5 Things You May Not Know About The Pony Express

On April 3, 1860, the Pony Express began on a 2,000-mile route to deliver mail using relay riders from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. The Trivia Today team pulled together these five riveting facts about The Pony Express...

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Mail Was Delivered Really Fast for Those Days Around the clock, riders raced their mounts around 10 mph over sections of routes covering almost 2,000 miles, passing through eight states in only 10 days. The route ran from Missouri through Kansas and Nebraska on to Wyoming, Utah, Nevada to Sacramento, California. By riding on horseback, the mail delivery was possible in seven days, instead of the 24 days it took for a stagecoach.

The Pony Express Used Around 400 Horses Riders for the Pony Express usually rode 75-100 miles, which is a long time in the saddle. However, they changed horses frequently, with stations located about every 10 miles. Riders sometimes swapped their horses as many as 10 times, so there was a need for many horses along the routes.

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The Pony Express Only Operated For About 19 Months Although the Pony Express is well-known, it operated for less than 19 months.. The Pony Express was forced to close after the opening of the transcontinental telegraph. Telegraphs could be sent much faster and with less expense. In the end, the business venture that was the Pony Express lost a lot of money and became outdated fairly quickly. Despite operating for only 19 months, its riders had successfully delivered some 35,000 pieces of mail and traveled more than half a million miles across the American frontier.   

Pony Express Riders Were Asked To Carry Bibles Alexander Majors, the co-founder of the Pony Express, made all the riders carry a Bible.  Riders were expected to be stand-up citizens and were required to sign an oath on the inside of the Bible promising they would not curse, drink, or fight. However, most riders ignored their orders and left their Bibles behind because they were heavy, as riders wanted to carry as little weight as possible to increase their speed.

You Can Still Use The Pony Express To Send A Letter The National Pony Express Association conducts a commemorative ride for members every June along the same route the riders traveled. The route runs from St. Joseph, Missouri, as far as Sacramento, California, or in the other direction depending on the year.  Over 700 riders come together to travel the 1,966 mile Pony Express Trail in a meager ten days. For $10, you can send a personal letter to someone along the path anywhere in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, or California.