Few among the enterprises of the early pioneer days have achieved the remarkable success of the Wells, Fargo & Co. Express. It has developed in half a century from a small package and letter carrying company to one of the greatest carriers in the world.
The organization which has made such marvelous strides was founded in the spring of 1852, when Henry Wells, William G. Fargo, Johnston Livingston, D. N. Barney and others, animated by a desire to participate in the great mineral development of the Pacific Coast, formed a company with a capital of $300,000, which was later increased to $600,000, to do an express, banking and exchange business in California, in connection with the leading financial and commercial centers in the East and in Europe.
Success accompanied the enterprise from the start, thanks to the great demand for it in the new land, and to the ability with which it was conducted, it being characterized by many features novel to such a concern. Prominent among these novel features was a letter carrying system, technically independent of the United States Post Office, but really auxiliary to it. This was highly appreciated by isolated miners and others, who without it, would have had little, if any, means of communication with the outside world.
The Wells-Fargo express, exchange and banking service grew in both scope and popularity from year to year. In 1860 a picturesque feature was added in the shape of the famous pony express. This was nothing else than a system of mounted couriers, riding between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento. This great distance had to be covered by the solitary horseman, over wilderness and through many and varied dangers, not the least of which were the attacks of Indians and of highwaymen of the white race, but the daring riders made weekly trips, accomplishing the trip in ten days, with the aid of numerous relays and the exercise of wonderful skill, endurance and courage.
With the advent of the transcontinental railroads, the business of the Wells-Fargo Company increased still more. Its development proceeded, under wise management, until today it has no less than 43,775 rail routes, 1,485 stage routes, 635 inland steamer routes and 9,165 ocean steamer routes.
The company runs exclusive fast express trains daily between New York and the West, Northwest and Southwest. It has its own express cars, equipped with fire and burglar proof safes for valuables; has its own refrigerator cars for large shipments of perishable matter, has its own palace horse cars for large shipments of stock; is the only company having its own service across the American continent from Atlantic to Pacific ocean; is the only company having its own service from New York, San Francisco and intermediate points to Mexico; has fully equipped customs brokerage departments at New York, San Francisco, El Paso, Eagle Pass, and in Nogales, Ariz.; is empowered by the United States Government to carry goods in bond to inland points of entry, thus avoiding the necessity of customs examination at the border; and it has its own agents or correspondents in nearly every large city in the world.
The company has 4,410 offices in various parts of the world, and a total mileage of 55,000. At the present time the company’s capital is $8,000,000.
Dudley Evans is the present of the Wells, Fargo & Company Express, with headquarters in New York. There are three great departments of the company, the Pacific Department, A. Christensen, manager, San Francisco; the Central Department, R. A. Wells, manager, Kansas City, Mo.; and the Atlantic Department, E. A. Stedman, manager, New York City.
The general officers of the company are the following: President, Dudley Evans, New York; Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary, H. B. Parsons, New York. Board of Directors—Dudley Evans, F. D. Underwood, E. H. Harriman, H. B. Parsons, H. E. Huntington, J. J. McCook, R. S. Lovett, George E. Gray, J. Kruttschnitt, W. T. Van Brunt, W. V. S. Thorne, W. F. Herrin, W. D. Cornish.
Each of the three departments has its sub-departments, its divisions, its route agents, and its various other officials. The company as a whole is a conspicuous example of excellent organization, enterprise and executive ability.
San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser
July 21, 1906