Mormon Mail and YX Express

“Another significant prelude to hostilities concerned the carrying of the mails between Utah and the States, a vital matter to a people situated far from the frontier.  . . . The Mormons had been displeased with the operation of the [lowest bidder] system, for the mails had often arrived late or had even been lost during the journey. Efficiency had not improved after 1854, when W. M F. Magraw received the new four-year contract, and so unsatisfactory was his work that the Government after two years cancelled his contract.

This event gave the Mormons a chance to remedy the situation: if they could obtain the new contract, they might assure them selves of better service. . . . Hiram Kimball submitted a bid, ostensibly on behalf of himself alone; but when the Church learned that Kimball’s estimate . . . had won governmental approval, it proceeded enthusiastically to support the new project. . . .

Brigham Young’s ambitions, however, had by now outgrown such a modest venture. He dreamed instead of a great, Church-controlled company carrying not only the mail but all goods between Utah and the States. . . .[H]e took over Kimball’s contract and soon had created the ‘Brigham Young Express and Carrying Company’ to accomplish his purposes.

With some of the expenses defrayed by Church funds and the rest borne by private subscription, the great undertaking began. . . .Then, before the ‘Y. X. Carrying Company,’ as it was called, could start its operations, Hiram Kimball received a letter from the second assistant Postmaster in Washington, dated June 10, 1857, anouncing the cancellation of his contract. The great transportation scheme had crashed to the ground.