Western Expresses | C

Submitted by: The Red Cloud Collection

Western Expresses | C 2017-10-19T14:48:18+00:00

Western Expresses | C

Western Expresses Alphabetically

Western Expresses

COC&PP – Feb 13, 1860 to Mar 21, 1862

The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak (COC&PP) Express Company was the parent company of the famed Pony Express and was formed by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell on Feb 13, 1860 when they bought out the assets of Jones & Russell’s express. They ran the first weekly government mail from Denver to Leavenworth on Aug 14, 1860 and from St. Joseph in early September. COC&PP assumed the Butterfield mail service on Jul 1, 1861. COC&PP sold out to Ben Holladay on Mar 21, 1862.

COC&PP with a partial strike of their provisional straight-line DENVER CENTRAL OVERD. CAL. & PIKES PEAK EXPRESS marking to Denver City, Kansas Territory

Mannheim Center [New York] April 6 (1860) to St. Joseph, Missouri; then by COC&PP with a partial strike of their provisional straight-line DENVER CENTRAL OVERD. CAL. & PIKES PEAK EXPRESS marking to Denver City, Kansas Territory. Sender’s notation to route via Leavenworth and PP Express could not be honored, as that express had been defunct since July, 1859. Clear strike of the straight line marking shown below (enlarged for detail).

Clear strike of the straight line marking

Western Expresses

COC&PP – Feb 13, 1860 to Mar 21, 1862

The Central Overland Califoni & Pikes Peak Express Company Denver City K.T. Aug 21 (1860) to St. Joseph
By The Central Overland Califoni & Pikes Peak Express Company Denver City K.T. Aug 21 (1860) to St. Joseph, with the COC&PP St. Joseph, Mo. Aug 27 backstamp; entered the mail at St. Joseph, Mo. Aug 28, 1860 for delivery to Manchester, N. H.
New York Herald (Aug 28, 1860) article from St. Joseph, Mo.
COC&PP St. Joseph, Mo. Aug 27 backstamp
New York Herald (Aug 28, 1860) article from St. Joseph, Mo., noting, “The Pike’s Peak express arrived this morning [August 27, 1860] with Denver City dates to the 21st inst.”, documenting the trip of this cover.

Western Expresses

Chase’s Express – 1857 to 1863

George. W. Chase began his express and “daily passenger wagon” operating over a route that ran from Yreka to Indian Creek and Deadwood, California. His office in Yreka was located in the Wells Fargo building. In July 1859, the camp at Greenhorn was added to the route. The Yreka Union newspaper of May, 1860 stated that Chase would connect with Wyck’s Scott Valley Express at Indian Creek. In 1863 the express was sold to Charles Prindle.

Chase's Express/Paid in their franked envelope to Yreka

By Chase’s Express/Paid in their franked envelope to Yreka. Postmarked Yreka, Cal Aug 17, 1858 with PAID 10 in arc by post office via Panama to Minnesota.

Chase's Express Deadwood & Ind. Creek to Yreka

By Chase’s Express Deadwood & Ind. Creek to Yreka. The 3. 1857 issue adhesive pays government postage, required by law of Aug 31, 1852, even though this cover never entered the U.S. mails.

Western Expresses

Chase’s Express – 1857 to 1863

Chase's Express/Yreka/Deadwood &/Indian Creek/Paid with their albino embossed express frank at upper left to Yreka

By Chase’s Express/Yreka/Deadwood &/Indian Creek/Paid with their albino embossed express frank at upper left to Yreka. Docketed Aug 9, 1861.

Chase's Express/Yreka/Deadwood &/Indian Creek/Paid with their albino embossed express frank at upper left to Yreka

By Chase’s Express/Yreka/Deadwood &/Indian Creek/Paid with their albino embossed express frank at upper left to Yreka.

Western Expresses

Cherokee Express – 1854 to 1864

This small express operated between Oroville and the so-called Cherokee diggings across Table Mountain nearby, connecting with Wells Fargo at Oroville. Both Oroville and Cherokee had post offices by late 1854; thus, the need for an express between the two towns, a distance of only about 14 miles, doesn’t make sense, unless the express was also providing the service of running the mail in and out of the surrounding mining areas. Captain Darrach, to whom virtually all the Cherokee Express covers are addressed, was the County Clerk for Butte County. Delivery to the County Clerk may have had something to do with mining claims; hence, the need to deliver quickly and directly to the addressee.

Cherokee Express from Cherokee to Oroville

By Cherokee Express from Cherokee to Oroville; Wells Fargo & Co. Oroville Jan 6 for delivery to Mr. Darrach.

Map of Gold Camps of the Feather River

Western Expresses

Cheyenne & Black Hills Express – Feb, 1876 to 1878

Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Co's Express from Cheyenne to an unknown location in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory.

Part of a paste-up carried by Wells Fargo & Co. with their Belmont, Nev. Feb 2 and Austin, Nev. Feb 3 handstamps to Cheyenne Wyo. Feb 4 (postmark) then by the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Co’s Express from Cheyenne to an unknown location in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory. 1877 or 1878 use, based on partners in the business and dates of operation. It is not clear why the Cheyenne postmark would have been applied, as it appears as though the cover was carried privately by Wells Fargo and the Cheyenne & Black Hills Stage Co. The 3¢ rate (prepayment required) was effective from Mar 3, 1863 to Oct 1, 1883 when it was reduced to 2¢.

The Wyoming territorial legislature passed a bill in Dec, 1875 authorizing the establishment of a daily passenger and express service between Cheyenne and the Black Hills of Dakota Territory. William H. Brown and his son-in-law Frank D. Yates started to carry the mail to Spotted Tail agency in Jan, 1876. The first stage, or wagon, of F. D. Yates & Company started on Feb 3. On Feb 12, William “Stuttering” Brown purchased the entire operation including the mail contract on behalf of John “Jack” T. Gilmer, Monroe Salisbury, and Mathewson T. Patrick of Gilmer & Salisbury Stage Co. This operation was combined with a small stage line operating from Salt Lake City under the direction of Luke Voorhees. The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage, Mail and Express route ran from the railroad at Cheyenne north to Fort Laramie and from there into Custer City in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory. This mail run was called the Cheyenne & Black Hills Route. Deadwood was added to the line later in 1876. At some point in 1878, Patrick departed as a partner and the two surviving partners changed the name of the service to the Black Hills Express. The service was sold to Russell Thorp in May, 1883 who continued its operation until Feb, 1887 when it went out of business.

Western Expresses

Cram, Rogers, & Co’s Express – 1851 to Mar 27, 1855

Robert B. Cram of Shasta, Frank A. Rogers of Yreka, and Edwin Rowe of Weaverville formed the nucleus of this operation in 1851. Cram Rogers & Co. was the major express operator in northern California and southern Oregon during the early 1850’s. They added partners A. E. Raynes (of Raynes & Company) and Richard Dugan (of Dugan & Company) in 1853. These later additions gave Cram, Rogers, & Co. control of the area from Jacksonville, Oregon to Shasta, California and to Crescent City, California. They connected with Adams, Gregory and Newell & Company until their failure on Mar 27, 1855.

Cram Rogers & Cos Express Yreka to Shasta

Folded letter written in German headed Yreka City Dec 11, 1853 carried by Cram Rogers & Cos Express Yreka to Shasta; then by Adams & Co. Express Shasta to San Francisco.

Datelined Yreka City Dec 11, 1853
Map of routes from San Francisco to Shasta City to Yreka

Western Expresses

Cram, Rogers, & Co’s Express – 1851 to Mar 27, 1855

Cram, Roger's & Co Express Weaverville with their PAID oval to Shasta

By Cram, Roger’s & Co Express Weaverville with their PAID oval to Shasta; exchanged with Adams & Co Augst 7 Shasta to San Francisco.

Cram, Roger's & Co Express Weaverville likely to Shasta

By Cram, Roger’s & Co Express Weaverville likely to Shasta; exchanged with Adams to San Francisco, with Adams & Co Sacramento transit mark.

Weaverville in 1856

Weaverville in 1856

Western Expresses

Cram, Rogers, & Co’s Express – 1851 to Mar 27, 1855

Cram, Roger's & Co Express Yreka to Shasta

ca Jan, 1854 by Cram, Roger’s & Co Express Yreka to Shasta; exchanged with Adams & Co Jany 18 Shasta to Marysville; again by Adams & Co. Jan 20 Marysville to San Francisco. The manuscript pre-canceled 3¢ 1851 issue adhesive was probably applied by Adams in Shasta.

Route Map showing Cram Rogers Express route in blue; Adams Express route in red

Cram Rogers Express route in blue; Adams Express route in red

Western Expresses

Crary’s Stage & Express Co. – Aug, 1873 to Winter, 1873

Leroy Crary ran a tri-weekly stage service between Nevada City and Dutch Flat, with stops at You Bet and Little York, starting in the fall of 1873. A letter express service connected with Wells Fargo at Nevada City. The service was sold to Broadwell’s Stage & Express Line in the winter of 1873.

Leroy Crary's Nevada and Dutch Flat Stage and Express Line to Nevada City

By Leroy Crary’s Nevada and Dutch Flat Stage and Express Line to Nevada City; by Wells Fargo Nevada Jan 23 (1874) for delivery to Smartsville. The only known example from this short-lived express.

Nevada City from the west (1866)

Nevada City from the west (1866)

Western Expresses

Crawford’s Middle Fork Express – 1857 to 1859

Ellison Lassel Crawford formed Crawford’s Middle Fork Express and is thought to have served the mining camps along the Middle Fork of the American River and its tributary, the Rubicon River, from a base at Greenwood. They connected with Wells Fargo at Greenwood.

Crawford's Middle Fork Express Oct 9 from the mining camps to Greenwood

By Crawford’s Middle Fork Express Oct 9 from the mining camps to Greenwood; by Wells, Fargo & Co. Express Greenwood to San Francisco.

Crawford's Middle Fork Express with their red handstamp

By post office from Big Oak Flat, Cal Oct 12 to Greenwood; then by Crawford’s Middle Fork Express with their red handstamp (one of only five known examples of this marking) for delivery to the mining camps.

Map of American River

Western Expresses

Crooks Express – 1858 to Feb, 1860

A. D. Crook ran his express service from Yreka to the mines along the Scott and Klamath Rivers. Crooks is thought to have connected with Wells Fargo at Yreka.

Crooks Express Scotts River from Klamath River to Yreka

By Crooks Express Scotts River from Klamath River to Yreka; by the US mails from Yreka, Cal Jun 16, 1858 to Alexandria, Virginia. Interesting letter dated May 6, 1858 from Klamath River transcribed in part below, and in its entirety on the following page. Note that took over five weeks to get to Yreka!

Klamath River, Klamath County, Cal.

…I only regret that I cannot give you more general information concerning the Eldorado which our present isolated locality prevents us from doing. The only communication to Crescent City or Trinidad at the coast (100 miles) is by pack mules…The office of sheriff in worth in the vicinity of 8000$ a year; he is elected after the real Whig and Democratic style; all prior sheriffs have gambled off the county funds and left the county in arrears. The office of the district attorney is worth so little that no lawyer would give bonds and take it…The mines in this portion of the state are not paying on an average of One dollar a day for all the labor expended; notwithstanding some few do well, but that few is fast diminishing. It is our intention to wind up mining as soon as possible, as the labor is hard and the chances distant…Just imagine the reminiscences you awake in ones bosom when you speak of being in love with two ladies, when our eyes have not enjoyed the sight of one for two and a half years…

Western Expresses

Crooks Express – 1858 to Feb, 1860

Friend Miner,
Dear Sir,
With feelings of the deepest gratification I received your welcome letter and am thankful for the interesting news which it contains. I only regret that I cannot give you more general information concerning the Eldorado which our present isolated locality prevents us from doing. The only communication to Crescent City or Trinidad at the coast (100 miles) is by pack mules. This added to the danger of landing goods without harbors, makes provisions &c five times as high as in any of the other States. Owing to the mountains and bluffs I do not think we have five miles of wagon road in this Country. Our greatest facilities for traveling is bestride a mule, up hill and down, going at the rate of twenty five miles a day. In Oregon all the rivers flow through fertile flats which produce almost anything. At times when packing is cheap we get flour from there, which is equal to any we have ever seen. On small flats along the rivers we produce all the vegetables we require here. In all the northern Counties the population is very small and scattered over magnificent distances, even on mining rivers often from five to ten miles without a single inhabitant.

Klamath County was divided two years ago the northern portion forming Del Norte with Crescent City, containing about 500 inhabitants, as the county seat. This portion retains the original name, with a small mining hamlet, containing, say, 150 inhabitants. 35 miles below here, on the Klamath River, for the county seat, in and about these towns reside from 2 to 4 lawyers the county judge and sheriff. The salary of the county judge has been reduced from 3000$ to 1500$ a year. The office of sheriff in worth in the vicinity of 8000$ a year; he is elected after the real Whig and Democratic style; all prior sheriffs have gambled off the county funds and left the county in arrears. The office of the district attorney is worth so little that no lawyer would give bonds and take it. In fact our whole county organization is very imperfect, with very little legal business, nearly all disputes are settled by arbitration. The mines in this portion of the state are not paying on an average of One dollar a day for all the labor expended; notwithstanding some few do well, but that few is fast diminishing. It is our intention to wind up mining as soon as possible, as the labor is hard and the chances distant. The climate is mild – in the summer dry – in the winter wet, and at all times superior to any part of the Eastern States. The country is healthy and the water good, beyond description. Just imagine the reminiscences you awake in ones bosom when you speak of being in love with two ladies, when our eyes have not enjoyed the sight of one for two and a half years. Notwithstanding the disadvantages of California life, it would be preferred by persons fond of adventure to any other. From the best information, Southern California is far superior to this portion, resembling in a manner the Western States with a greater consolidation of money. To write a minute description would be repeating what we have written often, so by conversing with my brother he will give you all information.

As regards a man’s chances here for advancement I have not one word to say, we cannot see one moment in advance. The brightest prospects are blighted, and day dawns on the darkest instantaneously, as far as future prospects go, “Truly this is a land of darkness”. In some portions of this State the business of law is called good. I am much pleased to hear of your elevation to the bar particularly with the “honest”, which I believe very few have ever accomplished. I must now conclude by assuring you that it would give me the greatest pleasure to meet and render you any service in my power, but the miners here are in no fixed place. I intend leaving as soon as possible.
With kind regards to all,
I remain your affectionate friend,
F. W. Miner, Atty at Law, Hiel Camp
Alexandria
Va.
6th May 1858

Western Expresses Alphabetically