Western Expresses Alphabetically
Nevada City and Meadow Lake Express – 1865 to 1867
Between the summer of 1865 and the summer of 1867, the town of Meadow Lake flourished at an elevation of over 7000 feet in Nevada County, California. The Nevada City and Meadow Lake Express served the area known as the Excelsior Mining District between the towns in the name of the express. It connected with Wells, Fargo & Co. at Nevada (City). No advertisements or articles have been found regarding this express; thus, the proprietors and exact operational dates remain unknown.
By Nevada City and Meadow Lake Express PAID to Nevada; by Wells Fargo & Co. Nevada Jul x to an unknown destination, as this cover was part of a paste-up. One of only three known examples from this short-lived express company, two of which are paste-ups.
Meadow Lake, ca1868
Nevada, Washington and Omega Express – 1871
Thought to have operated among the towns of the express’ name, with Nevada City and Omega on Deer Creek, and Washington just northwest of Omega on the South Fork of the Yuba River. They connected with Wells, Fargo & Company in Nevada City.
By Nevada, Washington and Omega Express to Nevada City; exchanged with Wells, Fargo & Co. Nevada Feb 18 to San Jose.
Newell & Co.’s Express – Oct 8, 1851 to Jul, 1853
L. W. Newell and E. W. Colt two of the partners of Todd & Company, purchased that company’s express operation and changed the name to Newell & Co on Oct 8, 1851. They connected with Adams & Co in San Francisco. Adams & Co. purchased an interest in Newell & Co. on Nov 8, 1851, with Newell & Co. agents for them at Stockton, and Freeman & Co. agents for Sacramento and the Northern Mines. Ocean steamers were used to serve the Oregon Territory. Newell & Co. sold out to Adams in Jul, 1853, having worked closely with them since Newell & Co.’s formation.
By Newell & Co’s Express San Francisco to Portland, Oregon with enclosed business letter datelined San Francisco November 5th, 1851 which reads, in part, Our last respects were pr Steamer of 20th Oct, since which time we are without any of your esteemed favors – not having received a letter from either yourselves or Clinton by the last arrival of the Columbia – altho, we fully expected a remittance by her – and an account of Amazon’s cargo. – We have no doubt that your letter was written and despatched – but some miscarriage has kept it from us.
Newell & Co.’s Express ad dated Oct 27, 1851, presumably from the Oregon City, Oregon Statesman or Oregon Spectator, as the verso of this ad is a partial list of letters to be claimed at the Oregon City post office.
Nichols & Co.’s Express – Oct, 1857 to (1859)
Charles P. Nichols and Edward Ludlum were proprietors of this express, which operated from Oct, 1857 to an undetermined date in late 1858 or early 1859. Their ads indicate a daily express from San Francisco to San Mateo, Belmont, Redwood City, Santa Clara and San Jose, as well as a semi-monthly express to Oregon and Washington Territories. They connected with Alta Express Co. to the Northern and Southern Mine, and with Freeman & Co. to the Atlantic States and Europe. Freeman expanded in Feb, 1859 further pressuring Nichols. By June of 1859 both Nichols and Ludlum were Freeman’s employees.
Nichols & Co.’s Express PAID printed frank with Nichols & Co.’s Express Northern Coast handstamp into San Francisco from the northern mines. The Nichols San Francisco handstamp is 26x35mm; whereas the Northern Coast example is 24x34mm, like this one.
By Nichols & Co.’s Express. PAID. handstamp frank with Nichols & Co.’s Express San Francisco for local delivery. The only known example of this black frank.
Niel’s Express – May, 1850
No advertisements or other information could be found regarding Niels’s Express. In fact, the only 1850 reference to anything spelled “Niel’s” in an 1850 California newspaper is from the Sacramento Transcript of December 6, 1850 (left), referring to Niel’s [Ranch] on the post road north from Sacramento.
By Niels Express 50 cts Paid manuscript from Marysville to San Francisco (per map below); light red-orange San Francisco 40 Jun 1 (1850) postmark for carriage to Vermont. Pencil notation on verso “Letter ‘Foster’s Bar, California May 10, 1850.’” Letter missing. (ex-Drew).
Noisy Carriers River Route – 1850 to 1857
The most prominent of the newspaper and letter bag men was Charles P. Kimball, who arrived in San Francisco in July 1849. Within a few months he organized the Kimball & Co. Express to carry mail to Sacramento by boat. It was unsuccessful and no covers are recorded. On Feb 1, 1850 he organized a city delivery local, with again no known examples. Next he picked up newspapers from the arriving boats and hawked them through the streets in rhyming verse, which is where he got the name “Noisy Canier.” In September 1850, he published a city business directory. He had a store at Sansome and Pacific, but it was not until he opened a stationery store with books, newspapers, lettersheets and a publishing house at 77 Long Wharf that he hit his stride.
Oroville, Cal Sep 2, 1858 to Greenwood, Cal.; address crossed through and very light “Sa… … … …” written above Greenwood (attempted erasure); thus forwarded by Noisy Carriers with their NC~RR POST (“Noisy Carriers River Route Post”) hand stamp from Sacramento to San Francisco. Two other examples of this marking are recorded, both postmarked San Francisco (Jan 17 and Nov 20) to Sacramento, with 1857 docketing.
Ernest A. Wiltsee wrote an article in Stamps (Jan 30, 1937) about the “Noisy Carrier–River Route Post.“ marking: Evidence shows that the “Noisy Carrier’s” great competitor J. W. Sullivan, ran a steamboat express from San Francisco to Sacramento carrying letter bags of mail, and if Sullivan were allowed to carry express and mail on a chartered steamer, the “Noisy Carrier” would be allowed the same privilege by the Post Office (Kimball had formerly run an express to Sacramento). His letter bags were doubtless maintained there as well as in San Francisco. The following item from the Alta California (Apr 13, 1857) was important enough to appear in the editorial column:
Enterprise-Ullman of the Newspaper and Periodical Depot, corner of Sansome and Washington Streets and Kimball of the Noisy Carrier’s Book & Stationery Co., dispatched the steamer Martin White at fifteen minutes before six yesterday evening with full supplies of news and literature received by the Golden Age for their interior agents. They effected a charter of the White some four or five days ago in anticipation of the Age arriving on Sunday, being resolved to avoid the delay which would then be necessary, if depending on the regular line and waiting for the Monday boats. The Golden Age reached her wharf about 3-1/2 o’clock, but it was nearly four before the mails were landed and opened so that the entire work of assorting and making up their numerous packages were accomplished by Messrs. Ullman and Kimball in less than two hours. Wells Fargo & Co. availed themselves of this enterprise to forward their express letters. This is another instance of the go-a-headitive spirit possessed by San Francisco newsmen.
Norman & Grant’s Express – 1868
G. H. Norman (Nohrman) left the Pauly/Nohrman partnership in Aug, 1865, after which he operated G. H. Norman’s Express as sole proprietor. No ads or newspaper references exist for Norman & Grant’s Express, so it is not known who “Grant” was, nor the exact operational dates for this express. The 1868 Sierra County Assessment Role listed a “house and express office” as part of Nohrman’s real property. We can only speculate that Norman & Grant’s Express served the same Gibsonville Ridge areas as prior Norman expresses had.
Gibsonville in 1855 from Hutchings’ Illustrated California Magazine
Western Expresses Alphabetically