Western Expresses | F

Submitted by: The Red Cloud Collection

Western Expresses | F 2017-11-01T19:12:37+00:00

Western Expresses | F

Western Expresses Alphabetically

Western Expresses

Fargo & Co.’s Express – 1852 to 1853

Annon Fargo and W. E. Singer were in an express partnership for few months in 1852, known as Singer and Fargo’s Express. Annon Fargo decided to go out on his own in later 1852 when W. S. Dean was brought into the company. Fargo & Co’s Express operated from 1852 to 1853, using Marysville as a base to serve the mines along the North Fork of the Feather River.

Fargo & Co.'s Feather River Express to Rush Creek
Farmington, Iowa Jan 5 [1853] with manuscript 10 (due) rate marking to Sacramento City; by Fargo & Co.’s Feather River Express to Rush Creek, per Fargo’s pencil notation. Rush Creek is one of the feeder streams into the North Fork of the Feather River. Enclosed letter datelined Salubria [Iowa] Jan 4, 1853.
Fargo & Co.'s Feather River Express to Rush Creek

Farmington, Iowa Aug 30 [1853] with handstamp 10 (due) rate marking to Sacramento City; by Fargo & Co.’s Feather River Express to Meekers [Flat] for 1.50 express fee, per Fargo’s pencil notations. Enclosed letter datelined Salubria [Iowa] Aug 29, 1853.

Western Expresses

Farley’s Express – 1855 to 1857

George S. Farley operated an express to the mining camps in and around Camptonville, Indian Creek, and Youngs Hill. He was based out of Camptonville and used the post office for connections.

Farley's Express Camptonville from the mines in the area to Camptonville

By Farley’s Express Camptonville from the mines in the area to Camptonville; by post office with Camptonville, Cal Feb 17 (ca1856) postmark to Boston on 10¢ first issue Nesbitt entire.

Early view of Camptonville's main street

Early view of Camptonville’s main street

Western Expresses

Fast Freight Express Co. – 1864 to 1865

Fast Freight & Express Company operated in conjunction with Wells Fargo to transport letters in some limited fashion. They appear to have worked between San Francisco and Sacramento by river boat and from Sacramento to Storey, Nevada by wagon. James McWilliams is listed as agent for the company in the November, 1864 San Francisco city directory.

Fast Freight & Express Co. May 10 1865 S.F. (San Francisco) to Sacramento

By Fast Freight & Express Co. May 10 1865 S.F. (San Francisco) to Sacramento; exchanged with Wells Fargo & Co. Sac. Messenger May 10 to Oroville. The only known example from this express.

San Francisco Daily Alta California ad from Apr 11, 1864

San Francisco Daily Alta California ad from Apr 11, 1864

Western Expresses

Ford’s Express – Aug, 1850 to early 1852

Little is known about this express, as no advertisements have been found. The few known covers as addressed to, or are from, Sacramento and Mormon Gulch and date from Aug, 1850 to Jan, 1852. The two handstamps known used by Ford’s Express are shown on this page.

Ford & Cos Express, likely to the mines in the Greenwood area

Belleville Illinois Jan 8 (1851) with manuscript 40 (collect) to Sacramento City; by Ford & Cos Express, likely to the mines in the Greenwood area; 1.65 Ford’s rate in manuscript ($1.25 express fee, plus 40¢ collect). Docketing on verso Rec’d Sunday March 16th 1851, with note Folks all well. The rate for mail (either prepaid or due) to the Pacific Coast was 40¢ prior to July 1, 1851.

Forwarded by Ford & Co's Express, likely from the Greenwood area mines, to Sacramento

Forwarded by Ford & Co’s Express, likely from the Greenwood area mines, to Sacramento; by post office Sacramento City Jan 15 (1852) to Missouri via Panama and New York. Docketed “Answered March 15th 1852”.

Western Expresses

Ford’s Express – Aug, 1850 to early 1852

Forwarded by Ford & Co's Express, likely from the Greenwood area mines to Sacramento

Forwarded by Ford & Co’s Express, likely from the Greenwood area mines to Sacramento; by post office Sacramento City, Cal Sep 29 (1851) with 10 (due) to Hopkinton, New York. Folded letter datelined California August 29thtranscribed, in part, below. One of only four known examples of this type Ford’s handstamp.

Datelined California August 29th
…It is beginning to grow cold up here in the mountains and winter is coming on and I must begin to look for winter quarters you probably know that I am by self and none of the old company with me don’t think I am rude for I am not I am as steady as the day is long you perhaps would like to know how I spend my evenings. I will tell you I work for six dollars a day. Bord is 12 dollars a week so mornings and evenings I chop wood for my bord so you see I am industrious. I hope this finds you all well and give my love to all the senoritas…

Western Expresses

Francis & Co.’s Express – Nov, 1859 to May, 1862

Robert Francis and James S. Bump formed Francis & Co.’s Express in late 1859. Based out of Gibsonville, they ran to La Porte, Onion Valley, and Nelson’s Point. They connected with Whiting & Co. at Quincy; Everts, Wilson & Co. at La Porte; and Wells, Fargo at Marysville. The express operated as Francis’ Express after Bump left the partnership. Holland, Morley & Company bought them out in May, 1862.

PAID Francis & Co.'s Express printed frank from the mining region of the Gibsonville Ridge on the Feather River to La Porte

PAID Francis & Co.’s Express printed frank from the mining region of the Gibsonville Ridge on the Feather River to La Porte; by government mail from La Porte Cal. Sep 5 1860 to Greenfield, Mass.

Street View of La Porte, Sierra County; Published by J. C. Lester, Bookseller, Etc. La Porte

Western Expresses

Freeman’s Express – Nov, 1850 to Nov, 1851

John M Freeman bought out T.R. Hawley’s interest in Hawley’s Express on Nov 11, 1850. The route was between Sacramento City and San Francisco by steamboat with further service to river offices north to Marysville. Adams Express operated as Freeman’s agent and expediter in San Francisco. The express served as a trunk line connecting at Sacramento with Bower’s Express for service to Nevada City and with Langton’s Express for service to Downieville. After his purchase of Mumby’s Express in June 1851, Freeman sold out to Adams & Co on Nov 8, 1851. After serving as an agent for Adams & Co for several years, he started a new Freeman’s Express after Adam’s failure in February 1855.

Freeman & Co. Express from Sacramento City to San Francisco

By Freeman & Co. Express from Sacramento City to San Francisco with manuscript Paid $1.00 denoting prepayment of express fee and notation with pkg of $200-. Folded business letter datelined Sacramento City Mar 14, 1851.

San Francisco Evening Picayune April 12 1851 Article

San Francisco Evening Picayune April 12 1851 Article

San Francisco Evening Picayune June 19 1851 Article

San Francisco Evening Picayune June 19 1851 Article

Western Expresses

Freeman’s Express – Nov, 1850 to Nov, 1851

Freeman & Cos. Express from San Francisco to Sacramento City

By Freeman & Cos. Express from San Francisco to Sacramento City, carried on the steamboat New World that departed same day. Merchant’s letter mentions: One of my friends has a lot of 40 cases of Clicquot Champagne… he will take $15 per case.

Datelined San Francisco 3 January 1851
Article from the Jul 3, 1851 issue of the San Francisco Alta California

From the Jul 3, 1851 issue of the San Francisco Alta California

Western Expresses

Freeman’s Express – Nov, 1850 to Nov, 1851

Forwarded by Freeman & Co's Express San Francisco to Vallejo

Light handstamp Forwarded by Todd & Co’s Express in Oct-Nov, 1851 from Stockton to San Francisco; Forwarded by Freeman & Co’s Express San Francisco to Vallejo with 50 cts (due) express rate notation. Vallejo was the California state capital beginning Jan 2, 1852, but the state offices would have moved there several weeks before. Thus, this cover is from very late in the Freemans Express period, probably from Oct or Nov, 1851.

Forwarded By Todd & Co's Express (Handstamp)
Forwarded By Freeman & Co's Express San Francisco (Handstamp)

Alexander Todd was one of the first express men in California. In July 1850 he took E. W. Colt as a partner under the Todd & Co’s Express name. They operated between San Francisco and Stockton mines until Todd joined with Reynolds to form Reynolds, Todd & Co’s Express in October 1851.

Western Expresses

Freeman’s Express – Nov, 1850 to Nov, 1851

Forwarded by Freemans & Co's Express (San) Francisco

Marysville to San Francisco Apr 4, 1851 with Forwarded by Freemans & Co’s Express (San) Francisco; internal docket indicates 4/- (four bits = 50¢) express charge paid by recipient. The only known example of this Freeman’s Express marking with small arrows within handstamp.

Datelined Marysville April 4, 1851

Merchants letter enclosed reads, in part:

Please send the balance due me by Freeman’s Express as soon as you can.

Western Expresses

Freeman’s Express – Nov, 1850 to Nov, 1851

Forwarded by Freeman & Co's Express Marysville to San Francisco

Forwarded by Freeman & Co’s Express Marysville to San Francisco on folded business letter datelined Marysville April 8, 1851. One of only two known examples of this Freeman’s marking.

Datelined Marysville April 8, 1851
Lithograph illustrating the Marysville fire of Aug 30, 1851

Lithograph illustrating the Marysville fire of Aug 30, 1851

Western Expresses

Freeman & Company – Mar, 1855 to Late 1859

John Freeman was Adams & Company’s agent in Panama at the time of the company’s collapse in Feb, 1855. Shortly thereafter, he opened an express business under his name. He contracted with Cova & Company in Panama to act as his agent on the Isthmus. He quickly extended from a base in San Francisco to Australia, New York, and inward to all the mining areas of California. By July of 1858, he was handling mail to British Columbia and was a major rival to Wells Fargo. As he did in his initial express foray of 1851 (then selling to Adams), he again sold the business, this time to Wells Fargo, at the end of 1859.

Freeman & Co.'s Express/Paid Through Our California & Atlantic franked first issue

By Freeman & Co.’s Express/Paid Through Our California & Atlantic franked first issue 10¢ Nesbitt envelope to Marysville; Marysville Cal. Feb 18to New York City with light pencil notation supposedly dating this cover to 1859. Effective Apr 1, 1855 the rate for mail to/from the Pacific Coast was 10¢, with mandatory prepayment.

Article from the San Francisco Daily Bulletin June 19, 1856

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

Western Expresses

Freeman & Company – Mar, 1855 to Late 1859

Freeman & Co's Express San Francisco with Reply by Freeman & Co's Express Letter from Jose Mina, Habana 25 Dbr 1855
By Freeman & Co’s Express San Francisco with Reply by Freeman & Co’s Express Letter from Jose Mina, Habana 25 Dbr 1855
  • USMSC Philadelphia from Havana Dec 26, 1855; arrival Aspinwall Dec 31
  • One day across the isthmus of Panama via the railway completed Jan 28, 1855
  • PMSC Golden Age from Panama Jan 1, 1856; arrival San Francisco Jan 15
  • Docketed Received 16 Jano 56 and Repl 19 (Jano 56)
Docketed Received 16 Jano 56 and Repl 19 (Jano 56)

Western Expresses

Freeman & Company – Mar, 1855 to Late 1859

Freeman & Co's Express San Francisco from Panama

By Freeman & Co’s Express San Francisco from Panama on shipping invoice carried by steamer J. L. Stephens dated Jun 30, 1855. The J. L. Stephens departed Panama June 30 and arrived San Francisco July 13, 1855 per Wierenga’s book.

J. L. Stephens Shipping Invoice
Freeman & Co's Express Panama Cova & Co. Agents from Panama

By Freeman & Co’s Express Panama Cova & Co. Agents from Panama on shipping invoice carried by steamer J. L. Stephens dated Dec 17, 1855. The J. L. Stephens departed Panama ~December 19 and arrived San Francisco Jan 1, 1856.

Western Expresses

Freeman & Company – Mar, 1855 to Late 1859

Freeman & Co's Express Coulterville in their Type 2 printed frank to San Francisco

By Freeman & Co’s Express Coulterville in their Type 2 printed frank to San Francisco.

PAID Freeman & Co's Express in their Type 8 printed frank to San Francisco

PAID Freeman & Co’s Express in their Type 8 printed frank to San Francisco. Docketed as received on Aug’t 29th, 1856. One of only two known examples of this type printed frank.

Western Expresses Alphabetically