Pony Express
Historic Resource Study
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Chapter Four:



Various sources indicate that this site is located within the town of Troy. A monument in the northwest corner of the courthouse lawn notes the existence of the relay station. Some authors list the monument's location as the possible site of the station, but later research links the station with the Smith Hotel. [7] Leonard Smith arrived in Troy in 1858 and purchased the Troy Hotel. Two years later, at the request of the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co., he constructed a barn large enough for five horses. The renamed Smith Hotel served as a relay station and was located at the present northeast corner of First and Myrtle Streets. [8] The July 1936 Pony Express Courier reported that Troy served as the first relay station west of St. Joseph. [9] Others sources also include Troy as a station. [10]

Stories associated with handing pastries to the passing rider Johnny Fry by the Dooley girls probably originated in the Troy area. These pastries were supposedly the first donuts?! [11]


L.C. Bishop and Paul Henderson named and mapped Louis as a station between Troy and Kennekuk. [12] Lewin suggests that Lewis (also spelled Louis) was possibly the same as the Cold Spring Ranch Station. The Lewis Station and Cold Spring Station were located the same distance between Troy and Kennekuk. Lewin identifies the station as part of the Cold Spring Ranch near Syracuse. [13] However, one local history resource placed the station on North Independence Creek. [14] According to Raymond and Mary Settle, a mother and her four children lived at the relay station as cooks and stock tenders. [15] Several other sources give yet another location for this station. "Chain Pump" and "Valley Home/House" may be other names for the site as well. [16]


Merrill Mattes and Paul Henderson, experts on the Pony Express trail in this area, designate Kennekuk as the first home station from St. Joseph. [17] Most other sources agree on the name [18] but not the exact location of this station. Mattes and Henderson place it approximately forty-four miles along the trail. [19] Another source states that the Kennekuk Station stood approximately thirty-nine miles from the beginning of the trail. [20] The stage route from Atchison and the Fort Leavenworth-Fort Kearney military road combined with the trail near Kennekuk and brought much traffic to the settlement in the early 1860s. Tom Perry and his wife ran the relay station and served meals to travelers passing through. [21]

In 1931, the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, a pioneering trail marking group that formed to mark the Oregon and other western trails, placed a Pony Express stone marker in Kennekuk for this station. A granite stone west of the marker and across the road indicates the site of the relay station. [22] The stone memorial marker is one-and-one-half miles southeast of present-day Horton, Kansas. [23] As of 1991, this marker was still in place.


This relay station stood on Delaware Creek (also called Big Grasshopper or Plum Creek) about twelve miles west of Horton, Kansas, and was generally known as Kickapoo or Goteschall. [24] Both the station and the stone Presbyterian mission, a nearby landmark, existed on the Kickapoo Indian Reservation. Noble Rising, a Kansas pioneer and surveyor, maintained the station with W. W. Letson. [25] The relay station and mission are nonextant. [26]


Sources identify Log Chain as a Pony Express relay station and a stop on the overland stage route. [27] Noble H. Rising, the stationkeeper, maintained a twenty four by forty foot log house and seventy foot barn. [28] Log Chain Station stood near Locknane Creek, also called Locklane and Muddy Creek on some maps. The origin of the name "Log Chain" is uncertain. Stories exist about pulling wagons across the creek's sandy bed with log chains, which may be one reason for its name. The station's name may also be a corruption of Locklane, the creek's name. [29]

Over the years, Log Chain Station was altered to an unknown extent, perhaps with clapboard siding, but it still may stand on its original location. A marker of unknown nature has been placed above the front porch, indicating its connection with the Pony Express. [30]

It should be noted that some people have confused nearby Granada as a Pony Express station with the station at Log Chain. [31] Mattes and Henderson favor the station at Log Chain, four miles north of Granada, as the next stop. They believe that other authors' identification of the Granada station is "erroneous." [32]


Sources generally agree about Seneca Station's location and identity as an early Pony Express home station, also known as the the Smith Hotel. [33] John Smith managed station operations at the hotel, located on the corner of present-day Fourth and Main Streets. Smith entered the hotel business in 1858, and his two- story white hotel also served as a restaurant, school, and residence. [34] Additional sources also identify Seneca as an overland stage station. [35]

About 1900, the Smith Hotel was moved from its original site and relocated several blocks west. Thereafter, in 1972, the building was razed because of the lack of preservation funds, [36] but Jim Markley, the stepson of stationkeeper John Smith's grandson, Amos, marked and saved the building's components for future reconstruction. As late as July 1980, Markley still had the building parts. [37] A boulder with an inscription marks the hotel's original location at the corner of Fourth and Main Streets. [38] The status of the razed building is unknown today (1993).


This site is supposedly located on the banks of Vermillion Creek. Ash Point, Laramie Creek, Frogtown, and Hickory Point were names associated with this Pony Express station and stage stop. [39] The tiny settlement of Ash Point began at the junction of the Pony Express route and a branch of the California Road prior to 1860. John O'Laughlin, a storekeeper, managed the station operations. Richard F. Burton, the noted English traveler, passed through Ash Point in November 1860, where the stage stopped for water at "Uncle John's Grocery." The town served as a stage stop in the 1860s and faded away by the end of the 1870s. [40] A stone-covered well, dug by John O'Laughlin, has been located at the station site. [41]

In the 1930s, a marker was placed near the station site. The text on the monument reads: "1858 Pony Express Station Overland Trail—Ash Point 240 Rods E." [42]


Sources generally agree on the identification of Guittard's Station as a Pony Express and stage stop. [43] In late 1860, Burton saw the Pony Express rider arrive at Guittard's Station. Burton described the station as a "clump of board houses on the far side of a shady, well-wooded creek—the Vermillion, a tributary of the Big Blue River, so called from its red sandstone bottom, dotted with granitic [sic] and porphyritic boulders." [44]

The George Guittard (Guttard) family arrived in Kansas in 1857, establishing their ranch on Vermillion Creek as the earliest permanent settlement in that part of Marshall County, Kansas. George's son, Xavier Guittard, managed the station, which alternated as a home or relay base at various times, as well as a stage stop. A large, two-story house provided living quarters and a waiting room for stage passengers, and the roomy barn accommodated a blacksmith shop and stalls for some twenty-four horses. [45] In 1910, the house was dismantled, and the lumber went into a new dwelling on the same site, thereby destroying the site. Nevertheless, a door from the original house exists in a second-story room. A stone marker, with a bronze plaque from the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, was placed near the site in June 1931. [46] The text on the marker can still be read. It states: "1860-61 Guittard Station—East 80 Rods Oregon Trail. [47]


After crossing some prairie country, the next stop was Marysville, which also was known as Palmetto City. According to the Englishman Richard Burton, it was a town that thrived "by selling whiskey to ruffians of all descriptions." [48] Sources generally concur on its identity as a station, but disagree on its status as a home or relay station. [49] In 1859, Joseph H. Cottrell and Hank Williams contracted with Russell, Majors, and Waddell to build and lease a livery stable as a home station. Riders stayed at the nearby American Hotel, which was north of the livery stable. The north end of the stone stable served as a blacksmith shop, and stalls were located on the other side. [50]

After serving as a livery stable, the building later housed a garage, produce station, and a cold storage locker plant. In 1876, a hip style roof was added to the building after a fire destroyed the original board roof. On April 2, 1973, the stable joined the National Register of Historic Places. As late as 1991, it operated as a museum. [51] It should also be noted, that in 1931, a marker was erected at the Marshall County Courthouse that identified Marysville as a home station of the Pony Express. [52]


Sources generally agree on its location and identity as a relay station and a stage station. [53] The station, constructed as a ranch house in 1857, was known as both Hollenberg and Cottonwood because Gerat Hollenberg managed the station operations near Cottonwood Creek. The station served as the last Pony Express stop in Kansas. Hollenberg's station also supplied emigrants with food, clothing, livestock, and a place to rest themselves and their horses. The relay station is possibly the only unaltered Pony Express building on an original site. [54] It also served as a stagecoach stop on the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co. stage line. [55]

In 1941, the Kansas State Legislature purchased the station and the surrounding acreage to preserve the site. [56] The Kansas State Historical Society manages the site today, and it is listed as a National Historic Landmark. [57]


Some historical sources have determined that St. Joseph, Missouri, may not have served as the eastern terminus of the Pony Express throughout its operating period from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861. One such source, suggests that as early as January of 1860, the Pony Express may have changed its starting point from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Atchison, Kansas. Pony riders leaving from Atchison intersected with the old Pony Express route at Kennekuk. [58] However, it is more likely that Atchison served as the eastern terminus for the Pony Express after the 1861 Overland Mail Company contract was signed in March 1861. This contract stated that the eastern terminus could be either St. Joseph, Missouri, or Atchison, Kansas. Therefore, Atchison could have served as the terminus during the latter months of the Pony Express' existence. [59] Frank A. Root, who lived in Atchison in 1861 and was employed as assistant postmaster there, remembered that in the last six or seven weeks of the Pony Express, most, if not all of the Pony Express mail passed through the Atchison post office via the overland stage to and from Ft. Kearney. [60]


If Atchison was used as the eastern terminus, Lancaster, located before Kennekuk, served as the first station east of Atchison. This relay station was located ten miles from Atchison, and eleven miles from the starting point of the original east-west Pony Express route. [61] Lancaster was also known as a stage stop on the Holladay stage line. [62]

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Last Updated: 17-Jan-2008