Friday, August 20, 2010

The Pony Express (PX) Museum, St. Joe, MO.

John was right, we missed the Pony Express museum by a block or two. The reason I thought we were in the Express museum was the fact that the office was in the Patee Hotel, the stables were down the street and that is where the museum is built.

"Wanted: Young, skinny, wirey fellows not over 18. Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. Wages $25 per week."
Riders were recruited hastily, but carefully. They were presented with a Bible and took an oath not to swear, fight or abuse their animals, and to conduct themselves honestly.

The first rider was Johnny Fry. A young lad who made good time, lived life on the edge.(He died within four years in the war).
(This setting depicts the start of Fry's first run. He left the stable, rode up the street to the Patee House to pick up the mail, then to the ferry to cross the Missouri)

I like museums this one is not elaborate but if you are interested in the subject of the museum, things take on a whole new prospective.

To begin with, I learned that what I saw in western moves was wrong. One rider did not ride beside the incoming rider and take saddle bags on the run. A ‘Mochila’ was used, it fit over the saddle and the rider held it in place. Therefore the riders had to dismount.

A Mochila had four pouches, three were pad-locked with keys only at both ends of the entire run. The other was open so mail could be picked up along the way. The four pouches carried five pounds of mail each, max mail weight was 20 lbs.

There were 100 relay stations. Each rider would cover the distance of 8 or 10 of these.

Each of the nine stops to change horses the rider stopped for about two minutes to use the bathroom and get a drink of water, say hello and goodbye to the two men working the relay stations. About every tenth station was where the riders slept between runs. It was a ‘Home station’.
(A couple bunks a table and a fireplace at the relay stations manned by two men, one for the stock and the other for the chores and mail)

Not the most daring, but the most famous rider was Buffalo Bill. These boys were wiry and as small as possible the youngest was 11 and the oldest was in his late 30’s I think. They rode at night and day.

There are many heroic incidences. I will include a couple in tomorrow’s entry.

NIte Shipslog
A class of high-school students was especially talkative one day, and their teacher had had enough.
"All right!" he shouted. "The next person who talks is going to be severely castigated!"
The class immediately went quiet, until one of the students asked, "How are you going to do that to a girl?"


That corgi :) said...

thanks for the welcome back, Jack/Sherry

oh my gosh, I loved reading about the Pony Express riders. (loved that they got a Bible when they started out too, don't see that happening too many times in businesses these days)

what a life they had for "only" $25 a week. I can't imagine taking only 2 minutes to go to the bathroom and get a drink of water and say hi; takes me longer than that to keep up some days, LOL (the joys of aging :)

sounds like you are having a great adventure!!



I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

It is great to read about the Pony Express. What an exciting job that must have been. Delivering all the news from home to loved ones. With all we have today it is hard to imagine. Thanks for the very interesting piece of history today!

Missy said...

Hey that's very interesting... man. $25 a week. Times have changed haven't they? lol

Jimmy's Journal said...

"Severely castigated" LMAO - I wonder how many Pony Express riders would have appreciated Preparation H?

Great post!


Lucy said...

Hey Jack what were you doing up at the crack of dawn??? You make history interesting. I hated it in school and they passed me just to get you out of their grade.

Paula said...

Interesting post. Couldn't have done that if you liked to stay and talk. lol

Anonymous said...

enjoyed the post. you guys have a safe trip we will keep in touch.
John and Doris

Anonymous said...

How very impressive and interesting to read. Has been more than two decades since last I was on a horse. Please have a good weekend and safe road.

Fred Alton said...

Enjoying your stories about the cowboys of the Pony Express. $25 in those days? Mighty good pay for a youngster back then.

Shirl 72 said...

Confuser would not let me comment this afternoon. Glad you got to see the Pony Express
before you left the area. You and Sherry are
adding more memories to the one you have stored.
Be safe in your travels, watch the weather and
stay cool.


Y said...

Thanks for your contributions to my life-long learning.

Lucy said...

Have a safe trip home or wherever you go. All Joe will say about Kansas is it was windy and flat. He was stationed there. We went to the largest hand dug well in the world. Also boot hill. It has been so long ago I can barely remember. That was one of our camp out vacations. We pitched a tent cause we could not afford a room.