Western Expresses | A

Submitted by: The Red Cloud Collection

Western Expresses | A 2021-07-21T00:16:32+00:00

Western Expresses | A

Western Expresses Alphabetically

Western Expresses

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

Adams & Company Express was established in San Francisco in Oct, 1849 as an extension of the east coast Adams Express Company. 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 the premium express fee due for immediate delivery to the recipient upon arrival into Santa Cruz. The only known example of an Adams handstamp precanceled adhesive (with PF certificate).

Earliest Adams & Co.’s west coast ad, Nov 8, 1849 San Francisco Weekly Alta California

Earliest Adams & Co.’s west coast ad, Nov 8, 1849 San Francisco Weekly Alta California

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 mid-1854. Seven of these printed franks are known: six used in the latter half of 1854, with the seventh possibly being a used leftover. Adams & Co.’s design was probably copied by Wells Fargo & Co. for production of their initial wood block 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.

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.

April 26, 1853 San Francisco Evening Journal

April 26, 1853 San Francisco Evening Journal

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. Humboldt Bay

By Adams & Co. Humboldt Bay with PAID handstamp 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 Yuba and Feather Rivers

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 Southern Coast on folded letter datelined San Diego, Cala May 11th, 1854 to San Francisco, with pr Str “Southerner” notation and due 25 cts in pencil. Business letter inquiring whether the recipient would be interested in selling “the Casings and other timbers, on the unfinished portion of your wharf at this place.”

Southern Accommodation Line

May 20, 1854 San Francisco Daily Alta California advertisement for the “Southern Accommodation Line” with the steamer Southerner serving the route between San Francisco and San Diego. Adams & Co. obviously had an agent on board the Southerner handstamping mail.

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.
Coloma Mormon Island

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

By post office Lawrence Mass Jan 29

By post office Lawrence Mass Jan 29 (1852) with matching 10 (due) to Yankee Jims, California; forwarded Adams & Cos. Express Yankee Jim’s to Placerville, COD $1.00 express fee notation.

Yankee Jim’s in 1857

Yankee Jim’s in 1857

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 19, 1851 to San Francisco reads, in part…I would like to know the state of the whiskey market also your opinion as to the best time to buy…

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 reads, in part...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. Sacramento Aug 11 (circa 1853)

By Adams & Co. Sacramento Aug 11 (circa 1853) to San Francisco on “Miner’s Coat of Arms” illustrated envelope (“Published by Barber & Baker, Sacramento”).

San Francisco Evening Journal joint announcement

January 11, 1854 San Francisco Evening Journal joint announcement by Wells, Fargo & Co. and Adams & Co. implying that they’d begin requiring postage affixed to all express letters.

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 Marysville on folded business letter

By Adams & Co. Express Marysville on folded business letter datelined August 19, ‘52 to San Francisco.

Adams & Co. Express San Francisco on folded letter

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

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

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 – Jan 13, 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 13, 1857 San Francisco Daily Herald as “McCombe’s Express,” with John McCombe, proprietor (formerly of Leland & McCombe’s Express). The ad was changed to “American Express” in the Jan 18, 1857 issue of the Herald. Their San Francisco office was with Freeman & Co. at the corner of Montgomery and Sacramento Streets. The last ad for American Express appeared in the Sep 2, 1857 Crescent City Herald. However, newspaper articles continued to show activity through Sep 24, 1857. Nichols & Co.’s Express superseded American Express, adopting their distinctive “dog and safe” printed frank design.

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

By American Express PAID in their Type 4 printed franked envelope from an unknown origin to San Francisco. Four examples of this printed frank are known, with 11 total American Express covers reported in Thomas’ book.

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

Latest reference to American Express, from the San Francisco Daily Alta California Sep 24, 1857.

Western Expresses

Angiers’ Express – May, 1868 to 1870

Perrin Jay Angier was proprietor of this express, which ran from North San Juan to Humbug, connecting with Wells Fargo at the former location. The Nevada Daily Transcript of May 28, 1868 announced that Angier purchased L. H. Wells’ stage line, but almost no mention was made of Angier’s Express thereafter. Angier sold his stage and express line to John Hogan sometime in 1870.

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

By Angiers’ North San Juan and Humbug Express, from one of the camps served by Angier on the route between Humbug to North San Juan; exchanged with Wells Fargo & Co. North San Juan Jul 3 for delivery to Oakland. One of 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 & Co. – Mar, 1853 to Aug, 1853

Edward Russell Anthony, formerly a partner in Freeman & Co.’s Express, was the proprietor of Anthony & Co.’s Express, which ran between San Francisco and the Northern Mines via Sacramento, Marysville and Nevada (City). Anthony’s Express connected with Berford & Co.’s Express, sharing an office with them in San Francisco, for conveyance of express to the Atlantic States. Ads for Anthony’s express are known from Mar 26, 1853 (San Francisco Daily Alta California) thru Aug 26, 1853 (San Francisco Sun).

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; San Francisco Cal. May 10 (1853) postal handstamp for local delivery. One of only four known examples from this short-lived express company.

Earliest Anthony’s ad, from the San Francisco Daily Alta California of Mar 28, 1853

Earliest Anthony’s ad, from the San Francisco Daily Alta California of Mar 28, 1853 (notation indicates the ad began on March 26.

Latest Anthony’s ad, from the San Francisco Sun of Aug 26, 1853.

Latest Anthony’s ad, from the San Francisco Sun of Aug 26, 1853.

Western Expresses Alphabetically