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In Old Sacramento, on a field trip, I heard many unique stories. They were all interesting. Some were about successes of Sacramento, but most were about the failures and improvements that needed to be made. Transportation and communication needed improvement. Fires and floods caused regular problems. Disease had also struck Sacramento. There were many problems that needed to be solved and quickly for they were providing danger. All the problems were interesting, but the issue of communication interested me the most.
They needed to know how to get news to Sacramento in less than 20-25 days, the speed a stagecoach could deliver mail, so that Sacramento was aware of everything going on in the country. Established for this purpose was the Pony Express. A rider with a horse and mail would ride for about ten miles when a stop came. At the stop the rider would get on another horse and continue his journey on a different horse. This would give the previous horse a chance to rest before traveling again. It only took about two minutes for a rider to get off one horse and on to another. Every seventy miles there would be a home stop where the rider would be able to eat and sleep after a tiring journey. Then the rider would continue his journey. This system went all the way from St. Joseph to Sacramento. It took about ten days for mail to be delivered.
There were specifications that the Pony Express set for those wishing to ride the horses to deliver mail. One had to be an orphan under the age of eighteen, or at least it was preferred. This was because the Pony Express did not want parents to grieve the death of their child if they had been killed delivering mail. People may have been killed or severely injured carrying mail, as there were unfriendly Native Americans on the route.
Pony Bob Haslam was traveling at a tremendous speed giving California the news of Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address so that California could decide whether they wanted to stay with the North in the Civil War. Some Native Americans on his route were unhappy that someone unknown to them was in their territory. He was struck with an arrow in his jaw. His jaw broke, but Pony Bob was determined to get the message, vital to California, across. He kept going with Native Americans still shooting at him. One arrow hit his shoulder and stuck. Pony Bob continued with a bleeding shoulder and a broken jaw. When he reached his next station he got a rag to hold up to his jaw, and someone dug the arrow out of his shoulder. Now he was ready to go, and he did not delay the start of the next leg of his journey. The message was delivered in seven days. This was the fastest Pony Express journey ever. California heard the inaugural address and decided that hey would definitely fight for the north.
The Pony Express was losing money. It cost 10 dollars per ounce of mail that one wished to be delivered, an expensive amount, but the Pony Express were still not profiting. The Pony Express was helpful yet had a few flaws. First of all, the Pony Express didn’t help with transportation. No people could travel using the Pony Express. It took ten days, which was fast, but not the fastest it could be to communicate cross-country. Finally the telegraph was invented. It could get news across the country in a flash. It took a matter of minutes. The Pony Express was a big improvement in communication, but this was bigger. This was huge. One single day after the telegraph was in business, the Pony Express was out of business. The Pony Express, after all their achievements, was over. The telegraph also did not solve the problem of transportation. That was why Theodore Judah, Crazy Judah, decided that the Transcontinental Railroad was going to be built. It would solve the problems of communication and transportation.
There were many stories told in Old Sacramento, but somehow the issues of communication and transportation intrigued me the most. There is so much to tell about how California was connected to the United States. The field trip we went on was great, and I heard many stories. It was an unforgettable day in Old Sacramento.
Article posted May 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM •
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You wrote a lot more than I did, and it is loaded with intriguing information. Great job!!!!!!
Comment Posted on May 27, 2012 at 07:37 PM by
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I am a twin of a very awesome and magnificent person (not that I'm bragging). I play tennis and have been playing the violin for about 4 1/2 years. I have an extremely intelligent brother who is in 7th grade. I have no pets. I have great parents. I love to read.