Western Expresses | P

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Western Expresses | P 2021-06-29T05:15:13+00:00

Western Expresses | P

Western Expresses Alphabetically

Western Expresses

Pacific Express Company – Mar, 1855 to Apr, 1857

Russell G. Noyes and other employees of Adams & Company formed the Pacific Express Company, following Adams’ failure in Feb, 1855, with most of Adams’ offices quickly becoming Pacific Express offices. They continued to try to compete with Wells Fargo, even though they lacked the funds and leadership of their rival. As a result, they failed after about two years, despite the established field locations. Several members of the failed Pacific Express quickly re-formed into Alta Express.

Pacific Express Co. blue shield handstamp (ca1856) to White Sulphur Springs

By Pacific Express with their Forwarded by the Pacific Express Co. blue shield handstamp (ca1856) to White Sulphur Springs. The 3¢ rate for distances less than 3000 miles became effective Apr 1, 1855.

Pacific Express Co. Building

Western Expresses

Pacific Express Company – Mar, 1855 to Apr, 1857

Pacific Express Company Big Oak Flat PAID to San Francisco

By Pacific Express Company Big Oak Flat PAID to San Francisco, with manuscript in sender’s hand Big Oak Flat 10.3.56.

Pacific Express Co Chinese (Camp) to San Francisco

By Pacific Express Co Chinese (Camp) to San Francisco on black printed frank “horse and rider” Pacific Express envelope on first issue Nesbitt entire.

Western Expresses

Pacific Express Company – Mar, 1855 to Apr, 1857

Pacific Express Co. El Dorado with PAID in oval to San Francisco

By Pacific Express Co. El Dorado with PAID in oval to San Francisco on first issue Nesbitt with seal on backflap. The 3¢ rate for distances less than 3000 miles became effective Apr 1, 1855.

Pacific Express Company Grass Valley to San Francisco

By Pacific Express Company Grass Valley to San Francisco. The 3¢ rate for distances less than 3000 miles became effective Apr 1, 1855. The 6¢ Nesbitt government envelope represents 2x the single rate.

Western Expresses

Pacific Express Company – Mar, 1855 to Apr, 1857

Pacific Express Co. Gold Hill May 4 to San Francisco

By Pacific Express Co. Gold Hill May 4 to San Francisco in their paid handstamp franked envelope Pacific Express Co. Placerville Paid that the sender mailed from Gold Hill. One of only two known examples of Pacific Express with a Gold Hill marking.

Pacific Express Co.'s Los Angeles Oct 7

By Pacific Express Co. Los Angelos Oct 7 (1855) with PAID folded business letter to Columbia, Cal, which reads, in part: …I am going up to the mines with a lot of horses. I expect to go to Shasta or some other part of the Northern Mines. I will not return before March next…

Western Expresses

Pacific Express Company – Mar, 1855 to Apr, 1857

Pacific Express Co. Negro Hill PAID to Sacramento

By Pacific Express Co. Negro Hill PAID to Sacramento on first issue Nesbitt government stamped envelope.

Pacific Express Co. Sacramento Sep 26 (ca1855) to Oroville

By Pacific Express Co. Sacramento Sep 26 (ca1855) to Oroville in Pacific’s “horse and rider” printed frank envelope in scarce blue color.

Western Expresses

Pacific Express Company – Mar, 1855 to Apr, 1857

Pacific Express Co. Santa Clara with boxed PAID to San Francisco

By Pacific Express Co. Santa Clara with boxed PAID to San Francisco; transferred within Pacific Express Co. San Francisco Feb 7 to “Colorado Hill Humbug” (one of the mining camps) “near Nevada, Cal”.

Pacific Express Co. Sonora with boxed PAID to Sacramento

By Pacific Express Co. Sonora with boxed PAID to Sacramento on first issue Nesbitt government issued envelope.

Western Expresses

Pacific Express Company – Mar, 1855 to Apr, 1857

Pacific Express PAID from Strawberry Valley Cala to Santa Cruz

By Pacific Express PAID from Strawberry Valley Cala to Santa Cruz. Speculation is that the Strawberry Valley postmark (without date slugs) was likely used by the (former) postmaster as an express agent’s marking.

Pacific Express Volcano Jan 14 (1857) to Sacramento.

By Pacific Express Volcano Jan 14 (1857) to Sacramento. Enclosed short business letter datelined “Volcano Jan 13th 57” talks of tunnel work progressing.

Dateline: "Volcano Jan 13th 57"

Western Expresses

Pacific Union Express Company – Jun 1, 1868 to Dec 1, 1869

Pacific Union Express Company was incorporated in California Dec 18, 1867 with stockholders A. K. Grim and Lawrence W. Coe appointed as managers for the express on the West Coast with A. K. Tilton in New York. When service commenced on Jun 1, 1868, it was announced to include express matter and letters by every steamer via Panama and similar service to Hawaii, China and Japan. The company was set up “on the Wells, Fargo plan” to compete with them. Service to Nevada and Arizona was begun in 1869. On Dec 1, 1869 the company discontinued operations and its business transferred to Wells, Fargo & Co.

Pacific Union Ex. Co. Sant. Clara Jan 13 (1869) to San Francisco

By Pacific Union Ex. Co. Sant. Clara Jan 13 (1869) to San Francisco; exchanged with Bamber & Co’s Express S.F. Jan 14 for delivery to Oakland.

Dec 30, 1869 advertisement in the Daily Alta California announcing Pacific Union Express Co.'s closure.

Dec 1, 1869 advertisement in the Daily Alta California announcing Pacific Union Express Co.’s closure.

Western Expresses

Pacific Union Express Company – Jun 1, 1868 to Dec 1, 1869

Pacific Union Express Co. New York July 5

By Pacific Union Express Co. New York Jul 5 (1869) to Treasure City, Nevada in their black printed frank envelope. The finest of only five known examples of the black printed frank, used by Pacific Union for transcontinental mails.

Treasure City Nevada in 1869

Treasure City, Nevada in 1869

Western Expresses

Palmer & Co. – Ocean-to-Ocean, – Mar, 1850 to Spring, 1852

California Operations, Oct, 1850 to Apr, 1851

Charles S. Palmer founded Palmer & Co.’s Express in New York on Mar 7, 1850, initially as something of a forwarder. By Oct, 1850, Palmer branched out from San Francisco to Sacramento, Marysville, and Nicholaus. In late April, 1851, Joseph H. Mumby and Henry Reed left Palmer & Co.’s Express and formed Mumby & Co.’s Express, effectively ending Palmer’s California operation. Thereafter, Palmer focused on shipping passengers and freight to California. Even that ended in the Spring of 1852.

Palmer & Cos Express Nov 12, 1850 from San Francisco to New York
By Palmer & Cos Express Nov 12, 1850 from San Francisco to New York, endorsed to be carried by a friend on the George Law’s Pacific Line steamer Antelope (first return voyage);
  • George Law’s Pacific Line steamer Antelope, depart San Francisco Nov 12, 1850, arrive Panama City Dec 3, 1850
  • Seven days across the isthmus of Panama to Chagres
  • USMSC steamer Pacific, depart Chagres Dec 10, 1850, arrive Havana Dec 15, 1850
  • USMSC steamer Ohio, depart Havana Dec 18, 1850, arrive NY Jan 5, 1851
Dateline: San Francisco Nov 12, 1850
…I wish you never so entrust letters to individuals as their heads are so full of excitement upon arriving in California they seem to forget everything. It is different sending letters to the States. The most certain means of conveyance are the Post Office and Expresses…Mr. Harry B. McIlvain…The Steamer by which he goes, the Antelope leaves this afternoon at 3 o’clock….The Cholera has raged to no alarming extent and is now fast disappearing…you will be surprised to hear of the intended departure of William P. Harden for home. He will leave here some time next week in the vessel assigned to him for passage to Panama then across the isthmus home…Thos. Whaley

Western Expresses

Palmer & Co. – Ocean-to-Ocean, – Mar, 1850 to Spring, 1852

California Operations, Oct, 1850 to Apr, 1851

Palmer & Co.'s Express route from San Francisco to San Jose by steamer and land.

circa Feb, 1851 by Palmer & Cos Express with their FREE handstamp from San Francisco to Governor McDougal in San Jose. John McDougal was governor of California from Jan 9, 1851 to Jan 8, 1852, during which time the state capital was at San Jose. Palmer briefly operated a route between San Francisco and San Jose by steamboat and overland.

Palmer & Co. Semi-monthly Package Express, Sacramento Transcript

Dec 7, 1850 Sacramento Transcript

Western Expresses

Panamint Pony Express – Sep, 1874 to Nov, 1874

This short-lived express ran between the mining district of Panamint, Inyo County, California through the Cajon Pass to San Bernardino, a distance of about 200 miles.

Panamint Pony Express Paid 25 cent San Bernardino

By Panamint Pony Express via San Bernardino Paid 25 Cents in their printed frank envelope to San Bernardino; US mail San Bernardino Nov 5 (1874) to Chester, Penna. Information printed on verso shown below. The only known used example from this express.

Ad from the Sacramento Daily Union - These envelopes to be had...
Pony Express to Panamint Ad

Oct 25, 1874 ad from the Sacramento Daily Union

Angeles Herald Article - Sep 15 1874

Articles from the Los Angeles Herald note the establishment of this express (Sep 15, 1874, at left) and discontinuance (Nov 29, 1874, at right)

Angeles Herald Article - Sep 15, 1874

Western Expresses

Pauly & Nohrman’s Express – Apr, 1864 to Aug, 1865

Nicholas O. Pauly and G. H. Norman (Nohrman) formed Pauly & Nohrman’s Express in Apr, 1864 to serve the mining camps along Gibsonville Ridge. They connected at Gibsonville with Whiting & Co.’s Express. Nohrman left the partnership sometime in Aug, 1865, as Pauly began advertising for a replacement partner. Pauly continued as sole proprietor after Nohrman’s departure, even though he did not advertise as such until Feb 3, 1866.

PAID Pauly & Nohrman's Express from an undisclosed location in the Gibsonville Ridge area to Port Wine

PAID Pauly & Nohrman’s Express from the Gibsonville Ridge to Port Wine. The unique example of this printed frank.

PAID Pauly & Nohrman's Express from the Gibsonville Ridge to Gibsonville

PAID Pauly & Nohrman’s Express from the Gibsonville Ridge to Gibsonville; by post office Gibsonville, Cal Dec 9 (1864) to Albany, NY. The 24¢ adhesive plus 3¢ printed stamp overpaid by 1¢ the 20¢ registration fee and double-weight envelope rate. One of only four known covers from this express.

Western Expresses

N. O. Pauly’s Express – Jul, 1864 to Sep, 1864

Sep, 1865 to Jul, 1866

Nicholas Oscar Pauly was involved in three express operations: N. Pauly & Co.’s Weekly Express from Jul, 1864 to late Sep, 1864, partnering with George H. Nohrman (Norman) in Pauly & Norman’s Weekly Express from Apr, 1864 to Aug, 1865, and finally in Pauly’s Weekly Express from Sep, 1865 to Jul, 1866. All these expresses served the Gibsonville Ridge area, connecting with Whiting & Co.’s Express at Gibsonville.

N. O. Pauly’s Express PAID from an undisclosed location in the Gibsonville Ridge area to Taylorville

By N. O. Pauly’s Express PAID Type 2 printed frank from an unknown location in the Gibsonville Ridge area to Taylorville.

Paid N. O. Pauly's Express Type 3 printed frank

PAID N. O. Pauly’s Express Type 3 printed frank from Gibsonville, Apr 16 to LaPorte; by Wheelers Express LaPorte (light blue circle) to Quincy.

Western Expresses

R. Penman’s Express – Oct, 1869 to 1882

Robert J. Penman was the proprietor of R. Penman’s Express, which first advertised in Oct, 1869 (Quincy Feather River Bulletin). Penman operated in and around Jamison City, Johnsville, Mohawk, and Eureka Mills, connecting with Wells, Fargo & Co. at Truckee. He continued advertising his express until at least May, 1872 (Quincy Feather River Bulletin); thereafter mention is only made of his “stage line.” Obviously, he continued his letter express, as evidenced by the cover below, with enclosed datelined Nov 17, 1874.

R. Penman's Express Truckee, Jamison, Mohawk, & Eureka Mills from Randolph to Truckee

By R. Penman’s Express Truckee, Jamison, Mohawk, & Eureka Mills from Randolph to Truckee; exchanged with Wells, Fargo & Co. Truckee Nov 18 to Red Bluffs. Enclosed letter datelined Truckee, Sierra County Nov 17, 1874.

Mohawk Valley and Sierra Ville Express

Oct 16, 1869 Quincy Feather River Bulletin

Western Expresses

Pescadero & Half Moon Bay Stage Co.’s Express – Jun, 1865 to 1866

This short-lived express operated from San Francisco to the Half Moon Bay area and south to Pescadero, CA. They began advertising Jun 25, 1865 in the Alta California, although they may have been operating earlier. Their ad noted “there is connected with the Line a Letter and Package Express.” They are thought to have operated into 1866 and might have acted as a forwarder for Wells, Fargo & Co.

Pescadero and Half Moon Bay Stage Co.'s Express (likely from San Francisco) to San Mateo

By Pescadero and Half Moon Bay Stage Co.’s Express (likely from San Francisco) to San Mateo. One of only about ten known examples from this express and the only one not addressed to San Francisco.

Aug 12, 1865 advertisement from the San Francisco Daily Alta California.

Aug 12, 1865 advertisement from the San Francisco Daily Alta California.

Western Expresses

Peterson’s Lower California Express – Mar, 1863 to Jul, 1863

Using coastal steamers, Charles M. Peterson ran an express service between San Francisco and La Paz, Mexico. He established an office in Henry Payot’s Book Store in San Francisco. Peterson may also have operated a pony/mule service between the cities of Cape San Lucas and La Paz in Mexico.

Peterson's Lower California Express from (Cape) San Lucas Baja California (Mexico) to San Francisco with Free notation

By Peterson’s Lower California Express from (Cape) San Lucas Baja California (Mexico) to San Francisco with Free notation. Docketed Cape St. Lucas Apr 11, 1863 at left. The handstamp Estafeta de Baja California literally translates as “Courier of Lower California.” One of only three known Peterson’s label covers.

Lower California Map

Western Expresses

Phillip’s Express – 1856 to Sep, 1862

There were two Philip’s Expresses: the first was operated by Henry Philip from 1856 to late summer, 1860; the second (Philip’s Omega Express) by Henry’s younger brother, Jeremiah G. Philip, from late summer 1860, to Sep, 1862. The two known covers with manuscript Philip’s markings are from the first period, while the single known printed frank is from the second. The route of both extended from Nevada City to Alpha, Washington and Omega. They connected with Wells, Fargo & Co. at Nevada City. Jeremiah Philip sold out his express to J. S. Dewey in Sep, 1862.

Pr Phillips Express manuscript to Nevada, California

Pr Phillips Express manuscript to Nevada, California. Docket at right notes “Letter dated March 21, Rec’d March 23/60.” One of only three known examples from this express, two of which are manuscripts. The area served by Phillip’s Express is shown on the map below.

Announcement ad

First mention of Philip’s, the express-man, Jan 25, 1856 Nevada City Nevada Journal

Announcement of “Jere Philip” selling his express to J. S. Dewey, Sep 6, 1862 Nevada City Nevada Democrat

Western Expresses

Pioneer Express – Jun, 1854 to Late 1850’s

Nothing definitive has been discovered regarding this express. All three known covers (including the partial cover on this page) are either to or from Georgetown, in El Dorado County. One has a Philadelphia postmark dated Nov 6, 1858, one a 3¢ 1857 issue perforated adhesive, and the partial cover had a 10¢ imperforate adhesive (prior to 1857). It is quite likely that this express operated between Placerville (near the South Fork of the American River) and Georgetown (on the Middle Fork of the American River), serving the mining camps in between and those along the Middle Fork. The “Pioneer Line of Stages” advertised in the Georgetown News from Oct 19, 1854 to Mar 22, 1855, noting that they ran “from Placerville to Georgetown, via Chili Bar, Kelsey, American and Spanish Flats.” No mention is made of any express carriage, however. Thus, it is speculative that this could have been the “Pioneer Express.”

Pioneer Express Due 2/8 to Georgetown, El Dorado County, California

By Pioneer Express Due 2/8 to Georgetown, El Dorado County, California. Notation on back indicates that this cover was sacrificed to obtain the 10¢ adhesive (Type IV, position 55L1) it once held! Apparently mailed from some post office in the eastern US to Georgetown, with carriage from there to the addressee by the Pioneer Express. Prepayment of 10¢ postage for letters to/from the Pacific Coast became effective Apr 1, 1855.

Pioneer Line of Stage for Placerville to Georegtown

Georgetown News ad carried from Oct 19, 1854 to Mar 22, 1855, noting service began Jul 2, 1854.

Western Expresses

Pony Express – Apr 3, 1860 to Oct 26, 1861
First Rate Period – Westbound

Manuscript Pony June 18

Manuscript Pony June 18 (1860) routing notation on very thin envelope (almost tissue paper) to “Messr. Crosby & Dibblee, San Francisco, Cala.” This cover originated in New York and was placed within another envelope with other correspondence during the rather expensive “$5.00 per ½ ounce” pony fee of the first rate period. Pony service was suspended for a couple weeks in late June, 1860 due to Indian troubles. This cover would have been carried when service resumed with the trip (WT-13) departing St. Joseph, Mo. July 1, 1860, arriving July 14, 1860 into San Francisco. The Pony Express rate was $5.00 per ½ ounce from Apr 3, 1860 to Aug 14, 1860.

Twelve other pony express covers are known addressed to “Crosby & Dibblee,” ranging in dates from Aug 12, 1860 to Jan 20, 1861 (seven during the 1st rate period, and five during the 2nd rate period), helping to date this cover to June 18, 1860.

Map of route from San Francisco to St. Joseph

Western Expresses

Pony Express – Apr 3, 1860 to Oct 26, 1861
Second Rate Period – Eastbound

The transcontinental Pony Express was the result of a vision by William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell to institute a ten-day private mail service between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California. Their goal was to demonstrate a viable Central Route (versus the southern Butterfield route) in order to gain government mail contracts. The Pony Express demonstrated the capability to carry mail via the Central Route; however, it was a business failure with the partners incurring large losses.

Central Overland Pony Express Company

By Pony Express, PAID Central Overland Pony Express Company. “way” cover (likely picked up at Carson City, the eastern terminus of the telegraph) to St. Joseph, Missouri with Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company St. Joseph Mo. Sep [2]6; by US post office Saint Joseph, Mo. Sep 27, 1860 to Utica, New York. The Pony Express rate was $2.50 per quarter ounce from Aug 14, 1860 to Apr 14, 1861. Only seven COPEC printed frank covers are known. (ex-Haas, Walske)

Map of route from San Francisco to St. Joseph

Western Expresses

Pony Express – Apr 3, 1860 to Oct 26, 1861
Third Rate Period – Eastbound

Pony Express San Francisco May 1st

By Pony Express San Francisco May 1 (1861) tying $2 red Pony Express adhesive to St. Joseph, Missouri; by US post office from Saint Joseph, Mo. May 14 (1861) to Confederate Virginia. The Pony Express rate was $2.00 per half ounce from Apr 15, 1861 to Jun 30, 1861. One of only two known Pony Express covers mailed to the Confederacy. (ex-Walske)

Pony Express Notice Reduces Rates

Advertisement from the Daily Alta California from Apr 16, 1861 noting the reduction in Pony Express rate to $2.00 per half ounce.

Western Expresses

Pony Express – Apr 3, 1860 to Oct 26, 1861
Third Rate Period – Westbound

1/2 Ounce paid from St. Joseph to Placerville per Pony

By California Pony Express New York May 7 (1861) in Type 1 franked envelope with ½ Ounce PAID from St. Joseph to Placerville, per Pony Express in pouch to St. Joseph via train; The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company St. Joseph, Mo. May 11[2] Pony Express to San Francisco. The Pony Express rate was $2.00 per half ounce from Apr 15, 1861 to Jun 30, 1861. One of only two known examples of the Type 1 printed frank. (ex-Crocker, Vogel, Walske).

Advertisement from the Sacramento Daily Union

Advertisement from the Sacramento Daily Union from Apr 17, 1861 noting the reduction in Pony Express rate to $2.00 per half ounce.

Western Expresses

Pony Express – Apr 3, 1860 to Oct 26, 1861
Fourth Rate Period – Westbound

Pony Express Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company St. Joseph Mo. Sep 12 in franked envelope

By U.S. post office New York Sep 4 (1861) in Type 2 franked envelope with ½ Ounce PAID from St. Joseph to Placerville per Pony Express and Agent of Pony Express St. Joseph, Mo to St. Joseph, Mo.; by Pony Express Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company St. Joseph Mo. Sep 12 to Virginia City, Nevada Territory. The sender would have paid $1.20 for this envelope (20¢ for government franked envelope plus $1.00 pony fee). The Pony Express rate was $1.00 per half ounce from Jul 1, 1861 to Oct 31, 1861 (ex-Barkhausen, Meroni, Haub).

San Francisco Evening Bulletin ad of Jun 26, 1861

San Francisco Evening Bulletin ad of Jun 26, 1861 which reads, in part: “Connecting with the Overland Mail Company’s Pony Express at Placerville. Letters must be enclosed in our twenty cent government franked envelopes and charges from Placerville prepaid at the rate of one dollar for each half ounce, or any fraction thereof. All letters not enclosed as above will be charged at the rate of 25 cents each.”

Western Expresses

Pony Express – Apr 3, 1860 to Oct 26, 1861
Fourth Rate Period – Westbound

1/2 Ounce Paid from St. Joseph to Placerville

By U.S. post office New York Sep 20 (1861) in Type 2 franked envelope with ½ Ounce PAID from St. Joseph to Placerville per Pony Express and Agent of Pony Express St. Joseph, Mo to St. Joseph, Mo.; by Pony Express Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company St. Joseph Mo. Sep 25 to San Francisco. The sender would have paid $1.20 for this envelope (20¢ for government franked envelope plus $1.00 pony fee). The Pony Express rate was $1.00 per half ounce from Jul 1, 1861 to Oct 31, 1861 (ex-Lichtenstein, Kramer).

Gilbert's Melodeon Building

Gilbert’s Melodeon, located at the corner of Clay and Geary Streets in San Francisco, was a drinking, music, and entertainment establishment in the 1850s and 1860s.

Western Expresses

Prindle’s Express – Oct, 1859 to May, 1866

Charles W. Prindle purchased Crooks’ Express in Oct, 1859, serving the same general area from a base at Yreka, providing service to the mines in the mountains west of Yreka and along the Klamath and Scott Rivers. Prindle’s connected with Wells, Fargo & Co. at Yreka. Beginning in Nov, 1861, Prindle’s Express also connected with Chase’s Express at Indian Creek instead of coming to Yreka on the downward leg of his route. Connection to Wells, Fargo & Co. ended in Jul, 1862, when Prindle purchased George W. Chase’s Express and began running over their former route from Yreka to Deadwood, McAdams Creek, Indian Creek and vicinity. Six months later, in Jan, 1863, Prindle sold the expansion route to Nelson Chase. He sold the remainder of his express to H. C. Tickner in May, 1866, thereafter retiring.

Prindle's Express from Yreka to Scott & Klamath Rivers into Yreka

Prindle’s Express from Yreka to Scott & Klamath Rivers into Yreka; Rec’d July 19, 1861 docketing. Advertisement below from the Yreka Weekly Union of May 5, 1860.

Advertisement from the Yreka Weekly Union of May 5, 1860.

Western Expresses

Prindle’s Express – Oct, 1859 to May, 1866

Prindle's Express to Scott & Klamath Rivers into Yreka

Three-line printed frank of Prindle’s Express to Scott & Klamath Rivers into Yreka; Rec’d Mch 19/67 docketing, indicating usage by H. C. Tickner’s Express, as Prindle had sold his express business to Tickner in May, 1866.

Express to Scott River
Prindle Jacob and Co.'s

May 26, 1866 Yreka Union announcement of Prindle’s sale to Tickner and last ad

Western Expresses Alphabetically