Western Expresses Alphabetically
Sacramento River Express – 1871 to Unknown
Johnson and Company were listed in the San Francisco directory as the proprietors of this express forwarder, which operated between San Francisco and the river towns north along the Sacramento River. They appear to have carried letter mail in some capacity.
By Sacramento River Express 306 Montgomery Street PAID to San Francisco; then by US post office San Francisco, Cal. Jan 15 to San Jose. Williams book records that this type San Francisco postmark (SAF-440) was used from Apr 26, 1870 to Apr 28, 1875. The 3¢ rate (prepayment required) was effective from Mar 3, 1863 to Oct 1, 1883 when it was reduced to 2¢.
Salmon River & Nez Perces Express (Wells Fargo) – Early 1863 to May 17, 1863
Wells Fargo initially relied on agent E. W. Tracy and his express company to service the Salmon and Clearwater Rivers and the Boise Basin. In the summer of 1861, WF opened an office in Lewiston, from which the mining activity in this area was supported. Early in 1863, Wells Fargo began an additional overland route between Lewiston and the mines in the Boise Basin that is drained by the Boise River. By April, 1863, Wells Fargo had closed the activity over this route due to the difficulty of the terrain and on May 17 announced that they would no longer support the business in the Boise River area.
By Wells Fargo and Co. with Salmon River & Nez Perces Express PAID 75 Cents surcharge from the Boise Basin via San Francisco to Atchison on the central overland route; by post office Atchison, Kas. May 26 to New York. The 75¢ rate covers the 50¢ Wells Fargo rate out of the Idaho mining region plus 25¢ as the transcontinental fee.
Schoch’s Copper City Express – 1863 to 1865
W. S. Schoch (believed to have been pronounced “Scotch”) operated his express from a main office in Shasta to the Pittsburgh Mining District and places such as Buckeye, Churntown, Pittsburgh and Copper City, which was located near the junction of the Pit and McCloud Rivers.
By Schoch’s Copper City Express to Shasta; by post office Shasta Cal. Nov 3 to Prairie P.O., Yolo Co., Cala. One of only four reported examples of this frank and eight total Schoch’s Express covers.
By Schoch’s Copper City Express to Shasta; by post office Shasta Cal. Aug 23 (1865) to Sacramento. Docketed at left Aug 23, 1865. One of only four reported examples of this frank and eight total Schoch’s Express covers.
Singer & Company – mid 1854 to 1855
William E. Singer ran an express operation between Marysville and the mining camps along the Feather River over a route that had been established as early as 1850. Singer operated a series of five different expresses by himself and/or with different partners over this route between 1850 and 1857, with Singer as the sole operator from mid 1854 into 1855, connecting with Wells Fargo at Marysville.
By W. E. Singer & Cos Express Feather River. from Marysville to Bidwell’s Bar on the Feather River. Enclosed folded letter datelined Marysville July 6, 1854 asking addressee to act as collection agent.
By W. E. Singer & Cos. Feather River Express Connecting with Wells Fargo & Co. to Bidwells Bar on the Feather River. Docketing on back T. Grant, March 7 55 of this first issue Nesbitt stamped government envelope (with Nesbitt seal on flap).
Singer, Meek & Co.’s Express – 1857
William Singer dropped partner Thomas Morrow in late 1857 and took on a new partner, Emerson E. Meek. Shortly after this partnership was formed the route was sold to Henry Everts and Fenton Whiting. Singer & Meek connected with Pacific Express at Marysville.
By Feather River Express PAID Singer, Meek & Co. to Marysville; exchanged with Pacific Express Co Marysville Dec 29 to San Francisco with very light Pacific Express Co San Francisco circular marking.
By Singer, Meek & Co.’s Feather River Express to “Present”, likely a local delivery to Marysville.
Singer & Morrow’s Express – Fall 1855 to Fall 1857
Formed in early 1855, W. E. Singer’s Feather River Express served the Feather River mining camps. Singer partnered with Morrow to form a new company late in 1855. In late 1857, Morrow withdrew from the partnership.
By Feather River Express PAID Singer & Morrow franked entire from the mining camps of the Feather River to Bidwell’s Bar; by government mail Bidwell’s Bar Cal May 10 (either 1856 or 1857) to Massachusetts.
Bidwell’s Bar in 1854 (artist unknown)
Stewart & Jones Express – Summer 1865
Stewart & Jones express ran a line from Meadow Lake to the Dutch Flat/Gold Run mining area. Gold deposits at Meadow Lake created one of the last gold rushes in the Sierras. The area is 7000 feet above sea level and little activity is possible once the snows start to fall. The summer of 1865 marked the operating period for this express, as the weather and limited gold deposits ended most activity in the area by 1868.
By Stewart & Jones’ Meadow Lake Express PAID to Gold Run; by United States Post Office from Gold Run, Cal Nov x4 to Virginia City, Nevada.. This is the unique example known used from this express company.
Meadow Lake, CA, ca 1868
Stolp’s Express – 1854
Stolp’s Express served the mines along the North Fork of the American River and the mining camps of Little York and Red Dog, using Nevada City as a base.
By Stolp’s Express Nevada. to Nevada City; by post office from Nevada City, Cal. Jun 27 (1854) to Ohio with “5” of integral rate postmark crossed out and 6¢ postage paid by two three-cent imperforate 1851 issue adhesives. The prepaid rate for distances over 3000 miles was 6¢ from July 1, 1851 to Apr 1, 1855.
J. A. Stone’s Express – 1864 to Feb, 1865
J. A. Stone purchased Hopkinson’s Express, or one of his routes, in 1864. Like Hopkinson, he connected with Wells Fargo at Dutch Flat and Nevada City. The express was reclaimed or sold back to E. B. Hopkinson in February, 1865.
J. A. Stones Express Paid to Dutch Flat; exchanged with Wells Fargo & Co. Dutch Flat Sep 3 to San Francisco. The only known example from Stone’s Express.
The only newspaper reference found thus far to J. A. Stone’s Express (from the Dec 3, 1864 Marysville Daily Appeal)
Swart & Co’s Express – May, 1854 to Dec, 1854
Jesse H. Swart purchased Almy’s Oakland and San Francisco Express in May, 1854. Their daily route was by steamer from San Francisco to Oakland, Clinton, Alameda, Union City, San Pablo and Martinez. Swart sold out to Swift & Company in Dec, 1854.
By Swart & Cos. Express Oakland from Union City Nov 22nd 1854 to San Francisco. Docketing indicates mailing and receipt on the same day.
Aug 3, 1854 Daily Placer Times and Transcript
Bird’s eye view showing location of Swart & Co.’s offices in San Francisco Bay
Swift & Co.’s Express – Early 1855 to 1859
E. Swift’s express operated on the peninsula north of San Francisco from a base at Santa Rosa. It roughly followed present day Highway 101 as far north as Cloverdale, and possibly on to Ukiah, as well as west from Santa Rosa to the Bodega Bay area. Swift connected with Wells Fargo at Petaluma and Santa Rosa.
By Swift & Cos Express Santa Rosa to Sacramento. Although not marked as such, possibly exchanged with Wells Fargo in Santa Rosa for delivery to Sacramento.
PAID Adams & Co., Over our California and Coast Routes with Adams & Co. San Francisco Aug 26 (1854) hand stamp to San Jose. Only known example with the frank printed vertically at left used during Adams period of operation.
Swift & Co.’s Express – Early 1855 to 1859
Sacramento Daily Union articles indicate Swift went into the express business on his own in the Mar-Apr, 1855 timeframe, based upon the above article from Feb 22, 1855 indicating he was an agent of Wells Fargo, and the articles below from May 22, 1855 and Nov 28, 1855 when he was in business for himself.
Western Expresses Alphabetically