This Week's Story

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Through enemy attacks, blizzards, and mud young men on horseback delivered the U.S. mail for eighteen months.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Mail in Ten Days—Impossible! part one

“Mr. Russell, you’re dangerous! You risk thousands of dollars and schedule the probable death of young men. Your project is trapped in arguments between the North and South over slavery. And, your plan for getting U.S. mail rapidly across the U.S.—impossible!

“By next year, 1861, the United States will probably be ripped apart by war. Even if, by some miracle, war waits; your Pony Express cannot accomplish what you are promising. You claim that horseback riders can race across the West carrying U.S. mail on swift horses. They will travel 1,966 miles in ten days. Impossible!

“Where will you find riders with the tremendous skill and tenacity to go over the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevadas in the winter and avoid the Sioux and Paiute Indians as the riders cross Indian homelands?”

“Senator, I know the route and my partners and I operate a successful overland freight company in the West. We know horses and men.”

“Mr. Russell, I need more information. How can I convince senators to vote to pay $500.00 for every round trip your riders make biweekly to and from St. Joseph, Missouri and San Francisco, California?

“I agree our mail service in the West is slow, very slow. I know it takes about a month for a stagecoach to cross the West when the weather permits. However, your time schedule is unrealistic.

“How dare you ask young men to take United States mail through snow blizzards in the Sierra Nevadas and Rocky Mountains or heavy rain along the route? Many mountains jut into the sky over 14,000 feet. Your riders’ horses will wear out when rain turns the ground into slushy mud. Riders will drive their horses hard to maintain their speeds and schedules. I suggest you try running in deep mud. In the mountains horses will stumble, break legs, and receive a bullet to end their misery. Relay stations in some Indian lands are sure to be burned and support staff killed.”

“Senator, you have not experienced the West. You have been listening to possible problems for the Pony Express. Remember you are an outsider. In the West people learn survival skills unknown to Easterners. In the West young men often work outside. They understand horses. Men know the deserts, mountains, and plains. People develop stamina, skill, and courage, or hobble along.

“We will hire about 80 Pony Express Riders. Each man will weigh about 120 pounds. We’ll get fast tough horses, mustangs. Each rider will commit to taking the mail a set distance and time. It is a trip for men determined to get the mail through to its destination.

“Russell, wait until the telegraph goes through.”

This is Barbara Steiner. I anticipate sharing exploits of the Pony Express Riders. Their bravery and the dangers they survived are astonishing!

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