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Pony Express Stations - Page 2

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Division One (continued)




Kansas Pony Express Map

Kansas Pony Express Map


Elwood - Situated just across the Missouri River from St. Joseph is Elwood, Kansas. Pony Express riders as well as wagon trains and thousands of westbound emigrants crossed the ferry into Kansas. The Elwood Free Press on April 21, 1860, mentioned that this was the first station on the Pony Express and that horses were kept there.


Apparently there were two routes between Elwood and Cold Spring, one being 20 miles long, and the other 24. The latter went through Troy. It is not certain which route was most used.


Cottonwood Springs - Located at the head of Walnut Creek, a tributary of the Missouri River, this place was owned by Charles Stewart in 1855. By the early 1900's it was known as the "Old Chamberlain Place."

Johnson's Ranch - A crossing at Peters Creek on the Wathena and Troy Road, this place stood just about 12 miles beyond St. Joseph. Said to be located at SE1/4 S15 T3S R21E, 4.5 miles northwest of Wathena and 2.5 m. east of Troy. In 1868, Abraham Johnson was the owner


Troy Station - Various sources indicate that this site was located within the town of Troy, at the head of Mosquito Creek, a tributary of the Missouri River. 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. Leonard Smith arrived in Troy in 1858 and purchased the Troy Hotel. Two years later, at the request of the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express, 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 East Main and Myrtle Streets. There is a Pony Express marker at the site. The July, 1936 Pony Express Courier reported that Troy served as the first relay station west of St. Joseph, a distance of about 15 miles. 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. The road  from Wathena, Kansas via Johnson's Ranch, rejoined the Pottawatomie Road in the northeast corner of S30-T3S-R21E.




Pony Express RiderCold Springs - Sometimes called Cold Springs Rock, this station was situated some 24 miles beyond St. Joseph at the Cold Spring Branch of Wolf River. Situated on the Pottawatomie Road at about S34-T3S-R20E, this was also a station for the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express.


In 1860, Sir Richard Burton, an English adventurer-writer traveled across the American West beginning in St. Joseph, Missouri. As his stagecoach

followed the overland route to Salt Lake City and then, on to San Francisco, he wrote about many of the stage stations that also served as Pony Express stops. Of Cold Springs, he said:


"Squalor and misery were imprinted upon the wretched log hut, which ignored the duster and broom. Myriad’s of flies disputed with us a dinner consisting of doughnuts, which were green and poisonous with saleratus, suspicious eggs in a massive greasy fritter, and intolerably fat rusty bacon. Fifty cents a head was a dear price to pay for flies, bad bread and worse eggs and bacon." -- Sir Richard Burton August 7, 1860 3:00 PM

Syracuse - Some sources list Cold Spring and Syracuse as the same station, while other suggest they were two different stations. One source lists its location at the head of the North Branch of Independence Creek at SW1/4 S36 T3S R19E. The Syracuse Hotel, owned by Walter Peck operated here from 1858-62 and a store was owned by William Vickery. The Vickery Family Cemetery is nearby.

Lewis Station - Also spelled "Louis," L.C. Bishop and Paul Henderson named and mapped this place was situated on the Spring branch of the South Fork of Wolf River about 10 miles west of Cold Spring. It has been suggested that this station 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. However, another history resource placed the station on North Independence Creek. Several other sources give yet another location for this station. "Chain Pump" and "Valley Home/House" may be other names for the site.


Kennekuk (Kinnekuk) Station - Experts on the Pony Express trail in this area have designated Kennekuk as the first home station west of St. Joseph. Most other sources agree on the name but, not the exact location of this station. Some have placed it approximately 44 miles along the trail. Other sources state that it stood approximately 39 miles from the beginning of the trail. The stage route from Atchison and the Fort Leavenworth-Fort Kearny Military Road combined with the trail near Kennekuk and brought much traffic to the settlement in the early 1860s. At one time, the settlement was said to have boasted a dozen homes, a store, and a blacksmith shop. It was also the headquarters of the Kickapoo Indian agent, Major Royal Baldwin. Tom Perry and his wife ran the relay station and served meals to travelers passing through. 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. The stone memorial marker is 1.5 miles southeast of present-day Horton, Kansas. The Pony Exprss Courier, June, 1939, reported that this was the fifth station out of St. Joseph. The location is S3-T5S-R17E.

Kickapoo/Goteschall Station - 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. 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. Unfortunately, both the relay station and mission are gone. The location was S14-T4S-R15E.


Granada/Pleasant Springs - This place was first called Pleasant Springs until the town officially changed its name to Granada in 1865. There is some confusion between it and Log Chan station. In 1860, the Granada Hotel stood here as well as a station one the  Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express which was run by a man named David M. Locklane. It is doubtful that the Pony Express officially stopped here since it was only four miles from the Kickapoo Station. Located at S12-T4S-R14E.


Log Chain Station - A number of sources identify this place as both a Pony Express relay station and a stop on the overland stage route. Noble H. Rising, the station keeper, maintained a 24x40' log house and 70 foot barn. His son, Don Rising was among the first riders employed by A.E. Lewis for his division. 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. Many say it was named for the many wagons whose ox chains broke as they crossed the creek's sandy bed. Others suggest, the name may have been a corruption of Locklane, the creek's name. 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.

Seneca Station - Sources generally agree that Seneca Station's location and identity as an early Pony Express home station, was also known as the the Smith Hotel. John E. Smith and his wife Agnes managed the 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. On July 1, 1860, it became a home station. 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. A marker designates the site of the original station in downtown Seneca.

Ash Point/Laramie Creek Station - Located on the banks of Vermillion Creek, this station was also referred to as Frogtown and Hickory Point. 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. "Uncle John" O'Laughlin, a storekeeper, managed the station operations and said to have sold whisky to stage passengers. 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 continued to serve as a stage stop in the 1860s, but had faded away by the end of the 1870s. The location was S8-T2-R11E. A marker designates the site.


Guittard (Gantard's, Guttard) Station - Both a Pony Express station and a stage stop, it was owned by the George Guittard family. 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. In late 1860, Richard Burton saw the Pony Express rider arrive at Guittard's Station, describing it:


"The house and kitchen were clean, the fences neat; the ham, eggs, hot rolls and coffee were fresh and good. It was here for the first time that I

saw the Pony Express rider in the course of his duties." -- Sir Richard Burton August 8, 1860 12:00 noon


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. It was located at S4-T2S-R9E.


The Pony Express Station in Marysville, Kansas still standsMarysville Station - After crossing some prairie country, the next stop was Marysville, which also was known as Palmetto City. Situated about 112 miles west of St. Joseph, this place also served as a stage station for the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express.  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. The riders probably slept at the nearby Barrett Hotel, located where the Ar-Ex Drug Store is today. The north end of the stone stable served as a blacksmith shop, and stalls were located on the other side. The first westbound rider left St. Joseph, Missouri early in the evening of April 3, 1860, arriving in Marysville the next morning. Historians differ as to his identity, but local tradition says it was Johnny Fry. According to the travel writer, Richard Burton, it was a town that thrived "by selling whiskey to ruffians of all descriptions."


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. Today, the building serves as a museum, consisting of the original stable, which is the oldest building in Marshall County. An annex was added in 1991 which matches it in architectural style.


Hollenberg StationCottonwood/Hollenberg Station - Located on Cottonwood Creek, a tributary of the Little Blue River, this place was not only a
Pony Express stop, but also a stage station, and store for emigrant travelers. Situated five miles northeast of Hanover, Kansas, it is the only remaining Pony Express stop still standing in its original location and is probably the only unaltered Pony Express building on the route. Built on Cottonwood Creek in 1857 by Gerat H. Hollenberg, this station was also the largest stop along the Pony Express route in Kansas. Intending to capitalize on the many wagon trains passing his way on the Oregon-California Trail, Hollenberg’s six-room building initially served as a grocery store, tavern, and an unofficial post office. Three years later it became a Pony Express station and later a stage coach station. In 1941, the Kansas State Legislature purchased the station and the surrounding acreage to preserve the site, which is managed by the Kansas State Historical Society today. It is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

Atchison Station - 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, 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. 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. 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 Fort Kearny, Nebraska.

Lancaster Station - 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. Lancaster was also known as a stage stop on the Holladay stage line.


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