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Get Express facts straight

Dan Lovell

I had to laugh when I read some of the recent letters concerning the Pony Express. They are getting so good I expect the next letter will have them delivering overnight mail from the moon.

Some real facts about the Pony Express.

1. It ran between Sacramento and St. Joseph, Mo., not San Francisco and New York.

2. It ran from April 3, 1860, to October 1861 before it went bankrupt.

3. It cost $5 per half ounce to mail a letter, $94.71 in today’s money or $189.42 for a 34-cent stamp.

4. Cost dropped to $1 per half ounce in 1861.

5. Mail took 10 days in summer and 12-16 days in winter to make the journey.

6. Best time was seven days and 17 hours; the message was Lincoln’s inaugural address.

7. Scheduled once a week from April 1860 to mid June 1860, twice a week from mid June to October 1861.

8. Ad for riders read: “Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.”

9. In one day, a carrier in today’s Postal Service could deliver all the mail the Pony Express did in its entire existence.

Wake up and smell the horses. If Congress decides to do away with the Postal Service, you might be paying that $189.42, instead of 37 cents, to deliver your letter using those “unemployed desk and computer jockies” some refer to.

Dan Lovell

Grass Valley


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