Destinee Parris

Charles Cliff Weathers the Storm
By Destinee Parris

I, Charles Cliff, was once a part of the grand Pony Express. I had many adventures that required bravery and strength. There was one day in particular that I will never forget. The day was March 4, 1861, and I was just seventeen years old….

There was much commotion at the station. I watched with anticipation as a man quickly wrote out the translation of a telegraph. I was so excited when I found out that the papers he was writing were the inaugural address of President Abraham Lincoln.

The next thing I knew, I put those papers in my mochila, threw it over my saddle, grabbed my slouch hat, hopped on my bey mustang, and rode like the wind. The first portion of my ride from St. Joseph, Missouri to Seneca, Kansas sped by; my horse was racing through the trail as fast as ever. By the time I was on my second mustang it started to rain. The trail was getting muddy. My third horse was even having trouble pulling his feet out of the mud as the rain poured harder and harder.

Leaving the next relay station, I wondered if I could make it to Seneca with this last horse. The mail had to be delivered. But how? Then I remembered that an old creek bed with a floor of rocks ran alongside the last portion of trail, so I didn’t think twice; I directed my fresh buckskin down the side of the creek bed and found myself able to reach my regular speed.

I heard a faint roaring noise in the distance. As I rode on the noise increased. Looking over my shoulder I saw a wall of water from a flash flood chasing after me. I had to get out! I frantically looked around – no means of escape. I began to panic. The water was just about to engulf me when I saw a narrow trail. I urged my horse up and out of the creek bed just as the rushing water screamed beneath us.

President Lincoln’s address made it to the next relay station in good health, but my horse and I caught a pretty bad cold. That night as I wrapped up in a warm blanket, I felt a great peace and pride. I had done my job and done it well.

This story was prepared for Carol Bohl's 8th grade history at Harrisonville Christian School, Harrisonville, Missouri. As part of their study of the Pony Express information from the Pony Express Home Station web site was used. Each student wrote a short story and one boy and one girl was selected to submit a story to have them posted.

Submitted January 2001.