Pony Express Riders

Approximately 80 young riders were in use at any one time. In addition, some 400 other employees included station keepers, stock tenders and route superintendents. Riders were paid $100 to $125 per month.

Dozens of applicants vied for jobs, eager to accept the death defying rigors they would soon experience. Mark Twain, who saw the Pony Express in action first hand, described the riders as: "... usually a little bit of a man". Though small in stature, their untarnished record proved them to possess the hearts of lions. History would record that they were among the most durable horsemen to ever straddle a saddle.

One of the most frequently asked questions is "Why isn't my great-great-great relative found on the list of Pony Express riders?" To date, none of the Central Overland and California Pony Express company records containing an authentic list dating back to the days when it was in operation have ever been found. There also have been a number of "pony express type" operations throughout the 18th and 19th centuries (and even to the present). He may have ridden for one of these.

The following list of riders has been compiled by the staff of the St. Joseph Museum from various sources, including accounts from people who knew riders, relatives of riders and newspapers.

Additional names marked with an asterisk (*) are from lists found in Saddles and Spurs by Settle and Settle.

Over the past 20 years Patrick Hearty, Utah Division - NPEA, has compiled a list of riders based on all of the lists that he has been able to obtain. A number of riders found on his list, and not on either Settle and Settle's list nor the St. Joseph Museum list, have been added below and marked (H). His list, complete with citations, may be found here.

Julius Loeb in his article "The Pony Express", The American Philatelist, November 1930, includes a number of Riders' names not found elsewhere. These names have been added below and marked with (TAP). Not all of these names are considered to be correct, but are nevertheless included to keep this list as complete as possible.

Recent research of the 1860 Census data for Ruby Valley has revealed a number of Pony Express riders that until now had not been identified. These names have been added to this list and marked with (RV).

From time to time names of riders are submitted who are claimed by their descendent to have been a Pony Express rider. While the names have not been verified to have been in fact a rider for the Overland Pony Express of 1860-61, they are included and marked with (NV). If anyone has additional information on any of these riders please contact Tom Crews.

Since the creation of the Pony Express Home Station web site, a number of new names of riders has been verified and added to the list: