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Pony Express- St. Joseph, Missouri


Pony Express- St. Joseph, Missouri
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.91

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    adventurous, deserts, telegraph, year, rough, mostly, journey, rider, around, fresh, minutes, often, lived, orphan, unnecessary, willing
     content words:    Pony Express, Native Americans


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Pony Express- St. Joseph, Missouri
By Jill Hudson
  

1     Around the year 1860, if you wanted to send a letter to someone in California, it would take about three or four months to arrive. So the Pony Express was created as a faster way to deliver the mail. Riders for the Pony Express carried the mail by horse across the country from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in ten days or less! How did they do it? Well, the riders stopped about every 15 miles for a fresh horse, and about every 50 miles they would pass the mail bag to another rider. It was kind of like a relay race! Also, pony riders would travel through rain or blizzards and over any type of land, like mountains and deserts.
 
2     Does this sound like it would be a job for you? Let's see if you meet the qualifications. First, you had to be an expert rider willing to travel over a very long distance. The company of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, which began the Pony Express, was also looking for riders who were adventurous and young, mostly under the age of 18. In addition, you had to be very brave. Along with traveling through bad weather and rough land, riders would often have to worry about attacks from Native Americans in the area. If you were an orphan, it was even better. Then you wouldn't have grieving family members at home if you never made it back from your long journey.
 
3     This system of delivering mail didn't last very long, only 19 months. When people began using the telegraph system, messages could be sent across the country in just a few minutes. This made the Pony Express system unnecessary. Although short lived, the Pony Express, which began in the state of Missouri, was an exciting way to deliver the mail during the 1800s.

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