Nova Scotia Pony Express
1849



History of the
Halifax Express
a.k.a. Nova Scotia Pony Express

mostly as told in contemporary clippings





The following items are arranged in chronological order by publication date:




Saint John Electric Telegraph
Nearly Finished

British Colonist
9 December 1848

On December 9th, 1848, this item appeared in the British Colonist, a three-times-a-week newspaper published in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  During the ten months that elapsed between the completion, in January 1849, of this telegraph line between Saint John and Calais, and the completion in November 1849 of the telegraph extension between Saint John and Halifax, the New York Associated Press needed a fast courier service to carry the European News across the telegraph gap between Halifax and Saint John.  This need led Daniel Craig and Hiram Hyde to organize the fast horse courier service then called the Halifax Express, later known as the Nova Scotia Pony Express, combined with a chartered steamship service across the Bay of Fundy.

Saint John Electric Telegraph, 9 December 1848
The Electric Telegraph wire in New Bruns-
wick will be ready for working in about a month.
Notwithstanding all the fine promises of the men
who compose our government, no commencement
has yet been made in Nova Scotia – nor won't be for
some time, we think, as the government took the
matter from the public to make nice little jobs for
their friends, and unfortunately have managed to
spend all the money that they found in the chest and
left little or nothing for Telegraphs or anything else.


Note (by ICS, April 1999, revised March 2002, October 2006)
In December 1848 there was a continuous electric telegraph line
southward from Calais, Maine, to Boston and onward to New
York.  With the completion of the Calais to Saint John section, in
January 1849, there was a continuous telegraph service all the way
from Saint John to New York.  The line through to Halifax was
completed in November 1849.

The one-wire electric telegraph line which provided the service
between Saint John and New York was built in several sections that were
owned and controlled by half a dozen different companies, but a
message taken to the Saint John telegraph office could be, and
usually was, transmitted by electric signals all the way from
Saint John to New York, usually in an hour or two for short
messages, while the weekly Associated Press (AP) messages
– usually about 3000 words each – could be delivered in three
or four hours.

In 1849 it was possible to transmit a message only 200 kilometres or so
by electric telegraph.  That was the limit of the technology available at that
time.  For longer distances, such as Saint John to New York, a message
was sent by the Saint John operator and copied by the telegraph operator
at the far end, say Calais.  Then the Calais operator would resend the
message to Bangor. Bangor would copy the message, and resend it
to Portland.  Portland would send it to Boston.  And so on until it
reached New York.  It was this need for repeated copying and resending
that accounted for the three to four hours minimum required to get an
AP message — usually about 3,000 words (15,000 characters)
from Saint John (later from Halifax) to New York.



RMS America
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, December 30th, 1848
arrived Halifax: Wednesday, January 10th, 1849
arrived Boston: Saturday morning, January 13th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, Saint John, 20 January 1849 The letter-mail by the steamer America arrived at port Levy Quebec on Sunday night, 14th instant, having been only four days and one hour on the route from Halifax.

This item refers to the letters that arrived in Halifax on the
Cunard steamship America on Wednesday, January 10th,
and then were forwarded from Halifax to Levis, Quebec.
The trip from Halifax to Levis took four days and one hour.

The Pony Express was not involved in this trip. These letters were
carried from Halifax to Pictou by stagecoach, and from Pictou to
Levis by a Cunard steamship.  Under the Admiralty contract, this
was the regular way to carry mail between Halifax and Quebec.





Rapid Transmission of News – Express from Halifax to Connect with the Electric Telegraph
New Brunswick Observer, Saint John, January 13, 1849
We have been favored by D. Caldwell, Esq., with the perusal of a letter from Mr. Hyde, Mail Contractor at Halifax, dated the 5th instant [January 5th, 1849] which states, that gentleman will undertake to forward an Express to Amherst, with the News by the Royal Mail Steamers, to connect at that place with Mr. Caldwell's line to this city [Saint John] and to travel at the rate of at least twelve miles an hour, and faster when the roads are in good travelling order, or, as Mr. Hyde emphatically expresses it, "as fast as horse flesh can do it and live!" The whole distance from Halifax to this city [Saint John], at this rate of speed, would be performed in about twenty hours.  The news could then be telegraphed from St. John to Boston or New York many hours previous to the arrival of the steamers at either of those ports. — We hope the bargain may be closed with these enterprising gentlemen, and the "horse flesh" set in motion!

In the early to mid-1800s, an "express" meant a man riding a fast horse, carrying a small package or envelope with an important message. (This was the same service that we now call a "courier", except that the transportation then provided by a horse is now provided by a motor vehicle.)

This newspaper report, that Hiram Hyde "will undertake to forward an Express to Amherst, with the News by the Royal Mail Steamers" refers to the original route, that was planned to carry the European News across the telegraph gap by horse all the way, from Halifax through Truro and Amherst to Sackville in New Brunswick, and thence to Saint John.

A few weeks later, the plan was altered to go by an Express (a man on a horse) from Halifax through Kentville and Middleton to Victoria Beach in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia — and at Victoria Beach transferring the news package to a waiting chartered boat which immediately steamed at full speed across the Bay of Fundy to Saint John.

Test runs were done on both routes, and the Victoria Beach route was found to be several hours faster from Halifax to Saint John, and thus several hours faster from England to New York. The trip from Halifax to Saint John could be completed in about twenty hours by horse all the way, through Amherst, while the route through Victoria Beach could be completed in about fifteen hours when everything went right, including the steamship trip across the Fundy.



RMS Niagara, Captain Stone
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, January 27th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Friday, February 9th, 1849
arrived Boston: Sunday morning, February 11th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, Saint John, February 17, 1849
The steamship Niagara, Captain Stone, with the Mail of the 27th January, from Liverpool, arrived at Halifax on the 9th inst. in thirteen days from Liverpool.  The express letter portion of the Mail reached Saint John at an early hour on Sunday morning. The Niagara arrived at Boston on Sunday forenoon...

blue ball Rapid Transmission of News, Express from Halifax to Connect with the Electric Telegraph
New Brunswick Reporter and Fredericton Advertiser, Fredericton, January 19, 1849
We have been favored by D. Caldwell, Esq., with the perusal of a letter from Mr. Hyde, Mail Contractor at Halifax, dated the 5th instant [January 5th 1849] which states, that gentleman will undertake to forward an Express to Amherst...


RMS Europa
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, February 10th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 5pm Wednesday, February 21st, 1849
destination Boston

The First Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 5pm Wednesday, February 21st, 1849
arrived Saint John:   about 8pm Thursday, February 22nd, 1849
travelling time, Halifax to Saint John:   about 27 hours

Weekly Chronicle, Saint John, February 23, 1849
The steam ship Europa reached Halifax on Wednesday afternoon at 5 o'clock, with the mail of 10th instant [February 10th, 1849] ... The news arrived at Saint John at 8 o'clock last evening by the Steamer Commodore, Captain W.G. Browne, from Digby Basin, having received it in 11 hours from Halifax. The intelligence was immediately transmitted by telegraph to Boston, New York, &c., where it would no doubt arrive many hours in advance of the mail steamer.

In the 1800s, "steamer" meant a ship powered by a steam engine.
(The term did not mean other forms of transportation, such as railways,
that were powered by steam engines.)


New Brunswick Courier, Saint John, February 24, 1849
English Mail — American Express A little after eight o'clock on Thursday evening last, the steamer Commodore, Capt. Brown, arrived from Digby Basin, bringing Mr. Craig, an American gentleman, who had undertaken on behalf of the Associated Press of Boston and New York to express the news by the Steamer Europa, from Halifax to Saint John, and thence by Electric Telegraph to Boston and New York.  The arrangements on the road from Halifax to Granville Point, were very complete, and the distance was accomplished with single horses, in a light sleigh, in eleven hours, being a speed of about thirteen miles an hour! The Europa arrived at Halifax on Wednesday afternoon at five o'clock, in eleven days from Liverpool, and on Thursday morning at four, the messenger with her news was at Granville Point, but owing to the unusual quantity of ice in Digby Basin, it was nearly four o'clock in the afternoon before the Commodore was got into clear water. On her arrival in Saint John the Electric wires were immediately set to work...




Novascotian, Halifax, February 26, 1849
Nova Scotia Pony Express, Novascotian, Halifax, 26 Feb 1849
Enlarged view
      The St. John N. B. Observer learns
that it is intended to run an Express from
Halifax to St. John, by the way of Annapolis,
on the arrival of every English Mail, to be
telegraphed to New York, on account of the
Associated Press of that city.
"On account of the Associated Press"
means the A.P. paid the telegraph bill
(which was large).


ICS comment (written 10 March 2002):
It appears that nobody in Nova Scotia at the time was much interested in the Halifax Express (which we call the Nova Scotia Pony Express).  It is clear that the newspapers in Saint John, and even in Fredericton, were much more interested than were the Halifax newspapers.  Nobody has found any mention in any Nova Scotia record, earlier than the above — and it is only a reprint of an item in a Saint John newspaper! And this item appeared in the Novascotian (written and printed in Halifax) five days after the Halifax Express had made its first run from Halifax.  That first run is not mentioned in any known Nova Scotia record (and numerous people have been researching this history for a hundred years).

Here's a bit of advice for future historical researchers — for information about the Nova Scotia Pony Express, you will do much better looking at sources in New Brunswick, and in Boston and New York, than here in Nova Scotia.





Cunard's Royal Mail ships departed Liverpool once every two weeks during the winter of 1848-49, that is during the months of December 1848 and January and February of 1849.  Beginning 1 March 1849, departures from Liverpool were once a week, every Saturday at noon.  These departures were carefully specified in the contract between the British Admiralty, and the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.

That is why there was no Pony Express run across Nova Scotia at the beginning of March — there was no mail ship departure from Liverpool on Saturday, 17 February 1849.



RMS America
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, February 24th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 2¾am Thursday, March 8th, 1849
destination New York

The Second Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 3am Thursday, March 8th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   about 6pm Thursday, March 8th, 1849
travelling time, Halifax to Saint John:   about 15 hours

Weekly Chronicle, Saint John, March 9, 1849
The mail and news, which departed Liverpool on February 24th, reached Halifax yesterday morning at 3 o'clock, and the news was dispatched by express to Saint John, arriving here in fifteen hours afterwards, via the Bay of Fundy. It was immediately forwarded by Telegraph to New York, where it would arrive about 15 or 18 hours in advance of the mail steamer. The express was run from Halifax to Digby at the rate of nearly 17 miles an hour ... Captain John Leavitt was in charge of the express steamer across the Bay of Fundy...

New Brunswick Courier, Saint John, March 10, 1849
English Mail — Another American Express The steamer Conqueror arrived in Saint John harbour at six o'clock on Thursday evening, from Granville Point, bringing the news by the Mail Steamer America, which arrived at Halifax at half-past two o'clock on Thursday morning, in eleven and a half days from Liverpool. The news was received in Saint John in fifteen hours from Halifax! — which is the quickest run on record. It was conveyed by horse express, at the rate of about seventeen miles an hour! from Halifax to Granville Point, where the steamer Conqueror was in waiting. In her passage across the Bay she encountered some floating ice, which delayed her an hour or two; but on the whole the distance from Halifax was accomplished in an unprecedentedly short space of time ... The news was immediately telegraphed to the United States...

Granville Point is now called Victoria Beach.





A contemporary description, printed in Halifax,
of the second run of the Nova Scotia Pony Express.
The British Colonist (newspaper)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Volume I, Number 96
Saturday, March 10th, 1849
Halifax Colonist banner, 1849

Halifax Colonist date, 10 March 1849

Nova Scotia Pony Express, Colonist, Halifax, 10 March 1849
Magnified view
The Expresses
On Thursday morning, immediately after the
arrival of the steamer from England, two Ex-
presses (one on behalf of the associated Press
of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston – the
other got up, in opposition, by some Mercantile
gentlemen in the United States) left this city,
travelling at a rate of speed that is, we believe,
unprecedented in this country.  The parties en-
gaged here to convey the rival expresses over-
land to Digby, were Mr. Hyde and Mr. Barnaby.
Hyde's Express arrived at Digby Neck at 28
minutes before 12 o'clock, accomplishing the
distance of 146 miles in 8½ hours – having met
with several accidents and interruptions.  At
Windsor a delay of 20 minutes occurred; and
after starting, Mr. Hamilton, the courier from
that place, when crossing the bridge broke his
stirrup, and was thrown from his horse with such
force, that he lay insensible for some time; he
however remounted, and, though lamed, with one
stirrup performed his route with astonishing
dispatch.  A distance of 18 miles, from Kent-
ville, was performed by Mr. Thad. Harris, in 53
minutes.  The steamer Conqueror, chartered to
convey Hyde's Express to St. John, was wait-
ing in readiness when the express arrived.
   Barnaby's Express arrived 2½ minutes before
Hyde's, but the steamer Commodore, engaged by
his party, had not made her appearance at the
latest accounts.





Another contemporary description, printed in Halifax,
of the second run of the Nova Scotia Pony Express.
The Acadian Recorder (newspaper)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Saturday, March 10th, 1849
Nova Scotia Pony Express, Acadian Recorder, Halifax, 10 March 1849
Magnified view
EXPRESSES — On Thursday last, the longest and
fleetest, if not the most exciting race that was ever
run in this country, was occasioned by the rivalry of
an association of the newspaper conductors of Bos-
ton, New York, and Philadelphia, and a company of
U. S. merchants, in procuring the latest intelligence
from England, by the Electric Telegraph from St.
John, N. B.  Arrangements were previously made
for the conveyance of the news, by relays, hence to
Digby, where two steamers, the Commodore and
Conqueror, were engaged to be in waiting, to start
for St. John immediately after the expresses arrived.
Accordingly, on the arrival of the Europe, Mr. Hyde
and Mr. Barnaby, who were employed for the occas-
sion, despatched their riders, and the race was sus-
tained with unflinching spirit from the beginning to
the end.  The distance was 146 miles.  Barnaby's
express reached its destination in 8 hours 27½ mi-
nutes – Hyde's in 8 hours 30 minutes.  The steamer
Commodore, however, which was engaged for the for-
mer, had not arrived, but the Conqueror was all
ready, so that in spite of every obstacle the news by
Hyde's express would reach St. John first.



RMS Canada
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, March 3rd, 1849
arrived Halifax: 10pm Thursday, March 15th, 1849
destination Boston

The Third Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 11pm Thursday, March 15th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   about 3pm Friday, March 16th, 1849
travelling time, Halifax to Saint John:   15 hours 30 minutes

New Brunswick Courier, March 17, 1849
The steamer Commodore, Capt. W. G. Brown, arrived at three o'clock yesterday afternoon, from Granville Point, bringing the news furnished by the Royal Mail Steamer Canada, which arrived at Halifax on Thursday night at ten o'clock, in twelve days and ten hours from Liverpool.  The Express for the United States Associated Press, left Halifax at eleven o'clock on Thursday night, and reached Granville Point yesterday morning, in nine hours and twenty five minutes, — an extraordinary run considering the state of roads. The whole distance to Saint John was performed in fifteen hours and a half! The news was immediately telegraphed to the United States...


RMS
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, March 10th, 1849
arrived Halifax: —
destination New York

Pony Express Run
about 22 March 1849

No information has been found so far.


RMS
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, March 17th, 1849
arrived Halifax: —
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
about 29 March 1849

No information has been found so far.


RMS Niagara
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, March 24th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 2½pm Thursday, April 5th, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 3pm Thursday, April 5th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   8¼am Friday, April 6th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, April 7, 1849
The English Mail of the 24th March, by the Steamship Niagara arrived at Halifax on Thursday last at half past two o'clock, and the Express by horses to Granville, and thence by the Steamer Herald, reached Saint John at a quarter past eight yesterday morning. The news was communicated forthwith by Telegraph to the United States...


RMS
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, March 31st, 1849
arrived Halifax: —
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
about 12 April 1849

No information has been found so far.


RMS Europa
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, April 7th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 10am Tuesday, April 17th, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 11am Tuesday, April 17th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   about 3am Wednesday, April 18th, 1849
travelling time, Halifax to Saint John:   15 hours 20 minutes

New Brunswick Courier, April 21, 1849
The Steamer Herald, Capt. Donehey, arrived at Saint John on Wednesday morning at three o'clock, from Granville, bringing Mr. Craig, agent of the United States Associated Press, with the English news, by the Royal Mail Steamship, Europa, which sailed from Liverpool on the 7th of April. The intelligence was thus received in St. John in ten days and a half from Liverpool! The Steamer arrived at Halifax on Tuesday morning at ten o'clock in 9¾ days' passage, and the Express reached Saint John in fifteen hours and twenty minutes, running time, from Halifax at [---].  The Magnetic wires were set in motion to convey the news to the United States...


RMS
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, April 14th, 1849
arrived Halifax: —
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   Wednesday afternoon(?), April 25th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   about 9:30am Thursday, April 26th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, April 28, 1849
The news was received at Saint John at half past nine o'clock on Thursday morning by the Associated Newspaper Express...


RMS
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, April 21st, 1849
arrived Halifax: —
destination New York

Pony Express Run
about 1 May 1849

No information has been found so far.


RMS Cambria
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, April 28th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Tuesday, May 8th, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
8-9 May 1849

No information has been found so far.


Pony Express Run
14-15 May 1849

No information has been found so far.


RMS Caledonia
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, May 12th, 1849
arrived Halifax: early Thursday, May 24th, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
Thursday, 24 May 1849

No information has been found so far.


RMS Niagara
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, May 19th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 2½am Wednesday, May 30th, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
Wednesday, 30 May 1849

No information has been found so far.


RMS Europa
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, May 26th, 1849
arrived Halifax: late Tuesday morning, June 5th, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about noon Tuesday, June 5th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   6am Wednesday, June 6th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, June 9, 1849
The steamship Europa, with the English Mail of the 26th May, arrived in Halifax on Tuesday last, in a little short of ten days passage from Liverpool. The news arrived at Saint John by express via Granville, a few minutes before six o'clock on Wednesday morning...


RMS Cambria, Captain Shannon
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, June 2nd, 1849
arrived Halifax: Wednesday morning, June 13th, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about noon Wednesday, June 13th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   4am Thursday, June 14th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, June 16, 1849
The first June Mail from England, with Liverpool dates to the 2nd of June arrived at Halifax on Wednesday morning last, by the Steamer Cambria in a few hours less than eleven days' passage.  The Express Steamer Herald arrived in Saint John on Thursday morning at Four O'clock, with the news...


RMS America, Captain Harrison
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, June 9th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 3pm Monday, June 18th, 1849
arrived Boston: 8am, Wednesday, June 20th, 1849

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 4pm Monday, June 18th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   Tuesday afternoon, June 19th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, June 23, 1849
The Royal Mail steamer America, with the English Mail of the 9th June, arrived in Halifax last Monday afternoon, after a passage of only nine days from Liverpool. The news was received at Saint John on Tuesday afternoon by express...

Roman Citizen, Rome, New York, June 27, 1849:
America arrived at Boston about 8am, Wednesday, June 20th.


RMS Hibernia
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, June 16th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 2pm Wednesday, June 27th, 1849
destination: New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 3pm Wednesday, June 27th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   about 9am Thursday, June 28th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, June 30, 1849
The Mail Steamer of the 16th June, the Hibernia, arrived at Halifax on Wednesday last at two o'clock. Her intelligence was received here by the express steamer Herald on Thursday morning at nine o'clock...


RMS Canada
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, June 23rd, 1849
arrived Halifax: 10am Tuesday, July 3rd, 1849
arrived Boston: 6:30pm Wednesday, July 4th, 1849

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 11am Tuesday, July 3rd, 1849
arrived Saint John:   2½am Wednesday, July 4th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, July 7, 1849
The Steamer Canada, with another week's British Mail, bringing dates from Liverpool to the 23rd of June, arrived at Halifax on Tuesday morning last, in something less than ten days' passage.  The news for the United States Associated Press, reached Saint John at half past two o'clock on Wednesday morning by the Steamer Herald from Granville...


RMS Niagara
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, June 30th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 7am Thursday, July 12th, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
12 July 1849

No information has been found so far.


RMS Caledonia
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, July 7th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 6pm Thursday, July 19th, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 7pm Thursday, July 19th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   noon Friday, July 20th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, July 21, 1849
The Express by way of Granville, for the United States Associated Press, reached Saint John at noon yesterday...


RMS Europa, Captain Lott
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, July 14th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Tuesday evening, July 24th, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   Tuesday evening, July 24th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   1pm Wednesday, July 25th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, July 28, 1849
The Steamer Europa, with the second July Mail, arrived at Halifax on Tuesday evening last, in a little over ten days from Liverpool ... Her news was received at Saint John at one o'clock on Wednesday, by the Express across the Bay of Fundy for the United States Associated Press...


RMS Cambria
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, July 21st, 1849
arrived Halifax: 2½am Thursday, August 2nd, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   3am Thursday, August 2nd, 1849
arrived Saint John:   8½pm Thursday, August 2nd, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, August 4, 1849
The steamer Cambria arrived at Halifax at half past two o'clock on Thursday morning last, in 11 and half days from Liverpool, with the English Mail of the 21st July ... The news for transmission by telegraph to the United States Associated Press, was received at Saint John between eight and nine o'clock on Thursday evening, by the Express Steamer Herald from Granville...


RMS America, Captain Harrison
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, July 28th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 6am Tuesday, August 7th, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   7am Tuesday, August 7th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   midnight Tue-Wed, August 7-8, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, August 11, 1849
The news by the America, British Mail Steamer of the 28th July, was received at Saint John by the express for the United States Associated Press at twelve o'clock on Tuesday night, America having arrived at Halifax at an early hour that morning in nine days and a half from Liverpool...


RMS Hibernia, Captain Stone
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, August 4th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 8am Tuesday, August 14th, 1849
destination Boston

Overland by Post Office, via Amherst
(No Pony Express Run)
departed Halifax:  (time?) Tuesday, August 14th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   9pm Wednesday, August 15th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, August 18, 1849
The English Mail of the 4th August, per Steamer Hibernia, 10 days from Liverpool to Halifax, arrived at Saint John at nine o'clock on Wednesday night, by the Post-Office Express ... No Steamer was dispatched to Granville, to meet the Express for the United States Associated Press...


RMS Canada
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, August 11th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 9pm Wednesday, August 22nd, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 10pm Wednesday, August 22nd, 1849
arrived Saint John:   2pm Thursday, August 23rd, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, August 25, 1849
The Mail Steamer Canada, with the English Mail of the 11th August, arrived in Halifax on Wednesday evening last at nine o'clock, in 11½ days from Liverpool ... The Express for the United States Associated Press arrived at Saint John at two o'clock on Thursday afternoon...


RMS Caledonia, Captain Leitch
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, August 18th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Wednesday night, August 29-30, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   (about 2am?) Thursday, August 30th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   5:55pm Thursday, August 30th, 1849

Speculators Get News to New York 12 Hours Ahead of AP Express
L.R. Darrow, manager of the New Brunswick Electric Telegraph Company, wrote:—
Shortly after five o'clock in the afternoon, on the 30th day of August, 1849, while the telegraph line ended in Saint John, the following message was presented to the Saint John telegraph operator, and by him forwarded without second thought to the New York addressee.  The message read: Consignees of Neptune write Boards advanced one fourth penny, Shingles 2 to 3 shillings per quarter, lower qualities Fish 6 pence lower. The coded message was later interpreted, by the New Brunswick Electric Telegraph Company, as follows: By substituting Cotton for Boards, Indian Corn for Shingles (not usually quoted by quarter), and Flour for Fish, they give the exact quotations of the Foreign despatch for the Associated Press. It was sent about one hour before the Associated Press chartered steamboat arrived at Saint John – "about five minutes before six o'clock" – with the latest European news.  After this message, "Consignees of Neptune," was transmitted from Saint John, the telegraph wire was cut, between Saint John and Calais, and the Associated Press despatch could not be sent until the break was found and repaired the following morning.  This time, the speculators' express got the market quotations to New York a full twelve hours ahead of the Associated Press.


RMS Niagara, Captain W.J.C. Lang
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, August 25th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 3am Wednesday, August 30th, 1849 (Novascotian)
arrived Halifax: 5am Wednesday, August 30th, 1849 (British Colonist)
arrived Halifax: 6am Wednesday, August 30th, 1849 (New Brunswick Courier)
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about dawn Wednesday, September 5th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   10pm Wednesday, September 5th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, September 8, 1849
The Steamship Niagara, with the English Mail of 25th August, arrived at Halifax on Wednesday morning at six o'clock, in ten days and a half from Liverpool. The Express (per steamer Herald, from Granville), for the United States Associated Press, reached Saint John about ten o'clock the same night...


RMS Europa, Captain Lott
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, September 1st, 1849
arrived Halifax: 7pm Monday, September 10th, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about 8pm Monday, September 10th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   2pm Tuesday, September 11th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, September 15, 1849
The weekly Mail from Britain, per Steamship Europa, with dates to the 1st September, arrived in Saint John at half past five o'clock on Wednesday morning, by Post Office Express ... The Express, by way of Granville, for the United States Associated Press, arrived in Saint John at Two o'clock on Tuesday afternoon...


RMS Cambria
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, September 8th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Wednesday evening, September 19th, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   (9pm?) Wednesday, September 19th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   1pm Thursday, September 20th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, September 22, 1849
The Steamer Cambria, with the English Mail of the 8th September, arrived at Halifax on Wednesday evening ... The Express Steamer from Granville, with the news for the United States Associated Press, arrived at Saint John between twelve and one o'clock on Thursday...


RMS America, Captain Harrison
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, September 15th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 11am Tuesday, September 25th, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   noon Tuesday, September 25th, 1849
arrived Saint John:   4am Wednesday, September 26th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, September 29, 1849
The news by the British Mail Steamer of the 15th instant, were received here by the Express Steamer from Granville, at four o'clock on Wednesday morning, for transmission by telegraph to the United States...


RMS Canada, Captain Judkins
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, September 22nd, 1849
arrived Halifax: 9am Tuesday, October 2nd, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   mid-morning Tuesday, October 2nd, 1849
arrived Saint John:   midnight(?) Tue-Wed, October 2-3, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, October 6, 1849
The Royal Mail Steamer Canada, with the British Mail of the 22nd September, arrived at Halifax on Tuesday morning last in 9¼ days from Liverpool...

The Last Trip to Victoria Beach
2 October 1849

On October 2nd, 1849, the last run of the Nova Scotia Pony Express was made from Halifax through Kentville to Victoria Beach, carrying the European News brought by the Royal Mail Steamer Canada, which departed Liverpool on September 22nd. Canada arrived at Halifax on Tuesday morning, October 2nd; the last express to Victoria Beach departed a few minutes after Canada's arrival. The route from Halifax to Victoria Beach became obsolete with the completion of the telegraph line between Saint John and Sackville, New Brunswick.



RMS Caledonia, Captain Leitch
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, September 29th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Wednesday morning, October 10th, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   Wednesday morning, October 10th, 1849
arrived Sackville:   Wednesday night, October 10-11, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, October 13, 1849
The English Mail of the 29th September, brought to Halifax by the Steamer Caledonia, in a few hours short of eleven days from Liverpool, was received at Sackville Wednesday night, by horse express from Halifax, and telegraphed to the United States, for the Associated Press...

This was the first batch of European News to be sent
for the Associated Press by telegraph from Sackville
to Boston and New York.





Hibernia Back in Service

The Steamship Hibernia's repairs have been completed at New York
at a cost of about $10,000.  She sailed on Saturday [29 September 1849]
for Liverpool direct.
[Yarmouth Herald, 11 October 1849]



RMS Niagara, Captain Ryrie
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, October 6th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 2am Wednesday, October 17th, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   2am Wednesday, October 17th, 1849
arrived Sackville:   1pm Wednesday, October 17th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, October 20, 1849
The first October Mail, brought by the Steamer Niagara, in 10½ days from Liverpool, was received in Halifax at two o'clock on Wednesday morning last ... the news was conveyed by horse express to Sackville, and from thence telegraphed at one o'clock on Wednesday to the United States.

Niagara experienced rough weather on the passage from Liverpool to Halifax, and had her figurehead and bulwards carried away.



RMS Europa, Captain Lott
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, October 13th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Wednesday morning, October 24th, 1849
destination Boston

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   Wednesday morning, October 24th, 1849
arrived Sackville:   Wednesday night, October 24th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, October 27, 1849
The Steamship Europa, with the English Mail of the 13th inst. arrived at Halifax on Wednesday morning, in 10½ days from Liverpool...


RMS Hibernia, Captain W.J.C. Lang
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, October 20th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Friday evening, November 2nd, 1849
destination New York

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   Friday evening, November 2nd, 1849
arrived Sackville:   early morning Saturday, November 3rd, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, November 3, 1849
The Express with the English news brought by the Hibernia, Mail Steamer of the 20th October, arrived at Sackville just as we were going to press...

Hibernia had a stormy passage of 13 days.



RMS Cambria, Captain Shannon
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, October 27th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 4pm Thursday, November 8th, 1849
arrived Boston: Saturday, November 10th, 1849

Pony Express Run
departed Halifax:   about dusk Thursday, November 8th, 1849
arrived Sackville:   Friday morning, November 9th, 1849

New Brunswick Courier, November 10, 1849
The Mail Steamer Cambria arrived at Halifax on Thursday evening, in twelve days' passage from Liverpool...

The Last Trip
8-9 November 1849

This batch of European News brought by Cambria was carried by the last trip of Daniel Craig's Horse Express.  This run departed Halifax on the evening of Thursday, November 8th, galloped through Truro and Amherst, and arrived in Sackville, New Brunswick, on the morning of Friday, November 9th, 1849.  Daniel Craig's Horse Express, operated for the Associated Press across Nova Scotia, became obsolete with the completion of the telegraph line connecting Halifax with Saint John, Boston, and New York.  After this date, the news was sent by the new electric telegraph.



RMS America
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, November 3rd, 1849
arrived Halifax: Thursday, November 15th, 1849
Destination New York


RMS Caledonia, Captain Leitch
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, November 10th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 9am Friday, November 23rd, 1849
Destination Boston


RMS Canada
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, November 17th, 1849
arrived Halifax: —
arrived New York: Saturday morning, December 1st, 1849


RMS Europa
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, November 24th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Friday morning, December 7th, 1849
arrived Boston: Sunday morning, December 9th, 1849


RMS Hibernia
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, December 1st, 1849
arrived Halifax: —
arrived New York: Tuesday, December 18th, 1849




The winter schedule, one trip every two weeks, went into effect
after Hibernia's departure on December 1st, 1849.



RMS Cambria
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, December 15th, 1849
arrived Halifax: 6am Friday, December 28th, 1849
arrived Boston: Saturday, December 29th, 1849


RMS Canada
departed Liverpool: noon Saturday, December 29th, 1849
arrived Halifax: Sunday morning, January 13th, 1850
Destination New York


Twentieth Century Items
about the
Nova Scotia Pony Express


blue ball 1912, by John W. Regan, Nova Scotia Historical Society The beginning of the Associated Press — the Pony Express that in 1849 forwarded European News from Halifax to Digby to be conveyed by chartered steamship to Saint John and thence telegraphed to New York...

blue ball 1914, by George Mullane, the Halifax Morning Chronicle The Halifax Express (now usually known as the Nova Scotia Pony Express) was organized early in 1849 for the purpose of moving the European news as quickly as possible from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to New York.  Six New York newspapers agreed to work together, sharing expenses, in an organization called the New York Associated Press, which developed into the great news-gathering organization now familiar simply as the AP...

blue ball 1940, The Halifax Pony Express, by D. A. MacNeill Text of the article in the April 1940 issue of Dots & Dashes, a monthly newsletter published by Canadian National Telegraphs

blue ball The Story of the 1949 Bronze Plaque on the Pony Express monument at Victoria Beach, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia

blue ball 1973, by Murrille Schofield In the year 1849 the Oregon Boundary Dispute was still seething between the United States and Great Britain. There was still starvation and famine in Ireland. Europe was aflame with revolutions on the continent; Britain put down a rebellion of the Sikhs in India; Portugese and Chinese were fighting in Macao; a Montreal mob burned down the Parliament Building and later sacked a hospital and the odd son of Erin took pot shots at Queen Victoria. The California gold rush was on and My Darling Clementine was the top song hit.  The fastest news media in Nova Scotia was the "Halifax Express" or Pony Express which galloped from Halifax to Digby Gut once a fortnight with the news from England on its way to New York...
Nova Scotia Pony Express, 1849: AP courier departing Halifax
From Atlantic Insight July 1984




blue ball 1984, The News of the World Flashed Through Nova Scotia, by Harry Bruce, in Atlantic Insight (magazine) July 1984.
(This article is not available online, but mention is included
here for sake of completeness of the record.
Below are the first four paragraphs.)

          The pony express from Halifax to Digby Gut lasted less than a year, and in the long scheme of human affairs that's little more than the blink of a horse's eye.  Maybe that's why the express fails to rate even a footnote in most books about Nova Scotia.  Yet this hairy adventure — which saw rival riders pounding through the excited villages of the Annapolis Valley on foam-flecked horses — was a landmark in the history of news.
          For the six New York newspapers that buried their bitter differences to found the express called their partnership The Associated Press; and Daniel Craig, the tough Yankee they sent to Halifax to run the service, was AP's first foreign correspondent.  AP eventually became the greatest news-gathering agency in the world (and still is), but it's doubtful if many of the thousands of reporters who've lived and died in its service ever knew about the 144-mile horse races of its infancy in backwoods Nova Scotia.
          By 1849, the surge of steam transportation and the tentacles of the electric telegraph had not yet met in every port, and the Halifax-Digby road was a gap where the horse, as a bearer of news, made a brief, bold stand.  The telegraph was creeping toward Halifax.  Only three years had passed since the introduction of North America's first commercial telegraph system.  Using Morse code, it linked Washington and Baltimore.  By 1848, however, telegraphs already ran between New York and Buffalo, Toronto and Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal, and Montreal and Quebec.  Other lines ran from New York to Boston, from Boston to Calais, Maine, and on to Saint John, New Brunswick.  The Saint John connection was one key to the Halifax-Digby Express.
          The other was the Cunard line of ocean-going steamships.  As every bluenose schoolchild knows, or should know, Samuel Cunard of Halifax started the first regularly-scheduled steamship service between Britain and America, and thereby revolutionized transatlantic travel.  Since 1840, his vessels had been carrying passengers, cargo, and the Royal Mail to Boston and later New York; and by 1849 he had no less than nine steamships nipping back and forth on the North Atlantic.  Four of them were 1,850-ton, 249-foot paddle-wheelers.  Only a year old, these were the America, Europa, Canada, and Niagara. Cunard called his line the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, but that was such a mouthful it was better-known as "Mr. Cunard's company," or simply "Cunard's"...
Nova Scotia Pony Express, 1849: AP courier on galloping horse
From Atlantic Insight July 1984




It was essential that these Associated Press news packets be carried as quickly as possible to their destination, while maintaining security and secrecy.

The express couriers rode alone, often at night, on narrow roads not much more than trails, with few travellers, sometimes through isolated areas far from any habitation.

In 1849, the Nova Scotia Pony Express was an essential link in the international communications system, often carrying news comparable to what, in the late twentieth century, would be classified by international television news channels as Breaking News, to be transmitted over hastily-arranged communications satellite channels.

The competition was intense.  More than once in 1849, accurate news about an important British government decision was being sold on the streets of New York and Boston for a penny a copy, as much as 24 hours before the official message reached Washington.  The U.S. President was not amused by such exploits by James Gordon Bennett and his associates.


blue ball 1998, the QSL postcard for amateur radio station XJ1JF This station was set up in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the 1849 Nova Scotia Pony Express.

blue ball 1999 Jan 22, by Ed Coleman, in the Kentville Advertiser
Pony Express, 150th Anniversary: Before the telegraph reached Nova Scotia and railroad tracks were laid across the province there was news delivery by pony express.  In reality it was a horse express — the name "pony express" was borrowed from the Americans — and while it was a short-lived venture, it stirred the imagination of Nova Scotians. The pony express operated between Halifax and Digby Gut in 1849 for a period of about nine months for the sole purpose of rushing European news to a group of newspapers in New York...

blue ball 1999 Feb 15, Editorial in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald
Our Own Pony Express

blue ball History of Communications in Nova Scotia under the heading
          1849 March 8, Second Run of the Pony Express
This time, there were two pony expresses operating over the same route, between Halifax and Victoria Beach. One express service was run by the Associated Press, and the other by a group of U.S. speculators.  In contrast to the first run fifteen days earlier, this trip attracted a lot of media attention because it was a competitive trip. (At that time, the only "media" around were the newspapers.) The two riders galloped out of Halifax immediately after the arrival of the Cunard steamship America, at a speed "unprecedented in this country". America had arrived at the Halifax wharf about 2:30am on March 8th, 1849. The two couriers arrived at Victoria Beach only three minutes apart, at 11:30am, having taken 8½ hours for the trip from Halifax (these are the times given in contemporary reports, which appear to allow about a half-hour to get the mail packages off the ship and handed over to the riders). This was early March, when the nights were still long, and the riders galloped at least as far as Mount Uniacke in darkness, with no light other than that provided by the stars and the Moon.  On March 8th, 1849, the Moon reached full phase about 9pm Halifax time.  When the riders started from the Halifax waterfront, the Moon's phase was only 18 hours short of being full; for practical purposes they had the light of a Full Moon if the sky was cloudless, or nearly so. We do not know what the sky was like that night — they may have had anything from bright moonlight (clear sky) to utter darkness (heavy overcast).

blue ball 1999 Apr 23, Astor Place Riot, New York, 10 May 1849 The Globe and Mail

blue ball 1999 Apr 23, Pony Express Re-enactment Ed Coleman's weekly column in the Kentville Advertiser
(Last paragraph) If you've been following the news you are likely aware of the pony express, which operated in Nova Scotia for about nine months in 1849.  A re-enactment of the running of the pony express across Nova Scotia is being planned for this 150th anniversary year in late September or early October.  This should be an interesting salute to a little-known piece of Nova Scotia history...

The Pony Express item is the last paragraph of the column.  The complete column is available at http://users.eastlink.ca/~columns/editorial/1999/e99apr23.html
Ed Coleman's website entry page is at http://users.eastlink.ca/~columns/history.html


blue ball 1999 Apr 30, Ed Coleman's column in the Kentville Advertiser
Pony Express — Here's the Update  As mentioned in last week's column, a re-enactment of the old Nova Scotia pony express run of 1849 will take place in early autumn... Here's an update about the events that will take place to mark the pony express anniversary.  The celebration will involve numerous communities and organizations throughout the Annapolis Valley...

blue ball 1999 June 11, CBC Information Morning Don Connolly and Elizabeth Logan discuss the 150th Anniversary Celebrations of the Nova Scotia Pony Express with Jim Fisher and David Barrett, representing the Nova Scotia Pony Express Sesquicentennial Celebration group.

blue ball 1999 June 27, Letter to the Editor in the Bangkok Asia Times Online
Some of your other media-conscious readers may be interested in knowing about this year's celebration of the 150th anniversary of a pony express service that was involved in an important acceleration of news delivery from Europe to North America.  Fast, regular Cunard steam packets between Liverpool and Halifax were the earliest reliable source of news from Europe.  The Associated Press (AP), founded in 1848 by six leading New York newspapers to pool their efforts in speeding international news, had invested significantly in the telegraph from the U.S. to Saint John, New Brunswick (Canada).  The challenge was to get the dispatches from the docks of Halifax to the telegraph office in Saint John in the least possible time.  The answer: run a "pony express" overland to the Victoria Beach on the Bay of Fundy and carry the dispatches on a fast chartered steamboat to Saint John.  The service began in 1849.  For details of this year's festivities, link to our Web site.
Jim Fisher
Nova Scotia, Canada

Note: The phrase "link to our Web site" was a hyperlink pointing to
http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyexdx.html (that site disappeared in early October 2001 when the hosting company went out of business).

Contact the Editor by fax at (66-2) 298-0579, by phone at (66-2) 298-0651, by snailmail addressed to Editor, Asia Times Online, 979/39 Phaholyothin Road, 18th Floor SM Tower, Phyathai, Bangkok 10400 Thailand
e-mail: letters@atimes.com
       —Source:  http://www.atimes.com/letters/letters.html


blue ball   — From the Saint John Telegraph-Journal, 2 October 1999:
When inside traders looked to Saint John: In 1849, city played key role during Pony Express's brief heyday
        In the days before satellites and E-mail, Saint John was the news centre for North America.
        The Associated Press, one of the world's largest news organizations, may have made its name south of the border but AP's modest beginnings are rooted in the Maritimes.
        Between February and November 1849, a pony express raced through rural Nova Scotia in an effort to deliver the news to New York City as fast as possible and Saint John was an integral stop on the journey.
        "Saint John was a crucial operation here because Saint John was where the telegraph office was," said amateur historian Ivan Smith, who explained the news arrived in Halifax aboard one of Samuel Cunard's steamships.
        Over the past week, the Pony Express Sesquicentennial Committee has re-enacted the 232-kilometre journey and today the ride will arrive in Victoria Beach, Nova Scotia, a small community across the Annapolis Basin from Digby that was the terminus for what was then an exciting 10-hour ride.
        There a steamer met the horseman and ferried the news packets across to Saint John.
        A runner would then dart over to the telegraph office and news would be sent over the wire to New York City and the waiting presses of the six New York papers that sponsored the service.
        Brokers and stock traders were so eager for London business news that a second pony express sprang up, this one run by speculators looking to make some quick money, in an early example of insider trading.
        Their aim was to fetch the news from the Cunard steamers and then race the official pony express to Saint John with the hope that they would arrive first.
        According to Mr. Smith, there was only one wire strung between Saint John and New York City and the telegraph office worked on a first-come-first-served basis.
        That meant that if the speculators' runner got there first, they received the business news a few hours before newspaper readers and had the opportunity to make some quick trades, an early example of insider trading.
        "If they could get the European news to New York before it got in the newspaper, they could make a bundle of money," said Mr. Smith.
        On at least one occasion, in August 1849, speculators went so far as to cut the telegraph wire to prevent the New York newspapers from getting the news.
        It was a foggy day and the speculators' steamer had beat the newspapers' boat by two hours.  Night was approaching when the official pony express finally arrived in Saint John only to discover the line was dead.  "All they could do was send a guy out on a horse to follow the line," said Mr. Smith.
        But darkness fell before the cut could be discovered and it was the next morning before telegraph workers found the wire had been severed on the far side of Reversing Falls.
        All told, the telegraph line was out of service for 18 hours.  "Somebody made a lot of money that day," said Mr. Smith.
        The pony express ended in November 1849 with the completion of the telegraph line from Saint John to Halifax.


Halifax Shipping News

Arrivals at Halifax of ships
closely associated with the
Nova Scotia Pony Express

blue ball March 10, 1849 The British Colonist
    Cunard steamship America westbound, Captain Shannon, arrived from England at 2:30am on March 8th, 1849, with the news carried on the second run of the Nova Scotia Pony Express.
    Cunard steamship Europa eastbound from New York, arrived at Halifax at 2:00am March 10th, 1849.  This was a stop at Halifax on her way to Liverpool, England, with 82 passengers and the Royal Mail.  On her previous westbound trip, Europa conveyed the news carried on the first run of the Nova Scotia Pony Express.


Related Information

Additional material
which is not directly connected with the
Nova Scotia Pony Express
but forms part of the historical context




1849, the Cunard Steamship Fleet
America, Caledonia, Cambria, Canada, Europa, Hibernia, and Niagara.




1848, Burket's Exchange News Room Halifax




On April 14, 1847, an Act was passed by the New Brunswick Legislature incorporating The British North American Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Company. On March 30, 1848, an Act was passed by the New Brunswick Legislature incorporating the New Brunswick Electric Telegraph Company.  A line was built in New Brunswick from Calais, Maine, to St. John in 1848; from St. John to the Nova Scotia boundary in 1849; from St. John to Fredericton in 1850, and from Fredericton to Woodstock in 1851.

In 1847 the subject of the electric telegraph was brought up in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, and on March 30, 1847, an Act was passed to incorporate The Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Company, but this Act does not appear to have been approved by the Imperial Government.

On March 4, 1848, the Nova Scotia Legislature appointed a Select Committee to enquire into, and report upon, the subject of the electric telegraph from Halifax through New Brunswick to Quebec; the members were G.R. Young, J.W. Johnston, James D. Fraser, Thomas Killam, H.Y. Mott, Chas. F. Harrington and William B. Taylor, This committee reported to the House March 13, 1848. (Journal of the Nova Scotia Legislature, 1848, Appendix No. 66.) The report of the Select Committee shows that F.N. Gisborne was then in Halifax in the interests of the British North American Electric Telegraph Association, and that he had given the committee a great deal of information. The committee learned that the Morse company were in control of telegraph lines from Portland, Maine, to St. Louis, Missouri, and were then considering the building of a line in Maine from Bangor to the Canadian border at Calais, and thence to Saint John, New Brunswick.

Source: Nova Scotia's Telegraphs, Landlines And Cables by D.G. Whidden, a history of telegraphs in Nova Scotia, published in 1938 in the Wolfville Acadian newspaper.




23 December 1848: The Government organ yesterday said that "the public revenues of Nova Scotia were pledged for the construction of a Telegraph line from Halifax to our Northern frontier." That may be all very true.  The Government are au fait enough at voting money and pledging the public revenues, but unfortunately neither know how to obtain a revenue, or how to keep that the Conservatives left them in the chest.  The Government may, if they please, pledge half a dozen revenues, but that won't put the money into the chest; and that pledge will have to go and keep company with sundry other pledges which the Government have not found it convenient to redeem.
[Above quoted whole from the Halifax British Colonist, 23 December 1848]

"Our Northern frontier" refers to the boundary
between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.





June 1849: Tender call for construction of electric telegraph line between Halifax and Amherst Advertisement in the Halifax Novascotian, June 11, 1849.  The Nova Scotia Pony Express ended forever when this telegraph line was completed and put into regular operation on November 15, 1849.




3 September 1849: "The Posts [poles] for the Electric Telegraph are now standing from the North-west boundary of the Province, along the line of the Great Eastern Road, as far as Sackville. They are now erected nearly up to the Ten-mile Inn (Brass's).  The workmen will be engaged at the close of this, and in the early part of next week, in bringing them on towards the city.  The wire, &c., we have been informed, are on the way from New York, and it is now expected that the line in Nova Scotia will be completed, and in working order, by the 15th or 20th of September.  The line from St. John to Amherst is nearly complete, and the connected line between Halifax and Boston may be expected to be operated before the end of September."
[Above quoted whole from the Novascotian, Halifax, 3 September 1849]




1938, F.N. Gisborne A biographical sketch.
    http://library.vicu.utoronto.ca/special/gisborne.htm

Fred Gisborne was the telegraph operator at Halifax who, on 15 November 1849, sent the first message over the newly-completed electric telegraph line between Halifax and Saint John, carrying fresh news brought from Europe by Cunard for New York, which forever ended the Nova Scotia Pony Express.




1849, Oregon Boundary dispute In 1848-49, anti-British feeling in the United States was running high over the Oregon territory dispute.  Great Britain and the United States were close to outright war.  The Astor Place riot erupted on May 10, 1849, in New York City.  Before it was over, 23 people were dead and dozens more were wounded.  Anti-British sentiment was a significant factor in triggering the riot.  In this critical time, the Nova Scotia Pony Express was a vital link in the communications system that carried news of crucial events from London to New York.




1850, A Fierce War: The Electric Telegraph Lines Between New York and Halifax
...The vexations endured by the Associated Press management in the early days (1849-1850) were aggravated by dissentions which grew up between the managers of some of the Morse telegraph lines and the press. There were also contentions between the members of the press in Boston and other places, fanned if not engendered by the jealousies of some of the Morse lines, and especially by those under the control of F.O.J. Smith. This gentleman refused to have steamers' news come over his line from Halifax, for the Associated Press, unless they dismissed Mr. Craig, then acting as their Halifax agent. This led to a rupture, by which the press of Boston became divided. The Association retained Mr. Craig, and ran a special locomotive express at an enormous expense with each steamer's news, from Portland to Boston on the railway, there being no telegraph between these two points except that owned by Smith. From Boston it was carried by the Bain telegraph line to New York. The Association also, by its encouragement, caused a company to extend the Bain line from Boston to Portland, where it connected with the lines extending thence to Halifax, and which were beyond the control of Smith. The war was a very fierce one; many phamphlets appeared on both sides, including one by Mr. Craig in his defence against Smith's charges. The latter left no stone unturned. Among other efforts to thwart the Association, it is said that he endeavored to get control of one of the links on the Halifax line east of Portland. He also appealed to the Provincial Legislature of New Brunswick, and protested against the management of the Halifax line by its superintendent; but all without avail.  His success in putting the newspaper press by the ears was not only less difficult, but more complete. At one time Smith refused to receive and transmit private messages handed in by merchants and others for Halifax, or to let anything come over his line from Halifax...
[Page 140, Historical Sketch of the Electric Telegraph, by Alexander Jones, published in 1852 by George E. Putnam, New York.]
(Alexander Jones was the first General Manager of the Associated Press in New York.)





1851, Daniel Craig's Letter In his travels around North America during the winter and spring of 1851, Daniel Craig found everywhere that the general character of telegraphic news, as published in the leading newspapers of the country, "was a positive disgrace to all concerned." He reported that the public had come to regard "all telegraphic newspaper despatches with suspicion or disgust." In this letter, Craig outlines the leading features of new policies he was implementing on behalf of the New York Associated Press, to improve the "inefficient and irresponsible" system which had previously prevailed.  The principles and policies outlined by Craig in this letter quickly became the basic working principles and policies of the Associated Press, and to this day have remained its defining framework...





Nova Scotia Pony Express
1849

Chronology of Discovery of
Additional Contemporary Sources

about the beginning of the 1849 Nova Scotia Pony Express

Written 31 March 1999
These two items, which appeared in two different newspapers printed on the same day in Halifax, have been generally known (at least to local historians) for many decades.  They are the earliest known reports of the high-speed courier service then known as the Halifax Express, and now known as the Nova Scotia Pony Express.


Reports of the Express
Second Run, March 8, 1849

The Expresses
The British Colonist, 10th March 1849 Reproduction (image) of item describing the second run of the Nova Scotia Pony Express.

Expresses
The Acadian Recorder, 10th March 1849 Reproduction (image) of item describing the second run, on March 8th, of the Nova Scotia Pony Express.
Written 12 May 1999
A brief report dated twelve days earlier has been found in the Nova Scotia Public Archives.


Report of Plans for the Express Service

Express
Novascotian, February 26, 1849. Reproduction (image) of a brief report describing the planned Nova Scotia Pony Express.
Written 25 May 1999
Another brief report dated eight weeks earlier has been found in the Saint John Regional Library.


Report of Plans for the Express Service


Rapid Transmission of News, Express from Halifax to Connect with the Electric Telegraph
New Brunswick Observer, January 13, 1849. We have been favored by D. Caldwell, Esq., with the perusal of a letter from Mr. Hyde, Mail Contractor at Halifax, dated the 5th instant [January 5th 1849] which states...
Written 30 May 1999
A more detailed report dated fourteen days earlier has been found in the Saint John Regional Library.


Report of the Express
First Run, February 21-22, 1849

English Mail — American Express
New Brunswick Courier, February 24, 1849 A little after eight o'clock on Thursday evening last, the steamer Commodore, Capt. Brown, arrived from Digby Basin, bringing Mr. Craig...
Written 31 May 1999
Another detailed report dated 10 March 1849 has been found in the Saint John Regional Library.


Report of the Express
Second Run, March 8, 1849

English Mail — Another American Express
New Brunswick Courier, March 10, 1849
The steamer Conqueror arrived in Saint John harbour at six o'clock on Thursday evening, from Granville Point...
Written 5 June 1999
A report dated 23 February 1849 has been found in the Saint John Regional Library.


Report of the Express
First Run, February 21-22, 1849

Saint John Weekly Chronicle, February 23, 1849
The steam ship Europa reached Halifax on Wednesday afternoon [February 21, 1849] at 5 o'clock, with the mail of 10th instant ... The news arrived [at Saint John] at 8 o'clock last evening by the Steamer Commodore, Captain W.G. Browne, from Digby Basin, having received it in 11 hours from Halifax. The intelligence was immediately transmitted by telegraph to Boston, New York, &c....
Written 7 June 1999
A report dated 9 March 1849 has been found in the Saint John Regional Library.


Report of the Express
Second Run, March 8, 1849

Saint John Weekly Chronicle, March 9, 1849
The mail and news, which departed Liverpool on February 24th, reached Halifax yesterday morning at 3 o'clock, and the news was dispatched by express to Saint John, arriving here in fifteen hours afterwards, via the Bay of Fundy. It was immediately forwarded by Telegraph to New York...
Written 8 June 1999
A report dated 19 January 1849 has been found in the Saint John Regional Library.


Report of Plans for the Express Service


Rapid Transmission of News, Express from Halifax to Connect with the Electric Telegraph
New Brunswick Reporter and Fredericton Advertiser, January 19, 1849 (Fredericton weekly newspaper)   We have been favored by D. Caldwell, Esq., with the perusal of a letter from Mr. Hyde, Mail Contractor at Halifax, dated the 5th instant [January 5th 1849] which states, that gentleman will undertake to forward an Express to Amherst...
The items in the Saint John Regional Library were found by Ms. Mary Rosevear, Quispamsis, New Brunswick.  The item in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia was found by Ivan Smith, Canning, Nova Scotia.





More About the
Nova Scotia Pony Express

Photographs of the Nova Scotia Pony Express monument
    http://ns1763.ca/annapco/ponyexmon.html


Pony Express Monument Unveiled, Halifax Chronicle-Herald 27 Aug 1953
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex12.html


The Pony Express Plaque Installed in 1949 100th Anniversary
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex04.html


Halifax Express The Novascotian, 26 February 1849
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex66.html


Halifax Express The British Colonist, 10 March 1849
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex67.html


Halifax Express The Acadian Recorder, 10 March 1849
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex68.html


The Second Run of the Nova Scotia Pony Express 8 March 1849
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex09.html


Nova Scotia Pony Express 1849, by John Regan 5 January 1912
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex01.html


Nova Scotia Pony Express 1849, by George Mullane 1 Jan 1914
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex02.html


Nova Scotia Pony Express 1849, by Murrille Schofield 1973
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex03.html


Nova Scotia Pony Express, by D. A. MacNeill April 1940
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex16.html


Nova Scotia Pony Express, by CBC Radio 11 June 1999
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex20.html


The Cunard Steamship fleet, 1849
These ships brought the news carried by the Pony Express
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex13.html


Burket's Exchange News Room Halifax 1848-1849
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex17.html


Pony Express Editorial, Halifax Chronicle-Herald 15 Feb 1999
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex06.html


Radio Station X1J1F Victoria Beach, Nova Scotia, 1999
set up in recognition of the 150th anniversary
of the 1849 Nova Scotia Pony Express
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex11.html


The Oregon Boundary dispute, 1849
Britain and USA close to war – the Nova Scotia Pony Express
was the fastest link carrying breaking news to U.S.A.
    http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyex19.html







The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this webpage:
Nova Scotia Pony Express, 1849
ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2000 August 15
http://web.archive.org/web/20000815195845/www2.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2000 November 21
http://web.archive.org/web/20001121091800/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2002 December 07
http://web.archive.org/web/20001207185400/www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2001 February 08
http://web.archive.org/web/20010208124525/http://www2.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2001 August 4
http://web.archive.org/web/20010804015924/http://www2.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyexdx.html


Note: The above copies of this webpage were archived when this website
was hosted by ScotWeb in Edinburgh, Scotland.  ScotWeb's hosting service
ended early in October 2001, and in November 2001 this webpage was
moved to the Yahoo.GeoCities hosting service in California.


Archived: 2002 February 14
http://web.archive.org/web/20020214011308/geocities.com/newscotland1398/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2002 August 27
http://web.archive.org/web/20020827014949/http://www.newscotland1398.net/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2002 October 12
http://web.archive.org/web/20021012105255/http://www.newscotland1398.net/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2003 January 26
http://web.archive.org/web/20030126141816/http://www.newscotland1398.net/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2003 February 16
http://web.archive.org/web/20030216141648/www.newscotland1398.net/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2004 June 29
http://web.archive.org/web/20040629073728/http://www.newscotland1398.net/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2004 October 10
http://web.archive.org/web/20041010042953/http://www.newscotland1398.net/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2005 April 18
http://web.archive.org/web/20050418074145/http://www.newscotland1398.net/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2005 November 24
http://web.archive.org/web/20051124201722/http://www.newscotland1398.net/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2006 April 24
http://web.archive.org/web/20060424073430/http://www.newscotland1398.net/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html

Archived: 2007 June 24
http://web.archive.org/web/20070624120510/http://ns1763.ca/ponyexpress/ponyexdx.html



The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this webpage:
The British Colonist, 10th March 1849
Nova Scotia Pony Express

Archived: 1999 November 13
http://web.archive.org/web/19991113052257/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex07.html

Archived: 2000 August 29
http://web.archive.org/web/20000829031642/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex07.html

Archived: 2000 December 07
http://web.archive.org/web/20001207170700/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex07.html


The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this webpage:
The Acadian Recorder, 10th March 1849
Nova Scotia Pony Express

Archived: 2000 August 29
http://web.archive.org/web/20000829031647/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex08.html

Archived: 2000 December 07
http://web.archive.org/web/20001207171100/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex08.html

Archived: 2001 February 10
http://web.archive.org/web/20010210224013/www2.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex08.html


The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this webpage:
The British Colonist, 9th December 1848
Saint John Electric Telegraph Nearly Finished

Archived: 1999 November 13
http://web.archive.org/web/19991113135221/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex18.html

Archived: 2000 March 07
http://web.archive.org/web/20000307081614/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex18.html

Archived: 2000 August 29
http://web.archive.org/web/20000829031827/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex18.html

Archived: 2000 December 07
http://web.archive.org/web/20001207181500/http://www.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex18.html

Archived: 2001 February 10
http://web.archive.org/web/20010210221929/www2.scotweb.co.uk/ns1398/ponyex18.html


Nova Scotia Pony Express website: traffic statistics, Nov. 2008
Traffic report: November 2008
  Hits per calendar month
       2012 Feb      97
       2012 Jan      40

       2011 Dec      35
       2011 Nov      49
       2011 Oct      42
       2011 Sep      42
       2011 Aug      38
       2011 Jul      32
       2011 Jun      45
       2011 May      44
       2011 Apr      61
       2011 Mar      68
       2011 Feb      75
       2011 Jan      75

       2010 Dec      57
       2010 Nov      82
       2010 Oct      98
       2010 Sep     109
       2010 Aug      52
       2010 Jul      77
       2010 Jun      60
       2010 May      -
       2010 Apr      -
       2010 Mar     136
       2010 Feb     117
       2010 Jan     114

       2009 Dec      87
       2009 Nov     128
       2009 Oct     123
       2009 Sep     104
       2009 Aug      51
       2009 Jul      62
       2009 Jun      95
       2009 May     131
       2009 Apr     136
       2009 Mar     168
       2009 Feb     136
       2009 Jan     115

       2008 Dec      97
       2008 Nov     186
       2008 Oct     190
       2008 Sep     161
       2008 Aug     124
       2008 Jul     189
       2008 Jun     235
       2008 May     276
       2008 Apr     218
       2008 Mar     239
       2008 Feb     193
       2008 Jan     220

       2007 Dec     176
       2007 Nov      83
       2007 Oct      99
       2007 Sep     134
       2007 Aug     155
       2007 Jul     122
       2007 Jun     162
       2007 May     238
       2007 Apr     205
       2007 Mar      81
       2007 Feb      79
       2007 Jan      86

       2006 Dec      58
       2006 Nov      60
       2006 Oct      -
       2006 Sep      -
       2006 Aug      -
       2006 Jul      -
       2006 Jun      -
       2006 May      -
       2006 Apr      -
       2006 Mar      -
       2006 Feb      -
       2006 Jan      -
"-" means data are not available

       2005 Dec     137
       2005 Nov     217
       2005 Oct     208
       2005 Sep     164
       2005 Aug     127
       2005 Jul     137
       2005 Jun     156
       2005 May     250
       2005 Apr     328
       2005 Mar     461
       2005 Feb     677
       2005 Jan     687

       2004 Dec     395
       2004 Nov     386
       2004 Oct     308
       2004 Sep     161
       2004 Aug      94
       2004 Jul      71
       2004 Jun     112
       2004 May     277
       2004 Apr     231
       2004 Mar     291
       2004 Feb     269
       2004 Jan     278

       2003 Dec     127
       2003 Nov     170
       2003 Oct     145
       2003 Sep     106
       2003 Aug      65
       2003 Jul      57
       2003 Jun     111
       2003 May     150
       2003 Apr     155

Go To:   History of Automobiles in Nova Scotia
    http://ns1758.ca/auto/automobiles.html

Go To:   History of Telegraph and Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia
    http://ns1758.ca/tele/telephone.html

Go to:   Ode to the Code ...Morse Code is officially retired...
    http://ns1763.ca/tele/sgr-cbh.html
Go to:   Farewell to Morse Code
    http://ns1763.ca/tele/morse01.html
Go To:   The Duke of Kent's Signal Stations by S.G. Roscoe
    http://www.coastalradio.org.uk/spud/spud/spud02.pdf
Go To:   Communications Links between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1849
    http://ns1763.ca/tele/nb1849.html
Go To:   History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia
    http://ns1758.ca/electric/electric.html

Go To:   History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia
    http://ns1758.ca/rail/railways.html

Go To:   Nova Scotia History, Chapter One
    http://newscotland1398.ca/hist/nshistory01.html

Go To:   Nova Scotia Historical Biographies
    http://newscotland1398.ca/hist/nshistory00.html#ns-historical-biog

Photographs of War Memorials, Historic Monuments and Plaques in Nova Scotia
    http://ns1763.ca/remem/plaques.html

Nova Scotia Quotations
    http://ns1758.ca/quote/quotes.html

Go To:   Home Page
    http://ns1763.ca/index.html





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