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American Express (1850-present) - Started as
an express mail business in Albany, New York, in 1850, the company was formed
from John Butterfield's, Butterfield, Wasson & Company, merging with
his two rivals, Wells & Company and Livingston, Fargo &
Company. Two years later, the same founders would also start
Wells, Fargo & Co. in 1852 when Butterfield and other directors
objected to the proposal that American Express extend its operations to distant
California. The company first established its headquarters in at the
intersection of Jay and Hudson Streets in what is now the TriBeCa section of
Manhattan, New York.
For several years, the company enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the
movement of express shipments, including goods, securities and currency in New
York State. They expanded in 1958 when the company won the government contract for the first
transcontinental stage line, carrying the mail from
and receiving $600,000 per year.
American Express and employees in 1858, by Otto Botticher.
This image available for
photographic prints and
finalized, the new mail contract was the largest that had ever been awarded.
A subsidiary called the Butterfield Overland Stage Company was formed to
handle the mail. However, the success of the mail route was short-lived, as
it was forced to discontinue service when the
Civil War broke out. American Express survived the discontinuance of stage lines when
the railroad pushed through by expanding into financial services, which it
continues to this day.
Sanderson Company (1862?-1881?) - Established by Vermont men, Jared L.
Sanderson and Bradley Barlow during the
the Barlow-Sanderson Overland Mail Company first carried the mail and operated a
stage line between Sedalia and Warrensburg,
and by 1863, was also operating a line from Kansas City,
to Fort Scott,
In 1866, they began to expand westward and transferred their headquarters from
Kansas City to Junction City,
1867, the two entrepreneurs had established a route from
Trail and changed the name to the Barlow and Sanderson Company. They
also had a number of shorter routes such as
to Fort Lyon,
Bents Fort to Pueblo,
1869, they were concentrating their efforts on expanding their routes in
to the bomming mining industry. In July, 1870, the Company bought out the Denver
and Santa Fe Stage Line and renamed it the Southern Overland Mail and Express.
Later that year, in December, they moved their headquarters to Denver. The
company continued to grow in
becoming the largest stage line in the area and in 1874, the headquarters moved again to
years later, despite rumors of bribery and corruption within the company,
the stage line continued to expand. However, by 1878, Bradley Barlow
withdrew and the name of the company was changed to J.L. Sanderson and
Company Overland Stage and Express Line.
1879, the railroad was pushing through
dramatically cutting into the stage line business but the company hung on
for several more years, once again relocating its headquarters to Buena
Vista. Though business was down, the stage lines continued to operate into
the 1880's, though often plagued by bandits.
Butterfield Overland Dispatch (1865-1870) - Initially developed by David A. Butterfield (no relation to
John W. Butterfield) in 1865 on the
Smoky Hill Trail, the line ran from Atchison,
Kansas to Denver,
in direct competition of Holladay Overland Mail and
Though other trails had been blazed along here, stage lines had not been
successful due a scarcity of water and frequent Indian attacks. However,
David Butterfield was determined that it could be profitable. The smooth-talking businessman soon
obtained capital for the "Butterfield Overland Dispatch" and the first
train left Atchison
on June 4, 1865, arriving in Denver on September 23rd.
Along the 592 mile long route, relay stations were built about
every twelve miles, for passenger’s rest, food, and changing
of horses. The line was an initial success, providing tri-weekly express service between Atchison and Denver in only
Soldiers were also posted along the pathway at
Fort Wallace and other stops to protect the stations and the
travelers from Indian attacks. However, the soldiers could not keep up
with the furious
Indians who felt their land was being invaded.
Additionally, these "Indians" were not always
as they appeared, but were allegedly
hired men dressed in Indian attire, who not only frightened
those on the coaches, but also robbed them and burned their
equipment and supplies.
By January, 1866 the David Butterfield's Overland Dispatch was in
financial trouble and the company was reorganized with David Bray becoming the president. However, it was
too little too late and just two months later, the line was sold to their
Later that year, Holladay, sold it to
Wells-Fargo. During this time, the
Kansas Pacific Railroad was also pushing towards Denver and by 1870, the
stage line was no longer needed.
Continued Next Page
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