Pony Express: Bringing Mail to the American West

Overview

From three weeks to ten days-that was the promise the backers of the Pony Express made when they told the American people they could dramatically cut down on mail delivery times. Starting in Saint Joseph, Missouri, and traveling to Sacramento, California, the young men of the Pony Express became national heroes as they risked their lives by riding through blizzards, desert heat, and hostile American Indian territory to deliver the mail. Spurred on by the demands of newly arrived settlers and gold miners, the Pony...
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Overview

From three weeks to ten days-that was the promise the backers of the Pony Express made when they told the American people they could dramatically cut down on mail delivery times. Starting in Saint Joseph, Missouri, and traveling to Sacramento, California, the young men of the Pony Express became national heroes as they risked their lives by riding through blizzards, desert heat, and hostile American Indian territory to deliver the mail. Spurred on by the demands of newly arrived settlers and gold miners, the Pony Express quickly grew to employ 80 riders and established 100 relay stations across the West. Less than a year after its start, however, the Pony Express could not compete with the speed of the telegraph and service came to an end. In The Pony Express, author Tim McNeese explores the conception and creation of the Pony Express and the daring riders who helped transform a postal service into an American legend.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Elizabeth D. Schafer
This "Milestones in American History" series title examines a brief mid-19th-century episode that continues to inspire popular culture. The introduction features the exciting debut Pony Express run starting on April 3, 1860, in St. Joseph, Missouri. The narrative plods in early chapters profiling various freight transportation endeavors preceding the Pony Express. The pace picks up speed midway as riders' ordeals provide drama and adventure when they encounter extreme weather, rough terrain, hostile Native Americans, and other challenges on the route between Missouri and California. Quotations from newspapers and such contemporaries as Mark Twain enliven the narrative. The riders' courage, sacrifice, and resilience are emphasized, with gruesome details describing atrocities the less fortunate suffered. By late 1861, the telegraph quickly transmitted messages across the United States and the final Pony Express ride ended on November 20, 1861. Riders had carried approximately 35,000 letters. The author acknowledges that many sources have perpetuated unverified or exaggerated Pony Express lore. Illustrations, sidebars, timeline, notes, bibliography, and a list of Pony Express films supplement the text. This book does not discuss the U.S. National Park Service's Pony Express National Historical Trail (www.nps.gov/poex/) nor does it refer to the National Pony Express Association's annual re-ride monitored by GPS transmitters in mochila mailbags on saddles (http://ponyexpressnationaltracking.com) or sesquicentennial activities planned for 2010. Pair with Holly Hughes, Hoofbeats of Danger (1999). Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604130287
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2009
  • Series: Milestones in American History Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

2 The Early Mail Road West 12

3 Founding Fathers 30

4 Creating the Pony Express 45

5 A Rough Western Road 63

6 "The Lonesomest Kind of Job" 79

7 Pony Riders of Endurance 93

8 The Pony Express at Trail's End 106

Chronology 121

Timeline 122

Notes 124

Bibliography 126

Further Reading 128

Index 131

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