Bancroft on the Pony Express and California

News was received every ten days by pony. That coming by the Butterfield route was double the time ; what came by steamship was from three to four weeks old when it arrived. In the spring of 1861 the Apaches on the southern route attacked and delayed the mails. It was the pony to which every one looked for intelligence; men prayed for the safety of the little beast, and trembled lest the service should he discontinued. Telegraphic dispatches from New York were sent to St. Louis, and thence to Fort Kearny, whence the pony brought them to Sacramento, where they were telegraphed to San Francisco. Great was the relief of the people when Hale’s bill for a daily mail was passed, and the service changed from the southern to the central route, as it was early, in the summer. News by the daily mail was eighteen days old at the shortest, but it was regular and consecutive at short intervals, which was far more satisfactory than the former arrangement. After all it was to the flying pony that all eyes and hearts were turned; and to the praise of the St Joseph company be it recorded that they kept up the service, at a loss, until the the telegraph was completed across the continent in October, 1861. Their first object was to exemplify the practicability of a mail, or railroad line, on or about the 41st parallel. After that was demonstrated, they had no further interest in the pony express, except through patriotism.