Western Expresses Alphabetically
Sacramento River Express – 1871
Johnson and Company were listed in the 1871 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 carried letter mail in some capacity, based on their “Paid” printed frank.
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.
From the 1871 San Francisco Directory showing “Johnson & Co. proprietors, office 306 Montgomery” for the Sacramento River Express.
Schoch’s Copper City Express – Mar, 1864 to Sep/Oct, 1865
William 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. Schoch’s Aug 6, 1864 ad indicated connection with Wells, Fargo & Co. at Shasta. His last ad appeared in the Sep 30, 1865 issue of the Shasta Courier.
By Schoch’s Copper City Express to Shasta; by post office Shasta Cal. Nov 3 (1864) to Prairie P.O., Yolo Co., Cala. One of only five reported examples of this Type 1 printed frank and nine 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 Type 2 printed frank and nine total Schoch’s Express covers.
W. E. Singer & Co.’s Express – Jan, 1854 to Oct, 1855
William E. Singer and Anan Fargo were the partners in W. E. Singer & Co.’s Express, for which the first ad appeared in the Jan 14, 1854 Bidwell Butte Register. The express served several dozen mining camps, primarily along the North and South Forks of the Feather River, as well as a couple on the Middle Fork. The Singer/Fargo partnership dissolved Oct 17, 1855, being succeeded by Singer & Co’s Feather River Express Henry Keefer and Thomas Morrow, proprietors)
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 – Oct, 1856 to Feb, 1857
William E. Singer, Emerson E. Meek, Thomas H. Morrow, and George W. Morley formed the partnership Singer, Meek & Co.’s Express, as announced Oct 25, 1856. This was the last of the Singer Expresses, operating over the route of its predecessor companies: the Feather River region in Butte and Plumas Counties, connecting with Pacific Express at Marysville. Meek and Morley left the partnership in Feb, 1857, joining into Whiting & Co.’s Feather River Express. Singer then retired from the express business.
By Feather River Express PAID Singer, Meek & Co. to Marysville; exchanged with Pacific Express Co Marysville Dec 29 (1856) to San Francisco with very light Pacific Express Co San Francisco circular marking. The unique example of this Type 2 printed frank.
By Singer, Meek & Co.’s Feather River Express to “Present”, likely a local delivery to Marysville. One of three Type 1 printed frank.
Singer & Morrow’s Express – Dec, 1855 to Oct, 1856
Prior to his involvement in Singer & Morrow’s Express, Thomas H. Morrow was partner with Henry Keefer in Singer & Co.’s Feather River Express. Keefer left that partnership after only two months (Oct-Dec, 1855), after which Singer returned to partner with Morrow in Singer & Morrow’s Express, based out of Marysville and serving many of the same locations as the predecessor companies. On Oct 25, 1856 the Marysville Daily California Express announced that Singer had formed a new partnership, forming Singer, Meek & Co.’s Express.
By Feather River Express PAID Singer & Morrow Type 1 printed frank from the mining camps of the Feather River to Bidwell’s Bar; by post office Bidwell’s Bar Cal May 10 (1856) to Massachusetts.
First ad, Jul 12, 1856 Marysville Daily Herald
Spargur’s Honey Lake Express – ~May, 1860 to Aug, 1860
Henry L. Spargur was proprietor of this express, with a route from Quincy to Honey Lake. The earliest ad found for this express is from the Jul 26, 1860 Quincy Plumas Argus; however, there is a gap in the papers back to Jan 28. One of the two known covers has a postal handstamp May 17, indicating operation earlier in 1860. Spargur’s ad ran through the Aug 16, 1860 issue, after which it was replaced with an identical ad (names changed) for Whiting & Co. with “Frank Middleton, Messenger” beginning Sep 6, 1860 in the Plumas Argus.
Spargur’s Honey Lake Express PAID from Honey Lake to Quincy; by post office Quincy, Cal Jul 6 (1860) with Paid 10c to Boston with sender’s directive “via Panama” (versus overland). One of two known examples of any cover from this express.
Stewart & Jones Express – Summer, 1865
The full names of the proprietors of this express have not yet been determined. The first advertisement for Stewart & Jones’ Meadow Lake Express was published in the Jul 22, 1865 issue of the Dutch Flat Enquirer and was only run for two weeks, through the issue of Aug 5. According to their ad, they ran from Dutch Flat to Meadow Lake City and the Excelsior Mining District via Crystal Lake. Organ & Tibbetts began their own express to Meadow Lake in Jul, 1865. Competition by two express companies over the same route likely led to the early demise of Stewart & Jones Meadow Lake Express.
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 (possibly a used leftover).
Earliest ad, Jul 22, 1865 Dutch Flat Enquirer
Stolp’s Express – May, 1852 to 1855
Cornelius Stolp was proprietor of this express, which operated from a base at Nevada City to the mining camps primarily in Washington Township, about 20 miles away, including: Red Dog, Walloupa, Little York, Alpha, You Bet, and Washington. We do not know exactly when Stolp began nor ended his express. But, the 1852-1855 operational dates are based his biography in the History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, which notes that in May of 1852 Stolp “went to Nevada City and there engaged in the express business for three years.” The 1855-56 Sacramento City Directory lists him as “gardener,” confirming he went out of business in 1855.
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.
Stolp’s Express Routes
J. A. Stone’s Express – May, 1864 to Feb, 1865
In May of 1864, J. A. Stone purchased E. B. Hopkinson’s Express route which ran from Nevada City to Dutch Flat by way of Quaker Hill, Hunt’s Hill, Red Dog, You Bet, Walloupa, and Little York. Hopkinson remained in the express business, however, establishing a route on the Dutch Flat and Washoe turnpike road. Like Hopkinson, J. A. Stone’s Express connected with Wells Fargo at Dutch Flat and Nevada City. Stone operated his express for about eight months, selling out to E. B. Hopkinson, who once again took charge of the “Red Dog, You Bet and Dutch Flat express route” on Feb 3, 1865.
J. A. Stones Express Paid to Dutch Flat; exchanged with Wells Fargo & Co. Dutch Flat Sep 3 (1864) to San Francisco. The only known example from J. A. 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 folded letter 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 – Dec, 1854 to Aug, 1855
and Nov, 1857 to Mar, 1860
Edward Swift was proprietor of Swift & Co.’s Express. The first inception of his company in Dec, 1854 ran over two routes: San Francisco to Petaluma (till mid-Aug, 1855) and San Francisco to Union City (to Jan, 1855). Swift connected with Wells, Fargo & Co. at San Francisco. From Aug, 1855 to Jul, 1857 he operated Swift’s City Express within San Francisco, thereafter acting as messenger for Thompson & Co.’s Express. Thompson ceased operation in Oct, 1857 and Swift took over the route as Swift & Co.’s Express, operating over the same route as Thompson had. He initially connected with Wells, Fargo & Co. at Petaluma until Dec, 1859 when he began connecting with them at San Francisco. Swift’s Express ceased operation in Mar, 1860.
By Swift & Cos Express Santa Rosa to Sacramento, probably exchanged with Wells, Fargo & Co. at Petaluma for carriage to Sacramento.
By Swift & Cos Express Santa Rosa to Petaluma, very light Wells, Fargo & Co. Express Petaluma handstamp for carriage to San Francisco.
Western Expresses Alphabetically