the pony express time line

January 24, 1848:

Gold is discovered in California at Sutter’s Mill by James W. Marshall. While people on the west coast were clamoring to get rich, poor communication to the east would delay the so called “49ers” gold rush from that part of the country for 16 months. The U.S. government did not even confirm the existence of the find until December, 1848. Over the next several years, especially in 1849, 300,000 people would come to California seeking their fortune panning for gold or supplying certain means to miners.

September 9,1850

in california the union became a free non slavery state. out of all the states that had the law of non slavery states cailfornia was the 31st states the have that law."pressure mounts from citizens,businesses,and miners alike for its elected U.S.government representatives to get faster communication between the East and the West."


william russell and william waddell from waddell and russell delivered military supplies for the u.s. and the for the government to the territories from leavenworth, kansas.


Benjamin Ficklin, an employee for the firm, travels with California senior Senator William Gwin while heading east. Ficklin suggests the use of fast horses, riders and relay stations to deliver mail in less time to California.

January 1, 1855:

Alexander Majors joins the firm as a partner. The firm is renamed Russell, Majors and Waddell. The firm would soon monopolize western freighting and start a mail-passenger service to both Colorado and Utah by stagecoach. The Mormon War in 1857 would almost bankrupt the firm due to losses from stolen or destroyed equipment and supplies.

July 1859:

Gold is discovered at Pikes Peak. Russell starts up a stagecoach passenger service to Denver. But, the service is too costly for most people heading to the the Rockies in search of gold.

December 1859:

 While in Washington D.C., Senator Gwin proposes to Russell a demonstration of a fast-mail delivery by a pony express along the central overland route. Wanting a mail contract from the government, Russell embraces the idea and convinces his partners to go along with the venture.

January-March, 1860:

The firm sets out to establish the Pony Express mail service under the name of the Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company. On March 2nd, St. Joseph, Missouri was chosen as the eastern terminus while everyone already knew Sacramento would be the western terminus. St. Joseph was the perfect choice since it was connected to the east by railroads and the telegraph. The firm set up the route that would travel from Missouri, through Kansas, and now known as Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California. Benjamin Ficklin was hired as superintendent of the route. Ficklin set up the route into five divisions and hired superintendents to run each division. Stationkeepers, stocktenders and riders were hired along the route. Over 400 horses are purchased and relay stations are built and staffed 10-15 miles apart. At relay stations, riders would change horses. Home stations were 90-120 miles apart where riders would change and rest. In March it had been announced the rider would leave St. Joseph and Sacramento on April 3rd and deliver the mail in a record ten days