Pony Express

Living in the American West, I’ve always been fascinated with the history and terminology that makes it what it is. As you can tell by some of my previous posts, I also see how I can apply those things with my walk with Jesus and to share with you, my friends. Here is one such story.

The Pony Express was a mail service that delivered messages, newspapers, and mail using horse-mounted riders between April 3, 1860 to October 1861. It became the most direct means of communication before the transcontinental telegraph was established on October 24, 1861. The three men who joined together and founded the Pony Express were William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell.

By utilizing short routes and using mounted riders rather than stagecoaches, they proposed to establish a fast mail service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, approximately 1900 miles, with letters being delivered in 10 days. The initial price was set at $5 per ½ ounce. In the brief history of the Pony Express approximately 35,000 letters were delivered. Only once the mail did not make it through when mail service was suspended due to the outbreak of the Paiute Indian War in May of 1860. The lost mail pouch was eventually delivered almost two years later.

A famous advertisement to recruit riders allegedly read: “Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.” In 1860 they had 120 riders, 190 stations, 400 horses, and several hundred support personnel. The 190 stations were about 10 miles apart. At each station stop the express rider would change to a fresh horse, taking only the small mail pouch with him. The employers stressed the importance of the pouch. They often said, that if it came to be, the horse and rider should perish before the pouch got taken.

Mr. Majors was a religious man and resolved “by the help of God” to overcome difficulties. He gave each rider a special edition of the Pony Express Bible and required the following oath, which they were also required to sign.

I, …, do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while I am an employee of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful in my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God.

The 190 stations were often made from existing structures. They were located 5 to 25 miles apart as the terrain would allow. At the “swing” stations, the riders would exchange their tired horses for fresh ones, while at the “home stations” they were provided room and board between runs. Each rider rode about 75 miles per day. Normal travel by horse would be 20 miles in a day. During each route, a Pony Express rider would change horses 8 to 10 times.

I am in awe of those riders and what they accomplished! Delivering mail in 10 days! Now with our “advanced and modern” way of doing things, I’ve had a piece of mail take 10 days to get to Chicago from my home in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Here’s how it works now. If I mail a bill payment to a business in my town, I must go to the window at post office and hand it to the clerk to hand stamp. Because if I don’t, and I just stick it in the mailbox, my local piece of mail will go on a truck, be driven over 5 mountain passes, over 200 miles to be processed in Denver. Then it gets put back on a truck and returns via the same route, get delivered to the same post office it started from, to get sorted and delivered by the mail carrier. Getting a message delivered was more direct 160 years ago!

Which brings me to the heart of the matter for our hearts. The three men who founded the Pony Express wanted a fast way to deliver messages. They trusted God with help to overcome difficulties. They wanted to expedite a direct means of communication. I believe that still holds true for us today. We must relay the message of Jesus directly. The word that fits best here as used in the New Testament, is stimulate. Which means to incite and stir up. I want to be a messenger that stimulates and stirs up people so they come to the awe inspiring, saving power and love of Jesus. I want them to get so excited by my message, that they want to jump on a pony, riding hard and fast for 75 miles a day to deliver the same message they just heard!

1 Corinthians 1:18  The Passion Translation (TPT)

18  To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us.


  1. 1 Corinthians 1:181 Corinthians 1:181 Corinthians 1:181 Corinthians 1:18  Or “expression [Gr.  1 Corinthians 1:18  Or “expression [Gr.  logos1 Corinthians 1:18  Or “expression [Gr.  logos]” or “the act of proclaiming.”

1 Corinthians 1:181 Corinthians 1:181 Corinthians 1:18

2 Corinthians 5:20  The Passion Translation (TPT)

20  We are ambassadors of the Anointed One who carry the message of Christ to the world, as though God were tenderly pleading with them directly through our lips. So we tenderly plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Turn back to God and be reconciled to him.”


  1. 2 Corinthians 5:202 Corinthians 5:202 Corinthians 5:20

2 Corinthians 5:202 Corinthians 5:202 Corinthians 5:20

Romans 10:14-15  The Passion Translation (TPT)

14  But how can people call on him for help if they’ve not yet believed? And how can they believe in one they’ve not yet heard of? And how can they hear the message of life if there is no one there to proclaim it?  15  And how can the message be proclaimed if messengers have yet to be sent? That’s why the Scriptures say:

How welcome is the arrival of those proclaiming the joyful news of peace and of good things to come!


  1. Romans 10:15Romans 10:15Romans 10:1552:7Romans 10:15  Or “how beautiful the feet.” The Greek word implies their arrival comes at just the right time. See Isa.  52:7Romans 10:15  Or “how beautiful the feet.” The Greek word implies their arrival comes at just the right time. See Isa.  1:15Romans 10:15  Or “how beautiful the feet.” The Greek word implies their arrival comes at just the right time. See Isa.  ; Nah.  1:15Romans 10:15  Or “how beautiful the feet.” The Greek word implies their arrival comes at just the right time. See Isa.  ; Nah. 

I’m here to tell you that while I am not even in the same zip code of being young, skinny, or wiry, I am a fair rider and am willing to risk death daily because delivering the message of Jesus is too important. Just look at what’s going on with our planet and the people on it.

I’ve given this a lot of thought and pray for strength if and when the time comes: that I am able to stand firm on my belief in Jesus and will not turn from Him, even if my life depends on it. Because my eternal life is more important that this earthly one. “Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.” (Dr. Charles Stanley’s Life Principle #2) What He has done for me and continues to do for me every day is too precious for me to turn away from. I do not want Him to tell me that He never knew me and to get away from Him. (See Matt. 10:33)

So won’t you join me in directly getting out the message? If you do, there might be a Pony Express badge in it for you! I’m just saying!

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