It’s so much fun to receive a letter in the mail from a friend! Most of us get a lot of junk mail too. But, have you given much thought to the history of our mail service? Next time you open your post office box or mailbox, say a big thank you to the brave individuals and horses for the establishment of our mail service as we know it today.
In the year 1860, our country was attempting to establish a speedy method of mail delivery. Along came the Pony Express, also known as the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company. But, we’ll stick to calling it the ‘Pony Express’ because that sounds way more cool. William Russel, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell were the brains behind the idea of the Pony Express. The first Pony Express mail pouch was filled for delivery on April 14, 1860. The first route was from Missouri to California. That was more than 1,800 miles on horseback! These folks endured all kinds of obstacles in their path, including buffalo stampedes, outlaws, and hostile Native Americans. They also encountered rain, sleet, snow, and hail on their long journeys. If they survived, the mail carriers received $100 a month as payment for mail delivery.
Sadly, the Pony Express was only in operation for 18 months. Why such a brief existence? Well, in 1861, the Pony Express was replaced by the invention of the transcontinental telegraph line. What was taking a week by horseback, messages could now be delivered instantly via telegraph!