Western Expresses Alphabetically
Davis & Bros. Express – 1851 to 1852
Frank and Edward Davis ran a store in the Yuba County and Butte County area. Very little is known about this express operation. Perhaps it is related to the Davis brothers noted as storekeepers.
New Garden, Ia Aug 26 (ca 1852) with 10 (due) to Marysville; Forwarded By Davis & Brothers Express to Mr. Osborn at Rich’s Bar, with light pencil express notations by Davis & Brothers of R.B. and 1.50 (express rate). One of only three known examples from this express.
Rich Bar on the Feather River
Deming & Walls Express – ca 1856 to 1857
Deming & Wall’s Union and Eureka Express was founded by Byron Deming and William H. Wall and operated in Humboldt County, California between Union (Uniontown, now Arcata) and Eureka by ship. In 1860 Byron Deming was listed in “Stimson’s Express Directory” as an agent for Wells, Fargo in Uniontown.
By Union and Eureka Express. Deming & Wall, Paid in their printed frank envelope from Union to Bucksport (from ca1856). The only reported use from this company.
Map of towns served by Deming and Wall on Humboldt Bay
Denver & Rio Grande Express – Jun, 1880 to 1903
The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad ran this express service as part of their rail service over the lines throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Globe Express Company took over this operation on Sep 30, 1903.
From the Express Gazette, Volume 28 (1903)
Devils Gate Express – 1861 to (1865)
This express operated in and around Carson City, Gold Hill, and Virginia City, Nevada. Devils Gate is a natural rock pass on the road between Virginia City and Gold Hill. This restriction was the only quick way between the two points and formed a natural place for highwaymen to prey on travelers. By 1862, a toll road was established through this section of the mountains.
By Devils Gate Express with 25 rate notation in pencil to Carson City; by post office from Carson City Nev. Aug 4 to San Francisco. One of only about six known Devils Gate Express usages, this being the only one in red ink.
Devils Gate photograph from 1866, published by Lawrence and Houseworth.
Dodge & Co.’s Express – Oct, 1850 to Aug, 1851
Dodge & Co’s Express first advertised their express service on the ocean to ocean route on October 14, 1850 and their last advertisement appeared on August 4, 1851. They served as agents for Mumby & Co’s Express in San Francisco and arranged shipments of gold and letters, via Panama, to the East. Thomas notes that from surviving marks they had offices in Boston, New Orleans, New York, Panama and San Francisco.
View of Panama City
Doherty’s Half Moon Bay Express – 1864 to (1865)
Richard Doherty ran a stage line between Half Moon Bay and San Mateo, also carrying express material over the route. Doherty owned the Pescadero House in San Mateo County. He was an omnibus driver for the Bowman & Gardner stage line in San Francisco during most of the 1850’s.
By Doherty’s [Half Moon] Bay Express to San Francisco. The US government required equivalent US postage on privately carried mails beginning Aug 31, 1852. The 3¢ rate became effective Mar 3, 1863.
Doherty’s hotel, which likely served as the stage and express station during its operation, is shown in this 1878 lithograph with a stage in front.
Drake’s Express – 1859 to 1860
Very little is known about this express, except that it is thought to have operated from Volcanoville to the Middle Fork of the American River. The only known example of any Drake’s Express marking is this handstamp on newspaper piece.
Drake’s Express marking in red on piece of front page of Hutching’s California Magazine, with notation on piece to the same effect, with the date 1859 added. Likely carried from Volcanoville to the diggings nearby.
Dugan and Wall Express – Apr, 1858 to (1863)
Richard Dugan and Joe Wall operated this express out of Crescent City, connecting inland with Johnson’s Express, and with both Nichols and Freemans Expresses to San Francisco. Wells Fargo was added as a connecting partner in Dec, 1859. They concentrated on serving Northern California and Southern Oregon as a package and parcel carrier.
By Dugan & Wall Express Forwarders & Commission Merchants Crescent City, Cal to Crescent City; then by G. P. Johnson’s Inland Express to Yreka. Johnson’s express only operated from 1858-1859, running from Crescent City to Sailor’s Diggins, Oregon (and apparently on to Yreka) One of three examples of the Dugan & Wall’s franks: two handstamps and one printed; and one of only two examples of any kind of usage from G. P. Johnson’s Express.
Western Expresses Alphabetically