Series: People of the Pony Express

Learn more about significant figures of the Pony Express National Historic Trail.

  • Pony Express National Historic Trail

    Article 1: Henry Avis, the Pony Express

    A Pony Express Home Station located in western Nebraska aslo served as an Overland Stage Station.

    Henry Avis got his start with “the horses” at an early age. His horsemanship, youthful vigor, and endurance (as well as his small stature) made Avis an ideal rider for the newly-minted Pony Express when it started running weekly mails service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, in April 1860. Read more

  • Pony Express National Historic Trail

    Article 2: Jules Beni, the Pony Express

    An illustration of a man on horseback.

    Jules Beni was hired to be the stationmaster at Upper Crossing, and it was already known as Julesburg—a nod to Beni’s influence. The small trading post had grown to include a stagecoach station, a stable, a store, and a blacksmith’s shop. Beni quickly developed a reputation for corruption. Read more

  • Pony Express National Historic Trail

    Article 3: Melville “Mel” Baughn, the Pony Express

    In some ways, the historical record shows Melville Baughn to be the prototypical Pony Express rider: fearless, energetic, and resolute. In other ways, however, his story challenges this narrative. Read more

  • Pony Express National Historic Trail

    Article 4: Johnson William Richardson, the Pony Express

    Historic image of four men sitting for a portrait in 1860s western American clothing.

    Historians and enthusiasts of the Pony Express have argued about the identity of the first rider ever since his departure from St. Joseph. A variety of sources tell the story of the first ride in rich detail, but without documentation to support their claims. Many historians, however, agree that Johnson William Richardson, also known as “Billy Richardson,” was the rider that rode to the Patee House, picked up the waiting mochila, and began the first Pony Express run. Read more