The Bible

The Bible Early in his freighting business, Alexander Majors adopted the unheard of practice of observing the Sabbath as a day of rest, and presented each of them with a small Bible. Later when establishing the Pony Express, Majors insisted that his hiring practices continue. Each employee was required to take an Oath and each rider was presented with his own copy of a Bible using up a stock of specially bound copies Majors had ordered for his company's wagon-train crews. Each Bible was imprinted in gold letters: "Presented by Russell, Majors & Waddell - 1858".

It might be added that not all, nor any considerable number of the Pony Express men could be considered saintly, not that they all took their pledge too seriously. Judged by present-day standards, most were rough and unconventional; some of them were quite bad. However, one thing can be said of them all, that in loyalty and blind devotion to duty, no group of employees could be surpassed.

Sir Richard Burton who, in 1860, journeyed the full length of the Pony Express trail and stopped at most of the stations made the following observations:

"His (Majors) meritorious efforts to reform the morals of the land have not yet put forth even the bud of promise. He forbad his drivers and employees to drink, gamble, curse, and travel on Sundays; he desired them to peruse Bibles, distributed to them gratis; and though he refrained from a lengthy proclamation commanding his lieges to be good boys and girls he did not the less expect it of them. Results: I scarcely ever saw a sober driver; as for profanity-the western equivalent for hard swearing they would make the blush of shame crimson the cheek of the old Isis bargee; and, rare exceptions to the rule of the United States, they are not to be deterred from evil talking even by the dread presence of a lady."

Waddell F. Smith in his book The Story of the Pony Express lists the known (1960) location of twelve copies of these Bibles:

*The Pony Express History and Art Gallery is no longer in operation. One of the Bibles from that collection is now on display at the Lexington Historical Museum, Lexington, Missouri.

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