Mile 1429: Government Creek/Davis Station/Government Well Station

“There is some doubt as to whether the structures at this location were used by the Pony Express. There is record of the army digging a well here for an outpost, and it was mentioned in an interview with one of the stage drivers in the Salt Lake Tribune. A telegraph station was established here in late 1861 and operated by David E. (Pegleg) Davis. Its location is reflected on the 1875 cadastral plat. The transcontinental telegraph was in operation through this area until 1869 when it was moved north to parallel the new transcontinental railroad.

“Government Creek Station is neither mentioned in the 1861 contract nor in Egan’s book. Until appropriate investigations are complete, questions will remain to plague the researcher. Why is there such a gap between Point Lookout and Simpson Springs when a mountain pass exists and on either side; stations are spaced about eight miles apart? Why build a telegraph station here when a spur line could have been built to O.P. Rockwell’s (Porter Rockwell’s ranch was just a short distance to the south and a similar spur was used at Deep Creek to Egan’s Ranch)? Why was a telegraph station built here when at Point Lookout or Simpson Springs conditions for grounding the single wire were better (more moist the soil the better the ground).

The logic of building a telegraph station at Government Creek bears a closer look. A single wire telegraph would carry as far as 250 miles (with enough batteries) so that booster stations in between were not necessary. Davis Station is about 80 miles from Salt Lake and about 100 miles from Deep Creek. Therefore, technically, placement at this location was not necessary. Also telegraph stations could be spliced in anywhere along the line with the use of a lead wire from the main line to a sounder, two batteries, a key, and a ground wire. Was there any reason for establishing a telegraph station here at all unless the buildings were already present? This suggests, therefore, that the buildings were already there and possibly used by the Express. The foundations of two structures remain evident at the site.”