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PIKES PEAK EXPRESS, PONY EXPRESS AND OVERLAND STAGE


The Kansas Heritage server would like to thank Morris W. Werner for preparing this material.

ST. JOSEPH on Missouri River. COC&PP Express Mail #1. Patee House 1858, John Patee, prop. was Pony Express Headquarters in 1860. Pony Express Stables, built 1859 by Ben Holaday still stands at 914 Penn. Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad completed to St. Joseph in 1859. Colton: 1860 and 1886.

ELWOOD on Missouri River. The ferry landing known as Lewiston. P.O. 1857, William Saeger, p.m. Great Western Hotel 1857, S. Webster, prop.--75 rooms; torn down in 1860s when river undermined foundation. Abraham Lincoln was a guest in 1859. Road from Elwood to Wathena cleared in 1854 and macadamized in 1866.

BELMONT/WHITEHEAD on Missouri River, NE1/4 S21 T2S R22E. Whitehead P.O. 1855, James R. Whitehead, p.m. Colton's 1886 map. Bird's Plat Book of Doniphan County, 1883. Colton's 1860 map (Whitehead)

WATHENA/WATHENA LANDING on Missouri River. The river cut a new channel in 1952 during a flood, which was stabilized by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Wathena is on Peters Creek. Bryan P.O. 1855, Milton Bryan, p.m. Wathena P.O. 1856, Thompson Kemper, p.m. Wathena Landing SE corner S22 T3S R22E (?), about 1 m. northeast of Wathena. St. Joseph and Pottawatomie Road 1849 crossed Peters Creek at Wathena via Cottonwood Springs and Cold Springs to Uniontown on Kansas River. Colton: 1860 and 1886.

JOHNSON'S RANCH at crossing of Peters Creek, SE1/4 S15 T3S R21E on Wathena and Troy Road. Abraham Johnson owner in 1868. Pony Express (?)

COTTONWOOD SPRINGS at head of Walnut Creek, trib. of Missouri River. NE1/4 S26 T3S R21E. Chas. Stewart owner in 1855; owned by Hugh Finklea, Jr. in 1916 and known as "Old Chamberlain Place." Evansville platted 1857 by Col. D. M. Johnson. Located on Pottawatomie Road. Pony Express 1860.

TROY at head of Mosquito Creek, trib. of Missouri River. P.O. 1857, Nelson Rogers, p.m. Troy Hotel 1858, E. Main and Myrtle Street, Leonard Smith, prop. was the Pony Express Station. Road from Wathena via Johnson's Ranch rejoined Pottawatomie Road in NE corner S30 T3S R21E?

COLD SPRING on Cold Spring Branch of Wolf River at center S34 T3S R20E (?) COC&PP Express Mail #2. On Pottawatomie Road. Colton's 1860 map. Smith, Vaughn and Co. 1868 locate "J(ohn) Hargis at Cold Spring." Bird's Plat Book of Doniphan County 1883 show N. and M.S. Hargis in NW1/4 S34.

SYRACUSE at head of North Branch of Independence Creek, SW1/4 S36 T3S R19E. Syracuse Hotel 1858-62, Walter Peck, prop. Store 1860, William Vickery, prop. U.S. War Dept. Map 1867. Victory (Vickery) Cemetery USGS Bendena quad.

VALLEY HOME/LEWIS STATION on spring branch of South Fork of Wolf River (present Purcell?) Burton: 10 m. from Cold Spring (not Troy), and 10 m. to Kennekuk. COC&PP Express 1860. SW1/4 S19 T4S R19E (?)

KENNEKUK on ridge between Clear Creek and Otter Creek, center of S3 T5S R17E. COC&PP Express Mail #3. Hotel 1856, Tom Perry, prop. P.O. 1857 William Hess, p.m. Kickapoo Indian Agency 1852, Major C. B. Keith, agent. Kickapoo Presbyterian Mission 1856-69, SE1/4 S33 T4S R17E. Colton's 1860 and 1886 maps. Hockaday, COC&PP Express, Pony Express and Overland Stage Co. Kennekuk Cemetery USGS Everest quad. Military Road from Ft. Leavenworth joined mail route at Kennekuk in 1858.

POWHATTAN on spring branch of Muddy (Locknane) Creek in NW1/4 S32 T4S R15E. P.O. 1857, Russell Newell, p.m. Colton's 1860 and 1886 maps. Powhattan Cemetery USGS Wetmore quad. Colton's 1860 map shows it on the Pony Express Route. It is located 14 m. west of Kennekuk and 4 miles southeast of Granada.

WHITEHEAD on spring branch of (Big) Grasshopper Creek. SE1/4 S26 T4S R16E. On Ft. Laramie Military Road 1850. Colton's 1860 map. Both Burton and Marcy say it was 4 m. west of the crossing of Grasshopper Creek #1. White Cloud Chief says, "Capt. (James?) Whitehead, formerly of Belmont, died Sept. 1865 at Kennekuk."

KICKAPOO/GOTESCHALL PONY EXPRESS STATION on Plum Creek, SE1/4 S14 T4S R15E. Root says "H.N. Rising" was proprietor.

PLEASANT SPRING/GRANADA on Muddy (Locknane) Creek, NE1/4 S12 T4S R18E. Pleasant Spring P.O. 1856, David Locknane, p.m. Granada P.O. 1864, William Letson, p.m. Granada Hotel 1858, N. H. Rising, proprietor; David Locknane was prop. in 1860. Granada Cemetery USGS Wetmore quad. Colton's 1886 map (Granada). Nemaha County Atlas 1887. Frank Root says it was a station on both the Pony Express and Overland Stage. BLM Survey locates "D. Locknane's cornfield" at this site in 1857.

CAPIOMA on spring branch of Muddy (Locknane) Creek, center S23 T3S R14E. On Ft. Laramie Military Road 1850. P.O. 1857, David Magill, p.m. Hotel 1857, Walter Gage, prop. Capioma Cemetery USGS Woodlawn quad. Colton's 1860 and 1886 maps. Nemaha County Atlas 1887.

OAK POINT CAMPSITE on spring branch of Gregg Creek, NW1/4 S14 T3S R14E. On Ft. Laramie Military Road 1850. Jonah Girard Cisne 1860. Perhaps Gilliam Co. crossing of Gregg Creek 1844.

LOCKNAN OR BIG MUDDY STATION at crossing of Muddy (Locknane) Creek, SW1/4 S17 T3S R14E. COC&PP Express Mail #4. Identified as "Locknanes" on Colton's 1860 map. On Ft. Laramie Military Road 1850. Perhaps Hockaday Stage Station in 1858. Conjectural: may be identical to Log Chain, or perhaps Burton's name for Pleasant Spring/Granada.

LOG CHAIN at crossing of Log Chain Branch of Muddy (Locknane) Creek, SW1/4 S19 T3S R14E. Pony Express Station 1860, N. H. Rising, prop. P.O. 1864, John Hazard, p.m. Colton's 1886 map. Tradition says that the creek was named because of difficulties encountered by Col. Albert Sidney Johnson's 1857 Expedition to Utah during the Mormon War. Original cabin remains.

PACIFIC CITY at head of Log Chain Branch of Muddy (Locknane) Creek, center of S24 T3S R14E. Hotel and well 1856, Orrin Gage, prop. Atlas of Nemaha County 1887.

RICHLAND at head of spring branch of Tennessee Creek, NE1/4 S1 T3S R12E? Marcy 1859 and Burton 1860 identify it 2 miles southeast of Seneca. Burton suggests that the unidentified proprietor may have served meals to stage passengers. On 1850 Ft. Laramie Military Road.

SENECA on S. Fork Big Nemaha River. 2nd county seat of Nemaha County 1857. COC&PP Express Mail #5. P.O. 1858, John E. Smith, p.m. Pony Express Home Station 1860 at Smith Hotel, John E. Smith, prop. (torn down 1972). Colton's 1860 and 1886 maps. Emigrant campsite at Maxwell Spring east of Seneca on east side of S. Fork Nemaha River.

ASH POINT/LARAMIE CREEK at northwest corner of SE1/4 S8 T2S R11E on spring branch of Negro (Laramie?) Creek. P.O. 1858, Horace Bemus, p.m. Uncle John's Grocery 1858, John O'Laughlin, proprietor; his well remains. Root identifies the Overland Stage Station as Laramie Creek, sometimes called Frogtown. Colton's 1886 map. Nemaha County Atlas 1887 locates a cemetery in NE1/4 S8. On Ft. Laramie Military Road 1845. Platt and Slater note an emigrant campsite at this location, possibly at Kearny's 1845 crossing about 2 miles north of head of creek.

GUITTARD/VERMILLION CREEK STATION on eastern branch of West Fork of Robidoux (Vermillion) Creek. COC&PP Express Mail #6. Pony Express Station 1860; Overland Stage Div. Hdq. 1862. P.O. 1861, Xavier Guittard, p.m. Colton's 1860 and 1886 maps. USGS Marysville 30 Min. quad shows a town named Guittard Station platted in northeast corner S2 T1S R9E about 1885. Guittard Cemetery USGS Axtell NW quad. Pony Express barn torn down c1940; present house built from material in original structure.

MARYSVILLE/PALMETTO at crossing of Big Blue River. P.O. 1854, Francis J. "Frank" Marshall, p.m. Colton's 1860 map (Palmetto) and 1886 map. Pony Express Station 1860 still exists in altered condition. Hockaday 1858, COC&PP Express 1859; Overland Stage 1862. On 1845 Ft. Laramie Military Road 1845.

COTTONWOOD STATION/HOLLENBERG RANCH on Cottonwood Creek, trib. of Little Blue River (sometimes called Republican Fork of Big Blue River). Southeast corner S3 T2S R5E. COC&PP Express Mail #7. On Oregon Trail 1843 and Ft. Laramie Military Road 1845. Called "Ketcham Creek or Ten Mile Branch" by Howard Stansbury 1849. Colton's 1860 map. Original, unaltered station remains.

  1. A steam ferry served St. Joseph and Belmont in the 1860s. This ferry may also have landed at Wathena Landing, a point on the Missouri River about a mile northeast of Wathena. Emigrants and freighters preferred this landing because the road to the top of the bluffs north of Wathena was a more gradual incline than the road west of Belmont, which still exists.
  2. Burton says that the Pottawatomie Road from St. Joseph to Cold Spring was 20 miles in length, and the road via Troy was 4 miles longer. Measured on the BLM Surveys, the Pottawatomie Road to Cold Spring is 17 miles in length. The Surveys do not show the road through Troy, but assuming it crossed Peters Creek at Johnson's Ranch and followed the section line west to Troy, then continued southwest to rejoin the Pottawatomie Road in S30 T3S R21E, the measured distance by this route is 20 miles. It appears that Burton and the U. S. Mail contract overstated the distance for Mail #1.
  3. The Kickapoo Presbyterian Mission (present Horton) was about one mile northwest of Kennekuk. Some sources say that a mission school was also located 1 miles northwest of Kickapoo Station. Perhaps this is a misinterpretation of Frank Root's statement in Overland Stage to California, page 191.
  4. The road from Pleasant Spring/Granada to Log Chain south of Log Chain Branch is not shown on the BLM Surveys, but is confirmed by local tradition. This is certainly the route indicated by Mr. Root, who was a messenger on the Overland Stage in 1863 and personally acquainted with the trail. Since the Pony Express was discontinued two years before his employment, Mr. Root may have been mistaken about the exact route traveled by the Pony Express. It is also possible that the Pony Express route was modified during its 18 month existence.
  5. Maxwell Spring, an emigrant campsite east of the South Fork Nemaha River at Seneca was named for William Maxwell who owned the land around the turn of the century. (Nemaha County Atlas 1912)
  6. Based on available information, a rational explanation of trail development in the Muddy (Locknane) Creek vicinity is suggested:
    1. Hockaday 1858 followed the 1850 Ft. Laramie Military Road beyond Kennekuk, which is plotted on the Public Land Surveys of 1857, and crossed Muddy Creek in SW1/4 S17 T3S Rl4E.
    2. COC&PP Express Co. assumed Hockaday's mail contract in 1859 and retained the same route and stage stations. Perhaps the COC&PP Express Mail #4 was at the Military Road crossing of Muddy Creek. (Burton's Locknan or Big Muddy Station?)
    3. Log Chain Station was established in 1860 on a shortcut especially designed for the Pony Express. This route rejoined the Military Road three miles beyond Log Chain Branch.
    4. Overland Stage Co. followed a shorter route in 1862, crossing Muddy Creek at Pleasant Spring/Granada and reaching Log Chain and Pacific City on the road south of Log Chain Branch. Perhaps this route was adopted by the COC&PP Express before 1862.
    5. Although Frank Root states otherwise, it is questionable if the Pony Express followed the road through Granada, since it is about a mile longer than their assumed route.
  7. J. H. Colton's Map of Missouri and Kansas, pub. in 1860 by Johnson and Ward, is the first map of Kansas based on the Public Land Surveys of the mid-1850s. It was also the only map showing the Pony Express route published while the Pony was operational. Most of the settlements in Kansas are inaccurately located, as documented by other sources. According to the map, the hamlets served by the Pony Express were: Wathena, Cold Spring, Kennekuk, Powhattan, Locknanes, Seneca, Guittards, Palmetto (Marysville) and Cottonwood. Whitehead is incorrectly located south of Kennekuk. Capioma is shown in approximately the correct geographical location on Craig (Gregg) Creek.
    1. Old Powhattan (not to be confused with the present town) is located in the extreme southwest corner of Brown County and was connected to Kennekuk by a road along the south boundary of the Kickapoo Reservation, confirmed by Jonah Girard Cisne in 1860. Apparently this is the only indication that Powhattan was served by the Pony Express.
    2. Locknanes, south of Capioma on "Locknan's Creek" may be the name assigned by Colton to Pleasant Spring/Granada. David Locknane was post master and proprietor of the Granada Hotel at this location in 1860.
    3. Log Chain and Ash Point are notably absent from the map. They were important stations on the Pony Express in 1860.
    4. Capt. Randolph B. Marcy 1859: "Information concerning the route coming from strangers living or owning property near them, from agents of steamboats and railways, or from persons connected with transportation companies should be received with great caution and never without corroborating evidence from disinterested sources." Perhaps Colton relied on information from questionable sources.

References:

  1. Kansas Territorial Land Surveys, 1857-60
  2. White Cloud Kansas Chief, 1857-71, Sol. Miller, Ed.
  3. The Prairie Traveler, 1859; Capt. Randolph B. Marcy
  4. Map of Kansas and Missouri, 1860, J. H. Colton
  5. The City of the Saints and Across the Mountains to California, 1860, Richard Burton
  6. Map of States of Kansas, Texas and Indian Territory, 1867, U.S. Dept. Of War
  7. Doniphan County Kansas History and Directory, 1868, Smith, Vaughn and Co.
  8. Historical Plat Book of Doniphan County, Kansas, 1882, Smith, Vaughn and Co.
  9. USGS 30-Minute quads of Atchison, Hiawatha, Seneca, Marysville, 1885
  10. Map of Kansas, 1886, Colton and Co.
  11. Atlas of Nemaha County, Kansas, 1887
  12. The Overland Stage to California, 1901, Frank Root
  13. Illustrated Doniphan County History, 1916, Walter Montgomery
  14. History of Nemaha County, Kansas, 1916, Ralph Tennal
  15. Kansas Historical Quarterly v.13 and 14, 1944-46 for Samuel Adams Drake's "Hints and Information for the Use of Emigrants to Pikes Peak, 1860
  16. Kansas Historical Quarterly, Winter 1859
  17. The Pony Express from St. Joseph to Ft. Laramie, 1989, Merrill J. Mattes and Paul Henderson

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