required four or five months time to make the journey from the Missouri to the Sacramento, has passed a way and lightning and ponies have succeeded them, to be superseded in their turn, by lightning and steam. Let us then have the Overland Telegraph and the Pacific Railroad, as soon as possible, but until we get them, let us foster and support those men who have been so enterprising as to establish the Pony Express, with its reduction of the time across the continent to nine days.

The news, such as it is, requires no comment. The items, though important. are few. The telegraphic line unfortunately broke down last night between Genoa and Strawberry Valley, and thus deprived us of further news for one day.

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The Daily Appeal
Marysville, California
Friday Morning, April 13, 1860

Letter by the Pony Express --- Judge Field showed us a letter last evening which he had just received from New York through Pony Express. We suppose of course, that its contents were telegraphed to St. Louis, and thence to the extreme Western station, as its date is New York, April 3d. That looks like doing a lightening business with the East, don't it?

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Sacramento Daily Union
Sacramento, Saturday Morning, April 14, 1860

Arrival of the Pony Express - Great Enthusiasm

Upon the hint dropped in our columns yesterday, on the propriety of receiving the first Rider of the Pony Express with all the honors, our townspeople Othello-like spoke as well as acted. Yesterday's proceedings, impromptu though they were, will long be remembered in Sacramento. During the day, the Pony Express achievement was the talk of the town. Morning readers, who devour the contents of the Union with their matutinal meal, scarcely believed their eyes when they read in our exclusive St Louis dispatch "news" from the great Pike County nation and other civilized countries further east, that was news only nine days old. It was a "nine days wonder" indeed, and when merchants talked the matter over with each other as the day wore on, there seemed to be but one opinion as to the propriety of making a note of the day's event. Inquirers at the telegraph office elicited the fact that the Express was behind time between Genoa and Placerville - had in fact not reached the latter place at 10 o'clock in the morning, owing to the heavy state of the road over the mountains. When this fact became known to the agent of the California Navigation Company in this city, he at once generously proposed to detain the San Francisco boat until an hour in the afternoon sufficiently late to allow of the arrival of the "Pony", in case he reached Placerville by noon, or shortly after. And, sure enough, by 1:50 pm the Pony whisked his tail through the streets of Placerville, no doubt to the great, though, it would appear, undemonstrative joy of the people of that goodly city. Ah! The people of Placerville are "ungrateful", truly, or they would have fired their guns on an occasion of this kind.

The next kindly proffer of aid and sympathy which the Pony received from our citizens was the tender of a special locomotive (with another tender attached) for the use of the Pony from Folsom to this city. This offer was made by the superintendent of the Sacramento Valley Railroad, and though kindly appreciated, was responded to by a very decided nay on the part of our equine friend, whose equanimity at this trying moment was certainly remarkable. And now began to appear the fitful and irregular display of the gathering enthusiasm along our streets. Flags were run up on all the public buildings and engine houses, flags were hung out from various awning posts along J Street, and to more perfectly illustrate the unflagging zeal of parties, flags were stretched across the street at the corner of J and Third (from the State Telegraph office) and, further down, from the windows of the Union office. So J Street was, for the first time in its history, tolerably well flagged; but it was intolerably dusty for all that.

There were other indications of the swelling of popular enthusiasm. Various quaint devices and appropriate mottoes began to appear in front of the stores on J Street. Loryea's Crockery establishment had a hobby horse mounted before the awning posts, decorated with flags and inscribed "Pony Express. Russell, Majors & Co., Take the Skates!" Dale & Co., nearly opposite, thought the idea a good one, and rigged out their largest doll (a perfect bouncer) on a wooden pony, stuffed letters and papers in his hand, mounted a soldier cap on his head and set him off with the motto, "Pony Express, Forever!" Genella's crockery store (the crockery men are in favor of a smashing business in overland news) hung out their banners with "Hurrah for the Pony Express!" "Hurrah for the Central Route!" emblazoned upon their ample folds (of brown paper). McDonald's tool and hardware store was a little cutting in its emblems and comparisons. "Pike County vs. Butterfield & Co.," was the legend that attracted curious eyes in that quarter, while little flags waived their salutations to the coming Pony. It will be seen by our St. Louis letter that Butterfield & Co. started a rival Pony Express half an hour before this one started by the Central Route. The question is, whether that Pony has been cut up by Comanches or caught up among the celestial hues of the rainbow on that route, or whether he has "gone to grass", where there is more pasture than along the line of that Butterfield.

But the more earnest part of the pony welcome had been arranged early in the day. This was a cavalcade of citizens to meet the little traveler a short distance from the city and escort him into town. Accordingly, late in the day, a deputation of about eighty persons, together with a detachment of fifteen of the Sacramento Hussars assembled at the old Fort, and stretched out their lines on either side of the road along which the Express was to come. Some of the horsemen carried small flags, and one banner (borne by the marshal elected for the occasion) welcomed the "Pony" in set phrase and with appropriate compliments. The company waited long and patiently for the appearance of their expected guest. Meantime, the excitement had increased all over the city, and J Street was lined from Tenth Street to the levee with watchers. The balconies of the stores were occupied by ladies, and the roofs and sheds were taken possession of by the more agile of the opposite sex, straining to catch the first glimpse of the Pony.

At length - 5:25 - all this preparation was rewarded. First a cloud of rolling dust in the direction of the fort, then a horseman bearing a small flag, riding furiously down J Street, and then a straggling, charging band of horsemen, flying after him, heralding the coming of the Express. Almost simultaneously, from the church towers and engine houses in all parts of the city rang out a merry peal of bells. A cannon planted on the square at Tenth Street, and served by the boys of Young America, No. 6, sent forth its noisy welcome. It was answered by an anvil chorus from one of those implements placed at the corner of Ninth and J and fired by "No.2 Boys", and another managed also as a piece of ordnance, by Holmes and Andrews, on Sixth Street, near J. The latter fired first nine, and then thirteen guns. Each of the other pieces above mentioned gave nine guns as a salute. Amidst the firing and shouting and waving of ladies handkerchiefs, the -pony - the veritable pony - was seen coming at a rattling pace down J Street, surrounded by about thirty of the citizen deputation. The little fellow stretched his neck well to the race and came at a rattling pace down the street, which was wild with excitement. A thick cloud of dust rolled over the heads of the party as it came dashing on in the most hopeless confusion. Such a scene - both for comicality and becoming enthusiasm - our city has never, perhaps, witnessed. Here and there were riderless steeds, and yonder were steeds that might as well have been riderless for all the control those who sat astride could exercise over them. But out of this confounded confusion, mingled fun and earnestness, "rider and horse, friend and foe, in one dusty burial blent", emerged at last the Pony Express, trotting up to the door of the agency (Alta Telegraph office) and depositing its precious mail in ten days from St. Joseph to Sacramento. Hip, hip, hurrah for the Pony carrier!

Our pioneer rider at this end of the line - Sam Hamilton - informs us that he left Sportsman's Hall at 1 1/4 p.m., left Placerville at 1:55, had the first relay at Mud Springs, the second at the Mormon Tavern, the third at the Fifteen Mile House, and the Fourth and last at the Five Mile House. The last five miles was made in twenty minutes, notwithstanding obstructions of which we can make special mention. He complains, naturally, that the cavalcade, which met him at the fort to escort him into town, soon after starting in generally put spurs to their fresh animals and took the lead, creating a great dust, which was not only annoying to him, but exceedingly injurious to his pony - possibly simply for the purpose of boasting that they had beaten the "Pony Express", but probably thoughtlessly during the excitement of the occasion. Hamilton states that the Express can be carried through in much less time by several days, at a more favorable season. In consequence of late rains the road was in very bad condition, compelling him to ride zig-zag as though traveling a snake fence. Hamilton is the rider who carried the first Express to Placerville on the 4th inst., in four hours three minutes. The Pony - a roan - which has thus distinguished itself, belongs at Rightmire's Stable on K Street. Being somewhat obese from late inaction and high feeding, two hostlers were employed several hours in rubbing him down. By this prompt attention he is regarded as being fully able to repeat the performance to-day, and do even more. The Express brought through about eight letters for this city and San Francisco.

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Mountain Democrat
Saturday , April 14, 1860

Connecticut Election. --- From the Joseph Gazette of April 3d, we learn that the election in Connecticut, for Governor and other State officers, was intensely exciting. The election took place on the 2d, and the result could not be ascertained at the time the express left. The Democratic gain, as far as heard from, was 1,300, and the impression prevailed that the State had gone Democratic.

We are indebted to Maj. W. H. Russell, the President of the Central Overland California Pony Express Company, for a copy of the St. Joseph Daily Gazette - Extra, of April 3d. "the first and only paper transmitted from the Missouri to California in EIGHT DAYS."

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Stockton Daily Argus
Stockton, California
Saturday Morning, April 14, 1860

The Pony Express

It will be seen by reference to our telegraphic columns that great rejoicing prevails in Sacramento and San Francisco over the success of the Pony Express. The great overland mail, but a few days since, was the ultimatum of speed and accommodation, and the channel through which flowed a steady current of news from the Atlantic side.

The extension of telegraphic wires from both ends of the Overland route, gave satisfactory encouragement that in a short time we should be in lightning communication with the farthest point of Uncle Sam's dominions.

The people seemed content with the glorious prospect in view, with the probabilities every day favorable to its early consummation. It appears, however, that the telegraph is an institution too slow in its movement until it finds a connection, and that the establishment of a through Express via Salt Lake, was conceived as an enterprise the exigency of the times demanded, and one which the fast character of the people of California would be compelled to support.

The success of the undertaking, has shown what maybe accomplished by energy and determination to succeed. So far as concerns the receipt of our weekly budget of news, the Overland Mail is henceforth placed in much the same light the mail steamers occupied when superceded in a similar manner by the mail coach. We trust the Pony Express may receive the encouragement that will place it beyond the reach of discontinuance.

The popular feeling manifested in its favor is witnessed in the demonstrations which took place yesterday in San Francisco and Sacramento. As evidence of the favor which it meets in our own community, we will merely mention, that during the feat performed before an over-crowded house at the theatre last evening by Professor Anerson, wherein his daughter is required to announce, blindfolded, what is written upon a card and enclosed in a box by one of the audience. When she spoke the words: "Hurrah! for the Pony Express," the sentiment was received with deafening applause and shouts, which continued for several moments. We may henceforth look to the northern pony, rather than the southern coach, as the source through which we shall obtain our "two days later."

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Mountain Democrat
Placerville, Saturday, April 14, 1860


We have barely time to state that the Central Overland California Pony Express arrived in our City yesterday at 2 o'clock p. m. , with dates from St Joseph, Mo., up to the 3d of April, 6 o'clock p. m. Main Street was thronged with people, eager to welcome with the wildest cheers the Pony Express. Flags were displayed from public buildings and prominent places, balconies were crowded with fair women, who waived their handkerchiefs and clapped their hands in high glee, and Willson's Band, stationed on the balcony of the Cary House, discoursed most eloquent music as the Pony Express shot like an arrow through the crowd, on its way to San Francisco. It was detained but a few minutes in town, and as the rider mounted and started wild and exultant shouts from the immense crowd that thronged the streets bade him a hearty God speed.

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San Francisco, Saturday Morning April 14, 1860

A Trip to Washoe --- by Adolph Sutro


I left Virginia on the morning of April 3d, on the stage, and reached Woodford's the same evening. The weather had been fine for three weeks, and all snow had disappeared in Carson Valley and the mines, with the exception of the hill-tops and in deep ravines. The next morning, April 4th, we mounted our mules to start across the mountains, but had hardly traveled a mile when it commenced to blow a gale, and


set in; there were eight in the party, and though we considered it venturesome, we concluded to push ahead. The storm grew fiercer and fiercer as we went on: the flakes of snow and hail were blowing into our faces with such power that they stung like needles, and nearly blinded us. The lofty pine trees swung to and fro, and the noise of the wind breaking through their branches, creaking and howling, was truly fearful. Our poor animals instinctively knew that they had to hurry on, and on we went, as if fleeing before a terrible enemy. At last we reached Lake Valley, stopped there for a few minutes, and commenced the ascent of the summit. The storm continued unabated until we reached Strawberry Valley House, where we arrived about three o'clock in the afternoon, congratulating ourselves for having safely reached shelter. On the very summit, we met a lonely rider dashing along at a tremendous rate. We wondered what could possibly induce him to go on through that gale, and thought it must be some important business. It was the Pony Express.


Early on the morning of the 5th, we started in the stage. It had snowed all night, the snow was two feet deep, and it continued snowing. Soon we came to a hill, up which it was difficult to drag the stage, and we had to get out and walk. It was a wintry scene -- one I had now witnessed for many years. Our hats and beards were soon covered with snow: the horses had a white cover, and we went on, wending our way slowly along. The large pine trees were fairly loaded down, and the slightest breeze would shake snow from the top which, falling down, and slightest breeze would shake snow from the top which, falling into the next limb, soon brought down a perfect avalanche on our heads. We managed to travel this way for about eighteen miles, when the stage got stuck in a deep place. All efforts of the driver to extricate it were futile, and at last we concluded to abandon the stage. The horses were taken off, and we made our way, with sacks and packs, to the next house, called "Perrin's" where we arrived after a tiresome march. We were wet and cold, but a good fire soon made us dry and comfortable again.


We stayed at "Perrin's" over night, and managed to get hold of some pack mules and wagon horses, whose owners had abandoned their wagons in the mountains, and who intended to make with all possible haste for Placerville, as the feed on the road had entirely given out. At a seasonable hour we commenced our journey, and a ludicrous appearance we presented; some seated on broad pack saddles, compelled to have their knees on a horizontal line, some with no saddle at all. Everybody who could get away, was fleeting out of the mountains, and soon our caravan numbered at least one hundred animals. It was second flight from Moscow. It had snowed again all the preceding night, and still kept on, as if it was never going to stop.


In addition to all this, we had to travel a road, which could not possibly be in any worse condition; it beggars all description. Before the snow had fallen, mud had formed some two or three feet deep in many places. Now, this was covered with from two to four feet of snow; every step the animal would take, it would go down to the very bottom, and sometimes sink in, in such a way, that only with the greatest efforts it would extricate itself. In the efforts to get out; the animal would flounder and kick about, and we poor riders go head over heels into the snow. Well, we got through, and at last reached Placerville; but it taxed the endurance of both man and beast pretty well.


Coming down from Placerville to Folsom next morning, we commenced to breath free again. The beautiful green hills; the fields covered with flowers. the balmy air, told us that we had reached a different climate. The contrast between the icy, cold, stormy mountains and the lovely scene before us, was affecting. Many travelers have described the wonderful effects on the human heart on entering Italy from the stormy Alps, but I dare say it cannot be more impressive than the descent from the Sierra Nevada mountains into the California.

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The Sacramento Bee
Saturday Evening, April 14, 1860

THE PONY EXPRESS --- It having been announced that the Pony Express left Placerville at five minutes before two o'clock yesterday afternoon, it was figured up that the pony would arrive here about half-past five o'clock, and true to his time, at twenty-five minutes past five the first gun announced the approach of the pony. This gun was answered by the ringing of the church and engine house bells and was re-echoed by salutes in different portions of the city. Crowds rushed to and lined J Street on either side, and the excitement became intense. Amid the clouds of dust, a troop of horsemen could be partially seen approaching at break-neck speed and in most delightful confusion. On they came amid the shouts and cheers of the assembled multitude. Which is the pony? where is the pony? resounded on all sides, and at last the roan pony appeared, and was greeted with a hearty cheer. Down J Street he came at a rattling pace, a detachment of the Sacramento Hussars acting as escort. On arriving in front of the agent's office on Second Street between J and K, the arrival of the Pony Express received another hearty cheer, and the Union Brass Band struck up an inspiring air. The rider, W. Hamilton, dismounted and the pony's wants were carefully attended to a neighbor ingestible. Between Placerville and this point Hamilton had four relays of horses. In a few minutes the Pony Express letters were transferred to the steamer Antelope, which at once moved off, a gun fired at the foot of P Street giving here a parting salutation. The Antelope arrived at San Francisco soon after eleven o'clock and a grand demonstration took place there.

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Daily Union
Sacramento, April 14,1860


Arrival of the Pony Express in San Francisco -- Impromptu Celebration

San Francisco, April 13th.

The General Committee on celebrating the arrival of the Pony Express met this evening at the Merchants' Exchange. It was decided to have a preliminary celebration tonight on the arrival of the steamer Antelope. A band of music was ordered, and a supply of fireworks. Telegraph men, firemen, newspaper men, and citizens at large were invited to participate.

At 11 o'clock a large assemblage was gathered at the corner of Merchant and Montgomery streets, and, preceded by the band, proceeded to Broadway wharf, where they awaited the arrival of the steamer, which came handsomely into her birth shortly after 11 o'clock. Immediately on the steamer heaving in ;sight several port fires were lighted and rockets sent up; the band played a martial air, and general enthusiasm ensued. After the landing of the Express, a procession was formed, consisting of delegations from the Fire Companies, with torches, and citizens generally. The line of march was enlivened by the discharge of blue-lights, Roman candles and other fireworks; and on arrival at the corner of Merchant and Montgomery streets, the Monumental Fire Company fired a salute on the Plaza of nine guns. The horse was handsomely decorated, and on the dismounting of the rider, the Express bag was handed to the Agent, who immediately opened it and distributed the letters as directed to persons present. The greatest excitement prevailed, and several impromptu addresses were made,after which the various parties who had participated in the celebration adjourned,pleased with themselves and the rest of mankind, and the Pony Express in particular. All took a drink at their own expense. It is understood that a general meeting of citizens will be held in a day or two to make a more extended celebration of the great event.



Placerville, April 13th.

The reception of the Pony Express here was most enthusiastic; flags were suspended, bands of music playing, guns firing, and the entire populace cheering. Our Mayor Swan, escorted the rider, Hamilton, into and out of the city.

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The Weekly West
St. Joseph, Missouri,
Saturday Morning, April 14,1860

Q. E. D.--The arrival here of the First Pony Express, with dates from San Francisco and other Pacific cities, in ten days, will be an episode in the history of St. Joseph that should be celebrated in a manner commensurate with the importance and magnitude of the enterprise, as a proud triumph of human energy, as well as the inauguration of a new era of Western Progress, and our own local advancement. It is an enterprise, in the success of which our citizens are largely interested, if not from any direct benefit in the matter of dollars and cents, yet as a means of advertising the city and its advantages and facilities, which will indirectly benefit in no limited degree every one interested in the city. By the location of the starting point for the express, both to the mines and to California, the company has evidenced its appreciation of our advantages over those of our river neighbors, and it is but just that we should acknowledge in a sulatable manner the compliment paid us. If successful--and there is not a doubt entertained--this enterprise demonstrates the practicability of communication between the Atlantic and Pacific States in less than one half the time required heretofore, and even this will be lessened by the expansion of the telegraph, until New York and San Francisco are joined in the fraternal embrace of progress, and time and dreary space of hill and dale between us annihilated. In view of this, then, we would suggest that proper steps be taken in a demonstration in this regard upon the arrival of the express, which will probably have taken place before the present issue of the West is spread before its readers. An undertaking of such magnitude, carried out successfully, and one that even five years ago would have been pronounced impossible, should not be allowed to pass with out notice beyond a mere newspaper paragraph, though it be heralded in "blazing capitals."

This article kindly provided by Stephen E. Williams, May 1998.

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The Daily Bee
April 16, 1860

THE COST. --- The St. Joseph (Mo.) Gazette of Feb. 3d says the managers of the principal telegraph lines, in connection with the Pony Express, have agreed on the following prices for private dispatches to and from California.

For ten words from any Atlantic City, or any other telegraph station, or vice versa, two dollars and forty- five cents; for a similar number of words from the first station on the California telegraph line to any part of California, and vice versa, two dollars; while the charge for express - the message, without regard to length, will be $2.45 each, making sum total from any station in the Atlantic States to any station in California, $6.90 for ten words. The charge for each additional word above that number will be twenty cents for the entire distance. The understanding is that the telegraph companies, will refund the entire tolls to parties forwarding, any message which fails to reach California, or vice versa in advance of any other route, and that they will return to the lender any money's paid for dispatches filed in season to overtake the express at St. Joseph, which through any reason may fail to reach that place before the departure of the express.

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Sacramento Daily Union
Sacramento, Monday Morning,
April 16, 1860


By a private letter we learn the cause of the detention of the Pony Express messenger in crossing the Summit of the Sierra Nevada. It is known that from the Summit down into Lake Valley, a distance of two miles, the grade is narrow - only ten feet wide. The late storm filled it with snow through which a single track was broken. Late in the afternoon of Thursday a large pack train started down the mountain, but found the snow on the grade so soft that night overtook the drivers when about half way down the grade. To go forward was out of the question, and to turn around and go back about as much so. Making a virtue of necessity, the owners of the train took the packs off the mules, and leaving mules and packs in the trail, made their way back to the Summit, where they made a fire and camped.

The Express messenger reached the foot of the grade about midnight, and soon encountered the mules and their loads of goods. There was but one way to pass, and that was to break a path for his horse around each mule as he came to him. This he succeeded finally in accomplishing, after working for some three and a half hours. It was a desperate struggle, and the wonder is how he managed to successfully pass the mules under the circumstances. That pack train prevented the Express from being in Sacramento in time for the boat.

We understand, also that the messenger from Placerville went down the road to Folsom before he found out his mistake, by which he lost half an hour.

The Express may be run over the Sierra Nevada a thousand times without again meeting a pack train in the night under such circumstances. The poor mules must have passed an uncomfortable night.

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The Weekly West
St. Joseph, Missouri,
April 21,1860

Ten Days From San Francisco:

The first through messenger on the Pony Express from San Francisco, which place it left on the 3d, reached this city about 4 o'clock last evening, bringing dates from the principal Pacific cities, ten days later, and to the 7th from Salt Lake City. The courier left San Francisco at 4 P. M. of the 3d; Sacramento 4 A. M. of the 4th; Placerville 6:50 A. M.; Carson City 10:10 P. M., reaching Salt Lake City on the 7th, which place he left at 12:10 of that day. The number of letters brought through was eighty-five. The complete success which was attended the first trip on this great overland route is due in no small degree to the efforts of Ben. Ficklin, the efficient superintendent, who has been over the route and has the general management of the enterprise.

This article has kindly provided by Stephen Williams, May 1998. He provides the following additional information:

The date of this article is correct. It could have been a re-print from the Daily West (another St. Joseph newspaper) without the proper notation. Or, it could have just been left over from the prior week when the printing deadline was missed. April 14th would be the correct date of an express that arrived when the article says it did.

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San Francisco Evening Bulletin
April 23, 1860

Carson City, U.T., April 22, 1860

The Overland Pony Express from St. Joseph, Missouri, arrived here at 4.10 this morning, with dates from St. Louis to the 12th inst. The Express was detained six hours at Robert's Creek, by reason of the horses having been driven off by the Indians.

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The Daily Bee
April 23, 1860

The Pony's Time

The pony left Sacramento last night, or rather this morning for San Francisco at one o'clock and fifty minutes -- via Yolo and Solano Counties -- arrived at Benicia at six o'clock and twenty-five minutes -- crossed the bay to Martinez -- thence down the bay shore to Oakland, and ferryboat to San Francisco, where it arrived at ten o'clock and thirty minutes. Time from Sacramento to San Francisco, nine hours and fifteen minutes. The two bay crossings caused, of course, considerable delay, but the time is good still.

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San Francisco Evening Bulletin
April 23, 1860

Times Made By The Pony and The Stage

The Pony Express last arrived, left St. Joseph in Missouri at 5 p.m. of the 13th, and reached San Francisco in 9 days 17 hours. The swiftest riding we have heard of on the route, was Mr. Bedford's from Martinez to Oakland, which 24 miles he accomplished in one hour and 45 minutes; yet the Pony did not shed his shoes, his rider did not break his neck, nor was there any appreciable smell of fire upon his garments when he came in. The distance from Sacramento to Benicia Mr. Hamilton rode this morning between 1 and 7 o'clock. Very few letters brought the Pony. Dreadful slow people live on the other side of the mountains.

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Daily Alta California
April 24, 1860

Arrival of the Pony Express

The Pony Express arrived in this city this morning. The Pony made the distance from Martinez to Oakland (25 miles) in one hour and forty minutes, at the rate of a mile in four minutes. A great crowd of people came over with the Express on the boat from Oakland.

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Contra Costa Gazette
April 28, 1860

The Pony Express

The Pony Express last arrived was nine days and seventeen hours from St. Joseph, Missouri. The Express passed through this place on Monday morning, in charge of Mr. Thomas J. Bedford of Benicia. By previous arrangement the ferry boat Carquinez was at her berth in Benicia at an early hour, in anticipation of its arrival, and not a moment of time was lost in conveying it to this place.

As the boat touched this side the horse sprang from her deck, and dashing up the wharf was soon lost to sight, as he and his gallant rider went flying on their way to Oakland. The distance from Martinez to Oakland is about twenty-five miles. The Express left here at 7:33 am, and arrived at Oakland, as reported to us, at 9:32, which if correct, makes the time occupied one hour and fifty-nine minutes. According to the city papers, however, it was accomplished in one hour and forty-five minutes, which was probably the swiftest ride on the whole route.

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The Weekly West
St. Joseph, Missouri,
April 28,1860


The third messenger from San Francisco, by the now firmly established and successful Pony Express, will be due here tomorrow, and will, without a doubt, be in on time, and perhaps ahead, as parties fully conversant with the enterprise in all its bearings, knowing the facilities possessed by the company, and the indomitable sprit and energy of the proprietors, are confident that the trip will be made from San Francisco to this point in seven days, with dispatches, without the aid of telegraph to Carson City. This may seem improbable, perhaps impossible; but when we recollect that, only two years ago, it required nearly six months to connect the two cities by the overland route, and in view of the progress since made, the project of communication even in the short space of seven days, does not seem so much of an undertaking. Indeed, we have come to regard nothing as impossible, with the French philosopher, "outside the domain of pure mathematics," and in a comparatively short period the seven days will be reduced to as many minutes, nay seconds, through the magic medium of the lighting wire. But the world must move forward by degrees, and even the dullest conservative must move with it, now as in the days of Gallileo; and foremost amid the events which the powerful wand of Progress has bought into being, we must place the Central Overland Express, projected, and carried out by the representative men of the West, Messrs. Majors, Russell & Waddell, and the efficient route Superintendent, a man whom no danger can swerve, no difficulty daunt, Ben. Ficklin, the iron man of the prairies. "Time turns loiterer on his westward way," as the hardy riders and their faithful steeds fly over the plains and through the kanyons (sic) of the giant mountain range, by the temple of the holy city, by the desolation of Humboldt and the sands of the desert, checking their speed only on the western slope of the Nevada, amid the bustle and business, and the quick pulsation of life in the metropolitan city of the Pacific coast, bearing to the people thereof, and to the insatiate press of our western friends, intelligence of all that is going on around about us every day.

But to leave our rhapsodical speculations as to the future, our rejoicing for the present, and our review of the past, and endeavor to enumerate some of the advantages of the enterprise, and its pre-eminence over any and every other means of transit now extant. By reference to our telegraph dispatches from Meloy's Station, published a few days ago, containing California intelligence by the Butterfield or Southern Overland route, it will be seen that they mention the fact of the agent of the Central route being in California for the purchase of stock to put on the Central Express; while even before that news reached us by the Butterfield route, the arrangement had been effected, and the first messenger by the Central line was in this city, bringing some days later dates than by the other route. This will serve to evidence the rapidity with which messages and mail matter are transmitted by the Pony Express, which, though carrying nothing but dispatches, and being emphatically a private enterprise, is a consummation that would not have been fancied one year ago, and one whose advantages cannot be fully conceived. "We take no note of time, but from its loss," says the poet, and we could not fully realize the benefits conferred by this Express, unless the enterprise should be suspended, and we should be forced to a return to the old modes of conveyance, the cumbrous coach and mules, and the uncertainty and vexations delay of oceanic communication.

Parties unfavorable to the route and the enterprise are very industrious in circulating a rumor that the Express is merely a transient matter and that it will not be run permanently. In reference to this report we are authorized to say emphatically that the Pony Express is a fixed fact, that it has been successful even beyond the anticipations of its projectors, that its friends are willing to back their assertion of its permanency by a wager of $10,000, and that the trip will be reduced during the summer to the unprecedented time of seven days. The fourth messenger will leave the Express office in this city, at twelve o'clock on Saturday night, and messages will be received up to that hour, we believe, with the assurance that they will be delivered in San Francisco within the regular time, ten days, and perhaps considerable sooner. It may be safely relied upon that the Express is a verity, and that it will be run until telegraphic communication and railroad enterprise shall render it unnecessary.

On the arrival of the Express here, Friday evening, messages may be telegraphed to New York and other Eastern Cities, and an answer returned in season for the outgoing messenger of Saturday night. To consummate this, we believe, was the reason of the change of time.

This article has kindly provided by Stephen Williams, May 1998.

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Sacramento Daily Union
May 8, 1860

The Pony Express was expected to arrive from Carson City about half-past twelve o'clock last night, and to proceed immediately on to San Francisco, overland.


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Sacramento Daily Union
May 9, 1860

The Pony Express from the East arrived in this city at half-past three o'clock yesterday morning, and waited for the two o'clock boat for San Francisco. We understand that the stock has been withdrawn between Sacramento and Oakland, the Company finding that conveyance by the boat will answer all necessary purposed, as such good time is made from St. Joseph.

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Martinez, Saturday Morning May 12, 1860


Telegraphic dispatches from Virginia City report horrid massacre of twelve or thirteen white men by a large body of Indians, in Carson Valley:

Virginia City, U.T., May 8

Last night a horrid massacre was perpetrated by the Indians below the Great Bend of the Carson. J.Williams arrived at Buckland's near the Bend, and gave the information of the murder of his two brothers and five other white men at the same hour, and the burning of the house. After witnessing the perpetration of this shocking butchery, on his way up, Williams called at two other houses, on the opposite side of the river; the doors were open, but loud calling, at a short distance, failed to induce any signs of life about the premises. He supposes all are murdered. They numbered twelve or thirteen men. The Indians are about 500 strong, and all armed. They pursued him to within six miles of Buckland's. The Pony Express dispatched their horses and riders, and through them we have received the dreadful intelligence. J. Barsoles and J. H. Smith brought the news. It is to be feared that Buckland station may be attacked tonight. Efforts are here now to go to the relief of the border settlers and stations. Much excitement prevails.

A committee of five were appointed to make arrangements for forming a company of volunteers and scouts to protect settlers, and warn parties in the mountains near the desert, of their danger.

Capt. Leonard's company from San Francisco, of 17 men, have gone to Buckland's tonight to defend that station.

The Indians engaged in the murder are the Carson division of the Pah-utes, numbering 150, but were reinforced by 300 more. They are under the command of Capt. Ham, a notorious rascal. They are about twenty-five miles from here. Volunteers are enrolling, and a subscription is open to defray expenses.

Later accounts state that the Indians have fortified themselves at Ragtown, and threaten a big fight.

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Sacramento Daily Union
Wednesday Morning, June 6, 1860

The Road from Placerville to Genoa

The extraordinary spring the country has experienced has prevented the road between Placerville and Genoa from drying off and settling as early as usual by at least a month. On the Sierra it has snowed every week since March. About a week since snow fell in Virginia City, as we are informed by gentlemen who were there, fully eighteen inches deep. Of course, these constant falls of snow and its subsequent melting, have kept the road in a bad condition for wagons. They are now going over, but not without considerable difficulty.

As we learn from those who have recently traveled it, the road is good from the bridge to Strawberry Flat, with the exception of sundry places where the road and constant use have rendered the mud deep and difficult to get through with a loaded wagon. But these are rapidly drying and being filled up buy the men at work on it. The tolls taken at the bridge, in consequence of the extensive travel over it, amount to a handsome sum daily; which, by the law, is to be expended in keeping the road in repair. The party employed by the El Dorado Board of Supervisors to receive the tolls and expend the money, has had several men employed for some weeks past on the road. Last week it was stated there were some fifteen or twenty men at work, and various opinions were expressed as to the manner in which they were distributed, and in which they were making repairs. All, however, admitted that they were improving the road essentially, but some thought their work was not as thorough as it should be. One objection we heard was that in some of the sharp turns where they were causewaying with timber only eight feet long, six-mule teams could not keep the wheels on the timber. If the statement is correct the objection is good, as timber at such points should be nearer sixteen than eight feet in length. But we presume the agent of the Board is exercising his best judgement in the premises. We rather looked for a report of the progress during the last month in Saturday's Mountain Democrat; it will doubtless be found in the next number. A Sacramentan who came over the road the last of the week, who is a competent judge in such matters, says the work is much needed from Slippery Ford to Lake Valley. The water caused by snow melting is now running down the middle of the road at the hill, and has washed pretty much all the earth from the track, leaving the granite nearly bare. This water should be turned across the road, and earth supplied where it has been removed by the action of the water. Beyond that point and from the Summit House to the head of the grade which goes down from Nevett's Summit into the valley, the road is cut through a dense forest for two miles. On those two miles the snow falls pretty deep, and the pine trees being very thick, prevents the sun from striking the ground except in spots. Wherever the road is unshaded the sun melts the snow; there the water settles, and a shush or mud hole is created, which becomes a serious obstruction to a heavily loaded wagon. This water needs drains to carry it off, and before another winter approaches the trees along the road should be cut down and removed.

There is now no snow of consequence on the grade from the Summit down to Lake Valley, but boulders and dirt have fallen upon the grade which should be removed. If possible, the grade should at the points intended for turnouts, be made wider. A half dozen men employed for a couple of weeks between Slippery Ford and Lake Valley would, from all accounts, make a material change in the road in the way of improvement. The work is much needed.

The road building by McDonald & Kingsbury through Daggett's Pass, is pronounced by those we have seen, who have passed over it, the best on the Pacific coast. Its average width is sixteen feet. It is called, over in the valley, Kingsbury's Road, and people are exceedingly anxious to have it opened. The owners are hoping to get it so far completed as to enable wagons to travel it in the course of this month. Reese and Trumbo are engaged in building bridges in Carson Canyon, upon which they propose to charge toll. There is also talk of a toll road being built around the hill at Slippery Ford. The travel has become so great on this mountain route that at any of the bad points on it toll roads it is believed would prove profitable. The road business is a matter its friends in Placerville should see is not neglected.

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Sacramento, Tuesday Evening, August 21, 1860

The Indian Disturbances on the Pony Route

A telegram to the Union says that on August 11th about two hundred Indians came to the station at Eagan's Canon, and demanded some powder and lead of the men in charge of the station, which they refused to let them have. They then wanted some provisions, and the men gave them two sacks of flour and some sugar and coffee. One of the men then started out after the animals kept at that place, when the Indians told them that he could not go, and that they would take care of the animals themselves, and commenced singing and hallooing at a great rate.

At that instant, Lieutenant Weed, with twenty-five soldiers, came up and attacked the Indians, who returned the fire, wounding three men, including Corporal Kitchell, who it was thought would recover, but the other two .men were seriously injured, and. their recovery was considered doubtful. The Indians fled without driving off any of the stock. About the same time, six or eight Indians went to where some men were mowing, near Deep Creek, and ordered them away, but went off without molesting them further. They came back next morning, when four soldiers, who had secreted themselves in a wagon, fired on them, wounding two mortally. The others fled.

At about six o'clock on the morning of the 12th, the next day after the attack at Eagan's Canon, the Indians made, an attack on Shell Creek Station. The first intimation that the men had of the proximity of the Indians was a shower of balls flying about them, but fortunately no one was killed or wounded. They instantly took shelter in the house.

There were two parties of Indians, one of which surrounded the house, crawling up as near as they could, without being seen, and kept up an incessant fire for almost an hour without wounding any of the men, but they had the mortification of seeing their stock driven off without any means of preventing it. Fortunately, in about an hour after the attack commenced, Lieutenant Weed arrived from Ruby Valley, and attacked the Indians killing seventeen of them and wounding many others, and thus relieving the men from their perilous position. The same day there were four other Indians killed on Shell Creek Canon by three soldiers who came in from Round Valley with the western express.

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The Morning Transcript
Nevada, California, Thursday Morning, November 15, 1860

The Election News

Under our telegraphic head will be found the election news, from the eastern side of the continent, as it was issued by us, yesterday forenoon, in an extra. The news reached Fort Churchill, yesterday morning at one o'clock, whence it was telegraphed to the Sacramento Union, too late for its yesterday's issue, and therefore, published in an extra of that paper. A copy of that extra was telegraphed to the TRANSCRIPT. The news is dated at St Louis, Nov. 7, the next day after the election, and thence telegraphed to Fort Kearney, on the Platte river, at which point it was taken by the pony and carried to Fort Churchill. The exact distance, traveled by the pony, between the two telegraphic stations, of Fort Kearney and Fort Churchill, we have no means of knowing; but what ever it is, the pony accomplished it in less than six days.

It seems astonishing that so much of the election results, in twenty-one states should have been learned in St Louis the next day after the voting, while, in our state, on the eighth day after the election, we are still unable to definitely state which presidential candidate has a plurality. On the eastern side of the Continent they excel us in superior telegraphic facilities, and they must exert much greater dispatch in counting the votes than our judges and inspectors. Of course., the official votes, in many, if not all, of the 21 states heard from, will slightly differ from the statements brought by the last pony; but whether they will enhance or depress the Lincoln majorities is more than can be safely predicted.

It seems that Lincoln has carried the following States, which we have set down, with the number of their electoral votes appended

Massachusetts 13
Illinois 11
Connecticut 6
Ohio 23
Vermont 5
Indiana 13
New Hampshire 5
Michigan 6
Maine 8
Wisconsin 5
New York 35
Iowa 4
New Jersey 7
Minnesota 4
Rhode Island 4
Pennsylvania 27

Making, altogether, 176 electoral votes.

The whole number of electoral votes in the Union is 303, and a majority of the whole, or the number necessary to elect is 152. Thus it appears that, without the 7 votes of California and Oregon. Lincoln has received 24 more votes than are necessary to elect him.

Douglas seems to have a prospect of carrying Missouri, and has done well in the Mobile district of Alabama, but, as the southern and southwestern States will be mainly divided between Bell and Breckinridge, the Little Giant appears destined to be hindmost in the race. Of course, those States that have voted for Bell--the Union candidate par excellence--will oppose any attempt to disrupt the Republic. Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee are supposed to be Bell States, and will not consider Lincoln's election a sufficient cause for a dissolution of the Union.

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The Morning Transcript
Nevada California, Monday, November 19, 1860

The Pony Express

Though but an infant institution, the Pony has already become as familiar as the most familiar of household words, to the people of California. Between it and the telegraph lines, which are being pushed toward Salt Lake City, from the Mississippi Valley and from California, time and space have been annihilated to a very remarkable extent. The news of the recent Presidential election, through the combined agency of the Pony and the telegraph lines, reached California in six days from St. Louis. A very few months ago. we thought ourselves well off when intelligence reached us from the Eastern side of the continent in from twenty-three to thirty days. The Pony has changed months into weeks-, and, of course, we Californians are full of gratitude to its enterprising and patriotic protectors, Mssrs. Russell and Majors, for the miracle they have wrought in our behalf.

Yes - we, Californians. are enthusiastically Grateful to the Pony and its masters, but we have a slow way of showing it. There is an ethereal and practical mode, and a solid and arithmetical mode, of evincing gratitude: just as there is in evincing pity or any other emotions. The sympathizing crowd, weeping over the unfortunate teamster, whose horses and wagon had gone to the bottom of a deep river, did him but little service with their tears, while the little Frenchman. who pulled out his wallet and said. "By gad, I pity you ten dollar!" did him a good deal - it is just so with the Pony. The Gratitude it inspires ought to be exhibited in the tangible form of good hard coin, rather than in magniloquent phrases.

The Pony's rates of postage are exceedingly cheap when compared with the rapidity with which it performs its engagements. Two dollars and a half for the conveyance of a letter, to the loved ones at home. or on matters of special business interest, is but a small sum - or ought to be so considered - in the estimation of big-hearted Californians. And yet our big-hearted Californians do not patronize the Pony beyond a tithe of its current expenses. This is all wrong.

The Pony has an agency in Nevada, and its agent - our courteous and public-spirited friend, John Pattison, of the telegraph office - intends setting out to-day to see what solid marks of favor our citizens are willing to bestow upon an institution which has become so indispensable to their personal and social enjoyment. Mr. Pattison will carry with him a paper, on which will be recorded the names of the persons and business firms that will undertake to send one letter per month by the Pony. Of course, he will obtain a large list of names; and, without meaning to be ostentatious, we intend to place the TRANSCRIPT firm on his paper, as near the head as we can put it. Mr. Pattison may have some arrangements in view, with which we are not perfectly acquainted. These he will personally explain to those upon whom he will call. Sincerely do we hope that we may not be compelled to record the disagreeable fact that an effort so praiseworthy had failed of success. Nous vcrrons!

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Sacramento Daily Union (Denver)
Sacramento, Saturday Morning, November 24, 1860

THE CENTRAL ROUTE--- The Stockton Republican, in its tender solicitude for the Pony Express, has come to the conclusion that there is every prospect of its being interrupted on the above route during the coming Winter. It labors through a column article to show up some terrible bugbears on the Central route, and intimates that if they are true, the earliest opportunity should be taken by the Government to provide an Express upon the Butterfield route, at least for the Winter season, something which it never has done for the Pony Express on the Central route during any season. The alleged facts and reasons cited by the Republican are of the same character that have always been presented when it has been proposed to establish a Mail route or railroad on the Central line, and have been, again and again, dissipated and proved of no account, by repeated and rapid transmissions of Mail and Express matter at all seasons of the year; and this fact is patent to the whole community.

Such reasons as are given by the Republican would as well apply against the probability of the mail being punctually carried in the Winter season through hundreds of towns in the northern portions of New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Such foolish bugbears and stories might frighten old women, but they have no terrors for men accustomed to snows, and have felt the north wind in the valleys and on the mountains of the East. With the well established stations on the Pony Express route, there is no fear that there will be any material detention during the coming Winter, and we venture to say that there will always be better time made on it than any mail route that leads to Stockton.

In this connection we quote the following from a late Salt Lake paper:

The Pony still continues his usual gallop, and notwithstanding the storms of approaching Winter, makes pretty good time. The first of the past week, being made in three days and twenty hours from Sacramento to this city (about seven hundred miles), is not very bad time, when we consider that about a quarter of the distance was galloped through snow three inches in depth, but there are boys on the track who have waded the snows in bygone days, and they know what they have to encounter, and fear not.

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Sacramento Daily Union
Sacramento, Saturday Morning, November 24, 1860

Letter from St. Louis
(From our Special Correspondent)
St. Louis. November 9, 1860
The Pony Express

Everything has worked well this far with the Pony Express, though there was a slight change in the programme laid down in my last letter. The extra Pony was not started on Wednesday morning last as soon as the result was known, but was held back until one o'clock p.m. This change was made by Mr. Russell in order to provide against any possible mistake or doubt in the character of the news. He was fearful if the Pony left too soon, some false reports might creep in, and hence he named noon as the hour of departure. At that hour he received a dispatch from Kearney, stating that the Pony was at the door, and was awaiting only your summary of news. It was dispatched at once, but a slight delay occurring here, I was enabled to get an additional dispatch through, containing the news received after twelve o'clock, and half an hour later than anything else sent over the line. The following dispatch from Kearney mentions the departure of the Pony:

An extra of the Pony Express left here for Carson Valley at one p.m. today. carrying the election news and a considerable number of private telegrams. The rider and horse were tastefully decorated with ribbons, etc, and departed amid the cheering of a large and enthusiastic gathering. This run is expected to be quicker than any ever yet made between here and the outer station of the California telegraph line. The Ponies leaving, St. Joseph Thursday, the 8th, and Sunday morning, the 11th, are also to make double quick time, calling here for latest telegraph dates.

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Sacramento, Thursday Morning, December 20, 1860


The only copy of the President's Message which has been received on the Pacific Coast was received last night, at twelve o'clock, by THE SACRAMENTO UNION, through the Pony Express, which came in on the Railroad from Folsom. The Express reached Placerville at half-past three o'clock yesterday afternoon, but owing to a very insufficient horse that the rider was troubled with, and the bad condition of the roads, it did not reach Folsom until half-past nine o'clock. According to previous arrangements made, a hand-car was immediately provided, and the Express rider came through in a good time as could be made on a dark and exceedingly rainy night. He informs us that the car was run off twice on the trip down.

The message not arriving at St. Louis, Dec. 4th, in season to be transmitted by our correspondent there, was telegraphed by him to Fort Kearney, regardless of expense, where it overtook the Pony Express, and was brought to this city. It was telegraphed from St. Louis, Dec. 6th, in the afternoon, and was received here, as we have said, last night, making the time across the Continent, over the snows of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, and through the mud and sloughs of the Plains, in the short time of twelve days--a feat which is unparalleled in the transmission of a President's Message on the Continent. It will be found in our columns this morning.

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The Daily Bee
Sacramento. Tuesday Evening
December 25. 1860

Snow in the Mountains

We find the following dispatches in the San Francisco Herald:

Virginia City, Dec 23, 1860
Snow to the depth of six inches fell here Saturday night.

Genoa, Dec 23rd
Snow six inches inches deep.

Strawberry, Dec 23rd.
We have three feet of snow on the Main Summit: it is reported this morning at four feet. The road is open, travel is uninterrupted. The inward bound Pony made the trip from Carson City through the storm to Placerville, in sixteen hours on Saturday. The stages were only detained a short time in making their trip. A perfect system has been adopted to keep the road open to travel.

Placerville Dec. 23rd.
Snow fell here last night about three inches in depth. It snowed during the day.

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Daily Evening News (Denver)
Nov. 30, 1860


The Extra Pony which left Fort Kearney on Wednesday, November 7th with the election news, arrived at Salt Lake City in three days and 4 hours - distance, 950 miles. J. E. Bromley, company's agent, rode the last 45 miles in three hours and ten minutes. Pretty good ride for Jeems. The Regular Pony, leaving St. Joseph on the 8th inst., arrived in Salt Lake City, a distance of twelve hundred miles, in 4 days and 23 hours. It had been snowing 36 hours when the Pony left Salt Lake. - St. Joseph Gazette, Nov. 24th.


Owing to misunderstanding at Ft. Kearney, the Pony dispatches that should have reached us Friday at 12 o'clock, noon, were not left at Julesburg, and are now doubtlessly far down the Humboldt on the way to California. A copy of the regular Thursday morning dispatches from St. Joseph, was duly forwarded from the Crossing (Julesburg), and reached us this morning a little after six o'clock in eighteen hours from that point.

The Western stage coach that left Kearney on Wednesday evening, got in at half-past twelve this morning, six hours ahead of the pony, and furnished its dispatches of Wednesday evening to the Mountaineer, which issued an extra quite early this morning. Our dates are to Thursday, at 9 AM from St. Joseph, being a full twelve hours later than published by our contemporary. We have taken time to canvass and compile the returns and are thus enabled - though at a rather late hour - to give our readers an intelligible report of the result. We will in tomorrow's daily give full compiled returns.

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The Overland Mail Company became mail contractor on the Central Route in March 1861. In an editorial appeal to the managers of the Overland Mail Company to establish their Central Route through Contra Costa County, the following reference to the Pony Express was made:

Contra Costa Gazette
March 3, 1861

There still remains the route by Benicia and Martinez, through Pacheco and Lafayette to Oakland, which is now in good condition to travel. On this route wharves are already built on both sides of the bay, ferry boats are actually running, and the Pony Express has often passed over this line without inconvenience or hindrance.

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The following editorial appeared as a result of the apparent difficulties that the Pony Express was experiencing in maintaining a proper schedule:

San Francisco Evening Bulletin
March 5, 1861

The Pony Express

A dispatch received today from W.C. Marley, Agent of the Pony Express at Carson City, says: "The Pony leaving San Francisco March 6th will get through to St. Louis inside scheduled time. The Pony leaving St. Joseph, March 4th, will come through Fort Churchill in about seven days, and reach San Francisco inside of nine."

We hope this nine days prediction will be verified, but the recent frequent and unnecessary delays of expresses at Sacramento is not encouraging as to the reliability of the incoming Ponies. We are today publishing for the first time, letters received at Sacramento sixty hours ago, which might have been sent to us overland on the day they were received, by an expenditure of thirty or forty dollars -- which the Bulletin itself offered to defray.

Unless there is more energy to the management of this end of the line, so that no more expresses are delayed at Sacramento, increased patronage of the Pony cannot be expected from Eastern letter writers. The Bulletin will pay half the expense of bringing the Express letters from Sacramento overland, hereafter -- whenever 24 hours delay can be prevented by doing so -- if that will spirit up the Express Company to do what they ought to do on their own account, and at their own cost.

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San Francisco Evening Bulletin
March 23, 1861

The Pony Express to Arrive Tomorrow in San Francisco

It will be seen by the annexed telegraph, received by Mr. Brown, the agent here of the Pony Express Company, from Mr. Coleman, the agent of the Company in Sacramento, that the Pony will reach Oakland, overland, tomorrow forenoon about 11 o'clock. It will be brought across the Bay to San Francisco by the first steamer leaving Oakland after its arrival; and the Express letters will be delivered at the office here immediately afterwards -- probably by 1 o'clock, p.m. The following is the telegram alluded to:

Sacramento, March 23 - 11:50 A.M.
TO MR BROWN: -- The Pony will not arrive here in time for today's steamer to San Francisco. I will send it through by land. It will arrive at Oakland tomorrow forenoon about 11 o'clock.
Notify the Bulletin and Alta.
J.W. Coleman, Agent

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