Pony Bob Halsam’s Ride

“The first Pony Express rider going east after the attack upon Williams Station was “Pony Bob” Haslam, who set out for [from?] Friday’s Station on May 9. If he was not aware of the outbreak when he started, he quickly learned about it when he arrived in Carson City. Since the volunteers had taken all the horses to chase the Pah Utes, there was no change for him. Scores of men were frantically at work fortifying Penrod Hotel and everybody was armed. After feeding his own mount he rode on to Buckland’s, 75 miles away. When he arrived he found W. C. Marley, the station keeper, and Johnson Richardson, the rider who was to relieve him, in something of a panic.

Richardson refused to take the mochila on and Marley offered Haslam $50 to continue with it. This he agreed to do not because of the bonus, but because he felt it was his duty to do so. Changing horses he pounded on to Sand Springs where he changed again. Making still another change at Cold Spring he arrived safely at Smith’s Creek, having covered 190 miles without a rest.

Jay G. Kelley took the mochila and raced eastward with the news of the tragedy at William’s Station. He made his regular changes along the way, briefly told his story, and pushed on to Ruby Valley, his home station. From there both mochila and news were rushed eastward. Every rider along the route, knowing the necessity for both reaching Salt Lake City at the earliest possible moment, outdid himself in an effort to make the best possible time.

Eight hours after arriving at Smith’s Creek, Haslam turned back with the west bound mochila, possibly on May 12, the day of the battle at Pyramid Lake. At Cold Spring he found that the station had been burnt, the station keeper killed, and the horses driven off. After watering and feeding his own horse, he rode on. Upon reaching Sand Springs he found only the stock tender there whom he persuaded to accompany him for fear he would be killed if left alone.

At Carson Sink he found fifteen men, probably the most of them survivors of the battle at Pyramid Lake, barricaded in the station. Leaving them to hold the place he rode on to Buckland’s, arriving only three and a half hours late.

Marley was so overjoyed to see him back alive that he doubled the bonus promised him. After resting an hour and a half he sped on to Carson City, which he found a city of mourning for those slain at Pyramid Lake. He reported to Bolivar Roberts, then rode on to Friday’s Station. When he arrived he had covered 380 miles and had been in the saddle thirty-six hours.