Station Keepers

Although the spotlight of admiration and praise often focused upon the Pony Express riders, their success was impossible without the humble, mostly obscure, and forgotten station keepers and stock tenders. These were the unsung heroes without whom no rider could have operated very far or for very long. They formed a standby group, mostly too old or too heavy to withstand the strain on human and horse flesh, but who were always ready to serve as substitute riders in an emergency, and some of whom later did become full-fledged riders.

These were the horseshoers, artisans and mechanics at Home Stations and especially the station and stock tenders at outlying, sometimes desolate relay stations, whose sole job was the preservation of connecting links between Home Stations and the presentation to an incoming rider of a fresh mount, when possible all saddled and bridled and ready to keep the mail moving at top speed, the distinctive badge of the Pony Express. Theirs was a lonely, a dangerous life, far from immediate help against hostile Indians and outlaws.

That the Pony Express mail moved smoothly, swiftly and dependably, was due in no small part to their ingenuity and loyalty, and to their ability to accomplish so much with so little. Courage, endurance, and the ability to live under the most primitive, harsh and, in many cases, very dangerous, conditions were their primary characteristics. The remarkable success of the entire enterprise is evidence that they did their work well.

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Bolivar Robert's Division (Sacramento to Roberts Creek)

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Howard Egan's Divison (Robert's Creek to Salt Lake City)

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James Bromley's Division (Horseshoe to Salt Lake City)

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Joseph A. Slade's Division ( Kearney to Horseshoe)

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A. E. Lewis' Division (St. Joseph to Kearney)

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Sources: Settle and Settle, Saddles and Spurs; The Pony Express in Nevada; Fike and Headley, The Pony Express Stations of Utah in Historical Perspective; Floyd, Phantom Riders of the Pony Express.