Central Overland California and Pike’s Peak Express

Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express

Central Overland California and Pike’s Peak Express

The Central Overland California and Pike’s Peak Express (C.O.C. & P.P.) (1860-1861) was formed by the transportation firm of Majors, Russell, and Waddell in May 1860 when they acquired George Chorpenning’s contract for mail service from Utah to California. Also performing freighting and passenger service, it utilized its partner, William H. Russell’s, equipment and portions of his former Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express route and acquired other lines running to Salt Lake City.

The company began running a tri-weekly line of coaches from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Denver, Colorado, making the distance in 6 ½ days. Also owned by the firm of Majors, Russell and Waddell was the Pony Express, for which the COC&PP became the parent. Its facilities in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri, were also used to outfit travelers on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails.

However, the company faired very poorly, especially from the heavy losses of the Pony Express, which became obsolete upon the completion of the Transcontinental Telegraph. Afterward, the business ran out of cash, and company employees referred to C.O.C.& P.P. Express as “Clean Out of Cash and Poor Pay.”

On March 21, 1862, the holdings were sold at a public sale for $100,000 to Ben Holladay. After the company went out of business, its facilities became the Kansas City Stockyards.


Concord Stage

Concord Stage

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated October 2023.

Also See:

Ben Holladay

Pony Express – Fastest Mail Across the West

Russell, Majors & Waddell – Transportation in the Old West

Stagecoaches of the American West