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This Day in History: Pony Express “when it absolutely, positively has to be there in about a fortnight”

ST. JOSEPH, MO – The first speedy transcontinental mail service in the United States offered an economy option this day in 1861.

Pony Express — or PonEx, as it was commonly known in the day — launched a poster campaign with the slogan “When it absolutely, positively has to be there in about a fortnight”. Mail customers who could not afford the $5.00 per half ounce standard rate could now send letters slower for a reduced rate.

A recruitment drive accompanied the ad campaign, seeking riders outside the service’s usual “young, skinny, wiry fellows, not over 18”. Older, paunchier riders briefly delivered mail alongside, if a little behind, the regular riders for the journey between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California.

Unfortunately, the advent of the transcontinental telegraph sealed the fate of PonEx within the year.

Muligan Stewart

Muligan Stewart

Mulligan types neatly and is punctual. He graduated summa cum dolus from William Gaines School of Journalism. Do not ever touch his stereo.

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