Pony Express Using Chorpenning’s Stations

“Russell, Majors and Waddell’s pony express company became the immediate beneficiary of Chorpenning’s demise. On the same day that Chorpenning’ s service was terminated, William Russell signed a contract with the post office on behalf of Russell & Jones Company, a subsidiary of Russell, Majors and Waddell. Russell agreed to provide the same semi-monthly service at $30,000 per year-$47,000 less than Chorpenning. The new contractor immediately seized the stations, stock, and equipment along Chorpenning’s mail line. From May of 1860 until the termination of the Pony Express in October of 1861, both Russell & Jones and the U.S. mail utilized the stations and route established by the Chorpenning mail between Placerville and Salt Lake City. Subsequently, the Union Telegraph and the Overland Stage Company also adopted the trail blazed by the Chorpenning mail carriers.

“Roy S. Bloss, Pony Express: The Great Gamble (Berkeley, California: Howell-North, 1959), 28, suggests when the Pony Express established its route in February and March of 1860, it ‘borrowed or appropriated’ many of Chorpenning’s stations. In a letter of April 16, 1861 to the Salt Lake City Deseret News, W. H. Shearman of Ruby Valley clearly stated that the Pony Express simply helped itself to Chorpenning’s assets. Shearman’s persuasive and pungent letter is quoted in Journal History, April 16, 1861, LDS Library-Archives.”