Following-up the previous post of April 23, 2013, I offer this fascinating link to a great lecture on the colorful legend of the Pony Express. Author Christopher Corbett [ CLICK HERE ] spoke about his book “Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express” His 54 minute YouTube video shares humorous stories of Buffalo Bill, Pony Express, and research findings. The presentation includes questions from the audience, as well.
Hermon MacNeil’s last sculpture was the Pony Express Rider erected in 1940 in Saint Joseph, Missouri. A skit of the Pony Express was a feature of every show given by Buffalo Bill Cody. We can thank Buffalo Bill for infecting American History with the Pony Express legend. He even infected world history with images of the Pony Express. Hermon MacNeil became captivated by the images of the Native American Indians (Black Pipe and others) in head. He was first introduced to those visions in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show outside of the front gates of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. After this MacNeil traveled to the Southwestern United States. That experience affected him profoundly. From then on, he produced sculptures and returned to those images of Native Americans and Indian themes throughout his life. In 1890 Buffalo Bill rode his troop around Vatican City for the Pope. I never rode with the Pony Express, and neither did Buffalo Bill, though he was the right age to do it in 1860 (He did ride as a courier as a very young boy). However, I almost got a Pony Express ornament for my 1939 LaSalle in 2012 (see below). The statue is MacNeil’s. The LaSalle is mine. (The trailer belongs to Chris Carlsen.) The location is Saint Joseph, Missouri. Enough foolishness, already. Below are more Pony Express images from St. Joe.
Judge Douglas(s) Broadman became the first Dean of the Cornell University Law School in 1887 when Hermon MacNeil was on the faculty. After the Judge’s death in 1891, MacNeil was commissioned to sculpt a bust of Professor Boardman for the University. This was one of MacNeil’s earliest works in marble. At the time he was residing in Chicago working on the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition
MacNeil taught modeling of sculpture at Cornell from 1886-89. He would have known Broadman who came to teach Law in 1887 after a distinguished career on the bench
According to Cornell Archives:
Douglass Boardman graduated from Yale in 1842 and then studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1845 and practiced law in Ithaca, New York. From 1848-1851 he served as District Attorney of Tompkins County, New York, and from 1852-1856 was County Judge. In 1856 he and Judge Francis M. Finch formed a law partnership which continued until 1866 when Boardman was elected a justice of the Supreme Court for the 6th district. He was a director of the First National Bank of Ithaca from its organization in 1864 and became its president in 1884; became a trustee of Cornell University in 1875; and was appointed Dean when the Cornell Law School was organized. Judge Boardman retired from the Supreme Court in 1887, and died in 1891. [ http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/EAD/htmldocs/RMM01622.html ]
For More history see:
The Hermon A MacNeil statue of of the “Pony Express” in downtown St. Joe will point the way as it has daily for 73 years, of “heading west, young man, heading West!”
MacNeil’s model for this work was a wild stallion from North Dakota that ran in the rodeo circuit as a ‘outlaw’ horse named “Poncho Villa.” The untamed bucking bronco put six men in the hospital during his rodeo career. Dr. S. Meredith Strong acquired the stallion from the rodeo as it was breaking up after its last performance in Madison Square Garden. (Click on “Star” news article below).
While you are in St. Joseph be sure to stop at Patee House Museum (CLICK for photos) and the Pony National Express Museum (CLICK for More). And see MacNeil’s statue for his muscles of “Poncho Villa” captured in bronze. The statue has lasted much longer than the Pony Express in its 78 week history. (April 3, 1860 to Oct 24, 1961 ).
The 2013 Re-ride will offer beautiful horse flesh again this year. This 10-day, 24-hour a day, non-stop event by over 600 riders and horses travels over the 1,966 mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from Missouri through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada to California. (Not “instant messaging”, but an amazing feat of daring by teenage riders like Buffalo Bill Cody.)
The 2013 Annual Re-Ride of the Pony Express Trail conducted by the National Pony Express Association starts in St. Joseph, MO and goes to Sacramento, California, June 17 – 27, 2013. It is the longest event held annually on a Historical trail in the nation.
The event commemorated the 1860-1861 Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Company which carried letters and telegrams for 19 months to prove the Central Route through Salt Lake passable year round. The owners hoped to win a federal mail contract on that route. Pony Express history is preserved in the federally designated Historic Trail, administered by the National Park Service, in museums, Pony Rider monuments, books, and the annual recreations by the NPEA.
Dr. Strong, who tamed the original “Poncho” that MacNeil modeled for his sculpture, was the president of the American Rough Riders, a organization devoted to the preservation of the American horse, especially the native, wild pony. The saddle, saddle bags, reins, and mail pouches were all modeled after Dr. Strong’s collection of authentic Pony Express gear. While Strong managed to gain Poncho’s confidence, the animal remained but a one-man horse. He was gentle as a lamb around Dr Strong, but when a stranger appeared, he became a fierce wild stallion again. He certainly was of the breed that the Pony Express fostered in their brief 18 month history.
The Re-riders will also carry Commemorative Letters in a Mochila, Pony Express style. The 2013 cachet will be a vignette of Pony Express history in Utah and will be available for purchase by NPEA members, historians, and philatelists. The envelopes will show they were carried by the Pony Express and the first class postage will have a special US Postal service cancellation. Only the number of letters purchased will be carried. Every year Ham Radio plays a very important part of the Re-Ride by providing communications over parts of the trail where communication by other means is not available. This gives those personnel responsible for that part of the Re-Ride information as to where the rider is and if the mail is on time. Communications between Riders and Ride Captains will be provided by amateur radio operators in the states of California, Nevada, Utah, eastern Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas.
Ranked among the most remarkable feats to come out of the 1860 American West, the Pony Express was in service from April 1860 to November 1861. Its primary mission was to deliver mail and news between St. Joseph, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. Hermon MacNeil’s Statue in St. Joseph, Missouri, marks the beginning point of the trail.
Established March 1993
Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) and Thomas Henry McNeil (1860-1932) were cousins. They shared a common grandfather, Peter McNeil (1786-1847).
Hermon is the sculptor celebrated on this website.Thomas (Tom Henry) was my grandfather. My mother, Ollie Francis McNeil, always referred to Hermon as “Uncle Hermon”. Their parents wanted her (and her sisters and brother) to do that out of respect.
Hermon was more correctly their “first cousin, once removed”. But “Uncle” seems both easier and more respectful. Hermon would be my “first cousin, twice removed” [ see ancestry chart below ].
Tom Henry was born in Missouri, near Burdette in Bates County. He graduated from the University of Michigan. He played football there as the first starting quarterback in consecutive seasons. He practiced as a lawyer for Kansas City Railways Company, and in later years, he was responsible for making accident reports to the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Public Service Commission of Missouri. He died in 1932.
Hermon was born in Everett (Chelsea, Malden) Mass. In 1886 he graduated from Normal Art School in Boston (now Mass Art). He moved to Cornell University, New York, until 1889, leaving to study in Paris as a pupil of Henri M. Chapu and Alexandre Falguière. He sculpted in Chicago from 1891-1895, at the Columbian World Exposition (1893 Chicago World’s Fair) meeting Carol Brooks (also a sculptor). They married on Christmas Day 1895 and sailed days later for Rome (1895-99). Following another year in Paris (1899-1900), they settled in New York City building a home and studio in College Point, Long Island. He worked and lived there until his death in 1947.
FOR MORE read:
Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster, HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com
On this 281st anniversary of the birth of George Washington (Feb. 22, 1732), we visit Hermon MacNeil’s famous statue in Washington Square, NYC. Photos here show it both today and in MacNeil’s original plaster model of 1915 from his College Point studio. His model was located just this past year. (See photos below).
CLICK BELOW for The Washington Arch as New Yorkers and visitors stroll southward from Fifth Avenue into Washington Park.
CLICK BELOW for General George Washington ~ MacNeil’s patriot Commander of the Continental Army.
CLICK BELOW for President Washington ~ Alexander Stirling Calder’s rendition of the civilian “Mr. President”
BELOW is my photo of MacNeil’s original studio plaster model for the George Washington Statue. It is about 3 1/2 feet tall.
The actual statues on the Arch are 12 feet tall. They were both carved by the Piccirilli Brothers. To see a clay model for the piece CLICK BELOW =>
The Picarrilli’s were a famous family of stone-carvers and sculptors who made many of the great sculpture carvings of that period (early 20th century).
George Rogers Clark is in Vincennes, Indiana. Hermon MacNeil’s sculpture of this American Revolutionary hero stands 7 1/2 feet tall.
For over 75 years, this larger-than-life bronze celebrates the ‘Conquest of the West.’ Inside the refurbished rotunda, the proud patriot stands braced on his drawn sword with a face filled with accomplishment. Commissioned by Patrick Henry in the Virginia Militia, George Rogers Clark, a brilliant young military strategist, conceived and accomplished a near impossible mission that won the West to the Mississippi River for the 13 United States in 1779.
(For more on the story of Fort Sackville and Clark’s dedicated militia men SEE below: )
For more on this National Monument see: http://www.nps.gov/gero/index.htm
In May 2012 Donna and I travelled across Illinois on the George Rogers Clark Memorial Highway (U.S. 50), leading to the National Monument in Vincennes. These are a few of our images of this amazing monument to this “unsung hero of the American Revolution.”
Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D., in a piece entitled, “George Rogers Clark and the West” tells the story this way: (http://www.netplaces.com/american-revolution/the-war-on-the-frontier/george-rogers-clark-and-the-west.htm)
Clark responded to the loss of Vincennes with his usual vigor. He gathered a force of 172 men, half of them French volunteers. On February 6, 1779, Clark started his men on their 180-mile march. At first the journey was a pleasant hike. The men were able to hunt fresh game to eat, and spirits were high.
On February 13, Clark’s little army was only twenty miles from Vincennes when they began to feel the full force of the floods. It took two days to get across the Little Wabash River. Game animals disappeared and the men went hungry. They were now slogging through water that was sometimes up to their shoulders. Every mile forward came at the price of almost unbearable exertion. Only Clark’s indomitable will kept his men going. He placed a party in the rear with orders to shoot any man who would not press on. Men who physically collapsed were dragged along in canoes.
Clark finally reached the vicinity of Vincennes on February 23. While his men tried to dry their clothes and ate broth made from some buffalo meat seized from an Indian woman, Clark sent word to the people of Vincennes that he was going to take the town that night. Clark intended to rely on bluff. His men were out of ammunition, and he learned that Hamilton had just been reinforced by 200 Indians. True to his word, Clark marched on the town, ordering parties of his men to parade up and down to create the illusion that he had a larger force than he actually did. The townspeople replenished Clark’s ammunition, and Hamilton’s Indians deserted him.
Clark immediately besieged the fort, pushing to within thirty feet of the wall. Clark’s riflemen picked off Hamilton’s gunners when they tried to fire artillery from the walls. Clark called for unconditional surrender and threatened to storm the place otherwise. To illustrate the consequences, he had five Indians who had been captured with American scalps tied to their belts tomahawked within view of the fort. Hamilton surrendered with seventynine men. Another forty bringing in supplies were captured soon after.
George Rogers Clark had achieved much with very little. He had rolled back British power in the region and helped his countrymen establish a solid foothold in the Ohio River Valley. Clark held the Illinois Country for the rest of the war, although he was never able to fulfill his ambition to attack Detroit. Men and supplies were always in too short supply. The British continued to sponsor Indian attacks that terrorized American settlements in the Ohio Valley. SOURCE: Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D., in a piece entitled, ”George Rogers Clark and the West” ; ( http://www.netplaces.com/american-revolution/the-war-on-the-frontier/george-rogers-clark-and-the-west.htm )