On October 24, 1861, the first transcontinental telegraph system was completed by Western Union, making it possible to transmit messages rapidly (by mid-nineteenth-century standards) from coast to coast. This technological advance, pioneered by inventor Samuel F.B. Morse. heralded the end of the Pony Express. Only two days later, on October 26, the horseback mail service that had previously provided the fastest means of communication between the eastern and western United States officially closed. The short-lived Pony Express had been established only one and one half years earlier, in April 1860. Initially a private enterprise under the Central Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Company, it operated at its fullest extent from terminuses at St. Joseph, Missouri to San Francisco, California, using continuous relay of the best riders and horses. The nearly 2,000-mile route-running through present-day Kansas, Nebraska, the northeast corner of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California, included vast stretches of rugged terrain once thought impassable in winter. For their dangerous and grueling work riders received between $100 and $125 per month. A few riders with unusually treacherous routes were paid $150 more than twice the salary of the average station worker. Some 200 horsemen rode for the Pony Express. Most were in their late teens and early twenties and small In stature. Famous riders included William “Buffalo Bill Cody” and Robert “Pony Bob” Haslam.
From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution