Pony Express Hoax

According to legend, the Pony Express mail service (which operated from 1860 to 1861) advertised for riders as follows:

"Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred."

But historian Joseph Nardone has determined that the ad is a hoax. It never ran. Or rather, it never ran during the operation of the Pony Express. He scoured hundreds of papers, but couldn't find it listed anywhere. The first time he found it mentioned was in 1902. A real ad for the Pony Express, from 1860, read as follows:

"Men Wanted! The undersigned wishes to hire ten or a dozen men, familiar with the management of horses, as hostlers or riders on the Overland Express Route via Salt Lake City. Wages, $50 per month and found (room and board)."


Posted on Wed Mar 23, 2005


Are you trying to tell us that someone actually LIED about what happened in the past?

I'm in utter shock.

I seem to remember reading the hoax ad sometime, somewhere, when I least expected it...

Oh, sorry, I was channeling Allen Funt for a moment.

But I have heard it before... maybe on one of the many trips to the US when I was a kid...

Not surprised at all that he couldn't find any basis in fact. Maybe it was true, but if the ad was ever printed it's long gone, thereby putting it on the "myth" list, I would have to say.
Only because it's POSSIBLE will people still believe it.
Posted by Rod  on  Wed Mar 23, 2005  at  09:27 PM
Hey, they left out "Must be willing to get robbed, endure gunshots, and die".
Posted by X  on  Thu Mar 24, 2005  at  07:42 AM
"...And possibly the recieve occasional visit from the evil 'Pink Bart'."

I hear it got lonely out there, with only the horses around...
Posted by Rod  on  Thu Mar 24, 2005  at  08:08 AM
I can't imagine an ad that honest ever existing, unless it was published by a buisness about to go bankrupt. It's always better not to tell people what they're getting into, since they usually don't want to know anyways.
Posted by Citizen Premier  on  Thu Mar 24, 2005  at  03:16 PM
"Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred." Damn that Micheal Jackson
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Thu Mar 24, 2005  at  09:16 PM
You mean even the USPS themselves have fallen for this hoax?

From: http://www.usps.com/history/history/his2.htm

In March 1860, William H. Russell, an American transportation pioneer, advertised in newspapers as follows: "Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over 18. Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred."
Posted by Karl  on  Fri Jul 20, 2007  at  01:00 AM
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