1923 Pony Express Celebration

Old St. Joe never needed much reason to recall its history, real or imagined, and in 1923, the town celebrated its legacy with a grand historical pageant. The year was of no special significance. Naturally, a bit of research was deemed appropriate for this occasion, and so another odd chronicler joined the ranks of those who wrote about the Pony Express.

“After sixty-three years the Pony Express will ride again!” trilled Louise Platt Hauck in the July 1923 issue of the Missouri Historical Review. Mrs. Hauck was a Missouri author and one of a standing army of Pony Express “authorities” who contributed to a century and a half of confusion and error. . . .

Mrs. Hauck’s account in the Missouri Historical Review was contradictory and confusing, too. She got the number of riders hired by the Pony Express wrong and the number of horses, too. She gave William Hepburn Russell’s first name as Henry. She insisted that Johnson Richardson was the first rider out of St. Joe despite the Pony Express committee’s finding. She made a point of noting that the reriders would be dressed in authentic garb, but no reliable account of the fast mail indicates that the riders had a standard uniform. In the historic reenactment, the riders looked like extras out of the musical Oklahoma!