Pony Express
Historic Resource Study
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Chapter Seven:



Several notable sources list Prairie Gate or Eight Mile Station as a Pony Express station, even though it was not listed on the 1861 mail contract station, and its exact location remains unknown. [66] The station possibly existed on the present-day Goshute Indian Reservation, [67] and/or it may have been at Eight-Mile Springs, so-called because of its distance to Deep Creek. [68] It is thought that this station was probably erected after July of 1861 and was part of the Pony Express route for approximately three months. [69]


The Antelope Springs Station, which was listed on the 1861 mail contract, has been identified by several sources as a Pony Express stop. [70] In 1859, George Chorpenning constructed this station, that later served the Pony Express. On June 1, 1860, Indians reportedly attacked the station and burned the structures. [71] When English traveler Richard Burton visited the site in late 1860, he found a corral, but no new station house. Burton also noted that the station burned the previous June. [72] According to Burton, "the corral still stood; we found wood in plenty, water was lying in an adjoining bottom, and we used the two to brew our tea." [73] A new station went up sometime after Burton's visit. [74]

In 1976 a log structure with a flat roof, corral, and two sources of water remained at the station site. Authorities disagree on whether the original station stood within the corral, or still exists as the log hut. [75]


Though Spring Valley Station was not listed on the 1861 mail contract as a station, and its exact location remains unknown, sources generally agree on its identity as a Pony Express station. [76] This station did not exist when Richard Burton traveled through the area on October 5, 1860, however, the Pony Express did stop at a site somewhere in the valley. [77] Constant Dubail or a man named Reynal possibly served as stationkeepers at Spring Valley. [78] When Pony Express rider Elijah N. "Uncle Nick" Wilson stopped at the station for something to eat, he found two young boys managing operations. While Wilson was there, several Indians stole the station's horses. Wilson reportedly was killed when he tried to stop them. [79]

The Overland Mail Company line maintained a station in Spring Valley until 1869, which also possibly served as a Pony Express stop after July 1861. The Overland station stood on property owned by Reed Robinson in 1976. Foundations exist near a turn-of-the century stone house on the property. [80] Townley locates the Overland station site within the corrals, southwest of the stone house. [81] Another theory suggests that the station stood on the present Henroid Ranch, an area that provided a shorter route to Antelope Springs Station through the Antelope Mountains. [82]


Sources generally agree on the identity of Schell Creek, also known later as Schellbourne or Fort Schellboure. [83] George Chorpenning and Howard Egan established a station at the site in late 1859, which served the Pony Express during its existence and the Overland Mail Company line until 1869. English traveler Richard Burton stopped at Schell Creek on October 5, 1860, and identified Francais de France Constant Dubail as stationkeeper at the bullet-scarred log structure. [84] Several months earlier, on June 8, 1860, Indians attacked the station. According to one source, they scared away the station's residents and destroyed the building. [85] Another source claims that Indians killed three people at the station before scattering the station's livestock. [86]

After the Pony Express ended, the Overland Mail Company established its Utah-to-central Nevada district headquarters at Schell Creek in 1862-1863. Stone and log structures housed craftsmen who kept the coaches and other equipment in good repair, and the station compound grew into Fort Schellbourne, a town of 500 by the 1870s. [87] Two log structures, as well as other buildings, remain from the old fort. Local belief suggests that one of them served as the Pony Express station, but no actual proof exists. [88]


Sources generally agree on the identity of this station site, known as Egan Canyon or Egan's Station, which also appeared on the 1861 mail contract. [89] Howard Egan and others established the station in Egan Canyon in the spring of 1860. On July 15 or 16, 1860, approximately eighty Indians arrived at the station, took stationkeeper Mike Holten and a Pony Express rider named Wilson as prisoners, and helped themselves to station food supplies. Rider William Dennis, enroute from Ruby Valley Station to Egan Station, saw the Indians and slipped away before they discovered him. He found Lieutenant Weed and sixty soldiers, whom he had passed shortly before reaching Egan, and returned with them to the station. The soldiers killed about seventeen or eighteen Indians and freed the two captives. [90] In early October of that same year, Indians returned to the station, killed the men there, and burned the buildings, according to Burton, "in revenge for the death of seventeen of their men by Lieutenant Weed's party." When Richard Burton arrived on October 5, he found part of the chimney, a few pieces of burned wood, and evidence of partially buried bodies. [91]

Sometime later, workers rebuilt the station, which served as an Overland Mail Company stop until 1869. In 1979, the station's stone foundations existed in a dense tangle of rabbit-brush. [92]


Bates' station is mentioned in the 1861 mail contract, [93] and sources generally agree on the identity of this station as either Bates' or Butte Station, which they locate between Egan and Mountain Springs. [94] The station began in 1859 as part of George Chorpenning's mail route and continued to serve the Pony Express. In the spring of 1860, Indians burned Butte Station. When Richard Burton visited the site on October 5, 1860, an English Mormon named Thomas managed the rebuilt station. At that time, Burton described life at this station in great detail during his travel account. [95] Burton described a 15 x 30 feet, two-room structure, built of sandstone, wood, and mud. Parts of the fireplace, a wall, and other stone foundations still mark the site of Butte Station as late as 1979. [96]


The Mountain Spring(s) Station is mentioned in the 1861 mail contract, [97] and most sources generally agree on the identity of Mountain Springs as a station site. [98] This station, probably built in July 1861, served the Pony Express during its last few months of the year and the Overland Mail Company line until 1869. No original buildings stand on the site. [99]


Most sources acknowledge Ruby Valley as a Pony Express station. [100] The station began in 1859 as part of George Chorpenning's mail route and later served the Pony Express and Overland Mail Company line. William "Uncle Billy" Rogers and Frederick William Hurst managed station operations at Ruby Valley. Rogers served as stationkeeper when Richard Burton visited the site on October 7, 1860. [101] When Burton visited the station, it was considered a half-way point between Salt Lake City and the Carson Valley. [102]

The area's rich soil provided excellent opportunities to raise food and hay for the other stations along the route. A band of Shoshone and the army also established camps near the station at various times. Camp Floyd's Company B of the 4th Artillery Regiment arrived at Ruby Valley in May 1860 to protect the mail route during the Pyramid Lake War and remained there until October. [103] Thereafter, the station's name appeared on the 1861 mail contract list. [104]

As of 1979, a brass marker, provided by the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society, identified the station site. [105]


Jacob's Well is noted by many sources as a Pony Express station. [106] The station did not exist when Richard Burton passed through the area on October 8, 1860, but it probably went up a short time later, or as part of Overland Mail Company contract. General Frederick Jacobs and a crew of men dug a well and erected a small stone structure that served as a stop for both Pony Express riders and the Overland Mail Company line. Very little, if any, evidence of the station remains at the site today. [107]


Sources generally agree on the identity of Diamond Springs Station as a Pony Express station, although for no apparent reason Mabel Loving cites it as Drumong Springs. [108] Richard Burton visited the station on October 9, 1860, and noted its Mormon stationkeepers and the site as a water source. [109] According to Burton, the station was named after the "warm, but sweet and beautifully clear water bubbling up from the earth." [110] Another source mentions that Diamond Springs received its name from Jack Diamond, a miner and prospector. [111] Edna Patterson lists the stationkeeper as William Cox during the Pony Express era. Cox remained at Diamond Springs when the Overland Telegraph arrived and served as a telegraph operator and maintenance man for stations between Cherry Creek and Roberts Creek, Nevada. [112]

As of 1979, remnants of the station existed in a grove of cottonwoods near the mouth of Telegraph Canyon, and Diamond Springs still flowed nearby. A stone and concrete marker with a brass plaque stands one mile south of the station site. [113]


Many sources generally agree on the identity of Sulphur Springs as a station. [114] However, a station probably did not exist at Sulphur Springs until July 1861, when the Overland Mail Company began running its stage through the area. The station may have served as a stop for the Pony Express during the last few months of the enterprise's existence. Ruins of a log wall, stone foundations, and pieces of various artifacts in an area near Sulphur Springs possibly served as the station site. There were still evident as late as 1979. [115]


The final station in Division Four was known as Roberts or Roberts Creek, a fact that all sources agree upon. [116] The Roberts Creek Station existed as one of the original Pony Express stations. It was built in the spring of 1860 by either Bolivar Roberts' or Howard Egan's men. Other stations faced Indian troubles in May 1860, but it remains unclear whether any harm came to the Roberts Creek Station. [117] Richard Burton definitely stated that Indians had burned the station, and workers had rebuilt only part of it by his October 10, 1860, visit. [118] The site at Roberts Creek also later served as a station for the telegraph and the Overland stage line, [119] and the station appeared on the 1861 mail contract with the Overland Mail Company. [120]

The station's original log structure no longer exists. A log dugout stood near the site in 1981, but its relationship to the Roberts Creek Station remained unknown at that time. [121]

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Last Updated: 17-Jan-2008