44 FILATELIC FACT AND FALLACIES
DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN FRANKS AND LOCALS.
By H. B. Phillips.
Local Adress, P. O. Box 2113, San Francisco, Cal.
The Adhesive Stamps of Adams & Co.
(OF THE WEST.)
In 1849, the house of Adams & Co., expressmen of Boston, Sent D. H. Haskell as resident partner to found a branch house in San Francisco, where he arrived on the 31st of October, and in a few weeks had the branch in working order and was making larger shipments of gold to New York than any other house. The business increased rapidly, and a banking department was added at the solicitation of the merchants.
At first Adams & Co. did not extend their routes beyond Sacramento and Stockton, connecting at the former City with Freeman & Co.’s Express, which had routes from there to the “Northern mines”, and at Stockton with Newell & Co., who had offices in the camps of the “Southern mines.” Subequently the firms of Freeman & Co. and Newell & Co. were bought out, and Adams & Co. had their offices and agent in all towns of any note in California.
In 1853 they were unquestionably the leading business house of the State dealing with more people, furnishing more accommodations to commercial industry, handling more money, and probably making more profit than any other establishment, and, further, doing the bulk of all the postal service of the new El Dorado. Wherever they opened an agency the price of gold dust rose. By this express the miners sent money and letters to their families in the Eastern States, and also obtained their letters from San Francisco, delivery being made to their customers scattered throughout the State, in camps and canyons, wherever found.
In May, 1854, the western branch of Adams & Co. was converted into a joint stock company, with D. H. Haskell and I. C. Woodss as general partners and Alvin Adams as a special partner, the business remaining under the same name and mamagement, and continuing to extend in public favor. The net receipts of the express department were rated $50,000.00 per month at this time, on a capitol stock of $2,000,000.00.
On Feb. 23, 1855, the approaching crisis in financial circles came to a climax in San Francisco. Adams & Co., with others, were forced to close to close their doors. The house owed perhaps $2,000,000.00 to depositors, and to avoid the injustice of the attachment law of the State, and in the hope of recovering from the shock a receiver was appointed by means of amicable suit between the partners.
The popular excitement was intense throughout the State, and the officers of the law in the various towns refused to recognize the receiver, seized all assets within reach and distributed them to local creditors. In one town their bank was broken open by the mob and the money and gold dust in its vault paid out by a committee of citizens.
It soon became apparent that neither the banking nor express business could ever be revived. In the subsequent proceedings the receiver was imprisoned for contempt of court. Meantime the Vigilance Committee had been organized and one of the judges banished from the State and another imprisoned by the committee. The third justice could not hold court alone and no other tribunal couls release him. He was held in durance for six months, and it was seven years before litigation came to a close, and in the end the depositors got nothing.
A stream of obloquy followed the mamagers for uears; one of them, D. H. Haskell, died but a few days ago in the San Francisco poor house.