An Average Day
The night was July 14, 1860, and I was on a delivery for the Pony Express. I am Broncho Charlie Miller, and I was only 11 when I rode for them. I was on a delivery about fifty miles into the Utah Territory and riding on a black mustang with a saddle as hard as cookieís biscuits. It was cold and still a couple of hours till dawn.
The route wasnít very scenic; it was flat and brown. I was told there hadnít been any Indian attacks lately. So that kept me in my saddle.
As I drew closer to the last station, something was wrong. The air was thick with smoke and no bugler welcomed me in. As I approached, I could see nothing but a pile of smoldering boards and a corral as empty as my stomach. It was indeed the work of the Paiute.
I knew if I didnít get a fresh horse, I would be walking with the mochila on my back. Luckily the next station wasnít far from here.
The sun was beginning to come over the horizon when I first sighted the outline of the station. A familiar smell came into range. As I drew closer, I knew what had happened. The barn was in flames and the corral empty. No riders were in sight, but when I turned to look at the feeding court, there was a fresh, saddled horse tied to a fence post. There beside it was an elderly man, cold and dead with an arrow piercing his side.
I jumped off my horse, threw the mochila over the saddle and took off. I didnít know if the horse would last that long. I was a bundle of worries.
The next two hours were miserable. The sun glared its rays on my back. The blisters on my leg were forming new ones. On the brink of passing out, a figure of a town came into view. It was Salt Lake City.
As I trotted in, I was taken off my horse and given an hour until my next ride. It didnít seem worth it, but I knew my family needed the money. And maybe they will pay me extra for my two-hundred mile ride.
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.