October 26, 1861: Pony Express Ceases Operation

 

 

An American legend, the Pony Express ceased operations on October 26, 1861.  Operating for only 18 months, the Pony Express delivered mail over 1900 rugged miles from San Francisco to Saint Joseph, Missouri in an astonishing 10 days.  Most of the riders were teenage boys, including a 14 year old boy, William Cody, future Medal of Honor recipient,   better known to history as Buffalo Bill.  These young men and boys quickly found themselves national heroes due to their iron determination to deliver the mail swiftly in spite of inclement weather, hostile indians and vast distances.  Each Pony Express rider received a Bible upon being hired and swore this oath:

“I, ……, do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while I am an employee of Russell, Majors and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God.”

The Pony Express was a casualty of technology, closing up shop two days after the completion of the first transcontinental telegraph line.  Physically the Pony Express Riders were small men and boys, none being hired if they weighed more than 125 pounds.  However they left behind them a legend worthy of giants.

Published in: on October 26, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on October 26, 1861: Pony Express Ceases Operation  
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