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Chuck Johnson, Fairbanks, AK is the winner!

Isaac Mossman of Mossman Express is the answer for Week 394 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: Won the race

Tuesday: Had a competitive business

Wednesday: Provided service where speed was important

Thursday: Had to overcome weather obstacles

Friday: People were anxious to hear news of the Civil War

There were three express delivery busnesses that had offices in Oro Fino in the 1860s. One of those was Isaac Mossman who owned Mossman Express. He said he started his business with one pony, $5 and one pair of blankets, "but plenty of grit".

According to John Bradbury's history of Clearwater County he left Walla Walla, WA on April 5, 1861 for Pierce City. "He went past Whiskey Creek on to Touchet where Dayton is now and to Tucannon and then on to the Pataha and from there to the Alpowa. He followed the Alpowa down to its mouth and crossed the Snake River at the Silcott Ferry near its confluence with the Clearwater River.

On the Clearwater, Mossman hooked up with a pack train heaed for Pierce City. They spent four days shoveling their way through snow that was four to five feet deep. But when he arrived at Pierce City, he received a lot of letters to carry to Walla Walla at 50 cents each."

There were problems finding places to stay over in between, but he made $5 the first trip, doubled it the next and from there business was good. by July, Mossman had acquired 10 saddle ponies and positioned them at convenient intervals along the route. That allowed him to change horses three times a day. With two other express delivery companies in town there were often races to get the news and letters to people fastest. Mossman won one of those by skipping around the ranch where he knew other riders would stop. He beat the other riders by four hours while they "ginned up". He earned his bragging rights.

Further informatio about Mossman is available at this web site.

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Orofino 476 0733
Lewiston 208-503-7107
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