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.