KanColl: The Kansas 
Historical Quarterlies

Part IV-The Platte Route-Concluded.
The Pony Express and Pacific Telegraph

by George A. Root and Russell K. Hickman

February, 1946 (Vol. 14 No. 1), pages 36 to 92.
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.

     IN the spring of 1859 the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express Company began operations between Leavenworth and Denver, by way of the Solomon and Republican rivers. Not long thereafter the company took over the Hockaday line to Salt Lake City, necessitating a transfer to the Platte route-the old Oregon and Cali fornia trail. This road was longer than the initial trail but enjoyed many natural advantages which made possible a more rapid transit between the Missouri river and the Rockies. The company installed improvements along the route and carried on a large business in the transportation of treasure, mail and passengers between Denver and Leavenworth. In February, 1860, the last trips were made by the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express Company, which was now continued as the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company. The story of the latter organization and the accompanying Pony Express and Pacific Telegraph are treated in this issue, with the concluding phases of the Pike's Peak Express companies. The growing tide of migration to the Oregon country and California led to a growing demand for a railroad to the Pacific coast. As early as 1845 Asa Whitney suggested such a project through the public domain, and a few years later Thomas H. Benton proposed a "Central National Highway" to the Western ocean, to include both a railway and wagon road. [311] During the 1850's repeated proposals of this nature were advanced, but every concrete suggestion as to route foundered upon the rocks of sectionalism. Among the leading advocates of the project was Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, who coupled it with the territorial organization of the Nebraska region, then a part of the Indian country and not open to settlement. In 1852 he introduced a bill to protect the emigrant route and establish a telegraph line and overland mail from the Missouri river to California and Oregon. [314] Despite his strenuous efforts in its behalf, congress



refused to do more than provide for a careful survey of the possible routes, the findings of which suggested five principal roads to the Pacific coast. In January, 1855, Douglas introduced a bill in the senate for a northern, a central, and a southern railroad, but he could not obtain the agreement of both houses. By the late 1850's there was a growing insistence throughout the country that congress act on the matter.

     William M. Gwin, veteran senator from California, was associated with Douglas in the matter of a Pacific railroad. He had long championed improved communication to the East for his constituents, who were now particularly desirous of a quicker mail service than that afforded by the Butterfield ("ox-bow") Overland Mail. Many Californians believed the Central route would give them a: quicker service-it was clearly growing in popularity the country over, but was still objected to by some as neither free of snow blockades, nor of possible attack by Indians or Mormons. [313] Almost equally as insistent as the people of California were those of western Missouri and Iowa and the territories to the west, particularly such ports of embarkation as St. Joseph and Leavenworth. By the close of 1859 St. Joseph was a leading claimant for the terminal of the Pacific railroad-to-be, then envisaged as an extension of the Hannibal and St. Joseph road, already completed to that city, and a telegraph line to California. [314] The St. Joseph Weekly West praised the Central route from that place to Salt Lake City and Placerville (Cal.) as "the route to the Pacific" it "being much shorter and passing over a better watered and grazing country than any of its rivals," whereby "St. Louis and San Francisco can be brought within fourteen days of each other." [315]

     This same route was urged by the


New York Tribune as the "most direct and expeditious" for a daily overland mail to California, which could be "easily traversed in sixteen days," and later in fourteen, at an annual cost of not over a million dollars. "Such a mail should have a telegraph working by its side...." [316] Early in 1855, when hostile acts had been committed by the Western Indians, the problem of proper protection of the emigrant routes to California and Oregon was considered by congress. Senator Gwin introduced a joint resolution in the senate (Congressional Globe, January 18, 1855) proposing a "weekly express mail, for rapid communication across the continent, the pioneer of a regular line of mail stages..." between St. Louis and San Francisco, and asserted that he would demonstrate its practicability. Already there were telegraph lines to Kansas on the east, and to the Sierra Nevadas at Placerville on the west, which would shorten the time of actual communication from New York to San Francisco to eight days. "In a short time after the express is established, the telegraph will extend, and our communication be brought down to six days."

     On December 22, 1859, soon after the opening of the 36th congress, Senator Gwin introduced a measure for a Pacific railroad,[317] and on the following January 18 a bill (Senate No. 84) to facilitate communication between the Atlantic and Pacific states by electric telegraph. The latter measure was considerably altered in the house of representatives, and as finally enacted into law (June, 1860) it authorized the advertising of bids for the use by the government of one or more telegraph lines, to be constructed within two years "from some point or points on the west line of the State of Missouri, by any route or routes which the said contractors may select... to the city of San Francisco...." [318] On April 10, 1860, Gwin reported from his committee on the post office and post roads a bill for a 20-day mail service between St. Joseph and Placerville, and the next day insisted on its urgency, wanting the Pony Express, now already in operation, to take back immediately news of favorable action by the senate on a semiweekly mail by the Central route. "It is a matter of such importance to the people of California, that


I dare not, if I wished to do so, postpone it...." [319] In the consideration of these measures, particularly the telegraph proposals, it is more than probable that Gwin conferred with William H. Russell, who was frequently in Washington, concerning a fast pony express service which would supplement the telegraph, until the latter was completed. A combination of the two would make possible, at a very early date, a great quickening of communication, and would help to settle, once and for all, the perennial question of railroad routes to the Pacific. Russell long wanted an improved mail contract, and may well have been given assurances by Senator Gwin toward this end. The success of the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express to Denver and Salt Lake City, with its extension to California, was a potent argument toward this goal. A victory of the Central route and an expedited Pony Express and Pacific telegraph which would entirely eclipse the Butterfield interests would be a "clincher" toward a mail contract by this road. [320]

     According to the narrative of Charles R. Morehead, his midwinter trip (November, 1857-January; 1858) across the plains to Utah with Capt. James Rupe to deliver supplies to the army of Albert Sidney Johnston, gave William H. Russell the idea of a pony express:

     We now passed through Nebraska and Kansas Territories, and arrived at Fort Leavenworth on the 26th of January, 1858, which was thirty days out from [Fort] Bridger.
     William H. Russell, head of the contracting firm, wired us to come on to Washington. We took stage to Jefferson City, Mo., and there took the Missouri Pacific Railroad to St. Louis and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to Washington.
     In the estimation of all we had made a splendid trip, and we felt very proud of it. We had traveled about 1200 miles, as the road then ran, in thirty days, in the dead of a severe winter, through hostile Indians and ravenous wolves, in snow every foot of the way, without a change of animals and without grain,-indeed, we walked at least two-thirds of the way.
     After we completed our report,... Mr. Russell took us to see the President, some Senators and members of Congress, and also the Secretary of War and Quartermaster-General. With Mr. Floyd, Secretary of War, the question of the feasibility of a pony express across the continent was presented by Mr. Russell, and fully discussed. Captain Rupe's views were called for, and


he expressed the opinion that it was entirely practicable at all seasons on this route, all the way to California. [321]

     In the Popularization of the Central route from Salt Lake City to Placerville, Cal., it is probable that the veteran mail contractor, George Chorpenning, has not been given due credit. He describes his venture and his pioneer Pony Express in his Brief History of the Mail Service:

      Mr. Chorpenning took a third contract in April, 1858, for a coach service between Salt Lake and Placerville, California, for four years, to commence July 1st following. It was this contract that led him to expend very large sums of money . . . in exploring and opening a new route to California, by which the distance was shortened upwards of one hundred miles; and it was upon this line that he built stations . . . at intervals of about every twenty miles. . .
     At the time Mr. Chorpenning opened and stocked the new route, there was not a single white inhabitant in the entire country between the settlements of Salt Lake and the foot of the Sierra Nevada... The line of mail stations erected at once invited settlers... During this time 922 months). he had opened a complete road, had graded hills and bridged streams. . . .      He projected and put into operation the first "Pony Express" that ever crossed the country, and in December, 1858, delivered President Buchanan's annual message through to California in seventeen days eight and a half hours. It was this then wonderful feat, and the running through of coaches weekly in thirty days, that demonstrated the practicability of overland communication, and, for the first time, brought Mr. Chorpenning and the great importance of his work before the public. [322]

     As early as August, 1859, John S. Jones and B. D. Williams of the Pike's Peak Express promoted the idea of a railroad and telegraph to the West, in a meetlng at Denver. [323] Late that year the plans for this venture must have been well advanced, as the idea of a telegraph line was then unofficially reported in an Elwood paper.

     We are informed from a reliable source that it is the intention of Messrs. Jones, Russell & Co., to establish, early in the spring a telegraph line from from this point to Denver City. With their facilities for the undertaking the estimated cost will be only about $45,000.... Every development of the day


points irresistibly to the central route as the line of the great Pacific Rail Road. . . [324]

     One of the best accounts of the founding of the Pony Express is included in the Memoirs of Alexander Majors, of the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell:

      During the winter of 1859, Mr. W. H. Russell, of our firm, while in Washington, D. C., met and became acquainted with Senator Gwin of California. The Senator was very anxious to establish a line of communication between California and the States east of the Rocky Mountains, which would be more direct than that known as the Butterfield route, running at that time from San Francisco via Los Angeles, Cal.; thence across the Colorado River and up the valley of the Gila; thence via El Paso and through Texas, crossing the Arkansas River at Fort Gibson, and thence to St. Louis, Mo.
     This route, the Senator claimed, was entirely too long; that the requirements of California demanded a more direct route, which would make quicker passage than could be made on such a circuitous route as the Butterfield line.
     Knowing that Russell, Majors & Waddell were running a daily stage between the Missouri River and Salt Lake City, and that they were also heavily engaged in the transportation of Government stores on the same line, he asked Mr. Russell if his company could not be induced to start a pony express, to run over its stage line to Salt Lake City, and from thence to Sacramento; his object being to test the practicability of crossing the Sierra Nevadas, as well as the Rocky Mountains, with a daily line of communication.
     After various consultations between these gentlemen, from time to time, the Senator urging the great necessity of such an experiment, Mr. Russell consented to take hold of the enterprise, provided he could get his partners, Mr. Waddell and myself, to join him.
     With this understanding, he left Washington and came west to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to consult us. After he explained the object of the enterprise, and we had well considered it, we both decided that it could not be made to pay expenses. This decision threw quite a damper upon the ardor of Mr. Russell, and he strenuously insisted we should stand by him, as he had committed himself to Senator Gwin before leaving Washington, assuring him he could get his partners to join him, and that he might rely on the project being carried through, and saying it would be very humiliating to his pride to return to Washington and be compelled to say the scheme had fallen through from lack of his partners' confidence.
<      He urged us to reconsider, stating the importance attached to such an undertaking, and relating the facts Senator Gwin had laid before him, which were that all his attempts to get a direct thoroughfare opened between the State of California and the Eastern States had proved abortive, for the reason that when the question of establishing a permanent central route came up, his colleagues, or fellow senators, raised the question of the impassability of


the mountains on such a route during the winter months; that the members from the Northern States were opposed to giving the whole prestige of such a thoroughfare to the extreme southern route; that this being the case, it had actually become a necessity to demonstrate, if it were possible to do so, that a central or middle route could be made practicable during the winter as well as summer months. That as soon as we demonstrated the feasibility of such a scheme he (Senator Gwin) would use all his influence with Congress to get a subsidy to help pay the expenses of such a line on the thirty-ninth to forty-first parallel of latitude, which would be central between the extreme north and south; that he could not ask for the subsidy at the start with any hope of success, as the public mind had already accepted the idea that such a route open at all seasons of the year was an impossibility; that as soon as we proved to the contrary, he would come to our aid with a subsidy.
      After listening to all Mr. Russell had to say upon the subject, we concluded to sustain him in the undertaking, and immediately went to work to organize what has since been known as "The Pony Express." [325]

     During January, 1860, the plans for a Pony Express were completed and orders were issued to prepare for a start of the enterprise early in April. [326] The first descriptive dispatch to be published was wrong in asserting that it was to be a government project:

New York, Jan. 25

     A dispatch from Washington says the government is about arranging for a horse express from St. Joseph, Mo., to Placerville, California, to connect with the telegraph to San Francisco, thus securing dispatches from the Pacific in ten days. [327]

     Russell corrected this two days later in a dispatch from Washing ton to Leavenworth:

Washington, Jan. 27th, 1860

     To John W. Russell-Have determined to establish a Pony Express to Sacramento, California, commencing the 3rd of April. Time 10 days. Wm. H. Russell. [328]


     In the founding of the Pony Express it appears that Benjamin F. Ficklin had an important role, [329] second only to William H. Russell, as is indicated by the following initial account in the Washington (D. C.) Evening Star (January 30, 1860)


      We learn that Beni. Ficklin, Esq., a gentleman connected with the business of Messrs. Russell and Major, the well known Army contractors, left this city on Saturday last for the Far West, to establish an independent horse express across the Plains, to California, which shall make the trip between the extreme points to which the magnetic telegraph now operates, in eight days; which for the transmission of news will enable parties in New York and San Francisco to communicate with each other in that time, (eight days) as the time required to communicate by telegraph between New York and St. Joseph's, Mo., and, again, between San Francisco and Sacramento, will be unappreciable, of course.
     Between St. Joseph's and Salt Lake City, Russell and Major have stations every twenty-five miles, and between Salt Lake City and Sacramento Mr. Chorporing [Chorpenning], the mail contractor, has stations the same distance apart. Mr. Ficklin proposes to run the horse express weekly.... The distance between St. Joseph's and Sacramento is sixteen hundred miles, and it is proposed to make (with the express) two hundred miles in the twenty-four hours, traveling night and day. A hundred letters (embracing telegraph messages) paying $5 each will pay the expense of the trip;... operations will commence in April next.... One of the best points in the affair is, that they do not propose to ask Government pecuniary assistance; a new feature, indeed, in any such far western enterprise. [330]

     Without further details of the new venture, both Leavenworth papers hailed the news of the Pony Express as a great development, and assumed that Leavenworth would serve as the eastern terminal. The Times ran the following headings:




Clear the Track and Let the Pony Come Through


     The seemingly impossible was about to be accomplished; the "superior advantages of Leavenworth... are becoming duly appreciated; and to this token of it we are indebted to the enterprise of Wm. H. Russell." [331]

     In order to assure a more sound legal basis than had been possessed by the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express, the organizers of the Pony Express applied for articles of incorporation by the legislature of Kansas territory, which were passed by that body and approved by Gov. S. Medary February 13, 1860.332 In the section on express companies Chapter CXLIII of the private laws for that session constituted the new charter, under which the stage company and the Pony Express were now to operate:

AN ACT to incorporate the Central Overland California and Pike's peak Express Company.
Be it enacted by the Governor and Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Kansas:

SECTION 1. That William H. Russell, John S. Jones, Benjamin F. Ficklin, Alexander Majors, Benjamin C. Card, Webster M. Samuel, Jerome B. Simpson, William B. Waddell, William S. Grant, Luther R. Smoot, John W. Russell, Joseph A. Monheimer, and their associates, successors and assigns, be and they hereby are declared to be a body corporate and politic, by the name, [of] "The Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company

[statement of the usual corporate powers followed].


SEC. 2. The capital stock of the said company shall be five hundred thousand dollars, and shall be divided into shares of one hundred dollars each.., such company may increase its capital stock... as may be deemed necessary.
SEC. 3. The said company may commence business as soon as its capital stock shall be fully subscribed for.
SECS. 4-6. [These referred to officers, meetings and government of the corporation.]
SEC. 7. The said company shall have power to establish, maintain, and operate any express, stage, passenger, or transportation route or routes, by land or water, for the conveyance of persons, mails, and property from, to, and between any place in Kansas, and any place in or beyond the limits of Kansas, and to create and organize branch companies for the same purpose, and to build, hire, establish, and maintain storehouses, warehouses, and other buildings for the safe keeping of goods, wares, and merchandise and other property.. , and shall have the power of exploring for minerals, and of mining gold and other ores and metals, and cleansing, refining, and manufacturing the same, and assaying gold or other precious metals.
SEC. 8. That the principal office of the said company shall be kept at Leavenworth city, unless... changed by the vote of two-thirds of the directors.
SECS. 9, 10. [SEC. 9 concerned meetings of the directors, and SEC. 10 investment of surplus.]
SECS. 11-13. [Regulations for disposal of unclaimed freight; insurance, and change of name.]
SEC. 14. This act shall take effect immediately.
Speaker pro tem. of House of Representatives.
W. W. UPDEGRAFF, President of the Council.
Approved February 13th, 1860.
S. MEDARY, Governor [333]

The legislative report of the Leavenworth Times remarked that this was "the great bill of the session" which "if carried out to the fullest extent" would "astonish the natives." It would place Leavenworth "in nearly a straight line from the cities East to the gold fields of the West." [334] This account follows:


     It is with the greatest pleasure we feel enabled to announce to the public that the Legislature of Kansas has passed the act granting a charter to the Central Overland Express Co., which will run from Leavenworth to the Pacific Coast via the Gold Region. This enterprise is one of a mammoth character, and will play a great part in the rapid development of the vast region lying between the Missouri and the Pacific. In fact we believe we are not predicting too much when we aver that the establishment of this Express Route will mark the line of the Pacific Railroad. The beneficient results likely to flow from this enterprise were so thoroughly appreciated by the Legislature that the charter passed both Houses without a dissentient vote-a fact as marvelous as it was creditable.
     We are informed that the incorporators of the Express Company will lose no time in effecting an organization and putting this great enterprise into effective operation.... It is only necessary for us to say that our honored fellow citizens-Win. H. Russell, Wm. B. Waddell, John S. Jones and Luther R. Smoot, head the great enterprise, to convince all that the company will accomplish whatever they attempt, and exceed the anticipations of the most sanguine. These great mariners of the Plains represent an executive ability, a comprehensive knowledge of the wants and necessities incident to overland trade and travel, a fearless independence, a profuse liberality, a faith in Western resources and capabilities, which will make their names conspicuous in the growth and progress of an almost illimitable Region of which it may be truly said
                      The elements of Empire here are plastic yet and warm,
                      The chaos of a mighty world is rounding into form. [335]

     A few days later the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company was formally organized under the new charter, the old firm of Jones and Russell was bought out, and a new slate of offIcers chosen, which included William H. Russell as president.



     The Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company was organized yesterday under a liberal charter from the Territorial Legislature, with A. Majors, John S. Jones, Wm. B. Waddell, B. C. Card, W. S. Grant, Kerome]. B. Simpson, and Wm. H. Russell as Directors; Wm. H. Russell, President; J.B. Simpson, Vice President; J. W. Russell, Secretary and Treasurer, and B[enjamin]. F. Ficklin, General Road Agent. They have purchased the old company of Jones, Russell & Co., who are running the Pike's Peak


     Express and Utah Male [sic] Line, for the sum of five hundred thousand dollars, and will continue to run the same, together with the Pony Express to Sacramento, California. Time to Carson City, ten days, and to Sacramento, twelve days. [336]

     Although the partners of William H. Russell appear to have been reluctant to embark on a venture with so precarious a future, once the matter had been decided and the "C.O.C." organized, the "spade work" was speedily undertaken. In this Benjamin F. Ficklin played a leading role [337] as chief field man under William H. Russell, a position similar to that of John S. Jones as general superintendent of the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express. Even before the new company had been formally organized Jones & Russell advertised for 200 grey mares to be used on the "horse express":



from four to seven years old,
not to exceed fifteen hands
high, well broke to the saddle, and


With black hoofs, and suitable for running the "Overland Poney Express"


Feb.10-1w [338]

     Among the more urgent preliminary matters were those of providing a suitable route for the fast express line and sufficient stations for the riders. A dispatch from St. Joseph, March 15, 1860, indicated that this was well under way:

     We learn that the arrangements of Jones, Russell & Co., for a pony express from this place to California are fast being consummated. A portion of their ponies, riders, and agents have arrived here, and yesterday they started to determine the route, and locate the stations. They expect to commence running about the 5th of April, and will go through in ten days. It is thought


     they will locate the starting point of their messenger and fast freight line, but is is not fully decided yet. [339]

     Work of a similar nature was proceeding on the Western end of the line between Salt Lake City and Sacramento-the old Chorpenning mail route, which was very inadequately supplied with stations. It was decided to shorten the line at some places-a notable change to be the adoption of the new road surveyed by J. H. Simpson southwest of Salt Lake City. [340] On March 23, 1860, the Sacramento Union announced that W. W. Finney, superintendent of the Western end of the line, had already finished plans for his division with the purchase of 129 mules and horses (about 100 of the latter called ponies), and a train had already been dispatched to stock the line as far as Eagle Valley. From thereto Salt Lake City this work was to be carried on from the Mormon metropolis. The stations were to be about 20 to 25 miles apart, so that the ponies might travel to the next station and return once a week, and thereby accommodate a weekly service in each direction. [341] In carrying out this work Finney ran into much trouble in the Sierra region east of Placerville, where late snows greatly increased the cost of feed and provisions, much of which had to be packed on the backs of mules. In this extremity Ben Holliday, who was already operating local stages of his own, came to the rescue of Finney by cashing drafts of the Pike's Peak Express Company, and the work of construction was finished according to schedule. [342]

     Late in March the New York Daily Tribune, in its classified column headed "Steamboats and Railroads," carried the following announcement of the Pony Express and Western telegraph:




     The first courier of the Pony Express will leave the Missouri River on TUESDAY, April 3, at 5 o'clock, p. m., and will run regularly weekly thereafter, carrying a Letter-Mail only.
The point of departure on the Missouri River will be in telegraphic connection with the East, and will be announced in due time.
Telegraph messages from all parts of the United States and Canada, in connection with the point of departure, will be received up to 5 o'clock p. m., of the day of leaving, and transmitted over the Placerville and St. Joseph telegraph wire to San Francisco and intermediate points, by the connecting Express, in eight days. The Letter-Mail will be delivered in San Francisco in ten days from the departure of the Express.
The Express passes through Forts Kearney, Laramie, and Bridger, Great Salt-Lake City, Camp Floyd, Carson City, the Washoe silver mines, Placerville, and Sacramento.
Letters for Oregon, Washington Territory, British Columbia, the Pacific Mexican ports, Russian Possessions, Sandwich Islands, China, Japan, and India, will be mailed in San Francisco.
Special Messengers, bearers of letters to connect with the Express of the 3d of April, will receive communications for the Courier of that day at No. 481 loth st., Washington City, up to 2:45 p. m., on FRIDAY, March 30, and in New York at the office of J. B. Simpson, room No. 8 Continental Bank Building, Nassau St., up to 6:50 a. m., of 31st March.
Full particulars can be obtained on application at the above places and Agents of the Company.
WM. H. RUSSELL, President.
Leavenworth City, Kansas, March, 1860.
Office in New York--
J. B. SIMPSON, Vice-President.
SAMUEL & ALLEN, Agents, St. Louis.
H. J. SPAULDING, Agent, ChIcago. [343]

     In an editorial comment the Tribune remarked that letters and telegraphic messages would be carried for a $5 fee (incorrect as to telegrams), and added:

     For the present, this Express must make the long detour of Laramie and the South Pass, but it will very soon be run by Denver (or some point on the


South Platte near that city), and so by the White River branch of the Colorado to Salt Lake, saving at least 300 miles, and reducing the express mail time to San Francisco to nine days and the telegraph time to seven days. This is a strictly private enterprise, to be sustained by the voluntary patronage of those who may profit by it; but the Government will often use it to great advantage. The men engaged in it are abundantly able to prosecute it, even at a heavy loss. It is to be run weekly in either direction and we heartily commend it to mercantile favor. [344]

     A few days later the Tribune announced that the first Pony Express would leave St. Joseph at 5 p. m., Tuesday, April 3, and weekly thereafter on the same day and hour, William H. Russell promising a transit to Virginia (Carson) City (then Utah territory), the first station on the California telegraph line, in eight days. [345] The next issue of the St. Joseph Weekly West announced the location of the eastern terminal at that place, rather than Leavenworth, [346] a decision which appears to have been forced upon Russell because of the fact that St. Joseph enjoyed a direct railroad connection with the East, even though he personally favored Leavenworth. From this time on the Leavenworth papers greatly reduced the space they devoted to the Pony Express, and it was even charged by some that Russell had given his home city the "cold shoulder"-no doubt an unfair allegation. [347]

     On April 2, 1860, it was announced from St. Joseph that arrangements had been completed for the departure of the first pony at 5 P. M. on the next day. The Second departure for California would be Friday, April 13, and regularly thereafter on Friday, to avoid a delay over the Sabbath of letters from New York and the East. [348]


     The time to Fort Kearny was to be 34 hours; Great Salt Lake, 124 hours; Carson City, 188 hours; Placerville, 226 hours; Sacramento City, 234 hours; and San Francisco, 240 hours. Telegraphic dispatches were to go to any place in California from any point in the East in about 205 hours. [349] The fee for a letter (one half ounce or less) was fixed at $5, and a dispatch from any point in Eastern United States on telegraph lines to San Francisco, $6.90 for a 10-word message, and 20 cents for each additional word. [350]

     The close cooperation of the Pony Express and telegraph was illustrated by the following announcement of Charles M. Stebbins, superintendent of the Missouri telegraph lines west of St. Louis, which gave the precise details of the sending of dispatches by telegraph:

     We learn from Mr. Stebbins, the Superintendent of the lines west of this city, that they commence receiving despatches for the California Pony Express to-day. Each message will be numbered, and will be forwarded from the first station of the telegraph line in Carson Valley in the same order as received here. Parties wishing their despatches to take precedence must therefore send them in early. The lines will receive despatches up to 5 p. m. of Tuesday next. Triplicates will be sent, and every precaution will be taken to prevent their destruction by water or wear and tear. The tariff from St. Louis to any point in California, including express and all other charges, will be $5.30 for the first ten words, and ten cents for each additional word; and if messages fail to go through ahead of any other route, the money will be refunded. The rates from New York and other Atlantic Cities are $6.90 for ten words, and twenty cents for each additional word, subject to the same conditions. [351] [On May 22, 1860, the Tribune quoted the charge for extra words as 30 cents.]

     The Pony Express was inaugurated April 3, 1860, with a celebration at St. Joseph in honor of "the greatest enterprise of modern


times," which a border paper hailed as a seeming "impossibility," but one which they were confident would be accomplished, due to the "well known energy" of its president and directors. It promised to "benefit St. Joseph in a very marked and visible degree." Messages would be received up to 4:30 P. M. of the inaugural day, and would be carried across the continent in the quickest time on record. [352]

     The first Express was scheduled to leave the United States Express office of Hinckley & Co., in St. Joseph at 5 P. M., but was slowed up by the delay of the messenger from New York and Washington with the Eastern dispatches. [353] While the pony and its rider waited, a great crowd of people gathered. The assembled multitude "being desirous of preserving a memento of the flying messenger, the little pony was almost robbed of his tail." [354] Mayor M. Jeff. Thompson and Messrs. Russell, Majors and others made brief and appropriate addresses, setting forth the advantages to be derived from this "magnificent undertaking." [355]

     This is but the precursor, as Mr. Majors justly remarked, of another, a more important, and a 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 evidences of civilization and man's irresistible mania of progression.. Of a truth, "the desert shall blossom as the rose." [356]

     At about 7 P. M. the messenger arrived, making possible a departure at 7:15, thereby delaying the first Pony Express only about two and a quarter hours.

     At 7 ¼ oclock, the bag containing voluminous telegraphic dispatches from all parts of the country for The Sacramento Union, The San Francisco Bulletin and The Alta California, together with 49 letters, 5 private telegrams, and some papers for San Francisco and intermediate points, was, by the request of W. H. Russell, placed upon the pony, a spirited bay mare, by Mayor


     Thomason [Thompson], amid great enthusiasm, when the little bay dashed off at a rapid rate, bearing her burden toward the Golden State. [357]

     The St. Joseph Weekly West gave further details about "Billy" Richardson, the Pony Express rider on this occasion, and the "fine bay mare" that was to run the first lap of the long journey:

     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. . . enterprise. . . . 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 ice bergs 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 a fast country. [358]

     On the same day that the "spirited bay mare" left St. Joseph with "Billy" Richardson the rider, a "little nankeen-colored pony" left the San Francisco office of the Alta Telegraph Company, on Montgomery street, with James Randall as its rider, on a like mission to the East.[359] The 2,000 miles of plains, mountains and deserts that intervened between the Missouri river and the Pacific coast included some of the wildest regions of North America, the worst part of which was the desert and mountainous stretch between Salt Lake City and Sacramento. For a long distance, however, the route followed was largely that of the Oregon and California trail by way of the Platte, which was relatively improved, and was substantially


the same road as that of the overland mail to Salt Lake City and California. The following description of the Pony Express trail is probably one of the best accounts:

     The route from St. Joseph, after crossing the Missouri river, lay a little south of west until it struck the old overland military road at Kennekuk, forty-four miles out. Thence it diverged a little northwesterly across the Kickapoo Indian reservation via Granada, Log Chain, Seneca, Ash Point, Guittard's, Marysville, and Hollenberg; up the charming Little Blue valley to Rock Creek, Big Sandy, Liberty Farm, and over the rolling prairies to Thirty-twomile Creek; thence across the divide and over the prairies and sand-hills to the Platte river and due west up the valley to Fort Kearney.
     Westward from Fort Kearney the road for 200 miles was along the Platte river, near the south bank of the stream, via Plum Creek, Midway, Cottonwood Springs, Fremont Springs, O'Fallon's Bluffs, Alkali, Beauvais Ranch, and Diamond Springs, to old Julesburg. Here the South Fork was forded, and the pony moved northwesterly and went up Lodge Pole creek, across the country to Thirty-mile Ridge, and along it to Mud Springs; thence to Court-house Rock, past Chimney Rock and Scott's Bluffs, and on to Fort Laramie; thence over the foot-hills at the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, via South Pass, to Fort Bridger, Salt Lake City, Camp Floyd, Ruby Valley, the Humboldt, Carson City, Placerville, Folsom, and Sacramento, where the pony was changed for the steamer to San Francisco. [360]

     As the ponies on the first trip sped toward their destination, reports of their passage were brought back by the mail coaches they met along the way, which indicated that from the start the Pony Express had adhered to its schedule. [361] Around midnight, May 14, 1860, when the pony reached San Francisco by the boat Antelope from Sacramento, a great throng roared an enthusiastic welcome, the band played "See, the Conquering Hero Comes," bonfires were lighted, the speechmakers "studied their points," and a riotous celebration continued until nearly morning. [362]


     Just ten days after its departure from San Francisco the first eastbound Pony Express arrived in St. Joseph and was awarded a most enthusiastic welcome. A St. Joseph newspaper remarked:

     The Pony Express arrived in our city at five o'clock yesterday afternoon, just ten days from San Francisco. The event was duly and grandly celebrated last night, by fire-works, firing of cannon, parade of the military, and illumination of Market square.... Twenty, or even ten years ago, the man who would have suggested such an event would have been termed a lunatic. Hurrah, then, for the Pony Express and its enterprising proprietors. Long may they live, and soon be the time when the "Iron Horse" shall supersede the Pony. [363]

     The Leavenworth DailyTimes remarked that now the Pacific was in close proximity to the Atlantic. The run from San Francisco to Salt Lake City was made in two days and twenty hours and had there been no snow in the mountains the whole trip would have been completed in eight days.

     Nor is this great triumph to be without fruit.... Government is laggard. In all that relates to the interest of the West..., it has been niggard as well as laggard. It can be so no longer. This great success of private energy will prick the mind of the country to the necessity of Western wants, and compel Government to attend to these wants quickly and well. [364]

     The initial dispatches by Pony Express and telegraph from the Pacific coast did not appear in the St. Joseph Weekly West until the following week (April 21), with a schedule of arrivals en route, and words in appreciation of the work of Benjamin F. Ficklin as general superintendent.

     The number of letters brought through was eighty-five. The complete success which has attended the first trip... 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. [365]

     A summary of Pacific news followed, dated San Francisco, April 3, 1860, which set the pattern for later Pony Express dispatches. This same news appeared in the New York Daily Tribune, April 16, being delayed a day by the activities of a band of horse thieves be-


tween Kansas City and Leavenworth, who cut the wires in several places. The publication of this news only 13 days after its transmission at San Francisco meant a great victory of the Pony Express and its collaborators, the Pacific and Overland telegraph companies, for the Central route, over the Butterfield line. [366] From this time on, as long as the Pony Express was in regular operation, the Pacific and Oriental news was sent by this route, which with the telegraph on both ends made possible a marked saving of time, a transcontinental transit now being possible in about 10 days. This was a potent demonstration of the desirability of the Central route, which could be understood by everyone. [367] A few weeks later the majority report of the special committee of congress on the Pacific railroad was made public. It favored the central route by the Platte valley and Great Salt Lake, with branches from the western boundaries of Iowa and Missouri. The committee concluded that this was by far the most important emigrant route, with many settlements along the way, including the Pike's Peak and Washoe mining areas, and enjoyed the advantages of easy grade and few streams to bridge. [368] As one historian concludes: "No single influence did more to give prominence to the Platte trail than the decision to use it for the pony express, which was started in 1860." [369]

     From the very start the Pony Express attained a regularity of service which could be depended upon. When for any cause it was delayed immediate concern and disappointment was voiced by the


public. The following dispatch from St. Joseph illustrates this feeling:

     The Pony Express, due here yesterday, has not yet arrived, and is now twenty-four hours behind time. The delay is probably caused by high water in the mountain streams. The last express coming East, while going at a rapid rate in the night, the horse stumbled over an ox lying in the road, throwing the rider, and the horse fell upon him, so badly crushing him that it was feared he would soon die. Notwithstanding this accident, the express arrived here on time. The express leaving here tonight will take out a full summary of news and detailed accounts of the great prize fight [Heenan vs. Sayers] and other European advices up to the 18th. This will put the news from London and Liverpool through to California in the short space of twenty days. [370]

     The Pony Express considerably improved communications with both Europe and the Orient, particularly when it made good connections with a departing messenger. Oriental news along with that from California, Oregon, British Columbia, and occasionally from Mexico, was regularly dispatched to the East, while Eastern and European news went by this medium to the Pacific. The Pony Express with San Francisco dates of May 11, 1860, reported:

     The Japanese corvette sailed homeward via Honolulu on the 7th inst., having been completely repaired at the Navy Yard free of charge. A farewell festival was given to her officers.... She started immediately after the arrival of the Pony Express.... Her homeward trip will be a complete transmission of news around the world in quicker time than ever before made. [371]

     In May, 1860, the directors of the Pony Express opened an offIce in New York City where letters would be received up to the close of business on Tuesday, and telegrams to a corresponding time on Saturday, to be dispatched on the westbound Pony Express at 11 P. M. on Saturday, and announced the following schedule of rates:

     The tariff is as follows: for ten words, [by telegram] $6.90, and for each additional word, thirty cents. The express charges are: letters weighing half an ounce or under, $5; over half an ounce and under an ounce, $10; in all cases to be inclosed in government stamped envelopes, and all express charges


     Prepaid. Persons sending letters by this express should see that they are thoroughly dried, to prevent mildew. [372]

     Almost from the beginning the Pony Express was threatened by Indian attack, since its route traversed the Indian country for long distances. In April, 1860, rumors of impending hostilities were general in the West. The war actually began May 7 with an attack by Pah-Ute Indians on the station of J. O. Williams, in which seven men were killed and the house burned. [373] The westbound Pony Express apparently got through ahead of the main outbreak, with news of the attack, which quickly spread over a wide territory of Carson Valley and forced the closing of numerous stations along the route toward Salt Lake City. The Express due at St. Joseph May 28 arrived a day late, bringing dispatches from Salt Lake, but none from California, and with the following note attached to the Salt Lake way bill:

     The rider has just come in. The Indians have chased all the men from the stations between Diamond Spring and Carson Valley. The pouch in which the express matter is carried is lost.

     The problem of "chastizing" the Indians was naturally beyond the resources of the Express company. W. W. Finney, division agent at San Francisco, told of attacks along the line and described his efforts to obtain aid from General Clark, in command at the San Francisco Presidio. Finney admitted that the Pony Express was an individual enterprise, with no right to call for protection, but since it used the same route as that of the United States mail he believed it deserved government protection, which might be accomplished with 75 armed men. Since Clark could not spare that many, Finney despaired of the consequences. [375] When news of the attack on the Pony Express arrived in Washington a number of congressmen requested the intervention of the War Department. Sec. John


B. Floyd directed the commandant at Camp Floyd to dispatch enough men to protect the route through the zone of trouble. [376] The settlers sent a small force against the Indians, which met destruction in an engagement near Pyramid Lake, causing a wave of panic throughout Carson Valley. [377] A large force supported by regulars then decisively defeated and scattered the Indians under Winnemucca in fighting along the Truckee river, June 2, but did not end the Pony Express troubles, which continued for about a month thereafter. During this time additional stations were destroyed, several more agents were killed, and stock was run off. [378]

     On June l, 1860, an announcement was made at San Francisco that Pony Express service had been suspended until the route could be properly safeguarded. [379] Both Sacramento and San Francisco advanced funds to reopen the line, [380] and a company of "twenty picked men, well armed," left Carson City to accomplish this, and to cooperate with the federals from Camp Floyd. On June 22 the first westbound Express arrived at Carson Valley with all the mail of the detained Expresses, bearing St. Louis dates to June 9, and the prospect of reestablishing the enterprise was a matter of general congratulation. [381] An Express reached the Pacific coast June 30, but a two weeks' interruption followed, which caused much concern, the politicians being "almost frantic for intelligence from the Baltimore convention, having received news only up to the time of organization, and that by all the routes, ocean and overland." [382] Finally the Express of July 1 arrived at San Francisco on the 16th, with letters carried by the preceding pony, and reported that the delay was due to waiting west of Salt Lake for an escort of soldiers. Traveling with them it was possible to make only 40 miles per day. The route between Carson Valley and Salt Lake was then cleared of Indians and well stocked, promising well for the future. [383] This undertaking was not finished, however, until William C. Marley


returned to San Francisco in the fall of 1860, after completing the work along 400 miles of the line eastward from Carson Valley. [384] Late in August Col. F. W. Lander reported having interviewed the principal Pah-Ute chief, Numaga, who promised to keep his warriors quiet for a year, until the dispute could be probed at Washington, thereby ending further danger to the Pony Express and overland route. [385]

     The Pah-Ute war necessitated a large additional outlay by the Express Company, said to have been upwards of $75,000.[386] Although temporary, it was a distinct setback and gave the Butterfield overland mail a brief chance to regain its lost business, and "anticipate" the news dispatches of its rival, while the telegraph by this southwestern route was being extended at both ends of the line, in a race for supremacy. [387] The general public did not blame the company for the suspension of service. It resulted in a keener appreciation of the need of better federal protection of the overland routes, gave the Pony Express even more publicity, and demonstrated the high regard in which it was already held by the people along the way, particularly in California. [388]

     By August 1, 1860, popular confidence in the regularity and permanence of the Pony Express had been generally restored-it now served as a regular carrier of the California and Oriental news,[389] just as the Pike's Peak Express did that of the Colorado region. Accidents did occur, however, as the one chronicled in the following dispatch.

     The pony which should have brought the express letters, with St. Louis dates to Aug. 4, arrived at Carson River on the morning of the 15th, without rider or letter bags. The supposition is that the horse threw the rider and got away, or else that the Indians killed the rider, took the letter-bags, and allowed the horse to escape-the latter part of the theory not being probable, as the Indians would have kept the horse also. The pony arrived at the


station only a few hours behind time; so that the accident, or whatever was the matter, must have happened but a short distance east of Carson Valley. [390]

     The importance of the Pony Express as a carrier of news to the people of California was heightened by the presidential campaign of 1860. By October of that year there was intense anxiety in that state concerning the result of the Pennsylvania election, which was held a month early, because of its bearing upon the spirited contest in California.[391] When the news arrived by telegraph and Pony Express it created a sensation, making the Republicans exceedingly jubilant and encouraging them to put forth their greatest efforts to carry the state for Lincoln. [392] The first eastbound pony after the November election with California returns passed the outer telegraph station at Fort Kearny early on November 22, but failed to leave its news dispatches, causing a wail of disappointment. [393] These first dispatches reported a very close contest, with Lincoln leading over Douglas by only a few hundred votes, and an official recount necessary. [394] About a month after the election an Express arrived at Fort Kearny with news that Lincoln had a safe plurality, ending public suspense. [395] Besides the regular westbound Express with preelection news which left St. Joseph November 5 for California, an extra left Fort Kearny the day after that event, with considerable ceremony, as related in the following account:

     An extra Pony Express with the election returns for California left here for Carson Valley at 1 o'clock today.... Both rider and horse were tastefully decorated with ribbons, &c, and they departed amid the cheering of a large and enthusiastic gathering. The run is expected to be quicker than ever yet made between here and the outer station of the California telegraph lines. The ponies leaving St. Joseph on Thursday, 8th, and Sunday morning, 11th, are also to make double quick time, calling here for the latest telegraph dates." [396]

     This Express arrived in Salt Lake City, 950 miles distant, in three


days and four hours, [397] and reached the outer telegraph station at Fort Churchill November 14, 1860, thereby making a record passage by Pony Express and telegraph of six days, with the news of Lincoln's probable election.
At 8 o'clock today [14th] the Express arrived at Fort Churchill, Utah, whence news of the result of the Presidential election was sent to San Francisco, and published in the extra Bulletin and Alta before nine o'clock, the news having been expressed from St. Joseph to the telegraph station in the unprecedented time of six days. It produced a great sensation. The Republican State Central Committee issued an address urging a general illumination of San Francisco tomorrow evening. [398]

     With the approach of winter operation of the Pony Express was threatened by the heavy snows that prevailed along portions of the route. As early as late October a severe storm of wind, hail and snow struck the Julesburg area, forcing the emigrant trains to gather around the stage station, and detaining the Pony Express five hours. [399] On December 1, 1860, William H. Russell officially announced a change of schedule of the Pony Express for the winter months, with an increase of time to 15 days between St. Joseph and San Francisco, and 11 days between the outer telegraph stations of Forts Kearny and Churchill.

     This Schedule will be continued running as now semi-weekly trips during the winter, or until Congress shall provide for a tri-weekly Mail Service, which alone will enable the company to return to present or a shorter schedule, the present mail service between Julesburg and Placerville being only semi-monthly, which is not sufficient to keep the route open during winter.
President. [400]

     Late in December a Pony Express rider was reported to have frozen to death. [401] Yet despite the storms of winter the Expresses


arrived with marked regularity, later in the season often reaching their destination considerably in advance of the slower winter schedule, thereby confounding the enemies of the Central route who had argued against the possibility of such a feat.

     The election of Lincoln was the signal for a great flood of secession threats and moves in the Southern states, the news of which formed the general topic of conversation on the Pacific coast. During the following months, when the issue of secession hung in the balance, the Pony Express and Western telegraph played an important role in the rapid dispatch of news, thereby aiding in the retention of California in the union.[402]

     The message of President Buchanan to congress was sent by telegraph and Express across the country in about 12 days and published in the San Francisco papers, thereby increasing public anxiety, although the press in general favored moderation and the preservation of the union. [403] Several arrivals of the Pony Express were delayed, occasioning immediate concern, whereupon both houses of the California legislature passed a resolution asking financial aid of congress.[404] The Pony Express carried news to the East of a great union celebration in San Francisco, February 22, 1861, which was as generally observed as a Fourth of July ceremony. A California dispatch asserted:

     California entirely repudiates the project of a Pacific Republic as visionary, mischievous and impossible; that the true attitude of the people of California at this time of trouble is that of fraternal kindness toward the people of all the States.... It is generally conceded that this impromptu Union demonstration was the largest mass meeting ever held in San Francisco. [405]

     As the day of Lincoln's inauguration approached the people of California grew increasingly fearful of a dissolution of the union and followed the Eastern dispatches by Pony Express with growing anxiety. The speeches of Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, and news of

[Small log cabin; a Pony Express rider rides away in the foreground.]

Sketched by Carl Bolmar for The Overland Stage to California, by Frank A. Root and William E. Connelly.

[Sod building in a featureless plain.]



the latter's inauguration at Montgomery, Ala., brought widespread despair. [406] Perhaps the greatest feat of the Pony Express service was the delivery of President Lincoln's inaugural address in record breaking time. In order to surpass all previous performances, each horse along the line was led out from the different stations, and each traveled a stretch of only about 10 miles. Every precaution being taken to prevent delay, a transit was accomplished in the unprecedented time of seven days and seventeen hours over the 1,950-mile course. [407]

     The announcement of the make-up of Lincoln's cabinet gave general satisfaction to the people of California, and renewed their hope that war might be averted. These anticipations were rudely shattered by the outbreak of hostilities, which became the engrossing topic of conversation.

     As each pony arrives, and the news is received by telegraph, thousands of people congregate in the streets and central localities, continuing for hours discussing the points.
The sentiment here is almost universal to sustain and encourage the Administration in its present policy. [408]

     In May, 1861, a demonstration in support of the union was staged in San Francisco which surpassed anything previously held.[409] When military campaigns and battles became the order of the day California awaited the arrival of the pony with great eagerness. [410] The historian, Hubert Howe Bancroft, paid a tribute to the Pony Express for its work in keeping the people of California properly informed:

     News was received every ten days by pony. That coming by the Butterfield route was double the time; what came by steamship was from three to four weeks old when it arrived.... It was the pony to which every one looked for intelligence; men prayed for the safety of the little beast, and trembled lest the service should be discontinued. Telegraphic dispatches from New York were sent to St. Louis, and thence to Fort Kearney, whence the pony brought them to Sacramento, where they were telegraphed to San Francisco. Great was the relief of the people when Hale's bill for a daily mail was passed, and the service changed from the southern to the central route.


     ... After all it was to the flying pony that all eyes and hearts were turned; and to the praise of the St. Joseph company be it recorded that they kept up the service, at a loss, until the telegraph was completed across the continent in October, 1861. . .[411]

     Early in March, 1861, congress passed a law (essentially Hale's bill) providing for a daily mail by the Central route to California and a semiweekly Pony Express, at a total annual compensation of $1,000,000. The Butterfield mail line was to be moved north to the Central route, to function thereafter as the Overland Mail Company, with a government contract. This firm entered into a subcontract with the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company to run a daily mail and Pony Express from the Missouri river to Salt Lake City, while the Butterfield firm, now better known as Wells, Fargo & Company was to continue the serv ice from Salt Lake to Sacramento. [412] The Pony Express section of the law provided:

     They [the contractors] shall also be required during the continuance of their contract, or until the completion of the overland telegraph, to run a pony express semi-weekly at a schedule time of ten days eight months and twelve days four months, carrying for the government free of charge, five pounds of mail matter, with the liberty of charging the public for transportation of letters by said express not exceeding one dollar per half ounce." [413]

     Pony Express rates were now drastically reduced to $2 for a half ounce or less, and some months later (July, 1861) to $1 for the same amount. [414]

     As had been envisaged by its founders, the Pony Express was only a temporary arrangement, to be automatically terminated by the completion of a telegraph line to the Pacific. In June, 1860, congress passed the initial measure for a Pacific telegraph, which authorized the advertising of bids for one or more telegraph lines from western Missouri to San Francisco.[415] Early in October it was announced that Hiram Sibley, the president of the Western Union Telegraph Company and long a champion of a Pacific telegraph,


was the successful bidder. [416] During the winter of 1860-1861 measures were taken to speedily complete a telegraph line to the Western coast. Jeptha H. Wade of Western Union arranged the consolidation of the California telegraph lines into the California State Telegraph Company, with the Overland Telegraph Company incorporated as a subsidiary, in order to erect a line to Salt Lake City. [417] To provide for the eastern end of the line the Pacific Telegraph Company was incorporated by the legislature of Nebraska to enforce the provisions of the Sibley contract. [418] The problem of a suitable route was an urgent matter, concerning which Sibley had already deputed Edward Creighton to examine the one via Fort Smith, and another via Memphis. Neither proving desirable, Creighton and W. R. Stebbins personally surveyed the Central or Pony Express route to California and in April, 1861, Creighton reported his willingness to construct a telegraph line by this road, [419] although ef forts were still made in favor of the old Butterfield route. [420] The whole idea of a transcontinental telegraph was ridiculed by some, particularly as courting attack by the Indians. President Lincoln told Hiram Sibley he thought it a "wild scheme"-that it would be "next to impossible to get your poles and materials distributed on the plains, and as fast as you build the line the Indians will cut it down." [421]

     The building of a telegraph line to the Pacific meant the final extinction of the spectacular and heroic Pony Express. After all pre-


liminary details had been arranged, [422] large gangs of men were organized to begin work along the route. An expedition of 228 head of oxen, 26 wagons and 50 men left Sacramento for Carson Valley, may 27, 1861, to begin laying wires toward Salt Lake. [423] On July 11, 1861, the first pole for the Overland Telegraph in the Salt Lake area was planted in the main street of that city. [424] East from that point for a distance of 400 miles W. H. Stebbins directed construction work, and about the same time (July 4, 1861) Edward Creighton performed a like function on the section from Omaha westward. [425] Late in August the outer telegraph station on the eastern end was established 95 miles west of Fort Kearny, and soon thereafter the eastern leg of the Pony Express west of St. Joseph was abandoned. [426] The same process went on at the western end, with the moving of the outer station eastward. By the last of July it had reached a point 125 miles east of Carson Valley and was progressing at a rate of 25 miles a day. [427] By early October the outer station on the east was only 340 miles east of Salt Lake City, indicating the rapid progress made in completing the line.[428] The final joint in the


eastern section was made at Fort Bridger, Utah, October 17, 1861, and the next day Brigham Young sent a message to Jeptha H. Wade, congratulating him on the completion of the Pacific Telegraph to Salt Lake City, and assuring him of the loyalty of Utah to the union. [429] On October 24, 1861, the first message from the Pacific to the Atlantic was sent by Chief Justice Field of California to President Lincoln:

     The people of California desire to congratulate you upon the completion of the great work. They believe that it will be the means of strengthening the attachment which binds both the East and the West to the Union, and they desire in this, the first message across the continent, to express their loyalty to the Union, and their determination to stand by the Government in this, its day of trial. They regard that Government with affection, and will adhere to it under all fortunes.
Stephen J. Field, Chief Justice of California [430]

     The next day it was officially announced at San Francisco that the Pacific and Overland telegraph lines had been completed, with the following salutation: The Pacific to the Atlantic sends greeting, and may both oceans be dry before a foot of all the land that lies between them shall belong to any other than our united country. [431]

     Pres. J. H. Wade of the Pacific Telegraph announced that over 200 private messages passed over the line on the first day, and continued as fast as the operators could transmit them. [432] A celebration of the event had been planned in San Francisco, but was postponed because of the untimely death of Sen. Edward D. Baker. [433] A dispatch from that city remarked:

     Fort Laramie, excepting a short interval between Cottonwood Springs and Julesburg, which the contractor. Edward Creighton, promised would be soon completed. He had recently started a gang of men working east from Salt Lake City; west of that point Mr. Street had been equally energetic and poles were being set at a rate of eight miles per day despite some difficulty in their procural.


     The completion of the last link of the American Telegraph connects Cape Race with the Golden Horn, traversing nearly 5,000 miles with one continuous wire, and bringing those two points within two hours telegraphic time of each other. The next westward extension of the line will be by the way of Behrings Straits to the mouth of the Amoor River, to which point the Russian Government is already constructing a line, commencing at Moscow. This is the extension which Mr. P. D. Collins projected.... [This] will leave scarcely anything further to achieve in telegraphic enterprise. It will unite America with Europe via Moscow, and.. . with all the important points in China, India, Yedo, in Japan, and even Melbourne in Australia. [434]

     Pres. Bela M. Hughes of the "C.O.C." announced the following telegraph stations on the route to the Pacific (excluding the terminals) : Fort Kearny, Cottonwood Springs, Overland City, Fort Laramie, Horse Shoe, Pacific Springs, Fort Bridger, Salt Lake City, Camp Floyd, Ruby Valley, Fort Churchill, Carson City, and Placerville. [435] The Pony Express was now ended but in its death it enjoyed the honor of giving way to one mightier than itself, a medium which could do in minutes what it took days to accomplish with horseflesh. The St. Louis Democrat reviewed the great progress in overland communication of recent years-the Butterfield stage line in 25 days, the Pony Express and telegraph in 12 days (or less), and now the Pacific and Overland Telegraph in some 100 minutes. "If any one doubts that this is a fast age, he can here find a striking illustration." [436] As a Kansas paper remarked concerning the "Progress of the Telegraph":

     It was thought last year, and truly too, that the Pony had accomplished wonders when he had given us a communication with the Pacific coast in from six to seven days. But now the Pony has become a thing of the past-his last race is run. Without sound of trumpets, celebrations, or other noisy demonstrations, the slender wire has been stretched from ocean to ocean, and the messages already received from our brethern on the Pacific coast, most conclusively show that the popular heart beats in unison with our own, on the absorbing question of the preservation of the Union. [437]

     On October 26, 1861, the San Francisco office of Wells, Fargo & Company, operators of the western end of the Pony Express, was directed to stop its service, but it was not until November 20 that


the last pony left Sacramento on the boat for San Francisco.[438] Financially it had not been a success, as the following words of Alexander Majors indicate: As anticipated, the amount of business transacted over this line was not sufficient to pay one-tenth of the expenses, to say nothing of the capital invested.... [It] was undertaken solely to prove that the route over which it ran could be made a permanent thoroughfare for travel at all seasons of the year, proving, as far as the paramount object was concerned, a complete success.[439] The projectors did achieve a signal victory in advertising the Central route, which was adopted by the Pacific and Overland Telegraph lines, and later the Union Pacific railroad. Having obtained a subcontract from their rivals, they thus achieved the coveted goal of a daily mail to the Pacific which with the Pony Express and telegraph went a long way toward ending the isolation of that section. It was another step in man's conquest of nature, as great for the nineteenth century as his conquest of the air is for the twentieth.

     The courser has unrolled to us the great American Panorama; allowed us to glance at the future home of a hundred million people, and has put a girdle around the earth in forty minutes. [440]


     Late in February, 1860, the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company took over the running of Jones and Russell's Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express. There was no interruption in service, which continued as before, but henceforth the prefix "overland" came into more frequent use, although strictly speaking this term was applicable only to the western extension to Salt Lake City and California.

     Early in the spring of 1860 there were reports of an unprecedented tide of people on the move to the new land of gold-by March great crowds were congregating at the "jumping off" places such as Leav-


enworth and St. Joseph. [441] Early that month it was reported at Leavenworth:

     The Overland Express from this city is crowded to excess, all the seats being engaged to April 1st, at which time the proprietors will commence running coaches thence [tri]< weekly, and soon thereafter a daily line. The running time to Denver is seven days. [442]

     The crowding of the westbound coaches led one traveler to remark that no "particle of fault" could be found with the arrangements made by the company although a load of nine passengers lengthened the trip one day. [443] Another advised prospective passengers to "make a contract prohibiting the company from putting into the coach more than six persons, for I had the (exquisite?) pleasure of riding all the way with two others on the same seat, and speak advisedly of the comfort (?) and convenience (?) thereunto attached." [444] Eastbound traffic was naturally much less, but often amounted to four or five passengers, several of whom were usually well supplied with "dust." Benjamin F. Ficklin now made a considerable improvement in the direct management of the line, the former superintendent, John S. Jones, concerning himself chiefly with his freight express to Denver (Jones & Cartwright). [445] The rush of emigrants induced the city of Leavenworth to survey a new and better road by way of the Smoky Hill to Pike's Peak, but it was never popular enough to compete with the older Oregon and California trail and in 1860 was of no particular concern to the Pike's Peak Express Company. [446]


     By virtue of its charter the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company was authorized to convey "persons, mails, and property" to any destination desired. It now assumed the Hockaday contract for a weekly mail service to Salt Lake (reduced by the government to fortnightly, but later partially restored), and in May, 1860, the George Chorpenning contract for the Salt Lake City to Placerville route was declared forfeited, and a semimonthly service was awarded to William H. Russell. The "C.O.C." now had complete control of the Pacific mail service by the Central route. [447] It inherited the Pike's Peak mail businessa private service without government contract supported by a 25-cent fee on each letter handled, in addition to the government charge. In early 1860 the mail to Denver became very heavy and the Washington authorities recognized the need of an improved service by advertising a U. S. mail route directly to California. The Utah contract forced the Express Company to route its overland mail to St. Joseph, where it was picked up or deposited by route. Early in April the city of Leavenworth employed Green Russell, the famed Pike's Peak pioneer prospector, to locate a suitable road to the new mining region. At the same time two citizens of Leavenworth went to Washington to obtain a grant for a railroad by this same route. On May 5, 1860, Russell made a detailed report of his survey, which vvas entirely favorable.-Ibid., May 19, 1860. See, also, the account of James Brown, in Leavenworth DailyTimes, August 28, 1860. On June 22, an expedition under the command of HT T. Green left Leavenworth to open this road. Late in the summer the Rocky Mountain News (August 28 in the Times of September 6) gave a detailed account of the report of Green, with reflections on the earlier Pike's Peak Express route as contrasted to the new Smoky Hill road, and the following spring (1861) the report was published in pamphlet form, in the interest of the emigrant trade. The western extension of this proposed road-from Denver to Salt Lake City, then became of much interest to the officials of "C.O.C."


the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad, and at times the mail for Leavenworth was thereby delayed, to the benefit of Atchison and St. Joseph.[448]

     The mail facilities enjoyed by the settlers in the Pike's Peak region still left much to be desired, causing considerable criticism of the "C.O.C.," as was evinced by the following dispatch of Albert D. Richardson, Jul.y 3, 1860:

     The express brings in and takes out about five thousand letters per week, for which the writers and recipients are compelled to pay twenty-five cents each, in addition to the Government postage. The recent "letting" of the mail contract to this place is believed to be merely a nominal affair, it is expected that the Pike's Peak Express Company will control it, and compel us to submit to this heavy tax through the season. [449]

     In August, 1860, E. F. Bruce concluded the first government contract to carry the United States mail from Julesburg, where it was left by the C.O.C. and P.P. Express, to Denver. He seems to have been forced to engage the C.O.C. to complete the service to that city, the first coach with the United States mail leaving Denver for Leavenworth August 14, 1860.[450] Hinckley & Co. carried the mail from Denver to the various mining camps. Richardson described the situation in his regular letter to the Tribune:

     Up to the present time the gold-seekers on the mountains have been supplied with their letters and papers by Hinckley & Company's Express. That line has sometimes forwarded seventeen hundred letters in a single day, and during the month of July it paid the Central Overland and Pike's Peak Express nearly $5,000 for letters and papers.... Upward of twenty thousand miners are recorded in its books. The people of Denver were surprised and pleased on Friday, by the reception of the first United States Mail ever brought to this region. It contained six thousand letters, and came through from the Missouri River in six and a half days. It was brought by the Pike's Peak Express Company, which, after all, is to supply us mail matter. The contract time from the river is fourteen days, and the intention was to throw off the mail sacks some two


hundred miles east of Denver, and permit them to lie there a week; but there was no messenger on the coach, and they were brought through by mistake. [451]

     When Bruce could not carry out the terms of his contract a second agreement was concluded by the Post Office department with the Western Stage Company, whose line ran west from Omaha to Fort Kearny and now became the chief competitor of the Pike's Peak Express Company for the Colorado trade. [452] Early in September, 1860, a regular United States mail left St. Joseph weekly and a Pike's Peak Express triweekly, letters being sent by express if so requested at an extra charge of 25 cents, but by the middle of that month this fee was reduced to 10 cents. [453]

     During the summer of 1860 the coaches of the "C.O.C." carried larger and larger shipments of gold dust from the Pike's Peak region, notably exceeding those of the previous year. Starting with a few thousand dollars worth, the amounts of treasure grew to some $12,000 or $15,000 a trip. This included gold in private hands and that shipped by express in the care of an express messenger, who with the driver tended to become a regular fixture of each coach. A coach arrived at Leavenworth late in August with $35,000 in the care of the messenger, and $100,000 in private hands. [454] One reached St. Joseph about three weeks later with $45,899 in its official care, plus some $50,000 in private hands. [455] Many passengers apparently preferred to carry their own treasure, although in September it was announced that the company would thereafter regularly maintain a messenger in its triweekly coaches.[456] The Rocky Mountain coaches of Hinckley & Co. first brought gold dust from the mining camps to Denver, where it could be coined at the new mint of Clark, Gruber & Co. Besides that transported in the form of dust by Pike's Peak Express to Leavenworth, Atchison or St. Joseph, growing amounts were now being taken to Omaha by


Hinckley & Co.'s express via the coaches of the Western Stage Company. [457] This growing competition apparently cut into the income of the "C.O.C." in all three lines of business-express, mail and passenger, and threatened the future of the stage company.

     Late in July, 1860, William H. Russell presided at a meeting of the directors of the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Company in Leavenworth, at which it was resolved to reduce the passenger fare from the Missouri river to Denver to $75, and also the fee on letters by Pony Express. [458] This began a program of rate reduction apparently aimed to regain lost trade-in September the express fee for letters to Denver was lowered from 25 cents to 10 cents in an an nouncement headed "Speed Increased! And Rates Reduced." [459] The triweekly coaches were scheduled to make the trip in 12 days, the winter schedule being considerably slower than the regular one.

     In November, 1860, Albert D. Richardson made a trip over the stage line from Denver to St. Joseph, and wrote a vivid sketch of what he found:

     On the morning of the 6th inst. I left the metropolis of the gold region for this city [St. Joseph], by one of the tri-weekly Concord coaches of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company. As there were twelve passengers beside the drivers and express messenger, and the regulations of the line forbid carrying more than six persons in a coach, two vehicles left that morning, and came through together.... The travel eastward from the mines is now so heavy that the company is compelled to send through an extra with almost every regular coach.
     Nearly all the passengers brought in gold dust; and though the express messenger carried only $3,000 or $4,000, there was upward of $30,000 on the two coaches. The route (the Platte) is now enlivened by hundreds of miners, on their way to the States, by private conveyance, to spend the Winter; and long caravans of wagons bound for the gold region, and laden with flour, sugar, coffee and whisky. A few stray buffaloes, journeying toward the South,


scores of sly and sullen wolves, and great herds of agile, spotted antelopes, were seen from the road, before reaching the "settlements." The company keeps. in active service, upon the. Pony Express and the Stage Line to Denver (exclusive of its Salt Lake and California routes), 906 mules, 439 horses, and 55 coaches. If the next Congress shall give it... a daily mail contract to California, it will... astound "old fogyism." Nature and commercial laws have settled the question that the Pacific Railroad must pass through this central region.... The route from Denver to St. Joseph and Leavenworth is better stocked, I believe, than any other stage line in the United States... [460]

     The winter of 1860-1861 was a very severe one on the plains, causing the delay of the Pike's Peak Express coaches on a number of occasions. A driver on the overland route to Salt Lake City was reported to have frozen to death near Fort Laramie, and heavy snow in the mountains west of Carson Valley and along the Platte also caused trouble. [461] On the whole, however, fairly good service was maintained, although the C.O.C. & P.P. was now confronted with keener competition for the Rocky Mountain trade from the Western Stage Company and Hinckley & Company's Express.

     The congressional session of 1860-1861 failed to provide for a daily mail to California by the Central route. Many Californians regarded the defeat of "Hale's Bill" a bitter pill and blamed Senator Gwin as chiefly responsible. Gwin may have been thinking of another alternative which would bring him the glory of obtaining an improved service by this route-he at least urged Buchanan to conclude a contract with Russell, Majors & Waddell for a triweekly mail by the Central route . [462] The partisans of the Central route renewed their efforts in the short session of congress of 1860-1861 and achieved their goal in the Post Office Appropriation Act, enacted March 2, 1861. [463] This law ordered the discontinuance of service on the Butterfield route by the following July l and the substitution of a daily mail on the Central route, such service to be "six times a week on the central route, said letter mail to be carried through in


twenty days time, eight months in the year, and in twenty-three days the remaining four months of the year, from some point on the Missouri River connected with the East, to Placerville, California, and also to deliver the entire mails tri-weekly to Denver City, and Great Salt Lake City...."[464] A few days later a contract was concluded with the Overland Mail Company, representing the Butterfield interests, which made the federal statute effective. [465]

     Preparations were quickly made so as to be ready for the beginning of service July 1, 1861. The Overland Mail Company now signed a subcontract with the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company whereby the Pike's Peak firm was to continue operation on that part of the line from Salt Lake City eastward at an annual compensation of $475,000. West of that point the Butterfield people were to assume complete control. A message from Washington asserted:

     W. H. Russell, President of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company, and founder of the Pony Express, has concluded a contract with the Overland Mail Company, transferred by the last Congress to the Central route, to run the Mail and Pony from the Missouri River, connecting with the Overland Company at Salt Lake City. [466]

     Early in April it was announced that the last coach on the Butterfield route had left 10 days before and that the stock, coaches and other supplies were then being removed. [467] Considering the short period of time before the daily mail contract was to become effective, details of route and improvements along the way were urgent matters. The people of Denver wanted the mail to pass directly through their city and on behalf of the Express Company John S. Jones proposed that they construct the new stations and bridges necessary for this ehange. [468] Russell and the officials of the


Pike's Peak Express fully realized the strategic importance of Colorado to their firm and scheduled a meeting of the stockholders at Denver, April 26, 1861. At this meeting the board of directors was reorganized by the election of Bela M. Hughes to the presidency, in place of Russell. [469] Hughes was a cousin of Benjamin Holladay and his presidency apparently inaugurated a transitional period in the history of the company, in which Holladay's large loans made him virtually a silent partner. The directors were so favorably impressed with preliminary reports of a route by the way of Denver that they instructed a party of surveyors and teamsters to carefully examine the terrain so as to avoid the necessity of stocking the route between Julesburg and Camp Crittenden (late Camp Floyd), while still supplying Denver as required by their contract. [470] Hughes and Russell arrived in Denver May 6, 1861, and a few days later an expedition commanded by Capt. E. L. Berthoud, and including the famous scouts, James Bridger and Tim Goodell, left under Pike's Peak Express Company auspices to locate a suitable route over the "Snowy Range." Soon thereafter Berthoud discovered the pass which bears his name, [471] and Russell, who had been touring the mining districts, took a trip by coach up Clear creek to the principal range-the contemplated route for the overland mail, and made a very favorable report.[472] He then hurriedly returned to Leavenworth and laid the matter before the directors of the company, who decided on a more detailed survey of the route from Denver to Salt Lake, to be directed by Berthoud and Bridger. An expedition under their command left the eastern slope of the Rockies on July 6 and returned to Denver September 27, 1861, with the report that an entirely favorable route for a wagon road had been found, over the central range, which was "shorter, nearer and more accessible than the most sanguine could expect." [473] Bela M. Hughes


added that from Denver to Salt Lake City this route "far surpasses the present troubled road," and gave "facilities for a continuous line of settlement the whole way from Denver westward" which would eventually shorten the distance to Salt Lake and California approximately 300 miles. [474]

     A careful survey of the route from Denver to Salt Lake City via Berthoud pass. would necessitate an extended reconnaissance. The contract for daily mail service was to become effective July 1, 1861, and this forced the "C.O.C." to take recourse to the old Platte route. Extra coaches were now distributed along the line, to make possible an increase of trips.[475] Stocking of the stations under the Butterfield contract began in April, with the plan of having them average some 15 miles apart, according to the terrain of the country, each to be well supplied with men, horses and coaches, a trip across country to be completed in 15 days. [476] The first through daily coaches on the Central route left St. Joseph and Placerville simultaneously on July 1, 1861, and both arrived at their destination on July 18, in a few hours over seventeen days-well ahead of the contract schedule of 25 days.

     The initial departure from St. Joseph apparently attracted little attention, although the first eastbound mail from Placerville was accorded a great ovation at that end of the line:

     The first overland-mail coach started from Placerville on the 1st, escorted out of town by an immense concourse of citizens, with bands of music and cannon firing. The coach and horses were decorated with American flags. There were six bags of letter mail and twenty-eight bags of newspaper mail, in all weighing 1,776 pounds. [477]

     A Salt Lake City dispatch heralded the first arrivals at that point and conceded that so far as time was concerned the overland mail was already a success.


     The first Overland Daily Mail Stage arrived in the city this afternoon, between 5 and 6 o'clock, and in a few minutes after started West again, having nine days to accomplish the journey, which the Western daily stage has made in less than seven days. The first Overland Mail from the West arrived here on Sunday evening last, about 10 o'clock, and today it arrived at 4 p. m. So far, then, as time is concerned, the Central Overland Mail is a success. Passengers arriving from the West have some hours to rest in this city, as it is considered impracticable to attempt during the night the passage through the mountain defiles that lead into the city from the East... [478]

     The first coach across the continent to arrive at St. Joseph carried three passengers, among whom was Maj. J. W. Simonton, an editor of the San Francisco Bulletin. Bela M. Hughes said the Express line "solved the problem of overland transportation," and was "the avant-courier of the great railroad line." [479]

     Beginning in September, 1861, the Post Office Department ordered the dispatch of the overland mail from Atchison rather than St. Joseph, since the Kansas town was 14 miles farther west on an extension of the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad. The terminal of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company was accordingly moved to the new location, partly because it would be more free from involvement in the Civil War then raging in Missouri. [480] President Hughes replied to an attack upon him and the company, denying that when the office of the firm was located in St. Joseph it discriminated against union men and branding as entirely false the charge that four-fifths of the employees were secessionists. [481] The future of the company necessarily demanded a clear record in this matter.

     The overland mail service to California was performed with con-


siderable efficiency during the first months of its operation, for which it received due praise. [482] In the fall of 1861 an article appeared in the Atchison Champion expressing the determination of the officers to adhere to the regular schedules:


     The trip from here to Placerville still continues as a general thing to be made in several hours less than the advertised time, which is seventeen days. The officers of the company are determined to keep within their advertised time, and with the ample means in their possession and their indomitable energy, this will be accomplished. A large number of sleds of the best description were sent west some time ago, and distributed at different points where needed, so that the interruption will be slight, if any, from the fall of snow. With careful drivers, experienced and courteous conductors, and comfortable coaches, the trip in pleasant weather is but a holiday excursion, and crossing the continent under these circumstances is a trifling affair, occupying but little time and attended with no danger. [483]

     During the winter of 1861-1862 service on the overland route was sometimes delayed by heavy snow and floods, at the worst of which newspapers arrived a month late. The Postmaster General stated that the mails had been fairly regular, although the service had "not been entirely satisfactory to the department." [484] Despite complaints, the California legislature made a clear-cut declaration on the importance of the daily mail to that state, and the stage stations to the continuance of the telegraph.[485]

     The Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company's financial troubles were growing in urgency by the fall of 1861. About the middle of October it announced "greatly reduced rates" to California and intermediate points, the fares from the Missouri river being: To Fort Kearny, $25; Overland City, $50; Denver City, $75; Fort Laramie, $75; Fort Bridger, $110; Salt Lake City, $125;


and Placerville, $150. Although this made no change in the fares to Denver or California, which had been previously reduced, it apparently was the first public announcement, aimed to popularize the stage line for long distance travel, since passengers for the Pacific coast were usually few in number. The time to Denver was six days and to Placerville 17 days. [486]

     In commenting upon this announcement the Freedom's Champion indicated that the financial soundness of the company was then being questioned, and branded as false the rumor that there had been an attempt to rob a Pike's Peak Express coach:

     It is useless to speak of the excellence of this line, the safety of its transportation, and the obliging character of its employees.
Absurd falsehoods have been started to injure the Line, but they die out before the force of truth. This line is of great advantage to Kansas, and we may expect assaults on it in various ways.
The mail pay alone for each ninety days service is $120,000. The Company has earned a quarter's pay, which was due September 30th, and will be paid in a few days. It has a claim for back pay, which we learn will be allowed to it, of $93,000, and on the 31st day of December, another $120,000 will be due to it, thus throwing into circulation in Kansas in a very few weeks $333,000 of Uncle Sam's money.
There are persons inimical to the Government, who are predicting that it will not be able to pay the Mail Contractors, &c, c.
We have authority for stating that the pay of all the mail contractors in the Union will be promptly met as soon as the certificates of the service are sent forward to the Post Office Department.
Now we have a report of an attempted robbery of a Coach on the Plains and of five robbers being killed by the passengers! This has gone out all over the land as a fact, when it is a remarkably unblushing impudent lie... [487]

     It should be pointed out that the newspapers at least printed almost no accounts of robberies of the Pike's Peak stages, leading one to believe that fiction writers may have later invented such episodes, which became a body of legend, rather than fact.


     The rigors of the winter season of 1861-1862 appear to have administered the final "coup de grace" to the already tottering finances of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company. One writer points out that "unprecedented floods, deep snows and blizzards broke up the service for days at a stretch and increased expenses," delaying the mails and holding up the contractor's pay. [488] The history of the previous years had been one of repeated and heavy outlays, without a corresponding income. As Majors stated in his memoirs:

     It so transpired that the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell had to pay the fiddler, or the entire expense of organizing both the stage line and the pony express, at a loss, as it turned out, of hundreds of thousands of dollars. [489]

     Laying out the initial route by way of the Solomon and Republican valleys entailed a large expense-probably not less than $75,000, but no exact figures are available. Majors states that this was done on credit, Jones & Russell giving their notes, payable in 90 days, but that when these obligations fell due they were unable to make payment. It then became necessary for the parent firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell to assume the obligations and management of the stage line in order to save their partner and the funds they had advanced. [490] It has been said that the expenses of operating this line were $1,000 a day [491] -at least the income nowhere near equalled the cost. Before the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express had hardly gotten under way, Jones & Russell took over the Hockaday firm, for which they paid $144,000, necessitating a transfer to the Platte that probably required an additional expenditure of some $75,000. One writer has estimated the cost of founding the Pony Express and maintaining it for 16 months as $700,000, against which can be credited a probable income of some $500,000, patronage never being heavy, particularly by Eastern residents.


     From the start the company charged $125 for passenger fare from Leavenworth to Denver, later reduced to $100 and still later to $75 (from Atchison), but the service could never have been very remunerative, due to the limited number of passengers that could be carried (only six with entire comfort), and the seasonal nature of the travel to Pike's Peak-largely westbound in the spring and summer, and eastbound in the fall and winter. After the contract to Salt Lake was acquired there were a few passengers transported in the overland coaches, but neither these nor those later carried to California when the company enjoyed a share of the Pacific trade were large in numbers. The income from express is difficult to estimate-initial rates were as high as one dollar a pound, but the total volume could not have been great. The fee for letters to Denver long remained at 25 cents each and when the volume increased this must have been a sizeable source of revenue, although various tricks were occasionally employed by the settlers to avoid payment. Charges on treasure and drafts transported became considerable in 1860, but more was carried by private passengers than by the regular messengers of the company. By 1861 Hinckley & Co. were serious competitors for this business, by way of the Western Stage line from Omaha. After the firm obtained the Hockaday contract (July l, 1859) it enjoyed a government subsidy of $125,000, later increased to $150,435 (July 24, 1860). [493] In May, 1860, the contract of George Chorpenning for a mail service between Placerville and Salt Lake City was annulled and a new contract was concluded with William H. Russell for a semimonthly service at an annual subsidy of $33,000 (later increased to $38,164). [494] When the "Million Dollar" mail contract became effective with the Butterfield firm (legally the Overland Mail Company), July 1, 1861, a subcontract was concluded by this concern with the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company to carry the mail to Denver and Salt Lake City for $475,000. [495]


     No exact conclusion as to financial matters can be arrived at without access to the books of Russell, Majors & Waddell and their subsidiary companies, which so far as is known do not exist. Perhaps the greatest amount of data concerning this organization appeared in connection with the scandal that rocked Washington and the nation at Christmas time, 1860, when it was announced that $870,000 worth of Indian Trust bonds had been abstracted by Godard Bailey from the Department of the Interior, in which he was a clerk, and had been delivered to William H. Russell of the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell. [496] Russell and Bailey were quickly arrested (the former was later released on bond), and an extended congressional investigation followed. In carrying on their extensive freighting business for the United States, particularly in supplying the army outposts in the West, Russell, Majors & Waddell had become financially embarrassed, and in 1858 they induced the Secretary of War, John B. Floyd, to accept their drafts in anticipation of their earnings. These "acceptances" were in effect statements that a specified sum would be due on the execution of certain services under the transportation contracts of the firm, i. e., when the freighting trains completed their trips. The Utah war necessitated the prompt transportation for the army of tremendous amounts of supplies, and since the army had to eat, regardless of congressional appropriations, Floyd regarded it incumbent upon him to authorize the issuance of acceptances to Russell, Majors & Waddell to facilitate their business, as no other firm was so well equipped to carry on a transportation project of such immensity. [497]

     Due to the hard times and the volume of acceptances authorized by Floyd, their negotiation on the market became increasingly difficult. [498] By the summer of 1860 some $200,000 worth of these


drafts were about to mature, and Russell feared they would be protested, "the government still withholding the large sums of money due us."[499] In this extremity (July, 1860), Russell conferred with Luke Lea, of the Washington banking firm of Suter, Lea & Co. (which was closely connected with the Leavenworth banking house of Smoot, Russell, & Co.), and who had formerly served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Lea seems to have confirmed the notion of Russell that Godard Bailey, who had charge of the Indian Trust fund bonds, might be of assistance. (In his later testimony Lea was such an unwilling and artful witness that the select committee found it well nigh impossible to "pin anything" on him.) At any rate Russell and Bailey did confer on the matter, with the apparent object of avoiding any reflection upon "Governor" Floyd incident to a large scale protest of the acceptances. [500] Thereupon Bailey delivered to Russell at his private residence in Washington $150,000 of state bonds, for which Russell gave the note of his firm, and then directed his assistant Jerome B. Simpson, vice-president of the "C.O.C.," to immediately hypothecate them on the New York market.

     In September, 1860, Russell told Bailey he could not provide for the bonds previously given, and Bailey then (allegedly) informed him for the first time that they were Indian Trust bonds. [501] To save "Governor" Floyd (a relative of Bailey) and to extricate Russell from the financial morass which was now engulfing him, Bailey took up the $150,000 note and advanced bonds worth $387,000, for which Russell gave the note of his firm for their par value. The bonds were then so depreciated in value that their hypothecation brought only a limited sum, while at the same time it rendered their return to the government extremely doubtful. On December 4 Russell took another installment of bonds, the total then standing at $870,000, for which he deposited the acceptances of Floyd in like amount as security.[502] Irregularities in the coupons


on the abstracted bonds led to a discovery of the scandal. The select committee appears to have committed a grave blunder in requesting the testimony of Russell and Floyd, since a law of 1857 specifically exempted witnesses before congressional committees from criminal prosecution. Both eventually used this statute to dissolve criminal actions begun against them, although the Secretary of War clearly had had no part in the bond scandal. [503]

      Rightly or wrongly, the disclosure of the "Great Robbery" cast a sinister light over the financial affairs of Russell and his firm. It was said that while they were receiving extra allowances by way of the acceptances they were also being regularly paid for services rendered.[504] The issue of acceptances was ended, stopping further revenue from this source. There is little doubt that this affair, aggravated by the financial difficulties of the time and the accumulated irregularities of the past, virtually destroyed the credit of Russell, Majors & Waddell and made their financial failure a certainty, precisely as Russell had feared. Can there be any wonder that the government declined to give a new contract for the overland mail to a firm which had condoned such practices? There were allegations that it was a frameup to "get" Russell, and defeat his efforts to obtain the mail contract,[505] but the implications of the bond scandal leave little doubt as to why it was awarded to others.


     Russell's usefulness in the matter of finances having been largely destroyed, he was replaced in April, 1861, and Bela M. Hughes was made president of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company. [506] Soon thereafter Holladay advanced money for better equipment and in July the directors placed a mortgage upon the entire firm, so as to safeguard his advances. [507] The details of this important meeting are well described in the following account:

     These provisions of the charter and of the bye-laws being in force, and when the whole number of directors was seven,-that is, on the 5th day of July, 1861,-a special meeting of the board, attended by five of its members, was held at the company's office in Leavenworth. The meeting was called verbally about twenty-four hours before it convened. At this time the corporate property, consisting of animals and vehicles, stations and buildings scattered along its stage route, and used in the course of its business, was of the value of about $500,000; and it had a contract for carrying the United States mail over its route, from which it was to receive $475,000 in quarterly payments. But its affairs had become seriously embarrassed, and Holladay had advanced to it considerable sums of money, and had become liable as indorser and acceptor of its paper for considerable sums further, in all amounting to about $200;000. At this special meeting, by the unanimous vote of all the directors present, the president was authorized to execute to Holladay a bond and deed of trust upon all the corporate property, to secure him on account of the said advances and liabilities, and for such further sums as he should thereafter advance, and such further liabilities as he should thereafter assume. Accordingly, on the 22d day of November, 1861, the president made to Holladay a bond of the company for the payment of all sums which he had become or should become liable for, and of all sums which he had paid or should pay on its account, and also made to Theodore F. Warner and Robert L. Pease a deed of trust in the name of the company, conveying all its property, including the contract for carrying the mail. In this deed of trust it was provided, that if the company should make default in the performance of the condition of the bond, the trustees, Warner and Pease, upon Holladay's request, should take possession of the property conveyed, thereafter continue the business, and, upon a notice of twenty days, to be advertised in a newspaper published at Atchison, sell all the property, and out of the proceeds pay what was going to Holladay, and render the surplus to the company. -- Holladay claiming that default had been made in the condition of the bond, on the 6th of December the trustees took possession of the line, business, and property of the company, and advertised a sale for the 31st of December. [508]

     A legal notice appeared in the Atchison Freedom's Champion, announcing a forthcoming sale of all the property of the "C.O.C.,"


to satisfy the conditions of a penal bond to Benjamin Holladay, executed a few weeks before, the conditions of which had been broken:

     Whereas, on the 22d of November, A. D., 1861, the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company, made, executed, and delivered to the undersigned as Trustees, a deed conveying to said Trustees all the horses, mules, cattle, coaches, wagons, buggies, setts of harness, hay, grain, provisions, lumber, tools, materials and furniture, held and used by said Company in carrying the overland mail from Atchison in Kansas, to Salt Lake City in Utah, and from Overland City [Julesburg] to Denver, and from Denver to Central City and to Tarryall, in Colorado Territory, together with all the stations on said several roads, which said deed is made to secure the payment of a penal bond to Benjamin Holladay, of even date with said deed, for the sum of Four Hundred Thousand Dollars and for the performance of the conditions of said bond and the covenants of said deed. And whereas the conditions of said bond and the covenants of said deed have been broken and said penalty is unpaid; in pursuance of said deed the undersigned as such Trustees will on Tuesday, the 31st day of December, A. D. 1861, at the Massasoit House, in the city of Atchison, in the State of Kansas, proceed to sell all the above conveyed property in one body to the highest bidder for cash in hand to satisfy the conditions of said deed.


Atchison, Dec. 6, 1861. [509]

     The officials of the Pike's Peak Express obtained an injunction in the United States district court restraining the trustees from proceeding with the sale on the date announced.[510] The sale was repeatedly postponed, apparently in the hope that conditions would improve so that Holladay's loan could be paid, but such did not prove to be the case. Finally the injunction was dissolved, and on March 22, 1862, a public sale of the entire property was held in front of the Massasoit House in Atchison. Holladay was the highest bidder and is said to have purchased the line for $100,000, thereby protecting his large investment. [511] [512] He later explained that soon after the Overland Mail company had made a subcontract with the


Pike's Peak firm (as a part of the Million Dollar daily mail to California), he had agreed to loan the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Company sums of money from time to time. To safeguard these loans the company gave him a mortgage on its personal property and a deed of trust on its real estate. In carrying out this arrangement Holladay lent the company considerable sums and also accepted drafts of the "C. 0. C.," but when the parent firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell got into difficulties, its creditors brought suit, and the public sale and financial dissolution of the Pike's Peak firm was a direct result. [513]

     That the parent firm was in a bad financial state is indicated by the numerous legal actions to recover sums of money, particularly in the First district court of Kansas at Leavenworth, against the assignees of Russell, Majors & Waddell and allied firms. [514] This great firm was clearly passing out of the picture and early in 1862 the overland freighting contracts were let to another organization -- Irwin, Jackman & Co., of Leavenworth. [515] The Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company was no doubt affected by the general debacle, although the exact details are lacking. It had long been beset by financial troubles-failure to pay its employees promptly led to the charge that the C.O.C. & P.P. stood for "Clean Out of Cash and Poor Pay." [516] Now the great resources of Benjamin Holladay were to achieve a magic change.

     Upon assuming complete management, Holladay paid the debts of the Pike's Peak Express Company, including back pay of the employees-making a total of over $500,000, and additional sums far feed and provisions previously contracted for. [517] There was an immediate reorganization-Robert L. Pease continued his work of settling financial matters contracted during his trusteeship, Bela M. Hughes was retained as legal adviser, and the original management


passed completely out of the picture. [518] Holladay now managed the firm as the Overland Stage Line, although he continued its operation under the Kansas charter of the "C.O.C." until February, 1866, when he obtained a new charter from the territory of Colorado, under the name of the Holladay Overland Mail and Express Company. [519] The terms of the sale were not agreed to by two of the stockholders of the "C.O.C.," Webster M. Samuels and Alexander Street, who on April 1, 1862, applied to the directors to institute legal proceedings to recover the property transferred. When this request was refused these parties brought suit, in July, 1862, to declare the sale void and return the property to the original owners, on the grounds of illegality. In May, 1868, the United States Circuit Court, district of Kansas, in an action in equity, found the sale to have been "without authority, and was a violation of their trust, for which they [the trustees] and Holliday, as purchasers, can be called to account in a court of chancery, which has special jurisdiction of trusts." [520] A further action took place in the same court in October, 1869, entitled "Samuel v. Holladay," in which more detailed findings were brought, but which in the main confirmed the previous decision declaring the sale "without authority." [521] Both actions were of necessity dismissed because the Express Company, although the party wronged, had not been served with process, as the marshal "could not find the defendant in his district. Yet there is good reason to believe that it might be served with process." [522] Apparently the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company had entered a precarious stage of existence preceding complete disappearance.


     Since the stage line continued to operate as usual, the world at large seems to have paid little attention to the sale to Holladay. Thus closed a stirring chapter in pioneer transportation and communication which demonstrated beyond question the desirability of the Central route from the Missouri river to the Pacific Ocean and paved the way for the telegraph and railroad. The Pike's Peak Express Company, with its rival the Butterfield line and their successors, signalled the end of the isolation of the West, which the railroad brought to more complete fulfillment.


311. John P. Davis, The Union Pacific Railway (Chicago, 1894), p, 31.
312. Ibid., pp. 47-59; Frank Heywood Hodder, "Genesis of the Kansas-Nebraska Act," Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (1912), pp. 69-86. The idea of a combined railroad, telegraph, and wagon road was early conceived, but in later years the wagon road was not urged, although the railroad, overland mail and telegraph project continued throughout the period, following Benton's plan of a "Central National Highway" to the Pacific. The Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854 erected two new territories instead of one, and gave an equal chance to both the northern and central routes, although Douglas was probably more interested in the former, which would develop Illinois and the city of Chicago. See, also, Robert R. Russell, "The Pacific Railway Issue in Politics Prior To the Civil War," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Cedar Rapids, la., v. XII, pp. 187-201.
313. Frederic L. Paxson, History of the American Frontier, 1763-1893 (Boston and New York. 1924), p. 462. The Butterfield service had proved quite reliable, but required a trip of some 25 days. See Leroy R. Hafen, The Overland Mail (Cleveland, 1926), pp. 79-99.
314. The Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad reached St. Joseph in February, 1859, far ahead of its rival running west from St. Louis. It was planned to continue the St. Joseph line to the west through Kansas as the "Marysville or Palmetto and Roseport Railroad." History of Buchanan County, Missouri (Union Historical Co., St. Joseph, 1881), p. 578. The pioneer telegraph line from St. Louis reached St. Joseph in March, 1853. The Missouri Telegraph Line (Stebbins Line) from St. Louis arrived at the same point in February, 1860, and its projectors hoped for an early extension to Fort Kearny, and eventually much farther west. This line, of which Charles M. Stebbins was president, had reached Atchison in August, 1859, and seems to have been the only line then operating in that vicinity.
315. Issue of August 13, 1859. On January 21, 1860, it described in glowing terms the construction of a proposed road and the development of the Western country, and inquired if the telegraph line then about to reach St. Joseph was to be extended westward. Such a line was needed to the gold mines, the newspaper argued, and St. Joseph was the proper point. "It is the point from which the Pacific railroad will start whenever it is built, and it is the point from which, by all means, the telegraph, going westward, should start. Let us go to work at once.
316. New York Daily Tribune editorial, October 4, 1859, concerning the report of Horatio King on the cost of the mails.
317. Congressional Globe, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., Pt. 1, p. 214.
318. U. S. Statutes at Large, v. 12, pp. 41, 42. Gwin's original bill proposed to authorize nine persons-the presidents of important telegraph companies, including Charles M. Stebbins of the Missouri line already extended to the Kansas border, to contract for a line to the Pacific. The close connection of the projected telegraph with the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell and its subsidiaries was illustrated at the time of the debate in congress: "In building this line of telegraph the company will be compelled to use the stations of the mail company."-Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., v. 29, Pt. 2, p. 1693.
319. Ibid., pp. 1628, 1647, 1648.
320. The struggle for an improved mail service to California furnishes the immediate back-ground of the Pony Express. The struggle for an improved mail service to California furnishes the immediate back-ground of the Pony Express. The author of The Overland Mail (Leroy R. Hafen) points out (p. 166) the close connection between the Pony Express and a mail contract, and quotes Russell as saying, September 26, 1860, with reference to the imminent expiration of the Salt Lake mail contract (November, 1860): "A mail contract alone would justify us to continue the Pony. We have however attained our principal object, that of practically demonstrating that the route is feasible and practical, and with a good mail contract. and in that way only, the Express can be sustained The struggle for an improved mail service to California furnishes the immediate back-ground of the Pony Express
Doniphan's Expedition and the Conquest of New Mexico and California (Topeka, 1907), Appendix C, entitled Personal Recollections of Charles R. Morehead," pp, 013, 614.
322. A Brief History of the Mail Service, Settlement of the Country, and the Indian Depredations. Between Salt Lake and California.. (Washington, 1874, microfilm copy, Historical Society; original in Library of Congress), pp, 7-10.
323. "Denver City, K.T." correspondence, dated August 25, of the New York Daily Tribune, September 12; Leavenworth Daily Times, September 9, 1859. It was a large and enthusiastic meeting" (August 24) to consider a memorial to congress for a Pacific railroad to Denver and Auraria, and was presided over by Jones of the Express Company and Villard of the Cincinnati Times. General Larimer and others spoke of the future importance of Denver as a way station, but Judge Wyatt termed the whole project a humbug in advance of the times. B. D. Williams believed a railroad a natural follower of the stage line. A second meeting, also presided over by Jones, considered a Pacific railroad by the Central route, and a telegraph line to accompany it. Memorials were to be sent to Washington,
324. Elwood Free Press, December 17, in Leavenworth Daily Times, December 21, 1859. A contributor to the latter paper, signing himself "Wide Awake." added that such a line would mean "a saving of not less than $15,000 . . . even at the low estimate of $150 per mile." This estimated cost is very close to the amount of the government subsidy originally proposed by Senator Gwin's bill.
325. Col. Prentis Ingraham, ed., Seventy Years on the Frontier, Alexander Majors' Memoirs of a Lifetime on the Border (Chicago and New York, 1893), Ch. XXII, pp. 182-184. The original telegraph bill as introduced by Gwin proposed a subsidy of $50,000, later reduced to $40,000 a year for the operators (which was divided by the Pacific and Overland telegraph companies). California offered an additional subsidy. It is unfortunate that there is no corresponding account of Russell, which might clear up obscure points concerning the origin of the Pony Express.
326. See William Lightfoot Visseber, A Thrilling and Truthful History of the Pony Express, or Blazing the Westward Way (Chicago, 1908), p. 22, which asserts that Senator Gwin and several capitalists of New York, and Russell of the overland freighting firm had met in Washington, and founded the Pony Express.
Unfortunately it is difficult to pursue this story further without a more exact citation of source, leaving the origin of the Pony Express still wrapped in some obscurity.
327. St. Joseph Weekly West, January 28, 1860.
328. Leavenworth Daily Times, January 3o, 1860. The comments from Leavenworth papers of this date indicate that it was confidently expected that that town would be the terminal of the Express.
329. Hafen, author of the Overland Mail, points out (p. 165) that Gwin in his "Memoirs" (MSS. of Bancroft Library, University of California) refers to Ficklin as the one "who originated the scheme [of the Pony Express] and carried it into operation." In a speech Gwin spoke of the Pony Express as fostered and nurtured by his [Gwin's] labor."
330. The Washington correspondence, dated January 29, of the New York Daily Tribune, January 30, 1860, added: "Messrs. Russell & Mayor's, government contractors, intend starting a Courier Express between St. Joseph and Carson City, which is the western terminus [the eastern terminus of the line being built from the west] of the California telegraph, by the 3d of April. Preparatory orders have already been given. The distance is 1,600 miles, which it is proposed to travel in eight days, by horse relays every 25 miles, thus reducing communication between New York and San Francisco within ten days. The cost of dispatches to Carson City will be $5 apiece. It is estimated that the courier can carry 30 pounds of matter.
331. Cut of messenger on horseback reproduced from Leavenworth Daily Times, January 30, 1860; Leavenworth Weekly Herald, February 4. The comments in the former paper indicated that its publishers were still in the dark as to details, but when they considered the projectors, who had accomplished other undertakings of great magnitude, they were prepared to believe the announcement.
332. Leavenworth Daily Times, February 13, 1860.
333. Private Laws of the Territory of Kansas, 1860, pp. 254-259. Concerning the charter see, also, Case No. 12,288, entitled Samuel v. Holladay, tried in the United States Circuit Court, District of Kansas, October, 1869, and reported in The Federal Cases, Comprising Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit and District Courts of the United States, Book 21 (St. Paul, 1896), pp. 306-312. [Hereafter cited Federal Cases.] It is here stated that the capital stock amounted to $1,000,000, so apparently by July, 1861, the original sum of $500,000 had been doubled. This decision examines the legal aspects of the charter, and the actions thereunder, and is considered further at the conclusion of this article. Organization of the "C. O. C." may have had as a further motive the escape from the financial troubles then besetting the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express.
334. Dated Lawrence, February 10, in Leavenworth Daily Times, February 13, 1860.
335. Ibid. Continuing, the article said: "If the general benefits to the West are likely to be of this character, our citizens can form a slight idea of the advantages that Leavenworth will derive from being the Grand Depot and Headquarters of the mammoth express this side of the Rocky Mountains.-The trains, outfits and supplies, with the armies of employees essential to the enterprise, will, of necessity, come from or be associated with our city. The overland traffic and travel, which has already assumed the most gigantic proportions, will pass through and centre here. In fact from this enterprise alone we sincerely believe that an impulse will be given Leavenworth which will place her far above rivalry or competition-the acknowledged and accredited metropolis of the Far West.
The charter obtained by the Overland Express Company is liberal in its provisions and yet free from anything of an exclusive or monopolistic character.. It was a slight return for what these representative men, these indomitable pioneers, have done for the great West... , "
336. Ibid., February 21, 1860.
337. A Denver correspondent, signing himself "Platte," on March 1 wrote to the weekly Leavenworth Herald, March 17, 1860: "Mr. B. F. Ficklin, general Road Agent of the Express Company, is an accomplished gentleman and an active, thorough business man. It would please you to have seen him make things fly about when he was coming out. With the preparations that are now being made by this gentleman, there will be little difficulty in making the trip from here to Leavenworth regularly in six days, and in five, if need be, after April 1st." Ficklin occupied a key position, since he was also interested in the project of a telegraph by the Central route to the Pacific, and later was an incorporator of the Pacific Telegraph Co.
338. Leavenworth Daily Times, February 10, 1860. This paper added that the trip to Carson Valley was to be performed in eight days, where the first telegraph station would forward the messages to Sacramento over the California telegraph line. "Short as the time may appear. the trip will be performed.. ' In Frank A. Root and William E. Connelley, The Overland Stage to California (Topeka, 1901-hereafter cited Overland Stage), p. 106, the authors state that Russell bought some 200 ponies at Salt Lake City, and large numbers in California, Iowa, and Missouri. At San Francisco it was announced that W. W. Finney had bought mules and horses. The animals used were almost always referred to as "ponies," but were really fleet American horses, California mustangs-a small, hardy Mexican stock, then regarded as the fleetest animal in the West. See also, Arthur Chapman, The Pony Express (New York and London. 1932), pp. 84-89.
339. New York Daily Tribune, March 16, 1860. At this date both Leavenworth and St. Joseph hoped to obtain the eastern terminus.
340. See Wm. M. Egan, ed., Pioneering the West, 1846 to 1878, Major Howard Egan's Diary (Richmond, Utah, 1917-The Howard R. Egan estate), pp. 194-201, of which narratives 33 and 34 are entitled "Finding the Egan Trail," and "Pony Express."
341. Chapman, op. cit., pp. 112, 113; also Springfield, Mo., dispatch in New York Daily Tribune, April 12, 1860. A San Francisco dispatch of March 30 (via Butterfield Overland Mail) in the Atchison Union, April 28, 1860, reported that the superintendent of the Overland Pony Express had arrived in Genoa, Carson Valley, where he met the superintendent of the Salt Lake Telegraph, who reported the arrangements as nearly finished, so that the Express and telegraph at each end of the line would be ready to begin operations on April 30.
342. Chapman, op. cit., p. 123. The mountain ranges and lack of waterways rendered it very hard to locate a "best" route in the Great Basin region. There were then only a few inhabited places between Camp Floyd and Carson City (the latter place a "city" in name only). After the Pony Express got under way adobe buildings were constructed at Carson, Sand Springs, and Cold Springs, which were far superior to other Structures along this part of the route. many of which were merely tents or shacks, or even dugouts in a hillside (ibid., p. 128).
343. New York Daily Tribune, March 23, 1860, and for several days thereafter. A similar announcement appeared in the San Francisco Bulletin, March 17, 1860. concerning arrangements for the Pacific end of the line, which is quoted in Hafen's Overland Mail, pp. 170. 171. 4-1863
344. New York Daily Tribune, March 23, 1860.
345. St. Joseph dispatch, March 27, in ibid., March 28, 1860.
346. St. Joseph Weekly West, March 31, 1860.


     A rumor, confirming information received by us today, authorizes us to announce the important fact that Messrs. Jones, Russell & Co., have determined to make St. Joseph the Starting point at this end of their Overland Route. This is a matter of great importance to our city, as it will divert all the business, passengers and freight to this place. There is no doubt that Messrs. J. R. & Co., will reap much benefit from the change as well as ourselves...
347. Washington, D. C., letter, dated May 30, of a Leavenworth citizen and friend of Russell, in the Leavenworth Weekly Herald, June 9, 1860:
"I think our people are doing Mr. Russell great injustice by impliedly charging upon him ingratitude. He feels this very sensibly, too, inasmuch as our young city has been his special favorite... His interest there exceeds that of any other one man, amounting in the aggregate to over $200,000.
"Owing to the Rail Road terminus at St. Joseph, he was compelled to start his Pony Express from that point.
"He has not, and will not remove his passenger and freight express line from Leavenworth. . . "
348. A short notice of Jerome B. Simpson, vice-president of the "C. O. C.," appeared in the classified section of the New York Daily Tribune, April 9, 1860: Letters would be received up to 3 o'clock Monday afternoon of each week, at the company office, Room No. 8, Continental Bank Bldg., and telegrams up to 7 o'clock Thursday evening at the Office of the American Telegraph Co., 2 ½ Wall St.

[349]. St. Joseph dispatch in ibid., April 3, 1860. A more complete time table appeared in the Elwood Free Press of April 7, with the following added stations: Marysville, 12 hours; Laramie, 80 hours; Bridger, 108 hours, and Camp Floyd, 128 hours.
350. St. Joseph Weekly West, April 7, 1860.
351. St. Louis dispatch, March 31, in New York Daily Tribune, April 2, 1860. The "Stebbins Line" was being projected as a link m the Pacific telegraph-to-be, as was apparent from its title of "St. Louis, Salt Lake and California Telegraph." but it did not become the main line.
Pony Express dispatches were carried in a specially designed mochila attached to the anddle, containing four cantinas or boxes of hard leather which could be locked. See description and illustration in Chapman, op, cit., pp. 86, 87.
352. St. Joseph Weekly West, April 7, 1860. "The magnitude of this enterprise can scarcely be conceived... Pending the completion of the overland telegraph line, the transmission of messages over this route will be the most speedy known to modern times."
353. St. Joseph dispatch, dated April 4 to the New York Daily Tribune Apil 5 1860; also a special account in the Weekly West, April 7, 1860, which added: "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 [seven] oclock 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.
The train consisted of only the engine and one passenger car, running something over forty miles an hour.... (See, also, Chapman op cit pp 102-104.
354. St. Joseph Weekly Free Democrat, April 7, 1860.
355. St. Joseph Weekly West, April 7, 1860; New York Daily Tribune, April 5, 1860.
356. St. Joseph Weekly West, April 7, 1860. The Tribune added (April 5): "All telegraphic dispatches . . . are duplicated on paper, beside a triplicate being taken on linen prepared for the purpose in indelible ink, and carefully sealed. Water-proof copies are thus forwarded to different points in order to guard against any chance of delay or miscarriage."
357. New York Daily Tribune, April 5, 1860. The Leavenworth Daily Times of the same date remarked: "Our neighbors of St. Joseph had a jolly time, April 3d, over the starting of the Pony Express with forty-nine letters, nine telegrams, and newspapers for the California Press. A large undertaking this! An enterprise great as the country!" The Atchison Union (April 7) remarked that the first Express arrived at Kennekuk, 44 miles from St. Joseph but only 22 miles from Atchison, in four hours and fifteen minutes. If the Government had provided for running this express from and to Atchison, the extreme Western Rail Road and Telegraph point, over two hours would have been saved in the transit. . . ." The existing arrangement seemed to have been ordered "to subserve certain local interests." In February, 1860, the Hannibal & St. Joseph railroad was extended to a point opposite Atchison, necessitating the use of a ferry until a bridge was constructed across the Missouri river, continuous service not being inaugurated until June 13, 1860.
An additional account from the St. Joseph Gazette, April 4, 1860, is quoted by Howard R. Driggs in The Pony Express Goes Through. (New York, 1935), pp. 38, 39. 1860, quoted in Chapman, op. cit., p. 116.
358. Weekly West, April 7, 1860, quoted above. The identity of this rider was long in dispute, it being maintained that Johnny Frey was the first messenger, riding a coal black horse. The accounts quoted above agree that it was a spirited "bay mare," although only one names the rider. These mooted points were carefully examined by Louise Platt Hauck in 1923, at the behest of the Pony Express celebration committee, and are reviewed in her article in the Missouri Historical Review (v. 17, pp. 435-439), of Columbia, entitled The Pony Express Celebration." She concluded that "Billy" Richardson was undoubtedly the first rider, and Johnny Frey probably the second. It is possible that an error of memory arose in many of the accounts, due to the fact that on the same day that the second pony left St. Joseph (April 13), with Frey the rider, a celebration was in progress in honor of the safe arrival from California of the first eastbound express.
359. San Francisco Alta California, April 4, San carried 85 letters, but his pony took the boat to Sacramento, where the first real rider, William Hamilton, began the long, arduous journey. The San Francisco ceremonial was really a bit of stage play to properly inaugurate the Express, since the permanent terminal was placed at Sacramento, from which letters were thereafter sent by water to the Golden Gate. (Telegraphic dispatches were sent from points still farther east.)
360. Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, p. 113. See Mary Pack, "The Romance of the Pony Express," Union Pacific Magazine, v. II, August, 1923, pp. 6-9, 28, 29, which gives a map indicating the similarity of routes of the Pony Express and the San Francisco Overland Limited of the Union Pacific railroad, along with an interesting account and many illustrations; also Footnote 284 and adjacent text in the November, 1945, issue. W. R. Honnell of Kansas City constructed probably the best "Map of the Pony Express Route," and also wrote a short account which is published in The Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. V, pp. 66-71.
361. See Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens), Roughing It (Hartford, Conn., 1872), which gives a colorful account of his trip by Pike's Peak Express to Carson City, and describes the Pony Express, pointing out that, while the stage coach travelled 100 to 125 miles per day, the pony rider made about 250 in the same time. His famous description (p. 72) follows:
`Away across the endless dead level of the prairie a black speck appears against the sky, and it is plain that it moves. In a second cr two it becomes a horse and rider, rising and falling, rising and falling-sweeping toward us nearer and nearer-growing more and more distinct, more and more sharply defined-nearer and still nearer, and the flutter of the hoofs comes faintly to the ear-another instant a whoop and a hurrah from our upper deck, a wave of the rider's hand, but no reply, and the man and horse burst past our excited faces, and go winging away like a belated fragment of a storm!
`So sudden is it all, and so like a flash of unreal fancy, that but for the flake of white foam. we might have doubted whether we had seen any actual horse and man at all.
362. Chapman, op. cit., pp, 144-148; Hafen, Overland Mail, pp, 173-174.
363. St. Joseph Weekly Free Democrat, April 14, 1860; New York Daily Tribune, April 16, 1860. The St. Joseph Weekly West asserted this would demonstrate the practical nature of transcontinental communication in less than one-half the previous time, which would be reduced by the telegraph "until New York and San Francisco are joined in the fraternal embrace of progress."
364. Leavenworth Daily Times, April 16, 1860. On April 24, 1860, M. Jeff. Thompson, 364. Leavenworth Daily Times , April 16, mayor of St. Joseph and president of a Pacific railroad being projected to the West, presided at a celebration at Elwood inaugurating the enterprise.
365. The Weekly West, April 21, 1860. In another column this same paper discussed "The Pony Express and the Pacific Railroad," and pointed out that because of the success of this venture, "we are glad to see a new impulse to the Pacific Railroad feeling in different parts of the Union. They had "never had the shadow of a doubt but that the route from this place by way of Salt Lake was that upon which the road ought to be built," and now 'the result of this last enterprise. .. has placed the question beyond dispute. The road must start from St. Joseph.
366. The one and a half column article in the Tribune was headed:

"St. Joseph, Mo., Saturday, April 14, 1860.-The first messenger on the Central Overland Pony Express arrived here at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, with California dates to April 3, and Carson Valley dates to the 4th.
"This messenger came through in ten days to a minute, he having left San Francisco at 4 p. m. on April 3."
The dispatch from Carson City remarked: "The Pony Express is greeted with great enthusiasm by the people of the Valley... as we have had but a semimonthly mail during the past winter." The telegraph had already reached a point 30 miles east of that city, and its early extension would probably reduce the time from St. Joseph to San Francisco to eight days.
367. The Butterfield Overland Mail had long been the means of transmitting the California news, but now was superseded by the swifter Pony Express, with the exception of the period of the Pah Ute Indian war in Nevada (then western Utah). A telegraph was now projected along this line from Springfield, Mo., to Fort Smith, Ark., Fort Yuma (Ariz.), and Los Angeles, which it was hoped would soon afford equally good service (probably with a second Pony Express to complete the connection).-New York Daily Tribune, April 6, 9, 1860. The western end of this telegraph was soon completed to Visalia (Cal.), where it halted for some time.
368. St. Joseph Weekly West, April 28, 1860; Davis, op. cit., pp. 90, 91. The congressional report mentioned St. Joseph as a suitable eastern terminal. 369. Paxson, op. cit., p. 465.
370. St. Joseph dispatch, April 28, in New York Daily Tribune, April 30, 1860. The same issue of this paper gave details of the prize fight in England, in which John C. Heenan, "the Benecia Boy," won over his opponent Tom Sayers in a 37-round bout, in which the victor knocked down his adversary 13 times.
Almost every California news summary by Pony Express during the first weeks of operation remarked that the news by steamboat or overland stage (Butterfield route) had been anticipated by the pony and telegraph. That arriving at St. Joseph on May 14 asserted that the last previous westbound pony had arrived at the outer telegraph station in Carson Valley in only seven days and four hours from St. Joseph.
371. St. Louis dispatch to ibid., May 22, 1860. At that time a visiting delegation from Japan was being lionized wherever it appeared. The St. Joseph Weekly West, April 21, 1860, announced the transmission of a dispatch by Pony Express and telegraph with news of the arrival in San Francisco of the clipper ship Andrew Jackson, 99 days out of New York. This account claimed that previously no return was expected in less than six months, after a voyage of 18,000 miles around Cape Horn.
372. New York Daily Tribune, May 22, 1860.
373. Hubert H. Bancroft, History of Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming (San Francisco. 1890-Works, v. XXV), p. 209 et seq.; Effie Mena Mack, Nevada--a History of the State (Glendale, Cal., 1936), p. 302 the chapter headed "Last. Stand of the Nevada Indian." The latter author points out that the real cause of this attack is not definitely known, but two stories exist, both of which blame the occupants of Williams' station. One account charges that they seized several young Bannock squaws (allies of the Pah-Utes), leading to a punitive expedition by the red men, and another that the station keeper, J. O. Williams, himself stole a horse of a Pah-Ute, leading to retribution on this score. Even before this attack it was reported that 30 horses belonging to the Pony Express had been stolen by the Indians (San Francisco dispatch, April 27, in New York Daily Tribune, May S, 1860). William 11. Russell replied that inasmuch as the Express still operated, there could be no foundation for the rumor.-Leavenworth Daily Times, May 10, 1860. To the red man the Pony Express was the visible symbol of a civilization that was threatening to displace him from his homeland.
374. St. Joseph dispatch to New York Daily Tribune, May 31, 1860. On the last trip the Indians were reported to have killed two Express riders. The distance of 1,200 miles between Salt Lake and St. Joseph was made by this Express in five days and seven hours.
375. San Francisco dispatch, May 28. via Butterfield overland mail to ibid., June 18, 2860, a detailed account from the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, May 26, 1860.
376. Weekly Leavenworth Herald, June 9, 1860.
377. Mack op. cit., pp. 303-305.
378. Ibid., p..308. A San Francisco dispatch of June 4, in New York Daily Tribune, June 26, 1860, reported the stations abandoned beyond Sand Springs toward Salt Lake. The station at Simpson Park was burned, and the horses driven off; the station keeper at Dry creek was murdered.
379. San Francisco dispatch to Tribune, June 23, 1860. The Express of May 18 and 25 bad already passed eastward through Carson Valley, but the latter was reported to have turned back because of the destruction of the stations.
380 Ibid., June 23, 1860.
381. San.Francisco dispatch, June 25, via the Butterfield overland mail to ibid., July 16. 1860. For some time Ruby Valley station, 300 miles west of Salt Lake was the one farthest west (this side of the trouble zone) not interfered with by the Indians. At this time it was announced that the Pony Express would begin semiweekly trips from St. Joseph (apparently to take care of the emergency).
382. Ibid., July 27, 1860.
383. Ibid., August 1, 1860.
384. San Francisco dispatch, September 26, to Tribune, October 9, 1860. A San Francisco dispatch, dated August 11, of the Leavenworth Daily Times, August 25, 1860, read: The patronage of the Pony Express is greatly increasing, since their trips are made in due time and news received of the safe arrival of all letters sent Eastward. The new buildings being put up.. for three hundred miles East of Carson Valley... are sixty feet square, with stonewalls eight feet high... to serve as forts when necessary."
385. Telegraph and Pony Express dispatch to St. Joseph Weekly Free Democrat, September 15, 1860; Bancroft's History of Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming, p. 216. Lander's agreement was ratified by Major Dodge, Indian agent for this region.
386. Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, p. 122.
387. Early in June, 1860, the Pacific and Atlantic telegraph was completed to Visalia, Cal., 280 miles from San Francisco, and by the following July the poles were up nearly to Los Angeles on the Butterfield route, while the Missouri and western telegraph on the eastern end of the same line had reached Fort Smith, Ark.
388. A memorial was sent to congress for a daily overland mail, and governmental encouragement of the Pony Express.
389. Thus the Pony Express that arrived at St. Joseph August 6, carried California advices to July 25, Japan to June 26, and China to May 26, 1860, and in addition dispatches from western Mexico.-New York Daily Tribune, August 7.
390. San Francisco dispatch, August 18, to ibid., September 1, 1860. Occasional reports of Indian troubles persisted-Agent Bromley in the Fort Laramie area asserted that his ponies had been run off by the Indians, delaying the Express 24 hours. The theft of horses was not confined to the aborigines, however.
391. San Francisco dispatch, October 17, to ibid., October 31, 1860. This Express was 40 hours late when it arrived at St. Joseph, due to a storm on the plains.
892. California dispatch, October 24, in ibid., November 7, 1860.
393. St. Louis dispatch in ibid., November 23, 1860. "The press, as well as the public, are under heavy obligations to Messrs. Russell, Majors & Co., the gentlemanly and efficient managers of the Pony Express, and they will, we doubt not, give such orders to their assistants as will effectually prevent the recurrence of the present and past omissions to deliver the public news from the Pacific to the nearest telegraph station, which at present is at Fort Kearney."
394. Ibid., November 24 and 26, 1860.
395. Ibid., December 11, quoting a San Francisco dispatch of November 28, 1860. Final official returns were published in the December 20 Tribune, and gave Lincoln a plurality of 757 votes over Douglas, and 4,750 over Breckinridge. Lincoln's California vote surprised the politicians of that state.
396. Fort Kearny dispatch in ibid., November 8, 1860.
397. St. Joseph dispatch to ibid., November 26, 1860. The next regular Express made the 1,200 miles from St. Joseph to Salt Lake City in four days and 23 hours. A special trip of the Pony Express was made to Denver, the distance of 696 miles being run in two days and 21 hours, with news of Lincoln's election, partially anticipated by a coach of the Western Stage Company from Fort Kearny. Neither Denver nor Salt Lake City patronized the Pony Express to any great extent, as compared to California.
398. San Francisco dispatch, November 14T in ibid., November 26, 1860. A dispatch of November 17 from the same place (ibid., November 29) reported that news of Lincoln's election had greatly quieted political feelings in that state. The Republican illumination in honor of his election had been a complete failure-not over 50 houses responded, the Republicans not being in an exultant mood. All parties feared serious trouble in the future.
399. Leavenworth Daily Times, November 1, 1860.
400. Advertisement dated Leavenworth City in ibid., December 1, 1860. A reduction of Express rates was announced at the same time. Compare also Russell's statement (cited above), September 27, 1860, concerning the imminent expiration of the Salt Lake mail contract (November, 1860): ' A mail contract alone would justify us to continue the Pony.
We have however attained our principal object, that of practically demonstrating that the route is feasible and practical, and with a good mail contract, and in that way only, the Express can be sustained." The Pony Express itself was independent of any direct government support.
401. Fort Kearny dispatch to New York Daily Tribune, December 27, 1860. Due to snow over nearly the entire route, the Express that passed that place on January 20 was almost two days late, and soon thereafter the westbound messenger was also reported late, but such cases were decidedly exceptional.
402. See Bancroft, History of California, v. VII (San Francisco, 1890-Works, v. XXIV), pp. 275-286; Glenn D. Bradley, The Story of the Pony Express, Ch. V, entitled, "California and the Secession Menace." From the start there appears to have been a preponderance of union sentiment in the state.
403. Fort Kearny dispatch to New York Daily Tribune, January 5, 1861: There was some talk of organizing a Pacific republic, but a "vast majority" favored preserving the union. The Tribune of February 6 carried a San Francisco dispatch of January 19, asserting that letters of Congressmen Scott and Burch in favor of such a republic had been widely published, and in general severely denounced by the press of the state.
404. San Francisco dispatch, February 9, to ibid., February 25, 1861. The two delayed Expresses arrived at Carson Valley on February 8, with St. Louis dates to the 22d ult. Despite the delay the last outgoing Express had carried over 90 letters, and that day's load was expected to total 150. The Express of February 2 from Fort Kearny carried news of the passage of the Pacific railroad bill in the United States senate, which was joyfully received in California. The bond scandal (see below) which had engulfed William H. Russell probably prompted the California legislature to enact its memorial.
405. San Francisco dispatch, February 23, in ibid., March 11, 1861.
406. Ibid., March 22, 1861.
407. W. F. Bailey, "The Pony Express," The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, October, 1898, p. 891; New York Daily Tribune, April 2, 1861.
408. San Francisco dispatch, May 8, in ibid., May 20, 1861.
409. Dispatch of May 11, in ibid., May 22, 1861. "Business is totally Suspended; all the men, women and children of the city are in the streets.... A procession marched through the principal streets, composed of thousands of men. All political parties joined in the demonstration...."-See, also, v. VII of Bancroft's California, p. 279.
410. San Francisco dispatch, June 1, in Leavenworth Daily Times, June 12, 1861. "Everybody is waiting with intense anxiety for Eastern news, and as each pony arrives, the announcement of attack on Harper's Ferry, Norfolk, or some other movement toward retaking public property captured by the South, is expected."
411. Bancroft, History of California, v. VII (Works, v. XXIV), p. 281.
412. Hafen, Overland Mail, p. 189; Alvin F. Harlow, Old Waybills, The Romance of the Express Companies (New York, London, 1934), p. 239.
413. U. S. Statutes at Large, v. XII, p. 206.
414. Harlow, Old Waybills, p. 239. Under the new arrangement wells Fargo issued Pony Express Stamps for its end of the line. Concerning this see Chapman, op. cit., p. 288, and plate opposite.

415. See Footnote 318 and adjacent text. On September 15, 1860, the St. Joseph Weekly Free Democrat gave an extended account of the bids submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury. Among the bidders was Benjamin F. Ficklin of St. Joseph, also of the Pony Express, who offered to run a Pony Express after the first 600 mles of line was finished, at the usual telegraph rates, until the wire was completed.
416. Leavenworth Daily Times, October 5, 1860. The government subsidy for the conveyance of its dispatches from the Missouri river to the Pacific coast was to be $40,000 a year. Sibley and Ezra Cornell had founded the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1854, but Sibley did not obtain the united support of his associates for a Pacific telegraph, although his company later absorbed the Western extension (1864), See James D. Reid, The Telegraph in America (New York 1886), Ch. XXXVII; also Alvin F. Harlow, Old Wires and New Waves (New York, London, 1936).
417. Reid, op. cit., pp. 501, 502; San Francisco dispatch of March 20 to Elwood Free Press, April 6, 1861.
418. Reid, op. cit., p. 492. Sibley and Wade of Western Union were among its incorporators, indicating the close connection of the two firms, also Charles M. Stebbins of the Missouri and Western Telegraph-the "Stebbins Line," already completed to Fort Kearny, and Benjamin F. Ficklin of the Pony Express. The Pacific Telegraph Company was formally organized at Rochester, N. Y., April 17, 1861, with Wade, president, and Sibley vice-president (New York Daily Tribune, April 18, 1861).
419. Reid, op. cit., p. 493. "Messrs. Edward Creighton and W. R. Stebbins, general agents respectively of the Pacific and Missouri and Western Telegraph companies, left here this afternoon, bound westward. They will survey the entire route to Salt Lake, thoroughly, and make contracts for the construction of the line as far as Julesburg early in the spring."-Fort Kearny dispatch. November 20, 1860, in Leavenworth Daily Times, November 22. Wade arranged for the building of the California end of the line.
420. Before a public announcement was made in favor of the Central route, it was reported that a Los Angeles party subscribed $10,000 for a telegraph line via the old Butterfield road (New York Daily Tribune, November 7, 1860). The St. Louis Democrat published the program of the Pacific and American Telegraph Co. for a line via Fort Smith, Ark., and Yuma (Ariz.). When the Pony Express superseded the Butterfield Overland Mail, the Fort Smith telegraph no longer paid expenses. A telegraph line along this route would be more easily kept m repair, it was argued, and would avoid the "dangerous thunder storms and atmospheric influences upon the Upper Platte river."-New York Daily Tribune, October 26, 1860.
421. "The Story of Western Union," a manuscript history of the Western Union Telegraph Co., p. 2, submitted by the courtesy of D. D. Daly, manager Topeka office.
422. See Reid, op. cit., p. 495. Not less than 25 poles of good quality were to be used per mile, along with a good grade of wire. The whole undertaking was to be completed by July 31, 1862.
423. San Francisco dispatch, May 29, in Leavenworth Daily Times, June 11, 1861. James Gamble directed the two construction parties on the western end of the line, from Virginia City eastward, and was the first to reach Salt Lake City, thereby winning the prize offered for this accomplishment.-Driggs, op. cit., Ch. IV, entitled "Talking Wires," p. 52 et seq.
424. Salt Lake City dispatch, July 11, in New York Daily Tribune, July 27, 1861. James Street, Pacific Telegraph agent, reported it was a quiet affair-any celebration would come later. lie had held several "confabs" with Shokup, chief of the Shoshones, and believed there was nothing to fear from the Indians in that vicinity.
The Alta California, July 9, 1861 (quoted in the St. Louis Missouri Democrat, August 6), published the details of one of these meetings at Robert's creek. Shokup was very friendly, but pointed out that before the white man arrived his tribe was happy and enjoyed plenty of game and roots; now the game had disappeared and the moots were almost extinct, making him unhappy, as his people were hungry. One of his wives was dangerously ill, and her doctor blamed the Overland Mail as the cause. The interpreter denied that this could be possible, and invited Shokup to ride on the stage to San Francisco. He accepted, but on arriving at Carson City resolved to return. He called the telegraph the "wire-rope express," and could not believe that, after arriving at San Francisco he could talk with his wife almost as quickly as if he were at her side. He supposed the Express to be an animal, and when told it consumed lightning, could not understand what sort of beast it was. He wired the "Big Captain" at San Francisco that his Indians would not trouble the line, and wished to be the friends of the whites. General Carpenter, president of the Overland Telegraph, ordered presents sent to Shokup and his tribesmen.
425. Reid, op. cit., p. 495. Nearly a thousand oxen were necessary to transport needed supplies for the various parties that began work July 4, 1861.
426. New York Daily Tribune, August 27, 1861. In September, 1861, a blunder by the postmaster either at New York, St. Louis or St. Joseph resulted in the dispatch of all Pony Express letters for California by overland mail (ibid., September 23, 1861).
427. San Francisco Dispatch, July 31, in ibid., August 12, 1861. The Tribune of August 21 asserted that the wire had reached Reese river, 140 miles east of Fort Churchill. For a list of the terminals, see Stanley B. Ashbrook, The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851-1857, v. II, quoted by Emerson N. Barker in his "Highlights in the Postal History of the Trans-Mississippi Region," International Stamp Review, St. Joseph, Mo., November 1, 1941.
428. New York Daily Tribune, October 4, 1861. This message carried San Francisco news of September 25, indicating there were still delays along the line. The Tribune of October 7 carried California dispatches from Pacific Springs, 260 miles east of Salt Lake. as did also the issues of October 11 and 14. A traveler who passed over the route wrote a detailed account of the progress of the telegraph (San Francisco Bulletin, September 21, in Tribune, October 19, 1861). The poles were then already up from the Missouri river to considerably west of Pike's Peak Express Companies.
429. New York Daily Tribune, October 21. 1861. which quoted the messages of Young nd Wade, also that of Acting Governor Frank Fuller to Lincoln, and the President's reply. righam Young's message appeared in the Tribune, October 19, 1860.
430. Sacramento dispatch, October 24, in ibid., October 29, 1861.
431. Manuscript, "History of Western Union," p. 2; San Francisco dispatch, October 26, in New York Daily Tribune, October 28, 1861. The Sunday edition of the New York Herald apparently beat this announcement of the Tribune one day.
432. New York Daily Tribune, -October 29, 1861. The Atchison Freedom's Champion, November 2, added that, because of the rush, it had been found impossible to send messages as fast as received. The rate from New York to San Francisco was $5.85 for the first ten words, and 46 cents for each additional word, and from Atchison to San Francisco these charges were $3.75 and 28 cents respectively.
The completion of a telegraph line to the Pacific meant a "vast accession of strength and prestige" to Western Union, whose line now spanned the continent, even though a formal merger came later (1864 for the Pacific Telegraph, and 1866 the California State Telegraph Company-the successor of the Overland Telegraph). See Reid, op. cit., pp, 496, 497, and a series of articles by H. Hamlin in The Pony Express, Placerville, Cal., May and October, 1944, and April, 1945.
433. San Francisco dispatch, October 27, in New York Daily Tribune, October 30, 1861. Bancroft states (California, v. VII, p. 293) that the "first through despatch on the completed overland telegraph brought the intelligence of his death." He was killed in action in the Civil War.
434. San Francisco dispatch, October 25, in New York Daily Tribune, October 26, 1861. Hiram Sibley of Western Union attempted to obtain an Asiatic connection by way of Bering Strait and Siberia, and with this in view visited Russia, where he was cordially received by the czar. Wires were actually strung in Alaska and Siberia when the completion of the Atlantic cable (1866) led to the collapse of the venture at a heavy loss (absorbed by Western Union). Dictionary of American Biography, v. XVII (New York, 1935), p. 146, "Hiram Sibley..
435. Atchison Freedom's Champion, October 12, 1861.
436. Quoted in New York Daily Tribune, October 26, 1860.
437. Freedom's Champion, November 2, 1861.
438. Chapman, op, cit., p. 301, which publishes a press tribute in memory of "a fast and his faithful friend." Completion of the telegraph, however, did end the trips across the plains.
439. Ingraham, op. cit., p. 185. The Overland Stage, Root and Connelley, suggests a loss of $100.000 (p. 118). Considering the expense involved, the Pony Express was not sufficiently used, except by the people of California, to render it a financial success. No doubt the projectors charged this to necessary expense towards a larger goal-a daily mail contract.
440. St. Joseph Weekly Free Democrat, October 27, 1860, a memorial article entitled "The Pony Express-On Horsepitable Thought Intent!," quoted at some length in Glenn D. Bradley, The Story of the Pony Express, pp. 49, 50. In addition to the Hollenberg station in Washington county, two other principal buildings remain as memorials to the Pony Express -- the station house at Gothenburg, Neb., and the terminal building at Sacramento, Cal., the latter a presentation to Oat city by the Western Union Telegraph Company. The buildings used as stables at St. Joseph, Marysville, and Fort Bridger are other important structures still remaining along the route.
441. Leavenworth Daily Times, March 30, 1860: "Eager gold hunters pour into the city from every steamer. by fifties and hundreds. Fortunate landlords and unfortunate waiters are at their wits end. and the hurry and scurry, the fuss, flurry and fume, of one dinner table is no sooner over, than scores of hungry mouths demand instant relief in the shape of beef and potatoes. Charming chambermaids carefully carry countless cots to un used corners. Leavenworth.. is as busy as a swarm of bees.." The St. Joseph Free Democrat reported (May 12): "The emigration to the Pike's Peak region is becoming immense... an average of over 100 emigrant wagons crossing daily, besides large droves of horses and cattle. " The New York Daily Tribune, March 30, 1860, published a three-column review of the Pike's Peak region by A. D. Richardson.
442. Leavenworth dispatch, somewhat garbled, in ibid., March 10, 1860. Emigrants planning to cross the plains were advised to avoid the troubles of the previous year by waiting until May 1, when the grass would be sufficient (the drought prevented this). Rumors were then afloat that the stage line terminal would soon be changed to St. Joseph, but this was officially denied by the secretary at Leavenworth.
443. Denver City, March 15, in Leavenworth Daily Times, March 23, 1860. With the "gentlemanly" express messenger, J. S. Stephens, and the driver, a total of 11 people rode this coach, including two children. A traveler who arrived at Denver in August, 1860, complained about the crowding of nine or ten passengers into the coach, with carpet sacks and express matter in the bottom "until your chin and knees came close enough together to make the one serve as a pillow for the other." In addition there were at times two "substantial ladies weighing about two hundred pounds avoirdupois, with all the crinoline fixings.
However, the rate of travel was most pleasing. Those not caring for a seven-day-a-week diet of pork and beans, varied by beans and pork-the standard dish at all station houses, should take "a few cans of fruit, a few bottles of pickles, and many bottles of Bourbon or Otard."
444. Denver City, J. T., March 28, in St. Joseph Weekly West, April 14, 1860.
445. Weekly Leavenworth Herald, April 21, 1860.
446. Many Leavenworth citizens were convinced of the necessity for their town of a road via the Kansas, Smoky Hill and Forks of the Republican, rather than the more remote Platte
447. Hafen, Overland Mail pp 156 157 207 The conttith G Ch , pp. 156, 207. The contract weorgeorpenning had been annulled because of alleged failures, which Chorpenning vigorously denied in his A Brief History of the Mail Service (microfilm copy in Historical Society; original in Library of Congress). See, also, Overland Mail, pp, 67, 68.
The regular correspondent of the St. Louis Missouri Democrat went over the line in June, 1861, and wrote from Denver to his paper (issue of July 9): "Taking into consideration the distance and the nature of the country through which this Company has located its route, it is without doubt the most convenient and best equipped of any on the continent. The road itself cannot be surpassed; there is but one bad place in it. from St. Joseph to Denver. I allude to what is called the Narrows," which are on the [Little] Blue, about two hundred miles from St. Joseph, and are caused by the near approach of the river to the bluffs. This is no doubt a dangerous pass for an inexperienced driver; but none such are employed by the company.
"In passing the Narrows, our party experienced no little uneasiness. and by dark we had fully made up our minds to receive a bath. The moon went down the night became so black that it was impossible to see a foot from the coach. the wind came howling wildly over the prairie, and the incessant flashes of lightning, together with the sharp peals of thunder, breaking seemingly just overhead. Charley [the driver] lighted the coach lamps, meantime answering indefinitely questions put in agitated tones. We gathered, however, that we must get through the Narrows before the rain reached us.
Presently we knew the coach to be entering a gulch, close to one side the lightning revealed the waters of the Blue, on the other the rough sides of the bluff, and as we slowly passed a crevice the bright eyes of a coyote, crouched a few yards from the window, flashed in menacingly upon us... Suddenly there was a cry from the box to 'lean to the right.' No set of frightened school boys ever obeyed more quickly the commands of a severe pedagogue... As we moved the coach took an abrupt turn, the lash was vigorously applied to the mules, and the next moment the cheering cry of all right' relieved us of all further anxiety. In making this turn the near wheels come within a foot of the bank, the road inclines toward the river, so that if the ground happens to be wet there is no way to prevent the coach sliding off into the water, or too short a turn upsetting the institution and its contents... (A map of the Narrows is given in Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, p, 364.)
448. Atchison Union, March 24, 1860. In the fall of 1861 the terminal was moved to Atchison, where it remained during the later years of the Overland Mail. Lack of a Leavenworth connection for a time in 1860 caused that city to voice a strong objection in the Weekly Herald, May 19, 1860: "We understand that Wm. H. Russell, Esq., President of the C. O. C. and P. P. Express.. has telegraphed to the agents of the Company to place on a tri-weekly line of coaches to run from this point. We believe the recent removal of headquarters and withdrawal of the coaches were made without the knowledge or consent of Mr. Russell, only to suit the whims of Mr. Ficklin, Road Agent.-However it may be, we have certainly got a connection again, but how long we will retain it against the combination now formed against Leavenworth by her enemies, we know not. The first coach starts on Tuesday."
449. Lawrence Republican, July 26, 1860. A second dispatch from Denver of the same date, probably also by Richardson and appearing in the New York Daily Tribune of July 17, added that the contract had been let for the nominal sum of $800-about a twentieth of the estimated cost, causing much disappointment.
450. Hafen, Overland Mail, p. 160. This first eastbound United States mail contained over 4,000 letters.
451. New York Daily Tribune, August 25, 1860. "The Pike's Peakers are subjected to a good deal of tribulation in connection with their mail matters, between the tender mercies of the Express Company and the Post Office Department; but as a friend wrote. 'we look forward to the election of old Abe Lincoln, as a redress for this, and all our other grievances.' "
452. Hafen, Overland Mail, p. 160.
453. Announcement of S. K. Huson, postmaster at Lawrence, September 8, in Lawrence Republican, September 13, 1860; Leavenworth Daily Times, September 15, 1860.
454. Ibid., August 28, 1860. Among the passengers was Doctor Cartwright of the freighting firm of Jones & Cartwright.
455. St. Joseph dispatch to the New York Daily Tribune, September 22, 1860.
456. Ibid.,October 1, 1860. A Denver dispatch of August 21 asserted that from $40,000 to $50,000 was then leaving for the Missouri river each week, most of it in private hands. The October 1 Tribune told of two miners, one (Stevens) a former driver on the Salt Lake mail route, who engaged the Pike's Peak Express Company to transport east the result of their summer's labor--$27,000 in gold dust and nuggets, carried in sacks on the shoulder like bags of corn. In the preceding spring they had started "from scratch," and later had employed 30 to 40 men to help them work their rich claim. A dispatch from Mammoth City. near the Gregory Diggings (September 26 Tribune), gave the dark side of the Colorado gold mines-many did not even make their board.
457. Omaha dispatches, dated September 26 and October 20, to ibid., September 28 and October 22 respectively. The earlier dispatch reported the United States Express as entering into this business, and bankers at Omaha purchasing an average of about $20,000 a week from returning miners, plus large amounts received daily by the merchants in exchange for goods. A Denver dispatch of August 19 (Leavenworth Daily Times, August 27), reported Clark, Gruber & Co. as buying about $2,000 worth of dust a day, other bullion brokers smaller amounts, while Hinckley & Co. had delivered not less than $20.000 to the "C. O. C." during the preceding month.
458. Mid., August 1, 1860 At this time Benjamin F. Ficklin resigned as superintendent. and J. H. Clute was appointed in his place. Clute came to have quite a reputation for efficiency.
459. Ibid., September 15. 1860 "From and after the 15th of September, the Tri-Weekly Coaches of this Company Leaving Leavenworth City & St. Joseph, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and Denver City on same days, will each be in charge of a Trusty Messenger, for the purpose of forwarding each trip and way, Treasure, Express Matter, Letters, &c., Through in Six Days!" Letters weighing one-half ounce or less, enclosed in government envelopes, would be carried for ten cents, and newspapers five cents. The company planned at an early date to run coach lines from Denver to the various mining districts. The weekly U. S. mail then required a 12-day trip. This announcement was signed by John W. Russell, secretary of the company. In December, 1860, there was a further reduction of express rates.
460. St. Joseph dispatch, November 23, in New York Daily Tribune, December 1, 1860. On January 21, 1860, the St. Joseph Weeky West asserted that on the Salt Lake route the firm had upwards of 400 mules and 30 coaches; on the Denver line 850 mules and 80 coaches. Hinckley & Hall were then the agents at St. Joseph, at the office of the United States Express Company, indicating that at both ends of the Colorado line the "C. O. C." and Hinckley & Co. were quite closely connected.
461. Dispatches to the New York Tribune and Leavenworth Times, December, 1860, and January, 1861.
462. Hafen, Overland Mail, pp. 204, 205. This may well date back to "promises" made by Gwin to Russell at the time of instituting the Pony Express
463. U. S. Statutes at Large, v. XII, pp. 204-207. An earlier law of the same congress to provide for post routes (Ch. LVII, Sec. 15) authorized the Postmaster General to advertise forbids "for the daily transportation of the entire mail, overland, between Saint Joseph, Missouri, or some other point on the Missouri river, connected by railroad with the East and Placerville, California. over the central route..."
464. The following clause providing for a semiweekly Pony Express service has been quoted above in the Pony Express section of this installment. For the above service [daily mail and Pony Express] the said contractors shall receive the sum of one million dollars per annum.
465. The modified contract, dated March 12, 1861, is in 46 Cong., 3 Sess., Senate Executive Documents, v. I (Serial 1941). No. 21, p. 7.
466. Washington dispatch to New York Daily Tribune, March 20, 1861. The exact terms of this agreement are conjectural, but the following summary states in the case of Samuel v. Holladay, 1869 (Federal Cases, Book 21, p. 307-Case No. 12,288): the company "had a contract for carrying the United States mail over its route, from which it was to receive $475,000 in quarterly payments." The Leavenworth Daily Times announced (March 19) that as soon as the new contract became effective, the company would run a daily express. Travel eastward from Pike's Peak was then very small-no passengers arrived on the last coach from Denver, this being the off season for travel in that direction. Westbound coaches were well filled, however, again illustrating the seasonal nature of this traffic.
467. Elwood Free Press, April 6, 1861. That this transfer had not been completed by late May is indicated by a San Francisco dispatch (May 18) which asserted that the Overland Mail Company had sent a detachment of men from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City with eight six-horse teams and 40 horses. Concerning the transfer of the western end of the Pony Express to Wells, Fargo & Co., see notice of May 16 quoted in Chapman, The Pony Express, p. 268.
468. Denver dispatch to Leavenworth Daily Times, April 30, 1861; Hafen, Overland Mail, pp. 219, 220. The citizens of Denver made contributions toward this goal.
469. Ibid., quoting the Rocky Mountain News, May 8, 1861. After the bond scandal of the preceding winter (described below) Russell spent an extended sojourn in Colorado, where he was feted by the people.
Bela M. Hughes, a lawyer of St. Joseph. later became a railroad promoter and prominent politician of Colorado.
470. St. Louis Missouri Democrat, quoted in the Leavenworth Daily Times, May 3, 1861.
471. Hafen, Overland Mail, pp. 220, 221. Chapter X of this work, entitled "The Million Dollar Mail in Operation, 1861-1862," is based upon Colorado and federal documents, and is the outstanding account of this phase of the history of the C. O. C. & P. P. Express Company. In 1859 Berthoud surveyed a route as far as Lawrence for the Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western railroad (Leavenworth Herald, November 19, 1859).
472. Dispatch from "Leavenworth Gulch, Colorado Gold Mines," June 10. in Leavenworth Daily Times, June 28, 1861. Russell was accompanied by Governor Gilpin, and had been given a hearty welcome everywhere." The dispatch added: "In a few weeks we may expect to see the coaches and pony express passing through this way, and a telegraph will no doubt follow the same route. It is much nearer than by way of the South Pass, and it is expected that fully as good a road can be made."
473. Rocky Mountain News, reprinted in the Atchison Freedom's Champion, September 28, 1861-a good account.
474. The detailed report of Berthoud was published in the Champion of November 2, with a foreword by Hughes, who asserted that the cost to the company had been some $3,000 for outfit and wages, and the stringency of the times prevented them from constructing a road west from Denver. Berthoud's report concluded that a wagon road from the South Platte to Provo (Utah) was entirely practical, that if extended to California it would shorten the distance 200 miles, and would be entirely feasible for the overland mail and telegraph, but a railroad would require a tunnel under the main range (not realized until the 1920's). In 1865 Hughes did construct a wagon road by this route to the western entrance of Berthoud Pass, and later was interested in /railroad development by this route. See Frank Hall, History of the State of Colorado (Chicago, 1889), v. I, p. 409 et seq. The Butterfield Overland Despatch stage line adopted the Smoky Hill and Berthoud Pass route. In a "Letter from Colorado," October 5, 1861, Berthoud carefully reviewed his part in the movement for an improved road to Denver by this route, particularly his explorations for its extension to Salt Lake City.-Leavenworth Daily Times, January 30, 1862
475. Elwood Free Press, June 8, 1861. This dispatch asserted that 25 coaches left the city on the previous Wednesday, to be distributed along the route.
476. San Francisco dispatch of April 20 by Pony Express, in New York Daily Tribune, May 2, 1861.
477. San Francisco dispatch, July 4, in ibid., July 20, 1861. About the same amount of mail was received at St. Joseph, according to a dispatch from across the river at Elwood (in the Free Press of July 20).
478. Salt Lake City dispatch, July 11, in New York Daily Tribune, July 27, 1861. The writer deprecated the ten-cent postage rate then becoming effective as "very pernicious" for that area, isolating it from the East and injuring the working classes.
479. Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, p. 43. A San Francisco dispatch of July 27 (New York Daily Tribune, August 8, 1861) remarked: "The Overland mail continues to arrive regularly. The price of passage from Sacramento to St. Joseph has been fixed at $150. Passengers who come through in the mail stages seem to regard the trip as one of no great hardship, although they are compelled to ride continually night and day for eighteen days." Another dispatch remarked that the first night was usually the most tiresome, that thereafter "nature asserted itself," and the passengers obtained plenty of sleep.
480. Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, p. 44. During the war the mails were forwarded fairly regularly through Missouri, although provision was made for additional service by way of Omaha. The railroad reached a point opposite Atchison in February, 1860, but did not actually enter the town via the new bridge across the Missouri until the following June.
481. Atchison Freedom's Champion, November 2, 1861. At that date only two of their employees had refused to take the oath of allegiance. Hughes pointed out he had left Missouri for residence in another state (announced in the Champion of September 22). The secretary of the company, J. W. Russell, moved to Atchison at the same time. The Champion of November 16 condemned "the vindictive spirit of the St. Joseph Journal and the Denver Herald against the C. O. C. & P. P. Express Company. . . . The public has been regaled over and over again with their senseless and unreasonable abuse, but never until now has any representative of the company deigned to reply . . . (Benjamin F. Ficklin, the former superintendent, became identified with the confederacy.)
"Paul Jones," a correspondent writing from St. Joseph, October 17, to the Missouri Democrat (October 22, 1861), berated Hughes as a rascal secessionist, and charged that the destruction of the Platte river bridge had "jarred the festering treason from his soul, or the fear of losing his salary of $5,000 per annum, causes him to be a thorough Union man. While located in this city, that company were very careful that not a dollar of Uncle Sam's money went into a loyal man's pocket. Why is Mr. Slade kept in their employ? -. a division agent having charge of the entire route from the cross ing of the South Platte to the Pacific Springs. He is a vile-mouthed, rabid secessionist.
482. San Francisco Alta California, January 14, 1862, quoted in Hafen, Overland Mail, p. 225.
483. Freedom's Champion, November 23, 1861. During the previous winter the company tried sled runners, the Leavenworth Conservative of February 8 asserting: "The Pike's Peak Express Company made the last trip from Denver to Leavenworth on runners the whole distance. We believe this has never been done before."
484. "Report of the Postmaster General," December 2, 1861, in 37 Cong., 2 Sess., Senate Executive Documents, v. III (Serial No. 1119), No. 1, pp. 560, 561. The contractors agreed to carry only the California letter mail. regardless of weight, but they later stated that if this fell short of 600 pounds, they would take other mail. For this reason some papers were carried and others delayed, causing some complaint. It was also alleged that bags of printed matter were thrown off en route, to accommodate passengers and express matter, but this charge was denied by the contractors. See the Postmaster General's remarks, entitled "Overland California Mail."
485. Hafen, Overland Mail, p. 226.
486. Atchison Freedom's Champion, October 12, 1861. This announcement appeared regularly for many weeks thereafter. Passengers could lay over at any point and resume seats when vacant. Meals were "provided at convenient distances" at prices averaging 60 cents. The rates for transporting gold dust, bank notes and drafts and freight were also quotedonly 25 pounds of baggage being carried free of charge. The advertisement was signed by B. M. Hughes, president, and Isaac E. Eaton, superintendent.
In its issue of March 24, 1862, the St. Louis Missouri Democrat complained of the "extortionate charges demanded by the Pike's Peak or Overland Express Company on small parcels.. a day or two since we received a small parcel of gold remitted on subscription from Denver, amounting to $7.20, and weighing including wrapper, about half an ounce, on which the charge was $1.75." It added that because of this state of affairs undeserved blame was often laid on other companies receiving parcels at Atchison and thought "a good opposition line from Atchison westward would remedy this extortion. This complaint was made at about the time of the sale of the company to Holladay.
487. Atchison Freedom's Champion, October 12, 1861. Newspaper accounts of robberies being practically nonexistent, one is forced to conclude that such incidents were at least of very rare occurrence. It is probable, however, that the press of either Leavenworth or Atchison, when the company headquarters was located there, was under strong pressure to not print such reports. That it was amenable to such pressure at the time of the transfer to the Platte, seems very probable.
488. Harlow, Old Waybills, p. 244.
489. Ingraham, Seventy Years on the Frontier, p. 167. If the parent firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell had adhered to the more lucrative freighting business, the results might have been different.
490. Ibid., p. 165. It is very possible that Ben Holladay made advances at this time - he certainly did later. That Russell, Majors & Waddell were the real proprietors of the stage line was frequently stated, and is a reasonable deduction, judging from the interlocking nature of the directorates. Holladay asserted that the freighting firm was the chief owner of stock of the "C.O.C.," which would have made it, in consequence, virtually a holding company with reference to the Pike's Peak Express companies. The financial affairs of the parent firm at the close of 1860 are discussed in some detail in 36 Cong., 2 Sess., House Reports, v. II (Serial No. 1105), No. 78, entitled "Abstracted Indian Trust Bonds" (henceforth abbreviated A. I. T. B. Report")-a 365-page summary. A lack of definite data beclouds this whole matter.
491. Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, p. 155.
492. Bradley, The Pony Express, p. 174. He includes the following items: To equip line, $100,000 (probably rather high, as many of the stations were also used by the stage line).
Maintenance at $30,000 per inonth, $480,000. War with Pah-Utes and allies,
$75,000. Sundry expenses, $45,000.
Chapman (op. cit., p. 304) believes the Pony Express entailed a loss of more than $200.000.
493. 37 Cong., 2 Sess., House Executive Documents, v. XI (Serial 1139). p. 556-"Report of additional allowances made to contractors." The official name of the contractor was then Hockaday & Smoot, after the sale the assignee of the Hockaday firm.
494. Ibid., p. 557; Hafen, Overland Mail, p. 157; George Chorpenning, A Brief History of the Mail Service, p. 9. The latter made serious reflections upon the character of his rivals in the following statements: "Numerous efforts were now begun to be made to secure Mr. Chorpenning's interest and position in the work, but failing in this by direct purchase, influences were brought upon the Post Office Department, and under the most shameful' and positively false pretexts his contract, still having over two years to run, and his pay just on the eve of being increased from $190,000 per annum to $400,000, was annulled, and all his life's earnings... confiscated.. and absolutely given to persons who had never been in the country a day.
495. Ben Holladay to Angus Cameron, April 6, 1882, quoted in J. V. Frederick's Ben Holladay, The Stagecoach Ring (Glendale, Cal., 1940), pp. 65, 66; New York Daily Tribune, May 20, 1861. The details of this subcontract cannot be obtained, but the amount probably was $475,000 (Federal Cases, cited above, Book 21, p. 307-Case No. 1.2,288) see, also, 47 Cong., 1 Sess., Senate Reports, v, III (Serial 2006), No. 403, p. 1. entitled "Report of Committee on Claims." The latter is in error, however, in making the annual compensation $450,000. This report gives precise figures on the stocking of the line under the Hockaday regime, and losses due to Indian attacks. 496. The "A.I.T.B."--"Abstracted Indian Trust Bonds Report" mentioned above is too tremendous a document to be carefully reviewed here. The select committee of the house of representatives, Isaac N. Morris, chairman, made a unanimous report of 20 pages, and appended a large volume of testimony. The issue of acceptances to the Russell, Majors & Waddell firm is a critical subject of this report.
497. There is a brief discussion in James Ford Rhodes, History of the United States From the Compromise of 1850, v. III (New York, etc., 1895), pp. 237, 238. See, also, the testimony of Thomas W. Pierce, of the Boston commission firm of Pierce & Bacon, who were large purchasers of the acceptances. in "A.I.T.B. Report," pp. 359-362; Robert M. Hughes, "Floyd's Resignation from Buchanan's Cabinet," Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, v. V, No. 2, January, 1921, pp. 73-95; James Buchanan, Mr. Buchanan's Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion (New York, 1866), pp. 186, 187, and "John B. Floyd," in the Dictionary of American Biography, v. VI (New York, 1931), pp. 482, 483.
498. The "A.I.T.B. Report" found that nearly $7,000,000 worth of these acceptances were issued by Floyd, of which at least $1,445,000 were still outstanding, and declared them to be "unauthorized by law and deceptive and fraudulent in character." Buchanan warned Floyd of their impropriety, but he continued to issue them. In 1868 the supreme court in a divided decision declared them a violation of the law.
499. Ibid., pp. 317-327, 334. From the abstract of payments made to the firm it is not apparent that the government was holding up any payments, although Russell repeatedly made such a charge. During the severe weather of the winter of 1861-1862, it is probable that it was obliged to take this step, because of delays of the mail. By March, 1861, Russell claimed the total withheld amounted to $1,349,548.
500. Ibid., pp. 45-76. The chief interview between Russell and Lea apparently took place in July, 1860, on a train between Washington and New York. This testimony, although very incomplete, makes it hard to believe Russell's assertion that he was at the start ignorant of the nature of the bonds. See, also, the committee's summary, in ibid., p. 5.
501. Testimony of William H. Russell, ibid., pp. 263-288. The hypothecated bonds were about to be sold, and in the meantime other acceptances were falling due. Russell made a public explanation, which was liberally quoted in the New York Daily Tribune, March 30, 1861. At the time of the delivery of the first. installment of bonds, he claimed he did not understand their real nature, but at the later deliveries he fully realized his predicament. and the danger to himself and firm. He could not turn back, however. once he had embarked on his dangerous course.
502. Rhodes, op. cit., v. III, p. 237. 503. The various complications of the "Great Robbery" led to numerous articles and dispatches for several months. Jerome B. Simpson, vice-president of the C. O. C." and in general charge of the New York office of the Pony Express, who had carried on the marketing of the bonds on the New York curb, quickly disappeared, and could not be located. Several witnesses later testified that he had gone to Europe "for his health." The criminal charges against Russell were abstraction of the bonds (with Bailey), receiving them, and conspiring (with Bailey and Floyd) to defraud the United States government. Floyd was made the general scapegoat of the whole affair, far more than was Russell, as he soon was identified with the confederacy, but he was freed of all criminal charges, and there is no doubt that he "had no connection whatever in thought, word, or deed, with the abstraction of the Indian trust funds. The select committee tried to obtain more information from Russell. but he later refused~~to testify without the presence of his counsel, and declined to reveal whether he had made payments or presents to persons attached to the War Department, in the obtaining of contracts (a violation of federal statute), unless congress specifically empowered its committee to this effect. Unfortunately congress failed to grant its committee further power-the approach of the Civil War overshadowed the whole affair. Bailey was not asked to testify, but his statement was taken-he had been known as the negotiator of the Florida bonds for Mr. Yulee, and the Chiriqui acceptances, which congress refused to legalize.
504. The "A.I.T.B. Report" states (p. 17): "The facts, therefore, are, that Russell, Majors & Waddell not only absorbed all the sums earned by them under their contracts, and sold all the bonds they received from Mr. Bailey, but also raised very large sums of money upon the acceptances issued by the Secretary of War."
505. "William H. Russell. Originator and Developer of the Famous Pony Express," Collector's Club Philatelist, New York, January and April, 1929. At the time many had similar views, particularly in the West, where Russell was called "The Brains of the Border" and the "Napoleon of the West." Whether or not he at the start made a felonious arrangement with Godard Bailey, it is probable that he honestly intended to return the bonds, but each step made this more impossible. As far as the acceptances were concerned, the firm cannot be blamed for anything more than very loose business, which was sanctioned by the Secretary of War in the interest of properly supplying the army. The depreciation of these acceptances on the market, and inability to regain the bonds proved too much. The affair left the United States treasury in a precarious state, as the courts ruled that bona fide purchasers of the bonds could not be questioned. Early in 1861 it was even charged on the floor of congress that this scandal was the prime cause of the depleted state of the treasury.
506. Russell was received as a conquering hero at Denver and vicinity, where he made an extended sojourn. The Russell, Majors & Waddell firm had long been regarded as a leader of Western business, since thousands looked to it, directly or indirectly, for their support.
507. Frederick, Ben Holladay, The Stagecoach King, pp. 63, 64. All evidence points to the increasing power of Holladay over the Pike's Peak firm, particularly after the bond scandal.
508. Federal Cases, Book 21, p. 307-Case No. 12,228.
509. Atchison Freedom's Champion, December 7, 1861, and regularly thereafter.
510. Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, pp. 465, 466. When called upon by Holladay to take possession in his name, Warner declined to act, and Pease then proceeded alone. Robert L. Pease was a trusted employee of the stage company, who continued his financial duties after the sale to Holladay.
511. The frequent notices of sheriff's sales in the Kansas papers at this time indicated the bad financial conditions then prevalent.
512. So far as is known, not a word appeared in any Kansas paper concerning the sale, at least not at the time. The newspaper code of ethics enjoined complete secrecy in such matters, although it must have been well known to Atchison and Leavenworth residents. The total debt to Holladay seems to have been slightly over $200,000. On the basis of Colorado sources the author of the Overland Mail (p. 227) places it at $208,000. At least the penal bond to Holladay was about double the actual debt, rendering him entirely safe. After the credit of Russell, Majors & Waddell had been shattered, undoubtedly Holladay was the chief source of ready cash.
513. Holladay's statement in 1882, quoted above. He pointed out that Russell, Majors & Waddell were the chief owners of the stock of the C.O.C & P.P. Express
514. Leavenworth Daily Times, December 21 1861 and February 27 1862. The Leavenworth banking firm of Smoot, Russell & Co. also failed about this time. From time to time there had been rumors of the failure of Russell, Majors & Waddell. A. B. Waddell of Lexington, Mo., assigned all his property to pay the firm's indebtedness in that city and county.
515. Ibid., March 9, 1862. The receiving of bids had been announced in the previous fall. The December 15 Times quoted the Secretary of the Treasury as asserting that contractors should be subject to "rigorous responsibility"
516. Root and Connelley, Overland Stage p 584 One voiced his ditty with telling effect:

On or about the first of May,
The boys would like to have their pay.
If not paid by that day,
The stock along the line might stray."
(A little did stray after the sale to Holladay.)

517. Frederick, op. cit., pp, 66, 67 Root and ConneIley add in The Overland Stage (p, 488) that Holladay settled a large number of debts of the firm. Despite his payments to employees, some "helped themselves to stock and outfits and went west with them. . . .
518. Ibid., pp. 465, 466. William H. Russell set up business in New York City (of all places!). A native of Vermont, he had migrated with the family to Missouri, and by the late 1840's was engaged in freighting on government contracts. In 1855 he formed a partnership with Alexander Majors, another freighter, which became the nucleus of the great freighting firm. He died at Palmyra, Mo., in 1572. A short biographical sketch by Charles R. Morehead with an accompanying photograph may be found in the Appendix of Doniphan's Expedition, by William E. Connelley (cited above). See, also, The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, v. XX (New York, 1929), pp. 451, 452, and the Dictionary of American Biography, v. XVI (New York, 1935), pp. 252, 253.
519 Frederick, op. cit., p 68; Root and Connelley, Overland Stage, p. 56.
520. Webster M. Samuels and Alexander Street v. The Central Overland California. and Pike's Peak Express Company. Ben Holladay and others, in James McCahon, Reports of Cases Determined in the Supreme Court of the Territory of Kansas (Chicago, 1870), pp. 214-229. This work includes a chapter on actions in the "Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Kansas," during the year of 1868. The above decision pointed out that the Express Company was the only party that could make such a settlement, but it was not before the court since
521. Federal Cases, Book 21, p. 310-Case No. 12,288. Holladay's demands against the company then amounted to $200,000, but the other debts exceeded the value of the property "he wrongfully converted." Furthermore, the conduct of the plaintiffs in the matter did not recommend them to a court of equity. In 1882 Holladay stated (Frederick, op. cit., p. 66) that his ownership of the property had been confirmed by the court, in which all persons concerned had acquiesced. It seems probable that there was further legal action, of which it is impossible to find a published statement.
522. Federal Cases, Book 21, p. 310-Case No. 12,288. the subpoenas issued upon it could not be delivered.

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