A Brief Chapter
By the mid-1800s, the population of California had exploded. Residents were eager to correspond with connections back east, but communication required incredible patience; mail delivery took a month by boat or overland stage. By the late 1850s, a trio of enterprising freighting firm owners supported the idea of an express overland mail route delivered by horseback relay: the Pony Express. On April 3, 1860, the first rider left St. Joseph, Mo. Ten days and 1,900 miles later, the mail reached its final destination, San Francisco. Eventually, the Pony Express required more than 150 stations, 120 riders, and 400 horses. Despite the dangers of the trail, there are only two accounts of lost mail. Just 19 months after its start, the Pony Express discontinued after the Overland Telegraph Company completed its construction of the telegraph line.
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