Western Expresses | A

Submitted by: The Red Cloud Collection

Western Expresses | A 2017-10-19T12:28:30+00:00

Western Expresses | A

Western Expresses Alphabetically

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Company Express was established in San Francisco in Sep, 1849 as an extension of the east coast Adams Express Company. It is believed that Adams & Company operated primarily as a forwarder, banker, and gold dust buyer from formation through most of 1851. Expansion of locations and functions began with the acquisition of Freeman & Company’s Express in Nov, 1851 and Newell’s Express in late 1851 or early 1852. The west coast financial panic led Adams & Company to close their doors on Feb 23, 1855. Most of the Adams employees then organized themselves under Russell G. Noyes as the Pacific Express Company.

Adams & Co. San Francisco Jan 10 (1855) Hand Stamp

Adams & Co. San Francisco Jan 10 (1855) hand stamp with PAID and precanceled Adams & Co. 3¢ 1851 adhesive on folded letter datelined Wednesday morning (Jan 10, 1855 was a Wednesday, dating this letter). Adams & Co. San Jose Jan 11 transit marking to Santa Cruz. Red crayon 25 denoting payment of premium express fee for immediate delivery to recipient upon arrival into Santa Cruz. The only known example of an Adams handstamp precanceled adhesive (with PF certificate).

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Company is believed to have been the first express to offer a printed frank on an envelope, in late 1854. Only a handful of these franks are known used during the Adams period of operation, all from late 1854 or early 1855. A number of additional ones are known used as regular envelopes following Adams failure in Feb, 1855; however, they are not considered as Adams usages. This wood block frank was undoubtedly copied by Wells Fargo for use as their initial printed frank.

Adams & Co. San Francisco Aug 26 (1854) hand stamp to San Jose

PAID Adams & Co., Over our California and Coast Routes with Adams & Co. San Francisco Aug 26 (1854) hand stamp to San Jose. Only known example with the frank printed vertically at left used during Adams period of operation.

Adams & Co. Placerville Dec 4 (1854) hand stamp to San Francisco

PAID Adams & Co., Over our California and Coast Routes with Adams & Co. Placerville Dec 4 (1854) hand stamp to San Francisco.

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co. Express San Francisco California Free in their printed envelope

By Adams & Co. Express San Francisco California Free in their printed envelope; exchanged with Newell & Co.’s Express San Francisco for delivery to “Moqulumne Hill”. Newell & Co. advertised that they connected with Adams & Co. in San Francisco. They operated from Oct 22, 1851 until selling out to Adams in July, 1853.Click edit button to change this text.

San Francisco Daily Alta California Nov 10, 1851 notice

San Francisco Daily Alta California Nov 10, 1851 notice by Adams & Co. of the Newell & Co. partnership.

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co.'s Express San Francisco to Sacramento City

Forwarded by Adams & Co.’s Express San Francisco to Sacramento City with paid and per Adams & Co. 25c manuscript notations. Circa 1851.

Adams & Co.'s Express San Francisco from Panama with Cova & Co. Panama marking to San Francisco

Forwarded by Adams & Co.’s Express San Francisco from Panama with Cova & Co. Panama marking to San Francisco. Letter written in Spanish datelined Panama 14 Junio 1851.

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co. Express Panama on January 1st, 1855 printed lettersheet originating from Valparaiso, Chile

Forwarded by J. M. Freeman Agent of Adams & Co. Express Panama on January 1st, 1855 printed lettersheet originating from Valparaiso, Chile via Panama to San Francisco. Enclosure (reduced slightly below to fit page) announces J. M. Freeman as partner in Nye & Co. and as agent for Adams & Co.

Enclosure Originating from Valparaiso, Chile via Panama to San Francisco

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co. Express Coloma to Mormon Island on July 8th, 1852

By Adams & Co. Express Coloma to Mormon Island on July 8th, 1852 folded business letter datelined Coloma. Coloma and Mormon Island were two mining camps on the South Fork of the American River.

Datelined Coloma July 8th, 1852
…Mr. Brooks returned late last evening, but failing to bring the plan or specifications of the flume or ditch, we are unable to estimate upon the cost…Yours respectfully, Brooks, Clark & Co.
Map of Yuba and Feather Rivers

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co. Nov 9 Nevada on folded letter datelined Nov 8, 1853 to San Francisco

By Adams & Co. Nov 9 Nevada on folded letter datelined Nov 8, 1853 to San Francisco. The US government legally required equivalent US postage on privately carried mails after Aug 31, 1852.

Datelined Nevada Nov 8, 1853

…The stage was delayed and I have now time before the Express Office closes, to scratch a line or two. Dr. Weaver is here…He goes to Grass Valley in the morning to employ a Mill Wright in whose capacity he can have more confidence than the one now engaged. It is but 4 miles and we will probably reach Eureka tomorrow night…Yours truly, J S Murray

Map of Route from San Francisco to Nevada

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Cos. Express Placerville to Carson River House, Cala.

By Adams & Cos. Express Placerville to Carson River House, Cala. The only known example of this type Adams Placerville marking.

Placerville (Hang Town) in 1852

Placerville (Hang Town) in 1852

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co. Express Sacramento with PAID on folded business letter

By Adams & Co. Express Sacramento with PAID on folded business letter datelined Dec 25, 1852 to San Francisco.

Datelined Dec 25, 1852 to San Francisco

…The streets of Sacramento are almost impassible & it is next to impossible for a team to get through…

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co. Express Shasta marking in blue for delivery to San Francisco

Aug 28th, 1852 folded letter written in French datelined Middle Town with Adams & Co. Express Shasta marking in blue for delivery to San Francisco. The US government legally required equivalent US postage on privately carried mails beginning Aug 31, 1852.

Datelined Middle Town Aug 28th, 1852
Route Map from San Francisco to Shasta City

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co. Express San Francisco on folded letter

By Adams & Co. Express San Francisco on folded letter datelined Jan 7, 1852 to Sacramento City. Enclosed business letter transcribed below.

Datelined San Francisco Jan 7, 1852

…We did not weigh the seed sent you but took it for what it professed to be – we have weighed the remaining barrels & find them marked correctly – the Hay Knives are $30. per doz…We forward 3 sets Eagle 2B [two bottom] Ploughs – Irons complete with Coultes & Extra Points @ $18.00 pr set & 2 Bags of Herd Grass @ 25c per lb. Grass seed is getting scarce some holding it at $1.00 per lb. This 25c is the lowest we care to purchase for wishing you quick sales…
Yours truly
McNally & Blair

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co. Express Sonora on folded business letter

By Adams & Co. Express Sonora on folded business letter datelined Saturday Evening May 22 [1852] to San Francisco.

Sonora in 1852

Sonora in 1852

Western Expresses

Adams & Company – Sep, 1849 to Feb 23, 1855

Adams & Co. Humboldt Bay with PAID handstamp via steamer to Adams & Co. San Francisco Dec 12

By Adams & Co. Humboldt Bay with PAID hand stamp via steamer to Adams & Co. San Francisco Dec 12 for delivery to “Moquelumne Hill.” Precanceled 3¢ 1851 issue adhesive applied in San Francisco per regulation of Aug 31, 1852 requiring government postage on all express carried letters.

Map of Route from Humboldt Bay through San Francisco to Moquelumne Hill.

Western Expresses

Alta Express Company – Jul, 1857 to Nov, 1858

Alta Express Company was formed after the failure of Pacific Express in Apr, 1857 by Alex Badlam, Jr., C. L. Farrington, and James A. Frost. This express operated throughout the northern and central part of the state of California and into Nevada. Alta Express Company connected with Freeman Express for British Columbia and with Berford & Co. for the Atlantic States. Alta may also have connected with Nichols Express into Oregon and Washington.

Alta Express Co. Angel's. to San Francisco

By Alta Express Co. Angel’s. to San Francisco, manuscript notation “with pkg dust 6 oz”. Undated 1857 or 1858 cover.

Alta Express Company Sacramento to San Francisco

By Alta Express Company Sacramento to San Francisco, with second strike of express hand stamp on verso.

Western Expresses

American Express – Feb 12, 1857 to Sep 24, 1857

The American Express Company in California was not related to the Eastern express company of the same name. Their first ad appeared in the Jan 19, 1857 San Francisco Bulletin with “McCombe & Co., 124 Montgomery St” listed as proprietors. Daily expresses were advertised from San Francisco by steam and stage to San Jose, Santa Clara, Alveso, Redwood City, Woodside, San Mateo, Mountain View, and San Quentin. The text of the ad is identical to one that appeared Jan 16, 1857 under heading of “McCombe’s Express” – the predecessor firm. The last ad for American Express appeared on Mar 17, 1857 and the following issue included news of a lawsuit filed by an employee alleging non payment of salary. However, newspaper articles show activity through Sep 24, 1857. Some sources indicate that they either purchased or consolidated with Nichols Express.

American Express PAID in their printed franked envelope from an unknown origin to San Francisco

By American Express PAID in their printed franked envelope from an unknown origin to San Francisco. Approximately four examples of this printed frank are known, with <15 total American Express covers thought to have survived in total.

San Francisco Daily Alta California Feb 12, 1857

San Francisco Daily Alta California Feb 12, 1857, referencing [John] McCombe as one of the proprietors

San Francisco Daily Alta California Sep 24, 1857

San Francisco Daily Alta California Sep 24, 1857

Western Expresses

Angiers’ Express – 1861 to 1864+

Angier’s Express ran between Humbug and North San Juan, connecting with Wells Fargo at that location. Very little is know about this express, other than it is believed to have operated for only about three years.

Angiers' North San Juan and Humbug Express, likely from Humbug to North San Juan

By Angiers’ North San Juan and Humbug Express, likely from Humbug to North San Juan, where it was exchanged with Wells Fargo for delivery to Oakland. One of approximately six known Angiers’ Express covers.

North San Juan in 1857, from a daguerreotype by George Dornin

North San Juan in 1857, from a daguerreotype by George Dornin

Western Expresses

Anthony & Company – 1852 to Jul, 1853

Anthony & Company’s express operated between San Francisco and the Northern Mines. They had an office in Sacramento and may have carried the mail to Marysville and Nevada City.

Anthony & Co's Northern Express PAID from the northern mines to San Francisco

By Anthony & Co’s Northern Express PAID from the northern mines to San Francisco. One of only five to eight known examples from this short-lived express company.

Sacramento Daily Union ad run from Apr 8 to Jun 15, 1853

Sacramento Daily Union ad run from Apr 8 to Jun 15, 1853

San Francisco Daily Alta ad run from Apr 13 to Apr 21, 1853

San Francisco Daily Alta ad run from Apr 13 to Apr 21, 1853

Western Expresses Alphabetically