Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pony Express 'Interrupted Mail'

Shown above is one of only "two pieces of what collectors call 'interrupted mail' from the Pony Express according to National Postal Museum curator Daniel Piazza in an article that appears in the May 2010 Smithsonian Magazine.

Author Owen Edwards writes, "In 1860, an ill-fated Pony Express rider, whose name has been lost to history, was crossing the trackless wastes of Nevada when he vanished, likely killed by Indians. Two years later, in May 1862, the mail pouch from that doomed mission, still containing letters bound for the East, was recovered."

Owen goes on to say, "Today, only a few remnants from the contents of that saddlebag survive. Among them is an envelope—a rare artifact of the mid-19th-century’s legendary Pony Express mail service, founded 150 years ago. (The letter that was inside has long since disappeared.)"

A note scrawled on the front of the artifact alludes to its tragic backstory: “Recovered from a [sic] mail stolen by the Indians in 1860.” The nameless victim is thought to have been the only Pony Express rider killed, though a few station agents died when Indians attacked their outposts according to the piece.

The envelope, which was given to the museum by philatelic philanthropist William H.Gross,will reside on long-term loan at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM