In the September number of Filatelic Facts and Fallacies it was stated in the “Department Of Western Franks and Locals” that Bower’s Express began in July, 1851. Since then, however, we have seen a specimen that proves it to have been in operation at an earlier date.
The specimen in question is in the possession of Mrs. Wallace D. Smith of Portsmouth, N. H., who kindly loaned it for inspection. It is addressed to Mrs. Susan Gray Windsor, Vt., and bears, in addition to the Bower’s stamp, the postmarking stamp of the San Francisco postoffice of November 15th, is rated up 40 cents postage, and from the enclosed letter the year is fixed as 1849.
In another and subsequent letter the writer refers to the one in question and states he paid $5.00 express postage on it. This included the 40 cents paid the government by the express company for carriage from San Francisco to its destination.
The writer also stated that in a short time previous he had been one of the pioneer residents of Marysville, a city at that time of four shanties, and his, from having four panes of glass in it, was considered the Palace Hotel of the place, and was known as the Yankee cabin.
Bower’s Express was quite up to date with its office appliances, using a hand stamp, which it applied to all letters entrusted to its care for transportation and delivery. It consisted of a single lined oval 15×24 mm. containing a four line inscription “Forwarded-by-Bower’s-Express.” It is found only on ordinary envelopes, with and without United States adhesive stamps attached.