To celebrate the release of The Pony Express Romance Collection, we’re highlighting the date the first Pony Express run began –April 3rd – and looking at other dates in history to see what happened.
On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his last speech. In that speech, he asked if God granted him his choice of time period to live in, which would he choose? Dr. King suggested several time periods, including this one:
“I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating President by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.”
The Pony Express was of vital concern to President Abraham Lincoln. He feared that California might enter the Civil War and side with the Confederate States of America. The Pony Express filled a much-needed communication gap until telegraph lines could be stretched from coast to coast. It was one cog in the war machine that eventually ended slavery in these United States. (tweet this)
By Pegg Thomas
Wyoming Territory – August, 1861
She ignored the boot that shoved against her ribs. The next shove came with more force, and Alannah Fagan let a groan escape her swollen lips. Only she knew it was a groan of rage, not pain, although there was plenty of that.
She forced herself not to flinch at Edward Bergman’s guttural voice. It was better they thought her still unconscious. They wouldn’t bother to care for her, so she’d have a chance to escape once darkness fell.
“Leave her.” Hugh Bergman’s voice rose from the direction of the camp. “She’ll come ’round by mornin’.”
“Might rain tonight.” Edward’s voice carried no hint of concern.
“Then she’ll get wet.” Hugh Bergman’s held even less. He may have married her ma, but he was no stepfather to her or her brother. “Whatever she put in the pot looks done. Come eat.”
Edward shuffled to the fire. More steps announced that his older brothers, Carl and Arnold, joined them. The scent of scorched salt pork and beans brought Alannah a slender thread of satisfaction. The clatter of plates and spoons, an occasional grunt from one of the men, the stomp of a horse’s hoof came from behind her. Whoosh of an owl overhead. Clicking of insects. Rustling and murmurs as members of the wagon train settled down for the evening.
Where was Conn? Her brother had left to fill the canteens at the creek right before…before Hugh’s fist had knocked her unconscious.
Alannah eased open her right eye. The left refused. Pain radiated from her left cheek, engulfing that side of her face. Careful not to move more than she must, she inched her head off the ground to peer above the prairie grass. The creek lay a quarter of a mile or so ahead of her. Their canvas-covered wagon was parked behind her in the large circle they formed each evening.
The sky darkened until she couldn’t see the willows along the creek anymore. The night sounds swelled and overtook the noise of the wagon train. A sentry walked past on his circuit. If he saw her, he didn’t pause. The whole wagon train would know what had happened by now, but nobody would confront Hugh Bergman. Not since he’d beaten the wagon master half to death over a senseless dispute about where to camp one night. Now her stepfather ran the wagon train, ruling it by fear.