J. W. Richardson

J. W. Richardson Born: 1851 in Virginia

Died: 1947 in St. Joseph, Missouri

J. W. Richardson was one of the first riders hired by Lewis for his Division. He was a native of Virginia and had apparently been to sea, but whether on a merchant ship or in the United States Navy is not known.

Early documentary evidence bearing upon the question of the identity of the first rider to carry the mail out of St. Joseph favored Richardson. However, Johnny Fry was later awarded that unique distinction.

He died in St. Joseph in 1947 at age 96. He would have been 9 or 10 years old in 1860. His obituary states:

"'A writer billed me as the first Pony Express rider but that's not so' explained Billy to his friends. 'Johnny Fry was the first rider. It just happened that my brother, Paul Coburn, was the manager for the Pony Express here and he accidentally threw the mail pouch on my pony instead of Frye's. We set off down the street with the ponies hooves clattering and my pony carrying mail. Down at the ferry, however, the mail was transferred to Frye's mount. He was the one who deserved the credit.'"

There is also some question as to who was the real Billy Richardson. Follow this link for more details.