Chorpenning’s Pony Express

George Chorpenning, antedating the Pony Express by a little less than two years, established a one-time run along his new route south of the Humboldt River. When surveying the road in the fall of 1858, the idea of rapidly spanning the continent with President Buchanan’s second annual message appealed to his fancy. Undoubtedly, it would be considered a gracious gesture for the mail contractor who, in July, had pocketed the largest contract ever awarded over the Salt Lake City-Placerville route. Of course, there would also be favorable political attention attracted to the Central Route.

Accordingly, he approached Hockaday on the plan, and between them they pooled $8,000 to defray expenses. Supposedly, he also contacted a special agent of the President, appointed to distribute copies of the speech to competing forms of transportation prior to general release of it to the newspapers. With these tentative arrangements concluded, fresh horses were posted about 18 miles apart all along the route, and everything put in a state of readiness.